§ SIR GEORGE GREY
rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill for the Amalgamation of the City of London Police with the Metropolitan Police, and said: Sir, the proposal which I have to make to the House is by no means a new one. The question to which it relates has been carefully considered and reported on by Commissions appointed by the Crown, as well as by Committees nominated by this House at, different times and under different circumstances. A remarkable unanimity of opinion has, I may add, been apparent in the conclusions at which those Commissions and Committees have arrived, and that unanimity is, I believe, pre-eminently due to the fact to which they have all adverted, to the fact which it is desirable we should, in dealing with the question, bear in mind—that an essential difference exists between the Corporation of the City of London and other municipal corporations in respect of the area within which their respective jurisdictions are exercised. Before, however, I advert further to that fact, or to the observations which have been made upon it by the Commissions and Committees to which I have alluded, I wish to say that the proposal which I am now about to submit to the House is not founded mainly or exclusively on the events which took place on the 7th of March last. The Bill, to the introduction of which I am about to ask the House to accede, is not, in short, a penal measure directed against the City of London on account of any mismanagement which might be attributable to them in connection with the proceedings of that day. The events of the 7th of March at the same time, no doubt, show great mismanagement, or rather great want of order and management on the part of the City authorities, and a very inadequate appreciation, of the emergency likely to arise, notwithstanding the warning given by the crowds who collected to witness the preparations previous to the 7th. These events also showed over-confidence on the part of the City authorities in their own means for preserving order unaided by extraneous assistance. The occurrences of the 7th of March, indeed, tend, I think, conclusively to show that the opinions formed by the Commissions and Committees to which I have already referred were well founded, and that the theory which they laid down as to the inconvenience 482 likely to result from the existence of a divided authority, such as that existing in the case of the City and Metropolitan Police, was not of an imaginary character, but one which, when brought to the test by circumstances, was proved to be based upon a solid foundation. Before I allude more particularly to the opinions of those Commissions and Committees on the subject, however, I wish to state that the course which I am now about to take is one upon the expediency of adopting which the Government decided, after weighing all the circumstances of the case, without waiting to be guided by the opinion of the House as it might be elicited on the Motion with reference to the amalgamation of the City and Metropolitan Police of which the lion, and gallant Member for Westminster (Sir De Lacy Evans) had given notice. Had that Motion been made in the terms announced, it would have been impossible for me to dissent from it—because, having read the Reports of the several Commissions and Committees, as well as the evidence which was taken before them, I could not deny the practical inconvenience of that divided authority against the continuance of which the Motion was directed, as exemplified in the occurrences of the 7th of March. That being so. Her Majesty's Government think the proper course, and that most consistent with their duty, was not to wait for the passing of an abstract Resolution on the subject, but rather to submit to the House a practical proposal in the shape of a Bill, with the view of remedying the inconvenience in question.
The difference between the Corporation of London and every other, in respect of the area over which its authority extends, was pointed out very clearly by a Commission composed of men of great eminence, and who were not likely to disregard popular rights, which was appointed in 1853, and which made its Report in 1854. But before I make any quotations from the Report of that Commission, I think it due to that Corporation to state that the Commissioners expressed it to be their opinion, that the City of London was favourably distinguished from other corporations before they were reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act, inasmuch as the defect of power being vested exclusively in a few without responsibility to the many did not seem to them to exist in the City of London to the same extent, and that the Corporation of London was superior to other 483 corporations by the predominance of the popular element. The Commissioners, however, go on to say, that although the ancient constitution of the Corporation of London had secured to the inhabitants a fair representation of their interests, that representation was confided to persons dwelling within the area of the City proper, and did not extend to the population of the larger part of London. They add, that the limits of that area were fixed at a very early period, and that there was no record of their having been enlarged so as to keep pace with the growth of the metropolis. Now, other great towns seem to have been similarly circumstanced before the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act; but there is a provision of that Act by which their corporate jurisdiction was made coextensive with the real dimensions of those towns. In London, however, no such change took place. The area now is the same as it was, and the population is diminishing. It appears by the Returns which were laid before the Corporations Commission in 1854 that the population of London proper was then 129,125. The last Census shows that it has diminished to 112,063; while the population of the surrounding district — the Metropolitan Police District — is no less than 3,110,654. The area in square miles of the City is a mile and a half or a mile and three-quarters; in the surrounding Metropolitan Police District the area is 700 square miles. We have therefore these facts to deal with. We have a very small portion of this vast metropolis with a jurisdiction separate in police matters, and acting independently of the authority exercised in the surrounding districts. In that respect the case of the City of London differs essentially from every other existing corporation, and none of these can dread that the principle of the present measure will be applied to them, because it is impossible that the reasons urged in favour of the proposals we have now to make can by possibility be urged with regard to them. The Corporation of the City was once, in fact, the corporation of the metropolis; but the metropolis has long outgrown the limits of the City. The municipality is still entitled to respect, from its great historical associations, from the privileges which it has long enjoyed, and the charters of which it is in possession; but between the Corporation of the City of London and the remainder of the metropolis there is no connection, and, at 484 the same time, the boundaries are in some parts difficult to be defined. It is situate in the midst of an immense aggregation of houses and streets—towns they might almost be called—and its limits are stationary, while theirs go on rapidly increasing. Prior to the introduction of the Metropolitan Police Act by the late Sir Robert Peel in 1829, a Committee was appointed to inquire into the state of crime in the metropolis, and the means existing for its prevention and detection. That Committee took a great deal of evidence, and suggested a scheme, which was embodied in the Bill of the following year. The object of that measure was the abolition of the separate jurisdictions of the parishes and the union of the metropolis under one police management. Sir Robert Peel had to deal with a state of things in which each parish provided its own nightly watch, and it followed that in one parish the force might he efficient and in another the reverse. Sir Robert Peel pointed out, that according to the boundaries, one side of a street might be well watched, while the other side, in a different parish, was hardly watched at all; and he showed conclusively that where a great variety of jurisdictions existed, they were not conducive to the public interest or to the security of life and property. The same objections were made to his proposals then that we have now to encounter—that they would interfere with local government, disturb existing rights and privileges, and abolish long established usages and authority. Parliament met those objections then in the same spirit which I hope it will show on the present occasion, and legislated for the general benefit of the metropolis. The limits of the City were not included in the limits of that Bill, but this immunity was not owing to any supposed inviolability conferred by ancient charter of privilege. It so happened that the question was put to Sir Robert Peel in the course of the discussion on the Bill, and the simple reason which he gave was that the Committee which sat the year before reported that the night watch in London was far superior to that of Westminster. He further stated that he wished to make the measure to a certain extent experimental, by including in it only a limited number of parishes at first, leaving the remainder to be added to the police limits about to be established, as experience showed the benefits arising from the new system, which he confidently anticipat- 485 ed would commend it to die general approval. The Municipal Corporation Commissioners presented their Report to Parliament in 1837, and they recommended no changes in regard to the Corporation of London, and it was not included in the scheme of corporation reform laid before Parliament, special reasons being held sufficient to exclude it, and to reserve it for separate consideration, Yet the Commissioners expressed their opinion on several points, and, among others, on the state of the police, and the contrast presented by the police of the City of London to that of the surrounding metropolis. It is right, however, that the House should hear in mind that the City Police existing in 1837 were the old night watch, who had not been reformed up to that period, eight or nine years after the introduction of Sir Robert Peel's Bill. Speaking of that force, the Commissioners say —In one particular, and that a most important and practical one, the opinion of Parliament has been already declared by the establishment of a Metropolitan police, under the orders of Commissioners appointed by and immediately dependent upon your Majesty's executive Government. We scarcely anticipate that any argument can be brought forward to show that this system can be partially right. We can see no middle course for the establishment of an efficient police throughout the metropolis between placing the whole under a metropolitan municipality and intrusting the whole to Commissioners or other similar officers under the immediate control of your Majesty's Government. This, indeed, is a point which can-rot be treated as exclusively concerning the City; for, by the exemption of its territory from the authority of the Commissioners of Metropolitan Police, not only is its own security diminished, but great obstacles are thrown in the way of perfecting the improved system by which the City is on every side surrounded. There may be room for doubt which is the proper authority to which the superintendence of the police of the metropolis should be intrusted; we apprehend they can be none that the authority, whatever it be, should be supreme and undivided throughout the whole district.That was the opinion to which those Commissioners came. A Committee was subsequently appointed to inquire into the constitution of the Metropolitan Police. That Committee sat in 1838, and presented it Report to the House, embodying the opinions which they had formed after receiving a great deal of evidence on various points. The Committee comprised men of grout weight, among others the late Sir Robert Peel and the late Mr. Hume, who certainly were not indifferent to popular rights and privileges. It inquired minutely into the working of 486 the Metropolitan Police, and also as to the expediency of keeping tip a separate force for the City of London. That Committee came deliberately and, as far as I can make out from their proceedings, unanimously to a very decided opinion. Having heard the different objections to uniting the City with the Metropolitan Police, they classed these objections under four heads, to three of which they did not attach much importance, disposing of them in two or three sentences. But with regard to one class of objections relating to the alleged violation of privileges, they are most explicit in their opinion, and their observations are well deserving the attention of the House, as I understand this supposed invasion of the rights and privileges of the City of London forms one of the principal grounds on which the Bill is to be resisted. They say—With regard to the third objection—namely, the alleged violation of privileges—your Committee would be indeed reluctant to do or recommend anything which could be construed into an infraction of the chartered rights of any part of the community, and nothing short of a case of paramount necessity for the promotion of the general good could, in their opinion, justify such an interference. Your Committee would observe, upon this point, that at the time when the City charters conferred on the authorities of the corporation of London the control over their own police their jurisdiction was co-extensive with the metropolis But now, while the metropolis has so tar extended as to include within its boundaries another and a far larger city, by consolidating, as it were, the villages which formerly surrounded it, the jurisdiction of the municipal authorities is confined within the original limits. Hence, privileges which by those charters were granted to the whole, are limited to what, under altered circumstances, is only a portion. It becomes, therefore, a duty to distinguish between those which merely concern the residents within the City walls, and those which may affect, though indirectly, the rest of the metropolis. Of the latter description one is, that of making laws for the regulation and maintenance of a good police, which it appears to your Committee is so much a matter of universal interest that it ought, under the peculiar circumstances of the metropolis, to devolve upon the Government, and the success which has attended that system of police which now so effectually and satisfactorily protects both person and property in the larger portion of the metropolitan district is the ground upon which it is recommended.The Committee refer to the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Municipal Corporations, from which I have just quoted, and they proceed toFully concurring in the opinion of the Corporation Commissioners as to the necessity of a supreme and undivided authority throughout the whole district, your Committee can entertain no 487 doubt that that authority, from the vast extent of the metropolis, and the various and conflicting interests involved, ought to be vested in the Commissioners appointed by and acting under the directions and control of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Your Committee, have therefore agreed to the following as their first recommendation for the improvement of the Police Act of the Metropolis—namely, That, for the better prevention of crime, the detection of offenders, and the preservation of the peace, and the more effectually to promote these objects in conformity with the principle of the 10 Geo. IV. c. 44, 'An Act for Improving the Police in and near the Metropolis' (Sir Robert Peel's Act), it is expedient to consolidate the several constabulary forces of the metropolis, including those of the City of London and the river Thames, under one authority, responsible to the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
That Report was made in 1838, and I ought to have stated that this Report was not made under the same circumstances as those which existed when the Municipal Corporations Commission reported. As I have already said, up to the year 1837 no advance had been made by the City of London with regard to the improvement of their police —it remained much in the same state as the Metropolitan Police had been before the passing of Sir Hubert Peel's Act. When the Committee of 1838 sat, in consequence of the strong opinion expressed by the Commission of 1837 a Bill had been prepared by the City of London for organizing a police force resembling that of the other parts of the metropolis. In the following year Lord John Russell, who was then Secretary of State for the Home Department, having considered the recommendations of the Committee and the Commission, brought in a Bill to continue the Metropolitan Police Act, and to carry into effect various alterations suggested by the Committee of 1838. Their first recommendation had been the consolidation of the police force of the metropolis under one head, and the first ten clauses of the Bill proposed by Lord John Russell gave effect to that recommendation by consolidating the police of the City with that of the rest of the metropolis. That Bill ultimately passed, but with the omission of those ten clauses, for reasons which I will presently state. On the very same- day, however, on which the Royal assent was given to the Metropolitan Police Act there passed also an Act for the regulation of the City Police, under the jurisdiction of the Corporation no doubt, but framed very 488 much on the model of the Metropolitan Police Act. Although therefore the recommendation of the Committee and Commission were not acted on, yet I admit that under the pressure of these inquiries the City made an immense improvement in 1839 in their police, and ever since it has been much more effectively administered. A further inquiry took place into the affairs of the City of London in 1854. A Commission was appointed, and the question of the police was expressly referred to that Commission. The Commissioners took a great deal of pains to examine into the subject. They examined the very able Commissioner of City Police, the late Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey; they also took the evidence of many persons connected with the Corporation, and of independent witnesses residing in the City, unconnected officially with that body. This was the conclusion at which the City of London Corporation Commissioners of 1854 arrived—Upon the creation of the Metropolitan Police in the year 1829, by the Act 10 Geo. IV., c. 44, the City of London was alone excepted; but in the year 1839 a separate police for the City was established by the Act 2 & 3 Vict., c. 94. We refer to the evidence of Mr. Harvey, the Commissioner of the City Police (who appears to have discharged the duties of his office in a very efficient manner) as illustrating the operation of the system, and as showing the principal grounds upon which a separate police for this small portion of the metropolis is maintained. We have carefully considered the reasons which have been adduced in favour of preserving the distinction in question, and have come to the conclusion that the reasons in favour of a. combined system preponderate. The district of the Metropolitan District now (1854) contains an area of 571 square miles; the area of the City is little more than one square mile, and it is surrounded on all sides by the Metropolitan Police District. We believe that the incorporation of the City with the larger district by which it is environed is a measure recommended alike by considerations of efficiency and economy, and we do not doubt that the difficulty of communicating with the head office, to which Mr. Harvey adverts in his evidence, might by proper arrangements be overcome.That was the result of the inquiry that look place into the police of the City of London in its improved state—in the state in which it now exists—namely, under a Chief Commissioner of Police appointed by the Corporation and acting independently of the Metropolitan Police force. Three inquiries into this subject have therefore resulted in the same opinion — namely, that inasmuch as the City of London no longer represents London itself—that London and the City of London are no longer con- 489 vertible terms—that the City of London occupies only a small proportion of the metropolitan area, the City Police ought no longer to possess a separate and independent Jurisdiction. The weight of authority in favour of the change now proposed has seldom been exceeded by that in favour of my proposal. The evidence given by Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey before the City of London Corporation Commission of 1854: was, of course, given under a certain restraint, he being the servant, of the Corporation, but it is impossible not to see that he felt the force of the arguments implied in the questions put to him as to the inconvenience of having two bodies under a different jurisdiction. There are certain minute points of difficulty in this separate jurisdiction, such as there being no broad line of demarcation between the City and the other districts—one side of a street being in the City and another in the Metropolitan Police district, and one portion of the river being in the City at high water and in the metropolitan district at low water. I do not wish to lay too much stress on these minor matters. I would rather rest the necessity for this Bill on broader grounds, and say that it is obvious that the police of a small area in the centre of a larger jurisdiction ought not to be under a separate jurisdiction. I am bound, however, to say that since the City Police has been established on its present basis the head of the force and the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police have maintained a stood understanding with each other, and that much of the absence of any practical inconvenience has been due to the good sense, good feeling, and judgment of the respective heads of the City and Metropolitan Police. But it must be borne in mind that this is a state of things which may at any time be disturbed— it does not always follow that the same happy selection may he made; and if differences should arise between the two chiefs, very serious consequences may ensue. The number of the City Police bears a larger proportion to the number of the inhabitants than that of the Metropolitan Police hears to the inhabitants of the metropolitan district. As the City Police, however, only number 600 men, it is impossible to concentrate them at periods of pressure without withdrawing them altogether from other places where they are wanted. The Metropolitan Police, on the other hand, number between 6,000 and 7,000, and you may withdraw on special 490 occasions a large body from various districts and concentrate them at that point where an emergency has arisen, without any risk to the districts from which they are withdrawn. It is impossible that this can be done in the City, because the numbers are not sufficient; and this was clearly shown by the occurrences of the 7th of March. It was impossible that the City Police could all he taken to London Bridge or the Mansion House, or wherever the greatest pressure existed. The consequence was that being dispersed throughout the whole City without any assistance being given them, it naturally followed that they were completely lost in the multitude of the people. I have heard some gentlemen who were present say that they hardly saw a policeman, and that the police were so insufficient in number that they were utterly unable to discharge their functions. Provision was made in the City Police Act which enables the Metropolitan Police, under certain circumstances, to act within the City. Their right to do so is, however, contingent upon a request being made by the Lord Mayor; and unless that request is made, not a single policeman can be sent into the City. On this occasion, no such request was made. I do not think this is a matter which should depend upon the will of the Lord Mayor for the time being. They are men of great respectability, who discharge their duties well, as I have had many occasions of observing, but they hold their office only for a year, and are therefore generally inexperienced in the conduct of arrangements of this nature. On a former occasion—the visit of the Emperor of the French to the City — a request was made by the then Lord Mayor for the assistance of the Metropolitan Police, and I believe they kept the streets along the line of route from Temple Bar to St. Paul's. On the occasion of the funeral of the Duke of Wellington no similar assistance was required, because order was preserved by the presence in the City of a military force of 1,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, who kept the streets from Temple Bar to St. Paul's. That was, however, a great military spectacle, and so large a body of troops in the City were quite able to keep the peace and maintain order.
Sir, after the delay in legislating on this I subject, I may he asked why this proposition is now made. Looking at these Reports, and bearing in mind the evidence 491 on which they wore founded, the cause of the delay is not difficult to discover. I have had some experience in dealing with matters connected with the City of London, and have had a great deal of intercourse with its functionaries during the time I have been in the office which I now have the honour to hold. I have always found that I could easily conduct that intercourse on terms mutually agreeable to the authorities and myself. I never met with anything but courtesy from them, and I trust they never met with anything but courtesy from me. I have found them always anxious to discharge their duties; but whenever I touched any question which affected their alleged rights and privileges, a power of resistance was shown which it was difficult to admire too highly. The Commissioners, in their Report of 1854, say, that though various changes have been made by the Common Council, no substantial reforms have been accomplished either by Act of the Legislature or by the Common Council, and I believe, subject to some modifications, that is true at the present time. The Corporation is possessed of very great wealth, they exercise very great hospitality, and have a prestige which carries with it very great influence. It is represented in this House by four Members, and very frequently, as at the present time, it has the advantage of having its chief magistrate a Member of Parliament; and though not as representatives of the City, there are four or five other hon. Gentlemen Members of the House who are also members of the Corporation. I have great satisfaction, in making this proposition, in knowing that these gentlemen are able to bring a very able, very united, and very powerful advocacy to bear in defence of what they consider their rights and privileges; and it is not very likely that this House will override those rights and privileges without full consideration, and a conviction that it would he for the public advantage that they should be set aside. I have said that the Bill proposed by Lord John Russell for the amalgamation of the City with the Metropolitan Police did not pass—at least, that part of it which related to the amalgamation. Upon this point I was struck on reading the evidence given by Mr. Rogers, a gentleman who had held an important office under the Corporation, before the Commission of 1854, who appeared as advocate of the Corporation. Being asked whether 492 he had anything else to say before he left, Mr. Rogers replied—I wish to say that I think it would be a very difficult matter to deprive this City of any part of their charter, which is considered one of the brightest gems belonging to the Corporation. I am quite sure it will be fought quite as earnestly as the proposal with regard to the police, which happened in my year of office. In that case the Minister of the day, Lord Melbourne, brought in a Bill to unite the City Police to the Metropolitan Police; it was objected to by the Corporation. They petitioned the House of Commons. They saw that the Minister was determined. They then addressed the Crown, and a gracious answer was given, but they understood its nature. The Minister was still determined, and they then acted on the French maxim, 'Help thyself and Heaven will help thee.' They immediately fixed their Town Clerk in New Palace Yard; they gave him a large body of assistants, and instructed him to communicate with every corporation in the United Kingdom. The consequence was, by the influence of those country corporations, the Minister found that his support fell like a rope of sand. He gave up his measure, and the police of the City has been in the hands of Mr. Commissioner Whittle Harvey since that time.That shows the means which the City has of resisting every attack upon its alleged rights and privileges; but resistance may be carried too far, and I trust the House will not be influenced by circumstances of this kind, but will exercise its own judgment, and that, after attentively considering the recommendations of these Commissions and Committees, it will look simply to this question—what is conducive to the public interest, and to the maintenance of peace and order of the metropolis; and if convinced that the amalgamation of the City with the Metropolitan Police will have that effect, that it will act upon the recommendation that the two forces should be placed under one control. I must do the City authorities the justice to say that they have exhibited the greatest ability, the greatest energy, and the most unwearied activity in resisting every improvement which did not originate with themselves. Sir, it has been my fortune, good or bad, to have had to deal frequently with these matters when I introduced Bills for corporation reform founded on the Report of the Commission of 1854; and others have made a similar attempt with a similar result. We failed in every instance except one—namely, that which related to the removal of Smithfield Market, and that only after a most determined opposition. It was urged then also that the rights and privileges of the City should not be interfered with. I have the petition presented by the City on that 493 occasion; it is very much in the same terms as that which was presented in 1839 against the Bill for the amalgamation of the City and Metropolitan Police, alluding to the ancient rights and privileges of the City—but I will not trouble the House by reading it—I shall only say that those rights and privileges were given for the benefit of the whole community, and now belong to an infinitesimal portion of it.
I do not wish to detain the House longer, as I understand there will be no objection to the introduction of the Bill. Nor is it necessary that I should state the details of the measure at any length, because the Bill is contained in its principle—namely, the amalgamation of the City with the Metropolitan Police. The Bill repeals the Act under which the City Police was constituted, and makes provision for placing the parishes of the City on the same footing as the other parishes of the metropolis, securing to them the same benefit as the other parishes derive from the contribution from the Consolidated Fund. All this will be done with due consideration for the officers and men composing the City force, and with due regard to the convenience of the great mercantile and trading community of the City. But the Bill is so much one of detail that it would be inexpedient at present to go into its various provisions. The question now is, whether this Bill, which proposes to carry out changes recommended by so many authorities, should be introduced. I trust, Sir, that the House will entertain this Bill; and I have no doubt, if it should pass, the City itself will find it to its advantage, not in that trifling saving of money the payment of which is put forward as one reason for retaining the management of its police, but in the increased security to life and property, and in the greater facilities for maintaining peace and order within the City on those occasions when large bodies of people are brought together within its precincts. I do not want to go into the disputed points with regard to the arrangements of the City on the 7th of March, when it is alleged that the whole of the confusion arose because the Lord Mayor and the Corporation were not allowed to head the procession through the whole of London. I may, however, remark that the crowds were attracted, not by a desire merely to see the Lord Mayor and the City procession, but by the magnificent preparations which were made—especially at London Bridge 494 —to give welcome to the Princess Alexandra. London Bridge, the very first place where the procession entered the City, attracted great crowds, no doubt, by the magnificent scene which it presented to their view, and it would have been utterly impossible, but for the great good humour and forbearance of the dense crowds pressing around the Royal carriages, that disastrous consequences should not have occurred. The events of that day, I think, demonstrate the necessity of some change. It has been suggested that it would be sufficient to give authority to the Secretary of State to send the Metropolitan Police into the City upon occasions which might appear to him to call for such a step. But that would be probably equally objected to, it would not be equally effectual, and might produce a conflict of authority. I hope the House will agree to the introduction of the Bill. I will not fix its second reading for an early day, and I hope the other corporations which have received circulars similar to those I have mentioned will feel that their circumstances are essentially different. I believe, that if Manchester, Bristol, or Liverpool had in their centre a few streets separated by no visible boundary from the others, but under distinct police arrangements, so far from resisting such a change, their inhabitants would be the first to see that it was for their own good, and would give it every support: and I hope the same feeling may be entertained by the inhabitants of this metropolis. Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce this Bill.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, it was neither usual nor courteous to offer opposition to the introduction of a Bill, especially when the Motion was made by a Member of the Government. It was therefore not his intention to ask the House to express an opinion at the present moment upon the Motion of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary; and, that being the case, he would best perform the duty be owed to his constituents on this occasion if he contented himself with saying, that on the proper and fitting occasion—upon the Motion for the second reading of the Bill—he would be prepared, on their part, with other Gentlemen, to discuss the matter with reference to the general principles which bad been stated to the House by the Secretary of State. He thought be should best perform his duty to his constituents by moving, on a future occasion, that the Bill be read a second time that 495 day six months. He hoped there would be a full and fair discussion of the measure on the second reading, and, for his own part, he entertained but little fear of the result.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SIDNEY
said, he was unwilling, even at this early stage, that the statements of the Home Secretary should be allowed to go forth unaccompanied by any counter statement. Although the right hon. Baronet had introduced the measure in a tone of considerable moderation, yet the principles involved in the Bill were not less important to the public at large. The right hon. Baronet had stated that the Bill was founded mainly upon the Reports of Commissions and Parliamentary Committees. He had laid great stress on the Report of the Committee which sat in 1838, and of which no less a personage than Sir Robert Peel was a Member; and on this Report he rested his opinion that it was desirable that the City and the Metropolitan Police forces should be amalgamated. Now, if any weight was to be attached to that Report, it must be regarded as a most extraordinary fact, that instead of its being acted upon, in the following Session Parliament, by the 2 & 3 Vict., vested the control of the City Police force in the Corporation, as it now existed. That circumstance was the best answer which could be given to the Report that had been held forth as the groundwork of the present Bill. He could not but express his surprise that twenty-four years after that Act the City should be put upon the defensive in reference to its right to govern itself. Upon what ground, he asked, was the privilege of municipal government to be taken from the City of London? The right hon. Baronet had rested his case upon the limited area of the City as compared with the whole metropolis. He (Mr. Alderman Sidney) differed entirely from the conclusion he had arrived at. On the contrary, he thought that the comparatively limited area of the City rendered it the duty of the Government, not to take into their own hands the control of the City Police, but to grant municipal institutions to the various metropolitan districts, and then to have no further concern with them. It must be borne in mind that the Government had, in modern times, acquired a great increase of power by the increase of the force at its disposal. We had now a large standing army, and of late years our military and naval expenditure had been enormously increased. He wanted to know 496 upon what principle of the Constitution it was that we were to have, in addition, a vast standing army of policemen, who were to be concentrated under the authority and direction of the Home Secretary? This was not a question affecting the City of London alone; the principle was applicable to every other municipality in the kingdom. A few years since the counties had been induced to come into an arrangement by which they to a great extent lost the control of their police force, which came into the hands of the Secretary of State, in consideration of one-fourth of the cost of the police force being paid out of the Consolidated Fund. One fourth of the expense of other police forces was now paid out of the public purse; but hitherto the City Police had cost the country nothing, and he was at a loss to know why the public exchequer should be loaded with a burden which the City was ready to continue to bear. There was nothing novel in the argument of the right hon. Baronet founded upon the limited area of the City. It had been propounded before by the leading journal, the conductors of which, for some reason best known to themselves, had stepped forward as the advocates of the proposed change, though every writer in every other daily paper had taken the opposite side. The great argument of that newspaper had been, that while the area of the City was not more than one square mile, the area of the metropolitan districts amounted to 570; and that while the population of the metropolitan districts had increased to 3,100,000, the population of the City had dwindled down to 112,000. But this question must also be looked at in connection with the property of the City, and the amount of rating levied upon it. What did he find in a Parliamentary Return? He found that the whole of the ratable value of property assessed for the relief of the poor in the year ending March 1852, was in the metropolitan districts £9,011,238, and in the City, £953,000. In other words, he found that the rateable value of property in 1852 showed an average of £7 12s. 4d. for each of the 112,000 persons in the City, as against £2 18s. for each of the 3,100,000 persons in the metropolitan districts. So that in the City the property per head was three times what it was in the metropolitan districts. But the truth was that 112,000 was only the sleeping population in the City, for it was well known that the business population, or the population which resorted 497 to the City by day, was considerably in I advance of 500,000. Was it reasonable that a city which year by year and month by month had added immensely to the value of its property should be deprived of its ancient privileges and immunities on account of a single circumstance which occurred on; the 7th of March last? He would impale! the right hon. Baronet on the horns of a dilemma. If his present Motion was founded on the proceedings of the 7th of March, the cause was ridiculously inadequate to the effect; if not, he ought to have introduced his Bill years ago. The fact that he had not done so proved conclusively that hitherto there had been no ground of complaint against the management of the City Police. Much had been said about the popularity of this Bill in the metropolitan districts. What intimation had been given of that? A considerable time had elapsed since notice was given of the measure; Stirring speeches had been made and clever articles written on the subject; and yet the House had not seen the semblance of a Petition in favour of the Bill. The fact was that the metropolitan districts were almost as much opposed to it as the City. Meetings had been held in the Tower Hamlets, Marylebone, Westminster, and Lambeth, and Resolutions had been passed strongly condemnatory of the proposed amalgamation. In Lambeth, for example, the meeting, which was a very large and influential one, resolved—first, that the time had arrived when municipal institutions should be extended to the metropolitan boroughs; and secondly, that the proposal to amalgamate the City Police with the Metropolitan force was a direct attack upon the principle of local self-government and another step in a series of encroachments upon the rights and liberties of the people, tending to a system of centralization, and ultimately vesting all power in the hands of the Government; and the Resolution concluded with the assertion that the time had arrived for municipal institutions being extended to the metropolitan boroughs. He did not know how the principles of common sense could be better expressed than in the language of those Resolutions. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that he was not striking at the rights merely of the City of London, but raising a question affecting every borough, every municipality, and, indeed, the entire middle class throughout the kingdom. If the City was small as compared with the rest of the metropolis, 498 so was England itself compared with the area and population of India and Canada. Yet what would be said of a proposal to transfer the seat of our Empire from this country to those other more populous or more extensive parts of Her Majesty's dominions? He wished briefly to refer to the events connected with the procession of the 7th of March. He must say, that on that occasion the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department did interfere with the customs and privileges of the City, and, in his belief, the disasters of that day were chiefly owing to such interference. It had always been the practice in these Royal processions for the City authorities to pass beyond the boundary of the City of London. In the year 1236—[A laugh.] — he knew the date was a long way back—the historian of the City recorded that on the solemnization of the King's marriage with Queen Eleanor at Canterbury the Royal pair were met on their way to London by 360 members and officers of the Corporation, most pompously apparelled in silken robes and riding on stately horses, and carrying silver cups in token of the City's privilege as Chief Butler to their Majesties. They were preceded by the King's trumpeters; the streets of the City through which the cavalcade passed displayed rich pageants and a variety of pomps and shows; and the procession attended the King and Queen to Westminster where they had the honour of officiating as Chief Butters at the coronation; and at night the City was beautifully illuminated. In 1558, again, on the Proclamation of the Princess Elizabeth as Queen, the Mayor and Corporation, with a great cavalcade, went as far as Highgate to meet her. Similar precedents were furnished by the Royal processions of 1603 and 1714. In 1603 the City officials met the King at Stamford Hill, and accompanied him to the. City. In 1714 George I. was met with great magnificence at St. Margaret's Hill, in Southwark. It was all very well to say that the civic grandees were very fond of showing themselves; but he would venture to remind the House that there was a principle in those shows which every Government would do well to recognise. The persons who could take part in Royal feasts or receptions were the favoured few, but the many should not he denied an opportunity of testifying their loyalty to the throne; and these shows offered almost the only opportunity for the great bulk of the people to do so. He would ask the right 499 hon. Gentleman whether there was anything to alarm him in the demonstration of loyalty on the 7th of March, and whether the City did a service or disservice by it? The City ascertained that such a demonstration would be agreeable to the highest person in the realm. But what did the right hon. Gentleman do? The City were anxious to follow the ancient precedent; they desired to meet the Prince and Princess at the Bricklayers' Arms Station, and to form their cavalcade in the Borough. Had the City procession been formed in the Borough, not the least confusion would have occurred throughout the entire distance. But the right hon. Gentleman not only limited them to having their procession in the City, but he positively dictated to them, that if they made any demonstration, they were, contrary to every precedent, to follow in the wake of the procession instead of preceding it. The City authorities demurred to this, and thus several valuable days were lost. The City authorities saw the right hon. Gentleman, but he declined to alter his decision; they then saw the Lord Chamberlain, who concurred with the Secretary; and then they went to the Premier, who admitted that the City only sought to follow the ancient precedents, and that the course they desired to adopt was quite correct. In the course of the following day they heard that they would be allowed to go in the procession in the usual way, but it was directed that the City procession should commence at London Bridge and terminate at Temple Bar. He must say that the present Bill was a return to the City for the demonstration it had made which was quite unworthy of the Government, and the conduct contrasted vividly with the generous conduct of the Duke of Wellington, after winning the battle of Waterloo. There were, no doubt, many mistakes committed on the day of the battle, but the Duke said, "I will hear of no complaints; I will have no courts martial or inquiry into the conduct of others. We have a great victory, and it shall not he sullied by any such proceeding." In what position did the City authorities now stand? They had been thanked for what they had done by Her most gracious Majesty and by the Prince and Princess; and now advantage was taken of the mishaps that had occurred through an enormous concentration of people within a small area, caused by the right hon. Gentleman's own interference. He begged to submit that the time had 500 arrived when the Government ought to take into its consideration not only the police, but the amusements of the people. On the night of the illuminations millions, he might almost say, paraded the streets. True, seven or eight women were unfortunately trampled to death within the City, but this occurred through some sudden panic in two narrow passages. He was extremely sorry; but was not the Government to blame for allowing illuminations to take place? With all the excitement that prevailed in the narrow streets of London, it was only a wonder that more deaths did not take place than actually occurred on the 10th of March. But if the police of the City was to be blamed for those accidents, was there to be no inquiry as to the manner in which the Metropolitan Police performed their duty? What were the regulations adopted by Sir Richard Mayne? Had they been so very successful? His experience was only that of several others. He wanted to get from Pall Mall to Cock-spur Street or Charing Cross, having Sir Richard Mayne's regulations with him. He was prevented by the police, and desiring to comply with the instructions, he showed them to the inspector, who admitted that those were the regulations, but said it was impossible to carry them out. He turned into the Park, and was glad to get into the country as fast as he could. He had asked several Members who had gone out with their families in their carriages, but they could not move more than the length of that House in the space of three or four hours. There never was, in fact, a more lamentable failure than in the matter of the regulations issued by the Police Commissioner in Whitehall on that occasion. No lives, to be sure, were lost, but that was only because no carriages could move, and everything being brought to a dead lock. He wanted to get through the Horse Guards, and he was told by the sentry he might pass; but before taking his carriage through he went into Whitehall, where he saw the street jammed with all sorts of vehicles four abreast. He gave up the idea, and returned into the Park, passing up Constitution Hill, where egress was just as difficult. He did not wish to overlay the case which he thought the City could make in defence of their privileges; but he could not help expressing his great astonishment at the measure proposed by the right hon. Baronet. He said the Bill was intended for the City of London only; he begged therefore to refer 501 the right hon. Gentleman to the case of Manchester, Salford, and the surrounding townships, where there were, without inconvenience, not fewer than three independent bodies of police under three separate and distinct local jurisdictions. What an anomaly must they he if the City of London was an anomaly ! He would only say that the right hon. Gentleman, if successful in carrying this measure, would be flagrantly inconsistent if he did not extend his measure to Manchester and every other municipality in the kingdom. How could the right hon. Gentleman reconcile his measure to the principle of self-government? He asked the Prime Minister how he could reconcile such a course with what he said to the people of Manchester in 1856? He then said—What peculiarly distinguishes the people of these islands from the nations of the Continent is that system of local self-government which has been so fortunately established, and by which the affairs of the country are carried on with little interference on the part of the executive Government. Under that system the affairs of the country are conducted by the people themselves, whose own fault it is if they be not conducted to their satisfaction.And at Glasgow the other day the same noble Lord told the people of Glasgow that—Municipal institutions are deserving of the highest veneration and respect. They are founded on remote antiquity; they are the basis upon which everything that is good in free institutions is built up and perfected. They give to man the privilege of local self-government. They educate locally the people of a country, some afterwards to take a part in the large concerns of the nation, all to be able to form a correct judgment of the conduct of those by whom the national affairs are; guided. They instruct and enlighten the mind; they practice the human intellect in all those exercises which render it manly and energetic; and they are therefore deserving of the highest possible commendation and encouragement.He deeply regretted that the practice of the House prevented a division on the Motion for the introduction of a Bill. Personally, he would desire to divide on this Motion, believing the measure of the right hon. Baronet most unconstitutional, and likely in every way to prove eminently mischievous, and that if carried, it would strike more deeply at the independence of the middle classes of the country than any measure which had been introduced or passed into law in modern times.
§ THE LORD MAYOR (Mr. Alderman ROSE)
said, he felt some little difficulty in rising to address the House because he had thought that, in all probability, the Motion 502 for leave to introduce the Bill would be agreed to without any debate, and he bad not intended to speak; but the remarks of the Secretary of State for the Home Department were so erroneous, and the conclusion to which they pointed so mischievous if left unanswered, that, contrary to his own feelings and intentions when he entered the Mouse, he felt bound to offer a few remarks. He believed, that in the history of this House, there never was a more unconstitutional proposition brought forward than this. Why, the House had been in the habit yearly of protecting the country, and the constitution of the country, from the evils of a standing army by passing the Mutiny Bill, and yet the right hon. Gentleman proposed a measure to give him the control of a body of 10,000 armed and disciplined men—an army which, under his direction, would be at liberty to come and go as it liked, to carry on any system of espionage, under no other control whatever. The circumstances connected with the existence of the Metropolitan Police were these. They had been tolerated by the country because they had been in juxta position and in competition with the City Police force—the one under the control of the Secretary of State, and the other under local self-government. He fearlessly said in that House that these two bodies could not be compared for efficiency. The City of London Police had a better physique, they possessed more intelligence, and in everything that made a policeman valuable they were far superior to the Metropolitan Police, and the Corporation of the City of London, he was perfectly sure, were prepared to go into any inquiry whatsoever on this point. The police was essentially a local force, and must be under local control; they must be seen and known, and must exercise their power under local supervision; and these were the only terms under which the police force would be safe. They had seen this centralizing influence extending first to one district and then to another; it had been extended over a fifteen miles radius of the metropolis, besides finding its way into the dockyards. It was said that the introduction of the police into the dockyards had effected a saving to the country, but that saving was effected at the expense of the safety of the metropolitan districts, where outrages were being continually committed on life and property, He did not hesitate to say, that if the outrages and garotte robberies Which had re- 503 cently occurred in the metropolis had happened in the City of London, the Corporation would have at once dismissed their Commissioner of Police, and would have regarded the men who failed to arrest the perpetrators as unworthy to wear the uniform of policemen. They had seen that much had been said in the leading journal as to the expense of the police of the City of London; but he was prepared to show it was not only more efficient, but less expensive, than the Metropolitan Police. They had to exercise their vocation amongst great masses of people every day. Some 700,000 or 800,000 persons daily thronged the streets of the City on business, and it was known that those persons, who were chiefly concentrated in a small part of the City, carried about their persons millions of property. There the police mingled with the people, and, with a stretch of vigilance and activity really surprising, took notice of every one that passed, and kept a record of all. There was scarcely a known thief passing through the City whose movements were not noticed. Scarcely a rubbery took place in the City that was not traced out by its police. Why, the late Lord Mayor would tell the case which occurred during his mayoralty, where the most skilful of the class of thieves were engaged in the fabrication of forged Bank of England notes; that scheme, in all its extensive ramifications, was unravelled by the City Police, and the parties brought to justice. Another instance of the intelligence and efficiency of that body might be found in the detection and suppression of the extraordinary system of fraud, conducted successfully for years by the notorious "Jim the Penman"; that organization, one of the best and most cleverly contrived, was traced to the parties who conducted it by the City Police. He had a right, then, to say that the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department was not justified in the charges he had made against the City Police. Then, as to the cost, the leading journal stated that the City Police were maintained at an expense that was perfectly absurd, as compared with the cost of the Metropolitan Police. The datum on which that assumption was based—and it had been adopted by the right hon. Gentleman—was the population that slept within the City. But what could be more fallacious and absurd than such a basis? The smallness of the sleeping population of the City showed the value of 504 the police, because the 700,000 or 800,000 persons who conducted business in the City during the day left in their warehouses and counting-houses the millions of property with which they dealt during the day; and probably the only person sleeping on the premises was the housekeeper, to lock the door when they left, and open it to them in the morning. Was it reasonable or right to take the sleeping population within the City as the real population with which to measure the services of the police. It was a point too absurd for argument, and, as a noble Lord had said in the other Mouse, was suited only for declamation. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would find that the City of London was true to its trust; that it was true to upholding a better police than that of the metropolitan districts, and at a less cost; that it represented the principle of local self-government, which, if destroyed in the City of London, would soon cense to exist elsewhere, and which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had spoken of in the eloquent terms quoted by the last Speaker. The House and the country ought to know, that before anything was done with regard to the procession of the 7th of March, he (the Lord Mayor) put himself in communication with Sir George Grey, and said the City desired to make a loyal demonstration, if it met the approval of Her Majesty the Queen and the Government. The answer was that it would be most acceptable to the Queen and to the Government. The result was that the Corporation put themselves into communication with the public bodies, involving a great expenditure of time, and made every preparation for a demonstration which should be suitable to the occasion and cost the Government nothing. Then came the order altering the precedence. If the right hon. Gentleman had had his way in that matter, the display would have failed altogether. However, after interviews with the Home Secretary, with the Lord Chamberlain, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he succeeded in obtaining an alteration; but, unfortunately, a condition was imposed that the civic procession should commence at London Bridge and terminate at Temple Bar. If that condition had been imposed in the first instance, they would have said at once that it was utterly impossible to carry out the demonstration, and that they must, with very great submission, say that they 505 could not enter into the arrangement, and that they would not undertake it. But they were committed lo it, they could not draw out of it; and if there was any failure, it arose because this impracticable condition was imposed—a condition which was utterly adverse to success. He thought it a most ungenerous thing that the culminating point of all this demonstration, which cost the Government nothing, should be that the most cherished right a Briton had, that of local self-government, was to be attacked through the police; and that that force should be handed over to a Minister of Police; and that the system carried on in France should be imported into this country; and that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was to have the control of 10,000 armed men, and give no account of the manner in which he exercised it to the country. He (the Lord Mayor) believed the country would have something to say on this question—he believed that the City of London was doing-good service to the country in resisting this movement. Believing the City Police to be better than the Metropolitan—and if he did not believe it he would not have spoken—believing its management by local authorities to be one of the elements of the liberty of this country, he raised his voice in that House—and he was confident the country would support him — as be would always raise it, whenever he had an opportunity — and no doubt it would be raised successfully—to resist a proposition which he believed to be injurious to public liberty and to constitutional principles.
§ MR. NORRIS
said, that being connected with the Corporation of London, he might naturally be supposed to have strong sympathy with its views; but in opposing this Bill he was not actuated solely by that sympathy, but also by a firm conviction, after considerable deliberation, of its ultimate extension, if passed, to the borough which be represented, He had received a request from his constituents not only to oppose the Hill, but to invent a new name for the Government if they supported it as they would no longer be entitled to call themselves a liberal Government. The Secretary of State had told them that from time to time in other places there had been an extension of the municipal boundaries, consequently an extension of the police authority in those places; but it must be remembered that in these towns the extension had been from the centre to the circumference, whereas what was now proposed 506 was that the outer circle should absorb the centre of action. The right hon. Gentleman had mentioned the Police Act of 1829, and the several inquiries and Reports which had since been made in reference to the police. None of these had resulted in any legislation, and he took it that this was some evidence that the inquiries would not justify it, and that such legislation was unnecessary. In 1856 the right hon. Gentleman introduced his Bill for the better regulation of the Corporation of the City of London; but in that Bill there was no clause effecting any change in regard to the police, and he stated on that occasion that the greatest harmony had existed between the heads of the City and Metropolitan Police and the Government. Further on he said —There existed in the City a body of great influence and power, and it would require a strong case of practical inconvenience—stronger than any that he had yet seen—to induce Parliament to leave that corporation in a condition in which no corporation in the country was placed, namely, without any police force under their immediate authority.Now, nothing had occurred since that period, save the unfortunate occurrence on the 7th of March, that would justify the introduction of any Bill to make any such change. It was not fair to judge the efficiency of a force by its conduct in a great emergency; and be ventured further to suggest that It was not the duty of a local body to make provision to meet such an emergency as that referred to, and that the confusion that occurred in the City would have occurred in other parts of the metropolis, if the streets had been as narrow, and the attractions equally great. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the area of the City was only a mile and a quarter, and he argued, that on that account, the force could not be so easily concentrated. But there were 470 policemen to the square mile in the City; whereas in the Metropolitan District there were only ten men to the square mile, and therefore the concentration could take place much more easily in the City. And there was this advantage in the City, that the members of the Police Committee knew the men, and having business in the streets they could keep a vigilant eye on them, and were, in fact, in some sort inspectors of police—a supervision that could not take place in a wider district. Allusion had been made elsewhere to the cost of the police force, and it was said that the cost of the City force was greater than the cost of the Me- 507 tropolitan force. Now, a Return was made on the 12th May, 1862, of the cost of the various descriptions of police force in the country, and taking five different classes of policemen who were employed in the service of the public, he found that the Jock yard police was the cheapest, each man costing, on an average, £63 2s. 10d. The average cost of each policeman in ail the boroughs throughout England was £63 17s. 6d; in the Metropolitan District it was £78 3s. 2d.; and in the City of London, £79 1s. 7d., showing a difference of only 18s. 5d. in favour of the Metropolitan police. The cost of each man in the county constabulary was £78 10s. a year. He did not consider that the City paid too highly for its police force, considering its merit and efficiency. He took it that before the House agreed to the second reading of this Bill it would require a case to be made out that there was a more efficient police force to be had by amalgamation than there was now by having two separate forces. He believed that there were almost a million of men assembled every day in the City to perform their duty or look after their business, and who retired every night, leaving their premises and all they contained to the care of the police One gentleman, named Perkins, told him that he had for many years carried on business in the City, and that his business premises had always been perfectly safe; but that his residence, which was in the Metropolitan District, had been robbed four times in fourteen months. There were many other arguments that might be used in de fence of the ancient rights and privileges of the City, but he would not enter into them now. He ventured, however, to hope that the boroughs of the kingdom would rally round the City in defence of the great principle of self-government, and that the House would not deprive the City of London of its privileges, that it would not take from the City the control of its police, a body which did its duty without being subservient to the Government, and with respect to which no case of suspicion had arisen that they had been employed as, spies, as policemen had been employed at Liverpool, or as members of the Metropolitan police had been at Warsaw; but who by their vigilance prevented robberies, and who, when robberies were committed, brought the offenders to justice.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, he was totally unconnected with the City, and took an impartial view of this question, 508 and was therefore desirous of making a few observations. If he could see any serious practical inconvenience affecting the security, the peace, or the prosperity of the people in the jurisdiction of the City over its own police, he should offer no opposition to this Bill—on the contrary, he should give it his cordial support, because no privilege, however venerable or cherished, ought to stand in the way of the public interest. But he listened with great care to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and in the whole of that speech he did not find that the right hon. Gentleman showed any such inconvenience arising from the jurisdiction to which he had referred. He had read a good deal on the subject, and he had read the articles of the ablest of the public journals, which had embraced the views of the right hon. Gentleman; and certainly if there had been such practical inconvenience, it would have been pointed out in that journal. But none such had been pointed out, and therefore he must assume, till the contrary was demonstrated, that the jurisdiction of the City over its police occasioned no real practical inconvenience, and that it did not diminish the security to life and property, He believed that great misapprehension existed as to the power of the Metropolitan Police to seize offenders in the City, and of the City Police to seize offenders in other parts of London. The fact was, that practically the two forces acted as one in that respect, and that a City Policeman could arrest a thief in Regent Street, and a Metropolitan Policeman could arrest a thief in the front of the Mansion House, and take him before a City Magistrate if the offence had been committed in the City. All the talent and ingenuity of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, and of the ablest of the public journals, which had espoused his view, had failed to discover any such practical inconvenience, and he felt bound to conclude that none existed. There was, in fact, such perfect harmony between the two systems that they were practically as one. Then, as there existed no practical inconvenience or grievance in the existing state of things, and as no Petition had been presented for the measure now proposed to be brought in, he was at a loss to conceive on what ground it was possible for the House to give its assent to the Bill of the right hon. Baronet. The jurisdiction of the City over its police was said to be an anomaly; but, if it were so, it did not necessarily 509 follow that the jurisdiction should be abolished. The privileges of that House were in many instances anomalous, but that was no reason why they should be destroyed, when the anomaly worked well and produced no evil to the country. If the Corporation of London could not be intrusted with the same jurisdiction over its own police as the smallest borough town enjoyed, the consequence was that the Corporation of the City of London, one of the most ancient institutions of the country, must be abolished. He would ask the House whether they were prepared for such a conclusion as that? It would next be argued that it was anomalous for the different Corporations throughout the country to have jurisdictions over the police separate from the county jurisdictions, and that therefore they must be merged in the county police. He believed that there was, in fact, some small agitation with that view. Well, if they did that, the next step would be to say that it was anomalous that the counties should have separate jurisdiction, and that they must be merged in one general authority, and then the result would be the appointment of a Minister of Police for the whole nation. He believed that the country would never agree to such a change, paving the way to the adoption of the French system, which was utterly incompatible with the free institutions of England, which were its pride and the great source of its power and prosperity. He was quite sure that the noble Lard at the head of the Government was not prepared to arrive at that conclusion; and he could not believe that the noble Lord in his own heart agreed to the measure brought forward by his Home Secretary. He was convinced that the noble Lord was attached to the free institutions of this country, and the noble Lord must see that the proposal of the right hon. Baronet contained the germ of a system destructive of the principles of self-government, on which the Constitution of this country was founded. If the House agreed to this first step, he defied it to stop short, in common consistency, of the adoption of the French system, with a Minister of Police at the head of a body of police not under the Mutiny Act, and not subject to the annual Vote of Parliament, but dependent solely on the Secretary of State. That system would be utterly destructive of the free institutions which were the glory of this country. He regretted that the etiquette of that House prevented a division taking place on the 510 introduction of the Bill; because, viewing the Bill in a constitutional light, he regarded it as a measure which ought to be met boldly, and at the earliest opportunity, with a most decided rejection. There seemed, however, to be an understanding that there should be no division on the Motion for leave to introduce the Bill. He should certainly give the most strenuous opposition to the Bill in its future stages, and in doing so he should not be acting merely in reference to the City, but as a constitutional lawyer, having a regard to the principles of the Constitution. He did not agree that what happened on the occasion of the procession afforded any justification for the introduction of the Bill. He believed that the inconvenience which arose on the occasion of the Royal procession was mainly owing to the Government. A long programme appeared in the newspapers, and people were told that the whole procession was only to be seen between London Bridge and Temple Bar. Besides this, the City preparations were much more magnificent than they were on any other part of the route, and the accumulation of people in the narrow streets of the City was thus beyond all proportion to be found in the rest of London. If the entire procession had been allowed to go along the whole line, the crowd would have been distributed between the Bricklayers' Arms and the Great Western Railway, and there would not have been the enormous pressure complained of in the City. The noble Lord the Clerk Marshal (Lord Alfred Paget) said, that when he came through Temple Bar, he felt like a sailor who had emerged from among icebergs into the open sea; and this exactly made out his case, that there was an immense crowd in the City and comparatively few outside. Why, what was the procession along the other parts of the route? It consisted only of half-a-dozen carriages and some soldiers. To be sure the noble Lord was there, and no doubt he was a great attraction. Thus Her Majesty's Government placed the Corporation in a position of great difficulty, and were the main cause of the enormous mass of people being congregated in the City. Another misfortune was the death of the Chief Commissioner of the City Police, a man of great experience, just before the date of the procession; and then, again, the authorities of the City, instead of having full time to make their arrangements, were occupied in deputations to the right hon. Baronet, to the Lord 511 Chamberlain, and the noble Viscount, endeavouring to effect some change in the mischievous arrangements which were proposed, and which afterwards impeded so greatly the orderly progress of the Royal carriages. On an impartial review of these circumstances, he thought the Government would come to the conclusion, that if there was any fault, they had a large share in it, and that it did not now become them to turn round on the City and throw the whole blame upon it. The right hon. Gentleman based a bill of pains and penalties against one of the most ancient jurisdictions in the country upon extraordinary and exceptional circumstances, which might never occur again. If a permanent inconvenience could be shown, if it could be proved that the separate jurisdiction over the City Police was injurious to the security of life and property, he would at once consent to the passing of this Bill; but until then he should give it the utmost opposition in his power. This Bill was most ungraciously timed. The City was invited to give the Princess a Royal reception, and did so, presenting her Royal Highness besides with a most magnificent gift, and doing everything in its power to pay honour to the Prince and Princess, and show its loyalty to Her Majesty; and, after this, he thought it very ungracious of the Government, through the Secretary of State, to bring in a Bill depriving the City of one of its most cherished privileges.
§ LORD ALFRED PAGET
said, it must be confessed that up to that time the City of London had had the best of it with regard to the number of speeches, and he could assure its representatives that he should be very sorry to disturb the harmony of the proceedings. But he must observe, that from what he had heard from the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, he did not think this Bill had been introduced in consequence of what had occurred on the memorable 7th of March. He should be very sorry that anything which happened on that day should be the cause of hostility towards the City of London, because there was no doubt that the reception given to the Prince and Princess of Wales by the citizens was most magnificent. He was quite sure that it was most gratifying to the Prince and Princess, and the other Royal personages who witnessed it; and, above all, he was sure it was most gratifying to our beloved Queen, whose long and unsullied reign had contributed more than anything else to 512 call forth such enthusiasm on the part of an important portion of her subjects. Of course, it was not for him, who was not a Minister of State, to speak of the feelings of Her Majesty; but he was proud to say, he had served her for more than twenty of the best years of his life, and from observation he could state, that the Queen highly appreciated, and had always appreciated, the sympathy that had been shown her, and the general loyalty of her people. He confessed, that if he stood in the shoes of his right hon. Friend the Lord Mayor, he would rest his case on the fact, that on the day of the entry of the Princess the masses of people assembled in the City were so great it was beyond the power of any force to manage them. There was an old saying, "All's well that ends well;" and in this case the carriages were not upset, the Princess was not frightened, and, to the best of his knowledge, no one was killed. Perhaps, if the Lord Mayor had dropped the matter there, we should not have heard so much of what did happen on the occasion. But the question which the House had to consider was a very simple one. He, for one, should be very sorry to interfere with the privileges of the City of London, or to curtail any of their magnificence. He should be sorry to interfere with their hospitality. That hospitality was famous throughout the world; he had many times enjoyed it, and he hoped that nothing which he might say on this question would lead to a different arrangement in future. But the question was, was it desirable to have the whole of the police of the metropolis under one head? That was a very simple question. Every hon. Member, whether he belonged to the City or did not, must feel anxious that the police of London should be under the best management; and for himself he could not conceive what well-founded objection there could be to have them under one controlling power. He should rather see the whole police of the metropolis put under the management of the City, than see them under a divided management. Every one must allow, that in the event of a serious disturbance of the peace at a particular spot, it would be most desirable to have the power of concentrating a sufficient body of men at that particular point; but he understood the Metropolitan Police authorities had no power to march a body of their men into the City without the leave of the civic authorities. That was not a proper state of 513 things. A great deal had been said about local self-government. On that point he would refer to the blue-book published by the Corporation, containing an account of the arrangements on the 7th of March. From that publication it appeared there were 608 men in the City Police force. On the 7th of March there were 111 of those engaged in other duties than those connected with the procession. That left 497 for the procession. Among them wore "detectives" and "plain clothes"—I inspector, 10 sergeants, and 11 constables. Then there were in front of the procession I inspector, 5 sergeants, and 38 constables; in a leading portion of the procession, I inspector and sergeant and a number of men. Other members of the force wore placed in the centre of the procession. Altogether, there were 125 used for what might be called "ornamental purposes," which, taken from the 497, left 372 men to keep the whole line of the procession from London Bridge to Temple Bar. Now, that force was manifestly inadequate to the performance of such a duty; and that was the reason why he had ventured to say that the Lord Mayor would not be able to manage the affair with the force at his disposal. He had no wish to say a word in disparagement of the excellent qualities and intelligence of the City Police force—always excepting his friend No. 68 —for with 372 men to occupy such a line it was utterly impossible to preserve order on such a day. The hon. Member for Stafford in his paper had threatened all manner of things to the Members of that House who might support the Bill. [Mr. Alderman SIDNEY: I beg the noble Lord's pardon; I have nothing to do with any paper, and never had] Well, at any rate, pretty nearly every Member of the House had received one. His hon. Friend would not deny that in a speech which he had made he had said all sort of strong; things of the Home Secretary—called him imbecile, and said he was not fit for his situation; that the hon. and gallant General who was to have made a Motion on the subject (Sir De Lacy Evans) was one of I those who ought to have died thirty years ago, and the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) was never to look his constituents in the face again. That was the sort of way in which hon. Members were threatened. The hon. Alderman was Member for Stafford, and he himself was Member for Lichfield, which was only 514 ten miles off, and he would invite his hon. Friend to come down to the next election, to bring his corporation with him, and his men in armour if he liked, and he would find that on a question like this all that influence would not prevent his re-election.
§ MR. BOVILL
said, it must be gratifying to every one who felt an interest in the Corporation of the City of London to listen to the high testimony which had been borne to their loyalty and enthusiasm on occasion of the late Royal procession, by a noble Lord who held so high a position as that of Clerk Marshal; but those sentiments contrasted very strongly with the course adopted by the Government. If ever there was a time when the Corporation of London had a right to expect generous treatment from the Government of the day, it was after the magnificent display which they had recently made, and after the opportunity they had afforded to the people to express their enthusiastic loyalty. It was certainly a matter for great regret that the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary should have chosen that particular moment to introduce his Bill, particularly as he disclaimed any reference to recent occurrences, and based it on the Report of the Commission of the year 1854. The right hon. Baronet had told them that in consequence of the opposition of the Corporation it would at that time have been useless to introduce a Bill founded on that Report. But the right hon. Gentleman might depend on it that this Bill would meet with as strong resistance as any Bill which might have emanated from that Commission. The right hon. Baronet said that he would not propose the second reading for some considerable time; and perhaps, after the strong feeling which had been manifested both in that House and out of it, the best way of carrying out his pledge would be for him to defer the second rending for six months, which would save the hon. Member for London (Mr. Crawford) the trouble of moving his Amendment. The Government would certainly consult their own interests and those of the country by not involving themselves in a combat which might prove very embarrassing to them, and, as the hon. Alderman opposite had said, might be the means of crushing the right hon. Baronet. This was not a matter that exclusively affected the City of London—it had created a strong feeling in all our municipal boroughs. Proposals had of late years been made in many parts of the country for the 515 amalgamation of the borough and county police forces; and in every instance those proposals had met with the most strenuous opposition; and those hon. Members who represented boroughs which possessed a separate police establishment would, he believed, vote almost unanimously against the present measure, from a conviction that it would introduce a principle that would, no doubt, in due time be applied to the rest of the country. If that Bill were to receive the sanction of Parliament, and if the police of the whole metropolis were all to be under one management, why should not the police of Middlesex and of Surrey—indeed, why should not the police of the whole country—be under one system of management? Some people were not altogether satisfied with the Metropolitan Police when it was placed under the orders of a Minister of the Crown, and there had been occasions when the Metropolitan Police had been employed under the Minister of the Crown in a manner which would not altogether be approved of by the country. There certainly was not a single argument for introducing the Bill now which had not been in force for the last nine years. The strongest argument against the Bill was, that, on the whole, the City Police had been found to act well. The right hon. Baronet had not alleged a single instance in which they had failed, since he had abstained altogether from relying on the 7th of March —and wisely too, perhaps; for if that matter had been gone into, something might have been said which would have involved the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman himself. Who were the parties to be protected by the City Police? There were about 700,000 or 800,000 persons carrying on business in the City of London; it was the most crowded part of the metropolis; there was an immense amount of property to be guarded, both in warehouses and shops, and carried about on the person, and yet not a single petition had been presented from a citizen of London complaining of the police. They certainly were the parties who ought to complain if there were any ground for complaint. What ground, then, was there for saying that the present system was inefficient? The right, hon. Gentleman, being driven to rely entirely on the Reports of 1839 and 1854, admitted that the only ground on which he could come forward was that of paramount necessity. But what ground of paramount necessity had been shown? Most Members probably had read an able article which based 516 this Bill on the ground of expense; but there was a material difference of opinion on this point. There was a different estimate of the relative coat of the Metropolitan and City Police forces. It certainly was not fair to distribute the expense at so much per head of the population sleeping in the City, which gave no idea of its real population; they must take into account not merely the number of people who slept in the City, but the hundreds of thousands who transacted their business there in the day-time. But, however the case might be in that respect, it was useless to argue the question on the ground of expense, as long as the citizens of London were disposed to incur the charge which the maintenance of their police involved. The whole of that charge was at present defrayed by the citizens themselves; a portion of it would fall upon the Consolidated Fund if the present Bill were passed; and yet the inhabitants of the City were decidedly opposed to the measure, and did not wish that their police should be placed under the control of a Minister of the Crown. This was a matter of considerable importance to every municipal corporation throughout the country. No one knew better than the right hon. Baronet the form in which charters of incorporation ran. They were generally granted for the sake of preserving peace and order. Was the City of London to be told that it was incompetent to keep order and maintain good Government in its own district? Where was the proof of it? No case of failure to keep peace and good order had been shown. No one could say that on any fitting occasion the Lord Mayor had refused to receive the Metropolitan Police within the City. All the City privileges had been secured by Act of Parliament; and if London was to be deprived of the right of managing its police, what security was there that in another Session it would not be proposed to appoint paid magistrates and supersede the magisterial functions of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen? There was no more reason to complain of the City Police than of the City justices, and for any such complaints there was no ground whatever. He was unwilling to enter upon any comparison of the Metropolitan and City Police forces. He desired to bear ample testimony to the intelligence and zeal with which the Metropolitan Police stationed in and about the Houses of Parliament discharged their duties, and it was only due to Sir Richard Mayne to express 517 admiration for the mode in which he managed the Metropolitan Police. But, at the same time, more important interests were under the charge of the City Police within the small area of the City than within three or four times the space of the metropolitan districts; and he believed that they performed their onerous duties most efficiently. The public mind was set against any change, and they could not fail to see that at numerous ward meetings the ratepayers, who were most interested in having the best possible police force, passed resolutions, without a dissenting voice, in favour of the rejection of this Bill. The efficiency of the City Police must he judged by the ordinary performance of their duties, and not by the result of an extraordinary pressure upon a rare occasion and under exceptional circumstances. Now, he ventured to say that in the protection of life and property, in the detection of crime, and in intricate investigations connected with fraudulent bankruptcies, and bringing to the bar persons who sought to evade justice, the City Police had displayed energy and intelligence unsurpassed by any force; and merchants daily left their wealth and merchandise under their guardianship with a confidence and security, perhaps, exceeding their confidence and the security of the property which was in their own residences at the West End of London. Of course, there were occasions when there was a great pressure on the City Police force, and the 7th of March was one of those occasions. But he should like to know where would the Metropolitan Police have been in the comparatively crowded parts of the West End without the assistance of the military in keeping open the line of the procession? His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief sent to offer to the Lord Mayor the assistance of the military on that occasion; and as soon as that suggestion was communicated to the Lord Mayor, he accepted the offer, and stated that he would gladly receive the assistance of 300 or 400 of the Life Guards. So great, however, was the demand for the Life Guards, that only 200 mounted Horse Artillerymen could be sent. In addition to this, the duties of Chief Commissioner, by that official's death within two or three days, had devolved upon the Superintendent, who was more accustomed to carrying out details than organizing arrangements; a misunderstanding occurred with a brigade of the City Volunteers, and in consequence of unprecedented crowds, collected by the most enthusiastic 518 feelings of loyalty, the procession was slightly delayed. No blame really attached to the City of London, and there was nut the slightest pretence for assailing the rights of the Corporation. The right hon. Baronet was driven to base his proposal upon the Report of the Commission of 1854, since which the City Police had acted efficiently, and no complaints had been made against it. All the citizens were unanimous in desiring to retain the control of the police and to bear the expense of it, whether small or great. There was ample proof that the Bill was not required, and he recommended the right hon. Baronet to postpone the second reading to as distant a day as six months from that time, when they were not likely to be troubled either with the Motion or the Amendment of which the hon. Member for the City of London had given notice.
§ MR. HIBBERT
said, that as the representative of a town which deeply cherished its local institutions, he felt it his duty to object to the Bill as another step towards carrying out the principle of centralization, he could find nothing in recent events to justify Parliament in taking away the rights of the City of London. The Metropolitan Police could serve warrants in the City, and the City Police could serve warrants in the metropolis. In cases of emergency the Secretary of State, upon the request of the Lord Mayor, could send Metropolitan Police into the City, and he did not know whether the Lord Mayor ought not to have applied for that assistance on the recent occasion; but it seemed to him that to obviate any inconvenience that might arise from the existing state of the law, all that was required was the introduction of a measure by which the Secretary of State should be authorized to send, in case of emergency, the Metropolitan Police into the City without any requisition from the Lord Mayor. It was quite unnecessary to make an sweeping a change as was proposed, and he should support hon. Gentlemen in opposing the Bill.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that questions such as that under discussion were debated year after year, and turned over by Commissions and Committees; but somehow or other no legislation with respect to them took place until what might be termed an accident occurred. The House could not fail to perceive that there was a wide difference between the Corporation of London and the City of London—the two things 519 were utterly distinct. Some of the representatives of the City of London differed altogether in opinion from the Corporation of London on this subject. Now, that was a remarkable index to the true character of this discussion; and he had no doubt, that when the proposal immediately before the House came to be seriously weighed, the practical considerations in its favour would be found to prevail over that parade of reminiscences of the past in which it was the habit of corporations to indulge. For his own part, he believed he might say without fear of contradiction, that no Member of the House of Commons had given more practical evidence than himself of appreciation of the principle of local self government. He had, in support of that principle, made more Motions bringing odium on his head, in opposition to the Government as well as to the schemes of private Members, than any one whom he addressed, and it could not therefore be imputed to him that he was friendly to the system of centralization. Indeed, it was only a few evenings before, that after midnight, when corporators were sleeping, he had protested, as far as he was able, against the rights of individuals being transferred to a central office in London, while he had repeatedly upon similar occasions, and night after night, kept the Government at bay. If there were the remotest indication that the present Bill, therefore, was meant to trench upon the principle of local self-government, he need scarcely assure the House that he should be the first to oppose it even in its present shape. He had considered the question, however, which it was introduced to settle, calmly and deliberately, altogether apart from any excitement by which it had been surrounded by recent events. Two years ago, he might further observe, a Committee had been appointed on his Motion to inquire into the local government of the metropolis. Into the investigation which took place before that Committee he had entered with the impression that it was possible to carry out a system of local self government such as that which was dangled before the eyes of politicians in the metropolis by the artful contrivances of corporate agitators. But when he had examined the subject with all the attention which his position had compelled him to bestow upon it, when he had duly studied and reflected upon the Reports of preceding Commissions, he had come to the conclusion that, in the interests of the 520 great body of its inhabitants, it was desirable and expedient there should be only one police administration in this great metropolis. If they were to admit the principle contended for by the Members of the Corporation of London, that that section of the metropolis was entitled to a local administration of the police, there was no good reason why there should not be three or four or twenty separate police administrations, because each district in the metropolis was naturally as important in the eyes of its inhabitants as the City of London was in those of any of its Aldermen. If, however, such a state of things were to come to pass, the metropolis would be unbearable. A man might have his pocket picked in a street under one jurisdiction, while he might see his handkerchief immediately afterwards in the next street under another; he would thus be bandied about from jurisdiction to jurisdiction somewhat like an unfortunate being who happened to be trampled upon by an elephant, and who was tossed from point to point until nothing remained of him but an impalpable mass of humanity. It had been the system in the City, whenever a question such as that before the House was discussed, and while it maintained itself rights at variance with the rights of the metropolis generally, to imitate those who, when appropriating the property of others in the streets, raised a cry and shouted out, "Look ahead!" But, notwithstanding the threats which had been addressed to him, he felt assured there was that amount of discrimination and intelligence on the part of his constituents which would enable them to see through such shallow arts, which would lead them to judge of the measure under consideration on its own merits, and induce them to give it that support to which it was really entitled as a mere measure of improved police administration. It was not a measure which ought to be inflated to the magnitude which the City sought to ascribe to it, as he should, he hoped, be in a position to show when it came on for second reading; and he felt surprised that the City should put upon it a construction to which it was not open, and should try to palm off upon small corporate towns in the country a delusion which had no foundation in fact. The more the measure was discussed upon its real merits, the more it would be appreciated by the inhabitants of the metropolis, who, he felt assured, would not fail to understand that 521 whatever police system was good enough for them was also good enough for people living in the City of London. How a great police force ought to be governed, so as, while rendering it efficient, to provide for the maintenance of public liberty, was not the question immediately at issue; while it was one which some accident might raise, and which was well worthy, no doubt, of careful consideration. To the solution of that question, the proposed amalgamation having been effected, hon. Members might with advantage address themselves. That was a question which interested the inhabitants, and in regard to which he and every other metropolitan Member would be ready to co-operate with the City authorities. That, however, was not the way in which these corporations treated public questions. They always set up something which was factitious, unsound—something that was ancient and useless. They always paraded the mere phantom of the past before the people of the metropolis, and employed their stipendiary corps of agitators to mislead the public, and to withdraw its mind from the consideration of really important questions; while the metropolitan Members endeavoured to bring before the House questions of real permanent and practical advantage to the inhabitants, and did not trouble themselves about these mere parades of office, the gabardines, gold chains, and gewgaws of municipal authority mid institutions, the realities of which had long since been dead and buried.
§ SIR HENRY STRACEY
said, he was unwilling to take a part against the introduction of the Bill, and should not oppose the Motion of the right hon. Baronet unless a division was taken upon it. He considered the speech made by the noble Lord the Member for Lichfield (Lord A. Paget) was one more in favour of the maintenance of the City Police force than against it. The whole gist of the noble Lord's arguments, in the shape of complaint, appeared to centre in Policeman 68. He, for one, did not think that any blame attached to the City Police on the occasion of the Royal procession. They all knew the pressure that was occasioned within the limits of the City; a pressure caused by the enormous influx of the people to that quarter, in order to see the Royal pageant in its full splendour. But who was answerable for that extraordinary pressure? The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department himself. With re- 522 spect to the Metropolitan Police force, he had no fault to find with it; but he was at a loss to know how it had particularly distinguished itself. They heard a great deal about garrotting last winter at the West End; whereas in the City nothing was heard of it—a proof of the admirable conduct of the police, and their efficacy as a preventive body, He objected to make the Chief of Police, in this country, a kind of Fouché and he wished to know why it was, when the City of London were perfectly willing to pay the expense of supporting the City Police, the people at large were to be called upon to do so. The Metropolitan Police force was, alter all, nothing more than the child of the City Police; and although he did not attach much weight to what had been said about centralization, yet he had a great respect for the corporations of the country, and more especially for that of the City of London, as well as for that force which protected so well the great riches of the City, which spread not only throughout the metropolis, but also throughout the country and even our Colonies. He conceived it to be most unjust to interfere with its rights and privileges, and should certainly oppose the present measure on the second reading.
MR. SERJEANT PIGOTT
said, he wished to disabuse Gentlemen, connected with borough corporations, of the notions propagated by the hon. and learned Member for Guildford (Mr. Bovill), that the question of self-government, was at all involved in the measure; and he hoped those intelligent communities would not be led away by any such fallacy. The object of this measure was simply to place under one management the police of one town; and in no borough in the country would a different system be for a moment tolerated. The real fact was that the City authorities were afraid that the adoption of this Bill might lead to further legislation with regard to others of their rights and privileges. If legislation of that sort were to follow, because this proved successful, so much the better; but nub that the House had on this occasion nothing to do.
SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, that however willing he might have been at some other time to discuss the propriety of modifying the present police arrangements, he thought that this was a most inopportune moment to raise the question. Every one would suppose that the action of the Government was founded upon the accidents which occurred at the reception of Her 523 Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, and it would be impossible to proceed with the Bill without creating an unpleasant feeling between the City and the Royal family.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he could not help commenting upon the extraordinary vivacity of the hon. Members who represented the City, and their outcry in favour of local self-government when their privileges were in danger; but he should have had more faith in their sincerity if they had raised a similar outcry in favour of attempts which had been made to give local self-government to other parts of the metropolis. They were, however, mute. when any interests but their own were concerned; and while they took very good care of the City, they left the other parts of tin metropolis to shift for themselves. So far as the police question was concerned, there could be no question that the whole metropolis should be under one governing body. The question of patronage was, after all, at the bottom of the matter, and he trusted his constituents would not suffer themselves to be misled by the statements with which they were so copiously supplied at the expense of the City. The terror felt by the' Corporation hail been inspired not by any blow levelled at the principle of self government, but by the dread, that if any such measure as this were adopted, common sense might some day take from them the 4d. coal duties. He complained of the insincerity of the Corporation of London: for surely, if they were sincere, they would have endeavoured to maintain those rights for the rest of the inhabitants of the metropolis which, now they themselves were affected, they pretended to hold so dear.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he was anxious to say a few words in reply to the arguments used in the course of the debate. and mainly in reference to the time and circumstances under which the Bill had been introduced. No one was more sensible than himself of the loyalty evinced In the Corporation of London on the occasion of the arrival of the Princess of Wales It had taken a leading part in those de monstrations in which the rest of the inhabitants of the metropolis fully shared, and it bad been his pleasing duty to express to the Lord Mayor on the part of Her Majesty the deep sense of gratification inspired by those demonstrations of loyalty to the Sovereign herself and the Members of the Royal family. But he could not understand why the Government 524 should be debarred, in consequence of those demonstrations, from introducing a measure called for by considerations of expediency and public utility. The hon. and learned Member for Guildford (Mr. Bovill) had put into his mouth the statement that the circumstances occurring on the7th of March bail nothing to say to the Bill. He had not said that. The Bill, as be had stated, was not prepared exclusively or mainly with reference to the occurrences of that day, but in connection with the considerations adverted to in those Reports of Commissions and Committees, extracts from which, he had read to the House; and the events of the 7th of March had confirmed the wisdom of these recommendations, and forced public attention upon the question which hail lain fur some time m abeyance. The Government would have shrunk from their duty if, in deference to public opinion, they hail not proposed n measure which they thought calculated to prevent the recurrence of disorder and confusion which might have been attended with the most disastrous consequences. It was said that unusually great crowds had been attracted to the City by the magnificence of the preparations. Undoubtedly, the magnificent pageants that were exhibited in the City, especially at London Bridge, in the neighbourhood of the Mansion House, and at Temple Bar, and which could not be moved from place to place, were calculated to draw great crowds to particular spots; bill, those who bud dial he of the arrangements must have known that at particular points where the principal decorations were erected as at London Bridge and the Mansion House—the throng would be densest, and should have taken precautionary measures accordingly. As the Lord Mayor bad adverted to the official correspondence which passed on the. subject, he (Sir G. Grey) must remind him that be had most distinctly stated, and the members of the Corporation with whom he had the pleasure of communicating bad as distinctly admitted, that the sanction of Her Majesty to the arrangements was given on the express condition that effectual menus should In: taken by the City authorities to prevent confusion and delay; and that assurances bad been given to that effect. The apprehensions which be entertained on that score led him to offer various suggestions; but ultimately the City had their own way, assurances being repeated that they could and would take effectual precautions against any disorder or delay. He was 525 sorry to say that those assurances had not been fulfilled. He found no fault with the City Police; he believed them to be a most efficient body—but he did find fault with the arrangements on the day of the public entry in this respect, that there was no one directing head, no controlling authority, and therefore there had been a total want of that unity of action which was essential to the necessary arrangements. There had been great crowds along the entire route traversed by the Royal procession, but it was only in the City that delays occurred; elsewhere the line was kept perfectly open, and the Royal carriages passed without impediment, owing to the admirable arrangements of Sir Richard Mayne. He felt confident, that if the direction of the whole of the police arrangements had been in the hands of Sir Richard Mayne, the streets in the neighbourhood of London Bridge and from thence to Temple Bar would have been kept as well as they were from Temple Bar west through the remainder of the town.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill for the amalgamation of the City of London Police with the Metropolitan Police, ordered to be brought in by Sir GEORGE GRBY and Mr. BRUCE.