HC Deb 14 June 1821 vol 5 cc1182-3
Lord A. Hamilton,

on presenting the Report of the Committee on the state of the Scotch Burghs, which he was called upon to do as the chairman of that committee, took occasion to observe, that he dissented from the Report, and disapproved of the conduct of the committee, because they had not sufficiently investigated the subject. It was due to himself, ay well as to other members of the committee who concurred with him in sentiment, to make this declaration. This Report was drawn up by others in his unavoidable absence from town, although upon his departure he promised to have a report prepared. He found fault, indeed, not so much with what the committee had done as with what it omitted to do; but to shew the imperfection of the inquiry which had been gone into, he would move, if there were no objection, for the production of the Minutes of Evidence.

Lord Binning

sate, he had no objection to the production of the Minutes. As to the Report it was drawn up in the noble lord's absence, no doubt; but, from the long sitting of the committee, his return could not conveniently be waited for. The committee did not think it necessary to go into the extent of investigation required by the noble lord; but in the report now presented, suggestions were contained, which, if acted upon, would, he had no doubt, remedy all the evils complained of by the petitioners.

Mr. Abercromby

concurred in what had fallen from lord A. Hamilton, and contended, that the usual courtesy of a committee towards its chairman had been violated.

Sir. R. Fergusson

said, that, having withdrawn from the committee, he felt it his duty to state the reason which had induced him to do so. The House would recollect that a committee had sat in 1819, to consider the state of the Scotch burghs. Ministers, who wished to keep abuses from the public eye, found that committee about to do rather too much; and when, in 1820, the same subject was again brought forward, they declined renewing the committee of 1819, and substituted one chiefly composed of their own official friends. He did not mean to say that the gentlemen so appointed had not acted conscientiously; but he must say that he found them on all occasions the protectors of abuses.

Mr. K. Douglas

denied that the committee had failed to discharge their duty. If the measures they recommended were carried into effect, every practical inconvenience would, he was satisfied, be removed.

Mr. Hume

said, that the complaint of his noble friend, that he had not been treated with common courtesy, was well-founded. The eight allegations contained in the complaint of the petitioners had all been affirmed, yet they were all lightly treated by the committee. After the labours of three years, no practical benefit would result from them, because a majority of the committee had set themselves against every attempt at, amelioration.

The report was ordered to be printed.