HC Deb 20 June 1862 vol 167 cc846-61

rose to call attention to the return, No. 232, entitled, "Tyrone Assizes (Jury Panel)," and also to the constitution of the Grand Jury panel at the late assizes at Omagh, and to inquire whether any steps had been taken by the Government to prevent the repetition of such conduct as occurred on that occasion. The noble Lord said that the subject was not merely of local importance as might appear from the notice he had given, but was of general interest, and involved no less important a question than this—whether Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland were entitled to trial by jury as by law established, or were to be left to the caprice of partisan sub - sheriffs. He regretted that the Irish Government had taken no public notice of the gross scandal he was about to narrate, for it was impossible for him to avoid the names of individuals, and thus the case must assume somewhat the character of a personal attack on absent individuals, which was most repugnant to his feelings; but this duty was forced upon him by the neglect of the executive Government, and both he and his colleague had received remonstrances, almost amounting to censures, for not having sooner called attention to the subject. He was, however, happy to be able to add that he did not wish to invoke the rigours of the law or call for pains and penalties; all he required was a decided intimation from the Government that such an attack upon the pure administration of justice should not be repeated with impunity. The circumstances of which he had to complain were these:— A very clever and enterprising solicitor, by his influence with the sheriff, got the disposal of the office of sub-sheriff, which he gave to his brother, who was entirely under his control, and thus obtained complete power as to the making out of the jury panel. That power he exercised in a manner directly opposed to law, and in complete violation of the various regulations which had been made in order to ensure that neither malice nor caprice should have anything to do with the selection of jurors, and placed upon the panel the names of persons who were not qualified to act. He was, at the same time, engaged by the relatives of a deceased person to prosecute a prisoner who was to be tried at the assizes; and, in addition to all this, he appeared in the Grand Jury Room, and assisted to find the Bill against that person. The present High Sheriff was a comparative stranger in the county, and the responsibility therefore devolved entirely upon his representative, Mr. John M'Crossan, a rising solicitor, well known for his successful exertions in party cases, and for his love of controverting judicial decisions. The law regulating the formation of juries was most clear and explicit. The time for publishing the lists of persons qualified, the opportunities for persons omitted to claim to be included, and for those anxious to claim exemption, are all clearly defined. There is subsequently a revising sessions; after this the jury book so made out is kept by the clerk of the peace for him to hand to the sub-sheriff, a heavy penalty being attached to any tampering with it. This jury book when required is handed to the sheriff, and from it alone can he legally make out the jury panels. The Legislature, however, wisely enacted, that in case of any neglect or illegality in the jury book of the current year, the sheriff is to revert to that of the preceding year. The jury book for the year was duly made out, and contained about 1,500 names. Previously to each assize it is usual to publish about 140 names, selected from the jury book for the jury panel. This was done at the usual time this year; but previous to the assizes it was discovered that the sheriff, of his own caprice, had inserted twenty-nine names which were not in the jury book. An unfortunate case of homicide was to he tried at the assizes, arising out of a disputed case of possession, in which the young man killed turned out to be the nephew of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Armagh, while the person accused of causing his death was a Presbyterian. Religious feeling was at once strongly enlisted in obtaining a conviction, and with that object the services of Mr. M'Crossan were secured. The charge contained in the Return printed by the order of the House was, that twenty-nine names more likely to acquit than to convict the accused were excluded, and twenty-nine persons more likely to convict than to acquit were illegally substituted. To explain the full bearings of this change, he must give some details. He believed that in the whole population of Tyrone the Protestants were slightly in a majority, but in all cases requiring property qualification, such as the elective franchise or jury lists, they were in a great majority, about three-and-a-half to one. In the twenty-nine names illegally inserted, there were nineteen Roman Catholics to ten Protestants; whereas, if the proportion of the jury book had been maintained, there would have been about eight of the former to twenty-one of the latter. But he did not object to these persons, who were highly respectable, on account of their religion; had they all been Protestants, the illegality would have been equal; they were not in the jury book, and this was his only objection to them. When this serious charge was made in court, it was not traversed; the facts were not denied, but a demurrer was put in admitting the facts, but denying that they vitiated the panel. This was discussed in court, and Judge Christian retired to consult Judge Ball, and on his return he announced that they were perfectly agreed in opinion; and he gave the following decision:— The sheriff did make up a jury list, and it was stated that the question of motive was a matter entirely in his own breast, and that it was impossible to produce evidence as to that. He could not see the impossibility, as it was nothing new for jurors to be called to determine motives which they can only know by evidence of the acts. It was only by the acts that they could arrive at the motives which prompted those acts. If, in the present case, evidence should be produced, it was not for him to say, but it appeared to him that he would, in the language of an eminent judge, 'be making the jury panel a mockery and a snare,' if he allowed a prisoner to be put on his trial by a jury packed in such a way as the present one. As far as he had been able to learn, there had been no expression of reprehension on the part of the Government, though such might have been expected to follow the judgment of Mr. Justice Christian. He understood the sub-sheriff alleged that he had not got the book from which the juries were to be made out till a period very near the trial; but that was not the fact, for he confessed to one of the judges that he had the book in his possession at the time he issued the summonses. There were other excuses put forward which were equally destitute of foundation. It was asserted that the jury book had never been made out legally in Tyrone, and various charges were made against the late sub-sheriff. If previous sub-sheriffs had acted illegally, it would be no justification of the present sub-sheriff for his violation of the law; but he was able to deny, in the most distinct terms, the various allegations. Whilst excuses were made by some, Mr. M'Crossan was loudly praised by others for his bold conduct. His partisans state that he had equalized the panel. If sub-sheriffs in the south and west were to equalize juries by illegally inserting Protestants, it is clear that the law is wholly superseded. The law was intended to prevent partisan influence in the formation of juries and to exclude the exercise of corruption, malice, or caprice from the construction of jury panels. But supposing all these allegations were true, the sheriff was bound to obtain the jury book of the pre-ceiling year. It has been stated that the late sub-sheriff refused to deliver up this book. He was authorized by that gentleman to give the most positive denial to that statement. He was never asked for that book; and when the present sub-sheriff was sworn in, he offered him every assistance and any documents he might require. The jury book for 1861 was never demanded, and therefore could not have been refused. With regard to the second portion of his notice, he wished to state that he had no objection to Mr. M'Crossan as a grand juror as far as that gentleman's character or position were concerned. Some persons had doubted whether he was qualified by property, and certainly several persons, who had before served as grand jurors, and were present on that occasion, were not called, and he was selected; but his objections to Mr. M'Crossan as a grand juror were entirely of a different kind. Mr. M'Crossan is a gentleman of great talents and experience in the law, and would be a valuable assistant in the fiscal business. His objection was that Mr. M'Crossan was largely engaged in the defence and prosecution of prisoners on trial. He considered that incompatible with the due performance of the duty of a grand juror; and if drawn into precedent, it would produce the most mischievous results. Notwithstanding the grand juror's oath, it was impossible for any one professionally engaged not to be swayed by the interests of his client. It was wrong that the persons intrusted with all the secrets of the prisoners should be charged with finding the bills for the petty jury, and should subsequently conduct the case in the court below. In justice to Mr. M'Crossan, he must mention that that gentleman did not wish to attend to cases in which he was engaged. He was also engaged in the Civil Court, so that he could not attend to the duties he had sworn to perform. He was, however, obliged to attend in some cases against his will; and in this very case of homicide, as the jury in his absence had failed to come to a decision, he was obliged to take part in the proceedings the next day, when the bill was found, he believed, by 13 to 10. The very fact of his asking to be constantly away, showed the impropriety of a solicitor of large practice in assize business being on the grand jury. The flimsy pretext of using another man's name, only showed Mr. M'Crossan's own sense of the impropriety of the position he occupied. It now only remained for him to ask the Government what steps had been taken to prevent a recurrence of this outrage on trial by jury. The Irish Government had apparently taken no part. This was the more ex- traordinary, as its legal advisers had ample time on their hands to watch public events in Ireland. They had no Parliamentary duties to distract their thoughts or divert their attention. The very foundation of justice was endangered, great public distrust was created, yet they had given no sign of life. He called upon the Government to vindicate the due administration of the law, and to prevent such experiments by party sub-sheriffs in future. It must be borne in mind that these acts did not proceed from ignorance; they were done deliberately, and have since been openly justified by a most experienced solicitor of great talents and practice. He is considered by his admirers and partisans to have gained a great triumph over the law, and he has been much praised for his bold proceedings. He must remind the House that justice should not only be pure, but it should be above suspicion. This unfortunate transaction had created wide-spread distrust in Ireland. He hoped his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary would make a statement that would restore confidence and secure the future from a repetition of such attacks on trial by jury.


said, that looking to the existing state of things in Ireland, it was a matter of the deepest importance that trial by jury should be properly conducted. What they had to look to in the case before them was whether the matter complained of was the result of ignorance or design. From information which had come to his knowledge, he believed it could be proved that it was the result of design. Soon after the rumour that the jury panel was about to be tampered with by the new sub-sheriff got abroad, he (Major Knox) met the High Sheriff in London, and that gentleman told him that the report was false, that he had appointed sub-sheriff one to whom be owed some kindness, but the sub-sheriff was to have nothing whatever to do with the selection of the jurors. He had read a letter to the right hon. Baronet which would show that the sub-sheriff did take part in the selection of the jury. The letter stated that Mr. M'Crossan in a certain town of the county asked the head constable what persons in the town were respectable enough to sit on the jury; that the head constable not having been long in the place was not able to inform him; that he then applied to a constable, who at first refused to give the information, but did so at last by the orders of the head constable; and that the matter having come to the knowledge of the inspector, the head constable was afterwards removed. [Mr. VINCENT SCULLY: Name.] He had given the name to the right hon. Gentleman. He did not wish to see fines imposed; but he thought the sheriff should be removed, not for any offence he had himself committed, but because he was responsible for the conduct of the sub-sheriff.


said, he thought the noble Lord and the hon. Member who had brought the subject before the House, had failed in their duty in not concluding with a Motion for the prosecution of the sheriff, sub-sheriff, and Mr. M'Crossan, for a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. It was quite clear that the charges which had been made, if there was a particle of truth in them, ought to be investigated either in that House, or in a court of justice; and as the previous speakers had omitted to wind up their speeches with a Motion for Inquiry, he would supply that omission; for the sheriff, the sub-sheriff, and Mr. M'Crossan all desired that a most searching investigation should be made. Mr. M'Crossan had written to him, said that it was simply untrue, that he acted professionally in the Crown Court; he was a grand juror, no doubt, but he was engaged in the Civil Court. Therefore that charge fell to the ground. For the first time since 1688 a Liberal sheriff had been appointed for the county of Tyrone, where it had been the custom to pack the juries most outrageously. He was informed that a large majority of the people in the county of Tyrone were Catholics, and that the jury list, if fairly completed, would exhibit the proportion of three Catholics to one Protestant. Yet the jury list had been so packed, that out of 160 names, but one was the name of a Catholic. With respect to the twenty-eight names now complained of, seventeen were the names of Catholics, and eleven the names of Protestants. The several persons put in the list were people of great respectability, and qualified to act as grand jurors. Mr. M'Crossan said that the Orange faction were irritated at that alteration, because they had hitherto relied on the jury list for immunity for their "rowdyism," for it was the dregs of the community who were Orangemen. The Orange Society was a sort of Riband, illegal, and indictable society. He regretted that an hon. Member should so far lose his temper as to turn round and tell him that this was grossly false; and he questioned whether such language was Parliamentary. What, however, were they to expect from juries composed of such gentlemen? What was the charge against Mr. M'Crossan? That he had put twenty-nine names on the jury list which were not found on the jury book. What jury book? The jury book of 1862 was to be given to him before the 1st of January, but he did not get it. What then was he to do? At great expense and personal inconvenience he went through the county and made out a list, to which no objection could be made, except that a number of Roman Catholics were placed on the list. Instead of adopting the former system, he did what was right and proper; but so addicted to jury-packing was every one connected with the administration of justice in the county, that when the case referred to came on for trial, the array was challenged by the prisoner on the ground that the sheriff had returned on it persons not qualified to serve, and omitted certain persons who were duly qualified to serve. The crown counsel took this extraordinary proceeding; they demurred to the challenge, thereby admitting the facts stated, and the judge quashed the array, as he was hound in duty to do. The sheriff was directed to return a new array, and he returned the same jury in order that the traverse might again be tried. A like objection was taken, and the trial of Don-nellan was adjourned. Another prisoner was convicted by the same jury, and nothing further was heard of the matter since until the present debate. If the parties who brought forward this matter were anxious for inquiry, they would support his suggestion that there should be the full investigation which Mr. M'Crossan, in justice to himself, demanded. He (Mr. M'Mahon) did not know much about the county Tyrone personally, but he thought that it ought to be purified, and the Orange "rowdies," who were the dregs of society, put in their proper position.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the circumstances connected with the Jurors' Lists, Books, and Panel in Tyrone since 1845, and particularly at the last Assizes, and generally into the mode of appointing Public Prosecutors, and the conduct of Criminal Prosecutions in Ireland, —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted the fact that he knew nothing whatever about the county of Tyrone, and his statement with respect to it might be taken for what it was worth. With regard to his attack upon the Orangemen, it was both unnecessary and uncalled for, and he (Captain Archdall) repeated what he had stated, while the hon. and learned Gentleman was speaking—namely, that the statement was entirely false and without foundation.


I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will see on a moment's reflection that he has used words which ought to be withdrawn.


I bow, Sir, to your decision; but I belong to the Orange Society, and I cannot allow it to be put on a par with the Riband Society without giving it the most distinct contradiction.


The words used were "entirely false and without foundation;" they ought to be withdrawn.


But what the hon. and learned Member has said with respect to the Orange Society is false.


I must repeat that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has not expressed himself in proper language.


Then, Sir, I withdraw the words I used, but what I meant to say was that the statement of the hon. and learned Member is entirely contrary to the fact.


said, he rose to order. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had applied the epithet "false" to the hon. Member (Mr. M'Mahon). He (Mr.O'Brien) believed it was not Parliamentary on the part of any hon. Member to use a phrase of that kind.


The hon. Member has withdrawn it.


said, with regard to the question which had been brought under the notice of the House by the noble Lord, it was deserving of the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he trusted he would give the matter a serious consideration.


said, he had a high respect for the High Sheriff of Tyrone, and believed him to be incapable of doing or conniving at any improper act; but as the accuracy of the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Wexford had been called in question, he thought the House could not do better than grant the inquiry asked for.


said, he thought the hon. and learned Member for Wexford was right in asking for an inquiry, but the House ought to be careful not to interfere with judicial proceedings. The proposed inquiry would be too wide, and defeat its own object, as it would go over a space of seventeen years. The House should not interfere with the administration of justice, but he hoped the Government would prevent a recurrence of the circumstances which had been so properly reprobated by the judges.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken thought the inquiry would be too wide. In that he was right. But he was entirely wrong in supposing that an inquiry into the administration of justice was not within the functions of that House. If any question arose with respect to any of the judges, he was removable upon an Address by that House and the other House of Parliament. In that case the conduct of the high sheriff was called in question. Now, the high sheriff really represented the Executive, and the only body that was supposed by its functions to have the power of keeping the Executive in check was that House. He would therefore suggest to his hon. and learned Friend not to withdraw, but narrow his Motion.


said, he could not but regret that the noble Lord had thought it necessary again to agitate the matter, because he himself had admitted that it had already given rise to a great deal of party feeling. The noble Lord had made use of extremely strong language, for he had stated that the high sheriff and sub-sheriff of the county Tyrone had been tampering with trial by jury. [Cries of Order !] The noble Lord stated that these gentlemen had been tampering with and falsifying the jury panel. He (Sir Robert Peel) must say that he agreed with the remark which had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Wexford, that if the accusation which had been levelled against these gentlemen by the noble Lord were true, he ought frankly and at once to have met the question by a Motion that their conduct should he inquired into. The noble Lord had said that the Government had shown an apathy in the matter. Now, so far from the Government having displayed any apathy, he thought they had acted a truly constitutional part. The Government had nothing whatever to do with either the constitution of the grand or petty jury panels, and it would be most unconstitutional on the part of the Government if they were to attempt in any way to interfere with the duties which were imposed by statute on the high sheriff. The statute distinctly laid down what were the duties of the high sheriff; and the judge of assize was empowered, if he should think fit, to set a fine upon the sheriff if he returned on the panel the name of any man not inserted in the jurors' book last delivered. In that case Judge Christian had stated, that upon consideration he thought it was a wiser act of discretion on his part to abstain from imposing a fine; and in that expression of opinion he (Sir Robert Peel) concurred. The noble Lord had said that he apprehended a repetition of the conduct that was the subject of complaint, and he wanted to know what action the Government were prepared to take. The action taken by the Government was that they had directed attention to the fact, that a repetition of the alleged offence would be held to be a wilful disobedience of the statute, and that a fine would be imposed by the judge. He was not aware what other action the Government could take in the matter. He was not acquainted with the high sheriff; but he was sorry that such harsh language had been used in regard to him, because he believed him to be a gentleman of position and character. He had given him a statement with reference to his conduct and that of the sub-sheriff, from which it appeared that his noble Friend had been led into error. After stating that he had not received the jury book for 1862 from the clerk of the peace, and that the late sub-sheriff had not handed him the book for 1861 till after the late assizes, and then only on being threatened with an action if he did not do so, the high sheriff went on to say that the panel consisted of 150 names, composed equally of Protestants and Roman Catholics, and that all the persons placed upon the panel were fully qualified by station, and were of the most respectable and intelligent class. That he (the sheriff) could vouch for from personal observation, and their verdicts gave general satisfaction. Both the sub-sheriff and himself were anxious that the fullest in- quiry should take place, and they would give every assistance to elucidate the facts. It had been stated, the letter continued, that Mr. John M'Crossan was placed on the grand jury panel, to the exclusion of other gentlemen in the country better qualified, and who were in the habit of attending the assizes. The fact was, that Mr. John M'Crossan was the twenty-third on the grand jury list, and the last on the panel save one. Every gentleman was summoned who was in the habit of attending, or who had the right by property to do so, except those who had written to say they could not attend. The high sheriff knew of no law that excluded practising attorneys from serving on grand juries when their property entitled them to do so; and Mr. M'Crossan's property would have entitled him to have been placed higher on the list than he was. As high sheriff, he could not know that Mr. M'Crossan was employed to prosecute in several cases; and if he had known it, he doubted whether the fact would have disqualified Mr. M'Crossan for serving on the grand jury. Magistrates acting on grand juries were often interested in the success of the prosecutions, and had often expressed judicial opinions in cases which came before them as grand jurors; and until the law laid down that professional gentlemen were to be excluded, he saw no reason why he should deviate from the course he pursued at the last assizes. Those assizes were attended by the two Members for the county of Tyrone, neither of whom remonstrated at the time. A member of the grand jury had volunteered the statement that in Mr. M'Crossan they had a valuable acquisition, and, though there was a prejudice against him at the first, he had by his good sense and strict impartiality won the good opinions of the whole body. That letter he (Sir R. Peel) thought was very satisfactory. He did not believe that the circumstances complained of would occur again, and he would request his hon. and learned Friend to let the whole matter drop where it was, and to withdraw his Motion. He had given no notice of it, and it was a novel proceeding to urge a Parliamentary inquiry into a subject like that before them without notice. Their time could be better occupied, particularly at the present period of the Session. It would be far better to allow a question to drop which admittedly had given rise to party and religious feeling. After what he had heard that night, he would add that he never entertained the intention of irritating the feelings of his fellow countrymen on religious questions.


said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. M'Mahon) had most ingeniously attempted to mix up with the case before the House various other matters entirely disconnected with it, which had occurred from 1845 up to the present time, and had dragged in references to Orangemen and Ribandmen which were beside the question. The point to be considered was whether in that particular instance certain judicial officers had or had not violated the laws of their country. Something further ought to be done on the part of the Government than merely to express a hope that such a maladministration of justice as had been proved should not take place in the future. The majesty of justice ought to be reasserted. It was the duty of the executive Government to see that high sheriffs performed the functions of their high office as they were legally bound to do. He did not think that the reply given that night by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland would prove satisfactory to the people of Ireland.


observed that the only question for consideration was whether Mr. John M'Crossan, while acting as a grand juror, was also acting as attorney to the prisoner, and to that a most distinct denial had been given. Those who made the accusation were bound therefore in vindication of their own characters, to prove its truth.


said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down appeared to think that the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Wexford—namely, that Mr. M'Crossan had not practiced during the Spring Assizes in the Crown Court —was a complete answer to part of the case laid before the House from his noble Friend and Colleague; but he was in a position to deny the accuracy of that statement, and on the best possible authority, which was no less than that of Mr. M'Crossan himself. Mr. M'Crossan had rendered valuable service in the grand jury room during the transaction of fiscal business; but after the Judges had arrived, and bills of indictment were sent up, he requested his (Mr. Corry's) permission to absent himself, on the express ground that he was retained in several of the cases, and could not, therefore, be considered an impartial grand juror. But that was not all—on the fol- lowing day Judge Christian sent up to him (Mr. Corry), as foreman of the grand jury, to say he desired to speak to him in the court; and on going down, the Judge showed him a bill which had been found a true bill, and asked him whether Mr. M'Crossan had been a party to the finding, which he was desirous of knowing, as Mr. M'Crossan had been retained in the case. He was enabled to inform the Judge that Mr. M'Crossan had not taken part in the finding of the bill, and so the matter dropped. With respect to the assertion of the hon. Member for Wexford, that Mr. M'Crossan could not obtain a copy of the jurors' book for 1862 from the outgoing sheriff, he would read extracts from a letter from Mr. Rogers, the late sub-sheriff, which showed that he had never applied to that gentleman for the book, and also that Mr. M'Crossan had admitted to Judge Ball in the Civil Court that the book for 1862 was actually in his possession before he struck the panel. The whole case lay in a nutshell—was the course adopted by the sub-sheriff legal, or was it not? and no one, he thought, could deny that it was in direct violation of the statute, and so satisfied was the judge of this, that he could not allow a prisoner to be put on his trial before a jury so constituted. There were four courses open to the sub-sheriff. He could have demanded the jurors' book from the clerk of the peace — he could have demanded it from his predecessor, under a penalty, in case of refusal, of £100—or, failing these, he could have framed his panel from the book of the previous year; but, instead of adopting any of these courses, he did that which was in direct violation of the statute. He invented a panel of his own, thereby subjecting himself to a penalty under 3 & 4 Will. IV., c. 9, s. 33, if the Court had seen fit to impose it. His right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland had read a letter from the high sheriff, in which it was stated that he (Mr. Corry) had testified to Mr. M'Crossan's ability and impartiality as a grand juror; and he did not hesitate to say that Mr. M'Crossan, who was a gentleman of ability and conversant with country affairs, had rendered valuable service so long as fiscal business was under consideration; but he did not think that any gentleman ought to be a member of a grand jury who was open to the suspicion of having a personal interest in any bill of indictment which might come before it, He must also say that the challenge of the panel did not take place until after the grand jury had been actually discharged, and therefore no remark he might have made to the high sheriff could have had any reference to that transaction. With respect to the Motion with which the hon. and learned Member for Wexford had concluded, he courted the fullest inquiry; but he thought, more especially at so late a period of the Session, it would be absurd to enter upon so extensive an investigation, and one having no especial reference to the case which had been brought to the notice of the House by his noble Colleague.


suggested that the object would be attained by the hon. and learned Member for Wexford striking out the first part of his Resolution.


said, he thought that the only points in the late occurrence as to which inquiry was asked were admitted by both parties; namely, that Mr. M'Crossan acted on the grand jury in the court in which he was also practising, and that the sub-sheriff, not content with the Crown list, added twenty-nine names to the list on his own responsibility. These gentlemen, having admitted that they had done wrong, defended themselves by making a cross charge as to the grand jury of the county of Tyrone for some years past. He thought that the House ought to be satisfied with the assurance of the Government, that such an occurrence as that complained of was not likely to occur again.


remarked that he thought a case for inquiry was established.


said, he had not the slightest objection to an inquiry into the particular case, but he thought it absurd to go back for fifteen years.


said, he should contend that no sufficient case had been made for a Committee of Inquiry. It appeared that Mr. M'Crossan did not act as a grand juryman in any of the bills in which he was interested; and though he was far from saying that it was right for a gentleman to be on the grand jury and to practise in one and the same court, he thought that the judge was the proper person to decide, and to punish in such a case.


said, there had been a dear miscarriage of justice. A prisoner had been left in gaol after the delivery, and yet Her Majesty's Government declared that there was no ground for inquiry. It placed the House in a discreditable and dishonourable position, and he thought it was the bounden duty of the Government to take steps effectually to prevent the recurrence of such an omission.


said, he was willing to withdraw his Motion if he might be allowed to substitute one restricting the inquiry to the case in point.


said, the hon. Member could not withdraw the Motion without the consent of the House.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 84; Noes 14: Majority 70.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Supply considered in Committee.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again on Monday next.