HC Deb 08 August 1872 vol 213 cc704-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Depart- ment, Whether Ms attention has been drawn to a report of a speech alleged to have been made by a prelate at the Gloucester Agricultural Society's meeting on Friday last, in which the following expressions appear:—It was not for him, a man of peace, to say anything stronger than that he hoped all his friends would keep the peace, and remember that their Bishop advised them, if the village horsepond stood invitingly near, not by any means to put their men into it; and, if the report is substantially accurate, whether he intends to take any steps to prevent a breach of the peace in consequence of these proceedings?


I have seen the report in question, but I am unable, of course, to say whether it is accurate or not. Some hon. Friends of mine, who were present at the meeting and who are now in this House, assure me that it is inaccurate, in one important matter, and that the expression "put their men into it" should be "put these men into it," alluding to itinerant agitators. I do not think it is the business of a Minister, or of the House, to inquire into the accuracy of the language reported to have been used by post-prandial orators, clerical or otherwise. I am informed by my hon. Friends to whom I have alluded that these words were taken as a jocular application of a very venerable joke; that no importance was attached to them at the time; and that, in their opinion, the peace of the neighbourhood is not likely to be endangered by them.