HC Deb 27 March 1833 vol 16 cc1141-2
Mr. Daniel Gaskell

presented a Petition from the Inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wakefield, against the Irish Disturbances Bill. Ashe had opposed the first and second reading of this Bill, he cordially concurred with the prayer of the petition.

Lord Morpeth

said, it was always irksome to reflect upon petitions, as it usually led only to recrimination. With respect to the petition just presented, he had no objection to make to it—it had been agreed to at a public meeting duly convened and regularly held; but a protest against it had been put into his hand—it was not a petition, and, therefore, he could not lay it on the Table. The protest was signed by many persons of the first respectability, and many of them of great mercantile character in the borough of Wakefield, and they had requested him to make all the use of it in his power. By this protest they stated, that so far from concurring with the petitioners, in their opinion, unless the outrages which had been committed in Ireland were suppressed by the passing of this or some efficient Bill, the Ministry would be guilty of a dereliction of duty, and all the consequences of a weak and inefficient Government would be entailed on the United Kingdom.

Mr. Cobbett

would read a letter from a gentleman at Wakefield, relating to the whole of the circumstances respecting the petition and the protest, which would show the character of the petitioners, and the character of those who opposed it. His hon. Colleague, to whom the letter was addressed, was obliged to attend a Committee to day, and therefore was unable himself to be present; but he (Mr. Cobbett) had been deputed to state this letter to the House. The letter asserted that the writer had just been informed, that one of the Protesters had disapproved of the petition, and that he feared the resignation of Earl Grey more than any other calamity. The protest, he had been told, had been hawked about by two petty attorneys, who were friends of Lord Morpeth, to prop up whose votes he suspected the measure had originated. A meeting on Thursday last was regularly called by the constable, and signed by the writer's friend, Mr. Waterton, of Walton Hall, who filled the chair at the Meeting, which was attended by the writer himself. The petition was then agreed to and numerously signed; and though some of the signers of the counter petition or protest, as it had been called, were present, not one of them opened his mouth against any of the resolutions that were passed unanimously at that meeting; so that these protesters actually were present at the meeting, but had not the courage to divide the meeting, or even to say a word against any of the Resolutions. The name signed to the letter was that of "Joseph Wood."