The Duke of Norfolk
presented a Petition from the county of York, in favour of the Reform Bill now before Parliament. The petition had been agreed to at a public meeting, regularly convened upon requisition, by the High Sheriff of the county. The petition was signed only by the gentleman who presided at the meeting, in the absence of the High Sheriff, who had been prevented by in- disposition from attending the meeting. The petition, therefore, could, by the forms of the House, be received only as the petion of the individual whose name was 927 attached to it, though it was, in fact, the petition of the meeting.
§ The Petition read at length.
§ The Earl of Carlisle
observed, that he had been credibly informed, that no fewer than 50,000 persons in the county of York had signed petitions in favour of Reform. He was satisfied, that the vast majority of the inhabitants of Yorkshire, including the majority of the wealth and respectability of the county, was in favour of the Ministerial measure.
said that he had to present a similar Petition, from a county next in importance, perhaps, to that of the great county of York. It was a petition from the county of Devon; and it was something like a proof that the people of that county did not feel that apathy with regard to Reform which a noble Lord had yesterday attributed to them. Before they had heard of the Ministerial plan of Reform, the county of Devon had petitioned for Reform. Now that they had become acquainted with the nature of that measure, they had petitioned in favour of it, as a measure which they believed would be beneficial to the empire, and which they therefore entreated their Lordships to pass.
said, that he had been informed that there were not above 100 or 200 freeholders at the meeting at which this petition was agreed to. Such a meeting could not be called a meeting of the county.
said, he could not tell how many were present at the meeting; but it had been regularly advertised, and the opponents of the measure, if there were any, must have had full notice of it.