presented a Petition from the North Western District of the National Union, complaining of the profligate expenditure of the public money in granting the Queen 100,0001. per annum in the event of her surviving his Majesty; and praying for a legislative enactment, by which the widow of every operative in the kingdom should receive 251. per annum, in case her husband should not die worth 100l., and adding, they could not apprehend any objection to this, as those individuals had much better claims upon the nation for this small sum, as belonging to the productive classes, being in fact the only producers of wealth, than her Majesty to the grant of 100,000l.
§ The Speaker
said, the petition was irregular, as no grant of the sort could take place, unless it originated in a Message from the Throne.
said, the petition simply prayed, that a certain sum of money should be given to the widows of a particular class, as a law had been passed for granting dower to the Queen.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
objected to the petition being received. It was absurd and mischievous, disrespectful to the Sovereign, and an insult to every loyal subject. It was evidently intended to insult the House, and cast discredit on it. He would oppose its reception if he stood alone.
Sir James Graham
hoped his hon. friend would withdraw the petition; it was of such an extravagant description that it was impossible to receive it.
§ Mr. Courtenay
thought, the petition was clearly meant to ridicule the proceedings 293 of the House. The petitioners never could have imagined that the prayer of their petition would or could be granted.
said, that the petition was most ridiculously worded, and that the petitioners themselves could have entertained no idea that its prayer would be acceded to. He feared, however, the House would give greater importance to the petition by refusing to receive it, than by suffering it at once to lie on the Table. He should most decidedly oppose the printing of the petition.
§ The Speaker
called the hon. Member to order. Every Member of the House was presumed always to be present, and when an Act passed the House, it was considered as the Act of the House, and no hon. Member had a right to apply to it such harsh language.
§ The Speaker
again called the hon. Member to order. He was pursuing a course which was neither becoming nor proper.
said, he dissented altogether from the opinion laid down, for he had himself, hundreds of times, designated as mischievous many Acts which had passed the House. He, had often condemned them, and might, in the exercise of his duty, be called upon to do so again. Had he written the petition, he should certainly not have applied the epithet contained in it; but still he thought they ought not to scrutinize too closely any unguarded expression coming from the petitioners. He felt, that he ought to press the question of receiving the petition to a division.
§ Sir John Newport
said, that no hon. Member was warranted in applying such an epithet to a bill passed in the same Parliament that passed the Act to which it was applied. It might be applied to Acts of former Parliaments, because they might be made the subjects of discussion as matters of history.
admitted the correctness of the distinction drawn by the right hon Gentleman, but still thought, that allowances should be made for those who were not acquainted with the rules of the House.
Sir James Graham
thought, as the hon. member for Middlesex had admitted the justice of the rule laid down by the right hon. Baronet near him (Sir J. Newport), whose experience made him a competent judge upon such matters, perhaps his discretion would point out to him not to press the matter to a division, but to withdraw the petition.
§ Sir Richard Vyvyan
objected to the reception of the petition upon broader grounds than the irregularity of expression. He considered, that it would be establishing a most mischievous precedent, if they received a petition which was meant only to censure an act of the House. If they sanctioned such a petition as this, they would inevitably be subjected to the infliction of many more, which would assume even a bolder tone, and interfere with legislative acts of higher importance. If, therefore, the hon. Member persisted in pressing the question to a division, he would decidedly vote against the reception of the petition.
then consented to withdraw the petition, in deference to the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and not for the reason assigned by the hon. Baronet near him (Sir Richard Vyvyan).
§ Petition withdrawn.