HC Deb 07 March 1843 vol 67 cc353-4
Mr Mackinnon

seeing the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department in his place, begged leave to put a question to him, of which he gave notice yesterday. He begged to observe that the question put him in some difficulty, as chairman of a bench of magistrates. While acting in his district, It might happen, as it had often happened— supposing a man should be brought before him. He merely wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it was his intention or not to bring in a bill to alter and amend the law now existing in reference to capital offences committed by parties only occasionally subject to delusions of the mind. He wished to know whether a more stringent law would be bronght forward, so as to prevent individuals from taking advantage of the delusions of former times in pleading to crimes which they had committed.

Sir J. Graham

said, that he was sure the House would feel that it was of the utmost consequence, that caution and deliberation should be used in dealing with the subject to which his hon. Friend had alluded. It was impossible that the attention of Government, as well as that of the public at large, should not have been directed to this matter. But he was sure the House would feel, that it would be highly inexpedient upon his part to pledge the Government to the introduction of any measure for altering the present state of the law upon a subject of such paramount importance—a subject requiring caution at all times; but which he was convinced the House would admit called, at this particular juncture for the most calm deliberation; and when it was particularly necessary that nothing should be decided from the feelings of rhe moment,or in haste.