§ SIR R. PEEL
had to call the attention of the House to a circumstance which had recently come to his knowledge, and respecting which it appeared desirable the House should come to an immediate decision, though no notice had been given on the subject. The circumstance he referred to was this: There was a Committee of the House of Lords now sitting to inquire into the operation of the Poor Law in Ireland, and some time since that Committee expressed a wish that the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Smith O'Brien) should obtain leave from the House to attend and give evidence before them. The hon. Member had expressed his willingness to attend that Committee, and the House had given him liberty to do so. The Committee would sit to-morrow, and he had reason to believe that to-morrow would be the last day of their sittings. Under these circumstances, if no order was made by the House, the hon. Member for Limerick would have no opportunity of giving the 1334 evidence which the Committee of the House of Lords desired to receive, the hon. Member being, as the House was aware, now in the custody of their Serjeant-at-Arms. His right hon. Friend had found two precedents which appeared to him to have an immediate bearing on this point, and to afford the grounds on which the House might make an order in the matter. It appeared there were two cases in which parties being in the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms, when the House of Lords desired to have their evidence, the House had given an order to the Serjeant-at-Arms to permit those persons to attend the Committee of the House of Lords for that purpose. He did not see any reason for a distinction in this respect between a Member of that House and private persons; and if such should be the opinion of the House, he would move—first, that the entry of the 16th March, 1846, giving leave to the hon. Member for Limerick to attend a Committee of the House of Lords should be read; and, secondly, that the Serjeant-at-Arms should permit Mr. Smith O'Brien, in his custody, to attend and give evidence before that Committee. He had reason to believe that it was the wish of Mr. Smith O'Brien to do so. He would not have made the Motion without notice, were it not that if the order were not made that evening, the hon. Gentleman would not have an opportunity of giving his evidence.
§ The entry was then read, and the Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at Ten o'clock.