§ MR. RICARDO
moved that the following Members constitute the Select Committee on the Navigation Laws: Mr. Ricardo, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Alderman Thompson, Mr. Villiers, Sir Howard Douglas, Admiral Dundas, Mr. Lyall, Mr. M'Carthy, Mr. Thomas Baring, Mr. Hume, Mr. Liddell, Mr. Bright, Sir George Clerk, and Mr. Milner Gibson.
§ On the name of Mr. Bright being moved,
§ MR. FERRAND
said, that the hon. Member for South Shields had been caught in his own trap. He had objected to one Committee, and had obtained a worse. Eleven Members were now upon it who had voted for free trade in corn, and by such majority the navigation laws would be doomed. The country could have no confidence in the Committee; and if the hon. Member (Mr. Wawn) persevered in his resistance to the name of the hon. Member for Durham, he would divide with him, even if they were followed by no other Member.
LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that it seemed to him a very fair Committee. There was no force, as far as he saw, in the objection. The House could not be surprised that the Vice President of the Board of Trade should be a Member of it; and the fact that Mr. Bright might become a candidate for Manchester, was no disqualification, the hon. Member being so well qualified in other respects.
§ MR. FINCH
remarked, that Mr. Bright was known to entertain a very strong opinion on the navigation laws. The most important interests were involved, and it was essential to obtain an impartial Committee. His experience of Parliamentary Committees led him to think their decisions not worth sixpence; the Orange Committee, on which he had sat, after fifty-one days of inquiry were not able to make any report. In this case, the numbers, as could be seen beforehand, would be ten to four, so that the report might as well be drawn up at once without further trouble.
§ MR. LIDDELL
explained that he had refused to sit on the Committee as first named, but had consented to sit as one of the amended list. He thought that the list of names would be a guarantee to the country of a fair investigation of the subject.
§ MR. BROWNRIGG
observed, that his name had been left out in the amended list, though he had supposed, from having been engaged in trade and shipping for a quarter of a century, and from not having pledged himself by any vote, that he was, at all events, not disqualified to form a sound and just decision. He hoped he should not be considered as belonging to either of the classes mentioned by the 27 noble Lord, who had, according to him, made up their minds already as to which side they would take in Committee; but that he should receive credit for coming to whatever decision might seem best to him on the merits of the evidence alone, in any case to which he might be appointed.
§ MAJOR BERESFORD
, in reference to the remarks of the hon, Member for Boston (Mr. Brownrigg), begged to explain that the selection of the Members of his side of the House had been referred to him in the first instance, and that he had named five hon. Members, of whom the last was the hon. Member for Boston. When he had done so, however, the hon. Member for London (Mr. Lyall) came to him, and put forward his claim to serve on the Committee, as having been chairman of the previous Committee on the same subject, and also as being Member for the city of London. It would have been odd indeed if he had refused, after such an appeal, to nominate the hon. Gentleman. He had considered the hon. Gentleman's health too bad to serve; but as the hon. Member himself differed from him on that point, he could not but accede to his request.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, he must object to the system of selecting Members to serve on Committees of that House, as described by the hon. Member for Harwich (Major Beresford). To send down persons of stiff opinions and strong prejudices on one side or other, was not the way to arrive at the truth. It was men like the hon. Member for Boston who should be placed on these Committees; and the reason why so many Committees of that House had not arrived at any result on the question for which they had been selected, was, in his opinion, altogether attributable to the system of appointing Members of a strong bias on either side.
§ Amendment withdrawn. The Committee appointed.