rose to call the attention of their Lordships to a subject which he deemed to be of the greatest importance to the due administration of justice, in no 215 less a city than the metropolis empire, and equally important to the due management of the police, as well as the general affairs of London. He thought he should not proceed far in the statement he was about to make to their Lordships before he satisfied their minds that not the city of London alone, not the inhabitants of the metropolis alone, were deeply interested in this question, but the whole people of the realm. It was in the recollection of their Lordships that the Government with which he had the honour to be connected for several years issued, at the recommendation of the other House of Parliament, and with the entire concurrence of their Lordships, a commission for investigating the constitution and affairs of the municipal corporations of the country. That commission, under a late hon. and learned Friend of his, whose loss he himself, as well as his fellow-subjects at large, had reason to deplore—he alluded to Mr. Blackburn, inquired into the constitution and affairs of the corporations, and after a year and a half spent in that inquiry, they presented to the Crown a most elaborate report. He wished on the present occasion to refrain from dwelling on a subject on which he knew there had been differences of opinion in that House, namely, the manner in which the trust was performed by the commissioners; but of this, at least, there could be no doubt, that they had executed their office laboriously. Although much of the report was devoted to the consideration of the affairs of the municipal corporation of London, the bill which was founded on it embraced only 178 of the corporations in the country; but did not comprehend the metropolitan corporation. That being so, the question naturally arose whether there were any intention to stop short at Temple-bar, and confine the benefits of reform to the lesser corporations. To an interrogation to that effect Lord John Russell immediately answered, that there was no such intention whatever; but that Government were deterred from taking up the question in the mean time by the great importance of the subject, the difficulties which attended it, and the complications resulting from the extent of the field it embraced, and that it was postponed only that it might be made the subject of a separate measure. A bill, therefore, was promised after the other corporations should be disposed of. Those corporations were changed in their constitutions by the measure which passed late 216 in the autumn of 1835; but 1836 elapsed, and 1837, and 1838, and 1839 too, without a word being said of the corporation of London, of the proposed measure by which the promise that had been made was to be fulfilled. Something, however, took place in 1839, which threw light on the reasons why the postponement had taken place, and why it appeared to be without limits. He mentioned this without any invidious intentions whatever; but, on the contrary, in vindication of his noble Friend in the other House. A Metropolitan Police Bill was brought into the House of Commons, which was to effect a great and salutary change in the whole system of metropolitan police, the first ten clauses being devoted to the police within the walls of the city of London. The bill proceeded, and excited no opposition, as seeming so much a matter of course, but all of a sudden reference was made to a committee; and when those who were watching the proceedings of their representatives in Parliament were questioning among themselves how it happened that this bill should be so suddenly, and in the first stage, referred to a committee, it somehow or other oozed out that there had been held certain meetings and conferences, that explanations had taken place, that there had been complaints on one side, and defences on the other, and promises had been made to stop the mouths of the complainants. It was found that the city did not approve of the bill; that the citizens did not extend to it the favour which it found everywhere else among the lovers of good government, and of systematic and efficient police, the greatest benefit that men living in a social state could enjoy, and for the purposes of obtaining which they were so ready to give up not only much of their property, but many of their rights and liberties. The love of an efficient and vigorous police, constituted on reasonable principles and purged of all jobs, which prevailed over the rest of the metropolis, and found a response in every bosom in London, Southwark, and Westminster, stopped short at Temple-bar, and did not pass that sacred boundary to the eastward; it was shared, indeed, by the mass of the householders, who had the greatest interest in the question, but not at all by those who assumed to represent them—the corporate body, aldermen and common councillors. Accordingly, taking an accurate observation of the state of the Government in the other House, discern- 217 ing that their majorities were exceedingly small, varying from two or three to five— five was a great majority—the city gentlemen discovered that they had no small weight with the Government; and came to a common understanding as to the result of the committee appointed to examine the bill. On the 11th of June, 1839, Mr. Fox Maule rose and said, that he was happy to inform the House that the committee had come to the unanimous opinion (he should like to know what was the constitution of the committee) that the police of London should be left to those hands to which it was at present intrusted, convinced, as the committee were, that a good and efficient system would not fail to be established under their superintendence; whereupon he moved, that the whole of the clauses relating to the police of the city should be struck out of the bill, which was instantly agreed to. Consequently the bill was made as little to affect the city as the Municipal Bill of four years before; the intention of extending the police clauses to the city being finally given up. But had every committee on the police of the metropolis come to the same conclusion? Far from it. The committee which sat on that subject before, said in their report—If a scheme could be contrived for the purpose of increasing vice and crime, nothing could have been better calculated than the system of police in the city of London.Two reports more totally different, one from another could not be imagined; but unfortunately they came from the same venerable quarter—the House of Commons being the deliberate opinion of two committees of that assembly. One said that nothing could be better than this system— the other, that nothing could be worse. A wider difference could not exist, and he was inclined to ask himself what could be the reason of this extreme diversity of results. Probably the reason was, that in the case of the latter committee the conclusion to which they came was forced upon them, and not embraced by them; that the first committee, which said nothing could be worse, dealt with the merits of the case; while the second, which said nothing could be better, wanted to get rid of the difficulties of the first ten clauses. He protested he had never, in all his experience, seen so strong a censure, so unsparing a condemnation, passed upon any system whatever, above all upon any system venerable from its anti- 218 quity, and, most of all, upon any system touching nearly the administration of justice. He could only explain the delays which had taken place from 1835 to 1839, when a partial reformation was begun and abandoned, and again from 1839 to 1841, by the supposition which was perfectly consistent with the known fact, that the Government of that day could not carry the measure. Therefore he imputed no blame to his noble and right hon. Friends for not redeeming the pledge they had given; but that was no reason why Parliament should not see that this pledge was redeemed under a Government which, he prayed their Lordships to observe, had not the same defence to make, and had no lack of supporters either in that or in the other House of Parliament. The present Government could well afford to lose the votes of the four city Members, whether they were to confine their hostility to the individual measure which it was the duty of Ministers to propose on this subject, or were to threaten to go into uniform and decided opposition. He was confident that his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell), who had given a pledge to bring in a measure of municipal reform for London when he was not a Member for the city, would feel the more bound to redeem his pledge now, inasmuch as formerly he was consulting only for the good of the people at large, and considering corporate reform for London as a part of his general scheme, whereas now he was bound to watch over the interests of his constituents, and those interests pre-eminently, which by a paramount title, required that that measure should be by him supported. He was sure, therefore, that his noble Friend would redeem the pledge he gave as Member for some place of less note. He would remind their Lordships of the nature of the report then presented to her Majesty in council. It was thus stated by Lord J. Russell, March 5, 1835, when presenting the Municipal Reform Bill:—The existing municipal corporations neither possess nor deserve the confidence of her Majesty's subjects, and a thorough reform must be effected before they can become what they ought to be, useful and efficient instruments of local government.Upon that report the Municipal Bill was founded and passed. If the smaller corporations throughout the country needed Reform, he would maintain that the metropolitan corporation required it a great deal more, and was, in its various departments, 219 entirely deserving the name heretofore given it of the giant of abuse of that class. Its vast importance, from the numbers of the population over whom it possessed authority, the wealth which it partly distributed and misapplied, and partly prevented from being accumulated, the influence which it derived from its ancient fame, and the immortal services it had rendered to the state at all times from the power it possessed over the community, beyond all the other corporations which they had reformed, made it deserving of the fatherly but scrutinizing care of the Legislature. He wished to guard himself against the possibility of being supposed to speak of the corporation of London with anything in the remotest degree approaching to bitterness or disrespect. It would in him be contrary to the feelings which lie most cherished towards that great body, it would in him be ingratitude, as well as inconsiderateness; for he had the high honour, which he prized beyond almost anything that had befallen him, of being himself a member of that corporation. The honour had been conferred upon him, in conjunction with his colleague and friend, the present Chief Justice of England on receiving, on one famous occasion, the freedom of that great corporation. He had the further honour of being chosen a member of one of the greatest of all the companies connected with the corporation. If it would be ungrateful in him, as a member and freeman of the corporation, to treat its name with anything approaching to bitterness or disrespect, it had a higher title to reverence on grounds common to their Lordships, and to all the subjects of this free and happy country, and which would make it unpardonably ungrateful in any one to forget that in the city of London the liberties of England had found a nurse and a shield as often as a tyrant ventured to assail them. Both in the middle of the 17th century, when our liberties were contended for in the battlefield, and at the end of that century, when they were established by legal enactment, it was chiefly by the exertions of the citizens of London that the civil and religious rights of their countrymen were preserved. But the gratitude he felt for past services did not blind him to the existence of present abuses. The feeling of veneration he entertained for this great metropolis and its corporation did not prevent him from seeing that things were wrongly managed therein, and that a reform of abuses would 220 not only essentially improve it and redeem it from the censure under which it now lay, but was now become absolutely and indispensably necessary. Although such an assertion, under ordinary circumstances, and in opening a common case, might seem imprudent and rash, he ventured to say that he would place before their Lordships statements of facts that would make it impossible that those grievances could much longer exist, and, with respect to one, perhaps the worst of them, he would take on himself to say, that when he had concluded his statement, it would, without waiting for the course or, operation of the law, have reached its latter end. He pledged himself before their Lordships that he should make it utterly impossible for the very worst of these abuses of which he was about to complain, to be continued after the exposure of that evening. He should begin with the facts which lay at the very foundation of the question, and remind their Lordship of what was the municipal constitution of this famous corporation. The government was vested in a mayor, a court of aldermen, and a court of common councilmen, a form which offered a remote and illusive resemblance to the constitution of this kingdom. The common council consisted, properly speaking, of the mayor, aldermen, and common council. The common council were the commoners of the city, its elective body, somewhat analogous to, though totally different in all material respects from, the Commons House of Parliament, as the aldermen might be said to resemble their Lordships, and the mayor the Sovereign. Aldermen and common councillors were both elective officers—the aldermen chosen for life, and the common councilmen yearly. The city was divided into twenty-four wards, and each chose a certain number of common councillors and one alderman. The right of voting resided, not in householders, nor in freemen, but only in those who combined in themselves the character of householders and freemen, and who were rated at the amount of 30s. to the city rate. Every such person had a vote for an alderman in his ward when a vacancy occurred, and a vote for as many councilmen as represented the ward in the common council at every yearly election. Now, did this constitution secure in practice—what he freely admitted it might be supposed to do in theory—the accession to the body of aldermen and common councillors of the most important members of the civic 221 community—he would not say the most respectable, for he admitted the respectability of all who composed the corporation. Had it secured the accession of the great merchants of the city to the management of the city affairs, and their participation in the municipal business? He saw on the bench opposite to him a noble friend of his who had once been at the head of a great commercial establishment in the city, and he would ask them, had it interested in the city concerns that great class—the most illustrious commercial men in the world—the Barings, the Grotes, the Prescotts, the Curtises, the Robartes, and the other magnates of the city. None of their names were to be found amongst the numbers of the corporation. On the contrary, civic honours it was well known all devolved on men in an inferior station to the great merchants of the city, and that was to be accounted for by the character and position of the persons in whose hands was placed the election of the councillors? The franchise was in the hands as he had stated, not of the householders, but of those who were both freemen and householders, and a householder, if he did not happen to be a freeman also, had no vote. Now, the freemen with some exceptions, certainly some very brilliant exceptions, formed a class of electors of a very inferior description, and by this inferior description of voters every ward in the city according to the common saying, was completely swamped. It was in the freemen that the elective power really resided. But were the numbers of the electors and elected well distributed? The very reverse. For the ward of Bridge, in which there were 198 houses, eight common councilmen were chosen. In the ward of Farringdon Without there were 3,030 houses, and that great ward returned only sixteen common councilmen, being double what Bridge ward returned, though, if the proportion were properly adjusted, Farringdon, instead of returning twice the number of Bridge Ward, ought to have returned fifteen times the number. Farringdon Ward contained fifteen times as many houses, and seven times as much property as Bridge Ward—a state of things which showed very clearly that there was nothing which approached a due distribution of the elective franchise in that faulty and vicious system; yet, in the body so chosen was vested the whole management of the revenue and expenditure of the city, as well as the administration of justice. The 222 income of the city to which he would first call their Lordships attention, that was to say, the income under the control of the city, consisting of rents, fees, profits, &c, amounted at the lowest estimate to 690,000l. a-year, and this their Lordships would remember was not the income of the great metropolis of the country, but only one fifteenth part of the metropolis. The population of the city was 129,251, so that the income compared to the population of the city was more than 6l. a-head, while the income of the French metropolis amounted to only 30s. a-head on the population, and of that income, as a noble Friend near him reminded him, 40,000l. were voted for education alone, besides which very large sums were expended on other charities. To enter somewhat into detail, he found with a population of 129,251, the following funds under the control of the corporation—Funds derived from rents, fees and taxes administered by the corporation in 1837, 542,229l. 12s. 2d.: poors-rates for the three city unions, about 80,000l.; parochial charities, 38,703 8s. 6d. tithes and other rates, say 20,000l. Royal hospitals, 128,763l. 15s. 5d. charities administered by chartered companies, 85,685l. 18s. 8d.; total, 895,382l. 14s. 9d.; He would next advert to the way in which the income of the City of London was expended. For the Mayor and his officers he found there was an expenditure of 17,500l. or, including the Mansion-house, the city Chamberlain, &c. the charge amounted to 25,000l. a-year. Connected with the administration of justice the charges amounted to 35,000l., and this be it remembered, to govern 129,000 citizens—a large and liberal provision for such a purpose compared with the provision made for the administration of justice to the 24,000,000 of the whole country. The Lord Mayor as the head of the corporation gave large and expensive banquets, and some years ago her Majesty was graciously pleased to honour the city with a visit. So auspicious was the occasion considered, that a noble Lord a Member of that House, allowing himself to be led away into a kind of poetical exaggeration, had exclaimed et soles, melius nitent; a quotation which it might be necessary for him (Lord Brougham) to explain, the noble Lord meaning to say that in consequence of the Queen going into the city, the weather had changed. On that auspicious occasion, independently of the sumptuous repast, there was exhibited a profusion of plate, a 223 heaping up of gold. But there was one thing which he did not expect to see, it constituted a curious non sequitur, because the Queen went to the city, therefore the sum of 360l. should be distributed to various persons in the form of gratuities, in fact in presents. To whom were these presents given? Of course, to the guests who were invited on that occasion, and to their attendants. No doubt his noble Friend near him, who then held the office of Lord High Chancellor participated and shared in the city bounty. [Lord Cottenham signified dissent.] Then my noble Friend actually received nothing? Perhaps my other noble Friend the then Attorney-General was more fortunate? [Lord Campbell said, "No, no."] Or perhaps his other noble Friend near him Lord Monteagle. ["A laugh."] No, nor he neither. It then turned out that neither of his noble Friends or any Member of her Majesty's Government received any portion of that large sum which was so bountifully given away on the occasion when her Majesty dined with the civic functionaries. Who then, received these presents? He found that 50 guineas were given to the Chamberlain, and 50 also to the town clerk. It was an old saying, that "any excuse was good enough for a dinner," but it appeared that any excuse was good enough for giving presents. There was, however, a curious instance of charity standing side by side, with that charity of which he had been attempting a description, which began at home and ended at home. It was the kind of charity of which the evidence spoke, domestic in its nature—a charity which never stirred abroad. There was once a Sir Hugh Myddleton, who had been, as their Lordships well knew, a great benefactor to the city. It was found that the lineal descendant of that individual, whose memory was highly respected, was in a state of poverty, and the city authorities thought, that on the occasion of her Majesty's visit, they could not do better than contribute to the relief of her necessities. Well, what did their Lordships think was the sum allowed this person? It was agreed that she should have 3s. a-day. Fifty guineas were given, as he said before to the Chamberlain, and 50 to the town-clerk, and various sums in other quarters, making in the aggregate 400l. in presents for that day, and to the lineal descendant of that great city benefactor, Sir H. Myddleton, 3s. a-day, being at the rate of 18l.4s. per annum. [The Lord Chancellor: 3s. a 224 day makes a great deal more than 18l. 4s. a-year.] His noble and learned Friend was certainly right; but he supposed that in his anxiety to do justice to his fellow-citizens, in his zeal to find them as charitable to others as they were liberal to themselves, he must have made a slight error in his statement as to Miss Myddleton's pension, and put down three shillings a-day instead of one shilling. He would now come to the manner in which the ways and means were raised. First there were the rents which the city received from the large estates which it owned— and here he might state, though the fact was probably known to most of their Lordships, that nearly the whole county of Londonderry was owned by those absentee proprietors the different corporations of the city of London, of whom it was but justice to say that they were the best of landlords, were kind to their tenants, and very zealous in the promotion of improvement. No estates in Ireland were better managed; and the income, therefore, derived from these sources, he was very far from grudging them. But now he came to another source of income. Their Lordships were probably aware that a monopoly, strict and close, existed for the various crafts of the city. Not that a man, because he belonged to the company of merchant tailors, or to that of fishmongers, was bound to follow those avocations, for Mr. Pitt was a grocer, Mr. Fox was a fishmonger, and one noble and learned Friend of his had been a needle-maker; but there were some exceptions, and one of these was the company of car men. No carman, not belonging to that company, could enter the city gates without paying twopence, but if he wished to keep a cart for hire in the city, he could do so only by becoming a member of the carmen's company, at an expense of about 53l. 4s. The general consequences of monopoly ensued: trade, from being restricted, was depressed, and comparatively unprofitable, and a great additional expense was caused to the public. Similar privileges were enjoyed by porters, watermen, and others. In all these matters their Lordships took, perhaps, little interest; but he was now coming to what concerned them as nearly as it did the other inhabitants of the metropolis. The city enjoyed the power of levying various taxes and rates on the river. On coal, taxation was levied to a heavy amount, as well as on corn, wine, oil, and other 225 articles of consumption, similar to the Octroi levied in the French cities, which was certainly a grievous tax; and when he (Lord Brougham) had admired the munificence of the city of Paris, presided over with so much dignity by Count Rambuteau, the Prefect of the Seine, who could not but be known to many of their Lordships,—when he had admired the splendid buildings raised, and the noble charities supported by the revenues of that city, it had always caused a great diminution to his pride and pleasure to reflect that those revenues were derived chiefly from the Octroi—a tax the effect of which was to enhance the price of all the necessaries of life to the inhabitants of the city. But he had no right to make the levying of this Octroi a matter of reproach to the city of Paris, when an equally objectionable system of Octroi existed in London. The effect of these taxes, levied by the city of London, was felt in many ways. As their Lordships knew, when the question was raised of bringing the Staffordshire coal to London by the Paddington canal, the people from the north came, and very fairly demanded, as they had such high duties to pay on their coal to the city of London, that they should be placed on a footing of equality by a protecting duty on coals coming to the metropolis by canal; and of course the consequence of all this was very seriously to raise the price of coals to the consumers. There were other interests, however, besides those of taxation, and of even greater importance, he alluded to good government and a good police. He had already read to them the terms in which a committee of the House of Commons had described the police of the city, but no one could doubt that power wholly irresponsible must lead to gross jobbing; and those in whom the government of the city was vested, were burthened with no resposibility, being in short responsible to no one but themselves. A little eastward of the Exchange there stood one of the greatest buildings in this metropolis, admirably adapted by its interior arrangements for the accommodation of those who were charged with the government of our eastern empire, and presenting an exterior highly gratifying to the eye of the passing stranger. If any building ought to be free from a nuisance of the grossest description, from the hideous sights of a range or slaughter-houses, and from every noise most grating to the ear, that building was the India House. In that immediate 226 vicinity, however, there were situated a butcher's market and slaughter-houses. A large quantity of offal was daily collected in that quarter, from which proceeded the most offensive and pestilential odours; yet had it been found impossible to obtain the removal of Leadenhall-market, because its continuance was found to be beneficial to some individuals of great weight in the city. What would their Lordships say to such a nuisance if it existed in the neighbourhood of Downing-street or Whitehall? A proposition was made, a few years ago, to remove Smithfield market out of the heart of the city, and a new market was constructed with adequate accommodation. Petition after petition poured in upon the House of Commons, praying for the removal of the old market, but the city of London resisted the proposed reform, and 10,000l. were expended to prevent the removal of that great nuisance, when the whole country were anxious for its removal. Bartholomew Fair was another nuisance for the removal of which, time out of mind, the public had been clamorous; but the publicans, at all times a formidable body, leagued together, and strenuously resisted all attempts to remove the fair. The consequence was, that the nuisance was continued, and flourished still, and this opposition was made avowedly because it was apprehended the rents enjoyed by the corporation, would be affected most materially by the removal of the nuisance. The corporators of London were clamorous to keep up their rents; in endeavouring to do so, he must say, they were only doing the same as their Lordships, who were much bent on keeping up their rents, though by different means. To compare the administration of the city of London with other parts of the metropolis, he would select the parish of Marylebone; and he singled it out for comparison chiefly because the population of that parish was about the same as that of the city. In Marylebone the population was 138,000, and in the citv of London 129,000. The total sum received by the collector for the parish of Marylebone, in the year 1840, was 129,078l The expense of the police force in Marylebone was increased from 9,000l. to 20,000l.; but that of London had increased 50,000l. Whenever there was a proposal to remove an abuse in the city, so sure would there be found, and in all corporations it was precisely the same, an individual or individuals who had a direct 227 interest in keeping that abuse alive. Now, as to the effect of the police, the opinion of a committee of the House of Commons was this, that if a bad police had been the object of the contriver, for the diabolical purpose of increasing vice and propagating immorality, he could not have acted better in accomplishing that bad purpose, than by devising this system of London police. He was the more anxious to state this, as it was a common thing for the admirers of the city corporation, to dwell upon its excellent police. There was a great practical reform for which they had to thank his noble Friend opposite (the Duke of Wellington) and the right hon. Colleague of the noble Duke in the other House (Sir R. Peel), at that time Secretary of State for the Home Department. He believed, that the establishment of that admirable system of police which prevailed at the west end of the town, and the extension of that system to the country, was the greatest benefit that could be conferred. Believing in the improved sense of the people of this country, he interested motives, or from mere folly and ignorance, and want of reflection, against that admirable system had at length subsided, and men willingly did justice to the authors of the system, and the merits of the system itself. The city police remained as bad as ever, and deserved as much as ever the condemnation contained in the remarkable words of the commissioners' report, which he had already quoted. There was a want of uniformity in the whole arrangements of the police, and matters connected with the police—in reference to highways, roads, streets, paving and lighting, and sewers, a most important subject, there was altogether a want of system, which was very striking, and particularly as regarded sewers. They had so many different bodies concerned. They had the corporation—they had the different parts of that corporation—the aldermen having certain limited powers in the expenditure of money, and the common council having powers of a more extensive nature, there was a struggle between those two bodies, as to their particular rights. Then there were the various commissioners of sewers, commissioners of paving and lighting, grand juries, leet juries, inquest juries, turnpike trustees, chartered companies, and a number of other authorities to the amount of nineteen or twenty; and all of these, making no pretence to any unity whatever, had 228 the management of departments which clashed together, encroached upon one another, all intimately connected together, and which required beyond everything, one uniform system of management, and one control and efficient head, instead of this various and clashing, and disunited system. Now, with respect to the sewers in Westminster and London, he would show their Lordships at once the impropriety of different authorities having to do with the same running stream of water. Because the city might be very powerful, and the Legislature very powerful, yet he did not think it wise to attempt the alteration of the law by which water found its level; and, therefore, nothing was clearer than that the sewers should be under one and the same head. Here was a case of detriment to the city. The Holborn sewers, west of the city, of an oval form, and of the very best construction, are 25 percent, cheaper than the very badly constructed sewers in the city of Westminster—the good being a fourth part cheaper than the bad, and in Westminster the rate is so great, that very many houses are totally undrained. Now, if the Holborn system were the same as Westminster, and if, as ought to be the case, the whole were under one body, it was clear that Westminster would obtain the benefit of a good sewer at a cheaper rate; and just precisely the same result took place in the various works in the city, not only in the sewers, but the highways, streets, paving and lighting, &c, from the diversity of the management. He came now to the administration of justice in the city of London, but for which question, he was perfectly free to confess, he should probably never have had his attention sufficiently called to the subject of his motion to induce him to take it up, but from particular accidents in the profession to which he had always belonged, and from the position he had once the honour to fill, of being at the head of the administration of justice in this country, he had ever deemed it his bounden duty, in every case where he saw anything trenching upon the pure, upright, and unimpassioned administration of justice, to stand forth and call for, and endeavour to seek and find out, if possible, a remedy for so great an evil; holding the administration of justice as the very bond which kept society together — the very main object of men living together in society—the blessing, the benefit, the precious blessing, the inestimable benefit, for 229 obtaining which men in living together in society were willing to abandon so many of their natural rights. He complained, then, of the administration of justice in the city of London, and he brought it before their Lordships that they might pronounce sentence against it, and that that grievous abuse, which, by a perversion of terms, was called the administration of justice in the city, might cease. The aldermen, council, and citizens of London were a remnant of the bad feudal times. They were a feudal body in their origin. The aldermen and the councilmen, or the citizens, according to some authorities, having in truth occupied the position in the municipality which the baron did in his seignory; so much so, that it was found in the charters of our Kings, in the charter of King John, in the charter of King Henry 3rd, that the citizens were called barons and the aldermen earls: the only doubt among our legal antiquaries being whether the aldermen were not, in truth, the only barons, and whether the citizens did not occupy the situation of feudatories and not barons. Still, however, it is the remains of a distant feudal institution. Their Lordships were aware, that it was one of the attributes and peculiarities of the feudal system, and one of its worst attributes also, that the lord was not only commander in war, but judge in peace; the judicial power being inseparable from the seignory. Accordingly, as the monarch was lord paramount and judge over the whole community, so did the Bishop of Durham exercise the same functions in the palatinate of Durham, and the Duke of Lancaster in the palatinate of Lancaster. This disposition of the judicial power was at length found to be intolerable. The King no longer administered justice, except through judges chosen or appointed for life. The Duke of Lancaster had given up his palatinate privileges of a judicial nature; so also had the Bishop of Durham; and in both those palatinates justice was administered by judges of the Crown. With the exception of his noble Friend, the hereditary sheriff of Westmoreland, and the lord of the manor of Havering-atte-Bower, in Essex, who had the right to appoint justices, there remained, he believed, no instance of a feudal office connected with the administration of justice. The king had parted with his judicial power, the Bishop of Durham and the Duke of Lancaster had parted with theirs, their Lordships had 230 surrendered all their privileges except those which appertain to them in their capacity of Peers of Parliament; but the aldermen, the barons of London, remain clothed with their judicial functions; and, because they happen to be chosen by an irresponsible body, without any one to be answerable for the worst choice that can be made, become judges of the land! Two aldermen may sit and form a quorum, and try men for their lives in the Central Criminal Court. His noble and learned Friend and himself could not better form a quorum if they went to-morrow to the Central Criminal Court, than could two aldermen by merely sitting on the judgment-seat. Why was that? Was it because the responsible Ministers of the Crown had appointed them? Was it because they were qualified honestly to administer justice? Was it because they were learned, well educated, and possessed of general knowledge, superadded to great natural capacity? It is, continued the noble Lord, for none of these reasons. In a word, they take their seat on the bench of justice merely because they are chosen by the lower class of freemen of the city of London, who happen to inhabit houses which are rated at 30s. a-year to the taxes of the city of London. That is the title by which the aldermen sit to administer the highest criminal justice. But that is not all. Your Lordships may say, that although those aldermen may have the right to sit on the bench of justice, yet, in practice, they do not sit there. It is not so. I will answer for it, that if any of your Lordships go to the Central Criminal Court to-morrow, you will see twelve of them sitting on the bench at the trial of the person who is to be charged upon that occasion. They have a right to sit there —the same right as the three judges whom the Queen sends by royal commission to preside over the Criminal Court. I will now come to another practical part of the matter. The aldermen can also appoint judges. The aldermen and common council have judicial patronage of the highest and most delicate description. They have a clear, uncontrolled, irresponsible, unrestrained title to appoint six judges of the land. The aldermen appoint the Recorder, one of the highest judicial officers, who, till lately, had to attend the King in Council every time that criminals were condemned to death, and to assist at the Council, in the presence of the Sovereign and his officers of State, on questions 231 of life and death. Until the change was made to which I have referred, no power on earth could have prevented the court of aldermen sending into that sacred presence, on that sacred and delicate duty, the most incapable, the most unworthy, the most every way unfit person that could have been selected in the city. 1 should state that the office of Recorder is endowed with a salary of 3,000l. a-year. I acknowledge the learning, talent, and integrity of the gentleman who at present fills that office. I complain not of the choice which has been as it were accidentally a good one; but I complain of the power of choosing being vested in such hands, which might, by accident, have made a choice of the very opposite description. So much for the judicial patronage of the court of aldermen. The same inferior class of freemen who choose the aldermen, also choose the common council; and the common council have the power of choosing five judicial officers. The first of these is the Common Sergeant. My noble and learned Friend, the present Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, once filled the office. He canvassed the voters, and carried his election by six or seven votes. Only think of the decency of a judge who is to take his seat on the bench of justice, who is to be clothed with the ermine of the law, and to administer criminal justice in the capital of the country to 2,000,000 of her Majesty's subjects — only think of such a judge being chosen by election after a canvass! I said that my noble and learned Friend gained his election by a majority of only seven votes out of 240; now I will tell you what the great difficulty was which he had to contend with. My noble and learned Friend was admitted to be a man of extraordinary endowments and of strict integrity—one who was utterly incapable of allowing party feeling or personal interest to cast even a shadow across the brightness of his path in administering the judicial functions; but a very formidable competitor appeared in the field. He was a man of great ability, great learning, and much experience; but I can tell your Lordships, and I speak from my knowledge of the state of the canvass—I ought to apologise for the desecration of the judicial office by the use of a term fit only for the hustings of a political election—that it was not these qualities in the late Baron Bolland which made him a dangerous competitor to my noble and learned Friend. His experi- 232 ence, his knowledge of the law, and his unimpeachable integrity, would all have gone for nothing; but that which did expose us to risk, that which did put in jeopardy the election, was this, that Mr. Bolland held the place of city pleader, which is an office of great importance in the city, and sundry common councilmen had individuals of their own families who were desirous to succeed Mr. Bolland in that office, and all of them voted against Mr. Denman and for Mr. Bolland, in order that one of the expectant candidates might succeed to the vacant pleadership. I know that Mr. Matthew Hill, the late Member for Hull, lost his election for Common Sergeant, when opposed by Mr. Mirehouse, from precisely the same cause. This election furnishes an illustration of the ballot. Mr. Hill, not withing he had a majority of promises, lost the election by five or six votes, because Mr. Mirehouse was a city pleader, and the persons who promised a vote for Mr. Hill had sons and nephews who wished to succeed to Mr. Mirehouse, and therefore they promised the one, but ballotted for the other. Do not suppose that I mention these circumstances invidiously towards the ballot, though I have only a poor opinion of it—or invidiously towards the London corporation; but it is really an important part of the case. It would be bad enough that these parties should choose a judge if they voted in their own proper person; but how much worse is it when they are allowed to screen themselves by secret voting? Is there a single job that cannot be perpetrated under the shelter of the ballot—if such things as jobs can exist in the common council? I must guard myself against being supposed to offer any objection to the fitness of Mr. Mirehouse for the office of common sergeant; it is only of the mode of election I complain. The common council also choose a judge of the Sheriff's Court, an assistant judge of the Central Criminal Court, and two secondaries, who likewise exercise judicial functions. I now proceed to inquire how the aldermen administer justice. The majority of the aldermen are persons occupied in trade or commerce, and they have also numerous other avocations, more or Jess engrossing, but as if they had not enough to do already with their varied calls, as police magistrates, as city functionaries, as private traders, and as men of the world, they must needs add another, and a still more extraordinary and important occupation to those which I 233 have enumerated. The Lord Mayor of late years has invented, for he could call it by no other term, an entirely new species of jurisdiction, the effects of which were more calculated to obstruct, to mar, to defeat, and to stultify justice than anything I have ever yet heard of. There has been invented, in the city, a form of proceeding which is familiar to those who read the newspapers,—which is known to those who frequent the city courts—which is known amongst the dignitaries of the city; but which is utterly unknown to lawyers— which, is utterly unknown to the law of England—which the moment that lawyers and the law of England become fully cognizant of it, cannot fail to draw down upon itself and those who practise it the most marked reproof. It is a usurpation of the most flagrant audacity. It leads to consequences of which the absurdity, inaptness, and ridicule are lost in contemplating the atrocity of a proceeding which has too long existed, but which this night has reached the term when it ought to expire. I am sure your Lordships will agree with me in holding it to be utterly impossible that, after this night, any persons should dare to repeat the misdemeanour to which I am about to advert. What I allude to is called "asking advice of the sitting magistrate:" and consists in this abuse and nothing else—that if any man has a grievance against another, and dares not go into a court of justice with it, from being sensible that against that other person he has no case, and that at the hands of that other he has no hope of obtaining anything, he has him away before the "sitting magistrate," as he is called, and, in the absence of the other person, and in the utter and necessary ignorance of that other person that one word is about to be spoken respecting him, he the sitting magistrate the whole of his story! The worthy functionary, whose sympathies and tenderness of feelings lead him to express commisseration and pity during the ex parte recital of the complainant's wrongs, listens to the whole story. Sometimes claims are made in this way to property; sometimes assertions to the prejudice of people of unimpeachable integrity are uttered, creating impressions which are difficult to be eradicated; and it was not long ago that the name of a noble Duke, a friend of his own, was brought into question before the chief city magistrate by a person claiming an estate which his noble Friend, as he stated, unjustly kept from him. Your Lordships 234 who reside in the country must be aware that there is hardly a neighbourhood in which some poor but ignorant person does not assert that the largest estate thereabouts belongs, by right, to him. The man who went before the Lord Mayor was, doubtless, labouring under some delusion of this nature. However, he told his story, and I could not believe my eyes when I read it and found that this respectable Lord Mayor did not at once say to him, "What business have you to come here? This is not the Court of Chancery —this is not the Queen's Bench. Go to the courts of law. I am a police magistrate, and deal only with cases of crime. Why do you talk to me about an estate I cannot try an action of ejectment." The lord mayor did not say that; but he opened the door wide and encouraged the man to proceed—he allowed the whole story to be told, and afterwards had the assurance, the confidence (I will use no harsher word), with the best intentions in the world, no doubt — with a charity which cost nothing—with a kindness which did not even give him the trouble of thinking (if he had thought at all he would have had nothing to do with the case), actually to write a letter, seal it with the city seal, by way, no doubt, of impressing the noble Duke with a proper degree of awe and respect for the wisdom and rectitude of the whole proceeding— and in that letter, thus ornamented with the imposing seal in question, the lord mayor asked my noble Friend why he kept the poor man's estate who had complained to him. No doubt it appears exceedingly absurd, but what I have told you actually happened. I will mention another case. Some years ago there lived a female, the daughter of a Member of Parliament, and a person of rank, who by her misconduct lost her station in society, and ultimately associated with a common soldier. George the 4th had been the friend of her husband, and in the kindness of his disposition, being desirous that the woman should not come on the parish for support, vested in the hands of a noble Earl, now no more, and a noble Viscount, the sum of 50s. a week for her support, on condition that the trustees should never, for reasons which are obvious, pay more than two week's money in advance. As soon as an advance, beyond the authorised one, was refused, the woman went before the sitting magistrate, a lord mayor, now deceased, and said that the trustees were robbing her, 235 that they were embezzling her money, and that she was starving. The lord mayor did not tell her that he was not sitting in the Court of Chancery, and, therefore, had not any jurisdiction in the case; on the contrary, he heard her out, or interrupted her only to give vent to such expressions of indignation, as "intolerable!" "incredible!"It is not to be endured that noble Lords who are wallowing in wealth should defraud an unhappy lady out of part of her miserable pittance.What is the consequence of all this absurdity, arising out of the usurpation of functions which do not belong to them? These scenes do not take place in a corner, but, unhappily in the presence of 24,000,000 of people, because every one word in both the cases to which I have referred, appeared in the newspapers the next morning, and was circulated all over the country. These procedings go forth under the name and authority of a court of justice. People in the country do not know what lord mayors are, and considerable weight is attached to these outrageous slanders on the characters of individuals. I will allude to another case. A publisher of a newspaper had been convicted of libel, but was not brought up for judgment, on condition that he should cease libelling the party. The libel of which he had been convicted was of a most atrocious nature. A villain who had procured the insertion of the libel, in order to extort money, went to the same newspaper and offered some kind of indemnity to the publisher, to induce him to publish another libel on the same party. The publisher said,—No, if I do that, I shall be brought up for judgment; but do you go before the sitting magistrate and tell your story (it was a matter with which a magistrate had nothing to do); we will send a reporter to take down what you say, and it shall be published.Whether this conspiracy was actually carried out, I do not know; but I do know that the villainous scheme I have described was suggested. If police magistrates will open shops for slander—the newspapers, being entitled by law to publish all that passes as police proceedings—I say that a grievance more abominable—a nuisance more crying or more frightful, never can exist in a civilized community. We see a number of cases in which parties come before the city magistrates, and tell their story; it is reported, and so far their ob- 236 ject is accomplished. I know of a man who, being aware that the Court of Chancery rejected him—conscious that the courts of common law vomited him forth; but knowing also that there was a sitting magistrate with doors open to receive him, with a clerk ready to help him, and with reporters ready to give circulation to his venom—I know of such a man who, before paying a visit to the police-office, went to the individual whom he had marked out for his victim, and of whom he had destined to slaughter the character, and when he came to that individual he threatened that if his unjust demand was not complied with, he would go and make a statement before the sitting magistrate, which should be circulated by the newspapers all over the country. I am informed by a respectable practitioner of the city of London, that a woman endeavoured to extort money from one of his clients, and to effect her object, went to the lord mayor and demanded a summons to be issued against the party, who, she said, had swindled her. "Swindle," is a word unknown in law. Some city magistrates are constantly talking about "nests of swindlers," and appear anxious to acquire a reputation for what they call "driving swindlers out of the city." These men, being ignorant of law, think that if they find any persons acting improperly, they have nothing to do but to call them swindlers. Now, persons may act improperly without committing an offence known to the law. In consequence of the apprehension which persons entertain of having the cry of swindler raised against them, many are frightened into compromises. In the case to which I am referring, a summons was issued by the lord mayor— a respectable man, but ignorant of law. The solicitor of the party on whom the summons was served, told his client that the lord mayor should have issued a warrant and not a summons, because he had no civil jurisdiction at all. The charge was for obtaining money under false pretences. The solicitor, therefore, told his client to stop at home; but that there might be no appearance of disrespect, he undertook to go to the lord mayor and set him right as to the mode of proceeding. He did so, and the lord mayor candidly admitted that he was wrong. In about a fortnight after the woman went again to the lord mayor, and having, as we say in the Courts, mended her hand, applied for a warrant. It was granted, and the party was arrested, and kept for six or eight weeks in the custody 237 of the marshalman, when he compromised by acceding to the woman's demand, in order to avoid the exposure of having the whole story told and published in the newspapers. I am told by the solicitor that the woman, in this case, had no more claim to the property which she demanded than I, or any of your Lordships have to it. Thus do these city magistrates presume, by usurpation, to make their police jurisdiction ancillary to civil jurisdiction, not a vestige or shadow of which do they really possess. I expect that these city magistrates will no longer pursue this course. They may have done it in ignorance hither., to, or from a culpable wish to court a false and bastard popularity, or from the desire of exercising an equally specious charity, which costs them not one farthing, and, as I before said, not even the trouble of reflecting; but they no longer have that excuse—they no longer can pretend to say that they can shut their eyes to the nature of these proceedings, and the consequences of their misconduct; and if they persist in their illegal course, after being warned, be it at their peril. When I had the honour to hold the Great Seal, I was determined to endeavour to have this crying nuisance abated, and as I found that magistrates out of the city, and under the control of the Government, had, in some cases, given into this illegal practice, I addressed a remonstrance to my noble Friend Lord. Melbourne, then Secretary of State for the Home Department, on the subject; and I believe he took the proper steps on the occasion; but, however that may be, the practice has since ceased, and no recurrence to it is likely to be made by the learned and excellent persons who exercise so usefully to the public, and honourably to themselves, the functions of police magistrates in Middlesex, Westminster, and Southwark. The practice, however, is still raging in the city, if possible, worse than ever; because, all other places being shut, the whole business in that line flows to the only place where the door is open to receive it. I, therefore, deem it my bounden duty to speak out, plainly and distinctly, to those misguided men, and to call on them to resort to other means of exercising a power which at present is only mischievous, and which, if otherwise directed, would, at least, prove harmless; to call on them, if they desire to be considered kindly benevolent, charitable, and public spirited, to exercise those qualities at their own ex- 238 pense, and not at the expense of the high office with which they are clothed, as well as of the feelings and character of their fellow-citizens—above all, not to do so at the expense of the purity—the sacred inviolability of the administration of criminal justice. My Lords, I have redeemed my pledge to your Lordships. I have brought before you a case which makes it utterly impossible that many months should elapse before municipal reform shall be extended to the city of London; and, further, I will venture confidently to say, redeeming that other and more difficult, but scarcely less important pledge, that after this 2nd of March I shall never—whether the corporation of Loudon be reformed and improved, whether it be new modelled or remain as it is—I shall never again hear of those outrages on all justice, and even on all common sense, of which I have thought it my duty to complain. My Lords, with this impression and with this confident expectation, I have the honour of moving,That a humble Address be presented to her Majesty, praying her most gracious Majesty to take into her most gracious consideration the report of the commissioners appointed to inquire into municipal corporations in England and Wales (made in 1834) with a view to some legislative measure for extending Municipal Reform to the city of London.
The Lord Chancellor
rose, not to offer any observations on the able statements of the noble Lord, but merely to make one suggestion. Until he came down to the House that evening, he had no idea that the noble Lord had any intention of bringing forward a motion which would in effect pledge their Lordships to extend the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Reform Act to the city of London. He had reason to think, too, that most of their Lordships were as utterly ignorant of the existence of such intention as he was himself; indeed, the empty state of the House clearly evinced that no such resolution was at all anticipated. He felt most strongly, that before they gave such a pledge, their Lordships ought to give their attention distinctly to the objects in view; and he was sure that it was only necessary for him to throw out a suggestion to induce his noble Friend who brought forward this motion to see the propriety of not committing the House by such a pledge to any such measure as that he now proposed. As to the field of argument over which the noble Lord had gone in the course of his speech, it was a very, very wide field, and 239 he was sure their Lordships would not expect that he should follow the noble Lord through it. As to the latter portion of his Address, however, he was quite prepared to agree, that nothing could be more reprehensible than that men sitting on the judgment-seat should venture to pronounce opinions, and to pass judgments, on the character of parties not before them. [Lord Brougham: Or to permit the accuser to go on.] Or should permit the accusing party to go on. He was sure that, if any such course had ever been taken in the city of London, such a course would not be further persisted in; but, without attempting to deal further with the question, he would merely put it to the noble Lord whether this resolution had not better, under these circumstances, be withdrawn.
agreed in the propriety of what had fallen from his noble and learned Friend; and assured him that it was only from the accident of the House not sitting on the previous day (Wednesday) that he had not laid on their Lordships' Table the terms of the motion it was his intention to propose. Under such circumstances, perhaps it would answer the same purpose if, instead of withdrawing the motion, he moved that the debate be adjourned for a fortnight.
The Lord Chancellor
would venture to make another suggestion to his noble Friend. As he appeared to think it right that the provisions of the Municipal Reform Act should be applied to the city of London, would it not be better that he should prefer a bill having that object? If his noble Friend would do so he could assure him, on the part of her Majesty's Government, that the measure should meet with the most attentive consideration.
thought, that unless the noble and learned Lord who had brought forward this motion intended to become a Member of the Government, it would be by no means right that he should act upon such a suggestion as that of the noble Lord on the Woolsack; such a measure ought always to be undertaken and to proceed on the responsibility of an Administration; and, as the noble and learned Lord was not at present a Member of that Administration, he did not see how he could introduce the measure. If, indeed, his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) meant to join the Government to which, in ostensible opposition, he sometimes rendered very avaiable service, the course re- 240 commended by his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack would be a very expedient one. But if it were otherwise, he thought the debate should be adjourned, in order that his noble and learned Friend's motion should not end in smoke. He must say, he hoped that when all the measures which they thought expedient could be carried by the Government, the reform of the city corporation would not be much longer delayed. There was a period when a system of obstruction prevailed apparently with the view of getting up the cry that the Government measures could not be carried. In this way many measures highly salutary and necessary were rendered abortive. But that time had passed, and, therefore, the necessary measures should be adopted as quickly as possible. He must say, with respect to the speech of his noble and learned Friend, that he indulged in a good deal of exaggeration. He thought the city of London had preserved the features of a free municipal Government much better than any other municipality. It was based on a representative system, which was still in operation. The mayor, the sheriffs, the common-councilmen were elected yearly. The aldermen, it was true, were elected for life, but they were elected openly in the presence of the city in their respective wards. The system might be faulty, it might be susceptible of some amendments, and if so, he hoped a law would be speedily introduced to effect those amendments; but, whether that law was introduced or not, of one thing he was quite sure—namely, that no law was required to put down that nuisance which the noble Lord had so ably exposed—the system of "asking advice," and under the guise of asking advice of telling a libellous and slanderous tale for the public amusement and to the injury of individuals. That system was, he felt convinced, contrary to law. The magistrates might be punished for enabling people to libel their fellow-citizens. He felt sure, too, that all reports on such subjects were decided libels, and he would say, that those who gave publicity to such reports ought not to be protected, but should be punished with the utmost severity. He was one who thought that all legal proceedings should be published, even to the extent of preliminary proceedings before magistrates, where they had jurisdiction; but he did say, that the lord mayor sat not to give advice, but to administer the law, and if any man came and asked advice, hoping 241 thereby to get some scandalous tale into the newspapers, why, the reporters, the editors, and the magistrates, who conspired to give publicity to such a tale ought all, in his opinion, to be indicted and punished.
congratulated the noble Lord on having relieved the dull tedium of this subject by the jocose character of the earlier part of his speech. He freely forgave him his joke, however, for the opinion which followed it, and of which he was really glad to have the benefit.
objected to the question being put. He had always understood that no motion could be withdrawn, unless with the unanimous consent of all the Peers present; and, certainly, he for one was not prepared to give his consent to the withdrawal of this motion. If it were withdrawn, the subject might all end in smoke; but if it were merely adjourned, as first proposed, he thought there would then be a security for its further consideration.
The Lord Chancellor
thought it was competent for him to put the question, "that the motion be by leave withdrawn," and that it was competent for their Lordships to agree to the motion or not, as they thought fit.
His noble and learned Friend (Lord Campbell) had indulged in the flattering hope that the days of obstruction to Government measures had gone by. But his own speech did not tend to confirm his prophecy. There were two ways of resisting a measure. One was to say, in an open, manly way, "I oppose you." There was another, of taking every indirect mode of defeating your object. He could not help feeling that his noble and learned Friend had taken the latter course.
was anxious that the measure should be carried as quickly as possible, and should be brought on as quickly as possible. He had not the least wish to obstruct the measure, though sitting on the bench where he now found himself placed.
I remember, when a seat behind me [pointing to one where the present Lord Chancellor formerly sat] was a perfect citadel of obstructiveness.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, the question brought under their notice by his noble and learned Friend, was not one to be decided off-hand either in that House or any other. The speech of his noble and learned Friend must be considered maturely before they could decide what ought to be done. He thought the proposition which had been made by his noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) was a very proper one, that his other noble and learned Friend who had made the eloquent speech they had that night heard, should bring forward such a measure to remedy the abuses complained of, as he might think was calculated to have that effect. It mattered not, however, who brought the bill forward, provided their Lordships considered it; but for any of her Majesty's servants to get up, and say at once such a measure would be brought forward by the Government, that could not be done, as there were other parties than those present who must first be consulted.
said, that was the reason he had proposed an adjournment of the debate, that the Government might have an opportunity of considering the subject, and, if necessary, to bring forward a measure on their own responsibility.
§ Motion withdrawn.
§ Their Lordships adjourned.