HC Deb 12 August 1831 vol 5 cc1263-5

On a question that certain Petitions against any further grant to the Kildare Street Society be laid on the Table,

Mr. James E. Gordon

said, he would take that opportunity of bringing under the notice of the House one of the most atrocious Breaches of the Privileges of the House that had ever been committed against any of its Members. It was not his intention to follow up his statement with any motion on the subject, for he had taken a much more effectual means of setting himself right with the public. It would be recollected, that some time ago he had called the attention of the House to some blasphemous publications, which he then and still thought, ought not to be allowed to escape without the visitation of the law. Alluding to that circumstance, the Breach of Privilege to which he referred had been committed in a public print of the very lowest class. The hon. Member here read the passage, which began by alluding to his notice of the blasphemous publications, and to the part taken by the hon. member for Preston (Mr. Hunt) on that occasion. It described the hon. Member as the opponent of the rights of the people—as the purchased agent of the Tory party against the Reform Bill. The hon. Member was proceeding, when—

Mr. Ruthven rose to order. He submitted, that as the hon. and gallant Member did not intend to make any motion, he was out of order in entering upon a matter which had nothing to do with any business before the House.

The Speaker

said, it was quite clear that the hon. Member who rose to order was himself out of order. There was a Motion before the House, so that the hon. Member (Mr. James E. Gordon) could not make a new motion on it. He was quite in order, in taking that opportunity of adverting to the subject which he had introduced to the House; and if, in his doing so, the hon. Member (Mr. Ruthven) had seen anything disorderly, he had discovered more than had yet appeared to him (the Speaker).

Mr. James E. Gordon

resumed.—The article, of which he had read only a small part, after alluding in very offensive terms to the hon. member for Preston, as the mouth-piece of the Tories against the Bill, and as the pot-companion of Hetherington (the reputed writer of one of these low publications), went on to describe him (Mr. James E. Gordon), as the author of many of those blasphemous articles in that low print, and the correspondent of the editor; and then it gave two pretended Letters—gross forgeries—purporting to be from him to the editor. He had felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to this subject, but would take no further notice of it here, having adopted other means of setting himself right with the public.

Mr. Hunt

said, it seemed as if the object of the hon. and gallant Member was rather to promulgate the libels against him (Mr. Hunt) than to defend himself, for he had read some of the offensive terms that had been applied to him, though he had carefully avoided reading the contents of the Letters that were imputed to himself. For his own part, he totally disregarded the libellous attacks of the Press. It was well known that in nineteen cases out of twenty what it stated was grossly false. The Press attacked any and every one who presumed to have an opinion of his own, or to venture to differ from the opinions which it chose to deliver on any subject, but particularly on the Reform Bill. Every man was held up as an enemy of the people who ventured to offer an opinion hostile to any part of the Bill; but for his own part he despised such attacks, and therefore took no notice of them. By the way, if Ministers were in their places, he would inform them, that they themselves had fallen under the displeasure of the editor of The Times on this subject, as appeared by an article in that paper of this morning.

Mr. O'Ferrall

said, that the hon. Member should take that fact as an answer to the charge that had been made, of The Times being in the pay of the Government.

Mr. Ruthven

said, the wisest course would be, to take no notice of such low publications, and they would speedily sink into oblivion. It was the object of the authors to have their scurrility noticed in the House, which very materially tended to increase the sale.

Petitions to be printed.