HL Deb 27 March 1846 vol 85 cc146-9

said, he had a petition to present from a Member of the other House of Parliament, complaining of allegations and accusations that had been made against him in a petition that had been received by their Lordships, and which he declared were totally false and slanderous; and the petitioner prayed the House to adopt some means of instituting an inquiry which would enable him to vindicate his character by proving upon oath the falsehood of those accusations. The petitioner was Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, esq., Member of Parliament.


must call the attention of the House to the circumstances of this petition. The petitioner alleged that his attention had been called to a petition presented by the Earl of Glengall, in an appeal case, which contained false and malignant allegations, thus making it appear that the Earl was a direct party to those allegations. The fact was, that the petition had been presented by the Earl and Countess of Glengall, in an appeal cause in the usual way, without their Lordships' attention having been particularly directed to it; it had been brought under the consideration of the Appeal Committee on the 27th of February, and had been adjudicated upon, and if it had contained irrelevant matter, such matter would not have been allowed to remain upon the petition. The solicitor on the other side had had the opportunity of objecting to such allegations. The Earl and Countess of Glengall had presented this petition; the Earl being a nominal party, for he had no direct interest in the cause; and the petition did not allude directly to any individual, but stated that the person who had made the appeal was under the influence of some individual, but without stating who it was. Upon that petition there was sufficient ground for going before the Appeal Committee. However, the appellant had thought proper to put in a counter petition, which it became necessary to reply to; and the party presenting the petition in reply was prepared to verify the statements it contained by oath at the bar. With respect to the prayer for inquiry now presented to the House, he (the Earl of Charleville) must remind them that the allegations in the petition of the Earl and Countess of Glengall were founded upon allegations and proceedings in the Vice Chancellor's Court, and it was too late either to withdraw the petition or to make the inquiry, because the matter had been already disposed of by the Appeal Committee.


observed, that this was not a case of breach of privilege. It might or might not be a groundless petition against his noble Friend not now present, but it could not be a breach of privilege, because the Earl of Glengall's petition had not been presented by him in his capacity as a Member of that House, but as a party to a cause before the House; and it preferred charges against the hon. Gentleman, who must, according to all principles of justice, have the opportunity of denying those charges, which he had done by this petition. He (Lord Brougham) did not enter into the merits of the case, but their Lordships had no means of granting the prayer of the petition. The facts must be dealt with by the courts below, where the cause now was, and there Mr. Duncombe would have the best opportunity of clearing himself. He (Lord Brougham) did not, however, blame Mr. Duncombe in the least for presenting this petition; it was quite natural that he should do so.

After a few words from the EARL of CLARE,


said, that the original petition presented to their Lordships, contained a prayer not to entertain an appeal that had been regularly entered for hearing. The ground stated in the petition was, that the appeal had been presented contrary to an engagement between the parties. That had been referred to the Appeal Committee. Now, if an appeal had been presented contrary to good faith, the party complaining must apply to the court below for an injunction; and then the case might come regularly by appeal before their Lordships. But as it was, the House had no jurisdiction, and he had, consequently, refused the application. There had been certain allegations, imputing blame to the hon. Gentleman who had presented the last petition; and it was quite competent for him to present that petition denying those charges, and alleging that the other petition was false. It would be impossible to say, that if improper and almost fraudulent motives had been imputed to a person, he should not come to that House and deny the charges. There had been no breach of privilege.


said, it was unnecessary for him to add a word more than to say, that he had nothing whatever to do with the truth of one party or the other. The petition was for an inquiry to ascertain which of the parties was right.


said, that the Earl of Glengall had been accused of bringing forward these accusations, as if they had been published for the first time, whilst the fact was, that the accusations, whatever they might be, were first embodied in a petition presented to the Court of Chancery on the 7th February by the solicitor to Lady Edward Thynne, who was also, he believed, the solicitor to Mr. Duncombe. The Earl of Glengall was only a trustee in the case.