THE EARL of EGLINGTON
rose to present a petition from the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, setting forth certain causes of complaint, and praying for the adoption of just and reasonable remedies for the same; and to move a humble Address to Her Majesty relating thereto. The noble Earl said, that as the question was one of great national importance, he trusted their Lordships would bear with him while he read a small portion of the petition for the consideration of the House. The petitioners stated that the Treaty of Union between the kingdoms of England and Scotland had been entered into in a spirit of equality between both countries, and that it was not intended at any subsequent period to deprive Scotland of any portion of her share of the advantages which she might have derived from the Act of Union; instead, however, of the rights of Scotland having been preserved in their integrity, many of her institutions had been amalgamated, and many got rid of entirely. Even with regard to the number of representatives returned to Parliament, Scotland was not represented in proportion to England; while, at the same time, the revenue raised in Scotland was much greater than the amount spent there. The petitioners called attention to the desirability of forming 497 harbours of refuge along the coast of Scotland, and complained of the neglected state of the seaboard in that particular. They regretted that the palace of Holyrood should have been allowed to fall into its present dilapidated condition, at a time when large sums of money had been and were being expended in repairing and maintaining the Royal Palaces in England. They also complained that the University arrangements were in an unsatisfactory state. The petition concluded by urging upon the serious consideration of the Legislature the propriety of appointing a Secretary of State to preside over the administration of affairs in Scotland. The noble Earl stated that several thousand persons had attended meetings which had taken place in Scotland upon this subject; and, had it been thought desirable, the petition might have assumed the bulk of a "monster" petition. It had, however, been considered, and he thought justly, that it would be more respectful to their Lordships to present it in its present shape, signed only by one of the Vice Presidents of the Association, and he trusted that that circumstance would not render it less effective than it might otherwise have been. He had no doubt that those of their Lordships who had only seen such reports of the movement which had taken place in Scotland as had appeared in the English newspapers would expect that he was about to preach a crusade against time Union, and to advocate the dismemberment of the empire, or perhaps, if they took a more lenient view, that he was about to favour them with a dissertation on heraldry, and the necessity of every Scotchman wearing a kilt. Now with respect to the first accusation, he was perfectly satisfied that to none of those who were acquainted with the feelings of loyalty expressed by himself personally, and by others, in the speeches and in the proceedings which had taken place in Scotland would it be necessary to say a word; but as some people did not know him, and as many had not taken the trouble to read reports of the speeches and proceedings in Scotland, he begged to state most distinctly and unequivocally his opinion of the necessity and propriety of the Act of Union, and his strong conviction of the inestimable blessings conferred upon both countries by the Union—he knew not, indeed, in what terms sufficiently strong he could express his opinion of any man who could advocate a repeal of that Act. With regard to the 498 second point—the heraldic grievances, taken up by certain opponents to the utter exclusion of all the real and important matters brought forward—he could only say that that subject was originated before the National Association was established; that it did not form one of the points enlarged upon in the petition he had presented, and that it had always been considered and alluded to by the Association as a matter of secondary importance. Divested of all the ridiculous notoriety conferred upon it, the point itself amounted simply to this—that the arms on the Royal flag, when displayed in Scotland, should be assimilated to the arms upon the privy seal of Scotland, upon the seal used by the Lord Advocate of Scotland, and, he believed, upon nearly all the other armorial bearings in Scotland. It was merely asked that the Royal arms of Scotland, when displayed in that country, should have precedence over the arms of England, and that when displayed in England, the Royal arms of England should have the precedence as at present. He believed that the question had been settled by Queen Anne in the terms of the Union; but, in reality, it was merely treated by those who now came forward for the vindication of Scottish rights as a matter of secondary and immaterial importance. So much, then, for the lion and the unicorn. There was another subject which had been a good deal spoken of—namely, the question of dress; but he could assure their Lordships that that matter had never been brought forward by the Association in any way whatever, nor was it referred to in the petition he was about to present; but it had been brought forward entirely by some anonymous writer in the Times. He must confess, for his own part, that he had not paid sufficient attention to the subject of dress to enable him to give any opinion upon it, but, perhaps, the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Argyll), whom he trusted even Parliamentary usage would allow him to call MacCallum More, would be enabled to say something upon the matter. He might, however, state to those of their Lordships who were not much acquainted with Scotland that it was as rare to see a kilt in many of the great towns of that country as it was to see one in the streets of London. But, divesting the subject of all time extraneous matter with which it had been mixed up by parties who had never argued the real merits of the question, it would be as well to turn to the 499 particular grievances of which the petitioners complained. He had already stated, and he trusted with sufficient clearness, that it was unnecessary in these times for any man of common sense to say anything in commendation of the Union; but the more he approved of the Union the more anxious he was to cement good feeling between the people of the two countries, and the more necessary he thought it that the terms of the Union should be adhered to and carried out in their integrity. The Act of Union was a treaty of extreme importance, for it not only regulated the whole manner in which two countries, thitherto perpetually at variance, were for the future to live in amity, but it was the only document in which the rights of the House of Hanover to the Crown of Scotland were nationally acknowledged, and such an Act ought not lightly to be tampered with; and yet not only had the spirit but the letter of that treaty been in many instances violated. Article 16 of the Act of Union stated that "a Mint shall be continued in Scotland, under the same rules as the Mint in England." He need hardly say that a Mint was not now in existence in Scotland. Article 19 stated that "the Court of Admiralty now established in Scotland be continned," and then went on to say—So as there be always contained in Scotland a Court of Admiralty, such as in England, for determination of all maritime cases relating to private rights in Scotland competent to the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court.The same Article stated:—There shall be a Court of Exchequer in Scotland after the Union, for deciding questions concerning the revenues of Customs and Excises there, having the same power and authority in such cases as the Court of Exchequer has in England.Further on the same Article said:—After the Union the Queen's Majesty and Her Royal successors may continue a Privy Council in Scotland for preserving of public peace and order, until the Parliament of Great Britain shall think fit to alter it, or establish any other effectual method for that end.He would now advert to another, and, he could not help thinking, a most daring violation of the Act of Union, though at the same time he felt called upon to say that very probably be might not be advocating the opinion and wishes of many of the petitioners in the statement he was about to make. In the particular provision of the Act which had for its object the security of the Presbyterian Church, 500 it was expressly stated that every principal, professor, and master,Before and at their admission, do, and shall acknowledge and profess, and shall subscribe to the aforesaid confession of faith, as the confession of their faith, and they will practise and conform themselves to the worship presently in use in this Church.Most assuredly the University Act of last year was a clear and distinct violation of that Article of the Union. These were undeniable infringements of the Act of Union. Now, it appeared to him that not only was it the duty of Government to preserve the Act of Union in its integrity, but that it was their duty to afford to the weaker country the advantages enjoyed by the stronger. Scotland had borne without a murmur the loss of the permanent residence of her Sovereign within her bounds, the deprivation of her own Legislature, and the consequent loss and injury sustained, and the very least that could be accorded to her was her fair demand that she should be treated with perfect equality in all matters unconnected with Imperial legislation. He could prove, only he was not desirous of wearying their Lordships by going into details, that Scotland had, as the petitioners stated, been treated with great inequality and unfairness in many matters connected with her material interests, as well as with regard to art, science, and education. During the last twenty years, while a sum of 1,500,000l. had been expended upon Royal parks and palaces in England, the whole sum expended during the same period for similar purposes in Scotland amounted to 16,000l. only. While upwards of 1,500,000l. had been expended upon the British Museum in England alone, and the expenditure was annually going on, the whole sum expended in Scotland for purposes of a similar nature did not exceed 15,000l. While considerably more than 2,000,000l. had been expended on harbours of refuge in England, not one single sixpence had found its way into Scotland for the same purpose. And then, again, out of nearly 2,000,000l. which had been expended in an Ordnance survey in England and Ireland, in Scotland only 65,000l. had been voted in connection with that matter, and even to this moment it was not decided on what scale the Ordnance map of Scotland was to be drawn. The petitioners themselves called attention to the fact that the Scotch diploma did not allow a Scotch medical man to exercise his profession in England, notwithstanding 501 that the diploma of an Englishman allowed him to practise in Scotland. The other night his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) adverted to the fact that probates of wills taken out in England had power over property in Scotland. [Lord BROUGHAM: In the case of shares in railways and in joint-stock banks.] Yes; with regard to railways and joint-stock banks, probate taken out in England had power over property in Scotland, but probate taken out in Scotland had not the same power in England or Ireland. On the contrary, a man dying possessed of such property having taken out probate in Scotland might be obliged to take out two other probates in Canterbury and York in England, and in Armagh and Dublin in Ireland. He did not intend to go into any documentary details to prove that Scotland was unfairly treated, though he could do so if he were not afraid that he would be occupying too much of the attention of their Lordships. He would, therefore, proceed at once to the three points upon which he wished to obtain their Lordships' consent in moving a humble Address to Her Majesty. In the first place, he had to complain, not upon the part of the petitioners only, but he firmly believed upon the part of almost the whole people of Scotland, that the administration of the affairs of Scotland was placed in the hands of a subordinate officer of the Crown, who had his own large professional business to occupy his time. Some noble Lords, who were not acquainted with the management of affairs in Scotland, might perhaps imagine that the Secretary of State for the Home Department in England was also Minister for Scotland in a similar capacity. Certainly he had jurisdiction in Scotland to this extent—he had the issuing of circulars respecting the yeomanry, and transacted official correspondence with the lords lieutenant of counties; but that was all. The whole business of Scotland, not only legal, but connected with its commerce and manufactures, was placed in the hands of the Lord Advocate. And their Lordships must allow him to tell them who the Lord Advocate was. The gentleman generally selected as Lord Advocate was the lawyer who had the greatest amount of professional practice in Scotland, whose political opinions coincided with those of the Government of the day. He need not tell the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Campbell), what claims a large amount of professional duties must have 502 upon the time of any man. As Attorney General for Scotland, the Lord Advocate had to examine and investigate the legal bearings of every question affecting Scotland, and Government was responsible for his opinion; but, in addition to the duties thus cast upon him, which were enough for the capacity even of the distinguished man who held the office, and which in England and Ireland were committed to the two separate officers, the whole business of Scotland was placed upon his shoulders. If a Reform Bill were considered necessary—and modern statesmen seemed to think it was, whether the country required it or not—the Lord Advocate was the man to undertake the preparation of it. If education was supposed to be deteriorating in Scotland, the Lord Advocate had the getting up of a measure on the subject; and valuation Bills, together with everything connected with the inland revenue, Crown lands, and woods and forests, claimed the attention of the Lord Advocate. In addition to these duties he had the interests of his constituents to attend to, together with a large amount of professional business, which he could not give up, because the salary he received as Lord Advocate was not sufficient to allow of his doing so. The present Lord Advocate was reported to have said last autumn in a speech to his constituents that "if he had known the trouble that the Sheriff Courts Bill of last Session would have cost him, he would not have attempted to bring it forward." That was as much as to say that whether an important national measure was brought forward or not, must depend upon whether the professional duties of the Lord Advocate afforded him sufficient spare time for its preparation and introduction. A most distinguished man, Mr. Hope, who occupied the position of Lord Advocate fifty years ago, who afterwards filled the highest judicial seat in Scotland, and who was father of the present Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, in a speech to the House of Commons said:—They, Sir, who judge of the office of Lord Advocate for Scotland by a comparison with the dry, formal office of Attorney General in this country, have, indeed, formed a most erroneous opinion on the subject. The hon. Gentleman has professed his inability to explain to the House the various and complicated duties of this office. I wish that I could within any reasonable compass define its duties, and then I can assure the House, that though extensive almost beyond conception, they would afford me ease and retirement, compared with the endless succession of duties which now successively pass under my review. It will 503 be necessary for me to say a few words here respecting the executive Government in Scotland previous to the Union. At that period the Lord High Chancellor, the Lord Justice General, the Lord Justice Clerk, the Lord Privy Seal, and the Lord Advocate, were the constituent members of administration. From a variety of causes these had successively disappeared. The Lord High Chancellor was no longer in existence. The Lord Privy Seal existed merely for the purpose of appending the seal of Scotland. The Lord Chief Justice General is the mere nominal head of a Court at which he never presides. By a special Act of Parliament the Lord Justice Clerk can have no seat in the House, and is wholly confined to his own Court. Under these circumstances, Sir, the whole of the duties connected with these various departments have now entirely devolved on the Lord Advocate of Scotland. To him all inferior officers look for advice and decision; and with the greatest propriety it may be said that he possesses the whole of the executive Government of Scotland under his particular care."—[1 Hansard, ii, 801.]He had now given their Lordships the opinion of one of the most distinguished and energetic men who ever occupied the position of Lord Advocate, in addition to the opinion of the present Lord Advocate, who was one of the most eloquent men who had ever conducted the business of Scotland in Parliament. There is not a trumpery court in Europe where we have not an envoy with a diplomatic staff, costing far more than the pay of a Secretary of State, there was not a material interest in the country that was not represented by a Cabinet Minister. The law, the Army, the Navy, trade, education, the Privy Seal, the Post Office, and the Duchy of Lancaster, were all represented either by a Cabinet Minister or by a Minister whose attention was solely directed to his particular department. During the last few days an instance had occurred which showed the entire inefficiency of the administration of Scotch affairs. A Bill had been introduced into the other House by the Lord Advocate on the subject of education in Scotland—a very bad Bill, as he (the Earl of Eglinton) thought, but one involving a most important change in the present system, the second reading of which was fixed for the 30th of last month. Within three days of that time the Lord Advocate was in Edinburg, attending to his professional business there. As was to be expected, a great many deputations came up to London from various parts to make representations to him on the subject of the Bill; but no Lord Advocate was to be found. At last the learned Lord arrived in town, and probably for his own convenience, the Bill was then postponed 504 for a few days, but the learned Lord would not tell the Scotch Members whether he intended to postpone the second reading until after the 30th of April meetings. The Bill actually came on for a second reading, at half-past twelve at night, when the Lord Advocate announced his intention of postponing it till May. Upon that a debate arose, but like all other discussions that took place at so late an hour on Scotch affairs, not a word of the discussion was given in the newspapers. Now, that was not the way in which the business of a nation like Scotland should be conducted. He would not venture to say how the evil could best be remedied. His own opinion was, that a Secretary of State should be appointed; but it might be possible to combine the political duties of the Lord Advocate with those of some other office, the labour of which was not great. He now came to the second and more important point to which he wished to direct attention—he meant the paucity of the number of representatives allotted to Scotland in comparison with the other parts of the United Kingdom. He was aware that, by the Act of Union, only forty-five Members were given to Scotland, though the Commissioners tried hard to get more—that since then the number had been increased to fifty-three; and that by a Bill which he was told was in preparation, but which, if it was anything like its sister Bill for England, he sincerely hoped, and rather believed, would never reach their Lordships' House, three more Members were to be allotted to Scotland. But he contended that even the number of fifty-six would be totally inadequate to the population of Scotland, to the revenue derived from that country, to the position she held in the United Kingdom, to the energy and talents of her people, and to the activity of her trade and commerce. At the time of the Treaty of Union, when the number was fixed at forty-five, the population of Scotland did not amount to above 1,000,000, and her revenue, even after the addition that was made to it at the Union, did not exceed 150,000l. a year. Her population now amounted to 3,000,000, and her revenue to between 6,000,000l. and 7,000,000l. There were counties in Scotland containing a population of between 500,000 and 600,000, which only returned two Members, while in England such counties as Wiltshire and Hampshire, with a less population, had thirteen or fourteen Members each. He conceived that the question of 505 the representation of Scotland could be decided upon two principles only—population or taxation. Now, upon either principle singly, or upon both jointly, Scotland had a right to a considerable increase in the number of her representatives. The population of England and Wales might be taken at 18,000,000, the population of Ireland at 6,000,000, and the population of Scotland at 3,000,000. The number of representatives in the House of Commons was 658—for the sake of calculation, say 660. According to the principle of population, England should have 432, Ireland 156, and Scotland 72. Again, taking taxation as the basis of representation, it would be found that the whole revenue of the country might be taken at 52,000,000l. Out of that sum England contributed 42,000,000l., Scotland 6,000,000l., and Ireland 4,000,000l. Upon the principle of taxation, then, England should have 530 representatives, Scotland 76, and Ireland 51. Upon the two principles together, Ireland would remain with the same number of representatives, within one, which she had at present, and Scotland would have 75. He had dwelt upon those two points, because he thought they were of the most extreme importance to the interests of Scotland, and because he was convinced that many of the grievances of which the people complained were owing, not to any feeling of ill-will on the part of the people towards England, but to the fact of there being no great officer of State to look after their affairs, and not a sufficient number of representatives to enforce their claims. He now came to the third and last point which he desired to bring under their notice. It was one which probably some of their Lordships might think unimportant; but though it did not directly affect the material interests of the people of Scotland, it grated harshly upon their national feelings. He referred to the disgraceful state in which the Palace of Holyrood and its precincts were allowed to remain. The people of Scotland did not complain that Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace should be made fit residences for the Queen; on the contrary, they rejoiced that part of the revenue to which they contributed should be employed in keeping up the Royal residences; but they said they had a right to demand that a portion of the national funds should be employed for the same purpose in Scotland. They thought they had a right to complain that not one palace was kept in a 506 fit state for the Sovereign to reside in in all Scotland. It might be argued that it would be a useless waste of money to maintain a great number of parks and palaces which Her Majesty could not use; but in England that principle was not carried out, for he could point to Hampton, Bushy, and Richmond, all magnificent appanages of royalty, but which the Queen never used, and hardly ever visited. The people of Scotland did not ask that the palaces of Linlithgow and Falkland should be restored to their original state, but only that there should be one palace kept up in Scotland befitting the descendants of the ancient Scottish monarchs, and in which Her Majesty, if she thought proper, could hold her court. He believed that, a few years ago, some of the apartments of Holyrood were placed in a state of repair, so as to enable the Queen to stay there for a night; but the palace itself was in such a dilapidated condition that at the election of a Scotch representative Peer last summer the public could not be admitted, because of the insecurity of the floor. It was utterly impossible, indeed, that the palace could be used for any courtly or public purpose. The chapel was a ruin, without a roof, and the park was a waste and a quagmire; the palace garden was let to a market-gardener, and the immediate neighbourhood was a refuge for absconding debtors. Such was the present state of the ancient palace of Holyrood; and when, some years ago, the Queen held her court in Scotland—and well he remembered the feeling of loyalty and joy excited by that event—she was indebted to the hospitality of a noble Duke for being able to receive her Scottish subjects. He would not further occupy the attention of their Lordships. He trusted his observations had been neither unfair nor exaggerated. The people of Scotland did not come before their Lordships as suppliants or as foes. They asked for no undue favour, nor for any charity. They were animated by no feelings of ill-will towards their English brethren, with whom they hoped to be indissolubly united; but they demanded that the Union, which conferred immense benefits upon both countries, should be adhered to, and that the equality for which the Union provided, and without which that Union would never have been entered into, should be maintained. They demanded that their national feelings should be respected, that the affairs of Scotland should receive that attention which was 507 their due, and that her voice should have that authority in the Legislature to which she was entitled by her position in the united empire. He moved—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to take into Consideration the Propriety of appointing an additional Secretary of State, who may be entrusted with the principal Management of the Affairs of Scotland. That Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to take into Consideration the Propriety of directing that, in any measure which may be submitted by Her Majesty's Ministers to Parliament for an alteration in the Representation of the People, an Additional Number of Members shall be allotted to Scotland, in proportion to the great Increase which has taken place in her Social, Commercial, and Industrial Prosperity. That Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to take into Consideration the present dilapidated Condition of the ancient Palace of Holyrood, and give such Directions regarding its Restoration as shall seem right to Her Majesty, in order to place it in a State befitting the Dignity of the Crown, and worthy of the Metropolis of Scotland.
§ THE EARL OF ABERDEEN
My Lords, hitherto the cry has been for "justice to Ireland;" but of the "grievances of Scotland" we have heard heretofore little or nothing. In the course of last year, however, a good deal has been said upon that subject. Your Lordships will have observed that the noble Earl has reduced the grievances of Scotland to three, which he has entered upon the minutes of the House. Now I think there are none of them entitled to the description which he has given of them as "national" grievances; and I must say I think it is scarcely wise on the part of the noble Earl, or of any Scotch-man, to represent his country as labouring under any real grievance whatever. That there might be improvements in the Administration of Scotland, as well as in that of England, and in various parts of the government of the country, I will not deny; but that there is anything to justify the interference of Parliament in the manner referred to by the noble Earl, cannot, I think, be maintained for a single moment. Now, does the noble Earl really imagine that the people of Scotland are of opinion that they are so oppressed and injured as he would represent them to be? I rather think that in England, at all events, there is an opinion that the Scotch have a full share of the advantages which the constitution and the Government bestow upon the community. At the same time I must confess that a great change has taken place in this country with respect to the manner in which the Scotch are viewed. A great 508 improvement has taken place; I think the English are now accustomed to look with feelings of much greater kindness, affection, and goodwill towards the Scotch people than was the case some years ago. I believe I may in my own person represent an instance of this; for my Scotch predecessor in the office which I have now the honour to hold, as far as I recollect, committed no other crime in the popular estimation than that of being a Scotchman. That was the head and front of his offending. Now, although from the organs of noble Lords opposite I meet with every species of abuse and outrage, the only thing I am never accused of is being a Scotchman. Again, we do not know now-a-days who is a Scotchman and who is an Englishman, so far as our rights and privileges are concerned. In short, my Lords, we are now become one people, and national distinctions are almost altogether lost. The noble Earl supposes that the three propositions which he desires to embody in an Address to Her Majesty would remedy the grievances of which he complains. Now, I deny that from any or all of them could we expect such a result. In the first place, he says, let Scotland have a Secretary of State. Well, now, what good could we expect from the appointment of a Secretary of State? The noble Earl ought to know that the office of Secretary of State for Scotland was abolished because it was a nuisance, and did only mischief. Sir Robert Walpole, in 1725, abolished the office of Secretary of State for Scotland, because it was found to be a nuisance—a centre of intrigue, of jobbery, and, in one sense, of disaffection to the Government, not of Jacobinism, but of low petty intrigues at variance with the national interests of Scotland. The government of Scotland was then for several years placed in the hands of an ancestor of a noble Friend near me (the Earl of Islay), the brother of the then Duke of Argyll, who governed the country in a manner which certainly, although sufficiently absolute, was, at least, in accordance with the policy of the Government of the country; and, therefore, very different from that of the Secretaries of State, whose office the noble Earl would restore. A nominal Secretary of State was created after the death of the Earl of Islay; but he was neither more nor less than a useless officer, without any functions to discharge; and at last the office was finally abolished in 1745, since which, until the present time, there has 509 been no desire or attempt to restore it. I certainly agree that the Lord Advocate, whose functions the noble Earl has described, does exercise a somewhat anomalous jurisdiction; it is not true, however, that he is a subordinate officer of the Government. He has always been in Scotland one of the great officers of the State. If the noble Earl—who, by the by, has left out the only real grievance which he has—namely, the heraldic grievance, in order to dwell upon others which he thinks of more importance—looks to Sir George Mackenzie's History of the Officers of State, he will find that the Lord Advocate was always a great officer of State. It is true that he exercises now a very extensive jurisdiction, and has many important duties to perform. He is responsible for the peace of the country; he is public prosecutor upon all occasions; and he is not only the first law officer of the Crown in Scotland, but he is, what he has always been, a political officer of State. Now, the Scotch law being so different from the English law, it has always been necessary to have a person of eminent legal ability to conduct the Scotch Government business in Parliament, and the circumstance that the political director of the affairs of Scotland must necessarily be a Scotch lawyer, secures, at all events, this great advantage to Scotland over Ireland which the noble Earl should not overlook—that the Lord Advocate is invariably a Scotchman—an advantage which is not enjoyed by the people of Ireland, inasmuch as it is not necessary that the Chief Secretary for Ireland should be an Irishman. But the question is, what practical advantage would Scotland or Scotch affairs derive from the appointment of a great officer of State who would have nothing to do? For your Lordships must bear in mind that there is not business for an additional clerk at the Treasury absolutely belonging to such an office as that which the noble Earl contemplates, because the chief business is of such a nature that it must necessarily continue to pass through the hands of the Lord Advocate as chief law officer of the Crown in Scotland. In fact, the whole necessity is purely imaginary. Nobody ever thought of making this discovery in the course of the last century, since the formal abolition of the office of Secretary of State; and it is clearly an affair of appearance, and not of reality, the notion that the appointment of a Secretary of State would remedy any grievance of which 510 the Scotch people may complain. A great deal has been said about the difficulty of obtaining time in the House of Commons for the discussion of Scotch Bills, and for that legislation which is necessary for the interests of the country. I am not disposed to lament that as a grievance, for I believe that more mischief has been caused by over-legislation than by having too little. But I do not think that, upon the whole, Scotch business is worse attended to than the business of any other part of the kingdom. The noble Earl has referred to the Education Bill. Now, the Lord Advocate was unable to proceed with the second reading of that Bill on Tuesday night because there were various other topics which occupied the attention of the House till past twelve o'clock, and because he, like every other person, must be content to take his turn. The Bill was postponed in consequence of circumstances over which neither he nor the Government had any control. It is well known that important measures belonging to England and Ireland have often to be postponed in the same way. But the noble Earl says that the Bill is a bad Bill. I differ from him upon that point. I think the measure is one of the greatest importance to the prosperity of Scotland, and I hope your Lordships will concur with me in that opinion. Then the noble Earl says there have been grave and serious deviations from the articles of the Treaty of Union. Well, I admit that the Union was a solemn compact which ought not lightly to be departed from; but I maintain, at the same time, that all the alterations which have been made, have been made in the interest of the people of Scotland. In order to have acted up to the Treaty of Union in all cases, we must have maintained the "heritable jurisdictions" which had been abolished for the manifest interest of the people. Would the noble Earl restore the heritable jurisdictions?
§ THE EARL OF ABERDEEN
All the jurisdictions are included in the Treaty of Union, the heritable jurisdictions among the rest; and I ask the noble Earl would he think it for the advantage of the people to restore them? As for all those small matters of Admiralty Courts, and such like, to which the noble Earl has referred—these, and all the other alterations that have taken place, have been made solely for the 511 benefit of the Scottish people, and upon no other principle, and therefore there is no pretence to accuse this country of violating the Treaty of Union in any sense which can subject it to reproach. One of the violations of the Treaty to which the noble Earl has referred, was the abolition last year of the University test which was imposed by one of the articles of the Treaty—although I do not understand the noble Earl to complain of that measure. [The EARL OF EGLINTON said he strongly disapproved of that measure himself, though there certainly were many persons in favour of it.] I think the House and the country will agree with me that by carrying through the measure in question we conferred a very great benefit upon the people of Scotland. The next point to which the noble Earl directed the attention of your Lordships, was the number of representatives for Scotland. Well, now, how would the noble Earl proceed to deal with that question? Would he augment the number of the House of Commons? Most people think that House sufficiently numerous already. Would he take the representatives which he thinks we ought to give to Scotland from the English constituencies? I apprehend a measure of that kind would not be very popular or very just. That on some future occasion the number of Scotch representatives should be increased at the expense of England appears to be not a very modest request; for I must say, upon the whole, that it seems to me that the relative position of England and Scotland at this moment is pretty much the same as it was at the time of the Union. But this question of the representation is not a grievance which exists; it is a prospective grievance, and therefore there is nothing to remedy at present. I now come to the third point mooted by the noble Earl—the state of the Palace of Holyrood. Now, I think myself that is scarcely a subject to bring before Parliament as a great national grievance. Holyrood is no longer inhabited by the Sovereign, although undoubtedly Her Majesty stays in it for a night or so in passing through Edinburgh to the north; it is not, however, a residence which can be considered at all necessary for the enjoyment or for the state of royalty. But it is not quite right to assert that it has not been put in a sufficient state of repair for the purposes for which it is required. Something has been done to put it in a less dilapidated condition than it used to be; 512 and I must say its actual condition does not justify the description which has been given of it by the noble Earl. I admit that the chapel undoubtedly is a ruin, and for my part I should be very glad to see it restored; but I think my presbyterian and anti-popish countrymen would not much like to have the chapel of Holyrood restored for no other object than to serve as an ornament belonging to the Palace—as a beautiful specimen of Gothic architecture—totally unconnected with the uses of a parish church. It is not correct to say, however, that nothing of this kind has been done in Scotland. I, myself, recollect, many years ago, when it was intended by the Government of Lord Liverpool to appropriate the palace of Linlithgow, then a ruin, for the purpose of a French prison; upon that occaion I myself protested against the proposal, and earnestly entreated the Government not to persevere in destroying a very beautiful and magnificent specimen of architecture by employing it for such a purpose. Lord Liverpool yielded, and since that time a considerable sum of money has been spent in order to preserve the palace as a ruin, but a ruin which will not be allowed to fall into absolute annihilation. Utilitarians may think that the money expended in doing so has been thrown away. I am not of that opinion; I do not think the money should have been refused; it was not very extravagant, but at the same time I think it should have moderated some of the observations of the noble Earl. Other expenditure of the same sort has been made, not, perhaps, on a very great scale, but, at any rate, there has not been any neglect in matters of this description. The noble Earl has likewise urged a claim upon Parliament for harbours of refuge and works of that kind, which, after all, must be decided, not by local interests, but by considerations of general utility. The noble Earl does not suppose that harbours of refuge in England have been constructed for merely local objects? He knows that it has been from a belief, whether right or wrong, that they were necessary for the protection of shipping. I do not deny that there is a feeling in Scotland in favour of the erection of harbours of refuge. An earnest application to the Government has been made from a place in my own immediate neighbourhood, where a harbour of refuge is as much needed as anywhere on tile Scotch coast; but questions of that kind must be considered quite irrespective of local interests, and solely with the view of 513 promoting the general good. My Lords, I have now gone over but a small sample of the numerous list of grievances which I find mentioned in the petition that has just been presented to your Lordships; but as the noble Earl has failed in showing any grounds for the three propositions which he has submitted in the shape of Resolutions—as he has given us no reasons for appointing a Secretary of State, for increasing the number of Scotch representatives, or for ordering a large expenditure upon the Palace of Holyrood—I trust your Lordships will not agree to the Address which the noble Earl has moved.
THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
said, that the demands which his noble Friend had that evening urged upon their Lordships were approved and supported by a large number of the people of Scotland of all classes and of all politics, whose opinion was entitled to some respect, and who thought they had been too long deprived of their just rights. With respect to the appointment of a Secretary of State, he did not think the noble Earl who spoke last had stated the case fairly, for he said whether it was a Secretary of State or the Lord Advocate, it would make no difference with respect to questions affecting Scotland coming before Parliament. But one of the grievances complained of was, that when deputations from Scotland came to London in reference to Bills before Parliament affecting their interests, the Lord Advocate, to whom they naturally repaired for advice and assistance, was frequently found to be absent in Scotland in attendance upon his professional and official duties. The fact which had been stated by the noble Earl at the head of the Government with regard to the representation he had made to a former Administration showed that this was necessary, and he much doubted whether that representation would have been attended to if it had been made by a Lord Advocate. With regard to the question of patronage, he was sure that the people of England did not feel satisfied at so many appointments being made by the Lord Advocate. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) also said that the alleged grievances had diminished into a very small compass. That might be the case to a certain degree; but it was the number of minor grievances which existed that had raised up a feeling among a large proportion of the people of Scotland that their feelings and affairs were not sufficiently attended to. 514 Considering the revenue which was derived from Scotland and was paid into the English Exchequer, and that which was derived from England, Scotland did not have the benefit of anything like a fair proportion of expenditure. With regard to the grants for educational and scientific purposes and bodies, they were nothing at all in Scotland as compared with other parts of the kingdom. For example, the Commission which sat in 1836, to inquire into the condition of the Scottish Universities, reported that the professors there were most inadequately provided for; but, notwithstanding that Report, nothing to this day had been done to remove that cause of complaint. He repeated, that the people of Scotland felt that their various wishes and wants from time to time had not been sufficiently attended to by the Legislature, and that was the reason, in a great degree, why they now desired that some one of more importance in the Government than the Lord Advocate should be appointed to look after the affairs of Scotland, whether that officer was a Secretary of State, or went by any other name. Although that feeling might not have manifested itself until lately, he assured the House that it had long been growing up by degrees; and although the people, in their endeavours to give adequate expression to it, had been desirous to avoid the appearance of any improper agitation, they were still anxious that their grievances should be brought forward in a manner likely to secure the attention of Parliament.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, it would be unnecessary for him to trouble their Lordships at any length after the speech of his noble Friend at the head of the Government; but he could not allow this conversation to close without saying a few words upon some of the points to which his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Eglinton) had adverted. He wished to do justice to the perfect good feeling and good temper with which his noble Friend had brought the subject under the notice of the House, and he had listened with great attention to the list of specific grievances and violations of the Treaty of Union of which he had complained. Undoubtedly, some of the ancient jurisdictions of Scotland—the hereditary jurisdictions—to which he had referred had no doubt been abolished; but all the abolitions which had been made, all the changes which had taken place, had been for the benefit of the 515 Scotch people, and had not been proposed in any spirit of jealousy on the part of the English Parliament, but, in most cases, had the approval of the majority of the representatives of Scotland. With regard to alterations in the currency, he thought his noble Friend would join with him in defending the Scotch 1l. notes. His noble Friend had touched upon rather a serious topic when he spoke of the abolition which had taken place last year of the religious tests imposed on the professors in Scotch Universities. He could not quite gather whether or not his noble Friend was one of the strenuous opponents of the measure; but at least he was not present in the House to resist that fatal violation of the Treaty of Union, and he thought that if his noble Friend had considered it as such a gross violation of the Articles of Union, he would have been ready to leave even his grouse-shooting in order to oppose such a proposition as far as in him lay. He thought their Lordships would agree with him in the opinion that, for oaths to be taken by men who did not even profess to belong to the Church with reference to which those tests were imposed, was an injury to the Scotch Universities and a scandal to public morality. Some of the observations which his noble Friend had made were calculated seriously to mislead the House and the country. He agreed with him in thinking that the Lord Advocate was to a certain extent overburdened with duties; but his noble Friend misled the House when he gave them to understand that all great questions of public policy that arose—and they arose but seldom—with regard to Scotland, were left solely to the Lord Advocate. He rejoiced to say that the measure relating to Scotch education, to which he might especially refer, had not been proposed by the Lord Advocate alone, but had received the careful consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and he could say for himself that he had spent many anxious hours over it. He did not say that it embodied exactly his own views upon the subject; but every one knew that the measure must proceed upon principles similar to those which had been acted upon with respect to England, and when it came up to their Lordships' House, as he trusted it would in the course of the present Session, he should be prepared to take his full share of the responsibility of having proposed it. There might be grievances to redress, but he thought his noble Friend had not taken a prudent 516 course in connecting himself with an association for the purposes with which this subject had been agitated. The language of all associations was sure to be the language of exaggeration, and he was satisfied there was no grievance to require such an association as that with which the noble Earl was connected. It was perfectly certain that the formation of such a body would have a double effect—it would lead to an exaggeration of the grievances that, might exist, while it would throw ridicule on those that really required to be remedied. He would call the attention of the noble Earl to the terms of the second paragraph of the Address which he proposed, and ask him whether he seriously meant the recommendations there contained to be adopted by the House? This resolution referred to the representation of Scotland, and was in these words:—That Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to take into consideration the propriety of directing that in any measure which may be submitted by Her Majesty's Ministers to Parliament for an alteration in the representation of the people, an additional number of Members shall be allotted to Scotland, in proportion to the great increase which has taken place in her social, commercial, and industrial prosperity;"—that was to say, in proportion to the increase that had taken place in her social, commercial, and industrial prosperity since the Treaty of Union. Now, at the time of the Union the population of Scotland was under 1,000,000, and its revenue was about 150,000l.; and did his noble Friend seriously mean to contend that there should be an addition to the Scotch Members in proportion to the increase that had taken place in the population? If so, then, according to that increase, the number of Members for Scotland would be something like 150. He believed his noble Friend acquiesced in the general opinion which was held, that they could not seriously increase the present number of representatives in the House of Commons. It would, therefore, be necessary to take Members from England, and hand them over to Scotland. He must confess that when he read the paragraph to which he had just referred, he thought his noble Friend must have become a convert to some great sweeping measure of Parliamentary reform; because he did not see how he could effect his object unless he was prepared to make some great changes in the representation. The only way to get more Members for Scotland was to disfranchise small places in England. He therefore presumed that his 517 noble Friend would be in favour of the disfranchisement of such small places, and he should certainly be surprised to find him opposing any Bill for that purpose when it came before their Lordships' House. With regard to the last paragraph of his noble Friend's Motion, he really did not consider it worthy of the serious attention of their Lordships. He meant that which had reference to the present condition of the Palace of Holyrood. There might be some force in a representation that a larger amount of the public funds might be laid out in providing and improving parks and places of recreation in Scotland; but as regarded the palace and chapel of Holyrood, his noble Friend and the House would remember that the latter perished at the Reformation. That the House should address the Throne in reference to a Secretary of State for Scotland, and in reference to an increase of the representatives for that country, and then descend to the condition of the Palace of Holyrood, appeared to him to be absolutely preposterous. In conclusion, he put it to his noble Friend whether he would consider it necessary to press his Motion to a vote?
§ LORD PANMURE
said, he could not allow this question to drop without saying a few words in regard to it, particularly after having seen the great efforts which had been made in Scotland to give this discussion importance in their Lordships' House. There was in Scotland a body which he believed had canvassed every individual of rank, property, or station in that part of the country on this subject, and he had, among others, been asked to become a member of the Association; but his answer was that he knew of no Scottish grievances whatever which demanded the interference of a public association to redress them, and that he had ample opportunity in his place in Parliament to advocate such measures as he thought necessary for the welfare of the people of Scotland. That Association had endeavoured to give its proceedings a prominent place in the public eye; but he rejoiced to think that his noble Friend (the Earl of Eglinton) had had the sound discretion to divest it on this occasion of all the ridiculous pretensions which originally attached to it. He was glad to hear him say that the heraldic part of the grievances was only of secondary moment, and, therefore, that their Lordships were not to be troubled by considerations of that kind. He was glad also to learn that his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Aberdeen) had met this Motion, not by a direct nega- 518 tive, but by moving "the previous question." There might be some matters in regard to which the Scottish people had a right to look for some improvement; but one of those matters had not been included by the Association in the scope of its operation—he meant the endowment of chairs in the Universities of Scotland. He thought that was a subject which the Government ought to take into their consideration; and he should be glad to hear his noble Friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) in that House, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the other House of Parliament, state that the Government had at its disposal funds for placing the professors of the Scottish Universities in a more sound and respectable position than they were at present. There was another subject which might have been included in the objects of such an Association, and that was an assimilation of the powers and practice of medical men in England and Scotland; but he thought this might be done without the interference of an Association which was said to contain thirty-nine town councils, with their provosts at their head. His noble Friend had alluded to the abolition of certain courts in Scotland, in violation of the Articles of Union, which, as the noble Earl read them, provided that they should be kept up for ever as they existed at the time of the Union; but he (Lord Panmure) was not one of those who so read those Articles, and although he looked at the Articles of Union as substantially a compact between the two countries, he did not look at that as a compact which was to prevail for all time, and without regard to change of circumstances. It was thought a fair act of retrenchment that five or six judgeships of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland should be abolished; but the duties of those judges were not transferred to England, for they were now discharged by three judges of the Court of Session in Scotland, who were considered amply sufficient for that purpose. With regard to there not being a sufficient expenditure for public parks and walks in Scotland, there did not exist in any part of England, or in any part of the world, so fine a public walk, or so fine a public drive, as was made a few years ago at the public expense round that famous hill which looks down upon the modern Athens. He did not think the Scottish people had much reason to complain, especially when they considered the benefits they had derived from their union with England. If they looked to the high position which Scotsmen had attained, they 519 must see how little real ground there was for complaint. If he looked at the woolsack, be found that Scotsmen had sat there; if he looked at the Chair of the House of Commons, he saw that Scotsmen had sat there; if he looked at the Vice-regal throne of Ireland, he had before him in the noble Lord himself an instance of that high dignity having been held by a Scotsman; and if he looked to the East, he saw the Governor-Generalship of India in the hands, of a Scotsman; and if he looked to the West, he saw that a Scotsman represented the country there. Upon the whole, therefore, the less the people of Scotland drew public attention to any complaints they had, of the position which Scotland and the Scotch occupied in public estimation, the better it would be for them. They had enjoyed a fair share of the loaves and fishes. The belief was that that was to be attributed to the industry and talent of the Scotch; and they had great reason to be proud of the intelligence, the education, and the, talent which characterised his fellow-countrymen. With reference to the charges brought against the Lord Advocate, he thought the Lord Advocate was, in fact, the Minister for Scotland. He believed if they were to make a dozen Secretaries of State for Scotland, to the Lord Advocate they must come at last. In all questions of law he was the individual from whom they must always take counsel. And so, also, with regard to legal appointments; but he did not think it was necessary to consult the Lord Advocate on points which were not strictly legal. During the six years that he was Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, a great deal of the patronage for Scotland was exercised, not by consulting the Lord Advocate, but those who were interested in getting the appointments filled by the best men, and who could give the best information. He must say, that, though he could not agree to the proposals of the noble Earl, this debate would not prove altogether useless, as it would be the means of calling the attention of the Government to matters that really required their interference.
would have been ready, if he had thought there were any serious grievances which his countrymen had to complain of, to rally round the standard of the noble Earl. He knew, for himself, that he had no reason to complain of the English. He had no grievance to lay before their Lordships, but if he thought his country was aggrieved he 520 should certainly stand by his country. He must say, however, that, though his countrymen were generally supposed to be very sober-minded, they were under great delusion with regard to their national grievances; and it certainly surprised him to discover that they had found as their leader the noble Earl opposite. He most sincerely respected that noble Earl, both on account of his constant demeanour in that House and his high character; and his respect for him had been increased by the admirable manner in which he filled the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a country in which there were plausible grievances, such as a Protestant Established Church, and other matters to which he would not advert. The noble Earl gave general contentment in the discharge of his duties, and he left behind him a tranquil country. But he came from a country where there were no grievances, or very few, and, though he would not say he had hoisted the standard of repeal, he had yet joined in a very formidable agitation with a large number of his countrymen, who were under the delusion that they were, somehow or other, grievously injured. The noble Earl had stated his case most moderately; but it seemed to him that in consenting to lead this agitation he had conducted his countrymen into circumstances that did not sustain their character for moderation and good sense. No doubt there were matters calling for improvement; but that these were grievances that required a national agitation he utterly denied. He would be bold to say that there was not one single instance in which the Articles of Union had been interfered with, in which it had not been for the manifest advantage of the people of Scotland, and with the almost universal consent of the people of that country; and with regard to the changes which had been made in the University tests, they were approved of by nearly the whole people of Scotland, who considered them extremely beneficial. As regarded the Lord Advocate, it certainly appeared that his functions were too multiplied and anomalous; but that the appointment of a Secretary of State would be of any public advantage he utterly denied. He thought that if more influence were given on Scotch questions, either to the Under Secretary for the Home Department or the Scotch Lord of the Treasury, all complaints would melt away. Then, with regard to the representation, it certainly was absurd that Harwich should return two Members, and the county of 521 Perth only one; but such matters as these ought to be remedied in a Bill, which the noble Earl himself might bring in; or, if not disposed to take that course, he might effect his object by moving, when the Reform Bill came up from the Commons, that such places as Harwich be disfranchised, and the Members given to other parts of the country. With regard to the restoration of Holyrood, he thought the people of Scotland were amply satisfied with the gracious condescension of Her Majesty in sometimes occupying that palace, and spending a part of her time among them. It should be remembered that neither George I., George II., nor George III. had ever crossed the border, while Her Majesty passed a part of every year in Scotland; and they might look forward—he trusted at some far distant time—when the Sovereign on the Throne of this country would recollect the pleasant days he passed in Scotland in his youth. He might observe also that the first time the Prince of Wales was present, when an Address was presented from both Houses of Parliament to Her Majesty, he was dressed in the Highland garb.
§ THE EARL OF EGLINTON
, in reply, said, in regard to the statement made by his noble Friend (Lord Panmure) as to die distinguished Scotchmen who had filled responsible public offices in this country and its dependencies from time to time, the name of the noble and learned Lord who had last spoken might have been added to the list, as also those of both the commanders of the English fleets at this moment in the Baltic and the Black Sea; but he could not see how that affected the question under consideration. He believed that no country had in so short a space of time attained to so great an increase of prosperity. But, because the country was prosperous, and the people knew how to take care of themselves, were well educated, energetic, and full of enterprise, that formed no reason for neglecting them. No good agriculturist, when he had a good soil to work upon, would think of neglecting it, or of refusing to bestow upon it the necessary amount of culture and manure. With respect to the arguments which had been used against the appointment of a Secretary of State for Scotland, because he would always have to apply to the Lord Advocate for legal advice, the same argument would apply with equal force to the office of Secretary of State for the Home Department, on the ground of his being 522 obliged to consult the Attorney General on legal points. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) had taken credit to the Government for not having permitted the Palace of Linlithgow to be converted into a prison; and stated that, so far from its being neglected, sums of money were annually expended upon its repair. Now the average amount which had been laid out upon the palace for many years had not exceeded 15i.; and during the last year the sum expended was 5l. 6s. 4d. With respect to any suggested measure of reform, he had expressly guarded himself from advocating in his proposed Address any specific measure, but simply confined himself to the expression of an opinion that, in the event of any measure of reform being introduced, sonic additional Members should be given to Scotland. At the present moment there were several vacancies in the representation of England, caused by the corruption which had been found to prevail at the last election, and he could see no valid reason why the seats, or a portion of those vacated, should not be given to Scotland, where, he was happy to say, not a single instance of corruption had ever been proved to exist. In the hope that at some future time he should receive the assistance of some noble Lords opposite in the endeavour to remedy some of the grievances complained of, he should not call upon their Lordships to divide on his Motion.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
advised his noble Friend, if he desired to have additional Members for Scotland, not to put the case for Scotland as against that of England, as for every single claim that the former country could advance to have one of the disfranchised boroughs allotted to it, twenty more pressing and important claims could be brought forward on behalf of England.
§ Previous Question negatived.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.