The EARL of DESART
said, that he considered his noble Friend had been perfectly justified in the course which he yesterday took with respect to the measure then before their Lordships. It was fitting that such a Bill should have been opposed on its first reading, and he should now oppose it on the second reading. There was no reason whatever why a Bill of that kind should be hurried through the House of Lords at such an advanced period of the Session. It was a Bill, as they all knew, the object of which was to extend the experiment of free trade; now, as that experiment had not been by any means successful, he did think that Parliament ought to resist its extension until the duration of its period of trial had been somewhat prolonged. No one could deny that the Bill then under consideration was part of the systematic attack that had been for some time in progress against the commerce and the agriculture of this country, and which had grievously injured both. Ministers were now resolved to attack the mining interest, and he hoped that the House of Lords would make some effort to put an end to this rash and undignified course of legislation. He should certainly vote against the Bill.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
trusted that the noble Lord was not present when it was arranged that no opposition should that day be offered to the progress of the Copper and Lead Duties Bill. It must be* It seems proper to mention that Mr. Craven Berkeley addressed letters of apology to Mr. Roundell Palmer and Sir William Clay, which were published and accepted by those Gentlemen as full satisfaction for the offence complained of.768 recollected by almost every one then in the House that, when it was asked whether there was any intention on the part of noble Lords opposite to renew their opposition to the Bill on this its second reading, the noble Lord who took a lead in the opposition replied that, for his part, he should be 100 miles off at twelve o'clock that day; and the perfect silence of all other Peers entitled Ministers to conclude that all opposition to the measure was at an end. The noble Lord opposite took an opportunity well suited to the value of his arguments, and showed his own estimate of that value by bringing them under the notice of the House at such a time and under such circumstances as he had addressed the House.
§ The EARL of FALMOUTH
contended that the course taken by Her Majesty's Government fully justified the opposition of his noble Friend. He thought the House had great reason to complain that a Bill of this kind should have been brought before them at such a period of the Session as the present.
§ EARL GREY
repeated the statement, that there had been an understanding not to debate the Bill that day. As to the delay of the Bill in the other House, that was entirely owing to those who opposed it. More than once the stages of it had been postponed for the accommodation of hon. Members who were adverse to the Bill.
complained that the Bill had been brought up to that House too late. He had been no party to any such arrangement as that to which noble Lords opposite had referred.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, it had been fully agreed that the discussion was to be taken on the first, and not upon the second reading.
The EARL of DESART
stated that, if he had known of any such arrangement he should not have troubled the House with any observations on the subject.
§ Bill read 2a
§ House adjourned.