Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

10 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



PARLIAMENTARY JOTTINGS. MANY members of the House of Commons have dwriog the last few days been conspicuous for their absence, for the general election being near at hand, they are desirous of making their seats secure by an amiable affability to their con- stituents, shaking them by the hand, and telling them of the many good things they will introduce in a new Parliament. The few members who attended to the business of the House during the past few days have been principally those con- nected with the Government—metropolitan members and Irish representatives, the latter of whom watch with a jealous eye anything affecting the interests of their country. The return of members at the general election is likely to be hotly contested generally through- out the kingdom. Never was the Carlton Club more active or the Conservatives more deter- mined; at the same time, it has been said that the Reform Club and the Liberal supporters have exhibited less anxiety than has been their wont. The Ministers have been working hard to get the business of the Session over, so that there should be an immediate dissolution, but this has been slightly opposed by Lord Derby and the Opposi- tion in the House of Lords. There is nothing defi- nitely settled concerning Lord Palmerston—that is to say, whether he is prepared to take the reins of Government in a new Parliament, or whether age and infirmities will compel him to resign that high position. The Conservatives wish the nation to believe that the Government are going to the country with the prestige of the noble lord's name, well knowing that he will no longer take an active part in administrative affairs. Nothing has escaped from the lips of the members of the Treasury bench which would lead to such a conclusion, and the Opposition think that some definite statement should be made either to confirm or deny the rumour. Speaking of private bills, it may be as well to mention that these are chiefly introduced to enable private individuals, associated together, to under- take works of public utility at their own risk, and, in a degree, for their own benefit, such as railways, canals, &c. But there are other private bills, such as those of naturalisation, change of name, per- fecting titles to estates, &c. The fees on a bill for the naturalisation of a foreigner are limited to £ 100, but for all other private bills the expenses, including fees, generally amount to X500, and sometimes a much larger sum. To carry out these bills according to the etiquette of the House, so as to abide by the standing orders," a class of pro- fessional gentlemen act as solicitors, and these are called Parliamentary agents. Most of them have a thriving business towards the close of a session; tltey employ a number of shorthand writers and clerks, and at each stage of the bill they prepare manuscript reports of the proceedings. This is considered one of the useless expenditures of the age, and it is believed that an economy could be exercised in the labour, which would lessen the expenses to one half their present cost. Let me now say a few words concerning Lord Palmers ton's personal appearance. He has been on the Treasury bench almost every day during the past fortnight, and though he does not think it necessary always to stay till midnight, he seems anxious to show to the country that, old as he is, his eye is not yet dim nor Ms natural force abated." I saw him a few days ago taking notes of the proceedings (a thing he is unaseustomed to do-), without spectacles, and reading them after- wards to his colleagues as readily as a young man of thirty. When he entered the House on Monday, he walked up to his seat alert and vigorous. He moved a little stiffly, to be sure, and though the sling and the stik were dis- carded, his weak arm was held up to his breast, yet carelessly withal, as if the position was a matter of accident rather than of necessity. There was altogether an air about him so gay, buoyant, and joyous, that an involuntary exclamation of admira- tion burst out from all sides. Mr. Disraeli is said to have remarked to some friends after the noble Premier's speech on the ballot question, In all my experience in the House of Commons I have never heard Lord Palmerston to more advan- tage It is pleasant to record these testimonies of respect from political rivals, and it was plea- sant to see Mr. Disraeli, who for the nonce entered the same lobby with Lord Palmerston, walk side by side and enter into familiar conversation. My readers will notice that the Appropriation Bill" passed the third reading in the House of Commons on Monday. This bill cannot be brought in until all the estimates of the year are voted, which are consolidated into what is then called the Appropriation Bill; the object of the bill is to assign to each sum of money voted its own particular department of expenditure, prohibiting the vote for the army to be applied to the navy, or an estimate for edu- cation to be applied to any other source, &e. This bill, having been read a third time in the House of Commons, is submitted to the Upper House, and being there considered and decided upon, receives the Royal assent, and becomes law. This is always the last act of the Session, immediately after which her Majesty, or the Commissioners, in her name, declare the Parliament prorogued or dis- solved, as the case might be. In reference to this Appropriation Bill, I should p observe that the Lords ordinarily have nothing- at all to do with voting money, and this is the only opportunity they have of complaining of public expenditure. When this bill is brought to them, however, in a consolidated form, they have clause after clause read over, and have the power of re- jecting any one of them; but they have no power to alter or amend; the Commons have, notwithstanding, frequently considered verbal emendations suggested by the Lords, and made trifling alterations to meet their lordships' views. When at Parliament, on Friday, I saw a notice posted up, stating that there would be a morning sitting in the House of Lords on Saturday. I ac- cordingly wended my way thither at the appointed hour, when Lord Redesdale, as Deputy-Speaker of the House of Lords, took his seat on the woolsack, and two peers were found to keep him company. In the limited space of ten minutes about twenty private bills were supposed to be read a third time and passed, and their lordships adjourned. If I were to write a page upon the subject I could not say more. The title of each bill was read as quickly as the lips could form the words, and Those who are of opinion that this bill stall pass say Content, those who are of a contrary opinion say Noncontent, the Contents have it," was gabbled out, and the business was ended, ♦





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