HC Deb 05 March 1868 vol 190 cc1127-41

Order for Second Reading read.


Sir, in rising to move the second reading of this Bill, I wish, as one of the Commissioners upon whose Report the measure is founded, to state the reasons for their recommendation that capital punishment shall in future take place within the walls of the prisons, instead of publicly, as at present. A similar Bill to this was introduced last Session by the present Government, and a measure having the same object was proposed by the late Government, and the right hon. Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey) who was also a Witness before the Commission, supported its principle. With regard to the question of capital punishment itself, I am not about to make any observations. Capital punishment is the law, and there is no proposition to repeal it; and presuming that the punishment of death is to be continued, my object is to show the House that it can be carried out with greater effect, as regards the public, within the prison walls, and that the change would be beneficial to the criminals themselves. There was a great preponderance of opinion before the Commission against the present state of the law; the witnesses examined were, with very few exceptions, in favour of a system of executions within the prison walls, and it seemed to the Commissioners that public executions should be put an end to, and that the sentence of death should be carried out within the precincts of the prison under certain regulations. The Bill, of which I am about to move the second reading, is identical with the one which was laid upon the table last year, and is not merely for altering the place of punishment, but also for regulating the mode of conducting executions. It provides that by the order of the sheriff a certain number of persons in public capacities and the relatives of the convict shall be admitted to witness the execution, and also that there shall afterwards be a coroner's inquest, and a full publication of the proceedings before the coroner. I assume that no one would wish that so ghastly a spectacle as a public execution should take place except as a deterrent, and if it can be shown by experience that the deterrent influence is greater when the sentence is carried out privately, every one will wish to remove from public view a spectacle of so objectionable and horrible a character. I therefore propose to place before you the opinions, gained from considerable experience, of certain persons of high authority upon this subject. In other countries the experiment of hanging within the prison walls has been tried for a considerable period, and with success. In the United States the practice has been carried out with satisfactory results in the majority of the States. Mr. Dana, of Massachusetts, says— We should look with horror on a public execution, unless in some sparse rural district, out of reach of crowds. The Attorney General of the same State records his opinion as follows:— Public executions were abandoned many years ago, and I believe the change has been universally regarded as beneficial. Of those who have had opportunities of judging of the question from experience in our own colonies, I may refer to Sir Dominic Daly, who says with respect to South Australia— I feel quite satisfied, and it is the opinion of those who have the best means of knowing the moral effect of such punishment, that the penalty of death is not less deterrent in consequence of its being inflicted in a comparatively private manner. Sir John Young writes to the same effect from Sydney, and in Queensland the same practice is adopted and approved; and from Tasmania Governor Brown writes— I believe that inasmuch as a private execution removes the opportunity for display, it withdraws a stimulant which operates on the criminal population in a manner not much unlike that in which laudable ambition acts on a soldier. In Governor Brown's opinion, it seems, public executions are not only not deterrent, but stimulate the criminal classes to invest those who suffer the extreme penalty of the law with something of the heroic. By ordering executions to be conducted in private, we should prevent the criminal from aspiring to what he and many of his fellows may, unfortunately, regard as a glorious end. The Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria, Van Diemen's Land, says— I am informed by those who have good opportunities of knowing, that the criminal class have a greater dread of death on a private than on a public scaffold. This I fully believe. But the evidence on the subject which most struck me was that given by Colonel Henderson, who was, it is well known, Superintendent of Convict arrangements in Western Australia, and who is now Chairman of the Directors of Convict Prisons in this country. He spoke in the very strongest manner upon this subject, because both private and public executions had been tried in Western Australia with different effects. He says— Executions in private are far preferable to those in public. The fact of the man disappearing from the Court of Justice, and of the people knowing that he never would be seen again, would be far more deterring. I believe that a public execution destroys the whole value of an execution. He adds that the coroner's inquest is quite sufficient to satisfy the public that the execution has taken place; and, for my part, I cannot see why executions should be the only punishment administered in public. By the present rule guiding the administering of capital punishment, all our convicts should be exhibited in cages, and as much might be urged in favour of public floggings as in favour of public executions. Colonel Henderson says that flogging criminals in public had not half the effect of flogging them in private. Evidence based upon experience is therefore strongly in favour of the change we propose. Then we have to consider the quality and behaviour of the crowd who flock to witness public executions. Do we not hear, over and over again, that they represent the very worst classes, and that many of them are themselves on the very road to the gallows? It is notorious that they go only to make a jest of what is to every worthy person a subject of the gravest regret. They do not go alone. If they pondered over the scene alone, it might have some effect upon them; but they flock there in companies, and keep one another's courage up by singing low songs and laughing at low jests. Thus an execution has become nothing but a species of amusement, and is in nowise deterrent to the classes whom it is most desirable it should affect. It is the same as in past times, when, as a criminal passed along the streets on his way to Tyburn, all sorts of presents were made to him, and the bravado of the culprit tempted others to follow in his footsteps. But how impressive and how deterrent would be the scene when the criminal was removed from the Court on sentence of death being pronounced. His acquaintances would look on him and know that they saw him for the last time as he was led from the dock, and taken wholly out of their sight to be dealt with by the law. The deterrent effect would be the same as I have observed in the case of a sentence of transportation for life. A deep sob has run through the Court as the convict was led away; and the people feel that, although he has been removed from their sight, he will be subjected to a punishment which will be extremely painful, and the mystery and indefiniteness attending the punishment serves only to increase its terrors in their eyes. I may add that efforts have already been made in various parts of the country to make executions as private as possible. In some instances a screen has been erected before the scaffold, so that, as soon as the drop has fallen, everything of interest to the crowd is out of Bight. This shows how general the feeling has become that such spectacles are prejudicial in their effect on the public mind. Again, if it were desirable to secure publicity, full notice of an execution would be given; but the custom at present is to leave the time in uncertainty, and place it at a very early hour, so that the crowd may be small. And let me add a word respecting the criminal himself. Can anyone imagine that it is beneficial to him that, in his last moments, he should be brought out to be inspected by these mobs, to be received, as has been the case in one instance in London, with great applause, or with hooting and execrations, which must distract his mind from the religious and devotional duties in which everyone would wish that he should be at such a moment engaged? Both as regards the public and the criminal, the change will be a beneficial one, and upon the authority of such persons as Lord Cranworth, Lord Wensleydale, and Sir George Grey, I venture to recommend its adoption to the House, and therefore beg to move the second reading of this Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)


said, he rose with very great diffidence—to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. He wished his right hon. Friend had withdrawn this as he did its sister measure, the Law of Capital Punishment Amendment Bill. A private execution would have satisfied nobody in the case of the recent Manchester executions. The friends of the culprits in Ireland would have said that they were tortured in prison, and that the Government was afraid to execute them in public. When he found that out of the twelve Commissioners appointed only seven were in favour of private executions and five against them, and that these five were Dr. Lushington, Mr. Ewart, Mr. Neate, Mr. Moncreiff, and Mr. John Bright, he was very doubtful if the adoption of private executions would be an advantage to the country. The right hon. Gentleman had added nothing to his old arguments. He had simply drawn the precedents beyond their legitimate bearing. He had stated the effect of the abolition of public executions in other distant countries; but he had omitted to state in what countries, as in France, they were still retained. The right hon. Gentleman also confined his Bill to cases of murder, and did not extend it to treason, nor did he apply it to Scotland. In this age of assassination and revolvers, it was not desirable that the Government should set the example of private assassination. Such, however, was the character of the Bill, and, if passed, it would, in his opinion, give an impetus to the system of assassination by the revolver and stiletto, which had unfortunately become so prevalent in the country. He did not see why they should consider the criminal. He did not believe that capital punishment was in the majority of cases deterrent at all; but it would be more satisfactory to the public to have criminals executed in its presence. A distinguished Judge, Mr. Baron Martin, had given evidence before the Commission in favour of public executions. Such disgusting scenes as those which took place at Muller's execution were unknown except in London, and, although persons went to such spectacles for the purpose of robbery, might not many a young man go home and reflect on what he had seen, and be thus deterred from the commission of murder? Mr. Davis, the Ordinary of Newgate was inclined to regard public executions as more efficacious than private ones would be, but wished to give the latter a trial. It was evident, however, that after once adopting them it would be impossible to revert to the present method, and he (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) contended that the wisest policy was to make no change. One of the witnesses before the Commissioners described Calcraft's manner as very rough, remarking that he hung people as if he were hanging dogs. Now, if executions were private, his treatment might be still rougher, and criminals might be absolutely tortured. Many, moreover, would never believe that persons had been executed at all. Some persons still contended that Sadleir was living, and that Fauntleroy was not executed; and the opinion was prevalent in some quarters that if a rich man were condemned to death, he would be able to procure a substitute as in China. He viewed this as a poor man's question, for the poor man had a right to be hanged in public. If innocent, he had a right to appear before the people and declare his innocence, or, if guilty, to acknowledge his crime, and warn others by his example. On these grounds he begged to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.


said, he must admit that there were great authorities in favour of the Bill. His right rev. Friend (Dr. Ullathorne), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, had attended more than twenty criminals in their last moments, and was therefore well qualified to give an opinion. He (Sir George Bowyer) accordingly wrote to him last year, when the Bill on this subject had been announced, and his right rev. Friend replied that he thought it better that executions should be private. After examining the question, however, on all sides, he (Sir George Bowyer) had come to the conclusion that it was best to leave things as they were. He had thought it a duty, though a painful one, to attend two executions, and he did not see them from a window, but he mixed with the crowd during the night to observe everything that occurred; while, on several others, he had visited Newgate and Horsemonger Lane late on the night preceding an execution, and this had led him to believe that the horrible accounts which appeared in the newspapers of what took place before executions were greatly exaggerated. No doubt, executions brought together many "roughs" and members of what were called the "dangerous classes," and in so motley an assemblage good manners, or even good morals, could not be expected to prevail universally; but, when mixing with the crowd, he had heard many excellent remarks, showing that the object of the spectacle was clearly understood. He had heard it said, "Well, the man has been fairly tried, the laws of the country are just, and it is quite right he should be executed as an example to others." At Horsemonger Lane, when mingling, the night prior to the execution of the Mannings, with the crowd, he came to a group of men evidently belonging to the criminal population, and he heard one of them use this remarkable expression, "Well, I knows many a man as would think no more of taking a man's life than of eating his breakfast, if it wasn't for this," meaning the execution; and the remark met with general assent. The theory of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary with reference to the deterrent effect which would be produced by a man's disappearance into some sort of mysterious darkness was just a little too poetical to be understood by the class who were sought to be deterred from crime. If any scandals attended public executions, their deterrent effect ought fairly to be set off against them. No person who had not witnessed an execution could form any idea of the impression produced on the crowd of spectators when they saw before them the dreadful spectacle of a man in his full vigour about to be put to death. On the prisoner appearing on the scaffold there was a moment of awful silence—then the cry of "Hats off!" amid an indescribable mixture of sounds of which no one can have an idea who has not heard them, and which clearly indicate the horror and terror felt by the multitude. On such occasions prayers were offered up, and religious reflections suggested by persons whose theological principles did not perhaps agree with those which he himself held, but whose influence had a beneficial effect on those who heard them praying. If executions were conducted in private, there would be no such solemn awe in connection with the infliction of capital punishment. He believed that scandalous or indecorous conduct was the exception and not the rule on such occasions. Another great objection to private executions arose from the feeling among the lower classes, that criminals who had occupied an influential position in life, and especially criminals who had money, were not put to death. He had heard it said that any man with £1,000 might escape from capital punishment, even after sentence had been pronounced. Soon after he was called to the Bar he had seen instructions for counsel to draw a Bill in Chancery based on the supposed fact that Fauntleroy was still living. Again, after sentence had been pronounced on Tawell, there was a popular belief that his wealth and position would save him; and after the execution had taken place people believed that he was still living, and that a stuffed figure had been hanged in his stead. If such impressions existed, despite the fact that executions were public, what would be the case if capital punishment were inflicted in private? The fact that executions were private in some parts of America was no argument for introducing the practice into a country where the circumstances were entirely different from those of a pure democracy. For these reasons, and believing as he did that so serious a change as that proposed by the Bill ought not to adopted without more consideration than the subject had hitherto received, he begged to second the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Portsmouth.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Mr. Serjeant Gaselee.)


said, that if he thought the "poor man" was about to be deprived of a right or privilege, he should hesitate as to his vote in support of the Bill, but this was not a question as to any legal distinction being drawn between the rich and the poor, but as to whether a great public scandal could be abolished or very much diminished without doing away with capital punishment, which Parliament still thought it necessary to retain. If the hon. and learned Member for Portsmouth (Serjeant Gaselee) had read the Bill he could not have done so with his usual care, because he had spoken of the danger which might arise from the hangman being able to treat roughly and torture the criminal whom he had to execute in private. But the Bill provided that every execution should be witnessed by the sheriff, the governor of the gaol, the surgeon, the chaplain, and certain justices, if they pleased; and that there should be a coroner's inquest on every criminal who had been executed, so that there might be no doubt as to his identity. There was, therefore, no such danger as that apprehended by the hon. and learned Gentleman, unless a collusion, which was scarcely credible, should exist between all these officials. The hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer) had quoted a number of opinions of persons on the Capital Punishment Commissions against private executions; but it must be borne in mind that almost all of them were the opinions of gentlemen who were opposed to capital punishment altogether, against which their votes were given, and not in favour of public as against so-called "private" executions. The hon. Baronet, having been present at an execution, certainly had the advantage of him in point of experience; but he ventured to think that some of the deductions drawn by the hon. and learned Gentleman from what he had heard on those occasions were not exactly correct. For instance, that which was probably meant by the observation that "but for such things very many more innocent lives would be taken by the murderers," was not that murderers were deterred by public executions, but by the fear of the punishment of death at all. It appeared to him that the weight of evidence was in favour of the Bill introduced by his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Making even the fullest allowance for exaggeration, any person who read the newspapers could not doubt that the scenes which really did take place at public executions were a disgrace not only to civilization but to our common humanity. A proposal had been made to abolish capital punishment altogether. Upon that he would not pronounce an opinion further than to say he did not think public feeling would justify them in taking that step at the present moment. He thought the deterrent effects of capital punishment were wholesome, and should not be dealt with lightly. He felt that the House would do wisely to allow the Bill to pass into law, and he should therefore support the Motion for the second reading.


said, he must demur to the argument of the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, that those who had a strong objection to capital punishment, and regarded it as a relic of barbarism which must before long disappear, were upon that account shut out from discussing the question whether executions ought to take place in public or in private as long as capital punishment was continued. He confessed that he would rather have met the proposition of his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary with an Amendment declaring that it was expedient to abolish the punishment of death. Fifteen or sixteen years ago upwards of 100 Members of that House voted for the immediate abolition of capital punishment, and he could not therefore but think that he should have taken more Members into the Lobby in support of such an Amendment than his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) would take for that which he had made. He did not mean to attribute any blame to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary when he confessed that this Bill had come by surprise on him and other independent Members. He (Mr. Gilpin) thought it was much to be deplored that at this time of day—in the year 1868—the House should be engaged in a discussion as to whether hanging men publicly or privately were best in a civilized country. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down said the opinion of the country would not justify the House in abolishing capital punishment. He could not agree with the hon. Gentleman, and on this subject he ventured to put his experience in opposition to that of his hon. Friend, for he might say that there were few counties of England in which he had not attended public meetings called to promote the abolition of the punishment of death, and he knew that the feeling of the people in regard to it was not that which had been described. In regard to the argument that, if executions took place inside prisons they would have a greater deterrent effect than at present, he thought that was a subject on which it was impossible to form any just opinion, because, while some criminals showed great bravado when they came upon the scaffold) others, especially women, regarded the publicity as the worst part of the punishment. This subject had been much discussed out of doors, though it was comparatively new to the House. He held in his hand a letter addressed to him by the late Mr. Cobden, who, after expressing his regret at being unable to attend a meeting convened to consider the question of capital punishment, went on to say— I am sorry that I cannot attend the anti-capital-punishment meeting; but I congratulate you upon the great progress you have made during the last week. Your opponents are half-ashamed of their cause; but they seem not to be aware that, when they denounce the evils of public executions, they are abandoning the chief argument with which they have defended the halter. If they really thought that the gallows was a good and useful public instructor, they ought to be satisfied with the countless multitude of pupils who flocked to the spectacle of Tuesday last. In now calling out for secret hanging (which sounds to my ears very much like private assassination) they have delivered themselves into your hands, and I hope you will deal mercifully with them in your argument on Monday. Be assured that, if hanging be acknowledged to be so unclean a thing that it is no longer to be tolerated in the broad sunlight, the English people will have none of it. Again, Lord Hobart, in his Essay on Capital Punishment, said— It is not likely that in England executions will ever take place otherwise than in public. It seems more probable indeed, as far as this country is concerned, that capital punishment will be discontinued altogether than that it will ever be inflicted except in the full face of day. There is that in our national character to which secret executions are peculiarly abhorrent, and as it does not appear that there is any such preponderance of sound principle in their favour, as might be expected gradually to overcome a popular prejudice, it cannot reasonably be anticipated that they will ever find a place in our penal system. For his own part, he (Mr. Gilpin) confessed he had never been able to witness a public execution. He had in the grey dawn of the morning witnessed the crowd and the erection of the scaffold, but he turned away with a sick feeling before the criminal was brought out. On scores of occasions, however, he had met the crowds coming away from the scaffold, and certainly none of the descriptions in the newspapers had exaggerated the horrible accompaniments of such scenes. He was convinced that if executions were to take place inside the prisons three-fourths of the arguments in favour of capital punishment would fall to the ground. Perhaps, therefore, he ought to hail this measure as one which went three-fourths of the way to the abolition of the gallows; but, on the whole, he thought it better that the country should decide on the main question of the abolition of capital punishment rather than on the minor one as to the expediency of conducting executions in comparative secrecy.


wished to state shortly the reasons that compelled him to vote against the second reading of the Bill. He had no sympathy with those who thought it possible to abolish capital punishment; and who, he supposed would be in favour of having executions in private, because one of their staple arguments against capital punishment was that a public execution demoralized those who witnessed it. He had read all the accounts of the disgusting levity which was exhibited by the crowd on such occasions; but he must say that while he agreed in the main with the opinions expressed by Mr. Cobden, in the letter which had just been read, he (Mr. Newdegate) went further. He remembered that Gentleman saying, in reference to the affected and unnatural hilarity of the crowd after an execution, that it reminded him of boys whistling as they passed through a churchyard. He was convinced that much of the disgusting levity exhibited was no proof of indifference, but was rather an effort of unregulated minds to efface from their recollection the solemn and impressive scene they had beheld. He believed that the Bill was one step in a vicious course of legislation. He pointed out last Session that the remission by the Home Secretary of sentences pronounced in Court by Judges had shaken the confidence of the public in the execution of the law, and he presented a petition from Birmingham signed by 3,000 persons complaining that the certainty of punishment, the chief element in its deterrent effect, had been lost by the uncertainty which had been introduced as to the operation of the law in reference to the period of imprisonment which would really be inflicted for crime. He looked upon the present proposal from the same point of view. He believed that public executions had a most wholesome and deterrent effect. It had been the wise practice of this country for centuries to make the people feel that the law was the expression of their own judgment and will; and he knew nothing that would tend more to shake that impression than withdrawing the execution of the law in capital cases from public supervision. By doing this they would take another step towards making all uninformed persons believe that punishment was not the necessary effect of the law, but that it was an act of the executive itself. When once that feeling was established there would grow up this feeling that the punishment was an act of vengeance inflicted by those who were invested with discretionary power upon the victims of their malice. In other countries there had been examples of the evils of having executions not in public. One of the main causes that tended to shake the throne of Louis Philippe was the scandal as to the death of the Due de Praslin in prison. That nobleman, had been condemned, and justly, to be executed, and his death by suicide in prison, and the reports propagated and believed in reference to it, had raised doubts as to the pure administration of justice in France. Under these circumstances he should vote against the second reading.


said, that inasmuch as the Bill provided that executions should be held in a semi-public manner, in the presence of all the prison officers and the relatives of the person executed, and made it necessary that an inquest on the body should be held before twelve jurymen within twelve hours of the execution, it was not open to many of the objections which had been urged against it. The precautions provided by the Bill were such as to prevent any suspicion being entertained that the law had not been duly carried out. After looking into the working of the principle embodied in the Bill, so far as it had been carried into operation in other countries, in America, in Prussia, and our Australian colonies, he found that it generated no suspicion whatever. He hailed the present Bill as a measure thoroughly in consonance with the humane legislation of the past thirty years, and he trusted the House would view it in that light. He believed there had not been a single petition presented against the Bill, and he had himself brought twice forward a similar measure three and four years back, in favour of which numerous petitions had been laid before the House. He asked Mr. Adams, the American Minister, for his opinion on the subject, and he, in reply, wrote that in Massachusetts the system of hanging within the limits of a prison, in the presence of the officials and a few persons admitted by the sheriff, worked so well that nobody would think of returning to the old system. In Pennsylvania the system had been in operation for a quarter of a century; in New Jersey and Maryland executions were conducted in the same manner; and there was every probability of the system becoming universal and permanent. He had found similar testimony as to the working of the system in our Australian colonies. Sir Alfred Stephen, in answer to a question put to him by the Commissioners, stated that in New South Wales private executions were quite as deterrent in their effects, while the criminals suffered without exhibiting that bravado which they so frequently displayed when executed in the presence of large crowds of spectators. He could assure the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee)—though it was not necessary that he should trouble the House with the particulars—that such scenes as those referred to were by no means confined to London, but occurred for instance, at executions in Liverpool and Manchester. He might remark, too, that at the execution of the Irishmen for the murder of Serjeant Brett it was generally regretted in Manchester that the mode of conducting our executions had not been altered, and he had heard from several quarters expressions of regret that such a measure as the one before the House had not been passed in the last Session of Parliament. If this alteration had taken place there would have been no necessity for moving large bodies of troops and swearing in great numbers of special constables. In the execution of criminals they had a twofold object in view. In one light such executions might be regarded as examples, and in the other—while the present publicity was retained—as spectacles. Now, he felt convinced that the example would not be lost by the executions being held within the prison walls, while, by adopting such a course, the spectacle might be got rid of. At present that spectacle was seen but by a very few; and while we were doing so much to refine and elevate the poorer classes of our fellow-countrymen, it was scarcely consistent in the House to allow these barbarous exhibitions to be continued. He trusted that the House would read the Bill a second time.


thought the Bill would be much more complete if Scotland were included. The question was one which had excited great interest in that part of the kingdom. He had a copy of a petition agreed to by the Town Council of Edinburgh in favour of this measure so early as the year 1854; and others were adopted in 1865 and 1866, all of them unanimously. The petition of 1854 declared that, considering executions as a spectacle, the good effects produced by them were extremely rare, if any at all; and they hardened and brutalized the great mass of those who were present at them; it, therefore, prayed that executions might take place within the walls of the prison, before a limited number of persons, including several public functionaries. He (Mr. M'Laren) had had the painful duty imposed upon him of being present at two public executions, for in Scotland these were conducted under the charge, not of the sheriffs, but the magistrates of cities and boroughs. He had derived from his observations the strongest possible conviction, not only that they did no good whatever, but that they hardened and brutalized many of those who witnessed them, while they were at the same time painful to the feelings of all the better disposed classes of the community, who certainly were entitled to some consideration at the hands of the House. He could not understand how anyone who had read the clauses of the Bill could assert that the executions under it would be private. It might just as well be said that criminal trials were private, unless 10,000 persons were present, and that therefore all such trials should be held on Salisbury Plain. Every precaution was taken by the Bill to have proper witnesses, and to leave no possibility of a doubt that the criminal had been executed. The measure was a great step in advance of the present state of things, and, as one of those persons who disapproved altogether of the punishment of death, he was glad to give it his cordial support, as it would probably lead to the accomplishment of that more important object. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman opposite would consent to the insertion of a clause by which its provisions should be extended to Scotland.


said, that steps would be taken when the Bill was in Committee to make its provisions applicable to Scotland.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 181; Noes 25: Majority 156.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday, 19th March.