HC Deb 07 February 1831 vol 2 cc204-6
Mr. Hughes Hughes

presented a Petition from a Congregation of Oxford, praying the House to address his Majesty for the purpose of having a day set apart for a National Confession of Sin, and to exhibit the desire of atonement by the means of a General Fast.

On the Motion that the petition be brought up,

Mr. Hunt

said, he should like to know whether the persons who wished a day set apart for a general fast, were not aware of the fact, that one-third of the people of this kingdom fasted almost every day in the week.

Mr. Perceval, as the Member who had given notice of a motion on the subject of a fast, which was shortly to come before the House, begged, in return, to ask, if the hon. Member recollected who it was they must look up to as the Almighty and sole Dispenser of all good and mercy to his creatures?

Mr. Hunt

was well aware of the object the hon. Member had in view when he asked that question. He knew well, also, to whom they were to look up for the blessings they received; but he was well aware of another fact, viz. that the hon. Member, and some other Members of that House, were the means of taking away from the poor of this country the greater portion of the benefits the Almighty intended for them.

The petition was brought up. On the question that it be laid on the Table,

Mr. Perceval

said, that he could not allow that question to pass without observing, that he drew a great distinction between personal attacks, such as the hon. Member had just directed against him, and the Motion which he intended to propose. The one should have all the attention which its importance deserved, the other he should pass by without further notice.

Lord Morpeth

suggested the propriety of waiving further discussion, until the Motion itself was before the House.

Mr. Hume

hoped, when the Motion was discussed, that it would not be confined to the mere religious portion of the subject, but that it would be extended to the means of instituting an inquiry into the cause of the catastrophes and distresses which gave occasion to the demand for a fast. Looking at the question in that point of view, he did not think the hon. member for Preston (Mr. Hunt) was so much out of order as some Members seemed to suppose.

Mr. Hunt

begged to say a few words in explanation. If the hon. Member (Mr. Perceval) thought he meant anything personal in the observations which had just fallen from him, he was much deceived. He had no knowledge of the hon. Member. He did not even know his name; but, if the cap fitted him, he might wear it.

The hon. Member added, that he again disclaimed anything personal in what he had said.

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