HC Deb 21 May 1858 vol 150 cc1022-4

rose to bring before the House a breach of privilege committed by a member of the provincial press—a body for which he had the most sincere respect. The charges of which he complained were made against him (Mr. Clive) as Chairman of a Railway Committee of that House, to decide between the rival claims of two railways presented respectively by the Caledonian Railway Company and the North British Railway Company. The Committee sat for upwards of three weeks, and gave the matter its most serious attention; but their decision, which was carried by a majority of one, was not acceptable to the supporters of the North British. In consequence articles had appeared in the provincial press pointed against him. He had been unwilling to take notice of these charges; but having taken the opinion of several friends, Members of that House, he had been advised that, as to one of them, he ought not to overlook so gross an imputation upon his character. The paragraphs of which he complained formed part of a long article, with which he would not trouble the House. The hon. Member then proceeded to read a paragraph, in which the writer charged the hon. Member, as Chairman of the Committee, with partisanship, and alleging, as a matter of notoriety, that he had been rallied both within and outside the Committee-room for his conduct during the inquiry. The hon. Member said he could refer with confidence to the other Members of the Committee, and to the Counsel engaged on either side, as an answer to the charge of partiality. And with respect to the charge of being "rallied" by any individual, either within or outside the Committee-room, he could only say that he had never held any conversation with any individual upon the subject of the Committee until after the termination of the inquiry. The hon. Member then proceeded to read the following paragraph:— Did he stand quite clear of any transaction in Caledonian Stock while the case was pending? On the, other hand, was it not patent to all that to this fact, and to this fact only, is to be attributed the loss of the Bill? With regard to the Caledonian Stock, he (Mr. Clive) could say that he never held a share of that stock in his life, and he did not believe that he possessed any railway shares in the world, unless it were some railway shares in Mayo, or in Continental lines; but he held not a single share in a railway in England or Wales. It must be apparent, also, that the whole of this charge was put in the form of questions, conveying insinuations which it was really impossible to rebut. But he was ready then to answer any question which might be put to him by any hon. Member who might represent those who were interested in this question. He was ready also, if necessary, to produce his banking books, and to answer, once for all, any investigation of that nature which might be called for. There was another article published in a London newspaper insinuating that he (Mr. Clive) should be compelled to disclose the sales of his stock which had taken place since this investigation had been going on, and wondering that Members of the Committee should render themselves amenable to such discreditable transactions. It remained to be seen what notice the House would take of these charges, and he would therefore beg to move that Mr. Hudson, the printer, and Mr. Washington Wilks, the publisher, of the Carlisle Examiner and North British Advertiser, should be ordered to appear at the bar of the House on Friday, the 28th May next.


seconded the Motion. He had taken an active part in the labours of the Committee, and had been directly opposed in opinion to his hon. and learned Friend who made this Motion. He regretted that his arguments had not had more weight with his hon. and learned Friend, but he had remained of that opinion, which he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) could not help thinking most mistaken, and detrimental to the public interests. But, whatever were the reasons that had induced him to come to that conclusion, he was sure that his hon. and learned Friend had always acted most impartially, and he extremely regretted that, after the Committee had given their opinion, any imputation should be cast upon the conduct of the Chairman. Complaint made to the House by GEORGE CLIVE, esquire, Member for Hereford, of an article in the Carlisle Examiner and North Western Advertiser Newspaper of Saturday, 15th May, 1858, printed by Hudson Scott, and published by Washington Wilks, imputing partial and corrupt conduct to him as Chairman, and containing reflections on other Members of the Committee on Group 13 of Railway Bills, in reference to the Carlisle, Langholm, and Hawick Railway, and North British Railway (Hawick and Carlisle Junction Railway) Bills, referred to that Committee, in breach of the Privileges of this House. The said Paper was delivered in, and the Paragraph complained of read.

Motion made, "That Hudson Scott and Washington Wilks do attend this House on Friday next."

Motion agreed to.

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