Sivut kuvina

I feel per

time that he enjoyed another place than it is necessary to bestow on of trust and emolument in the the miscellaneous business with state ; but it will also be in the which government isoverwhelmed? recollection of the House that the I at once answer, no. nobleman (the earl of Harrowby), suaded that immense benefits must who immediately succeeded lord result from the application of the Melville, held the office wholly surplus time of persons whose leia unconnected with, and indepen- sure, like the Treasurer of the dent of, any other. The right Navy, is not entirely absorbed by hon. 'gentleman opposite (Mr. an attention to the duties of their Tierney), my immediate prede- office; and that by these means cessor, was similarly situated when much of the superabundant busiTreasurer of the Navy, as was I ness of the state may be transactmyself, and the late Mr. Sheridan, ed. It may be sufficient to allude who succeeded me in the office. to one of the extra-official duties Again, with respect to the hour imposed upon the ministers of the a-day which the right hon. gentle- crown-namely, the necessity of man found sufficient for the dis- hearing cases in the privy council. charge of his duties, without pre- I have no hesitation in saying it 1 tending to make any comparison would be utterly impossible for between the relative quantity of me, and, considering the nature of business to be gotten Through by their avocations, for my hon. that right hon. individual and my- friends, the Secretary for the Home self, I am free to confess, that I Department, the chancellor of the was either more slow, or less for- Exchequer, or the President of the tunate; for that period was never Board of Trade, to attend for the sufficient to enable me to execute purpose of hearing causes in the the business of Treasurer of the privy council. But the Treasurer Navy. That business, undoubtedly, of the Navy is differently circumis not of so engrossing and absorb- stanced, and the place he fills is ing a quality that he can have no precisely that sort of office which time to spare to other occupations; is best calculated for being applied, the duties of his situation may be and, in the purest and

best times discharged, and a considerable of parliament and the British goshare of leisure remain, which vernment, has been always applied, may be devoted to other purposes. to such subsidiary purposes-purBut the Presidency of the Board poses best suited to forward the of Trade is a widely different office business of the state, and, deprived one of a nature so engrossing, of the benefit of which, public

absolutely overwhelming, that affairs could not but suffer imit can never leave any time to its mense detriment. In 1782 the possessor for other employments; Board of Trade was considered as so that, even if the Treasurership a sinecure; but now, when from of the Navy is not, the Presidency the increase of commerce, and of the Board of Trade is, incom- other causes, that department had patible with a distinct and sepa- become one of the most imporrate occupation, be it of what kind tant in the state an adequate it may. But if I am asked whé- provision ought to be made for ther the Treasurer of the Navy the functionaries connected with will not have more spare time it. The amount of salary in

[ocr errors]


tended to be granted has not few accessions of strength in this been disputed, and all we rew way. He thought, indeed, they quire is, that it should be annexed had carried the principle of abstito the Presidency of the Board of nence, in this particular, totoo Trade, the duties of which my great an extent ; and he gave the right hon. friend has shown him- House fair notice that he intended self so capable of discharging, and to protest against this abstinence not to another office, which his on the part of government. Mr. attention to the former renders it Pitt, who was equal to any ten of impossible for him to fill.

them in debate, thought that he With a view of affording time could not safely enter the lists to fall upon some arrangement against the opposition of the day, which might reconcile the opinions without the assistance of the Masof all parties, and obviate the ne- ter of the Rolls; and that officer cessity of a division which could had given his aid to governnot but be unpleasant to Mr. Hus- ment in the House of Commons kisson, Mr. Calcraft moved an until latter times, besides another amendment, that the Chairman law officer, who answered in the should report progress, and ask civil law to the Attorney-general, leave to sit again. It was lost by the King's advocate. Now, was 83 votes against 44. An amend- it not most material to the present ment then moved by Mr. Hume, administration to have the aid of “ That a salary of 5,000l. should these officers in the House of be given to the President of the Commons: not only because of Board of Trade ; and that it is inferiority in point of talent, expedient that an inquiry should which alone would be a sufficient be instituted to ascertain if any, plea, but because of the accidental, and what, alteration can be made but formidable, circumstance of the in the office and salary of the present opposition being composed Treasurer of the Navy,” shared almost entirely of lawyers? There the same fate.

never had been a time in which On the motion for bringing up the gentlemen of the long robe the report (10th April), the oppo- prevailed so much in the councils sition was again renewed by Mr. of the opposition. Of what adHobhouse, on the same ground, vantage would it not be to ministhat the measure was merely a ters to have such a character as pretence for increasing the means the Master of the Rolls to come to of governing by patronage, by split- their assistance, when the contest ting one placeman into two; and ran "high with the legal gentlelord Glenorchy asked, how the men? In all their chancery deHouse of Commons could prove bates, for instance, the authority any check upon the executive go- of the Master of the Rolls would vernment, if they were to suffer go for something, at least. Upon such a continual influx of place that, and similar questions of an men? This called forth from Mr. equally technical description, he, Canning a very animated justifi- and his right hon. friends about cation of ministers from the charge him, were totally at a loss they of seeking to derive influence from did not know their ground, and such expedients. Never, he said, whether they determined to adhad a government gone on with sovance, or to retire, they were alike

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



exposed to all the perils of igno- to whom those principles applied, rance. In such cases the legiti- the Treasurer of the Navy, he mate authority of that officer would contended, was one. He had albe found highly available. Again, ways held à parliamentary eminever, till the present time, was nence of a rank next in importance the office of Judge Advocate filled to the ministers of the crown. by a person not a member of the He spoke with sincerity, when he House.t. These facts rebutted the said, that he thought the office of general accusation, that they were Treasurer of the Navy ought to looking out for placemen to recruit remain a parliamentary office; and the ranks of government, regardless he spoke disinterestedly, because it of any other object. If such had would not add the value of a hair's been their tactics, and if they had weight to the preponderance of gonot resolved to stand upon their vernment. Were the officers of goown strength, what abundant op- vernment to be excluded, as seemed portunities had, they not missed, to be the doctrine of hon. genu? of which they might have availed tlemen opposite, from the House themselves, without any one being of Commons, theconsequence would able to gainsay them? To the be, that the offices of state, of proposition, that the Treasurer of every grade, would become the ob the Navy should not be a parlia. jects of a general scramble to a imentary officer, he felt stronger host of favourites, instead of being objections than even to diminish as they now were, and as, in this the salary. He knew of no law parliamentary constitution, they which obliged the king to send to must ever remain, the reward of parliament for his ministers; but public conduct, and public talents Was there no good sense in select- The House again divided, when ing them from that House? Was the motion of the chancellor ofs there no advantage in the choice the Exchequer was carried by ani of the crown being obliged to majority of eleven. Mr. Canning stand the test of that House, in a thereupon said, that as the opposi: minister's being put to the proof tion to the measure was so strong, there, and in his being known to he should not feel himself called that House and to the public previ- upon to press it. He viewed with a ously to his elevation to office ? regret the small support which had i While those men only were raised been given to it; and though, as al: to favour" whose talents and emi- matter of principle, he was ready nence were known to that House," to defend it, yet, on the ground o there was a great security against of expediency, he would abandonat favouritism. The effect of the it. choice falling elsewhere than in Mr. Peel still continued, with that House, would tend to lower unabated industry, his most useful the standard of public officers-to labours for the simplification and cause a degraded and demoralized improvement of the Criminal Code. class to spring into the seats of On the 9th of March he intro«, ; power, which, so long as the eye of duced a bill to consolidate the parliament and of the public were, various acts - encumbering the upon them, would not be the case. statute-book, and confusing each ,

tay Among these officers-among those other, which related to offences „VOL. LXVIII.



against property. The number of ny, and the party guilty to be inpersons, he said, who came under dictable as a principal, or as an their direct operation yearly, was accessory after the fact. In the law scarcely credible. In 1825, 14,437 concerning accessories, he wished individuals had been charged with to remove a most inconvenient disvarious offences, and of these tinction, by which, although an 12,530 had been committed for accessory before the fact might be the crime of theft. During the tried either in the county where last seven

years, 247 prisoners the crime was committed, or in that had been tried for forgery ; 111 in which he had become an accesfor murder; 50 for arson; and sory, it was not so in the case of 43 for perjury; but the num- an accessory after the fact. Two ber of those who had been tried persons concerned in a late burglary for larceny was no less than at earl Cowper's residence in 43,000. To simplify, therefore, Hertfordshire, from whence upthe statutes which formed the law wards of 2,000l. had been stolen, relating to such an offence, was an had been tried and executed for important object. These amounted the offence; but one man, who to ninety-two in number; and had been an accessory, escaped, in provisions regarding theft were fre- consequence of its having been quently found mixed up with other found impossible to try him in matters, among which nobody Hertfordshire. He had been subwould think of looking for them. quently convicted at the Surrey Thus, a law providing for the bet- assizes, at an expense of no less ter preservation of hollies, quick- than 426l.

He should propose sets, &c. was comprised in an act that in future an accessory after for the preservation of the reve- the fact should be liable to be tried nues of his majesty's customs, and in the county where the act was the regulation of custom-house committed. Farther, the proposed officers in Senegambia. A clause bill would supply several deficienproviding punishment for another cies which were to be found in the penal offence was contained in an existing law. At present, to comact permitting the importation of mit a robbery in ready-furnished a better sort of barley called bigg. lodgings was a high crime, and a He had now collected the scattered trespass on a river running through enactments and reduced the whole a gentleman's estate was a grave mass within the compass of a bill offence; but to commit a robbery of thirty-two pages. By a single in unfurnished lodgings, or a tresclause, he would get rid at once of pass on a boundary stream, was twelve statutes against reset of no offence at all. He thought theft. One act was directed against that all property deserved protecthe knowing receivers of stolen tion, and intended to remedy this lead, iron, or brass; another against defect. In the same way, it was the receivers of stolen pewter; a larceny to steal the securities of third, against the receivers of property vested in our own funds, stolen bank notes, and so but it was no crime to steal the He should simply substitute for securities of property vested in the them a single provision, making funds of foreign countries. He the receiving of any money, goods, proposed to place both on the same chattels, bill, or security, a felow footing. Another important im


[ocr errors]


provement which he would offer passed into an 'act, * had for its to the consideration of the House object the removal of certain inwould be, to give judges the same conveniencies belonging to the adpower of awarding prosecutors ministration of the criminal law their costs in cases of misdemean- generally, and in particular the our which they already possessed in amendment of the existing regulacases of felony. To leave to indi- tions relative to admitting to bail viduals the expense of indicting and in cases of felony. Considering, carrying through criminal proceed, said Mr. Peel, the great number ings against public offences, appeare of persons committed on charges ed to him to be a niggardly and in- of felony, and the large proportion expedient course. It changed the of them ultimately discharged, nature of such prosecutions, and either from the insufficiency of gave them more of a personal than evidence, or for other reasons, he a public character. It was more- could not but think it proper that, over an additional and a grievous under sufficient safeguards, the hardship upon individuals who powers of magistrates to admit to had been injured, that, when bail ought to be extended. An they sought redress, they should alteration of the existing system be loaded with the expense of ob- was desirable, not only as it affected taining it. He knew one instance the liberty of individuals, but bein which a gentleman having, cause a man never came out of with much public spirit, pro- prison so good a member of society secuted a constable whom he de as he was before his committal. tected in gross misconduct in his At present no discretion was left to office, found that, by doing so, he the magistrate; he was bound to had incurred an expense of 80l. commit on every charge of felony ; The consequence was, that, in nine and therefore it was that he procases out of ten, criminals es posed to enact that, when a prisoner caped, because the parties injured was taken before one or more macompromised the offence, or put up gistrates, on a charge of felony, with the wrong, rather than sub- supported by positiveandcredible" ject themselves to the cost of a evidence, or such as, if not contraprosecution; and he believed that dicted, would establish his guilt, no more important benefit could he should be committed by the said be conferred on the communi- justice or justices : but that, if the ty, than the transfer of the ex- prisoner were taken before one pense of prosecuting criminals magistrate only, and the evidence from the hands of private 'indivi- produced were not sufficient to duals to those of government.

raise a presumption of his guilt, The bill, however, was not car- the magistrate should remand him ried through during the session, until he could be brought before Mr. Peel stating that, from the two or more justices; and if, on multiplicity of objects which it taking the prisoner before them, comprehended, and the very minute the evidence produced were not nature of the details, it was ne sufficient to raise a presumption of cessary to proceed in it with the most cautious deliberation.

7 Geo. 4. c. 64, “An Act for imAnother bill which was intro- proving the administration of Criminal duced by the Home Secretary, and Justice in England.”

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »