HC Deb 25 March 1835 vol 27 cc224-5

The Speaker having called on Lord John Russell, who had given notice of a motion on a breach of privilege,

Sir Edward Codrington

rose and said, that in consequence of what had passed yesterday in the House, and the feeling so strongly expressed by the House on the nature of the attack, he did not wish to go further in the present business, and he hoped the House would go no further in it. The transaction was fully explained, and his conduct fully vindicated. He thought what had taken place would be a sufficient lesson to those whose conduct rendered such a course necessary. He hoped the noble Lord would not press his motion.

Lord John Russell

was convinced that the character of the gallant Admiral was above suspicion, and when he gave notice of bringing forward the question, he did so on public grounds. So far as the gallant Admiral was concerned, and on account of the gallant Admiral's request, he was not disposed to press his motion; but, having taken up the question on public grounds mainly, he was in the hands of the House, whether he should go on with it or not. The character of the gallant Admiral had been fully cleared; but it was for the House to say whether, in vindication of its own dignity, an anonymous libel of that kind was to be overlooked?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

hoped the noble Lord would not bring forward the subject. He should be very sorry if a precedent were established which would render it necessary for every public man to bring forward subjects of this nature when imputations were cast upon them in the newspapers. If the noble Lord were anxious to become the champion of the House, he could supply him with a great variety of cases. The hon. and gallant Admiral having expressed his opinion, and and having entreated the noble Lord not to bring forward the subject, he should not have any doubt but that the feeling of the House was, that they should not establish a precedent by which every Member of Parliament who was attacked, and might have the grossest imputations cast upon him, would feel bound to defend himself in that House.

Sir Henry Hardinge

concurred in all that had been said by his right hon. Friend. Had he been inclined to follow the course which had been pursued by the noble Lord, he might have come down to that House, and complained of some very gross attacks that had been made upon him within the last forty-eight hours. He thought it, however, much better to abstain from doing so, as the attacks were too contemptible for notice, and he would not therefore notice them.

Mr. Sinclair

was understood to say, that if the gentlemen opposite were so anxious to vindicate the dignity and privilege of the House against the aspersions of the newspapers, the newspapers in their own interest would furnish them with abundant materials, for these papers had uttered the grossest libels against gentlemen on his side of the House.

The subject was dropped.