HC Deb 15 July 1858 vol 151 cc1540-3

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 1.


said, that he had at one time intended to extend the operation of this Bill to Ireland. As he found, however, that this proposition was likely to give rise to a good deal of discussion, he should not press the Amendment at this period of the Session. But he should be glad to give his assistance in extending it to Ireland in a future Session, if any hon. Member should be of opinion that it ought to be so extended.


said, that he should in a future Session feel it his duty to introduce a measure extending this Bill to Ireland; and he should be prepared to take a similar course with respect to all measures dealing with the common law, in order to make the constitution of the two countries as far as possible the same.


said, he wished to explain that the opposition of the Irish Members arose from their being taken by surprise in the matter of the Attorney General's Amendments.


said, he was glad the Attorney General for Ireland had come to the determination he had expressed.

Clause agreed to, as were Clauses 2 to 7 inclusive.

Clause 8, extending some of the provisions of the Bill to Scotland.


said, that to the principle of the Bill he believed there would not be the slightest opposition; but as he understood that several Scotch Members entertained objections to this particular clause, he would only say that he had no intention of pressing it, if such objections were still retained by those hon. Gentlemen. The clause had been introduced at the instance of his learned Friend the late Lord Advocate.


said, that he entertained objections to the clause, and therefore heard with satisfaction the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman that he was not anxious to press it.


said, he should view the withdrawal of the clause with much regret, more particularly as it had emanated from so high an authority as the late Lord Advocate.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 31: Majority 106.

Clause 9.


said, he would then move that the Chairman do report progress. He must complain that the hon. and learned Attorney General should have given a pledge that he would withdraw the clause if there should be any opposition to it on the part of the Scotch Members, and yet, when a division took place, he voted with the "ayes." All the Scotch Members objected to the clause and it ought to be withdrawn. He felt it his duty to resist the further progress of the Bill, unless the Government gave an assurance that some Amendment upon this clause would be introduced. He concluded by moving, that the Chairman report progress and obtain leave to sit again.


He must deny that he had been guilty of any breach of faith. The clause was in the shape in which he had received it from the Lord Advocate, with the understanding that it had received the approval of the general body of Scotch Members. He had learnt from the House generally their opinion on the subject, and he had shown his readiness to withdraw the clause, but he had no power over the proceedings of the House. When, however, he was called upon to vote as an individual Member, he had voted for what he thought to be for the general benefit of both countries. In that belief he should oppose the present Motion.

Question put, "That the Chairman do report progress and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 14; Noes 148: Majority 134.


said, in deference to what he understood to be the wish both of Scotch and English Members he should withdraw the 9th clause.


said, he must object to the withdrawal of the clause, which embraced a great principle of jurisprudence, by which, though a question of property already decided by act of competent jurisdiction, yet the question of status could be again raised. It was a sign of weakness to withdraw the clause. He appealed to the learned Attorney General not to withdraw this clause, but to give his vote in its favour. He should divide the House on this question, and hoped the Attorney General would vote with him.


said, he feared there was some mistake as to the clause the Committee was discussing. The principle of so-called jurisprudence embodied in the clause was this—it enacted that after a man had litigated to the utmost in the courts of this country, and had established his right to the last, and had been put in possession of his property, notwithstanding all that, and his status had been fully determined, for the purpose no doubt of establishing his right to the property. [Mr. BOWYER: No, no!] Yes, yes; yet, after all this, his right might again be disputed, and a new litigation might be set on foot to disturb his right, if not his possession, and establish that of another person. The clause was a most mischievous one, and must have been introduced into the Bill by mistake.


said, he thought the clause could not have been introduced by mistake, considering the three eminent lawyers whose names were on the back of the Bill.


said, he hoped the clause would be withdrawn. He thought it was a most dangerous one. He would appeal to the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) to withdraw his opposition.


said, he had been informed that, whatever may be the opinion of the late Lord Advocate, the present Lord Advocate was wholly opposed to this clause.

Clause withdrawn.


said, he would then propose to introduce a clause providing that except in certain cases, the Act should not extend to Scotland.


said, the Act related only to England, and a provision might just as well be inserted that it did not apply to Ireland or the Colonies.

Proviso negatived. House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.