HC Deb 14 March 1853 vol 125 cc155-7

said, he proposed to take the Consolidated Fund Bill somewhat out of its usual course by moving that it be read a Third Time To-morrow at half-past Four o'clock, before the notices of Motion.


said, he was unwilling to interpose any difficulty in the progress of the Bill moved by the hon. Gentleman, but he felt that a great many Members on his side of the House had to complain of the manner in which the present Government were proceeding with the public business. Without any previous notice, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London had that evening completely altered the course of business as it was laid down in the paper of the House. He proposed to postpone until Friday next the Committee on the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill, and to go into Committee that evening on the Jews Bill, altogether contrary to the arrangement of business in the Votes. Now it was impossible for hon. Members to discharge their duties properly in that House if such a system was to be allowed. It was obvious that the noble Lord had made this change with a view of forcing on the third reading of the Jewish Disabilities Bill before the Easter recess. He thought it was not consistent with the usual conduct of the noble Lord to attempt to shuffle off the expression of public opinion that was manifesting itself every day against this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) had that evening presented an important petition against the Bill, which was not got up until they had received the news of its having been read a second time on Friday night last. And now the noble Lord was endeavouring to hurry forward with the most unusual speed the further stages of the measure, at a time when he (Mr. Newdegate) himself knew there were many petitions in preparation to be yet presented against the Bill. He was almost disposed to say that this was a tyrannical course adopted by the Government; unfair towards the independent Members of that House, and disrespectful to the feelings of a large portion of the most educated classes of the community. He trusted that the noble Lord would not compel him or the party with which he (Mr. Newdegate) acted to take up a position in respect to the Government on this question, which he would deprecate; but it was their duty to prevent the attempt that was now made to intercept them in the discharge of their duty, and to preclude the genuine expression of their constituents in reference to the Bill from reaching that House. Even if the Bill went through Committee that evening, he trusted that the noble Lord would not propose to take the third reading on Friday next.


said, he had sat opposite the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) for many years whilst he was leader of that House, and he was bound to say that in general the noble Lord had shown a great desire to study the convenience of hon. Members in his conduct of public business. But he thought that his friends around him had great reason to complain of the arrangements made that evening, to which his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had just alluded. He knew that some of his friends had remained in London that day for the sole purpose of taking part in the discussion on the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill, which they had expected would have come on that evening. He submitted that it was not altogether usual, when a Bill of that magnitude and importance was fixed for discussion on a particular evening, that a postponement of it should take place without a longer notice than a few minutes before the time fixed for the question being considered in its usual order. And in respect to a Bill of such importance as the Jewish Disabilities Bill, he submitted it was rather unusual to pass it through Committee and a third reading in one week.


Sir, the change which has been made in the order of business this evening, is in order to act with the utmost fairness to the House. I propose to introduce an alteration of considerable importance into the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill, and I thought that if I proposed that alteration, and asked the House to decide upon it without their having had time to consider it, hon. Members would have had just reason to complain of my conduct. Assuming that the alteration that I have suggested will be approved of by Her Majesty's Government, I de- termined to postpone the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill. With respect to the Jewish Disabilities Bill, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) complains very much that that Bill should be pressed upon the consideration of the House to-night; and that it has not been postponed for a considerable time in order to allow petitions to be presented to the House against it. Why, Sir, the House must be aware, and the country must be aware, of the state of progress of this Bill. I believe it is more than a month since I gave a notice upon the subject, and I am quite certain that there was sufficient time, even before I introduced the Bill, to present petitions upon the subject. But it does not appear that any very large number of petitions has been presented against the Bill. But few petitions were presented until the Bill approached the second reading, and then the industry that has been displayed in order to procure petitions has certainly produced some petitions, but not to any very considerable amount. The subject is perfectly familiar to the House. It is, in fact, difficult to find any new argument on the subject. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have argued the subject exceedingly well—so well, indeed, that they have exhausted the arguments on the other side; and I cannot but say nearly the same thing for our side; so that if we postpone the Bill for a month, or even for three months, I doubt whether any one could find any fresh arguments on the subject. There is, therefore, no sufficient reason for postponing a Bill upon which hon. Members generally have made up their minds.


said, he would suggest to the noble Lord the propriety of postponing the Committee upon the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill until after Easter.

Subject dropped.