§ Mr. Spring Rice
moved that the House, at its rising, should adjourn to Thursday. There was nothing on the papers of the House for Wednesday but the Colonial Trade Bill, and it would be most convenient that public business should not be proceeded with until the return of those Gentlemen who had recently vacated their seats upon taking office. He had no doubt that many persons concerned in Election Petitions, or in Private Bills, would be desirous of a longer adjournment; but, after the decision to which the House had come the other evening, he did not feel it his duty to call for a longer adjournment.
§ Sir M. W. Ridley
thought, that after the decisions to which they had come respecting the despatch of business, it was to be regretted, that any postponement 653 should be required. Thursday was fixed for the Ballot for three Committees, and on that occasion it would be necessary that 180 Members be present. Otherwise the House must adjourn, and adjournments must be repeated de die in diem. Now, for his part, he did not wish to be an alarmist; but he would say that, in the present state of things in several parts of the country, there were many hon. Gentlemen in that House whose duty required them to be elsewhere to watch over the tranquillity of their own districts. He had already, on a former occasion, expressed his opinion, that everything ought to be done by the House to enable Gentlemen to attend to that important duty; but. the House had come to a contrary decision, and he feared that the result would be, great inconvenience to the House, and to those interested in Election Petitions.
Mr. Stuart Wortley
protested against further alteration. When the House had on two occasions decided that it would proceed at once to the consideration of the Petitions on Elections, any postponement would occasion excessive inconvenience and expense to those parties who had made arrangements, founded upon the Resolutions of the House. He hoped that his hon. friend (Mr. Rice) would not move for any further postponement. He was desirous that on the evening fixed for the ballot, they should be able to assemble a sufficient number of Members. If that should not be the case, and, consequently, repeated delay should be occasioned, he thought it would be necessary to resort to a call of the House.
§ Sir George Warrender
was of opinion, that there would be no necessity for further postponement. His hon. friend (Mr. S. Wortley) seemed to him to consider the difficulty which the House might meet with, in proceeding with Election Petitions, greater than it really could be. By a late Act of Parliament, it had been enacted that 100 Members were sufficient to make a House for the ballot. Therefore, he did not fear that they should fail in assembling a sufficient number. For his part, he would attend regularly.
§ Sir M. W. Ridley
explained, that when there were ballots to be taken for three Committees, the presence of 180 Members was necessary; if for two Committees, 120 Members must be present; if for but one Committee, 100 Members, as the hon. Baronet had stated, were sufficient.
§ Mr. Home Drummond
said, that he had voted against delay; and now that the House had decided that the Petitions should be proceeded with immediately, he was of opinion that postponement repeated from day to day, would inflict injustice on persons concerned in the petitions.
§ Mr. Spring Rice
said, that if Petitions were not pending, he might not have departed from the course usually pursued on occasions of such change as had just the taken place in the relations in which some Members stood towards the country and the Government. It was by no means unusual to ask for an adjournment of several days. Certainly it was not unreasonable to ask for a delay from that to Thursday. It was his intention to move on that day for a further adjournment to the following Tuesday, and then again to Thursday. On the last-mentioned day he should move an adjournment to whatever time might then seem necessary to allow all those Members who had accepted office to be re-elected.
§ Sir Robert Peel
was aware of the excessive inconvenience occasioned by the discussion of questions connected with the public business, in the absence of Members of the House, who were also members of his Majesty's Government. He could not, therefore, hesitate to acquiesce in the Motion of the hon. Gentleman opposite; and he thought it right that the days fixed for the sittings of the House should be those for taking into consideration Election Petitions. As there could be but one opinion, respecting the propriety of accommodating the Gentlemen "now sitting at the other side of the House," he expressed his entire acquiescence in the Motion.
§ Motion agreed to.