HC Deb 10 July 1839 vol 49 cc108-27

On the order of the day for the report on the Metropolis Police Bill being read,

Mr. Hume

wished to ask the noble Lord if her Majesty's Government would con- sent to the proposition he had made, some time since, that instead of placing the payment a the police on the consolidated fund, it should be made the subject of an annual vote, as it was wanted. He understood that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been willing to accede to his proposition. The bill had gone through Committee very late the other night, and he had not an opportunity of proposing the introduction of a clause to that effect. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether, as he was in the habit of ordering the police wherever their services might be required, he did not propose the expenses of this force should be voted annually, its the same way as the army or the navy? He did not object to the amount; he wished the force to be maintained in an efficient state; but he wished it to be by annual vote; for instance, he was inclined to quarrel with the proceedings at Birmingham, but at present he had not the requisite information on the subject—but if this were made the subject of an annual vote, all discussions as to the conduct of the police could take place at the same time. He wished to know if the noble Lord would agree to his proposition.

Lord John Russell

considered that such a course would be very inconvenient, and could not accede to the proposition of the hon. Gentleman.

Order of the day read.

Mr. F. Maule moved the re-committal of the Metropolitan Police Bill, in order to bring up the money clauses and amendments of which he had given notice.

Mr. T. Duncombe

wished, before the Speaker left the chair, to put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Home Department on the subject of the conduct of the metropolitan police at Birmingham on Monday night. He wished to know whether the accounts which appeared in the morning papers, with respect to a riot at Birmingham, were true or not? In one of the papers the statement was as follows:— Yesterday evening the military were again called out. There was a great assemblage of the people in the different parts of the town, but no indication of a riot until the police made their appearance. At seven o'clock a troop of the Royal Irish Dragoons galloped down Moor-street, and was quartered in the Wool-pack, an inn adjoining the Public-office. At eight o'clock the Rifles on duty at the public office turned out, and formed an advanced guard, leaving open spaces in their ranks, for several squadrons of dragoons, who at that moment came at a brisk trot down Moor-street, taking their station in the Bull-ring. A large body of the metropolitan police followed, supported by several companies of Rifles. The dragoons were stationed in all the avenues leading to the Bull-ring, after which no one was allowed to pass these lines. After some time, the police divided into sections, each section followed by a troop of dragoons. Immense crowds were attracted to the spot at this moment, and wherever the police saw them congregated they commenced an indiscriminate attack with their staves. Great confusion followed; men, women, and children were thrown down and trampled upon, while the police beleagured them right and left. Broken heads and arms, with other severe wounds, were the result. One man, who was returning from his work had his teeth knocked out. The poor fellow exclaimed, 'Am I in England?' Several special constables came up at the time, and expressed their horror at such proceedings. The police have made themselves so unpopular here, that it is the opinion of many that there will be no peace in Birmingham so long as they are left in it.

Was that statement correct or not?

Lord J. Russell

entirely disbelieved that account. He had received letters from the Mayor of Birmingham, stating the circumstances which occurred entirely different from the statement read by the hon. Member, and saying that the town was now nearly restored to its ordinary state of quiet, and that business was now going on as usual.

Mr. T. Duncombe

inquired whether the noble Lord had received any contradiction to the statement he had read?

Lord J. Russell

replied, that he of course had not received any contradiction, because there had not been time for the authorities in Birmingham to have seen the account which had been read. The general account he had received made no mention of any circumstances at all resembling those read by the hon. Member. He had received accounts from the Mayor of Birmingham stating, that on Monday evening great numbers of persons, armed with bludgeons, had collected in certain parts of the town of Birmingham, and had endeavoured to get the colliers of the neighbourhood to come into the town and join them, and that these bodies of persons the police had been called upon to disperse, and had succeeded in that object.

House in Committee.

Mr. F. Maule moved to add a clause to the effect, that when any parish was added to the districts of the metropolitan police, it should be lawful for the Lords of the Treasury to issue their warrant for the payment of the portion of public contribution to the increased expense out of the consolidated fund, not being more than 2d. in the pound on the additional rental assessed to the police.

Mr. Hume

objected to the provisions proposed in this clause, allowing the Lords of the Treasury at their discretion to make additional grants for the police out of the consolidated fund. If the reasons that were urged against this force were strong before, they had become infinitely more so since the proceedings that had recently occurred at Birmingham. That House should have a constitutional check over the police, and, therefore, the amount of public money granted should be in the shape of an annual vote, when their conduct might be canvassed. He should oppose this clause being added to the bill. In former times the Secretary of State directed the military to aid the civil power in any place where such aid was wanted. But this was a new power, serving the purposes of the military. Under these circumstances it was but fair and reasonable that that House should have an opportunity of annually canvassing the vote for their payment. It never was contemplated that they should be sent scouring through the country—not one word was said about that while the bill was going through the House for the formation of the force. He saw no difference between a red coat and a blue one. He therefore moved, that the 13th clause be omitted.

Lord J. Russell

said, he could not admit the justice of the assimilation of the hon. Gentleman of the police force with the military. He thought it far better to call in the civil power on occasions like the one referred to, than to call in the yeomanry, as in the riots of 1819 at Manchester.

Mr. Hume

said, he did not object to the amount, but to the principle. The vote should be an annual one, for as this force was used as a military force, it was proper that it should be under the annual control of Parliament.

The Committee divided on the clause:—Ayes l07; Noes 25; Majority 82.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Ashley, Lord
Admiral Baring, F. T.
Baring, H. B. Lushington, C.
Barnard, E.G. Lushington, rt. hn. S.
Barrington, Viscount Macaulay, T. B.
Blair, James Mackenzie, T.
Blake, W. J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Briscoe, J. I. Macleod, Roderick
Broadley, H. Mahon, Viscount
Brownrigg, S. Marshall, W.
Bryan, George Maule, hon. F.
Buck, L. W. Maunsell, T. P.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Morpeth, Viscount
Burroughes, H. N. Norreys, Lord
Butler, hon. Col. Oswald, J.
Campbell, Sir J. Parke, C. W.
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Paget, F.
Chetwynd, Major Palmerston, Viscount
Craig, W. G. Parker, J.
Crawford, W. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Crompton, Sir. S. Philips, G. R.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Redington, T. N.
Dalmeny, Lord Round, C. G.
Darlington, Earl of ound, J.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Rushbrooke, Col.
East, J. B. Rushout, G.
Egerton, W. T. Russell, Lord J.
Ellis, J. Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Estcourt, T. Sanford, E. A.
Evans, W. Sheppard, T.
Fazakerley, J. N. Sibthorp, Col.
Fenton, J. Sinclair, Sir G.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Slaney, R. A.
Freemantle, Sir T. Somerset, Lord G.
Godson, R. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Stewart, J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Stuart, Lord J.
Hardinge, rt. hon. SirH. Strutt, E.
Hawes, B. Sturt, H. C.
Hayter, W. G. Style, Sir C.
Hodgson, R. Teignmouth, Lord
Holmes, W. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Hope, hon. C. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hoskins, K. Turner, E.
Howick, Viscount Waddington, H S.
Hughes, W. B. Wall, C. B.
Hutt, W. White, A.
Hutton, R. Williams, W. A,
Ingestrie, Viscount Wilshere, W.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Wodehouse, E.
Jackson, Mr. Sergeant Wood, C.
Knight, H. G. Wrightson, W. B.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. TELLERS.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Grey, Sir G.
Lowther, J. H. Solicitor-general, Mr.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Leader, J. T.
Brotherton, J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Bruges, W. H. L. Muskett, G. A.
Chichester, J. P. B. O'Connell, D.
Duncombe, T. Pattison, J.
Evans, G. Rundle, J.
Ewart, W. Salwey, Col.
Fielden, J. Thornely, T.
Harvey, D. W. Turner, W.
Hector, C. J. Wakley, T.
Law, hon. C. E. Walker, R.
Warburton, H. TELLERS.
Williams, W. A. Hume, J.
Wood, T. O'Brien, W. S.

Clause agreed to.

On clause 27, which imposes a penalty of 10l. or imprisonment of one month, for obstructing or resisting the police,

Mr. William Williams

said, that this clause gave powers which he would not confer on the magistrates. It provided that every person who assaulted or resisted the police constables in the execution and discharge of their duty should be liable to a penalty of 10l., or subject to a month's imprisonment; but for his own part he thought the police constables were already sufficiently protected. He could not forget what had been the conduct of the force sent down to Birmingham the other clay. The disturbances were created by them and not by the people, for the people had no intimation of the existence of such a force in the town until they were set upon and attacked by their staves. It was under such circumstances that the people resisted. Now, under this bill, a person raising his arm merely to defend himself from a blow would be liable to imprisonment; and could it be supposed that the magistrates at Birmingham under the present circumstances of excitement, would not convict in such a case? His objection, however, rested principally on the abuse which might arise out of the clause, and from his feeling apprehensive that the police force might frequently be called on to act at a distance. He should, therefore, move the rejection of the clause.

Lord John Russell

said, that as the whole of the clauses except the money clauses had been already discussed, he must object to their arguing them over again.

Clause agreed to.

On Clause 29,

Mr. Wakley

said, that as the object of this clause was to raise the salaries of the commissioners of the police from 800l. a-year, to 1,200l., he must object to it, and take the sense of the house upon it, even if he were to stand alone. If in the first instance, when they had difficulties to contend with, 800l. was deemed a sufficient salary to be paid to those functionaries, surely now when they had got into smooth water—when they had surmounted all the difficulties arising from the introduction of a new measure—there could be no good ground in point of reason of increasing their salaries one-third. H must, therefore, move the rejection of this clause.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that he certainly should vote against the motion of his hon. Friend, the Member for Finsbury, because he thought it a good principle that those who served the public well should be well paid. He thought that it could not be denied by any one, that the commissioners of police had done their duty admirably, and in a manner which exhibited not only good temper, but sound and wise discretion. He hoped, therefore, the House would adopt the clause.

Sir R. Peel

said, that he entirely approved of the proposal of her Majesty's Government, for increasing the salaries of the commissioners of police, and he thought it could be no reflection on the economy of the Government thus to reward meritorious public services. Indeed he considered this to be true economy. When he brought forward the measure establishing the new police, immediately after he had carried the Emancipation Bill, it encountered much opposition, but at the time he felt convinced that the value of such a force would be admitted in the course of three or four years. His anticipations in this respect had been fully realised; and although there might be a few parish officers who would like to have the matter in their own hands, sure he was, that the respectable part of the community had no wish to return to the old miserable system of parish constables. He was satisfied that if such a proposition were now made it would be deemed monstrous by the thinking part of the public; and he would only say, in addition, that no men could exercise the patronage which they possessed in a more fair and exemplary way than the commissioners had done, as far as his knowledge extended. At the time he brought forward the measure, he knew that the salaries he proposed were too low for duties which would press so heavily on the health and strength of those who had to discharge them; but he then stated that, as it was a mere experiment, he should leave it to a future Government, whether he were connected with it or not, to make the necessary increase which ought to be given. He believed that even a whisper on the subject had never come from either of the commissioners; but their for bear- ance was no reason why that House should not do them justice.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, that he was one of those who had objected to the introduction of the new police; but from the experience which they had had of that force the was bound to say, that he was entirely satisfied with it. He thought the proposition of the Government a reasonable one, and therefore it should have his support.

Lord J. Russell

was sure there could be but one opinion with respect to the manner in which the police commissioners had discharged their duty, which was most efficiently; and he could confirm what the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had stated, that no suggestion for an increase in their salaries had ever been made by either of them.

Colonel Sibthorp

agreed that the commissioners of police were inadequately paid. He thought they were fully entitled to 1,200l. a-year., and he should also like to see an increase of 50l. a-year made in the salaries of the superintendents and inspectors. The present pay of the constables was in his opinion too small, and for his own part he should be most willing to vote an additional shilling a week to them. It would be well to give to all departments of the police some little stimulus to encourage their good conduct.

Mr. Fox Maule

did not think, that comparing the pay of the police with the wages of other persons in an equal class at other employments, it was too low notwithstanding he valued their exertions very highly.

Mr. Pryme

was in favour of an augmentation of the salaries of the police generally. It was not fair to compare them with persons at other employments. Theirs was an office of trust, and it ought to be paid in such a way as would place them above temptation.

Mr. Williams

would support the amendment of the hon. Member for Finsbury. He considered the condition of the finances as well as the condition of the people, who paid taxes for the maintenance of those officers, was not such as to warrant an increase in the salaries of any person. Let the House look at the condition of the working classes. Many could not get employment, and those who did had to work fourteen or fifteen hours day for 8s. or 9s. a weeks and the House had managed pretty well to throw the taxes on those articles that were consumed by the working classes. He would oppose not only an increase in the salaries of the police commissioners, but in all salaries. There was no disposition towards economy on the part of the present Government. He had scarcely seen an instance of their proposing a reduction of salaries, but whenever the question of salaries was brought before the House by the Government, it was always accompanied with a recommendation to increase them. He thought it was time for the House to make a stand against all such propositions, and he hoped his hon. Friend would divide the House upon this question.

Mr. Wakley

thought it was the duty of the House to be just to the public before it was liberal to individuals. He was not surprised at the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) supporting an increase in the salaries of the commissioners, for he believed, that if the proposition had been to allow them 2,000l. a year, the right hon. Baronet would have supported it. He knew the House was ready to vote away the money on every occasion, except it was for the education of the people. His object was to show to the people what the character and conduct of the House on these subjects was, and he was satisfied, that the more the people saw the disposition and feeling of the House, the more general would become the cry throughout the kingdom for a thorough reform. It was impossible for them to make their property secure by paying the police well—they must have the confidence of the people, and if, at a time when the labouring people were hardly remunerated for their industry, the public money was voted away to increase the salaries of officers, it was scarcely possible to predict what would become of those great interests that ought to be held together for the maintenance of the integrity and power of the nation. The present proposal was a specimen of what the Government were prepared to do in the way of increasing public salaries. Since he had been in the House, he never recollected hearing a proposition made for decreasing the salaries of public officers, although on multitudinous occasions had propositions been made for increasing them. No proof was shown that the labours of the commissioners would be increased, But if the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had held out to those Gentlemen, when they first accepted their offices, that there would at a future period be an increase, or had made any engagement to that effect, then he would at once withdraw his motion. But if they accepted the office without any such engagement having been made, then he did think, considering the state of the finances of the country, this was not the time to make an increase in salaries.

Sir R. Peel

felt bound to say, that nothing of the sort had ever been held out to the commissioners by him.

Mr. Sanford

observed, that the present Government had proposed a reduction in the salaries of all the great officers of the State.

Mr. Hume

having been made a member of the Police Committee, would state that every Member in that committee had recommended an increase in the salaries of the commissioners. He concurred in that recommendation, and was prepared to support the vote. The present bill would greatly augment their duties, and the proposition now made, was only a fair remuneration.

Mr. Fielden

would support the hon. Member for Finsbury. The House would recollect, that an inquiry was instituted by the House on the motion of his late colleague (Mr. Cobbett) out of which the police did not come very clear, for it was fully established, that the man named Popay had been employed as a spy. The system adopted by the commissioners of sending spies throughout the country was only calculated to create anarchy and confusion. The police had been established for the purpose of coercing the people, and he trusted the hon. Member for Finsbury would persevere in dividing the House on the proposition now made.

Mr. Hawes

said, that not one shred of the case at first stated by the late Member for Oldham (Mr. Cobbett) was supported before the committee to which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had alluded. On the contrary, it had utterly failed. The report of that committee stated, that the conduct of the commissioners was highly honourable, and that the men deserved the approbation of the public.

The Committee divided on the clause:—Ayes 87; Noes 7: Majority 80.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Morris, D.
Acland, T. D. Muskett, G. A.
Aglionby, H. A. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Baring, F. T. O'Brien, W. S.
Barnard, E. G. O'Connell, J.
Bolling, W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Briscoe, J. I. Packe, C. W.
Broadley, H. Paget, F.
Brownrigg, S. Palmerston, Viscount
Bruges, W. H. L. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Bryan, G. Pattison, J.
Buller, C. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Burroughes, H. N. Pryme, G.
Campbell, Sir J. Rice, E. R.
Courtenay, P. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Crompton, Sir S. Roche, W.
Darby, G. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Divett, E. Rumbold, C. E.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Rundle, J.
Estcourt, T. Russell, Lord J.
Evans, W. Sandon, Viscount
Finch, F. Sanford, E. A.
Forester, hon. G. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Goddard, A. Sheil, R. L.
Gordon, R. Sibthorp, Colonel
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Smith, B.
Harvey, D. W. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Hawes, B. Stewart, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Stuart, Lord J.
Hodgson, R. Stock, Dr.
Hope, hon. C. Style, Sir C.
Hughes, W. B. Teignmouth, Lord
Hume, J. Turner, E.
Hutton, R. Waddington, H. S.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Ward, H. G.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E. White, A.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Williams, W. A.
Law, hon. C. E. Wodehouse, E.
Lushington, rt. hon. S. Wood, C.
Mackenzie, T. Wood, T.
Macleod, R. Yates, J. A.
Marsland, H. TELLERS.
Maule, hon. F. Troubridge, Sir T.
Melgund, Viscount Parker, J.
List of the NOES.
Brotherton, J. Hector, C. J.
Duncombe, T. Vigors, N. A.
Dungannon, Viscount TELLERS.
Fielden, J. Williams, W.
Hall, Sir B. Wakley, T.

On Clause 53,

Mr. T. Duncombe

said, it was extremely objectionable to the licensed victuallers, inasmuch as it prohibited publicans supplying persons with liquor under fourteen years of age.

Mr. F. Maule

said the proposed amendments had been assented to by the parties interested.

Mr. Harvey

had presented a petition from the chairman and committee of the licensed victuallers, in which they par- ticularly called the attention of the House to this clause, and spoke of it as subjecting the trade to vexatious proceedings by informers. What they suggested was, that the word "apparently" should be introduced, so that when a case came before a magistrate the question might be raised whether the party might not have been led into an error.

Mr. Aglionby

said, if the word "apparently" was introduced, the word "knowingly" must be struck out.

Mr. T. Duncombe

said, that he had the honour of dining the other day with 3,000 licensed victuallers—who, one and all, requested him to endeavour to get the present clause expunged. Why not go to twenty-one at once, instead of drawing the line of culpability between the ages fourteen and sixteen.

Mr. Law

hoped that all dubious words would be left out of this clause, otherwise the most indecorous scenes would take place at police-offices, on the question arising whether a girl were fourteen or sixteen years old; police constables would be controverting each other's opinions as to what age the girls' appearance suggested.

Mr. Wakley

said, the only way to be certain on such a point was not to employ uninitiated persons. The magistrates must employ doctors.

Mr. Duncombe moved, that the clause be expunged.

The Committee divided on the question, that the clause stand part of the bill:—Ayes 29; Noes 20: Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Maule, hon. F.
Baring, F. T. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Barnard, E. G. O'Connell, J.
Briscoe, J. I. Plumptre, J. P.
Broadley, H. Pryme, G.
Brotherton, J. Rice, E. R.
Buller, C. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Butler, hon. Col. Rundle, J.
Evans, W. Stewart, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Teignmouth, Lord
Harvey, D. W. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hawes, B. Turner, E.
Hoskins, K. Williams, W. A.
Howick, Viscount TELLERS.
Hughes, W. B. Grey, Sir G.
Hutton, R. Wood, C.
List of the NOES.
Bagge, W. Estcourt, T.
Clay, W. Fenton, J.
Darby, G. Finch, F.
Hall, Sir B. Smith, B.
Hobhouse, T. B. Stock, Dr.
Hume, J. Vigors, N. A.
Humphery, J. Wood, T.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E. Yates, J. A.
Law, hon. C. E.
Marsland, H. TELLERS
Pattison, J. Duncombe, T.
Sibthorp, Colonel Wakley, T.
Mr. Fox Maule

, on clause 54, which regulates the assembling of certain persons in public-houses, said it would be a great improvement. It was copied from the Liverpool Police Act.

Mr. Estcourt

thought the clause not necessary.

Mr. Hawes

thought the risk of losing their licences would keep the publicans under restriction enough.

Mr. Law

said, that there was not an infringement upon the liberty of the subject which might not be extracted from some local act.

The Committee divided on the Clause:—Ayes 23; Noes 34:—Majority 11.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Bagge, W. Plumptre, J. P.
Baring, F. T. Rice, E. R.
Barnard, E. G. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Briscoe, J. I. Stewart, J.
Brotherton, J. Teignmouth, Lord
Craig, W. G. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Evans, W. Turner, E.
Ewart, W. Wood, C.
Grey, right hon. Sir G. Yates, J. A.
Howick, Lord Visct. TELLERS.
Hutton, R. Maule, hon. F.
Macleod, R. Pryme, G.
List of the NOES.
Broadley, H. Marsland, H.
Buller, C. Morris, D.
Butler, hon. Colonel Norreys, Sir D.J.
Clay, W. O'Connell, J.
Darby, G. Pattison, J.
Duncombe, T. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Estcourt, T. Rundle, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Sibthorp, Colonel
Finch, F. Smith, B.
Hall, Sir B. Stock, Dr.
Harvey, D. W. Vigors, N. A.
Hector, C. J. Wakley, T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Wilkins, W.
Hoskins, K. Williams, W. A.
Hughes, W. B. Wood, T.
Humphery, J.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E. TELLERS.
Law, hon. C. E. Hawes, B.
Lushington, rt. hon. S. Hume, J.

Clause rejected.

On Clause 59,

Mr. Hume

observed, that he thought, in the clause prohibiting "unlawful" games, there should be some definition of what were "unlawful" games. Was cribbage unlawful?

Mr. Wakley

asked why, poor boys should be liable, for betting or gaming, with a tossing of halfpence, &c. in the streets, to a penalty of five shillings. The police might, in fact, under this bill, seize persons betting at Tattersall's, or on a race course.

Mr. F. Maule

would inquire, whether the hon. Member were not aware, how prejudicial bad habits proved, and that boys who began with tossing halfpence on a tomb-stone, generally ended badly?

The Solicitor-General

said, these acts were now unlawful.

Mr. Clay

doubted, whether the House were not becoming rather pharisaical in legislation, and whether it was not straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, to subject a poor man to a penalty of five shillings for tossing up, after a hard day's work, who shall pay for a pint of beer. He could not agree to the clause, unless it were limited to gaming with any instrument or table, &c.

The Solicitor-General

said, the clause would then be useless, for it would only be the law as it now stood.

Colonel Wood

said, it would be ridiculous, that a boy "tossing up" inside a house should do it with impunity, while a boy tossing up outside a house should be liable to a penalty of five shillings.

Mr. C. Buller

objected to giving the police so vague a power, to interfere with a practice generally, in the custom of the country, considered harmless. Take, for instance, the case of betting on a division—I meet a Tory in St. James's-street—he says, "We shall have a majority on the Education question;" "I'll bet you so-and-so you'll not." Why, a police officer might carry us both to the magistrates. Or, suppose betting in this House—it is a public house—and there is scarcely a great division in which I don't pick up a shilling or two in an honest bet; yet under the words "or betting," this would be unlawful.

Mr. Fox Maule

would have no objection to leave out the words "or betting."

Mr. Hume

thought, if it were considered advisable to remedy the vices of the age, it should be made the subject of a general bill; but he objected to making that a crime in one place which was not so in another.

Mr. Wakley

would suggest the propriety of expunging the clause altogether, as there was no difference in principle between that and the present law. He had seen the metropolitan police on Epsom Downs, where gaming tables were in active operation, and the police did not interfere.

Mr. Fox Maule

They had no power.

Mr. Law

thought it desirable, if the Vagrant Act were defective, that it should be amended; but he did not see why a measure of such a stringent nature should be introduced, applicable solely to the metropolitan districts.

Mr. E. Turner

understood it was proposed by this clause, to make it illegal to toss pence; he wished to know, if it would be illegal to play quoits?

Mr. G. Wood

said, playing at quoits was a game of skill, but chuck-farthing was a game of hazard.

Mr. Hume

said, that it really was a clause intended to put down chuck-farthing, and it ought to be so stated. Was it tit that the House should spend three hours in legislating about chuck-farthing.

Mr. C. Buller

could not judge whether the intention of the clause was to put down obstructions to the public thoroughfare, or to put down gambling. What was the meaning of the Solicitor-General's argument? At Harrow-on-the-Green, by the road-side, the rustics were in the habit of playing quoits—now if they betted a pot of porter on the game it would be against the law according to the Solicitor-General's opinion. Although his hon. Friend, on his suggesting that the words on betting would effect genteel people, had very properly consented to withdraw them—yet he agreed with the Learned Recorder of London that the clause should be expunged.

Mr. Clay moved the omission of the clause.

The Committee divided on the question that the Clause stand part of the Bill. Ayes 27; Noes 36:—Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Bagge, W. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Barnard, E.G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Crompton, Sir S. Hawes, B.
Darby, G. Howick, Viscount
Donkin, Sir R. S. Hughes, W. B.
Estcourt, T. Hutton, R.
Evans, W. Macleod, R.
Maunsell, T. P. Sanford, E. A.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Teignmouth, Lord
Pigot, D. R. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Plumptre, J. P. White, A.
Rice, E. R. Wood, G. W.
Rice, rt. hon. T. S. TELLERS.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Maule, F.
Round, C. G. Pryme, G.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Marsland, H.
Broadley, H. Morris, D.
Brotherton, J. Muskett, G. A.
Bruges, W. H. L. O'Connell, J.
Buller, C. Pattison, J.
Clay, W. Pechell, Captain
Courtenay, P. Rundle, J.
Duncombe, T. Rushbrook, Colonel
Ellis, W. Smith, B,
Ewart, W. Stock, Dr.
Fielden, J. Thornely, T.
Finch, F. Turner, E.
Hall, Sir B. Vigors, N. A.
Harvey, D. W. Wilbraham, G.
Hector, C. J. Wood, T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Yates, J. A.
Hoskins, K.
Humphery, J. Sibthorp, Colonel
Law, hon. C. E. Wakley, T.

Clause rejected.

On clause 66 prohibiting nuisances.

Colonel Wood

proposed the insertion of the words "within the weekly Bills of Mortality, or in the streets of any town." His object was to confine the operation of the clause to the town, and prevent it extending to the rural districts.

Mr. F. Maule

objected to the insertion of the words.

Colonel Wood

reminded the hon. Member that he had given a pledge when the Bill was last before the House that he would devise means to prevent the clause extending to the rural districts.

Mr. F. Maule

said, the hon. and gallant Member was mistaken. His promise referred to the 68th. and not to the 66th clause. He wished to explain to the Committee that the clause contained 19 sections, every one of which was at present the law of the land; but his object was to bring them all together, so that it could be ascertained at once what was the police law, instead of being obliged to refer to various Acts of Parliament.

Mr. Alderman Humphery

objected to Colonel Wood's amendment, as by confining the operation of the clause to the Bills of Mortality it would exclude Greenwich, Woolwich, Bromley, and other large places.

The Committee divided on the amendment. Ayes 19; Noes 80:—Majority 61.

List of the AYES.
Attwood, W. Hume, J.
Bagge, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Broadley, H. Jackson, Mr. Sergeant
Bruges, W. H. L. Jervis, J.
Chute, W. L. W. Law, hon. C. E.
Cole, Viscount Mackenzie, T.
Darby, G. Polhill, F.
Eaton, R. J. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Freshfield, J. W. TELLERS.
Hector, C. J. Wood, T.
Hodgson, R. Sibthorp, Colonel
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. O'Connell, J.
Alston, R. O'Connell, M. J.
Attwood, T. O'Connell, M.
Baring, F. T. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Barnard, E.G. Parker, J.
Beamish, F. B. Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Briscoe, J. I. Pattison, J.
Browne, R. D. Pigot, D. R.
Campbell, Sir J. Plumptre, J. P.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Pryme, G.
Clay, W. Redington, T. N.
Craig, W. G. Rice, E. R.
Crompton, Sir S. Roche, W.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Duncombe, T. Round, C. G.
Elliot, hn. J. E. Russell, Lord J.
Ellis, W. Sanford, E. A.
Estcourt, T. Scholefield, J.
Evans, W. Smith, R. V.
Fielden, J. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Spencer, hon. F.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Hall, Sir B. Stock, Dr.
Harvey, D. W. Teignmouth, Lord
Hawes, B. Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Hawkins, J. H. Thornely, T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hope, hon. C. Turner, W.
Hughes, W. B. Vigors, N. A.
Hutt, W. Waddington, H. S.
Hutton, R. Wakley, T.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Walker, R.
Lushington, C. White, A.
Lushington, rt. hn. S. Williams, W.
Macleod, R. Wood, C.
Marsland, H. Wood, G. W.
Martin, T. B. Yates, J. A.
Maule, hon. F. Young, J.
Morris, D.
Muskett, G. A. TELLERS.
O'Brien, W. S. Gordon, R.
O'Connell, D. Humphery, J.

Mr. J. Jervis moved the omission of the words "or feed or fodder."

The Committee again divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause. Ayes 62; Noes 32;—Majority 30.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. O'Connell, J.
Acland, T. D. O'Connell, M.
Baines, E. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Baring, F. T. Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Barnard, E. G. Pattison, J.
Brotherton, J. Pechell, Captain
Campbell, Sir J. Pigot, D. R.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Plumptre, J. P.
Clay, W. Pryme, G.
Courtenay, P. Redington, T. N.
Craig, W. G. Rice, E. R.
Crompton, Sir S. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Curry, Mr. Serg. Roche, W.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Evans, W. Russell, Lord J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A.
Filmer, Sir E. Sandon, Viscount
Gordon, R. Spencer, hon. F.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stewart, J.
Henniker, Lord Stock, Dr.
Hobhouse, T. B. Style, Sir C.
Hope, hon. C. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Hotham, Lord Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Hughes, W. B. Thornely, T.
Hutt, W. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Wakley, T.
Lushington, C. Wood, C.
Lushington, rt. hon. S. Young, J.
Morpeth, Viscount
Morris, D. TELLERS.
Muskett, G. A. Maule, F.
O'Connell, D. Hawes, B.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Marsland, H.
Archdall, M. O'Brien, W. S.
Attwood, W. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Attwood, T. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Beamish, F. B. Scholefield, J.
Broadley, H. Sibthorp, Colonel
Bruges, W. H. L. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Chute, W. L. W. Teignmonth, Lord
Cole, Viscount Turner, W.
Duncornbe, T. Vigors, N. A.
Ellis, W. Waddington, H. S.
Gaskell, J. M. Williams, W.
Hall, Sir B. Wood, G. W.
Hector, C. J. Wood, T.
Hodgson, R.
Jackson, Mr. Sergeant TELLERS.
Law, hon. C. E. Hume, J.
Mackenzie, T. Jervis, J.

Amendment rejected.

On clause 67. That every person who shall be found drunk in any street or public thoroughfare, and who, while drunk, shall be guilty of any riotous or indecent behaviour, may be commited, if the magistrate before whom he shall be convicted shall think fit, instead of inflicting on him any pecuniary penalty, to the House of Correction, for any time not more than seven days.

Mr. T. Duncombe

thought, that the latter provision or punishment should be made a separate clause. As the law stood, the punishment of the vice of drunkenness was most disproportionate between the poorer and richer classes. A fine was inflicted which fell very heavy on the former, but was hardly felt by the latter. If the fine of five shillings was imposed on the poor man for this offence, the rich man should be fined 5l. under the same circumstances. This bill, also, only made provision for a distance of fifteen miles round the metropolis; therefore what would be an offence at Hounslow would not be so at Windsor. If these provisions were good in this change of the law they should be made general, and he objected to such partial legislation. Would the punishment proposed in this bill ever be inflicted on the richer classes? He doubted it very much; and even in the city, if it should happen that Alderman A was brought before Alderman B for being drunk and guilty of riotous conduct in a public place, would he send him to prison. Most assuredly not, although he would not for a moment hesitate to send his workmen there. He should feel it to be his duty to propose, as art amendment to the clause, that the following words be added, And be it further provided, for the sake of good example, and for the prevention of the vice of drunkenness, that any person moving in what are called the higher grades or walks of society found drunk in any street or public place shall, if it shall seem expedient to the magistrate before whom the complaint is made, be committed, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding seven days to the House of Correction, instead of inflicting any pecuniary fine.

Mr. F. Maule

did not wish to draw any distinction between the vice of drunkenness in the higher or lower classes. Under these circumstances, he had proposed that in lieu of a fine, a magistrate might send an offender to prison when guilty of riotous and indecent conduct while drunk, instead of inflicting a pecuniary penalty. He did not think that it would be very dangerous to ask the House to consent to this principle.

The Amendment negatived.

Mr. Darby

objected to the clause, because he thought it was improper to have "drunkenness" mixed up in the same clause with "indecent behaviour," which was a much more serious offence. As the clause stood, both were to be visited with the same penalty, which he thought was highly improper, and, in his opinion, there ought to be a separate clause for the indecent exposure of the person.

Mr. F. Maule

said, that the two offences had been placed in the same clause at the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool. He, however, saw no objection to the separation proposed by the hon. Member, and he should therefore omit that part of the clause which related to the crime of exposing the person, and introduce a distinct clause upon the subject. It should, however, be recollected that this was an indictable offence, and there was no intention to interfere with that mode of proceeding.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

said, that he felt it to be his duty to oppose the clause. It would render the law with regard to drunkenness different in the metropolis and the other parts of the country. He thought such a course anything but expedient, and for that reason he must move the rejection of the clause.

The Committee divided on the clause.—Ayes 57; Noes 10:—Majority 47.

Acland, T. D. Marsland, H.
Aglionby, H. A. Melgund, Viscount
Baring, F. T. Morpeth, Viscount
Barnard, E. G. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Beamish, F. B. O'Brien, W. S.
Briscoe, J. I. O'Connell, D.
Broadley, H. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Brotherton, J. Pechell, Captain
Bruges, W. H. L. Pigot, D. R.
Clay, W. Plumptre, J. P.
Cole, Viscount Rice, E. R.
Craig, W. G. Rice, rt. hn. T. S.
Crompton, Sir S. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Eliot, hon. J. E. Rushbrook, Colonel
Estcourt, T. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Evans, W. Sheppard, T.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Filmer, Sir E. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Gordon, R. Stock, Dr.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Style, Sir C.
Hawes, B. Teignmouth, Lord
Hobhouse, T. B. Tennent, J. E.
Hotham, Lord Vigors, N. A.
Howard, Sir R. Waddington, H. S.
Hughes, W. B. Wakley, T.
Hume, J. Warburton, H.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Wood, G.W.
Jervis, J. TELLERS.
Law, hon. C. Manic, F
Macleod, R. Lord Advocate
List of the NOES.
Darby, G. Hector, C. J.
Hall, Sir B. Hodgson, R.
Hastie, A. Pattison, J.
Salwey, Col.
Scholefield, J. TELLERS.
Williams, W. Thompson, Alderman
Wood, T. Duncombe, T.

Clause to stand part of the bill. House resumed, Bill to be reported.