§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that he should make a very short statement, which he hoped would disarm opposition. The Bill had become absolutely necessary from several causes, the principal of which was that the House had passed a Resolution by virtue of which the offices of Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer had been abolished, and the Common Pleas Division and. the Exchequer Division had been merged into one Division—the Queen's Bench Division. There were Members of that House who had opposed the abolition of those two Divisions; but what had been done it was impossible to undo. In consequence of that Resolution some alteration had to be made. The Common Pleas Division had certain specified duties in respect of appeals from Revising Barristers and Election Petitions; and the Exchequer had exclusive cognizance of Revenue cases; and now that those two Divisions had been incorporated with the Queen's Bench, it was necessary that their special functions should be also transferred. As an illustration of the necessity of the proposed legislation, he might mention one point which would commend itself to the worthy Alderman sitting opposite (Mr. B. N. Fowler). If the Bill were not passed, there would be a difficulty in receiving the Lord Mayor of London at Westminster on the 9th of November next, because it was the duty of the Court of Exchequer to receive him, and 738 that Court had ceased to exist. The necessity he had spoken of covered many of the clauses of the Bill; but there were others which he would briefly explain. The first was that which provided for the transference of the Master of the Bolls in his official capacity to the Court of Appeal. The expediency of taking that course had arisen from the fact that the Court of Appeal, which, by its constitution and its conduct of judicial business, had earned the confidence of the Profession, had been seriously weakened from causes which they must all greatly deplore—namely, the deaths of Lords Thesiger and James. He feared that it was probable that there would be a still further weakening of the Court by the resignation of another distinguished Lord Justice of Appeal. It was necessary, therefore, to strengthen that Court, and that end could be best attained by the course proposed, which was that the present Master of the Bolls should be a permanent member, and the permanent President of the Court of Appeal. He would not say anything of that learned Judge's personal qualifications; but every member of the Legal Profession would feel that the strength of the Court would be materially increased by the constant presence of Sir George Jessel. It became, therefore, necessary by statute to enable him to hold both offices. Objection had been taken to that course on the ground that the Mastership of the Rolls was a political appointment, generally made for Party purposes. That argument, however, only held good when the Master of the Bolls held a seat in that House, which no future holder of that office could do. Besides, the selection in future would be of a Judge to preside over the Court of Appeal. That was almost the only point upon which controversy could arise. Then the 15th clause was aimed at the economy of judicial labour in the matter of Assizes. There was a great waste of judicial strength in two Judges attending small towns like Oakham and Huntingdon, while large towns in the North of England were craving for more judicial assistance. The proposal to alter this state of affairs had met with the approval of the Lord Chancellor; but certain hon. Members representing the towns affected had expressed a desire to have the matter discussed, and as 739 the Prime Minister had promised that controversial matter in the Bill should be avoided he should ask leave to strike out Clause 15. It had also been found that Clause 16, which dealt with judicial patronage, had given rise to great difference of opinion; and he would, therefore, strike that clause out also. Then there was the 21st clause, in which an alteration had been made. It was proposed that the office of District Registrar, which was usually held by the Registrar of the local County Court, who was always a solicitor, should be open to barristers of five years' standing. Solicitors had objected to this proposition on account of the small number of appointments open to solicitors as compared with the number open to the Bar. He had acceded to those representations, and struck out that part of the clause which made barristers eligible for that office. There were certain Amendments on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Gregory). Those he proposed to accept; and, to meet the views of other hon. Members who had given Notice of Amendments, he should move that District Registrars and their partners be not allowed to practise within their own registries. There was an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), urging that there should be concurrent Sittings in London and Middlesex. The object of the hon. Member would, he hoped, be fulfilled before long, for the new Courts at Temple Bar would be ready for occupation in a very few months, and in those Courts the Sittings for London and Middlesex would probably become merged. In conclusion, he expressed regret at his having been unable to bring the Bill forward at an earlier period of the Session; but, as all controversial matter had been eliminated from the measure, he trusted that hon. Members would not oppose it.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Attorney General.)
§ MR. WHITLEY
said, the House was greatly indebted to the hon. and learned Attorney General for the very clear and able account he had given of the Bill. It would be idle, at that time, even if he were so disposed, to criticize the Bill; 740 and it would be a pity, by opposing it, to wreck it. Whatever might be their opinion with regard to the constitution of the Court, after the Resolution of the House it would be idle to say another word on the subject. But in regard to the provisions of the Bill as it now stood, he was quite satisfied that he expressed the opinion of the body to which he belonged when he said that he was grateful to the Attorney General and the Government for having consented to the insertion of a clause by which solicitors only should be retained as Registrars of the Court. He trusted there never would be any jealousy between the two branches of the Profession; but, certainly, the business of a Registrar was not to practise at the Bar; and the Attorney General had very properly said there were very few Members of the lower branch of the Profession who would not feel a good deal of jealousy had this provision not been made. He was quite prepared to concur in the alterations the Attorney General proposed in regard to Registrars being prohibited from practising in their own Courts. He thought that would meet with the approval of the Profession generally, as it would be a very improper thing that a Registrar should be allowed to practise, by himself or his partner, in any Court with which he had an official connection, and in which he would have the power to give a decision favourable to his own case. There was another subject on which he would like to offer a remark. The present Bill contemplated the increase of Assizes in large towns. Now, the question was one of the most important to which the attention of the House could be directed, inasmuch as it involved the advisability of bringing nearer to suitors the opportunity of trying their causes. This was not the first, nor, he was going to say, the hundredth, time on which representations had been made as to the very great difficulty in our large commercial centres in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the North of England, under which suitors laboured in bringing their causes rapidly to trial. He was astonished to find that while litigation had increased with the growth of the country, the opportunities for trying causes were, in many respects, less than they were 10 or 20 years ago. For instance, from the year 1865 to 1876 there were three Civil 741 Assizes held in Liverpool and Manchester. In 1876, when the Judicature Act was passed, the Summer Assizes were held at the end of July, and from that time to the following February there was no opportunity of trying causes. In the year 1878, mainly, he thought, owing to the great pressure brought to bear by the late Home Secretary, four Assizes were held; and at the last Assizes, held in November of that year, there were 60 cases entered for trial. It would be said, and had been said, by Judges and members of the Bar that, after all, there were not so many causes for trial, and that there was no necessity for the increase of the Assizes. But he apprehended that if there were more opportunities and more certain times when the Assizes were held, it would be found in the great centres of commerce and manufacture that there would always be sufficient for the energies, not only of the Judge, but of the members of the Bar. They had always found that when the opportunities for the trial of causes was brought nearer home there was then no lack of causes to be tried. At the present time they were driven to all kinds of shifts, and particularly in a great maritime town like Liverpool. With regard to Admiralty causes, they had to wait often some months in the year, though, he believed, the learned Judge of the Admiralty Court did all he could to cut down the delay and expense by naming a day for the trial. Yet it was impossible that a cause should involve no delay; for if the shipowners and their witnesses were brought up to London, they had to waste their time from day to day, when, by the exercise of judicial powers at home, they would be able to try their causes on the spot at a very much less cost. Besides, they knew the trial of causes should follow as soon as possible after the event. Witnesses had to be detained, and the expense was a very serious matter indeed, and there were other cases in which the witnesses could not possibly attend, where it was necessary that they should attend in person. He felt that no more important subject could be brought before the House of Commons than the necessity of increasing the means of trying causes, and he was glad to think he was speaking in the presence of those who would acknowledge this necessity. So far back as the year 1872 the Judicature Committee 742 recommended that there should be each year in Liverpool and Manchester Christmas Sittings for the trial of commercial causes, that the Sittings should not be limited, and that there should be power for two or more Judges to sit at the same time. From that time to the present nothing had been done. In Liverpool they had occasionally two Assizes, occasionally three. Last year there were three, and he was sorry to find there was no probability of getting a Winter Civil Assize this year. He thought it was utterly intolerable that great commercial centres should be deprived from July to February of the opportunities of trying their causes unless they came to London. Every Chamber of Commerce throughout the country had memorialized the House from time to time on the subject, as had also the Provincial branches of the Incorporated Law Society. He was not one of those who would like to see one Judge centralized in any locality. He was well aware that a Judge in one locality, never changing his place, was calculated, probably, to grow rusty at times, and would not have the same opportunity of meeting his fellow Judges; and the consequence would be that, in all probability, there might be a gradual deterioration in the respect which was paid to judicial decisions. The mercantile community advocated that there should be Judges, changing from time to time, coming and staying in the neighbourhood to try cases every six or eight weeks; and he believed that by some such system as that they would secure that which would do more to facilitate causes and enable a right decision to be arrived at, and, at the same time, satisfy the aspirations of the mercantile community than any other course that could be suggested. He entirely concurred in the observations which were made by the Attorney General. He knew it was not in the power of the Government itself, nor in the power of the Attorney General, nor in the power of the Lord Chancellor, to do anything in carrying out what he could not help believing was a question of real advantage and real importance to the commercial interests of this country; but what he did urge upon the Government was to bring this matter again before the Judges. Since the Report was signed in 1872 five new Judges had been created, with the Judge that was now 743 proposed to be created, for Assize-going purposes. He thought that, with the increase of judicial power, there should be also an increase of the desire to meet the wishes of the commercial community. He knew Her Majesty's Judges had at all times tried to do their duty, and more so, perhaps, than any other section of the community; but he did think sometimes that they had not been alive to the growing interests of large commercial communities. He knew it entailed upon them a good deal of labour, and that probably they would not like going more frequently to the great centres of commerce; but, at the same time, believing this to be a very important portion of the duties of Her Majesty's Judges, he did hope and trust Her Majesty's Government would do what they could to carry out that which he believed to be the aspirations of the mercantile community—not of one manufacturing town, but what he believed to be the well-considered opinion of every commercial and manufacturing centre—and one of those objects which had been pressed again and again upon the attention of the Government; and, at the present time, when they were creating a new Assize-going Judge, he hoped this important matter would not be lost sight of.
§ MR. NORWOOD
begged to tender his acknowledgments to the Attorney General, but regretted that nothing was to be done with regard to the appointment of District Registrars. There had been a considerable amount of dissatisfaction at the fact that gentlemen who had very large private practice should act in quasi-judicial positions as District Registrars; and he trusted his hon. and learned Friend would complete the good work which he had commenced by taking the first opportunity of pursuing the same course with regard to Registrars of County Courts. Several Registrars of County Courts received very large emoluments, and the salaries of some of them rose to almost double those of the County Court Judges. He was acquainted himself with a leading practitioner in a large town who sat as a quasi-Judge in a case which had only left his office a few minutes before he heard it in Court. He thought the arrangements proposed by the Attorney General were highly satisfactory, and he believed they would be very much appreciated by the body 744 of learned gentlemen represented by his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Whitley), whose remarks had his entire concurrence. He had laboured somewhat in the direction his hon. Friend pointed out, and some years ago he obtained jurisdiction for the County Court in Admiralty matters; and the reason he took that course was that, as a man of business, he had seen the cruel hardships that had been inflicted upon the owners and masters of vessels, and especially foreign vessels, from the absolute denial of justice, which arose from the fact of there being only one Court in which Admiralty causes could be tried. He had frequently seen fair and just claims preferred by foreign shipmasters rendered nugatory by reason of the great delay which had occurred when they carried their cases into the Admiralty Court; and he had often blushed with shame to see the advantage that was taken of foreign captains by British merchants under the law as it then existed. He obtained from that House a jurisdiction of a limited extent for County Courts, which had worked extremely well as far as it had gone; but they wanted more than that. He entirely indorsed, as a mercantile man, the statement of the hon. Member for Liverpool as to the absolute necessity of giving to the great manufacturing towns of the North of England those judicial facilities which were essential to the proper conduct of business. He was sorry to say, with the delays and expenses of litigation, justice was getting more difficult and more unsatisfactory every year; and, in his opinion, there could not be an object of greater importance for a statesman of the present day than to rectify these evils, so as to enable Her Majesty's subjects, whether rich or poor, to obtain that speedy and satisfactory justice which, he presumed, was the birthright of all.
§ MR. WARTON
said, he felt bound to complain of the haste with which the present Government endeavoured to push through the most important judicial changes. He was sure they already regretted their ill-advised attempt to fuse law and equity, which never could be fused, and generally to upset the system of a division of labour, which was as important in law as in other things. The cost of justice in this country had been increased one-third by 745 measures emanating from the other side of the House. No doubt, the state of things as the Government found them was not altogether satisfactory; but what was really wanted was an increase in the number of Judges—a reform which could be achieved for a paltry sum of £15,000 or £20,000 a-year, and which he blamed his own friends as well as the Government for not initiating. He should not like to see the County Assizes discontinued; but there was no reason why the large mercantile centres should not be visited by the Judges every six or eight weeks. He did not hesitate to say that the Judges did not work so hard now as they used to do. They came late, lunched long, tried slowly, and rose early. The promises they had made as to the continuance of their Sittings had not been kept. Until they had more Judges the claims of the great centres of the country would never be properly met. Objecting, as he did, to the patchwork sort of legislation contained in this Bill, he moved that it be read a second time on that day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Warton.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
said, that what this Bill proposed to do was to retain a high judicial officer with a salary of £1,000 a-year beyond the other Judges, on the ground that it was necessary to strengthen the Court of Appeal by maintaining on its Bench men whom they could not otherwise command. That was precisely what was said in favour of the retention of the two Chief Justices—namely, that if more ability was wanted for the purpose of strengthening the Court of Appeal a higher price must be paid for it. He trusted the Government would see to the proper carrying out of the one-Judge system. The old evil of three Judges sitting together to hear the most trivial cases was as grievous as ever; and instead of the appointment of additional Judges, as the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) suggested, he thought there ought rather to be a better distribution of judicial power. He held that Divisional Courts ought to consist of two Judges, and no more. Another matter worthy 746 of attention was the excessive amount of holidays enjoyed by the Judges. It was really a scandal that in a commercial country like this there should be a total suspension of the administration of justice for one-third of the entire year. That was a state of things which would not be permitted in any other branch of the Public Service. He wondered what the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Frederick Cavendish) would say if the clerks of the Civil Service asked for 17 weeks' holiday out of the 52. The question of patronage, too, required attention. It was unwise to vest the enormous patronage of the Chiefs, amounting, as it did, to £60,000 a-year, in private hands. He should like to know who was to exercise it from the present time till new legislation was brought forward. He considered that public patronage should be in the hands of Ministers of the Crown, who were responsible to Parliament. He did not think that the distribution of patronage by the Judges was the best mode to adopt, as it simply meant a provision for their families. There was a story told of Lord Ellenborough, who was seen in the hunting field writing something on the back of his hat. When asked what he was doing, he said that there was a Mastership of the Court of Queen's Bench vacant, and he was appointing his son—a boy of 10 years old—as he did not know what might happen before he got over the next fence. That boy enjoyed his appointment for 60 or 70 years. If they would look at the names of those who held such offices, they would observe that there was a singular identity of the names with those who occupied the post of Chief Justice during many years. He hoped that the Government would not leave the patronage in the sole hands of the Chief Justice. When the Government remembered that England existed, and did not devote their attention exclusively to Ireland, he hoped they would recognize the facts that judicial reform was needed in this country, and that the cost of litigation had increased to a degree hitherto unknown, that there was unprecedented delay in the Courts, and that they would deal with this gigantic and growing evil. He should certainly support the Bill now that it had received the alterations proposed by the Attorney General.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
regretted that, looking to the small number of Members sitting on the Opposition Benches, there should be a difference of opinion among them; but as the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton had expressed his strong opposition to the Bill, he thought it his duty to express, in a very few words, his opinion that it ought to receive a second reading, and especially since the hon. and learned Attorney General had conceded so much, with a view to disarm opposition. Another point upon which he was unable to concur with the hon. and learned Member for Bridport was that each county should have its own Assizes and Judges. As an old member of the Northern Circuit, he must say that he used to think it almost a painful sight to see two Judges brought down year after year, and twice a-year, to Appleby in full state, and Grand Jurors and petty jurors summoned there at great inconvenience, to try, perhaps, one or two prisoners, there being no Civil causes at all there, as a rule, and rarely more than one cause. Nor, again, did he (Sir Henry Holland) agree in thinking that more Judges were wanted. He agreed with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) that what they ought to look to was a better distribution of work. If they could secure that, he doubted whether more Judges would be really required. As regarded the concession made by the hon. and learned Attorney General in withdrawing the 15th section, he (Sir Henry Holland) hoped it would be understood that he, for one, did not doubt that alterations were required in the arrangement and distribution of Circuit work; but only that they could not be properly discussed at that late period of the Session. Again, as regarded the patronage referred to in the 21st section, which was also given up, he assumed that the powers of appointment would, until further legislation, be vested in the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice. This patronage was very considerable in amount, and he would impress upon the Government the necessity of bringing in a Bill at the earliest period of next Session to settle this question. He might add that, as at present advised, he was inclined to think that the Lord Chancellor should have no share in bestowing this patronage, and he believed the pre- 748 sent Lord Chancellor did not desire it. By far the greater part of this patronage was connected with the Common Law Courts, and the smaller part of it might well be disposed of by the Master of the Rolls. He (Sir Henry Holland) would not detain the House any longer. He desired only to express his entire concurrence in what had been so ably urged upon the House by the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Whitley)—namely, that it was the duty of Parliament to endeavour to bring speedy and simple justice to every man's door; and that there should be frequent Sittings by experienced Judges in all the great commercial centres of industry to deal with the cases which would, undoubtedly, largely increase, if proper facilities were afforded of trying them. He desired, also, to state concurrence in the opinions expressed as to the impropriety or inconvenience of Registrars keeping up their private practice within their districts, and as to the justice of retaining these offices for solicitors, and not admitting barristers into competition for these places. He hoped the Bill would receive a second reading without a division, and then the important suggestions of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton could be considered in Committee.
§ MR. WILLIS
said, the Judicature Act, in creating a Court of Appeal, had deprived the country of the services of the best Judges in the Courts of First Instance; and he, therefore, looked with regret to the appointment of the Master of the Rolls to the Court of Appeal. The Master of the Rolls had rendered distinguished services to his country by administering justice with such accuracy that—if he might be allowed to say so—if he had a little more patience he would be almost infallible. There were very few appeals from his Court. In the Court of Appeal six Judges sat to correct the errors of the Judges of the First Instance. He would rather have a strong Judge in a Court of the First Instance, with a weak Court of Appeal, than have weak Judges of the First Instance who were to be corrected by a strong Court of Appeal. Every Judge of First Instance should be a Judge of the Court of Appeal, and the Divisional Court, which was merely a step in the progress of the suit, should be got rid of. All Judges of the Court of Appeal should take their turn in administering justice at Nisi Prius. 749 The effect of the present state of things would be that suitors, rather than risk the great expense involved in a law suit, would find it far better to go to arbitration.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT
said, he was unable to agree with the doctrine laid down by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Willis) that the Court of Appeal was to be the weak Court, and the Court of First Instance the strong one. He considered that the Court which had to review, and, if necessary, reverse, the decisions of the Court below, should, in every respect, be looked up to as the Court possessing the greatest weight and authority. With that view he held that the Judges of the Court of Appeal should be selected, not only on account of their legal attainments, but also on account of long and tried judicial experience. They should stand in an exalted position, and not be subject to the inconvenience of going Circuit. The appeals brought before them were quite sufficient to occupy their time. On that point he differed from Sir Watkin Williams, who had, in a recent letter to The Times, given it as his opinion that the Judges of Appeal should go the Circuit, as it were, to keep their hand in. He concurred in the contrary opinion expressed in another letter to The Times, having the well-known initials of W. B., which he believed belonged to one of the most distinguished Judges on the English Bench. He (Sir Eardley Wilmot) gave his full support to the Bill before the House; but, at the same time, he could not help saying that he thought the present Lords Justices of Appeal might feel somewhat aggrieved, being now all equal, in having a superior put into their Court as President, they not having contemplated such a change in its constitution when they accepted their appointments in it, and having been made Judges of Appeal with a different understanding. Then, as regarded salary, the new Judge of the Court would have a higher salary than their own. He should like to see all the salaries of the Court of Appeal equal. He had himself, in 1877, when the present Judicature Act came under discussion in Parliament, proposed an Amendment to the effect that the salaries of the Judges of Appeal should be £7,000 a-year; but the then Attorney General, the hon. 750 and learned Member for Preston (Sir John Holker), would not accept it, and the salaries were fixed at £5,000 a-year, the same as the Judges of the Court of First Instance. The higher Court, he thought, should have the higher salary. As regarded the observations of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) on the subject of the Long Vacation, he fully agreed with him that it was at present too long. The block in business showed that the time disposable for the litigation of the public was too limited; and as regarded the Bar, he had himself been many years in the Legal Profession, and could say that, after six weeks' or two months' holiday, he was always quite ready to recommence work, and it was for the interests of lawyers themselves that they should not be too long idle. If, therefore, his hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton should move his Amendment for shortening the Long Vacation, when the Bill got into Committee, he (Sir Eardley Wilmot) would give him his cordial support.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, that several questions had been raised to-day which lay outside the scope of the Bill, and which it was impossible then adequately to discuss. He was not insensible to the arguments of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Whitley) as to the advisability of affording greater facilities for the trial of cases in the great centres of population; but that manifestly involved a question which it was impossible to enter upon in detail at present. He sympathized with the observations of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) as to the expenses of litigation. Although there had been considerable advantages from the introduction of the new system of Judicature, yet the assimilation of the system adopted at Common Law to the system adopted in Chancery had brought with it an assimilation in a direction that was not desirable—namely, that of increasing the costs of Common Law proceedings, and making them approximate to the coat of Chancery suits. An elaborate procedure involving heavy costs might not be so objectionable when the matter at stake was very large and important; but it would be intolerable were the matter at stake very small. At the request of the Lord Chancellor, 751 a Committee had been considering that question amongst others; and, although their Report had not yet been made public, when it was produced it would be seen that that subject had not escaped their attention, and. that they had desired and endeavoured, as far as possible, to reduce the costs of litigation. They had pointed out that it would be useless diminishing the costs of one Division when people had the choice of the Division to which they could go, because they knew many would choose the Division which cost most. Therefore, it was desirable that that procedure should be simplified and costs reduced in the whole of the Divisions. With regard to the expediency under the present system of procedure of having matters determined, with certain exceptions, by a single Judge, it had to be remembered that a great deal was done in the Queen's Bench Division in the way of Appellate business; and the one Judge system, although suitable to all matters of first instance, was not suited for Appellate business. He believed that considerable benefit had resulted to the public from the combination of the three Divisions. It had become more possible to know when the Courts would sit, and what business they would take, and the Sittings had, undoubtedly, been more continuous, and arrears had been better overcome than was previously the case. Things certainly were not perfect; but at the end of last Sittings the arrears were in a less unsatisfactory condition than they had been for a considerable time past, and he hoped that further progress would be made in the same direction. With regard to the position of the Master of the Rolls in the Appellate Court, it had been said that he was to be put over the heads of the Judges of the Court of Appeal. The fact was that he was at present over their heads; for whenever he went into that Court, which he did once a week, he occupied the position of President. [Sir EARDLEY WILMOT said, he had alluded to the salary.] In addition to his duties as President of the Court, he retained his position—which he had most efficiently performed—of Keeper of the Records. With respect to patronage, his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General had not meant to say that the patronage in the hands of the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the 752 Rolls was inconsiderable, but that the patronage which fell in year by year was inconsiderable, and that, therefore, leaving the matter over for a year was not of any very serious consequence. In conclusion, he hoped that the House would now assent to the second reading of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.