HL Deb 12 May 1835 vol 27 cc1017-9
Lord Brougham

said, that as he saw his noble Friend the President of the Council in his place, he should put a question on the subject of the London University. Their Lordships were aware that a vote had been come to in the other House of Parliament pending a proceeding in the Privy Council, showing the strong feelings of that House on the subject of the grant of a charter to the London University. That vote was followed up by an Address to the Crown, praying for the grant of a charter. The answer given was, that the matter had been referred by his Majesty to the Privy Council—that it had been heard before them, but that that body had not come to any decision, and had not yet advised the Crown on the subject. That was the substance of the answer; but it was also stated, that when the advice of the Privy Council had been given, the earliest opportunity would be taken to lay it before the House of Commons. Nothing had yet been laid before the House of Commons; and their Lordships were aware that when he had before asked a question on this subject, he had stated that in the week when the Government of which he had formed part left office, he was in correspondence with some Members of the Privy Council who had heard the case argued, in order to call them together, that they might make up their minds on the subject, and give in their report. What he now asked was, whether any steps had since been taken, or would soon be taken, for carrying into effect the intention of the former Government as to the assembling of the Privy Council.

The Marquess of Lansdowne

said, that his noble and learned Friend was well aware that no step had been taken by the late Government on the subject, for the question was put to them at a late period, and just before the change in the Administration. No step had yet been taken by the present Administration, for their Lordships must be aware that some of the Ministers, whose attention would most naturally be directed to this important subject, had been so occupied elsewhere, that it was impossible they should have been able to take it into consideration. Due regard, however, would now be paid to it and to the important Address of the House of Commons, and his noble and learned Friend might be assured that no time would be unnecessarily lost. At the same time he ought to mention, that one other petition had been presented on the subject since the time when the question had been last put in this House.

Lord Brougham

said, that the answer was satisfactory so far as the noble Mar- quess stated that no unnecessary delay would take place, but it was an inadvertence of his noble Friend to say that any delay whatever was necessary on account of the absence of the noble Secretary for the Home Department; for that noble Lord was not necessarily called on to give his opinion on the subject, since he had not heard the argument. The noble Lord, however, might be expected to be consulted, not as a judge in a judicial proceeding, but as an adviser of the Crown. The House of Commons, the great adviser of the nation, had already given its advice with respect to the recent petition of the King's College; it was clear that that body could not be affected by the grant of a charter, and had no right to petition on the subject. The other body, the London University, did not object to a charter being granted to the King's College. On the contrary, they would be glad to see such a charter granted, and he had authority to say, that so far from opposing, they should rejoice at it.