§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that as a noble Lord had given notice that he would propose to refer this Bill to a Select Committee, he thought it desirable that before moving the third reading he should make a short statement as to the nature of the measure. The object of the Bill was twofold. It proposed to bring into the public Exchequer the gross revenue of the coun- 302 try, leaving the expenses of collection to be provided for, as were the expenses of other departments, by the annual vote of Parliament; and it proposed, in the second place, to remove from the Consolidated Fund certain salaries and other payments now charged upon it, and to place them, by annual votes, under the control and revision of Parliament. These objects were similar in their kind, because the sums charged on the public revenue and those placed on the Consolidated Fund were both equally removed from the consideration of Parliament. The manner in which it was proposed to deal with these objects in the Bill was threefold. In the first place, with regard to certain hereditary pensions now charged upon certain branches of the public revenue, it was proposed to leave them as they are; but it was proposed, through the medium of private negotiations—which negotiations had in fact been commenced—to buy them up, in a manner which it was hoped would prove advantageous to the public, and which would certainly remove an existing anomaly. With regard to the Judges, Scotch sheriffs, and other legal officers of that description, it was proposed to leave their salaries on the Consolidated Fund; but with regard to all the other salaries named in the Bill, and not included in the above category, it was proposed to submit them to the annual revision of the House of Commons. These objects were carried out by the first clause of the Bill and the schedule applying to it, and by certain provisions for bringing into conformity with the Parliamentary financial year all the annual accounts connected with the Consolidated Fund and the funds belonging to the Exchequer. One clause provided for certain quarterly payments being made at periods different from the present; and the last clause but one made provision for paying out of the Consolidated Fund certain sums now received in the way of fees. The great objects of this Bill had been very often pressed on the attention of the House of Commons, and on successive Governments; and it was one that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the late Government announced to the House of Commons it was his intention to bring under their consideration. The subject had at length been taken up, and was now submitted to their Lordships for their approval. The noble Lord (Lord Monteagle) proposed to send the Bill to a Select Committee, but he must say it was 303 not a usual practice to refer a Bill, which they could not alter without interfering with the privileges of the other House, to a Select Committee. He hoped the noble Lord would make it clear to the House what the object of this reference to a Select Committee was. If their Lordships disapproved the principle of the Bill, it would be better to reject it altogether than to have it hereafter rejected on a question of privilege by the other House of Parliament. But it might be that a majority of the House were in favour of the principle of the Bill, while there were some of their Lordships who objected to certain salaries in the schedules being removed from the Consolidated Fund, and placed under the annual revision of Parliament, and he would venture to make an observation or two on that subject. All the great judicial officers had been excepted from the operation of the Bill, and even since its introduction the Master of the Rolls had been so excepted. There remained three classes of persons who would be subjected to an annual vote of the House of Commons, and whose retention in this position he understood to be objected to. These were the Commissioners of Lunacy, the police magistrates, and the revising barristers. With regard to some arguments that had been used that it would be an indignity to persons exercising judicial functions to take office if their salaries were subjected to the annual control of Parliament, he thought there must be some exaggeration on this subject. The Commissioners of the Insolvent Courts had always been subject to an annual vote, but no one ever heard that it was an indignity offered to them, or that it created any difficulty in finding proper persons to discharge the duties. He could quite understand that some noble and learned Lords wished to do all honour to their profession, and were fired with the idea of making independent of Parliamentary control all persons whatever who exercised judicial functions. But if they were to ask what constituted a judicial function, he ventured to say that there was no person connected with the conduct of the revenue department who was not called upon to exercise judicial functions. The Commissioners of Excise and Customs, for example, exercised judicial functions of a particularly invidious character connected with the raising of taxes, and which affected those who belonged to that most influential class who were likely to 304 have their interests represented in the other House of Parliament. If, therefore, they were to put on the Consolidated Fund persons who exercised much less invidious functions than the Customs or Excise Commissioners, then they must except those Commissioners also. He hoped their Lordships would feel that great care and delicacy should be exercised by them with regard to such a Bill as the present, after it had been fully discussed and passed by the House of Commons, and that they would do nothing that would lead to the rejection of such a Bill without necessary cause. He therefore hoped their Lordships would agree to the third reading of the Bill, and not consent to its being referred to a Select Committee.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.
§ LORD MONTEAGLE
then rose to move that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. His object in recommending that course was, that the House might examine in the only way in which it could do so with effect the various objections to which the measure was justly liable, and because he despaired of being able to do justice to those objections in a Committee of the whole House, and still more so on the Motion for the third reading of the Bill. He therefore thought it essential that it should be sent before a Select Committee in order that it might be there considered in all its details. As he saw that farther Estimates were to be submitted to the other House that evening, he did not suppose that if the result of inquiry should prove—not that a Bill on this subject was unnecessary—but, that the present Bill was open to such serious objections that it ought not to be agreed to, the noble Lord who had moved the third reading would have any difficulty in introducing and passing a better measure even during the present Session. His objections to the Bill were mainly to the first and last clauses—the other clauses refered to details, which comparatively were matters of indifference. There were few charges brought under Parliamentary control by this Bill, which had not been exempted from the charges of an annual vote on deliberation and on adequate grounds. These charges had been purposely created in such a manner as to be freed from such control. He therefore contended that, both on grounds of political expediency and positive justice, the Bill ought not to pass. The transfer of 305 a salary from the Consolidated Funds to the Voted of Supply deprived the individual to whom it was payable of the legal security he previously possessed, but it subjected one who bad an inherent right to his office to the double caprice of a Minister and of the House of Commons. The Minister might refuse to present the estimate, the Committee of Supply might reject the Vote. It was true that there was a clause saving the rights of existing holders of offices, but this was done incompletely and inconsistently; and even had it protected the present holder, of office, his objection would apply as soon as the offices became vacant. The Masters of the Rolls and the Masters in Chancery of Ireland, though judicial offices, had originally been transferred to the Committee of Supply, though as an after-thought they had been excepted from the Bill. If on grounds of general policy it had been found expedient to except certain officers exercising judicial functions, it could not be otherwise than wrong that the provisions of the Bill should be made to apply to others of the same class, for instance, to the Commissioners of Lunacy, who exercised judicial functions of no ordinary character; and these Commissioners were to be subjected hereafter to an annual Vote in Committee of Supply. So likewise would be the police magistrates. Then there was the case of the revising barristers: to submit the salaries of these officers, who ought to be kept peculiarly free from the control of the House of Commons, was to return to the system which prevailed upon the first establishment of such officers, and which was amended by the Government of Sir Robert Peel, in 1843, under the Registration Amendment Act, by which their salaries were properly charged upon the Consolidated Fund. They were, therefore, by the present Bill reversing the Parliamentary decision of 1843. While it was proposed thus to deal with the salaries of revising officers in England, the Government had not ventured to adopt a similar course with regard to the salaries of the revising barristers of Ireland, who, though it was true that they were assistant barristers, received a distinct remuneration for revising the lists of voters. These instances, without adverting to many others, showed that the Bill had not been framed with proper precision and accuracy. But he would mention another case. The Clerk of the Crown was a most important public officer, and held his patent 306 office during good behaviour. That office was a charge upon the Consolidated Fund. Under this Bill, as drawn up, the holder's interest was affected, and the charge was transferred from the Consolidated Fund. If there was any one officer beyond another who ought to be independent of an annual Vote, it was the Clerk of the Crown. He issued the election writs, and ought not to be brought before the Committee of Supply. The Clerk of the Patents was dealt with in the same fashion. On what principle then, he would ask, was the Bill framed? Was it on a saving of existing legal rights? That principle he had shown was not uniformly or consistently carried out. A variety of offices had, from the Union, been charged on the gross revenue, before it was transmitted to the Exchequer. The parties had an interest in their salaries for life, or during good behaviour. It was evident that such regrets secured by Act of Parliament, could not be interfered with consistently with the principles of good faith. The life interests of all such persons in England were charged on the Consolidated Fund, and they were protected by the exemption which the Government were compelled to adopt whilst the Bill was in progress. But these Scotch charges being payable out of gross revenue and not out of the Consolidated Fund, were deprived of their legal security, and were subjected to an annual Vote. If these offices were in England, the provisions of the Bill would not come into operation during the lifetime of the parties, but in the Scotch cases it would come into immediate operation. Take, for example, the case of Lion King-at-Arms. The salary of that officer was paid out of the Scotch revenues. If it came under the English provision, the right of the Earl of Kinnoul would have been respected, but in the case of Scotland it would be transferred to the Committee of Supply. He presumed not to inquire how his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Eglinton), who so loudly complained of the indignity offered to the Lion in the Scotch escutcheon, would tolerate the injustice to the Lord Lion King-at-Arms. History taught that under the ancient cry of Christianos ad Leones much cruelty was perpetrated, and future Committees of Supply might not be more merciful, if Parliament were now to pronounce a sentence of Leonem ad Christianos. There was another class of cases in which a Parliamentary compact would be violated and injustice done. How would the London 307 parishes be affected by this Bill? A bargain had been made with certain parishes that upon the payment by them of a fixed sum towards the charge of the metropolitan police, they should be entitled as a right to a contribution from the Consolidated Fund. That payment was about to be transferred to the Committee of Supply, and the parishes would have no security for the performance of this engagement beyond the caprice of the Government or the Committee of Supply. Again, take the case of the. Secretary of the Irish Education Commissioners. Power was given to them to appoint a secretary. The charge fell upon the Consolidated Fund; but two or three days ago the secretary, who had given up his profession to accept this well-secured income, found that this Bill would deprive him of the solid security given to him by law, and that his salary would be in future held at the discretion of the Government. Even supposing the principle of the Bill to be right, the cases to which he had referred abundantly proved the violation of the principle laid down by the Government. He now proceeded to another part of the question, which was even more important than the points to which he had alluded. Of what did the public complain most loudly in reference to the conduct of both Houses of Parliament? They complained, and perhaps but too justly, that their duties as legislators were imperfectly performed. Year after year measures were thrown aside to such an extent that "the day of massacre of the innocents" was a term which had become a proverb, and described a period annually recurring in the Parliamentary Calendar. The present Government, as well as their predecessors, had had one antagonist more formidable than all their political opponents united. That antagonist was Time. Some of the most salutary measures had been defeated by what was called by courtesy "the period of the Session." The effect of this Bill would be to throw still greater obstacles in the way of proceeding with important measures. The increased number of miscellaneous Votes might hereafter double the time now appropriated to such financial purposes, and to that extent would lessen the time applicable to legislative functions; this would necessarily bring Bills to their Lordships' House at such a period of the Session that they would have no alternative but to pass them without consideration, or to reject them in a manner which might be 308 misconceived and misconstrued elsewhere. The success and popularity of a Government naturally depended upon the number of good and useful measures to which it could appeal at the end of the Session as having carried; but already the Government had been compelled to throw over the Divorce Bill, the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill, the Regulation Bill, Landlord and Tenant Bill for Ireland, the County Constabulary Bill, the Testamentary Jurisdiction Bill, the Corrupt Boroughs Bill, the Colonial Clergy Bill, and, above all, the Law of Settlement Bill; all these matters were of importance, greater or less, and all related to the internal welfare of the country. And how many more such measures would have to be sacrificed hereafter, on account of the increased number of Votes proposed to be taken in Committee of Supply—most of them Votes which would nut only lead to discussion, but must inevitably excite angry debate and discussion? The number and amount of the miscellaneous Votes had gone en gradually increasing, and the following statement would show their progress from time to time:—Average of ten years, from 1798 to 1807, 1,800,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1809 to 1817, 2,162,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1828 to 1827, 2,115,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1828 to 1837, 2,269,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1838–9 to 1847–8, 3,016,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1851 3,948,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1852, 4,407,000l.; Average of ten years, from 1853, 4,812,000l. The miscellaneous Votes for 1854 would amount to 4,052,000l.; and if this Bill were passed, the enormous sum of upwards of 5,000,000l. would be added to the Votes in the Miscellaneous Estimates. He was the last person to doubt the right or expediency of the House of Commons acting as guardians of the taxation of the country. That right he had never contested. But although he acquiesced in the claim set up by the House of Commons, he could not abandon the peculiar rights of their Lordships, as a branch of the Legislature and would point out the manner in which they would be acted upon by the Bill as it now stood. Let their Lordships suppose two contending principles occupying the public mind—one the principle of direct, the other the principle of indirect taxation, these principles being, for example, represented by the malt duty and the property tax—and let them suppose a majority of the House of Commons eager to decide in favour of one or other of these antagonistic principles by repealing an unpopular fiscal burthen. At 309 present this could only be done by a legislative Act, in which their Lordships would be called upon to take part. But the present Bill, by placing the voting of the expense of collecting the whole of the revenue upon the Committee of Supply, would enable the House of Commons, by one single vote, cutting off the amount of money required for the collection of a given tax without concert with their Lordships, without the formality of an Act of Parliament, to put an end to that tax. Their Lordships ought to protect themselves and the public against such a course of proceeding. Besides all these objections, he must complain the Bill was drawn up with singular haste, looseness, and inaccuracy; for instance, the Legislature was required in seven or eight cases to enact an etcetera, in what ought to be always the most precise and well defined, namely, the appropriation of the public money, as for example, he found the expression "salaries of inspectors, &c." This was surely unbearable. We have heard old complaints of an etcetera oath, but an etcetera vote of money was still more absurd. But the most gross and most extraordinary inaccuracy he had ever known was contained in the last page of the Bill, where it specified "charges of collection and management of the revenue, superannuations, pensions, &c., of Customs and Inland Revenue," as payable under "various Acts." Now these charges were mostly not payable under any Act of Parliament at all. The revenue was not collected by virtue of any Act of Parliament, but by the prerogative of the Crown, to whom the revenue was voted. On this point he could quote very high authority. In the course of a discussion which took place in the other House of Parliament last year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—He was loth to say that any constitutional principle had been violated by the present practice, because that practice had uniformly prevailed in this country at all periods of its history, and under all systems of government, and because he believed that the supervision of the revenue was part of the known and established prerogatives of the Crown.The opinion of past Governments upon this subject had been referred to, and no doubt the idea of carrying the gross revenue into the Exchequer was thrown out by the late Government, but no measure on that subject was proposed by that Government. A mere suggestion of that kind was not sufficient to show that the present Government had the sanction of their predecessors to this 310 particular Bill. This very same subject was brought under the consideration of the Government of Lord Grey, and a Commission was appointed to consider whether changes of this kind were expedient or not expedient. To the Report of that Commission the most authoritative names were attached; and it recommended the change, but on consideration Lord Grey and Lord Spencer decided that the scheme was inexpedient, and it was not carried into effect. He had shown that the Bill contained principles of injustice—that it dealt with judicial offices with which Parliament had no right to deal as was now proposed—that it dealt with persons who had a permanent right in their offices—that it divested them of their present title and gave them an insecure and inferior title—that in cases where the right of the existing officer was saved, the principle was violated in the case of his successor—that in the case of Scotch offices, the principle was set aside altogether—that the Bill was full of anomalies, and an act of spoliation, the equal of which he had never heard of in the Statute law of England; he therefore trusted they would at once refer the matter to a Select Committee, in order that it might be more fully considered.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Motion, for the purpose of inserting "the Bill be referred to a Select Committee."
said, he entirely agreed with his noble Friend in the whole of his argument, both as to the independence of the office bearers, violated by the Bill, and as to the independence of their Lordships' House, violated in a most important particular, to which he would add, the inconvenience sure to result, not only to their Lordships' House, but to the other House of Parliament, from the addition of he knew not how many days to the, at present, all but endless discussions of the items of the Estimates in Committee of Supply. But it was to the interference with the independence of a great class of officers, some of them judicial, others quasi-judicial, that he most objected. The result would be to drag to the Treasury a vast number of officers, and make them more or less dependent upon the Secretary to the Treasury for the time being. They would not only be dependent upon the Treasury, but, to a certain degree, upon the House of Commons also, so far as any discussion in that House was sure to result from their salaries being voted in Com- 311 mittee of Supply. Take the case of the police magistrates—one of the items mentioned in the schedule. A police magistrate did not hold his office for life, or during good behaviour; he was liable to be removed by the Crown, and might be removed at any time by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The consequence was, that the police magistrate did not take the benefit of that saving clause which was intended to save vested interests, because they were not of that description of officers who held their places during life or good behaviour. This would be adding a new item to their dependence, for they would be dependent not only on the Secretary of the Treasury for the time being for their emoluments, but their conduct would be scrutinised and debated in the House of Commons when their salaries came under discussion. He did not wish in the slightest degree to trench upon the privileges of the House of Commons, or upon the just prerogatives which it exercised in carefully scrutinising the conduct of all public officers;—but he thought, if there were any one office which ought to be exempt from unnecessary discussion and unnecessary criticism in Parliament, it was the office of the man who had the delicate duty cast upon him of the administration of justice in the police courts. Without entering into particulars, or any minute retrospective references, he might appeal to their Lordships, whether it would have been expedient, at certain periods of their history, that the conduct of persons charged with the performance of such a delicate duty as that of superintending the police of the country, and particularly the police of the metropolis, should have been made matter of discussion. Take, again, the case of the revising barristers. If there was any man more than another who ought to hold his office independently, and without the possibility of Government influence, it was the individual employed in the delicate and important duty of ascertaining the validity of the claims of persons seeking to vote for Members to serve in Parliament. He would entreat their Lordships to reflect whether, without further inquiry, they would sanction a measure which would deliver over to the discretion of the House of Commons such a multitude of offices, and of equal necessity prevent their Lordships from exercising their just privileges. He thought it would be far better to adopt the Amendment of his noble Friend for a Select Committee, 312 which was, in point of fact, a Motion for inquiry.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, he had listened attentively to the speeches of the two noble Lords, but he had been unable to perceive any argument which should interfere with the usual course of proceeding in reference to money Bills coming up from the other House of Parliament. His noble Friend (Earl Granville) had explained to the House the two main branches into which the measure was divided. With regard to the first, the schedule of salaries and allowances now paid out of the Consolidated Fund, the whole argument used against the Bill proceeded upon the unfounded supposition that it was the rule to charge salaries upon the Consolidated Fond, and that it was the exception to vote them. Now, the fact was precisely opposite. Large portions of all the salaries were voted in the annual Estimates. Exception had been taken to the introduction into the schedule of a certain number of offices which were said to be either of a judicial or a quasi-judicial character; but in reply, he must observe, that there was hardly any office which involved the exercise of great administrative functions which might not be said to be of a quasi-judicial character. All offices which were strictly judicial had been excluded from the schedule, and left charged upon the Consolidated Fund, and in his opinion they had been rightly so left, because he thought they ought to adhere to the principle that all persons who were engaged in the administration of the law ought to be placed beyond the reach of a casual Vote of the House of Commons. But he thought that they were carrying the principle to an absurd extent, when they said that quasi-judicial officers ought to be placed upon the same footing. If they were prepared to go that length they must not only go further, but must go back—they must not only retain on the Consolidated Fund such offices of that description as were now chargeable upon it, but they must remove from their present position, and place upon the same footing, a great number of such offices which were now included in the annual Votes. He had heard no answer to the argument of his noble Friend, that the Insolvent Commissioners were placed upon the annual Votes, notwithstanding that they had, as nobody could deny, not merely quasi-judicial, but strictly judicial, duties to perform. But it was said that there were certain other offices which ought not to be 313 included in this schedule, not because they were. judicial, but because they involved the exercise of a very large and a very delicate discretion, and exposed those who were called upon to fill them to local influence and popular clamour. But what administrative department in this country had more difficult or delicate duties to perform—duties which required greater independence on the part of those on whom they might devolve, which exposed them more to local influence, or which were more likely to provoke popular outcry—than the Poor Law Board and the Board of Health. Yet these were upon the annual Votes; and so were the Dublin police magistrates, whose duties were as much judicial in their character as those of the police magistrates of this metropolis. He maintained, therefore, that the schedule of this Bill was quite consistent with the ordinary course. Up to the present moment the placing of these salaries upon the annual Votes had been the rule, and those which had been charged on the Consolidated Fund were the exceptions. The Bill provided that existing interests should be protected; and he could not agree with his noble Friend that in thus keeping faith with the individuals they were doing anything to cast a doubt upon the general principle and policy of the measure. On all these grounds he thought the reference to a Select Committee was unnecessary, and he deprecated the adoption of that course as an unusual interference with the ordinary course of business. With respect to the other part of the Bill, by which it was proposed to bring the charges for collecting the revenue under the annual control of Parliament, he could not understand how any noble Lord could argue, as a question of principle, that that was a course which ought not to be adopted. He had in fact heard no argument against it, except that it would lead to delay; and, in answer to that, he would observe that if, as had been suggested, the other House of Parliament should postpone their measures until it was too late for their Lordships' House to consider them, they had remedies for such a state of things in their own power. If, therefore, it were a mere question of time, he thought they might safely leave it to be dealt with by the House of Commons. He thought his noble Friend must have been very hard pressed for an argument when he said that the House of Commons might put an end to a tax, without the concurrence of their 314 Lordships, by cutting off the cost of collecting it.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
thought it quite right that the charges for collecting the revenue should come under the consideration of the House of Commons; and as that matter had been referred to as having been under the consideration of the Government of which he (the Earl Derby) was a Member, he would state that the intention of that Government was so far to fall in with the view of the noble Duke who had just sat down as to bring under the control of the House of Commons, not the net receipts of the Customs and Excise and other sources of revenue, but the gross amount of that revenue, and to let it vote the annual cost of collecting it. If this Bill had gone no further than that, he should not only not have said a word against it, but should have given it his cordial concurrence. But the Bill went much further, for his noble Friend had clearly pointed out that it brought into the annual Estimates, and under the annual control of Parliament, various classes of persons who had hitherto been purposely exempted from it. In the first place, it brought under that control certain judicial and quasi-judicial officers; and as all their Lordships admitted the proposition that officers of that description ought not to be placed upon the Votes, all that his noble Friend asked was, that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, with a view to ascertain what officers were included in the schedule who came properly under the denomination which, they all agreed, ought not to be included in it. Then there were other persons, who, in consideration of offices abandoned, or of alterations made for the convenience and advantage of the public, had had granted to them certain compensations charged on the Consolidated Fund. It was impossible for Her Majesty's Government to contend that such persons would not be placed in a worse position than at present by the alterations made by this Bill. It was true that all life interests charged on the Consolidated Fund were to be protected; but the benefit of the protecting clause would not extend to those life interests which were charged (as some in Scotland were) on the hereditary revenues of the Crown, or on the Customs or Excise. The police magistrates also, as the noble and learned Lord had pointed out, not being appointed during geed behaviour, would be brought by this Bill under the control of Parliament. But 315 the noble Duke said that there were some officers of a similar class to some of those which had been enumerated who were now paid by annual Vote, and that if the principle contended for by his noble Friend were to be adopted, they ought to go much further and apply that principle to those officers also. This argument came exceedingly well from the noble Duke, who had stated the other day that having committed one injustice was a very good reason for committing another. But he (the Earl of Derby) could not see why, if they had committed an injustice in placing certain officers upon the annual Votes who ought not properly to have been placed there—
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, he had spoken of it as a matter of policy, and not as a matter of justice. There could be no question of injustice with respect to persons who had accepted these offices on the understanding that their salaries would be annually voted.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
Well, then, if they had committed an act of impolicy in placing certain officers upon the annual Votes who ought not properly to have been placed there, was that a reason why they should commit an act of impolicy accompanied by an act of injustice with respect to other officers who had hitherto had the security of a permanent income? He would not go through the provisions of the Bill. It appeared to him that the House of Commons was taking on itself by this measure a very invidious and a very laborious duty, and subjecting individuals to a great deal of injustice. He thought that the measure was one which the House of Lords ought to have the opportunity of fully and deliberately considering—that it was impossible that the House itself could enter into the details of all these various offices to which the Bill would apply—and that the proposal to refer it to a Select Committee, not for the purpose of destroying the principle for which the noble Duke contended, by bringing the cost of collecting the revenue under the control of Parliament, but of seeing how and to what extent the schedule would apply, was therefore just and reasonable. They were agreed upon the principle on which they ought to legislate; there was still sufficient time to introduce another measure which should be free from the objections which had been so forcibly urged against this; and even if there were not, the matter was not so pressing as that it might not, without any great public inconvenience, stand 316 over for consideration to the commencement of another Session.
said, he had received a letter from an able and learned police magistrate, Mr. Jardine, representing the expediency of exempting police magistrates from an annual discussion in the House of Commons. In that opinion he entirely concurred, and he could not conscientiously vote for the Bill in its present shape, although he approved the proposal for placing the revenue under the control of the House of Commons.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
observed that, in deference to what appeared to be the feeling of their Lordships, he would consent to the Bill being referred to a Select Committee, on the understanding that the principle of the measure should not be destroyed in the Committee.
§ THE EARL OF EGLINTON
expressed his gratification at the course taken by the noble Earl, and remarked that in its present form the Bill violated the 20th Article of the Treaty of Union with Scotland.
§ On Question agreed to.
§ Bill referred to a Select Committee.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.