§ Mr. Walter
was under the necessity of calling the attention of the House to the matter of which he had given notice, in consequence of an occurrence which had taken place yesterday. He had come down to the House yesterday at half-past four o'clock, the usual hour of commencing public business, in order to address a few words to the House on the Stamp Bill, then a second time on its passage through Parliament. He then found, to his utter surprise, that the second reading, the Committee, the third reading, had all been passed per saltum, and that many Members, who were present, were as ignorant as he himself had been, that the Bill was to be proceeded with in so summary a manner. Now, though it had been understood the night before that the usual formalities were to be dispensed with, it did not from thence follow that an opportunity was not to be afforded to hon. Members to make such suggestions as seemed good to them upon the Bill. On the Bill, as it was now passed, it was of course too late for him to say a word; but he would put it to the justice of the House, whether it would suffer the grossest personal reflections to be cast elsewhere upon its Members, and then stop their mouths, if they attempted to reply, or even to explain. He did not intend yesterday, nor did he intend that day, to take any credit to himself for the suggestion which he had made in that House on the night when the former Stamp Bill was passed. He conceived, however, that in consequence of that suggestion he had been personally attacked elsewhere, and that much obloquy had been cast on him, which he hoped the House would allow him on this occasion briefly to repel. He could only gather the expressions used from report; but from such report, the person using them appeared to insinuate that the operation of that most unjust clause, which was at present excluded from the Bill, might perhaps have been "either the impeachment of his (Mr. Walter's) veracity, or the giving some pain to his vanity," by the discovery of his being connected with the press. Now, he would 1192 say, with respect to such impeachment of his veracity—if such imputation were intended—that it was itself a falsehood. No discovery could be made which would impeach his veracity; on the contrary, if inquiry were made in the spirit of truth, it would only tend to disclose the utter ignorance of him who sought to impeach it. It could not have injured his vanity, for he had never concealed, he had never disavowed the fact, of his having once conducted the public journal which had not unfrequently been alluded to in that House: on the contrary, he felt then as he felt now, proud of such an application of those talents, be they more or less, which God had given him. The same personage had also spoken of his humble origin. He thought that that personage, before he made such an allusion, should have turned his eyes back to the founder of his own family. That individual was, he believed, a humble practitioner in the law. He also believed that, from the time of the first founder of the family to the present day, no member of his race had been distinguished for any merit of any kind until his Majesty had unfortunately called to his councils the individual who was now considered as the head of the Government. If, however, the secrecy of the private life of public men was to be invaded and laid open to the world, he suspected that it would appear—to retort the courteous language which had been applied to himself—that the noble Viscount (Lord Melbourne) had been the more foolish fellow of the two. It would be, of course, as absurd as it would be unbecoming in him to attempt to conceal from the House that, though he believed that the proposition embodied in his motion would be a great convenience to hon. Members, his object in making it was chiefly to create an opportunity of noticing a matter that was personal to himself. The hon. Member concluded by thanking the House for the attention with which it had heard him.
§ Question again put.