HC Deb 24 May 1830 vol 24 cc1014-5
Mr. Brougham

said, he had a Petition to present, which, as he considered it of peculiar importance, he would solicit the attention of the House to circumstances which, in his opinion, imparted to it considerable weight. It was a Petition signed by Bankers, and none but Bankers; they were residents of 214 cities and towns within Great Britain; there were 735 individual signatures of persons who were either Bankers themselves or Directors of Joint-Stock Banking Companies. At an average of three-and-a-half partners to each firm, there were 233 firms consenting to that Petition; if the names, then, were added of those whose consent might be implied from the fact of their partners having signed it, it might be asserted that upwards of 1,000 Bankers had signed the Petition. The total number of Bankers had been estimated at from 2,000 to 2,400, therefore they had actually the names of one-half of the Bankers; and that they had not more was not owing to a majority of the body being favourable to a continuance of the punishment of death. Of those who refused their signatures, several gave some such reason as this—that they had signed other petitions in another capacity; some of them declined on the ground of their being junior members of firms, and from considerations of delicacy towards their seniors they were unwilling to give expression to their own opinions; others declined from other motives, which had nothing to do with a desire to continue the punishment of death; and here he would observe, that amidst all the petitions against that punishment they had not one in its favour. With the present Petition the Bankers of London had nothing to do. The Bank of England declined to support the Petition, and some who took a lead amongst the London Bankers also declined to support it; but he believed, if the sense of that body could be ascertained, it would be found that the majority was in favour of abolishing the punishment. He understood that his hon. friend, the member for Limerick, would that night present a petition to the same effect from the bankers of Ireland. Having now called their attention to the grounds upon which he thought the Petition entitled to great consideration, he should (remembering that a discussion upon the question generally was to take place that evening) not trouble them further than to move that the Petition be brought up.

Sir Robert Peel

requested the House to suspend its judgment till the facts were fairly before them.

The Petition to be printed.