HC Deb 07 December 1837 vol 39 cc746-7
The Speaker

rose and said, I wish to take advantage of this occasion to address a few words to the House. Most of those who now hear me will not, I am sure, be surprised when I say, that the transactions of last night, at the close of the address of the hon. Member for Monmouth, were such as have left a deep impression on my mind. In anything that I now say I do not wish to forget that I am the servant of this House, and, with that feeling on my mind, nothing can be further from my intention than to question the right of a Member to animadvert upon anything that falls from the chair; still further is it from my intention to seek to control that which any Member feels it his duty to do, from a sense of duty to this House and to the public. Feeling this, and as I trust I have ever been governed by such a feeling, I regret to find that I do not possess, as I appeared to possess, as much of the confidence of the House as I some time since ventured to hope I had done. From the moment in which I was first placed in this chair, the greatest object of my desire, and the highest object of my ambition, was to obtain the confidence of this House, and this by the directness the truth, and impartiality of my conduct. I have reflected calmly upon the transactions of last night; I have en- deavoured to give the most full effect to all that was said by those who took part in that debate. I have done that which I believe all men who are sincerely and earnestly desirous of ascertaining the truth ought to do in matters in which they are themselves concerned, to ascertain coolly and calmly the character of the transaction in which they have taken a part. Touching that transaction then, I am bound to confess that it does appear to me that there were appearances that indicated that I do not possess that degree of confidence, which I think it essential that persons holding the situation that I do should at all times obtain from this House. I have always, in my mind, made a great distinction between the duties imposed upon me in regulating the forms of this House and those duties which are the most serious and not the least important, the moral duties of a Speaker, Unless a Speaker possess the confidence of the House in these respects, he cannot discharge the duties imposed upon him with credit to himself, or with advantage to the House. I do not wish, in fact nothing can be farther from my intention, than to revive the discussion of the last night—nothing can be farther from my wish than that anything I should say might provoke a discussion of the sort. I have only to express what are my own feelings, and to give to the House the assurance, which I do most solemnly, that, if again I see a similar indication, I shall think the time has come, which perhaps, if I had followed the dictates of my own judgment and my own desires, would have occurred before now, when I ought to relieve myself from the duties that now devolve upon me. Having made this statement, I shall let the matter rest here; but I could not refrain from expressing what is the impression upon my mind with respect to the proceedings of last night.

Mr. Hume

wished to correct an error into which he had fallen last night in reference to the hon. Member for Ripon. He had stated of that hon. Member's motion, that he had spoken for two hours, and concluded by withdrawing his motion. Such was his impression at the time; but he found by the votes that the motion had not been withdrawn, but put and negatived without a division. He was bound to correct the error into which he had fallen.

Back to