§ Mr. O'Connell
presented a Petition from the Traders, Manufacturers, and Artisans of the Town of Galway, in favour of the Galway Franchise Bill. The petitioners stated, that that bill would have the effect of restoring them to those rights which their ancestors had exercised, and they prayed that a petition which had been presented, as from the Mayor and Corporation of the Town of Galway, might be dismissed—the petition not deserving that character, for though the Corporate Seal had been affixed to it, the petition had not been agreed to at a Corporate Meeting.
§ Mr. Hume
said, the statement made in this Petition, if truly made, and capable of being substantiated, was one that considerably affected the privileges of that House. If the Mayor had really been guilty of affixing the Corporate Seal to the petition without the authority of the Corporation, he had been guilty of a fraud on the House, and deserved its severest reprehension. He trusted that 239 the hon. and learned Member would move for the appointment of a Select Committee, to see whether or not that statement were capable of being proved.
§ Mr. North
agreed with the hon. member for Aberdeen, that if the statement made were true, a fraud had been practised on the House; but he must confess, that he was inclined to refuse credit to that allegation in the Petition; first, from his personal knowledge of the Mayor of Galway, who was a most respectable man; but further, because the petition referred to, from beginning to end, was in spirit a Corporate petition—substantiating, maintaining, and asserting, the rights of the Corporation itself. He agreed however, that an inquiry ought to be instituted into the truth of the allegations.
§ Sir J. Newport
also thought, that the matter was worth inquiring into; for if the Corporate seal had been affixed without the knowledge or authority of the Corporation, it was certainly an improper proceeding on the part of the Mayor. He would not use such harsh language as to say that it was a fraud, but it was very wrong. It was possible that he might have done it under a misconception of his duty; but if he had, it was fit he should be warned of the impropriety of his conduct.
§ Mr. O'Connell
admitted, that the allegation ought by no means to be taken as true, till it had been examined and proved; but it certainly deserved inquiry; and he pledged himself that the Mayor should have the full opportunity of repudiating the charge; for he would, at an early opportunity, make a Motion on the subject.