HC Deb 24 January 1832 vol 9 cc780-1
Mr. Hunt

presented a Petition from a person named Robert Thomas Webb, of York-street, Marylebone, Surgeon, stating, that he was what was called an Atheist, and was perfectly indifferent as to what became of his body after his death. He, therefore, had no objection that his body should be dissected for the benefit of Science, but he had a wife and family who all professed the Christian religion, and in regard to their feelings he would object to dissection; he, therefore, prayed the House not to pass the Anatomy Bill.

Lord Morpeth

would take this opportunity of correcting an error as to what fell from the hon. member for Preston, in alluding to the petition from Leeds, which he (Lord Morpeth) had presented last night. The hon. Member had alluded to a person who was instrumental in getting up the petition, and stated that he was a man who had roasted his Bible, and had rejected all religion; but in some of the papers this act had been attributed to a highly respectable individual, Mr. Baines, of Leeds, on whom he was sure it was not the hon. Member's intention to cast any such imputation.

Mr. Hunt

was sure the recollection of the House would bear him out in the declaration that he had made no such charge aginst Mr. Baines, whom, whatever objections he might otherwise have to him, he believed to be a religious man, and incapable of any such act as had been coupled with his name in the report. What he stated was, that a person named Smithson, and others, who had assisted Mr. Baines in getting up the petition, were persons of the character he had mentioned; and it was one of them (Smithson, we understood) who had roasted his Bible. Although Mr. Baines had been in the habit of attacking him behind his back, in his paper, he would not make any charge against him which he did not believe to be well founded, and certainly he had made none of the kind alluded to.

Mr. Strickland

said, that any person who had heard distinctly what fell from the hon. Member (Mr. Hunt) must recollect that he had not used the words imputed to him. The error, no doubt, arose not from intention, but from the difficulty of hearing. No man who knew Mr. Baines could believe him capable of the act which had been erroneously attributed to him. The hon. member for Kirkcudbright (Mr. Cutlar Fergusson) had, on a former evening, made some remarks on Political Unions, and particularly on the subject of the Political Union at Leeds, which the hon. Member stated to be contrary to the Constitution.

Mr. Warburton rose to order, and said, that that question had nothing to do with the subject before the House.

Petition to lie on the Table.