Mr. Secretary Stanley
rose, and spoke as follows:—Mr. Speaker,—it is not my intention, Sir, to offer any observation, or to renew in any shape whatever, any discussion upon the merits of the question which has so long and so painfully been under the consideration of this House upon the present evening. I am, Sir, the bearer of a communication, which I trust will give the same satisfaction to this honourable House, which it has unfeignedly given to me and to our mutual friends. Sir, my noble friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), whose conduct was under the review of this House this evening, felt that he had done as much, and that he had gone as far as he could fairly be called upon to go, when he had stated to the House, that he was willing to enter into an engagement, that, in consequence of what had passed, he would take no active steps in the affair whatever. The House, in its wisdom, had judged this not to be sufficient, and looking to the exercise of its authority, and the vindication of its dignity, in the enforcement of its own 147 views, it had taken that extreme step, almost the extremest it could take, which had placed both parties under an authority, which made it physically and morally impossible that any hostile collision could take place. Sir, I am authorized to say on the part of my noble friend, that although he had expressed opinions of his own, he bowed to the authority of the House with the respect that he owed to it. In fulfilling this duty I am also bound to state, that my noble friend has acted by the advice of his colleagues, who, on no occasion, would for any consideration on earth, hint to him advice which could in the slightest degree be discreditable to his character, or could cast the slightest shade on his untarnished reputation. In consideration of the respect which the noble Lord owes to the authority of the House, and to the course of the public business, which might be materially impeded without his presence, he authorizes me, Sir, to give, on his part, the assurance, that he is ready to make the declaration which the House requires, and which it has enforced—namely, that he will not take any steps himself, nor respond to any hostile message, in consequence of the proceedings that had taken place in the course of this evening. Having made this statement, which I trust will be to the House as satisfactory as it is to me, and feeling confident that my noble friend opposite will view it in the same way, I have only to move, "That Lord Viscount Althorp be discharged from the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms."
§ The Speaker
said, that having already had occasion so frequently to address the House in the course of the evening, most painfully, he hoped he might be permitted, before putting the question, to say two words expressive of the deep satisfaction he felt at the conduct of the noble Lord. He cordially concurred with the hon. member for Middlesex, that after the speech which had been made by the right hon. Secretary, there could not exist two opinions in the House upon the course which had been pursued on the present 148 occasion by Lord Althorp—a course which, if possible had increased the high estimation in which the public as well as the private character of the noble Lord was held.
§ The Question carried nem. con.
said, it was his anxious wish to place himself under the guidance of the House. If the Speaker thought it right that he should make to the House such an assurance as the hon. member for the University of Dublin alluded to, he should most certainly feel bound to obey the call of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The Speaker
thought, that after what had just fallen from the hon. and learned member for Hull, the House would feel it to be unnecessary for him to call on that hon. and learned Member for any further assurance. The statement just made would be received as an assurance on the part of the hon. and learned Member that he would not take any steps in this matter of which the House could not approve.
§ Mr. Hume
stated, that in consequence of what had passed, he and other friends of the hon. and learned member for Tipperary (Mr. Sheil) had communicated with that Gentleman; and he had the satisfaction to state on the part of his hon. and learned friend, that he felt anxious to show his respect for the orders of the House, and that, without giving any opinion upon the subject which had led to the situation he was then in, he had come to the determination of submitting implicitly to their wishes. He, together with the other friends of the hon. and learned Gentleman, had stated to him that by adopting this course, so far from acting in a manner derogatory to his character as a man of honour, he would be taking the most effectual means of supporting it, and placing it in a higher and more worthy station than before. In following the advice tendered to him by his friends the hon. and learned Gentleman was actuated solely by a spirit of obedience to the orders of that House, which it was, upon all occasions, the duty and the interest of every Member individually to uphold. He moved, "That Richard Lalor Sheil, 149 Esq., be discharged out of the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms." He offered, on the part of that hon. and learned Gentleman, an assurance that no proceedings should be taken by him with reference to the subject which had placed him in custody, out of the walls of that House.
§ The Speaker
said, he could not but express his gratification at the course which the hon. and learned Member had adopted. The House, and the country at large, would feel, that he had been rightly advised by the hon. member for Middlesex and his friends, when he was told, that he would best maintain his own honour, and best consult his personal dignity in upholding the dignity and character of that House.
§ The Question carried nem. con.