§ On the motion that the Orders of the Day be read,
§ Sir R. Peel
said, that he would take that opportunity of intimating to the House, as far as he was able, the course which the Government would pursue with respect to certain bills which stood on the notice book of the House. If hon. Gentlemen would refer to the Orders which stood for that day, they would find that there were twenty-four Orders of the Day: and although the number was very great, yet, with respect to several, he had no doubt the bills would proceed with little difference of opinion. That class of bills was rather at the end of the list. With respect to all the bills after No. 11, the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill, he did not think that the thirteen bills would create any material difference of opinion, or cause obstruction. He had now to state which were the bills with which the Government were most desirous of making progress; and with respect to the others, their progress must depend upon the advance of those deemed of the greatest importance. The bills which the Government considered of the most importance were the Arms (Ireland) Bill, the Scottish Church Bill, the Irish Poor-law Bill, and the Export of Machinery Bill. He was very desirous of being able to pass those bills. Of course it was difficult for him to be aware what the progress of those bills would be, but he thought it probable that they would occupy so much of the 1282 time of the House that it would be difficult to expect full attention in that and the other House of Parliament to the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill. Her Majesty's Government were perfectly prepared, if there had been time to proceed with that bill, but they could not think that at this late period of the Session the bill would receive the full consideration of the House of Lords, even if it should pass that House. Then, with respect to the Factory Bill; he had received a communication from parties opposed to the bill stating a strong wish either that the bill should be carried forward without delay, or that it should be postponed to another Session. Now, he could not undertake to bring forward that measure at an early day, and, therefore, with respect to the Ecclesiastical Courts' Bill and the Factory Bill, he was prepared to say, they should be postponed to a future Session. With respect to the County Courts Bill, her Majesty's Government were very unwilling to abandon the hope that they would be able to pass it through the House. He believed that there was throughout the country a strong desire that a measure for facilitating the collection of small debts and for the amendment of the administration of local justice should pass. Although the progress of the County Courts Bill would depend upon other bills, still he should be sorry to announce the intention of the Government then to abandon it. On that bill he believed depended two other bills, the Small Debts Bill and the Superior Courts Common Law Bill, two hills brought in by hon. and learned Gentlemen on the other side of the House, and their progress would be decided by the ultimate decision of the Government and of the House with respect to the County Courts Bill. With respect to the Designs Copyright Bill, he believed there would be no material difference of opinion on either side of the House. The Law Courts (Ireland) Bill might provoke some discussion, if that should be the case, he should be inclined to postpone the further consideration of the measure. It was founded on a report, and would save considerable money, and would also prevent the substitution of young lives for old in offices of considerable emolument. He believed he had made the course of her Majesty's Government sufficiently intelligible. They proposed to give precedence to the Irish 1283 Arms Bill, to the Scottish Church Bill, to the Irish Poor-law Bill, and the Exportation of Machinery Bill. He had also to announce on their part, that they intended to postpone for the present Session the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill, and the Factories Bill, and he believed he might add the Law Courts (Ireland) Bill; and with respect to the County Courts Bill, he should postpone till some future day the announcement of her Majesty's Government in respect to that measure, which was one they were very unwilling to abandon.
§ Lord Ashley
hoped the House would not consider him either captious or querulous when he announced his deep regret that the Government had postponed the Factories Bill for the present Session. After having devoted a period of ten years to the subject, it was natural that he should feel in it much interest. But since it was necessary for the purposes of the Government that other measures should be taken before that, and as the bill would in that case be discussed in the middle of August, in a House of forty or fifty Members, he did not think, that that consideration could be given to the subject this Session which its importance demanded. He should, however, take that opportunity of expressing a hope that the bill would be brought forward at an early period—he trusted he might add, at a very early period—in the next Session.
§ Mr. Brotherton
begged to suggest to the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) that, considering the approach of the termination of the Session, it would be exceedingly convenient, that those measures to which no opposition was intended to be offered should be forwarded in their respective stages in the course of the half hour preceding the commencement of public business, namely, from half-past four to five o'clock.
§ Lord John Russell
begged to support the suggestion of the hon. Member for Salford, so far as those measures were concerned, which had reached the third reading. He did not desire, that this course should be adopted this evening, because there had been no notice of the proposition; but he thought, that the suggestion was worthy of consideration.