§ Mr. Brougham
(it being rather more than half-past-three) repeated the observations which he made the other evening on the impropriety of the House being left without any Minister during the presentation of Petitions on important subjects.
§ Sir R. Peel,
who almost immediately afterwards entered the House, expressed his surprise at the observations which the hon. and learned Gentleman had made in his absence. He had never understood that in consequence of the new arrangement it was imperative upon Ministers to be in the House at three o'clock. He tried to reconcile his various duties as well as he could, but it was impossible for a Secretary of State to be always able to leave his office at a particular moment. He should have thought that the state of the town last night might have led the hon. and learned Gentleman to infer that he had not been altogether unoccupied that morning. He had also been attending his Majesty at the levee, and had received his Majesty's gracious permission to leave the Court before the termination of the levee (contrary to the usage), in order that he might be enabled to attend his duty in that House.
§ Mr. Brougham
could not tell why the right hon. Gentleman was so angry at what had fallen from him. He was not the only Minister. It was the Clerk of the Ordnance who had been more particularly wanted in the House that evening. The right hon. Gentleman complained, 352 that in his absence he (Mr. Brougham) had complained of his not being present. He did not well see how he could have complained that the right hon. Gentleman was absent if he had been present. His understanding of the late arrangement might be wrong; but he certainly understood that a Minister was to be present, at least by half-past-three. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the state of the town last night might have led him to infer that he (Sir R. Peel) had not been altogether unoccupied that morning. What the right hon. Gentleman meant by the state of the town last night he was at a loss to conjecture. He had yesterday evening walked down the Strand, and passed the Horse-guards and the Admiralty; and had certainly seen a great crowd: but a more innocent, a more peaceable, a more harmless, a more good-humoured assemblage, he had never witnessed. There was certainly an immense body of police drawn up in four companies, in military array. But as to the crowd, he had never seen a less disposition to tumult or riot. Men, women, and children —and especially many well-dressed women — were gathered together, and gazing on the manner in which the houses were decorated with laurel-leaves, and crowns, and the initials of their most gracious Majesties, and on the manœuvres of the police. He saw nothing whatever which could lead to any apprehension of a violation of the peace.
§ Sir R. Peel
observed, that the hon. and learned Gentleman was, he fancied, almost the only person who had viewed the scene of last night in that light. For himself he knew that there had been some severe collisions between the police and the mob; and that a great part of his morning had been employed on that subject.
§ Mr. Beaumont
said, that there certainly had been some serious disturbances and breaches of the peace in the neighbourhood of Temple-bar. He was afraid that as long as the present Administration remained in power, the mornings of the right hon. Gentleman would be but too frequently occupied as they had been that day.