HC Deb 20 August 1835 vol 30 cc783-5
Mr. Henry Maxwell

rose to call the attention of the House to a breach of privilege of a very gross nature, which had been committed by the proprietors of the Dublin Evening Post, by the publication of an article commenting in a libellous and calumnious manner upon the conduct of himself and other hon. Members in that House. Before proceeding further, he begged to assure the House that no personal or vindictive motives urged him to the course he was now pursuing, in which he was only actuated by a sense of what was due to the dignity and character of the House. The House would, perhaps, recollect that upon the recent debate on Orange Lodges, he had stated, that he had not been aware of the existence of Orange Lodges in the army until the time when he heard it stated to be the fact in the evidence before the Committee of that House. Since he had made that declaration, he had been the object of repeated attacks in the Dublin Evening Post, which it was well known was the organ of Government on the other side of the water. The hon. Member then read extracts from these articles, the first of which was as follows:—"But then, as to Maxwell and Verner, who were so stupidly lauded by O'Fudge for their courage and constancy, as if they did not turn their backs upon their wretched dupes, when the treason they were practising in the army was brought home to their door, as well as to that of the 'Illustrious' Duke, as if they did not 'lie' when they declared they knew nothing of Orange Lodges in the army, although they actually signed warrants for their establishment; yet these men are held forth by the treacherous scribbler, who is catering to the worst passions of the Orange mob, as their champions and heroes. Aye, verily, champions and heroes, who threw down their arms when the deadly charge was made, and to save this carcasses told most notorious—(we shall be delicate)—fibs; thus leaving their followers to bear the odium, and to incur the danger of promoting a sedition in the army; while they, the contrivers of the treason, shelter themselves from the responsibility by hazarding." The second paragraph which the hon. Member read was, we believe, as follows:—After commenting upon some remarks which appeared in a contemporary Journal, the Dublin Evening Post went on to say, "'A farce?' Was it 'a farce' which compelled Maxwell and Perceval both to lie—both to assert, in the face of the Commons of England, that as a fact which every man who heard them must have known, as the unfortunate men themselves were fully aware, to have been a falsehood namely, that Maxwell and Perceval were ignorant of the existence of Orange Lodges in the army though they actually signed warrants for the purpose? Was it 'a farce' which made these people disgrace themselves even in the eyes of their own followers?" He would make no comments on the paragraphs, but move that they be read by the Clerk. The paragraphs were accordingly read by the Clerk. The hon. Member next moved, that the writings which the House had just heard were a breach of the privileges of the House.

Mr. Hume

said, that in the first paper which had been read, there was no allusion made to the House of Commons, and therefore it could not be considered a fit subject on which to raise a breach of privilege.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

said, the article contained a direct allusion to what had been said by hon. Members in that House. He would ask the Clerk to read the paragraph again, in order to satisfy the hon. Member for Middlesex on this point.

The Clerk again read the paragraph,

Mr. Hume

said, he could not see that there was a single word in it about anything which took place within that House.

Mr. Twiss

said, the article was headed "Orange Affairs—the Debate." He would read some further extracts from it, and hon. Members would then judge whether it referred to the House or not:—