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Goulbnrn, Lord Howick, SirE. Knatchbull, Mr. Duncombe, Mr. Hawes, Mr. Gillon, Mr. D'Eyncourt, Mr. Palmer, Air. Hume, Sir R. Peel, and others, took a part. The Chairman then reported progress, and the House adjourned.
March 6. Lord John Russell, in an able address, submitted to the House a series of resolutions on the affairs of CaNada, by which he proposed to surrender to the local Legislature the Crown, territorial, and casual revenues, in case they should agree to provide the Crown with the means of paying for the civil Government of the Province.—Mr.Leader moved, and Mr. Roebuck seconded, an amendment, that the Legislative Council should be made an elective body. A discussion of some hours ensued, which was adjourned till the 18th inst.
March 7. Mr. Grote brought forward a motion for the introduction of the Vote by Ballot, in the election of Members of Parliament. The honourable Member contended that there were no great or insurmountable difficulties in providing effectual machinery tor carrying the principle of the ballot into execution, it being easy to devise means of rendering the process of voting byballot so short and so simple, that no voterinthecommunity.however uninstructed, could be at all embarrassed in performing it; while at the same time full security would be taken that the act of voting, in the case of every voter, should be entirely secret and undiscover- able The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he felt himself compelled to oppose the present motion. He objected to the measure, not because he denied the abuses of the present system, nor because he did not fully feel the imperative duty of putting down corruption and intimidation, but because he doubted if the ballot were a fit and appropriate remedy; not because he questioned the misconduct complained of, but because be doubted if the remedy proposed would free them from those abuses.—Mr. Grote having replied, the House divided, when there appeared for the motion, 153; against it 265.
March 8. The adjourned debate on the affairs of Canada was resumed, on which a lengthened discussion ensued. On a division there appeared, for the Ministerial resolution, 318; against, 56. Several other divisions then took place, which all terminated in favour of the Ministerial propositions by considerable majorities.
House Of Lords, March 9. After the presentation of a great number of petitions from various parts of the country against the abolition of Church
Rates, the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed his strong disapprobation of the Ministerial plan recently submitted to the other House, which he declared to be highly unpopular throughout the country —and merely calculated to please the Dissenters, who had ulterior objects in view. If there were a surplus property possessed by the Church, why not employ it in providing church-room and pastoral instruction to the two millions of Churchmen who were at present deprived of them? The plan was neither more nor less than a scheme for placing the estates of the Dignitaries of the Church under the management of a Board of Commissioners, invested with full power of granting leases, of settling reversions, of mortgaging or alienating the property. Considering the very violent changes that had taken place at different times, a state of affairs might arise in which the aggregate of the whole of the property might be swept away at once. At a meeting of Bishops held that morning, at which they assembled to the number of fifteen, being nearly all the Prelates who were in town, be had been authorised to express their unanimous concurrence in the sentiments he had uttered, and their determination to resist the proposed measure by all properand just means.—Lord Melbourne said that he had heard with concern that it was the intention of the Reverend Bench to give their opposition to the measure, because he assumed that it would not be without its weight on society at large; but he assured them and the country, that the announcement should not induce him to alter that course which he considered just and beneficial to the best interests of society, and he would therefore most certainly persevere with the measure.—The Bishop of London expressed himself strongly opposed to the measure, as a sacrilegious spoliation of the property of the Church. The conversation then dropped, and their lordships adjourned.
In the House Of Commons, the same day, Mr. Duncombe moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the repeal of that clause in the Reform Bill which disqualifies voters who have not paid rates and taxes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed the motion. The House divided —there were in favour of the repeal 49; against it 38; majority against Ministers 11.
On the motion of Mr. Hume, a resolution, that in future the fees now payable by Members on taking their seats in the House be discontinued, was agreed to.
March 13. The House resolved itself into committee, to take into consideration the resolution on the subject of Church
Rates, which had been proposed on the 3d of March.—Sir R. Peel rose to give his reasons for opposing the Ministerial plan, which be described as being surrounded by difficulties. It was proposed that, for the future, the Church itself, and not the State, should be called upon to provide for the repair of the fabric of the Church—a measure to which he objected in three separate points of view— first, as a financial measure; secondly, as being wholly at variance with authorities who had pronounced opinions on it in that House; and thirdly, in reference to its inconsistency with the principles of sound policy and justice. So far from thinking that the proposed measure was calculated to promote harmony between Churchmen and Dissenters, he entertained but too well-founded apprehensions that no such a result was likely to follow, it being his opinion, that nothing less than the total ruin of the Establishment and the abolition of tithes would satisfy that body. He also objected to the plan, because it would render Bishops, Deans, and Chapters mere annuitants—a change which could not be effected without producing important political events, by depriving the Establishment of all connexion with the landed property of the country, and thus striking a blow at its independent character and stability. He objected to the Bill as giving to an ecclesiastical corporation the control over their property. But the main ground upon which he objected to it, and to which he felt confident that no sufficient answer could be given, was this—that if by any plan of this kind it were possible, consistently with 6trict justice, to give lessees a profit out of the Church revenues, there existed a prior claim, that of the poorer benefices, to more adequate remuneration—a case this which called for an immediate
? revision from a Christian Legislature, t would require the sum of 250,000/. per annum to raise the stipends of existing clergymen to moderate and decent competencies; and if pluralities were abolished, and residence insisted upon, more would of necessity be required. In conclusion, the right honourable Baronet entreated the House to weigh well the nature of the proposed resolution, and to avert from itself that judgment which posterity would pronounce upon it, if those in communion with the Church were parties to a transaction from which they themselves, at the expense of that Church, should derive pecuniary benefits. —Lord Howick supported the Government measure, and proceeded to answer the objections urged against the financial arrangements. He contended, that Church Rates, upon every principle of common sense, were a tax upon property totally distinct from the question of tithe. The right honourable baronet admitted that change was necessary when he bad expressed his intention of voting for the introduction of the Bill, but then he said the state must provide for the payment of Church Rates. Now he would say that, according to the system proposed to be adopted by his noble friend, the state would support the Church. When it was shown practically that the existing system interfered with the well-being of the Church, and the maintenance of religion, and tended to alienate the affections of the people from it—when he saw that such was its effect, he was prepared to incur the responsibility of making the change which was now proposed. The House ought not to be led away by the apprehended ruin to the Church, which this measure was calculated to secure and perpetuate.—Mr. G. Harcourt strongly resisted the plan, as one framed for popularity Mr. Buxton, Dr. Lushington,
&c. having supported the resolution, the debate was adjourned.
March 14. The adjourned debate on the Church Rates was resumed by Sir William Follett. He opposed the measure, because he believed it founded on a principle, which, if pushed to the extremities to which it was capable of being carried, would prove dangerous and destructive to the National Establishment. The honourable Member contended that there had existed from time immemorial a legal and compulsory obligation upon all the holders of land throughout the country, whether resident or non-resident, to raise funds for the repair and maintenance of the parish churches. The present measure would deprive the Bishops and Dignitaries of all interest in their landed property, would alter the whole position of the Established Church, and might eventually lead to its utter spoliation.—The Attorney-General sa\A, that he could neither agree with the law nor the reason of the last speaker. He thought that there ought to be an Establishment, and that a provision should be made for the maintenance of the fabric of the Church and the performance of religious worship— but he also thought an alteration in the law absolutely necessary, since the present system was wholly inefficient, and led to constant bickerings and discontent He expressed his decided concurrence in the resolutions proposed, trusting, that, when it was divested of the misrepresentations by which it had been encompassed, and was fully understood, the
measure to which it was to lead would be approved and gratefully received by the country, and that peace and concord would follow its enactment.—Mr. Law opposed the resolutions, conceiving that the adoption of their principle would ultimately be fatal to the Establishment. —Mr. Cat/ley cordially assented to the principles involved in the resolutions.— Air. Benelt disapproved of the voluntary principle, and should ever give his most strenuous support to the Established Church. But it was not possible to leave the law affecting Church Rates in its present condition. He thought the proposed plan would be attended with the best resulls to the Church and the community in general.—Mr. Pemberton opposed the ■notion, contending that Church Kates were a legal immemorial charge upon the land—that ecclesiastical property was in. defeaeibly vested in the Church, and not in the State—that the measure would be a robbery of the lessees—and that it was the duty of all the friends of the Establishment to unite in its defence, since if it now fell before the attacks of its enemies, it would fall for ever.—Lord John Rutiell thought that this important question ought to be settled at once, and not suffered to be made the theme of discussion at public meetings, and the subject of resistance by parochial martyrs for twelve months longer. In the Government plan the repairs of the Church would be provided for in a way which would hereafter prevent those assemblies in vestry throughout the country, where the Church was attacked by the Dissenter, and supported by the Churchman, anxious to save his own money. Church property would be better managed, the surplus for the repair of ecclesiastical edifices provided, the incomes of the Bishops rendered permanent and secure, and those venerable persons placed in a situation of greater comfort in that respect than they enjoyed at present. The debate was then adjourned.
March 1j. The debute on the resolution regarding CiiL'iicii Rates was continued by Mr. Gisborne, who declared that the opposition of the episcopacy resulted from a "cabal," the object of which was to turn out the ministers.—Lord Sandon regretted the language used towards the Right Rev. Bench, and especially the application of the term " cabal" to the Bishops, whose conduct he defended as independent and judicious. He rested his opposition to the proposed resolutions on the ground that, while the Government itself admitted the deficiency of spiritual accommodation, and of the necessary spiritual in- Gent. Mag. Vol. VII.
struction for the people, they went to cut off from the church itself the very means by which that accommodation and that instruction could alone be supplied.—Mr. liainm assured the house that as far as he could ascertain the sentiments of the dissenters, they were decidedly in favour of the plan proposed.—Mr. W. Gladstone contended that as far back as the reign of Richard the First, a period of nearly five centuries, church rates had existed, and argued, from the acknowledged inefficiency of the revenues of the church to provide for the spiritual wants of the people, that Parliament had no right to lay its hands upon any portion of the church property.—Lord Stanley, in a speech of great animation and power, entered into a review of the measure before the House, which he resisted as calculated to bring ruin upon the Establishment. The noble Lord then argued that the principle of the proposed resolutions was neither just nor equitable as regarded either the lessors or lessees of Church property, and concluded by calling upon the Church, if she saw the danger of ruin to her fabrics in the principle—if the lessees apprehended injury to themselves, to combine—to combinein one effort to prevent the perils which menaced each separately.—The Chancellor of the Exchequer then replied to the various arguments that had been advanced against the measure, and remarked that the appeal of the last speaker, that the present was the last opportunity for the Church to make a stand, was by no means a new one, since it had been made before the Test and Corporation Acts, before the Catholic Question, before the Reform Bill, and before the Church Temporalities' Bill. Then, as now, the Church was to be destroyed, its fabrics were to be ruined, and the voluntary principle to be affirmed. He trusted that the House would support the measure, in order to enable the Government to carry it into effect in the spirit in which it wa* framed, and to give to the people of all religious denominations, if not an union of religious feeling, at least the bond of peace.
After a good deal of desultory discussion, the House divided, when there appeared, for the Ministerial measure, 273; against it, 2.JU.
March 16. Mr. Clay brought forward a motion on the Corn Laws, with the view of considering the expediency of establishing fixed imposts instead of the present graduated scale of duties.—After some desultory discussion the House divided, when the numbers were,—for the Motion, 89; against it 223.
The Ministry have sustained a signal defeat in the Chamber of Deputies, which has caused great sensation throughout the country. A bill had been prepared, providing that in certain cases persons suspected of political offences should be tried by courts-martial instead of by the ordinary criminal courts; but it was rejected by a majority of 211 against 209.
The commercial distress and panic, which had been for some weeks making progress in France, continues to extend itself. Failures in the capital were increasing in number, and in the manufacturing districts, particularly at Lyons, hundreds of workmen were daily thrown out of employment. These circumstances are anew dwelt on by the opposition press as arguments against the demanded grants for the dower of the Queen of the Belgians, an apanage for the Duke of Nemours, an increase of the secret-service fund, and against the proposed fetes at Versailles, although it had been demiofficially announced that the expenses of the latter would be defrayed by the civil list.
A journeyman mechanic, named Champion, was arrested in Paris on Sunday the 19th February, charged on good authority with the formation of an infernal machine for the purpose of destroying the King's life. Champion's plan was to place the machine, which was to have the outward appearance of a piece of furniture, in a house on the road to Neuilly, and to fire at the King as he passed. To make sure work, he had prepared two rows of barrels, which pointed to the right and the left, and which would probably have been much more destructive than Fieschi's machine. The ruffian, on being taken into custody, acknowledged his intentions, but found means of self-destruction by suspending himself from his bed by his cravat. Champion formerly had served in the expedition of Don Pedro in a corps of vagabonds which was disbanded for want of discipline. Two of those lately condemned for the plot of Neuilly were in the same corps, and it was on the road to Neuilly that this new machine was to have been used.
By the provisions of the Spanish Constitution, the government resides in the King and the two Chambers, each elective. The first, the Cortes, is to be composed of representatives of the people, at the rate of one for every 30,000 souls at the least. The second Chamber is to be entitled a Senate. In point of number, it
is to bear the proportion of three-fifths to the number of members of Cortes. The electors of the members of Cortes are to present a triple list of senators to the King, from which he will make the selection of one-third. Senators so selected retain their power for life. They must all have reached forty years o( age, and possess a pecuniary competence. The King is bound to convene the Cortes at least once in every year: and if on the 1st December he shall not have done so, the Cortes are authorised to meet. The members of Cortes are to be elected for three years; and should the third year have arrived,and no means been taken for convening a new Cortes on the first of the month of October, the electors are authorised to meet and choose members for the ensuing year. The Cortes have the right of considering in the first instance the laws relating to public credit and taxes; and if the Senate make any alteration which, upon reconsideration, the Cortes do not think fit to adopt, the law as originally framed by the Cortes, without reference to the alterations of the Senate, is to pass to the King for royal assent. The Cortes reserve to themselves the power of removing from the throne persons incompetent or unworthy of it. The promulgation of this Constitution has generally given satisfaction.
The long expected attack on the Carlist forces has at length taken place, but with the most disastrous result to the assailing parties. It was originally arranged that Espartero, Saarsfield, and Evans, should move simultaneously to the points of attack; but owing to mismanagement or treachery, this plan was not carried into operation. It appears that on the 10th of March, General Evans broke ground from San Sebastian, and commencing his operations by an attack upon the heights of Ametzagana, at the eastern extremity of the chain of hills, carried that position, after an obstinate resistance on the part of the Carlists. OnthelGth, he prepared to make his decisive attack upon the town of Hernani, and succeeded, with little difficulty, in gaining possession of the wooded heights which rise above it on the north. All was prepared for a forward movement, when, as it appears from the General's own despatch, he discovered, most unexpectedly, that the Carlists had been so powerfully reinforced, chiefly by troops from Tolosa, as to render an advance desperately hazardous; and almost at the same moment the whole of his left wing was thrown into confusion, by the appearance in its rear of three battalions of Carlists, who, under the cover of the night, had been brought, by a circuitous inarch, to the right bank of the Urumea, and having passed that river at Axterragoga, again moved in the direction of the north-west. The regiment on the extreme left of the Anglo.Christines' line, thus finding itself attacked in front, and on the left (lank and in the rear, acted as soldiers of more experience would act in similar unhappy circumstances—it made a rapid lateral movement to the right, which soon was accelerated to a panic flight. A regiment of Castile, which stood next in the line, was at once infected by its terror, and the alarm ran through the line, already predisposed to fear by the general hesitation in advancing, until it approached the battalion of Royal British Marines, on the extreme right, or west. This noble corps maintained gloriously the character of the Royal troops of Great Britain; it repulsed every attack upon its position, and did not make a retrograde step, until it had covered the retreat of the whole allied army, aad seen the artillery, wounded, and baggage of the allies placed in security. The AngloChristinos are said to have lost 1500 in killed, wounded, and prisoners, in the action of the 16th; some accounts rate the loss as high as 2000; but, taking the lower number, and adding the admitted loss between the 10th and the 16th, there can be little doubt that the army under General Evans's command has been reduced nearly one half in effective numbers —immeasurably more in moral influence. The Queen's forces have sustained a defeat in Valencia, with considerable loss, 39 of their officers having, it is said, fallen into the hands of Cabrera, and been put to death.
TURKEY. Accounts from Constantinople state that on the 1st of January, shortly after sunset, an earthquake destroyed the town of Tiberias, and a large number of towns and villages of the same district have suffered more or less from the visitation. A large part of the population had perished, and as the communication with Jerusalem was interrupted, the same calamity, it was feared, had befallen that city and the neighbourhood. The new works constructed at St. John of Acre had been destroyed. The Lake of Tiberias experienced a violent concussion during the whole time that the earthquake lasted. An earthquake had also destroyed the town of Jaffa. Thirteen out of fifteen thousand inhabitants had been buried under the ruins.
Accounts from Algiers speak of a melancholy occurrence on the 30th Feb., the citadel of Bona having been blown up on that day, with the loss of 108 men killed, and 192 wounded. The loss is estimated at a million of francs (40,000/.) The origin of the accident is unknown.
The painful intelligence has been received of the death of Mr. Davidson, the enterprising African traveller, who had been murdered within about fourteen days' journey of Timbuctoo, by a marauding party of the tribe of El Harib, who were returning from plundering a place called Boushegrab. They met Mr. Davidson's party a little to the south of Egueda. Mr. Davidson has long been known to the public from his account of his travels in Mexico, Egypt, and the Holy Land, and from having delivered lectures on these subjects at several institutions.
In consequence of the government of New Granada having refused to make restitution to Mr. Russell, our Consul at Carthagena, for the insult offered to him by confining him in the common prison, for having wounded a person in self-defence, Commodore Sir J. S. Peyton, on the 9th of January, issued a proclamation, declaring the whole coast of Granada in a state of blockade, and sailed for that coast, from Port Royal, on the 12th, in the Madagascar frigate, accompanied by the Wasp sloop of war, to enforce his determination. Our minister at Bogota had demanded the immediate release and reinstatement of Mr. Russell, a sum of 5000 dollars to be paid to him as a compensation, and the dismissal of all the functionaries who had acted so illegally towards him. The Granadians, it appears, had dispatched a force of three small vessels of war and 300 men, and had driven away from a settlement, called Boccotoro, about 150 Englishmen. This was considered a very outrageous affair, as Buccotoro was no part of the Granadian territory. The people of Jamaica were urging reprisals by taking possession of all that part of the Isthmus of Darien which belongs to the Granadians, and not relinquishing it until arrangements were made for the immediate prosecution of a plan long in agitation— that of cutting a ship communication between the Pacific and the Atlantic.
Since writing the above, intelligence has been received that the Grenadian government has assented to all the propositions of the British Government.