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was intrusted to the custody of the Registrar. A Bill of a very similar character had passed into a law, in the reign of Geo. I. to regulate the funds in the Court of Chancery. It was in the recollection of the House, that he had recently submitted various motions, the end of which had been to lay before the House all possible information as to the nature of the office in question, and the emoluments, of whatever kind, accruing to the present holder-a noble lord, a Member of the other House. The production of some of these documents had been assented to, while others had been refused. From what was actually before the House, it appeared that the fees payable to Lord Arden amount to 12,0001. per annum, and that a sum of 200,0001. belonging to saitors, was the average sum in his hands, which he employed to his own private advantage, and from which it also appeared that he had been in the practice of deriving no less a sua than 70001. per annum.“ In addition to all this he had to state what had not been allowed to be authentically laid before them, that there was a sum vested in Exchequer Bills producing an interest of 44,0001, the distribution and desti. nation of wbich he had not been able to ascertain. The honourable gentleman then went into a minute detail of the provisions of his Bill, and concluded by moving that it be read a first time.
Sir W. Scott objected to the principle of the Bill as unnecessary, no grounds having been laid on any example of fraud in the administration of the property, which it was the pretended purpose of the Bill to secure. The persons referred to in the character of sureties, were chiefly foreigners, who might be injured in baving their property vested in the funds and subjected to all their fluctuations. With respect to the detailed provisions of the Bill, he could see no other result likely to be produced except that of inconvenience to The court.
He should move, therefore, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read that day six months.
Sir S. Romilly rose to defend the principle of the Bill, not to enter into those details which would be better reserved for the consideration of that Committee, which he had heard no argument from the right honourable and learned gentleman, to induce him to think that it was not their solemn duty to go into. It was most important that a just decision should be had on the question, whether a public officer, appointed to guard the property of suitors in a court of justice, was justified in applying that property to bis own private ad
JUNE 19.] ADMIRALTY REGISTER-OFPICE BILL. 351 vantage-(Hear, hear!) He had been told indeed that these suitors were foreigners, but he considered this as only forming an additional argument founded on the dignity and character of the country, for giving to the property of those individuals all the protection aad security which it was in their power to bestow-(hear, hear!) In his judgment it certainly was an illegal use of the money, and in his opinion a suit might be maintained for the recovery of all the profits derived from that use. Sir Samuel Romilly quoted a decision in Chancery, on a Bill filed by Lord Lonsdale against a person who held a lucrative office, that of Receiver at the harbour of Whitehaven, in which it had been expressly laid down, that such use of monies was contrary to law. He then referred to the case of Lord Macclesfield, who bad been impeached for practices not very dissimilar; and asked the House if they would now sanction what they had once declared to be a high crime and misdemeanor ?
The Solicitor General contended that the question of illegality ought to be decided in a court of law, as bis honourable and learned friend bad admitted it might be, when he gave it as his opinion, that a suit might be maintained for the recovery of the interest out of the bands of the officers of the Admiralty Court. Supposing it pecessary, however, for the House to decide the question, this Bill did not effect that object. Upon this point too he well remembered that a question bad been put to the twelve judges--the case of Lord Melville-whether the making use of public money was, even after an Act passed regulating the appropriation of that money, was or was not a high crime and misde. meanor, who all answered unanimously in the negative. He conceived the Bill to be perfectly unnecessary.
Sir Samuel Romilly explained that he had not said the making use of money in the way described was a criminal offence, but merely that it was illegal, and that a civil suit might be maintained for the recovery of all the profits de rived therefrom.
Mr. Whitbread maintained that no greater difficulty could exist in sending money to, and drawing it from the Bank, than in depositing it at any other place. He reminded the honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. Plomer) that if Lord Melville had been proceeded against for restitution, by a civil process, no defence could have availed, but that this proceeding merged in the criminal prosecution.
Sir John Nichol opposed the Bill.
Mr. Henry Smith said the object of the Bill was not to do away the functions of the Registrar of the Court of Admiralty, but merely to make the Bank of England his banker.
Mr. V'ilberforce observed, that in a return made a few years ago by the Registrar of the Admiralty of the profils of his office, nothing was stated as arising from the interests of the property of suitors, which looked like an admission that he did not consider this a source of legal profit. He moved the adjournment of this debate to this day se nnight.
Sir J. Newport asked if the profit from interest of monies of suitors was legal, why it was not included in the etorn ?
Mr. Martin said, the object of the Bill was to assimilate the practice of the Court of Admiralty, as much as possible, to that of the Court of Chancery. The Bill was copied from another brought in in 1810, by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, which never passed ; and what was singular enough, it seemed then quite unexceptionable in principle to tbe three learned gentlemen who had expressed themselves so differently to-night-(Hear, hear!)
Lord Castlereagh thought the individual who now filled the office would not take any profits that be did not believe he had a right to.
Lord Cochrane supported the Bill, and complained of the abuses in the Admiralty Courts.
Mr. Rose defended ihe Admiralty Courts.
First, on the question that the debate be adjourned to this day se'nnight, For it
28 Against it
36 And afterwards, on the question that the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Bill : For the Question
65 Against it
38 The Bill was accordingly lost.-Adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS,
SATURDAY, June 20. The Royal Assent was notified by Commission to the Irish Loan Bill, the Irish Customs Bill, the Scots Local Militia Bill, the Parkburst, Woolmer, and Holt Forest Bills, the Edinburgh Police Bill, some local and private Bills, in all 17.
The Commissioners were the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Montrose, and Lord Walsingham.-Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
SATURDAY, JUNE 20. The Speaker, on his return from the Peers, read to the House a list of the Bills that had received the Royal Assent, the titles of which are given in the report of the proceedings of the House of Lords. He likewise informed the House, that he had received the following letter from the Earl of Wellington, dated “SIR,
“Fuente Guinaldo, May 28. “ I have communicated to the General Officers, Officers, and Troops under my command, the unanimous resolution of the House of Commons, of the 27th April, conveying the approbation of the House of their conduct in the siege and capture of Badajoz. I beg to assure the House of the high sense I entertain of its approbation, as displayed by the repeated marks of favour with which it has received my conduct and that of the army under my command. I likewise return to you, Sir, my thanks for the manner in which you have communicated this vote, and remain, &c.
“WELLINGTON.” Colonel Palmer brought in Palmer's Compensation Bill, which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Monday.
Sir George Hill brought up the Report of the Committee on Irish Stamps, when Sir J. Newport took an opportunity of deprecating the increase of the duty on adyertisements in Ireland.--Mr. W. Pole expressed a desire to favour the press as much as possible. His wish was to have the duty collected on the same fooling as in England, but without some alteration an annual loss of 50001. would be incurred. A Bill was ordered to be brought in pursuant to the Resolutions of the Committee. Vol. III.-1812.
Sir. J. Newport, moved for several returns from the Treasury Board of Ireland, in 1811, 'm otder to prove that the statements he had made on a former night, regarding the decrease of the duty on leather, were correct.-Mr. w Pole had no objection to the production of documents, which would only prove the business of the Board of Treasury was transacted with the utmost regularity. Sir J. Newport rejoined, that they would prove that in the teeth of the Act of Parliament, only one Lord of the Treasury attended during three-fourths of the year. --Adjourned,
HOUSE OF LORDS.
MONDAY, JUNE 22. In a Committee of Privileges some discussion took place relative to the claims of the Bishops of Meath and Kildare to precedence before the suffragan Bishops of England (except the Bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester). The further consideration was postponed till Wednesday, in order that notice might in the mean time be given to the English prelates.
The Lord Chancellor read a letter from the Earl of Wel. lington, stating his high sense of the honour conferred upon him by the thanks of the House for the capture of Badajoz.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
MONDAY, JUNE 22. Mr. Jekyll moved for leave to bring in a Bill to 'amend the Act of 5th George III. chapter 6, enabling the Prince Regent to make Leases in Surrey of part of the Duchy of Cornwall.
The Speaker asked, did the honourable and learned gentleman make the motion by authority fron the Prince Regent, and in the character of his Attorney General ?
Mr. Jekyll answered in the affirmative, when leave was accordingly given.
Mr. Jekyll immediately bought in the Bill, which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second tiate to-morrow.