HC Deb 09 June 1836 vol 34 cc214-5

Mr. Sharman Crawford, in presenting a petition from Downpatrick, said, that he would take that occasion to notice a charge which had been preferred against him yesterday evening in the House; he referred to the report of a speech of the hon. Member for Belfast, which appeared in The Times newspaper of that morning.

The Speaker

reminded him, that it was irregular to refer to such reports.

Mr. Sharman Crawford

would then merely say, that he understood the hon. Member for Belfast had made the following statement, which he found in The Times:—"The gentleman of whom he had to speak was Mr. M'Neale, of Carlingford, in the county of Louth, whose character as a landlord, one would have supposed, was so well known in Ireland as to protect him from such factious assaults. Of this gentleman the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. S. Crawford) was pleased to state, a few evenings back, that from political irritation against one of his tenants, who had voted contrary to his wishes, he had with his own hand set fire to and burnt the turf which the poor man had prepared for his winter firing." The hon. Member for Belfast, after this, had read a statement from Mr. M'Neale in which that gentleman accused him (Mr. S. Crawford) of doing this from a malignant motive—from a desire to injure him with His Majesty's Government. Now, he would confidently appeal to the House, whether he had ever mentioned the name of Mr. M'Neale in any statement he had made to the House. On a former occasion he certainly did mention an occurrence which he understood had taken place in the county of Louth, but he never once mentioned the name of Mr. M'Neale in the matter. If that gentleman now stated that the fact pointed to him, he was his own accuser. He would not shrink from stating, that Mr. M'Neale was the gentleman who had, as he understood and believed, burned the turf with his own hand. If there had been any thing incorrect in the statement, and if Mr. M'Neale had applied to him to correct it, he would have been most ready to do so; but no such application had been made to him. He thought it rather hard that a charge of malicious motives should have been made against him by that individual. He repudiated such a charge as of a slanderous and unfounded nature. With regard to the course taken in this matter by the hon. Member for Belfast, he would appeal to the House, whether it was usual for hon. Members to prefer a charge of the kind against an hon. Member in his absence, and without any communication to him that such a charge would be made against him? He (Mr. Crawford) was not often absent from the House, but he happened to be so, unfortunately, yesterday, when the hon. Member made this charge against him. He (Mr. Crawford) had certainly some time since preferred a charge against the hon. Member for Belfast, but he did so in his presence, so as to afford him the opportunity to rebut it, if he could.

Mr. Emerson Tennent

said, that as the hon. Member had admitted that his description had applied to Mr. M'Neale, and as he had not disputed the correctness of the facts contained in his (Mr. Tennent's) statement, he would now merely say, that he had made that statement, and that he had been authorised to do so. As to the circumstance of its having been made in the hon. Member's absence, he would only mention that he had sent his hon. Colleague the day before yesterday to the hon. Member, to inform him that he had a charge to make against him. He came down on that day to the House for that purpose, but having been prevented from making the statement then, he took the earliest opportunity in his power to make it.

Mr. Sharman Crawford

said, that the hon. Member, Mr. M'Cance, had the day before yesterday told him that the hon. Member (Mr. E. Tennent) had a charge to prefer against him, but he did not specify what it was. He was in his place that evening, but no such charge was made. As it was not made then, it was not in his power to know on what day it would be preferred.

Petition laid on the table.

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