Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing these Courts. He was, how- gree commenced; it was a work as ever, in communication with Dr. important as any that could engage Lushington on this subject, and the attention of the Legislaturethe Chancery Commissioners, act this was the reform and consolidaing on the direction of Lord St. tion of the Statute Law. Lord Leonards, were still engaged in Cranworth proceeded to give some their inquiry into it. There was particulars of the present state of one class of cases comprised in things in reference to the Public this department of the law, viz. Acts. He had ascertained, that matrimonial suits, to which he had from the first year of Edward III. given some attention, and had to the year 1844, there had been formed a decided opinion : that an aggregate number of statutes, was, as to the power of divorce- exclusive of Irish and Scotch Acts, a matter which was also now un amounting to 14,408. They were dergoing the investigation of a all in a most repulsive form, being Commission. He held that the drawn up in a very perplexing style, proceeding in these cases, which and devoid of any classification. was at present by a privilegium, or The Judges were supposed to be acprivate statute, ought to be strictly quainted with all these laws, but, of a judicial nature. Having now in fact, no human mind could master stated what subjects he should not them, and ignorance had ceased to at present deal with, it remained be a disgrace. Various attempts had for him to mention those with been made, at different times, (of which he did propose to deal which Lord Cranworth gave some The first was, the transfer of land. account,) to digest this mass of After dwelling for some time on statutes; nothing, however, had as the difficulties with which this yet been done, except some cases of question was surrounded, arising partial consolidation. He had exfrom the necessity of identifying amined the statutes of several each parcel of land, and from the recent years, to find out what proexisting complication of titles, portion of them were of a permawhich was the real impediment to nent nature. The result was, that simplicity of transfer, the noble and he estimated that not above onelearned Lord proceeded to explain fourth of the whole number rethe measure which he proposed quired to be dealt with in consolito introduce, the scheme of which dation. He did not, therefore, was in the main like that intro- consider the difficulties of the task duced by Lord Campbell, in 1851, to be by any means insurmountmaking provision for the Registra- able. The method by which he tion of Titles. He would name an proposed to commence the underearly day for the second reading of taking was this:-he had engaged this Bill, refraining at present from Mr. B. Ker, and some other learned entering into its details. Another gentlemen, to examine the statutes Bill which he was about to intro. at a particular period, to mark duce, was for the Regulation of what were repealed or obsolete, Charitable Trusts, a subject on and to distinguish what was local which more than one attempt at and temporary:

The next step legislation had been made. There would be to reduce all the Acts on was another subject which he had one subject into one statute, and taken in hand, and in a slight de. thus prepare the way for a com

plete classification. All this would kind was greater than by possibe done under his personal guid-bility could be conceived. At the ance and inspection. If the experi. same time, he wished his observament succeeded, he did not despair tions to be understood simply as eventually of realising some useful suggestions. results, and of producing a work Lord Campbell complimented of which there would be no cause the Lord Chancellor on his lucid to be ashamed. He believed there and able statement; assuring him was no reason why this proposed that he would have acted most instep should not form the founda. discreetly bad he attended to the tion of that to which he had always “absurd clamour" which orators looked forward as most desirable; and newspapers were making about a Code Victoria, which should put the fusion of law and equity. He us on the same footing as the Code agreed that one court ought finally Napoleon had placed our neigh- to decide every case, and that the bours. The measures now com suitor should not, as at present, menced would at all events be be driven first to the court of attended with some benefit at every equity, and then to the court of stage of their progress. The noble common law, to his exceeding disand learned Lord concluded his comfort and possible ruin. As speech by laying on the table a regarded trial by jury, to which Bill for the Registration of Assur- the Lord Chancellor had cursorily ances in England, of which he then alluded, there were matters—such, moved the first reading.

for instance, as concerned compliLord St. Leonards admitted the cated accounts—for which the jury validity of the Lord Chancellor's system was not intended, and was apology for not yet bringing for- not adapted; but, certainly, in ward any material measures of questions of libel or defamation, legal reform. Fusion of law and or actions involving facts as well equity was a misnomer: confusion as law, it was the best possible would be the result arrived at. tribunal. In reference to the With regard to the question of question of divorce, the Lord divorce, he was not surprised that Chancellor was right in abstaining it had not been touched upon. He from dealing with it at present, had a very strong opinion, but especially as the report of the would not express it upon that Commission would speedily appear. occasion. As regarded his noble He approved of the measure for friend's land registration measure, the registration of deeds, to which he professed himself its deter- he thought the whole nation would mined opponent, though he was to be favourable. a certain extent a friend to the In the House of Commons, on principle. There were far more the 10th of February, Lord John pressing subjects on which their Russell made a statement of the Lordships were agreed, and the intended Ministerial measures of time was not only premature, but the present session. They promost inappropriate, for this propo- posed, he said, in the first place, sition. He had also grave appre to bring under the consideration hensions regarding the proposed of the House the estimates for the digest of the statute law. The year, as soon as they could be predifficulty attending a digest of that pared. With regard to the num

ber of men for the army, navy, sidered in a Select Committee, to and ordnance, there would be no be so constituted as to afford a increase voted before Christmas; prospect of arriving at a final the sum to be voted would exceed settlement of this much-agitated that of last year's estimate, for question. With regard to another which increase satisfactory reasons important question that of the would be given. The other mea- representation of the people--he sures of the Government were, said, that an amendment of the first, a Bill to enable the Legisla- present system was one of the ture of Canada to dispose of the measures in contemplation. ReClergy Reserves; secondly, a Pi- ferring to his attempts to extend lotuge Bill, in introducing which the franchise in 1845, 1850, and the President of the Board of 1851, Lord John Russell took Trade would state the views of the occasion to correct an erroneous Government regarding the various impression which seemed to exist matters affecting the shipping in in some quarters, that he mediterest; thirdly, the consideration tated a more comprehensive meaof the disabilities of our Jewish sure than those whích he had then fellow-subjects, with a view to their proposed. At present it was the removal; fourthly, a proposal upon opinion of the Government that the important subject of education, the question required the most which would tend to effect great careful consideration and inquiry, improvement. The Government and that it would be premature to would likewise state the course legislate upon it during the prethey intended to adopt with refer sent session of Parliament. While ence to the reports of the Commis himself believing this course to sioners of Inquiry into the Univer be wise, he should consider it to sities of Oxford and Cambridge, be the duty of the Government, and a Bill would be introduced immediately after the commenceupon the subject of education in ment of the next session, to bring Scotland. With respect to the forward a measure upon the subtransportation of criminals, it was ject. Alluding, before sitting down, the determination of Government to the numerous complaints of to adhere to the intention of the bribery and corruption during the late Ministry, and to send no more late elections, he expressed the convicts to Australia; but in put desire of the Government to preting an end to this system it was vent such complaints for the future; necessary to look most attentively but considered it advisable to await to the question of secondary pu- the reports of the several Comnishments, respecting which the mittees now inquiring into those Government would have a proposal abuses, before taking any steps for to make. Immediately after the their remedy. Easter recess the Chancellor of On the 17th of February, Mr. the Exchequer would bring forward Kinnaird moved an Address to the his financial statement. The Lord Queen on the subject of the perseChancellor would, in a few days, cution of the Protestants in Tusstate the measures contemplated cany. The case of the Madiais, for the improvement of the law; he observed, was not an isolated and the landlord and tenant ques

It indicated a religious retions in Ireland would be con action and a determination on the

one.

part of the hierarchy of the Church of argument, that the Tuscan Go. of Rome to put down Protest- vernment were to be blamed for antism by force, wherever the civil punishing the Madiais for the crime power enabled them to do so, and of proselytism, what had been the on this ground he asked the House conduct of this country in respect to call upon Her Majesty's Go to Roman Catholics persecuted in vernment, in concert with the go- different parts of the world? Who vernments of Prussia and Holland, ever heard of our Secretary of to remonstrate, not dictatorially or State remonstrating with the menacingly, but in the name of Emperor of Russia for persecuting religion and humanity, with the and torturing Roman Catholic Grand Duke. · He gave the de- nuns? Had not Lord Palmerston tails of the arrest of several actually recommended the expulFlorentines, for no other offence sion of the Jesuits from Switzerthan reading the Bible, to show land? The conduct of that noble that the persecution was syste. Lord in the case of Tahiti was, he matic; thousands, he said, were contended, exactly parallel with living in Tuscany under a reign that of the Grand Duke of Tusof terror. The objection that, cany. If he believed that the rethis being a matter between a solution expressed the facts of the government and its own subjects, case, he could not adopt it, because we had no right to interfere, had he never could recognise the docbeen disposed of in the admirable trine that the exercise of humanity despatch of Lord J. Russell, and and philanthropy was to be all on precedents were not wanting for one side. At this moment, acts such interference.

of persecution were going on Lord D. Stuart seconded the against Roman Catholics in Promotion, and justified the peace testant countries quite as deservable interference of this country, ing of our interference as the case which ought, he said, as a Proof the Madiais, and he should testant nation, to raise its voice bring some of them before the against the persecution of Pro. House. The system of law in testants.

Sweden was quite as persecuting Mr. Lucas could not agree

with as that of Tuscany, and in Meckthe resolution, because, according lenburgh Catholic priests had been to the papers laid before the conducted by the police across the House, it did not state the facts frontier, for the crime of saying of the case correctly. It appeared mass in private. from those papers, that the Ma. Lord J. Russell professed himdiais had engaged in a system of self totally at a loss to know proselytism at the bidding and whether Nr. Lucas approved or instigation of foreign emissaries not of persecution for religious and agents. The sentence against opinions. His (Lord John's) conthem declared, that they had not clusion was, that if a Protestant disproved the facts alleged against State should condemn persons bethem; that they had been guilty cause they had become Roman of the crime of proselytism by the Catholics, or taught others to beinstrumentality of money supplied come so, such conduct was morally from abroad—that was, from Eng. wrong. Mr. Lucas alleged, that land. But, admitting, for the sake the Madiais were punished, not

because they had become Pro- that the Madiais had been contestants, but that, being Pro- victed, not of a spiritual, but of a testants, they endeavoured to con civil offence; he complained of vert others to Protestantism at the attacks which had been made the instigation of a foreign agent; in this country upon the Grand whereas the foreign agent bad left Duke of Tuscany, and deprecated the country, and the Madiais had discussions of this nature, which followed their own convictions. he said were calculated to give But, be it as the Tuscan tribunals offence to foreign States, and dissaid, that those individuals had turb the harmony of nations. endeavoured to induce Roman Mr. Drummond observed that Catholics to read the Bible, and religious persecution, even by the to believe that certain doctrines Inquisition, was always justified were not authorised by the Bible, by the plea that the offence was he still said it was a moral crime against civil society. Before the to punish them. Mr. Lucas had Roman Catholics were condemned, said we were not justified in con- however, he recommended that sidering ourselves friends of re we should look to our own conligious liberty while we were in- duct. different to persecutions against Mr. J. Fitzgerald regretted that Roman Catholics. But it could the Roman Catholic clergy had not be maintained that such was been dragged into this discussion. our general conduct; in no part So far from the law applied to the of our dominions were persons Madiais being that of the church, punished for endeavouring to in- it was a law which had destroyed duce Protestants to become Roman the power of the ecclesiastical triCatholics. Having vindicated Lord bunals. As a Roman Catholic, Palmerston from the charge of he disapproved of the punishment countenancing religious persecu- 'of these persons, and he should tion in Switzerland, the South ever raise his voice against perSeas, and Sweden, he insisted secution of every kind. that thi Government of this coun Lord Stanley explained, and try had done nothing which mis- justified the course of proceeding became it, in the representations adopted in this matter by the late it had addressed to that of Tus- Government. cany. Persecution for religious Sir R. Inglis maintained that it opinions was odious and detest- was the duty of Her Majesty's able, and the Government of Eng. Government, expressing the senland was justified in raising its timents of a Protestant people, voice against it. Holding this and armed with the moral force of opinion, he recommended the a Protestant country, to represent House to leave this case in the peaceably, but firmly, the wrongs hands of the Government. Its of our Protestant brethren, invoice had been heard, and he flicted by a foreign sovereign. trusted that, although the Madiais Mr. Kennedy spoke shortly in and others might suffer, the gene- opposition to the motion. ral opinion of the world would Lord Palmerston repelled the secure religious liberty.

imputations cast upon him by Mr. Mr. Bowyer entered into the Lucas, in respect to the expulsion details of the case, and contended of the Jesuits from Switzerland,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »