HC Deb 14 May 1846 vol 86 cc539-53

urged the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner) to postpone his Motion respecting Mr. Toulmin Smith, in order that the debate on the Corn Importation Bill might be resumed.


said, he was quite aware of the importance of the Corn Bill, but the House would recollect that this case had been three or four times on the Paper, without his being able to bring it on; and now that he had priority, he was resolved to proceed. Mr. Toulmin Smith, a man of high character, and placed in a respectable station in life, had been most foully aspersed, and he would take this opportunity of relieving him from the aspersions which had been cast upon him. If he postponed his Motion now, he should not have a chance of bringing it on again for several weeks. In bringing forward this Motion, which was for a Select Committee to consider the petitions of Mr. Toulmin Smith, and the papers presented to the House relative to the case stated in those petitions, he should have two objects in view: first, to put the character of Mr. Toulmin Smith right with the House; and next, to call the attention of the House to the circumstances under which the outrage had been perpetrated, so as to prevent similar occurrences taking place again. Mr. Toulmin Smith was a special pleader in the Temple, and a member of one of the most respectable families in the town of Birmingham. The petition complained that two policemen and an exciseman entered his house to search for an illicit still. The only ground on which the warrant was granted was a mere suggestion in an anonymous letter, to the effect that a Mr. Smith, residing in a populous place, was suspected to have in his house an illicit still. He was prepared to prove that most unjust aspersions had been cast on the character of Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith's house had been violently entered by the Excise officers without any cause or excuse. When this subject had been brought before the Upper House, Lord Denman had said, on the statements of Mr. Toulmin Smith, that it was a very proper case to be laid before the Government. He now, on the part of the public, called upon the House to look closely into the particulars of this case, and not allow it to be passed over by mere recrimination on Mr. Toulmin Smith. Mr. Smith had been charged with an attempt at extortion. He was prepared, however, to prove that the Excise officer, who had so grossly exceeded his duty in searching the house of Mr. Smith, had offered to pay any amount of composition; but that gentleman most indignantly refused to accept composition, as he only wished for that which would bear him harmless in the eyes of the world. He was in possession of letters which would prove that, if Mr. Smith did bring an action, and recover damages, it was his intention to give them to some charity or other. Mr. Smith was a man of a scientific turn of mind and high attainments, and he had been brought before the public in a way which had harassed his feelings and injured him in his profession. When that gentleman complained of the outrage that had been committed, instead of getting any remedy, his private character was aspersed, and he now came forward to vindicate that gentleman's character, which ought never to have been attacked. He begged to direct the attention of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the state of the Excise laws, which permitted such doings, and he thought some alteratiens should be speedily made in those laws. The Excise laws were now so abused that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would lose much in his revenue from that source. The Commissioners of Excise knew very well that their officer had exceeded his orders in this case; yet they had never thought of making any reparation. Mr. Toulmin Smith certainly had his legal remedy, but he ought not to be compelled to seek that remedy. The warrant was obtained upon the suggestion of a mere anonymous letter; and by such means had that gentleman's domestic peace been disturbed, and his family greatly alarmed. Mr. Smith applied, in the first instance to the Excise Office, and subsequently to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, without obtaining satisfaction. The right hon. Gentleman told him, through his Secretary, that he could not interfere; that he had no authority to do so. If that were really the case, why then it formed a reason in itself for acceding to the Motion. He thought that, upon full consideration, the Government would not oppose the appointment of a Committee. If a Committee was not appointed, he thought the country would have great and just ground of complaint. The hon. Member concluded by moving— That a Select Committee be appointed to consider the Petitions of Mr. Toulmin Smith, and the Papers presented to the House relative to the case stated in those Petitions.


said that, as to the first ground of complaint, he had no inclination to defend or extenuate it. He fully admitted that there was no sufficient ground for the warrant against Mr. Smith, and that the mode of obtaining and executing it gave that gentleman just ground of complaint. The first proceeding was taken on an anonymous letter, when the Commissioners of Excise ordered an inquiry to be made. The supervisor, acting on unreasonable and unjustifiable suspicions, which were the more readily excited in consequence of the discovery of a still in a house situated in the same locality, obtained a warrant to search Mr. Smith's residence, and went there accompanied by a policeman. Having searched the greater part of the house in company with Mr. Smith, while the policeman remained outside, the supervisor was about leaving, when Mr. Smith offered to take him into a room which, at the time, was occupied by his wife and a portion of his family; but the officer refused to go, observing that he was perfectly satisfied his information was erroneous, and that he would be very sorry to trouble him or his family unnecessarily. He then made every apology in his power to Mr. Smith, and went away with the impression that he had succeeded in obtaining pardon from that gentleman. In the letter Mr. Smith wrote after the occurrence, that gentleman considered the offence lay in the act itself, and deprecated any attempt to make the officer a scapegoat for his superiors; but the tone of his correspondence soon underwent a change. The hon. Member read the voluminous correspondence between Mr. Smith and the Board of Excise, commenting on the conduct of that gentleman, and defending the part taken by the members of the Board. Mr. T. Smith stated that no apology had been made to him, and his hon. Friend asserted it in the House; but the fact was, that the apology had been long in his hands. The supervisor refused to consent to the draft of apology proposed by Mr. Smith, because it contained a passage reflecting on the conduct of the magistrate who had issued the warrant, and he objected to sign anything inculpating another person. Although the salary of the supervisor was only 200l., out of which he was obliged to keep a horse and pay his travelling expenses, so that it was virtually not more than 150l., and he found it a matter of serious difficulty to raise a sum of 25l., he at length made up his mind to pay the demand of 25l., and to sign a written apology. What, then, was the course taken by Mr. Smith? He quietly put the signed apology in his pocket, refused the 25l., and not allowing that this was to be the end of the transaction between them, he kept for use in hostile proceedings, to be afterwards commenced, the statement so obtained; and he declared in his petition to the House of Commons that he did this deliberately, that he did it under advice, and that he intended to make use of it. What was the result? Neither the action against the magistrate, nor the action against Mann, had been heard of. He did not hesitate to say, that if it had not been for these interlocutory matters and transactions, the original occurrence would have obtained substantial damages in an action against the officer of Excise. Sixty years ago Lord Mansfield had laid down that an officer of Excise could not be punished even for an act wantonly and maliciously done. If this had been the law at that time, and if his right hon. Friend were right in saying that the Commissioners of Excise were armed with terrific powers, was he not entitled to claim for them the utmost credit for the discretion with which they had been exercised? This was not a case for Parliamentary inquiry into the law, for it arose out of an abuse of the law; and he concluded as he had begun, by saying that the Commissioners of Excise censured and punished the supervisor when they first knew of his conduct, and that it was an act which no one holding any office in the Government could defend or excuse in that House. But was there any need of inquiry into that abuse? The facts were all on the Table of the House; they were all admitted; and an inquiry, if it lasted to the end of the Session, could add nothing to the information before them. A Parliamentary inquiry was now asked for into the unacknowledged and unjustified action of an inferior officer, who had been censured by his superiors, and under these circumstances he must resist the demand.


was extremely gratified to find that the Government had not attempted to justify the conduct of the officer. No judge but one like Lord Mansfield would have decided that an officer was not liable to punishment for a malicious act. If a private house might be entered on the authority of an anonymous letter, or something else equally frivolous, there was an end to everything like the security of domestic life. If any person were to come into his house without a warrant, he had no hesitation in saying that he should break his head. Opening letters was bad enough, but invading a man's house without authority was far worse; and he should be ready to take the most summary way of turning out any one who attempted it. He thought the conduct of Mr. Smith had been very injudicious, to say the least of it; but that was no excuse for the conduct of the officer. His punishment should have been positive, and not negative. He should have been turned out of his office at least.


could not help thinking the course taken by his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (if he would allow him to call him so) rather an indiscreet one. His hon. Friend had zealously defended Mr. Smith, and this was taken advantage of to divert the discussion to the merits of that gentleman. But he wished to recall it to the public grounds of the question, of which, perhaps, the House was not fully aware. The officers of Excise were placed in a situation constantly to be called upon to act as witnesses—an obligation of the last importance. His hon. and learned Friend opposite and himself were frequently called upon in the Court of Exchequer to hear the evidence there given, and to know that in the majority of cases public liberty and property depended on it. And with respect to the oath on which the warrant for the search of Mr. Smith's house was executed, he should wish to offer a few observations to the House before he sat down. He wished to premise, however, that Mr. Smith, the petitioner in this case, he believed he had never seen but once, though his name had often passed before him as a special pleader. Indeed, the fact of Mr. Smith's known respectability in the neighbourhood of his residence, had any inquiry been made, might have satisfied the Board of Excise at once that no ground of suspicion could exist against him. The only reason of suspicion appeared to be that an illicit still had been found in as respectable a house as Mr. Smith's. What said the law on this case? That when any officer of Excise had reasonable ground for suspecting the concealment of goods chargeable with Excise duties, he must go before a magistrate and state the grounds of that suspicion, when, if those grounds were thought reasonable, the magistrate would grant a warrant of search. A man who had only received an anonymous letter upon a fact, stating that he of his own knowledge knew of that fact, would be guilty of perjury. What would be the value of an oath under such circumstances? But, in point of truth, the officer had followed the directions of the Act of Parliament. He had gone before a magistrate, and stated he believed an illicit still was to be found on the premises. But any magistrate who determined to grant a warrant, thinking the receipt of an anonymous letter sufficient to furnish grounds of legal suspicion, was not fit to occupy a place on the Bench. As to remedy, it was an insult to talk of it; there was none as he believed; but suppose there was—then his hon. Friend said that Mr. Smith's conduct had been much misrepresented and misunderstood, and if a Committee were granted it could be cleared; while, on the other hand, if such an injury was allowed to go unredressed, the law must be in a state which ought not to be allowed to remain. If there was any doubt as to the facts, the proper way to settle it would be to grant a Committee, not as regarded Mr. Smith, but for the sake of the public. Here was a law giving large powers, which were put in execution by men incapable of paying damages, and surely those men ought to be under proper control. The warrant set forth that it was granted by the magistrate on reasonable ground being shown. Would any man contend that an anonymous letter formed reasonable ground? It was fit the House should know whether the anonymous letter had been stated truly as the ground for the application; for it was scarcely credible that a magistrate would grant the warrant upon such cause only being shown; but if he had, he could not be justified in so doing. As to Mr. Smith himself, he was only to be regarded as the instrument of bringing forward a case of gross abuse. With respect to the head of the Board of Excise, a more active, intelligent, and honourable officer did not exist in any department; but as regarded the case now before the House, he (Sir T. Wilde) submitted than the conduct of the officer had been such as to require more than the loss of chance of promotion.


said, he was at a loss to understand upon what his hon. and learned Friend founded his argument for a Select Committee; because his observations had been entirely directed against the officer and the magistrate—upon which they were all agreed—his hon. Friend, the Secretary for the Treasury, having distinctly expressed the disapprobation of the Government as to the conduct of that officer; but his hon. and learned Friend seemed to desire that a Committee should be appointed to decide whether a suspension of three years was a sufficient punishment for the misconduct of the officer. With respect to the anonymous letter, his hon. and learned Friend's experience no doubt agreed with his own, that many gross but subtle and secret frauds had been discovered through such a medium; and if the revenue was to be protected, that kind of information must be sometimes acted upon, guardedly and cautiously, he admitted; but so the Commissioners had acted, for they had sent the letter to a superior officer, a collector, with directions to inquire into the subject and report. The collector, unfortunately, was necessarily absent, and he transmitted the information to Mann, who was an experienced officer, having conducted himself well for thirty-two years, and who, the collector took it for granted, would act with proper discretion. Unfortunately, Mann had reason to believe that the anonymous information was correct, in consequence of having before discovered a secret still in the very same neighbourhood, in a better house than Mr. Smith's. He was not justifying the officer in acting as he had done upon suspicion; it was his duty to make the requisite inquiries before he took the step of proceeding to the magistrate. It was certain that, as the testimony of these officers was required, it was highly necessary they should be men cautious in respect to their oaths; and he admitted that, without further information, the magistrate was not justified in issuing the warrant; but he disagreed with his learned Friend in the opinion that there was no ground of action. Mr. Smith had not made any just or rational requirement of the Commissioners that had not been complied with. The Commissioners, immediately on the receipt of his first letter of complaint, wrote to him to say that the charge he brought forward against the officer would undergo the strictest investigation; but, before they came to any decision, they must call upon the officer for an explanation. This was, surely, nothing more than fair play and justice. The officer was called upon for an explanation—that explanation did not satisfy the Commissioners, and they did not hesitate to punish him in an exemplary manner. The hon. and learned Gentleman then proceeded to recapitulate the facts of the case ab initio, with a view to show that it was not one which called for, or indeed would justify, the interference of the House; and ridiculed the idea of Mr. Smith clothing himself in a public character, and calling for investigation on purely public grounds. He (the Attorney General) thought such a demand absurd; and, indeed, he could not forbear expressing his feelings of regret that a member of his own profession—a gentleman who was said to have maintained a high and respectable character—should have acted in a manner unworthy of the reputation attributed to him by the learned Member for Worcester, and he would also add, in a manner unworthy of the profes- sion to which he belonged. The whole facts of this case, from first to last, had been submitted to a most rigid investigation, and had been detailed in the fullest and most comprehensive manner; and it was altogether out of the question to suppose that any additional information could be obtained by the appointment of a Committee. In the present case, no doubt the law had been abused, and the officer had acted unjustifiably, but he had been visited by the heavy displeasure of his official superiors. There was nothing in this case, however, which called for a radical alteration in the law of the country; and it was absurd, therefore, to advocate the appointment of a Committee on public grounds. The courts of justice were still open to Mr. Smith, if he chose to have recourse to them, for redress of the injury he had unquestionably sustained. Nay, more, he had already gone into court; and as his actions were still pending, it would be worse than useless, it would be a most unwise, inexpedient, and wanton proceeding in that House to attempt any interference.


said, that he had entered the House that night strongly inclined to the opinion that it was not desirable that this matter should be submitted to an inquiry on the part of a Committee; but the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Worcester had placed the matter in so new an aspect, that he (Mr. Hawes) had completely changed his opinion. The Committee should be granted on public grounds, and the conduct of Mr. Smith might be put out of the question altogether. This much he would say, however, that Mr. Smith was a gentleman of the highest respectability, both in respect to his personal character and his family; and any prejudice against him grounded on the allusions in his letters to claims for money were quite unworthy, and ought to be summarily dismissed; for in his first letter to the Commissioners he expressly stated his intention to devote to charitable purposes any sums that he might demand from them. There were, he was sure, many facts connected with this case which were not before that House in the shape of documentary evidence, and he thought it highly probable that an investigation before a Committee would bring to light much information as yet in the shade. But he called for a Committee on other and more important grounds. Parliamentary inquiries had been instituted into the conduct of the Poor Law Commissioners on former occasions, and he could not see why an inquiry in the present instance should be resisted. With regard to the magistrate, he wanted to know on what the magistrate had acted. Did he only act upon the anonymous letter? He might have had a great deal more information laid before him; but if he acted only on the copy of an anonymous letter, then he (Mr. Hawes) would say it was time for the Secretary of State to consider the question, whether one who had acted so hastily and carelessly, in a matter concerning the liberty of the subject, ought to remain in the commission of the peace. In conclusion, he expressed a hope that the House would think there were sufficient grounds to justify an inquiry into this subject.


thought it was desirable one or two facts should be stated to the House. The House ought to know that Mr. Smith was advised, by very high legal authority, to bring an action against the officer who entered his house; and he was advised also, that the damages he would recover would be certainly large. With regard to the charge of extortion, nothing could be more absolutely absurd, as connected with Mr. Toulmin Smith. There was not a gentleman acquainted with him who would not laugh at the idea of his asking 10l. or 20l. as compensation for the injury he had suffered. With respect to the allegation that he wished to keep a certain apology the officer had made him, the fact was, that the officer went to him and offered to make the apology. A draft of the apology was drawn up, which was taken away by the officer and his friend; but when they brought it back, Mr. Smith observed, that there was some alteration from the original draft, and that it was not the apology they had agreed upon. The officer said, if Mr. Smith would keep that apology, he would come back again with an apology in strict accordance with that originally agreed upon, which was then to be exchanged. He never did return, and wished to have the apology back which Mr. Smith had in his hands; but Mr. Smith said he would not part with that, for the officer did not fulfil his engagement. Mr. Smith was aware, as well as any other legal Gentleman in that House, that he could not use as evidence, in a court of justice, anything he had obtained from that officer. From a private letter he had seen, which passed between Mr. Smith and a gentleman connected with this case, he could state that the charges which had been made, not only there but elsewhere, as affecting Mr. Smith's conduct in that case, did not go to throw the slightest discredit upon his honour and character; and he (Mr. Bright) was quite sure that in the course Mr. Smith took, his only wish was that the case should be exposed, and a remedy provided, and he thought that Mr. Smith was utterly incapable of the things that had been laid to his charge.


must say, that he thought the hon. Member for Birmingham was fully justified in bringing forward this case. After the able statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Worcester, the case was fully before the House, or, at all events, the outlines of it; and there could not be a doubt that it was one of gross outrage and want of remedy. And was there, then, no reason for inquiry, as had been alleged?—no reason for inquiry into a system by which experienced and public officers were led into the commission of acts of this nature, and where Commissioners of Excise issued instructions on such vague authority and foundation solely as were to be found in an anonymous letter? Such conduct, adopted on such grounds, unquestionably demanded investigation; and though he thought that the hon. and learned Member for Worcester had done well in separating the case of Mr. Smith from the great constitutional principle involved in it, still, when they heard the learned Attorney General say, that the conduct of a gentleman who was a member of his own profession, had been such as was wholly unworthy that profession, he must say that that alone afforded a sufficient ground of justification for the House allowing that gentleman to explain his conduct. He hoped, therefore, that the House would consent to this inquiry, as he was afraid it was but one of many instances of abuse, against which, in the case of a poor man, the injured party would have no security.


would hear, with deep regret, that the House had decided not to inquire into the case which the hon. Member for Birmingham had brought forward. The Attorney General, who had addressed the House with legal tact and ingenuity, had diverted its attention from the main question before it, and endeavoured to narrow it and bring it down again to the grievance Mr. Smith had sustained. He would take him on that point, and did not wish for a moment to diverge from it. One of the most important duties they had to discharge was to protect the petitioners who came to them for redress; but instead of that line of policy being adopted, what was the course they had pursued? When a party persecuted by persons in power came to complain, some paltry and despicable insinuations were made against his character in answer to the case he brought before the House. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Treasury, when he began his speech, hemmed and hawed about the character of Mr. Smith—"he had been tempted to say so and so about the character of Mr. Smith; however, he would not do so." Why, he (Mr. Wakley) asked, until this affair occurred, who dared make an attack upon the character of Mr. Smith? It was said that Mr. Smith had been guilty of subtle practices. The expression used was, that he had entrapped the officer to make certain admissions; and after those charges were made against a petitioner for redress to that House, could they refuse him inquiry? Why, he asked, should they blame Mr. Smith for not conducting his case in a more judicious way? He was a lawyer conducting his own case—a lawyer without a fee! He (Mr. Wakley) would ask anybody if it was to be expected that a lawyer should display great legal skill and ingenuity when he was acting for himself, and without the direct stimulus of a fee? Leaving out of the question the original complaint, would they refuse to Mr. Smith the opportunity of clearing himself from the aspersions cast upon his character in that House during that discussion? He was convinced that no body of English gentlemen who acted independently in the discharge of a public duty, would refuse an investigation to a man who had been treated as Mr. Smith had been treated. He appealed to the right hon. Baronet opposite, and asked him whether he would trouble the House to divide on this occasion? He hoped he would not; but if he did, he trusted he would be left in a minority. There were extraordinary powers conferred by the Excise Act on the officers belonging to it; and were they by a decision of that House to make proclamation to every one of those officers throughout the kingdom, that, do what they would, the House of Commons would not inquire into their conduct? He (Mr. Wakley) had been informed, since the discussion commenced, and since the Secretary for the Treasury had made his speech, that every allegation of facts he had made was incorrectly stated; and was it to be borne that a petitioner who had suffered the great wrong Mr. Smith had sustained, should appeal to that House for redress, and be met with a refusal?


said, that whatever it might be their pleasure to do on the question submitted to them, it was not for him to determine. It was sufficient for him to satisfy his own mind, from the discussion that evening, that there was not any sufficient ground for inquiry; in fact, there appeared to be nothing into which the House had to inquire. He was sorry to see many persons then present who had not the benefit of hearing the whole of this case as it had been detailed in the different speeches that had been made, both on the one side and the other, because there were many who would not be enabled to form that correct opinion of the circumstances of the case which an attention to the earlier portion of the case would have enabled them to form. An hon. Member said, that this was not the case of a poor man. He was glad that it was not. They charged the Excise with oppressive conduct, merely because an inferior officer acted in a way which all condemned, and which that Board had marked their sense of by suspending this officer; he could not conceive, therefore, what there was to enlist party feeling, or to justify the House in instituting an inquiry. As for the character of Mr. Smith, by whom had it been brought before the House? Not by his hon. and learned Friend, but by the hon. Member who had opened the discussion. But even the hon. and learned Member for Worcester said that he would not defend the discretion with which Mr. Smith had acted. The hon. Member who spoke last said, that there should be inquiry because imputations had been raised against Mr. Smith. Now, the only charges against that gentleman had arisen out of the substance of the letters which he had chosen to write. The Excise did not defend the conduct of the officer, but distinctly stated that his conduct was improper, and no Member of the Government had said anything in palliation of it. What, then, was there to inquire into? Was it the character of Mr. Smith, with the view to his defence; or was it into the constitution or the proceedings of the Board of Excise? Did hon. Members think that the punishment of the man was not sufficiently se- vere? He wished the House to understand the circumstances under which this man was placed. He was suspended for three years; and he had been thirty-two years a faithful and discreet officer, during which time he had not once been censured. In addition to this, they could not prevent Mr. Smith from proceeding against him. Indeed, Mr. Smith distinctly declared that he should take legal proceedings against the officer. The Excise stated that they would not defend him, but that he must bear all the charge of the proceedings, and that he must be liable to the penalty of his conduct, however much it might cost him. He could not conceive what could be the object of inquiry, as the man had been suspended from promotion for three years, and was exposed to an action which might insure vindictive damages, which would be his utter ruin. With respect to the Chairman of Excise, he had taken very different views on political subjects from that Gentleman when he was in Parliament, and had a very slight acquaintance with him, and was not biassed in his favour; but since he had had constant official communication with him as to the mode in which the severe laws of the Excise should be executed, he uniformly found that he exercised the greatest discretion in the mode of dealing with the cases before him, and great judgment in deciding on them; and the utmost care was taken that the laws were duly enforced, so as to prevent frauds on the revenue, but without harshness or severity. With respect to anonymous letters, he might be allowed to state that a great number of frauds on the public revenue had been brought to light by them. He could state this from his own knowledge, as he had often been enabled to detect frauds by such means. According to what had fallen from some hon. Gentlemen, a charge of this kind was not to be inquired into, because it was alleged against a person in a respectable situation in life. If it should be the pleasure of the House to appoint a Committee, he had not the slightest idea as to what they would proceed to inquire into. Did they mean to inquire into the constitution of the Excise board, or into the Excise laws, or into the character of Mr. Smith, or into the amount of the offence? If they instituted such inquiry, it would be attended with very little profit. If there had been any grievous case of oppression, where a party could not get any redress, he should regret opposing it; but he did not think that there was any ground for inquiring into the present case.


was understood to say that the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), who had vindicated the Board of Excise at such length, had not made any allusion whatever to the conduct of the magistrate who, in granting the warrant upon which Mr. Smith's house was searched, had acted most illegally and unjustly. He begged to assure hon. Gentlemen who called for a division, that he was not going to discuss the question whether the receipt of an anonymous communication was a sufficient ground upon which the Board of Excise should act; but he would ask, whether such letter was a sufficient warrant for a magistrate to interfere, for in the warrant the magistrate was obliged to say that he had received sufficient, just, and reasonable grounds upon which to proceed. If such information were to be acted upon, there would be an end of all justice and equitable operation of those laws.


vindicated the conduct of the magistrate, contending that on the face of the warrant there were sufficient grounds to justify the conduct of the magistrate. The hon. Gentleman read extracts from the warrant, stating that the magistrate had acted upon the information of Peterman, who alleged that he suspected Mr. Toulmin Smith had an illicit still concealed on his premises. Upon such information warrants were repeatedly issued from the police courts. He believed the magistrate had in this case acted perfectly right.


briefly replied; and was understood to implore the Government, for the sake of the petitioner and for the sake of the public, to accede to the Motion.

The House divided. Ayes 125; Noes 134: Majority 9.