Page images

HOUSE OF LORDS, Tuesday June 14, 1831. OPENING OF PARLIAMENT.] liament was opened by Commission for the despatch of public business.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Marquis of Wellesley, Earl Grey, and Lord Durham being his Majesty's Commissioners.

British House of Commons, and the most necessary to the proper performance of its functions, the selection of an indiPar-vidual to preside over our proceedings during the ensuing Parliament; a privilege which, as it is one of the most ancient, so it is in many respects one of the most important which this House can exercise. When we consider that the person whom we may select for that high office is called The Gentlemen of the House of Com-upon, not only to preside over the debates mons having been summoned to attend, of this House, but also to become its orupwards of 100 Members of that House gan, the organ of the Representation of came to the Bar of the House of Peers. the country, the organ, therefore, of the The Royal Commission having been read, Commons of the United Kingdom, to their The Lord Chancellor said: My Lords and Sovereign upon many occasions; when we Gentlemen, we have it in command from consider that, upon those, and other imhis Majesty to let you know, that it is portant occasions, when the sense of this his Majesty's Royal will and pleasure, as House is to be pressed, it must depend upon soon as the Members of both Houses are the person whom we select in what manner sworn in, in person to declare to you the that sense shall be expressed when cause of his calling together the present we reflect upon these considerations, I Parliament; but it being necessary that think there are few who will differ from a Speaker should be first chosen, it is his me in thinking that this is among the most Majesty's Royal will and pleasure that important privileges which we can be callyou, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, ed upon to exercise. And, Sir, if it be should repair to the place where you important at all times, it is peculiarly imusually sit, and there proceed to the portant at the present moment, when we choice of a fit and proper person to fill are called upon to enter into the conthat high and important office, and that, sideration of changes and alterations after having chosen him, you are to pre- greater than any which the history of Parsent him here to-morrow, at half-past liament can present. I do not state this two o'clock, for his Majesty's Royal ap- with any view to give an opinion on those probation. proposed changes and alterations, but whether they be or be not desirable, it is equally necessary that they should be examined and debated with attention, with patience, with temper, with disinterested feelings, and upon the undeviating principles of public duty. At a moment when a degree of excitement and irritation prevails, almost without a parallel in the annals of the country-at such a moment every one must feel that it is of still greater importance to select a fit person to enforce the orders of the House, and to maintain its privileges, privileges which we hold, not for our own benefit, but for the advantage of our constituents. For in nothing can those constituents be more interested than that the order of our debates shall be preserved; that no undue haste shall occur in our proceedings; that measures shall not be forced improperly through the House, but that they shall receive that full consideration which the orders of the House have provided for them. For this purpose it is beyond all things important, that the person whom we select should be

Several Peers took the usual oaths.



Tuesday, June 14, 1831. The Lord Steward attended in the Long Gallery to swear in the Members of the House of Commons: and a considerable number were sworn in. The Commons being summoned, repaired to the House of Peers, accompanied by the Clerk of the House; and on their return the Clerk informed the Members that a Commission appointed by his Majesty had commanded the Commons to choose a Speaker. Mr. Ley took his place at the Table, and was addressed as Speaker.

CHOICE OF A SPEAKER.] Mr. C. W. Wynn then rose and spoke as follows -In pursuance of the command which we have just received from Royal authority, and also in the exercise of our own undoubted right, I now rise for the purpose of asking the House to exercise that most important of the privileges possessed by the

possessed of a high and independent cha- | stances of the present period. I cannot racter; that he should be one from whom also overlook the quantity of business impartiality may be expected on all occa- which we were obliged to leave unsions; who should have ability to lay done at the close of the last Session, from down the rules of the House; who should the great and momentous question which have firmness to enforce those rules against occupied us during the whole of our sitany individual attempting to contravene tings. In order effectually to get through them; and who should, at the same time, that business, it is essential that in chooshave that courtesy which we have for ing a person to fill the Chair of this House many years experienced-informing the we should select one who has that zeal for unexperienced, and putting them in pos- the honour of the House, and that zeal for session of those rules and orders which the public interests, which will induce they might otherwise unintentionally vio- him, instead of thinking his usual and orlate. Sir, beyond all these, there is dinary labours too troublesome and opanother qualification which I hold to be pressive, to call upon the House to devote of the greatest consequence, because with- additional time to the discharge of our out it all others must be vain. I mean duties. Such a person we have in Mr. that we should select a person who has the Manners Sutton. I cannot reflect but thorough confidence of the House; and with satisfaction, that it is now fourteen one who by experience has proved that he years since I had first the opportunity of deserves it. High and important as the testifying, when the nomination of the right office of Speaker is, he possesses no au- hon. Gentleman first took place, my sense thority whatever but that which he derives of his fitness for the high office, and of prefrom the confidence and support of this dicting to the House, that if they elected House. To none can that confidence him, they would experience from him that and support be given with equal satisfac-union of firmness and courtesy, which I tion, with so little hesitation, as to a per- think they will all agree with me in saying son who has, usefully and advantageously he has shown, during the whole of this to his own credit, and to our benefit, fill-long period, he most eminently possesses. ed that situation now for fourteen years; Sir M. W. Ridley: I am sure that I to him who has already been five times only express the unanimous sentiments of selected by the House to hold that high the House when I second the motion situation, and who has each time received which has just been made by my right it with an increase of our confidence and hon. friend. If there were any hesitation approbation. Upon these grounds, Sir, on the subject, I need only refer to the I should not feel it necessary to detain statements and arguments of my right hon. the House longer than simply to move, friend, to show that Mr. Manners Sutton that the right hon. Charles Manners Sut-possesses in an eminent degree the qualities ton do take the Chair of this House; and which qualify him to fill the Chair of this I am convinced that I only echo the ge- House. It is perhaps, somewhat singular neral sense of the House when I express that when the right hon. Gentleman was my wish that he may continue to occupy first called to the Chair of this House, I was that situation as long as his health will one of those who opposed his appointpermit. There is one circumstance, how-ment, and I actually seconded the nominaever, peculiar to the right hon. Gentleman, tion of my right hon. friend, who has which I think it would be very unjust on the present occasion nominated the towards him to pass over; I mean the manner in which, during the last two years, he has shown his readiness to devote several hours of the day, even whole days, to business which the indulgence of the House has usually allowed the Speaker for rest, in consideration of the fatigue arising from the execution of his duty. Mr. Manners Sutton has been the first to call upon the House, on more occasions than one, to give him an opportunity of devoting that time also to the service of his country. I have already adverted to the peculiar circum

right hon. Gentleman. I trust that from this circumstance the House will perceive that in the present proposition neither my right hon. friend who makes it, nor myself, can be actuated by any other motive than the conviction which the experience of fourteen years has produced; and the justice which we feel due to the talents and the zeal of the right hon. Gentleman, and which compels us to come forward and offer our humble tribute of gratitude, and express that respect for the right hon. Gentleman which must be cherished by

the whole House. As has been well ob- Mr. Manners Sutton: I hardly know how served by my right hon. friend who pre- to address the House on the present occeded me, the interests of the public de- casion. After the terms in which my append materially on the choice of the per-pointment to the high situation of Speaker son who is to fill the Chair of this House. of this House has been proposed by my It is an office which requires an intimate right hon. friend, and my hon. friend the knowledge of the law and constitution of member for Newcastle, and after the manParliament, an independence of party ner in which the House has been pleased feelings, and freedom from private animo- to receive that proposition, I cannot but sities. It is most material that we should be sensible that any expression of gratihave an individual presiding over our pro-tude on my part must fall infinitely short ceedings who has the firmness to check of the feeling which I entertain. If, in whatever might impede the progress of expressing my deep obligation to my right the public business on the part of others, hon. friend, whose parliamentary knowand who can himself promote that progress ledge and experience certainly entitle him by his knowledge and his learning. Were to be considered as a high authority on I only addressing those Members who sat all matters that come under the cognihere during the late Parliament, I should zance of Parliament, and of the qualificarather refer them to their own experience, tions of the individual called to preside than presume to recommend Mr. Manners over our Debates, and whose constant Sutton from mine. The experience of attendance in his place, and unwearied those who have witnessed his qualifications attention to our proceedings and privimust be amply sufficient to induce them leges, render him so fit a judge of the proto wish to continue that right hon. Gen- priety and efficiency of the manner in tleman in the public service. But to which the duties of the Speaker of this those hon. Members who are now sitting House may have been discharged; if, also in the House for the first time, I may in expressing my obligation to my hon. perhaps be allowed to say, that in acced- friend, the member for Newcastle, whose ing to the motion of my right hon. friend, high character, and whose station in the they will be not only doing an act of justice country, entitle his opinions to so much to the immediate object of it, but they will respect; if, under such circumstances, and confer a benefit on themselves. If a per- in the pursuit of an object of hon. ambifect knowledge of the constitution and tion, I may for a moment forget how much laws, and a thorough cognizance of the I owe to the partial estimate of my right proceedings of Parliament-if the great- hon. and hon. friends, and how little I can est urbanity of manners-if the utmost pretend to on my own merits, I hope the readiness to give up his time to public ob- House will pardon me, and that it will not jects-if these, or any of these, be essen- attribute my conduct to self-sufficiency or tial qualities in the Speaker of this House, arrogance. I have had fourteen years' I can assure the new Members present, experience of the high office to which it is that a very short experience will show now proposed again to raise me. I well them, that in the right hon. Gentleman know all the difficulties attendant upon they have a constant, a steady, a sincere the discharge of its duties, so forcibly deadviser, who will enable them to transact scribed by my right hon. friend; difficultheir business in a manner most conducive ties frequently enhanced by the suddento their own credit, and to the benefit of ness with which the performance of some their constituents. It would be idle and of those duties is called for. But I have absurd for me to detain the House longer also found, that whether those difficulties upon this subject. I will conclude, there- are of a complicated nature, resulting fore, by saying, I so perfectly agree with from circumstances requiring deep and all that has fallen from my right hon. patient investigation, or whether they arise friend who preceded me, that I think the from some unforeseen emergency of the House would be guilty of the greatest de- moment, whoever has the honour to fill reliction of its duty to the public, if it were the Chair of this House, may confidently to let the opportunity slip of again securing rely on its support and protection. I well the services of the right hon. Gentleman know from the experience which I have in question, by declining to accede to the had the advantage of enjoying, that all proposition which has been made by my which is required from the person who right hon. friend. fills that Chair, is an honest, a strict, an

assiduous, and an impartial discharge of the duties of his situation. I well know that if he so performs his duties, he will receive the reward of the approbation of the House; and, if it shall be the pleasure of the House again to place me in their Chair, I assure them that every exertion of my mind and body shall be devoted to the service of the House and the country.

The right hon. Gentleman was voted into the Chair by acclamation, and conducted into it by the Mover and Seconder. When the right hon. Gentleman had taken the Chair, he said as,

ertions necessary on the part of the person who fills the Chair of this House can be fully appreciated. It has been impossible to witness the greatly increasing business of this House, and not to admire the earnest zeal and patient assiduity with which you have devoted yourself to its performance. Regardless, as has been justly observed by my right hon. friend, of all private considerations, regardless of your ease, I might almost say regardless of your health, you have dedicated the whole of your time to the public service; considerably abridging the intervals of The Speaker, I again thank the House pleasure and repose enjoyed by your prefrom this place, and I return most unaf-decessors. I fear we cannot hold out any fectedly and gratefully my acknowledg- hope of a future abridgment of your laments to the House for the honour which bours; but we may diminish their severity they have conferred upon me. I again I again by co-operating with you; and I am quite state my entire concurrence in the descrip- sure we cannot better discharge our own tion which my right hon. friend gave of duty than by maintaining your dignity, while the duties of the Speaker of this House, you are engaged in preserving the freedom and I will endeavour to discharge them to of speech, and in upholding the character the best of my ability. As I have not and honour of Parliament. Most sinhad the honour before of addressing many cerely congratulating the House and the Members who are new to the House, I country on the choice which has just been beg to assure every one of them, until he made, I move that this House do now is satisfied by personal experience of the adjourn. truth of what was stated by my hon. friend the member for Newcastle, that I shall be most ready to give every hon. Member every assistance in my power in the discharge of his public duties, and in facilitating the progress of any business which he may have to conduct through this House.

ADJOURNMENT.] Sir James Graham: In rising, Sir, in the absence, the unavoidable absence of my noble friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to move the adjournment of the House, I beg to congratulate you on the distinguished mark of the unanimous confidence of the House which you have just receiv To be thought worthy by the Commons of the United Kingdom of presiding over their deliberations is, indeed, an honour of which any man may be justly proud. In your case it is an honour which has been conferred, not for the first time; for I have to congratulate you and the House on your now having for the sixth time received this striking proof of their confidence. By those who in former Parliaments have observed how faithfully, how zeal ously, and how ably you have discharged the duties of your high station, and by those alone, the laborious and severe ex

Sir Robert Peel said, in seconding the motion for adjournment, I trust, Sir, I may, without presumption, avail myself of the opportunity of joining in the expression of congratulation on your most honourable, because unanimous, re-election, for the sixth time, to the Chair of this House. This is a dignity valuable to any man, constituting him, as it does, the first Commoner in the country; but to you it is, I know, more valuable, as it enables you to continue that career of public usefulness, in which you have already so highly distinguished yourself. Sir, I congratulate you, not only on your re-election. but on all the circumstances attending that event. I well remember, fourteen years ago, my right hon. friend by whom you were this day proposed, entering into an honourable competition with you for the Chair; and, although your competitor, prophesying, that if the House should select you for the high station, experience would justify their choice. Of this I am satisfied, that the same honourable spirit which induced him to utter that prediction renders him among the foremost to rejoice in its complete fulfilment. With characteristic diffidence, you have attributed the successful discharge of your duties to the co-operation of the House in your efforts,

The Lord Chancellor: "Mr. Charles Manners Sutton, we have it in command from his Majesty to assure you, that he relies on your constant zeal for the public service, and on your tried efficiency to discharge the arduous duties of the high situation to which you have been called,

This declaration, however, although un- | his Majesty be pleased to disapprove of intentionally, involves the highest com- the choice made by his faithful Commons, pliment to yourself. For the co-operation they would have no difficulty in selecting of the House has arisen from their respect another Member better qualified than I for your integrity, and from their admira am to discharge the important duties of tion of the promptitude and justice of your such a distinguished situation." decisions, the firmness with which you have enforced those decisions, and the courtesy which has deprived that firmness of all the harshness of character which might have diminished its effect. The able speeches which have been made by the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who have preceded me, render it totally unne-in respect as much of your long and tried cessary to dilate upon these points; but I could not refuse myself the gratification of bearing my personal and public testimony to your merits, and of offering my congratulations, not alone to you, Sir, but to Parliament, that, assembled as it is under circumstances of peculiar difficulty and importance, is enabled once more to avail itself of the inestimable advantage of your


The House then adjourned.

HOUSE OF LORDS, Wednesday, June 15, 1831. ROYAL ASSENT TO THE CHOICE OF A SPEAKER.] The Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Lansdown, and Lord Durham sat as his Majesty's Commissioners, to signify the Royal Assent to the choice of a Speaker made by the House of Commons. The Commons having been summoned to the bar, the Speaker, accompanied by a great many Members, and supported by Mr. C. W. Wynn and Sir M. W. Ridley, his proposer and seconder, appeared there.

The Speaker elect then addressed their Lordships in the following words:-"I am to acquaint your Lordships, that in obedience to his Majesty's commands, and in the exercise of their undoubted privileges, his Majesty's most faithful and loyal Commons have proceeded to the election of a Speaker, and they have chosen me. I am deeply sensible of the high importance of the situation I have thus been called on to fill, and of the many imperfections under which I labour in my attempt to discharge its duties; and although the experience of fourteen years, during which I have filled the Chair, may have influenced the House in its election, yet, I have no doubt, should

experience as of your deep learning and extensive acquaintance with all the forms, and customs, and proceedings of the Commons House of Parliament. Relying, therefore, on your constant impartiality and firmness, united with temper to discharge efficiently all the duties of the office of Speaker, I am commanded to inform you, that his Majesty approves of the choice which, on this occasion, his Commons have made."

The Speaker: "My Lords, with all gratitude and respect I submit to his Majesty's Royal commands; and it now becomes my duty, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty's faithful Commons, to claim the full and free exercise of all rights and privileges granted to them by his Majesty's predecessors, and, more especially, those of freedom from arrest for themselves and their servants-freedom of Debate-free access to his Majesty's Royal Person when occasion may require, and a favourable construction of all their words and actions. For myself, my Lords, I beg most humbly to pray, that should any faults or errors be committed, they may be imputed to me, and not to his Majesty's faithful Commons."

The Lord Chancellor: "Mr. Speaker, We are further commanded by his Majesty to inform you, that he fully confirms to his faithful Commons all their rights, privileges, liberties, and immunities, to the same extent as has ever been granted them by any of his royal predecessors. With respect to yourself, Mr. Speaker, you require no stronger assurance of his Majesty's royal approbation; but his Majesty has commanded us to inform his faithful Commons, that he is disposed at all times to put the most favourable construction on all their words and actions; and his Majesty is fully sensible that you, individually, cannot in any way invalidate

« PreviousContinue »