HC Deb 06 February 1839 vol 45 cc130-3

Lord John Russell moved, that the Sessional Orders be read.

Mr. Wallace

said it was exceedingly inconvenient to Members not to be able to see the Sessional Orders before they were brought forward in this way. It appeared to him exceedingly reasonable that they should be printed with the votes the day before.

Mr. Hume moved, that the Sessional Orders be printed, and taken into consideration to-morrow.

Lord John Russell

did not see any reason for the proposed delay, but if it were the wish of the House, he would not oppose it.

Mr. Hume

said, of course it was not the wish of the House, and least of all the Gentlemen opposite. They wished to keep every thing quiet, and to keep all the power in their own hands. He had as little occasion as any Member for seeing these Orders, having seen them and read them often; but every Member might not be in that situation. He submitted to the noble Lord whether the request of the hon. Member for Greenock was not worthy of attention?

Mr. Wallace

said, that having mooted this question, he should be exceedingly sorry if his hon. Friend pressed it to a division. For his own part, he did not wish to interfere in any way; but if the motion were pressed, he should feel himself under the necessity of voting against it.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that the House ought to agree at once to the motion of his hon. Friend. That was the only assembly in the world, that held its sittings when they ought to be in bed. They were beginning business when everybody else was leaving off. It was said, that some inconvenience would attend a different course of proceeding, but such inconveniences must yield to the superior convenience of doing business in the open day. It might, indeed, be inconvenient to a few practising lawyers, and mercantile men, but to the rest of the House there would be no inconvenience. Nobody could deny, that the present hours of business were very inconvenient to persons at his time of life, and even to younger persons. He had known six or eight instances of persons coming into that House in perfectly good health, but who died shortly after, no doubt from the great change in their hours of rest, and from the unhealthy atmosphere in which they were kept. It was idle to say, that they could not conduct the public affairs except at late hours at night. Ministers had the whole twenty-four hours to choose when they would work; let them, then, sit up at night and transact their official business if they choose, and let that House go to bed. Common sense pointed out, that they ought to do business at the time when every other legislature did business. They were the only owls of the night.

Mr. Hume

would not press his motion to a division.

The Speaker

proceeded to read the Sessional Orders seriatim.

On the Order—"That it is a high infringement of the liberties and privileges of the Commons of the United Kingdom, for any Lord of Parliament, or other Peer or Prelate, not being a Peer of Ireland at the time elected, and not having declined to serve for any county, city, or borough, of Great Britain, to concern himself in the election of Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament, except only any Peer of Ireland, at such elections in Great Britain respectively, where such Peer shall appear as a candidate, or by himself, or any others, be proposed to be elected; or for any Lord-lieutenant or Governor of any county to avail himself of any authority derived from the Commission, to influence the election of any Member to serve for the Commons in Parliament:"

Mr. Hume

said, he wished to ask whether they were to continue to pass this same resolution year after year, when year after year it was utterly disregarded? He had sat long enough in that House to find Peers of the realm, thus prohibited by the rules of that House from interfering, and who were, nevertheless, implicated in such interference; and he had never heard that interference defended, He, there- fore submitted whether it were consistent with their dignity to pass a rule which they never had enforced, and never intended to enforce—he submitted, that the resolution ought not to be read; but that Peers should be allowed to use their discretion in whatever way they should think fit. He did not wish to deprive them of the liberty enjoyed by every other subject of the realm. He thought, that one law ought to be made applicable to all; and he therefore, submitted to the House, whether this resolution was fair in itself, or becoming to the House. He should move that it be omitted.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that this was the most arrant hypocrisy that any public assembly could be guilty of, when they perfectly well knew, that not a single election took place in which Peers who could profitably interfere, did not do so. He did not confine himself to one side of the House, for Whig Peers were as bad as Tory Peers. Why, then, in the name of common sense, come to a resolution that was totally inoperative?—and why was the House to stigmatise itself before the public by recording a falsehood, a lie, upon their journals? They knew that Peers had interfered, and that they would interfere, and if it were a doctrine of the constitution, that there was an alliance between representation and property, they would continue to interfere. No Gentleman could vote against his hon. Friend's motion except those who believed that Peers did not interfere at elections.

Lord J. Russell

said, he had no doubt but that Peers did interfere in elections; but the question related to the degree and mode of interference. The real question was, whether this resolution which has been so repeatedly entered upon the journals, and sanctioned by the House, was indeed, totally inoperative. They knew that the interference of Peers at elections, was considerably different from that of commoners. If this resolution were not agreed to, there would be the practice of canvassing, of appearing on the hustings, and various other matters in which Peers might interfere. They might come to the elections, and speak from the hustings, things which they knew were not now done by Peers; but if this resolution were left out of the orders, it would be taken as a declaration that Peers as well as Commoners, might take those parts in election proceedings which only Common- ers now took. As he did not wish to see Peers performing such acts, he could not vote with the hon. Member.

The House divided on the Order.—Ayes 157; Noes 18: Majority 139.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Capt. Halford, H.
Ainsworth, P. Harland, W. C.
Alston, R. Hastie, A.
Anson, hon. Col. Hector, C. J.
Bagge, W. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Baines, E. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Baring, H. B. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Barnard, E. G. Hobhouse, T. B.
Barneby, J. Hodgson, R.
Bewes, T. Hughes, W. B.
Blake, W. J. Humphery, J.
Blennerhassett, A. Hurt, F.
Blewitt, R. J. Hutton, R.
Bodkin, J. J. Jackson, Mr. Serg.
Boldero, H. G. James, Sir W. C.
Broadley, H. Johnstone, H.
Brodie, W. B. Kemble, H.
Brotherton, J. Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.
Buller, E. Langdale, hon. C.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Langton, W. G.
Burdett, Sir F. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Busfeild, W. Lefevre, C. S.
Butler, hon. Col. Lennox, Lord G.
Campbell, Sir J. Lister, E. C.
Cayley, E. S. Lockhart, A. M.
Chalmers, P. Long, W.
Chapman, Sir M. L.C. Lucas, E.
Clerk, Sir G. Mackenzie, T.
Collins, W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Colquhoun, J. C. Mackinnon, W. A.
Conolly, E. Mahon, Lord Visct.
Corry, hon. H. Marton, G.
Dennistoun, J. Master, T. W. C.
De Horsey, S. H. Maule, W. H.
Divett, E. Maunsell, T. P.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Mildmay, P. St. J.
Dowdeswell, W. Miles, W.
Duckworth, S. Morpeth, Lord Visct.
Dugdale, W. S. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Duncan, Lord Visc. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Eastnor, Lord Visc. Ord, W.
Ebrington, Lord Visc. Packe, C. W.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Palmer, C. F.
Ellice, E. Palmer, R.
Eastcourt, T. Palmer, G.
Evans, W. Parker, J.
Fielden, J. Pattison, J.
Finch, F. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Fleming, J. Philips, M.
Freemantle, Sir T. Philips, G. R.
Gibson, T. Pinney, W.
Gladstone, W. E. Plumptre, J. P.
Glynn, Sir S. R. Pollock, Sir F.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Price, Sir R.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Protheroe, E.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Pusey, P.
Grimsditch, T. Redington, T. N.
Grimston, Lord Visct. Rice, E. R.
Rich, H. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Roche, W. Thornely, T.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Vigors, N. A.
Rolleston, L. Villiers, C. P.
Round, C. G. Vivian, J. H.
Round, J. Wakley, T.
Rushbrook, Col. Walker, R.
Russell, Lord J. Welby, G. E.
Salwey, Col. White, A.
Sandon, Lord Visct. Wilbraham, G.
Sanford, E. A. Williams, W.
Scholefield, J. Wilshere, W.
Seymour, Lord Winnington, T. E.
Shaw, rt. hon. F. Wood, G. W.
Shirley, E. J. Wrightson, W. B.
Sibthorp, Col. Wyndham, W.
Sinclair, Sir G. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Stanley, Lord Yates, John A.
Stock, Dr. TELLERS.
Sturt, H. C. Mr. E. J. Stanley.
Style, Sir C. Mr. R. Steuart.
Tancred, H. W.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, Major O'Connell, J.
Bryan, G. O'Connell, M. J.
Buller, C. O'Connell, M.
Duncombe, T. Pechell, Capt.
Easthope, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Gillon, W. D. Wallace, R.
Hawes, B. Ward, H. G.
Horsman, E.
Leader, J. T. TELLERS.
Lushington, C. Mr. O'Connell.
O'Brien, W. S. Mr. Hume.

The Orders were agreed to.