HC Deb 29 March 1819 vol 39 cc1228-30
Mr. Lambton

then moved, "That Thomas Goold, esq. having prevaricated in the evidence given by him at the bar of this House, be for his. said offence committed to the custody of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House."

Mr. Brougham

observed, that as Mr. Goold was not a principal in this transaction, the House could not punish him without an inquiry into his conduct. He hoped his hon. friend would withdraw his motion.

Mr. Plunkett

denied that Mr. Goold had been guilty of prevarication. He was surprised that any person could thus plant a dagger in the bosom of a respectable individual, by gratuitously proposing a measure which would only have the effect of for ever destroying his peace of mind. He trusted that the hon. gentleman when he made such a motion, was not aware of the extent of the evil which he was doing— an irreparable evil, and to a person bearing such a character as that which had been given him by the father of his country. He had felt absolutely electrified with astonishment, when this motion was brought forward, and he believed the hon. gentleman was the only member in the House who would have adopted such a course.

Mr. Lambton

said, that, notwithstanding the tender regard which was entertained for Mr. Goold's character, the right hon. gentleman had suffered the evidence of Mr. C. Smyth to be impugned without any ceremony [Cries of No, no!]. The gentlemen said no, but he said yes. He believed on his conscience that Mr. Goold's evidence was prevaricative, and he had brought forward this motion from a sense of duty, and a desire to protect the privileges of the House.

Mr. Stuart Wortley

denied that there had been any prevarication in Mr. Goold's evidence: he had distinctly denied the facts stated by Mr. C. Smyth, but had afterwards openly and manfully declared his conviction, that Mr. Smyth was correct. Surely the hon. gentleman did not know the meaning of the word prevaricate; for if Mr. Goold was guilty at all, he was guilty of giving false evidence, and not of giving prevarication. He agreed with the learned gentleman in thinking, or at least in hoping that there was not another member of that House who would have proposed such a motion.

Mr. Brougham

rose to order. The hon. gentleman surely was not aware that such language implied that the person to whom it had been used had been guilty of some offence.

Mr. S. Wortley

had no doubt that the only motive of Mr. Lambton was a sense of duty.

Mr. Brougham

dwelt on the impropriety of blending the merits of the question with the conduct of the witnesses, and of stamping a censure on one witness, on account of his evidence being at variance with that of another.

Mr. Plunkett

, in explanation, said, that if in the heat of argument upon a subject on which he was most ardent, he had said any thing to give offence, it was more than he had intended. In the observations he had made, nothing was farther from his intention than the wish to give offence to the hon. member.

Mr. Abercromby

did not approve of the manner in which the evidence of Mr. Goold was given, but thought that, if a question were started upon it, it could not be one for prevarication, but for stating that which he knew not to be true. After the evidence had been given, it should not be so much the question, whether the witness had prevaricated, as whether he had stated that which he believed to be true or not. Without, therefore, giving his opinion upon the merits of the question before the House, which he thought ought to be postponed to another opportunity, he should give his vote against the motion.

Mr. Croker

bore testimony to the excellent character of Mr. Goold, a gentleman whom he had known for a great many years. He trusted the House would come to an immediate decision on this question, for he thought that no acquittal, however unanimous, would compensate Mr. Goold, for having this dreadful scourge hung over his head for a single day longer.

Lord Nugent

expressed the sincere regret and pain which he felt in being obliged, after all he had heard from so many high authorities on both sides of the House, and perhaps from the highest authority in the House, in favour of the character of Mr. Goold, to be obliged, in the discharge of his duty, to vote for a motion which must necessarily cast an imputation upon a character hitherto respectable. But after having read and considered the evidence which Mr. Goold had given, he did not think that such evi- dence was given without premeditated and matured falsehood. If he was wrong, he hoped God would forgive him; but of this he was certain, that his own conscience could not accuse him. In the strict discharge of his duty, he felt himself bound to vote for the motion of his hon. friend.

The House divided: Ayes, 8; Noes, 134.

List of the Minority.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Sefton, earl of
Duncannon, visc. Webster, sir Godf.
Lamb, hon. G. TELLERS.
Macleod, R. Lambton, J. G.
Martin, John. Nugent, lord
Palmer, C. F.