HC Deb 08 March 1839 vol 46 cc203-4
Sir F. Trench

rose to address the House upon a subject which, he said, was not one of great dignity, but which was, nevertheless, of the utmost importance to the convenience and comfort of hon. Members. It was, moreover, a question of justice and fair play. He would ask of hon. Gentlemen who occasionally sat in the gallery, whether they were content with the present system of lighting the House?—whether the light from the lustres did not fall with inconvenient strength upon their eyes? He would ask the same question even of the Speaker himself. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving, "That it is the opinion of this House, that the old system of lighting the House of Commons was not satisfactory to the Members who sat in the body of the House, and was 'extremely distressing' to those who sat in the galleries. That, if Gentlemen sitting in the gallery suffered inconvenience, it was fitting that that inconvenience should be immediately remedied." That a Member of this House did undertake to apply a remedy; and that, after much trouble, and many experiments, the existing plan was adopted, and appeared to give general satisfaction up to the close of the last Session. That, before the meeting of Parliament in the present Session, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Hume, and Lord Duncannon, did inspect the "Philosophical Oxygen Bude Light," with a view to its applicability to the lighting the House of Commons; that the making this experiment necessarily implies that the existing system is defective and unsatisfactory, and Members will be called upon to make a comparison between the present system and that system of philosophical light which is contemplated as its substitute. That the lustres now suspended in this House have, in this Session, been deprived of nearly one-third of their intended, light, and of all their intended softness. That with a view to justice and a fair trial upon a point so important to the convenience and comfort of the Members of this House, it is "fitting" that the lustres should be presented to their criticism in the manner proposed by the individual to whom was confided the dangerous honour of attempting to make arrangements that might meet with general satisfaction. That, therefore it is the opinion of this House, that the proper officer be directed to replace the branches and candles that have been removed, and to colour the inside of the shades pale green. The expense per night being, for candles, 1l. 6s. 3d.; and for colouring, &c., 7s.; total, 1l 13s. 3d. But the mere machinery for the new plan will cost 2,000l., and the experiment will probably cost 200l.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

suggested to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the propriety of withdrawing his motion. It rested as matter of fact, in the instance of Lord Duncannon, upon what had never happened. The wording of the motion was very objectionable, inasmuch as it referred to expressions which had been used by hon. Members of that House during former debates, which was contrary to the rules of the House.

Sir F. Trench

said, that he would wait for a few days, when, if he should find that no arrangement had been made in this matter, he would again submit it to the House. He would put the last section of his motion on the votes for another occasion, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the House would make the experiment or not. He would, therefore, for the present withdraw the motion.

Motion withdrawn, and Committee of Supply postponed till Monday.

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