§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, "That the House do again resolve itself into Committee."—(The Lord Privy Seal.)
THE DUKE OF ABERCORN
said, that before the House went into Committee again upon this Bill he desired to make an appeal to the noble Marquess at the head of the Government (the Marquess of Salisbury). He (the Duke of Abercorn) and his Friends on that side of the House were most anxious to assist and facilitate the progress of this Bill, and that he believed was also the desire of noble Lords opposite; but, under the circumstances, they desired that the new clauses which the Government proposed 244 to insert in the Bill, in the place of Clauses 21, 22, and 23 of the original measure, should be discussed pro formâ this afternoon, and that then the Bill should be re-committed. His reason for making this request was that a Bill of vital importance connected with the interests of those who lived in Ireland had been introduced by the Government, of which the three most important clauses had been entirely remodelled by the Government and re-introduced. Many Amendments were to be moved on these now clauses, and the most of these Amendments had only been placed in the hands of noble Lords this afternoon. There fore, it would be difficult—almost impossible—for noble Lords this afternoon to discuss them in connection with the new clauses which the Government had added to this Bill. Under these circumstances, he thought the suggestion he had made was not unreasonable; and he therefore hoped the Government would comply with the request he had made.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he had great pleasure in seconding the request of the noble Duke (the Duke of Abercorn), and he could assure the Government that there was no desire on his part to obstruct this measure. On the contrary, it was his desire to facilitate its progress. They could not forget the somewhat protracted Sitting of last night; and he had been greatly struck with the manner in which the House had been enabled to dispose of 20 difficult clauses of this most important Bill, involving great principles, and carrying with them great consequences. He had seen with admiration and pleasure the way in which the discussion was carried on by noble Lords whose personal interests were deeply affected by the measure There was not an angry word or a word of recrimination; on the contrary, all was peace and quietness, and anxiety to give the measure full consideration, and an expression of willingness to sacrifice their individual interests to the public good. The Government now proposed to strike out the clauses which had been known as the Bankruptcy Clauses and to insert others of immense importance. The noble Duke had stated that the Amendments to these new clauses had only reached him that afternoon. Owing to judicial duties he had himself not yet 245 even seen the Amendments. Under these circumstances, the House could not adequately enter upon the consideration of these Amendments, and he would suggest that the three clauses proposed to be struck out by the Government should be struck out, that the four clauses proposed to be inserted should be inserted, and that the Bill should be reprinted and recommitted. This would necessitate postponing the further consideration of the Bill in Committee till after the Whitsuntide Holidays, but the delay would not be unattended with substantial advantages. He had no motive except that of desiring to make the Bill as good as possible.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, the noble and learned Lord (Lord Fitzgerald) had stated that it was not his desire to delay or obstruct the Bill. That might with equal truth be said of those sitting on that Bench. There were certain clauses in the Bill which they considered objectionable, and they did not as yet see that any satisfactory plan had been suggested of remedying the objections to those clauses, but they did not desire to delay or place any hindrance in the way of the measure. He thought the suggestion that had been made for the re-committal of the Bill was reasonable, and he hoped that the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) would accept it.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (The Marquess of SALISBURY)
said, that though he should have preferred to go on with the discussion, yet the views of the course of procedure which commended itself to the noble Duke behind him (the Duke of Abercorn), to the noble and learned Lord (Lord Fitzgerald), and to the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition (Earl Granville) must be considered to be in consonance with the general opinion of the House. He proposed, therefore, to accede to the suggestion that had been made. The only way he saw of carrying out the wish thus expressed was that they should go through the Bill now pro formâ, inserting all the Amendments of the Government, and such other Amendments as the Government were prepared to accept, to reprint the Bill as amended, and then to put it down for re-committal until after Whitsuntide—on Monday the 13th June.
§ Motion agreed to; House again in Committee accordingly; further Amendments made: The Report of the Amendments to be received on Friday next; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 106.)