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Parliamentary Debates relating to the Law.
arrangements are unknown to professional men. On the contrary, they are matters of every day occurrence. In fact, there is scarcely any house of great professional business in which there are not transactions in which some of the parties have no interest. Some have no interest in the common law business; others do not participate in the profits of the conveyancing department. And, in my own office, I have one son who has no connection with the business of the Bank of England, and another son who is connected with me in the affairs of that great Company. I and my sons are partners in general business,—excluding one of them from the concerns of the bank, and I being excluded from the parliamentary business. I state these as facts easily ascertained. Similar arrangements to the one 1 have entered into have beeu made by other Members of this House belonging to the same profession. In the case, for instance, of Mr. Henry Smith, the solicitor of the East India Company, from the moment he came into Parliament, he disconnected himself from all parliamentary business. The same thing occurred with respect to the late Sir James Grabam; in the ease of Mr. Evan Folks, solicitor of the Audit Office, and of Mr. Jones, the solicitor of the Board of Woods and Forests. Without multiplying these instances, I will ask, has any inconvenience arisen from the resolution not being more stringent than it is? Have any complaints been made of individuals having apparently withdrawn from parliamentary business, yet interfering, nevertheless, with that business. I hope the House will permit me to state what has been my own conduct in this respect. From the moment I entered parliament and had disconnected myself from any parliamentary profit, I abstained from the most indirect inquiry iu relation to any parliamentary business in my own office. 1 assert, in the most solemn manner—if my own word be not sufficient,—that no client has had the slightest advantage from my being a member of parliament: that no client i« ever allowed to hold any conversation or intercourse with me on the subject of any parliamentary business in which my son is professionally connected; and, although I may have presented petitions from gentlemen who have stopped me in the lobby, who were perfect strangers to me, yet I have never given to a client the advantage I have rendered to a stranger. I have, iu no instance, presented a petition, or moved those bills, through any one of their stages, in which my sons had the least interest. I have always kept myself distinct from any sort of interference; and it has, in consequence, frequently occurred that the progress of their business has been delayed; but I have done so because my character as a Member of Parliament should not be in the most distant degree compromised. I claim, most respectfully, but with the utmost confidence, that the House will give full and implicit reliance to the statement I am now making. I claim iti on this distinct ground— not arrogating to myself a higher degree of sin
cerity, or a more scupulous regard to character, than belongs to others, but—because, if there is any honourable Member in this House who entertains the slightest suspicion on the subject, or has any curiosity to gratify, I can assure him that such is the state of the business in the house of which I am a partner; such is the notoriety on this subject, and such is the information of the clerks in that house— such the knowledge of official persons connected with both Houses of Parliament—that the statement I am now making, and which will probably be in the papers to-morrow, would, if untrue, be contradicted by twenty persons in my own establishment, The books of the house, about which there is no mystery, would contradict me if I any way deviated from the exact facts. Therefore, I ask—I invite any honorable gentleman who has the slightest doubt on the subject, to move for a committee to investigate the matter, and I will stand or fall by tie truth of the statement I am now making.
1 repeat, that what I have done is done daily by other Members of this House, who are iu the profession. 1 have entered upon the hooks of my house the same record as that recorded in the case of Mr. Smith. That record is still on the books of the house; it was entered with the full knowledge of idl the clients, whose business has any reference to parliamentary affairs. I ask the house what other method remained of conforming to the resolution of this House than those I have resorted to? If from this moment, I should rctiie from the profession of the law, there would still remain the same intimate connection between the gent'emen who conduct the parliamentary business of my office and myself; there would still remain that indirect, though close interest, which must always exist between parlies who are so closely connected as a son, a son in law, and a lu-Qther. The Hpuse will be kind enough to bear in mind that t}ie resolution which has been read has a different reference to parliamentary agencies and avowed partnership. It is impossible tluit any gentleman can rend that resolution without seeing that it, is intended to prevent Members of this House from deriving advantages from parliamentary business? Again and again 1 assert, that I derive no such advantages. I never suffered the interests or wishes of the clients of my house to interfere in the slightest degree with my parliamentary conduct; and I never will. In fact, to whatever extent parliamentary business is carried on in my office, I suffer rather a proporiionate injury than derive a proportionate advantage. If any different construction were to be put on this resolution, what would be the situation of an honorable Member of this House, who happened to be in partnership with a solicitor in carrying on the business of bankers, the member being'.' merely a partner in the.banking business* hut the solicitor also carrying on his professional business, and being concerned in soliciting bills in parliament? Would it be said that a Member of the House, under such circuw
Parliamentary Debates relating to the Law.
stances would be affected by this resolution? I may ask the House to express itself'—if I may be permitted to make the request—in a clear, unequivocal, and intelligible form on this question. If it appears to the House that 1 am so circumstanced that I cannot independently discharge my duty, and that I cannot associate with the Members of the House without some degree of discredit to the Members themselves,—that I cannot discharge my public duties without having motives imputed to me of an unworthy nature,—if the House so expresses itself, it may depend that I will never stand in the way of any one honorable Member of this House. 1 call upon the House to decide whether or not I can hold my present situation with honor to myself; and to the decision of the house, whatever it may be, I will willingly bow.
Mr. Freshfield having left the House,
The Attorney General said;—I feel bound to offer my opinion on this subject to the House at once; and it certainly appears to me that the honorable Member has taken unnecessary pains to vindicate himself. Because, as soon as the honorable Member declared that he had no concern, directly or indirectly with the business, it seems to me quite clear that he cannot be in the remotest degree implicated in the resolution that has been read. We are bound to give credit to the statement of any honorable Member, much more to the honorable .Member who has just left the House, who, I must say, during the long period I have known him, has maintained this character— that there is no honorable Member whose word can be more implicitly relied on, or who has a stricter or more delicate sense of honor.
Sir F. Pollock.—I entirely concur in what has fallen from my honorable and learned friend opposite. No Member of this House, either by himself or his partner, ought to participate in the profits of a parliamentary agency. I am sure there never sat in this House an honorable Member more entitled to a higher share of confidence than the honorable Member for Penryn; and if the House is saiisfu d that what that honorable Member has stated is correct, it is Clear that this case does not come within the spirit or the letter of the resolution. Agreeing, therefore, with the opinion of my honorable and learned friend opposite, and there being no motion before the House, I hope the House will now proceed to the other orders of the day.
Mr. Tooke.—It is not my intention to occupy the time of the House at any length on this occasion; but considering the subject as one of much importance, and fully concurring in the propriety of the resolution in question, I cannot refrain from making a few observations upon it. I would premise then, however, by stating that no one more readily acquiesces than I do, in the satisfactory nature of the explanation given by the honourable Member for Penryn, so far as regards his own persuasion of his not coming within the scope of the resolution; but I at the same time greatly fear that the example thus set by one
of his high character, in contravening the spirit, and as I am persuaded, the very letter of the resolution, may have the effect of encourag. ing less scrupulous individuals to profit by the latitude thus given in the construction of it. Should the House, however, not agree with me in my view of the resolution, I shall conclude by proposing the addition of some words, which shall preclude the possibility of its being perverted to the purposes of undue influence in the conduct of the private business of the House. On my first return to Parliament, I was placed in the same situation as the honorable Member for Penryn j and, although various suggestions were offered to me of a separation of profits, and even of offices, it appeared to me that the common sense of the resolution claimed an entire abstinence, direct and indirect, from all interference with the private business of the House. I lost no time, therefore, in dissolving a lucrative partnership in which I was engaged, holding it inconsistent with my sense of parliamentary, no less than professional duty, to accede to any such expedients for evading the, to me, plain meaning of the prohibition. Indeed, I cannot consider but the simple fact of a Member of Parliament having partners actively employed about this House, may be productive of incalculable mischief; and I much fear that if the doctrines laid down by the honorable Attorney General, and the honorable and learned Member for Huntingdon were to prevail, some ingenious professional men, not influenced by the motives professed by the honorable Member for Penryn, might turn those doctrines to very profitable account. By way of illustration I may add, that during the last Summer, I received intimations from agents and others engaged in railways, similar to that of which I have here a Gazette notice issued by the two junior Messrs. Freshficld's, apprising me that they should bring their plans forward with much disadvantage in competition with gentlemen whose father and general partner was in parliament. And now with regard to the allegations of a particular partnership and separate accounts, I conceive it to be next to impossible to draw the line of demarcation so fine, as to prevent much of intermixture of profit as well as of outlay—and this would appear more especially in the case of a business conducted as between father and sons, under the same roof, with the same clerks, and with the necessarily common use of stationery and other materials of business; independent of which, it could not escape observation that the shares of the sons in the general business might be reduced, in consideration of their taking the profits of the parliamentary business, and thus virtually an advantage would be derived from the latter. For these reasons therefore, and with no retrospective view whatever, and equally disclaiming all personal or party motives as regards the honourable Member for Penryn, for whom I entertain as much respect as any member in this House, but having a paramount duty to perform towards a profession, to improve the standard of which in public estima140
Parliamentary Returns relating to the Law.
tion has been my most strenuous endeavour, during a period of nearly forty years, I am satisfied I cannot more effectually promote that desirable object than byremoving one great element of temptation, by rendering the resolution of the 26th February 1830, as clearly applicable in its terms, as it most certainly is in its spirit, to the proceeding in question; and I shall therefore propose an amendment to that resolution, to the effect that its disabling consequences should equally attach to a member, whether he or any other person in any relation of partnership with him, shall derive pecuniary reward from parliamentary business.
After some observations by other honorable Members the motion was postponed, and subsequently negatived.
COURT OP CHANCEItY.
Return to an order of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 15 February 1837;—for. A Return of the Number of Cases which have been heard before the Master of the Rolls and the Vice Chancclor upon Exceptions taken to the Master's Report between the 31st December 1831 and the 31st December 1836; distinguishing the Nuinberof Cases in which such Exceptions have been wholly over-ruled, and the number nf cases in which such Exceptions have been allowed wholly or in part, or in which it has been referred back to the Master to review his report.
Number of eaten Between the 3lst December 1831 and the 31st December 1836.
Matter of the Rollt. Exceptions wholly over-ruled . . .36 Exceptions allowed .... 33 Exceptions allowed in part . . .19 Referred back to the Master to review his Report. 16
Vice Chancellor. Exceptions wholly over-ruled . . .64 Exceptions allowed . . . .43 Exceptions allowed in part . .13 Referred back to the Master to review his report .18
J. C. Fry, Regittrar.
Return to an address of the Honourable the House ofCoinmons, dated21 March 1837;—for
A Return of the number of Executions which took place for London and Middlesex, in three years ending 31st December 1830; in three years ending 31st December 1833; and in three years ending 31st December 1836; together with the number of Commitments in each of those periods respec
tively, for offences that were capital on the 1st of January 1830.
NUMBER OP EXECUTIONS.
In the three years ending 31st December 1830 ...... 52
Ditto . . 31st December 1831 12 Ditto . . 31st December 1836 nil
NUMRRR OF COMMITIMENTS.
For offences that were capital on the 1st Jan.
In three vears ending 31st Decem. 1830 960 Ditto 31st Decem. 1833 896 Ditto 31st Decem. 1836 823 Whitehall, "1 „ ,, „,.„.
22 March 1837. } S' M' PMW
STATEMENTS ON CRIMINAL LAW.
England and lVa\et.—Criminal Tables fur the Year 1836.
The decrease of crime, which commenced in 1833, and continued through the two following years, amounting in the aggregate to 13 per cent., appears, by the tables for 1836, to have suffered a slight check in that year. The total number of persons charged with indictable offences being,—
In 1834—22,451, decrease on preceding year 1 1835—20,731 „ 8 1836—20,984 increase „ 1
This increase is still less by half per cent, than the computed annual increase in the population; but, though small in amount, has been general, extending over twenty-six English counties, the city of Bristol, and to both North and South Wales. In thirteen English counties there was a decrease; in one tha numbers remain the same.
Of the twenty-three English counties having thc.largestproprotionalagricultural population, an increase of offenders is shewn in twenty. In Herefordshire it amounted to 36 per cent.; in Cambridgeshire to 32 per cent.; in Hampshire to 24 per cent.; in Northamptonshire to 23 per cent., though in the preceding year there was a decrease of 50 per cent, in this county; in Suffolk to 17 per cent.; in Somersetshire to 16 per cent.; and in Herefordshire and Norfolk to above 10 per cent. The three agricultural counties which form the exception are Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire —the decrease in these counties being respectively 7, 11, and 15 per cent. Of the counties having a mixed population, Cumberland shows an increase of 43 per cent.; Northumberland of 34 per cent.; Worcestershire of 18 per cent.; Leicestershire of 12 per cant.; Derbyshire of 9 per cent ; and Cheshire of 2 per cent.
But in the great manufacturing and commercial counties there has been a considerable decrease. In Lancashire of 17 per cent.; in Nottinghamshire of 15 per cent.; in Staffordshire of 12 per cent.; in Warwickshire of 4 per cent.; 141
Statements on Criminal Law.
in Middlesex of 3 per cent.; and in Surrey of 2 per cent. In Yorkshire (Including the three Hidings) there was an increase of 2& per cent.
In comparing the numbers charged with the various descriptions of crime, the increase will be found to have taken place chiefly in the minor offences; and that in those of a graver stamp there has been a decrease.
In the first class—OtFences against the person—the decrease amounts to three per cent., and includes all the most atrocious crimes of the class, except the unnatural offences; in these there is an increase, though the numbers are still much below those in 1834.
In the second class—Violent offences against property—there is a decrease of above 3 per cent., the only exception being in the crimes of house-breaking and sacrilege.
It is the thira class—the offences against property commited without violence—that the increase of the past year has arisen. It amounts to nearly 4i per cent., and falls chiefly under the head of simple larceny; though in two other prominent offences there has been a considerable increase, viz.—
1834 1835 1836
Sheep stealing .... 22!) 221 298 Larceny by Servants . . 813 871 987
In the malicious offences against property there has been a very trifling increase, which has principally occurred in the least atrocious offences.
In forgery and offences against the curreney there has been a decrease of 2J per cent. Of the forgeries, seperately, the nnmbers were in 1834, 59; in 1835, 64 j and in 1836, 55.
In the remaining class—the miscellaneous class—the decrease has reached 32 per cent., having fallen principally under the heads of riot and breach of the peace, and offences against the Game Laws.
The crimes of infanticide and concealing the births of infants, have been latterly the snbiect of inquiry in reference to the operation of the New Poor Laws. In the former offence the numbers have been ascertained for the year 1836; but no comparison can be made, the offence having theretofore been placed under the general head of murder. In that year, 1836, there were ten charges of infanticide, including, with principals and accessories, eleven females and four males; but a conviction took place in one case only. The numbers charged with murder were, in 1834, 86; in 1835, 78; and in 1836, 73. The numbers charged with concealing the births of infants in the same years were 44, 37, and 45, respectively.
Since the year 1827 capital punishment has been abolished in the following offences. In order to shew what may have been the influence of this alteration in the law, a comparison has been made of the average of the numbers charged with each offence, in the three years preceding the abolition, and the numbers in the past year: they were—
Larceny in dwelling houses . 141 1/0
Sheep stealing . . . . . 2(i2 298
Horse stealing 180 148
Cattle stealing ..... 29 35
House breaking 71/ 4G7
Forgery 48 55
Coining 5 20
Sacrilege ....... 13 25
Letter stealing 5 7
Total 1,400 1,174
Comparing these totals, a decrease of 20 pep cent, is shewn; but in the- offence of house, breaking the alterations which have taken place in the law, render the direct comparison with former years incomplete. The same remark applies to forgery, the laws relating to it having been much enlarged by the Forgery Act. of 1830, and offences subsequently indicted as forgeries, which could only have been charged as frauds under the previous law. These cases cannot be estimated at less than one-fourththe total number of forgeries, which they mil have increased in that ratio.
The sentences passed in each of the three last years are given; they corroborate the statement that the slight increase in 1836 has been in the more trivial offences; the increase iu the numbers sentenced being chiefly in, those punished by the shortest periods of imprisonment, »/«.—
1834 1835 1836
Death 480 523 494
Transportation for life . . 864 746 770
14 years 688 554 58*
7 years 2.508 2,329 2,256 Imprisonment for terms
above one year. . . . 314 301 286 Imprisonment for one year
and above six months 1,582 1,543 1,455 Imprisonment for six months
and under .... 8,825 8,071 8,384
Whipped, fined, &c. . . 734 662 541
The most marked change which has taken, place in the administration of the Criminal Law has been with regard to capital punishments: —In the three Years ending with 1820, 312 persons were executed; in the three years ending with 1830, 178 persons were executed -r in the three years ending with 1836, 85 persons were executed; but in the last year, taken separately, the numbers were 17 only.
In the ages of Criminals there has not been much fluctuation, but the slight change which has taken place shows an increase of juvenile offenders during the past year. The numbers at each period of life, and the proportions per cent, which they bore to the total, were as follows :—
1834 1835 1836
12 years and under 400 346 386 Proportion per cent. 1.7$ 1-67 18.4 16 years and above 12,2,204 2,010 2,037 Proportion per cent. 982 970 971 21 years and above 16, 6,473 6,147 6,092 Proportion per cent. 28 83 29 65 29 03 30 years and above 21, 7,069 6,617 6,592 Proportion per cent. 3149 3192 3142 Above 30 years 6.3Q5 5,611 5,877
Statements on Criminal Law.
Proportion per cent. 28 08 27 06 28 00 The degree of instruction has been better defined during the past year, and the number of offenders ascertained under the following more precise divisions :—
Unable to read and Write 7,033 33 52
Able to read and write imperfectly 10.983 5233
Able to read and write well 2,215 10-56
Instruction superior to reading and writing 191 0-91
Instruction could not be ascertained 562 2-68
Thus while above two-thirds of the criminals have received some instruction, little more than one in ten were able to read and write well, and not one in a hundred could be described as having received an education supc
FRANCE. 1834. Death ... ... 25
Hard Labour and Imprisonment for Periods exceeding 15 years . . . 286
• 'from 15 to 10
from 9 to 5 years 1,460
To Imprisonment simply.
4 years and above 5 years . . . 517 2 years and above 1 year . . . 935
1 year 5,515
6 Months and under . . . 24,681
Police surveillance . '600
Infants under 16, imprisoned for periods less than 4 years . . '. 25
The proportion convicted was, in England and Wales, 71 per cent.: in France, by juries in the Caufs <T Assizes, 59-9; by the Judges of the Tritiunaiuc Correctionels, without the intervention of a Jury, 71'5
Considering the foregoing estimate of the relative amount of crime in the two countries, and that the difference of population is as 42 to 100, the greater severity of the English Laws ia strongly exhibited. That this result cannot be attributed to the greater proportion of
Vols Simples . . . 15,020
Convicted . . . 11,568
Imprisoned 1 Year and above . 3,646
Under 1 Year . - . 6,861
Fined .... 771
Infants sent to a Hotwc of Correction 290
rior to the mere attainment of reading and writing well.
State of crime in England and Wales, at compared with France.—A comparison of the results contained in the French report and summan1, with the results of the English tables,— so far as the same can be made out, particularly with regard to education.
The definitions of crime, and the mode of procedure, differ so greatly in the two countries, that it would be very difficult, and: in many respects impracticable, to attain, with any certainty, to more than a very general approximation of some of the principal results.
In England and Wales, in 1836, the number of persons charged with indictable offences, was in the proportion of 1 in 662, to the population.
In France, in 1834, comparing the number of offences tried before the Cours d" Assizes, and such of the offences brought before the Tribunaux Correctionels as appear to correspond with the offences in the English tables, the proportion of criminals to the population is about 1 in 550.
The following is a comparison of the sentences passed in the same two years :—
ENGLAND AND WALES. 1836. 494 : Death.
770 . Transportation for Life.
585 . „ 14 Years. 2,256 . „ 7 Years.
1 . Above 2 Years.
285 . 2 Years and above 1 Year.
1,455 . 1 Year and above 6 Months.
8)384 . 6 Months and under.
541 . Whipped, Fined, &c.
atrocious crimes in this country is proved bvthc tables } the most violent offences, particularly those against the person, being committed in a fiir greater proportion in France than in England
A further exemplification of the severity of the English Laws will be found in a comparison of the punishments inflicted on the k'ols Simples of the French Tables and the simple larcenies of the English.'
11,597 . Simple Larcenies.
8,591 . Convicted.
64 . Transported for Ljfe.
225 . „ 14 Years,
1,451 . „ 7 Years.
83 . Imprisoned 2 Years and above 1 Year.
698 . 1 Year and above 6 Months.
6,023 . 6 Months and under.
47 . Whipped, Fined, &e.