HC Deb 13 October 1831 vol 8 cc692-4
Mr. Henry Grattan

said, the hon. member for Oxford (Sir Robert Inglis) had presented a Petition which he (Mr. Henry Grattan) had at the time said was an imposition practised on the House. Since that time, by direct application to some of the parties whose names were said to be signed to that petition, he found that the statement he had then made was perfectly correct. Two English gentlemen, whose names were affixed without their consent, complained that they had sustained an injury by the forgery of their names, and the Reverend Thomas Perceval Magee also declared, that application had been made to him to sign the petition, but that he had refused. This was a subject which required investigation. He was in the judgment of the House as to what course he should adopt, but he believed in former cases of the kind a Committee of Inquiry had been granted.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, at the time, he presented the petition he had declared to the House, that the petition had been forwarded to him by post, and that he was not acquainted with the names of the parties subscribed to it. But, in consequence of the statements made by the hon. and learned members for Meath and Kerry, he had felt it his duty to institute some inquiry, and he had been informed by the gentleman from whom he had received the petition, that he knew of no names being attached to it without warranty from the owners, but that it had been left at several booksellers' shops for signatures, and therefore, he could not be responsible that all the names attached to it were genuine: certainly, it seemed doubtful on an inspection of the names indistinctly written, whether the allegation of forgery was borne out, for it was extremely difficult to decipher one name in particular, and say whether it was Howell or Fowell. In the Athlone and Carrickfergus cases the petitions contained the names of freeholders, the authenticity of which it was easy to ascertain but in the petition now under review no places of residence were affixed and, therefore, it would be extremely difficult to prove that the two signatures bearing the name of Howell were really intended to represent those of the two gentlemen who complained that their signatures were affixed without their authority. With respect to the name of the Reverend Mr. Magee whose name was also attached to the petition, he understood from that gentleman that it had been affixed by a friend of his who misunderstood his intentions: his objection was not against the prayer of the petition, but against certain expressions contained in the body of it.

Mr. O'Connell

said, the hon. Member had only done his duty in presenting a petition which had been forwarded to him, and his conduct was by no means impugned by the complaint now made; but the individual who had forwarded it to him had been guilty of very improper and very great inadvertence, to say the least of it. He hoped the House would bear in mind, that the identical names of two respectable brokers were affixed to it, which no doubt were a forgery, for their handwriting was attempted to be imitated. As to the friend of the Reverend Mr. Magee who had signed his name without his consent, it was necessary that he should be known, for, perhaps the House might indulge him with a residence within the walls of Newgate. He hoped the hon. member for Meath would not let the subject drop, but have it regularly brought under the notice of the House next Session.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, if the House once attempted such a course it would be dragged into interminable inquiries.

Mr. Hume

said, as there appeared no doubt that the names of three individuals had been surreptitiously attached to the petition, he hoped that a Select Committee would be appointed to inquire into the subject.

Mr. Henry Grattan

would certainly move in the next Session for the appointment of a Committee to investigate the business.

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