HC Deb 31 July 1840 vol 55 cc1184-5

On the Order of the Day for the Committee of the Infant Felons' Bill,

Lord Granville Somerset

said, the House did not seem to have sufficiently attended to the principle of this bill. The object of it was to give the Lord Chancellor a power of transferring children who may have committed felony to the care of any benevolent persons who might undertake thereafter to educate and provide for them. No doubt such a measure had arisen from a benevolent feeling, but he called on the House to pause before they sanctioned such an interference with the rights of parents. He had many objections to the details of the bill, but he would then content himself by moving that it be committed that day three months.

Lord John Russell

said that this bill had come down to them with the sanction of the Lord Chancellor and the other House of Parliament. The object of the bill was to remove children from the influence of vicious parents. Hitherto the law had been directly opposed to the benevolent views of those individuals and societies who had exerted themselves to save children from further perversion, and the object of this bill was to place a discretionary power in the Lord Chancellor for the purpose of facilitating their efforts. If the House went into committee, he would be prepared to strike out that part of the bill which gave it an ex post facto effect as regarded offenders already convicted.

Mr. Wakley

objected to the bill as throwing additional duty on the Lord Chancellor, when he was too much burthened already. He also objected to the bill, as an arbitrary interference with the rights of parents, and as affording a ground for stigmatising parents with the faults of their children.

Amendment withdrawn. House in Committee.

On the first Clause,

Mr. Briscoe moved an amendment that fourteen years be substituted for twenty-one.

Mr. Wakley

was opposed to the bill altogether, as giving too much power to the Lord Chancellor, who might transport a child beyond seas, or imprison him for an indefinite period.

Mr. Aglionby

said the hon. Member for Finsbury had an entire misconception as to the effect of the bill.

Mr. Ewart

thought it advisable to postpone the bill till next Session.

The Committee divided on the question that twenty-one stand part of the clause: —Ayes 37; Noes 4—Majority 33.

Mr. Briscoe

then moved that no infant under this bill be sent out of the United Kingdom.

The Committee divided on the question that those words be inserted:—Ayes 7; Noes 33—Majority 26.

List of the AYES.
Blackstone, W. S. Somerset, Lord G.*
Ewart, W.* Turner, E.
Finch, F. TELLERS.
Grey, rt. hn. Sir C.* Briscoe, J. I.
Polhill, F. Wakley, T.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Philips, M.
Ashley, Lord Russell, Lord J.
Baines, E. Salwey, Colonel
Baldwin, C. B. Scholefield, J.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Smith, B.
Barnard, E. G. Somers, J. P.
Brotherton, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Clay, W, Thornely, T.
Estcourt, T. Tufnell, H.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Vigors, N. A.
Hindley, C. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Hobhouse, T. B. Wall, C. B.
Hoskins, K. Warburton, H.
Morris, D. Wood, G. W.
Muntz, G. F. Wyse, T.
Muskett, G. A. TELLERS.
Nicholl, J. Maule, hon. F.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stanley, hon. E. J.

Bill went through the Committee and was reported.

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