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affairs by a public assemblage in The improved representation of the market-place, the people now modern times made it the more delegated their power to others. necessary that they should be careThis was a great and admirable ful as to those in whose hands they invention; but then it was one placed the power of choosing re. that would subject the people to presentatives. As for “the indethis inconvenience, that if the feasible and unalienable right” to people should make a choice of vote for a Member of Parliament, those who might deceive them he was at a loss to understand it. if they put themselves into the Why should every adult person be hands of those who might be de- entitled to elect a Member of Parserving of the epithets applied to liament any more than to sit upon the author of this petition, if the a jury? It was a question of people gave to such persons the policy. Though, generally, wealth power of legislation--then, they might be considered in elections would be wi out a remedy ; under universal suffrage, yet he then they might see carried into · sąw nu security against a popular effect atlachs on that property ferment in the case of a general which they were disposed to re- election. The constitution was spect; then they might find instie too precious to be put to such a tutions destroyed which they hazard. It might be safer in the themselves might approve of; and United States, where no monarchy then that very respect for the exists, where every officer in the law, that very quality which Mr. state is elected, where there is ng Roebuck had so truly and so justly established church, and no great extolled, that ready and constant masses of property collected in few obedience to law, might be one of hands; but, in this country, the the means used to their prejudice; many institutions which hold for if they placed themselves in the society together would be held up hands of designing men-of men as prizes to the people in times of whose object was plunder-and if distress, The present demand rapacious leaders obtained the would be best met by a direct powers of legislation, that very negative, characteristie quality of the people Sir Robert Peel was quite premight be taken advantage of to pared to resist the motion for the effect their ruin. He felt confi, hearing on the ground of his oppo. dent, that if all the adult males in sition to the Charter, as it was a place were assembled, and were called ; as he did not mean to made to understand that the present awaken hopes on false grounds, publie creditors had obtained their The honourable Gentleman had claim on the faith of the country said that the petitioners only de, for a valuable consideration, they manded inquiry ; but this petition would repudiate the project of was nothing more or less than an applying a sponge to the public impeachment of the constitution debt; but he was not so sure that and of the whole frame of our those who had induced them to society, The petition said it was sign this petition might not mis- wrong to maintain an Established lead them to choose as representa: Church ; and, after many other tives men who would call such an statements, declared as a postscript act necessary for the public good. that the people of Ireland were entitled to a repeal of the Union. petitioners ?
Was such a person How could he be justified in lis- one whom he could admit to the tening to such demands, or what Bar of the House, to establish the could be the practical result of rights of the labouring classes of hearing four or five speeches at England ? the Bar on such topics ? Were What was it, he asked, that the speeches to be made at the gave to the law that influence Bar of the House to be replied to ? over the people which Mr. Roe. Supposing that they failed in pro- buck had described ? ducing their effect, was the de- It was a conviction on the part mand then to be, that he should of the people that it was just. enter into an inquiry with respect Did they believe that, if the peato every allegation which might ple of England were in that cons be brought forward ? should he dition in which the petition as admit that inquiry, or refuse it?serted they lived- did they believe The petition had been charac- that if the spirit of the country terized as not representing the was justly decribed in that memosentiments of those who signed it rial, which stated that your ho
-as a document at variance with nourable House has enacted laws the judgments, with the good sense, contrary to the expressed wishes of of the three millions and a half of the people, and by unconstitutional petitioners; and as a document means enforced obedience to them, which had been imposed upon thereby creating an unbearable des them by a cowardly and malig- potism on the one hand, and dem nant demagogue,' whom the ho. grading slavery on the otherif nourable Memberin question knew, such (he said), was a just representand from his personal knowledge ation of the feelings of the people was entitled to speak of with dis- with respect to the law of England, respect. He knew not to whom would that people acknowledge the honourable Gentleman al- that tacit influence of the law which luded—he would take the descrip- gave to the decrepid constable the tion from the honourable Gentle. power which he now possessed ?
And should he permit the Did the House imagine, that the author of the petition, the man high-spirited people of Eugland described in such terms-the man would have that respect for the law who had so perverted to his own which they now exhibited, if they evil purposes the minds of the in- did not believe that the law was telligent, the industrious, the la- such as guaranteed the rights of bouring classes of England-should property, and preserved the blessing
he admit that man to the Bar of of liberty—as a law for the poor the House ?-and he, of course, man as well as for the rich ? would be the man who would The English people had been come forward to defend the alle. contrasted by a preceding speaker gations of the petition-should with those of foreign nations, as not he be countenancing gross de- being superior in patience, in inlusion if he permitted him, the telligence, and in spirit; but what author of the petition which put
had formed that character, if not forth an hundred points, the ac
those laws and institutions which quiescence in each of which would were impeached by the present be an evil to the interests of the petition ? And on the other hand,
how could he trust to that high Constitution, which could yield no character which was given of the relief, but rather produce an aggrapetitioners, if they had agreed to vation of the evils complained of. such a petition as Mr. Roebuck Mr. Muntz declared his intenhad described ? He agreed with tion of supporting the prayer of Lord John Russell, that if the the petition. people had been deluded in this Mr. Oswald opposed it as deluinstance, they might be deluded sive. again, when they had acquired Mr. Villiers spoke in favour of that power which others might the motion, which went no further abuse. He believed Universal Suf. than a hearing of the case alleged frage to be incompatible with the in the petition by counsel at the maintenance of a mixed Monarchy, Bar. under which the people had ob- Mr. O'Connell explained that tained for 150 years as much prac. his vote would be given on the tical liberty, and enjoyment of same side, on the ground of his social happiness, as any form of being a decided advocate of Unihuman government could afford- versal Suffrage ; a doctrine which not excepting that of the United he had not heard successfully comStates of America.
bated, either in this debate, or at He concluded by expressing his any other time. sincere sympathy with the present Mr. Duncombe replied. sufferings of the people, but his The House divided, and there firm resolution not to consent to appeared- ayes, 49; noes, 287 : those momentous changes in the majority, 238.
Lord Ashley's bill for restraining the Employment of Women and
Children in Mines and Collieries-Extracts from the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry - Impression made by Lord Ashley's statement upon the House of Commons-Speeches of Mr. Fox Maule, Lord F. Egerton, Sir J. Graham, and other MembersLeave given to bring in the Bill nem. con.—Rapid progress of the measure in the House of Commons-It is passed with slight opposition—It is introduced in an altered_form in the House of Lords. Debates on the Second Reading-Lord Wharncliffe states the intentions of the Government respecting it-Lord Londonderry moves, that it be read a second time that day six months, but the Motion is not seconded. Speech of Lord Brougham before going into Committee-Various amendments are proposed and negatived, and the Bill passed-Debates in the House of Commons on the Lords' Amendments—Charges against the Government made by Lord Palmerston and Mr. C. Buller-Sir R. Peel vindicates the Ministers-The Amendments agreed to-Bribery at Elections Singular result of proceedings before Committees - General reports respecting compromises of petitions, Mr. Roebuck undertakes an inquiry - He addresses questions to the Members for Reading, Nottingham, Harwich, Penryn and Lewes-Their answers
- Mr. Roebuck slates his charges and moves for a Select CommitteeMr. Fitzroy seconds the motion-Adjourned debate-Speeches of Mr. Wynn, Mr. Ward, Lord Palmerston, Sir R. Inglis, Sir R. Peel, Lord J. Russell, Lord Stanley, and others—Mr. Roebuck amends his motion, which is then carried without a division-Mr. T. Duncombe proposes a test for the Committee, which is rejectedNomination of the Committee - An Act of Indemnity for Witnesses passed— Presentation of the Report of the Committee - Particulars of compromises in the cases of Harwich, Nottingham, Lewes, Reading, Penryn, and Bridport – Mr. Roebuck moves Resolutions founded on the Report-Speeches of Mr. C. Russell, Major Beresford, Mr. Fitzroy, Captain Plumridge, and Lord Chelsea - The Solicitorgeneral moves the previous question-Sir R. Peel states reasons for opposing the resolutions, which are negatived on a division - The Chancellor of the Exchequer refuses Lord Chelsea's application for the Chiltern Hundreds–Lord Palmerston finds faull with the Go. vernment- The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir R. Peel vindicate the course adopted for frustrating the Compromises published by the Committee—Statement of Captain Plumridge Suspension of the Writs for Nottingham, Ipswich, Southamplon, and Newcastle-underVol. LXXXIV.
Lyne-They are finally issued-Bill for Disfranchisement of Sudbury carried in ihe House of Commons, but afterwards droppedBill of Lord J. Russell for the prevention of Bribery at Elections.
THILE measures involving in conjunction with the highest
the conflict of party views civilization in the world, whole and the excitement of party feel. sections of the people sunk in the ings were engrossing the attention lowest moral and intellectual barof the Legislature and of the pub- barism. In the midst of the relic mind, a subject of deep import- finements of the nineteenth cenance and painful interest was pre- tury, in the heart of a Christian sented to the notice of the House and enlightened community, and of Commons, by a Member whose with all the channels for the exgenerous exertions on behalf of a
posure of oppression and abuses suffering but neglected class of the which our political system affords, community had, on former occa- it appears hard to realize as teuth sions, been attended with honour, the picture of children consigned able
The condition of by their parents almost from the children employed in Factories had cradle to perpetual labour, at an been within a recent period the employment entailingon them presubject of a public investigation, the mature adolescence, disease, and result of which was the discovery, misery, and amid scenes which enthat mis-management and merce- surea moral degradation even worse nary cruelty had gradually built than the physical suffering which up a system which was distorting accompanies it. Still less, if posand crippling the rising generation sible, would the ear of modern reof our most important districts. finement have been inclined to A law was passed to prevent the credit tales, now too well estacontinuance of that evil. It was blished, of women compelled to then alleged that the condition of work like beasts of burthen in children in other employments was
noisome caves where the sun never even worse, and the benevolent enters, surrounded by an atmoexertions of Lord Ashley procured sphere of vice and pollution which the appointment of Commissioners can hardly be depicted with defor Inquiry into the Employment cency, and under circumstances of of Children. They examined into coarse and loathsome exposure to the state of young persons in one which savage life scarcely affords branch of employment-mines and a parallel The details of this collieries; and the course of their frightful system will best appear inquiries brought to light more from the selections which we shall than the sufferings of children presently furnish from the Comalone, for they found the case of missioners' Report, and which Lord the women in many places no less Ashley cited in his able introduce pitiable. The frequent juxtaposition to his motion in the House of tion of enormous wealth with the Commons on the 7th of June. lowest degree of destitution and He began with complimenting want has often been remarked as he late Government on the readia characteristic feature of society ness with which they had apin England; the Report of the pointed the Commission, and on Commissioners referred to exposed their choice of Commissioners ;