§ The Speaker then proceeded to read the usual Sessional Orders, the first of which was, that the Committee upon Religion should sit every Tuesday in the week.
§ On this Resolution being read,
§ Mr. Hume
said, that in this the first Reformed Parliament, this was a matter which deserved consideration. They must be all aware that this Committee had 229 been hitherto a complete dead letter. Now he for one was of opinion, that when a Committee was appointed it should be rendered efficient, and it was very important that it should be so, in order that any business that should come before the House, that fell peculiarly within its province, should be brought under its consideration. He threw out this as a suggestion whether it would not be desirable, upon this the first meeting of a Reformed parliament, that Committees of this description should be rendered really efficient. With that view he would propose that their numbers should be limited so as to ensure responsibility—that their Chairman should have the power of calling them together whenever there was a sufficient number of petitions to be referred to them—and that all petitions referring to subjects that came within their peculiar province should be referred to them. He threw out this suggestion at present without intending to move anything upon the subject, as this was not the time for discussing it. It appeared to him that the number of members on these Committees should be limited to seven or twelve, in order to render them efficient.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he agreed with the hon. Gentleman in the opinion that this was not the time to discuss the subject of those Committees. The first Resolution which he had just proposed as to the Committee upon Religion did not press in point of time, neither did the Resolutions as to the appointment of the Committee on Grievances, and the Committee upon Courts of Justice. These Resolutions might be discussed at any other period as well as now, and therefore, there could be no objection to postpone them, if the hon. Gentleman should wish for their postponement. But the Resolutions which followed respecting elections did press, and it was necessary that they should be discussed this evening.
§ Mr. Littleton
said, that it appeared to him a question whether the continuance of such a Committee as that upon religion was a matter of any importance whatever. He had that day spent some time in looking over the journals, and he could only discover one instance in which this 230 Committee on Religion had been resorted to since the period of the Long Parliament.
An Hon. Member
said, that the best way would be to move that the Resolution should be postponed to that day six months.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the better way was to postpone these Resolutions until to-morrow, and then to discuss them. He did not mean, at the same time, to say that he would be opposed to an indefinite postponement of them.
The Resolutions postponed.