§ Sir R. Peel
, seeing the hon. Member for Exeter in his place, and having observed on the books a notice of motion by the hon. Gentleman, of such a peculiar nature that unless it were explained, it would affect the character of an hon. Friend of his for whom he entertained the greatest respect, wished to ask for some explanation. The notice was,That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to dismiss Francis Robert Bonham, Esq., from the office of Storekeeper of her Majesty's Ordnance, &c.He would, therefore, put it to the justice of the hon. Gentleman to have the goodness to state whether it were his intention to make any imputation upon Mr. Bonham in his business or conduct as a public officer, and if he would state concisely the particular ground on which he proposed to visit his hon. friend with the highest reprobation and dismissal from office?
§ Mr. Divett
had not the least objection to make a statement with reference to his motion, if the right hon. Baronet called for it, or if the House would receive it, either then or at any other time. He had made no statement, because he did not wish to put forward any thing which would convey imputation, which Mr. Bonham or his friends could not have the fullest opportunity of contradicting. Therefore it was, that he had not stated the ground on which he had proposed to move for the dismissal. He had only to say in reference to the conduct of Mr. Bonham, that he sincerely hoped that gentleman would be able to make a statement which would be satisfactory to him and the House, in reference to the conduct of which he complained. Although he was influenced by public considerations only, yet his principal reason for bringing forward his motion, had not a reference to the official position which Mr. Bonham held, but to the real 147 functions which he discharged at the Carlton Club, and in the Conservative party. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen might laugh; they possibly knew the functions which Mr. Bonham performed better than he did, but they were functions of a peculiar character, and it was necessary the country should know them. The charge which he had to adduce against Mr. Bonham had reference to his conduct in connexion with the late election for the city of London. Mr. Bonham, either through himself or guided by others, had made representations which, if not intentionally fraudulent, were certainly highly reprehensible. He regretted to be compelled to make any complaint of that kind. At one time, he thought of communicating with the right hon. Baronet opposite on the subject, with the view of ascertaining from him whether he sanctioned such an interference with the business of elections. On consideration, however, he did not feel it right to persevere in that course, thinking under all the circumstances that it would be better to bring the case forward in his place in Parliament. But if the right hon. Baronet would prefer to have the motion brought forward that evening rather than on Thursday, he would go into it then, though there were two or three letters to which he should wish to refer, and which he had not then with him.
§ Sir R. Peel
did not wish to call for any general statement with respect to the transaction. He only wished to know—as a motion had been put on the books for the dismissal of a public officer, whether it related to any act of official misconduct, or to some private transactions. He wished to know whether it related to Mr. Bonham, as a public officer.
§ Mr. Divett
said, it did not relate to his conduct as a public officer in his official position. It regarded not his ostensible, but his real, connection with the Government.