HC Deb 14 July 1838 vol 44 cc199-200
Sir W. Rae

said, he wished to say a few words upon the subject of the Small Debts (Scotland) Bill. He thought he had reason to complain of the conduct of the Under Secretary of State in making it a party question, and summoning the Government Members for the purpose of throwing it out. He had also to complain of a want of courtesy towards himself. He certainly did hope that such means would not have been adopted to throw out upon its third reading a bill which had been brought in and passed through a Committee of the House of Lords, and which would have been of such great benefit to Scotland. The clause for raising the jurisdiction, he expected would be lost, but he was not prepared for the throwing out of the whole bill. The clause had obtained the approval of the House upon two divisions, and therefore he was unwilling to abandon it. He thought, therefore, the course pursued by the hon. Gentleman a most unusual one. It was most unwise to deprive Scotland of the benefit of the bill, merely because he (Sir W. Rae) would not humble himself by withdrawing a particular clause.

Mr. F. Maule

entreated the indulgence of the House for a few minutes, while he endeavoured to defend himself against the charge which had been brought against him by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He did not think the House would accuse him of allowing party motives to forget the courtesy which was due either to the House or the right hon. Gentleman. There was a length to which courtesy should go, but it ought not to be permitted to triumph over principle. When the bill was in the House a previous Session, as well as at every stage of it since, he stated his objection to the clause. He objected to giving an increased jurisdiction to the justices of the peace, when they had in Scotland as the judge of the inferior court, the sheriff depute, a person brought up to and learned in the law, and always ready to adjudicate. He also told the right hon. Gentleman, that he would take every opportunity of resisting the bill in the House unless he would consent to withdraw or alter the clause, in which case he stated his readiness to support the bill. The right hon. Gentleman was, therefore, wrong in stating, that in throwing out the bill, he had been influenced by party motives, or had been guilty of any want of courtesy towards the right hon. Gentleman himself.

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