§ Sir Robert Wilson
rose and said, it was his painful duty to present a petition for which he was sure the house would have deep regret, any occasion should appear to have been offered, since the allegations contained in it, if proved, would subject not only a gentleman in a distinguished station at the Irish bar, but also a member of that house, to its severest animadversion for a breach of privilege, affecting its honour and dignity, subversive of the freedom of elective franchise, and those securities which should guard the sanctuaries of justice, as well as of the constitution. He lamented the hon. member was not in England; but as he had received intimation of the petitioner's intention, and the petitioner's private interests would be much injured by an indefinite delay, he trusted the house would not think the petition had been precipitately brought for- 291 ward. If the hon. member had been present, he should have abstained from every observation which might prejudge the case: absent, he would redouble his caution; but it was only justice to add, that whilst the parties accused stood high in the estimation of many members in that house, and their friends in general, the petitioner, from his station in society, his connexions, and above all, his character, was no less entitled to the consideration which an honourable accuser had a right to expect, and which, as a just man, he would only require until the parties accused had had an opportunity to defend themselves from his charge. It appeared that the hon. Wyndham Quin, a member of parliament for the county of Limerick, had been, some time back, appointed Custos Rotutorum for that county. Amongst the many offices in his patronage, was that of the clerkship of the peace, an office of very great importance as administering both criminal and civil justice, and holding the registry of all freeholds. In Ireland, he also understood it to be considered of peculiar importance, from other duties being attached to it, which produced to its holder a considerable revenue, as well as great personal importance. Mr. Thomas William Grady, the petitioner, had been in possession of his office for fifteen years preceding. Shortly after his appointment, the hon. Wyndham Quin sent him a communication of his intention to remove him, but to allow him a pension of 200l. a year out of the emoluments of the office. The petitioner declined acceding to the proposal. In September Mr. Carew Smith called on Mr. Quin to interfere on behalf of Mr. Grady. Mr. Quin told him he intended to appoint Mr. Richard Smith, of Limerick, but that he would insist on his allowing Mr. Grady 200l. a year out of the profits of the office, on condition that the latter gentleman should support him at elections for knights of the shire, with his hundred tenants. Mr. C. Smith observed, that such a contract would be illegal. Mr. Quin said it would be only an equivalent, a quid pro quo. Next day, Mr. Quin renewed the proposition, in presence of a gentleman named Thomas Goold, esq. Mr. C. Smith expressed his opinion of its illegality. He however drew up a minute of the conversation and sent it to Mr. Quin. The next day Mr. Quin, accompanied by Mr. Goold, delivered to Mr. C. Smith the minute, with a verbal alteration that appears on the face of it. Mr. 292 Goold objected to Mr. Quin's putting his name to the paper, but declared he would always testify to the validity of the engagement. As the case materially rested on the actual words as well as the authenticity of this minute, he could not trust to the accuracy of his memory, but read a copy of it to the House. The hon. member then read a copy of the minute to the following effect:—"The hon. Mr. Quin proposed that Mr. R. Smith should be appointed to the office, on condition of his paying Mr. T. W. Grady, a sum of 200l. a year out of the profits of it, and that it was expected that Mr. T. W. Grady should remain politically connected with the hon. W. Quin, as long as he continued in the receipt of the said sum, but that he should be at liberty at any time on failure of payment, or on giving up the said annuity, to make a transfer of his political interest." When the petitioner received the proposal he rejected it with indignation, and immediately declared his resolution to bring the matter before parliament. That intention becoming public, a gentleman of Limerick, Mr. Garbett, alarmed for Mr. Quin, called on him, and advised him to offer the 200l. a year to Mr. Grady without any consideration, accordingly Mr. Quin wrote a memorandum to Mr. Grady as follows:—"Mr. Grady may vote as he pleases, and if it shall be against me, I will not deprive him of his annuity." When the petitioner read it, he thought he should, be equally culpable with the member complained of, if he had received the proffered allowance, or given up his design of a public investigation. He (sir R. Wilson) Was instructed to say that the petitioner was perfectly prepared to prosecute the inquiry, and that the documents referred to could all be produced before the house, or a committee. He hoped he had, in stating the matter, abstained from every thing but a plain description of the case, and then moved, that the petition be brought up.
§ The Speaker
stated, that before proceeding further in this business, he wished to call the attention of the house to the last case of the same description which had come before the house. The hon. member had been kind enough to communicate to him his intention on his entering the house. The house were aware how short the interval was which he had had for inquiry; but he had found a case in point, and that he should state to the 293 House. The point to which he wished to direct the attention of the House was the first step of proceeding—whether the petition should now be brought up or not. In 1811 there was an entry of a similar petition having been offered to be presented, containing charges against Richard Mansel Philips, esq.—The house ordered him to attend in his place on the 14th of June. If this case was to serve the House as a precedent, the course now to be pursued would be, to direct the attendance of Mr. Quin on some succeeding day, before the petition was brought up. He would only add, that if this case were pursued, all farther observations at present would be premature. When the petition was brought up, the case would, of course, be open to discussion. There might be other cases, but he hoped the house would forgive his inability to recollect any others.
thought it impossible to adopt any other course than that which had been suggested by the Speaker, and hoped the gallant officer would be of the same opinion, and would move that Mr. Quin be ordered to attend the house.
§ Sir John Newport
hoped, as this was the last day for receiving election petitions, that this would not be considered a bar to their entertaining this case hereafter.
§ Sir Robert Wilson
then moved, "That the hon. Wyndham Quin do attend this house in his place upon this day seven-night;" which was agreed to.