§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill having been brought up from the other House of Parliament, perhaps it would be convenient for their Lordships then to determine on what day they would take the second reading. He would move that the Bill be read a first time and printed, and he would propose the second reading on Tuesday, the 25th inst.
§ The Duke of Wellington
begged leave to remind the noble Viscount of a passage in the King's speech, at the opening of the session; and also of a paragraph in the address in answer to that speech. In the speech these words occurred;—"His Majesty has more especially commanded us to bring under your notice the slate of Ireland, and the wisdom of adopting all such measures as may improve the condition of that part of the United Kingdom. His Majesty recommends to your early consideration the present constitution of the municipal corporations of that country, the laws which regulate the collection of tithes, and the difficult, but pressing question, of establishing some legal provision for the poor, guarded by prudent regulations, and by such precautions against abuse, as your experience and knowledge of the subject enable you to suggests His Majesty commits these great interests into your hands in the confidence that you will be able to frame laws in accordance with the wishes of his Majesty, and the expectation of his people. His Majesty is persuaded that, should this hope be fulfilled, you will not only contribute to the welfare of Ireland, but strengthen the law and constitution of these realms, by securing their benefits to all classes of his Majesty's subjects." The answer to that part of the speech ran thus:—"Humbly to assure your Majesty that we will direct our attention to the state of Ireland, which your Majesty has been graciously pleased to bring especially under our notice; and, convinced of the wisdom of adopting all such measures as may improve the condition of that part of the United Kingdom. We will take into our early consideration the present constitution of the municipal corporations of that country, the laws which regulate the collection of tithes, and the difficult but pressing question of establishing some legal provision for the poor, guarded by prudent regulations, and by such precautions against abuse, as our experience 1157 and knowledge of the subject may enable us to suggest: we cannot but feel grateful for the confidence with which your Majesty commits these interests into our hands, and we are persuaded with your Majesty, that should we be able to frame laws upon these matters, in accordance with the wishes of your Majesty, and the expectations of your Majesty's people, we shall not only contribute to the welfare of Ireland, but strengthen the law and constitution of these realms, by securing their benefits to all classes of your Majesty's subjects." Now, it appeared, that of the three subjects mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, and in the answer of that House, one only had been brought into their Lordships' House—namely, that which related to the Irish municipal corporations. Another subject, the poor-laws, had, he believed, been brought under the consideration of the other House of Parliament, and stood on the votes. But the third subject, which related to Irish tithes, had not been yet introduced to either House. It certainly appeared to him that, before their Lordships were called on to discuss the principle or details of the Municipal Corporations Bill, they ought to know what the measures were which Ministers intended to introduce with reference to the other subjects alluded to in his Majesty's Speech, and in the address. Under these circumstances, he requested the noble Viscount to postpone the consideration of this measure to a later period; and he was the more particularly anxious the House should not proceed with it on a very early day, because a noble and learned Friend of his (Lord Lyndhurst), who took a Very distinguished part in the discussion of the measure last year, was absent on account of a domestic misfortune, and would be unable to attend in his place for some days. Under all these circumstances, he trusted the noble viscount would postpone the second reading of the Bill to some more distant day.
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that with respect to the ground which the noble Duke had urged for a postponement of the second reading of this Bill, and which had reference to the three measures alluded to in his Majesty's Speech from the Throne, and in the Address, he did not concur in thinking that it was sufficiently weighty to induce a postponement of the consideration of the Municipal Corporation Bill. As to the three measures alluded to by the 1158 noble Duke, as referred to in his Majesty's Speech, he would state, that one of them had been brought into that House, and was the subject of their present discussion Another was the question of poor-laws, and the principle of the Bill oft that subject had already been fully opened in the other House, but it was yet a question whether or not it should be adopted by Parliament. The third was the question of tithes, and upon that subject a notice would shortly be given in the other House, and the Bill Would be brought in as soon as the state of the public business would permit. He thought, therefore, that these measures would be before their Lordships in quite sufficient time to decide upon them calmly and deliberately. He greatly regretted the cause which presented the attendance of the noble and learned Lord, and he would be most happy to do anything to meet his convenience. At the same time, personal feeling could not be allowed to weigh too much, and courtesy demanded some limit, when the country required that measures of great public importance Should be expedited, Under these circumstances, he could not recede from the day which he had already fixed for the second reading of this Bill.
under stood the noble Viscount to state, that all the three measures would be before that House before the Irish Municipal Bill was disposed of.
§ Bill read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on the 25th of April.
§ The Bills on the table were then forwarded a stage, and their Lordships adjourned.