HC Deb 14 June 1831 vol 4 cc79-81
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 received. 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 zealously, and how ably you have discharged the duties of your high station, and by those alone, the laborious and severe ex- crtions 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 pleasure and repose enjoyed by your predecessors. I fear we cannot hold out any hope of a future abridgment of your labours; but we may diminish their severity by co-operating with you; and I am quite sure we cannot better discharge our own duty than by maintaining your dignity, while you are engaged in preserving the freedom of speech, and in upholding the character and honour of Parliament. Most sincerely congratulating the House and the country on the choice which has just been made, I move that this House do now adjourn.

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, This declaration, however, although unintentionally, involves the highest compliment to yourself. For the co-operation of the House has arisen from their respect for your integrity, and from their admiration of the promptitude and justice of your 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 unnecessary 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 services.

The House then adjourned.