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The House of Lords


In the House of Lords, on Thursday evening, the Corrupt Practices at Elections Bill passed through committee after the clause empowering the House of Commons singly to suspend writs for corrupt boroughs had been struck out.  On the motion of LORD REDESDALE, the house resolved that the principle of charging entailed estates for railways involves questions of too much nicety and importance to be sanctioned otherwise than by public legislation.  At present the power of making these charges is held under private acts.  On Friday evening, the EARL of SHAFTESBURY called attention to the Polish question.  He contended that the only remedy for the evils which afflicted Poland was its separation from Russia.  He was not disposed to put much trust in the diplomatic professions of PRINCE GORTSCHAKOFF; and warned the house that the object of Russia in proposing to enter into negotiations with the protecting powers was to obtain the time necessary to reduce Poland to a state of utter prostration.  EARL RUSSELL, who possessed strong confidence in the power of public opinion, and in the efficiency of the protests made to Russia by England, France, and Austria, held out no hope that His Majesty's ministers would resort to force in favour of Poland.  On Monday night LORD NORMANBY once more pleaded the cause of MR. BISHOP, the young Englishman who is now undergoing a term of imprisonment in Italy for carrying treasonable despatches between Naples and Rome.  The noble Marquis of course censured the conduct of the Italian government, but the DUKE OF SUTHERLAND, who has recently visited Italy, stated that he found the prisons in a good condition, and that MR. BISHOP, in particular, could have nothing to complain of, beyond the circumstance that he has deprived of liberty.  LORD HARDWICKE was of opinion that MR. BISHOP had been treated with undue harshness; but LORD GREY, so far from sharing that view, believed that if a foreigner had been caught in this country committing an offence similar to that for which MR. BISHOP is now suffering, he would have been condemned to death as a spy and traitor.  LORD CARNARVON, who was Colonial Under Secretary in LORD DERBY'S Government, could not look upon MR. BISHOP as a martyr; on the contrary, he thought that gentleman was himself to blame for any misfortune which had over-taken him.  At the same time, he thought, that in consideration of the state of MR. BISHOP'S health, and the friendship England had shown to Italy, the government of VICTOR EMMANUEL might have taken a more merciful view of the case.  LORD RUSSELL said MR. BISHOP had a fair and impartial trial, but Her Majesty's Government would continue their exertions, and he hoped ultimately with success, for that gentleman's release.  On Tuesday night, no business of any general interest was transacted.

In the House of Commons, on Thursday evening, Mr. HENNESSY gave notice that on an early day he will move an address to her Majesty on the subject of Poland.  MR. ME. MILES inquired whether GENERAL WEBB, the United States Minister at Brazil, had addressed to EARL RUSSELL a letter in which disgraceful conduct was imputed to MR. CHRISTIE the British Minister at the court.  LORD PALMERSTON warmly defended MR. CHRISTIE from the insinuations of GENERAL WEBB, and in the course of his remarks severely assailed the Brazilian Government for trying to revenge itself upon England by calumniating MR. CHRISTIE.  MR. BRAMLEY-MOORE accused MR. CHRISTIE of having acted indiscreetly and in anything but moderate and conciliatory manner.  MR. DISRAELI condemned the discussion, and taunted LORD PALMERSTON with having, in replying to MR. MILNES, attacked, first, the Brazilian Government; second, the Brazilian nation; third, the American Minister at the Brazilian Court; and, fourth, the British merchants at Brazil, who had formally protested against MR. CHRISTIE'S proceedings.  The discussion then dropped.  On the order for going into committee on the Prison Ministers Bill, MR LONG moved the rejection of the measure.  After a short debate, the house divided, and the motion was rejected by 172 votes against 141.  In committee, MR MURE proposed to exempt Scotland from the operation of the bill, but the house refused to adopt the suggestion.  On Friday evening, it was announced that, owing to obstacles arising from the standing orders of the house, the bill for amalgamation the city and metropolitan police forces could not be proceeded with this session; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer intimated that he had withdrawn his proposal to compel clubs to obtain a license for the sale of liquors.  MR. HENNESSY having moved for certain papers relative to the state of Southern Italy, MR. C. BENTINCK asserted that Naples was now in a lower condition than when ruled by the Bourbons, and he accused the Italian Government of being the cause of the disorder and unhappiness which prevailed in that country.  MR LAYARD denied the truth of MR. BENTINCK'S representations, and defended the Italian Government from his accusations. The right honourable gentleman asserted that the disorder in Naples was brigandage, and not civil war, as was proved by the fact that not one man of property, position, or intelligence was numbered amongst the malcontents.  He also asserted that the trade of Southern Italy was in a flourishing condition.  LORD H. LENNOX who has recently visited Naples, narrated his personal experience amongst the inhabitants.  He described the prevailing system of government as a great despotism, the press being fettered, and the people reduced to a position little better than slavery.  His description of the prisons in Naples and of the occupants was horrible in the extreme.  MR. BUTLER JOHNSTON, in a maiden speech, questioned the accuracy of the impressions stated by the last speak.  He ably pointed out the numerous difficulties which the Italian Government had to surmount in rooting up the vicious system fostered by the Bourbons, and expressed his conviction that LORD H. LENNOX had been misinformed on many of the points which he had alluded to in his speech.  SIR G. BOWYER and MR. MAGUIRE supported the view taken by MR. BENTINK and LORD H. LENNOX.  The debate was protracted to a late hour.  On Monday night LORD CLARENCE AGET vindicated the conduct of CAPTAIN INGLEFIELD, of HER MAJESTY'S ship MAJESTIC, who was accused in an anonymous letter, published in a Liverpool cotemporary, of having looked smilingly on while one of his men was undergoing corporal punishment for as was alleged, a trivial offence.  The noble lord gave the gallant officer a big character for kindness, and quoted the letter from the petty officers of the ship, a summary of which has already appeared in the papers.  So far from the man flogged having suffered for only a trifling offence, he had been guilty of gross insubordination to a superior officer.  In reply to a question from MR. HENNESSY, LORD PALMERSTON said no good result could follow from continuing the controversy respecting MR. ODO RUSSELL'S despatches with reference to the departure of brigands in French uniform from Rome.  These brigands had obtained possession of old uniforms, and there was no reflection whatever upon the French authorities.  MR. ROEBUCK raised another discussion on the case of the two Ionian Judges who had been dismissed from office.  The hon. gentleman censured the conduct of the DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, whose proceedings in this matter were defended by HIS GRACE'S Under-Secretary, MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE.  GENERAL PEEL took up the defence of SIR HENRY STORKS, while LORD STANLEY, who attributed no blame to the Lord High Commissioner, was of opinion that the DUKE OF NEWCASTLE had not shown a proper regard for the independence of the Bench in arbitrarily dismissing the two Judges.  MR. GLADSTONE warmly defended the course pursued by the Government, and gave frightful picture of the corruption of what may be called the public men of the Ionian Islands.  A long debate followed on the question of the occupation of the waste lands of India.  On Tuesday night, the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, in reply to a question from MR. HADFIELD, said the Judges had sent in a communication to the LORD CHANCELLOR on the subject of certain proposed changes in the circuits, but it was not likely that any re-arrangement of the circuits would be carried into effect before the next summer assizes.  The MARQUIS of HARTINGTON, in reply to SIR WILLIAM SCOTT, said the volunteers were not amenable to military law except when on actual service.  In answer to a question from MR. B. COCHRANE, LORD PALMERSTON said the arrangements with reference to the throne of Greece could not yet be settled, but there was reason to hope that the question would speedily be adjusted.  The remaining clauses of the PRISON MINISTERS' Bill was disposed of in Committee, after a good deal of discussion and several unsuccessful attempts to alter some of the provisions of the measure.  The Customs and Inland Revenue Bill also passed through Committee.