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to go into Committee to deliberate upon, Privilege.] The Duke of Richmond although he would not pledge himself for wished to call the attention of their Lordthe immediate repeal of all these restric- ships to a petition relating to privilege. It tions. As for going into Committee that was from Thomas Baker, of Albion House, eveving, it was a subject for the hon. Gen-Great Church-lane, Hammersmith, fortleman's consideration : but if he divided merly superintendent of the C division of the House, he would vote for the Mo- the Metropolitan Police Force, but now tion.

retired upon a pension. It slated, that he Mr. Watson said, that he should cer- bad been called upon to attend and give tainly take the sense of the House, as he evidence before {heir Lordships' Select did not conceive that he had been treated Committee on the Laws relating to Gamwell by the Government.

ing; and that a person of the name of The House divided on the Quiestion, John Harlow had commenced an action that the words proposed to be left out for damages against himn for words spoken stand part of the Question : - Ayes 47; upon that occasion; that John Harlow Noes 89: Majority 42.*

intended to proceed to trial on the 31st Committee put off for three months. instant, at the Croydon assizes. The pe

House adjourned at a quarter past one titioner had not pleaded to the action, but o'clock.

prayed their Lordships to take the pre

mises into consideration, and to grant him HOUSE OF LORDS, such protection as might seem meet. The Thursday, July 10, 1845.

noble Duke observed, that Mr. Baker Minutes.) Bills. Public.—1* Constables, Public Works had not volunteered his evidence, but had (Ireland); Turnpike Trusts (South Wales); Administra- been called upon 10 give it, having been tion of Justice (Court of Chancery) Acts Amendment.

inspector of that division of the Police, 24 Foreign Lotteries, Reported. High Constables ; Documentary Evidence; Seal whose duty it was to watch the gamblingOffice Abolition.

houses in the district. He had been exzo. and passed :-- Arrestment of Wages (Scotland); Brazil amined upon oath, and, under the sancSlave Trade ; Jurors (Ireland); Timber Ships ; Assessed Taxes Composition.

tity of that oath, had no doubt spoken the Private.- 1a. Marquess of Westminster's Estate; Saint truth. The noble Duke said, that he had Matthew's (Bethnal Green) Rectory.

known Inspector Baker for a great many 2a. Saint Helen's Canal and Railway; Marsh's (or Cox. head's) Estate.

years, and he had served not only during Reported.--North Walsham School Estate (Lord Wode. the Peninsular war, but at Waterloo, and house's); Glossop Gas; Great Southern and Western he believed that a more honourable man Railway (Ireland): Sir Robert Keith Dick's Estate; Preston and Wyre Railway; Runcorn and Preston Brook did not exist. It did not become bim, Railway ; Bermondsey Improvement; Londonderry and

not being a law Lord, to offer any opinion Coleraine Railway; Sheffield Water Works; Saint Helen's Improvement; Norwich and Brandon Railway (Diss and on the question ; but he begged to be inDereham Branches) ; Glasgow Junction Railway; Bristol formed what course it was fit, under the and Exeter Railway Branches ; Dublin and Belfast Junc- circumstances, to pursue ? tion Railway 3-. and passed :-Great North of England, Clarence, and

The Lord Chancellor : It is perfectly Hartlepool and Junction Railway: Keyingham Drainage ; clear that if the statement contained in Forth and Clyde Navigation, and Union Canal Junction; the petition be true, this action cannot be Richmond (Surrey) Railway; Liverpool and Manchester Railway; North Wales Mineral Railway: Great Western sustained. The petitioner alleges that the Railway, Ireland (Dublin to Mullingar and Athlone).

words, for the using of which the action PBTITIONS PRESENTED. From Warrington and Latchford,

for the Suppression of Intemperance, particularly on the has been brought, were spoken by him Sabbath. - From Ministers and others of Southampton, before a Committee of your Lordships' and several other places, for substitution of Declarations House. I believe an indictment may be in lieu of Oaths.--From Wiveliscombe, against the Real Property Deeds Registration Bill.-—By Duke of Rich- maintained for perjury against a party mond, from Brede and numerous other places, for the who has sworn falsely before a court of Repeal of the Malt Tax. - By Lord Lyttelton, from

justice ; but I apprehend it is perfectly Charles Miller, M.A., for Repeal of the Tithe Commutation Act.--By Duke of Richmond, from Stockholders and clear no action can be sustained for others of the Colony residing at Clarence River, for al words spoken by a witness in evidence teration of Law relating to Territorial Revenue and Dis


But that is not posal of Land (New South Wales).-From Matthew Phil.

any such court. lips, Surveyor, &c., praying that evidence given by him the question at present--the question is, before a Committee of this House some years since, may be whether, under the circumstances disclosed reconsidered, and in favour of the Field Gardens Bill.From Committee of Church Missionary Society of Africa by the petition, we should protect the deand the East, for effectually securing to Natives of New fendant. It is stated in the declaration Zealand, the full enjoyment of their Lands.

That the words were spoken" in the pre* For Division List see End of Volume, sence and hearing of the Committee." It

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is possible, therefore, that the plaintiff may, court of requesis, were summoned to represent his case to be of this description, the bar, and informed, according to your that the defendant bad repeated the words Lordships' determination, that they would in the presence and hearing of the Com- both be committed if they did not at once mittee of the House, and yet may not abandon all legal proceedings. I canhave been at the time speaking as a wit- not doubt that your Lordships are now ness upon oath. I should recommend prepared to summon both this plaintiff your Lordships to appoint a Committee and his attorney at your bar; and if it for the purpose of searching for prece- shall turn out that the action is brought dents to regulate our proceedings. Cir- for words spoken by the witness in evicumstances make it incumbent on your dence before your Committee, that you Lordships to attend more particularly to will commit to prison the plaintiff and his this matter, because we are ourselves attorney, if they persist in prosecuting the a court of justice in the last resort. If action. It will be utterly impossible for this case should go on, it may ulti- you to exercise your iniquisitorial powmately come before us for decision as a ers, unless you protect the witnesses in Court of Appeal. I, therefore, beg to the evidence they give. The Committee move that a Select Committee be ap- in question was a most important one. It pointed to search for precedents, and was to inquire into the frauds alleged to that the said petition be referred to such arise from gaming.

There were many Committee.

witnesses examined, and many transactions Lord Campbell : I move, my Lords, inquired into, and a great deal of fraud as an Amendment, that the plaintiff and and dishonesly disclosed. If any person his attorney be summoned to attend at is permitted to bring an action against a the bar of this House. In my opinion wiiness who should have disclosed that there is no occasion for any Committee person'sinfamy, in what situation would the no Committee can be of the slightest ser. witness stand, and in what a situation vice. There is no doubt that you have would your Lordships be? You would here an action brought against a witness, ever after deprive yourselves of the power for evidence given on oath before a Com- of instituting any such inquiry. Your mittee of your Lordships' House. I en- privileges are now assailed in the most tirely agree with what has been laid down alarming manner, and unless you make a by my noble and learned Friend, that no resolute stand they are irrevocably gone. such action in point of law can be main. I have heard it suggested that the wittained; but shall you allow a witness who ness might have repeated these words at has been summoned before your Com- another time; that after having given mittee to be harassed by such an action? evidence before the Committee he might Nay, more my Lords, will you allow your have repeated in the presence of the Com. privilege of summoning witnesses, and of mittee, not upon oath, and not judicially, examining them before a Committee, to what he had said before, and therefore be submitted to any Judge who may that might be considered malicious, and happen to sit on the trial of that case? Í sufficient to form a ground of action. But do say, my Lords, that if you are pre- in his petition the party declares that he pared to imitate the example set you by never did use the words unless when he your ancestors, you will immediately in- was examined upon oath before the Comterfere, and put a stop to this action. The mittee. It, however, may be learned from most recent case on the question of this the plaintiff and his attorney, if called to privilege which has occurred before your the bar of the House, what is the real Lordships' House was one which took ground of the action. If it be for words place during the time when that illustrious spoken on some other occasion, then let Judge, Lord Eldon, presided on the the action proceed, and let a jury give a Woolsack. It arose out of an action verdict upon it; but if it should turn out, brougbt against one of your messengers as I have no doubt it will, that the action for taking an umbrella belonging to a vi- has been brought for words spoken by the sitor, who was standing at your Lordships' witness when on oath before the Combar when the House was sitting as a court mittee, then I implore your Lordships, in of justice.

Upon the Motion of Lord accordance with all the precedents you Eldon, the plaintiff and his aitorney, who have ever acted upon, that you will at had commenced an action before the once interpose to protect this witness. In

the present case there is not time for any this as a breach of privilege. I have had Committe to inquire for and examine into some experience on questions of privilege. precedents. The trial is to take place on I was present and took part in the argu- . the 31st of July in the county of Surrey ; ment of the great case of privilege at your and I ave no doubt he will be called Lordships' bar; and I will venture to say upon to plead in four days from the time that whoever has the most considered the declaration is filed. Before the Com. question of privilege will find the most mittee have made their Report, a judg. difficulty in reconciling the conflicting dement may be obtained, and a verdict for cisions and precedents on the subject, and 1,0001. may be given by a jury against the especially in deciding, as my noble Friend, defendant; and this because he has obeyed who is not a member of the profession, your Lordships' summons. It may be has done off hand, that this is a breach of said that the defendant may justify; but privilege. Taking such extremely breathhow? Are you to expose him to the same less haste as our guide is never safe. We peril to which all your own privileges ap- ought never to come to a hurried depear now to be exposed ? My Lords, I cision when a little time for delibershall move as an Amendment, “ That the ation might make our proceeding more plaintiff and his attorney be summoned to useful and satisfactory in its resulis. In appear at the bar of this House to-morrow all cases arising in the House of Comat five o'clock."

mons, the first thing done is the adoption The Earl of Ellenborough: I entirely of the course suggested by my noble and agree with the noble and learned Lord as learned Friend on the Woolsack-namely, to the course it is essential, for the main the appointment of a Committee to search tenance of the dignity and privileges of for precedents. You are not like the this House, and of its authority, for your House of Commons, a mere inquisitorial Lordships to pursue, and I shall give my body. You are a high criminal court of vote in support of the noble and learned justice in the last resort. The matter Lord's Amendment.

propounded is, that you shall call the Lord Brougham: My doubt is this, and plaintiff and his attorney before you, with I fairly state it to your Lordships. This the manifest intention, that if you are sais the first time that the question has ever lisfied, on examining those parties, that been brought before the House. We have this action is brought for words spoken not had one quarter of an hour by the under certain circumstances, you will stay clock to consider what course it would be the action by exerting your power of force the best for us to take. We have not had against the author of that action. That one quarter of an hour to look into pre- is a great step for any court of justice to cedents. We are surrounded by very se- take. It is a very novel position for your rious difficulties. We have at present the Lordships to find yourselves in : that you, statement, an donly the statement, of the a court of judicature, who as a criminal party against whom the ac ion is brought. court in the last resort, may have to deIf you look at that statement, he does not cide this very case, should at once say himself say that the action is brought for we will not allow this action to proceed." words spoken by him in giving his evi. But it is said—“Only examine the plaindence upon oath. He says, he believes tiff!" Is it nothing, my Lords, for a

. it is for words spoken by him in the pre- plaintiff, upon the mere application of the sence and hearing of the Committee. My defeodant-his adversary to be called noble and learned friend on the Wool. upon to disclose his case ? But that is sack has suggested that it does not at all what you are doing, and upon what follow from necessity that those were words ground? Simply because the defendant used by him in giving evidence before the tells you his story, he being the adversary Committee. Though he says it is his own of the plaintiff. I am not the man to adassertion, no doubt), that he never did, vise your Lordships, without further consiexcept upon the occasion of being ex- deration, to pursue this extraordinary, not amined before the Committee, say any- to say extr me course of calling upon a thing respecting Mr. Harlow, still he may plaintiff to tell you what his case is, have done it upon that occasion without merely because the defendant asks you being at the moment giving evidence on to do so by telling his account of the oath. My noble Friend opposite (the Earl matter. I am, above all things, for mainof Ellenborough) is ready to denounce / taining the purity and independence of the administration of justice, and I be- I hope the plaintiff will be allowed to as. lieve that the privileges of both Houses of sert his right in a court of law. The evi. Parliament never can be safer, and never dence may have been maliciously given to can be rested upon a more secure founda. his prejudice, and he may be ruined in tion than if they are left, like the rights consequence of that evidence being given. and privileges of all the rest of the com- I think your Lordships, being in the last munity – The Sovereign included — the resort a high court of justice, ought to Crown included-left to the administra- be very slow before you say to any one of tion of civil and criminal justice in those Her Majesty's subjects, on bringing an courts which are not political tribunals, action against another for an alleged ihe courts of the law of the United King: injury done to him, “You shall not dom.

proceed in a court of justice to show Lord Cottenham said: As to what course that you have been injured, and to ob.

But it your Lordships ought to pursue, if the facts tain redress for that injury.” stated in the petition be correct, is a ques- is said that this petitioner and witness tion well deserving consideration ; but as would be harassed if this action were alto what the petitioner

has stated, it appears lowed to be brought against him. Would to me he puts the matter beyond all dis. pute. He, in the first place, states what dicted for perjury ? and yet are your Lordihe declaration itself states, that the action ships prepared to interfere in such a case ? professes to be brought for words spoken Would your Lordships prevent such an in

dictment because the party indicted came in the presence and hearing of a Committee of this House. He then goes on and and told you that he was guiltless of the states, that he never upon any occasion, crime of perjury alleged against

him, and except upon giving his evidence before the that he had said nothing but the truth? Committee, spoke or published any such Are your Lordships prepared, on such an words as are charged against him in the allegation, to declare that you will not words as are charged against him in the allow the law to take its course, nor will declaration, and that he verily believes that the action has been brought for words allow the question as to the falsehood or so spoken. Of course he could not state tigated by a competent legal tribunal? I

truth of the party's statement to be invesmore than his “ belief,” as he speaks of think your Lordships will incur a most the reasons that actuate another man's

serious responsibility if you undertake to conduct. Under these circumstances interfere thus without great deliberation. (there may not be a word of truth in it, It will not be in my power to attend the but looking at the allegation) it does ap: House after this day, because I shall be pear to be a most direct and distinct

obliged to proceed on the circuit. For breach of the privileges of the House. that reason, I am induced to enter rather

Therefore, the only question is, in what more fully than 1 otherwise might have way will the House assert its privileges ? done, into my views upon this most im

I Beyond all doubt, the House will take as portant question. I do not think any inmuch time as circumstances will admit; jury will arise to the parties from delay. but my apprehension is, that there will be My noble and learned Friend (Lord Campno time if you do not act this evening by bell) says that all the precedents are one summoning the parties to-morrow.

and that it will not be


difficult mischief will have occurred before Mon- to find them. He mentioned but one preday. I trust your Lordships will not fol. cedent--that known by the name of the low an example set elsewhere, and permit umbrella case, a precedent which I trust the party to plead, and thus involve your- your Lordships will not be eager to follow selves in difficulties from which it may not when you know the facts. A person, while be possible to escape. If your Lordships' attending at the bar of your Lordships privileges are to be asserted at all, it is at House, when sitting as a court of justice, the time when they are first invaded. lost his umbrella, and believing that one Therefore, although I am anxious to take of your Lordships' messengers 'had taken as much time for deliberation as circum- possession of it, he brought an action stances may admit, yet if your Lordships in the court of requests against the mesdo not act to-day, you will, in all proba- senger. The House of Lords thought it bility, lose the opportunity of acting at all. became its dignity and sense of justice to

Lord Denman : With great respect, then, interfere, and prevent the plaintiff from I hope your Lordships will not act at all. establishing his right to his property, and

to the fact of his having been illegally de- because he makes that disclosure? It could prived of it. I cannot think that that is a not be endured for a moment: and do case which your Lordships will feel proud your Lordships believe that any court of or anxious to act upon. I beg to express justice would say that a plaintiff could posmy very great disapprobation of actions sibly succeed in such an action, or that a being brought for the sake of producing witness so conducting himself should be collisions between Parliament and the punished? Why should it be supposed Courts of Justice--a circumstance at all that a court of justice would overlook all times much to be deplored actions brought circumstances of this nature? All confidenfor the purpose of obtaining from the tial communications, that are made boná prejudices or excited feelings of a jury fide, are privileged communications ; but damages which greatly exceed the amount the privileges of the House of Lords, and of injury sustained. I do, at the of your Lordships' Committees for the same time, think that there is no more purpose of public inquiries, stand beyond certain mode of encouraging such pro- the reach of any criminal or civil proceed. ceedings, than by interfering with a view ing by way of action. I venture to think, to stop the due course of justice between although I know what has been said in the Queen's subjects by the high hand of another place, that there is nothing in the power on the part of Parliament, under conduct or in the disposition of the courts the pretence that the parties against whom that disentitles them to the credit of wishing such proceedings were taken were acting to put down any action brought under such under its protection. I should be very circumstances. But, on the other hand, is slow in offering any opinion upon this case. it to be maintained, if parties will vent any The facts at present before your Lordships personal malice, or will indulge in any perare merely ex parte. I know that the pro- sonal and unjust reflections to the preju. position before your Lordships is, that the dice of others, while giving evidence before facts be inquired into by summoning those a Committee of your Lordships

' House

, that parties to the bar who are supposed to have those persons are not be pursued in order injured this petitioner, that is, to summon that the facts may be inquired into, and the plaintiff and his attorney. But, by be decided upon in due course of law? But summoning those parties before you, your upon this more general ground—a ground Lordships pledge yourselves to take some which has been considered and felt at all course, provided certain disclosures are times by those Judges who were aware of made ; but which disclosures, I hum- the high privilege they enjoyed, of standbly apprehend, ought not to be sought ing between irresponsible power and those for from any of Her Majesty's sub- whom it was sought to make its victims jects who are only seeking to establish I am opposed to the undue interposition of iheir rights in a court of justice. I am privilege to impede the due administration very unwilling to commit myself without of justice between subject and subject. necessity upon a point of law; but I have The feeling which has actuated all those not the least difficulty in saying, that if Judges who have thus appreciated their this statement be true, and I have no doubt own high privilege, has been this—“We it is—if this respectable person, of whom know our duty, and that duty we will perthe noble Duke has spoken so highly, has form ; we will perform it without fear or really done no more than what is stated in favour, for the protection, not of one class

, his petition, then I have not the least diffi- not of an individual who

happens to have culty in saying, nay, it admits of no doubt, been a witness before a Committee either that the plaintiff cannot hold up his head of this place or of another place, but for in a court of justice. What! when a com- the protection of all; for doing equal juspetent tribunal, justly held in the high- tice to all, in order that those who are inest respect by the country-a Committee jured may obtain redress, and that those of the House of Lords, appointed to inquire who complain that they are injured may into the necessity of making an amendment have the right to show how and wherein in the law of the land—when such a tri- they have suffered.” These are general bunal summons before it a public officer, a grounds, I think at least, sufficient to induce man competent to speak of the conduct of your Lordships to pause before any steps certain parties having relation to that law, are taken. I should have thought the and when that officer shall have fairly and Motion of my noble and learned Friend fully disclosed what he knows on oath on the Woolsack, if any course was to be is he to be accused as a malicious slanderer | taken on the subject, was the only course

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