§ MR. CODDINGTON (Blackburn)
, on private Notice, asked the hon. Member for North Westmoreland (Mr. W. Lowther), as a Member of the Committee on Public Petitions, Whether it was a fact that 108 Petitions, out of a total of 130, recently presented by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) against the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill had been impugned by that Committee on the ground that many of the signatures appeared to be in the same handwriting; and what further proceedings the Committee purpose to take in the matter?
MR. W. LOWTIIER(for Sir CHARLES FORSTER) (Walsall)
said, he believed it to be correct that 108 out of the 130 Petitions presented by the hon. Member for the Scot-land Division of Liverpool had been impugned by the Public Petitions Committee. Hon. Members, on referring to their Papers, which were delivered this morning, would find the Petitions marked with a star and an explanation, stating that the Committee had, in the case of the Petitions marked, reported to the House 1818 the number of names appended thereto; but that they were of opinion that many of the names were in the same hand writing, and that the Orders of the House, which required that every Petition must be signed or marked by the parties whose names were appended thereto, and must be signed by no one else except in cases of incapacity by sickness, had not been complied with. It might be that the signatures to the Petitions were not forgeries. The people might have signed thorn for their children, or their belongings. The Committee would meet in a day or two, and would take into consideration the Petitions alluded to.
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
asked, whether the Committee would also take into consideration the Petitions against the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, which had been similarly impugned by the Public Petitions Committee?
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
said, that if the hon. Member would call the attention of the Committee to the matter he had no doubt that they would attend to it.