rose for the purpose of putting the question of which he had given notice. He wished to know if it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to introduce the Bill of which they had formerly given hopes for the reformation of the Ecclesiastical Courts. A rumour had gone abroad that in another place one of Her Majesty's Ministers had declared there was no intention whatever on the part of Her Majesty's Government to bring the subject before Parliament during the present Session. Till he heard from one of Her Majesty's 261 Ministers that there was no such intention he could not bring himself to believe it. Their Lordships were well aware that this was a grievance which had long been felt; that there was a Commission, consisting of all the principal Judges in Westminster Hall, which unanimously concurred in the recommendation that these Courts should be reformed; that there was afterwards a Commission, called the Real Property Commission, of which he (Lord Campbell) had the honour to be a member, which unanimously concurred in the same recommendation; that there were also Committees of both Houses of Parliament, who unanimously concurred in that recommendation; one of those Committees in the other House of Parliament being presided over by Sir J. Graham.
§ The Duke of Wellington
Are you going to make a Motion? I thought you wished an answer to a question.
was only making a statement for the purpose of refreshing the memory of his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack as to certain points which he feared had slipped from it.
had been much alarmed by the rumour that there was no intention to bring forward this Bill, and he thought it would be more satisfactory to remind his noble and learned Friend and the noble Duke of what had previously taken place; but if it would be more convenient that an answer should in the first instance be given, he was at all times most ready to bow to any recommendation from that quarter, and he would at once put the question to his noble and learned Friend, when it was the intention of the Government to bring forward a Bill for the reformation of the Ecclesiastical Courts, such as had been recommended to Parliament by Her Majesty, in Her Speech at the opening of the Session of 1842.
The Lord Chancellor
My noble and learned Friend seems to have been taking lessons in equity practice; his questions assume the shape of Bills in Chancery. If he had put a short question to me I would have given a short answer. I have no intention of bringing in such a Bill in the course of the present Session.
§ The Earl of Ellenborough
said, it appeared to him that a very unusual practice had grown up during his absence from this country. Would the noble and learned Lord permit, him to state to the best of 262 his recollection what used to be the practice of their Lordships' House? In former days speeches were not permitted to be made when questions were put, and were allowed only for the purpose of founding a Motion.
The Earl of Minto
said, it was true that the habit of which the noble Lord now complained had grown up during his absence. The habit was certainly an extremely bad one, and the sooner it was put an end to the better, provided it were understood that the order was to be observed on both sides of the House.
said, he was most anxious to conform to the rules of the House, and he hoped he had not infringed any of the rules he had found in their Lordships' House since he became a Member of it. He avowed that he thought some of them were certainly of a very extraordinary nature, and did vary very considerably from the rules he had found to prevail in the other House of Parliament, because there most undoubtedly the rule was, that in putting a question you were simply to state the facts that were indisputably necessary for the purpose of raising it. But on both sides of their Lordships' House, since he had had the honour of sitting in it, he had found the custom prevail of prefacing a question by what might be called a speech. He could not but express a regret at the answer of his noble and learned Friend. Were they, then, to to despair, in all time coming, of seeing the opprobrium thrown on the administration of the law by the Ecclesiastical Courts removed? Three hundred and eighty courts—
§ The Duke of Wellington
rose to order. The Orders of their Lordships' House required that if a noble Lord made a speech he must conclude by a Motion, and if he concluded by a Motion, the courtesy of the House had been to give notice of it. He believed he had now stated exactly the Order of the House and the courtesy of the House. The noble Lord would be, he was sure, desirous of adhering to what had been the order and courtesy of the House, and if he meant to make a speech on the subject of the omission of his noble and learned Friend in not bringing forward the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill, he hoped he would have the kindness to give notice for Thursday or any other day.
at once bowed to the authority of the noble Duke, and would not resort to the expedient of finishing 263 with some evasive Motion for the purpose of making a speech. He would consider what was the best mode of bringing the subject regularly before the House.
§ House adjourned.