HL Deb 06 May 1842 vol 63 cc201-4
The Marquess of Normanby

said, he had waited till the last moment, before the adjournment of the House, to put a question to the noble Marquess at the Table. He could not have imagined that party feelings could have so completely deadened the feelings of the noble Marquess as to induce him, after having made an accusation, containing foul imputations on the character of certain Gentlemen, and after having received from them assurances —as he knew the noble Marquess had —denying the charge brought against them, not to have taken, as the noble Marquess had in a proper and respectful manner been requested to do, the earliest opportunity of acknowledging his error. As the noble Marquess had not thought proper to take that course, he would not pursue the subject further, as the House was just about to adjourn, but would give notice of his intention of calling the attention of the noble Marquess and the House to the matter on Monday. He had received a copy of the communication which had been forwarded to the noble Marquess. It would be recollected that on a former evening the noble Marquess accused the magistrates of Sunderland of having refused public-house licences to every person whose political opinions did not coincide with their own. That was the statement made by the noble Marquess in his hearing, and since the noble Marquess had not thought proper to ori- ginate any explanation upon the subject, he gave notice that he would bring the matter before the House on Monday.

The Marquess of Londonderry

felt no little surprise that after the melancholy exhibition which the noble Marquess had already made relative to the question of the municipal magistracy, he should endeavour to revive discussion on the subject, particularly after what had passed in another place last night.

The Marquess of Normanby

rose to say, that he did not intend to revive the discussion upon the general question. He meant merely to call the attention of the House to an emphatic and explicit denial which had been given by the magistrates of Sunderland to a statement made by the noble Marquess on a former evening. Whatever terms the noble Marquess might be pleased to employ towards him, he might rest assured that nothing the noble Marquess could say would prevent him from discharging his duty.

The Marquess of Londonderry

said, that what he meant was this, that the noble Marquess could not bring forward the statement which he, like himself, had received, without going into details respecting the magistracy of the boroughs which he had before animadverted upon— namely, Gateshead and Sunderland. It was perfectly true that six Whig magistrates of Sunderland had, in the absence of their Conservative brethren, drawn up certain resolutions, and called upon him to declare to them whether such and such a statement, which they had seen attributed to him in the Morning Chronicle, was correct. If it were the pleasure of the House, he would go into the matter, and he thought he would be able to prove that everything which he had stated to their Lordships was borne out by information in his possession; but he had yet to learn,-and perhaps the noble Marquess, who had filled the office of a Secretary of State, would inform him, whether he, as Lord-lieutenant of the county, was bound to acquaint these six Gentlemen that a report of what he had stated in his place in Parliament, was or was not correct? He had come down to the House to answer, in his place, any question which the noble Marquess might think fit to put to him; and as the noble Marquess had given a notice on the subject for Monday, he would readily and cheerfully meet him; but he would not answer to the mayor and six Whig Members of the corporation of Sunderland for anything which he had said in his place as a Peer of Parliament. It would lead to great inconvenience if he were to set the example of complying with such a proposition. Those were the reasons why he did not think he would be justified in taking the initiative in any explanation which might be considered necessary. The noble Marquess had thought proper to say, that he was not acting as became a generous man. Now, he would tell the noble Marquess, that if he believed the statement he had made to be incorrect, he would be generous enough to admit it immediately, but he was firmly convinced that it was correct. He was ready to give any explanation which might be called for by a Peer of Parliament, but he would not reply to the six Whig magistrates; and he would like to know whether the noble Marquess would not act in the same manner if he were in his situation.

The Marquess of Normanby

rose to address the House, when

Lord Wharncliffe

rose to order. The noble Marquess, in giving notice of his intention to bring forward the question on Monday, had chosen to remark in a particular manner upon the conduct of his noble Friend. His noble Friend, naturally enough, had replied to the noble Marquess's observations. Under these circumstances, he trusted that the noble Marquess would allow the matter to rest where it was till Monday,

The Marquess of Normanby

felt it impossible to allow forty-eight hours to pass over without making a few observations in reply to what had fallen from the noble Marquess. The noble Marquess had stated that the communication he had received was signed by only six magistrates, whereas it was signed by all the magistrates who were accused by the noble Marquess, with the exception of the mayor, who was at present in London. They denied the allegation of the noble Marquess, and put the noble Marquess in possession of facts which must have convinced him that his statement was incorrect. He really thought it would be better to proceed with the matter now, and would do so. The noble Marquess said, he would not answer for what appeared in a newspaper. Did the noble Marquess deny the words which were attributed to him?

The Earl of Haddington

rose to order. The noble Marquess's course of proceeding was most irregular. The noble Marquess, not content with giving notice of his intention to put a question to his noble Friend on Monday, had commented with some severity upon his noble Friend's conduct. His noble Friend, finding himself attacked, naturally enough replied, and now the noble Marquess purposed to go at once into the matter instead of waiting till Monday next.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, that having had an opportunity of denying, on the part of the Gentlemen accused, the truth of the noble Marquess's allegation, he had no objection to let the matter stand over till Monday. He must again express his surprise that the noble Marquess, after having received a denial of a statement affecting the character of persons who were not present to defend themselves, had not taken the earliest opportunity of either maintaining his allegation, or acknowledging that it was incorrect.

The Duke of Wellington

said, that this disorderly discussion was the consequence of the noble Marquess having made some observations on the conduct of his noble Friend in not having, at the instance of certain persons, explained what had fallen from him in a debate a few nights since. Now, with submission to the noble Marquess, it appeared to him, that if his noble Friend had done that, he would have acted most disorderly. His noble Friend had been called upon by persons out of doors to explain what he had stated in his place in Parliament. They had not yet arrived at such a state of things as that in their Lordships' House. The noble Marquess, or any other Peer, might call upon his noble Friend for an explanation. That was the regular course of proceeding; but the noble Marquess, in blaming his noble Friend for not, answering persons out of doors, was going beyond the practice of their Lordships.

Earl Fitzwilliam

said, that what had passed had convinced him, that it was absolutely necessary either to adhere more strictly to such rules for preserving order as their Lordships already possessed, or to frame new ones.

Lord Redesdale

said, that although he was not an old Member of the House, he could not fail to observe that their Lordships' proceedings were much more disorderly than when he first took his seat.

Subject dropped.—Adjourned.