HL Deb 09 May 1865 vol 179 cc39-40

said, he held in his hand a petition from Mr. Leonard Edmunds which he had been asked to present to their Lordships. The petitioner stated that he had read in the newspapers of that morning the notice given by Earl Granville on the previous night of his intention to move to rescind the Resolution of the House of the 24th of February, in so far as related to the recommendation of the Committee as to his (the petitioner's) retiring pension of; £800 per annum. The petitioner stated that he had observed the said notice with deep concern and surprise, having had no notice of the intention of the noble Earl, and that he was unprepared on so short a notice to take steps for the preparation of his defence. He begged to represent to their Lordships that throughout these proceedings he had not been allowed to have the assistance of counsel; that under the advice of friends he had given every assistance in his power in conducting the investigation of the whole matter in question, and that he had had arrayed against him in every inquiry that had taken place the most distinguished legal and other professional talent, whereby the petitioner's case had been prejudiced in the most material degree. The petitioner proceeded to draw their Lordships' attention to the unfortunate position in which he had been placed in having no professional guidance and advice against the distinguished talent arrayed against him. He drew the attention of their Lordships to his service during seventeen years at their Lordships' table, and during thirteen years in the Parliamentary Office of Clerk of the Crown. The Lord Chancellor, in a postscript cited in the Report, said of him— I can with truth certify that Mr. E. has properly discharged all the duties of the offices he holds in the House of Lords, Finally, the petitioner recapitulated the; great hardship of his case, representing that he had stated to the best of his knowledge and ability everything that could throw light on the subject, and that he had made admissions which he had been informed might have been legally refused; and he now threw himself on the mercy of their Lordships' House, praying their Lordships to postpone the Motion for rescinding the said Resolution for a reasonable time, in order either to permit the petitioner to he heard by his counsel at the Bar of their Lordships' House, or before a Select Committee of their Lordships, as the House might think fit. He (Lord Wynford) had consented to present the petition, and would only add that the greater part of the Report and evidence could scarcely yet have boon perused by their Lordships, and that they were therefore not yet in a position to pass that judgment upon Mr. Edmunds which the noble Earl had given notice of his intention to do. He hoped the House would temper justice with mercy, and whatever the errors of this gentleman, at least he had withheld no information from the Committee that it was in his power to give; and, as he stated in his petition, he had made admissions which, if he had enjoyed the advantage of legal advisers, they would scarcely have counselled him to do.

Petition of Leonard Edmunds— For postponement to a reasonable Time of the Motion to rescind the Resolution of the House of the 24th February agreeing to the Report of the Committee on the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments and Office of Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod made on the 17th February, so far as relates to the Recommendation of the said Committee that a retiring Provision of £800 per Annum should be allowed to the Petitioner, and to be heard by Counsel and Agents at the Bar of this House, or before the Parliament Office Committee, or any other Committee in support of the said Resolution.

Read, and Ordered to lie on the Table.