HL Deb 09 July 1832 vol 14 cc167-9

The Order of the Day for considering the re- sult of the conference with the Commons, on Friday, with regard to this Bill, having been read,

Lord Wynford

, who had proposed the Amendments, intimated, that he meant to submit to their Lordships, resolutions insisting on the first and last of these Amendments. The abolition of the punishment of death extended to cases of private stealing in a dwelling-house, and of stealing horses and sheep, and he insisted that this species of property would be left without protection, if the punishment of death were abolished, without substituting the severest secondary punishment. The Bill, as it came from the Commons, had enabled Magistrates, as well as the superior Judges, to sentence to various periods of transportation and imprisonment; and he had proposed the Amendment, that the sentence should invariably be transportation for life, leaving it to the Crown to modify the sentence, where that might appear proper. He was far from being sure that even this would be a sufficient security; for it was well known, that transportation was, in many instances, hardly regarded as a punishment. But, at least, they ought to have that security to the fullest extent. People talked of humanity; but humanity, of late, had taken a wrong turn; for it sympathised with the rogue rather than with the honest man. The Government had the power to transport to Sierra Leone, or others of the colonies, besides New South Wales or Van Diemen's Land; although he had no doubt but the power would be humanely exercised by the Crown; and he had proposed amendments in that respect, and, also, as to the employment of the criminal in the most unpleasant and disagreeable kinds of military labour; but these, his second and third amendments, he did not at present mean to insist upon. But he would propose to their Lordships a resolution insisting on the fourth and last, which was to restore the old law by which felons under sentence of transportation could neither acquire nor retain property. This law had been lately abrogated, and the effect had been mischievous. Receivers of stolen goods and others went out with property, and were hired by the Government as labourers to inhabitants of the colony. They then purchased up their term of service, and suffered no inconvenience from their sentence, except that they could not return to this country. He had proposed the re-enactment of the old law, by which felons under sentence of transportation should neither acquire nor retain property, and this he proposed to insist upon; and he meant also to insist on giving a legislative sanction to certain regulations made by General Darling for New South Wales. The regulations were, that felons transported for seven years should not have their tickets of leave, or, in other words, he pardoned, until they had served four years—that those transported for fourteen years should not have their tickets of leave till they had served six years—and that those transported for life should not have their tickets of leave till they had served eight years. These regulations had been attended with the best results, and he had proposed to make them binding on other Governors, and to extend them to Van Diemen's Land, and other colonies.

Lord Dacre

concurred in the first proposition of his noble friend, and was proceeding to the others, when

Lord Wynford

reminded the noble Lord that he had given all up except the first and last.

Lord Dacre

said, that he was satisfied with that course.

The Lord Chancellor

expressed his concurrence in the first and the last Amendments, which he thought were great improvements on the Bill, and which, without any disrespect to the other House, he thought ought to be insisted upon.

The Resolutions, that the House do insist upon the Amendments to the first and last section, were put and agreed to.

Viscount Melbourne

then moved, that the Committee of Lords, who had held the conference with the Commons, on Friday last on this subject, be appointed to meet the Commons again in conference, and to acquaint them with the Resolutions to which the House had come.

Motion agreed to, and conference held, in which the Lords communicated to the Commons their reasons for adhering to the Amendments.