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their being popular or not as that proxies an exaggerated statement if he said that were a source of weakness rather than the average attendance before Easter was strength, and that they were a form of between sixty and seventy, and that after proceeding that could never be used in any Easter it was considerably more. A cercircumstances of real difficulty or emer- tain number of Peers no doubt failed gency. It would be impossible for their altogether to attend, some from age and Lordships to pass any important measure others from illness. Others could not plead simply and solely by the votes of the equally valid causes of absence. Perhaps absentees as impossible as for the lay their absence did not matter so much as far Lords to interfere with the judicial pro- as general legislation was concerned; but ceedings of the House. That was not a the House had a right to complain of a time when they should lean upon fictitious want of proper attendance so far as Prisupport, and the Committee had there- vate Bill legislation was concerned. His fore, in his opinion, wisely determined to noble Friend the Chairman of Committees abolish the use of proxies. The whole was often placed in an invidious position in character and use of proxies had undergone being obliged to go about canvassing their a great change. Formerly proxies could Lordships for Peers to sit on Private Bill not be used except under Royal licence, Committees. The Peers also who regularly which was granted to Peers who were attended had a right to complain on this absent engaged in the discharge of high score, because they were called upon to take and important State duties. Now they more than their fair share of Committee did not depend on the Royal consent; but work. The noble Earl (Earl Granville) were exercised as the privilege of in- proposed in the Committee that the House dividual Peers, who used them as they should adopt a system similar to that in the thought best for their own convenience. House of Commons, where a circular letter In the same way the difficulties of commu- was sent round to every Member who was nication between the different parts of the expected to take part in Private Business, kingdom were another ground on which asking him at what period of the Session proxies might have been justified in other his attendance would be most convenient days. It appeared to him, however, that to himself. It appeared from evidence all the reasons that formerly existed in that this had answered very well in the favour of the use of proxies had disap- House of Commons, and the noble Earl peared. He should perhaps have preferred proposed the adoption of a similar course. to see proxies more definitely abandoned'; It was agreed to; but at a subsequent but since, if the present Motion was carried, meeting the paragraph was either struck their Lordships could never revert to the out or expressed in a different and amuse of them, he for one should be quite biguous sense. And on this point he must content to accept the Motion. There was observe that the Minutes of the Committee another matter which had occupied the were reported in a most unsatisfactory attention of the Committee, as it had also and confused manner, and it was difficult excited a good deal of attention out-of- for even those who were present to disdoors-namely, the numbers of Peers pre-criminate the precise course of proceeding. sent who were supposed to be necessary With respect to their Lordships' hour of for the transaction of Business. It had meeting, the Committee had at first debeen said that five or six Peers often sat to pass or reject measures of the utmost importance. He had attended that House as often as almost anyone, and he thought he might safely say that the number of Peers present at the thinnest time of attendance was on any important question rarely below twenty. If so If so a quorum probably ought not to be less than twenty, and he hardly saw that any great practical importance would be derived from establishing a quorum unless they fixed the number at, or nearly at, forty, the same as the House of Commons. The attendance upon their Lordships' House varied much; but he did not believe that it was
cided in favour of meeting at the hour of a quarter past four, and the Lord Chancellor, then on the Woolsack, stated that this hour would not be inconvenient to him. Subsequently that decision was reversed by a majority of 1. He did not complain of this; the Committee were very nearly equally divided, and though the re-consideration of the question was brought on at an inconvenient time when the attendance of some Peers was impos. sible, there was no surprise; but he greatly regretted that the first decision had not been adhered to, as he believed the change would have been advantageous. He, for one, could not consent to accept
the Resolution with regard to the hour of proxies, he should not oppose the Resolu meeting as final, and he had the authority of Lord Shaftesbury, who first brought the subject forward, and had made it peculiarly his own, for saying that he attached so much importance to the change of hour that after Easter, he would give the House an opportunity of re-considering what he deemed to be the unfortunate decision of the Committee.
THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH said, he thought the best course would have been to propose the adoption of the recommendation of the Committee seriatim.
LORD LYVEDEN said, although he would admit that something might be said in favour of proxies, public opinion was so decidedly adverse to them that their Lordships would do well to remove the misapprehensions to which they gave rise by abandoning the use of them. Many persons supposed that proxies might be tendered on any occasion, whether Peers were present or not, and that the Ministry of the day held a great number, which they could use at any time. The public would be disabused of these notions were proxies discontinued; and as they were seldom resorted to, the change was an advisable one. The recommendation of the Com
without Notice, seemed to him a very good one; for a Question was sometimes put shortly after five o'clock, when Peers who would have been interested in the subject had not arrived, and only the Ministers were previously acquainted with its object. Moreover, if Notice were given, and if - as often happened the Question gave rise to discussion, noble Lords would have the opportunity of directing their attention to the matter beforehand. As to the nomination by the Committee of Selection of absent Peers, he thought it would be well to adopt a distinct Resolution on the subject, as this would give it more weight. He hoped that, on a future occasion, the noble Earl the Lord Privy Seal would propose Resolutions carrying into effect those recommendations of the Committee which he wished to be adopted.
LORD REDESDALE said, that although he did not see the necessity of some of the changes proposed, he was willing to accept the conclusions of the Committee. Some of their recommendations-for in-mittee, that Questions should not be put stance, the retention of the present hour of meeting-did not require formal adoption. He did not think it was expedient to make any change in the nomination of Committees for Private Business, for he believed the present system worked satisfactorily. The Committee had suggested that Peers not in attendance in the House should be nominated on such Committees, and perhaps on some occasions it might be desirable to exercise greater pressure than hitherto in this direction. As to the time of assembling, the Committee in the first instance decided by a majority of 1 in favour of meeting at half-past four; one of the Members, however, who held a contrary opinion, was accidentally absent, and on the question being re-considered, there was a majority of 1 against any alteration. For his own part, he could see no advantage in meeting earlier, and it would, moreover, be inconvenient to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, as also to Peers engaged on Committees. With respect to proxies, he thought the prejudice against them unreasonable, and that the system was a more sensible one than that which would necessarily be substituted—namely, pairing, as was done in the House of Commons. At a late period of the year an announcement was often made that two Members of the other House had paired for the remainder of the Session; yet, in many instances, those Gentlemen might have voted on the same side. It was surely better for an absent Peer to intrust a proxy to a person in whom he reposed confidence, so that his vote might not be lost on any important occasion. Since, however, the majority of the Committee were opposed to the use of
EARL STANHOPE said, he gave credit to the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees for consistency, for he had both in the Committee and on this occasion objected to the discontinuance of proxies ; but while he (Earl Stanhope) admitted his consistency, he was certainly not convinced by his arguments. His noble Friend had maintained the system of proxies chiefly on the ground that the system of pairing was equally open to exception. But there was this important difference-that the addition of a certain number of pairs to both the majority and the minority made no difference in the result, whereas the use of proxies might lead to a decision the reverse of that which would otherwise have been given. Indeed, this happened on the last occasion when proxies were used-namely, on the Motion of the noble Earl (the Earl of
Malmesbury) himself on the affairs of Denmark and Germany. The majority of the Peers present were satisfied with the defence of the Government of the day; but proxies being called for-most unwisely, in his judgment-by the Prime Minister of that day, the majority of the Peers absent decided the division against the Government. It was enough of itself to discredit the system of proxies that when a noble Earl (Earl Russell) was put on his personal defence, and when that defence was deemed satisfactory to the majority of those who heard it, an appeal should be made by another noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) to those Peers who had not heard it, and could not hear it. Passing from the subject of proxies, he (Earl Stanhope) did not think that any Resolution should now be passed confirming the recommendation of the Committee, and approving the present hour of meeting. They were told by his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Carnarvon) that Lord Shaftesbury, who was now absent from town, intended to submit a Resolution to the effect that the House should meet at a quarter past four instead of five. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Lord Shaftesbury would carry his proposition, would not their Lordships stultify themselves if they were to come to a vote on the subject now? He thought it would be well that they should not at that moment adopt any Resolution by which their future discretion might be fettered. He wished to add a word of merely verbal criticism. As he had already stated, he fully approved the proposed Standing Order with respect to proxies. The noble Earl had, however, taken the very words of the Committee, and embodied them in the Standing Order
"That the Practice of calling for Proxies on a Division should be discontinued, and, to prevent the Order being lightly suspended, that Twice the usual length of Notice shall be given of any Motion for its Suspension."
Now, when a Committee made a Report they properly gave reasons for their conclusions; but when the House passed an Order it was not its practice to do so. He would, therefore, take the liberty at the proper time to move the omission of the words "to prevent this Order being lightly suspended.'
EARL DE GREY agreed with the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees, that there was no necessity for their Lordships to give a formal sanction to most of the recommendations of the Committee, except
that relating to the discontinuance of proxies. But with regard to attendance on Private Business, it appeared to him absolutely necessary to have a definite Resolution of the House. It was very desirable that the House should pass a Resolution calling on those Peers who were in the habit of absenting themselves from Private Bill Committees to attend to their duties. Speaking for himself, and, as far as he could judge, for many other Members of the Committee, a strong feeling was entertained by many that it was extremely desirable that some measure should be taken to assimilate the practice of their Lordships' House to that of the other House of Parliament on this subject. He trusted the noble Earl opposite would take the matter into consideration, and propose a definite Resolution.
THE MARQUESS OF BATH said, that he was in favour of doing away with the practice of using proxies, for the simple reason that there would be great practical difficulties in employing them in those cases in which alone there would be any need of them. With regard to the 7th Paragraph-he spoke with great deference to the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees-but he thought the Committee of Selection had the power to place on Private Bill Committees any Peer, whether in London or not, and all that would be required would be a strong opinion on the part of the House to enable them to exercise that power with effect. There was a case in which a noble Lord had been committed to the custody of the Usher of the Black Rod for not having attended a Committee to which he had been appointed. There could be no question, therefore, as to the power which the Committee of Selection possessed. With regard to the alteration of the hour of meeting, it was true that it was carried in the Select Committee by a narrow majority in the first instance; but noble Lords who complained that the decision had been reversed would recollect that another important Committee was sitting at the time, upon which he and Lord Stradbroke were serving, and that if they had been able to go from one Committee Room to another they would have voted against any change. The noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) had said that Lord Shaftesbury was about coming home, and that he intended to propose that the hour of meeting should be changed. But were the House of Lords to be dependent on Lord Shaftesbury's presence or absence
before expressing an opinion on a matter of public business? Lord Shaftesbury was a very great man, but he was scarcely so great a man as all that.
LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY said, he saw no necessity for retaining the system of the use of proxies. As for compelling the attendance of Peers on Committees, that might be done; but it would not be so easy to secure the proper discharge of the duties of the Committees. One man might lead a horse to the water, but twenty could not force him to drink. He wished to call attention to the inconvenient mode in which these Reports were drawn up. With regard to different paragraphs it was extremely difficult to make out what was done. He hoped, therefore, directions would be given that the draught Report should appear with the proceedings. THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE said, with regard to putting Questions without Notice, he had sat long in the House, and he could say that great public convenience had sometimes arisen from Peers being permitted to put Questions to Ministers of which they had given either private notice or no notice, and he hoped their Lordships would not altogether put an end to that practice. With regard to the attendance of Peers on Private Bill Committees, he thought it would be unwise to come to any Resolution that it might be found difficult to enforce. It should, moreover, be remembered that it was the House that appointed the Committees, and any noble Lord who failed to attend must render his account, not to the five Lords who formed the Committee of Selection, but to the House. He was not aware that there was any necessity for adopting any system of compulsory attendance, for he understood there was no difficulty in securing a sufficient number of Peers for the transaction of business. He thought, however, they might adopt the recommendation of the Committee on this subject.
THE DUKE OF CLEVELAND agreed with the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Clanricarde) that it might be found highly inconvenient if it should be absolutely prohibited that Questions should be put without Notice; but then they ought to adopt the practice of the House of Commons and prevent discussion being raised upon them. There might be not only great inconvenience but also great impropriety if the system of putting Questions without Notice were used for the purpose of raising discussions which nobody could have anticipated.
EARL RUSSELL agreed with the noble Duke that there was a great difference between a noble Lord putting without Notice a Question to which he merely wished for an answer, and a Question which led to a debate. There was an inconvenience in the latter coming on without Notice; but it seemed to him better not to adopt any Resolution on the subject. He thought they should confine themselves on that occasion to adopting the Resolution with regard to proxies.
THE EARL OF HARROWBY said, their Lordships had not too many opportunities of showing that interest in public affairs which it was their privilege to show, and it was undesirable to diminish the importance of this House by diminishing the number of those opportunities; and there was something gained by allowing Members of that House to do things irregularly which would be attended with great inconvenience if done in the House of Commons. Their Lordships were a smaller body than the House of Commons, and there was much less pressure on their time, and therefore he thought they might be allowed a large latitude in the transaction of their business. He thought that every facility should be given for raising questions in this House, and that they should trust to the good sense of noble Lords not to abuse the privilege.
LORD REDESDALE thought that a Resolution might be too stringent in its application; but the Report laid before the House might be agreed to as a guide and direction-for it went no further. He repeated his opinion that the system of proxies was infinitely more sensible than the system of pairing; and it was a mistake to suppose that the result of a division could not be affected by the latter practice. He had known cases in which a Member having returned before the time of his pair had expired, was obliged to leave the House on a division, even when he believed that his pair, if present, would have gone into the same Lobby.
THE EARL OF MALMESBURY said, the general wish of their Lordships seemed to be that the Report of the Committee should be put in a more substantive form, and he would therefore undertake, on a future day, to move a series of Resolutions embodying it. At the same time, he should ask their Lordships to adopt at once the Standing Order with reference to proxies.
Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.
which he believed to be of a somewhat irregular and unprecedented character. It was the ancient rule in that House that on Tuesdays Notices of Motion should have precedence of the Orders of the Day. It was, of course, competent for the House at any time, after due notice, to suspend the Standing Orders, and make any change in that rule: but to the great astonishment of himself and other Members, there appeared upon the Notice Paper of that day a Notice that certain Orders of the Day were to have precedence over Notices of Motion-namely, the Mutiny Bill and the Marine Mutiny Bill. Although, on looking at the Votes for a record of last night's proceedings, he found that it was ordered that these Bills should be forwarded a stage at half-past four o'clock that day; yet he did not think that any public notice had been taken of the matter last night. He had been present himself when these Bills
DISMISSAL OF AN INSPECTOR OF THE had been furthered a stage, and he had SURREY CONSTABULARY.
MR. ONSLOW said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Inspector Miller, of the Surrey County Constabulary, lately stationed at Reigate, who has been dismissed the Force, after a long and meritorious service, for subscribing to a newspaper termed the Police Service Advertiser. And whether, in his opinion, the alleged ground of dismissal is justifiable; if not justifiable, whether he will recommend the re-instatement of Inspector
MR. GATHORNE HARDY said, in reply, that he had no authority whatever over the County Constabulary, which was placed under the Magistrates of the County. It appeared, from inquiries made in consequence of the Question of the hon. Gentleman, that a man named Miller was dismissed by the Chief Constable of the Surrey Constabulary, who had absolute power to dismiss him, under, of course, the lawful authority of the Magistrates. The Justices, however, he understood, were about to investigate the case.
MUTINY BILL.-THIRD READING: (Mr. Dodson, Sir John Pakington, The Judge Advocate General.)
Order for Third Reading read. MR. BOUVERIE said, he had to call the attention of the House to a proceeding
heard nothing of such an unusual Order, nor as far as he was aware, had any intimation been given of what was being done. He wished, therefore, to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War what had induced him to adopt this most irregular and unprecedented course with regard to these Bills. He was not aware that there was any public ground for this irregularity. There was no reason why that House should consult the convenience of others, and suspend their Standing Orders in order that these Bills might be advanced a stage that night in "another place." If the noble Lords in "another place" had so much to do, and had such a large amount of business to get through that they were obliged to have an earlier holiday for repose after their exertions, they should suspend their own Standing Orders, and let the irregularity in the proceedings take place in their House. At any rate, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons should not be suspended without notice. course which had been adopted with regard to these Bills was in direct violation of the rights of independent Members, who were already sufficiently hard pressed by the rules of the House, and who experienced considerable difficulty in bringing on the Motions in which they were interested. If this precedent were to be followed, and proceedings like those he complained of were to become the practice, the House might bid adieu to Motions brought forward by independent Members. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secre