HC Deb 10 March 1845 vol 78 cc620-8
Mr. Bright

moved to nominate the Select Committee on the Game Laws; Mr. Bright, Mr. Burroughes, Lord George Bentinck, Mr. Milner Gibson, Mr. Bouverie, Mr. Cripps, Viscount Clive, Mr. William Mackenzie, Mr. Villiers, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Etwall, Mr. Grantley Berkeley, Mr. Manners Sutton, Mr. George Cavendish, and Mr. Trelawny.

Mr. Craven Berkeley

said, he thought he had some reason to complain of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary with regard to the constitution of this Committee. It would be in the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman that during the discussion which ensued on the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Durham, for the appointment of the Committee, that he told the right hon. Secretary that, in common with a great number of Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House, he was perfectly willing to accede to the appointment of the Committee, provided it was constituted in a fair and impartial manner. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Durham assured him that the Committee should be so constituted. Under these circumstances, it was with considerable surprise that he (Mr. C. Berkeley) had seen on the Votes of that House a Committee named by the hon. Member for Durham, and assented to by the right hon. Gentleman, because he must say that a more unfair or partial Committee he could not conceive to be appointed by that House. It was perfectly true, that since he had first seen the list of the Committee, the names of three Gentlemen had been taken from the Committee, and the names of three others had been substituted. Of the opinions and sentiments of two of those Gentlemen who had been substituted he knew nothing; but he happened to know something of the opinions of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord George Bentinck), and he must say that he did not think he was a very proper and impartial person to serve on the Committee. He knew that the noble Lord had never acted as a county magistrate—he knew that he had never attended quarter or petty sessions; and the noble Lord knew little, and he believed, cared less, how the affairs of the country were conducted. It was perfectly true that the noble Lord had used his best efforts to put the laws of racing and of the turf upon a just and equitable footing. But the very fact of the noble Lord being fond of racing and of the turf was decisive evidence, as well as the cause, of the implacable hatred he entertained against that innocent little animal, of whose physiological character the hon. Member for Durham gave so graphic a description the other night. And in the noble Lord, as he (Mr. Craven Berkeley) believed he did, carried an equal dislike of game to every other description of it as he bore against the rabbit, he (Mr. Craven Berkeley) must say that he considered the noble Lord quite unfit and a most partial Member to be on this Committee. All he contended for was, that they should have a fair and impartial Committee, and one the Report of which should be looked up to not only by the House, but by the country. If they were to appoint a Committee, let it be fairly constituted, and not be made up of Gentlemen belonging to the Anti-Corn-Law League on the one hand, or of game preservers on the other, who could not make a satisfactory report to the country. The only way to appoint a satisfactory Committee on the subject was to appoint some Members who were known to be game preservers; others, who, like the hon. Member for Durham, were known to be opposed to all game; and then let some Gentlemen who were known for their impartiality, talent, and ability, constitute the remainder. The House could not be blind to the fact that there were six influential and active Anti-Corn-Law Members in this Committee. The whole tenor of the hon. Gentleman's speech, when moving for the Committee, was for setting tenant-farmers against the landlords. Therefore the House was called upon to be more particular and attentive in the appointing of this Committee than it would be under other circumstances. At the present moment he knew he was not in a situation to move that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton should be nominated as a member of the Committee; but he would move that the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) should be omitted, and the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Grogan) be substituted in his place. He did this because he observed that not any Member for Ireland was on the Committee, and because that hon. Gentleman was the Representative of the capital of Ireland—he was no game preserver, his talent and ability were undoubted, and he was a most impartial and fair judge of the subject.

Sir J. Graham

was sorry that the hon. Gentleman should conceive he had any reason to complain of his (Sir J. Graham's) conduct with regard to the formation of this Committee. He had stated both in public and private, that he thought it of great importance that this Committee should be impartially constituted, and he never lost sight of the assurance he so made to the House. He was bound to say that the hon. Member for Durham had met him on this occasion in a similar spirit. It was only common justice to that hon. Member to say, that he (Sir James Graham) had never been concerned in the nomination of a Committee in private, where he had been met by any Gentleman in a manner more unexceptionable than in the conduct of the hon. Member for Durham. He would shortly detail to the House what occurred on the subject. The hon. Gentleman moved for the Committee; the House assented to its nomination. It was not unusual on these occasions that the hon. Gentleman moving for a Committee should insist that the majority of the Committee should either sit on the same side of the House with himself, or at least that they should concur with him in his opinion with reference to the subject to be investigated. The course he (Sir James Graham) pursued was this; he stated to the hon. Member for Durham, that considering the consequences of this inquiry, he thought it was of importance that some person connected with the Government should be nominated on the Committee, more especially as his (Sir J. Graham's) avocations would not permit him to attend to it. He, therefore, expressed his wish that his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department should be placed on the Committee, with a view of his taking an active part in the investigation. To that wish the hon. Member for Durham assented. He (Sir J. Graham) then requested, in addition to his hon. Friend (the whole number of the Committee being fifteen) that six Gentleman silting on the Ministerial side of the House should also serve with his hon. Friend on the Committee. He (Sir James Graham) suggested six names; among those nominated were Lord Marsham, Member for the county of Kent, Mr. Hope Johnstone, the Member for Dumfries-shire, and Mr. Bramston, the Member for Essex. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Durham made no objection to these six Members; and in addition to these so sitting on the Ministerial side of the House, he (Sir James Graham) thought it was expedient that Mr. Grantley Berkeley, being most strongly opposed to the views of the hon. Member (Mr. Bright), should, although sitting on the same side of the House with that hon. Gentleman, serve on the Committee. He, therefore expressed his earnest wish that Mr. Grantley Berkeley should be included. There were, therefore, seven Gentleman sitting on the Ministerial side of the House, and Mr. Grantley Berkeley, also suggested by him (Sir James Graham). It happened, however, that Lord Marsham and Mr. Branston were unable to attend in consequence of illness, and Mr. Hope Johnstone was obliged to go to Scotland, and could not therefore serve. In consequence of this he (Sir James Graham) suggested three other names—those of Lord George Bentinck, Mr. Burroughs, and Mr. M'Kenzie. To these the hon. Member for Durham had no objection, and the list was accordingly formed, by agreement as it now stood. It would not become him (Sir J. Graham), in the presence of his noble Friend the Member for Lynn (Lord George Bentinck), to discuss his merits; but if it were true that his noble Friend was perfectly indifferent about these concerns, he (Sir J. Graham) should conceive that a more impartial person could hardly be selected. With regard to the opinion which had been expressed by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Craven Berkeley) regarding his noble Friend, he (Sir J. Graham must say that he entertained a very different opinion indeed of his noble Friend's qualifications, and he (Sir J. Graham) was satisfied that whatever view his noble Friend might take resulting from the evidence that might come before him, it would be a most impartial one, and one formed after the most strenuous effort to arrive at a sound conclusion. But it would be quite impossible for any Government to settle such matters of form with Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, if the understanding once come to was to be set aside. He was bound to say that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Durham had done everything in the spirit of candour and fairness; and he was bound to add, that he believed this Committee was a perfectly fair and impartial Committee, and that it would be able to conduct its inquiries most satisfactorily, and make a Report that would be entitled to public confidence. If the hon. Member for Durham, therefore, should think it his duty to resist the Motion now made by the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Craven Berkeley), he (Sir J. Graham) should hold himself in honour bound to support him in it.

Mr. Bright

said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Craven Berkeley) had made two statements which he was desirous of noticing; first, he said that there were six Members of the Anti-Corn Law League on the Committee. Now, he (Mr. Bright) had an accurate knowledge of those Gentlemen who were connected with that Association; and he found only four on the Committee who had ever been known in any way to have any thing to do with that Association; and there were only three who were supposed to be intimately connected with it. The hon. Gentleman, in the next place, had objected to the nomination of the noble Lord opposite (Lord George Bentinck), and his objection was founded on certain grounds, the validity of which his (Mr. Bright's) very little knowledge of the noble Lord did not qualify him to judge of; but it was curious enough that he found a Notice entered on the Books, dated March 3, in these words— On nominating the Committee upon the Game Laws, to move to leave out Mr. Bouverie, Mr. Trelawny, Viscount Masham, and Mr. George Cavendish, and insert Viscount Palmerston, Mr. Gregory, Lord George Bentinck, and Captain Rous. It was certainly very strange that the hon. Gentleman should have made so great a change in his opinion of the noble Lord between the 3rd of March and the 10th, In moving for this Committee he (Mr. Bright) had no wish whatever to prejudice the question, or to have a Committee that should come to any conclusion he might have formed. His object was to have a searching inquiry; and he did not feel at all uneasy at any evidence that might be brought before it. Many Members on the Committee were well-known sportsmen, and had been so many years. He knew many of them who were now interested in the preservation of game, men connected with landed property to a large extent. He did not think it was a Committee that gave a preponderance to his supposed views; therefore he must refuse to assent to the proposition of the hon. Member for Cheltenham. As the right hon. Baronet had stated, there had been no difference of opinion whatever between them as to the appointment of the Committee; and he felt bound in justice to say, that in all the Government had done they had acted in a proper spirit, and appeared to leave nothing wanting on their part to have the inquiry conducted in a proper and efficient manner.

Captain Berkeley

begged to state that he thought the hon. Member for Durham had a right to urge the adoption of this Motion. For his part, he felt bound to admit that he was perfectly content with the Committee as proposed, and he was sure they would conduct the investigation with propriety and effect.

Mr. Craven Berkeley

said, he objected to the appointment of the noble Lord on the Committee, because he considered him favourable to the views of the hon. Member for Durham. He felt bound to press the Question to a division.

The House divided on the Question that Mr. Bouverie be one of the Members of the Committee:—Ayes 100; Noes 13: Majority 87.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Fuller, A. E.
Gibson, T. M.
Baring, H. B. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Baring, T. Gouburn, rt. hon. H.
Baring, rt. hn. W. B. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Granby, Marquis of
Bentinck, Lord G. Greene, T.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Hamilton, W. J.
Blake, M. J. Hawes, B.
Bodkin, W. H. Henley, J. W.
Boldero, H. G. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Bowles, Admiral Hinde, J. H.
Bowring, Dr. Hindley, C.
Brotherton, J. Hughes, W. B.
Bruce, Lord E. Hussey, A.
Buckley, E. Hutt, W.
Campbell, Sir H. Irton, S.
Cardwell, E. Jermyn, Earl
Childers, J. W. Jocelyn, Visct.
Cholmondoley, hn. H. Langston, J. H.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Leader, J. T.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Legh, G. C.
Cripps, W. Lennox, Lord A.
Curteis, H. B. Lincoln, Earl of
Damer, hon. Col. Lockhart, W.
Darby, G. Lowther, Sir J. H.
Denison, E. B. Mackenzie, W. F.
Dickinson, F. H. McGeachy, F. A.
Douglas, J. D. S. McNeill, D.
Douro, Marquis of Martin, C. W.
Duncan, G. Mitcalf, H.
Escott, B. Morgan, O.
Fellowes, E. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Filmer, Sir E. O'Brien, A. S.
Fitzroy, hon. H. O'Connell, M. J.
Flower, Sir J. Paget, Lord A.
Forster, M. Palmer, R.
Pechell, Capt. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Tennent, J. E.
Peel, J. Thesiger, Sir F.
Plumptre, J. P. Thornely, T.
Polhill, F. Trelawny, J. S.
Pringle, A. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Repton, G. W. J. Trotter J.
Richards, R. Villiers, hon. C.
Rushbrooke, Col. Warburton, H.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Wawn, J. T.
Smith, rt. hon. T. B. C. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Sotheron, T. H. S. TELLERS.
Spooner, R. Young, J.
Stanton, W. H. Bright, J.
List of the NOES.
Antrobus, E. Grimston, Visct.
Archdall, Capt. M. Grogan, E.
Beresford, Major Joliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Codrington, Sir W. Martin, J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Duncannon, Visct. Berkeley, C.
Goring, C. Colborne, R.

On the Motion that the hon. George Cavendish be one of the Committee.

Mr. Craven Berkeley

moved as an Amendment that the name of Lord Viscount Palmerston be substituted for that of Mr. Cavendish.

The House again divided on the original Question:—Ayes 65; Noes 29; Majority 36.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Hawes, B.
Baring, H. B. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Baring, rt. hn. W. B. Hindley, C.
Beutinck, Lord G. Hughes, W. B.
Blake, M. J. Hussey, A.
Bodkin, W. H. Jermyn, Earl
Boldero, H. G. Jocelyn, Visct.
Bowles, Admiral Leader, J. T.
Bowring, Dr. Lennox, Lord A.
Brotherton, J. Lincoln, Earl of
Bruce, Lord E. McGeachy, F. A.
Cardwell, E. McNeill, D.
Cholmondeley, hon. H. Martin, C. W.
Clerk, rt. hn. Sir G. Mitcalf, H.
Corry, rt. hn. H. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Cripps, W. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Curteis, H. B. Peel, J.
Damer, hon. Col. Plumptre, J. P.
Douglas, J. D. S. Pringle, A.
Duncan, G. Richards, R.
Escott, B. Rushbrooke, Col.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Flower, Sir J. Smith, rt. hon. T. B. C.
Forster, M. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T. Spooner, R.
Gibson, T. M. Stanton, W. H.
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Tennent, J. E.
Greene, T. Thesiger, Sir F.
Hamilton, W. J. Thornely, T.
Trelawny, J. S. Wawn, J. T.
Trevor, hon. G. R. TELLERS.
Villiers, hon. C. Young, J.
Warburton, H. Bright, J.
List of the NOES.
Antrobus, E. Joliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Archdall, Capt. M. Legh, G. C.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Lockhart, W.
Lowther, Sir J. H.
Beresford, Major Mackenzie, W. F.
Campbell, Sir H. Martin, J.
Darby, G. Paget, Lord A.
Dickinson, F. H. Pechell, Captain
Douro, Marquis of Polhill, F.
Duff, J. Repton, G. W. J.
Duncannon, Visct. Somerton, Visct.
Goring, C. Trotter, J.
Granby, Marquis of Yorke, hon. E. T.
Grimston, Visct.
Grogan, E. TELLERS.
Henley, J. W. Berkeley, C.
Hollond, R. Colborne, R.

The Committee appointed, and the House adjourned at a quarter past one.