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their lordships had witnessed hitherto. other individual, but that facts had lately Ordered to lie on the table.
come to his knowledge which he should feel it his duty to submit to the House on
an early occasion, and he hoped that a HOUSE OF COMMONS.
committee would be appointed to whom Tuesday, November 28.
the case would be referred, and that that ARIGNA MINING COMPANY--Peti. committee would be composed of gentlemen TION OF Roger FLATTERY.] Mr. Alder- who were not interested in companies of man Waithmun said, he had a petition to this decription. With respect to the prepresent to the House, which was of great sent petitioner, he could assure the House importance to the public, and involved that he had never seen him until that day, also the honour and independence of the nor had he ever had any connexion House. The petition was from Mr. Roger directly or indirectly with him. The worthy Flattery, of Dublin, who was formerly a alderman concluded by moving that the civil engineer in the employment of go- petition be brought up. vernment, and whose name must be The Speaker wished to ask the hon. familiar to many gentlemen present, as alderman whether the petition implicated connected with the Arigna Mining Com- any member of that House by name. pany. The petitioner complained of a Mr. Alderman Waithman replied, that variety of grievances which he suffered it did not. It merely prayed for an inquiry in consequence of his connexion with that into the conduct of the
persons connected mischievous and ruinous undertaking. It with a certain company. appeared that Mr. Flattery had sold his in- | The petition, which ran as follows, was terest in the Arigna mines to the under
then brought up
and read :-. takers of that scheme, for the sum of 10,0001., reserving to himself one fifth of
“ To the Right Honourable and Honourthe profits thereof, making his interest in
able the Commons of the United Kingthe company to amount to 25,0001. Ofthat
dom of great Britain and Ireland, in
Parliament assembled. The humble sum, however, he complained that he had been unjustly defrauded, in consequence
Petition of Roger Flattery of the city of of the malpractices of the directors of the
Dublin, Civil Engineer, formerly in the company. The petitioner therefore prayed
employ of his Majesty's government, the House to take the conduct of those “Showeth,—that your petitioner having persons into consideration, and also to in- read in The Times,'and other newspapers, stitute an inquiry with respect to the part reports of the proceedings in your honourwhich some honourable members of that able House on Tuesday last, the 22nd NoHouse had taken with regard to that con- vember instant, when mention of your peticern. The worthy alderman said, that tioner was made by name, and the conduct the presenting of this petition had, in some and character of one or more of the members measure, anticipated his intention of bring- of
of your honourable House were, in the ing the whole of the proceedings of the opinion of your petitioner, justly called in Arigna company before the House, some question, your petitioner humbly hopes day in the next week. With respect to that your honourable House will be pleased an hon. gentleman, whose name was con- to accept a short detail of facts at the nected with the company (Mr. Brogden), he hands of your petitioner, whereby the con- . should certainly have fulfilled his intention duct of certain members of your honourof bringing forwarded to the notice of the able House may be investigated, and House the conduct of that gentleman, and justice rewarded. it was his fixed determination to have “Your petitioner finds that the fact of shown that he could not, consistently a certain sum of money, 15,0001., having with the dignity and honour of parliament, been unjustly taken and secreted by cerhave filled the situation to which he had tain individuals, acting as directors or been appointed. That hon. gentleman, otherwise, of the Arigna Iron and Coal however, having declined to act as chair company, is happily made known to your man of the committees of the House, he honourable House; and while the distress would not have felt himself called upon and ruin which have spread over different to proceed any further at present, nor did parts of the United Kingdom, from the he wish to bring forward charges either many fraudulent schemes and joint stock against the hon. gentleman or against any associations, either concocted by, or having
the patronage of, members of the legisla-deponent, a few days afterwards, signed ture, cannot be unknown to your honour-'a deed, acknowledging to have received a able House, your petitioner humbly trusts sum of 25,0001., and gave up his deeds. that a full inquiry will be forthwith in- The trustees in the deed, then executed, stituted, and with reference to the Arigna were P.
M. P. Barrett, Iron and Coal Company, your petitioner esq., M. P., and John Dunston, esq. humbly prays the attention of your honour-This deponent saith, that he signed the able House to the contents of the following said deed in a full reliance on the honour affidavit, sworn by your petitioner before of the parties, was then hastening to Irethe lord
mayor of the city of London: "land to go to the works, but did actually * In the matter of the Arigna Iron and receive at the time only 1501. in earnest. Coal Company.
• This deponent saith, that the said Henry * Roger Flattery, of the city of Dublin, Clarke and others, having thus possessed civil engineer, formerly in the employ of themselves of this deponent's deeds and his Majesty's government, maketh oath writings, then immediately formed a and saith, that having certain mineral
company. In the months of December * properties, situated in the counties of and January following, this deponent re
Roscommon and Leitrim, suitable for the ceived a sum of 3,7501. in cash, and had * manufacture of Iron, in aid of the works also 1,250 shares allotted to him, to 6 on which this deponent wanted a loan of make up the sum of 6,2501. more. This “money, this deponent came over to London deponent saith, that a pledge made by * in May, 1824, and shortly afterwards made the said Henry Clarke to advance money
the acquaintanceofsir W. Congreve, bart.; "was not fulfilled, and that the money this deponent was introduced by sir W. paid to deponent in December and Ja
Congreve to John Schneider, esq., a re-nuary aforesaid, was from the sale of spectable merchant of the city of London, shares. This deponent also saith, that and this deponent had for some time rea- he has only about 10,0001. in money son to believe that a sum of money suf- shares; instead of the sum of 25,0001. ficient for his necessities would be ad- which this deponent signed. And this
vanced to him by that gentleman, but deponent verily believes, that the sum of
continent, on the concerns of the Gas prived of. And this deponent further
“Your petitioner humbly prays the at- Speaker, and withdraw it. At the same tentive consideration of your honourable time he thought it necessary to state, that House to his peculiar case; for, in conse- the petition did not accuse members of quence of the delusions practised, neither that House generally; but only those royalty nor product has ever been paid to members who were connected with the your petitioner, notwithstanding the large company to which the petitioner referred. sums of money taken from the pockets of The petition was then withdrawn. the public, and the works are in a perishable state.
Resolutions RelATIVE TO COMMIT“Your petitioner now humbly throws TEES ON PRIVATE Bills.] Mr. Littlehimself on your honourable House praying ton rose for the purpose of submitting that the conduct of those members of your to the House certain Resolutions on the honourable House who have been engaged subject of Committees on Private Bills. in the affairs of the Arigna Iron and Coal | They were, he observed, the same as those company may be investigated, for your which he had submitted in the last session petitioner has suffered great losses by the of the last parliament. It was not his inpeculations committed, and will be obliged tention, at present, to propose that they to file bills in the court of chancery, in should form part of the standing orders of Dublin, for the recovery of his property. the House; but merely that they should And your petitioner, as in duty bound, continue in force during the present saswill ever pray.”
sion, by way of experiment. If, at the Mr. Wynn said, it was contrary to all end of that time, they should be found to rule that the House could entertain this have answered the object in view, it would petition. Besides other obvious objections be for the House afterwards to decide wheto its being received, the petition referred ther they should be enrolled amongst its to certain debates which had taken place general standing orders. As there were in that House, and hon. gentlemen must many members in this parliament who, he be aware that such a proceeding was highly supposed, were not acquainted with the irregular.
reasons which had urged the introduction The Speaker was of opinion, that the of those resolutions in the last session, he petition was one which the House could would briefly state, that it had in that sesnot with propriety entertain. In the first sion been found necessary to provide some place, if the petitioner complained of the remedy for what was admitted to be an conduct of certain hon. members by name, evil in the mode of carrying private bills it was but just and reasonable that those through the committees. Complaints had members should have had due notice of been unsparingly made against the conthe charge against thein. If, in the se- duct of many members; and it was alcond place, the petitioner made a general leged, that very many of them had voted complaint, how was it possible to say on committees where their own interests which of the 658 members were meant to were concerned. He was aware that most be accused? The petition, moreover, re- of such complaints rested on very weak ferred to certain unauthorized reports of foundations ; that they were frequently the proceedings of the House, which could made by parties who had been foiled in only find their way to the public by a the prosecution of improper projects ; breach of privilege. An affidavit was also and sometimes were urged by profesreferred to by the petitioner ; but, could sional men, who felt their character at the House depart so far from its establish- stake by the course they had advised in ed usage as to admit affidavits in one the prosecution of those measures. Still, shape and not in another? Under all the however, it could not be denied, that there circumstances, he was of opinion that the were some instances in which members, petition was one that could not be received either by the influence of personal interest, by the House, and he therefore recom- or by other causes, had suffered themmended the hon. alderman to withdraw selves to be warped from the straight line it, and, if he pleased, to bring it forward in of their duty. This undoubtedly was an an amended form.
evil, and an evil for which it was necesMr. Alderman Waithman said, that see-sary that some remedy should be provided. ing the disinclination of the House to en- A private bill, it should be recollected, tertain this petition, he felt it to be his called for the suspension of some general duty to yield to the suggestion of the law in a case alleged and presumed to be for the public.good; and it therefore re- had a direct pecuniary interest in its sucquired the particular attention of the cess. What chance could there be that House, in order that no measure should the parties coming before such a commitobtain its sanction which was not clearly tee would be satisfied with their decision? proved to be for the public advantage. To avoid any inconvenience from such a The measures which he should propose cause, his resolution would propose that were-[Here the hon. member went over one hundred and twenty members should the leading points of the resolutions with be chosen on a committee; of these sixty which he intended to conclude.] He then should be chosen from the county and its went on to observe, that, after the expe- vicinity immediately connected with the rience of the last two sessions, it could object of the bill, and sixty more from not be denied that some measure of the distant parts of the kingdom. This would kind now proposed was absolutely neces- secure an impartial committee. He would sary. He was aware that two other modes now propose the following resolutions : of remedy were preferred by some hon. “1. That the present distribution of members. One was, to refer each private Counties in the several Lists, for the purbill to a select committee ; and the other, pose of forming Committees on Petitions to allow each case of abuse to be brought for Private Bills, and on Private Bills preforward for a particular remedy. He did pared under the direction of the Speaker not think that either of those modes would some years ago, has, from the great incorrect the evil complained of. With re- equality of the numbers of members conspect to select committees on which it tained in such lists respectively, and from would be obligatory on the members cho- other causes, been found not to answer sen to serve,' he thought it would be im- the object for which it was framed. possible to secure the attendance of a suffi- “ 2. That, with a view more nearly to cient number of members, particularly equalize members, and to correct too strong where many members might be required. a prevalence of local interests on commitSome would be prevented by their pro- tees on petitions for private bills, it is exfessional pursuits, others by their official pedient that a new distribution of counties duties, and many by their age ; but on should be made, containing in each list, as the whole, so many causes would daily nearly as may be, one hundred and twenty operate against attendance, that it would members; one half only, or thereabouts, be almost impossible to make that mode to be taken from the county immediately of deciding of private bills effective. With connected with the objeet of the bill, and respect to the other plan, of leaving each the adjoining counties; and the other half case of individual abuse to its particular from other more distact counties of Great remedy by the House, he thought it would Britain and Ireland ; and that the membe inefficient, as this plan had hitherto bers serving for such counties, and the been followed, and yet, in the last two places within such counties, should conyears, they had found the number of com-stitute the committee on each bill. plaints daily increase.
Should the course “3. That Mr. Speaker be requested to which he pointed out be adopted, no com- direct a new distribution of counties to be plaint of injustice could be without its prepared in such manner as shall be apremedy, for the party making it would proved of by him, conformably to the have the power of appeal, and the case principle of the foregoing resolution. would be decided by the select committee, “4. That every committee on a private who would be acting in the nature of a bill be required to report to the House the jury, and in their decision the utmost im- | bill referred to it, with the evidence and partiality must be expected. According minutes of the proceedings. to the present mode of making out the “ 5. That a committee be appointed, to lists of persons to serve on private com- be called “ The Committee of Appeals upon mittees, there were two kinds of lists. Private Bills,' which committee shall conSome consisted of fifty or sixty members, sist of all the knights of the shire, all the while others contained as many as two members for cities, and such other memhundred. What was the cause of the bers as may be named therein; so that discrepancy he could not state, but it was the whole number appointed to serve upon one which required amendment. He had such committee shall amount to two hunknown instances where a majority of the dred at least. members in a committee on a private bill 6. That where any party interested in a private bill, who shall have appeared in clerk of the fees, the sum of 5001., for the support of his petition, by himself, his payment of such costs as may be awarded counsel, or agent, in the committee upon against him, her, or them." such bill, or where the promoters of a Mr. Yates Peel rose to second the resoprivate bill shall be dissatisfied with any lutions, and observed, that great thanks vote of the committee upon such bill, and were due to the hon. gentleman who had shall petition the House, setting fortis the introduced them. If any member who was particular vote or votes objected to, and not in the last parliament had any scraple in praying that they may be heard, by them- voting for them, he could assure him that selves, their counsel, or agent, against such any change in the mode of constituting vote or votes, the House shall, if they so committees on private bills must be a think fit, refer such petition, together with change for the better. It might be said, the report of the committee upon the bill, that it would be improper to prevent memand the minutes and evidence taken before bers from coming in to vote in a private such committees, to a select comunittee of committee in which they had not heard seven members of the House, to be chosen the previous proceedings, seeing that they by ballot from the committee of appeals were allowed to do so in the House on imupon private bills, which select committee portant questions. He did not mean to shall hear the arguments of the parties justify one course by citing the other, but complaining of, and also of the parties there was this difference between the two supporting, such vote or votes, and shall cases. In the committee they voted on report their opinion thereon to the House. evidence; while, in the House, they voted
" 7. That whenever a petition shall be on argument. He could easily conceive referred to such select committee, com- that a man might not like to sit out a long plaining of any vote of a committee upon argument, or what was worse, a long speech a private bill
, the House shall fix a day without any argument at all ; but he could whereon to ballot for a select committee, not conceive the propriety of a member to which such petition shall be referred, coming in and voting on the conclusiveupon which day, at a quarter past four ness or inconclusiveness of evidence which o'clock, or as near thereto as the question he had not heard. Recollecting what had which may be then before the House will taken place in former committees, he permit, the Speaker shall order the doors was convinced that the course now pointed of the House to be locked, and the names out would be a great saving of time and of the members composing the committee expense to parties connected with private of appeals upon private bills being written bills, and he hoped the House would conupon separate pieces of paper, and put sent to it as an experiment. If it sucinto the glass, the clerk shall draw there-ceeded, the resolutions could be made part from the names, until seven members of such of the standing orders. If it failed, they committee who shall be then present, and would not be in a worse situation than they who shall not have voted in the committee were at present. upon the private bill to which the petition Colonel Davies admitted that great refers, or shall not be excused by the inconvenience arose from the former course House, shall have answered to their names; with respect to private bills, but the one which seven members shall be the select now proposed would, he thought, be committee to whom such petition shall be much worse, and therefore he would give referred, and such select committee shall it all the opposition in his power. First, meet for business the following day at with respect to the hundred and twenty 11 o'clock, and continue to sit, de die in members to be on a committee, he diem, until they shall have reported upon thought it would be extremely difficult to the same; and that only one counsel or obtain that number, unless they resorted agent shall be heard in support of the to the former objectionable course of havpetition of any one party.
ing members named on different commit“ 8. That no member of such select tees sitting at the same time. Last sescommittee shall absent himself therefrom sion, there were thirty committees on priduring its sitting, without the permission vate bills sitting at the same time. How of the House.
could such a number be provided for in “9. That the party or parties complain the mode proposed ? The hon. mover ing shall, previously to the balloting for seemed to think that it would be extremely such select committee, deposit with the difficult to get a select committee on each