§ Mr. Borthwick
wished to ask the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury, whether there was any truth in a rumour which had appeared in the Morning Chronicle of Tuesday last, and subsequently in the Morning Post and other newspapers? The rumour itself was one upon which he did not ask for any information, because it was sufficiently absurd to contradict itself. The statement was this:—"It is rumoured, and we believe on good authority, that the title of King Consort is about to be bestowed on His Royal Highness Prince Albert. This, we presume, will be preliminary to a demand for an increased grant." He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the question, simply to afford him an opportunity of contradicting a rumour, mischievous, absurd, and preposterous in in itself, but calculated to do very serious 530 injury to the object of all their loyalty and affection.
§ Sir R. Peel
must say, it was not a good practice for hon. Members to ask Ministers to give explanations with respect to newspaper rumours, particularly when an hon. Gentleman found a rumour that was sufficiently absurd to be its own contradiction, and wanted no explanation from him. It was rather hard in that particular case, that the hon. Gentleman should submit him (Sir Robert Peel) to the ordeal of answering it. However, he must leave it to the decision of hon. Gentlemen themselves to ask such questions or to refrain from asking them. Inferences were sometimes drawn from silence, when, on the whole, silence would be the best possible course to observe; but, to guard against the possibility of any erroneous inference, he would state, for the information of the hon. Gentleman, that, that paragraph was totally without foundation.