§ Mr. Sheil
begged leave to put a question to the hon. Baronet, the Member fo Liverpool, in reference to a matter of privilege, with regard to a petition which he had presented to the House in the course of the evening signed by a great number of persons, inhabitants of Liverpool, and which prayed that an inquiry might be instituted into the system of education at the College of Maynooth. That petition was worded in very strong language—so strong indeed, that he was induced to hope that the hon. Baronet had not read the petition before he presented it. Upon looking at the signatures attached to it, he found a long series of names, many of which, however, were evidently written by the same hand. It was a gross breach of the privileges of that House to append names to a petition written in any hand but those of the petitioners; and he begged to ask whether the hon. Baronet had read the petition before he had presented it— whether he was acquainted with those names, and whether he was aware that many of them were written by the same hand.
§ Sir H. Douglas
stated, that the petition to which allusion had been made had been put into his hands on coming into the House, and that he had not had time to scrutinise the signatures attached to it. There it was as he had received it, and he would leave the right hon. Gentleman to examine it, and to look over the signatures appended to it himself. His well-known abilities and penetration, he doubted not, rendered him a much more fit person to examine it, than he was. He knew there was a very strong feeling upon this subject in Liverpool, and he had every reason 343 to believe that the petition had been prepared in a proper manner.
§ Mr. Sheil
gave notice, that he should, to-morrow move that the petition be referred to the committee of privileges, that it might be reported to the House whether many of the names attached to the petition did not appear to be in the same handwriting, and whether the petition was couched in fit and proper terms.