Imatges de pÓgina

.tration of it that he had made the allufion which had given so much offence. He had been called upon at firft with much warmth to name the perfon alluded to. The right honourable gentleman, on the contrary, with the most perfect temper, civility, and good manners, had taken notice of it, in fo far as he conceived it to apply to a certain noble perfon; and he was ready at all times, if betrayed into an error, candidly to acknowledge, and when he had been miftaken, he thought there could be no fhame whatever in admitting it. The right honourable gentleman certainly was right; my Lord Auckland was the perfon alluded to. He was not to be intimidated, however, to answer questions put to him in a petulant, offenfive manner; but when gentlemen acted with politeness and good manners, he was always ready in candour to give every fatisfaction in his power. The mistake had originated in a miftatement of the fortune of the noble Lord in queftion. The right honourable gentleman, however, had stated from his perfonal knowledge, that the account was utterly unfounded, and he knew no better authority when the right honourable gentleman pledged himself to a fact in fuch a manner. He now, therefore, withdrew his fanction from a statement which had come to him as a rumour. He could not do more than this. He never had any intention to hurt the feelings of any person; he never meant to adduce the fact as a grave and ferious charge, and he felt no fhame in 'retracting what he had faid; and if he had occafioned any harm to the noble Lord he was forry for it.

Mr. BANKES faid, he was forry he was not in the House when the honourable gentleman first began. From what he heard, however, of the honourable gentleman's explanation, he must take the liberty to say, that when the conversation first took place, he had stated that the story had reached him not from rumour, but from a perfon of credibility on whom he could rely. Now he had stated the perfon to whom he had alluded like a man of honour. When that allufion was first made, it was in a way fomewhat different, in the impreffion it made on the House, from the turn which the honourable gentleman now gave it. He had stated that the noble Lord in question, at the moment of giving an account of his income under the Affeffcd-Tax Bill, had, as not being in receipt of his penfion which he had refigned, and not knowing the amount of the profits of his office, reduced his income to 300l. a year. This too he stated not on rumour, but coming from a perfon on whose accuracy he relied.

Mr. TIERNEY here interrupted Mr. Bankes, and faid, there was no inconfiftency between what he faid formerly and what he

faid now. He had faid, that he had it from a perfon on whose accuracy he thought he could rely; but on inquiry, he found that this perfon had it from rumour, from A, B, and C, confequently he was justified in saying he had received it only from rumour.

Mr. BANKES faid, he would in a few words justify what he had stated. If a gentleman stated in the Houfe that he had a fact from a creditable perfon, it certainly was intended to have more weight than if he gave it merely as vague rumour. It turned out now, that the honourable gentleman's perfon of accuracy had no accuracy,, and that the perfon he thought was to be relied on, could not be relied on at all. Certainly in matters tending to affect the character, and to wound the feelings, of others, gentlemen should be certain of the accuracy on which their statements were founded.


Mr. TIERNEY wondered that gentlemen should think that it was poffible for him to fee at once what was a rumour and what was not. He had now asked the perfon from whom he had received the story, how he had obtained it, and he found it was not from accurate information, but from rumour. Now, therefore, he was aware, that what he had conceived to be founded on accurate knowledge, was nothing more than vague rumour.

Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL faid, that he had at one period of his life lived in fome terms of intimacy with the honourable gentleman (Mr. Tierney), and that intimacy ftill left a confiderable impreffion on his mind. He could not help thinking ftill, however, that what the honourable gentleman had formerly faid bore a conftruction different from what he had now given it, and was calculated to produce different impreffions on the House. What he had faid of a noble perfon implied a charge of a very ferious nature, and begged the honourable gentleman to confider how dangerous it was to ftate

Mr. TIERNEY here ftated, that he should be happy to renew his acquaintance with the learned gentleman, but he did not wish to hear fermons from him-[Here was a cry of "Order!”]

Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL proceeded. He faid, he had no intention of giving the honourable gentleman offence; he merely meant, that what the honourable gentleman had advanced amounted to a very serious charge. It was not the cafe of a perfon endeavouring to avoid payment of a tax, by adhering strictly to the letter of the law; but it was, if truly ftated, a palpable fraud. When fuch a statement, implying fuch a charge, was advanced, it was very natural that thofe who were acquainted with perfons to

whom the allufion could in any fhape be conftrued to apply, fhould be anxious to juftify them from the imputation.

Mr. TIERNEY faid, he never had stated it as at all implying such a fraud, nor was it ever meant as a grave accufation. If the learned gentleman had applied to the right honourable gentleman next him, his more accurate recollection, together with his candour, would have informed him that no fuch thing had been faid.

Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL faid, that he had merely ftated that, what the honourable gentleman had alluded to as having been done by a noble perfon would have amounted to a fraud, and that the warmth of thofe who wished to justify their friends from the imputation was quite natural.

Mr. SPEAKER faid, the Houfe would perceive that this converfation was irregular. On the prefent occasion they would judge how far he had done right in acquiefcing in it; but certainly it had now been carried far enough.

On the motion being put, that the paper be given in and read, Mr. WILBERFORCE faid, he was not fure whether the Houfe would recollect, that in what he had faid in his first speech, the honourable gentleman had alluded to the infertion of the report complained of being paid for by certain perfons. He had fome reafon to believe that this infinuation was intended to allude to him (Mr. Wilberforce); if fo, he wished the honourable gentleman to fay fo candidly, that he might have an opportunity to fay a few words to exculpate himself from the charge, and if it was propofed to read the paper, to urge reafons against it.

Mr. Secretary DUNDAS faid, he rose to speak immediately to the queftion before the Houfe. He thought that the honourable gentleman must now have attained the object he had in view in bringing in this complaint. It was certainly true that misrepresentation was an aggravation of the breach of privilege in printing the proceedings of the Houfe at all; but the breach of privilege was that which the Houfe had to confider. It was not the accuracy or inaccuracy of the reports, but the violation of the order of the Houfe, that was to be taken into view; though certainly it was not to overlook perfonal feelings, and every man must be anxious not to be mifreprefented; the privilege of the Houfe was the great consideration on which they must act. If the honourable gentleman was not content with ftating the complaint, for the purpofe of correcting an error, which probably would be corrected by what had now paffed in the very fame paper to-morrow, the complaint muft go a great deal farther than the honourable gentleman might intend.

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Every other person who had published the proceedings alluded to, muft likewise be called up. He thought, therefore, that it would be better at present to withdraw the motion. If the object in view was the protection of the privileges of the Houfe, this would be attained, as what had already taken place would fhew that the House was determined to go to the rigour of its privileges, if they were abufed. If it was perfifted in, no diftinction could be made; and thofe who had been equally guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House, as the printer in question, would be equally liable to its animadverfion.

Mr. TIERNEY faid, that this cafe differed very widely from every other. The account was inferted feveral days after the converfation had taken place, and profeffed to correct other statements. As to the motion, he thought it belonged to the Houfe to dispose of it. He should not withdraw it. He did feel it as a malevolent attempt to excite animofities between individuals, and he was convinced that its infertion had been paid for by fome perfons in

this view.

Mr. SECRETARY AT WAR faid, that fince this fubject was brought before the Houfe, they had no option under their order with respect to the vote they were to give, and he hoped it would have the effect to correct a practice which he had even thought bcfore he was in Parliament, and fince he had been in it, both while he fat on the other fide of the House, and on this, an intolerable abuse, materially affecting not only the dignity of the House, but likewise the interefts of the country. Thefe difadvantages, he faid, refulted from it, independent of the mifreprefentations fo juftly complained of. He hoped therefore that this complaint would operate as a check, and remove any false impreffions as to the reasons which had induced the Houfe to permit the practice. He affented to the motion, not on account of the injuftice which the honourable gentleman had fuffered, though he fhould not be lefs fenfible of the injustice done to him than to any other Member, but on the general ground, that a particular cafe of injuftice was vaftly fubordinate to the great object of protecting the privileges of the House, which were violated by the publication of their proceedings at all. However the House had connived, and how long they might continue to connive, at the practice, he should be forry that the question should go off without the Houfe giving an opinion upon the important queftion of thefe privileges. He had ftated his opinion on the general point. As to the mifreprefentations complained of, it was impoffible to expect that daily fubject of complaint would not occur when the fituation of perfons concerned in the employment, and the influence

of every kind to which they were fubject, was confidered. This practice had grown into a great evil, and it was but of recent origin; nor did he think that Parliament, in former times, had been so ignorant of what was proper to be done with regard to the regulation of their privileges, and that it was only in modern times that we had dif covered what was the proper courfe to follow.

Mr. MARTIN faid, he wished the matter to be now decided. There was no occafion for farther warning, after what had been faid a few days ago by an honourable gentleman. He had long obferved the mifieprefentations which were given of what paffed here; and he thought that those who wrote the report made gentlemen fay juft what they themselves pleased.

Mr. WILLIAM SMITH faid, that gentlemen did not feem. willing to obferve the diftinction between this cafe and others where mifreprefentation might exift. However the orders of the Houfe might confider the publication as the chief offence, gentlemen's minds must take into confideration the intention with which a mifreprefentation was accompanied. If mifreprefentation was an aggravation of the breach of privilege, the intention was an aggravation of that mifreprefentation. A report made up in a few hours ought to be diftinguished from an account which had been confidered for feveral days; and he left it to gentlemen to judge, whether there was not here an intention to convert reports into a vehicle of attack upon the Members of the House.

Mr. JONES faid, he agreed that the publication of all reports was a breach of privilege; and if any representation was to be given, it fhould be full, fair, official, and legal. He thought that gentlemen in power should turn their attention to this point. As to the particular meri.s of this question, he was not fufficiently mafter of them.

Mr. WILBERFORCE wished again to know whether the honourable gentleman who brought this matter forward alluded to him in any part of his fpeech? He had afked the honourable gentleman before, but to which there was no answer given. Whether that was to be confidered as an affirmative or negative, he could not fay but with regard to the question now before the Houfe, he had. to obferve, that there were other papers in which were misrepresentations of the groffeft kind, and that upon this very fubject; not only on the general heads of the fubject, but alfo on what he had himself stated with regard to a point about which he confeffed he was very anxious -he meant the character of the noble Lord who had been alluded to in the debate, and who had been named to-night. He happened to take in two papers, of which that in queftion was one, and he

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