HC Deb 08 March 1809 vol 13 cc2-3
Lord Folkestone

moved that the order for the Call of the House be read; which being done, he moved that, the house be called over tomorrow.

Mr. Beresford

objected to the Call being kept hanging over the members by postponing it from day to day.

Mr. Shaw Lefevre

had always understood that attention to the business of that house was the first duty of a member of parliament, and therefore thought, that on such an important occasion as the present, absence to attend the assizes, or any duty of an inferior nature, ought not to be excused.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

understood the intention of the noble lord to be merely to secure a large attendance on an important business, and in that view was of opinion that the proposition ought to be acceded to. However inconvenient it might be to many members, he agreed that the attendance on very important occasions in that house was a duty paramount to every other. But at the same time, he could not but say that the house was not to be threatened by any thing that passed out of doors into a particular line of conduct. He thought it unnecessary to advert more directly to the circumstances, which drew from him that observation, If he were to do so, he must do something more than merely advert to them. But when a certain line of conduct was deliberately prescribed for the house with respect to a subject which they had in evidence before them, he thought his duty called upon him to advert to the circumstance, and to express his hope that, the house would support its dignity as the representatives of the people, by acting according to the dictates of their own understandings. That merely an attendance at the assizes would not be a sufficient excuse on such a subject as the present he allowed. A Call of the House without any thing depending upon it, would be very inconvenient, and could not be justified; but understanding that the motion of the noble lord related to the present discussion, he concurred with him, and therefore he should have his support.

Mr. Curwen

heartily concurred in the proposition, that the judgment of that house ought not to be influenced by any external threats or considerations. He thought it ought to resist the influence and threats of power and authority, as well as threats of every other description. He never voted, except from the dictates of his own understanding and conscience, and by this principle alone, he hoped the house would be guided on the present occasion.

General Gascoyne

said, that unless the noble lord distinctly stated the reason of this proceeding, he would take the sense of the house upon it.

The question was then put and carried, that the house be called over to-morrow.