The Lord Advocate
said, that he rose, pursuant to his notice, to introduce the Scotch Reform Bill into the House. On the Motion that it be read a first time,
§ Mr. Charles Douglas
observed, that as there would be other opportunities of discussing the merits of the Bill, he was willing to acquiesce in the present stage.
called the attention of the House to the state of the public business, which was such as to render it impossible that all the petitions in favour of Reform could be presented unless some arrangement were made. He had himself a great number of petitions to present, and it was highly important that the House should be made acquainted with the enthusiasm which was felt by the people respecting the measure. Under these circumstances, he should move that Saturday be set aside for receiving such petitions.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, he had also some very important petitions to present, which, he hoped, he should have an opportunity of laying before the House.
§ Lord Althorp
admitted the necessity of making some arrangement, but he hoped that, by receiving petitions at a late hour, they would be able to avoid interfering with the relaxation which they must all feel was so necessary to the Speaker on the Saturday.
The Lord Advocate
said, that it was his intention to move the second reading of the Scotch Reform Bill on Friday week, as the other bill would be read on Monday. He would, in submitting the Motion, not only state its general scope, which was already known, but its particular details.
§ Bill read first time.455
§ The Speaker
wished to observe, with respect to the receiving of petitions, that, if a greater latitude could be granted as to time, it would do a great deal towards absorbing the large amount of petitions which had accumulated in the hands of hon. Members. The attempt to overcome the difficulty by such means would not preclude them from setting Saturday aside for the same purpose, if, upon experience, it should be found to be necessary. He thanked the House for the consideration which it had manifested towards him, but he was always ready to sacrifice his own convenience to his public duty, nor did he feel that he had a right to do otherwise. Besides, he feared that if Saturday were set aside, no Members would attend except those who had petitions to present.