« ForrigeFortsett »
it. The advocates of the Bill had par- / and must vanish at the touch of a reformticularly praised it for ils clearness. It ing hand. Let the Lords adopt an efficient was indeed overloaded with perspicuity, measure, and the mass of evil would soon full of qualifications, and limitations and shrink to a manageable size. exceptions and provisoes, patching up one He was unable to follow the reasonings hole and making another to patch up in of Chancery lawyers; but was such an turn; and involved in inexplicable ex- officer as a Vice-Chancellor ever recognize planations But after all was not the re- ed before in England ? He felt the highest sult, as he had stated it, that the Lord respect for the present Lord Chancellor, Chancellor' might send causes he did not but he must consider that he was called like to his Vice-Chancellor as he pleased, upon to legislate, not only for the present just as he would order away a corked times but for posterity. He wished to bottle; was not the Vice-Chancellor to preserve the office of Lord Chancellor in take whatever was sent to him to abstain this country in all the plenitude of its from whatever was not thus sent to bim? powers and splendour of its authority. To begin or to leave off, exactly when He believed in his conscience that it was and where the Lord Chancellor pleased, most essentially important to the conat the beginning, or the middle, or end of stitution that it should be so preserved. a cause-just as might suit the Chancel. He thought that it was one of the highest Jor's fancy? Had he, or was he intended prerogatives of the sovereign, that he to have, any regular, known, fixed, intel could take a man from the profession of ligible, substantive province or authority? the bar, and place him at once by an act (Laugh.) Scrub, in the play, Mungo, in of power in a situation giving rank and the farce, Sancho, in his island, were in a precedence above ducal coronets. This state of settled jurisdiction compared with high prerogative, however, like all others, this new officer! If the form of his tribu would be exercised with a responsibility nal were copied from any thing at all, it to public opinion; and although the must have been from Sancho in his little crown might make whom it would Lord island! (Laugh.) It was to be a delega. Chancellor, yet it would never will to tion by fits and snatches, the offspring of make any man a Chancellor, who, in the the humours and leisures of the Chancellor, public eye, was not conceived to be fit for dealt out in bits and scraps of jurisdic- that high station. tion.
He was not imputing any negligence to It really required more credulity than lord Eldon, when he said, that if this Bill the authors of the Bill had a right to ex. should pass, a time might come when all pect, to imagine that the Bill, even though the business of the Court of Chancery it should receive the polishing hand of might be thrown upon this new officer the learned serjeant, could ever answer and the Master of the Rolls, and that in the purposes for which it was intended. future times a Lord Chancellor might be As an unlearned member of parliament, chosen chiefly from other considerations, his vote should be against the introduction unconnected with his legal knowledge or of a magistracy which it was not fit to ability to preside in the Court of Chancreate. It was not his fault that the pro. cery. This Bill might therefore, lead to position was so objectionable. They had the destruction of the high office of Lord a right to take time to consider this Bill; as Chancellor, which he conceived to be, as the Lords had paused for eleven years before it now stood, an office of the greatest imthey hit upon this mode of remedying an portance, as well in a constitutional point inconvenience of such great and growing of view, as with regard to the administramischief. If indeed it was contended that tion of the important duties of the Court they were not entitled to object to this of Chancery. He, therefore, could not plan, without having some other more support a Bill which appeared to bim to perfect plan to propose ; he would answer, do things'utterly unwise; to create a mathat he had no doubt another plan might gistracy unfit to be created, and to eneasily be devised ; but he denied the ne- danger by innovation upon its character cessity, or even the propriety of origina and duties a magistracy which it was of ting it in the House of Commons. The the highest importance to maintain unonus was on the Lords; not on them. The altered and unimpaired ;' a Bill not calevil was with the Lords, who pleaded their culated to remedy the evil which it proown fault, and applied for the remedy fessed to obviate, and risking the introducThe evils, he believed, were exaggerated, tion of other evils which it might be diffi
cult hereafter to cure: a Bill directed to other remedy could be devised ? but the removal of an obstruction in the whether that proposed ought to be resorted course of justice avowedly of a temporary to? He conceived that the present Bill nature ; and effecting (or rather not effect. would alter materially the constitutional ing) that object by a permanent dismem. course of the business of the Court of Chan, berment of the highest judicial office of the cery, and the office of Lord Chancellor, constitution.
After a few successions of ViceChancellors, Sir Samuel Romilly could not content there would be no more men found to dishimself with giving a silent pole upon this charge the high office of Lord Chancellor, question, which if agreed to would effect in the manner it had hitherto been dischargá complete change in the character of fu- ed by so many illustrious men. As to the ture Lord Chancellors; and that the coun- great increase of business in Chancery, try would never again see such men as which had been so much spoken of, there Somers, Camden, or Hardwicke. He was certainly a very great increase in the could not support the present Bill; for al. bankrupt business, but a very small inthough he must admit, and every body crease in other respects. He denied that must admit, that the evil which was stated the business, strictly so called, of the Court was a most serious one, yet he conceived of Chancery had increased since the year that the remedy proposed was still more 1750. The number of suits was not now serious, and that it was an evil still greater greater than in the time of lord Hardwicke, than that which it purported to reform. but they were perhaps heard at greater The evil which now existed might, how length. There might possibly have been ever, be considered as a temporary one; less indulgence, or, as he might say, less whereas, the remedy proposed would, if invitation to frequent hearings, and re, agreed to, bring upon them one that in his hearings at that time, and which were opinion would be permanent. They were now equally injurious to the clients of now called upon to remedy an evil, which that Court and to the public at large. the other House had taken no step for As to the number of motions in lord many years to remove. The House of Hardwicke's time, he did not know that Lords, though the arrears had long been they were much lower than at present, al. growing upon them, had never taken any though less time might have been taken active measures for removing the evil. up in the arguments upon them. Lord They had not continued their sittings Hardwicke had generally, besides his morn. longer in order to diminish the arrear of ing sitting, sat two evenings every week causes before them, nor had they inet for hearing causes, and instead of closing his earlier in the day, nor eyer proceeded to sittings at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, bad the decision of any appeal in the absence frequently closed them at two o'clock in of the Lord Chancellor. This it had been the morning, and therefore it was not ex. the practice of the House to do in former traordinary that in his time there was so times, and in some cases it might be better small an arrear of business.
If he were that the cause should be decided on in his called upon to suggest a remedy to the absence, as Appeals from his decisions fre- evil complained of, he should say, that quently came before them. He thought what appeared to him the most unobjec, there could be no difficulty in procuring tionable would be to separate the bankthe attendance of a sufficient number of rupt business from that of the Chancery, lords to hear causes, in the absence of the It was said that as many of those bank, Lord Chancellor, and by this means alone rupt cases involved points of great diffithe evil might gradually be removed. He culty and importance, and the decision did not think any other remedy was ne. was to be final and without appeal, it was cessary, and ať least he thought what he absolutely necessary that the Lord Chanbad mentioned ought to be tried, be- cellor should determine them himself. fore a measure like that now proposed were He could not allow the justice of this conadopted. If their lordships had either clusion. If they were cases of difficulty met earlier in the morning for this purpose, and importance, it certainly required that or continued their sittings by shorter ad- they should be decided by a man of abi. journments, or had decided causes even lity, but he saw no necessity why this when the Chancellor was not present, man must be the Lord Chancellor. Men there would not now have been such an could be easily found, of the highest proarrear of business before them. The fessional eminence, who would be perfect question however was not whether any ly competent to this part of the duty; and a sufficient compensation could be found to the dispatch of business, a state of out for them, in the emoluments from those things might arise from which only in. bankrupt cases. He could not avoid, creased, extended, and protracted litigation however, quoting here, the opinion of must ensie. He wished that ministers, their committee, -" that it was highly would really find out the opinion of the objectionable that judges should be paid profession at large upon this subject, and from fees, especially from fees ostensibly not confine themselves to the opinions of a belonging to their secretary or some infe- few of their parliamentary friends. It rior officer.” By this it appeared that was said the public would pay nothing for the fees of bankruptcy, which were paid this new officer, as he would be partly to an officer for the bankruptcy, were ac paid out of the interest of the fund of uncounted for by that officer to the Lord, claimed money now in Chancery. He Chancellor. This, in his opinion, was de- could not avoid noticing this fund, out cidedly wrong-a judge ought never to of which part of this salary was proposed be paid by fees. He should therefore to be paid, called the Dead Fund, and mosi earnestly recommend that these fees amounting to 9,000l. per annum, being should be abolished, and the salary of the the interest of money put into that Court Lord Chancellor proportionably increased, and never claimed: its very existence apif it should appear that the other emolu- peared to him a subject which called for ments of bis office did not afford him a parliamentary enquiry. It was the money sufficient remuneration. Next to taking of suitors placed in that Court for seaway the bankrupt business, he thought curity ; but which the suitors were often the separating the office of Speaker of the obliged to abandon from the great difficulHouse of Lords from that of Chancellor, ties they found in bringing forward their would be a far better mode than that cause. It was possible it would never be which was proposed in the present Bill. called for; but had they a right to assume He saw no reason why the Chancellor of that this would be the case ? Considering the duchy of Lancaster might not be made the remedy proposed a greater mischief an efficient situation, and why he might than the evil complained of, be must opnot sit in other courts. He knew that the pose the present Bill, which would do the présent possessor of it (Mr. Bathurst) was greatest mischief to the Court of Chancery, eminent in the profession of the law while and entirely alter its constitution, while it he practised it; and he did not see why created a new and unnecessary officer to the place might not in future be given to be subjected to every species of indignity, professional men, with duties annexed to or else to be altogether useless. it. As to the nature of this office, it was to Mr. Wetherall was strongly in favour of be totally different from that of the Master the measure. If two years discussion and of the Rolls, or of the judges sitting under consideration of it were not sufficient, he a commission. They, when sitting in the did not know what would be reckoned a place of the Chancellor, heard and deter- reasonable time for enquiring into its exmined every cause which came before pediency, nor what would satisfy the genthem, whether important or not; but ilemen on the other side. The business of never was there such an indignity put be- the Court, he maintained, had increased fore upon any judge, as to tell him that so much, that since the year 1750 the he was never to determine any cases of number of Appeals had been not only difficulty or importance. As the Vice- doubled, but trebled. This proved the Chancellor was to be for life, while the of evil complained of was not a temporary fice of Lord Chancellor was removable evil, and therefore, being permanent, it at pleasure, it might at some future time was one which called for the permanent happen, that a Chancellor might have an remedy now proposed. The hon. and unreasonable prejudice against the Vice- learned gentleman then entered more into Chancellor. It was well known, that lord detail, and contended, that the Bill offered Thurlow had such a prejudice against his the most efficacious and constitutional Master of the Rolls (lord Alvanley, than means for redressing the grievances under whom there was hardly ever a better which the subjects of these realms now laequity judge), that he would never allow boured, from the necessary delay and arhim to sit in his place. Such things might rear of business in the Court of Chancery happen again, and instead of that mutual and House of Lords. He denied that the agreement and concord subsisting between new officer would be either inefficient or these great law-officers which would tend degraded, and on the contrary, argued
that many men of competent legal know. that several amendments upon the measure
power of the
List of the Minority. warmly approving of every part of the Abercromby, Hon. J. Fitzgerald, Ld. A. Bill.
Fitzroy, Ld. J. The Solicitor-General, (Sir W. Garrow) Atherley, A.
Astley, Sir J.
Flood, Sir F.
Foster, F. in a speech of great animation, gave his Aubrey, Sir J. Frankland, W. opinion in favour of the Bill, and against Bankes, A. (Teller.) Fazakerley, J. N. the Amendment. He insisted on the ne. Barham, J. F. Gascoyne, J. cessity of providing justice for the sub. Baring, A.
Gaskell, B. jects of the realm, now exposed to many
Gordon, R. inconveniencies, by the delay in the
Bennet, Hon. H. G. Gower, Earl courts of law; and replied to the various
Gower, Ld. G. L.
Blachford, B. P. Grant, J. P. arguments which had been addressed
Brand, Hon. T. Grattan, Rt. Hon. H. against the Bill. He ridiculed the idea
Burrell, Hon. P. D. Greenhill, R. of taking a judge from each, or from either
Broadbead, T. H. Grenfell, P. of the other courts, for the purpose
of Byng, G.
Gurney, Hudson constituting or relieving a court of Canning, Rt. Hon. G. Halsey, J. equity. The judges in the courts of com. Canning, G.
Hamilton, Sir H. mon law had already more business to per
Harcourt, J. form than, with their utmost diligence,
Hanbury, w. they could get through, and it was ab- Coulthurst, Sir N.
Heron, Sir R. surd to look for relief to those quarters. Courtenay, W.
Heathcote, Sır G.
Howard, Hon. W. What then were they to do? A great Cavendish, Lord G. Howarth, H. evil existedman evil which amounted al- Cocks, Hon. J.S. Hughes, W. L. most, in many cases, altogether to a denial Cocks, J.
Hurst, R. of justice to suitors and to the public. Combe, H.C. Jolliffe, H. Were they to acquiesce in this state of the Creevey, T. Kensington, Lord Jaw, or ought not the House rather to de. Dundas, Hon. L. Knox, T. clare that it wanted an instant remedy,
Duncannon, Visc. Langton, W. G. which they would hasten to apply by Ellis, C. R.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. Leach, T.J.
Lefevre, C.S. passing a Bill of the description novi be- Ellison, C.
Lemon, Sir W. fore them. He did not mean to say but Ferguson, R. C. Lemon, J.
Lewis, T. F.
Protheroe, E. East India Company, and had contributed Lyttelton, E. J. Pym, F.
to maintain the high character by which Lloyd, J. M.
Ramsden, J. C. Lloyd, Sir E.
it had been so long distinguished. On the Ridley, M. W. Macdonald, J.(Teller). Robinson, G. A.
other hand, there were instances of of. Madocks, W. A. Rowley, Sir W.
ficers who had been originally in the serMarsh, C.
Russell, Ld. G. W. vice of the Company, having afterwards Martin, J.
Romilly, Sir S. entered into the royal pavy, in which Martin, H. Simson, G.
they had risen to the highest rank and Molyneux, H. H. Smith, s.
honours. Upon the whole, considering Methuen, P. Smith, J.
the character of the Company's naval of Miller, Sir T. Smiib, A.
ficers, for nautical knowledge, skill, abi. Milton, Visc.
Smith, w. Monck, Sir C.
lity, and courage, of which many inSipith, Robert Melgund, Lord Smyth, J. H.
stances bad occurred in the course of the Montgomery, Sir H. Speirs, A.
present war, lord Hardwicke trusted that, Mostyn, Sir T. Taylor, M. A. whenever the subject of the East India Neville, Hon. R. Tierney, Rt. Hon. G. trade was discussed, their case would reNewport, Sir J. Tighe, w.
ceive that degree of attention from parliaNorth, D. Vernon, G.
ment to which it is so justly entitled. Ord, W. Walpole, Hon. G.
The Petition was ordered to lie on the Ossulston, Lord
Ward, Hon. J. W. Pole, kt. Hon. W. W. Warre, J. A.
table. Parnell, Sir H. Webster, Sir G. Pelbam, Hon. C. Wellesley, Long W.
PetitiONS RESPECTING THE CLAIMS OF Pelham, Hon. G. Western, C.C. THE Roman Catholics.] Peritions against Phillips, G. Whitbread, S.
the Catholic Claims were presented from Plumer, w. Wilkios, W.
the archdeacon, clergy, and laity, of the Ponsonby, Rt. Hn. G. Wrottesley, H. archdeaconry of Colchester, the archdea
con and clergy of Essex, the archdeacon HOUSE OF LORDS.
and clergy of St. Albans, and the dean
and chapter, archdeacon and clergy of Friday, February 12.
the diocese of Worcester by the bishop of NAVAL OFFICERS IN THE SERVICE OF London; from the corporation of ChiThe East India COMPANY.] The Earl of chester by the bishop of Chichester, and Hardwicke rose and said, that the Petition from the corporation of Ripon by the earl which he held in his hand was from a de- of Harewood. scription of persons who, whatever might The Duke of Leinster spoke to the fol. be the ultimate decision of parliament lowing effect :- I do not rise to oppose the upon the great and important question Petitions lying on the table; but I am which was shortly to be submitted to their anxious to seize the first opportunity, lest consideration, had as strong a claim to I should be prevented attending the main hare their case considered with the most question, of expressing my firm conviction favourable attention, as any class of indi- of the justice and expediency of admitting viduals whose interests were connected our Roman Catholic fellow subjects to all with the subject to which he alluded : be the benefits of the British constitution. I meant the officers employed in the naval am at a loss to discover what possible inservice of the East India Company. Many terest these petitioners can have, in exof these gentlemen had received their cluding the great body of my country, education in the royal navy; and from men from all share in the government. I the great extent to which the navy of this am sure your lordships and the country country was carried in time of war, had bave a great interest in giving them the found ihemselves, on the return of peace, same motives of attachment that Englishdeprived of the profession to which they men have. Give them these, and they had dedicated some of the best years of will not only be loyal subjects, but an aitheir lives; in some cases, from not being tached and grateful people. I live among appointed to any commission in his Ma-them, and I am anxious to bear my testijesty's navy, and in others, where they mony to their deserving the full enjoyhad received their first commission of lieu- ment of those privileges, to wbich, as subtenant, from being disappointed of any jects of this great and free country, they further advancement or employment in are entitled by their birth. the navy. In this situation, many officers A Petition to the same effect from the had entered into the naval service of the corporation and some of the inhabitants of (VOL. XXIV.)