§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
rose to move, pursuant to notice, that after the 1st of July the Orders of the Day should have precedence over notices of Motion. He made this Motion as, at this period of the Session, it was desirable to proceed with the business before them as fast as possible, especially that the House of Lords might have time to consider the Bills which they sent up.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, that arrangement had been originally agreed to at a time when the Minister of the day introduced a variety of measures of the very greatest importance, and as the Members were anxious that these measures should be discussed, the sacrifice, which was a great one, was cheerfully made on the part of hon. Members; but he was not aware that there had been such a prodigal number of important Bills introduced during the current Session on the part of the Government, as to justify this demand. It was not his intention to divide the House on the Motion, but he thought it a dangerous precedent that they should agree to it as a matter of course, and therefore he had thought it his duty to point out that the noble Lord's proposition was made under very different circumstances from those under which it was originally made by a preceding Government. He did not think there were so many or such important measures before the House as to authorise the present appeal.
§ MR. FITZSTEPHEN FRENCH
justified the Motion on the ground that there were so many Irish Bills standing over. Among others he might mention the Medical Charities Bill, and the Land Valuation Bill, both of which were of great importance.
§ SIR JOHN YOUNG
said, the Medical Charities Bill had been thrown out of the House of Lords last Session in consequence of the lateness of the Session when it came before them. He suggested that it should be taken up at a morning sitting.
§ SIR WILLIAM SOMERVILLE
said, the Medical Charities Bill now stood for the 25th, and if it could not be brought forward on that day, it would be taken at a morning sitting. The Land Valuation Bill was set down for the 9th of July.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
thought it would be entirely surrendering the business of the House into the hands of Government if they agreed to this Motion. At the last ballot for precedence of Motions, no 701 fewer than seventeen Members attended, and he had come down to the ballot no fewer than six times without having had the least chance of success. He must oppose this Motion, as he thought it would amount to an absolute prohibition of independent Members bringing forward any question.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
apprehended he was perfectly in order. The Motion related to the forwarding of business, and therefore he had a right to ask now, whether Government meant to bring in a Bill this Session to continue the present Commissioners of Sewers, or a Bill to reform the Commission?
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, his right hon. Friend the Homo Secretary meant to bring in a Bill upon the subject, but there would be an inconvenience in stating its provisions before it was introduced. With respect to the complaint of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. W. Williams), he did not think it was well founded, because the whole of Wednesday was given to individual Members to bring on their Bills. The House would recollect that the Government were now called upon more than at any former time to introduce measures of legislation; and, besides, it was their duty to bring on questions relating to supplies, both military, naval, and miscellaneous, which now occupied much longer time than they formerly did. Besides, in the early period of the Session, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays were at the disposal of individual Members; and it was necessary to bring on the Estimates for the year at an early period, because Motions were made on going into Committees of Supply, which consumed a considerable portion of their time. At the most, Government had only eight days in a month at the beginning of a Session; and when hon. Gentlemen said, as they sometimes did, that the House had sat two months, and Government had not brought forward their Bills, the fact was, that of these two months, Government had only had sixteen days, and several of these were taken up with other measures in which the country felt an interest. So that the time of the Session was not so much taken up by the Government as it was supposed to be. But at that period of the Session, it was 702 well known that the attendance of hon. Members began to slacken; and therefore he thought it was desirable to proceed with the Government measures now as rapidly as possible. He might have stated, likewise, that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had asked him for a day on which he might bring forward his question respecting Borneo. The hon. Member certainly had a claim upon him, as, at the request of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he had not brought forward his Motion at a time when he might have done so. On the other hand, Sir James Brooke was equally anxious that this question should be brought forward. But unless the present Motion was agreed to, the Government really could not spare a day from the other business of the country. He trusted, therefore, that the House would accede to the Motion.
§ MR. H. HERBERT
wished to know whether Government meant to reintroduce this Session a Bill which was withdrawn last year, relating to the Incumbered Estates, and called Securities Advance Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, his right hon. and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls had already given notice of a Bill for that purpose, and the only reason he did not proceed with it was the delay caused by the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill.
§ SIR ROBERT INGLIS
said, the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. W. Williams) had complained of being deprived of private legislation. Now, though he was not one of the supporters of Her Majesty's Ministers, he must say that he greatly preferred their legislation to that of the hon. Member for Lambeth. There was another reason why he supported the Motion, and that was that he had no wish to remain in that House up to October; and he was sure that the lowest estimate of the time that would be necessary for every Member who had a Bill to carry it through would be the middle of September. Under these circumstances, and considering that all his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) asked, was no more than his predecessors had obtained before him, he thought they ought to accede to the Motion.
§ MR. BROTHERTON
thought they had already wasted too much time this Session, and that they ought now to proceed with the real business of the country.
§ MR. HENLEY
had no objection to the Motion in itself, but he should not like to hear from a Member of the Government that two Wednesdays—the 25th of June and the 9th of July—were to be occupied with Government business. Now he thought it was not fair for the Government to have Wednesdays and Thursdays both.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, the Government always made it a rule to give way to private Members on Wednesday.
§ MR. SHARMAN CRAWFORD
said, it was of little consequence how many or how few days private Members had, unless the House changed its regulations for meeting, because otherwise, in all probability, when an independent Member brought forward a Motion on a Thursday the House would be counted out.
§ MR. HUME
thought it would be much better that the Government should take every day in the week, and get on with the public business, for it was plain that at present private Members had no chance of bringing forward a Motion, and of proposing to redress a grievance, in consequence of the stringency of the rules of the House.
That after the 1st day of July next, Orders of the Day have precedence of Notices of Motions upon Thursdays.