HC Deb 14 April 1817 vol 35 cc1305-7

The House having this day met, pursuant to adjournment, Mr. Dyson, the deputy clerk, stated, that it was with the deepest regret he was under the painful necessity of informing the House that he had that morning received a letter from the Speaker dated from Kidbroke, his seat in Sussex, in which the right hon. gentleman regretted he was unable to attend the House in consequence of severe indisposition. With the permission of the House he would read the letter [loud cries of Hear! hear!]. The letter stated the Speaker's wish, that the House should be informed that it was impossible for him to attend his duty that day, and his sincere regret at the inter- ruption which would thereby be occasioned to the public business. He trusted, however, that his health would, in the course of the week be so far established as to enable him to resume, his office on Monday next.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

regretted the painful circumstance which rendered it necessary for him to make the motion he was now to submit to the House. As that motion, however, would afford the House an opportunity of showing its respect for their valuable and excellent Speaker, he had no doubt it would be unanimously adopted. Of the important duties, both public and private, which the individual who at any time was called to fill that chair had to perform, and the qualifications necessary to a proper discharge of these, the House had no occasion to be reminded. Never had an individual performed those duties with more honour to himself, and more advantage to the House and to the public than the present Speaker had done. Those who had witnessed the period during which he had presided in the House, could not but admire and esteem him for the correct and accurate knowledge of parliamentary forms which he had uniformly shown, his indefatigable attention to the duties of his office, and his strict impartiality. Among his last attendances in that House, he had suggested a measure for regulating the printed votes, which had met their cordial approbation, and would be productive of great advantage. No doubt some interruption in the public business must be occasioned by this painful occurrence, but he was confident the House would see the propriety of an adjournment. The Speaker had stated his expectation of being able by Monday next to resume the chair. Happy indeed should he be, were this the case, but he was afraid this expectation was too sanguine, and was occasioned by the Speaker's anxiety no longer to postpone the public business. He thought, therefore, that the House could not discharge its duty better in the present instance, than by adjourning for two or three days longer than the period mentioned by the Speaker, because by this means the right hon. gentleman would have a further opportunity of reestablishing his health. He would therefore move, that the House at its rising do adjourn to Thursday se'nnight.

Mr. Ponsonby

heartily concurred in the motion. He fully agreed with the right hon. gentleman in his opinion respecting their excellent Speaker, and indeed there was but one sentiment in the House on that subject. While he was sorry for the interruption which must necessarily occur in the public business, he could not but express his earnest wishes that the right hon. getleman, whose present indisposition was matter of regret to them all, bad not—from his great anxiety to discharge his duty to the House and the public—continued to sit in the chair when unable to do so from severe bodily distress. The House had often seen him sitting, when it was obvious how painful it was for him to do so, and he (Mr. Ponsonby had on more than one occasion told him of this. Anxious, however, to do his duty, that justly-esteemed individual chose rather to sacrifice personal ease and comfort, than for one moment to protract the business of the House. To this anxiety his present illness might be traced, and the House were therefore bound to see that nothing on their part should be wanting to afford him an opportunity of recovery. He expressed his earnest and heartfelt wishes, that the henlth of the right hon. gentleman might be soon re-established; and he thought that it was proper that the House should give him all the time they possibly could, as they might, by doing otherwise, hazard a relapse.

Mr. Grattan

concurred in every word which had been stated by the preceding speakers.

The motion of adjournment to Thursday, the 24th instant, was then put, and agreed to, nem. con.