HC Deb 01 May 1848 vol 98 cc560-84

SIR G. GREY: I rise to move the Second Reading of the Removal of Aliens Bill; and, in doing so, I will very shortly state the reasons which have induced Her Majesty's Government to propose it, and at the same time explain the main provisions of the Bill itself. In proposing this measure I wish distinctly to state that Her Majesty's Government entertain no doubt of the justice or expediency of the policy which has of recent years been adopted in our legislation as to the admission and residence of foreigners in this country. It has long been the boast of England—and a just cause of boast it is—that she has been the protectress of constitutional liberty throughout Europe, and has at all times afforded an asylum to those individuals who have been oppressed in, and exiled from, their own countries on account of the political opinions they entertained. The Bill which I now propose to read a second time contains nothing at variance with that principle and spirit. The grounds on which it is proposed are singly those which this country has always hitherto maintained, and has every right to maintain, namely, those of self-protection The advantages which have been derived from the free admission of foreigners into this country are too well known to call upon me to detain the House by particularising them; and I hope nothing will take place at any time, either in the legislation of this country or in the practice of the Government, that will forfeit those advantages, on the one hand, or deprive foreigners of the benefits which they derive from a residence in this country on the other. It is, however, obvious, owing to the circumstances now occurring abroad, that the present is no ordinary period—that it is a time requiring especial vigilance—and a time when it may be necessary, without interfering with the general course of our legislation, or departing from our general policy, to institute precautionary measures. It cannot be denied that a great impulse has been given to republican principles. With regard to those principles, I wish now to say nothing, except this—that we have a right to protect ourselves against foreigners —to prevent foreigners interfering with us—taking upon themselves to be the apostles of those principles, and coming to us as propagandists, as they have done in other counties. There can be no doubt that an influence has been extended beyond the country where these republican principles have, it may now be presumed, been fairly adopted; and that emissaries have gone forth, desirous to propagate their own opinions among the people of other nations. And it is well known that, while so advocating their principles, they have sometimes pursued a course of conduct in other countries not justifiable in foreigners. I must, however, say, that there exists no ground of complaint against any foreign Government. There has been nothing done by any other Government that could give this country the slightest cause of complaint; nay, my belief is, that where persons have come from abroad into this country for the purpose of advocating certain political opinions, they have done so merely as individuals, and not as the accredited exponents of the wishes of their own country; on the contrary, they have done it against the will of the Government of the country from which they came, and which Government, if it had had the power, would, I am convinced, have prevented them from coming at all. The Bill is limited to the object stated in the preamble, of preserving the peace and tranquillity of this kingdom, and it is not intended to be used at the instance of any representation of a foreign Government. We think that the present are extraordinary times, and that they are such as to justify exceptional legislation, with a view to prevent the accomplishment of the designs of that class of foreigners to which I have already alluded, who have availed themselves of their residence in this country, or who have come to it for the purpose of intriguing against its institutions. The Bill purposes to arm the Government with a power similar to that which it exercised under the former Alien Act, subject to the important qualification that the information given to the Secretary of State must be in writing, and that it must show sufficient grounds to make it appear that the foreigner against whom the information is laid is likely to endanger the public tranquillity. My noble Friend the Member for Marylebone has given notice of his intention to move some amendments in the Committee, which I will not therefore discuss now. The Bill is limited, as I have already observed, to those foreigners who have not resided a certain time in this country; and I will only call attention to one point in connexion with this part of the subject. From the facility of obtaining letters of naturalisation, under the Act brought in by the hon. Member for Gateshead in 1844, foreigners coming here with the bonâ fide intention of residing here can easily obtain certificates of naturalisation; and all who do so will be excluded from the operation of this Bill. Before that Act passed, many persons who wished to make this country their domicile were deterred from doing so by the expense of obtaining letters of naturalisation; but that expense is very trifling now, and I find that 789 certificates of naturalisation have been granted by the Secretary of State to foreigners since the passing of the Act. I do not know that any opposition will be offered to the Bill; but, at all events, I hope that the House will assent to its principle, and allow the Bill to be now read a second time, concurring in the very moderate powers which it will confer upon the Government.

SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH said, the right hon. Baronet had assigned no valid reason for this Bill. The right hon. Baronet had said that there was an immediate necessity for this measure, but he had produced no proof whatever of the existence of that necessity. The right hon. Gentleman had called upon the House to place implicit confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers, and to give the Executive Government the powers contained in this Bill. Now it appeared to him that there were two questions for the consideration of the House: firstly, whether there was any necessity for such a Bill as this; and, secondly, whether Parliament ought to entrust such power as this Bill contained to a Government? He would ask the House carefully to consider what was the object and what was the nature of this measure. The object of this Bill was to invest the Executive Government with an arbitrary power of removing from this country aliens of whose conduct the Government entertained either distrust or apprehension. It would punish an alien, not for having committed an offence against the peace and tranquillity of the nation, but for being supposed by a Secretary of State to be a person capable of committing such an offence. Therefore, as far as aliens were concerned, it would be a law analogous in principle to the famous law of suspected persons of the 17th of September, 1793, one of the most accursed laws of the reign of terror. It was identical in principle with the Alien Act of 1793, which Act had in every form, for 33 years, been consistently and strenuously opposed by every man of any eminence who belonged to the Whig or Liberal party. In fact, this Bill was merely a repetition, almost word for word, of the 15th, 16th, and 17th clauses of that Act. Now, those three clauses had constituted the essence of the original Alien Act of 1793, and of every subsequent Alien Act; for, by those clauses, the Executive Government had been invested with the power of ordering aliens to quit the country, and by those clauses, in the event of disobedience, such aliens had been made liable to be punished and to be removed out of the country by force. Therefore, this Bill was essentially the Act of 1793, minus certain other clauses. The clauses that had been omitted were subsidiary ones, which had been enacted for the purpose of enabling the Government to ascertain the number and character of the aliens entering the country, and their places of residence: those clauses had been of the most oppressive description; in his opinion they had been unnecessary for the object of the original Alien Act. Some of them had been omitted in 1802, others in 1816, and in 1818 the Alien Act had been reduced to a form little different from the present Bill. Though, by the omission of those clauses, the present Bill was far less oppressive in its details than any previous Alien Act, yet the principle of the Bill was nevertheless the same as that of the Alien Act of 1793, for it still bestowed upon the Executive Government precisely the same power of sending aliens out of the country. Now, some stress had been laid upon the fact that this Bill was to be a temporary one, to continue only for one year, and from thence to the end of the then next Session of Parliament. But the original Alien Act of 1793 had likewise been a temporary measure, to continue for one year, and from thence to the end of the then next Session of Parliament. It had, however, been renewed over and over again, and had continued for three-and-thirty years. During the whole of that period it had been opposed on principle, without reference to its details or its period of duration, by every man of any note connected with the Liberal party, by two generations of statesmen, who had so utterly repudiated the principle of the measure, that they never would consent to consider its details; and Lord Castlereagh, with perfect truth, had complained that whenever the Alien Bill "in any of its shapes was under consideration, persons of great authority on the other side of the House were anxiously prepared to contend against its policy and propriety, and against the existence of an adequate necessity for its adoption." Those "persons of great authority" were, first, in 1793, Lord Lansdowne (the father of the present noble Lord), Lord Grey (then Mr. Grey), and Mr. Fox. Subsequently the opposition to the Alien Act had been continued by Mr. Abercrombie (now Lord Dunfermline), by Mr. Whitbread, by the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, who, he believed, had commenced his political career and had made his maiden speech against the Alien Act of 1814. The most vigorous opposition had been offered to the Alien Act of 1816 by Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Horner, Mr. J. P. Grant, Sir James Mackintosh, Mr. C. Wynn, Lord Milton (now Lord Fitzwilliam), Lord Althorp, Mr. Baring (now Lord Ashburton), Mr. Lamb (now Lord Melbourne), and Mr. Brougham, all of whom had spoken earnestly against the principle of such a measure. The same course had been pursued in the House of Lords by Lord Auckland, the Duke of Sussex, Lord King, Lord Lansdowne, the late Lord Grey, and the late Lord Holland. In 1818, Mr. Lamb-ton (the late Lord Durham) distinguished himself in opposition to the Alien Bill of that year. In 1820 and 1822, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Harwich likewise distinguished him: elf by the violence of his invective against and the vehemence of his opposition to the Bills of those years. And, lastly, in 1824, Mr. Denman and Lord John Russell were tellers against the last reading of the last Alien Bill. And the noble Lord, in his concluding speech— expressed his hope that it was the last time he should ever have an opportunity of addressing the House upon the subject, convinced as he was that after the expiration of the Act they would look back to it as a measure which ought never to have been sanctioned.

Alas for human forethought and sagacity, that it should have been the lot of the noble Lord to be at the head of a Government which has proposed the next Alien Bill to the House of Commons! He should oppose that Bill for reasons with which the noble Lord must have been familiar from his cradle, for they were the reasons on account of which Mr. Fox and Lord Grey had opposed the Act of 1793. He objected to an Alien Bill as contrary to the practice of our ancestors, to the spirit of the constitution, and to the tenor of the laws of the country prior to the year 1793. It must, however, be acknowledged that Lord Grenville, Lord Sidmouth, and Lord Castlereagh had maintained that the Crown had, in virtue of its prerogative, the power, by proclamation, to forbid the entrance, and to order the departure of any alien; and that if any such alien were to disobey any such proclamation, he might be indicted for a misdemeanour, and subjected to fine and imprisonment; and those noble Lords contended that an Alien Bill was required, not in order to give any new power to the Executive Government, but merely to facilitate the exercise of a power already in existence. They had quoted Vattel and Puffendorf to prove the indisputable position that the sovereign power of a State was entitled to order aliens out of its dominions: they had quoted a loose dictum of Blackstone, and the not high authority of Sir William Northey, to show that the power to banish aliens was a portion of the prerogative of the Crown; and they had cited cases in which the Star Chamber had exercised that power in the reign of Charles I. But that doctrine of the prerogative of the Crown to send aliens out of the country had been strenuously denied by Mr. Fox, Lord Grey, the present Lord Lansdowne, Sir Samuel Romilly, and others. Those noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen had contended that an Alien Bill was contrary to the practice and principles of our ancestors. Sir Samuel Romilly had said that— Every writer on the British constitution had expatiated on the liberality with which the British laws treated foreigners. In the dark ages of our history this policy was prevalent; —and, in prod of it, Sir S. Romilly quoted Magna Charta and a Statute of the 27th Edward III., by which merchant strangers and others were liberally encouraged to visit this country. The present Lord Lansdowne, in an able and eloquent speech, asserted that— Even in the most dangerous periods of our history our ancestors had withheld from the Crown those powers which were now called for. He would refer to the long wars and agitations of public opinion which took place after the Reformation, when the genius of Popery did create in the bosom of every Protestant country a party most dangerous, inveterate, and powerful. In the history of Queen Elizabeth would be found the most distinct evidence of plots carried on against her at Rome and at Rheims—of plots carried on by Papists; but did Secretary Bur- leigh ever come down to Parliament and apply for new powers to counteract those plots? No. Queen Elizabeth's Government, relying on the affections of the people, brought the detected foreigners to public trial for their offences. He asked the noble Lord, could not Queen Victoria's Government likewise rely on the affections of the people, and dispense with these new powers? He must take the liberty of reading one other very wise passage from the speech of the noble Lord, to which he prayed the attention of the House. The noble Lord, in concluding his speech against the Alien Bill of 1816, had said— It was evident that the only wise mode of proceeding with regard to foreigners, was to leave them under the administration of existing laws, and to the mild but certain influence of manners. In this statement he begged leave cordially to concur, and he would remind the House that the Act which they had lately passed for the better security of the Crown and Government of the country had greatly increased the power of the law to punish any one who, by writing, speaking, or other overt act or deed, should intend to levy war against the institutions of the country. He would not further trespass upon the patience of the House by showing, on the authority of Mr. C. Wynn and the late Lord Grey, that neither Charles II., nor James II., nor William III., had ever dreamt either of claiming or asking for power to send aliens out of the country, though they must have oftentimes longed to possess such power. On the contrary, in the reign of Anne an Act was passed, 7th Anne, c. 5 (though, unfortunately, not of long duration), which naturalised all Protestant foreigners. And even the Georges had maintained themselves on the throne of Great Britain, despite the efforts of the exiled Stuarts, who were supported by foreign Powers, and aided by numbers at home, in times of imminent peril, without the assistance of an Alien Act. Therefore an Alien Act was contrary to the practice of our ancestors—contrary to the spirit of our constitution— contrary to the tenor of our laws prior to the year 1793—contrary to the recorded opinions of every high authority on this side of the House since the year 1793. But he would suppose (in direct opposition to the opinions of Mr. Fox and Lord Grey) that there had been a necessity for an Alien Act in 1793. Did any similar necessity exist at the present moment? The state of France in 1792 had been the reason assigned by Mr. Pitt for proposing, and by Mr. Burke for consenting to invest the Executive Government with a power which Mr. Burke had said "would be too great for the liberty of the people were it possessed in times of peace." Mr. Burke's object in voting for the Alien Bill of 1793 had been, to use his own words, "to keep out of the country those French murderers and atheists." And with frenzied declamation, hurling a dagger upon the floor of the House, Mr. Burke had reminded the House of the hateful days of the 10th of August and the 2nd of September, 1792—days as abhorrent to the present generation of France as they had been to our fathers and grandfathers—days, the horrid details of which were so vividly impressed upon the minds of every Frenchman, as to render the recurrence of such scenes impossible. In 1792, within France massacre and terror had prevailed; without France there had been fierce and bigoted propagandism. Now, in Paris there was an amount of order and tranquillity amazing, astonishing to behold; accompanied by a wise determination not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Each day—each hour—was increasing the probability of a successful issue to this great experiment of the French people. That every success might attend them was his earnest hope and wish; and he objected to any measure which should indicate on the part of this country any doubt of that success—any mistrust of the good faith or good intentions of the French people towards this country. He looked upon this measure, directed as it was specifically against Frenchmen, to be a most offensive and impolitic measure with regard to France. He again asked, where was the necessity for an Alien Act? He knew that it had been rumoured about that sonic score or so of desperate characters, who had taken an active part in the late French Revolution, had come over to this country, and had been recognised in the streets of the metropolis. And it was said, that the object of tins Bill was to guard against the machinations of such persons, and against their disseminating opinions subversive of order and of the rights of property. To apprehend any danger from such persons, he thought was paying a very poor compliment to the institutions of the country and to the feelings of the people. Such persons had been dangerous in France, for the monarch had been self-seeking and hated—the Minister corrupt, or the instrument of corruption—the upper classes profligate and despised—and the middle classes indifferent to the institutions of the country. These elements of revolutions did not exist in this country. Then, what danger was to be apprehended from the machinations of such foreigners, or indeed of any foreigners? He would read to the House a very sensible opinion which had been expressed on the subject by the present Lord Auckland, in a speech which the noble Lord had delivered against the second reading of the Alien Bill of 1816. The noble Lord had said— To this country no danger whatever could be apprehended from the machinations of foreigners resident in it. Against such a danger, the dislike of the people to the manners and language of foreigners was a sufficient safeguard. The first word that a foreigner would have to utter in which the letters 'th' or 'w' occurred, would overthrow any attempt he might be disposed to make inimical to the public peace. And Mr. Fox made a similar remark when he opposed the Act of 1793. And he would again remind the House, that at present, if any person evinced any intention to make any attempt inimical to the public peace, whether by writing, speaking, or other overt act or deed, he might at once be imprisoned, tried for felony, transported if convicted; and woe unto any foreigner who should be tried for such an offence by a middle-class jury of Englishmen. But it was said the danger was in Ireland. Why, then, was the measure to be extended to England? He acknowledged that there was a difference between England and Ireland. He was afraid there was a deep-seated and gnawing conviction among the people of Ireland, that the Imperial Parliament was both incompetent and unwilling to govern Ireland as it ought to be governed, and likewise ignorant how Ireland ought to be governed. They argued our incompetency from the fact that our remedial measures were coercion and Alien Bills; they argued our unwillingness from the fact of the continued existence of a dominant Protestant Church in their most Catholic country—an abuse so great that every intelligent man out of England with one voice cried shame on us on account of it. If the people of Ireland were traitors at heart, then, if every alien were removed out of the country, they would still continue to be traitors. On the other hand, if the majority of them were loyal, a few foreigners would not convert them into traitors. In either case an Alien Act would be useless. In the one case the people could only be kept down by bayo- nets; in the other case the existing laws were sufficient to punish as felons any persons attempting to disturb the public peace. It was said that numerous bands of armed Frenchmen would come over to levy war upon us in Ireland, whilst we were at peace with France. A more absurd idea had never been conceived by a panic-stricken imagination. Who would pay the expense of their journey from France, or from Paris? Such gentlemen do not generally belong to the wealthier classes of society. They might reach the seaports on foot; but would the steam-packets take them to Dublin for nothing? And when arrived there, if either before or after arrival they were to give any hint of their intentions, under the old laws they would have been traitors—under the existing law they might at once be imprisoned and punished as felons. Lastly, it had been argued that we should place confidence in the good intentions of Her Majesty's Ministers, that they would not abuse the powers contained in this Bill. This was a very old argument in favour of an Alien Bill. It had been refuted at great length by Lord Grey in 1793; and he might be permitted to express his belief, without any disrespect to Her Majesty's Ministers, that Mr. Pitt had as good intentions in asking for an Alien Bill, and had been as incapable of abusing any power entrusted to him, as any one of her Majesty's present Ministers. But Mr. Fox and Lord Grey had denied the validity of this argument in 1793—à fortiori would they have denied it if they had been in existence in 1848? He contended that there was no more dangerous fallacy than that which made confidence in a Minister a sufficient season for supporting a bad measure. Every measure should be judged of by its own intrinsic merits or demerits. He could not, because he sat on that side of the House, and because he had confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers, consent to invest them with powers, which he, for one, should certainly have refused, and which he believed every Member of that side of the House would have unanimously refused, to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, if, being in office, the right hon. Baronet had asked for such a measure. For the powers which it contained were at the present moment unneeded; they never had been needed, and ought never to have been granted even in the most dangerous periods of our history. And he would conclude with the words of Lord Grey in 1816, that, "as to the expediency of the measure, he thought it exceptionable in every point of view, either with regard to public policy or constitutional principle "—" therefore he never gave a vote with more satisfaction than that which he should give against the adoption of such a measure," and by moving that this Bill be read a second time that day six months.

LORD D. STUART felt considerable pain at being again obliged to oppose a measure brought forward by Her Majesty's Government; and could not help expressing surprise that an Alien Bill should have been introduced by them without any proof of its necessity being laid before the House. The more he had studied this measure, the more he had seen cause to oppose it. It vested powers in the hands of the Government which ought not, he contended, to be possessed by any class of men whatever. If the Bill passed into a law, it would be in the power of the Secretary of State, upon suspicion only, to turn any foreigners he pleased out of the kingdom. It would not even be necessary that he should in certain cases have information against a foreigner, for, by the third clause, if he "apprehended" that any alien would not pay attention to any orders issued by him, he could order his seizure, and have him forthwith turned out of the country. He certainly did not expect, judging from the fate of the opposition to certain measures lately introduced, that the efforts of those opposed to this Bill would be successful; but he would, nevertheless, in Committee propose certain amendments to neutralise its worst features. The noble Lord read the protest entered on the records of the House of Lords by Lord Holland against the Alien Bill of 1822, and observed that the greater part of the objections taken in that protest to the Bill of that day was applicable to the present measure, On one point of very considerable importance the right hon. Baronet had given the House no information whatever. He had not stated what course was to be adopted with reference to aliens sent out of this country—whether they were to be sent back to their own country, where they might be exposed, as stated by Lord Holland in 1822, to torture, imprisonment, or death, or whether they were to have the option of going to America or any other country they thought proper to select. A foreigner might by this rule be imprisoned, as there was no provision for bringing him to trial, within a particular period, so that he might be kept in prison as long as the Government chose. If such powers were to be intrusted to any men, he knew none to whom he would so readily confide them as to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, or the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. But he contended that they ought not to be given to any man or set of men whatever. He recollected the case of a Polish nobleman who was arrested a few years ago, when the Emperor of Russia was on a visit to this country, not by his right hon. Friend who was now Home Secretary, but by the Government that preceded the present; and while he said so, he was sorry to see that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Graham), who was then Secretary of State for the Home Department, was not in his place. He had no opportunity of bringing the case forward at the time. But the privacy of the nobleman to whom he had referred was suddenly invaded—he was seized without any warrant, and carried off to prison, and his papers taken from him, some of which had never been restored. He only mentioned this to show the danger of giving such powers to any Ministry, and to what an extent foreigners might be unnecessarily interfered with. He must say he was surprised at the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Harwich (Sir J. Hobhouse) on the present occasion; and, remembering the sentiments formerly expressed by that right hon. Gentleman, be might also express his surprise at the title of the present Bill. The eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman was exceedingly fervid against former Alien Bills, one of which he stated ought to be resisted even by force; and, therefore, he thought it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to be in his place on the present occasion. In 1822 the right hon. Gentleman made a most determined resistance to the Alien Bill then before the House, and actually proposed the following Motion for an alteration in the title of the Bill:— That the title of the Bill should be—'A Bill to repeal so much of the great charter of England as relates to the free ingress and free residence of foreign merchants in these islands, and to assimilate in that respect the Executive Government of Great Britain to the despotic Governments of the Continent. This Motion was not made in joke, or merely to create merriment in the House; for the right hon. Gentleman divided upon it, and received in its support the votes of twenty Members. He was ready to admit that there was a difference betwixt this and former Alien Bills, inasmuch as formerly the object of these Bills was to prevent foreigners coming here to plot against foreign Governments; whereas the object of the present Bill was a more legitimate one, namely, to prevent foreigners from plotting against the well-being of this country. But still, he complained that no proof was given that foreigners had come to this country to plot against its welfare. As there were people who thought every poor man a Chartist, and every Chartist a rebel, so were there people who thought every foreigner an enemy. Conceiving the Bill to be, in the words of Lord Holland's protest, cruel, unjust, and unconstitutional, he considered it his duty to give it his opposition.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL was unwilling to prolong the discussion, but after what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark and the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, he was induced to attempt to remove a misconception under which they laboured with respect to the object of the Bill. Though the noble Lord had argued against the principle of the Bill, as if it were identical with that of anterior measures, yet he had admitted that the Bill was different from former Alien Bills, and he had, in truth, answered all his own arguments. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark relied on no objections to the Bill except such as were the repetition of objections stated to former Alien Bills; and because the Bills of 1793 and 1814 were opposed by men of great note and distinction he contended that therefore a different Bill, directed to a different object, and proposed under different circumstances, ought not to have been introduced by the Members of the present Government. The circumstances were different. The object was entirely different; for whereas in 1793 and 1814 foreigners had to meet insuperable obstacles in the way of their obtaining letters of naturalisation, they might now obtain them without difficulty. If they came to this country to reside and carry on business, and had no design against the peace of the country, they might obtain letters of naturalisation with the greatest possible facility, and at no expense whatever. On the production of a certificate of character, and on proof of their intuition to reside here for purposes of business, they obtained letters of naturalisation, which would put them beyond the scope of this Bill al- together. The present Bill was totally different from former Bills; it was assailable on none of the grounds on which the protests against former Bills proceeded, except those disputed grounds of impolicy or injustice which were open to discussion on the facts of the case. It had been argued that, even if not perverted to improper purposes, the effect of the Bill might be to deter the friends of civil and religious liberty from other countries from seeking refuge and protection under the laws of this country. The Acts of 1793 and 1814 authorised Her Majesty and the Privy Council, with no reason assigned, and no responsibility which could be specifically attached to any Minister, to proclaim an alien and deport him at once. Under this Bill the Government could not act except on Information that there was reason to believe the person to whom it related had designs against the public peace. The Secretary of State would be bound to produce that information; he would be bound to show that he had received that information that the party was obnoxious to the charges made against him. But the hon. Baronet further described the Bill as unjust, supposing that resident aliens might be subjected to actual punishment without trial. Such was not the case. An alien residing here might obtain letters of naturalisation. Every person settling in this country, and not harbouring designs against the peace, was entitled to obtain such letters; and there could now be no such argument as there was when Lord Holland entered his protest. But, in the third place, it was argued that the Bill was unconstitutional. Those grounds of objection were applicable to former measures, but not to the present. The hon. Baronet said, the Government offered no proof that the measure was required under existing circumstances. But so far the measure depended on the confidence which the House had in the Government. No Government could be expected to come here and state all the details with respect to the grounds on which such a measure was demanded. It was because the Government thought there was reason to apprehend that improper designs were entertained by parties now in the country coming from abroad. If there were no such parties, then the Bill would be harmless, at all events. The measure might be called into operation; but could not be made an instrument in the hands of a foreign Government. The measure could be applied only in cases where there were circumstances which justified the belief of the Government that the party against whom information was lodged entertained designs against the peace and Government of this realm. In that, he believed, consisted the main distinction between this and former Acts. Upon these grounds, he held that this measure might be defended in perfect consistency with the admission that the objections taken to the former measures which had been mentioned were well-founded.

MR. W. J. FOX said, he had listened with great attention to the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, and the hon. and learned Attorney General, for some more distinct grounds than he had yet heard alleged in favour of a law which seemed to him to call for them, because it was a measure of timidity and apprehension. It showed a want of confidence in the British people, who had so lately evinced in the most illustrious manner their determination to support peace and order, and it showed also a want of confidence in the Government and people of France, who, under very trying circumstances, had as yet done nothing whatever to excite suspicion or hostile feeling upon our part. He thought a different sort of legislation would become the Government of such an empire as this; he thought, convulsed as the world was, there could be no better time to show our reliance on those institutions which had stood the test of so many ages, and supported so eminently the character, not only of durability, but of that elasticity which accommodated itself to the spirit of the age, and enabled us, by enlarging the sphere of privilege, and the conditions of political power, to give them greater extension when the state of society required it, without any of those convulsions by which other countries were torn. He could not see that any case of necessity had been made out for the grant of powers which, to say the least of them, were capable of a very invidious and cruel application—which put the liberty, property, and prospects of individuals at the mercy of the Minister for the time being—and exposed a man to that sort of attack against which it was so difficult to defend oneself—anonymous writings, perhaps, addressed to a Secretary of State, who, it seemed, might be brought in contact with a class of persons whom a Member of the English Government ought to avoid consorting with. His office would have a back door for the receipt of accusations and calumnies, which, under the plausible pretext of the public safety, might be only the ebullition of individual spite, or the gratification of personal vindictiveness; which might be used offensively against man or woman. For it could not be forgotten that the first person deported under the law of '93, from which this measure was taken, was a woman, who could hardly have been supposed the source of material danger to this country or its institutions; the widow of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, whose name had since been raised to so different a position in connexion with the finest feelings and associations of humanity by writers of the sister country. Ministers had been charged with inconsistency in introducing this Bill. However truly that might apply with reference to their conduct in past years, he was free to admit that the objection had less force with him than others which had been adduced; because, if he looked to the last measure they had brought into the House, he thought this might be held to be a very consistent and appropriate supplement to the Act just passed for the better security of the Crown and Government of these realms. The one belonged to the other; they dovetailed admirably— Sure such a pair was never seen, So justly formed to meet by nature: This Bill completed that conversion of Ministers from the policy of the old Whigs of this country to that of Pitt, Castlereagh, and Sidmouth, which began with the first of these measures, and might be considered as continued by the second. It showed that the expression used by Pitt in the discussions on the Regency question, that he would "un-Whig the Gentleman for the rest of his life," could no longer be used against them, for they had in truth most effectually un-Whigged themselves. The only thing said by the right hon. Baronet to show the necessity for this Bill, was, that he was afraid of republican missionaries. Now, the danger from republicanism in England at this time was surely at its very lowest point. The power of "open and advised speaking" to this end which any Frenchman could exert amongst us, was surely of a very limited nature. Had it been forgotten that the most accomplished of French tragic actors, the celebrated Talma, was never allowed to carry out his wish of acting Hamlet on the English stage, because it was felt by the managers that the very first sentence he should utter might set the audience in a roar? Vain were fears then of speeches to be made by foreigners for the purpose of stirring up sedition amongst our population. If we wished to extinguish desires which might be entertained by any portion of them for changes in governments and institutions, it would be necessary rather to seek to be invested with a power of punishment, or suppression over the writings of the illustrious dead of our own country, than over the machinations of the living missionaries of other lands. The great republican teachers, if Englishmen could now be practically republicanized, would be found on the shelves of our libraries, in the pages of the Miltons, Sidneys, Harringtons, Mores, and others of later date. If such men, speaking to us in our native language, with a style fraught with the harmonies of the olden time—appealing to our hearts by rich trains of glorious associations, commanding almost the idolatry of the student—if these failed to make us republican, where could be the power of Frenchmen, Germans, or the natives of any other region, to seduce the inhabitants of these realms from their plighted allegiance to their Queen? He apprehended that the free inhabitants of this country had at least as much affinity with the republicanism of others as with their despotism. But if it were said that it was not abstract republicanism, but the doctrines of socialism and communism we were to be afraid of, let us take example from the noble-minded man who was now at the head of the French people. Those doctrines had been the rock a-head of the French Government during all the dangerous period that had elapsed since the days of February; our own socialist and communist leaders had been in Paris during all that interval, fraternising with those who shared their opinions, presenting addresses, and making themselves conspicuous; yet the eminent man to whom he referred had not deported one of them. Let us then rather imitate that example, fortified especially as we were by so many reasons of confidence in the loyalty of our people, and the security of our institutions. Such measures as the present afforded no reliable guarantee; they were as worthless to the real peace and security of the institutions of these realms, as the parchment on which they were written would be worthless by way of buttress to that venerable edifice under whose shadow they were now deliberating, which had stood the storms of ages past, and would stand the storms of ages yet to come. He could not agree with the Attorney General that such measures, if not enforced, would do no harm. They did this harm: they falsified the character of this country; they put us in an untrue position as to the public opinion of Europe and the world; they declared apprehensions which did not really exist, or had no real grounds of existence; they imputed a fickleness, an untrustworthiness, a proneness to be led into violence, which were not the character of the people of this country, never had been, and never would be; and they put us in this false position, that they were likely to affect most injuriously our relations with other States. They might breed misunderstandings which would plunge us into war, that worst of all calamities; they showed a suspicion of what was going on in Europe; they showed that we did not rely on the events that were now taking place, being so over-ruled as to guide the world to the possession of freedom and the enjoyment of happiness; they proclaimed ourselves to be at variance with our surrounding neighbours, to be looking on fearfully, jealously, and suspiciously, and by so doing, they put us on the wrong side, allying us with those who sought to uphold a past that could not be prolonged, and obstruct a future that must and would be realised. They made us the enemies of rising constitutional Governments, and the friends of despotisms everywhere deservedly crumbling into oblivion.

MR. HENRY DRUMMOND could fully subscribe to every word of the eloquent speech which the House had now heard with respect to the confidence to be reposed in the constitution. The noble Lord (Lord D. Stuart) said the measure was contrary to Magna Charta, which provided for a settlement in this country of foreign merchants. He (Mr. Drummond) had read the Bill several times. He had perceived it was directed against the residence of foreign traitors; but he found not one word against foreign merchants. Hon. Gentlemen had expressed surprise that the right hon. Gentleman who had introduced the Bill had said nothing as to its necessity. Did they know nothing of what was going on in Europe? The hon. Baronet had told the House that a similar measure had been objected to in former times by many great authorities; but perhaps he was not aware that sitting on the same benches with them in those times were Members of a "Correspond- ing Society" sworn to promulgate their doctrines all over Europe. How far these eminent persons were tainted by such opinions, it were hard to say; and certainly he (Mr. Drummond) was not now going to vindicate the sayings and doings of any Whigs on the subject since the beginning of the French Revolution. A poet had given a description of this city as— London, the needy villain's general home, The common sewer of Paris and of Rome, Condemned by fortune and resistless fate, Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted State. The hon. Baronet seemed anxious that London should still exhibit that character. He said this was a new measure. The other day the Government were charged with bringing into operation an old law of Charles II. If the plague were now to break out, physicians would not recur to Thucydides to see bow it was treated in Athens, nor would they look at the old authorities which recorded how the disease was dealt with during its ravages in London. In the good old times, an Earl of Westmoreland marched up to London, and made palpable open war: but now there was peaceable agitation carried on till people were prepared to rise, till arms were procured, till people were trained in their use; and then resistance was said to be a sacred duty. He was much surprised to hear it said by more than one hon. Gentleman opposite that there was no reason to apprehend propagandism. A remarkable circumstance attending the former French Revolution was, that people began by propagandism before they began with reformation of abuses in the respective countries to which they belonged. So long back as in 1773, Voltaire settled himself on the borders of Switzerland, and promulgated the doctrines which a few years afterwards he propagated in his own country. It was said there was no propagandism now. Only yesterday he had read a letter sent by Count de Montalembert to the Tablet, in which letter it was said to the Irish in so many words, "Don't make war with England; but I will tell you what we will do—we will make war for Poland." What business had he to go to Poland for this war more than to this country? It had been asked why should the country not rely now on their institutions as in the time of Queen Elizabeth, since she never applied for an Alien Act? If they gave Her Majesty's Ministers a Star Chamber, they were not likely to apply for an Alien Bill. If they distrusted the opinions of modern British writers with respect to those who distinguished themselves by their advocacy of propagandism, he would take leave to refer to the opinions of the French Minister, recorded so far back as the year 1839. The writer in question says— Yes, it is a sad and extraordinary spectacle that this hierarchy presents—organised for pillage and crime. The assassination of kings in general and of him whom the Revolution of July placed on the throne of July in particular, is preached as the most holy of duties; but this is not all—the revolution which they desire to effect is at once political and social. It is not only royalty that they wish to extirpate from the soil, but it is above all the aristocracy, and aristocrats, and the list of aristocrats is long. The landed proprietor is chief aristocrat; the capitalist, the manufacturer, and whoever is convicted of possessing an acre of land, or a hundred crowns of rent. They will carry the hatchet and the torch against these monstrous inequalities. They will level by the same blow, heads, ranks, and fortunes. The double reform which they wish to found on the ruin of the monarchy and of society, is in politics the sovereignty of the people modified by the scaffold; in the revenue, equality of fortunes and community of goods. Such is their end, and such are their means. Such was the light in which the proceedings of the revolutionist party in France were viewed by a French Minister in 1839. He did not mean to express any wish one way or another with respect to the great events which had recently occurred in other countries; but as one hon. Member had expressed in that House his enthusiastic admiration of the revolutionary doctrines, and his anxious desire for their success, it was at least open for him to declare his determined detestation of them, and his conviction that they could end in nothing but universal slaughter and civil war. [Laughter.] It might be all very well for hon. Members to laugh at these things; but he should like to know what they would do with a people to whom they had deliberately made promises which it was wholly out of their power to realise? And he would take the liberty of hinting—for he had not time or opportunity to do more—that the greater part of the discontent at present prevailing in the country was to be attributed to the fact, that promises had been made to the people which could never be accomplished.

MR. URQUHART objected to any difference of legislation for foreigners, and was at a loss to conceive why the Crown and Government Security Bill was not a sufficient protection against the machinations of foreigners in this country. It had been the privilege of England in all time to afford unstinted hospitality to the unfortunate of all countries in the world, and that not only by law, but from the natural impulse of the national mind and character; and he objected to the Bill also as a falsification of that character. He considered it utterly inconsistent with the measure which they had lately been debating—that of the admission of Jews into Parliament; and it was remarkable, that in the Old Testament it was laid down in a most precise manner that there should be no difference in the law or in the manner for the native and for the alien. He ridiculed the idea of propagandism in these days, in which there were no secret societies or conspiracies, but in which movements were produced by public opinion, and the press was the vehicle of the contagion. With regard to the security said to be given in this Bill by means of written informations which might be called for in that House, he thought that quite fallacious. He reminded the House of what had passed with reference to opening letters. A Committee had been appointed on the subject, which hi d inquired into everything but the point at issue, and had reported upon all the letters opened by warrant, while it passed over in silence all that had been opened with out warrant. If an inquiry in that House could thus be shelved, in a home affair of importance, there was not much security against the abuse of this power in the case of a few poor foreigners. He feared also that it would bring us into collision with foreign Powers; and, though he would say nothing about the present Government, the powers might be used in the hands of some Ministers as an instrument of tyranny by foreign despots; in the same way that the police of London had been made subservient to such a purpose in the case of a Polish nobleman alluded to by the noble Lord (Lord D. Stuart). He considered it would be far better to let the Government act on its own responsibility with respect to the removal of foreigners whose presence they deemed objectionable, and afterwards come to Parliament for a Bill of Indemnity. The granting to Government a power as affecting the removal of aliens, was, moreover, a question touching our internal liberty. The measure was also objectionable, because it gave a judicial appeal to the Privy Council. The grounds of removal must then be judicial; and, as this was the case, what necessity was there for removing them from a court of justice competent to try them? If there were grounds for making a court decide that an alien should be removed, there would be something to justify his being proceeded against in the ordinary courts of law. To take that power out of the hands of the law, and invest it in a Secretary of State, would, he feared, be opening the door to the exercise of arbitrary and irresponsible power. Holding these opinions, he would have great satisfaction in voting against the Bill. When the Government, upon a recent occasion, asked for additional power to preserve the peace of the empire, he readily gave them his support; and for that very reason he would now resist, by every possible means, those exceptionable powers which they wished to obtain, not against the nation, but the alien friend.

The EARL OF ARUNDEL and SURREY said, that it seemed to him that the several speakers against the Bill had so lost themselves in their own eloquence as not to have touched the point in question. There could, he thought, be little doubt of the fact that there was a considerable number of Germans and Frenchmen—it did not signify what nation they belonged to—but there wee e foreigners, he believed, in this country who entertained wild and anti-social opinions, and who were ready to upset not only the Government of their own country, but the Government of any other nation they could manage to operate upon. That being the fact, they all knew, from what had lately occurred on the Continent, how easily a small number of men might produce great confusion and bloodshed, and damage to life and property, if so disposed; and he must say, that under such circumstances, it was the bounden duty of Government to take such means as they might find to be necessary to prevent such persons creating disorder among the people over whom they (the Government) had been called to rule.

MR. HUME was not surprised that no hon. Member should have taken the same view of the question as that adopted by the noble Lord, for assuredly there was no sane man inside or outside of that House who could seriously participate in the apprehensions of the noble Lord. Was it possible that any sane man could believe that if a Frenchman or a German were to stand up in a meeting of Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Irishmen, and to advocate revolution and the overthrow of the British constitution, he would receive anything else for his trouble but hissings and hootings? It was really preposterous to entertain such apprehensions. To talk about Frenchmen or Germans, or any foreigners, coming over to England to excite the British population to rebellion, was about as rational as to suppose that a bevy of ourangoutangs should visit the country on a like mission. The fact was, the noble Lord was panic-stricken. He must have been a special constable on a recent memorable occasion, and must have witnessed while on duty some terrible spectacle or other, or else have received some terrible revelation or other which had excited his alarm beyond all reasonable limits. Where were these French and German cut-throats who had frightened the noble Lord from his propriety? It was really monstrous that that House should, through fear of some unintelligible phantom, give its sanction to principles which had long been odious to every friend of free government. There was no man who for the last sixty years had professed to hold liberal opinions in the least estimation, who had not repeatedly expressed his detestation of such measures as the present. It was subversive of every principle to which the English people had heretofore declared their attachment, that a law should be passed depriving the accused man of the privileges of being confronted openly with his accuser, and getting a public and impartial trial. Great cruelty and great injustice must inevitably characterise the operation of such a law. It was wholly unnecessary. He had too much confidence in the good sense and the loyalty of the British population to suppose that it was in the power of any body of foreigners to seduce them from their allegiance. To affirm the contrary, was to slander the character of the country. When a similar measure to the present was brought forward, in 1822, by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, it had to encounter a fierce opposition; and he (Mr. Hume) was proud to say he voted against it in every stage. Sir James Mackintosh declared that it was a melancholy thing that the House should be called upon to give its sanction to so un-English a proceeding; Lord Denman expressed his determination to give it an "unqualified opposition;" and as for the right hon. Baronet the Member for Harwich (Sir John C. Hobhouse), he could find no language sufficiently powerful adequately to convey his disgust and indignation at it. He was at a loss to think what dream could have come over the last-named Gentleman, or what wild infatuation could have wrought so wonderful a revolution in his principles and those of his Colleagues. He, however, had not changed. It would afford him pride and pleasure to record his vote against the Bill in all its stages.

DR. BOWRING could not allow the Bill to be read a second time, without protesting against it as a most arbitrary and unconstitutional measure. Under our ordinary forms of law a man who was accused of crime was allowed to see his judge, and confront his accuses; but under the present Bill the Secretary of State, upon any information, no doubt written, but emanating, it might be, from individual hostility or malignity, or perhaps from a despotic and tyrannical Government, had the power to banish any foreigner from the land. It was said, that all who chose might apply for letters of naturalisation; but there were thousands and tens of thousands who came to this country as merchants and travellers, or for the purpose of receiving instruction, who did not intend to naturalise themselves. He had no apprehension; he thought that all institutions that were deserving of being preserved would be preserved by the good opinion of those who were interested in their preservation. We were, in fact, all propagandists as far as we were able; and he was very glad to see propagandism of liberal opinions and popular Governments spreading throughout the country; for he believed that such opinions were associated with the development of human intellect and the future happiness of man.

CAPTAIN HARRIS thought the Government entitled to the thanks of the country for their promptness in bringing forward this measure of safety. The conduct of many foreigners upon a recent occasion, showed the necessity of some measure of this sort, for it was notorious that they mingled with the crowd in Trafalgar-square, and endeavoured to incite them to violence. The respectable and well-disposed foreigners resident in this country would hail the Bill with satisfaction. He would give it his cordial support.

MR. EWARThad listened with attention for some sound reasons in support of the Bill, but he could not detect any. He believed that a measure of this sort was altogether unnecessary, as the conduct of the people on the 10th of last month, showed that they were determined to preserve order and maintain peace under all circumstances. The Government had less justification for going on with the Bill now than they had when they first introduced it, and this would be an additional reason for inducing him to vote against it.

The House divided on he question that the word "now" stand past of the question:—Ayes 141; Noes 22: Majority 119.

List of the AYES.
Arkwright, G. Grenfell, C. P.
Armstrong, Sir A. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Armstrong, R. B. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Arundel and Surrey, Hanmer, Sir J.
Earl of Harris, hon. Capt.
Bagshaw, J. Hawes, B.
Baines, M. T. Hay, Lord J.
Barkly, H. Hayes, Sir E.
Baring, T. Heathcoat, G. J.
Bellew, R. M. Heneage, E.
Benbow, J. Herbert, H. A.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Herries, rt. hon. J. C
Bernard, Visct. Hildyard, R. C.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Bowles, Adm. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Hobhouse, T. B.
Bremridge, R. Hodges, T. L.
Broadley, H. Hope, H. T.
Brockman, E. D. Hotham, Lord
Brotherton, J. Hudson, G.
Brown, W. Jervis, Sir J.
Browne, R. D. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cardwell, E. Langston, J. H.
Christy, S. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Law, hon. C. E.
Cobbold, J. C. Lewis, G. C.
Cocks, T. S. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Craig, W. G. Mackinnon, W. A.
Dalrymple, Capt. Macnamara, Maj.
Dashwood, G. H. Martin, C. W.
Deedes, W. Matheson, Col.
Denison, W. J. Mitchell, T. A.
Denison, J. E. Monsell, W.
Disraeli, B. Morison, Gen.
Divett, E. Morris, D.
Dodd, G. Newdegate, C. N.
Drumlanrig, Visct. O'Brien, Sir L.
Drummond, H. O'Connell, M. J.
Duncan, G. Ogle, S. C. H.
Dundas, Sir D. Ord, W.
Ebrington, Visct. Paget, Lord A.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Palmer, R.
Euston, Earl of Palmerston, Visct.
Evans, J. Parker, J.
Evans, W. Perfect, R.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Philips, Sir G. R.
Foley, J. H. H. Pinney, W.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Power, N.
Frewen, C. H. Prime, R.
Fuller, A. E. Pugh, D.
Gaskell, J. M. Rawdon, Col.
Glyn, G. C. Repton, G. W. J.
Goddard, A. L. Ricardo, J. L.
Godson, R. Ricardo, O.
Gordon, Adm. Rice, E. R.
Granger, T. C. Rich, H.
Romilly, J. Thornely, T.
Russell, Lord J. Towneley, C.
Russell, F. C. H. Townshend, Capt
Seymer, H. K. Turner, G. J.
Seymour, Lord Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Shelburne, Earl of Simeon, J.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Somerton, Visct.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Yorke, H. G. R.
Spooner, R. TELLERS.
Stanley, hon. E. J. Hill, Lord M.
Stuart, H. Tufnell, H.
List of the NOES.
Bowring, Dr. Smith, J. B.
Bright, J. Smythe, hon G.
Clay, J. Stuart, Lord D.
Cobden, R. Tancred, H. W.
Ewart, W. Thompson, Col.
Forster, M. Fox, W. J.
Kershaw, J. Wakley, T.
Lushington, C. Walmsley, Sir J.
M'Gregor, J.
Mowatt, F. TELLERS.
Raphael, A. Hume, J.
Sidney, Ald. Molesworth, Sir W.

Bill read a second time.