HC Deb 09 June 1841 vol 58 cc1376-80

On the question, that the report of the Houses of Industry (Ireland) Bill be brought up,

Sir E. Knatchbull

complained that the Government had not kept good faith in bringing forward these bills, when it was distinctly understood from the declaration of the noble Lord (J. Russell) that no bill that was likely to be opposed should be proceeded with. The hon. Baronet alluded particularly to the Charitable Trusts Bill, to support which several Members of the Government had come down that evening, although it was known that his right hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Ripon, (Sir E. Sugden), and other hon. Members on that (the opposition) side of the House, entertained strong objections to many of its provisions.

Mr. Macaulay

said, that Ministers had not attempted to proceed with any one of their own measures to which objection was likely to be urged, but that with regard to the bill to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, it was not a Government measure, but had been introduced by an hon. and learned friend behind him (Mr. J. Stewart.) The Government were no parties to it, and any two Members of the Government might have voted opposite ways upon it.

Mr. Pigot

said, the present bill was not a Government measure, and he understood there was no opposition to it.

Colonel Sibthorp

complained of the disposition manifested by the Members of her Majesty's Government to hurry over measures at inconvenient hours, and he thought that his right hon. Friend had done no more than his duty in calling the attention of the House to such humbug. Ministers went about amusing themselves, instead of attending to the business of the country. A more idle and deceitful set of men were never allowed to fill such important offices, but he was resolved to follow them, and nothing should deter him from that which he believed to be his duty.

Mr. F. Maule

said, that he should not take any notice of the observations which the House had just heard; they were below contempt. [Order, order.] He had been willing to go on with the Bribery Bill, but after the notice given by his noble Friend it was impossible.

Colonel Sibthorp

having left the House,

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, he could not help apprehending some unpleasant consequences from the words which had dropped from the hon. Gentleman opposite, and from what had been stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just left the House—[cries of "oh, oh."] Some hon. Gentlemen might, perhaps, treat the matter with ridicule, but he (Mr. Wynn) certainly did not consider it so lightly, and he, therefore, moved that the hon. Mem- ber for Lincoln be directed to attend the House.

Motion agreed to, and the Sergeant went out for the purpose of serving the order upon the hon. Member.

Sir E. B. Sugden

did not object to the motion, that the report on the Houses of Industry, &c. Bill be then received.

The Sergeant

appeared at the Bar, saying that he had served the order of the House upon Colonel Sibthorp.

Mr. Hume

inquired where?

The Sergeant

In the passage leading to the House of Commons.

The Speaker

Do you know where the hon. Member now is?

The Sergeant

In one of the committee-rooms of the House, I believe.

Sir E. Knatchbull

then left the House, and speedily returned, accompanied by Colonel Sibthorp.

Mi. Speaker

stated, that the House having been informed that the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln bad taken offence at an expression which had fallen from the hon. Member for Elgin, he felt called upon to state, that the expression had not escaped him; and that he had called the hon. Member to order at the time; and the hon. Member having recommenced his speech, without the words which had given offence to the hon. and gallant officer, he had considered that those words had, in fact, been retracted, Understanding, however, that the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln was not satisfied that such was the case, it now became his duty to call upon the hon. Member to retract an expression which had given offence to another hon. Member.

Mr. Fox Maule

stated, that he certainly meant to mark, as strongly as he could, his opinion of the language of the hon. Member, to the Members of the Government and his hon. Friends around him; but if, in so doing, he had exceeded the limits of Parliamentary language, he felt bound at once to modify his expressions within those limits.

Col. Sibthorp

said, in the course which he had taken, he was influenced by only one motive. He considered that he had a right to express his opinion with regard to the conduct of public men. He left the House as he always would do upon such an occasion; and, although he was ready to bow to the authority of the Chair, he must say, that the guardianship over his honour, and his character as a public and private man, should never prevent him from protecting that honour and that character, in the manner most consistent with his own feelings, and with his duty to the public. If he understood rightly, the hon. Gentleman had retracted the. expression which he had made use of. If so, he (Colonel Sibthorp) was perfectly satisfied. But he thought he had a right to put it to the Chair, whether the words and imputations of the right hon. Gentleman had been wholly and entirely retracted.

The Speaker

did not entertain the least doubt on the subject.

Sir R. Peel

submitted to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that the expression had been amply retracted, and that the hon. Gentleman opposite had made every fair concession. He trusted the hon. and gallant Gentleman would allow him (Sir R. Peel) to act as moderator, and that no fresh explanation would be called for.

Colonel Sibthorp

said, that as that seemed to be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen who were most careful of the preservation of their honour, he should rest satisfied.

Mr. T. Duncombe

was glad to hear that the hon. and gallant Gentleman was satisfied. But he heard the hon. and gallant Member say—

The Speaker

said, the hon. Member would see that the affair bad been concluded, and that it would be inexpedient to renew the subject.

Report received.