HC Deb 27 February 1837 vol 36 cc1058-64
The Attorney-General

hoped that, before proceeding with the adjourned debate, the House would allow the third reading of the Municipal Corporations Act Amendment Bill to take place. It was of the greatest importance that there should be no further delay in the passing of this Bill, which was not at all a party measure. He begged to move the third reading of the Bill.

Bill read a third time.

Sir Edward Knatchbull

then moved a clause, to the effect that every person voting at the election of town-councillors, or aldermen, should do so by delivering personally, at the meeting, to the mayor or chairman, a voting paper, containing the name and surname of the person for whom he votes, such paper, when read, to be? delivered by the mayor to the town-clerk, and that every election of aldermen, made before the passing of the Act, should be valid, by whatever form made.

Clause agreed to.

The Attorney-General

brought up a clause to this effect:—"That a person entitled to be admitted to the freedom of a borough, at the time of the passing of the Act, shall be entitled to be admitted on the same conditions as any person who shall have acquired his title after the passing of the Act."

Mr. Thornley

said, that he should certainly oppose the clause, for its object was to extend the franchise to the freemen in a way that was never intended.

The Attorney-General

said, the object of the clause was, not to extend the franchise, but to prevent litigation and expense in prosecuting appeals.

Mr. Thornley

could not consider the clause in any other light, and he should therefore take the sense of the House upon its rejection.

The House divided on the clause:—Ayes 218; Noes 14: Majority 204.

List of the AYES.
Alston, R. Bentinck, Lord W.
Angerstein, John Bernal, R.
Anson, hon. Colonel Bethell, Richard
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Bewes, T.
Bagot, hon. W. Blackburne, I.
Bagshaw, John Blackstone, W. S.
Baillie, H. D. Boldero, H. G.
Ball, N. Bonham, R. Francis
Barry, G. S. Borthwick, Peter
Beauclerk, Major Brady, D. C.
Beckett, rt. hon. Sir J. Brotherton, J.
Browne, R. D. Hardy, J.
Buller, Charles Harland, W. Charles
Burdon, W. W. Harvey, D. W.
Buxton, T. F. Hastie, A.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Hawkins, J. H.
Campbell, Sir J. Hay, Sir A. L.
Canning, rt. hon. Sir S. Heathcoat, J.
Cartwright, W. R. Hector, C. J.
Cave, R. O. Hinde, J. H.
Chandos, Marquess of Hindley, C.
Chapman, A. Hogg, James Weir
Chetwynd, Captain Houldsworth, T.
Chichester, A. Howard, P. H.
Clay, W. Hume, J.
Clerk, Sir G. Humphrey, J.
Colborne, N. W. R. Hurst, R, H.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hutt, W.
Collier, John Jackson, Mr. Sergeant
Conolly, E. M. Jephson, C. D. O.
Conyngham, Lord A. Johnstone, Sir J.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Johnstone, J. J. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Jones, T.
Crawford, W. S. Knight, H. G.
Cripps, J. Knightley, Sir C.
Curteis, H. B. Lambton, H.
Dalbiac, Sir C. Lees, J. F.
Darlington, Earl of Lefevre, Charles S.
Davenport, J. Lefroy, right hon. T.
Denison, W. J. Lennard, T. B.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Lennox, Lord G.
Lincoln, Earl of
Donkin, Sir R. Lister, E. C.
Duncombe, T. Long, W.
Dundas, hon. T. Lushington, Dr.
Eaton, R. J. Lushington, Charles
Ebrington, Viscount Lygon, hon. Gen.
Egerton, Lord Fran. Macnamara, Major
Ellice, right hon. E. Mactaggart, J.
Entwisle, J. Marjoribanks, S.
Fazakerley, John N. Martin, J.
Fector, John Minet Methuen, P.
Ferguson, Sir R. Miles, William
Fergusson, rt. hon. R. C. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Fielden, J. Moreton, hon. A. H.
Finch, G. Morpeth, Viscount
Finn, W. F. Mosley, Sir O.
Forbes, W. Mostyn, hon. E.
Forester, hon. G. Mullins, F. W.
Forster, C. S. Musgrave, Sir R.
Freemantle, Sir T. Norreys, Lord
Freshfield, J. W. O'Connell, M. J.
Geary, Sir W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Gisborne, T. Oliphant, Lawrence
Gladstone, T. Paget, F.
Gladstone, W. E. Palmer, R.
Gordon, R. Palmer, Gen.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Parker, M.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Parker, J.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Parrott, Jasper
Grattan, J. Parry, Sir L. P. J.
Grey, Sir George Patten, John Wilson
Gully, John Pattison, J.
Halford, H. Pease, J.
Hall, B. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hamilton, Lord C. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Handley, H. Perceval, Colonel
Hanmer, Sir J. Pinney, W.
Plumptre, John P. Trevor, hon. A.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Power, J. Vere, Sir C. B.,
Price, Sir R. Villiers, C. P.
Pringle, A. Vivian, J. H.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Richards, R. Walker, R.
Robarts, A. W. Wallace, Robert
Robinson, G. R. Walter, John
Roche, William Wason, R.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Whalley, Sir S.
Ross, C. Whitmore, T. C.
Rundle, J. Wilbraham, G.
Rushbrooke, Colonel Wilbraham, hon. B.
Russell, Lord C. Wilkins, W.
Ryle, J. Wilks, John
Scarlett, hon. R. Williams, Robert
Scrope, G. P. Williams, W.
Seymour, Lord Williams, Sir J.
Sibthorp, Colonel Williamson, Sir H.
Smith, R.V. Wood, C.
Smyth, Sir H. Worsley, Lord
Somerset, Lord G. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Stanley, E. Woulfe, Mr. Sergeant
Stanley, Lord Wrightson, W. B.
Stanley, W. O. Wrottesley, Sir J.
Stewart, John Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Stormont, Viscount Yorke, E. T.
Strickland, Sir G. Young, G. F.
Stuart, Lord J. Young, J.
Stuart, V. TELLERS.
Thompson, Colonel Baring, F.
Trelawney, Sir W. Stanley, E. J.
List of the NOES.
Bodkin, J. J. O'Connell, D.
Ewart, W. O'Connell, Morgan
Fitzsimon, C. Potter, R.
Gaskell, D. Scholefield, Joshua
Grote, George Warburton, H.
James, W.
Leader, J. T. TELLERS.
Marshall, William Thornley, T.
Marsland, Henry Wakley, T.

Clause to be added to the Bill.

Mr. Harvey

had a clause to propose, which was of so much importance, that he must beg the attention of the House to it. He must say, that he never remembered a Bill of such importance as the present, passing through all its stages with so little observation. It had excited scarcely any attention whatever, or rather, it had gone through its different stages amidst a confusion, which rendered it impossible that even the most strained attention could ascertain what any one hon. Gentleman who addressed the House on the subject, was speaking about, or what the question was which they were required to decide. He thought the proposition which he had to make, was one which would be received by the House, but more particularly by the hon. and learned Attorney-General, with a cordial assent, as its object was not only to render the laws pure, but the administration of public justice impartial. He begged leave, therefore, to propose the following clause:—"No person holding the office of Recorder, Deputy Recorder, or Assistant Barrister, in any City or Borough in England or Ireland, shall be eligible to serve in Parliament, or to be an Alderman, Councillor, or Police Magistrate, in such City or Borough." His object was, that the same rule that applied to the judges should be applied to all other persons holding judicial offices involving similar duties.

Clause read a first time. On the question that it be read a second time,

The Attorney-General

said, if he bad been aware that his motion would have led to a protracted discussion of this kind, he should not have ventured to postpone the adjourned debate on the Poor-law-Amendment Act. He was willing to admit that the clause proposed by the hon. Member for Southwark, was an important one—so important, indeed, that he should, wish to see it made the subject of a separate Bill. It went, however, beyond the scope of the present measure, which was confined to England, while the hon. Gentleman intended his clause to extend to Ireland. He was not prepared to say that recorders should be excluded from seats in that House, nor could he think that there was any analogy between their case, and that of the judges. The recorders were seldom occupied in the exercise of their judicial functions more than four days in the year; and, therefore, as their duties in no way interfered with their discharging the duties of Members of that House, he must give the proposition of the hon. Member for Southwark his decided opposition.

Mr. O'Connell

remarked, that the clause was already in operation in Ireland, as the assistant-barristers were precluded from having a seat in Parliament. He considered the clause of so much importance, that if the hon. Member for Southwark divided the House, he would go out with him. Persons in a judicial capacity ought to be excluded from having a seat in that House. If such persons acted erroneously in their offices, there was no other tribunal but Parliament to correct them. In that House, they were all aware that party spirit prevailed, and they ought to be most careful, that no man brought to the bench the slightest tinge of party spirit.

The Solicitor-General

opposed the clause, and said that, as a remuneration of recorders did not amount to more than perhaps 20l. a-year, it was absurd to suppose that they were highly paid. For the most part, the office was merely honorary.

Mr. Grote

was in favour of the clause, and thought, that those who held judicial offices, should be obliged to devote their whole time to the business of those offices. He was an advocate for local Courts.

Mr. Scarlett

denied that the nominal salaries attached to these really honorary offices could influence the votes of the parties holding them in that House.

Mr. Harvey

said, that if he thought the law-officers of the Crown were sincere, he would not press his motion. He did not, however, think so—and, consequently, he must persevere. It was said, that the recorders were not highly paid. Why, had not the recorder of London 2,500l. a-year, and were not the duties of that hon. and learned Gentleman considered so onerous, that there was some intention of giving him another 1,000l.? There was another recorder, who, if he were not mistaken, was also well paid, and had considerable business connected with his office to attend to. Let them see how the system worked at present under this Bill. Any corporate town might have a judge, and the government of the time being would have the appointment of all those judges at disposal. He had had it for some time in contemplation, to move for a return of the gentlemen of the bar, with a statement of any place or office held by each individual; and he certainly thought it would be difficult to find, throughout the entire list of the bar, the name of any man of five years' standing, who was not either in possession of a place, or in expectation of some appointment or other. He was well aware, that their superior moral habits, and stricter education, enabled the gentlemen of the bar to make a stronger struggle against this system of seduction than other men, but his object was, to protect them from that system of seduction altogether, and to preserve them in a state of forensic purity. If he thought that the law-officers of the Crown were sincere in the recommendation that they had given, and that they would promise to support him in bringing forward a Bill for this purpose, he would willingly do so; but unless he got an assurance of their support, he would persevere in pressing his motion to a division.

The House then divided:—Ayes 52, Noes 108: Majority 56.

List of the AYES.
Angerstein, J. Marsland, H.
Beauclerk, Major Musgrave, Sir R.
Bewes, T. O'Brien, W. Smith
Blake, M. J. O'Connell, D.
Bodkin, J. J. Paget, F.
Brady, D. C. Pease, J.
Bridgman, Hewitt Potter, Richard
Brotherton, J. Power, James
Bulwer, H. L. Roebuck, John A.
Burton, H. Rundle, John
Collier, J. Ruthven, E.
Crawford, W. S. Stanley, W. O.
Denison, W. J. Strickland, Sir G.
Duncombe, T. Stuart, Lord J.
Fitzsimon, C Thompson, Colonel
Grattan, J. Turk, C. A.
Grote, George Wakley, T.
Hall, B. Wallace, R.
Hawes, B. Wason, R.
Heathcoat, J. Whalley, Sir S.
Hector, C. J. Wilks, J.
Hindley, C. Williams, W.
Humphery, John Williams, Sir J.
Lawson, A. Young, G. F.
Lister, Ellis Cunliffe
Macnamara, Major TELLERS.
Maher, J. Harvey, D. W.
Marjoribanks, S. Leader, J. T.
List of the NOES.
Alston, Rowland Finch, G.
Anson, Hon. Colonel Forbes, W.
Bailey, J. Forster, C. S.
Baillie, H. D. Fort, John
Barnard, E. G. Gaskell, J. M.
Barneby, J. Gladstone, W. E.
Benett, J. Gordon, R.
Blackstone, W. S. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Boldero, H. G. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bonham, R. F. Halford, H.
Borthwick, P. Hamilton, G. A.
Buller, E. Handley, H.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Hardy, J.
Campbell, Sir J. Hastie, A.
Canning, rt. hon. Sir S. Hawkins, John H.
Chichester, A. Hodges, T. L.
Clerk, Sir G. Hogg, J. W.
Curteis, H. B. Houldsworth, T.
Dalbiac, Sir C. Howard, P. H.
Darlington, Earl of Howick, Viscount
Davenport, J. Hurst, R.H.
Donkin, Sir R. Jephson, C. D. O.
Eaton, Richard J. Johnstone, J. J. H.
Ebrington, Viscount Jones, T.
Egerton, Lord F. Knight, H. G.
Elwes, J. P. Lefroy, rt. hon. T.
Entwisle, J. Lemon, Sir C.
Fector, J. M. Lennox, Lord G.
Feilden, W. Long, W.
Longfield, R. Smyth, Sir H.
Lushington, Dr. Somerset, Lord G.
Lygon, Hon. General Stanley, E. J.
Mackenzie, S. Stanley, E.
Marshall, W. Stanley, Lord
Miles, W. Stewart, J.
Moreton, Hon. A. Stormont, Viscount
Morpeth, Viscount Strangways, hon. J.
Mosley, Sir O. Stuart, V.
Mostyn, hon. E. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Palmer, R. Vere, Sir C. B.
Palmer, G. Verney, Sir H.
Parker, John Vernon, G. H.
Parry, Sir L. P. J. Vesey, hon. T.
Pinney, W. Vivian, J. E.
Plumptre, J. P. Walter, J.
Rice, rt. hon. T. S. Wilbraham, G.
Richards, J. Williams, W. A.
Richards, R. Wilson, H.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Wood, C.
Ross, Charles Wood, Colonel T.
Rushbrooke, Col Worsley, Lord
Sandon, Viscount Wortley, hon. J. S.
Scarlett, hon. R. Wrightson, W. B.
Scott, Sir E. D.
Scrope, G. P. TELLERS.
Seymour, Lord Grey, Sir G.
Sibthorp, Colonel Pryme, G.

Clause rejected.

Bill passed.