HL Deb 18 April 1835 vol 27 cc996-7
Lord Brougham

said, that he must be allowed to take that opportunity of trespassing on their Lordships' attention for a few moments while he corrected a great misrepresentation which had gone abroad respecting the amendment of the abuses in corporations. He did not often take notice of matters of the kind; if he did, he should frequently have occasion to trouble their Lordships with the correction of errors; but as the mistake in this instance related to a measure of the late Government, he felt bound to take the earliest opportunity of correcting it. It had been stated in a Review of great respectability, conducted, as he believed, with considerable ability and skill, that the Bill which he had brought in with the sanction of his Majesty's late Government, which was read a first time, and which had in view the important purpose of giving a new constitution to the corporations of this country, was a Bill which was defective in some particulars, and which had been hastily revised. It might be a Bill ill concocted—it might, for aught he knew, by some be deemed a bad Bill—he himself believed that it was well concocted, well prepared, and that it would stand the test of the severest scrutiny; but at all events he was ready to declare most positively that it was a Bill not got up in haste, and that the statement that it was so was positively and peremptorily contrary to the fact. It had occupied considerable time in the preparation—it had occupied seven or eight Commissioners' constant attention for seven or eight weeks, who had visited on the spot and examined every one of the new boroughs, and the Bill was the result of their report—the result of his consideration of that report—the result of the deliberate advice of those Commissioners—and not only of them, but of the parties who resided in those towns, and who stated what they thought would be proper in each particular instance; and that advice and those recommendations, were attentively considered in the concoction, so to speak, of the measure. He should only add what seemed to have been forgotten in the discussions on this subject, that on the doubtful and difficult question whether Aldermen should be elected for life, or should be removable, he had stated that there were considerable differences of opinion, that he himself had not made up his own opinion on the subject, and that he had stated this, not only when he brought in the Bill, but repeatedly in the course of the last session, that he had not finally made up his mind, either on that subject, or on the extent of the franchise—whether the 101. franchise or not—in the new corporations, as to the election of the corporate officers. But there was one thing on which he had made up his mind, and that was, that the judicial functions in a corporation should be discharged, if there were not local courts established throughout the country, by a legal person, who should be called the recorder; but if there were, as he hoped there would be, local courts established, by the judge of one of those courts.

Subject dropped.

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