HC Deb 22 March 1825 vol 12 cc1134-6
Mr. Estcourt,

seeing an hon. baronet in his place, would wish to put a question to him. It was generally reported, that the second reading of the bill which he had obtained leave to introduce, was fixed for the 14th of April, and that the discussion on it was to take place on that evening. Perhaps, many gentlemen were not aware, that the 14th of April would be in the middle of the quarter-sessions week, and that it would be a great inconvenience to hon. members who were magistrates to be obliged to be absent from their duties in the country. He wished to ask the hon. baronet, whether he would consent to the postponement of the discussion from the 14th to the 21st.

Sir F. Burdett

said, it was true that the second reading of the bill had been fixed for the 14th of April. That arrangement had been made with several friends of the measure; and it was understood that it would be convenient for all parties. He felt disposed to meet the wishes of the hon. gentleman, if it could be done without injurious delay to the bill; but, on a question of this importance, where the opinions of others were to be taken, he would not take upon himself to decide. He would therefore defer answering the hon. member's second question until to-morrow.

Mr. Secretary Peel

was anxious that the discussion on the second reading should be deferred at least a few days longer than that which the hon. baronet had named. It was three weeks since the hon. baronet obtained leave to bring in the bill. That time had been occupied in drawing it up, and it was not yet introduced. It was also understood, that new measures had been introduced into it, which had not been discussed or heard of on the former debate. It was therefore necessary that time should be given for the consideration of those measures, before the general discussion on the principle of the bill was gone into. Let the hon. baronet recollect that it would be necessary to communicate with Ireland on the subject of these new measures. To the friends of emancipation it must be important, that it should not owe its success to the unavoidable absence of many of its opponents. He hoped, therefore, the hon. bart. would consent to the postponement. As he was on this subject, he felt it right to state, that he would take the sense of the House on the second reading of the bill.

Mr. Tierney

trusted, that the hon. baronet would not depart from the arrangement already made for the second reading of the bill. He was anxious, as a friend to the measure, that it should be forwarded from that House as early as possible, in order to give full time for its discussion in the other House Even without any alteration of the present arrangement, it could not go up to the other House before the end of the first week in May, which would not leave a very long time for its discussion, between that and the end of the session. The right hon. gentleman had said, that three weeks had elapsed since leave was given to bring it in, and that it had not yet been introduced. That was true; but let him recollect, that the Irish assizes had intervened, and that nothing could be done until they were ended, as so many gentlemen interested in the bill were absent. At all events, the non-introduction of the bill could make no difference, as it could not be read a second time till after the holy-days. He thought it would not be treating the other House fairly, if as much time as possible were not allowed them for the discussion of the measure. He did hope, therefore, that, considering the magnitude of this question, and the great importance that as little delay as possible should occur in its progress through that House, the hon. baronet would not give way.

Mr. Peel

hoped, that, in the expression of his wish for delay, it would not be imagined that he was actuated by any improper motive; but it was, in his opinion, important that full time should be given for the most mature consideration of this subject, and that a day should not be chosen for the discussion which might be found inconvenient to any party. The delay of a few days could not make any difference, as the discussion was on the principle of the bill. A call of the House was fixed for the 13th, and this discussion was to take place on the 14th. We were now near the holy-days, and they would last a fortnight; so that, in fact, very little time would be given for the consideration of the measure, if the discussion were fixed at so early a day after the meeting of the House. He repeated that so early a day would be found inconvenient to many members; and let hon. members who were friendly to this measure recollect, that several gentlemen who concurred with them in the principle, might be very unwilling to vote until they knew what ulterior measures were to be adopted. He did hope, under all the circumstances, that if the hon. baronet could not concur in the delay of a week, he would consent to postpone it for at least four or five days beyond the time fixed.

Mr. Tierney

repeated his opinion, as to the importance of allowing as little delay as possible to take place in the progress of the bill; and assured the right hon. secretary, that though he saw no reasonable cause for acceding to his wish for postponement, he gave him full credit for the fairness of the motive which induced him to make the request.

Sir F. Burdett

said, it would be a great pleasure to him to find that he could accede to the wishes of the right hon. secretary, as he was anxious, as far as depended upon him, to consult the convenience of all parties; but, after the weighty reasons which had been stated by the right hon. gentleman below him, for proceeding with the measure without loss of time, the right hon secretary must allow him to take time till to-morrow, before he could give him any further answer.