Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

12 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



PASLIAIEIIABY JOTTINGS. I HOPE I am not bold in giving my private opinion upon recent debates in the House of Com- ^ons; but the Congress in the U nited States has been compared to a bear garden," and I think Americans, had they been present in the British House of Commons upon some recent OCcasions, could have thrown back upon us some- thing like the same taunt. Let us take, for in- stance, one particular night when the Reform Bill Q.s to be introduced. The Speaker took the chair 1,1 his usual calm manner, the orders of the day ere proceeded with, and amongst the notices of Motion on the paper was a question as to the presence in England of certain Chinese princes, whether they had visited this country officially Were recognised by the Government as a depu- 5tion from the Celestial Empire. The Minister of replied that he was aware of their presence atoongst us; that their visit was not an official atoongst us; that their visit was not an official 0e, but he hoped that it would lead to nearer diplowa,tic relations, and would tend to increased Mercantile connections with the Eastern world, kc&rcely had the words been uttered when prince Pim and his son To-Ko entered the am- ^ssadors' gallery. They were dressed in fine lowing robes, and were followed by three pendants, who were in Chinese costume, two interpreters also following in the wake. Prince Pitil took his seat to the extreme right of gallery, the interpreter sat beside him, and ^vided the father from Prince To-Ko, his jj?H. The three attendants took seats at some ^stance from their august masters. Prince Pim, white linen habiliments adorned with gold, ookea down upon the assembly below him as it ^ey were quite secondary to the great empire he ^Presented. He took out a Chinese pocket-book pencil, and was prepared to take notes. One 0lllel have wished that upon this occasion some, great orator would have risen, and by his elo- 'I q4ence shown the Eastern princes that there was 4 Demosthenes in the British House of Parlia- ^ent. But no; Mr. Whalley rose, and determinedly submitted a motion he had upon the paper, to the «ect that Fenianism was in some way coupled ^th Popery, and that the priests were at the bottom of all the crimes which this brotherhood 4d introduced. Away he stormed, no way re- ^rded by the cries of Divide, divide!" "Sing, or Agreed, agreed I" Mr. Oliphant, a ^ernber of the House, who has seen much service India, wended his way to the Chinese envoys, 1 Itnd in vain attempted to convince them that the 8aker was not a, great man in the House, that *8 subject was unpopular, &c., and that the howls irey heard were not the usual expedients of P ir- ^ttientary deliberations in the British House of oiDmons. There were at this time in the House bout 500 members, and Sir Percy Burrell took the Jhisuai. course of asking the Speaker to count, the j_ °Use, upon which three-fourths of the mem- left it, but there being still upwards of forty Presentatives present, the Speaker very politely jetted to Mr. Whalley that the members of the ]j.0tlse were impatient, whereupon he withdrew Dlo^on> but not before the Celestials had left g^Hory, no doubt impressed with tke very I i ^ui'dinary way in which business was conducted House of Commons. Enough upon this point, however; the great e§tion of the week was the Reform BtIL Never 9,8 there a more d ivided House; members who ^ee to this will not agree to that. The struggle great to pass the preliminary steps, amend- peQt after amendment was negatived until at ungth Government got into committee upon the and there clause by clause is discussed with ?fitermined opposition. The excitement is becom- es greater as the bill proceeds, and Mr. Gladstone met at every point with some amendment or whicb. materially affects his bill. He is,' eer, proceeding as rapidly as possible, and is in dissatisfied with the many forced delays. For det 8.1I.ce, on the debate on Thursday there was a ^fmined opposition to the county franchise of 1 > Mr. Wa!pole moved as an amendment to sub- a,h^Ul:e ^or A spirited discussion ensued, hi ar' midnight the committee divided, when the J were—for the £ 14 franchise, -297; for j ^0, 283; majority for Ministers, 14. I think I j ^,Ver heard such vociferous cheers follow any j Vision. It was, as it were, the great climax got 1 dif?1"" 'le Government feared a defeat, and they j Dot pledge themselves to adopt the absolute « they had fixed upon, therefore they considered a „l8 a triumph even beyond that they expected, *ter the cheers had subsided, Mr. Gladstone j °Posed that they should proceed with the bill ^committee on the nert day—Friday. "No, q?j cried the Opposition—" Monday;" but the ^ancellor of the Exchequer explained that, as there ere few motions to be discussed on Friday they w Jtidiciously debate it on that day, and the 1 J°rity being in favour of the Government, the tj £ Jer day was fixed for the reproduction of the \vrm committee. ib* Friday came, however, the Tories were 'P spared to entorce a postponement, and a discus- °n concerning the new site of the Royal Academy on concerning the new site of the Royal Academy j made to occupy three hours, until the clock j*nted to five minutes past eleven, at which time [? r-Gladstone r08e an(j said, with anything but Wod humour in his oountenance, that having ,pro- ised that the debate on the Reform Bill should "ltrocluce^ after eleven o'clock, and it being en a few minutes past that hour, he must agree its aojournment until Monday But Monday was the evesttul day on which > clause for the county franchise was expected ^ally to pass The Conservatives suddenly dis- ^vered that there was no amendment on the pper in opposition to the £ M rental. They had ^ied on the previous day to increase this sum £ 20 and had been defeated, and now, unless an was made, it would pass through committee /^opposed. So the burly Mr. Hunt scarcely j^ited to swallow his breakfast on Monday, p^fore fee sent a special messenger down to the h&ncellor of the Exchequer's private residence a notification that he should move an amend- ^ent to the effect of making the qualification a ^iog instead of a rental one. Well, the House met at the usual hour, four ?kel°cb, and the orders of the day were gone J*50ugh pretty quickly, when suddenly Mr. ^Qglake asked a question from the Chancellor the Exchequer concerning our interference with b-e German Powers. Here was a chance for the 0Uservatives, which they immediately embraced, after the Government reply had been given, D. Griffith, Mr. B. Cochrane, Mr. Sandford, Sir G. Bowyer, all had a rap at the Ministers; came Sir Robert Peel from the Ministerial pompous and authoritative, telling the Go- ei'Qment that the motion was made an his sug- l: "6stion, and he was surprised at tke want of ^hdour in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's >eP'y. Then we had a drawing-room speech from Robert Montagu, after which a few words r°m Mr. Laing (the Adullamite), who upon this Oceasion frankly defended the Government and COntended that this debate was quite useless, and Only wasting the time of the House. The Tories "ere, however, not to be put down; one after Mother, we had Major Walker, and Mr. H. Sey- ^our, and Iiord Cra^nborne-—t.he latter of whom ^iade a violent attack upon the Cha,nceller of the Exchequer, which Mr. Layard had to defend— ^~then came in rapid succession Colonel Edwards, Cavendish Bentinck, Mr. Powell, Lord Claude j Hamilton, and Mr. Wiuteside. The debate had '^sted nearly five hours when up rosa Sir John I fianmer, whose face and figure might be taken for that, of a jolly London alderaiara,, He re" — "m- ferred to the time he had taken to dine, and his surprise at finding the same debate going on as when he left the House. The h c n. baronet told the Opposition, in no very mea- sured terms, that they were merely giving way to windy expressions, stating what they would like to have, and what they would not, and were perfectly careless whether they were heard or not, so long as they could delay the great measure of Reform, and stated bis opinion that the House of Commons was fast falling into the character of a low debating society. This did not stop the Op- position, however; on went Lord J. Manners, Sir John Walsh, &c. Mr. Hibbert then persuasively begged the House to defer the war question and turn to Reform, which brought out Colonel Knox, who said nobody wanted Raform, and it might as well be postponed for another session as not. At 'engtb. the debate came to an end, and the House went into committee upon the Reform Bill, but this was as stormy a debate as the other. Mr. Hunt pressed his motion for the rating franchise, and he was supported well by his party. Mr. I Gladstone, when rising, complained of insufficient notice, which brought up Mr. Hiint, who contra- dicted him, and the contradiction got so strong that the chairman and two members were all on their legs together, and the shouts of H Explain," Order, order," Ob, oh," &c., were deafening. The Tories were determined the division should not be come to that night, and so they moved that "the committee report progress," upon which, much to Mr. Gladstone's annoyance, they divided, when the numbers were-ayes, 303; noes, 254; majority in favour of the Government, 49. Again there was a, squabble, and again a division on the motion that the Chairman leave the chair," which was negatived by 254 against 212. Then Mr. Bagge rose to make a third motion that the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again." Mr. Gladstone could stand it no longer, and although complaining of the obstruc- tions put in their way, agreed to postpone the clause to a future day. Thus the evening passed without one single clause getting through com- mittee. A more excited House I have seldom witnessed, and some of their tricks would almost disg race a schoolboy.




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