§ Mr. Brougham
took the opportunity of a petition being presented, to remonstrate (it being then above half-past three o'clock) against the absence of all the Ministers. The arrangement which had recently been made for the purpose of expediting the public business would be worse than use- less, if from three to five o'clock the House were to receive petitions, and per- haps to enter into discussions on the Abolition of Slavery, Parliamentary Reform, and other important questions, without the presence of one of his Majesty's Ministers. Such a proceeding would be a mockery; and he trusted, therefore, that the absence of all the Ministers at that hour was a mere oversight.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
was of the same opinion as that which had just been expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He regretted that absence, as he had an important question to put to his Majesty's Ministers with respect to the letter which had been published from the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the Lord Mayor of London, by which it appeared, that our illustrious Sovereign, who dwelt in the hearts and affections of his people, had been advised by his Ministers to decline visiting the City, where he would have been greeted by his faithful subjects with the warmest welcome, and where blessings would have been showered upon his head. He perfectly agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman. It was too frequently the practice that no Minister of the Crown was present in that House, to hear the petitions presented by hon. Members, or to answer any question which it might be expedient to put.
observed, that in less than a quarter of an hour it was probable some Minister might be present. When the House met at four o'clock, it had been usual for Ministers not to attend until about five.
§ Sir Charles Burrell
said, it ought to be recollected that business of the greatest importance must be pressing on the minds and attention of his Majesty's Ministers at the present moment. He thought they were entitled to the credit of some motive of that kind for their absence. He had no connection with his Majesty's Ministers; but some consideration, in the present dreadful state of things, was due to them.
§ Mr. Brougham
replied, that he was loath to say anything against any man in 266 his absence; but he must say, that the absence of Ministers at the present moment could only tend to increase the grievous evils to which the hon. Baronet alluded, resulting from that alarm to which the conduct of Ministers had much contributed. Perhaps hon. Members were not aware, that in consequence of the King's Speech and of the letter—the absurd letter—from the Secretary of State, which had been that morning published, thousands of holiest and innocent persons would be beggared. The funds had fallen no less than seven per cent in consequence of all this alarm. It was the unpopularity, not of his most sacred Majesty, who was beloved by all his subjects, but of his Majesty's advisers, which had caused all this evil. If his Majesty had determined to go to the City, unattended by any of his present Ministers, he sincerely believed that, instead of falling, the funds would have greatly risen.
said, that he had no doubt some one of his right hon. friends would shortly be in the House, and he really thought that it was due to his Majesty's Government to defer any questions or observations of this nature, until some of his Majesty's Ministers were present to answer them.
§ Mr. Brougham
perfectly agreed with the hon. Gentleman. His observations had been extorted from him by the hon. Baronet's having alluded to the present dreadful state of things; a state which appeared to him to be applicable only to the Ministers personally.