§ Mr. Wyvill
presented a petition signed by 1,700 inhabitants of the city of York, complaining of the conduct of ministers towards her majesty, and praying for the restoration of all her rights, and especially for the restoration of her name to the Liturgy. He took that opportunity of stating, that it was with considerable pain he learnt that the noble lord opposite, did not, of himself, intend to advise the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy. He inferred from this conduct, that neither ministers nor his majesty were aware of the irritation which prevailed throughout the country on this subject. He must also say, that he was greatly surprised that ministers had no intention of instituting an investigation into the Milan commission. The country would assume from this conduct, and confidently assume as a fact, that there had been a conspiracy, and that ministers were parties to that conspiracy.
§ Mr. James
presented a petition from Carlisle, praying for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, and entreating that the House would no longer continue to support ministers, who had introduced and supported such unconstitutional measures. The petition was signed by more than 1,000 names, and it reprobated the bill of Pains and Penalties as a violation of the constitution and of the fundamental laws of the realm, and as 120 a measure unknown, except in cases of most urgent state necessity.
§ Mr. Denison
rose to present a petition from the parishes of St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, and others, praying for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy. It lamented that the late measures against her majesty should ever have been instituted. In the sentiments and prayers of the petitioners he concurred, being convinced, that a more impolitic, unwise, and unjust measure, than that of striking her majesty's name out of the Liturgy, could not have been devised; and being also convinced, that nothing could restore tranquillity to the country but the replacing of her majesty's name where it ought to be. On the motion, that the petition be printed,
§ Sir E. Knatchbull
expressed a hope that, on the score of economy, hon. gentlemen would not press the printing of every petition of this sort that might be presented. He therefore hoped the hon. member would not persevere in the motion he had made.
§ Mr. Denison
agreed with the hon. gentleman, that economy was desirable, but could not agree that the petition ought not to be printed. Those from whom it came, though in a humble situation, were as much entitled to have their sentiments made known to their fellow subjects as any other body of men could be.
§ Lord Milton
was glad to find the hon. member for Kent so alive to the necessity of observing the most rigid economy, and trusted the House and the country would regard it only as an earnest of the zeal with which, for the future, the hon. member would labour for the reduction of every useless expense and unnecessary office. Perhaps he would find, that the office of receiver-general of the land-tax was one which might be dispensed with, under the present circumstances of the country, and the business connected with it, performed through some other channel. Should a motion to this effect be made, he hoped the country would be favoured with the support of the hon. gentleman, who might perhaps be an important witness on this subject.
§ Mr. C. Dundas
presented a petition from the county of Berks. It complained that no inquiry had been made into the distresses of the country, but that parliament had been occupied for nanny months solely, with a needless prosecution against 121 the Queen—a prosecution which was distressing to the moral feelings of the country and derogatory from the dignity and honour of the Crown. In presenting this petition, he begged leave to join in the wish that the undivided attention of ministers and of parliament should be devoted to the relief of the unprecedented distresses of the country. The petitioners most justly stated, that for months their attention had been devoted to a prosecution that was at once unnecessary and unjust. The failure of that prosecution placed her majesty in the same situation in which a party accused was placed by the throwing out of a bill by the grand jury, and at this result every friend of the royal family, every well-wisher to our constitution, every lover of his country must have sincerely rejoiced. That most unjust proceeding had alarmed every friend of justice and truth and humanity; it had disgusted every man of sound understanding and good feeling. He had entertained some hope, from the experience of his majesty's mind and disposition, that the irritation and dismay excited throughout the country would have been removed; and that the country would have been relieved from a feeling of dissatisfaction which had perhaps never been equalled. He could answer for the petitioners being as decided in their loyalty to the king, and their attachment to the constitution, as any body of men in England.
§ Mr. Denison
presented a petition from the inhabitants of Godalming. It was most respectably signed. Its prayer was, for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy; and for such reform in that House as would give the people a free, fair, and full representation. He fully agreed in this prayer, though he was no advocate for the wild schemes of annual parliaments and universal suffrage.
§ Mr. W. Williams
presented a petition from the inhabitants of Lambeth. It was signed by more than 2,000 respectable inhabitants. It was the firm belief of the petitioners, that nothing could allay the irritation of the country but the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy and to all the rights belonging to a Queen consort. He cordially coincided with the petitioners, and he had placed that reliance on the candour and humanity of ministers, that as soon as they had been compelled to give up the prosecution they would have restored her majesty's name to the Liturgy. He still hoped 122 they would retrace their error, and restore her majesty's name to the prayers of a religious and loyal people, as the only means of giving tranquillity to the country. The petitioners prayed also for inquiry into the Milan commission.
Sir Ronald Fergusson
presented three petitions—one from the magistrates and town council of Culross, the second from Burntisland, and the third from Kinghorn. One of the petitions stated, that all the evils of the country—our agricultural and commercial distresses, were owing to his majesty's ministers; and, therefore, prayed the House to withdraw its confidence and support from them. He heartily hoped, that the House might comply with this petition. All the petitions declared their abhorrence of the prosecutions against the Queen, and prayed for the restoration of her name to the Liturgy, and to all her rights as Queen consort.
§ Mr. Sykes
said, he had a petition to present on a subject somewhat different from the preceding petitions. It was from Cottingham; and complained of the great distress which afflicted all classes. The speech from the throne had been made to represent a state of things which existed not. Never yet had he seen one person outside of those doors who believed one word of it. Whatever ministers might believe themselves, or attempt to make others believe, sure he was, that so far as his experience extended, nine-tenths of the people joined in the belief, that without a change of ministers and measures, no satisfaction could be obtained for the people. Without an entire change of the system acted upon, the unhappy agitation which prevailed, and from which, the royal name, the royal family, and the best interests of the country had suffered, could not be allayed. For this reason, too, the petitioners prayed for the dismissal of ministers. On the first day of the session he had heard much of the folly and mischief of certain persons; but he would ask, whether there could be folly and mischief equal to the folly and mischief of those who had instituted the proceedings against the Queen? He should have thought that wisdom would have dictated very different conduct in point of prudence; he should have thought that wisdom would have dictated very different conduct on the ground of justice. The measures against the Queen had been conceived in mischief, nursed up in folly, and supported by perjury.
said, he held in his hand some additional commentaries on the assertion of the noble lord opposite, that he was in possession of the confidence of the country. The first was a petition from the parish of St. George, Hanover-square. The mock loyalists had endeavoured to get up a mock-loyal petition in the same parish, and in ten days they had got 415 names. The petition which he held in his hand had not been ready for signature more than ten hours, and it had got as many names. If the subject did not require that it should be presented that night, it would have been signed by nearly as many thousands. It prayed for attention to the distresses of the country, for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, and also for a reform in the representation. The second petition was from the bookbinders of London and Westminster. It prayed for the same objects. The third was from Langport, praying for the dismissal of ministers, and for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, it was signed by 1,000 names. The fourth was from Sidmouth, and signed by 450 individuals. No one could object to the loyalty of the people of Sidmouth, who, from unaccountable attachment to ministers, had refused to petition against them in the case of the Manchester business. A mock loyal address from this place had not so many names, although applications had been made for ten miles round. He had been entreated by the petitioners to urge the necessity of taking the prayers of the petitions into serious consideration. It would be a failure of courtesy to the noble lord, whose motion was fixed for that night, if he were to offer any observations now, upon the subject of the Liturgy. He must say, however, that the member for Guilford had taken a very erroneous view of the question, when he had said that he viewed it only as a legal question. If the exclusion of her majesty's name could be established as legally right, still the question would recur as a question of state necessity. Would it be endured that her majesty's name should be struck out of the Liturgy, upon evidence which had not made good the charge against her majesty, to the minds of those who had been trying the question? There was no inconsistency in connecting the two subjects, of the restoration of her majesty's rights and the reform of that House. If there had been an actual responsibility of ministers, they 124 would not have dared to attempt measures so hostile to the interests and to the feelings of the country. The proceedings against the Queen had taken away the film from the eyes of all who had, in defiance of reason, supposed that that House represented the people. But the illusion had been removed by the first lord of the Treasury, who had disregarded the House of Commons when it declared the prosecution derogatory and injurious, but who, when he afterwards gave it up, said, it was because the people of England had felt so strongly against it. What could be a more clear declaration than that of his considering that House as not representing the people of England? The House would act wisely, therefore, by acceding to such a reform as would convince ministers that they did represent the people. It would be better to do it with a good grace than to be forced to do it. As to the dismissal of his majesty's ministers, it was impossible to say how that very desirable object could be effected. Ministers would not yield to the people, or to the parliament. In former times, if ministers could not carry a great measure attempted by them, they resigned their places; but the present ministers could endure every defeat and censure, and still keep their places. They failed in the attempt to carry the Property-tax, and kept their places. They lost the bill of Pains and Penalties; still they kept their places. If there should be a majority that night against them, of which he had no idea, to-morrow we should still see them in their places: and there seemed no reason to doubt, that they would leave their places as inheritances to their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns. He, therefore, could not see how this prayer could be carried into effect; but he was willing to contribute all in his power towards the accomplishment of this object, as one of the only means of saving the country from impending ruin.
§ Mr. Sergeant Onslow
said, the lion, member had imputed to him, expressions too absurd for any but an idiot to have used. If the right of excluding her majesty's name was legal, still there was the question of expediency to be considered. If the hon. gentleman chose to cite his words, he ought to have done it correctly.
said, he had never supposed the learned gentleman to be an idiot. He was the last man in the world 125 to say any thing to disparage the learned gentleman, or to speak with personal disrespect of any one. Many, however, had thought, as well as himself, that the learned gentleman considered the question about to come on to be merely a legal question.
Mr. Fyshe Palmer
presented two petitions, of a similar nature: the first, from the inhabitants of Reading, signed by 1,300 persons: the second, from the inhabitants of Tilehurst, tithing of Theale, and its vicinity. The hon. member begged leave to say, that the petitioners were devotedly attached to the constitution, and were most anxious to support the honour and dignity of the Crown. They had seen, with regret, the late proceedings against the Queen, carried on against the advice and recommendation of parliament—they had seen the charges against her majesty supported by the foulest and most corrupt perjury,—they had seen that the witnesses brought forward against her majesty were discharged servants, who had been bribed to give testimony against her. This was nothing less than corrupting the source of justice. The petitioners most solemnly prayed the House of Commons to withdraw their support from those ministers, who had, for such a length of time, abused the power entrusted to them,—that a stop should be put to any attempt to renew the proceedings against the Queen,—that the House of Commons would husband with strict economy the resources of the nation; and that every exertion should be made to inquire into, and alleviate, the distresses under which the country at present laboured. They prayed also, that every effort should be made to correct the abuses which existed in the representation of the people in parliament. He begged to remind the House of an observation which had been long since made, that unless a reform took place in parliament, no ministers could possibly manage the affairs of the country with honour to themselves, or advantage to the people, however well inclined they might be to do so.
§ Mr. Denman
presented a petition from the inhabitants of Nottingham, in which, they described the late proceedings against her majesty as having originated in a foul conspiracy, and expressed a hope, that the feelings so generally entertained amongst the people on this subject would be likewise found to animate that House. They deprecated any renewal of proceedings so 126 disgraceful, as dangerous to the public peace and trusted that her majesty's name would be re-inserted in the Liturgy. The petition further prayed, that the House would take steps for bringing to punishment those who had conspired against the Queen, and that it would refuse to grant any supplies until those objects were attained.
§ Mr. Birch
presented a petition from the corporation of Nottingham, praying, that no further proceedings should be instituted against the Queen—a prayer which, after what had been declared by the noble lord opposite, the hon. member was willing to consider as already complied with. He trusted that the worthy alderman (Heygate) who disapproved of the original exclusion of her majesty's name from the Liturgy, and yet professed himself to be against its restoration, would attend in his place that night, and find reason, in the course of the debate, to change his view of the question.
§ Mr. R. Martin
observed, that he approved much more of this petition than of that which had been presented by the Queen's Solicitor General. As counsel for the Queen the learned gentleman might naturally entertain a strong and honest prejudice in her favour; but before others allowed themselves to bring forward charges of conspiracy and perjury, they ought to be able to prove their allegations. He wished, therefore, to give notice, that if he should hear parties accused of having committed bribery and false swearing in order to calumniate and degrade the Queen, he would challenge them to put something in a course of proof, so as to give to the accused a legitimate mode of defending themselves. This might be easily done by moving, that all the papers relative to the late inquiry should be taken into consideration. [Cries of "Move, move."] Move what? what was he to move? It was for those who made the charges to substantiate them.
§ Mr. Denman
said, he was obliged to the hon. gentleman for the terms in which he had thought proper to allude to him, but he scarcely thought he stood in need of a defence or apology for presenting the petition which had called forth the hon. member's animadversions. He was not bound to justify, to its full extent, the language of the petition, of which not one word was his own; neither was he aware, that any charge was preferred against 127 the gentlemen opposite of having been engaged in a conspiracy. The petitioners expressed, in general terms, their belief that a conspiracy had been formed and defeated; and they hoped, that its authors and abettors might be brought to punishment. This part of the subject evidently referred to a question, upon the consideration of which it was not then a proper time to enter.
§ Mr. Heathcote
said, he held in his hand a petition from the inhabitants of the town of Boston, similar in its general prayer to those which had been already received. In presenting it, he could not avoid expressing a hope that all those proceedings which had now so long, to the exclusion of every other subject, engaged the attention of parliament, might be brought speedily to an end. In their progress they had not been less detrimental to the dignity of the throne, than repugnant to the feelings of the people; and where so much must now be granted—and so little could be denied, a full restitution of the rights and privileges of Queen Consort appeared to him to be the most just and the most politic course.
§ Mr. Honywood
presented a petition from Margate, praying for the dismissal of ministers, and the restoration of the Queen to all her rights and dignities. Those who signed it were freeholders, and, in publicly meeting to express their sentiments on public events, were not conscious that they were acting "a farce," but imagined rather that they were engaged in the exercise of one of their most valuable liberties. He feared much, that if these petitions should be treated with neglect, the people would be confirmed in an opinion which they had long entertained, namely, that the House did not speak the sense, or represent the wishes of the country.
§ Lord Stanley
rose to present a petition from the inhabitants of Chorley, in Lancashire, complaining of the unprecedented treatment of her majesty, and praying, not merely, that the Queen's name should be restored to the Liturgy, but also that her majesty should be invested, without further delay, in all the honours and dignities due to her exalted station. Such was the prayer of the petitioners, in the whole of which he cordially concurred; and he thought ministers would abandon their duty if they did not immediately accede to the wishes of the country, and give that advice to their sovereign which 128 would allay the irritation excited so generally by the treatment of her Majesty.
§ Mr. Monck
presented a petition from the town of Wantage. The petitioners called the attention of parliament to the existing state of the agricultural classes; they also complained of the treatment experienced by the Queen, and stated, that nothing but the reinstatement of her majesty's name in the Liturgy, and her investiture in all the honours of her rank as Queen Consort, could allay the agitation which prevailed throughout the country. He heartily concurred in the prayer of the petition, and earnestly hoped, or rather wished—for hopes he had none—that sentiments like these, which were so honourable to the sense and feelings of the people, would not be lost upon his majesty's ministers. He earnestly wished that the voice of the people might not, as heretofore, be thwarted, and that parliament would not exhibit a determined spirit of opposition to the sentiments of the people at large.
§ Sir Robert Wilson
said, he held in his hand a petition, signed by 2,097 persons of that respectable class of artisans denominated the Spanish Morocco Leather-dressers [a laugh]. He did not know what there was in that to excite a laugh; it was true the petitioners were poor but they were honest, industrious, and loyal; they also paid heavy taxes, and had as much right to be heard in that House as the constituents of the representative of any borough in England. They were as well entitled to attention, when they approached that House with the expression of their sentiments upon a great national question, as any body of men whatever, and they were then more especially deserving of being heard when they held one uniform language with all their countrymen upon the important subject which occupied, at that moment, the attention of parliament. That language was strong, but it was just. They expressed their detestation of the odious proceedings against the Queen, and more particularly the act of omitting her name in the Liturgy while she was yet untried. This they called an outrage to decency and law, and insisted that it was evidently intended to brand her majesty with infamy in the first instance, that she might be compelled to remain in exile, or if she returned home, that the disgrace attached to her name might facilitate her condemnation at the bar of public opinion; and of both Houses of parliament as one 129 already degraded. The petitioners also expressed their regret, that political malevolence should ever have found its way into the temples which ought only to be occupied by religion and her kindred charities. The petitioners therefore p rayed the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy. The hon. member then proceeded to comment on the conduct of ministers relative to this question. He said, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a former occasion, had expressed himself, as if the question would be decided by its legal merits, but the noble lord opposite had let the cat out of the bag; for he said what was equivalent to stating, that whatever the legal merits of the case might be, his majesty's ministers would never sanction the insertion of the Queen's name in the Liturgy. He had, in fact, made it not a question of law, but one of party, and he called on party knights and their squires to defend him in his station. But the petitioners prayed that her majesty's name might be restored to the Liturgy, not only as a matter of right and of law, but as a means of tranquillizing the country; or as it was expressed in their own language, that the sword of public dissention might be returned into the scabbard, and the torch of domestic discord extinguished for ever." They said, that without this was done, tranquillity could not be restored, and he would add—ought not. [Hear, hear!] He repeated that the agitation so jnstly excited ought not to cease, unless justice were done the Queen; for if it could cease without that justice being done; the country would present the melancholy spectacle of acquiescing in anact of monstrous injustice. If therefore, peace were to be restored, he hoped it would be the peace of freemen and not of slaves. There could be no free government unless the voice of the people were heard and attended to. If this were not so, he should as soon live under the Sophi of Persia or the Dey of Algiers, as in England, if her spirit of freedom were gone. He was most anxious for peace, but he detested the maxim—"Iniquissimam pacem, justissimo bello antefero." That doctrine was at variance with the genius of a free people, and he therefore was no advocate for peace, unless it could be justly and honourably maintained. Anarchy might be the disease of a state, but tyranny was its death.—The petition was laid on the table, as well as another from Bolton-le-Moor, in 130 Lancashire.—The gallant officer, in presenting the lust petition, said that it was very numerously signed. The people in that part of the country naturally shrunk from holding a public meeting after the horrible scene at Manchester, I where so much blood had been shed, and had still remained unatoned for. There were 600 maimed persons there, still crying for redress or inquiry. They were yet asking in vain for justice. Their petition at present was, that the Queen should he reinstated in all the honours of her station.
§ Mr. Rouse Boughton
presented a petition to the same effect from several clergymen of the established church, and several dissenting ministers of Evesham, deploring the measures which had been hitherto pursued against her majesty, and entreating, that her name might be forthwith restored to the Liturgy, and, that she should be invested with all the honours, dignities, and prerogatives, due to her station. He concurred with the petitioners in thinking that the act of striking the Queen's name out of the Liturgy was unwise, inexpedient, and unfair. The ministers ought, without delay, to retrace their steps. By no other mode of conduct could they allay the agitated state of public feeling.
The Marquis of Tavistock
rose to present the petition of the freeholders of the county of Bedford. It was, he said, agreed to at the first meeting held of that county for the last twenty-live years; and one more numerous, more respectable, more temperate, more loyal, and in every respect better conducted, had never been held in any county. It was conducted throughout in the true spirit of the constitution, and did honour to the county. The petition was signed by upwards of 2,400 freeholders and other respectable individuals. They complained, in very warm terms, of the treatment of the Queen; they reprobated the proceedings carried on against her majesty, from the beginning to the end; they were jealous of them, because they saw, that they shook the country and interrupted the public peace. Perhaps it might suit ministers to consider the Bedfordshire and other county meetings as a farce. It might suit men to apply that term to county meetings, who durst not themselves meet before the public, but who were obliged to skulk into holes and corners, from which they issued libels against the people of England. This was not the treatment which Englishmen deserved. Instead of having 131 their feelings outraged in this manner, they ought to be treated generously and kindly—as friends, not as foes. The people of England were libelled when they were called disloyal. They were the most loyal people in the world. He hoped ministers would pause, before they drove the people to the last extremity of despair. It was not by sending forth imputations of sedition and blasphemy against all who had the hardihood to oppose their schemes, that they could tranquillize the country. This tirade of unjustifiable imputations could never answer a good purpose; such a. course would always be found bad policy, either in public or private life.
presented a petition from Rochester, signed by 2,500 persons. The petitioners, he observed, were sincerely attached to the king and to the genuine principles of the constitution; and had, in the exercise of an undoubted right, felt it to be their duty to express their disapprobation of the measures pursued by his majesty's ministers. They called on the House to use its influence in procuring the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy; they prayed, that it would institute a rigid inquiry into the recent proceedings against the Queen; and they besought the House no longer to place confidence in those ministers who had insulted their king and degraded their country. They also called on the House to inquire into the distressed state of the empire; occasioned as it was, by the conduct adopted by ministers—by their boundless profusion and extravagance, their opposition to the correction of abuses, and their abridgment of the rights of the people. While such men were in power, the petitioners conceived, that the prerogatives of the King, the rights of the Queen, and the liberties of the People were in danger. He entirely and sincerely—not at all as a party man, but from honest conviction—concurred in those sentiments. He did not wish to embarrass this or any government, when it was properly conducted; but when he saw proceedings instituted which were calculated to degrade the country in the eyes of the world, and thereby to lessen its consequence in the estimation of foreign states, it was, he conceived, high time that a change should be effected. At such a time as this, it was right that gentlemen should speak their sentiments freely, and not smother them under the veil of delicacy. he had also to present a second peti- 132 tion on the same subject from the parish of Mary-le-bone. It was signed by 6 or 7,000 inhabitant householders; and he understood, that every endeavour had been used to prevent any but inhabitant householders from affixing their signatures to it. Had it not been for the shortness of the time, it would have received the signatures of 20,000 persons. The petitions, which were now pouring in from every part of the country, came from persons, many of whom never before dreamt of interfering in political matters. They did not merely originate in towns, cities, and counties, but they also emanated from wards, parishes, and villages. These petitions proved the real state of the country; they showed clearly what the sentiments of the people were; and they contradicted, decidedly, the assertion made by the noble lord opposite, that ministers enjoyed the confidence of the country. These appeals to the House would not, he hoped, be looked upon as political farces or interludes; if they were despised and slighted, instead of farces, they would, perhaps, be the precursors of deep political tragedies.
presented a similar petition from the county of Hants. He stated, that it was agreed to at a county meeting, which was most respectably attended, and that it was signed by 8,000 freeholders; who, while they opposed the unwise and dangerous acts of the present administration, were as much attached to the soundest principles of religion and loyalty as any men in the kingdom.
§ Sir W. De Crespigny
said, that having been one of the principal actors in this county farce he begged leave to say a few words respecting it. He used the term "farce" because he found, that county meetings were in future to be deemed farces, comedies, or perhaps, tragedies. He heard that county meetings had, in a most indecent, unconstitutional, and improper manner, been compared to mobs. In a short time, he supposed, all bodies would be looked upon as mobs, except battalions of infantry and squadrons of horse. He would venture to say, that he felt as much respect for military talents as any man in the country; but let such sentiments come from the most mighty mouths that could be, he would, in his place, protest against them, not only as disrespectful to parliament, but to the country at large. They were not now on the plains of Water- 133 loo, or the Peninsula, or in the German dominions. [A laugh.] As to those gentlemen who dared to laugh on such an occasion, there was not one of them, who, if he had the spirit of an Englishman, ought not to stand up for the honour of his country against the impropriety of such language. They were not in a country where they could be cowed by the military, and, in his opinion, every member of that House should stand up for the honour of the country. The Hants meeting Was most respectable, and he supposed that 7,000 or 8,000 persons were sufficient to speak the sense of the county. It had been stated, by a set of gentlemen, that a counter-requisition was signed after the high sheriff had appointed the county meeting. This was a most unfair and improper proceeding, and was intended to prevent the expression of the public feeling. And on what account? Because an address had been got up, not at a county meeting, as it ought to be, but by the influence of the secretary of a club, called the Pitt Club. That secretary took it on himself to send all over the county, to the ministers of the church in their different parishes, desiring them to sign the load of parchments he transmitted to them, and to call on their parishioners to sign them also. Good God! Could this be called a county address which was procured without a county meeting? It happened that this secretary of the Pitt Club was also under-sheriff of the county; and he knew, that in consequence of this circumstance, many of those who signed the address thought, that the under-sheriff had the sanction of the high sheriff for what he was doing; and it certainly was a little too bad that such delusive conduct should be allowed. He was much displeased at the allusion which had been made to the meeting; and he should be ashamed of himself, having been present at it, if he did not fairly and candidly state what he knew, and what the House would excuse him for detailing, with a degree of warmth which, under other circumstances, would not, perhaps, have been justifiable.
said, he could not support the sentiments contained in the petition presented by his hon. colleague, and felt himself called on, fn justice to the rank and property of the county of Hants, to declare, that many of the most wealthy and respectable freeholders were not present at that meeting.
§ Mr. Wellesley Pole
said, he hardly knew in what way he ought to treat the observations which had fallen from the hon. baronet on the other side. He had some doubts as to whether the hon. baronet's allusions fell within the orders of that House; but as he was not stopped by the Chair, it only remained for him to make a few observations on them. The hon. gentleman had used very hard words—[Cries of 'No,' and 'Yes']—were not sentiments such as he had expressed with respect to a noble person—
§ The Speaker
here interrupted the right hon. gentleman and reminded him, that he was out of order. The reason he had not interrupted the hon. baronet was, that he had not been able to collect, from what had fallen from him, the person to I whom he alluded.
§ Mr. Wellesley Pole
hoped the hon. I baronet, would do him the justice to allow, that he had not misconceived whom he had alluded to. He had made several: severe observations, and had entirely misrepresented what he supposed to have I been said on the occasion alluded to. If he knew the noble person to whom he had alluded, he would find, that there was not a man in that House, in the country, or in the world, who held in higher estimation than that noble person did, the liberties of the people of England, [a laugh, and cries of hear, hear !] This might extract a smile and a laugh front lawyers; it might excite cries of "hear, hear," from civilians; but it would not elicit a smile and a laugh from those who knew that noble lord—who acknowledged the advantages the country had derived from his talents, and were acquainted with his constitutional principles, which were not only duly appreciated in this island, but were perfectly understood all over the world. He admitted, that he ought not to have suffered the observations made on the other side of the House to have occasioned any warmth of feeling in expressing the few words with which he meant to trouble them. A to what the hon. baronet asserted, namely, that the noble lord had treated county meetings disrespectfully, he felt perfectly-convinced, that that noble person never had it in his contemplation to state, and never did state, any thing that was disrespectful of county meetings. He was confident, that that noble lord never uttered a word that could be considered disrespectful to the freeholders. What his noble 135 relation had said, was, that a meeting had taken place, so irregular and tumultuous, that no impartial discussion could he obtained—that only one side was heard, and that it could not, therefore, be deemed a fair and regular county meeting. His noble relation, not being in the habit of weighing words—not being a regular practised public speaker had used the term "farce," which was afterwards taken up with so much warmth. But he was quite sure, that he never had said any thing unconstitutional, or tending to trench on the liberty of the subject—taking that phrase even in its broadest sense. He was quite satisfied, that when the hon. baronet was better acquainted with the character of that noble person than he now appeared to be, he would lament the way in which he had taken this business up. He was never more mistaken in the character of any individual than he was in that of the noble lord, if he supposed, that he could have said or done any thing hostile to the liberty of the subject.
§ Sir W. De Crespigny
said, that until he came into that House, he knew not a syllable of the proceeding in question, and therefore the right hon. gentleman could not correctly state that he had alluded to any thing which occurred in the House of Lords. In fact, he only heard that the words were made use of by the noble person referred to, unaccompanied with any statement of the place in which they were uttered.
said, that the right hon. gentleman had undoubtedly misrepresented the Hampshire meeting.
§ Mr. W. Pole
said, he had not uttered a word about, that meeting. He had stated, that the noble lord spoke of a tumultous meeting; but lie had not mentioned where it was held.
said, it appeared to him; that the right hon. gentleman must have meant that meeting or none, and he felt himself called on to vindicate the character of the meeting from the injurious assertion which, it seemed, had been cast on it by other persons. He would not say one word about the expression made use of by a noble lord, in another place. He respected the noble person, and was perfectly sensible of the great obligations which the country owed to him. He never heard his name mentioned, or reflected on his character, without experiencing feelings of pride and satisfaction. He would not, therefore, censure him for any unguarded expression, utter- 136 ed in the heat of the moment. He possessed great talents in one line, and had, by their exercise, done his country most important services; but he was not at all in the habit of public speaking, and, therefore, an unadvised expression might fairly be excused. It was said, that this was an extremely tumultuous meeting, and that it was impossible for a gentleman, speaking in opposition to the sentiments contained in the petition, to obtain a hearing. Now, in contradiction to that, he would appeal to the hon. member for the county (Mr. Fleming), who had a fair opportunity of trying the patience of the meeting, and who did try it in such a manner as, he believed, was never attempted before; for, on a subject which agitated the country from one end to the other, no address was ever delivered at a public meeting more likely to provoke angry discussion than that of the hon. member; and yet, there was not a syllable of that speech which was not heard and patiently attended to. He thought, therefore, that the same testimony would be borne to the regularity and good conduct of the meeting by the hon. member, as he was prepared to give. If he contrasted the proceedings of that peaceable meeting with the riot and uproar occasioned by the exclusive loyalists in the city of London a few days since, the hon. member would certainly tee nothing to complain of. The hon. member had said, that the great proprietors, the men of rank and consequence in the county, were absent from that meeting, and therefore, that it did not speak the sense of the county. He regretted that the system should prevail, of men of rank and property absenting themselves from county meetings and meetings of the people at large. He was quite sure, that it was not the best mode of conciliating the affections of the people, to make those nice distinctions between the higher, the middle, and the lower ranks of society; and he thought the hon. member was not pursuing a course calculated to produce peace, good order, and kindly feeling in the country, by making such observations.
was sorry that any thing he should have said on the occasion in question was provoking. He thought the meeting was convened for public discussion, and what he had said he believed to have been perfectly fair.
presented a petition from the city of Chester, which the noble lord 137 stated, had, in the course of a very few days, been signed by 1,500 persons. It complained of the various existing grievances connected with the present system of government; and expressed the astonishment of the petitioners, that as the accusation against her majesty was withdrawn, her majesty's name had not been; re-introduced into the Liturgy; and their hope that the House would interfere for that purpose. He observed, that a strong instance of the violence of those who were opposed to the wishes of the petitioners was afforded by the fact, that as some of the petitioners were about to sign the petition, it was forcibly torn from their hands.
§ Sir T. Acland
presented a petition, numerously and respectably signed, to the number of 1,250 persons, from Dartmouth and its vicinity, deploring the omission of her majesty's name in the Liturgy, as tending to occasion endless differences, and heart-burnings in society, regretting that the people, who were taught to pray for all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, were prevented from joining in prayer I for her majesty; and hoping, that the House would deliberate for the purpose of procuring the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, and of securing her from further oppression.
§ Lord John Russell
observed, that as he and his colleague had been requested to support the prayer of the petition whenever it was presented, he now rose for the purpose of doing so; and he would say, that for his own part, he was prepared to vote for any measure which might be proposed, for the re-insertion of her majesty's name in the Liturgy. He could conceive, that many persons might be alarmed by the appearance of men armed with clubs and carrying stones, or by large and turbulent meetings, or by the circulation of seditious and blasphemous libels; but he could not conceive how any man could be alarmed by the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, especially as the peace of the country seemed to require it. The House would no doubt recollect what had been the conduct of ministers with regard to the property tax: they had retained it in their grasp as long as they could; but, after the House had expressed its opinion upon the impolicy of it, they had made a merit of giving it up to its wishes. He had therefore, no doubt, that if the House were to advise the insertion of her majesty's name in the Liturgy, ministers would 138 comply with its advice, and would come down to the House to-morrow evening with a gazette in their pockets, containing an order in council to that effect.
§ Mr. W. Smith
presented a petition from certain inhabitants of the city of Norwich, which he declared to be perfectly respectful and constitutional in all its language. The petition prayed for the restoration of the Queen's name to the Liturgy, for the dismissal of ministers, and for a reform of the Commons House of parliament. It contained the uninfluenced sentiments of many inhabitants of Norwich, who were no less distinguished for their talent than for their integrity. It was signed by 4,500 individuals in a few days, over whose mind no interest or influence had been exercised by any person whatsoever.