HC Deb 14 April 1848 vol 98 cc340-79

On the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Crown and Government Security Bill,

MR. J. O'CONNELL said, it had been asserted in that House that the present movements upon the Continent were only for the attainment of that freedom which was already possessed by England. That might be perfectly true, but it was not the case with regard to Ireland. In that country there was an absolute mockery of constitutional liberty. The people there had not the means of making their rights available, and, above all, they did not possess the inalienable privilege of freemen—to manage their own affairs. He complained, too, that they were subjected to the tyranny of the spy system—a proof that the policy of the Government was retrograding with regard to Ireland. The third clause of the Bill now under discussion was capable of being made a fearful weapon against the liberty of the subject, because it struck at the right of free discussion. Yet, whilst proposing this unconstitutional measure, the Government had done nothing to preserve the real peace of Ireland. This Bill would array class against class, and blow up the embers of a most dangerous civil discord. The Government were willing to do anything in the way of oppression, but nothing in the way of mitigating or removing the grievances of Ireland. What could the representatives of Ireland, when they went back to that country, say but this—that during their attendance in Parliament no hope had been held out, and no promise made, of amelioration to Ireland? In fact, they could do nothing but advise the people to avoid criminal acts, the shedding of blood, and insurrection. But as to holding out any hopes from this Legislature, they could not.

MR. M. MILNE S suggested that it would be better for all purposes that the discussion, instead of proceeding at this stage, should be taken in Committee; and, by way of setting a good example, he should reserve his remarks.

MR. J. EVANS said, since the Bill had been introduced, alterations had been made in it which certainly moderated its original character; but even if they had existed originally he should still have voted against it. Considering the state of the country, on which so much had been said, he could not consent to the enactment of the clause containing these words "open and advised speaking" for two years, nor for two months. He particularly objected to the provision for making a man a felon for words spoken. In many foreign countries order was preserved among the people by the bayonets and *sabres of soldiers; but in this country it was maintained by the people themselves, who expressed their opinions, through public meetings, of anything they disapproved of. By means of this "safety valve" many excellent changes had been effected without shedding one drop of blood. He appealed to every Member of the House whether this had not been the case within the last few years. Why, if open and advised speaking was to be felony, he was surrounded with felons. How often had the constitution been destroyed in our own days! How often had the sun of England set for ever, and her glory departed in the apprehensions of those who had withstood every change; though neither the one nor the other had yet occurred! Some of the best and noblest patriots who now sat near him had been allowed, for the first time, to enter that House, accomplished without the slightest danger by public meetings. Catholic Emancipation had been carried by them. The Reform Bill was carried by them also; and he would ask, whether no violent speeches had yet been made in the days of the Reform Bill? Had no gallant officers now sitting in that House, supported the Reform Bill by violent speeches? He really did not know whether more actual treason had not been spoken in carrying that measure than on any other; at all events, he believed there was a good deal. During the agitation for the repeal of the corn laws, the same feeling had been carried further; for some of the agitators on that question were said to have threatened to assassinate the right hon. Baronet the leader of the Opposition. Why, it was a well-known fact, that charges had been made in that House against an hon. Gentleman that he had been inciting the people to assassinate the right hon. Baronet. There was no doubt about it. The result, however, of free discussion was, that it produced wholesome effects; and he contended that so long as it was retained, this country would be safe from the clamour and dissatisfaction which now agitated Europe. It was his honest conviction, that, by the law of England, the open and advised speaking of words alone had never been accounted high treason; and he believed that if it were prohibited, secret clubs and plots would arise which would be found infinitely more mischievous.

SIR G. GREY expressed a hope that the appeal of the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) would be listened to by the House. They were now discussing whether the words "open and advised speaking" should be retained, when the same question would have to be considered in Committee. The construction given to the Bill by his hon. and learned Friend was very far from being the true and real one. He agreed with him as to the immense advantage of public meetings, and of the freest latitude being given for the discussion of public measures, and impugning the conduct of public men; but it was not a right construction of the Bill to say that a speech made at a public meeting, upon public policy, or the proceedings of public men, with a view to effect alterations in the constitution, would be among those prohibited by the Bill. There must be an intent, in the first place, of levying war against the Queen, and the open and advised speaking must have reference to that intent. That part of the clause would have no operation if there was no intention of levying war. It was not proposed to make the mere fact of an intention to overawe the deliberations of Parliament by the use of strong language more penal than it was at present. That was left to the general law as it stood; but it was proposed to make what had been accounted treason before, felony now. He left it to the House to consider whether the language spoken in Dublin had not transgressed the limits of free discussion. At all events he hoped the House would go into Committee, when the subject could be regularly discussed.

SIR R. PEEL: I have no wish to prolong this discussion; but I wish to put a question with regard to this Bill to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General. In order to make my question intelligible, it will be necessary I should state what I consider to be, at present, the construction of the law with regard to the particular offence to which I refer. I understand that by the 36th Geo. III., made perpetual by the 57th Geo. III., if any person shall compass or intend the death, the wounding, or the restraint of the Sovereign, and shall express that intent by printing or writing, by publishing in printing or writing, that offence will be the offence of high treason. That law, so made perpetual, is by this Bill extended to Ireland. That, as I understand, is the only alteration, the extension of the law to Ireland, which this Bill will make with regard to the offence, There is another description of offence which a person may commit, namely, the compassing or intending to deprive the Sovereign of the Royal name or title of any part of Her Majesty's dominions—of a colony, for instance. If a person shall express that compassing, either by publishing in printing or writing, or by open and advised speaking, that offence, under this Bill, will be felony. Suppose a person hereafter should commit this offence, namely, should compass or intend the death, the wounding, or the restraint of the person of the Sovereign by open and advised speaking, what will, in the eye of the law, be that offence, and what will be the penalty to which it will be subjected? Do I make myself intelligible? The offence of deposing the Crown, either by printing, publishing, or writing, or by open and advised speaking, will be a felony; but as to the higher offence of compassing the death of the Sovereign by open and advised speaking, what, in the eye of the law, will be that offence, and what will be the penalty? During the present reign there have been two or three cases of attempting to maim the Sovereign. Now, suppose a person should compass the death of the Sovereign by open and advised speaking, that, under the 57th George III., would be treason; but what, under this Bill, would be the penalty?

The ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for putting this question; and, at the risk of differing from some of my hon. and learned Friends, I will state distinctly what is my deliberate opinion. By the Bill, as it now stands, the offence of compassing or imagining the death, maiming, or wounding of the Sovereign, will remain as under the old law, with the exception that the Statute of the 36th George III., made perpetual by the 57th George III., will be extended to Ireland, and thus cure a doubt whether it now applies to that country. The minor classes of treason, namely, the compassing or imagining the deposition of the Crown, the levying of war with intent to comfort or succour the King's enemies, will, if expressed, become a felony, and a felony only. But the question which is put to me by the right hon. Baronet is this: assuming that there is a clear compassing and imagining the death or maiming of the Crown, uttered or expressed by open and advised speaking, what will that offence be? With the greatest deference for the opinions of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Haverfordwast (Mr. J. Evans), and the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Martin), I say distinctly, after consulting the highest authority upon the subject, that it is, and will continue to be, treason. On that subject I apprehend there can be no doubt. It is not for the purpose of clearing up any doubt, or letting the public perfectly understand what is the effect of open and advised speaking, that these words are introduced, because I apprehend it is clear that although the bare speaking of words will not constitute treason, yet if words are spoken that are words of advice, direction, or persuasion, tending to effectuate some traitorous act or design, that they, according to all the authorities, and among them the highest authority now upon the bench in England, are clearly, and beyond all doubt, treason. I may further be allowed to state that hon. Members who have put various questions upon the meaning of these words, would have been much assisted if they would look at the report of the Criminal Law Commissioners upon crimes and offences, in which they profess to codify the law as it now exists, without any alteration or amendment. The Commissioners have given the law of treason in their arrangement, and they clearly point out the different definitions of the term "treason;" and among the rest they law it down as clear and settled law, which they propose to re-enact without alteration, that words spoken shall not be deemed to constitute an act of treason, unless they are words of advice, direction, or persuasion, tending to effectuate some traitorous act or design. This is clearly laid down, as gathered from all the authorities—the authority of Foster, Hale, and others; and the directions of Judges in more modern days confirm that view of the case. I state, then, as being the result of the consideration of the highest authorities on the subject, that the compassing or imagining the death, maiming, or wounding the Crown, either in England or Ireland, if this Bill is passed, evidenced by open and advised speaking, will, beyond a doubt, amount to treason.

SIR R. PEEL had no doubt whatever upon the general law—and he was sure it ought to be the law—that the compassing the death of the Sovereign, expressed by publishing, printing, or writing, should be treason; but might not the fact of printing and publishing, being evidence of compassing, throw some doubt upon the antecedent clause with regard to the compassing by open and advised speaking?

The ATTORNEY GENERAL did not think it would, because the law was now perfectly settled.

MR. SERJEANT TALFOURD begged refer on this point to a case on which there could be no dispute—the case of Colonel Despard. If ever there was a case where a conviction for high treason was received without any sympathy for the criminal on the part of the public, or any doubt as to the propriety of the conviction, it was the case of that unfortunate soldier; and he would remind the House that he was con- victed almost entirely on words only, words not lightly spoken in attending a public meeting, but words of advice, direction, and persuasion. He was defended by the most eminent counsel. Serjeant Best urged this very point, that there was nothing proved against him but words, for, though the form of an atrocious oath was found on the person of those associates among whom Colonel Despard had become degraded enough to lower himself, yet there was nothing found upon his own person; and, therefore, his learned counsel maintained that he was connected with the conspiracy only by certain words and expressions which he was said to have used. This point was, therefore, strongly pressed; and on this point, Lord Ellenborough thought it right in his charge—there being three other Judges associated with him in a special commission—distinctly to lay down the law on this point. He says— I think it fit to state a word or two on some of the topics which have been touched upon on the part of the defendant, as to the quality of the crime imputed to the defendant, and as to the nature of the proof by which the charge thereof is supported. It has been urged that the crime consists only in words, and that words are not of themselves overt acts of high treason. If it be said that loose words, referable to no particular design, words merely calumnious, or seditious words expressive of an irritated and angry mind, and of sentiments highly indecent and criminal in a subject towards a Sovereign, but words neither indicating nor conducing to the execution of any definite purpose of a treasonable kind on his own part, nor persuading or exciting others to concur in the execution thereof on theirs; I readily admit that loose words of this description are not to be considered as constituting overt acts of high treason, and that it would be too much to infer from the random and reckless, though highly blameable use of expressions of this kind, so mischievous and abominable a purpose as the destruction of the King. But if words of this kind are used at meetings held for the purpose of forwarding designs of a treasonable nature, and if they are addressed to persons with an intent to excite and confirm them in the prosecution of measures which have for their declared object the assassinating or deposing of the King by force of arms, or when words are the immediate vehicle by which treasons, such as these, are communicated, and by which they are and sought to be carried into full completion and effect, it never was, since the promulgation of law in this land, by any one lawyer ever doubted that words of this nature, uttered for such a purpose, at such meetings or consultations, and being themselves the very instruments and means of exciting other persons to take part in measures which had for their end and object the personal destruction of the King, were in their very nature and essence the clearest and most absolute overt acts of high treason that can be stated. This point never yet admitted of a doubt—it never was questioned—it never can be so.

MR. S. MARTIN said, the question was, whether a man going to a public meeting without concert, and there speaking his own opinion openly and advisedly with regard to what might tend to the death of the Sovereign, would be guilty of an act of high treason? On this subject he would refer his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General to Burns, who was an authority upon the criminal law:— Burns," said Lord Coke, "seemed to think that to utter words was not a sufficient overt act whereupon to convict a person of treason: it was misprision of treason only. So, also, Hale and other authorities, that words only, if not put in writing, were not an overt act. And Hawkins said, that to charge a man with speaking treason would only be actionable where the words were treasonable:— Nevertheless," said Burns, "at this day it seems clearly to be agreed that, by the common law, and the Statute of Edward III., words spoken amount only to a high misdemeanour, and not to treason. This was the law as laid down by a great authority, and he apprehended it was correctly laid down.

MR. ANSTEY said, all words which were at present simply seditious would remain so; but if they were of a treasonable character under the existing law, they would by this Bill be made felony. The existing law was, therefore, mitigated, whilst, under a false suggestion of mercy, no person would go unpunished who conspired against the public peace and the lawful supremacy of Her Majesty.

MR. CAVENDISH referred to the taunts used on a former occasion by the hon. Member for Middlesex with regard to the Fox Club. Now, he was a member of the Fox Club, but he did not know there was anything in this Bill contrary to the opinions of Mr. Fox, or to the principles of his (Mr. Cavendish's) ancestors. The hon. Member had talked of an old woman being in the Cabinet, which he supposed was an insinuation against the Duke of Wellington; but if that were so, he still thought the opinion of the Duke of Wellington, as a military man, equal to that of the hon. and gallant Member. He remembered very well the hon. Member himself being quite panic-stricken as to the state of Ireland; and therefore he did not think it became him to taunt the Cabinet with being panic-stricken. He therefore turned to the lawyers for their opinion, in enabling him to form a judgment with regard to this Bill; but he found such opposite and contrary opinions among them, that he could obtain no satisfaction from their advice at all. The hon. Member for Cockermouth had spoken against the measure; but his objections were chiefly made up of quotations from Hansard, and therefore, in his mind, went for nothing. Indeed, recollecting that the hon. Member had once sent a challenge to another Gentleman for using scandalous expressions towards Her Most Gracious Majesty, he could not help thinking that, if this Bill had then been law, the scandal would have been punished in the way it deserved, and the valuable life of the hon. Member would have been put to no risk. Then he turned to the opinions of the popular Members in the House, particularly to the hon. Member for Montrose, who last Session had shown great sobriety, but at present, probably excited by younger men, he had displayed extraordinary excitement, particularly with regard to the Irish Church. He found, however, that the claim of the hon. Member to be an exponent of popular opinions was strenuously disputed elsewhere; for, on reference to the proceedings of the body called the National Convention, he found that a Mr. Cuffy declared he knew the Montrose burghs well, and he knew that the hon. Member did not represent the opinions of the people there, but only the sentiments of a few hard-hearted Scotch political economists. Finding, therefore, that none of these authorities were to be relied upon, he had to fall back upon his common sense, and, considering the provisions with which the Bill was guarded, he was in favour of supporting the measure.

MR. HUME condemned the ridiculous and foolish personalities in which the hon. Member had indulged. He knew nothing about Mr. Duffey or Cuffy of whom the hon. Member had spoken; but he knew that his constituents were, to a man, in favour of the entire abolition of the Irish Church. The hon. Member had talked of falling back on his common sense; but any one who had heard the hon. Member must be convinced that he had very little common sense to fall back upon.

MR. HORSMAN would also notice the speech of the hon. Member, though certainly in a different spirit to the hon. Member for Montrose. In his opinion the speech was distinguished both by ability and by good humour; and he had nothing to find fault with except that the hon. Member did not do sufficient justice to himself and his talents by presenting himself oftener to the notice of the House. There were one or two little inaccuracies, however, with regard to himself. He had not quoted from Hansard, but from Blackstone and Hale; and with regard to the challenge the hon. Member alluded to, the circumstances were these. The then hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Bradshaw) had made what he thought an attack on the character of the Queen; and at a dinner given to him (Mr. Horsman) by his constituents he commented on that speech. He did not send the challenge—he received it, and his first impression was to decline it; but coming to London and putting himself in the hands of his friends, he felt that it required more courage to refuse a challenge than to accept it. He therefore accepted the challenge, which he had regretted ever since, and of which he was thoroughly ashamed; and if ever he was placed in the same position again, he hoped he should be able to show more moral courage, and to display more Christian principle.

MR. B. OSBORNE asked who shall decide when doctors disagree? If they looked to the speeches which had been made by various hon. Members, how could they come to a decision as to what the law of treason was? He opposed this Bill because he thought it a retrogressive act in legislation; and when every other country in Europe was progressing, he thought it was too much for a Government calling itself liberal to make open and advised speaking an act of felony. He thought the Government were disposed to favour the cause of liberty; but he could not forget that in the year 1792 the same thing occurred, when a party who were called the Alarmists separated from their party on a Bill involving the same principle. Now, in what he had stated as to the old woman's feeling which governed the Cabinet, he begged to say he had neither made nor intended any allusion to the Duke of Wellington; if he had, he should have spoken of that noble Duke with the greatest respect, and he wished that his Grace was at the head of the Government. He had said that there was an old woman's feeling in the Cabinet. It was not necessary to say whether that allusion had reference to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, or the President of the Board of Control; but this he knew, that the impression in the country was that there was an old woman's feeling pervading the Cabinet. He had never taken exception to the course which was pursued by Her Majesty's Government with regard to the keeping of the peace on Monday last; on the contrary, he had expressly said that he thought the arrangements which were then made were admirable, and he only wished the Government would carry out the principles of conciliation with the same force as they carried out those of a coercive character. The voice indeed was the voice of Jacob, but the hands were the hands of Esau. The hon. Gentleman had insulted his constituents. If that hon. Gentleman dared to show his face on the hustings in Middlesex, let him, and he did not think that the name of Cavendish would bring him fifty votes. The hon. Gentleman was one of those whose time being engrossed in lolling in the windows of Brooks's, made them fancy they could govern the whole world. The hon. Gentleman was one who lived on his own estate and upon other people's ideas; and when next he addressed himself to him (Mr. Osborne), let the hon. Gentleman do it on the spur of the moment, and not bring forth, as the result of his lucubrations by the midnight oil, such a miserable production as that which he had addressed to the House.

SIR DE LACY EVANS believed that under this Bill, with regard to written words, there was a mitigation of the law; and the great question at issue had reference to the new proposition included in the third clause. He doubted whether the operation of the severer penalty would be applicable only to the two extreme cases cited, and he thought there was no intelligible security for public liberty as respected the freedom of speech. The question was, whether the existing law was not abundantly stringent for the purpose of preventing treasonable speaking. He had had, perhaps, more experience than any other Member of the House of the salutary effect of minor degrees of punishment; and if the punishment for sedition were severe, why introduce this new principle into the law? Though he was most anxious to give at this moment any powers which might be necessary for the maintenance of peace and the maintenance of the institutions of the realm, he should vote against the passing of this Bill, unless it were clearly shown that the existing law was not sufficiently stringent to meet the emergency.

MR. S. CRAWFORD thought that the Amendment which had been proposed by the right hon. Baronet would change the whole character of the Bill. Many hon. Members were frightened at being charged with what was called "a factious opposition" to this measure. If the fact were so, he must say it had resulted from that opposition that an alleviation of the severity of this enactment had been obtained. He objected, however, to the Bill, because it made a man still liable to transportation for spoken words. He complained of the Bill, not only as it affected Ireland, but as it affected the whole of the United Kingdom. He thought that if they contrived to make this offence a misdemeanour it would be quite sufficient. For his own part he thought that the further proceedings on this Bill should be delayed till the lawyers agreed. It was a cruel thing that any man should be subject to the penalty of transportation for an offence which the Judge might not be able to define. He was anxious to retard the completion of this Bill until they should understand the law, and what was really the crime which they had to deal with.

SIR W. CLAY objected to the Bill, because it included in the same category offences of such a different character, especially with reference to written and spoken words. He admitted that the language which had lately been held in Ireland, and in England too, by certain parties, was such as no Government ought to allow; but he thought that the object which they sought to obtain might be reached without adding to the class of political offences. He should have proposed to his right hon. Friend to leave out the provisions in reference to spoken words, and, instead of this, to have so far altered the law with regard to a misdemeanour in the speaking of seditious words, that where in any case a person offending shall have spoken seditious words at a meeting which should amount to treason, and shall have been held to bail for such offence, if the same person shall be again brought up before the magistrates, and upon the same proof whereon he was already held to bail, the magistrate should think he could be held to bail, such magistrate should have the power to refuse bail in the case of such second offence, under such circumstances, and that then the party should of course be committed to prison to await his trial, and to prevent his doing mischief. Reason and experience taught that it was wise to treat words spoken with leniency. The present Bill was not a gagging Bill, nor a Bill of pains and penalties. On the contrary, it was an ungagging Bill, and a Bill to abrogate enactments with regard to treason. He should support the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend, agreeing as he did in the general object of the measure.

MR. MUNTZ said, that whatever might be the opinion of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, he felt persuaded that a large proportion of the population would regard the clause in question as a gagging one. After lawyers on both sides of the House had expressed such opposite opinions, it was too much to expect simple laymen to construe and understand this objectionable Bill. It was said, indeed, that no Government could now enforce an unconstitutional Act. He had read history too well to feel satisfied with that kind of argument. He could not forget that the very same men who protected Pym and Hampden afterwards consented to the execution of Lord William Russell. The people generally felt that the Foxites had forgotten all their principles except one, and that one was the principle of doubling the income-tax. What had been the conduct of the Government since its advent to power? First, they brought forward an Irish Arms Bill, and attempted to drag with them all the independent Members of the Government. Next, having found the country in great distress, they appointed a one-sided and packed Committee to inquire into the cause of that distress; their third and last act was to endeavour to force on the country a gagging Bill. He believed that this Bill would make men's minds rankle and fester, and induce them to do what otherwise they would never have thought of doing. Had such a law been in operation in 1831 and 1832, we, and others who entertained similar opinions, must have been transported. We held frequent interviews with Lord Althorp and other leading Whigs of that period, all of whom, instead of throwing cold water on the meetings, encouraged the popular leaders to continue the agitation. He said advisedly, that had it not been for the meetings of that day, and the deputations sent up from all parts of the country, not a single Whig would have sat on the Treasury bench. Now, he could never consent to the passing of a clause which would subject a man to transportation for spoken words. Evidence might be got up which would lead to the transportation of any Members of that House. Ever since the present Government had been in power, this country had been retrograding as regarded its physical condition; and that he believed was the real cause of the present excitement. When the masses of the people were in a state of comfort, they could not be got together in large numbers; but when they were without the proper and necessary quantity of food—when they saw comforts around them, and had nothing themselves to support life—it was natural that they should feel discontented. It would be found, on examination, that during the last thirty years there had been no great commotion in this country except when the people were in a state of privation and misery. He called upon the Government to search for a remedy for the present state of things; and if they could not provide one themselves, to let others do so. He must strongly oppose any clause which might have the effect of putting a clangorous check to freedom of speech.

MR. GRATTAN would oppose the Bill. The present law was amply sufficient to put down seditious writing and speaking in Ireland. He would ask whether an imprisonment of three, four, or five years, accompanied by a fine, was not a sufficient punishment for the utterance of words which had given rise to this Bill? Would they sentence to everlasting infamy, and make an expatriated felon of a man who was a descendant of one of the oldest families in Ireland, and inflict indelible disgrace on his posterity, because he had been guilty of using intemperate language? Mr. O'Brien had not asked the French to send to Ireland 50,000 men to assist the Irish in the accomplishment of their desires. Did not the late Daniel O'Connell mention in that House, and elsewhere, that the Americans had promised to send 50,000, at least, to help the Irish in struggling for the fulfilment of their desires; and yet no one thought of prosecuting Daniel O'Connell because some people in America had said that they would give armed aid to the Irish. The Government might depend upon it, that this measure of coercion would fail to carry out their designs; it would most assuredly produce a dreadful revolution if persisted in. Why could not the Government trust for the security of the empire to the old statutes, which were quite strong enough? Because intemperate language had been used by a few in Dublin, that was no reason why they should subject the whole of Ireland to this dreadful measure. Every one in Ireland with whom he had had any conversation spoke with feelings of the greatest abhorrence in reference to the articles of the United Irishman, of which he had only seen two copies. He had just received a letter from an individual well known to many Members of that House. Writing from Ireland, that individual said, that he was too happy to state that he had witnessed very little excitement amongst the people in Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, and Carlow; and that those only who were suffering from want of employment seemed disposed to join in a movement to better their condition. Now, he sincerely believed that statement to be true. The Irish were not rebels; they were not traitors; but they were agitating continually to improve their condition. And was it wonderful that people who were suffering all the horrors of starvation should strive to mitigate those horrors? The writer whom he bad quoted went on to state that the Irish people were not disaffected. He had received another letter from another individual equally well known in that House with the writer whom he had just quoted, and he stated that it was difficult to ascertain what were precisely the feelings of the majority of the Irish people at the present moment; but he believed that the general opinion was that no outbreak whatever was intended. He firmly believed that statement. In the county of Wicklow, the writer stated that everything was quiet, and that, instead of attending to political matters, the people were busily employed in cultivating the land. Other nations, whether for good or evil, had recently obtained great changes in their governmental institutions; and instead of making a move forwards, in unison with the general movement throughout Europe, the British Government brought in a Bill to stop the expression of public opinion. If they governed Ireland as they governed England, they would find her people as loyal and peaceable as any portion of Her Majesty's subjects.

MR. MOWATT rose to ask a question, to which he should like to have an answer from Her Majesty's Attorney General. He wanted to know if it was the opinion of Her Majesty's legal advisers that, by the Act that had been so repeatedly referred to in this Bill, namely, the Act of 36th George III., which was subsequently made permanent by the 57th George III., to compass or imagine the death of, or to wound the Sovereign, if accompanied by any overt act, such as printing, uttering, and publishing, would continue to be made high treason? He apprehended that the answer of the learned Attorney General would be, that no doubt it was proposed to retain that law in full force, and to apply it to Ireland. He also wished to be informed whether his impression was right, that by this Bill it was proposed to make the compassing or imagining any injury to the Sovereign a felony, without any overt act at all beyond the mere open and advised speaking with that intent? He wished to know whether it was proposed to put both laws in operation, so, as it were, to leave no outlet for the escape of a prisoner. After the grave doubts on this point that had been expressed by many hon. and learned Gentlemen in that House, by whose opinion the House was bound, to a certain extent, on this question—he wished to know whether, if the noble Lord at the head of the Government really meant to make the law operate in both cases, the Government should not state so in clear and intelligible language? It would appear from the manner in which this portion of the Bill was drawn up, that Her Majesty's Attorney General was extremely ignorant of grammar. He considered, that with regard to the third clause, it was so ungrammatical in its construction that it ought fairly and legitimately to be made the subject of ridicule. He considered it rank nonsense, and that it was only by very great courtesy that the House could convert it into any sense at all. He thought that on so important a question affecting the liberties of the subject, the language ought to be so plain and unmistakeable that every country bumpkin might understand it.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL said, that when he had answered the question of the hon. Member on a previous occasion, he had thought that he had saved himself the trouble of replying to, and the House the pleasure of hearing, the hon. Gentleman again. The first suggestion which he would make to the hon. Gentleman before answering his question was, that before he censured it for want of grammar, he should read the clause of which he spoke. [Mr. MOWATT: I have read it.] He would take the liberty of stating, if that were the case, that no person, however grammatical his construction might be, could draw a clause which the hon. Gentleman could understand. The clause as it then stood was so plain that no person who had read it could place upon it the construction which had been placed on it by the hon. Gentleman. The question asked by the hon. Gentleman was, whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to retain this clause, which referred only to offences intended against the person of the Sovereign, shown by an overt act? That was nothing like the clause; and the hon. Gentleman could not have attended to that which had been said over and over again—that those offences directed against the person of the Sovereign were construed as treason, and the Act—the Act itself—was proposed to be extended to Ireland. Those offences were, compassing or imagining the death of the Sovereign, or the wounding or maiming the Sovereign; and publication or writing any such intention was to be an overt act. The next class of offences was the compassing or imagining the deprivation of the Crown, or the taking from the Crown any part of its dominions; and these offences were to be evidenced in the same way—by publication, or by open and advised speaking. The next offence was the compassing or imagining the levying of war, with the intention of overawing the Crown or the House of Commons; and the overt act in this case was similar to those which he had already stated. The indictment was to be for the wilful intent to commit any of these offences; and, so from being an extension against the liberty of the subject, the ungrammatical words complained of contained a point rather favourable to the persons accused of any of these offences. Instead of stating that persons so offending should be guilty of felony, a distinct mode of proof was laid down on the face of the indictment; and of course that was much more favourable to the subject than the mere creation of the felony in so many words, and leaving the proof to be established in any way it might. He had thought that the insertion of these words by him was a duty he owed to the people; and they protected, instead of invading, the liberty of the subject.

MR. WAKLEY was astonished, after the many conflicting opinions which been advanced by legal Gentlemen in that House on the proper construction of the third clause, that the Attorney General should strive so hard to retain it. The Attorney General had stated that the Government by this Bill were not seeking for fresh power; but if that was not their intention, why had they introduced the Bill at all? Why did the hon. and learned Gentleman deny that the object of the Government was to create a new crime, and to obtain increased power, and by that means jeopardise the expression of public opinion in this country? That was the whole case of the Government; and he did contend that it was most unfair on the part of the Government to pretend, when seeking for such a measure as this, that it was, in point of fact, a mitigation and not an increased severity. Why, look at what had transpired in this metropolis within the last few days. Look at the manner in which the institutions of this country had been upheld; look at the way in which they had been endeared to the people of this kingdom. After what they had seen of the conduct of the people, he maintained that the asking for such a power as this against the people, amounted to a libel upon the good faith and the liberty of the people of this country. In his opinion it was a most attrocious libel. The Government was acting as though a desire had been manifested in this kingdom to attack the Queen, and to lessen her just authority. Now, the Government must feel that the unconstitutional steps which they were taking to infringe upon the liberties of the people, were in direct violation of the principles which they had professed in former times. The Government ought to be aware of what they were doing, and the manner in which they were supported by Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House. There was not a declaration which the Government made on reference to this Bill, which was not cheered on the opposite side of the House. It was a Tory Government with a Tory Opposition. It was absolutely the fact; and he did trust that in the course of a very few days the hon. Gentlemen opposite would change places with those on the Ministerial side of the House, and that they would give the Radical Members an opportunity of sitting where they ought to sit. The Radical Members were in opposition to the Government; hon. Gentlemen opposite were not. The people of this country had proved themselves to be loyal, and anxious to defend the institutions of the country; they wished to preserve to themselves the privilege of boldly and fearlessly expressing their opinions on public questions; and that was the way in which the Governments of this country had been enabled to sustain their power. That was the way in which the institutions of this country had been supported. If they allowed abuses to eat their way into their establishments until they festered, and cankered, and grew rotten—and that would be the case if they suppressed the free utterance of public opinion—they might depend upon it that this country would soon fall from its present pre-eminent position. The Government was about to inflict upon this country all the horrors of the Six Acts. The people would henceforward be deprived of the privilege of advocating useful changes in the public institutions of the country which must become necessary from time to time. The Government could scarcely be aware of what was said out of doors relative to the course they were pursuing. The middle classes, upon whom the Government endeavoured to rest for support, were astonished at the manner in which a Government calling itself a "Liberal Administration " was dealing with the public institutions of the country. There was not a power which the people possessed that was of more value in the sustaining of our institutions and a Liberal Administration, than the power of boldly and candidly expressing public opinion. But the Government was absolutely pursuing a course against which even Mr. Pitt protested; so that now, for the first time in the history of this country, and that, too, under the auspices of a "Liberal" Government, open public speaking was made a criminal offence. If this course were persisted in, then he contended that it was the Government that was endangering the institutions of the country, and not those out of doors who were demanding reform. Why, what could be more hostile to the Crown of this country than to make the masses of the people dissatisfied with the course which the Ministers of the Crown were pursuing? Was it right that because some parties in Ireland had done wrong, the people in England and Scotland should suffer? And that was really the course of legislation which the Government were pursuing. In his opinion nothing could be more impolitic or unwise than that course. The hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition benches saw that the Government was playing their game; they were quite delighted with the present Ministers and their measures. And well they might be, for he would undertake to say that if a Tory Minister were in power at that moment, he would not dare to propose such a measure as this. But because the present Ministry had come in under false colours, a portion of the people were silent on their conduct. That portion of the people could not believe that the noble Lord at the head of the Government was falsifying the principles which he formerly professed; and consequently the course which he was now pursuing was tolerated. This discussion had now lasted somewhat longer than three hours and a half; and it was very likely that a long discussion would take place in Committee. If the Radical party in the House did its duty, and were true to its own principles, it would not allow the Bill to pass with the words "open and advised speaking." Powers were possessed by minorities in that House which they were bound to exercise on great occasions; and if the Radical minority were united amongst themselves, he believed they would be able to prevent the objectionable words from being retained. Seeing the vital importance of the question at issue, they would be guilty of a most disgusting betrayal of their own principles, if, possessing the power to which he had referred, they failed to exercise it. He entreated the Secretary of State for the Home Department to take a careful review of all that had been said. If the Government did not yield, he, for one, would obstruct the progress of the Bill as far as possible; and he believed there were many other hon. Members who would join him in that course.

MR. AGLIONBY hoped that the House would allow the Bill to go into Committee, when objections to the words "open and advised speaking" could be more appropriately discussed. He hoped that the Government would consent to adopt the suggestion which he had made two or three days ago, to the effect that "open and advised speaking" against the institutions of the country, in the manner mentioned in the Bill, should not be regarded as a felony, but merely as a misdemeanour; and that the privilege of being being bailed out upon arrest be allowed, and that on conviction the prisoner might be condemned to hard labour at the discretion of the Court.

The House divided on the question, that the Speaker do now leave the chair:—Ayes 287; Noes 33: Majority 254.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Arundel and Surrey,
Adair, H. E. Earl of
Adair, R. A. S. Bagshaw, J.
Adare, Visct. Bailey, J. jun.
Aglionby, H. A. Baines, M. T.
Alcock, T. Baldock, E. H.
Alexander, N. Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.
Arkwright, G. Barnard, E. G.
Armstrong, R. B. Barrington, Visct.
Bateson, T. Filmer, Sir E.
Bell, M. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Bellew, R. M. Foley, J. H. H.
Benbow, J. Forster, M.
Bennet, P. Fortescue, C.
Bentinck, Lord H. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Fox, S. W. L.
Bernal, R. Fuller, A. E.
Bernard, Visct. Gaskell, J. M.
Birch, Sir T. B. Glyn, G. C.
Blackall, S. W. Godson, R.
Blake, M. J. Gordon, Adm.
Blakemore, R. Grace, O. D. J.
Blandford, Marq. of Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bourke, R. S. Granby, Marq. of
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Grenfell, C. P.
Bowles, Adm. Grenfell, C. W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bremridge, R. Grey, R. W.
Broadley, H. Grogan, E.
Brockman, E. D. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Brotherton, J. Gwyn, H.
Brown, W. S. Haggitt, F. R.
Bruce, Lord E. Halford, Sir H.
Buck, L. W. Hall, Sir B.
Buller, C. Hall, Col.
Bunbury, W. M. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Bunbury, E. H. Hamilton, G. A.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cabbell, B. B. Hardcastle, J. A.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Harris, hon. Capt.
Cardwell, E. Hastie, A.
Carew, W. H. P. Hastie, A.
Castlereagh, Visct. Hawes, B.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hay, Lord J.
Chaplin, W. J. Hayes, Sir E.
Charteris, hon. F. Hayter, W. G.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Headlam, T. E.
Christy, S. Heald, J.
Clay, J. Heathcoat, J.
Clay, Sir W. Heathcote, G. J.
Clements, hon. C. S. Henley, J. W.
Clifford, H. M. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Codrington, Sir W. Hervey, Lord A.
Coke, hon. E. K. Hildyard, R. C.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Hindley, C.
Cowan, C. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hobhouse, T. B.
Craig, W. G. Hodges, T. L.
Cripps, W. Hollond, R.
Cubitt, W. Hood, Sir A.
Damer, hon. Col. Hope, H. T.
Davies, D. A. S. Hope, A.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hornby, J.
Divett, E. Horsman, E.
Douro, Marq. of Houldsworth, T.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Drummond, H. Howard, P. H.
Duff, G. S. Hudson, G.
Duncan, G. Humphery, Ald.
Duncombe, hon. O. Hutt, W.
Duncuft, J. Jackson, W.
Dundas, Adm. Jervis, Sir J.
Du Pre, C. G. Jocelyn, Visct.
Ebrington, Visct. Johnstone, Sir J.
Egerton, Sir P. Jones, Capt.
Ellice, E. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Ker, R.
Evans, J. King, hon. P. J. L.
Evans, W. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Farrer, J. Langston, J. H.
Ferguson, Col. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Law, hon. C. E. Sandars, G.
Lennard, T. B. Scott, hon. F.
Lewis, G. C. Seaham, Visct.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Seymer, H. K.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Seymour, Sir H.
Locke, J. Seymour, Lord
Lockhart, A. E. Shafto, R. D.
Lockhart, W. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Long, W. Shelburne, Earl of
Lygon, hon. Gen. Sheridan, R. B.
Mackinnon, W. A. Shirley, E. J.
M'Naghten, Sir E. Slaney, R. A.
Macnamara, Maj. Smith, J. A.
M'Neill, D. Smith, M. T.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Smyth, J. G.
Manners, Lord C. S. Somerton, Visct.
Marshall, J. G. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Marshall, W. Spearman, H. J.
Martin, C. W. Spooner, R.
Martin, S. Stafford, A.
Masterman, J. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Matheson, A. Stanton, W. H.
Matheson, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Matheson, Col. Strickland, Sir G.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Stuart, Lord D.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Stuart, Lord J.
Monsell, W. Sturt, H. G.
Moody, C. A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Moore, G. H. Talfourd, Serj.
Morgan, O. Tancred, H. W.
Morpeth, Visct. Tenison, E. K.
Morison, Gen. Tennent, R. J.
Morris, D. Thesiger, Sir F.
Mulgrave, Earl of Thornely, T.
Mundy, E. M. Tollemache, hon. F. J
Napier, J. Tollemache, J.
Neeld, J. Towneley, J.
Norreys, Lord Townshend, Capt.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Trelawny, J. S.
Nugent, Sir P. Trollope, Sir J.
Ogle, S. C. H. Turner, E.
Ord, W. Turner, G. J.
Owen, Sir J. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Palmerston, Visct. Vane, Lord H.
Patten, J. W. Verner, Sir W.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir. R. Wall, C. B.
Perfect, R. Walpole, S. H.
Peto, S. M. Ward, H. G.
Plowden, W. H. C. Watkins, Col.
Price, Sir R. Wawn, J. T.
Prime, R. Wellesley, Lord C.
Pugh, D. Westhead, J. P.
Pusey, P. Whitmore, T. C.
Raphael, A. Williams, J.
Reid, Col. Williamson, Sir H.
Ricardo, O. Wilson, M.
Rice, E. R. Wood, rt hon. Sir C.
Rich, H. Wood, W. P.
Richards, R. Wrightson, W. B.
Robartes, T. J.A. Wyvill, M.
Romilly, J.
Rufford, F. TELLERS.
Russell, hon. E. S. Tufnell, H.
Rutherfurd, A. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Blewitt, R. J. Fox, W. J.
Bowring, Dr. Gardner, R.
Bright, J. Grattan, H.
Callaghan, D. Greene, J.
Cobden, R. Hume, J.
Fagan, W. Keating, R.
Fagan, J. Kershaw, J.
M'Gregor, J. Scholefield, W.
Meagher, T. Scully, F.
Mowatt, F. Smith, J. B.
Muntz, G. F. Sullivan, M.
O'Brien, T. Thompson, Col.
O'Connor, F. Thompson, G.
Osborne, R. Wakley, T.
Power, Dr. Walmsley, Sir J.
Power, N. TELLERS.
Reynolds, J. O'Connell, J.
Salwey, Col. Crawford, W. S.

House in Committee.

On the 3rd Clause it was proposed that the words "open and advised speaking" be left out of the clause.

MR. MOWATT considered this was one of the most important questions that had ever been submitted to Parliament since he had attained the age of manhood. He was from his heart and soul opposed to this Bill, more particularly to the third clause, and to the words, "open and advised speaking." It was a step backwards in the era of legislation. He had no sympathy with those madmen and fools who had been spouting sedition, either in Dublin or the Convention, and he would gladly lend his aid to any reasonable measure for the purpose of repressing their highly reprehensible conduct; but this clause went beyond the necessity of the case, for the law, as it at present existed, was wholly adequate to meet the exigencies of the time. The onus of proving the existence of the necessity for this law, lay upon those who were the proposers. No Member of the Government had attempted to prove that necessity except the noble Lord. The noble Lord had alluded to the events which were passing around, and to the times in which we lived, as proof of the necessity of passing this law. But surely our institutions were in much greater danger in 1795, when we had clubs all over the country affiliated to the Society of Jacobins—when the Monarch had been personally attacked on his way down to open Parliament. Surely the noble Lord would not contend that the present times were more exciting and alarming than those of 1795. The noble Lord had complained that when these sedition-mongers were committed for trial, they were, under the present law, permitted to be out on bail, to add to their crimes by repeating the offence. But it should be remembered that, on conviction, they could be subjected to imprisonment for three years, and to the imposition of a fine of unlimited amount. If that were insufficient to stop the career of these men, and the noble Lord having tried the present power of the law had found it wanting, no reasonable man would refuse to give him further powers if he could make out a case requiring them; but the noble Lord had not done so. He rested his case upon the fact that men out on bail repeated their offences; and the course he should have pursued should have been to have asked for a measure enacting that a person committed for a second offence of this nature should not be admitted to bail. He differed in opinion from the Attorney General as to the construction of this clause, and contended that after it became law any person who should either in that House or out of it express an opinion, under any circumstances, that any colony might be separated from the mother country, however much such separation might conduce to the advantage of the mother country itself, would be guilty of felony. He was sure that the great majority of the Members of that House, and the vast mass of the community, were unaware of what would be the working of the Act, or no organ of the press could ever have contended that it would be a salutary measure. He thought the measure had been brought forward in indecent haste, without any just ground, and considered it a monstrous violation of the two fundamental principles of our constitution—the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. Nothing but the failure of the existing law to put down these offences could justify the attack now made on the liberties of the people; and he believed that the sympathy which would be excited in favour of the suffering parties would be attended with the most dangerous consequences. It was not sufficient for the Government to direct their attention to the conduct of the parties against whom this measure was directed. They ought to apply their mind to the consideration of the causes of the existing discontent, and endeavour to remove them by extending the elective franchise, and thus affording the people an opportunity of nominating their representatives.

The MARQUESS of GRANBY was quite ready to admit, that a wide distinction should be drawn between the conduct of the man who in his own chamber sat down and deliberately wrote sedition and treason, and that of him who before a public assembly, perhaps carried away by the very honesty of his feelings, used terms and said things , which he might afterwards not even recol- lect, and most deeply regret. At the same time he must be allowed to observe that the unfortunate and deluded classes who might listen to that sedition or treason might be the same—the venom as obnoxious, the poison as deleterious in the one instance as in the other. He might go further, and, knowing the powerful effect eloquence had on the human mind, he might say that treason spoken was still more dangerous than treason that was written. Why, then, it might be asked, should they assign the same punishment in both cases? His answer was this—punishment was inflicted for the prevention of crime and the security of society. He had, therefore, come to the conclusion that the words proposed to be left out ought to be retained in the clause. If the effect of the Bill should be to make men consider more earnestly and deeply what they might utter at large assemblies of the people—if its effect should be, not to confine punishment to the hand that executed, but the mind that devised and the language that excited to treasonable acts—whether that language was the result of thoughtlessness, folly, or vanity—all classes of the country, the peaceable, the loyal, and the most anxious to reform real and proved abuses, would owe a debt of gratitude to the Government for having brought in this Bill. At the same time he was bound to express his regret that, backed as they had been. by the almost unanimous support of that House, the concession they had made showed that they were rather inclined to confide in the forbearance of the majority, and their unwillingness, at the present time, to embarrass the movements of the Government.

MR. CLAY must, in his conscience, object to the retention of the words in question. The law was at present extremely inefficient, and no doubt the Bill now proposed would be a great improvement if the Government would make the crime a misdemeanour instead of a felony, and take it out of the class of bailable offences. He entertained the most anxious hope that that suggestion would be agreed to, and that the Government would consent to accept a law which he believed would be equally efficient as, and certainly more constitutional than, the one proposed. If they would not do so, he feared that they would send to the country a law bearing upon its face the fatal stamp of fear and excitement, if not with some admixture of a more vindictive feeling. Indeed, the concession which the Government had promised, making that part of the Bill have only a temporary action, was a distinct admission that a general and permanent law bad been asked for to suit a particular time and particular persons. It could not be denied that there was a great difference between words spoken and words written, for whereas the latter implied malice aforethought, and were read and re-read over and over again, the former had little effect beyond the circle to whom they were addressed, because it could not be expected that all that was spoken would be reported, and their effect went off after the effervescence of the moment. For these reasons he could not agree to the retention of the words; and he cherished a most anxious hope that the Government would yield to the generally-expressed feeling of Members of that House—of Members who were not very violent partisans, and would consent to the omission altogether of the objectionable words. But at the same time, when the surgeon's knife was placed in their hands, he called upon them not to content themselves with the excision of the cancered heart; but for God's sake, and for the love they bore their country, to turn their attention to those alterative and remedial measures which alone could prevent the reappearance of the disease in another, perhaps a more vital part.

MR. EWART trusted the Government would consider that it was not by penal measures, but by remedial measures alone, that the country had enjoyed the greatest amount of happiness and freedom. In all questions concerning offences of "opinion," our laws always held that that opinion must be expressed deliberately and of aforethought. That was the principle and intention of our law; yet that principle, the retention of these words would violate. He should wish to vote against the words altogether; but if some words to the same effect were to be retained, he should suggest that it should be "public speaking," instead of "open speaking," and that the public speaking should be repeated more than once. He knew there were some hon. Gentlemen who were in favour of this clause, because it made that felony which was before treason. He did not share that opinion with those hon. Gentlemen, and was of opinion that transportation should not be the punishment for offences of opinion. He had not opposed the first and second reading of this Bill, and had offered it only a qualified opposition; but as he was confident there was good reasons for opposing this clause, he should vote against it.

MR. AGLIONBY said, that before the Committee came to a division upon this clause, which he hoped would not be long, he wished to observe, that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Serjeant Talfourd), in quoting the case of Colonel Despard, had omitted to mention that there was a certain ingredient in that offence, and that was, that the gist of the offence was conspiracy. He took his stand not so much upon the construction of old statutes, as upon the belief that the Government would not meet with the sympathies of the public, if they did not show that there was a distinction in their minds between the deliberate overt act of publishing and printing, and the less criminal act of opinion. Portions of the Bill were, no doubt, ameliorations of the existing law, and he thought that the country would thank them for it. Where they had taken extended power, he thought they required it; but still he must oppose the words "open and advised speaking," because he thought them unnecessary and mischievous. He wished no one to suppose, however, that in voting for the omission of those words they left the offence unpunishable, because it was his intention to propose the substitution of other words, which would, he believed, amply meet the case, and would receive the general support of the House. In conclusion, he must tender his thanks to the Government for the energy and promptitude with which they acted on Monday last. But for their very excellent arrangements, the whole town might have been in a state of anarchy and confusion, and they might have had to deplore the loss of hundreds of their fellow-countrymen.

MR. BAINES said, that very material improvements had been made in this Bill since it was first introduced; but he could not bring himself to say he could adopt, even as a temporary measure, the clause they were now discussing. They should be very cautious how they adopted, even as temporary, that which was objectionable in a constitutional point of view, for the temporary measure of to-day might become the precedent for a temporary measure to-morrow. With respect to the words in question, he must call the attention of the Committee to what he conceived to be a great constitutional question connected with the subject—that they were putting bare words on the same footing as an overt act or deed. They must not rely for their guidance on the Statute-book or the State Trials, for there was to be found in the former more bad, slavish, and tyrannical legislation, and in the latter more bad, slavish, and tyrannical conduct on the part of the Crown lawyers, than any one would imagine. Our great constitutional authorities, Coke, Hale, and Foster, had all laid it down that mere words without any overt act never could amount to treason; and Mr. Pitt, Lord Grenville, and Lord Eldon had introduced their statutes upon that principle. By this Bill, it was sought to convert into a felony that which was now only a misdemeanour; and, for it, the punishment that might be inflicted was the highest known to the law, except capital punishment, which was happily confined to but few cases—and the same as was, in fact, inflicted upon Frost and his associates for overt acts of treason. How would the law stand if this part of the clause were left out? Spoken words would then be punishable as a misdemeanour to the extent of fine and imprisonment. If any person could be shown to have directly incited by words another person to any one of the acts mentioned in the Bill, and that act were committed, the former was to all intents and purposes an accessory before the fact, and upon every principle of law would be treated as a principal. That was the state of the law at present; there was ample power already of adjudging the necessary punishment to all these offences; and what he asked was, that they might not be removed out of the class of misdemeanours, and placed under the head of felonies. He had not—and he trusted it would not be supposed he had—uttered one word of extenuation for practices and principles which he abhorred, or of encouragement to those who had made so many poor persons their unhappy dupes. He was most anxious to find a proper punishment for the perpetrators and abettors of offences such as these; but he greatly feared that the Bill, while it violated constitutional principles, would not effect that desirable object.

MR. SERJEANT TALFOURD was anxious to state the reason why he had arrived at a conclusion different from that come to by many friends from whom it was painful to differ, and thought it was the imperative duty of the House to retain the words. He did it because their enactment seemed to him to be just, and because his own painful experience of the consequences which had arisen from the use of seditious incentives, led him to think that there was a great defect in the law which measured out one degree of punishment to those who incited to intrigue, and a higher degree to those who acted under that excitement. The experience of what occurred at Stafford in 1842 had exhibited the practical working of the law in a most vivid manner. When the people in that county were on strike, and in a state of disquietude, agitators from a distance came among them, and after most inflammatory incentives had been addressed, on the fatal morning of the 15th of August the excited populace rushed to the destruction of property of every kind, and by every means; and the result was that felonies were committed to so large an extent that a special commission was deemed necessary to try the offenders. And when he thought of the painful scenes he was compelled to witness when discharging the duty of public prosecutor—when he saw young lads charged with, and found guilty of, taking part in robberies, to the commission of which they had not the slightest intention in the morning, and subjected to the punishment entailed upon felony—and when he found that those who had spoken the incentives were subjected merely to the punishment of misdemeanour, after ten days' trial, and the stoppage of every other business—he confessed he did feel ashamed of the inequality of the law. He did not regret that in that particular case the principal agitator, Cooper, did escape, because he was born with better hopes, and gifted with better powers, and had, since the occurrence, without resigning a single opinion, devoted his powers to lofty and useful themes. But it was not necessary to have Cooper's talent—it was not necessary to have much talent—to infuse poison into veins already burning with discontent and excitement. Reference had been made to the difference between written and spoken incentives to crime. Now, he who wrote appeals to the passions, addressed himself in a certain degree as from thought to thought; at all events the appeal could only be made to those who were able to read, where numbers were not congregated together, and where the spirit of frantic enthusiasm could not be so easily communicated from eye to eye and from heart to heart; but he who understood the precise moment in which his treasonable incite- ments were most likely to be efficacious—he who understood how to play on the calamities and sufferings which must be the lot of man in this world, particularly in crowded and dense populations, and who at the proper moment presented to the minds in a state of vehement excitement the particular principle he wished to have adopted—availed himself of a more dangerous instrument, and entailed upon himself a deeper guilt, than the man who addressed his incentives publicly through the press. And when he was told by some friends whom he esteemed that the freedom of discussion was in danger, because words spoken with a certain intent were made felony, he would ask them where was their solicitude for the safeguard of the constitution, which was the liberty of the press, seeing that the same punishment as that objected to for words spoken would apply by the terms of the clause to words published? Now, it was a mistake, and he apprehended that in truth those who used the argument against spoken words confounded two things which were entirely different, and were, in truth, only associated together because they were presented to one organ. He could not help thinking that his hon. Friend the Member for Bolton (Dr. Bowring), whose writings and speeches he had always regarded with the highest admiration from his earliest years—he could not help thinking, he said, that his hon. Friend had been a little misled by that natural sympathy he must feel for everything relating to the free expression of thought, and had confounded two things essentially different. He had confounded the aberration of a noble nature who, under the excitement of a moment, saw the future in the instant, and who, under the impulse of feelings which arose from the contemplation of oppression and wrong, used some expressions which seemed to pass the bounds of legitimate discussion, but for which in his cooler moments he would feel regret; there was no relation between that and the treasonable language of a bad and corrupt heart, advisedly persuading a treasonable course. There was no more relation between the two things, because the same organ was addressed, than there was between obscene and slanderous publications and the noblest effusions of genius, because the same machinery gave them forth to the world. It had been also objected to the clause, that evidence as to the intent could not be safely relied upon, because words were capable of being mis- heard and misreported; but if such an objection was to hold, he should like to know what could be said of the many convictions which had taken place for murder, where the chief evidence was that of words used by the persons accused, sometimes presenting themselves in the shape of a suggestion, sometimes the plan hinted at, sometimes the result anticipated, and all brought to bear upon the accounts given at different times by the prisoner, and with such facts as existed relative to the mode and manner in which the crime had been committed. In fact, all these circumstances were some of the means given by the God of nature to enable us to detect crime, and which ought to be watched and attended to, otherwise we were neglecting the means which Heaven had given us to arrive at the truth. It had been said by one of his learned Friends that if the overt act followed the incentive, the person making use of the words would be liable to the higher punishment. Why, the crime of compassing the death or devising means for deposing the Queen, was in the words. If one person instigated another person to bring about the death of the Queen, would not that amount to treason, although the overt act failed, or was not attempted? And if the crime was high treason when the incentive was addressed only to one person, was it not as much high treason when it was addressed to ten thousand? God forbid that the punishment should only follow the actual commission of the offence! On these grounds, and bringing painful experience to bear upon the question, he confessed that he felt grateful to the Government for proposing the present measure, because he thought the change was calculated to secure substantial justice. It was not from the earnest, honest, and intelligent followers of the hon. and learned Member for Nottingham—it was not from them or from their public or private speeches—that he apprehended danger. He did not believe that the great body of those men, who looked, perhaps, too fondly upon the Charter, supplied the materials from which the most danger was to be apprehended. He apprehended most from the addresses of unprincipled agitators to the profligate, the despairing, and the hungry—men who had no notion either about divine obligation or of political right. He would venture to say, that among the poor persons tried at Stafford, to the number of some hundreds, that scarcely one of them had the dimmest notion of political rights or duties, and that they were actuated by nothing but a frantic enthusiasm. If, on the present occasion, he had had an opportunity of appealing to the learned persons who took part in the political trials in which he himself was engaged—Lord Campbell, Mr. Justice Wilde, or Sir F. Kelly, who most ably defended the prisoners—he was sure they would agree with him in thinking that of those deluded thousands that followed Frost in the dead of night from the hills of Monmouthshire to the valley; and who were led by him to the Westgate Inn to be fired at by soldiers, some of whom fell while the dastardly traitor had skulked away in search of concealment—and who, in an hour afterwards, was found shedding tears—unavailing tears—over the slaughter which he had been the means of causing. Not one in twenty knew anything at all about the six points of the Charter, to promote which they were brought together. He therefore supported the proposed change, believing that it was essentially necessary to the dealing out of equal justice, that the crime of felony should attach to the instigator as well as to the deluded beings who acted under the impulse which that instigator communicated. He had not arrived at that conclusion under the influence of panic. He firmly believed that the events which were taking place on the Continent of Europe, even although the leaders should be as successful in maintaining order and peace, and establishing a reasonable degree of freedom, as he wished them to be, would only have the effect of endearing and strengthening the attachment of the people of this empire to the law, the Church, and the Crown; and tend to knit together with more firm and intense union men of all parties whose shades of difference had now become fainter in the presence of their great duties. It was not from any present apprehension of the great body of the English people, that he desired to see the measure carried. It was because he feared advantage would be taken of the wants, the discontents, the privations of the people in after times, and that other agitators would arise, against whose incentives it was necessary to guard the suffering masses; and with this view he did hope that the Legislature would provide at the least for an equal punishment where the greater guilt existed.

MR. MOORE would oppose this measure, not because it was to impose upon Ireland a provision of English law, but because under that pretence it armed the Executive with a new and terrible power over the expression of opinion in this country. The programme drawn by the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary in introducing this measure, had been absolutely full of allurement and attraction. The Bill, he said, was only to assimilate the law between England and Ireland; and, in that kind feeling which the Legislature had always evinced towards the Irish, it was intended, in applying the law to them, that it should be shorn of its severity, and that thus the English people also would reap the benefit of this most merciful Act. Such had been the profession of the Government; but the debate had shown the reality of the case to be the very reverse. A blow was aimed at the liberties of the whole empire, under the pretence of striking at Irish crime. As to the explanations that had been given, he could only say that, after listening to the statements of a dozen learned Gentlemen, he was more at a loss to comprehend both what the law actually was, and what it was proposed to make it, than he had been before he had heard a word they had uttered. He begged to ask the hon. and learned Attorney General whether he meant to assert that all words and modes of expression, which were made felony by the present Act, would be overt acts of treason under the old law? If not, on what ground was it that, when such an enactment was proposed by Mr. Pitt, it was opposed by the old Opposition, and withdrawn by Mr. Pitt? If they were not indictable under the old law, and did become felony by the present Bill, was not this a new law of felony which interfered with the right of free discussion? If such words were overt acts of high treason under the old law, then all the authorities which had been hitherto looked to with respect were totally mistaken; and the hon. and learned Member for Reading had revealed something new to the world. The right hon. Baronet who opened the debate, in referring to a speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham, showed that there were distinctions which only persons learned in the law could comprehend; and was it not terrible to think that guilty men, who knew the law, might escape a punishment which the ignorant, but less guilty, might incur? They were in the habit of considering themselves an enlightened, liberal, and reformed Parliament. He would read what an unenlightened and unreformed Parliament, held at the close of one of the most arbitrary reigns in our history, had said—the Parliament held at the beginning of the reign of Queen Mary. In repealing one of the arbitrary enactments of a preceding reign, the Statute 1 Mary, Sess. 1, cap. 1, said— Forasmuch as the state of every king, ruler, and governor of any realm, dominion, or commonalty, standeth and consisteth more assured by the love and favour of the subjects toward their sovereign ruler and governor, than in the dread and fear of laws made with rigorous pains and extreme punishment for not obeying of their sovereign ruler and governor; and laws also justly made for the preservation of the commonweal, without extreme punishment or great penalty, are more often for the most part obeyed and kept than laws and statutes so made, whereby not only the ignorant and rude, unlearned people, but also learned and expert people, minding honesty, are often and many times trapped and snared, yea, many times for words only, without other fact or deed done or perpetrated. He called upon those Gentlemen who were in the habit of speaking, and, properly so, of the wisdom of our ancestors, to take care that they did not now pass a law which, in the time of Henry VIII., was thought oppressive, which might trample down the right of free discussion, and choke the voice of the people.

MR. MR. MOORE would oppose this measure,OSWALD wished to express his sincere and heartfelt regret that the Government had brought in this Bill without first considering what was the smallest amount of penalty that could repress the crime. He regretted that they did not take the lowest amount of penalty; and he regretted still more that they did not resolve that the measure should be a permanent one.

MR. M. MILNES said, it should be recollected that this Bill when it became law might fall into the hands of other Ministers than the present. He was obliged to oppose the Clause, and he did so, not from any disrespect to the Government; neither did he do so from any sympathy with some who had raised their voices with rather an unnecessary asperity against it. The views of Mr. Fox upon such subjects had been alluded to; but he believed that the opinion of Mr. Fox was, that if necessity caused any deviation from the principles of the constitution, that deviation ought to be made in as distinct a manner as possible, so as to make the exception from the general rule; and, for his part, he protested against the idea that Her Majesty's Government were to be fettered in their actions by the traditions of any party whatsoever. If they looked at an Irish newspaper, or at an English newspaper, in which the proceedings of the Chartists were described, they might say that such proceedings ought not to go unpunished; but then they ought to recollect for how many years this country enjoyed a social security, exceeding that of all others, at the same time that there was allowed a freedom of speech which, though liable to abuse, had never affected the security of the Crown, or the dignity of that House. He, therefore, did not think that a case had been made out for these peculiar powers under the Bill. His hon. learned and poetic Friend (Serjeant Talfourd) had allowed his vivid imagination to lead him into a fallacy, for the very cases which he had described with such glowing imagery and power of diction had been found punishable under the ordinary law. It must have been the desire of many Governments and many monarchs in this country to have enacted such a Bill as that now passed. But the greater portion of the legal authorities of the day were against it, and it could not be done. The noble Lord boasted of having a commanding majority; he warned him against playing it off against the wishes and the feeling of the country. For his part, he was by no means prepared to give any additional facility to the Government for the institution of Crown prosecutions, which, in many cases, were of dangerous tendency. The Government must be quite aware that neither this nor any similar law would be able to effect any alteration in the habits of the Irish. The juries would just be as unfair upon one side as they were upon the other. The jury which had convicted Mr. O'Connell had been entirely ruined. He had been assured that they suffered most grievously in their private circumstances; and he was quite convinced that had a Catholic jury brought in a verdict opposed to Protestant feeling, the circumstances would have been just the same. He would warn the noble Lord against doing any act, at the present moment, which would tend to impress on the public mind of Europe that he entertained the slightest fear of the security of the Crown and the constitution of these kingdoms. It was his opinion that they were never so safe as they were at present, and that instead of restricting they ought to give greater liberty to the people.

MR. B. COCHRANE regretted that the Bill should be limited to the period of two years. It appeared to him that what was sedition in 1848, would be equally sedition in 1850. He must say that he had heard language in that House which had astonished him. It was a matter of wonder to him that the hon. Member uttering such traitorous sedition should have been permitted to retain his seat. He had heard the hon. Member for Limerick assert that he was prepared to take up arms in opposition to the constitution, and that he would advise his friends to take up arms also. He was prepared to give his support to a measure twice as stringent as that now proposed.

MR. F. O'CONNOR advised the noble Lord at the head of the Government to beware how he adopted advice which came from the Opposition side of the House, from which nothing could emanate favourable to his Government. The late Attorney General (Sir F. Thesiger) gave it as his opinion that it was not necessary to put the precise words in the indictment; all that was required was the mere construction. He had never in his life heard such an unconstitutional doctrine. The Bill was in reality a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act; it took away the right of bail and the right of traverse; a prisoner might remain in gaol for eight or nine months before he was brought to trial, unless a special commission were issued to try his offence. To show the danger of relying upon language attributed to public speakers, he would read to them an extract from the Sun newspaper, in which he was reported to have said— Let them pass that Bill, and on that day week one hundred secret societies would be established throughout the country, and he would go about and organise them. Now he had never said any such thing; and when such a mistake as that could be made, where everything was conducted calmy and deliberately, what might they expect at meetings where excitement and tumult prevailed? He had said the very contrary of what was there attributed to him, and had positively stated his determination to oppose the formation of all secret societies. He would put it to them, what would be the feeling of the country if he had abandoned his duty by not having taken his place at the head of the procession on Monday last, although it had been forbidden by the Government? Had there been a collision with the authorities, what would have been his own feelings if he had not been present to share the danger and responsibility, as he had previously identified himself with the movement? The hon. Member for York had attributed to him the authorship of an article advocating a republican form of government. What was the fact? The article complained of was written in abuse of the people of the United States, and in caution to the French people against following their example. It also advocated the election of the President for life; and so far was it contrary to what was represented by the hon. Member, that not one word throughout the whole of it referred to England. The entire press was opposed to the Chartist movement; and he might tell them what was very well known, that the press was paid, not for representing the truth of public opinion, but for the purpose of misreporting and colouring it, in order to meet the views of those who read it. The Times newspaper, of the 10th inst., reported a very violent speech, said to have been delivered at a Chartist meeting, held at Blackheath, upon Sunday, the 9th instant. Now, he had received a letter from Major General William Napier, stating to him that no meeting of any kind was held there that day. Would any man define to him what was the meaning of "open and advised speaking?" He defied them to give a definition. "Oh!" said the Solicitor General, "we preserve this vague and ungrammatical clause, merely because we found it ungrammatical; and we are tenacious of our Saxon forms of expression, even where they mean nothing." What was foolishly, rashly, and intemperately spoken by a man opposed to the Government, would be considered open and advised speaking: that was the real truth of the matter. The people of this country had borne more tyranny and injustice than any other people in the world. They bore it more tamely and more patiently, and he warned the Government not to press them too far. They had a large standing Army. Their shopkeepers were bankrupt, and their merchants were losing their capital. Yet no retrenchment was made in the expenditure of the country. Why did they not reduce the civil list? Why did they pay 27,000l. to a foreign king—to the King of Hanover? This was a monstrous iniquity, and one which ought to be remedied. The present Government was a most truckling Government to its opponents, and the most unjust to its friends. What did he care what Mr. Cuffey or what any other Mr. Tomfool said?— Fœnum habet in cornu. This Bill would remove the safety-valve through which their folly would pass harmless away. He defied the Government to carry the Bill into operation—they dare not. It was his intention to propose an Amendment when they came to limit the duration of the Bill, to the effect that it should be maintained in operation as long as the noble Lord remained in office. Why, they once thought that the income-tax was to be temporary. Did not the smooth-tongued and cunning-lipped Baronet the Member for Tamworth assure them that it would be but temporary, and beg that they would not refuse to the State what the State stood so much in need of? Well, now they were told in the same way, that the State stood in need of this Bill; but were they once to pass it, they would be told, "Oh, as we have it now, we may as well keep it." Suppose it should turn out inoperative: it would then be said, "The law is a dead letter. Let it alone: there is no need for meddling with it." But suppose it should be used: then the answer to any arguments for its repeal would be, "See the utility of the law." Depend upon it, the Bill, once passed, would become as permanent as was the income-tax. Let it become law, and he would traverse the country, morning, noon, and night, and his constant cry would be, "Down with the base, bloody, and brutal Whigs!"

MR. REYNOLDS did not consider the Amendment a modification, for though undoubtedly it did give a discretionary power to the Judge to imprison, it yet left the power of transportation for life untouched. He asked earnestly what were the extraordinary circumstances which called for this Bill? What was there in Ireland? Nothing but a great deal of intemperate writing in the United Irishman and the Nation; but the other newspapers were temperate. Some one said the Freeman's Journal inserted strong articles; but he doubted that—it was as tame as a mouse, and as polite as the Court Journal. The other newspapers, too, were as circumspect as a lady's lap-dog. Was it then to be endured that such an Act should pass, to the detriment and disgrace of a whole nation, because a few madcaps got possession of a printing press and an inexhaustible supply of ink in Dublin, and issued seditious writings, from which, besides, it must not be forgotten, they derived a money profit? The operation of this Bill would increase discontent, and diminish the already slender condition of public credit in Ireland, where a run on the savings' and joint-stock banks had already set in. There was at the present moment 12,000,000l. of notes more in circulation there than the gold to meet it; and if the panic went on, this deficiency would have to be made up by the Bank of England, which only had bullion in hand to the amount of 14,500,000l. He implored the House, therefore, not to pass this Bill, as it would prevent the restoration of public credit and confidence. He repudiated the idea that the minority were pursuing a factious course in respect to this Bill; on the contrary, that they would have been guilty of treason to their constituents had they not offered every possible obstruction to its passing.

The SOLICITOR GENERAL denied that any new offence was created by the Bill. All it did—and he could not too often impress it upon the Committee—was to alter the character of an offence already recognised—already created, both by statute and common law. The Bill before them proposed—and that was all which it did propose—to make an alteration in the step preliminary to trial for an acknowledged offence, and also to introduce an alteration in the nature of the punishment with which that offence was to be visited. In effecting this, too, the law proposed to render the evidence, and the mode in which that evidence was to be received, as precise as possible; thus introducing a very great improvement into the present law of sedition, which he had always been disposed to think was far too vague and uncertain. The practical effect of this Bill would be to put an end to prosecutions for sedition. In every ease Government would institute prosecutions for offences of this nature, because the persons present at these seditious meetings would not be found willing to come forward for that purpose; and when Government did so it would not be for the first offence, inasmuch as they would require intimation beforehand, in order to send shorthand writers to take notes of the speeches. It was proposed to send two two shorthand writers to ensure accuracy, and if their notes agreed in every respect it would be impossible to doubt their evidence; indeed, no one had attempted to assert that they could be suborned to swear falsely. It was also proposed to make it impossible for any person imprisoned for this offence to repeat it while in prison by writings to be published out of doors, or by communications with his friends, and, therefore, no such communications would be permitted. Silence would be found the most severe punishment that could be inflicted on these persons. Complaints had been made by some hon. Members that Government had devised no remedial measures, while they were ready enough to pass those of coercion. If the time occupied since last November in talking about the wrongs of Ireland, had been, by a compact with Government, devoted to the advancement of such measures of real utility as the Encumbered Estates Bill, and Government had refused to proceed with them, then these complaints would have had some show of justice. Although it was his opinion that the Bill should be permanent, as he thought it absolutely necessary that Government should interfere for the purpose of preserving the people of Ireland from the evil influences to which they had been exposed, still it had been determined to limit its operation to the period of two years, and if at the end of that time it were found to have had an evil effect, it would not be necessary to renew it; but should that not be so, he thought the measure should be re-enacted.

After a few words from Mr. WYLD, the Committee divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause:—Ayes 188; Noes 79: Majority 109.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Brockman, E. D.
Adair, R. A. S. Brown, H.
Adderley, C. B. Buxton, Sir E. N.
Anson, Visct. Campbell, hon. W. F.
Arkwright, G. Cardwell, E.
Arundel and Surrey, Carter, J. B.
Earl of Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Bagot, hon. W. Cayley, E. S.
Bagshaw, J. Chaplin, W. J.
Bailey, J.,jun. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Bateson, T. Cholmeley, Sir M.
Beckett, W. Christy, S.
Bellew, R. M. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Benbow, J. Cocks, T. S.
Benett, J. Codrington, Sir W.
Bentinck, Lord H. Coke, hon. E. K.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Bernard, Visct. Cowan, C.
Blackall, S. W. Craig, W. G.
Blakemore, R. Cubitt, W.
Boldero, H. G. Currie, H.
Bolling, W. Davies, D. A. S.
Bourke, R. S. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Bowles, Adm. Denison, W. J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Dick, Q.
Bramston, T. W. Disraeli, B.
Bremridge, R. Dod, J. W.
Broadley, H. Drummond, H.
Duff, G. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Duncuft, J. Mitchell, T. A.
Dundas, Adm. Morgan, O.
East, Sir J. B. Morpeth, Visct.
Ebrington, Visct. Morison, Gen.
Edwards, H. Morris, D.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Mulgrave, Earl of
Filmer, Sir E. Mundy, E. M.
Fitzpatrick,rt. hn. J.W. Napier, J.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Neeld, J.
Foley, J. H. H. Noel, hon. G. J.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Ogle, S. C. H.
Frewen, C. H. Owen, Sir J.
Gaskell, J. M. Packe, C. W.
Glyn, G. C. Palmer, R.
Godson, R. Parker, J.
Gordon, Adm. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Granby, Marq. of Price, Sir R.
Greenall, G. Prime, R.
Greene, T. Pug, D.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Pusey, P.
Guest, Sir J. Rawdon, Col.
Gwyn, H. Rice, E. R.
Haggitt, F. R. Richards, R.
Harris, hon. Capt. Rolleston, Col.
Hawes, B. Romilly, J.
Hay, Lord J. Russell, Lord J.
Hayter, W. G. Russell, hon. E. S.
Heathcoat, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Heathcote, G. J. Rutherfurd, A.
Heathcote, Sir W. Sandars, G.
Henley, J. W. Seymour, Lord
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Hervey, Lord A. Shelburne, Earl of
Heywood, J. Sidney, Ald,
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Slaney, R. A.
Hood, Sir A. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hope, A. Somerset, Capt.
Hutt, W. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Spearman, H. J.
Jervis, Sir J. Spooner, R.
Johnstone, Sir J. Stafford, A.
Jones, Sir W. Stanton, W. H.
Jones, Capt. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Keogh, W. Stephenson, R.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Stuart, J.
Knox, Col. Talfourd, Serj.
Lacy, H. C. Tancred, H. W.
Langston, J. H. Tennent, R. J.
Lemon, Sir C. Thompson, Aid.
Lewis, G. C. Townley, R. G.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Urquhart, D.
Loch, J. Vane, Lord H.
Long, W. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Wall, C. B.
Macnamara, Maj. Ward, H. G.
M'Neill, D. Watkins, Col.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Whitmore, T. C.
Manners, Lord C. S. Wilcox, B. M.
Martin, J. Wilson, M.
Martin, C. W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Masterman, J. Wyvill, M.
Matheson, A. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Matheson, J. Young, Sir J.
Matheson, Col. TELLERS.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Tufnell, H.
Maunsell, T. P. Hill, Lord M.
List of the Noes.
Adair, H. E. Armstrong, R. B.
Aglionby, H. A. Baines, M. T.
Alcock, T.
Blake, M. J. Meagher, T.
Blewitt, R. J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Bowring, Dr. Moore, G. H.
Brotherton, J. Muntz, G. F.
Brown, W. O'Brien, T.
Clay, J. O'Connell, J.
Clay, Sir W. O'Connor, F.
Cobden, R. Osborne, R.
Crawford, W. S. Pechell, Capt.
Devereux, J. T. Pilkington, J.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. Power, Dr.
Duncan, Visct. Power, N.
Duncan, G. Raphael, A.
Dunne, F. P. Reynolds, J.
Evans, Sir De L. Salwey, Col.
Evans, J. Scholefield, W.
Evans, W. Scully, F.
Ewart, W. Smith, J. B.
Fagan, W. Strickland, Sir G.
Fagan, J. Stuart, Lord D.
Fox, R. M. Sullivan, M.
Fox, W. J. Tenison, E. K.
Gardner, R. Thicknesse, R. A.
Grace, O. D. J. Thompson, Col.
Grattan, H. Thompson, G.
Hall, Sir B. Thornely, T.
Hardcastle, J. A. Trelawny, J. S.
Henry, A. Wakley, T.
Hindley, C. Walmsley, Sir J.
Hodges, T, L. Wawn, J. T.
Howard, P. H. Westhead, J. P.
Hume, J. Williams, J.
Humphery, Ald. Wood, W. P.
Jackson, W. Wrightson, W. B.
Keating, R. Wyld, J.
Kershaw, J. TELLERS.
King, hon. P. J. L. Martin, S.
Magan, W. H. Horsman, E.

MR. EWART moved the addition, after the words "open and advised speaking," of the words "at a public meeting;" but, after a short debate, postponed the amendment, until the bringing up the report.

Some discussion ensued as to the legal effect of a provision introduced by Sir GEORGE GREY, requiring the information against spoken words to be laid within three days, etc., when Mr. HUME moved that the Chairman do report progress. On this question the Committee divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 305: Majority 257.

List of the AYES.
Anderson, A. Henry, A.
Blake, M. J. Hindley, C.
Blewitt, R. J. Horsman, E.
Bright, J. Keating, R.
Clay, J. Kershaw, J.
Cobden, R. M'Gregor, J.
Crawford, W. S. Martin, S.
Devereux, J. T. Moore, G. H.
Fagan, J. Mowatt, F.
Fox, R. M. Muntz, G. F.
Fox, W. J. O'Brien, T.
Gardner, R. O'Connell, J.
Grattan, H. O'Connor, F.
Greene, J. Pearson, C.
Hall, Sir B. Pechell, Capt.
Hardcastle, J. A. Pilkington, J.
Power, Dr. Thompson, Col.
Power, N. Thompson, G.
Raphael, A. Wakley, T.
Reynolds, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Salwey, Col. Williams, J.
Scholefield, W. Wood, W. P.
Scully, F.
Smith, J. B. TELLERS.
Stuart, Lord D. Hume, J.
Sullivan, M. Bowring, Dr.

On the question that Clause 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

MR. WAKLEY moved that the Chairman report progress, and obtain leave to sit again on Monday.

SIR G. GREY said, the clause had been now three days under discussion, and he was most anxious that they should not break up without agreeing to it, for it was in fact the very spirit of the Bill; if the Committee separated without coming to a decision upon the clause, they would have three more days' discussion upon it. He appealed to the Committee to support him.

MR. MUNTZ would like to know, if the clause had been already three days under discussion, to what that was owing, but the blundering and imperfect manner in which the Bill had been introduced? It was all very well for the right hon. Baronet to be annoyed, but no one cared for that. Those Members of the House who were independent of the Government, and of everything else, had just as much right to be irritated as the right hon. Baronet; and he, for one, must express his annoyance at the provisions of this Bill, and at the way in which it was attempted to be forced upon the House.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL said, that he was surprised the hon. Member had remained so long still, and had not attempted to correct the ungrammatical language of the clause, as they had now arrived at a stage when no amendment to the clause could be moved. The only question was, whether certain words having been added to the clause, the Committee would take the clause as amended or not?

The Committee divided on the question that the Chairman do report progress:— Ayes 39; Noes 270: Majority 231.

List of the AYES.
Blake, M. J. Devereux, J. T.
Bowring,, Dr. Fagan, J.
Bright, J. Fox, R. M.
Cobden, R. Fox, W. J.
Crawford, W. S. Gardner, R.
Grattan, H. Power, Dr.
Greene, J. Power, N.
Henry, A. Raphael, A.
Hindley, C. Reynolds, J
Hume, J. Salwey, Col.
Keating, R. Scully, F.
Kershaw, J. Smith, J. B.
M'Gregor, J. Stuart, Lord D.
Moore, G. H. Sullivan, M.
Mowatt, F. Thompson, Col.
Muntz, G. F. Thompson, G.
O'Brien, T. Walmsley, Sir J.
O'Connell, J. Williams, J.
O'Connor, F. TELLERS.
Pearson, C. Wakley, T.
Pilkington, J. Blewitt, R. J.

The Committee again divided on the question that the clause stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 242; Noes 50; Majority 192.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Cowan, C.
Adair, R. A. S. Craig, W. G.
Adderley, C. B. Cripps, W.
Anson, hon. Col. Currie, H.
Archdall, Capt. M. Davies, D. A. S.
Arkwright, G. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Arundel and Surrey Denison, W. J.
Earl of Dod, J. W.
Ashley, Lord Douro, Marq. of
Bagshaw, J. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Bailey, J., jun. Drummond, H.
Baldock, E. H. Duncuft, J.
Barrington, Visct. Dundas, Adm.
Beckett, W. Dundas, Sir D.
Bellew, R. M. Dundas, G.
Benett, J. East, Sir J. B.
Bennet, P. Ebrington, Visct.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Edwards, H.
Bernard, Visct. Egerton, Sir P.
Birch, Sir T. B. Ellice, E.
Blandford, Marq. of Elliot, hon. J. E.
Boldero, H. G. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Bolling, W. Fellowes, E.
Bowles, Adm. Ferguson, Col.
Boyle, hon. Col. Filmer, Sir E.
Bramston, T. W. FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J.
Bremridge, R. Foley, J. H. H.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Buller, C. Fox, S. W. L.
Bunbury, W. M. Fuller, A. E.
Bunbury, E. H. Gaskell, J. M.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Glyn, G. C.
Carew, W. H. P. Gooch, E. S.
Carter, J. B. Gordon, Adm.
Castlereagh, Visct. Grace, O. D. J.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Granby, Marq. of
Chichester, Lord J. L. Grenall, G.
Christy, S. Greene, T.
Clements, hon. C. S. Grenfell, C. P.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Grenfell, C. W.
Clifford, H. M. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Grey, R. W.
Cocks, T. S. Grogan, E.
Coles, H. B. Gwyn, H.
Colvile, C. R. Haggitt, F. R.
Copeland, Ald. Hale, R. B.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hall, Col.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Courtenay, Lord Hanmer, Sir J.
Harris, hon. Capt. Patten, J. W.
Hastie, A. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hawes, B. Peto, S. M.
Hay, Lord J. Pigott, F.
Hayes, Sir E. Pinney, W.
Hayter, W. G. Plowden, W. H. C.
Headlam, T. E. Price, Sir R.
Heathcote, G. J. Prime, R.
Heathcote, Sir W. Pusey, P.
Henley, J. W. Rawdon, Col.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Reid, Col,
Hervey, Lord A. Repton, G. W. J.
Heywood, J. Ricardo, O.
Hildyard, R. C. Rice, E. R.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Rich, H.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Richards, R.
Hobhouse, T. B. Romilly, J.
Hood, Sir A. Rufford, F.
Hope, H. T. Russell, hon. E. S.
Hope, A. Rutherfurd, A.
Hornby, J. Sandars, G.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Scott, hon. F.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Seaham, Visct.
Howard, P. H. Seymer, H. K.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Seymour, Sir H.
Jervis, Sir J. Seymour, Lord
Jones, Capt. Shafto, R. D.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Sheil, rt, hon. R. L.
Knox, Col. Shelburne, Earl of
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Simeon, J.
Langston, J. H. Smith, J. A.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Smith, M. T.
Lawless, hon. C. Somerton, Visct.
Lennard, T. B. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Lewis, G. C. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Spearman, H. J.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Spooner, R.
Locke, J. Stafford, A.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Macnamara, Maj. Stansfield, W. R. C.
M'Neill, D. Stanton, W. H.
McTaggart, Sir J. Stephenson, R.
March, Earl of Stuart, J.
Martin, J. Sturt, H. G.
Martin, C. W. Talbot, C. R. M.
Masterman, J. Talfourd, Serj.
Matheson, A. Tenison, E. K.
Matheson, J. Tennent, R. J.
Matheson, Col. Thompson, Ald.
Maule, rt hon. F. Towneley, J.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Townley, R. G.
Melgund, Visct. Townshend, Capt.
Meux, Sir H. Trollope, Sir J.
Mitchell, T. A. Turner, G. J.
Moffatt, G. Vane, Lord H.
Morgan, O. Verney, Sir H.
Morpeth, Visct. Vivian, J. H.
Morris, D. Vyse, R. H R. H.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Walpole, S. H.
Mulgrave, Earl of Ward, H. G.
Mundy, E. M. Watkins, Col.
Napier, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Neeld, J. Whitmore, T. C.
Newport, Visct. Williamson, Sir H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Wilson, J.
Norreys, Lord Wilson, M.
O'Connell, M. J. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Ogle, S. C. H. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Packe, C. W. Wyvill, M.
Palmer, R. Young, Sir J.
Palmer, R. TELLERS.
Palmerston, Visct. Tufnell, H.
Parker, J. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Adair, H. E. Moore, G. H.
Aglionby, H. A. Mowatt, F.
Blake, M. J. Muntz, G. F.
Blewitt, R. J. O'Brien, T.
Bowring, Dr. O'Connell, J.
Bright, J. O'Connor, F.
Callaghan, D. Pearson, C.
Clay, J. Pechell, Capt.
Cobden, R. Pilkington, J.
Crawford, W. S. Power, Dr.
Devereux, J. T. Power, N.
Duncan, G. Raphael, A.
Fagan, J. Reynolds, J.
Fox, R. M. Salwey, Col.
Fox, W. J. Scully, F.
Grattan, H. Sheridan, R. B.
Greene, J. Smith, J. B.
Hardcastle, J. A. Stuart, Lord D.
Henry, A. Sullivan, M.
Hume, J. Thompson, Col.
Hutt, W. Thompson, G.
Keating, R. Walmsley, Sir J.
Kershaw, J. Williams, J.
King, hon. P. J. L.
M'Gregor, J. TELLERS.
Magan, W. H. Hindley, C.
Martin, S. Wakley, T.

Clause agreed to.

On the question that Clause 4 stand part of the Bill,

MR. HUME opposed the Motion. He wished to know whether, if a man were charged with having spoken criminal words on the lst, 8th, and the 15th of a month, they would be all brought against him?

The ATTORNEY GENERAL said, that if a man were indicted for high treason, any number of charges of having used words which might explain the overt act might be adduced against him, even if they had occurred a year before.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 221; Noes 33: Majority 188.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Boyle, hon. Col.
Adair, R. A. S. Bramston, T. W.
Adderley, C. B. Brotherton, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Buller, Sir J. V.
Anson, hon. Col. Buller, C.
Anstey, T. C. Bunbury, W. M.
Arkwright, G. Bunbury, E. H.
Arundel and Surrey, Carew, W. H. P.
Earl of Carter, J. B.
Ashley, Lord Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Begot, hon. W. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Baldock, E. H. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Barrington, Visct. Christy, S.
Beckett, W. Clements, hon. C. S.
Bellew, R. M. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Benett, J. Coles, H. B.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Colvile, C. R.
Birch, Sir T. B. Copeland, Ald.
Boldero, H. G. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bolling, W. Courtenay, Lord
Bowles, Adm. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Craig, W. G. King, hon. P. J. L.
Cripps, W. Knox, Col.
Davies, D. A. S. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Langston, J. H.
Denison, W. J. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Dod, J. W. Lemon, Sir C.
Douro, Marq. of Lennard, T. B.
Drummond, H. Lewis, G. C.
Duncan, G. Lindsey, hon. Col.
Duncuft, J. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Dundas, Adm. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Dundas, Sir D. Macnamara, Major
Dundas, G. M'Neill, D.
Dunne, F. P. Magan, W. H.
East, Sir J. B. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Ebrington, Visct. March, Earl of
Edwards, H. Martin, C, W.
Egerton, Sir P. Martin, S.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Masterman, J.
Estcourt, J. B, B. Matheson, A.
Evans, W. Matheson, J.
Fellowes, E. Matheson, Col.
Ferguson, Col. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Filmer, Sir E. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Fitz Patrick, rt. hn. J. W. Melgund, Visct.
Foley, J. H. H. Meux, Sir H.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Mitchell, T. A.
Fox, S. W. L. Morgan, O.
Fuller, A. E. Morpeth, Visct.
Gaskell, J. M. Morris, D.
Glyn, G. C. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Gooch, E. S. Mulgrave, Earl of
Grace, O. D. J. Mundy, E. M.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Noel, hon. G. J.
Granby, Marq. of Norreys, Lord
Greenall, G. Nugent, Sir P.
Greene, T. O'Connell, M. J.
Grenfell, C. P. Ogle, S. C. H.
Grenfell, C. W. Packe, C. W.
Grey, R. W. Palmer, R.
Gwyn, H. Palmer, R.
Haggitt, F. R. Palmerston, Visct.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Parker, J.
Hanmer, Sir J. Patten, J. W.
Harris, hon. Capt. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hastie, A. Pigott, F.
Hawes, B. Pinney, W.
Hay, Lord J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hayes, Sir E. Price, Sir R.
Hayter, W. G. Rawdon, Col.
Headlam, T. E. Reid, Col.
Heathcote, G. J. Ricardo, O.
Heathcote, Sir W. Rice, E. R.
Henley, J. W. Rich, H.
Hervey, Lord A. Richards, R.
Heywood, J. Romilly, J.
Hildyard, R. C. Rufford, F.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Russell, hon. E. S.
Hindley, C. Rutherford, A.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Sandars, G.
Hobhouse, T. B. Scott, hon. F.
Hood, Sir A. Seaham, Visct.
Hope, A. Seymer, H. K.
Hornby, J. Seymour, Sir H.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Shafto, R. D.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Hutt, W. Shelburne, Earl of
Ingestre, Visct. Sheridan, R. B.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Jervis, Sir J. Simeon, J.
Jones, Capt. Smith, J. A.
Keogh, W. Smith, M. T.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Somerton, Visct,
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. Vivian, J. H.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Spearman, H. J. Walpole, S. H.
Spooner, R. Ward, H. G.
Stafford, A. Watkins, Col.
Stanley, hon. E. J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Whitmore, T. C.
Stanton, W. H. Williams, T. P.
Stephenson, R. Williamson, Sir H.
Sturt, H. G. Wilson, J.
Talfourd, Serj. Wilson, M.
Tenison, E. K. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Tennent, R. J. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Thesiger, Sir F. Wyvill, M.
Thompson, Ald. Young, Sir J.
Towneley, J.
Townshend, Capt. TELLERS.
Turner, G. J. Tufnell, H.
Verney, Sir H. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Blake, M. J. O'Brien, T.
Blewitt, R. J. Pearson, C.
Bowring, Dr. Pilkington, J.
Bright, J. Power, Dr.
Callaghan, D. Power, N.
Cobden, R. Raphael, A.
Crawford, W. S. Salwey, Col.
Devereux, J. T. Scully, F.
Fox, R. M. Stuart, Lord D.
Grattan, H. Sullivan, M.
Greene, J. Thompson, Col.
Hume, J. Thompson, G.
Keating, R. Wakley, T.
M'Gregor, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Moore, G. H. Williams, J.
Mowatt, F. TELLERS.
Muntz, G. F. Reynolds, J.
Napier, J. O'Connor, F.

Clause to stand part of the Bill.

Other clauses of the Bill agreed to.

House resumed.

Report to be received.

House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.

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