HC Deb 01 August 1844 vol 76 cc1653-5

On the Question that the Speaker do leave the Chair for the purpose of House going into Committee on the Marriages Ireland Bill,

Colonel Rarvdon

complained of the late period of the Session at which this Bill was brought in, and said, that no gratitude was due to the Government for the manner of its introduction. At the same time, on the part of the Presbyterians of Ireland, he expressed his approbation of the Bill, which would remedy an existing defect in the law.

Sir J. Graham

admitted and regretted the delay which intervened between the first introduction of the measure elsewhere and its being brought into that House; but that delay was unavoidable in consequence of the communications which it was necessary to hold with the Presbyterians of the north of Ireland. As to the Government not having the gratitude of the Presbyterians for this Bill, he presumed that the same thing might be said of any Government with respect to any measure. Government did not want the gratitude of the Presbyterians or any other class of the community. It was its duty to attend to the reasonable wants and wishes of all classes of the community without reference to their gratitude, and in the present Bill every thing had been done which could satisfy their wishes on this important subject.

Mr. Bouverie

thought the Bill rather late, but still he considered it important, and likely to be beneficial. He should like to see it connected with some general system of registration in Ireland.

Lord J. Russell

thought, that full time should be given to the House of Commons to consider with due attention the enactments of such an important measure, and he did not see why the Bill should not have been introduced at a much earlier period of the Session, nor why the House should at length be driven to the alternative of either rejecting important and useful measures, in which class he would admit this Bill must be included, or of passing them without having time to deliberate on their details. This remark would apply also to other important measures which had come before the House towards the close of its Sessional labours. Such a practice, if continued, would tend to render one branch of the Legislature, a mere register of the edicts of the other. In fact, it would be tantamount to allowing the Ministers of the Crown to embody their wishes on particular questions in Bills to which the House of Commons would be compelled to give its formal sanction.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was surprised at the observations of the noble Lord, and the more so as coming from one who had conducted the public business in that House. Did the noble Lord mean to say, that when measures went up from that House to the Lords at a late period of the Se ion, the latter were merely registering the edicts of the House of Commons? Or, would he say the same thing with respect to measures coming late into the House of Commons from the Lords? There were many and important measures sent late up to the House of Lords, such, for instance, as the Poor Law Amendment Bill. Would the noble Lord apply his principle to that Bill, either that it must be abandoned or passed without due consideration? He would admit that the present Bill had come late into that House, in consequence of the long time occupied in its full consideration in the other House; but would the noble Lord, at the end of a Session, cavil at an important measure because it happened to be brought in unavoidably late?

Lord J. Russell

explained, that he had said by the practice of allowing the early part of the Session to pass away without the introduction of important measures, the Parliament was, at the end of the Session, driven to the alternative of either rejecting useful measures or of passing them without due consideration. To that opinion he still adhered.

Bill passed through a Committee: to be reported.