HC Deb 21 June 1844 vol 75 cc1239-41

The Order of the Day for the third reading of the County Coroners Bill having been moved,

Mr. Hume

objected to the 21st Clause which proposed an increase of the charge of mileage from 9d. to 1s., and moved the omission of the words. He thought the Coroners sufficiently paid already, for he found that when there was a vacancy, candidates for that office would spend as much money in the election as if they were putting up for a seat in that House.

Mr. P. Howard

observed, that the sense of the House had frequently been expressed in favour of an increase of remuneration for mileage, and hoped that the Bill would not be rejected because of this Clause.

Mr. Escott

reminded the House, that it had last Session agreed to 1s. 6d. a mile but the Bill was thrown out of the other House by a casting vote.

Mr. Wakley

said, the appointment of deputies was a matter of necessity, and not of choice; the Act of Parliament making it imperative. But did the House provide for the payment of those deputies? No such thing. He did not wonder at the horror some hon. Members expressed at the office of Coroner; it was a very com- mon feeling, and he often found persons who entertained it afterwards in a condition which rendered them unable to urge their complaints. Such feelings were rather admonitory; and he warned hon. Members against indulging in them. The hon. Member for Montrose was always talking about economy, and therefore he was always trying to diminish sums; but that was not economy. The mileage was fixed at 9d. in the reign of George II., and was paid out and home, making 1s. 6d. per mile up to the year 1828, when some magistrates of Oxford resisted it, and the litigation ended in a decision that only 9d. should be paid. But Sir J. Sheppard, then Attorney General, gave his opinion in favour of the 9d. being paid both out and home. After all, it was not so great an addition as might be supposed. If a Coroner were to travel 4,000 miles a-year it would amount to but 501. The addition in Middlesex would not be more, perhaps, than 8l. But it was not in that county that the increased allowance was wanted; but in large counties, where the population was widely scattered, and where often the expenses exceeded the receipts for mileage. In his own case, the cost for turnpikes had frequently exceeded his mileage. Besides that, a Coroner was not allowed anything for parchments and stationery, or for offices, or for clerks. The 18th Clause provided, and very properly, that Coroners who were lawyers should not act either for the prosecution or defence in any case of murder or manslaughter which had come under their jurisdiction. But that was an additional reason why they should be liberally remunerated. The Coroner was elected by the people, and not by the Crown; and therefore he was not so well paid as officers of the Crown; and it was invariably found that, because he was a popular officer, a prejudice prevailed against him, among the magistracy, in Courts of Law, and in that House; and every opportunity seemed to be taken of throwing scandal upon the office, and to make the officer a dependent person.

Mr. Evans

thought it difficult for that House to decide what was a proper remuneration for Coroners; but, judging from the competition for the office in all cases, he should think it sufficiently paid. He should, therefore, vote with the hon. Member for Montrose.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 41; Noes 23: Majority 18.

List of the AYES.
Baring, hon. W. B. Heathcote, Sir W.
Bellew, R. M. Hodgson, R.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Hogg, J. W.
Blackburne, J. I. Howard, P. H.
Boldero, H. G. Jermyn, Earl
Borthwick, P. Marshall, Visct.
Bowes, J. Masterman, J.
Bramston, T. W. Morris, D.
Clerk, Sir G. Newry, Visct.
Denison, E. B. Pennant, hon. Col.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Plumptre, J. P.
Easthope, Sir J. Rashleigh, W.
Eliot, Lord Rushbrooke, Col.
Escott, B. Shiel, rt. hon. R. L.
Flower, Sir J. Smith, rt. hon. T. B. C.
Fuller, A. E. Stanley, Lord
Gaskell, J. Milnes Sutton, hon. H. M.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Worsley, Lord
Gladstone, Capt. Young, J.
Gordon, hon. Capt. TELLERS.
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Darby, G.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Sandon, Visct.
List of the NOES.
Archbold, R. Hawes, B.
Barclay, D. Henley, J. W.
Harrington, Visct. Irton, S.
Brotherton, J. Johnson, Gen.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Mackenzie, W. F.
Collins, W. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Copeland, Ald. Redington, T. N.
Cripps, W. Talbot, C. R. M.
Davies, D. A. S. Watson, W. H.
Denison, W. J. Wawn, J. T.
Dickinson, F. H. TELLERS.
Evans, W. Hume, J.
Greene, T. Stanley, W. O.

Bill passed.

House adjourned at half-past twelve.