HC Deb 26 February 1838 vol 41 cc99-188
Viscount Maidstone

rose, he could assure the House, with the greatest diffidence on the present occasion, being but a young Member, and unacquainted with the rules and formalities of the House. He begged, however, distinctly to state, that he brought forward the motion which he was about to submit, not from the suggestions of others, but solely from the dictates and feelings of his own heart. He hoped, therefore, that the animus, the intention by which he was actuated, would carry him through, notwithstanding his inexperience and his ignorance of the forms by which their proceedings were regulated. He could assure the House that, having served on an election Committee, (the Salford), and being utterly unconscious, as far as he was himself concerned, of anything like the perjury or the feelings attributed to Members of committees in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, it was his wish to take the earliest opportunity of throwing off that imputation, and in adopting that course he felt convinced that he had only done what other hon. Members would have done, if he had himself taken no notice of such an imputation. This was not a charge against individual Members, but an imputation which affected the character of the House of Commons; and if they tamely suffered themselves to be vilified and defamed, from whom were they to look for respect or reverence? Who would defend them if they did not vindicate their own honour and character? He did not look upon this as a party or political question. He would ask hon. Members opposite whether they did not feel themselves equally implicated with Members on that side of the House in a question which referred to the character of the House at large? What would be the situation of the House in the eyes of the country if they passed over such an imputation? They were sent there by their constituents to take care of their own honour, and if they could not defend themselves, to whom were they to look for protection? He believed that when he went back to his constituents, they would one and all consecutively spit in his face if he passed over such an aspersion as this without contradiction. He trusted that the House would not be led to look at this great question as a party quarrel, and that they would not by their decision that night sanction the use of language which must have the effect of warping the determinations of the election Committees which were now sitting. It would infallibly lead them to prejudge questions which they ought to decide honestly and conscientiously. He should be sorry to see such a feeling go abroad, but he hoped that wherever the poison was circulated the antidote might go with it, and he hoped also that it would be known that as soon as the charge was made, it was repelled with that utter scorn and contempt with which he regarded it, and which he must say, it deserved. He begged pardon of the House if his feelings had led him away, and induced him to say anything contrary to the forms laid down for their guidance in debate; but he hoped hon. Members would recollect that the question was, whether the character of the House should be maintained, or whether they would submit to be deprived of a good name. They had to decide whether they would keep their own reputation if they could, and whether anything which they could do in the vindication of their insulted honour would prevent others from assailing and aspersing it like the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He must say he spoke more in sorrow than in anger. He knew that no notice which the House could take of the language which had been used could have the effect of counterbalancing the weight of the charge which had been brought against them. He would again repeat, that it was more in sorrow than in anger that he moved for a vote of censure against the hon. and learned Gentleman. He would now deliver the speech of that hon. and learned Member at the Table of the House, and would move that the extracts of which he complained be read by the clerk.

Mr. O'Connell

submitted that his entire speech should be read. No one ever heard of a legal document being read in part.

The Clerk at the table then read the speech of Mr. O'Connell at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, as reported in the Morning Chronicle of Thursday, the 22nd inst., as follows [We have marked by italics the passages more immediately complained of]:— Mr. O'Connell mounted on the table, and proceeded to address the gentlemen assembled.—He said, that he could assure them, and he said it without the least affectation, that he never in his life felt so overpowered as he did when he first entered the room on that evening. A sensation of awe came over him when he beheld such an assemblage as that which was now before him, and he inquired of himself whether he could account for the reason which must have induced so many men of this nation to have assembled there. What was it that brought together so many of the most respectable class of the most respectable country in the world, so many independent Englishmen, to pay a compliment to him? He had not the personal vanity to attribute it to himself merely; he knew that he had no claim to their respect or their good will, unless, indeed, his public life had entitled him to them—a life which had been based on the doctrine of that sect of which he was a talented, or a talentless, but, at all events, a zealous, member—the doctrine which taught him that no political advantage could or ought to be obtained by force or violence against the Government. He had always said this, that the change of the greatest political amelioration was not to be got at the expense of one single drop of blood—that force could never really achieve any alteration in such things which reason could not obtain. Yes, he was persuaded that it was this consideration which had brought so many Englishmen round him on that day—the consideration that that which justice would not give could not be obtained by the exercise of physical power. But, more than this, they had been called there to express, not flattery to him, bat sympathy for his country. They knew Ireland had been badly governed. There was no mincing the word. She had been tyrannised over for centuries. Their fathers had acquiesced in committing the wrongs, but their sons were wiser. There was no country on the face of the globe which had ever suffered half so much from its connexion with another kingdom as Ireland had from its connexion with England. Few of them, perhaps, knew that 250 years ago it was no crime in the eye of the law in Ireland if one of the English race should kill a poor Irishman like himself, for instance—and even when he was born the native Irishman was precluded from the power of acquiring property. Now he would appeal to England whether this, at least, was not injustice? But, more, not only could he not acquire property, but he was forbidden to acquire knowledge. Was not this injustice, too? Yes, that was the state of Ireland when he was born; but there was a difference now. It was not for him to deny that he had assisted the English in their struggles for liberty. He acknowledged it; aid it was no crime, or they would not be there. His feelings for Ireland extended to this country, and he was prepared to support both. Yes, he did love the green land of his birth; but what would be the use of struggling for its liberties if he found that the liberties of this country also were to be first secured? When the Reform Bill was in jeopardy he stood not back to consider the advantage which he might gain; and on that Bill, or on the English or Scotch Municipal Corporation Bills, or on that glorious measure which struck off the fetters of 800,000 human beings, he was able now to say, that he had given his humble vote in favour of the reform which he saw was required. He did feel, therefore, that he had some claim to their consideration, and he would ask them ought Ireland to remain in its present condition? The English had got a Reform Bill—how extensive, but yet how immeasurably short of the extent to which it should go!—for he had no hesitation in avowing himself as a firm advocate of universal suffrage. The English Reform Bill was infinitely more extensive, however, than that granted to Ireland: and what the Irish wanted was a measure which would prevent their being exposed to the machinations of the Spottiswoode gang. Corruption of the worst description existed, and, above all, there was the perjury of the Tory politicians. Ireland was not safe from the English and Scotch gentry. It was horrible to think that a body of gentlemen—men who ranked high in society, who were themselves the administrators of the law, and who ought therefore to be above all suspicion, and who ought to set an example to others, was it not horrible that they should be perjuring themselves in the Committees of the House of Commons? The time was come when this should be proclaimed boldly. He was ready to be a martyr to justice and truth, but not to false swearing; and, therefore, he repeated that there was foul perjury in the Tory Committees of the House of Commons. But he would ask them was it not their duty to assist him in putting an end to this state of things? There were two modes of doing this. The first was, to extend their Reform Bill, for the Irish had a Bill too; and although the Irish Members contributed to carry the English and Scotch Reform Bills Lord Stanley over-rode the Grey Administration, and gave them only a section of the Act which had been granted to England. And the next was to grant them a measure of municipal reform, such as was given to England. [A voice from one of the lower tables, 'All alike.'] 'All alike,' as the gentleman said: the eloquence of a Fox could not have called in aid a more forcible expression. However, it was all unlike; for, instead of its being made `all alike,' different measures were given to Ireland to those which were given to England; but they surely were entitled to equal justice. The English had had a Corporation Reform, but what a miserable farce was that which was given to Ireland! But he knew that too much of the sturdy spirit of John Bull remained, to allow one part of the country thus to be set, as it were free, without giving equal freedom to the remainder of it. He was a practical man, and he came there to thank the Englishmen for what they had done for him. He had advocated the cause of his country, because it had been said, that he had taken shelter under the wings of the present Ministers. But it was so because it was under the Ministers' wings that his country had found shelter. For himself, he was an humble individual, and there was not one among those present who could not in time do as much as he could do for his country, or who could not contribute largely to the improvement of its political state. God had done much for Ireland in its natural state, but there was not to to be found a single occurrence of importance in history in which the Irish had not been prominently useful in assisting this country. The same system of union, therefore, must still be kept up, in order that the country might still successfully oppose all future attempts which might be made upon its constitution or liberties. Without this combination the kingdom would be based as on a foundation of sand, and when he considered that he was merely the pensioned servant of Ireland he felt that it was his duty to uphold both that country and this, and to endeavour to promote the happiness and welfare of England as well as that of Ireland. He hoped still to live to see the centuries of misrule which had passed succeeded by good Government, and this end he hoped to see achieved as well by the exertions of the Irish as those of the English. The hon. and learned Gentleman was frequently greeted with loud cheers during his speech. The Clerk was then proceeding to read the speech as reported in the Morning Post of the same date, when

Mr. O'Connell

inquired of Lord Maidstone, whether, in order to save the time of the House, he would be content with the reading of the passage to which he objected?

Lord Maidstone having assented to this,

The Clerk read the following extract from the Morning Post of the 22nd inst.:— He (Mr. O'Connell) did not mince the matter; his words might appear in the public press; he hoped they would. Ireland was not safe from the perjury of the English and Scotch gentry, who took oaths according to justice, and voted according to party. The reading of these extracts was succeeded by loud cries of "Move, move, and loud cries for Mr. O'Connell," and the excitement did not subside until after repeated cries of "Order," from the chair.

The Speaker

then said, that according to his apprehension, a similar course of proceeding should be adopted in the present instance to that which had been pursued by the House in the analogous case in which a charge was preferred against Sir Francis Burdett. In that case the charge was clear and distinct, having been in the form of a written charge, to which the charge in the present instance might be considered as tantamount, as the papers had been put in by the noble Lord and read from the table. The course which had been pursued in the instance to which he referred, and of which he recommended the adoption in the present case, was, that the hon. Member who preferred the complaint having been heard first, the hon. Member complained of should be next heard, and subsequently the hon. Member who made the complaint.

Mr. O'Connell

then rose and said, that although the course proposed would be personally inconvenient to himself, he bowed at once to the decision of the chair, a decision of which he felt the inconvenience the more particularly since he had entertained the intention, if the noble Lord had concluded with a motion, of moving as an amendment that an inquiry should take place upon this subject; such had been his intention—an inquiry into the entire merits of the case. He had certainly no right to complain of the noble Lord who had preferred this complaint, and who had delivered himself, in his opinion, with as much courtesy as it was possible for him to exhibit upon a question of this nature. If the noble Lord had failed to exhibit that courtesy in one particular phrase which he had introduced into his speech, he was quite ready to attribute it rather to the inexperience in public speaking under which an individual at the noble Lord's time of life must necessarily labour, than to a desire upon his part either to infringe upon any rule of the House, or to be guilty of discourtesy towards him. He did not know exactly what it was of which the noble Lord complained.[Laughter.] He was glad that any observation of his should be considered facetious by Gentlemen at the opposite side. He was fond of hilarity. He had now to repeat that he did not know what the noble Lord complained of. The noble Lord had talked of his having attacked the whole House, and the noble Lord had read extracts from two newspapers in order to support that allegation, in which, however, he was represented as having attacked only one side of the House. He (Mr. O'Connell) could the more readily excuse the noble Lord's impatience upon this subject, as it appeared that the noble Lord had been lately acting as a member of an election Committee, and must therefore feel the more strongly that there was nothing more repugnant to the nature of man—nothing more revolting to minds imbued with the love of justice and of truth, than the idea of a partial tribunal; that there was nothing in the shape of social immorality more frightful than that a public tribunal should become a receptacle for corruption, and that the decision of questions affecting in a most important degree the rights not only of individuals but of large bodies of the people—the decision of such questions, not according to law and justice, but according to the spirit of party, was a state of things from which every just and honest mind must shrink with abhorrence. Believing in his heart that such a state of things did exist, and being confirmed in that opinion by recent events, he was rejoiced at the present occurrence, and felt thankful to the noble Lord for bringing public attention to bear directly upon this subject. There existed a most serious grievance, which it was absolutely necessary to correct forthwith. He had endeavoured in vain, in the early part of the Session, to fix the attention of the House upon this subject; but he had failed in that attempt. He then came to the determination of appealing at once to the public, making this grievance plain and obvious to the comprehension of every man; and endeavouring, as far as in him lay, to make the popular sentiment upon the subject become so strong, that the nation would no longer tolerate so abominable a system. He might possibly be mistaken in adopting this course; but he thought that this was the proper mode—to call the public attention to a serious public grievance. If any hon. Gentleman at the opposite side of the House were involved in the issue of some suit, which placed his property, his life, or his character at stake, what would be his feelings if, upon entering into court, he discovered at once that he must of necessity be defeated through the partiality of a jury, composed of men predetermined to decide against him? Could anything, he would ask, be more unendurable than this? Who would be safe if such state of things were introduced into the English courts of justice? Why, the throne itself would not be safe, as a certain monarch had, experienced, who although he did not go the length of packing perjured juries, had taken care to supersede juries altogether. It was not in the nature of things that the introduction of such a state of things into the public jurisprudence of the country could be tolerated for one instant. A foreign writer of celebrity, in treating of the British constitution, had described its perfection as consisting in the fact of its being so organised that all the expenses of the state—thelarge sums given to the Sovereign and the army for the maintenance of peace—tended and conduced to render the administration of justice pure, and to enable twelve men impartially chosen to return impartial verdicts upon all issues affecting the lives and property of their fellow subjects. He believed that in this point consisted the greatest merit of the British constitution; and, in proportion as the desire existed for the maintenance of tribunals in this country deserving the eulogium of this foreign writer, he asked every honest man who heard him to concur with him in condemning the existing tribunals for the trial of contested elections. He had heard a great deal in that House about piety and pious observances. He had heard much talk of "desecration of the Sabbath," even where there was a question only of an innocent amusement; but no impiety appeared to him so great, no desecration so terrible, as that of the holy name of God, which was taken to attest the determination to do justice between man and man, but was accompanied by the understood and resolved predisposition not to do justice, but to favour party. Did the noble Lord think, that no such thing existed in that House? He had not heard the noble Lord deny, that Committees were partial. He supposed, however, the noble Lord meant to deny it by implication. Heaven help the man who out of that House, even in the presence of Members of the House, would venture to assert, that their election Committees were impartial tribunals, assembled solely to do justice between the parties. Why, such an assertion would be turned into ridicule, the man would be laughed to scorn. Public opinion had been made up on the point; the public did not hesitate to declare their belief that these tribunals were corrupt. It was freely said by the public—and the noble Lord should know the fact—that these tribunals were the worst in the world. It was perfectly well known, when the names of hon. Members were called out, upon their coming up to the table to be sworn, the moment the composition of the Committee was ascertained, it was perfectly well known how the decision would be. Was the noble Lord in the House a few nights since, when the ballot for the Youghal Committee took place? Did he hear the cheers—the loud cheers, for even delicacy did not suppress them—did he hear the cheers with which the last name was received by his hon. Friends around him? Why fifty Gentlemen had heard it. Oh! let them put it upon the issue; let them try it as they pleased. It did occur, and he was ready to prove it. Was not the noble Lord aware that no ballot had taken place during the present Session for which a regular canvass did not take place? That the Tory Club—the Carlton Club—from which he made no doubt that these papers had come—sent round cards upon all such occasions to every Member upon whom that party could depend? He put the question boldly to the House, whether a single ballot took place which was not preceded by such a canvass, by the issue of such special commands? Not one! Let any Gentleman get up in that House and assert that this did not take place. He did not see one hon. Gentleman rise. No one dared to assert it. Did not their newspapers call on them, in tones of the most urgent entreaty, to attend? Were not hon. Gentlemen opposite summoned, upon their allegiance, to come down to every ballot? Well, then, he repeated, that for every election Committee there was a canvass; and for what had they come down? Was it to discharge their conscientious duties, or to prevent hon. Members from forming election Committees at his side of the House? It must be either the one or the other. He dared any one of them to say that he came down in discharge of his conscience. Was it from motives of party, or was it to prevent hon. Members at his side of the House from forming these Committees? If they told him that they were led by the dictates of party, there would be candour in that. They would not tell him that. But if they asserted that it was to preclude his side of the House from exercising the power of forming partial Committees, then he would tell them that they preferred identically the same charge against his side of the House which he (Mr. O'Connell) had brought against theirs. Was there a single man amongst them who was not convinced of the iniquity of the system? Why, what was said when a Committee was struck? Did not every one say—"Oh, we have it now; now it is all right?" Did not every man exclaim, "There's no doubt he'll be unseated," or "There's no no doubt but he'll retain his seat," precisely in accordance with the known political opinions of the majority of the Committee? Even the counsel—did they not say, "Oh, we may take this easily; we have a majority of six to five, and then, from the situation of the Chairman, who is in our favour, and who is entitled to a double vote, we are sure of seven to five, so that there is no danger; we're all safe?" Had the noble Lord read Sir Samuel Whalley's statement to his constituents, a statement which had been published in all the newspapers, to the effect that he had resigned because he despaired of success, seeing that there was a majority of Tories on the Committee? Why had not the noble Lord called the attention of the House to this deliberate advertisement, which had acquired all the publicity attendant upon a most extensive circulation in the public papers? The noble Lord was shocked at the expressions which he had used in alluding to this subject; and he called upon hon. Members to "vindicate their honour." So said he. But the way to vindicate their honour was to get rid of the present system; the way to vindicate their consciences was to do away with so iniquitous a form of proceeding; the way to vindicate their religious feelings, of which they talked so much, was to send these questions to be tried before impartial tribunals, before those tribunals which were already empowered to decide upon their lives, their property, and their honour. Let all such questions be sent before the judges independent of all parties—before juries fairly selected, and untainted with partisan views—submitted, in short, to that species of tribunal which in all human probability would be best calculated to administer impartial justice, giving power to the judges to set aside improper verdicts, and to the superior judges of setting right any mistake in matters of law. Oh! if the noble Lord had been desirous of vindicating his conscience, he would have come forward with a motion for the establishment of an impartial tribunal of this description. But the House was so nearly balanced—parties were so nearly equipoised at each side, and the majority was consequently so small, that every single vote which they struck off by one of their Committees was another step towards place, profit, and emolument; or, if they liked the expression better, towards the vindication of their principles in action. They were influenced by the strongest motives to remove the Representatives of the people from their seats at his (Mr. O'Connell's) side of the House, and vote themselves into their vacant places; and whereas popular constituencies had returned one man by an overwhelming majority, they were determined, in spite of their oaths, to seat another; and this without reference to justice, and from the most slavish subservience to party. The noble Lord seemed to think, that he was the first person who had made use of the language which the noble Lord condemned, and looked as if he would be quite astonished to learn that such a suspicion was general in the minds of the people. There certainly was much maidenly modesty in this—in assuming that the subject had never been touched on before. But what had Mr. Buller said in reference to this matter? What had he told the House in the month of November last? He would read the passage to which he referred in Mr. Buller's speech, in order that the noble Lord and the House might be aware that he was was not the first person who had broached this subject. There was also in his (Mr. O'Connell's) possession a catalogue, furnished to him by many different gentlemen, of a number of decisions which had taken place, from the beginning of the Session to the present day, and which were of the most outrageous description. [Hear, hear!] He thought that that cheer might be called a re-echo. This was what he termed reaction; and signified that the monstrous decisions to which he had alluded had taken place at his side of the House. That was the obvious meaning of the cheer, and he readily assented to the meaning which it implied. If, then, they both told the truth—as he firmly believed they did—why, instead of wasting their time upon his speech at the Crown and Anchor, why did not the House instantly apply itself to the correction of that evil? Why not force its correction? He would tell the noble Lord that his object was, to force its correction, and that there would be no more perjury—no more party committees, if he could help it. No one should attempt to defend the system, however they might profit by it, without meeting with his (Mr. O'Connell's) most vigorous resistance. But to return to the subject, from which this was a digression,—what had Mr. Buller said?—"At present it is the universal opinion out of the House, among Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, that an election Committee of the House of Commons is an assembly of men whom neither honour, virtue, nor their oaths can bind when their political bias is involved." All this was said in the House; it was noticed by those who communicate the proceedings of the House to the public; and he (Mr. O'Connell) was not aware that any notice had been taken of it. [Viscount Maidstone:—I was not then in the House.] The speech from which he quoted was delivered by Mr. Buller in the House on the 27th of November, when the noble Lord (if he did not mistake) had a seat in the House. Mr. Buller had honestly told the House what the public thought of them. [An hon. Member:—But he did not go so far.] Mr. Buller had perhaps, dealt more leniently with them than he had done. But who, he would ask, had ever thought of contradicting Mr. Buller's statement? Not one single human being, although he had asserted that public opinion was made up with reference to the character of their election Committees, and that Whigs, Tories, and Radicals were all unanimous in this conviction. Their object should be not to attack an individual, who without meaning any disrespect to the House, was not very regardful of the attack, but to combat the system—to cleanse their consciences—to purify their honour by the subversion of that system which they had been told in the House was such that "neither honour, virtue, nor oaths are regarded when party political bias is involved." On that occasion he had seen a paragraph in one of the public newspapers, the Morning Chronicle, which he would now read to the House, to show the noble Lord, who rose to vindicate the honour of Tory Committees, that the process was not so easy as he thought. The Chronicle, in alluding the other day to what the Law Magazine called the "trifling with oaths," proceeded to say, "The Members of Committees send witnesses to prison for trifling with oaths, while they themselves by their decisions, show themselves utterly regardless of their own oaths." He had read this passage in the Chronicle of the 27th of Nov. last. Now, he submitted that the noble Lord was not justified in bringing forward a motion of this kind, after such things had been openly promulgated by the public newspapers. The hon. and learned Member then proceeded to read the continuation of the passage—"Oaths are of no avail in Committees. The breach of a solemn oath in a Committee, is attended neither with inconvenience nor disgrace." That was what The Chronicle had said. With respect to the Committee, of which the noble Lord was a Member, he did not allude in particular to it, but had the noble Lord seen what had been said of that Committee? The noble Lord, he believed, was in a minority on that Committee. Had the noble Lord seen what The Times said of that Committee? If not, he would give him a little information on the subject; for at the noble Lord's time of life, his education must necessarily be imperfect, and anything in the shape of information must be useful to him. He quoted from The Times of February 23, 1838:—"Any peculiar aptitude, in point of legal knowledge, is therefore regarded as wholly out of the question; and as to impartiality, we have heard it openly asserted that any man who should presume to praise the jurisdiction on that score would be understood in mere irony. It is, therefore, inferred that there can be no consideration of decorum or general expediency which should preclude the freest remark upon the decision of any by-gone Committee—nay, that, on the contrary, the cause of true reform imperatively requires the fullest possible examination, in every attainable light, of every determination arrived at by so suspicious a tribunal. Now, a great deal of all this is downright scandalum magnatum. For our own part, we could not think of holding this irreverent kind of language about anything so sacred as the political virtue of hon. Members. Whatever we now proceed to say, must be understood as delivered with the most implicit respect for every individual of every Committee of the existing House of Commons,"—there was nothing like the sleekness of hypocrisy to get down any dose, however strong—"and of course without the shadow of an insinuation to the prejudice of the formidable body who vindicate their infallibility and purity by a sergeant-at-arms. If, indeed, we were compelled to suppose a clique of partisans,"—he implored the noble Lord's particular attention to this—"laying their heads together in order to balk public justice, and contriving to do that collectively which some of them at least would shrink individually from attempting, perhaps the privilege of Parliament might then be set up against us, and our inquiry and the enormity of the offence be its own protection and our punishment. Or, if we had only the resource of supposing,—which, however, is a more charitable theory,—a set of incapables, reducing the law and practice of elections to a toss up, by a genuine (but still, in Members of Parliament, an intolerable) lack of ordinary un- derstanding and ordinary information, the necessity of such an hypothesis might alarm the majesty of such judges (for your dunce is ever jealous of his dignity), and cause us to be enjoined from holding the dangerous torch of common sense to such a mass of combustible absurdities." Would the noble Lord wish to know who the "clique of partisans" were? Why, they were the very Salford Committee upon which the noble Lord himself had sat, and whom The Times treated as dunces jealous of their dignity. Why had not the noble Lord, who seemed so enamoured of his speeches as they appeared in The Morning Chronicle, read the newspapers of Friday morning last? Why had he not read this account given of himself by The Times? It was not "de te fabula narratur." There were no fabulœ here [pointing to the journal]. It was not a Radical or Whig newspaper that contained this statement. "It is," said the hon. and learned Gentleman, "the organ of Toryism itself—the mighty thunderer in your van that blows you all up—the triumphant man-of-war of Puddle-dock, which throws in the Salford Committee, noble Lord and all, as a clique of partisans, whose only escape from the grossest perjury is in the stupidity of the Members of whom it is composed." But this subject was not confined to The Times of Friday. The Times of Saturday had taken the noble Lord's part against him in their usual terms, his name having been, he believed, stereotyped for the convenience of the paper; so that while in one article they vindicated him, in another he found himself abused. Talking of the Roxburgh petition, The Times complained that by the decision of the Committee, the petitioner "would have no redress for not saying it? They admitted it was their fears, and not their feelings, that prevented them from using the world. Then they commented upon the Sligo Committee, whose decision he was sure the gallant Officer opposite (Col. Perceval) would not laud very much. He might be mistaken; he liked the good-natured expression of the hon. and gallant Member's countenance; but when that Committee was chosen, it appeared to him to have fallen full 50 per cent. The Times, however, went on to say—"The degree, indeed, to which the vile spirit of faction has worked itself into the judicial proceedings of the House of Commons, lamentable and disgraceful as it is, brings one consolation with it—viz., that a remedy cannot be much longer withheld." "Lamentable and disgraceful" were the words of their own organ. It might be said they were alluding to a Whig Committee, but they made no distinction— they included all. Thus they continued:—"A civilized people will not submit their affairs to a tribunal whose competency to do justice none confides in, and we have it on the highest Radical authority that the House of Commons is now so constituted as to present no average materials for a just or safe judicial body, where faction has a profligate interest to be maintained, and one or more criminal acts to be defended." This was the language of the press on every side—the language used by Mr. Buller—the language which, he repeated, to which popular feeling responded. This was the state of things against which they were petitioning. Was there a man mad enough to say, that justice would be done to him (Mr. O'Connell) if the ballot happened to go against him? He thanked the noble Lord for bringing forward this subject, for it was fœtid and sore all over, and he was a wise physician who exposed the disease in order the more effectually to cure it. One sentence more from The Times:—"A Member of Parliament, when you urge upon him such occurrences as those we have referred to, and state them as grounds for a total alteration in the nature and elements of that court of justice before which conflicting claims to a seat in the House of Commons shall be adjudicated, meets you at once with the peremptory question, How can you suppose, that the House of Commons will ever let slip out of its own hands the right of deciding who shall be its Members? This is a question of surpassing folly, and of no less unmeasured insolence." No less unmeasured insolence! Why? Because, as this journal went on to say, the rights of a third party were involved. The present system of forming Committees of that House, and their results, reminded him of one of the most ludicrous of writers, Rabelais, who describes the judge of Garagantua, in sitting to decide a case that had been brought before him, as having thrown three dice for the plaintiff, who brought most grist to the mill, and only two for the defendant. He would certainly rather take the dice-box in his hands at once—go to that table and cry, "Seven's the main," or "Eleven's the main"—than take his chance of a Committee of that House. It would be infinitely better. When a change had been made before, how had it been effected? Why, by a man like himself getting up and talking plainly and distinctly. Before the Grenville Act, the House had been in the habit of deciding in the most profligate manner. It had been introduced to cure an enormous evil of the nature of that which now existed. Would it be asserted, that anything could be more profligate than the decisions of the entire House before that act was passed? Perhaps hon. Members would wish to know, by what chemical process it could have been converted. He would tell them—by the exposure of the abuse. Lord Chatham, in speaking of the decisions of the House, had said "that its Members had covered themselves with dishonour, for that nothing could be more vile than those decisions." He did not wish to trespass on the House by citing passages, but he could not avoid referring to the description given at the time of the state of the House of Commons before the Grenville Act, in which it was stated "that their mode of trial under judicial forms was most shameful, as every principle of justice was notoriously and openly violated; that thence the younger part of the House was insensibly induced to adopt the same line of conduct in more serious matters and in questions of higher importance to the public weal." Mr. Grenville, in moving for leave to bring in the bill, stated, "that instead of trusting to the merits of the respective cases (petitions against sitting Members), the principal grounds advanced on one side, and the defence on the other, were those principally which involved their own private interests. It was scandalously notorious that Members were earnestly canvassed to attend in favour of the opposite side, and that they were wholly self-elected." He would turn to the House and ask, was there a man in it who could deny, that it was scandalously notorious, that they were now as earnestly canvassed to attend in favour of the opposite side, and that they were self-elected? Was there a man in the House who would deny that? Not one. They were canvassed as if the election belonged to themselves. Mr. Gren- ville prophesied, that his bill would be attended with the happiest effects. He (Mr. O'Connell) was certainly bound to admit, that for a time its ill effects were not disclosed; but they had been since disclosed, and upon occasions too when they wanted impartiality the more. When the House was very unequally divided, the same stimulant to resort to those disgraceful acts did not exist; but when closely divided, and when a seat or two might create a very great change, then, at the very time that they wanted impartiality most, they had it least. A Gentleman who had proposed the repeal of the Grenville Act, said, that "he thought the additional sanction of an oath was not a tie upon the honour of those taking it—being just like official or custom-house oaths, which fell into mere matters of form, lost all force, or made matters worse." This was the opinion of Mr. Rigby; he did not mean Mr. Rigby Wason. He would implore of the House not to lose sight of the subject, now that it had been brought forward. He would ask, too, had he not done well in having called public attention to it? In doing so he did not mean to give any offence, not necessarily implied in the language he had used. How, let him ask, had protection been obtained and established for the prerogatives of the Monarch? How had the judicial bench been revived from the state in which it was when the judges were the mere vassals of the Crown, browbeaten, and running like hounds at a chase in furtherance of every species of legal tyranny? How had the jury system been altered? How had many other institutions been ameliorated? How, but by some frequently unintelligent individual like himself, who had the boldness and the firmness to speak out, and to describe things in their natural state in a natural way? He loved to speak out; in having done so, he meant no disrespect to that House, and the thing being now done, it was impossible for the system to continue any longer. The Times. and Morning Chronicle, in fact, the whole public press, had asserted that the honesty and integrity of the people of England would not endure it. He hoped to see those who were in the habit of mixing religious with political feeling joining in the cry against the present system; for certainly true religion would not permit, for the sake of political partisanship, the existence of such an evil as the desecration of the name of that God who would judge us all for an eternity of weal or woe. Let the advocates of Sunday piety now come forward. "Let them protest," said the hon. Gentleman, before their God, "that this is all a calumny, and that there is purity in the system—or do you English Gentlemen declare that you are the victims of the system, and that not from any free disposition of your own you are drawn into this false position—that you are borne down by the faults of that system into practices which, as individuals, you would scorn. Repeal that system altogether—reform it—and you shall have any apology from me you please. But while it continues, you shall not have a word from me, because I assert that I have spoken nothing but the truth." The public (continued the hon. Member) would assist him on this subject. The newspapers of tomorrow, which would be circulated in the remotest parts of the British dominions, would revive the cry of "Give us fair tribunals." Let them not be placed in the situation of persons forced to play against gamblers with false dice. If he had in any way contributed to rouse public attention to the subject—whatever might happen to himself—he would be satisfied. He would conclude by saying, that it had been his intention to move for a Committee of twenty-one to inquire into and report upon the effects of the Grenville Act, and elections law, the Committee to be forthwith named by the Speaker, and that all election petitions should be put off for one week. [Cheers and Laughter.] "Why," said the hon. Member, "then you want to have your own decision! If I wanted a justification of my statement, I have it—I have it in the fact that hon. Members will vote against me while they agree with me in opinion. I shall now retire, Sir, declaring to the House that I have come forward in this business with the most thorough conviction of the truth of what I stated, and that my only object was to do away with a great abuse. I thank the noble Lord for the courteous manner in which he brought forward his motion; I have nothing to complain of in that respect, and with these sentiments I conclude."

The hon. and learned Gentleman left the House.

Viscount Maidstone

said, that nothing which had fallen from the hon. and learned Member had, in the slightest degree, changed his intention with respect to the motion he should have the honour of proposing to the House on the subject. The hon. and learned Member had endeavoured to look at it in a laughable point of view. He had endeavoured to laugh at the charge in a manner unbecoming the gravity of that House. He (Lord Maidstone) did not advocate the present system, but here were expressions containing a gross and slanderous imputation upon the conduct of hon. Members which he certainly would not, for one, pass over, and upon which he called for the judgment of the House. He did assert, that it would not be consistent with the character of that House to allow the use of such gross terms as those in which the hon. and learned Gentleman's assertions were couched, without noticing them in the only way they could. The hon. and learned Gentleman had not altered the complexion of the affair in the least, and although the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, had intimated that he would bring forward another breach of privilege if he persevered in his, he would say the noble Lord was perfectly at liberty to do so; and he would tell the noble Lord that if he sub stantiated his charge, he would vote with him. But it was no sort of reason to say, that because the noble Lord knew of another breach of privilege, they ought to pass over this, which was, in his (Lord Maidstone's) estimation, as gross a violation of that privilege as could well be perpetrated. He would move, "That the expressions in Mr. O'Connell's speech containing a charge of foul perjury against Members of that House in the discharge of their judicial duties was a false and scandalous imputation upon the honour of that House, and that Mr. O'Connell having avowed that he used the said expressions, has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House."

Mr. Maunsell

seconded the motion. That duty, he confessed, might have fallen into abler hands; and he felt himself still less competent to cope with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin in the particular description of language he was in the habit of using inside as well as out of that House. The aspersions lately cast by that hon. Gentleman upon hon. Members of that House he considered to be unfounded, and, as such, would give them the most unqualified contradiction which the rules of the House and of civilised society would sanction.

Viscount Horvick

could not help thinking, that the House must feel that any proceeding, such as had been recommended, could not be adopted, without grave and serious inconvenience. He did not pretend to justify the language which had been used by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He thought he had expressed himself much more strongly than the occasion required; but he must say, that he concurred with the hon. and learned Gentleman in thinking that the present state of the law respecting the trial of election petitions was little creditable to that House; indeed, he might rather say, it was positively disgraceful; and such being the case, he thought that by coming to the resolution proposed, and by taking as a libel upon the House a condemnation of its proceedings, which, however unjustifiable might be the language in which it was couched, did not unfortunately want some foundation in truth, instead of raising themselves in public estimation, they would, on the contrary, by so ineffectual an attempt to cover their own misdoings, only bring down upon themselves, and, indeed, he thought justly, a greater degree of public reprehension than before. He did not mean to accuse hon. Gentlemen at the other side of the House of deliberate perjury, but he asked any man, did they not all on that as well as on the other side of the House, when Committees were struck, anticipate the result of the investigation from the opinions of the majority of the Members whose names had been drawn? If that were the case, it would not be wise—he admitted that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had gone much too far in the expressions he had used—but he did not think it would be wise in them to adopt the resolution proposed. Instead of doing so, he conceived their wisest course would be to drop the present proceedings, commence the regular business of the evening, and turn their attention to the subject again at the earliest possible period. The House ought to recollect that on the Ministerial side they had shown themselves most anxious that the evil complained of should before this have been corrected. They wished that, even before the election petitions of this Session came on for trial, an attempt should have been made to improve the tribunal to decide upon their merits; but they were met on the other side by the assertion that parties had a vested right in the present system; they were told it would be a perversion of justice to alter, not the law which was to be administered, for no one proposed that this should be changed—they were told it would be an invasion of the fair rights of those who had petitioned if an alteration were made in the mode in which petitions should be heard. He did not, therefore, ask the House to adopt any such proceeding as that which had been suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; all he asked was, that they should not attempt to prop up a system, condemned by the public voice, by a resolution which would not be responded to by public opinion, but that they should forbear, for the sake of their own dignity, from noticing reproaches and attacks upon themselves which, with whatever violence they might be made, were yet in substance deserved, and proceed to the public business of the evening, and take the earliest opportunity they could to improve the system for the trial of controverted elections. He had omitted to state, that he meant to impute no reproach whatever to the other side which did not attach equally to both sides of the House. He thought Gentlemen on both sides incapable of deliberately perjuring themselves; but the law being in many points in a state of extreme doubt, there being in almost all cases questions of great difficulty to be decided, and there being also so much ignorance among hon. Members, not being professed lawyers, looking especially to the practice on both sides of the House of striking the brains out of a Committee, as it was called, hon. Gentlemen who were desirous of doing their duty conscientiously found themselves in a most painful state of uncertainty as to what law and justice really required, and in such a state of things, with their leanings to their own friends, the decisions of Election Committees, without imputing deliberate perjury to their Members, were in the highest degree unsatisfactory. With these opinions, he thought by far the best course the House, so placed, could pursue, was to proceed at once to the regular business of the evening; for if they did not, if they voted the speech of the hon. and learned Member a breach of privilege, they must vote the articles which had been read from The Times and the Morning Chronicle a breach of privilege also, and enter into a warfare of this description against the whole press of the country. That was a course which the House would act most improperly in adopting, and he, therefore, moved as an amendment to the motion of the noble Lord opposite, that the order of the day for the House resolving into Committee on the Poor-law (Ireland) Bill be now read.

Mr. Milnes Gaskell

said, it appeared to him that the plain and simple question which was now before them, was whether any Member of the House of Commons should be permitted by a majority of its Members, not merely to use the language which had been imputed to the learned Gentleman, but to avow and justify that language in his place in Parliament; refusing to retract one syllable of the imputations he had cast, or to express the slightest regret that he had cast them. He was glad that his noble Friend, the Member for Northamptonshire, had brought this matter before the House. He was glad they had an opportunity of deciding whether there were or were not limits to the abuse and ribaldry that might be resorted to in certain quarters with impunity. He owned, however, he should have thought that upon a question which affected, not merely the privileges of that House, but the common decency of its proceedings, they should have heard a somewhat different speech from that which had just been made by the noble Secretary at War. But it appeared that her Majesty's Government were in a position of some difficulty upon this question, and they sought to evade it by passing to the other orders of the day. They seemed to feel that since the division upon the ballot they had lost ground with their supporters, and instead of meeting this question fairly, by a frank and manly avowal that the language of the learned Gentleman was indefensible, they did not venture to pronounce any opinion upon the subject. But an intimation had been conveyed by the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, that if the House of Commons should entertain the proposition of his noble Friend (Lord Maidstone) he would drag under its notice the conduct of the Bishop of Exeter—that he would rake up an old charge which had been delivered by that right rev. Prelate, for the gratification of a certain section of his supporters, who sought for the expulsion of Bishops from the House of Lords. He (Mr. Gaskell) presumed that when the noble Lord had given this notice, he had been actuated by no feelings of personal hostility; although he confessed it had struck him as just possible, that the noble Lord might have had the worst of some previous encounter with the Bishop of Exeter—that he might have been engaged in some correspondence with that right reverend Prelate, which had left traces of dissatisfaction upon his mind. But let him ask the noble Lord, and ask the House, what would have been the course taken by the Government, and what the language of its Members, if these charges had been made, not by The Times, The Standard, or The Morning Chronicle, but by Gentlemen upon his (the Opposition) side against Gentlemen upon that? What would have been the language of the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, if they (the Opposition) had preferred charges of perjury against the Gentlemen opposite, founded upon the reports at Roxburgh, at Sligo, and at Salford? Would the noble Lord then have shrunk from the expression of an opinion? Would he have sheltered himself behind the previous question? or would the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department have sought refuge in a countercharge against others? No; they would have told the House, and with perfect justice, that not one hour should have been suffered to elapse, before reparation had been made for the outrage committed upon its privileges. How then did the two cases differ? Why, simply in this—that the person who preferred the charge now, was the person who maintained the Queen's Government in office, though he was also the person who in 1834 had charged the father of the noble Viscount (Howick) with entertaining a proud and malignant hatred towards the Irish nation, and the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, with sharing in the same feeling. Surely, however, it was no reason, because such were the necessities of her Majesty's Government, that they were constrained to acquiesce in the proposition of the noble Viscount, that the majority of the House of Commons should sit silent too. Undoubtedly, if he (Mr. Gaskell) could bring himself to regard this language of the learned Member as an indication only of his individual opinion with respect to the conduct of any body of Gentlemen in that House, he should be perfectly indifferent to the imputation it conveyed. It was because the learned Gentleman was a Member of that House, and had chosen to reassert and justify the language which had been complained of, that he thought it incumbent upon the House to notice it. If after hearing such an avowal of such language, the House of Commons should determine with the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, that it was not their province to punish or control it, they would bring the character of Parliament into utter degradation with the public, and strike a fatal blow at the character of all their proceedings.

Mr. Langdale

was surprised at the sensitiveness which had so suddenly seized hon. Gentlemen opposite. On more than one occasion he had to complain of charges having been made against himself as a Roman Catholic by hon. Gentlemen opposite, which they, too, felt so painfully when urged against themselves. The hon. Member who had just sat down had spoken of the indecency of bringing forward charges of perjury against Members of that House; but he should like to know, not how many had indulged in such calumnies, but how few had refrained from them in their addresses on the hustings during the late election? Although those who agreed with him in religious impressions had long been accustomed to be taunted and maligned by every epithet that could be most painful to the feelings of a gentleman, they were not yet so callous as to be insensible to the reproaches which were sometimes cast upon them, and, therefore, he hoped if hon. Gentlemen opposite felt galled when charges like the present were brought home to them, they would be a little more cautious in their aspersions for the future. With respect to the matter immediately under consideration, he meant as to the decisions of election Committees, he felt considerable difficulty in expressing an opinion. He remembered, while yet a novice, unacquainted with the proceedings of that House, being requested to attend a ballot shortly after taking his seat, and the fact he was about to state, while it showed the spirit in which parties acted, was equally applicable to both sides of the House. On that occasion having been anxiously requested to attend a ballot, he said to the gentleman who applied to him, "Are you not aware that the Members are bound by oath at the Table of the House to give a verdict according to the evidence?" And the reply he received was, "If such be your impressions, you may as well absent yourself." He was not aware any distinction could be drawn between a Member binding himself by a solemn oath to give a verdict according to evidence and a juryman in a court of justice; and the expressions of joy and congratulation which he had heard in that House only last Thursday, when a Com- mittee was chosen of certain Members, should have excited universal reprobation. The hon. Member then read an extract from an article in Fraser's Magazine, in which, alluding to the decisions which had been come to in the last Parliament, it was said, "The Committees decided according to their respective political feelings but it was mere folly to call this forswearing themselves." He did not like using any harsh terms, but if he were obliged to give an opinion, he could not conscientiously say the accusation was false.

Mr. Colquhoun

said, the House had been placed in a very singular position by the amendment of the noble Secretary-at-War. A charge had been made against every Member of that House—at least against every Member who sat on that (the opposition) side of the House—and they had been told by the noble Lord it applied to both sides of- the House, with respect to election Committees. What was the charge? That those who by a solemn oath bound themselves to decide according to evidence were guilty of corrupt perjury. He was glad the noble Lord had retracted the expression "substantially true;" he after wards admitted, that it was not "substantially true;" for he said, that hon. Members being ignorant of law, or difficult questions requiring much technical knowledge often decided wrong. They must all admit, that party spirit or bias prevailed in the minds of hon. Members who constituted election Committees; he attributed to them no blame on that account, for it was inseparable from the weakness of human nature. A Member feeling a strong desire that a particular individual should be seated, heard the evidence and the speeches of counsel with that bias, and decided according to it; but surely there was the utmost difference between the bias of a prejudiced partisan and the cool deliberate calculations of a perjurer. What did the noble Lord propose to do? That they should pass to the order of the day, that they should tamely sit down in the face of the public under the taint of universal perjury. If any one had charged an individual Member of that House with perjury, must he not instantly have proceeded to investigate it, and if he were found guilty, of course he would be considered unworthy of a seat in that House. But was the charge rendered less flagrant because it was made wholesale?—because the House of Com- mons was, in the face of England, tainted with an universal leprosy? He maintained there was no other way of upholding the character of the House and the consistency of their proceedings, than supporting the motion of the noble Lord, and he thanked him for having brought the subject forward—he thanked him, in the name of all the Members from Scotland, both Whig and Tory; for he did not believe, that there was a single Member from that country who would appear at the Table of that House and take an oath to administer justice according to the evidence, and then go into the Committee room and return a verdict to favour his party views and prejudices, but a against the solemn oath he had taken, and thus be guilty of deliberate perjury. He, therefore, called upon all the Members from Scotland, on both sides of the House, solemnly to declare, that the accusation of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was a false and deliberate calumny. The question, from whom the charge emanated, was a matter of little consideration. The single circumstance of the individual being a Member of that House rendered it a much more serious case than if the charge had been made in The Times or Morning Chronicle, or any other publication. He, therefore, called on the House to meet this charge as the noble Lord the Member for Northamptonshire proposed. He thanked that noble Lord on another ground for bringing forward this motion; he thanked him, because by that motion he had produced a revelation on a matter which had hitherto been much and curiously concealed—namely, on the connexion which had been long supposed to exist between the hon. and learned Member for Dublin and the Members of her Majesty's Government. [Question.] He would show that his rein arks were strictly relevant to the question. The motion of the noble Lord, the Member for Northamptonshire had been met by a proposition of the noble Secretary for the Home Department to enter into an investigation of certain proceedings of a right rev. Prelate. He had no objection to such an investigation. The right rev. Prelate himself had no objection to such an investigation. But it was curious to observe how promptly and instantly the noble Secretary had thrown that proposition as a shield over his great partisan and ally, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He was only doing justice to the noble Secretary when he said, that if he or if any other hon. Member were to charge Lord John Russell with being guilty of gross and wilful perjury, all his honest feeling and all his high blood would rise instantly in defiance of that slanderous imputation. He was only doing justice to the noble Secretary when he said, that he believed that the noble Lord would be anxious to maintain in that House the same high character which he enjoyed out of it as a private individual; and he hoped in return that the noble Secretary would do him and his friends the justice to suppose that they held quite as high as he held, the value of character. The charge of gross, wilful, and deliberate perjury was not brought against them amid the excitement of a Crown and Anchor meeting, but was calmly and solemnly repeated in that House, and was repeated against them all. He should have expected that the noble Secretary, as soon as the noble Member for Northamptonshire had tabled his motion would have risen on his own behalf, on behalf of his friends, and on behalf of the whole House, to repudiate this slanderous calumny. But no, not at all. The noble Secretary proposed to divert their attention from it by an amiable inquiry into the proceedings of a right rev. Prelate. Let the noble Lord bring forward his threatened inquiry, let us have a field day—let the noble Lord open his batteries and mount the breach. He would tell the noble Lord, that the right rev. Prelate would find some defenders even in that House. [Hear, hear!] Yes, in spite of all the cheers of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, he dared to say, that the right rev. Prelate would have some supporters even in that House; and he said that, because he believed it to be the practice of the House of Commons to allow every individual accused at its bar to be heard in his defence. But surely, if a charge were to be brought against the right rev. Prelate, such as the noble Lord had alluded to, the proper place in which to bring it forward, was the place where the right rev. Prelate sat, and where he could defend himself; and if the noble Lord was as anxious for that inquiry as he professed to be, surely he had ways and means of having it proposed there. But that is irrelevant to the present question. But so, too, is the amendment of the noble Secretary—grossly irrelevant—it is so irrelevant—[Lord J. Russell: I have moved no amendment.] The noble Lord had unquestionably placed a notice on the books, but instead of following it up, had taken shelter under the amendment of the previous question, moved by his noble colleague, the Secretary at War. Perhaps the House would yet hear that notice moved; but from what had hitherto occurred, he understood it to be the wish of the noble Secretary to have the previous question moved as an amendment, and to huddle and cover up the original motion under the pressure of it. A charge of gross, wilful, and deliberate perjury, had been brought against every Member of the House of Commons, not merely against those who sat on the opposition, but also against those who sat on the Ministerial benches. He took the noble Secretary as a witness to that charge. He took the House also as a witness to this fact, that when this charge was first talked of, the noble Secretary had attempted to divert their attention from it by an attack on a right rev. Prelate. It was curious, that no sooner was this charge made against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, than the House was called upon to throw its shield over him, and was to sit still under the taint of universal perjury, so that the hon. and learned Member might not have his language characterised in the severe but just terms proposed by the noble Member for Northamptonshire,—terms which he had conceived to be so well chosen as to compel every Member to support them who wished to stand well with his constituents.

Mr. Eaton

said, that having been appointed a Member of the Committee to decide on the merits of the Belfast election, he could not sit quiet whilst he heard a charge of perjury against it. On the part of that Committee, and in justification of his own conscience, he said, that he would not submit to act upon that Committee if he were liable to be intimidated by the taunts of Mr. O'Connell. He would only add an expression of his willingness to support the motion of the noble Member for Northamptonshire.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, he was not surprised at the feelings expressed by the hon. Member who spoke last. He was not surprised, that any hon. Member, on whom by law the trial of a controverted election had fallen, should feel the situation in which he would be placed if he were liable to be charged with the commission of gross, wilful, and deliberate perjury, without having any remedy for such a cruel wrong. Was that the case with respect to any other subject of the realm? Let him ask the House whether, in the most trifling case, if a jury were summoned in the Court of Queen's Bench or in any other court, and if any one were to presume to publish, that the jury who heard, and that the judge who tried it, were guilty of wilful and deliberate perjury,—let him ask the House whether there would be any hesitation to inflict on the individual who made such a charge against the judge and the jury, the punishment of commitment for contempt? Even if such a charge were made against the judge and the jury in a humbler court, as for instance in a court of quarter sessions—let him ask the House whether the publication of such a charge, against such parties, would not be an indictable misdemeanour, subjecting the party to be very heavily punished? But, of that protection which was given by the law and practice of this country to every other individual who had to try a case as judge or juror, it was now proposed to deprive this branch of the high court of Parliament. It had been said by some hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, "We don't pretend to justify this language." But the noble Secretary had gone much further, and said, "We don't justify it, but we plead guilty to the use of it." He asked whether that was not a fair construction to put upon the amendment of the noble Secretary at War? Hon. Members sitting on his (the Opposition) side of the House had been charged out of doors with the commission of gross perjury. Notice had been taken of that charge within those walls. The hon. and learned Member, who had made it out of doors, came forward and repeated it in the face of the House, and then the noble Secretary came forward to propose that the House should not consider that charge, but should pass on to the other orders of the day. Now there could be only one of these two reasons for such an amendment, either that the charge was in itself of so trivial and frivolous a nature, that the assertion either one way or the other was of no importance, or that hon. Members felt it to be so just that they needs must plead guilty to it. Let them consider what the effect must be of adopting either of those reasons as their own. To-morrow was a day fixed for the appointment of an election Committee. Did they mean to say that they would summon Members to their table, and compel them to try the merits of a disputed return, knowing, as they must know, that if their decision were not such as to please the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, they would first of all be publicly accused by him out of doors of gross and deliberate perjury, and that, in the next instance, they must submit to the mortification of seeing him get up in his place to re-assert and justify his accusation. Was that a fair situation, he would ask to put any man in? If such an attack would be a gross act of injustice in any individual, was not its injustice extremely aggravated when it was made by an hon. and learned Gentleman who was himself shortly to be a defendant before an election Committee? It was holding out this language to the hon. Members who came to be sworn at the table as Members of the Committee to sit upon his case,—"Decide for me and no one shall bring a charge against you; decide against me and I will publicly accuse you of wilful perjury," a charge which, if the House affirmed the amendment of the noble Secretary at War, they could never notice or visit with any contradiction hereafter. The hon. Member might repeat it again with impunity, if the House failed to notice it now. He might then say, "I said it once before out of doors. I was charged in the House with having said it there. I repeated it before your faces, and you then went to the orders of the day. Now, when I assert it a third time, will you venture to punish me? I was encouraged to the repetition of it by your decision on that occasion, which was an admission of the truth of the charge, and I am therefore justified, by your own admission of its truth, in reasserting it." He felt, that under such circumstances no hon. Member would be justly blameable for refusing to serve upon an election Committee; for it was not fitting that a man of honour should be exposed to such imputations, cast upon them as they were by an individual who set their rules and privileges at defiance. "I know not, Sir," continued the right hon. Member, "if conduct like this is to be overlooked, how you are to discharge the functions of the Chair. Let me ask you, Sir, if any Gentleman who now hears me should bring forward a charge here, no matter how disorderly or how contrary to the regulations of the House, in what manner and with what chance of success you can interpose, if this amendment be carried. The hon. Member whom you, Sir, call to order, will say to you, I reassert the charge I have already made; it is a charge of the same nature which Mr. O'Connell made against one side of the House, which his supporters made against the other, including themselves; which he was called upon to defend after he had made it; which he refused either to retract or to apologise for, and which, after being called on for a retractation or an apology, he openly re-asserted; and therefore, Sir, though you tell me that I am doing what is wrong, what is disorderly, what is contrary to the practice, the regulations, and the privileges of the House, I will persevere, I will pursue my own course, I will reassert the very matter of which you pointedly complain. 'And now,' he will continue, let the House, if it can, either stop or punish me for what they neither stopped nor punished Mr. O'Connell. Sir, they cannot, they dare not.' Such, Sir, will be the language you will be condemned to hear, if the House, in an unfortunate hour, should be induced to concur in this amendment. The honour and regularity of our proceedings are more at stake than the conduct of any individual. I know not how the assertion of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin can be more fairly met than by the motion of the noble Member for Northamptonshire. I can lay my hand on my heart, and say, that I have never been on any Committee of the many in which I have acted, in which I had reason to believe any Gentleman was guilty of gross perjury, or of doing what he knew and what he felt to be wrong. Members there have been on Committees, and Members there will be on them, as on other tribunals, who have sometimes erred, and who have come to decisions which many thought wrong, of which I myself disapproved. On doubtful questions they have been, insensibly to themselves, biassed by partialities; they have paid, perhaps, an undue deference to the opinions of others, instead of forming, as they ought, their own judgment. But, after forty years experience, I declare, that I do not know of one instance which could justify the observation made against this side of the House by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. If such an observation were true, I repeat what I said on a former occasion, that it is not merely for the trial of controverted elections, but also for all legislative functions, that we are unfit. If that be the case, the sooner we consent to any change or reform in our system of Government the better, and readily will I agree to it."

Viscount Eastnor

, as Chairman of the Marylebone Election Committee; begged to say a few words. It was true, that the majority upon that Committee were Gentlemen who generally sat upon that side of the House, and, consequently, came under the denomination of "perjured Tories;" but he flattered himself, that no one proceeding of that Committee could fairly be brought in question. In point of fact, no sooner had the Committee assembled, and the counsel communicated with each other, than the counsel for the sitting Member, who had to make out his qualification, declared, that after the best consideration of the subject, he was not prepared to advise the sitting Member to defend his case; and, on the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner as distinctly stated, that after due consideration, he thought it would be so difficult, and would require so much time and outlay of money, to strike off, if it could be done at all, so many votes as to put the petitioner at the head of the poll, that he would not give the Committee any further trouble on the subject, and consequently the Committee could not have come to any other decision than the one it had given. He believed, that at the time the speech in question was made by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, the Marylebone election Committee was the only one upon which the majority came under the denomination of a Tory majority. He could not have conceived it possible, had he not heard it from the hon. and learned Gentleman, that Sir S. Whalley could make such a statement as that he was deterred from venturing upon the defence of his seat because the majority of the Committee were Tories. This was a most unfair statement, for he could conscientiously say, that he had not, in any proceeding of that Committee, detected the slightest tendency to unfairness. Such statements as these could have no effect upon Members of the House who were acquainted with the circumstances of each case, but they went forth with a most unfavourable effect to the public. He could well enter into the feelings which had actuated the noble Member for Northamptonshire; and when he beard the obnoxious words openly in the face of the House avowed and adopted by the hon. and learned Member who had uttered them elsewhere, he could not conceive how any Member of the House could patiently submit to remain under the charge which they conveyed. The charge was a most unjust one; it was not simply a charge against Members of that House of having allowed their political feelings to weigh with them in the decision of doubtful or nicely-balanced points, of having had a bias towards party—that would have been a different thing—but this was a charge of wilful perjury; a charge that not only every gentleman, but every man endowed with honest feelings, must feel disgust and abhorrence for. He, for one, could not patiently remain under such a stigma; and he could safely say, that not only he himself had never rendered himself liable to such a charge, but that he had never witnessed it in others.

Mr. Brotherton

thanked the hon. Member who had vindicated the Salford Committee. He believed that Committee had decided most justly. He also thanked the hon. Member for Wenlock for the information which that hon. Gentleman had, at so early a date, given him about various election Committees; for, before evidence had been heard in any of these Committees, the hon. Gentleman had been kind enough to inform him what would be the result in each case.

Mr. Horsman

thought, that hon. Gentlemen opposite were not following the wisest possible course in this matter. He quite agreed with the noble Lord below him, that the evils of the present election Committees were not limited to one side of the House, but prevailed equally on both sides. A substantial majority of the House would affirm that this charge was true. Yes, it was the opinion of a great portion of the Members of that House, that they who came to the Table of the House to swear that they would decide according to justice, were led away by their private feelings, and decided 'according to their party. The Gentlemen opposite appeared, on this occasion, to have their sensitive feelings worked up to the highest pitch of excitement at the bare idea of perjury; but the petition presented a few nights ago, which distinctly charged the Roman Catholic Members of the House with perjury, created no such feeling in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite. That petition was intrusted to the hon. Member for East Kent, its reception was opposed, and he himself had submitted to that hon. Gentleman the propriety of withdrawing a petition which passed so great and unnecessary an insult upon a large body of the Members of that House. The hon. Gentleman, however, in order that the House might judge of the petition, moved that it should be read by the clerk at the table; it was read, and contained a specific charge against the Roman Catholic Members. The hon. Member for East Kent then prudently expressed himself inclined to withdraw the petition, very much to the declared dissatisfaction of many hon. Gentlemen opposite, the hon. Member for the University of Oxford in particular loudly insisting on its being received. Yet, notwithstanding this circumstance of so recent occurrence, hon. Gentlemen opposite talked as if it were an altogether unheard-of thing, that Members of that House should be charged with a forgetfulness of their oaths. The imputation against the Roman Catholic Members was received by hon. Gentlemen opposite with the utmost complacency, but no sooner was any thing of the sort thrown out against themselves, than their zeal for the honour of the House became great, overflowing, and no expression of indignation could be too pointed to mark their sense of the insult offered to the Members of the House of Commons. He was greatly pleased to see that hon. Gentlemen opposite had, since the other night, discovered that the charge of perjury was not one which ought lightly to be thrown out against Members of that House. He was glad to perceive that, however unfeeling they were when such a charge was brought against one class of Members of the House, they were at least particularly sensitive when the charge was retorted upon themselves. To come to the precise question before them, in the first place, he begged to return the noble Lord below him his most cordial thanks for the course he had that evening adopted. The feeling which the noble Lord had evinced could not be too highly admired, and he trusted, that the conclusion of the affair would be equally satisfactory to the House. He could only for himself express the conviction, that if the noble Lord, in the career which lay before him, was fortunate enough to bring forward many motions, as happy in their results as be was sure this would be, the noble Lord's political career would be as splendid as he trusted it would be long. It appeared to him (Mr. Hors-man) that hon. Gentlemen opposite had very carefully avoided meeting the question, and had contented themselves with mere general assertions. What, he would ask, was the well understood opinion of every person who had at all considered the subject upon the election Committees of that House? What was the well-known opinion of Members themselves, of counsel, of agents, of every person in any way connected with them? What was the course adopted by Members themselves on the very last occasion that Committees were balloted for? On that occasion the Conservative Member got a Liberal Committee, the Liberal Member a Conservative Committee, and in each case the Member at once gave up his seat without contesting the point further, one of them, the Liberal Member, stating, in the newspapers, his reason for having done so; this reason being precisely that he had got a Conservative majority against him in the Committee. The cases he alluded to were those of the late Members for Tynemouth and Marylebone. [Hear, hear!] Hon. Gentlemen seemed to intimate that he was wrong in describing the former Gentleman as a Conservative, but it was his custom to judge of hon. Gentlemen's opinions from the party among which they ordinarily ranked themselves; and still, from the opinions which they expressed, and acting on this rule, he conceived he was not very wrong in classing the hon. Gentleman among the Conservatives. Had the hon. Gentleman felt that his Committee was "a favourable one," he would hardly have given up as he had done. The charge of the hon. and learned Gentleman, however, was confined to one set of men, and to one particular question. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the Spottiswoode conspiracy, of the manner in which that conspiracy was instituted and carried on, and it was in reference to this that he said, the Irish and Scotch Gentlemen were prepared to do injustice. A greater evil, a more flagrant abuse, than this Spottiswoode subscription never existed. The subscription was suggested before the Irish elections took place in the Tory journals, in the month of June; meetings were called, subscriptions entered into, and petitions prepared against the Liberals, even before the result of the elections was known. If that was not a flagrant outrage, it would be difficult to understand what came under that denomination.

Mr. Plumptre

referred to the petition presented the other evening against the Roman Catholic Members. The parties who signed that petition conceived that the Roman Catholic Members, in taking part in the questions respecting Church property in Ireland and in England, violated their oaths, and they stated that the only security they had against a repetition of such conduct was the expulsion of those Members from the House.

Mr. Hogg

did not rise to deal in wholesale imputations against Gentlemen on the other side; he was not going to call the attention of the House to the batch of fount en petitions got up by Mr. Coppock, or to the shrinking sensibility which would not allow a single question to be put to that gentleman when be was called to the bar, but he wished to lay before them a particular case in which that gentleman was concerned. The gentleman who attempted to get up the petition in this case applied to his own agent, who indignantly refused to be a party to the transaction, inasmuch as there was not a tittle of foundation for it; he then went to Mr. Coppock, a ready instrument in such designs, who undertook the job. The House would be astonished when he told them that the agent of the party was told by Mr. Coppock, on remonstrating with him, that he had put in the petition to keep the Tory Members from acting on Election Committees. [Cries of "Name."] He had been asked his authority; he seldom rose in that House, and when he did he took care to be pretty certain of his facts. His authority was a note addressed to him by the agent of the Liberal candidates, who was afraid that he (Mr. Hogg) should think him a party to such a disgraceful proceeding. The petition was directed against himself and his colleague. The note was as follows:— Sir,—A petition having been presented against the return of yourself and Mr. Fox, for Beverley, charging you with bribery and corruption before the House of Commons, I did not think that in the situation in which I then stood I ought to interfere; but the matter being now ended, I think it due to myself, from the position in which I stand, and as agent in the late election, to inform you that I was not, and would not be, a party to such a disgraceful proceeding; and so I told Mr. Coppock, by whom the petition was got up, for the purpose, as he informed me, of preventing either of you from sitting upon Committees. I beg to assure you that Mr. Clay was no party to the getting up of the petition, and that he, with me, deprecates the whole proceeding as most vexatious and ungentlemanlike. He hoped the House would not consider the observations he had now addressed to them as irregular, and he ventured to think he had not addressed them without foundation.

Sir E. Sugden

was anxious, before the House divided upon this occasion, that they should understand exactly where the question now rested. He confessed he was very unwilling to rise, not simply from the impatience the House might feel, but because he did expect that some Member of her Majesty's Government would address it on this great and important question, involving the rights and privileges of that House, which were the best protection of the liberties of the people when firmly and properly maintained. He did expect that some Member of the Government would have risen on this occasion beyond the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, who had contented himself with offering but a few observations. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin, as he understood, put his case thus:—He first told the House, and truly, that it was a fearful thing when the seats of justice were tainted with corruption; and then he stated his sole object to be to bring before the House and the country the defective condition of the tribunal at present established by law for the trial of controverted elections. That, perhaps, was not a fair way of trying the question. In the first place, the House would not fail to recollect how painful it must be to Members who were bound to serve on Committees, and Members who might hereafter be bound to serve on Committees, to have such an imputation cast on them as that of the hon. and learned Member. The hon. Member said, "you have a defective tribunal, against which the whole world cries out as an abuse, and to which we are all agreed that some remedy must be applied; we have tried to remedy it, and the noble Lord on the Treasury bench has expressed his willingness to assist in accomplishing that object; you have opposed us in our endeavours, and therefore let the whole weight of the indignation of the country rest on you." Now, if the question were simply will you or will you not consider whether the tribunal should be altered, there was not one Gentleman on the Opposition side who had not shown perfect willingness to enter upon it. The objection which Gentlemen on that side made to the propositions which had come from hon. Gentlemen opposite was, that after the cases had arisen, and were waiting for adjudication, it was sought to introduce a new tribunal for the purpose of trying them. There would be no objection on the part of any Gentleman on that side to enter on a consideration of the nature of a tribunal to be constructed after the cases at present undecided should have been disposed of. Now, would anybody out of the House believe, for Gentlemen in the House knew it too well to be misled, that the Bill which had been introduced for the purpose of remodelling the present tribunals was open to every objection which could possibly be brought against the existing constitution of these bodies? What, therefore, became of the ground which the noble Secretary at War took, when he complained that those who sat on the Opposition benches would not entertain a measure for the reconstruction of these tribunals? The hon. Member for Liskeard proposed that there should be a Committee of five Members instead of eleven; but suppose that number to be fixed upon, what increased security was there for the rectitude of their decisions? If the Members were the foul and guilty perjurers they had been represented to be, a mere diminution of the number would only give greater facility and present greater inducement to perjury. It ought, therefore, to be distinctly understood, that no proposition had been hitherto made to the House for establishing a tribunal which would not be open to the very same objections as were urged against that which at present existed. But the hon. and learned Member for Dublin might say, "I, too, desired to give you a remedy, which you would not adopt." The House could not have forgotten the manner in which that hon. Member had thought proper to proceed with regard to the Bill he had asked leave to introduce. He was speaking from recollection of the facts, but they were so recent, and had made so lasting an impression, that he could not be much mistaken in them. When the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard had brought in his Bill, the hon. Member for Dublin proposed his own measure. It was considered irregular that two Bills with the same object should be before the House at the same time, but that difficulty was got rid of by changing the title of the hon. Member for Dublin's Bill. The hon. Member for Liskeard introduced his Bill, but the hon. Member for Dublin did not lay a line of his on the table of the House. The hon. Member for Liskeard, who of course must know much more than he could of the intentions of the hon. Member for Dublin, in consequence plainly declared that he believed the hon. Member had never prepared a line of his Bill. What, then, became of this exquisite plan—this admirable measure? The hon. Member for Liskeard was a little driven to the wall about his own Bill; and the Opposition wished the hon. Member for Dublin to bring in his Bill, in order that the House might have an opportunity of comparing both measures, and judging of their merits. But the noble Lord came in to extricate his Friend from difficulty, and acting, not in collusion, Oh! no, but in amiable concert with the hon. Member for Dublin, recommended him to withdraw the Bill for the present, and the hon. Member at once said with a smile of gracious condescension, "I withdraw all opposition to the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard." When the hon. Member for Dublin declared he had submitted another plan to the House, his memory must be frail; it was evidently not to be relied upon in the matter. He would now come to the question before the House. Hon. Gentlemen, as the law now stood, were bound to serve on those Committees; if not, they were liable to be punished by the House. Nobody could deny—and he entirely agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin in this—that if you once cast a suspicion on the judicial bench, or on any judicial tribunal, either in that House or out of it, there was an end to the practical utility of that tribunal, and that nothing but certainty of the fact could justify a Member of that House in casting such a charge. If you once said that a judge had given way to a corrupt bias, and thus tainted him as he sat, from that moment he was quite disabled from administering justice either with benefit to the public or with satisfaction to himself. To bring such a charge as this against a tribunal of that House was, therefore, deserving of every reprehension; and when he was asked to believe that Members of that House were in the habit of committing perjury, he could not agree with the hon. Gentleman who had spoken from the third bench, in the mitigated view he had taken of the nature of the charge. No, he felt that perjury was what was intended by that charge—it was, that hon. Members went into those Committees with the intention to break their oath. Now, he declared, upon his solemn word, as a Gentleman, that he did not believe there was one man in the House who would so act, and if he knew such a man, he would spurn him as he would spurn the lowest animal. Was there any one who believed that such a man was in the House, or who would hold intercourse with a man who would go into a Committee and deliberately break his oath? The noble Lord, the Secretary at War, in the course of his speech, had turned round upon himself, and corrected an unfortunate expression he had made use of, by saying that a noble Friend near him had reminded him that he should have said no such thing as that the observation of the hon. and learned Member was quite deserved. But why did not the noble Lord who supplied this correction, why did he not stand forward in the place which, as a Minister of the Crown, and as leader in that House, he ought to fill, and speak out upon this question? Nobody could doubt that this was a gross breach of the privileges of that House—nobody living could have a doubt of it; it would bring them all into contempt, and God only could bring them out of it if they were fairly open to it. He spoke in a sad and solemn feeling. He had never served on one of those Committees, but when he heard his hon. Friends who sat around him, whom he knew to be as incapable of such conduct as himself, and for whom he felt as warmly as he should for himself, thus charged, he could not sit still or rest contented without offering a few remarks to the House. How had this charge arisen? Why, numbers of questions were of such a nature as would admit of being decided either way, without the smallest impeachment upon the integrity of the person deciding. He would take an instance—the question of opening the registers—that might fairly be decided either way, and parties with every disposition to form a correct judgment might decide in favour of that side which their friends espoused. He did not mean to defend the practice, but it was incident to the composition and nature of the tribunal. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had said that he avowed the charge, and made it in order that the question might be raised, and a remedy found. What was the charge? That the great body of the English and Scotch Members of the Commons House of Parliament habitually commit perjury against the Irish Members, and that Ireland was not safe against the combination of Tory Members. He believed in his heart that there was not one Member in the House who believed this charge. But what was the object of the hon. and learned Gentleman? Not to vilify the great body of the Members of that House, but to obtain a remedy for the evils of the present system of deciding controverted elections. Was it then a fair mode of obtaining such an end to bring forward such a charge in such an invidious way? Was that a customary way of bringing forward a general question? He said a general question, for it was one in which the character of the whole House was involved, and he must repeat that he thought it a most unfair way of bringing forward an important general question to make such a charge against a particular part of that House. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin said "I have a petition against me, and I have no faith that this petition will be tried fairly by an English Committee." But in what situation did this statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman place the Members of the Committee? No man could do his duty on that Committee with ease and satisfaction to himself under this charge. In truth, if he himself was on that Committee, he should go through his duty with a conviction that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin would not acquiesce in his decision, after having branded the committee beforehand as predetermined on the case. There was one other point he wished to notice. He never had, and he never should bring against the Roman Catholic Members of that House a charge of perjury, but the interpretation to be put on the oath which they took was, he conceived, fairly matter open to discussion; if however, in the course of such discussion, men's feelings were outraged and their conscientious scruples wounded, and charges fixed on them, he should ever be the first to deprecate the agitation of the question. But let it not be overlooked that the charge of perjury against the Catholic Members was not like that which was made against that side of the House, which was that of dealing in wholesale perjury for their own political purposes.

Lord John Russell

said, the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down having called on those who sit on this bench to speak to this question, I am willing to rise for that purpose; but at the same time I do feel that both on myself and on those who sit beside me he imposes rather a hard task in making this demand on us; for if we sit silent, the right hon. Gentleman declares it is due to the House to give our opinion on the question; but if we take the side which my noble Friend has taken, if we say that this charge ought to be passed over, and the House should come to no decision on the subject, then we are told that we are endeavouring to shield the hon and learned Member for Dublin; in short, that we are acting in collusion with him. Notwithstanding this difficulty, I beg to offer my opinion to the House, that opinion being that it is not advisable for the House to proceed in this matter. I am aware it used to be the custom, and I impute no blame to the noble Lord who has brought forward this question for following that custom—I am aware it used to be the custom when anything was found in a public newspaper, or when any sentiment was uttered by a public character which was held to be a breach of Parliamentary privilege, to bring it under the consideration of this House, to vote that it was a breach of privilege, and to commit the offending person, whether he were an individual moving in a high station, or the editor of a newspaper, or an unfortunate printer or publisher, to the custody of the Sergeant-at-arms, or to be confined in Newgate, and to say that thereby the honour of this House was vindicated. My experience has taught me that this is an unwise proceeding in such cases. I have never seen any advantage arise to the House from contentions of this kind. The matter has, generally speaking, assumed one of two shapes. Either it was a subject on which the public attention was not excited, and might have been passed over without the least importance being attached to it, or it was one to which the public did attach importance; and the feeling out of doors sympathising with the alleged libel or breach of privilege, it was no satisfaction to the country to be told, that a majority of that House had resolved that it was a breach of privilege, and that to vindicate their honour and assert their privilege they committed to Newgate the person who had asserted doctrines contrary to their own. I think that such on the whole is the case at the present moment. Be the opinion as calumnious as it has been stated to be—let everything that has been said of it by Gentlemen on the other side of the House be true—this cannot be denied, that the present is one of those cases in which a strong feeling does exist out of doors—there prevails, no doubt, a very strong feeling throughout the country as to the constitution of the election tribunals of this House. Hardly any hon. Gentleman who has spoken has ventured to say—I may state that no hon. Gentleman who has spoken has ventured to say, that these are tribunals that give universal satisfaction; on the contrary, it is confessed, that be the Committee a Tory Committee that is to try the validity of the return of a Liberal, or be it a Liberal Committee that is to try the validity of the return of a Tory, the Tory Committee rarely decides in favour of the Liberal, and the Liberal Committee rarely decides in favour of the opposite party. No one has said, that there is in these Committees that purity in the administration of justice which all avow that in the administration of justice there ought to be. One hon. Gentleman has admitted, that the decisions of the Committees are more or less in favour of the party composing the majority of them; the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down admitted that there was a bias in favour of party; the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire also said, there are cases in which partiality exists. Such are the different phrases that have been used, and, let me ask, do they not imply this—that you have a tribunal sworn to try cases impartially, and in a majority of cases it forms decisions which are not impartial. Now, if that is the opinion entertained—if it must be confessed that Gentlemen are sworn to try impartially, and the decisions are not impartial—what good, can any man say, will be effected by moving resolutions to declare that it is false and calumnious to use such words as are under consideration—words that are undoubtedly unjustifiable with respect to those parties—and that the person using them (because that is the usual consequence) ought to be committed to prison for having used them. Why, the noble Lord said, that we were bound not to depart from the usual custom in such cases. Do you not say in the resolution before you that this charge is false and calumnious, and that a gross breach of the privileges of this House has been committed; and will you stop there. The House will put itself in a most ridiculous position by such a proceeding. Look at the consequences with respect to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin himself. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock says if The Morning Chronicle or The Times had made this charge he should treat them with contempt; but he will allow me to tell him that if you permit the leading newspapers to say that the decisions of the Committees are unjust—that no justice is to be expected from an Election Committee—that impartial Election Committees must sooner or later be constituted, inasmuch as at present they act in open violation of their duty—if that is allowed to be said day after day by the leading newspapers of this country, though you put what words you please into your resolutions, and act on them as you may, you will not produce any effect on the public mind, but it will continue to be influenced by those assertions which are so made. Then what is the other course open to you? It is this, to put down by punishment the offenders. But if the editors of The Morning Chronicle and The Times, and all others thus conducting themselves are punished one after the other, will any good be effected. In what I have said I have spoken entirely with regard to the policy of proceeding on the noble Lord's motion—of proceeding in conformity with the course taken on some former occasions, not dissimilar, though not exactly resembling the present. When the House in 1833, on the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin himself, ordered certain persons to the bar, that order was discharged by the decision of a large majority, there existing a general sense of the impolicy of the proceeding. With respect to the present case, we are told that it calls for this grave and solemn resolution. Does that resolution resolve itself into the opinion given—does it resolve itself into the substance of the charge made against the Committees? By no means; it resolves itself into those very gross terms used with regard to the Members of the Committees, namely, "foul perjury." I don't mean in any way either to justify or to palliate those words; but I do not think that the use of words of this kind by a person engaged in the heat of party contentions, and brought forward by a noble Lord in this House, ought to be a ground of proceeding in this House. It has been told us by an hon. Gentleman behind me that for these last two or three years he has heard in this House and out of it, from the highest authorities and from the lowest sources, the charge of perjury against the Roman Catholic Gentlemen who are Members of this House. Have they the feelings of honour in any less degree than other Gentlemen? Are men holding that religion to be branded with the name of perjurers, and if any other persons are charged with perjury is that to be immediately made a matter of privilege. That is precisely the case. No one will for a moment deny, that the charge of perjury has been made in a very direct manner in the instances to which I have alluded. But the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Sugden) says it may be a question whether the Roman Catholics, having taken the oath, act consistently with it: that is certainly a more civil and perhaps a more equitable mode of dealing with the question; but, after all, it comes pretty much to this—that men have taken an oath, and not acted in conformity with that oath. Well, then, is that to be said over and over again, day after day, and men are to bear it—and they have very properly borne it, knowing the injustice, the utter groundlessness of the charge. Is that to be so repeated and so borne? And when a similar charge is made against the party I see opposite, then is it to be borne no longer, and are the House of Commons to be called on to interfere? Some observations have been made with respect to the notice—the conditional notice—which I gave the other night. I am willing to tell the House at once what it was I proposed in giving that notice. I wished to warn the noble Lord opposite, and to warn the House, of the danger of entering on proceedings of this kind. I thought I could take no better example than the one I then referred to. I am of opinion, as I have already said, that with regard to men engaged in this House in the heat of popular contentions, engaged in elections and in public meetings, the carrying to a great extent, to a licentious extent, perhaps, the use of political language, is a matter that ought to be left to be blamed and corrected by public opinion, and not made a subject of legal proceedings, when no obstruction is offered to the business of this House, and when this House is not threatened by popular or any other kind of violence. I would go on to show that public men are more to be pardoned in such cases, because a person who, from his station, from his honourable station, ought to be far removed from these party contentions—because where it might be expected that we should meet with only a pastoral charge to the clergy—where it would have been thought, and where, indeed, it should be found, that the pastoral duties of the clergy to their flocks, and the relations of the prelates to the clergy, were the main subjects he treated—even there party violence exhibited itself in the language used—even there, in speaking of a large number of the Members of this House, so forgetful for a moment was a right rev. Prelate of his high station, that of those Members acting in their legal capacity, he said their conduct "exhibited treachery, aggravated by perjury." I alluded to that circumstance last year, and I then said I hoped no one would take notice of it in this House; I thought it not a matter that ought to be taken notice of in this House; but I do say, if party heats and contentions so pervade society in this country that even a bishop addressing his clergy cannot refrain from using the term "perjury" as applied to a large portion of the Members of the House of Commons, and if that be passed by, surely some allowance ought to be made for a man who, engaged in the utmost heat of political contest, if he have not spared others, has himself never been spared by the parties opposed to him. Two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken have alluded to me on this occasion with a sort of triumph and congratulation, participated in by their party, that the course I have taken has proved me to be in close alliance with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. I wish them joy that that topic, which has been worn so nearly threadbare, has been revived. The falsehoods told on this subject, and which have so nearly worn out the patience of the public, if they had not been revived by this little incident, would scarcely have survived the short month longer, which perhaps they are now destined to endure. But I assure them that no joy or triumph on their parts will prevent me from making myself as subject as they please to that accusation, when I believe that I am acting for the benefit of my own country, or for the benefit of that part of her Majesty's dominions of which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin is one of the Representatives—when I believe that I am acting in conformity with the real dignity and interests of this House; but if that were not my object—if it had been one of a totally different nature—if I sought to give additional importance to the hon. and learned Gentleman—if I sought to elevate him in the eyes both of the people of Ireland and of the people of this country, I should then say, pass your resolution—condemn and stigmatise the hon. Member, send him to Newgate, and avow to the world that you have no other way of vin- dicating the decisions of your Election Committees. At the same time take into consideration a measure for altering the constitution of the Committees, and I fear by your very consideration of such a bill you will allow it to be seen that you are not ignorant of the defects in your present system. If the people of this country witnessed such proceedings, would they not say, "We thought before, that the Member for Dublin was a man against whose designs, with regard to the Protestant Church, we must be on our guard; for those who are entitled to our respect, and whom we are bound to listen to, have warned us against him; but when we see that the very parties who have warned us against him, are making him the victim of injustice, and sending him to prison for the sake of their party strife, we feel it to be our duty to stand by that man to the utmost of our power." That is the effect likely to result from such conduct. If we wish to maintain the dignity of this House, I think the most prudent course for us to take will be to adopt the motion of my noble Friend. If, on the other hand, we wish to add to the popularity and power of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, then my advice is, follow the counsel of the noble Lord opposite, whose spirit I admit does him honour, but who has little knowledge either of the public transactions of the day, or of what is now due to the opinions of society.

Sir Robert Peel

, before he noticed the speech of the noble Lord who had just sat down, begged to refer to one remark made by the noble lord (Lord Howick) who moved the previous question. It appeared to him that the noble Lord did not accurately remember what had passed in the House with respect to the bill relating to controverted elections. The noble Lord who represented her Majesty's Government (Lord John Russell) was desirous that the improved system of controverted elections should be immediately brought into operation; "but," said the noble Lord (Lord Howick), "that benevolent and virtuous intention of her Majesty's Government was defeated by the opposition which was offered to it on the opposition side of the House." He did not recollect the anxiety of her Majesty's Government to force forward that measure for the introduction of an improved system, He certainly did remember the noble Lord stating the course he meant to pursue with respect to the fixing of the days for the controverted elections; he did remember the noble Lord saying "he would not pledge himself absolutely to fix the day, because some extraordinary contingency might occur with respect to the petitions that might prevent him, though the noble Lord then fixed the day for taking the resolution into consideration. That day arrived, and he and his friends were panting with anxiety for a knowledge of that extraordinary contingency which might defeat the noble Lord's intention; but the noble Lord stated that he had referred to the petitions, and found nothing extraordinary in them, and therefore, instead of allowing him (Sir R. Peel) to fix the day, the noble Lord did it himself, and adopted the very terms of his (Sir R. Peel's) motion. The noble Lord was successful in carrying the second reading of the bill, why, then, did he not persevere? The noble Lord carried the second reading by a much larger majority than he had upon most other questions—he carried it by a majority of fifty three—but he fixed the days on which the election petitions should come on, and he never, acting for the Government, fixed the day on which to proceed with the bill. Here was the bill as originally brought in; here it was declaratory of the original intentions of the author of it; and what said the last clause with respect to which there was such an intense degree of anxiety because, forsooth, it was to substitute a new tribunal for the old? The last clause, which was not forced upon the noble Lord by a powerful majority, but which was supported by him as his own voluntary act—the last clause ran thus: "And be it enacted that this act shall take effect from and after the last day of the present Session." He begged leave, then, to deny that her Majesty's Government had shown any very determined or sincere intention to substitute for the present system of trying controverted elections a new one. He objected to the proposal made by the noble Lord at a subsequent period, because he thought that an attempt to substitute a new tribunal—by a bill to be passed through both Lords and Commons, in the present conflict of parties would have consumed so much time as to leave them no alternative, if all the existing petitions were subject to the new mode of trial, to indefinitely postpone them; and it was the first duty of the House to proceed to the adjudication of the controverted elections. Nor would the country be satisfied with the postponement till the new tribunal was constituted. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin proposed a plan which would have met all the objections now made to the present tribunals, because it would have removed the trial of controverted elections from this House. The hon. Member for Liskeard's bill, which was supported by the Government, was of a totally different character, and if the imputations which had been cast on the House were just they ought not to adopt that bill for it would still leave to the House the power of adjudication on election petitions. He now came to the speech of the noble Lord, (Lord John Russell) and to the consideration of those arguments by which the noble Lord endeavoured to convince the House that the proper course in this case was to pass to the order of the day. The noble Lord was surprised at the appeal made to him by his—(Sir R. Peel's) noble Friend, but it was perfectly justifiable. How was it possible, after the noble Lord had given public notice of his motion, that he could now consent to proceed to the order of the day? Why, the noble Lord had placed himself in the same boat with his noble Friend. The noble Lord did not rise and say the House had no authority on the subject, or that it would be advisable to consider it in the mean time, but he got up impatiently and eagerly and said "As soon as you have decided your question of privilege." [No, no!] He should like to be informed in what respect he misrepresented the words of the noble Lord. He did not mean such a decision as the noble Lord now anticipated, that of passing to the order of the day. The motion now made implied a shrinking from the decision of the House. The notice of the noble Lord was this—"Provided the House entertained"—[The remainder of the sentence was lost by the vehement cheering from the ministerial benches]. Why, in what a miserable position did they place themselves by this interruption. Observe how the supporters of her Majesty's Ministers manifested their exultation because they thought he had made a verbal mistake! Well, then, the noble Lord gave notice, that if the House of Commons entertained the motion of the noble Lord (Maidstone), He (Lord John Russell) would bring forward a motion of his own—that he would submit for the consideration of the House, a case of breach of privilege, alleged to have been committed two years since. In other words his noble Friend, and other Gentlemen serving on Election Com- mittees, having thereby an important and delicate public duty to perform, which they had discharged to the best of their ability, and according to the dictates of their conscience, being deliberately charged with the commission of foul perjury; had called upon the House for protection against such aspersions; and the answer, the conciliatory answer, of the noble Lord, was—"If the House of Commons affords you the protection you seek, I will bring forward for its consideration the similar charge against certain members of a former Parliament, made by a right rev. Prelate two years since!" That was the satisfaction proposed to be given by the noble Lord. But, then, his noble Friend had a right to make a specific appeal to the House. What were the simple facts of the case? Here was a charge of "foul perjury" preferred against Members of that House, and that charge was made against them acting in their judicial capacity. Such a charge, serious as it was, made in the heat and excitement of a public dinner, might not be visited with the censure of the House. But an opportunity was given to the hon. and learned Gentleman who had preferred the charge to explain it—he had not been called on suddenly to answer; nor taken unawares. The noble Lord, the Member for Northamptonshire, had given the hon. and learned Gentleman full notice of his intention to ask the question, and it was therefore perfectly competent for the hon. and learned Gentleman to have said, that it was perfectly true, that in a moment of excitement he had preferred the charge, and that he made it, feeling that the honour of those with whom he was associated had been impeached by similar charges having been preferred against him and them and no more perhaps would have been thought of it. But the hon. and learned Member took the more open and manly course of distinctly and deliberately, in his place, admitting, that he had made the charge, and that he still adhered to it. Members serving, or liable to serve, on Committees, had then no alternative but to appeal to the House for protection. In the first place was the charge well founded? That was the material point at issue. The first authority he should cite on this subject was that of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department himself. In the course of the present Session the noble Lord observed, "Now, without conveying an imputation of perjury on any side, when I see so much jealousy evinced as to placing the names of adverse parties on Committees, I must say that the fact seems to me to be a proof that such decisions will be party decisions. The main reason for this is the uncertainty of the law of elections, and more especially of the right of voting in Ireland. This was the case on the Longford Committee in particular. Where there are different decisions on the same grounds, party bias will occur. In saying this I by no means impute deliberate perjury to the members of those Committees." The noble Lord admitted that the charge was unfounded; he acquitted them of deliberate perjury; yet he refused to afford hon. Members the protection of the House! The noble Lord admitted the right of hon. Gentlemen who implored the protection of the House under such a charge; admitted their right to protection; yet no protection was to be afforded! There was the authority of the noble Lord himself for the position. He admitted that any charge of foul perjury, founded upon the proceedings of those Committees, was unfounded, and yet he refused to give the Members of those Committees the protection of a resolution of that. House. On what ground did his refusal go? Why, the noble Lord stated that there was a strong prejudice in the public mind on the subject. Was it not the duty of that House to set right the public mind whenever it was evidently swayed by improper and unfounded prejudices? Ought they, upon such a ground as that, to succumb to any charge, however gross, and unfounded, that was made against Members of that House? The best possible mode, and the most obvious, to encourage in the public mind these very prepossessions, was to shrink from declaring them unfounded. The noble Lord said there was in the public mind generally a prejudice against the mode of proceeding by Election Committees; but surely the distinction was quite clear between a desire to amend a defective tribunal and a wholesale charge of foul perjury against them. It was quite consistent to admit that political bias did operate on the decisions of Election Committees; and to desire to see the system changed; yet also to resent warmly the charge of wilful perjury against certain Members of that House. The noble Lord argued that the true way to elevate the hon. and learned Member in public opinion would be to visit him with the censure of the House. To visit him with an unjust censure would undoubtedly have that effect; but if the censure professed to be passed was a just one, why should the House of Commons shrink from recording it? Not, surely, because there were strong opinions in the public mind on the subject of Election Petitions. If, however, the present motion for censure was passed by, what would the House do with regard to the Election Petitions? If they were to pass this over, he should like to ask them what were they to do suppose a petitioner were to approach the House and charge them with foul perjury? Would they censure him? Would they reject his petition? Why, the same person might present another petition and say, that when the same charge was preferred against them they passed to the order of the day. What in such a case would they do with such a petitioner? What did they do with a petition the other day which contained a charge of perjury against the Roman Catholic Members of that House? The doctrine that the Speaker then laid down was, that they could not receive any such petition—that no petitioners had a right to charge Members with perjury, whether they were Protestants or Roman Catholics. He was not present himself, but he understood the Speaker to have said that such a charge would preclude the petition which should contain it from its being received by the House. To take another case:—Suppose a Member, forced by the order of the House to serve on a Committee, were to say—"I was ready to have discharged my duty, to have sacrificed my time, and to have endeavoured to the best of my abilities to fulfil the trust imposed on me. I appealed to you for protection against the charge of foul perjury; you would not afford me that protection; I will not, then, exercise the judicial functions you impose upon me, subject to the contingency of such consequences." What would the House do with a Member under such circumstances? Would they commit him to Newgate? Here would be the case of an individul refusing to act, not from pique or mere personal feeling, but because he declared that the House paralysed his powers of judging, so that no decision which he could give would be satisfactory. Would the majority which, it was said, would negative to-night the resolutions of the noble Lord, be prepared to commit a Member so situated to New-gate? If they would be so prepared, he had not heard any thing urged to show why the House of Commons should not proceed in such a matter as any court of justice in the kingdom would proceed. He remembered a case of a similar kind, which occurred in 1834. Mr. Hill, a gentleman then in Parliament, had reported some conversations which were said to have taken place between certain Members as to the votes proposed to be given for Government on certain questions. Here was a charge against the Members for Ireland—how did the House deal with it? Why, on the first day of the session attention was drawn to it. By whom! By Mr. O'Connell! The hon. Member stated "he must observe that the question before the House was a public one, inasmuch as it concerned deeply the constituency of Ireland to know whether any of their Representatives had behaved in the manner described. The noble Lord had satisfactorily replied to the question put by himself and another Irish Member, but other Members, and amongst them his hon. Friend, the Member for Tipperary (Mr. Sheil), had been interrupted when he rose to propose the same question to the noble Lord. His hon. Friends and constituents, were deeply interested in their character, and therefore he pressed the noble Lord to be more explicit." "The hon. Member for Tipperary had constituents who had a right to know whether the Member they had sent to that House was worthy of their confidence or not; for the sake of that portion of the community there interested, then, and also for the characters of the hon. Members themselves, he felt, and he was sure the House would on a little reflection concur with him, that an opportunity of explanation ought not to be denied to those who sought it."* In the present case also the noble Lord had constituents who thought his character and title to their trust ought to be supported. There were also many other Members who thought that in such a case as this it was for the public interest that they should be protected from a charge of so serious a nature. In the same debate, however, Mr. Hume, then Member for Middlesex, "advised the hon. and learned Gentleman not to notice such vague insinuations against Members of Parliament;" to which Mr. O'Connell replied, "This is not a * Hansard (Third Series) vol. xxi pp. 123 124. vague insinuation made by the public press or by parties out of doors, but a serious imputation preferred by a Member of Parliament." The previous question was moved, but he (Sir R. Peel) felt it was due to the Irish Members that there should be an investigation, and he accordingly voted for an inquiry. The motion for the previous question was rejected and the inquiry took place. But in the present case the charge was distinctly admitted, and a determination to adhere to it was declared. There was no allegation of proof, for although hon. Members, who had spoken on the other side, broadly stated their opinions that the tribunals were defective, yet they thought that the charge of foul perjury could not be sustained. This being so, then, he called upon the House to protect its Members from the charge of foul perjury that had been brought against them. Night after night, in the debates in that House, imputations were cast upon the great measure of Reform by those who aided in passing it; night after night it was declared that there had been more intimidation and expense and corruption at the last election than there ever occurred before. Now, they had heard it stated, that they—the Reformed Parliament—were disq alified by foul perjury, or the disposition to it, from discharging their judicial duties, from which it would necessarily be inferred that they were equally disqualified from the discharge of their other and more important duties. He really must say, that he was surprised that hon. Gentlemen and noble Lords opposite would consent that such imputations should be cast upon the acts of the House; and if they thought they had the power, which the House undoubtedly had, not of persecuting any one, but of vindicating the honour and dignity of their proceedings, and, in the exercise of strict justice, defending their own Members from unjust imputation—and if they desired to prevent such charges from being drawn into daily precedent, as by connivance and forbearance they would—then he entreated them to disregard those consequences which the noble Lord had threatened, of unduly elevating the hon. Member on the one hand, or of exciting unfavourable impressions on the minds of the vulgar on the other. He entreated them to do that which they believed to be consistent with truth and justice, and they would be amply rewarded for disregarding an appeal to their passions and unfounded apprehensions of evil consequences from their proceedings.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

declared, that if he had entertained any idea of the impropriety of the inquiry in which they had been engaged, that doubt had been completely removed by the speech which they had just heard. He could not but be convinced of that when he found that the right hon. Gentleman, with his commanding talents, which had acquired for him such influence within the House and out of it, could not make out a better case. The right hon. Gentleman had declared that they on his side of the House had triumphed because the right hon. Gentleman had fallen into a verbal inaccuracy. They had done no such thing; that which the right hon. Gentleman had been pleased to designate a verbal inaccuracy was a solid distinction between two things differing very much from each other. The right hon. Gentleman had first sought to lead the House to imagine that the noble Lord had proposed an amendment, thus affirming the principle. Now, the motion of the noble Lord did not do any such thing; his motion was directly the opposite; and the right hon. Gentleman assumed that this was a mere verbal distinction. This was a misapprehension, he should not say a misrepresentation, of fact upon the part of the right hon. Gentleman. His noble Friend had said this to the House of Commons; he asked them if they would enter into a question which was so likely to embarrass them—where parties were so likely to be affected by it, and where the public was so little likely to be served by it?—and this had been proved by the course which the debate had taken. The House had been called upon to affirm two resolutions, and up to that moment they had not heard one word as to what course was to be taken. He understood, though no direct statement had been made, yet he collected, from the information as far as it had been given, that it was not proposed to go further with those resolutions. He presumed, then, from the tenor of the speech of the noble Lord, that it was not his intention to go further than his two resolutions. He would read the resolutions upon which they were about to divide—"That the expressions containing charges of foul perjury against Members of this House in the discharge of their duties are false and scandalous imputations on the character and conduct of Members of this House," and "That Mr. O'Connell, having avowed that he had used those expressions, has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House." He was not aware whether his right hon. Friend (Mr. Wynn), who was so thoroughly acquainted with matters of this nature, could give an instance of the House having come to any such vote without following it up. But this he must say, that if they passed those resolutions, and passed them that night, and then did not go farther, that a more miserable effort than theirs had never yet been made by the collected force of an assembled party.

Lord Maidstone stated,

that it was his intention to go further than the two resolutions if they were agreed to by the House.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

It was intended then to go further, and he should not press that point; but then he asked them would they, by passing the resolutions, attain either of the objects which had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman who had last spoken? What had been done by their present course of proceeding? Supposing an imputation had been cast upon them, supposing a calumny had been uttered against them what had they done? They had taken the means calmly and deliberately of circulating it throughout the world. Every word that he had heard there would be circulated; it would be printed in the votes of that House, and it would be forwarded by the next evening to every portion of the empire. What must be the inference to be drawn from these proceedings? He greatly feared that they would by no means redound to the credit of the character of that House. The right hon. Gentleman had declared that he wanted to attain two objects. He wished, first, that they might set themselves right with the public. How were they to set themselves right? And, next, the right hon. Gentleman wished to protect Members of these Committees. Now, he must say, that when the public formed a judgment with regard to the acts of that House, and their Committees, they did it on grounds much more sound than any that could be afforded by a party vote that night, or by words used at the Crown and Anchor. He was not there, however, to vindicate the words that had been employed—on the contrary, he objected to them—he went further, and he had no objection to say that those words constituted a breach of privilege. On this subject he considered that there could be no doubt. But there came another question—the expediency of that House taking the step which had been recommended to them. How many breaches of their privilege, he asked, took place every hour and every day? and yet how inconvenient it would be to take up those matters. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Sugden) had, in his opinion, drawn a very minute distinction when he referred to charges of a similar nature preferred against Gentlemen of that House, and which were contained in petitions presented night after night, and then said that there were no imputations of "wholesale perjury." Now, he did not care whether the imputation was wholesale or retail; it was an imputation of the grossest nature, and he said, that unless they were disposed to take up the one they ought not to pursue the other. He wished to know if hon. Gentlemen opposite were aware that the same sort of charge had been deliberately brought against the heads of the Church, that the imputation of perjury had been preferred against the heads of the Church, of a violation of their oaths? Were they aware that this had been stated of those Commissioners, of the archbishops and bishops who were at the head of the Church Commissions, because they were members of chapters, had, as members of chapters taken oaths to preserve their chapters, and yet, notwithstanding their oaths, had recommended steps to be taken for interfering with their privileges. Had any steps been taken by the friends of the church for the purpose of vindicating their characters? No; conscious that they did not deserve it, they did what that House ought also to do, passed it over in silence. He had but one word more to say. He did not, and he never could, justify the words "foul perjury;" but he did say this of the decisions of that House, that they were not impartial—he did not believe that there was a single Gentleman in that House who would hesitate in expressing that opinion. No one doubted it. One called it "bias," another "party feeling;" but this must be acknowledged, that instead of being that which they ought to be, impartial, they had been partial in the decisions which they had given; and he, therefore, said so. Though he did not stand there to justify the words used by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, on the contrary, he thought those words very objectionable, at the same time he thought that if the House were called upon in the manner proposed, to vindicate their feelings and to assert the purity of their character if they acted upon the suggestion made to them, they would raise the inference against themselves that they relied not upon their character, not upon their conduct, but upon the force of their authority, and, using that weapon alone, they were afraid to appeal to public opinion. He considered that they ought to reject the motion of the noble Lord opposite. He thought it ill-considered; he thought it was unwise; and he was sure that if adopted it would not tend to the attainment of that object which its supporters had in view. The question was one that, in his opinion, ought not to be entertained, and therefore it was his intention to vote for the previous question.

Sir William Follett

said, he should not be satisfied with giving a silent vote upon the question before the House, more especially after the speeches which had been delivered by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department. It seemed to him that the opposition which was made to the motion of the noble Lord rested principally upon the ground that there were admitted difficulties in the constitution of the Committees of that House, and that it was to be inferred, that the Members disposed to vote with the noble Lord who proposed the motion, adopted the existing system. He would only say, that he had as much experience in the present system upon which their Election Committees were conducted as any one then present, and he was quite satisfied that no other Member in that House had attended more to the defects of the existing system than he had. He must also add, that none were more willing to listen to any suggestion for an alteration in the constitution of those tribunals, and to listen attentively and adopt any proposition which could tend to the destruction of the existing evil. But, then, it was a very different thing not to be satisfied with the existing tribunals, and yet ask him to sanction the charge that Members of that House had been guilty of perjury. If they asked him to believe that hon. Members went to the table to take an oath, and that then they went into a Committee predetermined to violate their honour and their oath, and decided according to the wishes of their party, or from party views, then he said he did not believe it; and he also said, that if such a charge were true, if it could be true as against any Members or any body in that House, then he should say, that the sooner they were deprived, not only of their judicial powers, but their legislative powers also, the better for themselves and for the country. He did not believe that the defects of the present system arose from corruption in the Members, but from the incompetency of the tribunal itself; it was not because they decided wilfully against the evidence of facts, but that they decided questions which they were not competent to decide. Instead of deciding upon the merits and the facts, it would be most generally found that they decided upon some frivolous and technical ground. But coming to the question before the House, he admitted, that charges of this nature were frequently put forward in the public press, and that it would be very unwise and very impolitic in that House to take notice of them; but the reason that he was inclined to notice them now was, on account of the peculiar position of the Gentleman who made them. He repeated, that it was on account of the peculiar position of that Gentleman; and he could not forget that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had been petitioned against in a former Parliament, and had been unseated by a Committee of that House; and it could not be forgotten that the hon. Member was petitioned against in the present Parliament, and that his case, must be decided by a Committee of that House; and he thought, then, that it was particularly necessary for them to notice a charge corning from a Member so situated, who might say, if Members upon their honour and their oaths decided against him, that they were perjurers; and if favourably, that they were an honourable exception to the party to which they belonged. He might ask, what must be the object and effect of this—what was the meaning of it? Was it not to deter hon. Members from serving on a Committee? Was it not likely to have that effect? Was not the effect aimed at to prevent Members from serving? He asked whether hon. Members could go to a Committee to decide with firmness and fairness when they knew that if they decided one way they would be accused of perjury? He said, that in this case the accuser standing in the position of one who was about to be tried was a reason which appeared to him a strong one, that they ought not to pass the accusation unnoticed. If there were no other reason, this alone was sufficient to justify the noble Lord in the course he had pursued. He thought it was still the more necessary to follow it when he found the noble Lord who was at the head of her Majesty's Government, instead of rising, as he supposed the noble Lord was about to do, to declare, that he did not believe in the charge—that he did not think that Members of that House had been guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury; the noble Lord had the other night risen to identify himself with the accusation. He did not mean to say that the noble Lord had not declared the imputation to be unfounded. A similar declaration had been made by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the noble Lord, the Secretary at War; but then the fact was this, that the other night they had seen the leader of that House come forward to the rescue of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and take upon himself the responsibility of the accusation that had been made. Then after the course which the noble Lord had thought proper to take, the House ought not to shrink from the motion which was before them. It had been asked of the noble Lord who submitted the motion if he were prepared to follow it with any further motion. He did not know what course the noble Lord was prepared to take; but this he knew, that he could vote for a resolution which declared the charge preferred to be false and scandalous. He would say, that they ought to declare this a breach of privilege, even though the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, might be of opinion that in voting for such resolutions they ought to be followed by some other step. He did not feel this at all. He felt as an individual Member of the House that he was fully justified in saying that a charge had been made against Members of Committees that was false and slanderous, without following up this by a motion that the Member making that charge should be sent to the Tower. Let him ask, what would be the position in which any Member of that House might feel himself placed? What was the charge? Supposing he or any of his Friends around him had been serving on an Election Com- mittee, and an hon. Gentleman should get up in his place and say that they had been guilty of wilful perjury. What course could they take? Let him ask, what would be the course which any Gentleman would take? One of two courses he must take. He must either seek personal redress or personal satisfaction himself, or that House must interfere to protect him. The charge could not be passed over. No hon. Gentleman serving on a Committee, and taunted in that House with being guilty of perjury, could pass over such a charge. If the House did not interfere to protect its Members, the consequence must be that charges of this kind would lead to all sorts of personal conflicts and demands of personal satisfaction. They had been told that in the present case there was no fear of such consequences. That was an additional reason why the House should interfere. Any person in the position of the noble Lord (who originated the motion), or any hon. Gentleman serving on a Committee, should find from the resolutions of that House protection. They should know for the future that if they decided fairly and honestly in Committee that the House would prevent a repetition of the charge. There was another reason why he felt bound to vote for the resolutions of the noble Lord. They had to decide between one or the other of the propositions before them. They must either pass to the order of the day, and say that this was not a subject which they ought to discuss at all, or they must decide whether this was a false and slanderous charge. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) admitted that it was a false and slanderous charge; but at the same time the noble Lord told the public that it was of such little importance whether Members of that House were or were not guilty of wilful perjury—yes, that this was of such little consequence, that they should allow one of their Members to stand up in his place in the House and to say that the Members of that House were guilty, not of mistakes, not of partiality, but that they were guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury, and yet that they were to tell the country that this charge was of such little importance that the House did not think it worth its notice. He could not help thinking that passing to the order of the day was an attempt to evade this question. He could not help thinking that it would be unworthy the dignity of the House, when this question was before it, to shrink from the question. The question had been brought before them, and he called upon the House to say to the country that they would not suffer, that they would not permit, the character and honour of the Members of that House to be calumniated by a Member in his place. He did think that it was of importance to the constituency, that it was of importance to the fair administration not only of their judicial but of their legislative duties, that such charges should not be made against them. He thought it important that such charges being made should be negatived, and that in the face of the country they should say that they were not true. The charge had been made. The noble Lord admitted that it was not true; but the noble Lord had further said, that the Members of that House had been accustomed to hear these charges so often made, that there was so much colour and foundation for the charge, that it was of so little importance as not to be worthy the notice of the House. He could not bring himself to this conclusion, and therefore he would cordially vote for the resolutions.

Mr. Chisholm

rose amidst vociferous cries of "divide," "question," and "order!" The hon. Member was understood to say, that, having served on the Marylebone Election Committee, he fully concurred in what had been stated by the Chairman of that Committee (Lord Eastnor). He had been sworn at the table of the House well and truly to try the merits of the petition in that case, and he had done so to the best of his ability and judgment.

An hon. Member

, whose name we could not learn, said, that he had also acted as a Member of an election Committee, and he had endeavoured to act according to his honest unbiassed judgment on the evidence adduced before the Committee, without for a moment considering whether the course he pursued was favourable to the Ministerial or to the Conservative side of the House.

Alderman Copeland

was understood to say, that he had been a Member of the Marylebone Election Committee, and he denied in the strongest terms the charge that had been made. He thought that the honour of the Members of that House was at stake, and they ought not to be drawn from the straightforward path of duty by any question of expediency.

Lord Maidstone

rose to reply. He said that the right hon. the Chanceller of the Exchequer seemed to think, that he had come forward on this occasion without knowing what to do in the event of the House entertaining his motion, which, he need hardly say, he would press to a division. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he had considered this subject, and the right hon. Gentleman would find, that he had precedents, supported by considerable authority for the course he meant to pursue, when he mentioned the names of Mr. Adam, Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. Pitt. The course he meant to propose was, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin be reprimanded in his place, and this would not be making that hon. and learned Gentleman a political martyr, or any thing like it; it would be merely punishing him properly and in the regular Parliamentary way. The noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) said, that they knew of other breaches of the privileges of the House, and that the effect of that night's proceedings would be to give to the party charged a title to the honours of political martyrdom. Did the noble Lord recollect the lines— Justum et tenacem propositi virum Non civium ardor prava jubentium, Non vultus instantis tyranny Mente quatit solidâ."— He would not trouble the House with any further remarks on the occasion. He would only say, that if hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House were determined to follow the right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury bench wherever they chose to lead them, the right hon. Gentlemen on the. Treasury bench would lead them where they would regret to be.

The House divided on the question, that Lord Maidstone's motion be put—Ayes 263; Noes 254: Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Baring, hon. W. B.
A'Court, Captain Barnaby, J.
Adare, Visct. Barnes, Sir E.
Alexander, Visct. Barrington, Viscount
Alsager, Captain Bateman, J.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Bateson, Sir R.
Ashley, Lord Bell, M.
Ashley, hon. H. Benett, J.
Attwood, W. Bentinck, Lord G.
Attwood, M. Bethell, R.
Bagge, W. Blackburne, I
Bagot, hon. W. Blackstone, W. S.
Bailey, J. Blair, J.
Bailey, J., jun. Blennerhassett, A.
Baillie, Colonel Boldero, H. G.
Baker, E. Bolling, W.
Baring, hon. F. Borthwick, P.
Bradshaw, J. Gaskell, Jas. Milnes
Bramston, T. W. Gibson, T.
Broadley H. Gladstone, W. E.
Broadwood, H. Glynne, Sir S.R.
Brownrigg, S. Goddard, A.
Bruce, Lord E. Godson, R.
Bruges, W. H. L. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gore, O. J. R.
Burrell, Sir C. Gore, O. W.
Calcraft, J. H. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Campbell, Sir H. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Granby, Marquess of
Cantilupe, Viscount Grant, hon. Colonel
Castlereagh, Viscount Greene, T.
Chandos, Marq. of Grimsditch, T.
Chaplin, Colonel Grimston, Viscount
Chapman, A. Grimston, hon. E. H.
Chisholm, A. Hale, R. B.
Christopher, R. Halford, H.
Chute, W. L. W. Halse, J.
Clive, Visct. Harcourt, G. G.
Clive, hon. R. H. Harcourt, G. S.
Codrington, C. W. Hardinge, rt. hon. Sir H.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hawkes, T.
Cole, Visct. Hayes, Sir E.
Colquhoun, J. C. Henniker, Lord
Conolly, E. Herbert, hon. S.
Coote, Sir C. H. Herries, J. C.
Copeland, Alderman Hill, Sir R.
Corry, hon. H. Hillsborough, Earl of
Courtenay, P. Hinde, J. H.
Cresswell, C. Hodgson, F.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Hodgson, R.
Damer, hon. D. Hogg, J. W.
Darby, G. Holmes, hn. W. A'C.
Darlington, Earl of Holmes, W.
De Horsey, S. H. Hope, G. W.
Dick, Q. Hotham, Lord
D'Israeli, B. Houldsworth, T.
Dottin, A. R. Houstoun, G.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Howard, hon. W.
Douro, Marquess of Hughes, W. B.
Dowdeswell, W. Humphery, J.
Duffield, T. Hurt, F.
Dugdale, W. S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Duncombe, hon. W. Irton, S.
Duncombe, hon. A. Irving, J.
East, J. B. Jackson, Sergeant
Eastnor, Visct. James, Sir W. C.
Eaton, R. J. Jenkins, R.
Egerton, W. T. Jermyn, Earl of
Egerton, Sir P. Jones, J.
Egerton, Lord F. Jones, W.
Eliot, Lord Jones, T.
Ellis, J. Kerrison, Sir E.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Knight, H. G.
Estcourt, T. H. S. Knightley, Sir C.
Farnham, E. B. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Farrand, R. Law, hon. C. E.
Fielden, W. Lefroy, rt. hon. T.
Fielden, J. Lenox, Lord A.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Lewis, W.
Foley, E. T. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Follett, Sir W. Litton, E.
Forbes, W. Lockhart, A. M.
Forester, hon. G. Logan, H.
Freshfield, J. W. Long, W.
Lowther, Colonel Rickford, W.
Lowther, Viscount Rolleston, L.
Lowther, J. H. Rose, right hon. Sir G.
Lucas, E. Round, C. G.
Lygon, hn. General Round, J.
Mackenzie, T. Rushbrook, Colonel
Mackenzie, W. F. Rushout, G.
Mackinnon, W. A. Sanderson, R.
Mahon, Visct. Sandon, Visct.
Maidstone, Visct. Scarlett, hon. J.
Marsland, T. Scarlett, hon. R.
Marton, G. Sheppard, T.
Master, T. W. C. Shirley, E. J.
Maunsell, T. P. Sibthorp, Col.
Maxwell, H. Sinclair, Sir G.
Meynell, Capt. Smith, A.
Miles, P. W. S. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Miller, W. H. Somerset, Lord G.
Moneypenny, T. Spry, Sir S. T.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Stanley, E.
Neeld, J. Stewart, J.
Neeld, J. St. Paul, H.
Norreys, Lord Stuart, H.
O'Neil, hon. J. B. R. Sturt, H. C.
Ossulston, Lord Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Packe, C. W. Thompson, Alderman
Pakington, J. S. Thornhill, G.
Palmer, R. Tollemache, F. J.
Palmer, G. Trench, Sir F.
Parker, M. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Parker, R. T. Vere, Sir C. B.
Parker, T. A. W. Verner, Col.
Peel, right hon. Sir R. Villiers, Visct.
Peel, J. Vivian, J. E.
Pemberton, T. Welby, G. E.
Perceval, Colonel Wilberforce, William
Perceval, hon. G. J. Williams, R.
Pigot, R. Williams, T. P.
Planta, right hon. J. Wodehouse, E.
Plumptre, J. P. Wood, T.
Polhill, F. Wyndham, W.
Pollock, Sir F. Wynn, rt, hn, C. W.
Powell, Colonel York, hon. E. T,
Praed, Winthrop M. Young, J.
Price, R. Young, Sir W.
Pringle, A. TELLERS.
Pusey, P. Baring, H.
Richards, Richard Fremantle, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Adam, Sir C. Belfast, Earl of
Aglionby, H. A. Bellew, R. M.
Aglionby, Major Berkeley, hon. H.
Alston, R. Bernal, R.
Anson, hon. Colonel Bewes, T.
Anson, Sir G. Blackett, C.
Archbold, R. Blake, M. J.
Attwood, T. Blake, W. J.
Bainbridge, E. T. Blewitt, R. J.
Baines, E. Blunt, Sir C.
Ball, N. Bodkin, J. J.
Baring, F. T. Bowes, J.
Barnard, E. G. Brabazon, Sir W.
Barron, H. W. Bridgeman, H.
Barry, G. S. Briscoe, J. I.
Beamish, F. B. Brocklehurst, J.
Brodie, W. B. Fort, J.
Brotherton, J. French, F.
Browne, R. D. Gillon, W. D.
Bryan, G. Gordon, R.
Buller, C. Goring, H. D.
Buller, E. Grattan, J.
Bulwer, E. L. Grattan, H.
Busfield, W. Greenaway, C.
Butler, hon. Colonel Grey, Sir G.
Byng, G. Grote, G,
Byng, right hon. G. S. Guest, J. J.
Callaghan, D. Hall, B.
Campbell, Sir J. Handley, H.
Carnac, Sir J. R. Harland, W. C.
Cavendish, hon. C. Harvey, D. W.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hastie, A.
Cayley, E. S. Hawes, B.
Chalmers, P. Hawkins, J. H.
Chapman, Sir M. L. C. Hayter, W. G.
Chetwynd, Major Heathcote, J.
Chichester, J. P. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Clay, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Clements, Viscount Hodges, T. L.
Clive, E. B. Hollond, R.
Collier, J. Horsman, E.
Collins, W. Howard, F. J.
Colquhoun, Sir J. Howick, Viscount
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hume, J.
Craig, W. G. Hutton, R.
Crawford, W. James, W.
Currie, R. Jephson, C. D. O.
Curry, W. Jervis, J.
Dalmeny, Lord Johnston, General
Davies, Colonel Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Denison, W. J. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Dennistoun, J. Lambton, H.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. Langdale, hon. C.
Divett, E. Leader, J. T.
Duckworth, S. Lefevre, C. S.
Duff, J. Lemon, Sir C.
Duncan, Visct. Leveson, Lord
Dundas, C. W. D. Lister, E. C.
Dundas, F. Loch, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Lushington, Dr.
Dundas, hon. T. Lushington, C.
Easthope, J. Lynch, A. H.
Ebrington, Viscount Macleod, R.
Ellice, Captain A. Macnamara, Major
Ellice rt. hon. E. Mactaggart, J.
Ellice, E. Mahony, P.
Erle, W. Marshall, W.
Etwall, R. Marsland, H.
Evans, Sir D. L. Martin, J.
Evans, G. Maule, hon. F.
Evans, W. Maule, W. H.
Fazakerley, J. N. Melgund, Viscount
Fenton, J. Mildmay, P. St. J.
Ferguson, Sir R. Morpeth, Viscount
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Morris, D.
Ferguson, R. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Fergusson, rt. hon. C. Nagle, Sir R.
Finch, F. O'Brien, W. S.
Fitzgibbon, hon. Col. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Fitzpatrick, J. W. O'Connell, M. J.
Fitzroy, Lord C. O'Connell, M.
Fitzsimon, N. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Fleetwood, P. H. Ord, W.
Paget, F. Strickland, Sir G
Palmer, C. F. Strutt, E.
Palmerston, Viscount Style, Sir C.
Parker, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H. Talbot, J. H.
Parrott, J. Talfourd, Sergeant
Pattison, J. Tancred, H. W.
Pechell, Captain Thomson, rt. hon. C. P.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Thornley, Thomas
Philips, Sir R. Townley, R. G.
Philips, M. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Philpott, S. Turner, E.
Pinney W. Turner, W.
Ponsonby, C. F. A. C. Verney, Sir H.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Vigors, N. A.
Poulter, J. S. Villiers, C. P.
Power, J. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R. H.
Price, Sir R. Wakley, T.
Pryme, G. Walker, C. A.
Pryse, P. Walker, R.
Redington, T. N. Wallace, R.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Warburton, H.
Rich, H. Ward, H. G.
Rippon, C. Wemyss, J. E.
Roche, E. B. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Roche, W. Westenra, hon. J. C.
Rolfe, Sir R. White, A.
Rundle, J. White, H.
Russell, Lord J. White, S.
Salwey, Colonel White, L.
Sanford, E. A. Wilbraham, G.
Seale, Colonel Williams, W.
Seymour, Lord Williams, W. A.
Slaney, R. A. Wilshere, W.
Smith, hon. R. Winnington, T. E.
Smith, R. V. Winnington, H. J.
Somers, J. P. Wood, C.
Somerville, Sir W. M. Wood, Sir M.
Spiers, A. Wood, G. W.
Standish, C. Woulfe, Sergeant
Stanley, M. Wrightson, W. B.
Stanley, W. O. Wyse, T.
Stansfield, W. R. Yates, J. A.
Stewart, J. TELLERS.
Stuart, Lord J. Stanley, E. J.
Stuart, V. Steuart, R.

Main question put, "That the expressions in the said speech, containing a charge of foul perjury against Members of that House in the discharge of their official duties was a false and scandalous imputation on their House and character."

Mr. Hume

rose and said, after the decision which the House has come to I shall not add many words, but I do deny the right of this House to interfere with any Member. I know not where the powers of this House would end if the speeches at taverns and other places are to be taken notice of by it in this way. On this ground I regret deeply not having objected as I intended to do to the introduction of this subject. I rose for that purpose, but the hon. and learned Member for Dublin prevented me, declaring that he was ready to avow the expressions attributed to him. Indeed he could not, as a gentleman, deny having used them, and that has led to our present unpleasant situation. I maintain, that if the speeches and proceedings of Members out of this House are to be taken up in this way, there will be no end to the powers of this House; this is not an opinion which I have taken up to-day for the first time, I have always thought so, and if this course is pursued we shall have nothing else to do.

Resolution carried.

On the motion that "Mr. O'Connell, having avowed that he had used the said expressions, has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House."

Mr. Callaghan

said: I feel bound to come forward and state, that however I might disapprove in private of the use of language which ears polite cannot listen to without angry feelings and feelings of reproach, I entirely concur in all the opinions and expressions avowed by the hon. Member for Dublin.

The Speaker

said, he would call the hon. Member's attention to the fact, that the debate on this subject had been brought to a close; he would therefore put this question to the hon. Member, whether in the language which he was now using he was seeking to invite aggression on the part of the House?

Mr. Callaghan

I quite bear in mind the caution of the chair; but I think it due to the House and to myself to rise in my place and say, that I am not to be intimidated by a party vote. I am not to be deterred from expressing my opinion that if this vote be carried, the effect will be, that there will be no end of the tyranny of the majorities of this House. There will be no end of the tyranny of this House over the conduct of individuals, if we are to be deterred from the expression of our feelings by a party vote. I do not wish to enter into the feelings under which the hon. Member for Dublin used these expressions at the dinner at the Crown and Anchor; but there will be an end of the independence of Members of this House, if they cannot express their opinions fairly and openly, and if any tribunals erected by decisions of this House cannot have their conduct questioned. I do acknowledge that I feel strongly on this subject, I don't know what ulterior mea- sures the noble Lord may contemplate to enforce the resolution which he has proposed; but if he succeed in carrying out his principles to the infliction of punishment, which his resolution almost renders unavoidable, then I say that it will put an end to the expression of opinions by Members of this House. I declare, therefore, that I do adopt to the fullest extent the opinions and declarations avowed by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. I will suppose a case—that if by any vote of this House that hon. and learned Member be consigned to ignominious punishment, that he be sent to Newgate, or the Fleet, or some other abominable prison, I do declare that my sentiments are the same as his. [Much confusion, in the midst of which]

The Speaker

said, that he would call the attention of the hon. Member to the vote which had just been come to by the House, and the hon. Member was, therefore, acting very disrespectfully to the House in re-asserting the opinion and sentiments which had been condemned by that vote.

Mr. Callaghan

I really feel strongly. On a matter of order no man is less disposed than myself to show disrespect to the decision of the chair, but on a subject which involves the rights of individuals, as this does, I do declare, and I claim to avow it, that I do adopt to the utmost the language of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. [Great Laughter and Cheers.] I defy the power of this House to put down the expression of opinion.

Mr. Edmund Burke Roche

Representing as I do one of the largest constituencies in Ireland, and reflecting that this subject is one in which the Irish Members of this House are deeply involved, I cannot refrain from saying, that I concur to the fullest degree in the sentiments of the hon. Member for Dublin.

Mr. Gillon

Sir, I shall vote against the resolution that Mr. O'Connell has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House; and, moreover, I beg to reiterate all that that hon. Member has said. This House may just as well attempt to stand on the beach of the sea and attempt to turn back its waves as to prevent the expression of opinion. The opinion of the people out of doors is with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. This House may come to what resolutions it pleases, but the public out of doors will still believe that the decisions of Com- mittees of this House are come to on party and factious motives. There has been nothing said or done to-night to alter that opinion; and I, therefore, cordially concur in the sentiments of the hon. Member for Dublin. I deny, that these expressions are a breach of the privileges of the House, and I shall take a division on the subject.

Mr. Somers

said, that he most cordially concurred in the expressions used by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin at the Crown and Anchor.

Mr. Brotherton

moved an adjournment of the House.

Lord John Russell

said, the hon. Member for Salford having made a motion for adjournment, I think it my duty to statn shortly how I shall vote upon the questioe now before the House. When the noble Lord proposed to bring forward this subject it certainly appeared to me that it would be better for the House not to entertain the question at all. The House, however, has overruled that impression, and has voted a resolution that the expressions used by Mr. O'Connell contain a false and scandalous imputation against Members of this House. There can be no doubt that Mr. O'Connell has avowed the words attributed to him, imputing foul perjury to Members of certain Committees of this House, and that being the case, the main question now before us is that those words amount to a breach of the privileges of this House, and that is a proposition to which I cannot refuse my assent. It is true I could get rid of this question by voting for the adjournment, but this I shall not do, as I think (so we understood) the sense of the House ought to be taken on the main question. At the same time I beg to say that I do not at all regret the vote I have just given. I have only one word to add. Many hon. Members opposite have pointed out in the course of the debate that we should run great danger if we did not, by some positive resolutions, censure the speech of the hon. Member for Dublin, that the same charges of perjury would be frequently repeated by other Members of the House; and that difficulty it appears we have already incurred. Several hon. Members have already said, that they concur in the expressions used by Mr. O'Connell, and the noble Lord who moves these resolutions will, after that, take whatever course he thinks proper on the subject; but, I think that it is pretty clear that hon. Members, who have brought forward these resolutions with a view to clearing the House from the imputations cast upon its Committees, have totally failed of their object in the division which has just been had. Hon. Members may obtain a majority; but does that necessarily confirm a tight? This House is naturally jealous of its privileges; but I think that those privileges are best secured when they are most moderately exercised.

Mr. H. Grattan

said, he hoped the House and the public would take note of these proceedings, when they recollected that the Catholic Members of that House had all been accused of perjury. Did the House recollect the legal opinion of an hon. Baronet opposite on a former occasion, in answer to the hon. Member for Liskeard, that there was only one way in which these imputations could be met in this House, namely, by censure; and one way out of it, namely, by personal satisfaction. Did hon. Members opposite forget that opinion? He knew these Committees well, though he had never sat on one; but he had often attended them, and he would not say, that hon. Members who sat on them were perjurers, but, so help him God! he had seen them make such decisions that he would tell them to their faces that they were not honest men. He would say more; he would mention names. ["No, no!" "Name, name!"] He would state a fact. He saw a letter written within thirty yards of this place to a Tory Member of a Committee, asking for five minutes delay, for the writer to come down and give evidence in support of a vote. This delay was asked because he was detained, his child being sick; but, notwithstanding this, the Committee would not wait, and the vote was struck off. He had seen enough of the conduct of these Committees to agree most fully in the sentiments which had been uttered by hon. Members on his side of the House. This was a mere party decision against him and his Friends because they were Irishmen. He held in his hand a paper which should cry shame to them all. It contained the list of Members called upon a Committee, and of those struck off at the ballot, and he would show that on this Committee not a single Irishman called was allowed to sit. What would the House say if, upon an English election petition, the name of every Englishman was struck off in this way? He maintained that this was a mere party vote against the hon. Member for Dublin, a vote come to because he was hated by hon. Gentlemen opposite. This was a most contemptible and wretched proceeding on the part of the noble Lord opposite; and yet the noble Lord did not reflect how far it would carry him if he had the courage to pursue it to the end. No, the noble Lord had not the courage to send Mr. O'Connell to Newgate. He asked the noble Lord to do it if he dared. [Cheering, Order!]

The Speaker

said, the hon. Member on reflection must feel that he was expressing his opinions in a manner and tone which ought to be avoided.

Mr. H. Grattan

said, he did not mean to say that hon. Members opposite were deficient in personal courage, but that they had not the political courage to carry out to the end, the course which they had adopted to-night in bringing forward these resolutions. The hon. Member for Oxford had last year charged the Irish Members with being guilty of perjury, yet there never was brought before the House a motion declaring such a statement to be a breach of the privileges of Parliament, of so little account were these privileges and the honour of individuals then held. But if hon. Gentlemen were so anxious on the subject of perjury he would give them an opportunity of expressing their opinions, or he would resign his seat to-morrow. [cheers.] In what he said there was no cause for such cheers of exultation, for he could tell hon. Members opposite that if he were put out of the county of Meath he should be returned for the county of Longford. He repeated, he should feel bound to resign his seat if he were not prepared to follow up the present motion, and divide the House on the question whether a number of Members of the Catholic persuasion were to be charged with the foulest and grossest perjury without having those who uttered those calumnies brought to the bar of that House? The Roman Catholics felt strongly exasperated by the charge which the Bishop of Exeter had made against them of treachery super-added to perjury. He asked, the noble Lord (Lord Maidstone) whether he was prepared to follow up the proposition which he had made? If he were not, all he could say was, that he could never bring himself to convey by the use of language, a direct insult to individuals, and, therefore, he could not adopt the words of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; but he should go as near them in expressing his opinion of the conduct of certain Members of that House as was consistent with an observance of the rule which he had laid down.

Motion for adjournment withdrawn, and the question was put, "That Mr. O'Connell having avowed that he had used the said expressions, has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of the House; the House divided:—Ayes, 293; Noes 85; Majority, 208.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.
A'Court, Captain Cantilupe, Viscount
Adam, Sir C. Castlereagh, Viscount
Adare, Viscount Chandos, Marquess
Alexander, Viscount Chaplin, Colonel
Alsager, Captain Chichester, J. P.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Chisholm, A. W.
Ashley, Lord Christopher, R. A.
Ashley, hon. H. Chute, W. L. W.
Attwood, W. Clive, Viscount
Attwood, M. Clive, hon. R. H.
Bagge, W. Codrington, C. W.
Bagot, hon. W. Cole, hon. A.
Bailey, J. Cole, Viscount
Bailey, J. jun. Colquhoun, Sir J.
Baillie, Colonel Colquhoun, J. C.
Baker, E. Conolly, E.
Baring, F. T. Coote, Sir C. H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Copeland, Alderman
Barneby, J. Corry, hon. H.
Barnes, Sir E. Courtenay, P.
Barrington, Viscount Craig, W. G.
Bateman, J. Cresswell, C.
Bateson, Sir R. Dalrymple, Sir A.
Belfast, Earl of Darner, hon. D.
Bell, M. Darby, G.
Benett, J. Darlington, Earl of
Bentinck, Lord G. Denison, W. J.
Bethel, R. De Horsey, S. H.
Blackburne, I. Dick, Q.
Blackett, C. D'Israeli, B.
Blackstone, W. S. Dottin, A. R.
Blair, J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Blennerhassett, A. Douro, Marquess of
Boldero, H. G. Dowdeswell, W.
Bolling, W. Duffield, T.
Borthwick, P. Dugdale, W. S.
Bradshaw, J. Duncombe, hon. W.
Bramston, T. W. Duncombe, hon. A.
Broadley, H. East, J. B.
Broadwood, H. Eastnor, Viscount
Brownrigg, S. Eaton, R. J.
Bruce, Lord E. Egerton, Sir P.
Bruges, W. H. L. Egerton, Lord F.
Buller, C. Elliot, Lord
Buller, E. Ellis, J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Estcourt, T. H. I.
Calcraft, J. H. Farnham, E. B.
Campbell, Sir H. Farrand, R,
Fielden, W. Lambton, H.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Foley, E. T. Law, hon. C. E.
Follett, Sir W. Lefevre, C. S.
Forbes, W. Lefroy, right hon. T.
Forester, hon. G. Lemon, Sir C.
Freshfield, J. W. Lewis, W.
Gaskell, Jas. Milnes Liddell, hon. H. T.
Gibson, T. Litton, E.
Gladstone, W. E. Lockhart, A. M.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Logan, H.
Goddard, A. Long, W.
Godson, R. Lowther, Colonel
Gordon, hon. Captain Lowther, Viscount
Gore, O. J. R. Lowther, J. H.
Gore, O. W. Lucas, E.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Lygon, hon. General
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Mackenzie, T.
Granby, Marquess Mackenzie, W. F.
Grant, hon. Colonel Mackinnon, W. A.
Greene, T. Mahon, Viscount
Greenaway, C. Maidstone, Viscout
Grimsditch, T. Marsland, T.
Grimston, Viscount Marton, G.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Master, T. W. C.
Hale, R. B. Maunsell, T. P.
Halford, H. Maxwell, H.
Halse, J. Melgund, Viscount
Harcourt, G. G. Meynell, Captain
Harcourt, G. S. Miles, P. W. S.
Hardinge, Sir H. Miller, W. H.
Hawkes, T. Moneypenny, T. G.
Hayes, Sir E. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Henniker, Lord Morpeth, Viscount
Herbert, hon. S. Neeld, J.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Neeld, John
Hill, Sir R. Norreys, Lord
Hillsborough, Earl of O'Neil, hon. J. B. R.
Hinde, John H. Ossulston, Lord
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Packe, C. W.
Hobhouse, T. B. Pakington, J. S.
Hodgson, F. Palmer, C. F.
Hodgson, R. Palmer, R.
Hogg, J. W. Palmer, G.
Holmes, hon. A'Court Palmerston, Viscount
Holmes, W. Parker, M.
Hope, G. W. Parker, R. T.
Hotham, Lord Parker, T. A. W.
Houldsworth, T. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Houstoun, G. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Howard, R. Peel, J.
Hughes, W. B. Pemberton, T.
Hurt, F. Perceval, Colonel
Inglis, Sir R. H. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Irton, S. Pigot, R.
Irving, J. Pinney, W.
Jackson, Sergeant Planta, right hon. J.
James, Sir W. C. Plumptre, J. P.
Jenkins, R. Polhill, F.
Jermyn, Earl Pollock, Sir F.
Johnstone, H. Ponsonby, C. F. A. C.
Jones, J., Praed, W. M.
Jones, W. Price, R.
Jones, T. Pringle, A.
Kerrison, Sir E. Pusey, P.
Knight, H. G. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Knightley, Sir C. Richards, R.
Rickford, W. Thompson, Alderman
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Thomson, rt. hon. C. P.
Rolleston, L. Thornhill, G.
Rose, rt. hon. Sir G. Tollemache, F.
Round, C. G. Trench, Sir F.
Round, J. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Rushbrooke, Colonel Troubridge, Sir T.
Rushout, G. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Russell, Lord Vere, Sir C. B.
St. Paul, H. Verner, Colonel
Sanderson, R. Verney, Sir H.
Sandon, Viscount Villiers, Viscount
Scarlett, hon. J. Y. Vivian, J. E.
Scarlett, hon. T. Welby, G. E.
Seymour, Lord Wilberforce, W.
Sheppard, T. Williams, R.
Shirley, E. J. Williams, T. P.
Sibthorp, Colonel Wilshere, W. E.
Sinclair, Sir G. Winnington, T. E.
Slatley, R. A. Winnington, H. J.
Smith, A. Wodehouse, E.
Smyth, Sir G. H. Wood, T.
Somerset, Lord G. Wrightson, W. B.
Spry, Sir S. T. Wyndham, W.
Stanley, E. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Steuart, R. York, hon. E. T.
Stewart, J. Young, J.
Stuart, H. Young, Sir W.
Stuart, V. TELLERS.
Stutt, H. C. Baring, H. B.
Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E. Fremantle, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Fitzsimon, N.
Aglionby, Major Grattan, H.
Anson, hon. Colonel Hawes, B.
Archbold, R. Hayter, W. G.
Attwood, T. Hollond, R.
Ball, N. Jephson, C. D O.
Barron, H. W. Johnson, General
Barry, G. S. Lister, E. C.
Beamish, F. B. Lushington, C.
Berkeley, hon. H. Macnamara, Major
Blake, M. J. Mahony, P.
Bodkin, J. J. Marsland, H.
Brabazon, Sir W. Martin, J.
Bridgman, H. Maule, W. H.
Brotherton, J. Nagle, Sir R.
Browne, R. D. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Bryan, G. O'Connell, M. J.
Butler, hon. C. O'Connell, M.
Callaghan, D. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Carnac, Sir J. R. Parrott, J.
Clements, Viscount Pattison, J.
Collins, W. Pechell, Captain
Dalmeny, Lord Power, J.
Davies, Colonel Pryme, G.
Dennistoun, J. Roche, E. B.
Duff, J. Roche, W.
Dundas, C. W. D. Salwey, Colonel
Dundas, Frederick Seale Colonel
Dundas, hon. J. C. Somers, J. P.
Elice, E. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Erle, W. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Evans, Sir D. L. Strickland, Sir G.
Evans, G. Talbot, J. H.
Finch, F. Talfourd, Sergeant
Tancred, H. W. White, S.
Vigors, N. A. Williams, W.
Wakley, T. Williams, W. A.
Walker, C. A. Wood, Sir M.
Wallace, R. Woulfe, Sergeant
Warburton, H. Wyse, T.
Ward, H. G. Yates, J. A.
Westenra, hon. H. R. TELLERS.
Westenra, hon. J. C. Gillon, W. D.
White, A. Hume, J.
Lord Maidstone

moved, "That Mr. O'Connell having been found guilty of a breach of the privileges of the House, be reprimanded for the same in his place by the Speaker."

Mr. Maunsell

seconded the motion.

Lord John Russell

said, I cannot bring myself to believe that the noble Lord will persist in the motion which has been just put, for he referred to no precedents and no instances of Members of this House who, upon being found by the House (an impartial jury) guilty of the charge of accusing other Members of perjury, were reprimanded by the Speaker in their places. There is no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Montgomeryshire, can give information to the House on this subject; but even in that case it must be recollected that the Members of the House have had no notice of the noble Lord's motion, or time to see what other precedents there are which might show that the House is not justified in taking the course which is proposed. For my own part I conceive that, having said of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin that he he made "a false, scandalous, and calumnious charge"—that with the open avowal of the hon. and learned Member of having used the language imputed to him, and from the course which he is likely to pursue with regard to what we have heard to-night, merely voting to reprimand him in his place is the most shabby, the most faint-hearted, and pusillanimous course that could be adopted. Why, if this were the case of a miserable and unfortunate printer earning his guinea a week, we should send him probably for some months to prison, exercise towards him acts of great severity, and plume ourselves very much on our justice in so doing. But the hon. and learned Member for Dublin is too formidable a person to be so dealt with. You have screwed up your courage to pass this resolution; but what will be its effect? Why, it will operate as so much waste paper, and tomorrow you will have some hundred Members of the House, ay, some of them with a copy of this your resolution in their hands, coming down here and reiterating in their places the very expressions you now state to be false and scandalous. I think really that when the noble Lord made up his mind to touch this matter at all, he ought to have maturely considered to what length he might be led in the event of success. For my part I must say I do not know where all this is to end. The noble Lord says he cannot tell where I propose leading my followers, but I must say I think he has already led his into an untenable and false position—the most pitiable situation that ever men awoke and found themselves in; a position in which their only excuse for not going further is to be found in the extreme folly—a folly incapable of being repaired—of having once began an attack which they cannot carry on to victory.

Mr. Williams Wynn

rose, but for some time could not, despite the efforts of the Speaker, obtain a hearing. At length, order being in some degree restored, he said: The noble Lord has asked me to state to the House the precedents in favour of the course of proceeding which it is proposed to adopt with the view of giving effect to the resolution the House has already agreed to. I shall endeavour to meet his call, and that as briefly as I can! ["Question!" and confusion.] I do hope the House will hear me, especially as I rise solely in consequence of the appeal of the noble Lord. I will pass by the earlier instance of Sir William Wyndham reprimanded by the vote of the Whigs in 1715, on the motion of Sir Robert Walpole. The first precedent on which I rely occurred in 1790, and will be found in the narrative of this House's proceedings in the case of the public impeachment of Mr. Warren Hastings. General Burgoyne, supported by Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, Mr. Wyndham, and other managers of the impeachment, made a complaint to the house of Major Scott, for having caused to be inserted in a public newspaper an attack on certain Members for their conduct in the management of the impeachment. Major Scott avowed the Act imputed to him, and the House came to very nearly—as nearly I may say as possible—the same decision as that pronounced this evening. If I am not mistaken, nay, I am positive, the father of the noble Lord opposite, the present Earl Grey, then one of the managers of the impeachment, was the seconder of the motion. The only difference between that case and the pre- sent is, that in that instance the slander was published by the Member; in this, it was delivered orally. Well, the words in the newspaper being agreed to be malicious and scandalous, a motion was made, that Major Scott should be reprimanded at the bar. Upon this Mr. Pitt got up and said, that though he concurred perfectly in the motions which had been agreed to, he thought the most moderate punishment should be inflicted, which in such cases he understood to be a reprimand addressed by the Speaker of the House to the hon. Member in his place. In an amendment to this effect, after some discussion, the House, without a division, acquiesced, and it was agreed that Major Scott should be reprimanded in his place by the Speaker, the which was accordingly done. But, Sir, there is another case in favour of the course we propose to adopt, and that is the case of Sir Francis Burdett, in which it was proposed to adopt the course we now propose following. In the case of Sir F. Burdett, in 1810, on its being moved, that he be committed to the Tower, an amendment was proposed, that he be reprimanded in his place. That amendment, Sir, I had the honour to support, in company with yourself, Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. Adam, Sir J. Anstruther, and every one, in short, of those then in the House of Commons, whom the noble Lord opposite would now, if it suited his purpose so to do, cite as the first authorities in Parliamentary law. We found ourselves, indeed, in a minority, and a severer punishment was awarded, but no one then contended that our proposal was unprecedented or unparliamentary.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

commenced by observing, that his connexion with the hon. and learned Member whom the resolutions just agreed to by the House had so seriously impugned, coupled with his inexperience in Parliamentary speaking, rendered him somewhat diffident of intruding often on the notice of the House, and therefore it was, that in common with many of his friends around him he had borne in silence the charge of perjury so frequently urged against them from the bench yonder, and from a bench in another place where religion and lawn sleeves sat enthroned, but from which charity and meekness of spirit appeared to have been for ever driven. He did not now rise to repel that charge, or indeed to complain of anything personal to himself, but simply to ask both sides of the House what they thought, and, above all, what they supposed, the whole country would think, of so pitiful a termination to so pompous an exordium as would be presented by the narration of the case they were now deciding? A better, a more complete illustration of the fable of the mountain and the mouse never had occurred and never could again occur. The right hon. Member for Montgomery had affected to supply the House with precedents for the course proposed to be adopted, but had he stated what was the nature of the newspaper article which formed the ground of complaint against Major Scott? Was it a charge of foul perjury against the managers of the impeachment? Here was an hon. and learned Member declared guilty of having committed a gross and monstrous breach of the privileges of the House, by imputing to it the crime of foul perjury, and what was to be thought—what would the country think—when it was found that the only punishment those who brought forward the charge dared to propose against the individual so offending was, that he should be reprimanded in his place. If the noble Lord and his coadjutors on the opposite side had followed the known practice of Parliament, and moved the commitment of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to the Tower—much as he, and those around him, might differ as to the expediency of the course pursued in taking notice at all of the matter—much as they might think it imprudent or ridiculous—they would, at all events, have one and all agreed, that it had the merit of openness, manliness, and consistency. He could not help thinking, that hon. Members opposite were already regretting the step they had taken ["No, no!"] They might cry "no, no," and laugh at what he asserted, but he nevertheless firmly believed it, and advanced it quite seriously. At all events, if they did not regret their folly now, they would ere long. With regard to the resolution immediately before the House, he cared little whether it was agreed to or not. Indeed, if he had any opinion respecting the matter, it was, that it would be better for the hon. and learned Member for Dublin that it should pass. If it did, its sole effect would be to place the ludicrousness of the whole proceeding more strongly before the public mind. Suppose the hon. and learned Member were to receive the reprimand addressed to him by the chair in the same calm manner that he had that night heard the charge of the noble Lord, and then should rise in his place and say, that nothing which had occurred had altered his views on the matter, and repeat his assertion, what would be the result? Would not the effect of the original accusation be strengthened. Would not the feeling in the public mind be thereby more roused to the subject?—in short, would not the sole result of the proceeding be to add fuel to the already widely-spread flame? The House had heard many illustrations of the allegations that election Committees of the House of Commons were supposed by the public to decide favourably according to their party feeling; but, perhaps, one of the strongest proofs of the fact was to be found in an article inserted in the newspaper he then held in his hand; it was The Limerick Chronicle of the 10th of February, and purported to be a letter written by the London correspondent of that journal on the very first day on which election ballots took place in that House. It was dated "House of Commons, half-past five," and there occurred the following passage, "The ballots are over—we have lost Salford and Roxburgh, but we have gained Ipswich." ["Question."] Was not this to the question? When was this letter written?—five minutes perhaps after the ballots were struck in these cases; and singularly enough, the report presented in the early part of the evening from the last Committee named had fulfilled to the letter the prophecy thus made. These were things which ought to go forth to the public, and when they did, they could not fail of producing their effect. But to return to the discussion. He had made up his mind not to state what were his opinions upon the subject-particularly as by doing so he should only get a reprimand. There might be some honour gained by going to Newgate, and great glory by being sent to the Tower; but it would be, indeed, seeking empty renown were he by stating his opinions to draw down upon his head merely a reprimand. In conclusion, he begged to express his firm conviction, that if the noble Lord opposite and his coadjutors persevered in the resolution before the chair, its only effect would be to give the country at large a very disgraceful and degrading opinion of their conduct; for the whole night's proceedings would wear the appearance of commencing in folly, and terminating in a want of manliness and political courage on the part of its managers.

Mr. Jenkins

said, as the hon. Member who last spoke had alluded to the decision of the Ipswich Committee, he felt called upon to make a few observations. That Committee had sat three weeks, and their conduct was before the public ["Question."] The House could not be aware of the facts; but if the hon. Member meant to impugn the decision of the Committee, he ought to move for the evidence taken before it.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

I did not mean to impugn the decision of the Committee.

Mr. Barron

Then I do. [Cheers and cries of "Question!"] It is a most extraordinary fact. The whole question before the Ipswich Committee turned upon the point as to whether parish constables had a right—[Uproar.] I wish the country to know it. I ask the hon. Member, if the whole question brought before the Ipswich Committee did not depend on this point, whether parish constables had not a right to vote at elections. [Uproar.] I will be heard [No, no! Divide!] If I am rightly informed the Committee that sat [Withdraw!] I have a grave accusation to make against this Ipswich Committee. Heard I will be. I am going to ask the hon. Member opposite a question. It may be an inconvenient question—an awful question—and therefore they think to stifle my voice—but they shall not succeed, and the country shall judge between us. I now ask the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Jenkins), whether the Committee of which he was a Member did not decide on this question, as to whether parish constables had a right to vote at elections. ["Yes!" "Divide, divide!"] Now, then, comes my charge, and it is a grave one. I have to state, that on the former inquiry on the Ipswich case, a Tory Committee decided that parish constables had a right to vote, and this day I am informed that a Tory Committee on the same question, in the same place, and on the same subject, decided exactly the contrary. And what, let me ask, was the result of these contradictory decisions? In the former case, by deciding that parish constables had a right to vote they contrived to seat their friend; to-day, by deciding that they had no such right, they seated their friend.

Mr. Jenkins

I assert that the Ipswich Committee has properly discharged its duty, and has decided as the law authorised them to decide. The House can know nothing of the matter, and, therefore, if the hon. Member opposite thinks we have come to an unjust decision, it will be his duty to move for the minutes of the evidence in the case.

Mr. Hume

said: I wish, Sir, before the House proceeds to decide upon the resolution before them, to remedy what I cannot but consider an inconsistency in their proceedings. We have decided by a majority, which under circumstances I cannot but designate as a large one, that the expressions used by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, are a false and scandalous imputation upon the conduct of Members of this House; and that, by having used them, that hon. and learned individual has committed a breach of our privileges. In despite of this resolution, however, we have heard other hon. Members of this House avow that they participated in the opinions of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and declare that they made his words their own. Now, Sir, to be consistent, I maintain that we ought to vote that those other Members who, in terms, have made in their places the same declaration that we have agreed is false and scandalous, are guilty alike with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin of a breach of our privileges. I say, Sir, I cannot conceive, for one moment, that we can hesitate placing these six or seven (perhaps they will be sixty or seventy by-and-by) Members in the same situation as the hon. Member for Dublin, for they have offended equally with him, and are equally responsible for their words. Be, then, consistent, and place them all in the same situation. ["No, no!"] I differ entirely from the proceedings that have been taken, and see in them no small mischief; but, nevertheless, I think we ought to be consistent. ["Move, move!"] Then, Sir, I beg to move that "Mr. D. Callaghan, Member for the city of Cork; Mr. E. Roche, Member for the county of Cork; Mr. P. Somers, Member for the borough of Sligo; and Mr. Gillon, Member for Falkirk, having in their places avowed their adoption of the expression of Mr. O'Connell, are guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House."

Great confusion followed this motion.

Mr. Williams Wynn

rose and said: I apprehend, Sir, it is practically impossible, and contrary to any regulation of the House, that this motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny can be maintained [Loud cries of "Yes, yes," "Put the Question."] If I am not mistaken, Sir, and it will be your duty to correct me if I am, no exception can be taken to expressions made use of by an hon. Member of this House, unless that exception is taken at the moment he makes use of them.

Mr. Callaghan

said: Having, Sir, been pointedly named in the resolution just submitted to the House by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, I feel myself entitled to the indulgence of the House while I offer them a very few observations. I feel myself, Sir, in no degree connected with what has taken place out of this House, nor, except from the proceedings here this evening, have I any knowledge of it. But having been present at the discussion of this evening, and finding that by the decision to which the House came upon the motion of the noble Lord the freedom of speech was placed at great hazard, and that in the person of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin our privileges in regard to freedom of speech, both in and out of this House, was assailed, I did feel myself, without any consultation with any living person, bound to come forward and state what I repeat before I took my place here I had no previous intention of doing—namely, that I adopted to the full—

The Speaker

I can have no right to interfere with the hon. Member, further than to call his attention to the duty which, as one of its Members, he owes to this House. If the hon. Member is about to repeat the assertions he has already made this evening, I would put it to him to consider whether, in so doing, his conduct would be decorous to the House or consistent with the duty he owes to it.

Mr. Callaghan

I beg to assure you, Sir, that no man can be more disposed to bow to your decision, or less disposed to question the accuracy of your judgment, than I am. As, however, it has been stated by you, Sir, and by the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, that no exception can be taken to any expression used by an hon. Member unless that exception is taken at the moment the expression is uttered. I beg, while with great humility I assure you, that no man can be less disposed than I am to impugn the decision of this House, and that the sole object I have in intruding myself on its notice is the maintenance of its privileges, and especially that of the freedom of speech, to declare that I share in the sentiments attributed to the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, and that I adopt to the letter and word every expression he has used.

Mr. Hume

Sir, I move that the words now uttered by the hon. Member for Cork be taken down in writing by the clerk.

Mr. Callaghan

again rose, and deliberately said: I avow, Sir, standing here in my place as the Representative of the city of Cork—I avow the sentiments attributed to the hon. Member for Dublin, and admitted by him to be correctly published; and I adopt those expressions to the word and to the letter.

The Clerk of the House having written down the words and handed them to the hon. Member, who declared them to be correctly written,

Mr. Hume

rose and said: As the hon. Member has now, in the presence of the House, reiterated his words, I presume that no hon. Member will dispute that the words are within the scope of the resolution which I hold in my hand, and which I have read to the House. If there be any difference of opinion upon this subject, I hope that the objection will now be taken. I move, then, Sir, that "Daniel Callaghan, esq., having avowed that he adopted the sentiments used by Mr. O'Connell, is guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House."

The Speaker

said, that the two motions ought, in his opinion, and for the sake of the regularity of their proceedings, to be taken separately.

Mr. Hume

submitted, that they ought not to censure the hon. Member for Dublin, who was absent, when individuals present in that House had used the same expressions; and he thought that the House ought, at once, to come to a decision upon his motion.

The Speaker

The House is aware that there is a motion before them: an incidental objection is taken in the course of the debate, after the original question has been put to the House; and for the regularity of our proceedings the House ought first to dispose of the original question.

Mr. Hume

I submitted, Sir, a motion into your hands, to which an exception was taken on a point of form; every per- son in the House had heard the words used, but the right hon. Gentleman had taken a technical objection; and with the view of completing the amendment on the mere point of form, the hon. Member for Cork repeated his words.

The Speaker

The hon. Member does not perceive the force of the objection as connected with the regularity of the proceedings of the House. It is true, that the hon. Member proposed an amendment to the original motion, which on account of irregularity was not put. The House was then in the same situation as if no amendment had been made—it was then out of the consideration of the House, for which the original question alone remained. An hon. Member rises in his place, and in the course of his speech uses some words which another hon. Member thinks fit to notify to the House and to have them taken down. In such case, it is not orderly to have the words taken down inserted in the original motion by way of amendment.

Mr. Hume

Then, Sir, I withdraw my amendment, and think that the best course will be to move the adjournment of the debate till to-morrow.

Mr. H. Grattan

hoped the hon. Member would not persevere, as he had a motion to make by way of amendment. He moved, that the following words be added to the original motion:—"Notwishstanding that the Members for the county of Cork, for the city of Cork, for the borough of Sligo, for the borough of Liskeard, and for the burgh of Falkirk, have avowed the sentiments of the hon. Member for Dublin, and have adopted them in their places."

After some confusion, a motion having been made for the House to adjourn, the question was put on that motion, and the House divided:—Ayes 159; Noes 246: Majority 87.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Sir C. Belfast, Earl of
Aglionby, H. A. Berkeley, hon. H.
Aglionby, Major Bernal, R.
Anson, hon. Colonel Bewes, T.
Archbold, R. Blake, M. J.
Attwood, T. Bodkin, J. J.
Bainbridge, E. T. Bowes, J.
Ball, N. Bridgman, H.
Baring, F. T. Briscoe, J. I.
Barron, H. W. Brocklehurst, J.
Barry, G. S. Brodie, W. B.
Beamish, F. B. Browne, R. D.
Buller, C. Maule, W. H.
Busfield, W. Melgund, Viscount
Byng, right hon. G. S. Mildmay, P. St. J.
Callaghan, D. Morpeth, Viscount
Carnac, Sir J. R. Morris, D.
Cavendish, hon. C. Nagle, Sir R.
Chichester, J. P. B. O'Brien, W. S.
Clements, Viscount O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Clive, E. B. O'Connell, M. J.
Collins, W. O'Connell, M.
Craig, W. G. Palmerston, Viscount
Curry, W. Parrott, J.
Dalmeny, Lord Pattison, J.
Dennistoun, J. Pechell, Captain
Divett, E. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Duncan, Viscount Philips, G. R.
Dundas, C. W. D. Ponsonby, C. F. A. C.
Dundas, F. Power, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Price, Sir R.
Easthope, J. Pryse, P.
Ebrington, Viscount Redington, T. N.
Ellice, E. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Erle, W. Rich, H.
Etwall, R. Roche, E. B.
Evans, G. Roche, W.
Fazakerley, J. N. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Fenton, J. Russell, Lord J.
Fergusson, rt. hon. C. Salwey, Colonel
Fitzsimon, N. Seale, Colonel
Fleetwood, P. H. Seymour, Lord
Fort, J. Somers, J. P.
Gillon, W. D. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Gordon, R. Stanley, E. J.
Grattan, J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Grattan, H. Steuart, R.
Greenaway, C. Stuart, V.
Grey, Sir G. Strickland, Sir G.
Guest, J. J. Strutt, E.
Handley, H. Talbot, J. H.
Hastie, A. Talfourd, Sergeant
Hawes, B. Tancred, H. W.
Hawkins, J. H. Thomson, rt. hon. C. P.
Hayter, W. G. Thornley, T.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Turner, E.
Hollond, R. Turner, W.
Howick, Viscount Vigors, N. A.
Hume, J. Vivian, rt. hon. Sir H.
Hutton, R. Wakley, T.
Jephson, C. D. O. Walker, C. A.
Jervis, J. Walker, R.
Johnson, General Wallace, R.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Warburton, H.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Ward, H. G.
Lambton, H. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Langdale, hon. C. Westenra, hon. J. C.
Lister, E. C. White, A.
Lushington, Dr. White, S.
Lushington, C. Williams, W.
Lynch, A. H. Williams, W. A.
Macleod, R. Wilshere, W.
Macnamara, Major Winnington, H. J.
Mahony, P. Wood, C.
Marshall, W. Wood, Sir M.
Martin, J. Wood, G. W.
Maule, hon. F. Woulfe, Sergeant
Wrightson, W. B. TELLERS.
Wyse, T. Brotherton, J.
Yates, J. A. Finch, F.
List of the NOES
Acland, T. D. Darby, G.
A'Court, Captain Darlington, Earl of
Adare, Viscount De Horsey, S. H.
Alexander, Viscount Dick, Q.
Alsager, Captain D'Israeli, B.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Dottin, A. R.
Ashley, Lord Douglas, Sir C. E.
Ashley, hon. H. Douro, Marquess of
Attwood, W. Dowdeswell, W.
Attwood, M. Duffield, T.
Bagge, W. Dugdale, W. S.
Bagot, hon. W. Duncombe, hon. W.
Bailey, J. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bailey, J., jun. East, J. B.
Baillie, Colonel Eastnor, Viscount
Baker, E. Eaton, R. J.
Baring, hon. W. B. Egerton, W. T.
Barneby, J. Egerton, Sir P.
Barnes, Sir E. Egerton, Lord F.
Barrington, Viscount Eliot, Lord
Bateman, J. Ellis, J.
Bateson, Sir R. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Bell, M. Estcourt, T. Fr. S.
Benett, J. Farnham, E. B.
Bentinck, Lord G. Farrand, R.
Bethell, R. Fielden, W.
Blackburne, I. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Foley, E. T.
Blennerhassett, A. Follett, Sir W.
Boldero, H. G. Forbes, W.
Bolling, W. Forester, hon. G.
Borthwick, P. Freshfield, J. W.
Bradshaw, J. Gaskell, Jas. Milnes
Bramston, T. W. Gibson, T.
Broadley, H. Gladstone, W. E.
Broadwood, H. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Brownrigg, S. Goddard, A.
Bruce, Lord Gordon, hon. Captain
Bruges, W. H. L. Gore, O. J. R.
Buller, Sir J. Yarde Gore, O. W.
Campbell, Sir Hugh Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Canning, rt. hon. Sir S. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cantilupe, Viscount Granby, Marquess of
Castlereagh, Viscount Grant, hon. Colonel
Chandos, Marq. of Greene, T.
Chaplin, Colonel Grimsditch, T.
Chisholm, A. W. Grimston, Viscount
Christopher, R. A. Grimston, hon. E. H.
Chute, W. L. W. Hale, R. B.
Clive, Viscount Halford, H.
Clive, hon. R. H. Halse, J.
Codrington, C. W. Harcourt, G. S.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hardinge, rt. hon. Sir H.
Cole, Viscount Hawkes, T.
Conolly, E. Hayes, Sir E.
Copeland, Alderman Henniker, Lord
Corry, hon. H. Herbert, hon. S.
Courtenay, P. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Cresswell, C. Hill, Sir R.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Hillsborough, Earl of
Damer, hon. D. Hinde, J. H.
Hodgson, F. Parker, T. A. W
Hodgson, R. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hogg, J. W. Peel, J.
Holmes, hon. W. A'C. Perceval, Colonel
Holmes, W. Perceval. hon. G. J.
Hope, G. W. Pigot, R.
Hotham, Lord Planta, rt. hon. J.
Houldsworth, T. Plumptre, J. P.
Houstoun, G. Pollock, Sir F.
Hughes, W. B. Praed, Q. M.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Price, R.
Irton, S. Pringle, A.
Irving, J. Pusey, P.
Jackson, Sergeant Richards, R.
James, Sir W. C. Rickford, W.
Jenkins, R. Rolleston, L.
Jermyn, Earl Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Johnstone, H. Round, C. G.
Jones, J. Round, J.
Jones, W. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Jones, T. Rushout, G.
Kerrison, Sir E. St. Paul, H.
Knight, H. G. Sanderson, R.
Knightley, Sir C. Sandon, Viscount
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Law, hon. C. E. Scarlett, hon. R.
Lefroy, rt. hon. T. Sheppard, T.
Lemon, Sir C. Shirley, E. J.
Lewis, W. Sibthorp, Colonel
Liddell, hon. H. T. Sinclair, Sir G.
Litton, E. Smith, A.
Lockhart, A. M. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Logan, H. Somerset, Lord G.
Long, W. Spry, Sir S. T.
Lowther, hon. Colonel Stanley, E.
Lowther, Viscount Stewart, J.
Lowther, J. H. Stuart, H.
Lucas, E. Sturt, H. C.
Lygon, hon. General Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E.
Mackenzie, T. Thompson, Alderman
Mackenzie, W. F. Thornhill, G.
Mackinnon, W. A. Tollemache, F. J.
Mahon, Viscount Trench, Sir F.
Maidstone, Viscount Trevor, hon. G. R.
Marsland, T. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Master, T. W. C. Vere, Sir C. B.
Maunsell, T. P. Verner, Colonel
Maxwell, H. Villiers, Viscount
Meynell, Captain Vivian, J. E.
Miles, P. W. S. Welby, G. E.
Miller, W. H. Wilberforce, W.
Moneypenny, T. G. Williams, R.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Williams, T. P.
Neeld, J. Winnington, T. E.
Neeld, J. Wodehouse, E.
Norreys, Lord Wood, T.
O'Neil, hon. J. B. R. Wyndham, W.
Ossulston, Lord Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Packe, C. W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Packington, J. S. Young, J.
Palmer, R.
Palmer, G. TELLERS.
Parker, M. Baring, H. B.
Parker, R. T. Fremantle, Sir T.

Question that Mr. O'Connell be reprimanded again put,

Mr. Charles Buller

endeavoured to address the House, which manifested much impatience. It did not appear to him that charges of such a nature as those which had been the subject of discussion that night were aggravated by the offensiveness of the language in which they were couched; on the contrary, he thought that the coarseness of the language employed diminished the force of the charge. He wished, therefore, deliberately to bring under the consideration of the House the language which had that night been employed by the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon (Sir Edward Sugden). That right hon. and learned Gentleman used words which, from their very calmness and mildness, appeared to him to convey an imputation most derogatory to the Members of that House; because the right hon. and learned Gentleman said deliberately that the Members of Election Committees were influenced in their decisions by a party bias. Therefore, continued the hon. Gentleman, when you have gone through the various motions of reprimands and committals—(I do not know, whether I shall then have the honour of being left in the House, or whether I shall be obliged to join the party in Newgate or the Tower); but if I remain in the House, I shall certainly move that the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon be added to our party, whatever our destination may be. Meantime, I beg leave now to move that this debate be adjourned till to-morrow.

Sir R. Peel,

after the opinion already expressed by so large a majority of the House, protested against the motion with which the hon. Member had concluded. Anticipating, however, from the spirit manifested on the opposite side of the House, that if a division were again to take place, the motion, though defeated, would be followed by others of a similar kind, he should decline any further contest upon the point.

Debate adjourned till next day.