Imágenes de páginas


alter an anomaly in the law, which The disgraceful outrages against stated that those marriages must the person of the Queen, of which be declared invalid in the Ecclem an account is given in another part siastical Courts, but that they could of this volume, having suggested only be declared void during the the necessity of some alteration in lifetime of the parties. The same the law in order to provide a more law which prohibited the marriage effectual punishment for such of, of a man with his deceased wife's fenders, Sir Robert Peel, shortly sister, also prohibited marriages after Bean's attempt took place, between a father and daughter, a brought in a Bill on the subject, brother and sister, and an uncle which met with the unanimous and niece; for they were only approbation of the House. In invoidable through a process in the troducing it he observed, that Ecclesiastical Courts: the Common within two years three assaults Law Courts could not take up the upon the person of the Sovereign inquiry, but the matter must be had been committed by discharging first questioned in the Ecclesiasti or attempting to discharge, firecal Courts. He himself was the

He thought his object person who introduced the pros- might be effected without constipective clause; and he assured the tuting new treasons, or creating House that he had never regretted new capital offences; at present, having done so. By that clause, however, the forms and solemnities it was enacted that, whenever par. which encumbered the proceedings ties married within the prohibited for certain crimes were calculated degrees of consanguinity, it should to minister to the morbid vanity of not be left to other persons to miscreants, who committed crimes adopt proceedings to question the partly from desire of gaining an marriages, but that they should unenviable notoriety. He entered at once be declared void and in into a short review of the laws revalid in themselves. Before that lating to the subject. In 1800, time, any interested person might after the attempt of Hatfield on take steps to destroy a marriage George the Third, an Act was and bastardize the issue ; and any passed, which, in cases of actual person who merely wished to ex. attempts against the life of the tort money might institute pro- Sovereign, abolished the forms ceedings against the parties. Surely otherwise attendant on trials for this was a state of the law which high treason, which gave the ought not to be allowed to continue. prisoner a long interval before

Lord Francis Egerton briefly trial, a peremptory challenge of replied. He had not first raised the jury, and made twice the the question : the burden of doing amount of evidence necessary that so was shared by Henry the Eighth would be sufficient for similar and Lord Lyndhurst. He called prosecutions in the case of subupon the House to decide, not as jects. It was now proposed to politicians, but as jurors, on a extend that change of procedure question of life and death to some to cases, where the offence was of their fellow subjects.

that of compassing the wounding The House divided, and refused of the Sovereign. He then adthe motion for leave to bring in verted to the case of Francis, and the Bill, by 123 votes to 100. explained some of the grounds on

which the Government had deter- ciple to the case of Francis as we mined to remit the capital punish- would have applied to any ordinary ment in that case; a decision case of charge of murder, than we which had been received with dis- should have done had we stretched satisfaction in some quarters. the law, or, if not actually stretched

“ We did not come to this de- it, at least had departed from the termination until after the most usual principles of justice for the mature deliberation. We decided, purpose of making a severe examunder the conviction that the jury ple. It was no feeling of false who had found the verdict acted humanity which tempted us to from pure and honourable motives, remit the capital sentence; but and upon sufficient grounds, and into the reasons which influenced that their intelligence and inde us I am sure the House will not pendence were not to be called in expect that I should enter in dequestion. But, at the same time, tail." however base the motives, however Si: Robert Peel read to the heinous the offence, yet, still act. House the class of offences against ing in conformity with the com which his measure was to provide. mands of a gracious Sovereign, “I propose, that after the passing whose prerogative it is to adminis- of this Act, if any person or persons ter justice and to dispense mercy, shall wilfully discharge, or attempt we determined to apply the same to discharge, or point, aim, or principles to the case before us as present at or near the person of we would with respect to any the Queen, any gun, pistol, or other case involving capital punish- other description of fire-arms whatment. Two Cabinet Councils soever, although the same shall were held. We reviewed the not contain explosive or destructive whole of the evidence taken against substance or material, or shall disFrancis : we resolved not to decide charge or attempt so to discharge without an interview with the any explosive or destructive subthree Judges by whom or in whose stance or material ; or if any perpresence the prisoner was tried, son shall strike or attempt to strike and without a conference with the the person of the Queen with any Law-officers of the Crown, the offensive weapons or in any manner Attorney-general and the Solicitor whatever; or if any person shall general, by whom the prosecution wilfully throw or attempt to throw was conducted. The result of the any substance whatever at or on conference with the three Judges the person of the Queen ; with inwas an unanimous expression of tent in any of the cases aforesaid opinion that it was not advisable to break the public peace, or with that the capital sentence should be intent, in any of the cases aforecarried out. The opinions of the said, to excite the alarm of the Judges were found to be in ac Queen," &c. cordance with those of the Law He then stated the punishment officers of the Crown ; and, under which it was proposed to enact. these circumstances, I think the “I propose that any party so House will be of opinion that we offending, that is intending to hurt have taken a more effectual secu the Queen, or to alarm the Queen, rity against the repetition of the shall be subject to the same penaloffence, by applying the same prin- ties which apply to cases of lar,

ceny—that is, that he be subject meanest of her subjects. I am to transportation not exceeding sure the House will respond to seven years: but we propose also the proposition to give the security another punishment, more suitable of this law for the protection of to the offence, and more calculated her Majesty.” (Cheers.] to repress it--that there be a dis Lord John Russell expressed his cretionary power of imprisonment cordial assent to the measure, obfor a certain period, with authority serving that, as it was the offence to inflict personal chastisement. of base and degraded beings, a [Cheers from both sides of the base and degrading punishment House.) I think this punishment was most fitly applied to it. will make known to the miscreants Mr. Hume, Mr. O'Connell, and capable of harbouring such designs Colonel Sibthorpe, expressed their as are pointed out by this Bill, concurrence. The Bill was brought that instead of exciting for their in, rapidly passed through all its offence a most misplaced, and I stages, and being received with may say stupid sympathy, their equal unanimity by the House of base and malignant motives in Lords, speedily became law. depriving her Majesty of that re Questions relating to the Church laxation which she must naturally came very little under discussion need after the cares and public this Session as compared with those anxieties of her station, will lead preceding. An attempt, which to a punishment proportioned to proved abortive, was made by Sir their detestable acts. I do con John Easthope to introduce a fidently hope, that without calling Bill for the abolition of churchfor any powers of extreme severity, rates. In moving for that purthe provisions of this Bill will be pose, he expressed his extreme effectual for the purpose. For surprise and regret, that Governobserve what we have to guard ment had not taken up the matter against-it is not any traitorous before. He quoted a declaration attempt against the peace of the by Sir Robert Peel in 1835 that, nation by conspiring to take away had he remained in office, he the life of the Sovereign; but it meant to adopt the principle of is the folly or malignity of wretches Lord Althorp's Bill, which declawho are guilty of acts prompted ration was accompanied by remarks by motives which are scarcely on the importance of settling the assignable. The law, in its charity question. Lord Stanley had also to human nature, has omitted to strongly characterized the grievance provide for the case of any being, of church-rates in 1834. Repeated formed like a man, who could find attempts to settle the question a satisfaction in firing a pistol at a had been made by the late Goyoung lady, that lady a mother, vernment, and different plans had and that mother the Queen of been propounded, but without that these realms. [Prolonged cheers success which Sir Robert Peel's from both sides.] It never entered powerful majority now enabled into the conception of former law. him to command.' There was formakers that anything so monstrous merly an all but unanimous agreeshould arise, as that the Queen of ment as to the existence of the these realms should not enjoy a grievance, and it was hard that degree of liberty granted to the those aggrieved should be forced Vol. LXXXIV.


to remain subject to a wrong, be- opposition of the Dissenters themcause the substitutes hitherto pro selves, as they said it still proposed posed for church-rates had been to take the money out of their imperfect. It had been stated by pockets, though by indirect tax . Sir R. Inglis that the total amount ation. Sir R. H. Inglis then enof the church-rates paid in England tered into arguments to show that and Wales was only 566,0001. per church-rates are not a poll-tax, annum, of which not one-twentieth but a tax on property, just as much was paid by dissenters ; surely it as poor-rates are so; the chief was not worth while to perpetuate difference between them being, a grievance for the sake of 14 or that poor-rates are imposed under 15,0001. a-year? He then ex a law two centuries and a half plained his own plan.

old; church-rates under a law He proposed, in the first place, almost coeval with the existence of to abolish church-rates, except in landed property in England. The so far as related to arrears, or to agitation against the rate, he said, the payment of debts or sums was limited to a very small pro. heretofore borrowed, to which portion of parishes, while 3,188 church-rates had been pledged for petitions had been presented from the repayment. The maintenance every part of the country in favour of the fabric of the Church he of continuing the system. As to proposed to meet, where endow. the argument ad verecundiam, that ments or voluntary subscriptions the impost was retained for the were not sufficient, by giving to sake of 14,0001. per annum, that the church wardens and the minister told both ways : but his claim for the power of charging and fixing church-rates was, that they were rents on pews in all cases, except a national tribute to the National where the pews belonged to the Church, and as such ought to be minister, the trustees, church. continued. It was the privilege wardens, or overseers of the poor of the people to have free access for the time being, and all such as to their parish churches ; he would were allotted as free sittings for not have them pay for going into the use of the poor.

a church as if they were going He concluded by moving " for into a theatre. leave to bring in a Bill to abolish Mr. Sharman Crawford said, church-rates, and to make other the question at issue was, whether provisions for the maintenance of there should be a Church-establishchurches and chapels in England ment in England paid by the and Wales."

people, or not. If there ought to Sir R. H. Inglis said, that Sir be a Church by law established, it John Easthope's speech had been had a right to church-rates. If it easily made, for if any one took had a right to tithe, it had a right

the report of his speech on the to church-rates. It was his opinion same subject last year, he would that all such practices should be find not only the same arguments abolished. used, but the same ornaments in Mr. Gally Knight agreed that the shape of quotations from other Mr. Crawford had stated the true speeches. The last project for ground of the question. Howpaying church-rates out of the ever, the Church, though she had Consolidated Fund met with the slept for a time, was now aroused


to activity, and her influence was On a division there appeared increasing, while that of Dissent for the motion 80; against it 162: was on the wane.

Majority 82. Lord John Russell said, there When the vote for Maynooth might be un Established Church College came to be proposed in without church-rates, as in Ireland Committee of Supply, Mr. Plumpand Scotland: all that was re tre opposed the grant on religious quired was some provision by law grounds, urging the same argufor the maintenance of the fabric. ments which were employed in The evils of an annual contest on the debate of the preceding Sesthe question were not to be de. sion. He was supported by Mr. nied; and he thought it perfectly Bateson, Mr. Cochrane, Sir H. fair, to propound a proposal for Smyth, and Colonel Verner. Lord the abolition of the rate : but he Eliot expressed his deep regret at could not promise to support Sir the discussion, especially as it parJohn Easthope's Bill in its future took of the nature of theological stages. He did not blame the Go. eontroversy. He defended the vernment for not taking in hand grant on two grounds, expediency, the subject this year, as they had and compact. many other matters to occupy their He was inclined to recommend attention ; but he hoped that the the grant on the ground of expequestion would not escape their diency, on account of the impronotice in another Session.

priety of this country's allowing a Mr. Goulburn said that, before large portion of the Irish people to he could consent to any project for be without the means of procuring abolishing church-rates,' he must education or religious instruction. be assured that other means would Although they could not but bebe provided for securing the main- lieve that doctrines were taught at tenance of the fabric, and he de. Maynooth to which, as conscien-, rived no such assurance from the tious members of the Established Bill now proposed. It might Church, they could not agree, yet apply to newly-built churches, but it was better that some superhe lived in a parish where every stitious or unsound notions should holder of a cottage succeeded to a be inculcated, than that the great seat in the church. If the number bulk of the Irish people should be of pews was very small, was a prevented from embracing the only very high rental to be set on them means which they would adopt of -101. a-year for instance-in case becoming acquainted with the 2001. were required to be raised in great fundamental truths of Chrisa church containing only twenty tianity. With respect to the alpews ? Or, if the parishioners leged pruriency of passages in were too poor to take pews, were class-books used at Maynooth, it they to see strangers from an ad- should be recollected that they joining parish occupy the chief should not judge of a general seats in their own church? system by detached portions; and

Mr. O'Connell appealed to the he believed it would be as unfair instance of the Roman Catholic and unreasonable to attack the Church in Ireland, for proof that a general system on account of these church might be maintained with. alleged evils, as it would be to out the aid of church.rates. decry the moral tendency of medi

« AnteriorContinuar »