HL Deb 07 April 1840 vol 53 cc667-9

The House in Committee on the Printed Papers' Bill.

Lord Kenyon

said, that petitions had been presented to their Lordships from Mr. Howard and from Mr. Stockdale, praying to be heard by counsel at their Lordships' bar against certain parts of this bill, and he trusted that there would be no objection to the granting of the prayer of the petitioners.

Viscount Melbourne

had no objection to hear the counsel for the petitioners.

Counsel called in.—The learned gentleman said, that since he had entered the House he had been applied to by Mr. Stockdale to advocate his cause. That, however, was impossible, as he had not had time to make the necessary preparation. He therefore trusted their Lordships would allow him some time to prepare himself, as the case of Mr. Stockdale was essentially different from that of Mr. Howard.

Lord Denman

said, that both the petitioners had full notice that they were to attend that evening by their counsel, and therefore they ought to have given their instructions in proper time. He had, however, no doubt that the learned counsel who was instructed to appear on their behalf, would be able, notwithstanding the shortness of the notice, to do justice to the cause of his clients.

Lord Kenyon

said, that in consequence of the arrangement which was made on Monday evening, he had that morning made it his business to go to Newgate, and to acquaint the parties that if they meant to appear by counsel they must be prepared to do so in the evening.

Lord Wynford

thought that sufficient time had not been given.

The Lord Chancellor

said, it was absolutely necessary for the bill to pass by a certain time, and if the parties had not instructed counsel in proper time, that might be a hardship upon the counsel, but it was no reason why the proceedings of the House should be delayed. The bill had been before the House a fortnight, and the parties must have had time to make the necessary preparations.

The Duke of Wellington

said, that there being a necessity for the bill to pass by next Wednesday, their Lordships would not have come to the resolution of hearing counsel unless they had considered it incumbent upon them to do so. But if it were incumbent upon the House to hear counsel, they should be heard in earnest, and when properly prepared. He thought, therefore, that a little time should be given for preparation, and as the understanding was, that the bill was only to be committed pro formâ that night, he did not see why it might not be recommitted on Thursday, and the report brought up on Friday. This appeared the best way of doing substantial justice, which must be the object of their Lordships.

The Lord Chancellor

had no objection to this arrangement

The House resumed.