HC Deb 07 March 1833 vol 16 cc340-1
Mr. Grote

presented a Petition from Samuel Fletcher, of Norwich, against the Bill for the Suppression of Disturbances in Ireland.

Mr. O'Connell

had numerous petitions to present from various parts of England and Scotland against the Bill, but in consequence of the arrangements of the House for the reception of petitions, he had not yet had an opportunity of presenting them. He should endeavour to bring them up to-morrow, but lest he should be prevented from doing so, he was desirous that the persons who had done him the honour to commit them to him, should not suppose that he neglected them, or that he was not gratified by the assistance which they desired to give him, in opposing this Bill, or ungrateful for the sympathy which was expressed for Ireland in every part of England.

Mr. Cobbett

had twenty-seven different petitions to present, from various parts of England, against the Bill for establishing military tribunals in Ireland, in the place of the ordinary administration of justice; but the arrangements of the House had hitherto prevented him from presenting them, and unless the difficulties were removed, they would amount almost to a denial of the right of petition. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Althorp) had said that he (Mr. Cobbett) frequently attributed bad motives to the proposers of the present arrangement. He had not attributed bad motives. He had only said what the effect would be, and such the effect must be if they persisted in the present course. The hon. member for Staffordshire said yesterday, that he (Mr. Cobbett) had acted contrary to the course which he had himself recommended, by making speeches on the presentation of petitions. But that hon. Member must have forgotten what he really did say—which was, that all petitions should be received and read, or that such parts of them should be read as the Members presenting them might choose, and that they should all be printed. For although the printing would be expensive, yet what signified the expense compared with the time of that House. He hoped the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) would see the necessity of altering his arrangement. If the noble Lord did not, it would be impossible to present the petitions against the Bill before it should have passed, or even before the people against whom it was directed should be on their way to Botany Bay.

Lord Althorp

suggested that the whole of the time for presenting petitions on the ensuing day, should be appropriated to the presenting petitions on this subject.

Mr. O'Connell

suggested that each Member should classify his petitions, and make one speech do for each class.

Mr. Attwood

thought, that as the Bill would, in all probability, pass before the petitions against it would have time to be presented, the noble Lord opposite should allow the next two or three days to their presentation; and postpone the second reading of the Bill for that purpose.

Mr. O'Connell

begged to express his concurrence in that suggestion; and added, that the petitions in its favour, if any, could be presented during that time also.

Petition laid on the Table.