HC Deb 13 March 1809 vol 13 cc358-9

The order of the day for calling the house over having been read, lord Folkestone moved, that it be called over to morrow.

General Gascoyne

repeated his objections to this prolongation of the call. It had a bad tendency, because many members who heard the postponement of the call, anticipated the adjournment of the debate, and consequently absented themselves from the house. Of this fact, the comparative state of the house at two o' clock on Thursday morning last, and at two o' clock on Saturday morning last, afforded sufficient proof. He was convinced that not an individual attendance would be produced by the call, more than what would have taken place without it. But from the perpetual postponements of this motion the house must suffer in the opinion of the public, who would imagine that such a measure was necessary to compel their representatives to attend to their duty. The noble lord treated the house of commons like school-boys; but lie trusted that lie would not find his controul so extensive as perhaps he flattered himself it was. He had risen with a determination, that the motion should not pass without comment: if the feeling of the house appeared to be with him, he should certainly press the question to a division.

Lord Folkestone

defended himself from the imputation of pretending to any power over the house. It was for the house to decide on this question, and not for him. At the same time, he trusted, that for reasons similar to those which he had stated on a former occasion, the house would adopt the motion which he had the honour of submitting to them.

Sir T. Turton

stated the inconvenience which resulted from prolonging the discussion on each night to so late an hour. In his opinion it must be destructive to the life of some individuals, and to the health of all. Under such circumstances it was impossible to bring into the house the 'mens sana in corpore sano.' He trusted also, that on every amendment that might be proposed, no hon. member who had already spoken, would conceive himself entitled again to enter at large into the original question.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer,

adverting to the last observation of the hon. baronet, disclaimed any intention on his part of repeating the observations with which he had, on a recent evening, tresspassed on the patience of the house. The only object for which he should feel it incumbent on him again to rise was, to explain the various misunderstandings which had occurred with respect to several parts of his speech; and also declare what appeared to he him to be the state of the question before the house, and on what the house were actually called upon to decide; for it has his opinion, that if without further elucidation the question was put from the Chair, many members would be at a loss to know in what way to vote, so as to express their real sentiments. In declaring, however, these as the limits which he should prescribe to himself in again addressing the house, he begged not to be understood as penying the right of any individual who had already spoken, and who might again choose to speak on a fresh question, to go as much into detail on the main subject as he thought proper. With respect to the motion of the noble lord, it must meet with his support. Let the house consider the object of that motion in the first instance. It was not for the purpose of procuring a full attendance in the discussion, so much as on the division. He was prepared to agree to the observation of the hon. baronet, of the inconvenience likely to result to the health, and even life, of members, from the prolonged debates that so closely followed each other. Should circumstances demand a continuation of discussion for the whole of this week, the evil would be very serious. In that case, it would perhaps be advisable to make a break; and if the discussion should not be completed on to-morrow night, to adjourn over Wednesday, in order to give a pause to the members, and to enable them to return with recruited faculties of body and mind to the discussion and ultimate decision of this most important proceeding.—The motion was then agreed to.