§ MR. PLUMPTRE
, on the Question, "That the House, at its rising, should adjourn to Monday next," begged to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, if the debate on the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill should not finish to-night, whether it was the intention of the noble Lord to proceed with it on Monday, or whether it would be postponed for the Navy Estimates?
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
It is my intention not to go on with the Navy Estimates on Monday; but if the debate on the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill be adjourned this evening, then to go on on Monday with the adjourned debate. I may as well take this opportunity of stating, with regard to the notice which I gave, that on Friday next my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would state what alterations he proposed to make in his financial 1319 statemen that since then the hon. Member for Inverness-shire has given notice that he will move a vote of censure on the Government for their administration of the affairs of Ceylon. I wished to ask the hon. Member if he would lay on the table the terms of his Motion; but I find that he has gone out of town, and I must postpone the question till Monday. But, as a vote of censure on the Government is now pending, I hope that hon. Gentlemen who have notices on the paper for that day will give way, in order that a question directly affecting the fate of the Government may be brought to a speedy issue. I may likewise state that it would not be right, with a vote of censure hanging over our heads, that we should propose any financial statement; and, therefore, I shall certainly propose to wait till it be decided whether we or some future Government are to bring forward the financial arrangement for the year. I therefore trust that my noble Friend the Member for Bath, who has a Motion which stands first on the Notices, as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, who has a Motion relating to Borneo, will wave their right of precedence, in order to allow the Motion of the hon. Member for Inverness-shire to come on on that day.
§ LORD ASHLEY
said, he had already postponed his Motion more than once; but if other hon. Gentlemen would agree to postpone theirs, he would not stand in the way.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
wished to know, as the noble Lord had no opportunity of bringing forward the Jewish Disabilities Bill last night, on what day he now proposed to bring it forward?
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
proposed to bring it forward on Tuesday next, and, failing that, he would endeavour to bring it forward some other Notice day.
§ MR. MOORE
said, the noble Lord at the head of the Government had stated that, with a vote of censure hanging over him, he would not proceed with the financial business of the country. Now, it appeared to him (Mr. Moore) that the question relating to the finance and taxation of the country called not only for wise, but for prompt consideration; while there were other important measures involving great changes in the law, and a permanent adjustment of the relations between the Government and the governed, in which not only was there no haste required, but in which it was important that they should 1320 legislate without heat or passion. But it appeared to him that the noble Lord was reversing the salutary order of things. He was proceeding to legislate with haste and passion on a question on which the utmost deliberation was required, and he refused to legislate at all on questions where prompt and vigorous legislation was necessary. He must say, that he would be the last man to offer a factious opposition to the measures of Government—[Cheers]—he declared it, he would not accede to factious opposition under reasonable circumstances. But he must say, that if it was proposed to postpone the pressing business of the country, to which the country was looking forward with impatience, merely for the sake of pressing forward measures to which the country might be looking forward with anxiety, perhaps, but certainly not with impatience; he must say that, under such circumstances, there was no course of faction which he was not entitled to take. He was willing to defer to Her Majesty's Government in ordinary circumstances, but he thought they had a right to know that the Government was a Government, and not a mere provisional machine established for their oppression; if they were to suffer, let them suffer under due course of law, not from the wishes of a set of automatons who had no power of motion except for one purpose. If, therefore, the financial measures of the country were to be postponed because a vote of censure was hanging over the Government, and if they proposed to proceed to-night with the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, he should feel himself at liberty to move that the House do now adjourn.
§ MR. F. O'CONNOR
thought that nothing could be more fair or more creditable to the Government, than to postpone these measures till the charge to be brought against them was disposed of.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
What I stated was, that on Friday, the 21st, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would propose the alterations that he proposed to make in his financial measures, and that we should then proceed with the Army Estimates, and that on Monday, the 24th, we had intended to proceed with the question of the continuance of the income tax. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford has given notice of a Motion on that question, and what I say is this, that as on Tuesday, the 25th, the vote of censure is to be proposed, it would be inconvenient to the House—more inconvenient 1321 to the House than to us as a Government—that we should proceed with that question on Monday. But I never proposed that the financial statement should be postponed.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that recent proceedings showed the necessity of altering the rule of the House, which required 40 Members present before a House could be made. He himself had a Motion on the paper of the greatest importance, involving an expenditure of 7,000,000l. of the public taxes, which were expended in direct violation of what he considered to be constitutional principles. In consequence of that he should be reduced to the necessity of bringing on the question on going into Committee of Supply. When Gentlemen connected with the Government were interested in any measure that was likely to come under consideration, they took good care to secure a House; but when independent Members had Motions on the paper those Gentleman thought proper to absent themselves. Last night, when the House could not be made, there were several Members in the library and in the lobbies. On that, as on similar occasions, Gentlemen were actively at work in preventing a House being made. He would not repeat what was said on such occasions; but there could be no doubt of this, that impediments were thrown in the way of forming a House and proceeding with public business. All he should now observe was, that he intended to take an early opportunity of bringing his Motion under the notice of the House.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that he was quite as much disappointed as the hon. Member for Lambeth; and, with reference to the money which the hon. Gentleman said was paid unconstitutionally, he begged to inform him that a great part of it was paid in conformity with Acts of Parliament, and much of the remainder was paid on old constitutional principles. He had come down last night with his box under his arm, to show all this to the hon. Gentleman, and to his surprise and disappointment he found that from there being no House he was not able to meet him.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
would ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman upon whom the Government relied for making a House when the noble Lord at the head of the Government had important business on the paper. The noble Lord's Motion respecting 1322 the Jewish disabilities stood second yesterday; but though last year he promised to take an early opportunity of bringing forward that question in the present Session, and had had that opportunity yesterday, he now came down in breathless haste to persecute the Roman Catholics, whilst he totally and entirely neglected the Jews. It made all the difference whether the noble Lord had had a Notice on the paper yesterday or not. If private Members only had notices, it would have been their duty to make a House; but when the noble Lord had a notice also, it was his duty to have made a House. It would have been better if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been in his place at four o'clock, instead of walking down with his bundle of papers at half-past. Who were the Members of the Government who were there yesterday? Only one! The Secretary of the Treasury. And he was "alone in his glory" on the Treasury benches, not one single Member of the Government besides being present. It could not be too often repeated what had been laid down by Mr. Canning on the subject. Mr. Canning used to say that it was the duty of the underlings of a Government (and the rule applied particularly to those whose offices were more ornamental than useful, such as the Lords of the Treasury)—that the first duty of those underlings was to form "a House;" next, to keep "a House;" and, thirdly, to cheer the Ministers. He thought the noble Lord would be indebted to him for the hint, as the Government appeared to be rather in want of a cheer sometimes. He hoped the noble Lord would have a notice to that effect posted up in all the Government offices, and that whenever there wag any public business of importance coming on, he would command them to help in making a House.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
could only say that his general directions to the Secretary of the Treasury was to make a House on all occasions, independent of what business was set down in the paper. The Government were the losers more than any one else by the House not being made, from the inconvenience of the Motion, of which notice had been given, coming on other nights when the Orders of the Day stood first. Last night his expectation was that a House would be made, and the Secretary of the Treasury assured him that he had used every exertion to make a House.
§ MR. BARNARD
rose to state, in con- 1323 firmation of what the noble Lord had said, that though he was not an underling of the Government, yet he had received a note from the Treasury requesting his attendance yesterday evening.
§ MR. HAYTER
begged permission to say that he took all measures for the purpose of securing a House, however unsuccessful they might have been. When he came to the House he found some Members—not Members of the Government—reluctant to come in, and he was unsuccessful in inducing those Members to come into the House. Having made the attempt, he was present when the House was counted, and expressed to the hon. Member for Lambeth his regret that his efforts should have been unavailing to obtain the advantage for him of an opportunity to make those charges of which he had given notice.
§ The House at its rising to adjourn to Monday.