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wished to see the Bill before the committee | return to which he had already alluded, pass into a law. the Marshal of the court of King's-bench,' who was the gacler of this prison, received a gross profit of 2,300l. per annum, from which he had to pay the salaries of the under gaolers; but his net profits amounted to between 1,200. and 1,300l.; and yet notwithstanding this he employed no medical person to attend a community of 600 persons who were placed under his care. The next prison to which he wished inquiry to be directed was the Fleet prison, which was under the care of the lord Chief Justice of the Common-pleas. This prison was calculated to hold about 200 persons; but in 1811, he learnt that there were no less than 769 persons confined within its walls. Here, too, as in the King's-bench there were no allowances of food, fuel, or bedding; nor was there any medical attendant provided for the benefit of the prisoners, although the net profits of the Warden amounted to 1,000l. The Marshalsea prison was the last which he should propose to include in the present inquiry. This prison was devoted to Admiralty prisoners, and to those of the Palace-court, who were of the poorest class. The same inattention was here paid to the state of the prisoners as in the other gaols; but the prison itself was much more wretched, and the state of its inmates proportionately miserable, while sir James Bland Burgess received 300l. a year, for being its keeper. On a petition being presented some years ago, an inquiry was instituted into the death of an unfortunate man who died there, it was supposed from hunger. That miserable being had been obliged to feed on bones, potato-peelings, and the scanty charity of the other prisoners, as no allowance was made to the prisoners of food, bedding, or fuel, and there was no medical attendance. Fees were, however, exacted to the amount of 10s. 10d. Misery was only one part of the picture; in these prisors were exhibited scenes of vice and profligacy which it would be difficult to parallel elsewhere, as appeared from the inquiries of the committees, and that of 1792 in particular. Having stated these facts, he thought it was unnecessary to enter further into detail, conceiving that he had shewn sufficient ground for the inquiry which he wished to take place into the state of these prisons. The hon. gentleman concluded by moving, "That a committee be appointed to inquire into the state of the King's-bench, Fleet, and Marshalsea pri

Mr. Baring replied to the speech of the noble lord, which he considered as the least argumentative and the most declamatory that had been delivered on the subject.

The committee then divided :-For the Amendment, 77; Against it, 208; Majority, 131. The House then resumed, and the report was ordered to be received on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 7.

MOTION FOR A COMMITTEE ON KING'S BENCH, FLEET, AND MARSHALSEA PRISONS.] Mr. Bennet rose, in pursuance of his notice, to move for the appointment of a select committee, to inquire into the state of the King's-bench, Fleet, and Mar. shalsea prisons. It would be in the recollection of the House, he said, that a committee of inquiry had been appointed in the last year to examine into the state of the gaol of Newgate and other gaols in the city of London; and the attention of this committee had been the means of relieving the great distress, which prevailed among the inmates of those, receptacles of the unfortunate. Although those prisons were not yet in such a state as they ought to be, he conceived the interference of the House had done much towards correcting the evils which existed. The first prison which he wished to bring under the notice of the committee was the King's-bench prison. This prison was under the immediate care of the Chief Justice; and from the papers which were on the table of the House, it appeared that on the 1st December, 1814, there were no less than 837 persons in the custody of the marshal; of whom 600 were collected within the walls, the rest being dispersed in the Rules. And yet from the evidence submitted to the House of Lords, when an inquiry took place into this subject, the prison did not appear to be calculated for the reception of more than 200 or 220 persons. He could also tell the House, that the individuals confined in this prison had no allowance of food, of fuel, or of bedding; nor was there any medical attendant appointed to administer to their wants in the hour of disease. Added to this, the fees were extremely high, amounting to one pound three or four shillings going out and in. According to the

sons, and to report their observations thereupon, together with any improvement which may be practicable therein." The motion was agreed to, and a committee appointed.

ALIEN ACT.] Mr. Whitbread rose, to repeat his notice, that he should to-morrow se'nnight make a motion on the subject of our foreign relations. Seeing the under Secretary of State for the Home department in his place, he would take that opportunity of asking him, whether he had made any further inquiry into the case of a Portuguese of the name of Correa, who had been sent out of this country, as he understood, because the ambassador, M. Souza, had refused to sign his passport. Mr. Addington begged to remind the hon. gentleman and the House, that when this charge was first made, he had expressed his belief that no such case had occurred. The hon. gentleman, however, not being satisfied, he (Mr. Addington) had the day after stated, that nothing of the kind had happened during the time that the present Secretary for the Home department had held his office. The hon. gentleman then found that he had made a mistake, and that the person in question had been sent out of the country, when Mr. Ryder was secretary of state. The first impression, therefore, which he (Mr. Addington) had entertained, was, that he was not obliged to extend his researches to an indefinite period, as the hon. gentleman could not mention the year when the transaction took place. To avoid any misconstruction, however, he had searched to the period between five and six years ago, and had read all the papers upon the subject; and as far as his opinion went, he was satisfied that Mr. Ryder, than whom no man was less likely to be guilty of an abuse of power, had only exercised a sound discretion in sending that individual out of the country.

Mr. Whitbread hoped the right hon. gentleman would excuse him, if he did not join in the panegyric which he had pronounced on Mr. Ryder; and as he could not take the opinion of the right hon. gentleman on this subject, he should move for the correspondence which had passed relative to sending Correa out of this country. He was desirous of knowing what was the practice as to signing passports; and on Tuesday, when an hon. member would make a motion on the Alien Act, he should bring this matter before the House.

BANK RESTRICTION BILL.] Mr. Brogden brought up the Report of the committee on the Bank Restriction Bill. On the question that it be received,

Mr. Grenfell, without detaining the House at length, having been a member of the bullion committee, wished to make a few remarks upon the measure. In his opinion no circumstances had, since the report of that committee, occurred, suffi-` cient to induce him to change his sentiments, or to think that the principles and doctrines laid down in the report of the bullion committee were ill-founded. Certain facts of a curious nature had indeed appeared, but they did not bear upon the true point in issue; and looking at the present state of the country, with reference to the currency, the price of bullion, and the state of the foreign exchanges, he was persuaded that the arguments in the report were more and more confirmed. Those who four or five years ago argued against that report, imagined that they had now obtained a signal triumph, but they and the House would recollect that Bank-of-England paper was only one component part of the paper currency of Great Britain; that the country banks made very large issues of paper money, the amount of which it was not easy to ascertain, but which also had their influence on the price of bullion. It would be found, he believed, on inquiry, to be a fact, that as the paper circulation of the Bank of England had been diminished, that of the country banks had been augmented, and consequently that the whole amount of the paper currency was generally at all times about the same. This assertion was in some degree confirmed by the fact, that during the last summer, when a number of country banks and their paper were withdrawn, the issues of the Bank of England were augmented in proportion. The truth was, however, that the bullion committee had never contended that paper was to be considered as the criterion by which a judgment was to be formed of the price of gold and silver. He requested the House to reflect upon the present state of the country. We had now been for about twelve months at peace; the balance of trade had been during the whole period in our favour, and from these and other circumstances we had a right to expect that the foreign exchanges should be in our favour. What, then, was the reason that bullion was 15 per cent. below the mint price,

and that the exchanges were 15 per cent. against us? After the best consideration he was able to give the subject, he was convinced that the currency of the country was now, and had long been in a state of depreciation. He also felt some alarm lest this forced and fictitious state of things should in time be made a part of the permanent system of the country. He earnest. ly recommended that we should return to the ancient, sound, and wholesome state of a mixed currency of paper and gold. With this view, on the third reading of the Bill, he should propose an amendment similar to that which he had offered in the committee.


pledged, not that the Bank should resume
its payments in cash at that time, but that
he would not lose sight of the subject. It
was a mere delusion to suppose that the
Bank would resume cash-payments if left
to themselves. Government must inter-
pose its authority, for it was not natural
that the Bank should spontaneously give
up the great profits which they derived
from the system of restriction. Was it
not a strange circumstance, that during
the period of our greatest foreign expendi-
ture, and our largest importation of grain,
the price of gold was falling, and that it
was rising this year, when our foreign ex-
penditure was rapidly diminishing every
week, and the importation of wheat had
ceased? On the third reading of the Bill
he should propose that a declaration of
the principle that the Bank must resume
its payments, should be introduced. No
one wished cash-payments should take
place immediately, but that ministers
should adopt the doctrine of the necessity
of their taking place.

Mr. Rose would be judged by any man, if the measure recommended by the bullion committee would not have proved most ruinous had it been resorted to at the period which they had named. The new guineas which the Bank would, in that case, have been compelled to coin, would have been melted down as soon as they were issued. The Bank would have sustained an enormous loss, and the public would have derived from it no benefit. He objected to the amendment proposed to be moved by the hon. gentleman, as he understood the introduction of the words, "and no longer," were intended to tie down parliament from continuing the restrictions, even if it should appear necessary. Gold had been 51. 78. the ounce; it was now down to 4. 9s. If its price should again be advanced, great inconve niencies might result from pursuing the course which the hon. gentleman recommended. He denied, that we had been a year at peace: we had still to send a million of dollars per month to Portugal, on account of arrears; we were not yet in a state of peace with America, and immense sums had been carried out of the country by travellers and persons visiting and going to reside in France. But for these circumstances, he thought it probable, that even now gold might have been down to the mint price.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer reserved his observations upon the hon. member's views until he should propose the amendment of which he ha given notice. He thought it however necessary on this occasion to deny the assertion, that the country had been twelve months at peace. For, in point of fact, considering the state of our relations with America, that a definitive treaty was not yet concluded, and that our foreign expenditure still continued, the country could not even now be said to be in a state of peace. Our foreign expenditure had no doubt diminished, and was still diminishing. Yet its extent must naturally be conceived to operate against the reduction of the exchange; and until the expiration of the winter months, which impeded our commerce, the balance of trade could not be expected to outweigh the influence of our foreign expenditure. The prospect, however, was favourable, the rate of exchange having been reduced no less than 25 per cent. within less than twelve months; but still he was not so san

Mr. Horner was decidedly of opinion that the Bank ought to resume cash-pay-guine in his hopes as to speak confidently, ments as early as possible. He denied that the restriction upon the Bank could that any of the doctrines of the bullion be conveniently removed at the time specommittee had been refuted, and could not cified in the Bill. allow this opportunity to pass without entering his protest against the Bill altogether. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had said he expected the measure would not continue to be necesssary beyond July, 1816, he regarded as being

Mr. J. P. Grant thought that the diminished hopes of the right hon. gentleman as to the resumption of cash payments, since he last addressed the House upon the subject, furnished additional reason for inquiry.. The House should not leave

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such an important matter as the restoration | the ends of justice nor discipline required of a sound currency to settle itself as it its existence. If the ends of military law remight happen. It was due to the coun- quired this severity of opprobrium, it should try, especially after the declaration of the be inflicted according to the acknowledged right hon. gentleman, that the House rules of the other branches of the national should enter into the full consideration of jurisprudence, and not at the volition of the subject. For his own part, he de- any individual. There were three cases clared that he thought the resumption of in which he meant to notice the power cash-payments by the Bank so extremely against which he complained. None of difficult, that to devise the means of pro- these were, however, recognized by the ducing that resumption, must require the Mutiny Act itself. But in them the same collective wisdom of parliament, duly and judicial objects were attainable without deliberately exercised. The prospect held this discretionary authority. Those cases out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as were, the bringing forward charges against to the removal of the restriction, was by superior officers: the rejection, on the part no means encouraging; but still he must of military individuals, of an associate say, that his hopes were even less san- against whom they had some objection; guine than those of the right hon. gentle and the cases which ordinarily occurred man; nay, farther, he would say that he of being absent without leave. Now, in had no hope whatever on the subject; and all these cases, no inconvenience could in his calculation the right hon. gentleman, attach to the prosecution of parties, whose should be continue finance minister, would, conduct appeared reprehensible. If charges before the period fixed for the expiration were adduced which appeared primâ facie of the present Bill in 1816, have to apply untenable, surely the accuser was fairly, to parliament for its continuance. Indeed, amenable to the ordinary mode of trial, he expected that the restriction would con- without the interposition of any summary tinue to go on from time to time, as here- proceeding. In cases of absence without tofore, if the subject were not taken up by leave, he knew more than one instance in parliament, and thoroughly investigated which the individual could have fully exwith a view to provide some remedy for cused his breach of order, if exposed to the existence of such an evil. the scrutiny of any investigation. In the navy there was no such mode of punishment; and was there a laxity of discipline? [Hear, hear! from the opposite benches, and the case of lord Cochrane was intimated to the noble lord]. But the case of that noble lord was different; he had been tried and convicted in a court of law. In no other army did this power It was unknown in the despotic military organization of Austria and Russia. In those services no officer could be dismissed without trial; indeed, without this preparatory ordeal no punishment (and dismissal was often the most disgraceful) ought to be at all tolerated, particularly when nothing in the Mutiny Bill warranted its infliction, and when much dissatisfaction prevailed in the army at its being allowed to exist. The noble lord concluded by moving the insertion of a clause in the Mutiny Bill, providing" that it shall not be lawful to dismiss any officer except by the sentence of a general court-martial."

The Report was agreed to, and the Bill ordered to be read a third time on Thursday.

MUTINY BILL.] On the motion of lord Palmerston, the House resolved itself into a committee on the Mutiny Bill.

Lord Proby rose for the purpose of introducing a clause into the Bill, for pre-exist. venting the dismissal of military officers from the service without the previous inquiry of a court-martial. It would have been, perhaps, a better course for him, in the first instance, to have moved for a copy of the proceedings of the court-martial on colonel Quentin, as the circumstances attendant upon those documents would have been a striking illustration of the opprobrium of which he complained. He was always impressed with the opinion, that the dismissal of officers, whose only offence was the bringing forward charges against their superiors which were deemed unproved, was a measure not only impolitic, but illegal. Custom, he was aware, had sanctioned it, and the opinion of lawyers gave it a degree of éclat; but he would condemn this unmerited stigma, and was prepared to shew, that neither

Lord Palmerston opposed the clause, on the ground that the noble lord had not made out any case, or pointed out any abuses of that discretionary power vested in the Crown, to justify his proposition. When

our ancestors had curtailed the preroga tives of the Sovereign, they had left him that of which it was now the question to deprive him. The allusion to the officers of the 10th was not correct; for in that case, no officer had been dismissed, but removed. Was the commission granted by his Majesty, besides, to considered such a freehold property, as to warrant it being deemed an injury to an individual to take it away from him, when he had become unworthy of bearing it? There were many causes which might justify his Majesty in withdrawing his confidence from an officer, which could not be brought before a court-martial. Disaffection, incapacity, or disgraceful conduct, were amongst those. The clause itself was not a new one. It had already been discussed, and rejected in the House of Commons without a division, and in that of the Peers by a large majority. The circumstances in which it had thus been lost, were, however much more in favour of its adoption than the present. It was in 1734, when sir Robert Walpole had recommended the King to dismiss lord Cobham and the duke of Bolton from the command of their regiments, which might be supposed to have been done in consequence of political differences. This prerogative in the hands of the Crown was necessary to the discipline of the army, and even the liberty of the subject; and on the total failure of the noble lord to produce proofs of the necessity of adopting his clause, he called upon the House to reject it.

Mr. Bennet dwelt upon the utility resulting from the discussion of military law in that House, especially in the discouragement and diminution of corporal punishment in the army. Of the nature and extent of this horrible infliction he was fully aware, from his own observation in early life; but he was happy to think that the severity of the evil had since been materially reduced. The hon. gentleman commented with much severity on the proceedings which followed the trial of colonel Quentin, and intimated his determination, at a future day, to propose an amendment in the Mutiny Act.

Mr. R. Ward stated, that the power of dismissing officers without being tried by a court-martial, existed in the navy, and instanced the case of lord Cochrane.

Mr. Tierney rose to support the clause proposed by the noble lord, and thought that on sound constitutional principles it merited his assistance. The argument drawn from the precedent of dismissal in sir Robert Walpole's administration, was far from being conclusive. It appeared to him to prove nothing more, than that sir Robert Walpole's House of Commons approved of their patron's conduct; and as to the right belonging to the Crown of resuming the commissions it had previously. granted, it should be recollected that the system pursued in our army was essentially different from those of other countries. In our service commissions were purchased, and the purchasers were entitled to every protection in the enjoy ment of their annuity. They had purchased a place of trust and profit, and had a right to be continued in it, unless found guilty of some crime deserving of forfeiture. The noble Secretary at War had stated, that the crimes of incapacity and ungentlemanlike conduct, could not be made the subject of trial. The latter of these was, however, frequently to be seen among the charges preferred before a court martial, and therefore thought capable of proof. And as to the former, it would be much more honourable to inquire into that before the unfortunate gentleman's pocket was emptied. But now his money was taken; and on a subsequent examination his incapacity was declared, and he was deprived of his commission with a stigma affixed to his character. With respect to the charge of disaffection against any individual, this surely was of a nature peculiarly capable of proof, and should be tried by some court; for, by the present practice, the character of an officer might be whispered away, and no reason given but the caprice of power, for depriving him both of that and his commission. The right hon. member next alluded to the case of the officers of the 10th hussars, who were dismissed to different regiments: these were not, he allowed, dismissed the service, but they were expressly sentenced to other corps for the purpose of learning subordination; but in such a case gentlemen were made their own executioners. For although not absolutely deprived, there were many who would not wish to enter another corps with this brand of insubordination. To field-officers it would be particularly severe; for how could they insist on submission, when their own want

Lord Proby contended, that the mere suspicion of disaffection, unless that suspicion were substantiated, was not a sufficient ground for dismissing an officer.


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