HC Deb 03 May 1841 vol 57 cc1404-7

This might be laughing matter for hon. Gentlemen; but he thought that he need not declare to hon. Members who were present on the occasion, that not one single sentence here attributed to him had fallen from his lips. He said nothing from which such an opinion could be inferred. He entertained no such opinion, and he did not hesitate to say, that not only did he not approve of the mode in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the subject of the Corn-laws, and so far was he from being ready to second the right hon. Gentleman in dealing with the various details of this important subject, that he was determined, if it depended upon his vote, not to afford him the opportunity of considering it at all. There was no man more willing than himself to allow for the onerous duties of gentlemen connected with the press, who reported the proceedings of that House; though, on most occasions, they sedulously took care not to report him at all, and, in doing so, no doubt they exercised that which was a sound discretion. When re- marks had been made by him before, that had been mistaken, he had thought it sufficient to request that the same columns that had conveyed the mistake ought also to convey the correction. But he thought and hon. Members would agree with him in thinking, that it would be no reparation to him that the Morning Chronicle should offer him a small corner in its columns to contradict such a misrepresentation as this. He thought the antidote ought to be conveyed through the same channels by which the poison had been infused. It was well known that the reports of the morning papers were conveyed into the London evening, and the provincial papers, and it might be somewhat difficult for him to give his correction to the world, otherwise than by the mode he had adopted, although even then it might be doubted whether the correction would be conveyed to his nine thousand constituents, spread over a million of acres. It must be obvious to every one that the announcement of his right hon. Friend below him had placed him in a situation, not of difficulty—for an honest man had but one course to pursue—but of laying him for a time under a cloud and suspicion. He could not but feel that a representation like this could not have originated in inadvertence or mistake. It was painful to him to attribute motives, but he was at a loss to know why so gross an injustice should be done to him. He was quite sure that no hon. Member opposite would avail himself of such dirty means to injure him. He was inclined to think that whoever represented the words to theMorning Chroniclethought that some little advantage might be obtained to carry out the principle that they advocated, by having it in their power to show that the opinions of so humble an individual as himself, representing a large agricultural district, had undergone a change. Such was not the case. It was enough for him to say, that it was not the case. He felt that he must leave the matter entirely in the hands of the House. He felt grateful for the indulgence it had afforded him in making this statement; but he would only observe, that what had happened lo him to-day, might happen to other hon. Members to-morrow. If they thought it was for their advantage, and the vindication of the privileges of the House, and for free discussion, that further notice should be taken, the matter was in their hands. It only remained for him, in the common form to move, that the printer of theMorning Chronicledo appear at the bar of this House.

Mr. Hume

submitted to the hon. Member—

The formal order was read, that "Thomas Nicholson do attend at the bar of the House."

Lord J. Russell

suggested, that it would be better lo have the paragraph that had been complained of read.

The Clerk read the paragraph at the Table of the House.

Mr. Hume

having been present when the hon. Member spoke on Friday night, could confirm the accuracy of his statement as to the words that fell from him on that occasion, and also say, that the paper did not contain a report of his words; but totally misrepresented him. But admitting such to be the case, he put it to the hon. Member whether he had not served his object in giving publicity to his denial, and refuting the charge that had been made against him. He put it to the hon. Member whether he would take up the time of the House in bringing editors or printers before it. He would submit to the hon. Member, that at a time like the present this should not be done. He trusted that the hon. Member would be satisfied with the vindication which he had now so amply obtained.

Sir De Lacy Evans

declared that he was perfectly surprised that his hon. Friend below him should have brought forward this matter. Humble as he was, he had been often very much misrepresented, and yet he never had the presumption to intrude upon the House on any occasion. He could not suppose that any one would believe that theMorning Chroniclewould intentionally misrepresent the hon. Member. It was evidently done through mistake. He must say that it really appeared to him that the hon. Gentleman seemed to desire to make an electioneering speech; for he had not contented himself with correcting the mistake of which he complained, but he had in very formidable terms declared his opposition to her Majesty's Government. He did not think that, in correcting an error, the hon. Member should have shown a bad example to other Members; because other Members might, on the eve of an election, deliver themselves of electioneering speeches, by making similar motions.

Mr. Handley

said, in reference to what had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member behind him, when he talked of his not having had the presumption to introduce such a subject, he could only say that it was not his good fortune to be possessed of the hon. and gallant officer's modesty. The hon. and gallant Member might get a meeting of his constituents at the "Cat and Gridiron," or any where else, on any evening he pleased; but the hon. and gallant Member would find it a tedious and difficult matter to go through the constituency of Lincolnshire, in order to set himself right with them. The hon. and gallant Member might moreover have so many strong and overwhelming claims upon his constituents, as to induce them to overlook such a dereliction of duty as he was represented to have been guilty of. He could tell the hon. and gallant Member that he did not, and he thought he might add that the House did not, participate in the feelings which had induced the hon. and gallant Member to interfere on the present occasion. He had, according to the forms of the House, concluded with a motion; but as he was quite satisfied that the only reparation he could obtain, at all commensurate with the injury done, had now been afforded, he begged leave to withdraw it, thanking the House for their patient attention.

Motion withdrawn.

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