HC Deb 22 June 1843 vol 70 cc204-5

On the motion for reading the Order of the Day for going into committee on the Sugar Duties Bill,

The Earl of Leicester

said, he hoped he was not out of order in the course he was about to take, or if he was, he trusted the House would extend its indulgence to him while he made some reference to what had fallen from an hon. Member on this subject, and which had also been stated by a noble and learned Lord in another place, namely, that from the silence of the Marchioness of Townshend on the subject, she might be taken as giving her consent to the bill now pending. He (the Earl of Leicester) rejoiced in having an opportunity of giving a contradiction to that statement. He must also state, that he disapproved not of the manner in which the hon. Member (Mr. J. Stuart Wortley) had introduced the bill, but of the extraordinary way in which a certain noble and learned Lord in another place had, from the materials in his possession, made reference to what might be supposed, from the noble and learned Lord's observations, to be a communication from the Marchioness. The noble and learned Lord had said that the Marchioness had made a communication of a certain nature, and, from reading the account in the newspapers, one would suppose that that communication bad been made by the Marchioness. That was utterly untrue. The communication was made by an interested agent—an honest man, he believed, but still an agent interested for the Marquess. Before the noble and learned Lord made that statement, and attached so much importance to it, it behoved the noble and learned Lord to have considered whether this authority was a proper one or not. As it was stated the other evening that there was not any property involved in this matter, he begged to assure the House that there was a great deal of property involved in it. If the bill should pass, he should be deprived of all the property belonging to the Marquess's family, and he would thus be materially affected in a pecuniary point of view. With respect to the evidence, he must say that a great deal of it was founded upon mere hearsay. In making this statement, he thought he was doing no more than what was just to himself. He did not like to say anything injurious of the individuals who had appeared against him; but he believed, on his honour, that many of the parties knew nothing about the circumstances of which they spoke. He would not enter into the subject any further upon the present occasion, but would reserve any thing in addition he had to say until the bill came before a committee, when he should certainly avail himself of every lawful and legitimate means for the purpose of throwing out the bill.