HC Deb 15 May 1832 vol 12 cc990-2

Lord Althorp moved that this House at its rising do adjourn to Thursday next.

Mr. Hume

wished, before the vote for the adjournment was agreed to, to take that opportunity of throwing out a suggestion of his own, which arose from the interruption they had already experienced to the attainment of their wishes, and from the excitement that had in consequence taken place. He trusted that whatever arrangement was now made would be a final arrangement, so that the people might be satisfied that this measure would be carried into effect. He said this, for he had for months been apprehensive of that which had now taken place, from the circumstance of individuals remaining in office who, he trusted, would now no longer be allowed to remain in situations where they might exert an influence hostile to this measure. He threw out this suggestion only as a private individual; and he did so not only for the sake of the honour of the Administration, but for the peace of the country.

Mr. Tennison

said, he could have wished that his hon. friend (the member for Middlesex) had abstained from the observations he had just made. He had understood his hon. friend in particular to recommend that every thing should be avoided likely to excite irritation, yet he now touched on topics which must create unpleasant feelings in a high quarter. Nothing could be so painful to him, and, also, he was confident to his noble and right hon. friend, near him, and to the country, as that the event which had just been announced should be considered as placing his majesty in a state of submission and subjection to any party. He trusted that, before a few days had elapsed, those who had regretted that the advice tendered to him by the Government for an extensive creation of Peers had not been adopted by the King would be grateful to his Majesty for having declined to administer such a shock to the Constitution, for a shock it would undoubtedly have been. Although he as a thorough Reformer would not have hesitated to give that advice to the King had he been a Cabinet Minister, in case no other means of effecting an extensive Reform offered themselves; yet, if it should turn out that his Majesty, who was undoubtedly bound to ascertain that no other means did exist before he resorted to such a course, had discovered those means, and that without any shock to the institutions of the country, an extensive and perhaps a more beneficial and popular Reform would be the result of such modifications as might now be introduced, he repeated that the country, and his Majesty's Ministers amongst the rest, would be deeply grateful to him for the sound discretion with which he had rejected their counsel. No man could doubt the paternal wishes of his Majesty to do all in his power to meet the wishes of the people, but, if possible, without doing any violence by means of his prerogative to the institutions of the country, and he was, therefore, pained lest the observations of his hon. friend (Mr. Hume), intimating a hope that Peers might still be created, and that other measures might be taken, should give that impression that the Reformers were now acting as if they had obtained a victory over the opinions and feelings of the King.

Mr. Ruthven

was rejoiced at the communication that had been made, tending as he thought it must do, to allay the agitation into which the public mind had been thrown.

Colonel Sibthorp

trusted there would be no further discussion at present on either side of the House.

Mr. Hodges

expressed a similar wish, and contented himself with declaring his gratification at what he had just heard.

Sir Henry Hardinge

begged to call the attention of the hon. and learned member for Calne to a paragraph in The Times of this morning. The hon. and learned Member, in his speech last night, had called him (Sir Henry Hardinge) gallant friend—a courtesy which he had reciprocated. He wished now to ask the hon. and learned Member whether the expressions he had made use of were those which were attri- buted to him in The Times. The words were these:—"The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the use of swaggering expressions in that place was a very equivocal proof of spirit as well as of sense. "That sentence seemed to be an attack upon him (Sir H. Hardinge). He had, at the time it was uttered, a different impression of it; and therefore it was, that now, in the most courteous manner, he requested to know from the hon. and learned Gentleman whether he had applied those words to him?

Mr. Macaulay

thought it was almost unnecessary for him to say a word on the subject, as he spoke in the presence of those who had heard him make use of the expression. He did not intend to use them in an offensive manner to the right hon. Gentleman; and to have used them in the manner which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to suppose would have been absurd indeed. He had, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman was much excited, employed these expressions with a view to calm him; and had said, that he (Mr. Macaulay) was not the man to swagger there, and that to swagger there was but an equivocal proof of spirit and sense.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that certainly that was the sense in which he had understood the hon. and learned Member.

Sir Henry Hardinge

said, that the explanation of the hon. and learned Member was perfectly satisfactory to him, and he hoped that the House would not think he had done wrong in soliciting it. With regard to any supposed warmth, he must be allowed to say that considering the relation in which he stood, and had stood for the last twenty or twenty-five years, towards the noble Duke, whom Englishmen of every party must reverence, some latitude might fairly be allowed. It was very far from his intention, in vindicating the noble Duke, by any warmth he showed, to abridge the freedom of discussion; and that noble Duke was the last man who would wish that any attempts of his friends should interfere with that freedom. When, however, an insult was hypothetically offered, during the absence of the party insulted, it was natural that his friends who were present should evince some warmth; he, therefore, hoped to stand excused, as it certainly had not been his intention to take any tone in the debate that was unpleasant.

Motion agreed to.