HC Deb 04 April 1808 vol 10 c1306
Mr. H. Wellesley

said he was under the necessity of trespassing for a few moments upon the time of the house, in consequence of a gross misrepresentation (inserted in a morning paper called the Times) of several passages in the speech delivered by an hon. director on Thursday last. Mr. Wellesley observed, that the statement contained in the paper which he held in his hand, was directly and absolutely contradictory to the whole tenor of the hon. gent.'s speech, at least as far as it related personally to lord Wellesley and himself; as whatever opinions that hon. gent. might have expressed with respect to the general arrangements in Oude, he entirely disclaimed any imputations of a personal kind. He was persuaded that the house would feel with him, that to suffer misrepresentations of such a tendency to go forth uncontradicted in a paper of a general and extensive circulation, could not fail to be highly injurious to the character of the individuals alluded to; and therefore that he need to make no apology for having brought the subject before the house. As, however, he was willing to believe that the misrepresentations of which he complained were not intentional on the part of the persons concerned in the paper to which he alluded, he should, with the leave of the house, rest satisfied with having brought the subject under its notice, in the hope that this would be a sufficient warning to those persons to be more cautious and more accurate in future.

Mr. R. Thornton

said, he understood his speech on a former evening to be the one alluded to, and remarked that several friends had stated to him how much it was misrepresented, which afterwards was confirmed by his own perusal of what was attributed to him. Though he had animadverted strongly on the general system of policy in India, and the particular transactions in Oude, he had pointedly signified, that he meant to impute nothing disrespectful to the personal character of the noble marquis, or of the honourable gentleman himself. Had he been only silent as to every thing a personal tendency, the allusions in the newspaper would have been highly unjustifiable; but when he had, in two separate debates, adopted the language thrown out as a challenge by an hon. baronet (sir John Anstruther), and admitted, with him, that there was no where an attempt to wound the noble marquis by personal insinuations, Mr. Thornton thought it very unfortunate that the erroneous and clumsy reporter of a newspaper should mislead the public mind. He believed the misrepresentation arose from accident, not from design, and therefore hoped no further steps would be taken against the proprietors of the paper in question.

The Speaker

hoped the house would excuse him for remarking, that however the practice might have been tolerated, the house was always at liberty to limit, and if necessary, to punish, any abuse of its privileges, in the publication of what purported to be reports of its proceedings. At present, he did not understand that any complaint was about to be made with a view to the animadversion of the house.