HC Deb 26 March 1817 vol 35 cc1272-3

A message from the Lords announced their lordships assent to the Seditious Meetings bill, with certain amendments. The messengers having withdrawn,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that the amendments be taken into consideration to-morrow.

Mr. Brougham

took it to be clear, that the amendments might occasion considerable discussion in that House, and therefore he hoped the right hon. gentleman would not press the consideration of them before the holidays.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that nothing could be more inconvenient than to delay the discussion on a bill of this nature. The preservation of the peace of the country rendered it absolutely necessary that no time should be lost in passing the bill into a law. He should certainly persevere in his motion, that the amendments be taken into consideration to-morrow.

Mr. Curwen

was certain, that no measure of greater importance could be brought under the consideration of the House, and therefore, full time should be allowed for the discussion. This bill went to annihilate the best liberties of the subject; and he trusted that it would never pass that House. Nothing could tend more effectually to extinguish all public liberty than to enact, that there should be a complete gagging of the people within a certain distance. Every day went to prove that this odious measure was altogether unnecessary; and, as the right hon. gentleman in the chair was labouring under severe indisposition, and, consequently, a late debate might be very injurious to him, it was highly important that the discussion should be deferred. To him there appeared no necessity whatever for this bill; and he could not but observe, that, highly as he might think of the integrity of hon. members, he knew not what that House would come to, if their connexion with the people was cut off.

Sir James Graham

differed in every point from his hon. colleague, and decidedly thought the only way to save the country was by such provisions as the present, He knew this bill was anxiously expected by every good, and loyal, and sober minded subject in the kingdom.

Mr. Brougham

wished to ask the right hon. gentleman if he had any objection to the bill and its amendments being printed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, the bill was already printed, but he would not object to the amendments being printed.

Mr. Brougham

asked, whether the right hon. gentleman did not think to-morrow too early to take the amendments into consideration? The House could not receive the printed copies till a late hour; and the right hon. gentleman would, perhaps, bring forward the discussion almost as soon as the House met.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

had no doubt that the amendments would be printed in time.

They were then ordered to be printed.