The Marquess of Normanby
said, he felt bound to trespass for a few minutes on the attention of their Lordships, with reference to a subject of which he had given notice, and he felt the less scruple in doing so, because the question was one of considerable interest, not only to the community from which the petition he had to present emanated, but to several other corporate communities. This petition originated in the excessive addition to the borough magistracy of Kingston-upon-Hull, made at the conclusion of last year. Though he had 503 received various communications from other corporate towns, he did not feel that it was necessary—in order to impress on their Lordships the dissatisfaction which the present course of the Government excited—to enter into details as to the grievances which those corporate communities complained of. He meant to confine his observations to the present petition, and to make one or two remarks on the returns which he had moved for, and it would be impossible to do justice to the case of the petitioners without casually alluding to them. This petition came from the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of Kingston - upon - Hull. They stated, that from the reign of Edward 3rd to the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, they possessed the power of nominating their own magistrates. They stated, that in the interval of five years which elapsed between the passing of the Municipal Act and the past year, upon the single addition which was made to the borough magistrates, a communication was made to the council, and their recommendation required. They complained, that in the month of November last, without any previous communication with the council, they received an intimation that eight Gentlemen had been added to the commission of the peace, and they objected, as it appeared to him very reasonably, that a few months before this whole the number of twenty-four, which was stated to be the general limit of the magistrates by those who introduced the act, was complete. The petitioners concluded, that other communities were treated in a similar manner, and they prayed for some legislative remedy for what they considered a violation of the spirit of the Municipal Act. They did not say, that this proceeding was illegal, but he owned he agreed in their opinion, that it was an excessive and improper exercise of the discretion of the Crown. The number of borough magistrates was now thirty-two. He thought it unnecessary to impress on their Lordships, that such a number was greater than could possibly be required for the regular discharge of the duties of their station. Their Lordships must be aware, that a number of magistrates which would admit of speedy communication, was the best that could be adopted, particularly in the primary stage of legal proceedings. Such a large addition, too, must obviously cause irritation, when the cause of the addition, though not avowed, was well understood. The consequence must be an unnecessarily full attendance on days of business, and 504 perhaps some differences of opinion. He did not merely object to the increase in the number of the magistrates generally, but also to the manner in which they had been appointed. He did not think that the names of the magistrates could have been selected by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Home Department, for it was impossible that he could have had so much local knowlege of all the boroughs in the kingdom, as to have been able to nominate of his own knowledge, all the persons who had been added to the commission of the peace, but the right hon. Baronet must have got his information from political partisans. He objected, also, to the time at which these appointments had been made, namely, just after the termination of a general election, when party feeling ran extremely high on one side from triumph, and on the other from discomfiture. Why was it necessary to make this great addition to the magistracy in November last? The number of borough magistrates, previous to the passing of the Municipal Corporation Act, was about 650, and that number was kept up after the passing of that act, no great addition having been made until the end of last year, when 364 magistrates were added. He objected to such an addition to the magistracy at one time. He regretted, that the return laid on the Table was imperfect, as it did not contain a return of the borough magistracy for the county of Lancashire. He thought, that this was an improper omission. It appeared, hower, from the return before him, that 364 names had been added to the borough magistracy, and he would ask the noble Lord whether it were possible such an addition could have been required? In looking to this addition, it was desirable to look to the boroughs in which the addition had been made. There were several boroughs which did not return Members to Parliament, and in hardly any of these had any additional magistrates been appointed. It could not be said, that this arose from their insignificance, for in some of the smallest Parliamentary boroughs a great increase had been made in the borough magistracy. In the borough of Hull, where a great political triumph had just been gained by the party opposite, eight new magistrates had been appointed, and he had no doubt but that these gentlemen had taken an active part in the election. Again, in Bath, where the party opposite had been signally defeated, it was considered necessary to give some encouragement to their partisans, 505 and therefore he presumed a great addition had been made in the number of magistrates. It was not the insignificance of a place which led to its being exempted from this addition to its magistracy, provided it was a parliamentary borough, for he found that in Buckingham, Great Grimsby, and Harwich, a great number of new magistrates had been appointed. Again, in Nottingham and Sunderland, in which places remarkable political contests had been carried on, a great addition had been made to the magistracy. He found that ninety new magistrates had been appointed in one day. With respect to the magistrates at Hull, the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Home-office, it might be supposed, might be influenced by feelings of personal consideration, in consequence of his former connection with the place; but he very much questioned whether, twenty years ago, the right hon. Gentleman with his strong political feelings, would not have held these eight gentlemen whom he had now appointed in abhorrence, in consequence of their political opinions. The petitioners also complained that the name of Dr. Alderson, one of the new magistrates, had been placed at the head of the list of magistrates. In complaining of this, they were informed that it was customary to place magistrates on the list according to their rank. They were not satisfied with this, but wrote up to the Herald's College on the subject of their respective rank, and they were replied to by Bluemantle, who informed them that the academical degree of doctor of medicine did not give a superiority of rank. The right hon. Baronet, when first applied to on the subject, said, that he knew nothing about the matter. There was, however, another doctor besides Dr. Alderson in the magistracy of the place, namely, Dr. Chalmers, the mayor of the town, and this gentleman had not been treated in the same way. There was also a knight on the list, namely, Sir William Lowthorp, who he should have thought would have been allowed to have stood high in the list, if rank was to be taken as the rule, but it appeared that the principle was not acted upon in his case. He did not know whether the introduction of any legislative measure on the subject, in either that or the other House, was likely to be attended with success; but he was satisfied, with the petitioners, if this system which had lately been acted on was to be persisted in, it would bring the appointment of borough magistrates into contempt.
The Lord Chancellor
said, I confess, my Lords, I feel rather grateful to my noble Friend the noble Marquess for having called your Lordships' attention to this petition, because many observations have been made from time to time as to the manner in which the borough magistrates have been recently appointed; and, as the responsibility of these appointments rests with me, although, as my noble Friend has correctly stated, I have conferred with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department as to the manner of filling up the commissions, I am desirous of satisfying your Lordships of the propriety of the course we have pursued. Now, my Lords, before referring to the general remarks made by the noble Marquess, allow me to direct your attention for a few moments to the corporation of Hull, from which this petition emanates, as an instance to satisfy your Lordships that her Majesty's Government have acted with most perfect correctness in these matters. When the Corporation Act was passed, and it became necessary to new-model the magistracy, magistrates were appointed, among other places, for the borough of Hull. Twenty-three magistrates were appointed. Did those persons who at that time made the appointments to which I refer exercise the prerogative of the Crown without reference to party or Parliamentary objects? Out of the twenty-three magistrates so appointed, four were Conservatives, and nineteen of the other colour in politics. I don't mean to say they were all precisely of the same party, but there were nineteen whom I might characterize as Whigs and Radicals —all of them steady supporters of the Government, the greater portion of them zealous, warm, eager, and active partisans. Such was the composition of that magistracy up to the time when the present Ministry came into power. Two of those whom I have designated Conservative magistrates never acted; one resided at a distance, and the other, from ill-health, was unable to act. The magistracy of the borough, therefore, was of one colour in politics—as I have described them—warm, zealous, active partisans. If the preceding Government followed the course I have pointed out, I ask your Lordships what course it was our duty to pursue when we came into office? I will tell you what we did. We added to the list of magistrates, as my noble Friend has stated, the names of eight persons of respectability, of character, 507 of station, of weight, in the borough of Hull. No imputation is attempted to be cast on these appointments, founded on the characters of these individuals. They were Conservatives; and I ask your Lordships whether, considering the character of the bench as it existed up to that time, we were not justified in the course we pursued, whether, in short, it was not our duty to adopt it, and thus, in some degree, to dilute and soften that spirit of partisanship which up to that time existed in the borough? If any complaint is to be made, most assuredly it ought not to proceed from the noble Marquess and his Friends. It might rather have been expected to proceed from our own party, because, instead of doing that which we had the power of doing—appointing a number of magistrates to give us a majority, we only added eight, leaving two to one against the party we represented. Why did we pursue such a course? Because, my Lords, we felt that to act with temper, to act with moderation, to act with forbearance, was the best course that could be taken for the purpose of putting an end to party feuds and disputes, which ought never to display themselves on the bench of magistrates, nor influence the administration of justice, or the performance of any of those ministerial duties which belong to that class of persons. Now, I appeal to your Lordships whether we were not justified in the course we pursued; whether we could have pursued any other course, and whether it lies in the mouths of those (who had acted in the spirit of partisanship; in appointing magistrates) to attack us, because we have attempted to dilute and temper their party conduct; and render it less offensive to the inhabitants of the town in question? But my noble Friend also staled, that we had done wrong, inasmuch as we had increased the number of magistrates to such an extent. The original number was twenty-three; two had since died, two had removed from the place, three never qualified; so that in point of fact the number was reduced to sixteen—all of one party. What was to be done? We added eight, making in all twenty-four, and leaving, as I before stated, two to one politically against us. My noble Friend has mixed up with this very serious subject a question which does appear to me somewhat ludicrous, namely, the rank and position of the persons named in the com mission. Does he mean to say that the Government ever interfere with the ar- 508 rangement of names in the commission? The names in this, as in every other instance, were, according to their descriptions, handed in to the Crown-office, and the officers of that establishment placed them in the commission according to the rank each appeared to possess by the return. Now, my Lords, having said thus much as to the borough of Hull, I wish, with reference to the general question, to point out to your Lordships and the public the course which the Government have pursued. Where they found in any particular borough or boroughs that there had been an appointment of magistrates exclusively of one class, or a great majority of that class, they acted as they did in the borough of Hull—adding a small number of Conservatives for the very purpose I have stated, but always carefully abstaining to add such a number as, to use a common and vulgar phrase, to swamp the existing commission. We wished to act moderately, to show the power we possessed, but at the same time not to show it so as to give offence to the other party—to evince, in short, a disposition to be moderate, to prove that we were desirous on our side of healing wounds, and reconciling differences, in the hope that moderation on the one part might produce a corresponding feeling on the other. In no instance, I believe, can a case be mentioned where the power has been exercised for the purpose of giving a majority of Conservative magistrates in any one of the boroughs to which the noble Marquess has referred. Are we, then, my Lords, without authority for the principle on which we proceeded? I am desirous of directing the attention of the noble Marquess to an authority which I am sure he will be disposed to treat with the utmost respect. I remember myself the occasion to which I am about to refer. A noble Baron, now no more, for whom I personally entertained the greatest regard, and who had strong political Friends and attachments in this House, upon a discussion somewhat similar to the present, expressed himself in these terms—The real responsibility of appointing magistrates rests with the Lord Chancellor, and it is the duty of that high functionary to recommend only such persons as he deems duly qualified to discharge the important duties reposed in them. I do not mean to impugn the motives or question the actions of men of any political party; but in common, I believe, with the great mass of the country, I think if men of one particular class alone are admitted to this important office, though justice itself 509 may not be corrupted, the administration of it may be subject to doubt and suspicion.Now I take on myself to say that only in cases where there was a strong preponderance, and in some cases there was almost an exclusive colour of political opinions in the magistracy, did we think it right to interfere. My noble Friend who sits near the noble Marquess (Lord Melbourne) expressed himself upon the same occasion in these terms:—It is my opinion that there should be an admixture of the opinions of both parties.It was upon that principle, my Lords, that we acted. We felt that, if possible, we ought to expel party spirit altogether from the bench, and the only chance we saw of doing that was, that persons of both political colours should be placed on it. The noble Marquess has referred to certain returns on the Table, for the purpose of showing that within a limited period a large number of persons had been added to the commission. I am unwilling to go into details Or out of this particular petition, but as the noble Marquess has thrown out a challenge to me, I must beg your Lord ships to recollect the circumstances under which her Majesty's Government acted in the situation in which they were placed; and I will cite a few instances for the purpose of justifying the course we have taken. My Lords, I confess it does appear to me most extraordinary that, after the course so long pursued by our predecessors in office, the noble Marquess should have brought forward a charge of this description, supported by such observations as he has made in presenting this petition to your Lordships. Take first the case of Yarmouth; there were nineteen magistrates appointed—one Conservative and eighteen violent political partisans of the other side. That is one instance, and a striking instance, of the course pursued by our predecessors in office. But the noble Marquess said they had consulted the town-councils and took their opinions. Now, I will instance to your Lordships the borough of Guildford; there was a majority of Conservatives in that borough, and the town-council were called upon to return the names of those who should be appointed magistrates. They did make a return, containing a majority of Conservatives corresponding to their own political character. What did the noble Secretary of State do? He appointed four magistrates—one Conserva- 510 tive and three Radicals. Is the noble Marquess then the proper person to come forward as he has to-night, and twit us with the partiality of our appointments to the magistracy? We felt it right to do what we could to correct the partiality of our predecessors; we showed our power in the fair exercise of the prerogative, because we would not be trampled under foot by our opponents; but, of all persons, the noble Marquess is the last man who should have complained of the course we have adopted. Take another instance, my Lords; take the case of Wigan; all the magistrates appointed by the last Government consisted of Whigs and Radicals without exception. The noble Marquess talked of acting upon the opinion of town-councillors. I will give your Lordships another case; Rochester was equally balanced, with two Conservatives and two warm supporters of the Government. The town-council sent up a list; but what was done by the Government? They appointed six of their own party, and no others, to the magistracy in that borough. That my noble Friend the noble Marquess, after this, should have had the face to make these charges against us, notwithstanding such a course adopted by himself, does greatly astonish me. But I will give your Lordships another instance—Coven try. The town and city of Coventry had twelve magistrates. How were they marshalled? My noble Friend the noble Marquess asks me how I know whether the parties appointed were Whigs, Radicals, or Conservatives. I will tell your Lordships. Of the twelve magistrates of Coventry, eight were on the committee of the Members who were returned by the party of the noble Marquess; the four others had no votes for Coventry, but they had votes for the county, and of these three voted for the Whig Member, and the fourth was the Whig Member himself; so that in this city of Coventry there were twelve of the Whig and Radical party magistrates. And what did we do? Not being disposed to imitate the course pursued by the noble Marquess, we contented ourselves with making one-third of the magistracy Conservatives. There is another instance— Leicester, in which nearly the same thing occurred; there were ten magistrates in Leicester, of whom nine voted for Ellis and Easthope So that your Lordships will perceive the more we pursue the list the more we find this system to have pre- 511 vailed. In Plymouth, returning two Members, who had constantly supported the Government, there were only seven magistrates; five voted in the county for the noble Secretary of State, and but one, I believe, was a Conservative. In Bristol there was a great desire to get rid of all feuds and divisions with respect to the appointment of magistrates, and what course was pursued? Twelve names were returned for one party, and twelve for the other. But what was the result? Were those twenty-four appointed? No. Lord J. Russell appointed twelve Radicals and six of the other party, giving himself a majority of two to one, directly the reverse of what her Majesty's present Government had done. Now really, after this ex position, can your Lordships, can the country, be surprised that to a certain degree we attempted to remedy this state of things? Where five or six magistrates were of the opposite party we added two or three, where there were sixteen or eighteen we added eight; and, in running through the list, I do not believe you will find any instance in which the number we added was equal to that formerly in the commission of the other party. For the due exercise of this prerogative of the Crown I certainly consider myself responsible. I communicated, as I before stated, with the Secretary of State, and endeavoured to obtain from the best sources all the information we required. I feel confident that we selected those who from their station, character, and respectability would, but for their politics, have been placed in the commission by our predecessors; and I sincerely hope that the course we have pursued will not only be satisfactory to your Lordships and the country, but tend essentially to put an end to those feuds and animosities which when extended to the bench must interfere most injuriously with the due administration of justice.
The Marquess of Normanby
said, that the noble and learned Lord had not dealt fairly with the case. In Guildford, for example, there was but one Whig magistrate, and, though an application had been made to him to appoint others, he had refused. The noble and learned Lord had been incorrectly informed, and as to all the cases he had mentioned, they had been discussed at the time, and all the appointments had been made at the recommendation of the town-councils, except at Rochester, where there was no town-council 512 in operation at the time. The four or five cases which the noble and learned Lord had mentioned would not maintain his allegation. The late Government had applied for information to a public body, but the present Government had taken their information from private partisans of their own.
The Earl of Winchelsea
was glad to find that the present Government had taken some measures to restore the borough magistracy to what it should be. As to Rochester, he had before stated to the House, and he stated again, that a more glaring abuse of power had never been committed by any Government. Both parties had been equal, and the late Government had appointed six persons, who were the strongest partisans of their own, to the utter disgust of the inhabitants. The noble Marquess would take nothing by his motion but an exposure of his system of partisanship.
§ Lord Cottenham
wished to know what was the course about to be adopted in the appointment of magistrates. He wished to know whether the present Government would adhere to the course adopted by the late Government, of consulting the town council, or whether they were about to adopt another course for the purpose of obtaining information as to those they were about to appoint as magistrates? His noble and learned Friend had recently appointed 364 magistrates. Now it was totally impossible that these should have been nominated by him on his personal knowledge; he must have had some sources of information respecting these persons. The holder of the Great Seal must in such a case depend upon the information communicated to him by others. According to the former practice, there was a local authority, to whom reference could be made, and who must hare a knowledge of the character of the individuals recommended. Was such a body henceforth to be consulted, or was his noble Friend to depend upon the information communicated to him by individuals, who, though well known to him, might not be known to others? He wanted to know which class of persons were to be consulted? a public body or private individuals? If that body were not to be consulted, if, in future, magistrates were to be appointed without referring to that body, the next question was, what authority was to be consulted? Was the Great Seal to be affixed to commissions on the information 513 of such persons as might have access to the holder of the Great Seal—persons who might be actuated by the purest motives— who might act most properly in the advice they gave, and the information they tendered, but still who had no responsible character to which the public could look, and judge as to how they performed that duty? His noble and learned Friend must, indeed, have a most extensive acquaintance with the inhabitants of the boroughs, if upon his own knowledge he appointed 364 magistrates. This was an impossibility, and therefore there were, it must be seen, only two ways in which the thing could be done. It must be done, either upon communication with the town-council, acting in the face of the public, and responsible for the duties they performed; or it must take place through those who chanced to have access to the holder of the Great Seal. Was the former practice to be acted upon or abandoned? That was a very important question, and to it no answer had as yet been given. His noble and learned Friend had gone through various instances of abuse; to do this, his noble and learned Friend must have had considerable assistance from various sources; but then it was to be observed, that what his noble and learned Friend referred to had occurred before 1836, and all these matters had been discussed before, and satisfactorily disposed of. In all the cases referred to by his noble and learned Friend, he could point but to two instances where the appointment of magistrates was at variance with the recommendation of the town-council. These were Guildford and Bristol. There were only these two cases; he had not now the information which would enable him to reply to them. By adopting the recommendations of the town councils who were chosen by the people, the majority of the magistrates in the towns were necessarily of the politics of the majority of the inhabitants. If they were to have a political character at all, he thought it was better that it should be that of the majority of the inhabitants than any other. No great evil could follow from this; for if the opinion of the inhabitants was consulted, then the town-council would recommend persons to be magistrates who were of their politics, and thus the evil, if it were one, would he corrected.
The Lord Chancellor
referred to Cambridge. He thought his noble Friend did not mean to refer to individual cases.
§ Lord Cottenham
Yes; but his noble and learned Friend brought forward individual cases; and he was now endeavouring to answer them. He had no doubt of the statements made. They might be correct, or they might not. His noble and learned Friend possessed on this point advantages now, of which he himself was no longer possessed. For his own part, he did not know why there ought to be a different principle adopted as to borough magistrates, from that which prevailed as to county magistrates. The Lord Chancellor was responsible for both, and must in each case obtain his information from others. It had long been the habit in the counties to receive such information from the Lord-lieutenant. [The Duke of Wellington: From the Custos Rotulorum.] Yes, to receive information from the Lord-lieutenant in that character. The usual course was, to apply to the Lord-lieutenant; but that was only for information. The noble Duke, however, did not seem to concur with him. [The Duke of Wellington: Not entirely.] It was the duty of the Great Seal not only to take its information from the Lord-lieu tenant, but it was also the duty of the Great Seal to exercise a discretion with respect to that information; and also to obtain information elsewhere, if that was necessary. How, then, was the Great Seal to act in boroughs, without some such assistance? There was no particular individual in the boroughs, like a Lord-lieutenant in the county, to whom the Great Seal could apply, but then there was a body established there who must be peculiarly qualified to know who ought to be appointed to the magistracy. Their efficiency was proved by the good opinion entertained of them by the inhabitants who had nominated them to the town-council. It was not his intention to say, that the magistrates ought to be nominated or elected by the town-council, though that would not be inconsistent with their ancient institutions. He did not mean that there should be in this measure a restoration of the ancient system, or an alteration of the existing sys tem; but if they were not to have recourse to the town-council for information, to whom was the Great Seal to apply for that information? He wished his noble Friend to state whether the system hitherto pursued was to be adhered to for the future, or whether his noble and learned Friend would consider it more consistent with his duty, and for the ultimate wel- 515 fare of the country, that the Great Seal should not make any reference to a public body, but take his information from the Secretary of State alone, who must have his information from that given to him by others of whom the public knew nothing?
said, before his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack answered this question, he wished to say a few words. He was glad the noble Marquess had broached this subject, for nothing could be more important than the selection of the local magistracy. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Cottenham) had re minded their Lordships of the course pursued in the appointment of county magistrates, and thought that a similar course should be followed with respect to borough magistrates. The course pursued by the Great Seal for a long series of years in appointing county magistrates, in order to secure persons respectable in regard to station as well as local knowledge for the commission of the peace, was to take the recommendation of the Lord-lieutenant, the Great Seal having the undoubted discretion to reject or adopt the recommendation; but, unless there was some reason for the rejection, the recommendation of the Lord-lieutenant was deemed sufficient. But it did so happen, that when he held the Great Seal, he heard one perpetual complaint from different counties of the course pursued in taking the recommendations of Lords-lieutenant. It was said, that the Lords-lieutenant were all Tories or next thing to it; that if be confined himself to their recommendations, all the magistrates in the country would be of one description of opinions, and during the four years he held the Great Seal he was besieged with these complaints about the county magistrates, and of his too much following the recommendations of the Lords-lieutenant, but especially during the first two years. In 1833, or the end of 1832, there was a new election, and he observed in some counties a more than ordinary number of recommendations from Lords-lieutenant to appoint persons justices of the peace. He east about to consider why it was that at that particular time, December 1832, and January 1833, there should be such an activity in discovering the fitness of persons for the exercise of judicial functions, and so extraordinary a development of judicial capacity. He was bound to say, in no instance was a person recommended who was not fit and proper; yet it would appear 516 that, but for the incident of the general election, he should never have heard a word of the fitness of those individuals for the magistracy. It was suggested, how ever, that he ought to inquire whether all such aptitude was concentrated in the individuals so recommended by the Lord-lieutenant, and he applied to several Whig Members, asking them whether they knew of any other fit persons, and whether they had any objection to those who had been recommended. The answer was, they had no objection to the persons recommended. "Can you suggest any others?" "Yes." He thereupon called on some Whig Members to send lists, which he communicated to the Lord-lieutenant for examination and objection, as he did the Lord-lieutenant's lists to the Whig Members; and he did not recollect that any one objection had been proposed of any weight, save in the instance of one person, objected to as being a manufacturer, conformably with the established rule not to appoint persons so circumstanced, for the obvious reason that they might be interested in disputes between masters and men on the subject of wages, and with that exception they were all appointed. He was aware that the course now pursued by his noble and learned Friend, with respect to magistrates in corporate towns, in some sort resembled that which he (Lord Brougham) had felt it his duty to follow with respect to county magistrates, on account of the preponderance of Tory magistrates, which he had been called on to balance by the addition of Whig magistrates. Now, he asked, could there be any objection to his noble and learned Friend, and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, adopting a course in reference to the borough magistrates somewhat similar to that which he (Lord Brougham) had adopted? They had the town-council, a body returned by a majority of the 10l. householders, and consequently representing not only property and respectability, but also in a great degree the political opinions of the borough. Could there be any objection, he did not say to be bound any more than they were bound in counties by the recommendations of the Lords-lieutenant, but to call upon the town-council to show cause, if any existed, against the proposed appointments; and if any cause were assigned and substantiated, to reject the individuals so recommended? He was perfectly aware that we were not living in that Utopian state of society in which it could be expected 517 that all things would be done from a mere desire faithfully to discharge a public duty. He believed that party spirit at present more than ever animated and split, not only Parliament, not only the counties, but every borough in the kingdom, down to the most insignificant, and, therefore it must be vain to hope that magistrates would not be selected through the influence of political bias. It was most unfortunate —he deeply lamented it; he heartily repro bated it; he wished he could hope to live to see the time when this would not be the operating rule; but he admitted that, in the existing state of things, nothing would have surprised him more than that the late change of Government should have taken place without a considerable change in the borough magistracy. But still there was this objection to the present plan. There were some undiscoverable advisers, un known suggesters, concealed nominators, of the persons proposed, while there was a corporate body known to the public, appointed by the public, called upon, capable of, and certain to perform the duty of discussing such nominations, whether they should be made to the Great Seal, or whether the Great Seal suggested them and called upon the town-council to state their objections. He by no means intended to say that they ought to be bound by the majority of the town-council. It was true, as his noble Friend said, that the council was chosen by the majority of the community; and he said that, generally speaking, it was better that the magistrates should hold the same principles with the majority than with the minority; but he considered that there was one point of great importance, and that was, to protect the minority against the majority; and if he could be quite certain that the disproportion was in the ratio of ten to one, that it constituted a just expression of public feeling, and that there was only that in significant minority against it, he should say that all the more, on account of its insignificance, was it necessary to protect the minority against the majority, and to see that the latter should not have it all entirely its own way. He should only add that he thought his noble Friend was mistaken when he said, that the additions to the magistracy had been made chiefly in the Parliamentary boroughs, and that no additions had taken place in boroughs which were not Parliamentary. That was not consistent with what appeared on the face of the returns, for he found thirty- 518 three Parliamentary boroughs where no magistrates had been added, and some of these being places where one might have expected additions to be made from political motives, such, for instance, as Leeds, Canterbury, Carnarvon, and Newcastle-under-Lyne, Ipswich, and Sudbury itself. [The Duke of Wellington: Perhaps there were no quarter-sessions there.] Oh ! yes; there were old bodies of magistrates, but no additions were made.
The Lord Chancellor
The principal additions were made after the elections, except in one remarkable case—that of Birmingham.
said, he was not attacking his noble Friend, but defending him against—not an attack—but an observation which would seem to imply that the appointments had been made after the elections, and principally in Parliamentary boroughs.
The Lord Chancellor
Look at that remarkable case of 1841, when eight magistrates were added in Birmingham.
The Marquess of Normanby
said, with reference to the appointments made by the respective Governments, figures were stubborn things and could not be got over. In the eight months before he left office he appointed fifty-eight magistrates, while in seven months the right hon. Baronet had appointed 364.
§ Petition laid on the Table.