HL Deb 27 June 1843 vol 70 cc396-8
Lord Brougham

would take that opportunity of expressing his surprise at the extraordinary manner in which the House had proceeded on the preceding evening with the Church of Scotland Benefices Bill. He had requested, that the bill might be postponed, as he was suffering from indisposition, and could not remain in the House to take a share in the debate. The bill declared that to be law which the judges of Scotland had pronounced not to be law; and which their Lordships, in confirming the judgment of the Scottish courts, had likewise declared to be illegal. The bill was a direct insult to all the judges of Scotland, and this insult was inflicted to gratify some private parties. That came of having a relation in the Cabinet.

The Earl of Haddington

> thought the noble and learned Lord could not have chosen a more inconvenient manner or a more extraordinary time for introducing such remarks, instead of taking an opportunity of expressing his sentiments when the subject was regularly under discussion. [Lord Brougham: Was I here last night I The Earl of Haddington: The opportunity was certainly chosen for these singular observations, when his noble Friend, (the Earl of Aberdeen) was absent. His noble Friend felt himself impelled by a sense of duty to take the course he had taken. His object was, if possible, to prevent a farther diminution and weakening of the church of Scotland; believing that if this bill were not passed, their Lordships would see the church of Scotland disestablished. He thought the noble and learned Lord had expressed himself somewhat rashly on the present occasion; for he had yet to learn that the opinions of a court of justice, pronounced in the decision of a cause, carried such weight with them as to preclude their Lordships from legislating on the subject

Lord Brougham:

The noble Lord complains of what he calls the extraordinary opportunity selected by me for my singular observations! What care I for a public breakfast? The extraordinary part of the matter is, that the Earl of Aberdeen should not be in his place to answer me. The noble Earl knows that I was here last night, and asked, as a personal favour, on the ground of indisposition, that the committee on the bill might be postponed. I was the party about to be put on my trial. I was the party whose law was about to be declared to be wrong, by this political act which interferes with the functions of the judges in your Lordships' House. I was not, however, to be indulged, it seems, for, to my utter astonishment, the bill was debated in my absence, and my law was declared to be erroneous behind my back. That is extraordinary; and not that I come down on the first occasion to complain of the treatment I have received. I will not condescend to discuss the question of the Scottish law with my noble Friend.

Lord Campbell

thought his noble and learned Friend was not only justified in taking the earliest opportunity of complaining of the manner in which the bill had, been brought on last night, but he was quite right in doing so. The bill raised the question of the validity of his noble and learned Friend's decision, and on that ground his noble and learned Friend asked that the bill might be postponed till this day, or Thursday. That request was refused, because there was this day to be a breakfast, at which most of the noble Lords who usually sat on the opposite benches were to be present, and which, it seemed, they preferred to a discussion on the law of the church of Scotland.

Their Lordships adjourned.