HC Deb 05 May 1834 vol 23 cc505-6

On the question being put, that the petition presented on Friday, from the Under Graduates of Cambridge, do lie on the Table,

Mr. Hutt

said, he did not rise for the purpose of entering into any discussion on the subject of the petition presented to the House on Friday last; as a member of the University, however, he could not forbear expressing his surprise, that such a petition should have been presented to the House at all, and especially, that it had been presented by the right hon. Gentleman, the member for the University of Cambridge. When he was an undergraduate of that University, an attempt was made by the under-graduates to petition that House in favour of the Catholic claims, but the effort was immediately and imperatively put down by the public authorities—it was denounced as a proceeding altogether at variance with academic discipline, and the severest penalties which the University could inflict were threatened. The University, it seemed, had now changed its views on this subject; it was now quite proper, and in accordance with the discipline of the University, to sign petitions in the cause of bigotry and intolerance, although, when in better times, and in better spirit, it was attempted to further the cause of civil and religious liberty, the effort was loudly censured by the authorities.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that the hon. Member did not seem to be aware, that the petition which he had the honour to present, had been circulated in the University, and that no compulsion had been used in getting it up. He had deplored the departure from academic discipline; but when one portion of the members had thought proper to present a petition, the other must surely be excused for a similar departure from the usual custom, or submit to the imputation of having compromised their principles.

The Petition was laid on the Table.

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