HC Deb 28 February 1845 vol 78 cc138-208
Mr. Thomas Duncombe

said: I very much regret that the little progress which was made in public business on Tuesday last, deprived me of the opportunity of bringing forward the Motion of which I had given notice, that certain officers belonging to Her Majesty's Post Office should attend the House, for the purpose of informing it under what authority they had been parties to the detaining, delaying, or opening any post letters of myself, who was a Member of this House. I repeat my regret, that I was prevented from calling the attention of the House, on a former evening, to a very painful, but at the same time important subject, and one which has already occupied too much of the time of the House; but whatever blame may attach to others for the time it has occupied, no such blame can lie at my door. Not being able to bring the question forward the other evening, I think, after what has since occurred, I have no alternative but to take the earliest opportunity of setting myself right, and of putting the question fairly before the public. What has occurred? I am told, in the first place, that I have no evidence, and that I have offered no evidence, that my correspondence has been intercepted at the Post Office; and then it is said that if I was in possession of any information which enabled me to prove the fact by the evidence of the servants of the Post Office, I must have obtained that information by corrupting the officers of that establishment. It was stated also by the noble Lord the Member for Newark (Lord John Manners), for whom I entertain very great respect, that if what I had stated was true, I sat in this House as a degraded man. Another hon. Member — the Member for the University of Oxford—(Sir R. H. Inglis), for whom I entertain a great deal of respect, and I am sure he is a Gentleman who never states that which he does not mean or think, stated that no innocent man would complain of having his letters opened at the Post Office. That may be a matter of taste, generally speaking; but what did the observation of the hon. Member imply? It implied that I was guilty of that offence which could alone authorise the Secretary of State to open any man's letters. The Secretary of State has no right, in ordinary and peaceable times, to violate the letters of others; and if this power has at any time been given to the Government, the only excuse for its exercise must be that it should be used only at a time of great internal danger, or of expected danger from invasion by a foreign foe. Well, then, what is the inference to be drawn when it is said, that no innocent man would complain of his letters being opened by the Post Office? I am ready, if the House will grant me the opportunity (and notwithstanding the specimen I have had of its disposition, I am not prepared to think they will deny me the right), to prove that I am not that guilty man which I am suspected to be, and that I shall remove, if you give me the investi- gation I seek, all the imputations which have been cast upon me. I have already disclaimed all personal hostility towards any hon. Gentlemen on the opposite Benches; and I make that disclaimer again. Whatever responsibility and whatever odium may attach to Her Majesty's Government, for the system of which I complain, I hold no individual Member of that Government more immediately responsible than the rest; I consider the whole of Her Majesty's Government equally responsible. I am obliged to address myself to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department because if any person issued a warrant for the opening of my letters, he must have been the person who issued it. If a warrant has been issued, I will not believe that it was done with the knowledge or sanction of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Ministers. I do not now believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer knew anything about it; I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman was consulted as to whether any of my letters should be opened or not. I do not think that so good natured and kind a man would have permitted it, had the matter been made known to him. But whatever offence my observations may give to that Bench, the whole of the Ministry must share it amongst them. Now what has occurred? When I presented to this House Mr. Mazzini's petition, I Certainly knew nothing at all of my letters having been opened. But as far as I am concerned, all the truth shall now be known. I never could have suspected that the Government could have committed so base and mean an act as that of opening my letters. I presented that petition on the 14th of June. I have said thus much in answer to the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Milnes), because that hon. Gentleman said that I must have known, when I presented Mr. Mazzini's petition, whether my own letters had been opened or not. On the 24th of June I presented the petition of Mr. Stolzman, and I knew nothing even then, and did not suspect that my letters had been stopped. On the 2nd of July I had some communication with Mr. Mazzini, who informed me, that in the interim, he had heard that this subject was made a matter of general conversation at the Post Office among the clerks, the sorters, and the sub-sorters; and that they had observed to him (Mr. Mazzini),—"What is the use of Mr. Duncombe's bothering himself about opening the letters of foreigners; he had much better look after the villany that has been perpetrated towards his own." And I shall be able to prove this if you will allow me the opportunity of a Committee. Certainly, upon hearing this, I pricked up my ears a little. "Halloo!" said I, "what does this mean?" I then said to Mr. Mazzini, "Can you produce to me any person who has heard this conversation at the Post Office?" He said, "Yes, I think I can; but (said he) I think the best thing you can do is to make a Motion in the House of Commons for a Committee, to inquire into the working of what is called the Inner, or Secret Office, of the Post Office." I accordingly gave notice of a Motion of that sort, and said that if I could only get a Committee of Inquiry, that I would ascertain the names of the parties, notorious in the Post Office, who did the dirty duties of that Office; that I would call them before the Committee, and have the whole thing out. Well, as I said before, I gave notice that I should seek for an inquiry into this Secret Office, and into the nature of the duties of those persons who were employed in it, with a view to ascertain upon what authority they acted. Well, how was that met? I had said, in introducing that Motion, that the question was no longer between M. Mazzini and the Government—that it was no longer between me and the right hon. Baronet; but it was a question between the people of England and Her Majesty's Ministers, and that the people wished to know whether their letters were the property of the Secretary of State or not. The right hon. Baronet then said that he agreed with me that the question had gone so far that it could not stop there—that it was a question between the Government and the people of England—and that it was quite right that the people of England should be satisfied on the point. How did the right hon. Gentleman propose to satisfy them? Instead of adopting the proposal made by me, he moved an Amendment that a Secret Committee should be appointed. The right hon. Gentleman named that Committee—he named his own jury—reserving to himself at the same time the right of appeal from the decision of that tribunal, and of course I reserved to myself equally the right of appeal; and in exercise of that right, called the attention of the House as early as I could during the present Session, the Report being presented late in the last Session, to what I considered the unsatisfactory and evasive character of that Report. In doing so I have subjected myself to a number of insinuations, which are neither proper nor satisfactory. Amongst those insinuations the hon. Member for Pontefract has told me that my name has been associated with persons who have been under the sentence of the law. I asked the hon. Member to name them, and he mentioned Mr. Lovett. Well, what was the case of Mr. Lovett? I certainly took up his cause, and the consequence was, that during the incarceration of Messrs. Lovett and Collins, at Warwick, their treatment was modified, and, instead of being treated as felons, they were treated as political prisoners ought to be treated. But would any one say that that was a justification of the Government opening my letters? Before that time I had never heard of Messrs. Lovett and Collins. Then the hon. and learned Member for Bute (Mr. J. S. Wortley) stated that in 1840 I had been in correspondence with certain persons who threatened to burn the town of Sheffield. The hon. and learned Gentleman defended those individuals on their trial. He was their counsel, and he defended them with so much ability that they got four years' incarceration in the House of Correction. Was there any proof that I had any connexion with those individuals? I never heard of their names, nor had I ever held the slightest correspondence with them. But if I had, would that have been a ground for opening my letters? The first time I ever became connected with the Chartist party was in 1841, just previous to the general election, when I presented a petition for them, praying for an amnesty to all political prisoners, and signed by 1,700,000 individuals. These political prisoners had been imprisoned for political offences committed during the period that my noble Friend was in office. In the year 1841, in the month of June or July, I moved an humble Address to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to order the case of those prisoners to be taken into consideration with a view to their release. Well, what was the result? The House was equally divided upon the Motion, and upon the casting vote of the Speaker that Address was rejected. Was that any reason why my letters should be opened? Then, again, in the year 1842, in the month of May, I presented a petition upon the national condition, signed by 3,300,000 members of the working classes. There were great differences of opinion as to the truth of the allegations contained in that petition; many said that the expressions contained in it were foolish and indiscreet, and that it stated grievances which could not be proved. Perhaps so; but what did they ask? Only that they might be heard at the bar of this House; but that prayer was rejected. No doubt that petition connected me with a great portion of the working classes. Next, in the year 1842, an outbreak and strike took place in the Potteries of Staffordshire; and the opinion expressed upon that occasion by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department was, that he thought the apprehensions of the parties living in the neighbourhood had been very much exaggerated, and that there was nothing whatever political in the outbreak. Now, I apprehend that my letters were opened upon political grounds, and in connexion with supposed political offenders. I assume that such was the case. Well, in 1842 the manufacturing districts were in a frightfully disturbed state; but at that time the conduct of the working classes was extremely creditable to them. For three days it had been stated that Manchester was in possession of what was called the mob; but, notwithstanding that, such was the respect and regard of the people for private property, that not even one pane of glass was broken. They showed a regard for property. Therefore there could have been no reason for opening my letters at that period. Yet it is at that period, as well as before and subsequent to it, that I charge the Government with opening my letters. I have been looking over the letters which I received at that time, but there is no letter of a treasonable character amongst them, so that if any such were sent to me at that time, the right hon. Baronet must have kept it to himself. Amongst the letters of a "suspicious looking character" that I then received, I found one which certainly appeared as if, to use the technical phrase, it had been "operated upon;" and, if closely examined, I believe there can be no doubt that it has been "operated upon." This letter came from a person who, I believe, does not stand very high in the estimation of the right hon. Gentleman—it is from Mr. Feargus O'Connor. It was written during the Nottingham election, in 1842, when Mr. Sturge was a candidate for that borough. In consequence of what had occurred in this House, in reference to Mr. Walter and Sir George Larpent, this treasonable letter was addressed to me, and I will now read it to the House:— Nottingham, Tuesday. My dear Sir—Mindful of your great services, I snatch a moment from excitement to enclose you a taste of what we are doing. I never saw a greater scene of moral excitement; and, had the Whig compact been acted upon, Nottingham for evermore would have returned Tory Members, but now I hope to banish the genus for ever. I have discovered that the Tory leaders took a number of paid men to South Derbyshire to personate not dead, but living voters, with a view of being beforehand with the real Simon Pures. I have names and all for you—amount paid—who voted. I have just returned from a village, four miles distant, with forty votes, all right; am off to another, at the other side, to make it all right; and then back to the market-place, for half-past eight, to make that all right. Read the enclosed — it is worth 10,000l. This letter, though short, should be prized; as I should write many on business, but have not time. Yours very faithfully, FEARGUS O'CONNOR. P.S. Tell Hobhouse that should we be beat by the contractor's neutrality he need never again show his nose in Nottingham. This is the sort of correspondence which I received during the whole of that period of excitement; and, except in the period of 1842, I never received any communication from Mr. Feargus O'Connor. Therefore I should be glad to know upon what grounds my letters have been opened. If I can prove that my letters have been opened by the servants of the Post Office, they, of course, will produce their authority for such an interception of my letters; and if that authority is produced, then will arise the serious question whether there were any justifiable grounds for the Government opening my letters. If it should appear that any parties have opened my letters without any authority from the Secretary, then I have no doubt whatever that they have been guilty of the breach of privilege. But I did not on a former occasion, nor do I now, wish to raise the question of a breach of privilege. That question you will of course discuss and decide when you hear all the evidence. You will then be able to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or not. But if my letters have been opened by your servant at the Post Office, I then have no doubt that a breach of privilege has been committed in my person. What is the state of the question with regard to the breach of privilege? I am surprised that the Secret Committee, which gave itself so much trouble to inquire into the historical records, and make such antiquarian researches respecting the power of Government to inspect letters, should not have discovered that in 1769 there was a complaint made to the House that a letter of Mr. Thompson, which had his name upon it, had been seized by Colonel Copley, at the Post Office at Hull, and opened. The complaint was examined into at the Bar of the House, and upon hearing evidence the House on the 14th of August, 1689, resolved,— That the seizing of the mail, and breaking open the post-letters, by any military officer or soldier, is a violation of the right of the subject; and also that the breaking open the letters directed to or sent from a Member is a breach of privilege of this House. In 1735, in a Resolution of this House, it was stated that it was a breach of the privileges of this House to inspect or look into any letters directed and addressed to the Members of the House. In 1822, a question of a similar sort was brought under the consideration of the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Cumberland. What was his case? He had directed a letter to a person in Lancaster gaol, and that letter had been opened by the gaoler. It was moved by my hon. Friend that that was a breach of the privileges of the House. I must say, on looking over that debate, I do not think my hon. Friend made out a case of breach of privilege; because it is quite clear that by Act of Parliament all letters coming to or going from a gaol might be opened by the governor of the gaol, the Act giving a power to the visiting magistrates to make such regulations for prisons as they should deem fit; those regulations to be confirmed by the Judges at the Assizes. But nevertheless my hon. Friend moved that this was a breach of privilege. The Motion was supported by Mr. (now Lord) Brougham, Mr. (now Lord) Denman, and by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell.) All these authorities voted that the opening of this letter was a breach of privilege. I do not know whether Sir James Mackintosh took any part in the debate; but this is quite clear, that whatever doubt might have been entertained as to the question brought forward by my hon. Friend, all who took part in that discussion—both those who supported and those who opposed the Motion—among the latter of whom was the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Robert Peel), admitted that if the violation of my hon. Friend's correspondence had taken place at the Post Office, it would have been a gross breach of the privileges of the House, and one which would require instantaneous redress. Well, what is my case? I am ready to prove to you that your subordinates in the Post Office in the first instance have intercepted my correspondence; and secondly, that they have done so under the authority and command of their superior officers. I propose to bring those subordinate individuals to the Bar of this House, and they will tell you who gave them their orders. I will then call those superior officers to the Bar, and ascertain from them who gave them their orders. Thus we shall get at the whole truth of the matter. Now, I want to know whether Her Majesty's Government are going to shrink from this investigation? You have again and again been asked by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government, whether you are prepared to depart from the maxims of your ancestors—whether you will change a practice which has prevailed for upwards of a century? Now, it is more than a century ago since the resolution was passed in the case of the stoppage of letters at the Post Office at Hull. I cannot, therefore, understand the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman, nor can I believe that I shall be refused the opportunity of having my case fully and fairly investigated. I will have the parties at the Bar of the House; they will tell you whether I have used any underhand or corrupt means for obtaining the information I possess. I will pledge myself that the only parties I will summon shall be the parties from whom that information has been derived. I have received no information from discarded servants. All of them have come foward voluntarily to me—men who are even now in your own service. It has been made a reproach to me that I ought not to have received such information. What! if a man comes and tells me that he has been employed by another to pick my pocket, am I to turn round upon him and say—"I cannot listen to you. You are commuting a breach of confidence with the party who has employed you in this nefarious deed?" When Mr. Mazzini produced to me evidence that these persons really spoke the truth, was it for me to reject that evidence because they happened to belong to the establishment where this iniquitous system had taken place? I am happy to say, and I think it is but fair to the Post Office establishment to say, that, there are parties ready to come forward and tell you and the Government that they are disgusted, and have been a long time disgusted, and have felt themselves degraded at being compelled to be parties to so much villany. Will you, then, I ask, grant me the opportunity of establishing these things by their testimony? I know the odds I have to contend against, I know the majority that is ever ready to come down at the beck of the right hon. Gentleman, and oppose an individual who is unprotected—a majority of 300 Members, who are even willing to stultify themselves, if by so doing they can crush a political opponent. I hear now and then of the country gentlemen. They are for ever boasting of their independence. Yes, they boast of their independence at their agricultural dinners and at their village pothouses. We know also that there are individuals lounging about our clubs here in London who talk big of their independence. But at the very time that these gentlemen are boasting of their independence, and when our ears are ringing with what I must say the most unjust, unfounded, and unwarrantable personal abuse of the right hon. Gentleman, Sir R. Peel—yes, personal abuse—I myself have heard it; I say that we hear that personal abuse of the right hon. Gentleman going on to-day, and yet on the following day we see the same individuals receiving emoluments and places at the hands of that very man. Though an humble individual—but, at the same time, as an independent Member of Parliament—I do, if there is anything like independence in this House, call upon you, as Gentlemen and as men of honour—for, though it is my case to-day, it may be any of yours to-morrow—I do call upon you to allow me to prove that which I have this night asserted. If you do not, then suffer not the Secretary at War, or those Gentlemen who cheered his sentiments the other evening, to say that it is I who am afraid to elicit the truth—don't any one insinuate that I have made use of any sneaking, underhand, indirect, or dishonourable means for obtaining the information I possess. That information I propose to call to your Bar. Sift it if you please; but let all the odium of cowardice, as shrinking from an investigation, fall upon those who shall oppose it. There are several parties I wish to call to the Bar of the House. I believe it is necessary that I should move to call them separately. I, therefore, now move, Sir,— That Lieutenant-Colonel William Leader Maberly, Secretary of the General Post Office, do attend this House upon Monday next, and that he do bring with him a certain book of and belonging to the Post Office department for the year 1842, called the 'President's Order Book,' and also a certain other book belonging to the said department for the year 1842, called the 'Inspector's Order Book.'

Mr. Disraeli

Sir, the hon. Member for Finsbury has brought before the House his proposition in an intelligible shape. He has laid before the House the statement of a personal grievance, and he has distinctly affirmed to us that in making that statement he makes no personal attack upon any individual. Sir, I should have hardly thought that it was necessary to make that declaration, had it not been for the associations connected with this Motion, which perhaps originated in other debates to which I myself mean not to refer. If the case of the last General warrant that was issued by a Secretary of State be compared with the last Post Office warrant that was issued by a Secretary of State, I think we may clearly in the parallel discover that no personal imputation need be appealed to, in order to vindicate a public right. Sir, there is not the slightest doubt that the last general warrant issued by a Secretary of State was an act of tyranny, an act of oppression, an act essentially iniquitous; but no one pretends that the Secretary of State who issued that general warrant was a tyrant, an oppressor, a man eminently unjust. On the contrary, Lord Halifax was a very good sort of man. Society under these circumstances steps in and settles the rule which decides these questions. It acknowledges that usage is the moral vindication of the Minister; but while it frees the Minister from any personal stigma, it does not emancipate him from the consequence of an il- legal act. That is the question which now engages the attention of the House and interests the nation. We are not to seek what may be the cause that has brought it forward. I give the hon. Gentlemen who has brought it forward credit for the same purity of motive as the Minister appealed to; and I must say I was much surprised that a Minister of the Crown should ever have risen in this House and said that the question was only prompted by personal motives. Sir, it was only in answer to such an imputation that I ever myself stated that no personal feeling in this respect could influence me, and made one of those disclaimers which are generally disagreeable and inconvenient, but which, after all, are only addressed to the individual concerned. I am myself perfectly satisfied that whatever ebullition of feeling came from another quarter the person in question did not misconceive my motive. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury has placed the case neatly and completely before us. He say, "If my letters have been stopped and opened by the Government, the officers of the Crown and Post Office have committed a breach of privilege, unless they have done so upon the warrant of a Minister." If they have done so, let them produce the warrant; he will then be in a position to appeal to the House and the country for a vindication of his character, or to the Courts of Law, to decide whether that warrant is a legal instrument or not. Sir, I am at a loss to comprehend what answer can be given to that direct appeal. This is the view naturally taken by the hon. Gentleman in his individual case. He feels the individual grievance — he naturally looks to the individual remedy. All that he wants is the warrant. All that he wants is an opportunity of vindicating his innocence, or allowing others to prove his guilt. I believe that the country requires more. I believe that the country is anxious that that warrant should be produced—not merely that it should vindicate the honour and conduct of the hon. Gentleman, or the reverse; but that an opportunity should be afforded to the subjects of the Queen to try whether that instrument is a legal one; and how is it possible for any person to have that opportunity unless the House interferes, as it is requested in the present instance? It is not asked to exercise its prerogative and privilege to vindicate any Gentleman who cannot vindicate himself by law. The situation of the hon. Gen- tleman is that which may be the situation of any Member of this House—of any subject of the Queen, to-morrow. It is exactly this—"Will you put me in a position worse than the meanest subject of the realm is placed in? Will you say that I have experienced a wrong, and that I have not a remedy?" Now, Sir, that is the question, I believe, in which the country is interested. That it is also interested in the question whether this power should be exercised under any circumstances, no one can doubt. Some Gentlemen may rise and say that this is a power that ought always to be at the disposition of Government; some may say that it is disgraceful to this country that foreign nations should know we exercise it; and others may rise and state that that can hardly be the case since every foreign nation does itself exercise it; but there is this distinction—though foreign nations always do exercise this power, foreign nations never believed that England did. It resolves itself into this question—are you content to be ruled by a popular government, or do you wish to be ruled by a government of police? No doubt a popular government has many inconveniences. No doubt it would be much better that the question of the Sugar Duties, for instance, should be settled without any loss of time. It is a great inconvenience to trade, as the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) has often told us, that there should be any discussion on the subject. I don't doubt that if the question were settled by that right hon. Gentleman himself, in his Cabinet, it would be equally well, perhaps better. This is one of the inconveniences we endure for popular government, and so it is with reference to the correspondence of individuals. You have a popular government, you have a strong local system; you may, by not prying into the correspondence of individuals, be subjected to great calamities. You may have Bristol burnt, as Bristol was burnt; you may have Birmingham assailed, as you had it assailed—but the country strikes the balance. It agrees to suffer those great injuries for the sake of a popular government, instead of a government of police; and the country, after all, must decide it. Now, Sir, I believe that is the impartial view as regards the general question. As regards the country, though sympathising with the hon. Gentleman who presses the case of his individual wrong, they desire also an opportunity to decide whether this warrant of the Secretary of State is a legal warrant. They wish to have it decided as the question of general warrants was decided; and if it be a legal warrant, then it becomes an open question fit for discussion, whether such a power should be allowed in a free country to subsist. Sir, the hon. Gentleman who has introduced the question to night seems, in some remarks he has made, to think that an impartial discussion of the question is impossible in this House. Certainly, when I recollect the last debate, to which I need not refer, I am not surprised, from the elaborate misconceptions of former debates, that the hon. Gentleman should fear this discussion would not be free. But I cannot believe, although the hon. Gentleman fears, that any intimidation is purposely enacted in this House; but there is not the slightest doubt, that on both occasions now before us, and upon others which have occurred within the last two or three years, there have been misunderstandings, founded on the misconceptions—perhaps mutual misconceptions—of the relations that subsist between the leaders of a party and the supporters of a party. Sir, I may allude to these circumstances, because the hon. Gentleman seems to think that on this occasion he is not secure of a fair discussion of this question; and because, unless there is a correct understanding on this head, I almost despair of his receiving that fair discussion. When the balanced state of parties ceased in this House, it must have been pretty evident to those who had any idea of the constituent elements of such an Assembly, that what we call party feeling, though for a short time from custom preserved, would eventually evaporate. There were very few, if any, party questions; and it was pretty clear, that in a popular Assembly, of more than 600 persons, questions would constantly arise in which Gentlemen, though sitting on different sides of the House, without compromising the elementary principles of their politics, would very often divide in the same lobby, and very often in discussions take the same side. An hon. Gentleman on the other side gets up and proposes a Motion which, at the first blush, does not seem to call in question any of the marked principles of either party—if two parties, indeed, still exist. Some Gentleman on this side thinks it a legitimate opportunity to express his opinions on the question—he happens to support the Motion—the Government barely attend to the debate—treat it, perhaps, with indifference or carelessness; the debate trails on—comes into a second night; certain circumstances occur, which portend a division, which I will not say might be embarrassing—that would be impossible—but disagreeable to the Government. Immediately this takes place, a certain system is brought into play, which may prevent, perhaps, that fair discussion the hon. Gentleman would seem to despair of, and which I can hardly believe can long be permitted to subsist in this House. Sir, it seems to me that the system is established on two principles, or rather processes—inuendo and imputation—the insinuation of base motive, and the allegation of factious conduct. Generally, it developes itself in this manner—there are some indications of irritability on the Treasury Bench, almost immediately followed by some impatience among the immediate adherents of the Government; and then, as I have observed in several debates, some Gentleman gets up — an avowed adherent, or perhaps a secret supporter of the Government—and instantly we have imputations of mean motives—of personal motives—I should say of corrupt motives—against every Gentleman who is perhaps speaking, or about to vote, in opposition to Government, although the question may not be one that involves any party principle, or any decided principle whatever—a mere matter of practice and detail. Now, Sir, in this state of affairs—probably at the end of the second or third night of debate—when a course so injurious has naturally produced acerbity in many quarters, perhaps expressions of that bitterness, the sincerity of which is not doubted, then, at the right moment, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) rises to cap the climax; and, probably, having just been assured by one of his aids-de-camp that he is secure of a greater majority than ever, he makes a passionate appeal to his supporters, as if the strong government were in the very throes of dissolution, and uses language which, in my opinion, is susceptible of only one interpretation—that some Gentlemen on this side of the House would, to embarrass Government, descend to political collusion and Parliamentary intrigue. Now, Sir, I protest against the system. The system is not founded in justice or fair play. It is not founded upon a real understanding of the principles on which party connexion should exist. It is, in fact, a system of tyranny; and as degrading to those who exercise it, as to those who endure it. I take a recent case, because fresh in our memory. When the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Duncombe) the other night called our attention to the instance of his grievance, he brought forward a Motion, which on the face of it every one must see would be opposed by the Government that exists, and the Government that preceded them. It was, therefore, taken out of the category of party questions. There was a general impression in the House that it was extremely desirable that the decision of the Committee should be supported. That impression was not peculiar to this side of the House. An hon. Gentleman the Member for Hull (Sir J. Hanmer), the independence of whose character is, I believe, universally acknowledged, who is certainly as incapable of political intrigue as any Gentleman in the House, spoke in the debate without concert or combination, forming his opinion merely on the statement of the hon. Member for Finsbury, and being himself particularly inclined to support the decision of the Committee; but he thought it was impossible that this individual instance of the hon. Member could be passed over. He expressed his opinion in a frank, manly manner. It so happened, as probably it will often happen in a popular assembly of this kind, that circumstances during the debate change to that degree that there was a chance of a division not embarrassing, but probably more disagreeable to the Government than they at first anticipated, if they condescended to think of a division in the first instance. Well, immediately all the powers of the System were put into action. The right hon. Gentleman was brought forward to sanction it by his great example. The division is called for. Gentlemen are brought up from the country to support an endangered Government that never was in peril, and again a great party triumph, when there was not a single party prinple at stake, not a single party principle in danger. Now, Sir, I really think there ought to be a more liberal sense of party connexion than that which the Treasury Bench at this moment recognizes; and I think that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government is the last Minister who should assume to be a political martinet. I can conceive a Minister in a position in which he requires devotion from his party—I can suppose a Minister having a very small majority—I can suppose he holds power merely in deference to the wishes of his party; he has a right to say to his supporters, "I have to fight a very difficult game; I would much rather give up power; still I hold on; but you must be ready at all times to support me with devotion." That is not the position of the right hon. Gentleman. His position is quite the reverse. He has a very large party to support him, and an Opposition before him which, though distinguished doubtless by very eminent talents, and numerically, far from contemptible, is not, nevertheless, distinguished for its power of cohesion. The right hon. Gentleman is in a position which really would allow him to be indulgent. It is very easy for him to turn round, and say, "What can be more treacherous than this—to be attacked on the right flank? I am prepared to meet the foe before me; no one ever saw me quail." The right hon. Gentleman forgets that the foe before never wished to fight him. He may sometimes be assailed on his right flank, but while he boasts of his courage and determination to conquer, the right hon. Gentleman forgets that the victory is very easy when nobody opposes him. There is another reason why he should not adopt this tone—he should not forget, after all, a great many of his supporters were elected on the hustings under very different circumstances to those under which they sit here. Really a little philosophical consideration from so great a statesman under such circumstances, is the least we might expect. I admit that I for one was sent here by my constituents to sit on this side. He may object to me, although I think he has no great occasion to object that I am sometimes in a different Lobby to himself; but I was sent to swell a Tory majority—to support a Tory Ministry. Whether a Tory Ministry exists or not I do not pretend to decide; but I am bound to believe that the Tory majority still remains, and therefore I do not think that it is the majority that should cross the House but only the Ministry. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, on reflection, will take a more condescending and charitable view of our conduct than he has hitherto been pleased to do. I am sure myself I never misinterpret the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman. I know there are some who think that he is looking out for new allies. I never believed anything of the kind. The position of the right hon. Gentleman is clear and precise. I do not believe he is looking to any coalition, although many of my constituents do. The right hon. Gentleman has only exactly to remain where he is. The right hon. Gen- tleman caught the Whigs bathing, and walked away with their clothes. He has left them in the full enjoyment of their liberal position, and he is himself a strict conservative of their garments. I cannot conceive that the right hon. Gentleman will ever desert his party; they seem never to desert him. There never was a man yet who had less need to find new friends. I, therefore, hope all these rumours will cease. I look on the right hon. Gentleman as a man who has tamed the Shrew of liberalism by her own tactics. He is the political Petruchio, who has outbid you all. If we could only induce the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, to take a larger and more liberal view of his Parliamentary position than he seems to adopt in moments too testy for so great a man to indulge in, he would spare us some imputations which I assure him are really painful. If the right hon. Gentleman may find it sometimes convenient to reprove a supporter on his right flank, perhaps we deserve it — I, for one, am quite prepared to bow to the rod; but really, if the right hon. Gentleman, instead of having recourse to obloquy, would only stick to quotation, he may rely on it, it would be a safer weapon. It is one he always wields with the hand of a master; and when he does appeal to any authority, in prose or verse, he is sure to be successful, partly, because he seldom quotes a passage that has not previously received the meed of Parliamentary approbation, and partly and principally, because his quotations are so happy. The right hon. Gentleman knows what the introduction of a great name does in debate—how important is its effect, and occasionally how electrical. He never refers to any author who is not great, and sometimes who is not loved — Canning for example. That is a name never to be mentioned, I am sure, in the House of Commons without emotion. We all admire his genius; we all, at least most of us, deplore his untimely end; and we all sympathize with him in his fierce struggle with supreme prejudice and sublime mediocrity, — with inveterate foes, and with—"candid friends." The right hon. Gentleman may be sure that a quotation from such an authority will always tell. Some lines, for example, upon friendship, written by Mr. Canning, and quoted by the right hon. Gentleman! The theme—the poet—the speaker—what a felicitous combination! Its effect in debate must be overwhelming; and I am sure, were it addressed to me, all that would remain for me would be thus publicly to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, not only on his ready memory, but on his courageous conscience.

Sir J. Graham

Sir, it is necessary for me to throw myself on the indulgence and justice of the House, considering the circumstances in which I am placed; and I hope, also, that I may be able to recall them to a dispassionate consideration of the reasons which I shall endeavour to adduce in support of the vote which I shall consider it my duty to give on the present occasion. In the first place, I think it desirable to divest the discussion of all that is extraneous, and that does not bear upon the Motion which has been made by the hon. Member for Finsbury. I shall not deal, therefore, with the elaborate speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury. The hon. Gentleman has discussed questions connected with the ties of party, and has raised the question of what is the authority of the leader of a party, and what is the freedom, pushed, perhaps, to licentiousness by the hon. Gentleman, which follows are entitled to enjoy; and he has also stated that tyranny sometimes is exercised by me. Tyranny of this description is best met by open resistance; and I rejoice to find that the hon. Gentleman, thinking that tyranny has been exercised, at length has arrived at a period when rebellion, he thinks, may be open and avowed. I, Sir, am glad to learn this decision from the hon. Gentleman—and that we shall know hereafter, whatever may be the place in the House which that hon. Gentleman thinks proper to occupy—that he is in open and avowed rebellion, and no longer in a state of covert mutiny. I will now proceed to discard another matter, which I believe it is desirable should not embarrass our consideration upon the present occasion. The hon. Member for Finsbury, towards the close of his speech, referred to a question of privilege which, as he thought, might be connected with this subject; but I understood him distinctly to state, that on the present occasion, and as the question now stands, he does not rely upon the case of privilege connected with the circumstances of his case. I shall not, therefore, Sir, address any observations to the question of privilege. The hon. Gentleman says that his case may hereafter assume that shape; but as the matter now stands he does not raise the question of privilege. I may, in passing, observe, that the Resolution quoted by the hon. Gentleman, in 1689, bears reference to a particular circumstance—namely, the opening of a letter franked by a Peer of Parliament, and also that the Resolution is antecedent to the Statute of Anne, wherein the power of the Secretary of State to issue warrants is specially recognised for the first time by statute. Neither shall I, on the present occasion, argue the legality of the warrant issued by the Secretary of State, I shall only make the observation, that if the power be legal, the exercise of that power is legal in the case of a Member of Parliament; if it be illegal, the injury is as great towards the most humble individual as any Member of this House. The question, therefore, of legality or illegality does not affect in the slightest degree the case of a person being a Member of Parliament. But now, Sir, with the permission of the House, I am most anxious to appeal, as the hon. Gentleman has done, to its sense of reason and justice, without distinction of party, and without reference to personal feeling. I shall not follow the example of the hon. Gentleman, and pour contumely and vituperation upon Gentlemen of his party. On the contrary, I appeal in this case to their reason and their justice, and I rely upon the case which I am about to present to them, without reference to the side of the House on which hon. Gentlemen may happen to sit. I have a confident reliance that, actuated by motives of impartiality and justice, they will not accede to the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. Sir, I think that all the circumstances of the case antecedent to the 4th of July in the last year, when the hon. Gentleman made the Motion for referring the question at issue between himself and me to a Select Committee of the House—I think that all these antecedent circumstances may, with the utmost propriety, be discarded. [Mr. Duncombe: I made my Motion on the 2nd.] The hon. Gentleman says, the 2nd of July, I thought it was the 4th; but on the 2nd of July the hon. Gentleman made a Motion that the petition of Mr. Mazzini, containing certain allegations respecting the conduct of parties at the Post Office, should be referred to a Select Committee. Now, Sir, it is of the last importance that I should recall to the recollection of the House what occurred on that day. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London distinctly stated on that occasion, that if I, filling the situation of Secretary of State, following the example of Sir R. Walpole, under circumstances not altogether dissimilar, had stated to the House the general principle on which in the discharge of my official duties I had exercised my functions as Secretary of State, and had issued warrants according to my official responsibility—if I had stated the general principles which had guided me in the exercise of that duty, he had come down on that day prepared to resist the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. The noble Lord said, in his opinion, that a person clothed with official authority, and avowing that he had exercised this particular function, should have declared, as Sir R. Walpole declared, that he had not in any one particular instance in the exercise of his duty been actuated either by motives of private curiosity, private vindictive feeling, or private interest. The noble Lord said if that declaration had been made by the Secretary of State, he had come down prepared to resist the Motion for further inquiry. I moved an Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, and I suggested to the House that on the whole, under the particular circumstances of the case, a Secret Committee was preferable to a Select Committee. The noble Lord distinctly stated that although he felt himself constrained to vote for the inquiry, for the reason I have just stated, yet that, on the whole, he was of opinion that a Secret Committee was preferable to a Select Committee. The House will, perhaps, permit me, to prevent all inaccuracy, to quote the precise words of the noble Lord. The noble Lord said,— I entirely agree in the reasons urged by my right hon. Fiiend"—that is, by myself—"for proposing that the Committee appointed to investigate this matter should be a Secret Committee. I think the purposes of the inquiry will be more fully attained, the investigation will be more strict, and the Members of the Committee will be better able to arrive at a correct conclusion, if the inquiry be conducted secretly, than would be the case if it were an open Committee, and if the matter were canvassed day by day. Now, Sir, let me call the attention of the House to the composition of that Committee. The hon. Gentleman towards the end of June made a Motion with reference to Mr. Mazzini. A division took place upon that, question—a very close division. I do not think the Government had a majority of much more than six-and-twenty. On that occasion five of the Gentlemen who were nominated on the Secret Committee had voted with the noble Lord against Her Majesty's Ministers. Four Gentlemen were appointed from this side of the House, and of these four three only had voted with Her Majesty's Ministers on that occasion, and the other had not voted at all. The noble Lord, in the speech which I have already quoted, distinctly stated that the Committee in his opinion was fairly constituted—that he preferred a Secret Committee to any other tribunal, upon the ground that the examinations would, in his opinion, be more strict than if they were conducted in any other manner. The noble Lord approved entirely of the composition of the Committee, and said he was satisfied that that Committee so composed, for the purpose of conducting the inquiry in secret, which he allowed to be the preferable manner, would arrive at a conclusion satisfactory to the House and the country. Now, Sir, it is of great importance that the House should bear in mind the allegations which were on that occasion preferred by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury, and which were brought under the consideration of that Committee. First of all the hon. Member stated the existence of an inner office in the Post Office, where I think it was said letters were opened by wholesale. The hon. Member referred particularly to the Brighton bag and the Dublin bag being called for, and being sent to that office; and he went further, and stated that he believed everybody's letters were opened, and that his own letters had been opened. [Mr. Duncombe: Not so.] The hon. Member said on that occasion that the Brighton and Dublin bags had been asked for—that letters had been opened wholesale—that there was a roving commission going about the country to open letters—that letters were opened, and I think he said he had no doubt that his own letters were opened. Now, Sir, this was the state of the case on the day the Committee was appointed. But does the matter rest here? On the 18th of July the hon. Gentleman made an appeal to this House. On that day he came down to the House and stated that he had appeared before the Secret Committee. He stated what had occurred before that Secret Committee, and he again informed the House that he had preferred what he termed a bill of indictment before that Committee. The allegations of that indictment were enumerated. He said he was asked to prove certain charges which he had made in his place in Parliament. He stated that he was prepared to prove them by evidence. He was then asked to repeat the charges which he had made in the House. He said that on that occasion—I am speaking now in the presence of the noble Chairman of the Committee — he said that, on being so asked, he did repeat his charges; he used the expression that he had preferred a bill of indictment. [Interruption.] I really am sorry to trespass on the time of the House, but I think in a matter of this kind so personally affecting myself I am entitled to a patient and attentive hearing. The hon. Gentleman says that upon that occasion he preferred a bill of indictment; that is the expression which the hon. Gentleman used, and he then enumerates to the House the charges which he had preferred. The hon. Gentleman said— I do not know, Sir, whether it will be necessary to repeat to this House the charges which I had made, at the same time I see no reason why I should not do so. The charges which I had then stated I was prepared to prove before the Committee, and by good evidence, were these—first, that the letters of Foreign Ministers had been and were up to the present time opened; second, that a very unscrupulous use had been made for the last two years of this secret power which was possessed by the Government of opening letters; third, that a roving commission had been sent down through the country in the year 1842, for the purpose of opening letters: that letters of certain individuals had been opened, and I believe are now opened, and that my own letters had been opened. Now, Sir, the hon. Gentleman on the 2nd of July—[Mr. Duncombe: That was on the 18th.] The hon. Gentleman on the 2nd July, as I contend, did state to the House in substance and in terms all the allegations which he again enumerated on the 18th July. The hon. Gentleman stated that his own letters had been opened. He stated it on the 2nd of July, when the Secret Committee was appointed, which the noble Lord thought, for a strict and searching examination, was best calculated to effect the object, and the composition of which he declared to be fair. The hon. Gentleman then preferred a bill of indictment, one of the counts of which was that his letters had been opened. He went before the Committee; he was asked what his charges were. They were taken down by the short-hand writer; and the hon. Member says they were taken down by every Member of the Committee. He says that, among other charges, he told the Committee that his letters had been opened, and that he was in a position to prove that charge. He went further: he says that he tendered to the Committee a list of witnesses who were capable of substantiating his allegations. The case, however, which he offered to prove, broke down in consequence of a condition which the hon. Gentleman sought to impose on the Committee. That condition was that he himself should be present, and should examine the witnesses he might produce. Now, the hon. Gentleman says that I reserved an appeal to this House; but the hon. Gentleman himself has more than once exercised a similar right. He appealed on the 18th of July from the decision which he sought to impose on the Committee; and he proposed to the House the following Resolution:— That it be an instruction to the Secret Committee on the Post Office, that they allow Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, Esq., Member for the Borough of Finsbury, to attend before said Committee, and produce and examine witnesses in support of the petitions of Joseph Mazzini, of Charles Stolzman and others, referred to the said Committee. Upon that occasion, the noble Lord the Chairman of the Committee addressed the House, and assured them that the Committee were then anxious to hear the evidence of which the hon. Gentleman was in possession; that they knew that the hon. Gentleman possessed personally no information which could have aided them in their inquiry, and that he must have derived his information from other parties; and that they also felt that it was competent to him to put some hon. Member of the Committee in possession of the facts which had come to his knowledge. The noble Lord further stated, that he did not believe that any information which the hon. Gentleman could give was actually essential to the successful prosecution of the inquiry, and that the Committee felt that they were not in any way defeating the object of the investigation by refusing to hear the hon. Gentleman. The O'Conor Don assured the House upon the same occasion, that the present and the late Governments had furnished the Committee with all the information they could possibly desire; and the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Strutt) said, he could only declare what was the truth, that they had pursued the inquiry without regard to either party, and that the most ample evidence had been placed at their disposal. And the hon. Gentleman himself, the hon. Member for Finsbury said, that his right hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) was perfectly correct in stating that the question was, whether the Committee were wrong in not allowing the hon. Gentleman to examine the witnesses, or whether he was wrong in making his request. The hon. Gentleman admitted that that was the question to be decided upon the occasion. The House went to a division upon that question; and by the large majority of 141 to 51, the Motion of the hon. Gentleman was negatived. The proposition upon which the hon. Gentleman joined issue — namely, whether he or the Committee were right—was determined against the hon. Gentleman, and in favour of the Committee. And upon that occasion, if I mistake not, the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland (Lord Howick) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. F. Baring) voted with the majority against the instruction to the Committee proposed by the hon. Gentleman. Under these circumstances I am entitled to say that the House deliberately came to the following conclusion:—First, that a Secret Committee was, upon the whole, the surest, the best, and the most searching tribunal to investigate this case; and, next, that the hon. Gentleman was not entitled to be present at the examination of his witnesses, and that he was bound to give in a list of those witnesses for the purpose of establishing his case. But more than that, I contend that the whole case has been fully and deliberately investigated by the tribunal appointed by this House. The hon. Gentleman, not satisfied with the decisions to which the House had come in the course of last Session, again appealed to the House the other evening, and asked it to appoint a Select Committee in lieu of a Secret Committee; and again the hon. Gentleman was defeated in his appeal. The House decided that a Select Committee should not be appointed, and that it was satisfied with the Report and the verdict of the Secret Committee which it had appointed on a former occasion. And what is it the hon. Gentleman asks to night? I conceive that what he wishes to do to-night is to appeal for a third time to the judgment of the House against the decisions which it has twice formerly pronounced. Not satisfied with the decision of the House that a Secret Committee was the best tribunal— not satisfied with the rejection of his proposal that a Select Committee should be appointed—he proposes to-night that the House should determine on again investigating a subject at the Bar of the whole House, upon which its decision has already been given more than once. I shall not weary the House by going through the proofs to be found in the Report of the Secret Committee, that all the allegations preferred in the hon. Gentleman's original charge have been investigated. But I may observe that there are passages in that Report which show that the allegation of a roving Commission having gone through England opening letters has been investigated and refuted; and that the statement that at the inner office, the Brighton, the Dublin, and other mails, had been indiscriminately opened, has been found to be incorrect. And now I rely on this Report upon a point which the noble Lord declared originally to be essential and vital—namely, whether the power in question has been exercised in excess by the present Government and by the Secretary of State, and more especially whether it have been exercised from motives of curiosity or personal and vindictive feelings, or whether it have been exercised exclusively from a regard for the public service. The Committee have come to a deliberate decision upon all these topics; they have directly negatived the assertion that the power has been exercised under the influence of any personal or vindictive feeling. They have said, that in reference to every particular warrant they were not unanimously prepared to assert that each warrant had been issued with discretion; but they alleged that they were unanimously of opinion, that in no one case had a single warrant been issued from personal or vindictive feelings, or from any other motive than a desire to preserve the public peace. The hon. Gentleman made some strong assertions as to the legality of the course which I have pursued. Now, I state deliberately and solemnly, that I never opened a letter, or directed a letter to be opened, or knew of a letter being opened, without a written authority from the Home Office, in conformity with the usage established by my predecessors, and in conformity with a legal opinion as to the right mode of issuing a warrant; and that I never issued any such warrant from personal or from vindictive feelings. I aver that most solemnly. I go further—I state that which nine hon. Members of this House can affirm or confute—I state that every warrant issued by every Secretary of State for the last twenty-two years has been deposited at the Post Office; and I assert that every warrant issued by me was produced before the Secret Committee. I not only produced before that Committee which the House had appointed to enter into a full investigation of the subject, every warrant I had issued; but, going seriatim through each warrant, I stated, without reserve, the facts connected with its issue; and, without any disguise, I explained the motives, the reasons, and the causes which had influenced me in each particular case. I declare this in the most solemn manner; and if there be any question as to the veracity of my statement upon this subject, I have only to state that, in the office itself there are three individuals who are cognisant of the issue of each warrant, as well as the Secretary of State who signs it, and that every warrant issued during the last twenty-two years has been preserved at the Post Office; and as many of the officers of the Post Office gave evidence before the Committee, they must have had an opportunity of checking any statement which a Secretary of State might make. I believe I may assert with confidence that every Member of the Committee was satisfied that no concealment or disguise whatever had taken place on my part. I shall not dwell upon the Report of a similar Committee of the House of Lords; it is enough for me to rely upon the decision of the tribunal constituted by this House—not hastily adopted, but deliberately created, by this House. It would ill become me upon this occasion to utter one word of complaint with respect either to the conduct of the hon. Gentleman, or any expressions which may have fallen from him now or upon a former occasion in the heat of debate, nor shall I now comment on any expressions which may have fallen from hon. and noble opponents of mine. This is a matter deeply affecting public interests; but still appealing to the justice of both sides of the House, without any distinction, I say that my conduct upon this subject has been investigated both by a Committee of the House of Commons, and a Committee of the House of Lords; and that after I have had from each Committee a verdict in my favour, the consequence of entering into another investigation would be that their verdict in my favour should be set aside, and that I should be put upon my trial again. The time of the House is precious; and I am always unwilling to trespass upon it unnecessarily. But still, considering that a personal attack has been made upon me, and that my private feelings have been wounded—unintentionally, no doubt—in the course of a former discussion, although I do not in general think it very becoming in Gentlemen addressing this House to dwell upon their own private feelings and position, the House will, perhaps, indulge me while I allude to a subject immediately relating to myself. Reference has been made to my early intimacy with the hon. Member for Finsbury; and I am bound to state that I have been on terms of great intimacy with that hon. Gentleman. It was not an intimacy commencing with us; for I may say—and I am sure that he will be prepared to confirm the statement—that it has been transmitted to us from our forefathers for several generations. It was, therefore, with infinite pain that I have ever found myself placed in collision with that hon. Gentleman. He and I have certainly been on very friendly terms; we have passed many joyous days and many convivial nights together. But I may be permitted to say that our intimacy was not the intimacy of political association. The hon. Gentleman has himself referred to a fact which is quite notorious, that in the discharge of his political duties he has formed an alliance with a large body of persons in this country who advocate what is termed "the Charter;" he presented their petition; and his defence of the advocates of that measure upon more than one occasion is well known to the public. It would ill become me to express any opinion on what the hon. Gentleman has conceived to be the line of his public duty. That line of public duty is well known to all, and will be judged of by all; but I am bound to say that no circumstance has in any way or at any time come to my knowledge, in the exercise of my official duties, with respect to the conduct of the hon. Gentleman, which is in the least degree inconsistent with loyalty to Her Majesty, or with his duty as a Member of this House. I have already stated that in the official exercise of a most painful duty, I cannot give what the hon. Member for Liskeard has termed a plain answer to a civil question. I have said with truth, that if I were to answer one question of this nature put to me by an hon. Member in this House, I must necessarily answer not only every other Member who might put a similar question, but I should in justice be bound to give an answer to every similar question which might be put by the humblest individual in this country. It is for the House to determine whether or not they will maintain the existing law; but while the law continues, if the Secretary of State is to exercise, for public objects and public purposes, a power of this kind, I say it is incompatible with the free exercise of that power that interrogatories of this kind should be answered. If I could have acted on the impulse of private feeling apart from a sense of public duty, I should certainly have spared the House these frequent discussions. But I could not have done so consistently with my sense of duty. I can, however, assure the hon. Member for Finsbury that there is nothing disrespectful—nothing personally disrespectful to him—in the part I have taken; on the contrary, I again repeat that I do not entertain one particle of vindictive feeling towards that hon. Gentleman; for all my feelings are of a widely different character. I do remember our former intimacy; and I have a respect and a regard for the hon. Gentleman which nothing he may say or do in his moments of anger can ever shake. I say again that I do not mean anything personally disrespectful to him by what I have said or done; and I sit down repeating that I know nothing officially, or in any other way, respecting the conduct of the hon. Gentleman which in the least degree reflects on his conduct as a loyal subject or as a Member of this House.

Viscount Howick

I have heard, Sir, in common with the House, with great satisfaction, the observations which last fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. Those observations will have the effect of taking away from the remainder of this debate much of that bitterness which has unfortunately belonged to it. I must say, I should have preferred this question not being again brought before this House. I could have wished, without referring further to the past, that some Bill or Resolution had been brought forward with a view to regulate the exercise of this obnoxious power in future, and guarding against the abusess which may have attended its former exercise. But as the hon. Member for Finsbury has thought proper to bring this proposition before us, I think we are bound to deal with it as justice and reason require. And, Sir, it is well that the right hon. Gentleman does not deny that the course proposed by the hon. Member for Finsbury is strictly in accordance with previous precedent and the practice of this House. When a Member of Parliament states that his letters have been opened, it appears to have been the practice of this House to inquire into the fact, and ascertain if such opening has taken place, and if so, whether it have been done by competent authority. The hon. Gentleman states that he is in a situation to prove the fact of the opening of his letters; and nothing is stated to us of any sufficient authority having been given for that opening. The right hon. Gentleman refuses to settle this question by stating, as he might do in one moment, that there existed a proper authority, and therefore, inquiry from his subordinate officers was unnecessary. But we are left in ignorance where this authority has been given, and therefore the hon. Member is perfectly justified in praying for an investigation into the subject. The right hon. Gentleman rests his whole resistance to this Motion upon this simple assertion—that the case has been already disposed of by the Secret Committee. If I agreed with him as to the fact of a verdict having been given by that Committee, I should be very much disposed to agree with him as to the conclusion. But I deny the fact. I take this Report, and find that, so far from having given any verdict one way or the other upon this particular case, they have studiously avoided doing so. If any hon. Gentleman examines this Report, they will find, with regard to the case of Mazzini's letters that the Committee have expressly reported that the alleged opening had really taken place; they have stated the grounds upon which it took place, and they have also said, that they did not consider the Secretary of State blameable for what had been done. There is no doubt upon that case. Here is an explicit verdict given. They give not only their judgment, but their reasons for it. But in the case of the hon. Member for Finsbury, they not only give no judgment, but they leave it as a matter of inference, and doubt whether a warrant has been issued or not. The House is still unacquainted with the fact, whether any such warrant has been issued. If the Committee had reported, "We find a warrant was issued to open Mr. Duncombe's letters, and that there were circumstances to justify it," then I should say, that the right hon. Gentleman was justified in resting his case upon a verdict having been given. But the Committee have done no such thing. They have not informed us whether any warrant at all has been issued, much less have they told us whether they thought it had been properly issued. Nay, more, there is in the Report an expression which warrants the opinion that the Committee did not agree as to whether it had had been done with a discreet exercise of judgment, or the reverse; because, what does the Committee say, supposing it to have been issued. They state— So far as the criminal warrants go, no suspicion arises that unfairness or partiality has directed their issue. With regard to the other class of warrants" — that is, political warrants, of which this is supposed to have been one—"though there have been some few issued by different administrations that have been in power during the last twenty-two years, in regard to which it is obvious that on a subsequent review of the facts, a difference of opinion might arise as to the discretion exercised in each particular case, yet your Committee see no reason to doubt that the conduct of the Secretaries of State belonging to each of those administrations has been guided by any other motive than an anxious desire to preserve the public peace with the maintenance of which they were charged. Sir, I admit at once, that this paragraph of the Report is a judgment of the Committee, so far as the motives of the right hon. Gentleman might have been concerned. Supposing a warrant to have been issued, the Committee expressly acquits him of improper motives; but a Minister may do very wrong, and yet act from very right motives. An error in judgment, a mistaken use of the discretion entrusted to a Minister—and especially so high a discretionary power as that now in question—is a subject requiring the notice of this House. Of course you would notice it in a different way if you think it is a mere error in judgment, from what you would if you think it arises from corrupt and improper motives. But be the motives ever so right, I say a mistaken judgment in so grave a matter as the opening of the letters of a Member of Parliament is a case in which the House has a right, and it is its duty, to inquire. And when you look at the particular wording of this paragraph which I have just read, the Committee stating distinctly that a difference of opinion may arise as to the discretion with which this power has been exercised, when you couple that with the distinct admission made by the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool, by the hon. Member for Derby, and the hon. Member for Kendal, that that Committee were very far from agreeing with themselves—I say, when you couple these things with the fact, that the particular case of the hon. Member for Finsbury is not noticed in the Report—when you take all these things together, the inference to my mind is perfectly irresistible that the Committee were not, in point of fact, agreed as to whether the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury were properly opened, or the reverse. In point of fact, I entertain little doubt that there were differences of opinion on the subject by the Committee. And under these circumstances, entertaining the opinion which I expressed on a former evening, that nothing but the strongest circumstances would justify an interference with a free communication between a Member of this House and the people whom he represents; entertaining that opinion, and believing, from the Committee not having expressed a positive opinion, that they were divided in their sentiments, I cannot say that the supposed verdict which has been given by that Committee ought to preclude me from inquiring further whether, in this instance, the power of which we have been speaking, has been exercised properly or not. And really I cannot help remarking upon the extraordinary power which hon. Gentlemen would put into the hands of this Committee. I place every reliance on the honour and judgment of the Members of the Committee; but still it is quite new to me, that even when we might be aware how the Committee had decided, upon what grounds their opinion was formed, and even if we knew that they had decided by a large majority, in that case I am yet to learn that the opinion of the Committee is to be binding and conclusive on this House. I have always understood that the real functions of a Committee were to ascertain facts and give their opinion; and then it was for the House to judge whether such Committee had arrived at a proper decision or not. It often happens too, that the House overrules the decision of the Committee; and not only the House overrules the decision of a Committee, but if that Committee happens not quite to agree with Her Majesty's Government, it often happens that the Government overrules its decision. I was on a Committee last year charged with an important inquiry upon a subject affecting private interests—I mean the New Zealand Committee—and it so happened that, having gone fully into the inquiry, the majority of that Committee—composed, too, of a considerable number of Gentlemen on the other side of the House—came to a decision opposed to the views of the Government. What happened? As soon as Parliament was up, a despatch was written by the Secretary of State, in which he said that a considerable difference of opinion existed amongst the Committee; but he agreed with the minority; he thought they were right, and his instructions were founded upon their opinion. That is the view which the Government may take of the decision of a Committee. But in the case of a Secret Committee, which we have every reason to believe to have been divided in opinion, in which if they gave any opinion in favour of the conduct of the Government, and there was a majority, it was only perhaps by a casting vote; I say in the case of such a Committee we are entitled to know the grounds upon which they have decided. In a case of this importance, involving one of the highest privileges of the House, involving the exercise of one of the greatest powers of the Government, requiring to be used with the most profound discretion, the Government refuses to tell us what has been done—refuses to tell us whether they have acted in this way or not; and, if so, upon what grounds, and yet they say that the whole case has been submitted to a Committee; and although they may have reason to believe such a Committee has come to a decision, they (the Government) have not told us—and they, notwithstanding, require us to leave the case where it stands—that is, I say, a most unsatisfactory mode of dealing with a case of such importance. And I cannot help thinking that the whole difficulty might have been removed by the Government if they had taken the simple course suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard; namely, by stating, in a straightforward way, what had been done; for really this concealment, after the matter has gone so far, becomes almost ridiculous. The right hon. Gentleman refuses to tell us whether he has issued a warrant or not, and he makes a speech implying that he has. Would it not have been more simple and satisfactory to the House and the country for the right hon. Gentleman to have come boldly forward, and said, "I have is- sued a warrant, and upon such and such grounds. You may think me mistaken. I was placed in difficult circumstances, and I acted to the best of my judgment. If you think I was wrong, limit the exercise of this power in future; but these are the facts, view them as you think proper." It seems to me that no inconvenience would have arisen from that course. The right hon. Gentleman says he cannot answer these questions without putting himself in a situation to be always answering similar questions from Members who might suppose their letters to have been opened. I confess if that is an inconvenience, it weighs but little with me. I believe this to be a power which ought not to be exercised in secrecy. But if you are to admit that as an excuse for the right hon. Gentleman not explaining what occurred in this instance, you are practically making it impossible in any case of real abuse in this House to follow it up. If the right hon. Gentleman is to shelter himself in this case under any official plea, from giving any information as to the grounds upon which he proceeded, I want to know how it is possible that the House can institute proper inquiries again, in any case in which an abuse has really been committed? I say again, I should greatly have preferred a Motion brought forward in another shape; but I think the hon. Member for Finsbury has a clear right to press for an elucidation of the circumstances which attach to his case; and with a view to our subsequently dealing with the subject, and laying such restrictions as we shall think necessary upon the future exercise of this power, it is fit that we should know what has happened. If, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman refuses to state the grounds upon which he acted—supposing he has done what has been alleged—if he refuses to make the simple explanation which I have suggested, I think we have no other course to adopt, than to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury.

Viscount Sandon

would merely allude to one point in the speech of the noble Lord. The noble Lord seemed to imply, from the Report of the Committee, that there was a difference of opinion as to the discretion with which the power had been exercised by the Secretary of State, and that expressions were resorted to in order to conceal a difference of opinion between the Members of the Committee. The Committee did not consider that it was a part of their duty to investigate the subject of the discretion exercised in issuing warrants. He was not making any disclosure. As to the discretion exercised with regard to criminal and political warrants for the last twenty-two years, they had the fullest information in each case. They did not feel themselves called upon to express any opinion as to the discretion which had been exercised in the issuing of warrants. They did not consider that to be one of the issues which they had to try. They considered the question whether the right hon. Gentleman had exceeded or improperly used the power vested in him. And with regard to the whole twenty-two years, the Committee went into a full investigation, and came to the conclusion that whatever difference of opinion might arise as to the discretion in each case, they had no charge to make against the bonâ fide honest intentions of the Secretaries during that period. They merely investigated the motives which had led to the issuing of warrants, and decided upon the conduct of the parties concerned, and he could only say they were perfectly satisfied.

Mr. Warburton

did not altogether differ from the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool, but he did not consider that the Committee had in any way whatever entered upon the question of discretion in the issuing of warrants. No discussion ever arose in the Committee as to whether they had the power or not of deciding on the expediency of each case. But as an independent Member, and looking to the composition of the Committee, he did not think that it would have been a discreet exercise of his power to have raised the question. He thought that the best course which they could take was to give a general statement as to how this power was exercised, and not go into any particular case by name; but they examined to see whether the Government had acted from honest motives; and the inference they drew they not only intended to apply to the Members of the present Government, but to their predecessors. He differed from the noble Lord as to no question having arisen as to whether they had the power of going into any particular case.

Lord J. Russell

said: I have listened with great attention to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State. I own that it has changed the view which I took of this question when it was presented to the House by the hon. Member for Finsbury. As the question was left in the last debate, I conceived it to be this—that the Committee had been decided in their opinion that the power exercised by various Secretaries of State had been exercised with a desire to preserve the public peace; and as they had not stated that there was any gross case with respect to the exercise of those powers, the conclusion of the Committee might be considered an acquittal of the present and former Governments with respect to the exercise of those powers. But when an hon. Member stated that his letters had been opened, and asked whether that was the case, and required an answer—he received no answer. The House has been three nights occupied with this debate, and I confess that I thought, from the statements that had been made, that the House had been degraded in the person of one of its Members. It was said that this power was placed in the hands of the Government to be exercised solely for the preservation of the public peace. As the case originally stood, I intended to give my vote for further inquiry. Now, however, the right hon. Baronet has come forward and has not done what I think he might have done—namely, answered as to the fact whether the hon. Member's letters had been opened or not. I think it would have been best for the right hon. Gentleman to have given that answer. However, as a matter of inference, in my mind, it is very clear that some letter of the hon. Member has been opened by the authority of the Secretary of State. If the right hon. Gentleman had answered the question, it would have been hardly left to the House to decide whether or not the officers of the Post Office should be called to the bar. The right hon. Gentleman further stated that he knew nothing which was derogatory to the character of the hon. Member for Finsbury as a loyal subject of Her Majesty—as an hon. Member of that House. I own I think that that declaration of the right hon. Baronet has very much changed our position; and, so far as the conduct of the Government is concerned, I am ready to take the Report of the Committee, and I think that, after the declaration of the right hon. Gentletleman, so far as relates to the character of this House, it is not necessary to go into any further inquiry with respect to this case. I own that the reason which the right hon. Gentleman has given as to why he will not answer the question whether he has opened any letters or not, does not appear to me satisfactory. He says, that if he were to answer the question of a Member of that House, he must equally answer a similar question from the humblest man in society. Now, if that argument be good for anything, it must equally apply to the statement the right hon. Gentleman has made with respect to the conduct of the hon. Member for Finsbury. Suppose somebody was about to be tried for sedition, and applied to the right hon. Gentleman to say whether he knew anything of his conduct inconsistent with that of an honest man, the right hon. Gentleman must, upon his own argument, answer the question. I really think that the present Government are more careful of their own dignity than they need be, and they seem to care more about that than any public object. If they chose they might have spared us this painful discussion, which has now been renewed in a second year, and which has lasted three nights. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the standard of rebellion, which, he said, was raised in the year 1845; but the rebellion to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded is not a rebellion against the Crown of Her Majesty, or the dynasty now on the Throne, but a rebellion on the back benches behind him, and a rebellion from the effects of which I have no great apprehension for the safety of the Throne. With respect to the subject immediately before the House, I cannot consider, without reference to another subject, the case of Mr. Mazzini. When I last addressed the House, it appeared to me that the practice which had been pursued in this instance was one which it would not be advisable to repeat, and one which would lead this country to become the assistant of the despotic Powers of Europe in objects inconsistent with the desires of every friend of freedom. From the Report of the Committee, and what has been stated by the right hon. Baronet, the impression has been removed from my mind that our Government had anything to do with the conduct of the Neapolitan Government respecting the unfortunate occurrences in Calabria. However, I think that the power of opening letters is one that ought not to be used for the purpose of communicating information to Foreign Governments. With respect to the question before the House I shall vote against the Motion.

Mr. M. Milnes

entreated the indulgence of the House for a few moments. As he was one of those whom the noble Lord the Member for London had facetiously designated rebels, he hoped the House would permit him to explain the grounds on which he felt compelled to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. In taking this course, he denied that he could be accused of want of confidence in the Government. His vote had nothing whatever to do with his confidence in the Government. The idea of making a warrant, which was to serve as the justification of an officer's conduct, a secret document, was an absurdity and an anomaly. He believed that the meanest subject of Her Majesty had a right to know by what authority a measure of police had been exercised towards him. Now he regarded the right hon. Baronet as the head police-officer of this kingdom. He could not refuse to the hon. Member for Finsbury the right of ascertaining the justification for his letters being opened, which the warrant would be. If it was refused, he did not know but these letters might have been opened on totally illegal grounds by the subordinates of the Post Office. He did not know but that on a future occasion the power might be greatly abused. He believed in his heart that the right hon. Baronet had not abused it; but that was no reason why on some other occasion, and in some less happy state of things, the Minister might not abuse the trust reposed in him, and on these grounds he should vote for the Motion of the hon. Member.

Mr. Watson

would make a few observations in explanation of the vote he meant to give in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. This was a question of privilege. Opening the letters of a Member of that House without a lawful authority was undoubtedly a breach of privilege. They could arrive at the facts of the case only by calling these parties to the Bar of the House. When the facts were obtained, then arose a question deeply affecting the rights of the Members of that House, which would require their serious consideration. No question more affected their privileges than that of the freedom of their correspondence from illegal examination. The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool said, that the discretion exercised by the Secretary of State in these cases had never been considered by the Committee. That seemed to be the whole matter submitted to the Committee. It had been constantly repeated on a former evening, that the Report of the Committee was a verdict of acquittal of the right hon. Baronet. What, then, was the meaning of the verdict of acquittal which they had heard so much about? Why, the Committee had never considered the question. There was in truth no verdict at all, but merely an opinion that no bad motive existed in opening letters. The question was, had that part of the case been considered? If it had not, then it ought to be investigated at the Bar of the House. It would appear that the Committee had simply called the right hon. Baronet before them, and that he had stated that he had issued certain warrants; and then the Committee reported that he had exercised that privilege as his predecessors had done, but they never inquired into the circumstances or the discretion exercised. Since the last discussion in that House, everything that had been said, and every person with whom he had conversed on the subject, had convinced him that these warrants were entirely illegal. General warrants had existed long before the Revolution; precedents of general warrants were to be found in Rushworth and in Dalton. Yet they had been condemned by Lord Hale, and ultimately decided to be illegal. He was much surprised to hear his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General say, that general warrants were authorized by Statute till 1694; that was not so: warrants to seize unlicensed papers under the Licensing Act, 13 & 14 Car. II. existed till 1694; but they were in nomine similar to general warrants to seize all papers. The Resolution of the House of Commons of April 22, 1766, was— That a general warrant to apprehend the author of a libel is illegal, and if executed on a Member of this House is a breach of privilege;"—"and that the seizing or taking away the paper of the author or publisher of a libel is illegal, and that such seizing or taking away the papers of a Member of this House is a breach of the privilege of this House; Which proves, that the illegal seizure of a Member's papers is a breach of privilege. It follows, that opening a Member's letters without legal authority is a much higher breach of privilege. The vote of the House in 1822, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Cumberland (Mr. James) proceeded on the ground that the magistrates had a right to open letters to or from prisoners, as incident to prison discipline, although coming from Members; and, therefore, the opening was legal. Here it is illegal. The Resolution of 1735 assumed warrants of a Secretary of State to be legal, which is the whole question. Moreover, till it was shown there was a Secretary of State's warrant, opening the hon. Member's (Mr. Duncombe's) letters was a breach of privilege according to that Resolution. He did not wish to detain the House longer on that point, as the parties were anxious for a divison, although he had abundant arguments to prove that these warrants were illegal; but nothing less than a full investigation of the whole of the question would satisfy the House and the country. He contended that no practice, however long, would give legality to these proceedings. He would remind the House that the men of Kent at one time contended for the legality of robbery on Gad's-hill, but that had been pronounced by the Judges to be wholly illegal. He believed, from all that had been stated, that the hon. Member's letters had been opened; and he supposed Col. Maberly would have no objection to come to the Bar, as he voted for the Motion of the hon. Member for Cumberland in 1822. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by expressing his intention to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury.

Mr. Hume

said, the question was one of the greatest interest to the country, and he believed excited more attention out of doors than in that House. He was glad that the question had been so much narrowed, and he must express his astonishment that the right hon. Baronet should not have thought it right to accede to the Motion. He had not had the moral courage to say that he had issued the warrant and authorised the opening of his hon. Friend's letters; and it appeared to him the greatest want of moral courage he had ever witnessed in that House for the right hon. Baronet to allow the whole odium of the case to fall upon the Post Office authorities. These letters, it would appear, had been opened in the Secret Department of the Post Office; and the House would stultify itself, and be utterly lost, if it refused to inquire into the circumstances under which they were opened. Let Colonel Maberly be called to the Bar, and let him declare whether these letters had been opened or not; and then would come the question by whose authority they had been opened. If it was shown that it was by the authority of the Secretary of State, then let the validity of the matter be tried in a Court of Law. The right hon. Baronet had in a most extraordinary manner, as it appeared to him, refused to admit that he had issued the warrant, nor would he consent to these parties being called to the Bar. He (Mr. Hume) had, when the question was before the House, voted for the hon. Member for Finsbury being placed upon the Committee. [The hon. Member here referred to the observations made by Mr. Duncombe when the Secret Committee was appointed, and in which he stated that he would reserve to himself the right of re-opening the question if the Committee did not do its duty satisfactorily.] Now had they not the testimony of two hon. Members that evening that they did not investigate the case of his hon. Friend at all? Why it was monstrous; and the country would not believe that the House would refuse to grant an inquiry under such circumstances into a matter of so much importance. Why, his hon. Friend's character had been assailed; the hon. and learned Member for Bute, and other hon. Members, in the course of the debates that had taken place, had endeavoured to couple the hon. Gentleman with the disturbances that had taken place in 1842. Let any hon. Member place himself in such a position, and say would he be satisfied to allow the question to remain as it was. What objection could there be to allowing Colonel Maberly to be called to the Bar, and stating what he knew of the matter. The business of the country had been stopped, and in his opinion it ought not to be allowed to go on until the question was set at rest. Now he would appeal to the right hon. Baronet the leader of the Ministerial party, who had declared that he would bring forward no measures which he did not conscientiously believe were for the public good, and he asked him how he could reconcile it to himself to refuse the present Motion? He would ask him the simple question, did he think it right that they should remain in ignorance whether these letters had been opened or not? He would take the right hon. Baronet's silence with regard to that point as an admission that these letters had been opened. The right hon. Baronet had not denied it—let him deny it if he dare. He charged the right hon. Baronet with a deliberate determination to shut out the truth. He must say that he regretted very much to hear the speech of the noble Lord the Member for London, and he was sorry he had not the moral courage to vote for the Motion. He could assure the noble Lord that he injured himself and his character with the country by the course he had determined to take; for who could place confidence in him after that speech? He was deeply pained to hear it, and should give his cordial support to the Motion.

Mr. Aglionby

hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury would continue to press for a free and full inquiry until he obtained it, and he certainly should give him every support for that purpose. He should not have spoken had it not been for the speech of the noble Lord the Member for London, and for those of two Members of the Committee, namely, the hon. Member for Kendal and the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool. It was rather remarkable that the two latter speeches gave essentially different versions of the proceedings before the Committee. The country required that this matter should be made as clear as possible, and that the House should not sanction a violation of the Post Office Department. The country would not be satisfied until it heard where, and how, and to what extent the confidence which had been displayed in this Office had been violated. The noble Lord the Member for London assumed that the letters of his hon. Friend had been opened—this, however, had not been admitted—and that they had been opened by the warrant of the Secretary of State. He was surprised that the noble Lord should refuse inquiry on such a slight ground as he alleged, for that could never satisfy the country. What had the Committee done? They had not only not reported on the case of the hon. Member for Finsbury, but from the statement of two hon. Members of the Committee, who had addressed the House on the question, it appeared that they had not even considered the subject. One of these hon. Gentlemen told the House that the case of the hon. Member for Finsbury had not been made a point in their instructions; and the other hon. Gentleman said, the Committee did not think it right to go into the matter. The hon. Member for Kendal added that, as a Member of the Committee, he did not consider, from the constitution of the Committee, and the nature of the subject before them, they would be doing their duty, as they were bound to do it to the best of their power, if they brought forward such a subject in their Report. In fact, it would appear that the Committee said to themselves, "We are placed here not for inquiry, but to preserve secrecy. We are here not to make matters known to the public, but to shield all parties, and to keep the practices on which we have been appointed to report as much as possible a secret from the world." If he belonged to a Committee that received instructions from those in power to act in that manner, he would at once tell them that he would not be a party to such work. There could be no question but that the course taken by the Committee was to shield all parties—to throw a veil over the present Government, as over their predecessors, and all former Governments. He should beg to say for himself, that he never had the slightest suspicions of the correctness of the motives of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He never attributed to the right hon. Gentleman, or to any other Member of the Government, any malignant feelings in the exercise of such powers; but he would wish the House should be put in possession of what form of law or of right it was under which the letters of individuals were under any circumstances to be opened. If he had been a Member of the Committee he would have thought it his duty to inquire into that matter; and he might add, that if he were in the situation filled by the right hon. Baronet he would act under the feeling that nothing could be so detrimental to the public service as to leave the subject in doubt and uncertainty. He would not, if he were in the place of the right hon. Baronet, leave the case of the hon. Member for Finsbury in the position in which it now rested, or give the noble Lord the Member for the City of London an opportunity of drawing inferences such as they had heard that night. He would have declared positively whether he had issued the warrants for opening the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury or not; and if he had issued them, he would have gone further and have declared that the letters of the hon. Member having been opened and inspected, the result did not justify what had been done, as nothing treasonable or improper had been found. He denied that the admission of the right hon. Baronet was an acquittal of the hon. Member for Finsbury, and even if it were, he thought the matter could not be allowed to rest there. If the right hon. Baronet had assented to the inference drawn by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London—namely, that he had issued a warrant for opening some letters addressed to the hon. Member for Finsbury, and that he had found nothing wrong in them—that would be no answer to the entire case of his hon. Friend. The hon. Gentleman had stated that he suspected another letter of his had been opened, which could have no connexion with the riotous proceedings which then disturbed the country; and he also understood his hon. Friend to say, that he suspected several other letters addressed to him had been opened besides those which he had more immediately brought under the notice of the House. Was it not, then, better, under such circumstances, to allow the inquiry to proceed—to allow the head of the Post Office to be called to the Bar of the House; and as nobody blamed that functionary, or attributed improper conduct to him, was it not right that they should have an opportunity of asking him whether he had opened, or ordered to be opened, any letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury? By leaving the case as it then stood, they would place it in a worse position than when it had been first brought forward; for it might now be supposed that some of the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury had been opened by the authority of the right hon. Baronet, and that other letters belonging to the hon. Gentleman had been opened in the Post Office without any authority whatever. It was not his opinion that such was the case, but he would maintain that such an inference might be drawn. The Committee had stated in their Report that no letters had been opened by the present or by the late Government from malignant motives; but while they thus acquitted the Government, the House should give an opportunity to the Post Office authorities to acquit themselves also from the imputations to which they were now open. The hon. Gentleman concluded by calling upon the House not to treat the question as one of a party nature, but to regard it as a matter which concerned every individual in the community; for while the law remained as it now stood, and while the proceedings in the Post Office were kept shrouded in mystery and concealment, there was not a man or a woman in the Empire who sent a letter through the Post Office, that would not suspect it of being opened before it reached its destination.

Mr. Jervis

was aware that after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for London, the debate had lost much of its interest; but still he did not think that speech was very well calculated to satisfy the country. He would, therefore, proceed to state very briefly his motives for voting in favour of the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury. The course taken by the right hon. Baronet in the debate on the question then before the House, was certainly not calculated to restrain his hon. Friend from adopting further means to procure justice from the House. In the course of the first discussion on the subject, the right hon. Baronet had carefully abstained from making any amends to his hon. Friend. On the contrary, the right hon. Baronet had allowed some hon. Members who sat behind him on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, to throw out aspersions on the character of his hon. Friend, without any attempt on his part to repress them; but the force of public opinion since then had been brought to bear upon the right hon. Baronet, and he had accordingly shown himself on that evening willing to make those amends, which one Gentleman had a right to demand from another under such circumstances. If the case went still further—and he trusted his hon. Friend would persevere in demanding an inquiry until he obtained all the compensation which a Member of that House and a Gentleman had a right to demand—there could be little doubt but that the right hon. Baronet would be found to advance still further, and to yield that perfect vindication of his character which his hon. Friend had a right to expect. As the case at present stood, he would say his hon. Friend ought not to be satisfied with what had taken place. He had made three distinct charges, each independent of the others. He had alleged that a number of his letters had been opened at three different periods; and he (Mr. Jervis) could collect, from the look of dissent given by the right hon. Baronet, and from the ironical cheer of the noble Lord (Lord Lincoln) who sat near him, that that charge would not be admitted. There was to be no admission from the Government whether the letters of his hon. Friend had been opened or not. But what had the Government done? They countenanced the imputations which had been cast upon the hon. Gentleman, and which had been industriously circulated by their organs of the press. It had been put forward over and over again that his hon. Friend was relying upon a fictitious case which he would be unable to prove—that he had made reckless assertions in his place in Parliament, to the effect that his letters had been opened without his knowledge or authority, and yet all explanation had been refused and opposed by the Government. But there was a point of far more importance than that. The Committee stated that all the warrants which had been produced before them were justified by the emergency of the cases in which they had been issued. But was it proved before the Committee that all the letters of his hon. Friend respecting which he was prepared to offer evidence had been opened under warrants, and that a separate warrant had been issued in each particular instance? Quite the contrary. It appeared, on the other hand, that the matter had not been at all brought before the Committee, and from all they knew to the contrary there might have been but one warrant issued, though his hon. Friend was prepared with evidence to show that his letters had been opened during a considerable period of time. Under these circumstances, was it enough that the right hon. Baronet should stand up and declare that nothing had been communicated to the Government respecting his hon. Friend that was inconsistent with his character as a Gentleman and a loyal man? His hon. Friend had a right to demand more than such an admission. He had a right to say, "I will prove that my letters have been opened, and I will require you to show by what authority the secrecy of my correspondence has been violated." If the Government did not do so, the Resolutions of the House of Commons declared that, under such circumstances, a breach of the privileges of Par- liament had been committed. His hon. Friend was, therefore, justified in demanding of the Government to produce their warrants for opening his letters, and of then giving him an opportunity of trying the legality of those warrants in a court of law. Even though his hon. Friend might have been cleared by the right hon. Baronet of any suspicions which might have attached to his character, would that place him in a better position than he before stood before his constituency, and before the country? It was clear that the right hon. Baronet would not have issued a warrant for the purpose of opening the letters of his hon. Friend without some information having been in the first instance laid before him. The right hon. Baronet would not surely have issued a warrant on mere speculation that the hon. Gentleman corresponded with treasonable parties in the country. No letters containing such treasonable correspondence had been got; and had not his hon. Friend therefore a right to know who the informants of the right hon. Baronet were, or if the Government thought proper to screen themselves behind their official responsibility, had he not a right to drag them into a court of justice, and to there investigate their right to act in such a manner towards him? His hon. Friend had a right to say that, if they did not allow him to prove his charges before the Bar of that House, he would bring his case forward in a court of law, in order to compel the Government to prove the legality of their acts. The apology now made by the Government did not take from the case the sting of the injury which had been done his hon. Friend. He wanted to know on what authority they had acted, and he required of them to produce, at the Bar of the House, evidence of the issue of a distinct warrant for the opening of each one of his letters that they had inspected. The noble Lord had told them that there was no distinction in law between a Member of that House and any other subject of the Crown in such matters. He admitted the justice of that principle; but he thought he understood the noble Lord to say, that if the Government acceded to the Motion of his hon. Friend, they would be equally bound to answer a similar charge preferred by the meanest person in the community. And so they would. But, whatever might be the opinion entertained in that House on that branch of constitutional law, he could tell them that in Westminster Hall there was, he was going to say, but one opinion respecting it; but he forgot that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General differed from all his brethren at the Bar on the question. There was no one who did not see that it was wrong to learn the secrets of any man, by a secret inspection of his letters, and to fabricate seals in order to catch him in their snares. If letters were to be opened by authority, why should it not be done aboveboard, and without concealment? Why should not the Government show themselves anxious to carry out the preservation of the peace, by preventing instead of encouraging the perpetration of crime? If his hon. Friend, as he had a perfect right to do, were to prefer an indictment before the Grand Jury of the Old Bailey, against the letter carrier, and if, as would undoubtedly be the case, that Bill had been found, in what case would the Government be then placed? They might then produce the warrant on the trial under which the letters had been opened, and thus ensure an acquittal; but there could be no question that the man was at this moment liable to be indicted. Would the right hon. Baronet drive his hon. Friend and the public to that course? They should recollect that the penal laws connected with the Post Office establishment made it compulsory on the public to send their letters by post. No person could send a letter by private hand without rendering himself liable to a penalty, and they had, therefore, doubly a right to expect that the secrecy of the Post Office should be preserved. Was it to enable the Government to spy into letters that these penal enactments had been passed? No, but for the purpose of increasing the Revenue; and, therefore, the rights of the public should not be violated. It might be said that an apology had been offered to his hon. Friend; but would that satisfy his constituency, or the inhabitants of those towns where the subject was now making a deep impression? Would they believe that apology satisfactory, on reading the articles which appeared on the subject in the organ of the Government, for which it was stated the First Lord of the Treasury was in the habit of writing official articles? He did not mean to say that the fact was so, but an impression existed abroad that parties in connexion with that journal went to the right hon. Baronet, and procured information in possession of the Government. Though the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) must lament the length of time which the case occupied, and would yet occupy, yet he should recollect that he had brought it upon himself, for if he had made a candid statement to the House in the first instance it would long since have been dropped. But so far from doing so, the Government appeared to encourage the continuance of the debate, by the course which they had taken; and for his part he had felt disgusted at the manner in which Members of the Government had cheered the speech of a noble Lord (Lord Claude Hamilton), who occupied a seat on their side of the House. He thought, however, that public opinion had already influenced the course pursued by the right hon. Baronet, and an increased pressure of that public opinion would, no doubt, make him and his Government yield all that was demanded of them.

The Earl of Lincoln

said, that after the tone and temper which every preceding speaker had adopted in the course of the present debate, and more especially after the very temperate speech of the hon. Member for Finsbury — and than that speech one more candid and fair, or more creditable to the speaker he (the Earl of Lincoln) had seldom heard—he had hoped the House might have been spared such an address as had been delivered by the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down. The hon. and learned Member had thought it not unworthy of his position in the House of Commons to renew against the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) those insinuations which had been so much dwelt on out of doors; he had thought it not unworthy or unfair in his place in Parliament to repeat against the right hon. Baronet, the charges of individually breaking seals and re-sealing letters, though he knew that the right hon. Baronet, equally with preceding Secretaries of State, was perfectly innocent of any such charge; and that these things had taken place under successive Governments in the same manner, under the same roof of the Post Office, and by the same persons, without any specific instructions on the subject from the Secretaries of State. He well knew that there was no one in the House who was likely to believe that letters were brought from the Post Office to the Home Office; and that his right hon. Friend broke the seals, re-sealed them, and sent them on. No man there believed that; but out of doors there were persons who did believe it; and his right hon. Friend had been most severely and unjustly aspersed by these assertions, which were circulated through the country by the daily press. He should not have risen if the hon. and learned Gentleman had not alluded to himself, and to what he was pleased to call his "ironical cheer to the hon. Member for Montrose." The fact was, his cheer had no relation to the question of whether the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury had, or had not, been opened under a warrant. The hon. Member for Montrose, in the course of his speech, was proceeding to explain to the House, after having charged the right hon. Baronet with wanting moral courage on this occasion, what his understanding of the term moral courage was, and said that because the right hon. Baronet did not deny the charge that he had opened the hon. Member's letters, he must be considered to have admitted that he had opened them. Now that was not his (the Earl of Lincoln's) interpretation of the term as he understood it with reference to what was the duty of a Minister of the Crown, and that was the cause of his cheering the hon. Member's definition of moral courage; he did not intend in the least to admit or deny, by that cheer, the charge against his right hon. Friend. The hon. and learned Gentleman who had spoken last, and the hon. and learned Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Aglionby), had also charged his right hon. Friend with want of moral courage; and the hon. and learned Member for Cockermouth had instructed his right hon. Friend in the proper course for him to have pursued on this occasion. The hon. and learned Member thought that the proper course for his right hon. Friend would have been to have got up, and said—"I did open the letters, but found nothing in them." But if his right hon. Friend had opened the letters, it was clear from the Report of the Committee that a warrant must have been issued, and no doubt it would have been much more consonant with the feelings of honour and with the high and gentlemanly bearing which every one knew belonged to his right hon. Friend, if he could have taken the course pointed out by the hon. and learned Gentleman; but it must be recollected that there might be circumstances where, whatever might be the feelings of a Minister of the Crown, his duty compelled him to take a different course; and he (the Earl of Lincoln) was satisfied that nothing showed more moral courage than to be able to brave that load of unjust obloquy which his right hon. Friend's sense of public duty compelled him to bear. He had only risen in consequence of the allusion of the hon. and learned Member to his "ironical cheer;" but as he was on his legs, he might be permitted, perhaps, to advert in a few words to the general question before the House. They had been told, on the last evening they discussed this subject, that there was no question of privilege involved in it. A high authority on the Opposition side of the House had said that he considered it was not a question of privilege. Well, then, was it a personal question? This he thought could hardly be now asserted, for every hon. Gentleman admitted that the character of the hon. Member for Finsbury had been completely cleared by what had fallen from his right hon. Friend that evening. Both the hon. and learned Members who had spoken just now had said that it was no personal question, and no question of individual honour; and they too appeared to admit that there was no question of privilege in the case. [Mr. Aglionby: I did not say so.] If the hon. and learned Member did not say so, that was the argument, if not the language, of the hon. and learned Member who spoke last. What course, then, was it proposed to pursue? The hon. Member for Finsbury had been cleared of any imputations against his character by the assertions of the right hon. Baronet; the privileges of the House, according to the hon. Member for Weymouth, had not been infringed; and yet it was now proposed to call the Secretary of the Post Office to the Bar; for the purpose of what?—For the purpose of finding matter to criminate him, if possible, and lay the ground for further proceedings against him and other officers of the Post Office; and it was for the same purpose that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Jervis) said that the House had a right to demand of the right hon. Baronet whether he had issued his warrant for opening the hon. Member's letters or not; namely, in order that the information so obtained might be made use of in a court of law. What then was the object, and what the means by which it was sought to obtain it? The hon. Member said that an illegal opening of his letters had taken place. Was there no more legitimate course of proceeding in that state of things than the one proposed? If an illegal act had been committed, did the law afford no remedy? He (the Earl of Lincoln) could not conceive a more illegitimate mode of obtaining information of this kind, to be used hereafter in a court of law, than that of calling the servants of the Post Office to the Bar. He had not the Report of the Committee by him at the moment, but he perfectly recollected there was a passage in it which stated that the secrecy of private correspondence had been inviolate except under a warrant. The Committee had, therefore, by implication, acquitted the servants of the Post Office of all blame. Under these circumstances he denied there was any reason to call them to the Bar. It the hon. Member wished to put an end to this practice, why not introduce a Bill to repeal the Clause in the Act which had been so often referred to? He (the Earl of Lincoln) was not able to dispute on points of law with the hon. and learned Member; but he was fortified by the law of the Solicitor General, and fortified by common sense, and by the declaration of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) on the last occasion when this subject was before the House, that the clause in question did confer the power of opening letters under warrant. If the law was a bad one, let it be repealed; if the practice was bad, let it be abandoned; but he did hope the House would not, after referring the matter to a Secret Committee in the last Session, and refusing the other night to renew that inquiry before a Select and open Committee, now take the still more objectionable course of submitting to examination, before 500 Gentlemen, these public servants, for no purpose that he could conceive, but to revive those acrimonious feelings which he should have thought had entirely passed away, if it had not been for the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Mr. Jervis

explained. In what he had said about opening letters, fabricating seals, and re-sealing, he did not mean any thing personal to the right hon. Baronet. He believed the right hon. Baronet found those practices in his office when he came to it.

Mr. Bernal

had not intended to have spoken again on this question; but as the noble Lord had stated that he had said this was not a question of privilege, he rose to state that he did not swerve an inch from the ground he had taken on the former occasion. He thought that the question stood on much higher grounds than the technical one of privilege; but they had not come to that question yet; this Motion was only clearing the way for that question; for its object was to enable the House to come to the subsequent question of privilege, by bringing these parties to the Bar. He regretted to hear the speech of his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell). Undoubtedly his noble Friend had a right to retract or modify the opinion he had expressed on the former occasion; but his noble Friend must forgive him, if he was not convinced by his argument. His noble Friend said that the supposed degradation of the hon. Member for Finsbury, which induced him to vote as he did on a former occasion, had been wiped out, as he considered, by the remarks of the right hon. Baronet; but he said this was not a sufficient argument to convince him that he ought not to support this Motion of his hon. Friend; and why? His hon. Friend said he fully believed his letters had been opened. He reiterated his charges, and he not having imagination enough to profit by the explanations that have been given by two of the Members of the Committee, could not say that the matter had ever been fairly before the Committee. He was mystified by the explanation of the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton), and he confessed he could not see the distinction between the mystery of his explanation and that of the noble Lord (Lord Sandon),— For little difference could he see, Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee. He for one believed nothing had been admitted; he was one who believed that no letters had been opened by the warrant of the right hon. Gentleman. His hon. Friend said his letters had been opened. The House ought to see whether they had been opened. In the Report they had the case of the Italian refugees discussed and explained; but there was no proof that the charge of the hon. Member with respect to his own letters had ever been before them. There was no answer, there, to his allegations. There had been nothing said either on this or the former occasion that led him (Mr. Bernal) to a distinct opinion whether the case of his hon. Friend's letters had been made a matter of investigation before the Committee or not. As to the question of degradation, other parties were concerned as well as his hon. Friend. A large and respectable constituency were interested in the question, and he could well believe that the exculpation of his hon. Friend that had been pronounced by the right hon. Baronet might not be sufficient to satisfy their feelings. He thought it was excessively easy to determine this question. Why should not the right hon. Baronet say, "I admit that a letter, or that letters, of the hon. Gentleman on certain specified occasions were opened by warrants from me?" Why did not the right hon. Baronet answer that simple question? He was not desirous of captiously prolonging this debate; but he could not understand by what mysterious atmosphere the Secretary of State for the Home Department was surrounded, which prevented him from giving a direct reply to so plain and simple an inquiry. Was it his oath as a Privy Councillor? Why, the Secret Committee had already disclosed much of the information which had been given before them; and he would repeat that their Report disclosed either too much or too little. He thought it would have been better had the Committee remained entirely silent, rather than have afforded certain information to the House, and withheld other information which the House was anxious to obtain. At the same time, he considered that the responsibility of exercising this power should not be thrown entirely upon the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Graham), for that responsibility was equally shared by his predecessors in office. But he certainly could not see what there was in the oaths which right hon. Gentlemen had taken as Privy Councillors, so binding as to preclude them from making a disclosure which had already been anticipated,—from answering the plain question, "Is the allegation brought by the hon. Member for Finsbury true or not?" Has any one letter of his — or more than one letter — been opened by the Post Office; and, if so, have they been opened under warrants from the Secretary of State?" The explanation given by the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) to-night was honourable to himself and equally so to the hon. Member for Finsbury; but yet the right hon. Gentleman had doled out kindness by too small a measure; and he (Mr. Bernal) would recommend him to put an end to this discussion by stating whether he had or had not opened the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury.

Captain Harris

was understood to say, that he thought the speech of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Disraeli) had received a full reply from the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He considered that the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) might have prevented the revival of this question, if, during the former debate, he had stated what he had said to-night—that no imputation whatever attached to the hon. Member for Finsbury. Hon. Gentlemen opposite called upon the right hon. Baronet to say whether he had issued a warrant for opening the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury. The right hon. Baronet was silent; and he thought he was only doing his duty as a Privy Councillor in declining to answer such an inquiry. It must be in the recollection of hon. Members, that during the year 1842 great excitement and agitation prevailed in many parts of the country; and it appeared from the public papers, that in the manufacturing districts the people assembled by thousands, and, he might almost say, by tens of thousands. From the impression produced upon his mind by the addresses then delivered—among others, by the hon. Member for Finsbury, both in that House and out of it—he could readily conceive the right hon. Baronet must have felt that a heavy responsibility rested upon him. Indeed, in such a state of things, the eyes of the whole nation were directed to the right hon. Home Secretary, as the person upon whom devolved the responsibility of preserving the peace of the country. Were they now, long after that excitement had subsided, to turn round upon the right hon. Baronet, and require him to explain how, under such circumstances, he had exercised the powers vested in him? This matter had been treated by some hon. Members as a question of privilege; but, for his own part, he thought that Members of that House enjoyed sufficiently large privileges, and he had a strong objection to extend them. He considered that the right hon. Home Secretary had throughout acted in the strict discharge of his duties; and he believed that if any hon. Gentleman opposite had been placed in the same position, he would have pursued a similar line of conduct.

Mr. Wakley

said: The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down, has stated that he considers the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary has only done his duty. But I should like to know how, in the service with which that hon. and gallant Gentleman is connected, he could determine whether or not a man had done his duty if he did not know in what manner that duty had been performed? Now, what we complain of is, that the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) does not let us know what he has done. If he would do that, we could determine whether or not he has discharged his duty. The right hon. Home Secretary has relieved this question, in a great measure, from its personal difficulties. He has made a frank, open, and honest avowal; and I do not value that avowal the less because it comes very late. I think my hon. Colleague (Mr. Duncombe) ought to receive that avowal in the spirit in which it has been made—as a distinct and positive declaration that nothing has come to the knowledge of the right hon. Baronet—whether he have opened the letters of my hon. Colleague or not—in any degree reflecting upon the honour of my hon. Colleague as a Gentleman or as a Member of this House. That statement is satisfactory as far as the personal question is concerned—satisfactory it must be to my hon. Colleague, to the House, to his constituents, and to the country. But, in my opinion, that personal admission leaves the great public question untouched. That question remains precisely as it was before; it is not altered in character or in substance; it is in no respect changed. My hon. Colleague introduced the subject in—I must say—an exceedingly able speech; and I was delighted to hear the noble Lord opposite (Lord Lincoln) commend that speech, and say that it pleased him. I hope the noble Lord will be pleased with other speeches on this side of the House, which are spoken with equal candour, though, it may happen, not with equal ability. The right hon. Baronet opposite made an able reply to the speech of my hon. Colleague; and I must say—I do not mean it offensively—that, as a specimen of special pleading, that reply was admirable. I said to myself, "If the right hon. Gentleman had only been brought up to the bar, what an extraordinary eminence he must have attained at an early period of life." But there was one declaration in the speech of the right hon. Baronet which struck me as very peculiar, considering what had transpired. He traced the history of the question through all its windings; and he referred to what occurred on the 2nd, the 16th, and the 18th of July. I think the right hon. Baronet distinctly, positively, and emphatically stated that my hon. Colleague, when he brought this case before the House in the first instance, declared that his letters had been opened; that he repeated that statement on the 16th of July; and that he again repeated it on the 18th of July. [Sir J. Graham had stated such a declaration was made by the hon. Member for Finsbury on the 2nd and the 18th of July.] The right hon. Baronet followed up that statement by saying that he had been tried, that his case had been heard before the Committee—that he had disclosed everything that had occurred with reference to the accusation of my hon. Colleague. The right hon. Baronet said that before the Committee, the whole case had been heard, and he added "by the Committee I am honourably acquitted." But how stands the case with regard to my hon. Colleague? I consider that this declaration of the right hon. Baronet has, to a great extent, changed the character of this question, and has thrown the responsibility which previously rested in a great measure upon the right hon. Gentleman upon the Secret Committee. The right hon. Baronet states that the hon. Member for Finsbury alleged, in his place in this House, that his letters had been opened; that a full disclosure of all the circumstances was made before the Committee: and, says the right hon. Baronet, "I went before that Committee, and stated everything, without the slightest reservation." Then comes the Report of the Committee. The right hon. Baronet has said, that he entirely acquits my hon. Colleague of any dishonourable conduct—of everything that could involve his honour and reputation. But, having heard the allegation made by my hon. Colleague, and having heard the statement of the right hon. Baronet as to the issue of warrants, and the detention and opening of letters in consequence of those warrants, what did the Committee do? They did not say one word in their Report with reference to the conduct of the hon. Member for Finsbury, or the accusation he preferred. Then, although the right hon. Baronet acquits my hon. Colleague in the face of the country by the declaration he has made to-night, I contend that that hon. Gentleman stands condemned in the eyes of the country by a Committee of this House. Now, can hon. Gentlemen be content, on public grounds, to allow a Member of this House to remain in such a position as that in which my hon. Friend is placed by the conduct of a Secret Committee of the House? In my opinion, the Secret Committee has acted most unfairly by my hon. Colleague; and it should be a useful lesson to us never again to confide our privileges and powers to any Secret Tribunal of this House, whatever may be the character or ability of the individuals who compose it. I certainly consider that, after the declaration of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) that he stated unreservedly before the Committee what had been his official conduct with reference to the accusation preferred by the hon. Member for Finsbury, the question cannot by possibility remain where it is; but that you are bound to accede to the Motion of my hon. Colleague, and compel the parties at the Post Office to come to the Bar of this House, and state under whose authority they acted in opening his letters. If this course be not adopted by the House, can it be said that we value our own privileges? In disregarding our own privileges, we disregard the interests of the people; for no privilege of this House was ever created, or could ever be sustained, which was not created for the interests of the community at large. It is not for the benefit of individual Members of this House that these privileges had been created, but for the advantage, welfare, and protection of the community. If the right hon. Home Secretary has issued warrants for the opening of letters, and if he acted legally in so doing, where is the difficulty in his making a statement to that effect to the House? If he has had letters opened without a warrant, I can easily conceive that he will be very hostile to any further inquiry; but ought this to induce the House to relax in its determination to investigate this subject? I have observed, in a report which appeared in the public papers to-day of the proceedings in another place, that a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs declared that the opening of letters of foreigners in this country was no act of his, but that it was done without request on his part. He stated that they were opened and sent to him, and that he felt it his duty to act upon the information he obtained from them, and to communicate some portions of that information to a Foreign Government. The question now assumes great importance in the eyes of the public; and whatever we may think in this House, whatever impression hon. Members may entertain, I can assure them that the people out of doors will not and cannot be satisfied, until this matter has been sifted to the bottom. The public desire to know under what authority letters have been opened;—they wish to know if the practice has been in conformity with the law; and if the law has been broken, they desire to know where the responsibility lies. The word responsibility is frequently repeated in this House. A Minister says he does a thing upon his own responsibility; but I could never discover what shape that responsibility assumes, how you can catch it, or where you can find it. The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary has here acted upon his responsibility; but we do not know how he has acted; he will not tell us what he has done. He states that he has communicated to a secret tribunal all that he has done; but though my hon. Colleague has been tried by that tribunal, they have not said that he was free from suspicion and guilt; he, therefore, stands before the country in a worse position than that in which he was placed before the right hon. Baronet made his speech to-night; for that right hon. Gentleman has distinctly asserted that there was no part of his conduct with reference to my hon. Colleague which he did not communicate to that Committee. As such a reflection rests upon my hon. Colleague through the silence of the Committee, I consider that, although the personal question is entirely set aside, the House is bound to pursue the inquiry until it has ascertained correctly whether the law has been violated, and under whose authority the letters of Members of this House, or of other persons have been detained and opened.

Sir R. Peel

There was, Sir, one part of the speech of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell) which I beard with peculiar satisfaction. I understood the noble Lord distinctly to state that while he differed from the Government as to the propriety of the course they had pursued of opening any letter for the purpose of promoting other than our own domestic and peculiar interests, yet, that in the case of the letters of Mr. Mazzini he did think that the explanation given on the part of the Government, namely, that they had been no parties to any proceedings which might involve the personal safety of refugees in this country, was perfectly and entirely satisfactory. We did regret, certainly, to hear the expression of the noble Lord on a former occasion, and we hoped that the explanation which we had given was generally satisfactory; but no part of the discussion could have given to me or to my Colleagues greater pain than that which should have left an impression that we had combined with any other Power, for the purpose of encouraging a foolish project, of which the success was most improbable, in order that we might increase the strength of that Power. I can only say, that I think had we done so, that it would have been a gross abuse of the power committed to the Government. I think if we had been a party to any such proceeding, on the part of the refugees, that our conduct would have rendered us liable to the severest condemnation; but I go further, and say that if we had suspected that the proceedings of the refugees were likely to endanger their state, and that we had the power, by timely warning, of preventing danger resulting either to themselves or to the State—I say that, in such circumstances, it would have been our duty, as public men and Christians, to have given that timely warning, I understand, however, from the noble Lord, that that power is not in any case to be made subservient to the interests of Foreign countries; still I think that the explanation on that particular point on which our conduct was questioned, has been entirely satisfactory. The House will recollect that we commenced these discussions in consequence of an imputation of the hon. Gentleman that we were responsible for the blood of those unfortunate persons. I hope that the explanation which we have given will be satisfactory to the hon. Gentleman himself, and that he does feel that that imputation, which would have been most painful to us, had there been any foundation for it, was groundless. Sir, I won't discuss with the hon. and learned Gentleman the question which he has again agitated to-night, as to whether or no the issue of warrants could be successfully maintained in a court of law. That would, I think, be beside the present question. For suppose the hon. and learned Gentleman's position to be maintainable in a court of law—suppose that these warrants are not recognised or warranted by Statute or by Common Law, yet I think that the House will feel, if that be the case, that Parliament and not the Executive Government is responsible; for, if ever a course were pursued tending to involve the Executive Government in a snare, it is that which Parliament has pursued on this point. They are cognizant of the practice of the Executive Government—they know that the Executive Government does, either by Statute, or by Common Law, or by prerogative, exercise the right of opening letters; they do not give that right certainly by the Statute Book, but they introduce words into the Statute which confirm the impression of the Government that from some principle or other they have the power; because they say distinctly that the Post Office shall be punished for opening letters unless they be opened by warrant from the Secretary of State. I say, therefore, if we—if Mr. Fox—if all Ministers since the Revolution have been wrong in exercising that power, Parliament and not Ministers is responsible. Your remedy is to clear up all doubt by declaring by Statute that no such power exists, or should exist, and then proceed to say that it shall not exist. But I will not mix up the question for discussion this evening with that other question, as to whether the power is one that should continue to be exercised. Let us reserve that until the proper occasion. I will only say that I think it is proper that such a power should be maintained for the reasons given by the noble Lord, and though I think it would be dangerous to state in a public proclamation that the facilities of the Post Office shall be given at all times and under any contingencies—though I think that that would be a dangerous doctrine practically to maintain, yet there is no limitation in the possible abuse of that power which I should not be ready to assent to. The proper question for consideration to-night, however, is whether or no there shall now be a public inquiry at the Bar with respect to the alleged opening of the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury Some hon. Gentlemen, who have spoken recently, have imputed to us that we made a charge against the hon. Gentleman—that we are not the defendants, but that the hon. Gentleman is the defendant in this case, being charged by us with improper transactions leading to the opening of his letters. Not one word of the kind has ever been said by us. We have no accusation against him. He himself it was who publicly declared (relying, as it would appear, upon information which he had received from the Post Office), either that his letters had been opened, or that he strongly suspected the fact; and I believe if the hon. Gentleman had not made that declaration, that no one would have known that he had the slightest ground for the suspicion. The question then is now — whether in consequence of the suspicion entertained by him, we shall or shall not summon the officers of the Post Office to the Bar of this House, and institute a public inquiry. It has been admitted in the course of this debate, that the hon. Gentleman, though a Member of Parliament, stands in no different position from any other subject. ["No."] I don't say that every one in the House is of that opinion, but I think that every one who has spoken has admitted that, so far as the present question is concerned, there is no distinction between the hon. Gentleman and the meanest subject of the realm. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Jervis), at any rate, made use of that expression. I won't say that there is not any difference between a Member of Parliament and an ordinary subject in all cases; because I say that, if any Government were to exercise this power, and were to examine the correspondence of a Member of this House because he was a political opponent, it would be impossible to deny that the abuse would be infinitely exaggerated by such a perversion of power. I say that it would be indeed what the hon. Gentleman describes it—"a base, mean, and dishonourable exercise of power," if for the purpose of invading the free exercise of an opponent's privileges, his letters were subject to the scrutiny of the Government. Apart from this, with reference to this evening's discussion, I see no difference between a Member of Parliament and any other person who alleges that his letters have been opened. Let me ask you then when you call on us to answer the allegation made by a Member of Parliament, will you not admit that if it had been brought by any other subject, not a Member of Parliament, we should be under an equal obligation to answer that question? Suppose that my right hon. Friend answers the hon. Member's question, or admits in his case that there shall be an examination at the bar, let me ask you this question: "After answering the hon. Member's question, after admitting evidence at the Bar, if a petition be presented from another person, not a Member of this House, making no stronger allegations than the hon. Gentleman does, alleging merely that he suspects his letters to have been opened, declaring confidently that he can prove it, will you not then recognize an equal right upon his part to demand an answer, and to have an inquiry?" Suppose a petition should be presented in the course of next week (and that the Government had acquiesced in this proposition), saying, "I perceive in the case of one of your own Members, that the Government has answered his question, and has instituted an inquiry at the Bar; I am not a Member, I am not protected by your privileges; I have not the same influence and authority that the hon. Member has; I am not supported by party connexions, but I make the same allegations. I suspect that my letters have been opened, and I demand an inquiry." Could you refuse it? Could you then say "but this is a breach of privilege?" I say, that in each case, without the proper authority, it is a high misdemeanour, punishable by law; I could not say the contrary, nor could you, after having set the example of an inquiry in the case of one of your own Members. You must then call upon my right hon. Friend to answer other questions; Colonel Maberly must be again called to the Bar—other inquiries must be instituted. This will not apply only in one individual case, but make up your minds to repeated allegations of the same nature, and to the frequent rendering of similar inquiries. Now, I must say, as I have said to my right hon. Friend, that this is no personal question, so far as my right hon. Friend is concerned. I claim a full participation in his responsibility. I consider each Member of the Government as responsible for the exercise of this power as my right hon. Friend; and I should be ashamed if I attempted to transfer any part, either of the responsibility or the unpopularity, from myself, or from other Members of the Government, to the shoulders of my right hon. Friend. Now, let me ask you, if you admit my position, that this question once answered and this inquiry once instituted, there you can't stop, but must deal out an equal measure of justice to others, let me ask whether you can't find a reason for my right hon. Friend declining at the outset to answer such a question? It is not fear—it is not the want of moral courage—it is not a desire (as the noble Lord imputes to us) of consulting our own dignity, but it is a sense of public duty, and a foresight of the consequences of a first acquiescence, which induce my right hon. Friend and his Colleagues to decline answering this question. Would you attempt to subject us to those fresh explanations, to those fresh questions, and to that fresh necessity of answering them, to which I have alluded? Then let me ask you whether the conduct of the House of Commons has been consistent with the first principles of justice? You said last year that there were suspicious circumstances attending this exercise of power. The public mind was excited on the subject, and indignation was concentrated against the Government, which was supposed to have adopted some new rule upon this subject. We said:—"Seeing the prevailing opinion of the House, and the state of the public mind, we think it is desirable that a full and complete inquiry should be made into the practice of those who have issued these warrants. Our opinion is, in order that the explanation may be full and complete, that that inquiry ought to be before a Secret Committee." Some very few dissented from that opinion. But the opinion of this House in favour of a Secret Committee, as compared with any other tribunal, was so predominant, that there was no division upon the subject, and, without the record of an opposing sentiment by vote, the House of Commons determined to have a Secret Committee. There were some, whose opinion is justly entitled to the highest respect, who declared peremptorily their preference of a Secret Committee; the noble Lord declared his opinion to be in favour of a Secret Committee. A Secret Committee was appointed, and though you now charge us with having nominated the Committee, you can't, at any rate, deny the fact, that out of nine, five were Members not only sitting on that side of the House, but were Members who had recorded their votes against us on the critical question, when the majority was ex- ceedingly small. You had, therefore, five Members on your Committee who had not only generally opposed us in politics, but who had recorded their previous opinion upon this subject against Her Majesty's Government. Confiding in your declared opinion that that was a fair tribunal, and that that Committee ought to be a secret one, every Secretary of State went before it, and gave the fullest information in his power with respect to the issue of warrants. There was not a fact connected with that subject which was withheld from the knowledge of that Committee. The hon. Gentleman had the fullest opportunity of appearing before that Committee. He stated his reasons afterwards for not appearing; still he certainly had an opportunity of appearing before it. Evidence was given in reliance on your intention of having that tribunal a secret one. Then that Committee made a Report which will clearly enable many persons to come forward and allege their suspicions that their letters have been opened; for the Report states that— During the outbreak in the manufacturing and mining districts which took place in August, 1842, in the week of the greatest anxiety a clerk was sent down from the London Post Office, with directions, under the authority of the Secretary of State's warrant, to open the letters of six parties named therein, all taking a prominent part in the disturbances of that period. In the same week, the same clerk was directed, under authority of two other such warrants, to open the letters of ten other persons named, and a fortnight later to open the letters of one other person; making seventeen in all. Most of the persons whose letters were ordered on this occasion to be opened, were indicted, and many both indicted and convicted, before the Special Commission appointed to try the parties concerned in those disturbances. With one exception, these warrants were issued between the 18th and 25th of Augst, 1842, and they were all cancelled on the 14th of October. I say, then, by the frankness and unreservedness of our explanations before that Committee, and by the publication of the fact as to the dates of the warrants, and as to the circumstances that some of the parties were indicted and condemned, that you have enabled them to make the allegations to which I refer; you have enabled them to come forward and to present petitions, stating to the House, that after examining the Report of the Committee — seeing that parties were subsequently indicted—see- ing that the period is given for which the warrants were issued, they were enabled to state that they had a strong suspicion that their letters had been opened; and in that event, I ask you, will you admit that there should be an inquiry in their case? ["Yes."] No; but will you, on the presentation of such a petition, call on the Secretary of State to say whether he issued the warrants, and if he declines answering, will you have an inquiry at the Bar? [Mr. Duncombe: That would not be a breach of privilege.] Now, the hon. Member falls back on his privilege. The hon. Gentleman is so pressed by my argument—he feels that I have proved so completely that once open an inquiry in this case, and you cannot limit it to that, but must go into others, that he is now obliged to draw a distinction and say that this is a breach of privilege. [Mr. Duncombe: I always did say so.] Yes; but I say, that the House has distinctly said, that in this question there is no difference between the hon. Gentleman and the meanest subject of the realm. I will, therefore, continue to try the question under this aspect. A petition is presented by a Member; you appoint a trial at the Bar upon the general allegation — not upon the proof of any opening of letters; but upon the allegation that the petitioner thinks he can prove that his letters have been opened; in that case, you have appointed an examination at your Bar. Then comes another person; he says, "I have no remedy by law, I cannot prove against the officers of the Post Office that they have opened my letters, but I strongly suspect, from the publication of the Report of your Committee, that I am one of the parties referred to. I ask you to give me the same advantage which you have given to one of your own Members; rescue my character as you have rescued his; call the officer to the Bar of the House; ask him to show that he had a legal warrant for examining my letters, and if he had not, let him be punished." In such a case it would be vain, I say, to attempt to draw any distinctions of privilege. The hon. Gentleman does not bring forward the question as a breach of privilege, and I believe that he could not maintain it as a breach of privilege. I say that you will have acted most unjustly towards the Government, if, after making us disclose all the evidence that we could give, telling us "that the tribunal which you established was fair and impartial"—inducing us to tell them all they knew; if, after such an examination they acquitted us of any improper motives, you should now say, that that acquittal was not complete, and should attempt to institute an inquiry at the Bar: declaring that you think we should not be individually responsible for the exercise of this objectionable power, surely, you won't confine the examination at the Bar to one particular case. I should think you would prefer a much more liberal and extended policy; you would say, "We were wrong in selecting a Secret Committee; we want to ascertain what has been the conduct of other Governments, and the examination so instituted at the Bar shall be a full and complete examination, and shall at least extend as far back as 1822." Could you in justice refuse that when Colonel Maberly was brought to the Bar he should be questioned regarding every accusation? If an hon. Member on your side of the House should extend his inquiries of Colonel Maberly beyond the limits of the hon. Member's letters, would you call upon the Speaker to interdict such inquiries and to say, "Colonel Maberly was called to the Bar for a specific purpose, and the inquiries put to him must not extend beyond that?" Why it would be impossible, consistently with common justice, or with your own declaration, that you should do so. Depend upon it that the inquiry cannot be limited to the letters of the hon. Member for Finsbury. It is not an individual inquiry that you are about to institute; you must extend it to every petitioner who can make out that he has a good primâ facie case (and I cannot conceive the man who cannot make out as good a primâ facie case as the hon. Member) — you must extend it to every one who can tell you that he is labouring under an unjust imputation, and asks you to rescue his character from the suspicions that he imagines to have been cast upon it. So far you must go in justice to the public; but you must go further in justice to the Government, and you must extend this public inquiry at the Bar at least to the warrants which are in existence since 1822. I do not see how the Members of any former Government can deprecate that course. I do not believe that this power, when exercised by the noble Lord, was exercised except for honest and public purposes. I am as firmly convinced of that fact as I am that I am now addressing the House of Commons; and, so far as I can judge from their Records, I am confident of it. I do not suppose the noble Lord would deprecate inquiry from any personal views; but do you think it would be advisable to insist upon such an inquiry at the Bar? I speak not of the consumption of public time, because I know it is very properly said, that upon the occasion of great constitutional questions you cannot do better than occupy the time of Parliament by clearing them up; but my firm conviction is, that you will not nor can you have a more full and complete inquiry than you have had. I wish to convince the House that you cannot limit inquiry to an individual case; and that, if you insist upon inquiry, you are bound to examine every charge that may be made to contrast or to conflict with the conduct of past Governments. And the examination you are about to enter upon, if the Motion be carried, is therefore much more extensive than you suppose. If last year you thought a Secret Committee was the best tribunal, certainly by having a Public Committee now, where every name must be published, where the Secretaries of State must justify every warrant, and account for every transaction which was the result of each warrant,—you contradict your own former views, and commence a much longer inquiry than you then thought necessary. I state, then, that reason and a sense of public duty—and not the apprehensions of any consequences personal to ourselves—compel us to say, "We have already gone before the tribunal you have appointed, and we think you ought to be satisfied with our explanation; we cannot enter into details which we did not enter into then." Upon these grounds I must give my opposition to the Motion. I do not think it consistent with justice that we should be called upon to enter again on our defence; and I do not think it consistent with prudence or public policy to enter into an extended examination. Here, Sir, I should close if I had not heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion. I do hope, that having discharged himself of the accumulated virus of the last week, he now feels more at ease than he was. If that is so, he need not be disturbed by any impressions on his part that he has at all interfered with my peace of mind in consequence of the attack he has made. I tell the hon. Gentleman at once that I will not condescend to reciprocate personalities with him. Neither now nor after the lapse of a week will I sloop to reciprocate them—I feel no inclination for the practice. I also fell, Sir, that in this respect the hon. Gentleman would have a very great advantage over me, because he has leisure to prepare his attacks. I have often heard from that hon. Gentleman observations of a very personal nature against myself. I have often heard them made from immediately behind me, but I never felt it necessary to notice them, and I should not have noticed them the other night if it had not been that the hon. Gentleman who seconded a Motion, of which he entirely disapproved, said he did it in a friendly spirit. That alone induced me to notice his remarks; but in the course of that speech he charged me with having appointed to office an hon. Gentleman who had been concerned or connected with a plot, which I was obliged to repel. I will not, however, make any further reference to that, because the hon. Gentleman made a full and ample reparation. He was betrayed into an error, but he made all the reparation in his power. I at once frankly aver that, and not one word more shall I say upon the subject. But the declaration of the hon. Gentleman that he seconded the Motion in a friendly spirit, made me partake of the feelings which ran through the House, which we have no word to describe, but which in the French Chambers are called mouvemens divers—feelings partly partaking of the nature of a shudder and partly of a laugh, when the hon. Gentleman said he seconded the Motion in a "friendly spirit." I assure the hon. Gentleman I have not the slightest wish to fetter his independence, or the independence of any other Member of this House. Every man man must be the guardian of his own independence; and if the hon. Member disapproves either of the acts of the Government, or disapproves of the general policy of the Government, he must censure the act, and he must condemn the Government. I have here no right to prevent the hon. Gentleman from following an independent course of action. I court no man's favour. I think I do understand the relations in which a Minister ought to stand towards those who give him their general support. I think he ought, while he possesses it, to be proud of their confidence; but I think he ought to incur the risk of losing that confidence by taking the course which he believes to be for the public interest. That is the course I have taken, and that course I will continue to take. If you think that any acts of mine are at variance with the policy which I supported in the year 1834 in Government, or have supported since, let those acts be examined, vote against them, and condemn them. If you think, in respect to the Church, that any course pursued by the Government has endangered that institution, censure and oppose the particular act. If you think we have, at variance with our principles, greatly extended popular privileges, or infused the fresh blood of democracy into the working of the constitution, tell us so, and oppose us. If you denounce our commercial or financial policy, oppose the particular act. If the combination of our misconduct is such that you think we are no longer entitled to confidence, mark your want of confidence by a public declaration of opinion and by distinct opposition to us. I should regret the loss of that confidence to which the hon. Gentleman refers; but I freely say that, as the Minister of the Crown, I will attempt to do good as far as I can, and if, in attempting to accomplish that, I forfeit the confidence which I have so much prized, I will submit to the loss rather than retain confidence at the expense of the public good. If, as I said before, our general policy is objectionable—if it is not Conservative, if we are injuring the rights of property or the prerogatives of the Crown—if we are undermining either civil or sacred institutions, prove that we have done so, and withhold your confidence from us. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the relations in which I stood to the late Mr. Canning; but if he thinks upon that account he is fairly entitled to withhold his confidence and respect from me, he ought not to have waited for a quotation from a poem of Mr. Canning's to open his eyes to my misfortune. The hon. Gentleman must have been perfectly aware, in the year 1841 and subsequently, of my relations towards Mr. Canning, and of the course I pursued with regard to that eminent and distinguished statesman; and the knowledge of that course, and not an accidental quotation from a poem, ought to have lost me the hon. Gentleman's confidence and respect at a much earlier pe- riod. But, as I said before, it is not my intention to reciprocate personalities with the hon. Gentleman. I do not wish in the slightest degree to fetter his independence, or the independence of any other man who may sit upon this side of the House; but again I repeat, that being in the position which I fill, I will pursue that course which I believe to be for the public interest; and if, in pursuing it, I subject myself to the hon. Gentleman's vituperation, or to the much heavier penalty of diminished confidence upon the part of others, that penalty I am ready to pay, and submit to the consequences.

The House divided on the Question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—Ayes 188; Noes 113: Majority 75.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Clive, Visct.
Acland, T. D. Clive, hon. R. H.
A'Court, Capt. Cochrane, A.
Antrobus, E. Cockburne, rt. hn. Sir G
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Collett, W. R.
Archdall, Capt. M. Colvile, C. R.
Arkwright, G. Corry, rt. hn. H.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Cripps, W.
Damer, hon. Col.
Astell, W. Darby, G.
Bailey, J. Davies, D. A. S.
Bailey, J. jun. Denison, E. B.
Baillie, Col. Dick, Q.
Baird, W. Dickinson, F. H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Douglas, Sir H.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Drummond, H. H.
Barneby, J. Duncombe, hon. A.
Barrington, Visct. Du Pre, C. G.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Eastnor, Visct.
Beckett, W. Egerton, Sir P.
Bell, M. Entwisle, W.
Benbow, J. Escott, B.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fellowes, E.
Beresford, Major Fitzroy, hon. H.
Blackburne, J. I. Flower, Sir J.
Blackstone, W. S. Forbes, W.
Blakemore, R. Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.
Boldero, H. G. Fuller, A. E.
Borthwick, P. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Botfield, B. Gladstone, Capt.
Bowles, Adm. Godson, R.
Bramston, T. W. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Broadley, H. Gore, M.
Bruce, Lord E. Gore, W. O.
Bruges, W. H. L. Gore, W. R. O.
Buller, Sir J. W. Goulburn, rt. hn. H.
Bunbury, T. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Burroughes, H. N. Granby, Marquess of
Cardwell, E. Greene, T.
Carew, W. H. P. Grogan, E.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Hale, R. B.
Clerk, rt. hn. Sir G. Halford, Sir H.
Clifton, J. T. Hamilton, G. A.
Harris, hon. Capt. Owen Sir J.
Hayes, Sir E. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Henley, J. W. Peel, J.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Plumptre, J. P.
Herbert, rt. hn. S. Polhill, F.
Hervey, Lord A. Pollington, Visct.
Hinde, J. H. Powell, Col.
Hodgson, F. Pringle, A.
Hogg, J. W. Pusey, P.
Hope, hon. C. Reid, Sir J. R.
Hope, G. W. Repton, G. W. J.
Hughes, W. B. Richards, R.
Hussey, T. Round, J.
Ingestre, Visct. Rous, hon. Capt.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Rushbrooke, Col.
Irton, S. Russell, Lord J.
James, Sir W. C. Russell, C.
Jermyn, Earl Ryder, hon. G. D.
Jocelyn, Visct. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Johnstone, Sir J. Shaw, rt. hn. F.
Johnstone, H. Sibthorp, Col.
Kemble, H. Smith, A.
Lambton, H. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Langston, J. H. Somerset, Lord G.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Somes, J.
Lawson, A. Spooner, R.
Lennox, Lord A. Stewart, J.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Stuart, W. V.
Lincoln, Earl of Stuart, H.
Lockhart, W. Sturt, H. C.
Lowther, Sir J. H. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Lygon, hon. G. Taylor, J. A.
Mackenzie, T. Tennent, J. E.
Mackenzie, W. F. Thesiger, Sir F.
McNeill, D. Thornhill, G.
Mahon, Visct. Tomline, G.
Manners, Lord C. S. Trench, Sir F. W.
Martin, C. W. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Martin, T. B. Trollope, Sir J.
Masterman, J. Trotter, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Vane, Lord H.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Villiers, Visct.
Meynell, Capt. Waddington, H. S.
Mildmay, H. St. J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Miles, P. W. S. Wellesley, Lord C.
Miles, W. Wood, Col.
Morgan, O. Wood, Col. T.
Mundy, E. M. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Neeld, J. Wyndham, Col. C.
Neville, R. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Newdegate, C. N. TELLERS.
Nicholl, rt. hn. J. Young, J.
Norreys, Lord Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Brocklehurst, J.
Bannerman, A. Brotherton, J.
Barclay, D. Buller, C.
Barnard, E. G. Busfeild, W.
Bellew, R. M. Butler, hon. Col.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Byng, rt. hon. G. S.
Bernal, R. Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Blake, M. J. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Blewitt, R. J. Childers, J. W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Christie, W. D.
Bowring, Dr. Clay, Sir W.
Bright, J. Cobden, R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Milnes, R. M.
Collett, J. Mitcalfe, H.
Collins, W. Mitchell, T. A.
Craig, W. G. Morris, D.
Crawford, W. S. Muntz, G. F.
Curteis, H. B. Napier, Sir C.
Dalrymple, Capt. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Dawson, hon. T. V. O'Connell, M. J.
D'Eyncourt,rt.hn.C.T Osborne, R.
Divett, E. Paget, Col.
Duff, J. Paget, Lord W.
Duncan, Visct, Pechell, Capt.
Duncan, G. Philips, M.
Duncannon, Visct. Plumridge, Capt.
Dundas, Adm. Protheroe, E.
Dundas, F. Pulsford, R.
Ebrington, Visct. Rawdon, Col.
Ellis W. Rice, E. R.
Evans, W. Roche, E. B.
Ewart, W. Roebuck, J. A.
Ferrand, W. B. Ross, D. R.
Forster, M. Rumbold, C. E.
Fox, C. R. Russell, Lord E.
Gisborne, T. Smith, J. A.
Hallyburton,LdJ.F.G. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Hanmer, Sir J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hastie, A. Strickland, Sir G.
Hawes, B. Talbott, C. R. M.
Heron, Sir R. Tancred, H. W.
Hill, Lord M. Thornely, T.
Hindley, C. Trelawney, J. S.
Horsman, E. Turner, E.
Howard, hn. C. W. G. Villiers, hon. C.
Howick, Visct. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Hume, J. Wakley, T.
Humphery, Ald. Wallace, R.
Hutt, W. Ward, H. G.
James, W. Watson, W. H.
Jervis, J. Wawn, J. T.
Leveson, Lord Williams, W.
McTaggart, Sir J. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Mangles, R. D. Wood, C.
Manners, Lord J. Wyse, T.
Marjoribanks, S. TELLERS.
Marshall, W. Duncombe, T.
Marsland, H. Disraeli, B.
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