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MR. SECRETARY PEEL'S
HOUSE OF COMMONS SPEECH,
21st MARCH, 1825,
POLICE MAGISTRATES' SALARY RAISING BILL.
DATE OF ORDER FOR PRINTING, 24th MARCH, 1825.
Alreamer (3 strates: a year or justicond fonce, the
1. Clauses, six : of minor importance, the four last : of major, the two first : whereof the second for establishing the measure : the first (the preamble) for justification of it.
Measure, 2001. a year added to the salaries of the existing thirty police magistrates. Original salary, 4001.- see below. Last year but two, 13 G. IV. c. 55.) so says clause 1,–2001. added to it. Already comes the demand for as much more.
A reason is wanted—and such an one as shall amount to a justification. Ready at hand is a complete one, and not less concise than complete ; one single word-expediency. “ And whereas it is expedient to encrease the said salary." The House has standing orders-Parliament has standing reasons : at any rate it has this one, andthis one is the standing representative of all others. To the wise, and from the wise, this one word is sufficient.
For this second 2001. it is all-sufficient: whether it might have served equally for the first Time for search is wanting. But I would venture a small wager, that on that occasion it did so serve: it will serve equally well for any number of others. It is made of stretching leather.' It works well, and wears well : it will be as good a thousand years hence as it is at present. That which is expedient is expedient. What can be more expedient than expediency ? ....I could not refrain looking. I should have won my wager. The 'expediency reason is not indeed applied exclusively to the salary-raising clause (No. 6.), but it shines in the preamble , and in that clause the lustre and virtue of it extends to all the others.
· According to usage, the sum is left in blank in the Bill : according to usage, the blank is filled up by the eloquence of the minister. • After having thus done the one thing needful, and stamped the measure with intelligibility, he might not perhaps have done amiss, had he left the justification of it to the wisdom of Parliament, as above.
That injustice may be completely avoided, misrepresentation as far as possible, the Times and the Morning Chronicle-two of the most accredited sources of information-have, upon this occasion been drawn upon, and the matter divided into numbered paragraphs; and, for the grounds of the respective observations here hazarded, reference has, by means of the numbers, been made to those several paragraphs.
Original salary, 4001. a year (see below). Last year's addition, 2001, a year. Existing, what ? 6001. Magistrates, thirty. Aggregate of the addition, 60001. a year : aggregate of the now proposed addition, another 60001. a year; together, 12,0001. Nature of the demand clear enough: not to speak of reason, which seems altogether out of the question : not so the alleged grounds of it. To tread them up has been tread-wheel work. Result, what follows.
Evils proposed to be remedied, deficiencies : 1. deficiency in appropriate intellectual aptitude : 2. deficiency in time employed in attendance. As to aptitude, during the 4001. a year (so says No. 2.) incompetence total. Thus far aptitude: the same certificate may, without much stretch of inference, be made to apply to quantity of attendance. These are the evils for which the second 2001. a year, multiplied by 30, is to suffice as a remedy. The first dose was administered two or three years ago : already it has been found insufficient, else why apply for another ? But that which a single dose cannot effect another dose may; and if this does not, others and others after them are at hand from the same shop.
For the remedying of these evils, the reality of them being supposed, begin as above and end as above, the means provided by the wisdom of parliament.
That wisdom having thus exhausted itself,—for ulterior remedies, how little so ever needed, comes, as will be seen, an additional supply, provided by administration : provided, by the genius of Lord Sidmouth, who invented them; by the magnanimity of Mr. Peel, who disdained not to adopt them. They are-future exclusion of all non-barristers : ditto of all barristers of less than three years' standing. I speak here, and of necessity, of the two secretaries, late and present. For it is by Mr. Peel and his suc
cessors in that office, if by anybody, that these remedies are to be applied. Parliament is to know nothing of them : parliament is not to be trusted with the application of them.
Viewing all this wisdom and virtue, through the medium of the greatest happiness principle, (a principle which has been accused of giving to financial objects rather a yellow tinge,) I have the misfortune of seeing the whole speech in a considerably different point of view—1. The alleged evils--the inaptitude, and the nonattendance-neither of them proved by it. 2. Supposing the disorder proved; the supposed remedy, parliamentary and ministerial, as above, inefficient to any good purpose ; efficient to a very bad purpose ; but both these evils, though not proved by the Right Hon. Secretary, I admit, and, as it seems to me, probabilize, the existence. 3. At the same time, of both. 4. So doing, I venture to propose a remedy, which, for reasons assigned, seems to me a promising one—and the only one which the nature of the case admits of, without some change in the whole judiciary system, such as in part has been, and with large amendments, will again be, submitted to the public, but which it would be altogether useless, as well as impracticable, to insert here.
Alleged evil 1.-Deficiency in appropriate aptitude. Here I take on me to say not proved. Here I am all confidence. Subpoena in hand, I call on the Right Hon. Secretary. In No. 11. stands his evidence_ Present police magistrates” (per Times) «s of the highest personal respectability.” Per Morning Chronicle
_" their knowlege, experience, and respectability”—all 30 of them)—«and their services had already proved the importance of the duties they had to fulfil.” Per Times, again_is they performed their duties” (and that not only to the satisfaction of the Right Hon. Secretary, but) “to the great satisfaction of the country.”
This being unquestionable, what is become of the evil, and what need can there be of a remedy?
What a scene is here! The Right Hon. Gentleman at daggers drawn with himself! How to account for it ? One way alone I can think of, and it is this : the force of his eloquence overpowered his memory. While, with so much pathos, he was lamenting, on the part of a certain set of persons, the deplorable want of aptitude,- he forgot that, before he sat down, he had to deliver, in behalf of the self same persons, a certificate of accomplished aptitude. When at last the time had come for the delivery of this certificate, he had already forgot how large a portion of his speech had been employed in giving contradiction to it. To answer the purpose for which they are made, what must be the complexion of the assertions of inaptitude uttered with such entire