§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
rose, to move as an Amendment, that the House do resolve itself into Committee that day three months. It was purely from inadvertence that the Government had allowed such a measure as this to reach its present stage, he having permitted it at a very late hour of the night to pass a second reading from having mistaken it for a measure of the noble Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell). Its provisions were of the most extraordinary and unreasonable nature. They consisted of only two clauses, the first of which provided that actions for bribery might be brought and decided in the County Courts; and the second, that if a Committee of the House of Commons should determine that there had been extensive bribery prevalent in any county, city, or borough, such county, city, or borough should be taxed for the expenses of the inquiry in the shape of a compulsory 818 rate. Now, questions of bribery were very grave and important, and they were always tried in the Superior Courts. What reason could the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey), who was the author of this measure, assign for transferring the hearing of such a case to the County Courts? [Mr. Anstey here pointed to the clock, the hour being within a few minutes to Sice.] The hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to have a strong sense of the value of time when anybody else was speaking; but he did not seem to remember the length of the addresses which he himself so frequently inflicted upon the House. Look at the extreme hardship and injustice of the provisions of this Bill. Certain persons in a district offended: all the inhabitants, without distinction, were to be punished. [Mr. Anstey here again pointed to the clock.] The hon. and learned Gentleman was exceedingly impatient; but if he would at once go to a division, he (the Attorney General) was quite ready to give him the benefit of the remaining four minutes of the sitting in order to take the sense of the House upon this Bill.
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, he would divide as soon as he had answered the hon. and learned Gentleman's misrepresentations.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, the House had already that day had a proof of how long the hon. and learned Gentleman took to correct misrepresentations— which was just an hour by the clock. He would, however, now conclude by moving the Amendment which he had already stated.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the words "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "This House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.
§ Mr. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman had woefully misrepresented him; but he had no wish to retard the eager anxiety of the Government to cover themselves with as much odium as possible. He had explained the objects of the Bill fully when he moved for leave to introduce it; and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, on that occasion, offered no opposition to him, but said he would suspend his judgment until be had further examined the measure. He (Mr. C. Anstey) did not attach any importance to the second clause, which the hon. and learned Gentleman had so strongly de- 819 nounced: it was merely permissive, and he had adopted it from a Bill of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 65: Majority 49.
§ And it being Six of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till To-morrow, without putting the Question.