HC Deb 27 May 1839 vol 47 cc1034-56

The House met for the election of a Speaker in the room of the right hon. J. Abercromby, resigned and called to the House of Peers by the title of Lord Dunfermline.

The Serjeant came, and brought the Mace, and laid it under the Table.

Then Lord John Russell, addressing himself to the clerk, who (standing up, pointed to him, and then sat down) acquainted the House that her Majesty having been informed of the resignation of the right hon. James Abercromby, late Speaker of this House, gives leave to the House to proceed forthwith to the choice of a new Speaker.

Mr. Handley

said, that on the occasion of rising to propose for the approbation of the House the name of an hon. Member who should fill the Chair, although he was precluded by ordinary usage from dwelling upon the loss which the House had sus- tained, yet thus much he was sure he should be allowed to remark, that the right hon. Gentleman who had lately presided over their deliberations had quitted the Chair too soon for the public advantage, as might be known by reference to every one's experience, as well as by the manner in which he had carried with him the best wishes of every Member for the restoration and reinstatement of that health which he feared had suffered but too much by the attention which the right hon. Gentleman had paid to the duties of his station in the House. If this were a new Parliament, he might perhaps have been pardoned if he had felt it his duty to dwell at some length on the functions of a Speaker of the House of Commons, but as he was addressing hon. Members who had all of them ample experience and knowledge of a practical kind as to what those functions really were, he should not advert further to the subject, than to declare his full confidence that if the hon. Gentleman whom he was now called upon to propose to the House should meet, as he (Mr. Handley) hoped he would, with their approbation, he would discharge with credit and efficiency those duties on the due discharge of which by the person who filled the Chair depended not only his own character, but in a great degree the character and efficiency of the House itself. But he could not pass over this part of the subject without alluding to what he had heard fall from the right hon. Member for Tamworth in the House the other night in a speech respecting the Ministerial changes. In alluding to the difficulties which he should have had to contend with as a Minister in the House of Commons, the right hon. Baronet said, "On the very first day on which I took my seat as Prime Minister of this country, and as a Member of the House of Commons, I should have had to risk, perhaps, the fate of the Government, or been driven to a dissolution on the choice of Speaker." Now he (Mr. Handley) humbly protested against that Chair being considered as an appendage to the Ministerial patronage. Yes, he protested against any Minister of the Crown, be he who he might, interfering with the free election of a Member to fill that Chair. The right hon. Baronet, in supporting the motion for appointing the present Lord Canterbury, in 1835, had described the duties of a Minister with respect to the question so much better than he (Mr. Handley) could have done, that he would quote the right hon. Baronet's words. He said, "The noble Lord ought to know it was a trust conferred for the public good, and ought to be exercised with discretion; that it did not become him to insist on the exercise of the barren and abstract right, but to consider the great point, whether it could be exercised with justice and advantage to the public." Under, this view of the subject, how could the right hon. Gentleman reconcile with this the course of endeavouring to control the election to an office which be himself said was a trust conferred for the public good, and ought to be exercised with discretion? The election ought not to be made a matter of party; neither ought it to be looked upon as a reward of long official services, be they ever so beneficial to the country, because the habits of partisanship which were imparted by official life were, in his opinion, incompatible with the maintenance of strict impartiality in the Chair. To a great number of Members, especially to those Members who were unconnected with office, it never could be matter of indifference who might he sitting in that Chair, and to whom they might be bound to render implicit obedience in regard to the affairs of that House, and it was from among Members of that class that the hon. Gentleman was chosen whom it was his duty to propose to the House as a fit person to preside over it. When he named the hon. Member for North Hampshire, he thought he should be thereby justified in having anticipated that they would have been spared the pain of a contest, acceptable as his hon. Friend's name was to the great majority of those hon. Members, even among his bon. Friend's political opponents, who were wholly unconnected with office. Certainly he had hoped that the House on this occasion might come to an unanimous vote in favour of a gentleman respecting whom the feelings of both parties of the House were so much in unanimity. On this subject he might hope to be taken for impartial, because in 1835, on the question of the re-election of the present Lord Canterbury, he had felt it his duty to separate himself from those with whom he was in the habit of acting, and vote for Lord Canterbury. In the Speaker of the House of Commons there ought to be found the spirit and courage to defend and preserve from every attack which might be made upon them the privileges of the House. These qualities none could deny his hon. Friend Mr. Shaw Lefevre; and if they looked on habits of business and unwearied diligence as necessary for the due despatch of the business of the House, as well as fortitude to repress any of those irregularities which sometimes unfortunately arose, but which tended so much to impair the character of the House—if, he said, he looked for these qualities in their chairman, then he must assert his hon. Friend possessed them in a remarkable degree. But this was not all. The progress of science and the rapid accumulation of wealth in this country had caused a vast increase in the amount and in the importance of the private business which came before the House, and consequently the duty of a Speaker was in this part of it, on the one hand, a matter of great moment to public interests, and on the other hand, of the utmost importance to the fortunes of private individuals. Now, with reference to this part of the Speaker's duties he could say, that no man was more fully acquainted with these matters than his hon. Friend Mr. Shaw Lefevre. It might be in the recollection of the House that two years ago, in consequence of the state of private business at that time, it was thought fit to appoint a committee of forty-two Members to devise a remedy, if possible, for the confusion into which it had fallen, in the chair of which committee his hon. Friend was placed; and he would appeal with confidence to every hon. Member who served on that committee, whether his hon. Friend did not evince a talent, zeal, and sound judgment, to which was to be attributed, in a very great degree, the successful termination of the labours of that committee. But if there was one description of qualities which was indispensable in a Speaker of the House, it was that urbanity of manner, and that frank and open bearing, which were so useful in the repression of those squabbles that sometimes arose in the House; and these, in addition to those talents of mind which were known to the large circle of his acquaintance, his hon. Friend certainly possessed in an eminent degree. He felt that he ought not to indulge further in the praise of his hon. Friend; but this he could state, that to him might be applied that enviable distinction, that he never made an enemy, nor ever lost a friend. He (Mr. Handley) owed an apology to the House, considering the humble situation he held in it, for having consented to propose the hon. Gentleman, with whom he had long lived on terms of friendship; but in assenting to come forward on this occasion, he felt that he was about to propose a Gentleman, who would be acceptable to a large class, and, he trusted, to the majority of the House; and whose good qualities were so well known, and so well appreciated, that his cause would not suffer from the defects of his advocate. He moved that Mr. Shaw Lefevre do take the Chair of the House.

Sir S. Lushington,

in seconding the motion of the hon. Gentleman, prayed that the House would, for a brief space, give him their attention; for he could assure them, that he had not been anxious voluntarily to have come forward to claim their attention; but, at the same time, he must say, he trusted, that whenever his services were called for by a Friend, with whom his political sentiments concurred, he should never be loth to exert himself. His hon. Friend had adverted to the excellent qualities of their late Speaker; and he, as one of the late Speaker's oldest friends, might beg leave to express his full concurrence in what his bon. Friend had said of the right hon. Gentleman's retirement, as well as express his own regret at that retirement, and at the cause of it. But he could not forget how honourably that House had distinguished the services of the right hon. Gentleman who had recently occupied the Speaker's Chair, and more especially, he might add, the high encomiums which the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Tamworth, so much to his own honour, and to the honour of the late Speaker, had pronounced on his conduct and impartiality; and it was not an unimportant topic on the present occasion, because it showed to them that which, he was thankful to say, had frequently occurred before, that whatever might be the political bias of the individual, before he was elevated to the high rank of Speaker of the House of Commons, when once placed in that Chair, he had had the courage to divest himself of all party bias. He conceived that it would be a great want of good taste in him, if he, who knew so well that there were persons of superior talent and eloquence to himself in that House, more able to enter into the subject, were to describe the various qualifications necessary to enable a member to fill the Chair—if he, recollecting the speeches which had been made on this question, and, knowing how familiar to the House the whole subject was, were to enter into any enumeration of those qualifications. It would be an useless waste of the time of the House. But it did appear to him, that they were now standing in a peculiar crisis, and when a greater union of the qualities re- quisite to enable any Gentleman to fill the Chair with honour to himself, with credit to the House, and advantage to the public, was wanted, than in any preceding Speaker. He did not fear that he (the Speaker) by industry, by labour, and excessive pains, would acquire sufficient knowledge of the rules and precedents necessary to enable him to fill the office; but it would require more than that on the present occasion. They required an individual who would uphold the privileges of the House if they should be attacked; and he, for one, could not refrain from expressing his apprehension that in some quarters there did prevail a disposition to attack those privileges, which he highly valued, because he maintained that those privileges were necessary to the authority of that House; and he was happy to think, that with respect to some of those privileges both sides of the House were united to preserve them intact and inviolate. That office would require the utmost firmness, decision, and forbearance; and they would allow him to say, that whoever aspired to that honour must lay to his account the certainty of detraction. He never knew the instance of a Speaker who, at some periods of his career, had not had his conduct temporarily traduced. At one time, they heard that he was inclined too much to those of opposite political opinions to his own, and at another time they heard that he was inclined too much to those who held the opinions he himself professed. He who won the Chair must seek his reward in time; he must expect occasionally to be subjected to obloquy, and he must expect that at the termination of his services he would have the just and impartial consideration of that House, which had never been wanting. When he thought of the qualities which his hon. Friend, the Member for North Hampshire possessed, and which he thought entitled him to the just support of the House, he felt how impossible it was in his presence to attempt anything in the nature of praise; but this he might say, his hon. Friend's station in life, his conduct, his principles, were so familiarly known to the House and known to the country, that he believed his hon. Friend had obtained the regard of a considerable majority of that House. He doubted not but that his hon. Friend would bring to bear, with his experience, many of those qualifications which were so indispensably requisite—of quick but clear apprehension, of ready decision, and, when once his mind was made up, an undaunted resolution to support that opinion. Before he sat down, for it was not his intention to trouble the House with many further remarks, they would allow him to say, that he did believe, that at this hour it was imperatively necessary, in the present state of public opinion, that they should choose Speaker whose opinions were coincident and in unison with the feelings of that House, and, as he believed, with the feelings of the people of England. He believed that the eyes of the people of England were now upon them. He believed that they were now waiting in anxious expectation to see the result of their determination; and he held, further, he believed they were looking with that anxiety because they believed that the choice of a Speaker would greatly show the feeling of the House, and the people of England would look to see whether they were to advance or to stand still. He professed and avowed it, and it was but consistent with honour and candour to avow it, that he did support Mr. Charles Shaw Lefevre because his opinions were popular, because he had been an advocate of reform, and because he hoped and believed that the election of Mr. Charles Shaw Lefevre would tend to satisfy the people of this country that the House intended to proceed till they realized the just expectations of the country. They would allow him to say that he considered that the just expectations of the people ought not to be subjected to unnecessary invasion. It was with these feelings that he hoped a considerable majority of the House would support the motion which he had the honour to second.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had seconded the nomination, and the hon. Member who had proposed the Speaker, had differed very considerably in their sentiments. One had protested against this vote being a political one, to its being necessary to an Administration, or to any Minister, in order to prove the concurrence of the House; the seconder, on the other band, had stated distinctly to the House that he considered this was a political vote, which ought to be governed by their political feelings upon the question between those who were for carrying further the measures of reform which he had adopted, and those who preferred supporting other systems. He agreed most entirely with what both said of the importance of the election; wherein they agreed together, lie agreed with them; and he believed that the present was a juncture in which it was of the greatest consequence that thay should make a good choice. He believed many Gentlemen might be found fit to discharge the office of Speaker. It was not necessary, it would be a most painful and improper course to take, to depreciate the hon. Member who had been proposed; on the contrary, he believed that he deserved all the praise that had been bestowed upon him of being a useful able member. They had constantly felt that the credit of the House was to be maintained, not by depreciating those who had been suggested as candidates for the high office of Speaker; but they might rather congratulate the House on possessing those Members. "I will not allude further," said the right hon. Gentleman, "to the very different course which has been adopted with respect to my right hon. Friend whom it is my intention to propose. I will only say, the accounts which I have seen of what has been said on that subject make me feel deeply ashamed that any body of men, that any meeting of men, could be found in this country, who could listen to the wanton abuse thrown on him. I view those statements with the deepest disgust and contempt for him who could so far forget the character of a gentleman. To this I make no further allusion, certain as I feel that not only those around me, but all those who sit opposite to me—that even those who more ordinarily concur with the Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) who is reported to have given utterance to those sentiments, must concur in the distaste and disgust which I have expressed at such conduct." He had already stated that he agreed in what had been said of the importance of the duty they were met to perform. The office of Speaker was at all times an arduous one; it had been rendered more arduous by the degree of opposition which in the course of the last Parliament had been manifested. In all former times Members had conceived, that their own honour was bound up in preserving the honour of the House, and that it could not be maintained so efficiently as by maintaining the authority of him whom they had caused to preside over their deliberations. Whatever the choice of the House might be in a successor to the late Speaker, he trusted they would feel that the Speaker who was chosen, was chosen not by a majority, but was the choice of the House; that they were equally bound up in maintaining his authority, in maintaining his due authority, and giving force to his decisions. It was very unnecessary for him to state, that the Speaker had no authority over the House, except from the confidence which the House placed in him, from their disposition and determination to give effect to his statements of the rules which were to govern their deliberations. He felt, therefore, that it was material that the Speaker who was proposed, should possess firmness, and decision, and judgment. There were many, many instances, in which the Speaker, from the office which he held, might interfere to prevent the commencement of disorder, where political opponents could not, from the fear of being thought captious; where a political opponent could not call on the Speaker lest it should be thought that he was acting captiously, and lest he should expose himself to be questioned, why on a similar previous occasion, he had not then pursued a similar line, and interfered then. The Speaker, constantly occupying the situation which he did, was justified, and called on in the exercise of his duty, to interfere in the very commencement of disorder, and when it might be checked with credit. It was essential, therefore, that he should possess self-possession, vigour, and resolution, and, at the same time, a degree of courtesy to temper all these qualities. He trusted he should not be thought to detract at all from the qualities which he believed were justly ascribed to the hon. Gentleman already proposed, when he stated, that believing his right hon. Friend near him, Mr. Goulburn, the Member for Cambridge University to possess those qualities, and to be also qualified by a longer experience of the practice of that House, and a greater degree of experience in carrying on its business, he was induced to give him the preference, and to propose him to succeed to the Chair. The hon. Gentleman who had opened the debate had objected to the choice of any Member who had held office under the Crown, and might be considered as a candidate for the Speakership. He could not conceive how any hon. Member could have lost out of the House his qualification of ability from filling such an appointment to unfit him for the office of Speaker. His right hon. Friend had shown himself to be fit to fill a high, if not the highest position; and was it to be said, that he was unfit to fill the office of Speaker? What had been the practice in this respect? Sergeant Mitford had been elected to be Speaker from the office of Attorney-General. Mr. Abbott was elected to the office of Speaker from the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Mr. Manners Sutton had been elected Speaker from the office of Judge-Advocate. Mr. Abercromby had been elected Speaker from being a member of his Majesty's Cabinet. With these precedents befor the House, if complaints had arisen from such a course, it would have been discovered before this time and commented upon, instead of their having to do justice to the fairness and impartiality of those who had successively held the Chair. He, for one, could not subscribe to that as a sound principle; it would be as unjust to a Member of that House as it would be to the country at large. He could not avoid that opportunity of adding his tribute to the praise which had been so justly paid both by the Mover and Seconder of the hon. Gentleman opposite, to the merits of the Speaker who had resigned. Long and intimate acquaintance, during a very extended course of years, indeed from the earliest period he could mention, had enabled him to know his right hon. Friend's qualities and merits, and it gave him the greatest satisfaction to see, that while in the Chair he had showed a fairness and impartiality which he had before felt confident when he commenced he would exhibit, and which had obtained him the confidence and uniform support of all sides. That a similar result would follow this election, whoever might be the choice of the House, he had every confidence. He would no longer detain the House, but would conclude by proposing, "that the right hon. Henry Goulburn do take the Chair."

Mr. Wilson Patten

rose to second the motion. In the present instance, he felt very considerably relieved from the responsibility of his position, both by the character of the right hon. Gentleman, whose nomination he had the honour to second, and also by the character of the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. If his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn) were less known than he was in that House and by the country generally, he (Mr. W. Patten) should think the very circumstance of his having been selected to fill the office of Speaker by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Montgomery shire, would be a sufficient guarantee that he was fit for the office. The right hon. Gentleman had paid such constant attention to these particular points, had been so attentive to the privileges of that House, and had also been so high an authority on all matters connected with points of order in that House, that he should have the very highest confidence in seconding his nomination. The character of his right hon. Friend was, of itself, a sufficient recommendation. He had listened with very great pleasure to the encomiums passed on his hon. Friend, the Member for North Hampshire, and, if necessary, he would himself bear testimony that his hon. Friend possessed, in an eminent degree, many of the qualifications for the office to which he aspired, but he trusted his hon. Friend would not be offended if he ventured to claim for his right hon. Friend, Mr. Goulburn, not only the same qualifications both in his private and public character, but if he ventured to point out one or two qualities in which his right bon. Friend, the Member for Cambridge University excelled. In his opinion, the Gentleman called to the Chair of the House should enjoy those qualifications which insure the respect and deference of its Members; that he believed both the hon. Members did; but in addition to this it was of importance that the Gentleman called to the Chair should also enjoy that character in the country which would be a guarantee to the public that the duties of his high station in that House would be well performed. It was no fault of his hon. Friend that he did not possess the advantage derivable from this public character which was enjoyed by his right hon. Friend. His right hon. Friend had filled several important offices under the Crown, some of them requiring those qualifications which would particularly fit him for the efficient discharge of the duties which the occupation of the Chair of that House would impose. He had filled important offices, some of them of an unpopular character, which required decision and firmness in the performance of their duties, and he had fully profited by the opportunities which they presented, of showing on all occasions, that firmness of purpose and decision of character which the House required in the Speaker. These, he maintained, were advantages which the hon. Member for North Hampshire, though without any fault of his, did not possess. Another qualification, and which tended to increase his confidence in the right hon. Member was, that he represented a constituency not surpassed by any in the kingdom for learning and intelligence. Notwithstanding the significant expressions from certain quarters on the other side, he would co mend, that the representatives of our universities did largely carry with them the respect and confidence of the public. It had been objected by the hon. Member who had proposed Mr. S. Lefevre, that the previous possession of public offices should not be made a ground of qualification for the Chair. He should have supposed that the hon. Member would have better remembered the circumstances connected with the right hon. Gentleman who so lately filled the Chair. The hon. Member would bear in mind the encomiums which the late Speaker had bestowed on the Opposition side of the House for the support which he had received from it on all occasions in the discharge of his duties; and he should not be doing justice to the other side, if he did not express his firm belief that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn), if elected, would not receive a less steady support from it. Under these circumstances, and because he believed his right hon. Friend possessed the qualifications requisite for the discharge of the duties of the Chair of that House, and that by him they would be ably and faithfully performed, that he now seconded the motion that the right hon. Henry Goulburn be called to the Chair.

Mr. W. Duncombe,

said, that it was his intention to give his cordial support to the motion which had just been seconded by the hon. Member who last addressed the House. He did not think that the merits of his right hon. Friend had been exaggerated. On the contrary he thought they had been under-rated. He had risen for the purpose of adverting to one point noticed by the hon. Member for Lincolnshire, and of concurring with him in the expression of his regret that the election of the Speaker of that House should be made a party question, and that it should have been made so, not only on the present, but on a former occasion, when the late Speaker was from party motives proposed in opposition to Lord Canterbury. He regretted also that on this occasion there should have been more of party than there need have been. He had no wish to say one word in disparagement of the merits of the hon. Member for North Hants. On the contrary, he agreed in all the encomiums that had been passed on him; but he did think that in putting him forward the Government had unfairly passed over the superior claims of another hon. Member at the same side of the House—he alluded to the hon. Member for Rochester (Mr. Bernal), who for many years had filled the office of chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means—an office inferior in importance only to the Speakership —with equal credit to himself and advantage to the House. He had been appointed to that office by the present Government, and had been continued in it when Sir R Peel came into office, and he (Mr. Duncombe) did think, from the manner in which he had discharged its duties, and from his perfect knowledge of the rules and orders of the House as they related to public or private business, justice should have pointed him out as the most fit person to be called to the Chair. Had that course been taken, it would have divested the question of all party character, and would have enabled those Members at that (the Opposition) side to have voted for that hon. Member without any inconsistency. It had been said that the reason why the hon. Member for Rochester had been passed over was, that he had voted against Ministers on the Jamaica question; whether this was the case or not he could not say, but if the fact were so, he thought it gave that hon. Member a still stronger claim to the Speakership, because, in addition to the qualifications to which he had alluded, it showed that he possessed one of the highest and most important requisites for that office—independence. He should give his vote on this occasion to his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn); for while on the one hand he deprecated this being made a party question, he could not on the other relieve the Ministerial side from the consequences of having made it so. He believed that if hon. Members would divest themselves of party feeling on this occasion, a very large majority of the House would support the nomination of his right hon. Friend. As to the allusion made to certain observations attributed to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, he would only say at present that he could not believe that the report containing those observations was correct.

Mr. Shaw Lefevre

said, the House has received with so much favour the proposition of my Friends near me, that I feel relieved from much of that embarrassment which every individual must feel who addresses the House on a matter relating personally to himself. But, notwithstanding this encouragement and the eulogies which have been pronounced upon me, by my hon. Friends (for whose kindness on this occasion I never can feel sufficiently grateful), it is impossible that I can conceal from myself that any qualifications which I may be thought to possess for the office of Speaker, cannot in any degree bear a comparison with those of that right hon. Gentleman whose recent retirement from the Chair has now become a subject of universal regret. To me, who had the honour of proposing that right hon. Gentleman at the commencement of the present Parliament, it was most gratifying to hear Gentlemen on both sides of the House bear testimony to the ability and impartiality with which he presided over our deliberations. And having myself witnessed the admirable manner in which he discharged the less conspicuous, though not less important duties of his office, having observed his kindness, courtesy and promptitude in giving advice and assistance to every Member who stood in need of either, and above all, having watched the beneficial influence which he exercised on the conduct of the private business of this House, I feel the difficulty in which the House is now placed in deciding by this vote on the person who shall succeed him; and I feel also the increased resposibility which must be thrown on any individual who may be honoured by your choice. The responsibility which in ordinary times, and under ordinary circumstances, is inseperable from the laborious duties of the Chair, is of a sufficiently grave and anxious character. But in these times I regret to say, and in the present excited state of political feeling, that responsibility is immesurably increased. Entertaining, these opinions, it may not unreasonably be thought that I am presumptions in allowing myself to be placed in nomination as a candidate on the present occasion. I have not, I am aware, the advantages of my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Goulburn), if he will allow me to call him so—I have held no high political situation. I have not had the advantage of long experience in official life. My course has been that of an independent country gentleman—anxious only to make myself as useful as my position in Parliament would enable me to be. It was with that object that I have taken a small and humble share in those improvements to which my hon. Friend (Mr. Handley) has referred with regard to the conduct of the private business; and it the experiment which has been made —I allude to the Committee on Petitionses- pecially—has been successful, I can claim but a small portion of that credit which attaches to it in common with the hon. Members by whom I had the honour of being assisted in this work of reform. We could not be ignorant of the advantage of the interests involved in this branch of leaislation—we could not be ignorant of the great dissatisfaction which prevailed out of doors as to the conduct of the private business—and I believe we all felt most anxious to rescue the House from imputations which I am afraid were but too justly cast upon it. I shall only add, that although I am perfecly conscious that there are many Members who possess special qualifications for the office of Speaker, far superior to mine, yet I yield to no one in a desire to maintain the honour and dignity of this House, in a strong sense of the importance of protecting its privileges from being in the slightest degree trenched upon, and in a firm determination to exert all the energies I possess in the discharge of any duty which the House may impose upon me. With these observations I cheerfully submit myself to the pleasure of the House.

Mr. Goulburn

I am not ashamed to say that I rise to address the House with a few observations with which I shall trouble them under feelings of considerable embarrassment, because on the one hand, I cannot but entertain a fear lest I should in any manner appear insensible to the honour which has been proposed to me; and on the other, lest I should be thought capable of arrogating as my due the lavish praise which has been expressed with regard to me through the kindness of my friends. I certainly have had the advantage of long Parliamentary experience. I have had the honour of witnessing the elevation to that Chair, of Mr. Abbott, of Mr. Manners Sutton, and of the right hon. Gentleman whose secession we all lamented; and, I am well aware, from the observation I have had the opportunity of making, how important the duties are that attach to the Speaker of the House of Commons. I know, in common with my hon. Friend opposite, that at the present moment—from the greater complication of the national interests—from the increased pressure of both public and private business—from the greater attention which the people are in the habit of paying to the proceedings of this House—and above all, from the nicely balanced state of political opinions and interests—the difficulties which ordin- arily attached to this office arc greatly increased. And on the other hand, I cannot but feel how very deficient I am in those qualifications which would enable any Gentleman to discharge those duties in such a manner as would give satisfaction to this House. I can advance no pretensions beyond what are possessed, I might almost say, by every hon. Member of this House who deeply attached to the constitution of the country, feels an anxious desire to uphold the privileges of Parliament, and to maintain those rules and forms in our proceedings which are so essential to the support and confidence of the public at large. Under these circumstances I have little to offer on my own behalf to the House. I cannot but feel deeply grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montgomeryshire, who has proposed me, and the hon. Member for Lancashire, who has seconded the proposal for the too partial manner in which they have been pleased to speak of my past conduct and my present qualifications. Whatever may be the result of this evening's discussion, the recollection of their partial friendship will be to me a source of unfeigned gratification; and. if in the course of a now long public and; I have rendered any services to my country, and if, as my right hon. Friend has observed, I have elsewhere been subjected to obloquy, the knowledge that I possess their regard and esteem will be more than a compensation for any services I have rendered, and will be an adequate consolation for any vituperative expressions that may have been launched upon me elsewhere. I have only further to submit myself entirely to the judgment of the House. If it shall be their pleasure to place me in that Chair, I shall he bound to exercise whatever of ability or experience I possess to discharge satisfactorily the duty the House shall impose upon me; but if, on the other hand, the House should exercise a sounder discretion, and should overbear the partiality of my Friends in consideration of the acknowledged merits of my hon. Friend opposite, I can as sincerely assure the House that I shall, with greater satisfaction to myself, and no less zeal for the dignity of the House, co-operate with every Member of the House to support the authority of the Chair, and maintain that regularity and order in our proceedings which I believe to he essential to our own character, and which can alone command for us the confidence of the country.

The House divided on the motion, that Mr. Shaw Lefevre take the Chair. Ayes 317; Noes 299: Majority 18.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, hn. G.R. Clayton, Sir W. R.
Acheson, Viscount Clements, Viscount
Adam, Admiral Clive, E. B.
Aglionby, H. A. Codrington, Admiral
Aglionby, Major Collier, J.
Ainsworth, P. Collins, W.
Alston, R. Conyngham, Lord A.
Andover, Viscount Craig, W. G.
Anson, hon. Colonel Crawford, W.
Anson, Sir G. Crawley, S.
Archbold, R. Crompton, Sir S.
Attwood, T. Currie, R.
Bainbridge, E. T. Curry, W.
Baines, E. Dalmeny, Lord
Bannerman, A. Dashwood, G. H.
Baring, F. T. Davies, Colonel
Barnard, E. G. Denison, W. J.
Barron, H. W. Dennistoun, J.
Barry, G. S. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.
Beamish, F. B. Divett, E.
Bellew, B. M. Donkin, Sir R. S.
Benett, J. Duff, J.
Berkeley, hon. H. Duke, Sir J.
Berkeley, hon. G. Duncombe, T.
Berkeley, hon. C. Dundas, C. W. D.
Bernal, R. Dundas, F.
Bewes, T. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Blackett, C. Dundas, Sir R.
Blake, M. J. Easthope, J.
Blake, W. J. Edwards, Sir J.
Blewitt, R. J. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Blunt, Sir C. Ellice, Captain A.
Bowes, J. Ellice, right hon. E.
Brabazon, Sir W. Ellice, E.
Bridgeman, H. Ellis, W.
Briscoe, J. I. Earle, W.
Brocklchurst, J. Etwall, R.
Brodie, W. B. Euston, Earl of
Brotherton, J. Evans, Sir De L.
Browne, R. D. Evans, G.
Bryan, G. Evans, W.
Buller, C. Fenton, J.
Buller, E. Ferguson, R.
Bulwer, Sir L. Ferguson, Sir R.
Busfield, W. Ferguson, Sir H. A.
Butler, hon. Colonel Finch, F.
Byng, G. Fitzalan, Lord
Byng, right hon. G. S. Fitzgibbon, hon. Col.
Callaghan, D. Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Campbell, Sir J. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Cave, R. O. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Cavendish, hon. C. Fort, J.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. French, F.
Cayley, E. S. Gillon, W. D.
Chalmers, P. Gordon, R.
Chapman, Sir M. L. C. Goring, H. D.
Chester, H. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Chetwynd, Major Grattan, J.
Chichester, J. P. B. Grattan, H.
Childers, J. W. Greenaway, C.
Clay, W. Grey, Sir C,
Grey, rt, hon. Sir G. Morris, D.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Murray, A.
Grote, G. Muskett, G. A.
Guest, Sir J. Nagle, Sir R.
Hall, Sir B. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Hallyburton, lord D.G. O'Brien, C.
Handley, H. O'Brien, W. S.
Harland, W. C. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Harvey, D. W. O'Connell, D.
Hastie, A. O'Connell, J.
Hawes, B. O'Connell, M. J.
Hawkins, J. H. O'Connell, M.
Hayter, W. G. O'Connell, M.
Heathcoat, J. O'Connor, Don
Heathcote, G. J. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Hector, C. J. Ord, W.
Heneage, E. Paget, Lord A.
Heron, Sir R. Paget, F.
Hill, lord A. M. C. Palmer, C. F.
Hindley, C. Palmerston, Viscount
Hobhouse,rt. hn.Sir J. Parker, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Hodges, T. L. Parrott, J.
Holland, R. Pattison, J.
Horsman, E. Pease, J.
Hoskins, K. Pechell, Captain
Howard, F. J. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Howard, P. H. Phillipps, Sir R.
Howick, Viscount Phillips, M.
Hume, J. Phillips, G. R.
Humphrey, J. Phillpotts J.
Hurst, R. H. Pigot, D. R.
Hutt, W. Pinney, W.
Hutton, R. Ponsonby, C. F. C.
James, W. Ponsonby, hon. J.
Jervis, J. Power, J.
Jervis, S. Power, J.
Johnson, General Price, Sir R.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Protheroe, E.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Pryme, G.
Lambkin, H. Pryse, P.
Langdale, hon. C. Ramsbottom, J.
Langton, W. G. Redington, T. N.
Leader, J. T. Rice, E. R.
Lemon, Sir C. Rich, H.
Lennox, Lord G. Rippon, C.
Lennox, Lord A. Roche, E. B.
Leveson, Lord Roche, W.
Lister, E. C. Roche, Sir D.
Loch, J. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Lushington, C. Rumbold, C. E.
Lushington, rt. hn. S. Rundle, J.
Lynch, A. H. Russell, Lord J.
Macleod, R. Russell, Lord
Macnamara, Major Russell, Lord C.
M'Taggart, J. Rutherford, rt. hon. A.
Marshall, W. Salwey, Colonel
Moreland, H. Sanford, E. A.
Martin, J. Scholefield, J.
Martin, T. B. Scrope, G. P.
Maule, hon. F. Seale, Sir J. H.
Melgund, Viscount Seymour, Lord
Midmay, P. St. John Sharpe, General
Milton, Viscount Sheil, R. L.
Molesworth, Sir W. Shelburne, Earl of
Moreton, hon. A. H. Slaney, R. A.
Morpeth, Viscount Smith, J. A.
Smith, B. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Smith, G. R. Vivian, Major C.
Smith, R. V. Vivian, J. H.
Somers, J. P. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R.H.
Somerville, Sir W. M. Wakley, T.
Speirs, A. Walker, R.
Spencer, hon. F. Wallace, R.
Standish, C. Warburton, H.
Stanley, M. Ward, H. G.
Stanley, W. O. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Westenra, hon. J. C.
Staunton, Sir G. T. White, A.
Stewart, J. White, H.
Steuart, Lord J. White, L.
Stuart, V. White, S.
Stock, Dr. Wilbraham, G.
Strangways, hon. J. Wilde, Sergeant
Strickland, Sir G. Williams, W.
Sturt, E. Williams, W. A.
Style, Sir C. Wilshere, W.
Surrey, Earl of Winnington, T. E.
Talbot, C. R. M. Winnington, H. J.
Talfourd, Mr. Sergeant Wood, C.
Tancred, H. W. Wood, Sir M.
Thomson, rt hn. C. P. Wood, G. W.
Thorneley, T. Worsley, Lord
Townley, R. G. Wrightson, W. B.
Troubridge, Sir T. Wyse, T.
Turner, E. Yates, J. A.
Turner, W. TELLERS.
Verney, Sir H. Stanley, E. J.
Vigors, N. A. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Boldero, H.G.
Acland, T. D. Bolling, W.
A'Court, Captain Bradshaw, J.
Adare, Viscount Bramston, T. W.
Alford, Viscount Broadley, H.
Alsagar, Captain Broadwood, H.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Brownrigg, S.
Archdall, M. Bruce, Lord E.
Ashley, Lord Bruges, W. H. L.
Ashley, hon. H. Buck, L. W.
Attwood, W. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Attwood, M. Burdett, Sir F.
Bagge, W. Burr, H.
Bagot, hon. W. Burrell, Sir C.
Bailey, J. Burroughes, H. N.
Bailey, J. jun. Calcraft, J. H.
Baillie, Colonel Canning, rt.hon. Sir S.
Baker, E. Cantilupe, Viscount
Baring, hon.F. Cartwright, W. R.
Baring, H. B. Castlereagh, Lord
Baring, hon. W. Chapman, A.
Barneby, J. Christopher, R. A.
Barrington, Visct. Chute, W. L. W.
Bateson, Sir R. Clerk, Sir G.
Bell, M. Clive, hon. R. H.
Bentinek, Lord G. Codrington, C. W.
Bethell, R. Cole, hon. A. H.
Blackburne, I. Cole, Vis.
Blackstone, W. S. Colquhoun, J. C.
Blair, J. Compton, H. C.
Blakemore, R. Conolly, E.
Blandford, Marq. Of Cooper, E. J.
Blennerhassett, A. Coote, Sir C. H.
Copeland, Alderman Hayes, Sir E.
Corry, hon. H. Heneage, G. W.
Courtenay, P. Henniker, Lord
Cresswell, C. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Cripps, J. Herbert, hon. S.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Damer, hon. D. Hill, Sir R.
Darby, G. Hillsborough, Earl
Darlington, Earl of Hinde, J. H.
Devonport, J. Hodgson, F.
De Horsey, S. H. Hodgson, R.
Dick, Q. Hogg, J. W.
D'Israeli, B. Holmes, hn. W. A'C.
Dottin, A. R. Holmes, W.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hope, H. T.
Dowdeswell, W. Hope, hon. C.
Duffield, T. Hope, G. W.
Dugdale, W. S. Hotham, Lord
Dunbar, G. Houldsworth, T.
Duncombe, hon. W. Houstoun, G.
Duncombe, hon. A. Howard, hon. W.
Dungannon, Lord Vis. Hughes, W. B.
Du Pre, G. Hurt, F.
East, J. B. Ingestrie, Viscount
Eastnor, Lord Vis. Inglis, Sir R. R
Eaton, R. J. Irton, S.
Egerton, W. T. Irving, J.
Egerton, Sir P. Jackson, Mr. Sergnt.
Egerton, Lord F. James, Sir W. C.
Eliot, Lord Jenkins, Sir R.
Ellis, J. Jermyn, Earl
Estcourt, T. Johnstone, H
Estcourt, T. Jones, J.
Farnham, E. B. Jones, W.
Farrand, R. Jones, Capt.
Fielden, W. Kelly, F.
Fector, J. M. Kemble, H.
Fellowes, E. Kelburne, Viscount
Filmer, Sir E. Kirk, P.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Knatchbull, r. h. Sir E.
Fleming, J. Knight, H. G.
Foley, E. T. Knightly, Sir C.
Follett, Sir W. Knox, hon. T.
Forester, hon. G. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Fox, G. L. Law, hon. C. E.
Freemantle, Sir T. Lefevre, C. S.
Freshfield, J. W. Lefroy, right hon. T.
Gaskell, J. M. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Gladstone, W. E. Lincoln, Earl of
Glyne, Sir S. R. Litton, E.
Goddard, A. Lockhart, A. M.
Godson, R. Long, W.
Gordon, hon. Captain Lowther, hon. Colonel
Gore, O. J. R. Lowther, Viscount
Gore, O. W. Lowther, J. H.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Lucas, E.
Grant, F. W. Lygon, hon. General
Greene, T. Mackenzie, T.
Grimsditch, T. Mackenzie, W. F.
Grimston, Viscount Mackinnon, W. A.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Maclean, D.
Hale, R. B. Mahon, Viscount
Halford, H. Maidstone, Lord
Harcourt, G. G. Manners, Lord C. S.
Harcourt, G. S. Marsland, T.
Hardinge, rt.hn.Sir H. Marton, G.
Hawkes, T. Master, T. W. C.
Mathew, G. B. St. Paul, H.
Maunsell, T. P. Sanderson, R.
Meynell, Captain Sandon, Viscount
Miles, W. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Miles, P. W. S. Shaw, right hon. F.
Miller, W. H. Sheppard, T.
Milnes, R. M. Shirley, E. J.
Monypenny, T. J. Sibthorpe, Colonel
Mordaum, Sir J. Sinclair, Sir G.
Morgan, C. M. R. Smith, A.
Neeld, John Smyth, Sir G. H.
Neeld, J. Somerset, Lord G.
Nicholl, J. Stanley, E.
Noel, hon. W. M. Stanley, Lord
Norreys, Lord Stewart, J.
Owen, Sir J. Stormont, Viscount
Packe, C. W. Sturt, H. C.
Pakington, J. S. Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E.
Palmer, R. Teignmouth, Lord
Palmer, G. Tennent, J. E.
Parker, M. Thomas, Colonel H.
Parker, R. T. Thompson, Alderman
Parker, T. A. W. Thornhill, G.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir T. Tollemache, F. J.
Peel, J. Trench, Sir F.
Pemberton, T. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Perceval, Colonel Vere, Sir C. B.
Perceval, hon. G. J. Verner, Colonel
Pigot, R. Vernon, G. H.
Planta, rt. hon. J. Villiers, Lord
Plumptre, J. P. Vivian, J. E.
Polhill, F. Waddington, H. S.
Pollin, Sir J. W. Wall, C. B.
Pollock, Sir F. Walsh, Sir J.
Powell, Colonel Welbey, J. E.
Powerscourt, Visct. Whitmore, T. C.
Praed, W. M. Wilbraham, hon. B.
Praed, W. T. Williams, R.
Price, R. Williams, T. P.
Pringle, A. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Pusey, P. Wodehouse, E.
Rae, rt. hon. Sir W. Wood, Colonel T.
Reid, Sir J. R. Wood, T.
Richards, R. Wyndham, W.
Rickford, W. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Rolleston, L. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Rose, rt. hon. Sir G. Young, J.
Round, C. G. Young, Sir W.
Round, J. TELLERS.
Rushbrooke, Colonel Wynn, rt. hon. C.
Rushout, G. Patten, J. W.
Paired off.
Campbell, Sir H. Campbell, W. F.
Crewe, Sir G. Walker, C. A.
Douro, Marquess of Duncan, Lord
Granby, Marquess of Maher, J.
Grant, hon. Colonel Wemyss, Captain
Maxwell, hon. S. R. Talbot, J. H.
O'Neill, hon. General Fitzsimon, N.
Trevor, hon. G. R. Colquhoun, Sir J.
Gisbon, T. M. Heathcote, Sir W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Ker, D. (ill)
(abroad) Kerrison, Sir E.
Ossulston, Lord Ingham, R.
Spry, Sir S.
Abercromby, rt. hn. J. Cowper, hon. W.
Bentinck, Lord W. Fielden, J.
Bodkin, J. J. Heathcote, Sir G.
Brabazon, Lord Howard, Sir R.
Ewart, W. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Fazakerley, J. N. Wilkins, W.
Mr. Shaw Lefevre

was then led to the Chair by Mr. Handley and Sir Stephen Lushington, when he addressed the House to the following effect: I venture to offer my sincere and heartfelt acknowledgments for the distinguished honour you have conferred upon me. I wish your election had fallen on an individual more worthy of the honour; but I assure you I will endeavour by an honest and impartial discharge of my duties to deserve the high distinction I have received at your hands.

Lord John Russell

I rise, Sir, to congratulate you upon the distinguished honour which you have received from the House. I am sure it will be quite unnecessary, after the debate which has just taken place, and after your long experience of the business of the House, that I should say anything either of the arduous nature of the duties to be performed, or of the distinguished honour which any one must acquire by performing those duties to the satisfaction of this House. I shall, therefore, only say that I perceived with very great pleasure during the debate which took place, that there was a disposition on both sides to give every credit to the qualifications of the two Members of this House who were proposed, and that there was nothing in the course of the debate from those who proposed you, Sir, or from those who proposed the right hon. Gentleman opposite, which could create an unpleasant feeling with regard to that competition; and I am sure, from what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge, said, and which respect for his character induces me implicitly to believe, that he would be one of the foremost to support the privileges of the House, though the choice might not fall on him, that he, as well as those who voted for him, will make good that promise, and that you will receive, not only from those who support your election, but from the whole of the House, that support and unanimous concurrence by which alone in the difficult circumstances in which a Speaker is placed, he can hope to succeed in preserving order, and carrying properly into effect the important duties confided to him. I congratulate you, Sir, on the high honour you have received, and beg now to state to the House, that it is her Majesty's pleasure that the Speaker should be submitted to her Majesty for the royal approbation in the House of Lords to-morrow at three o'clock. I shall propose that the House do proceed to business after the Speaker has received the royal approbation. I move that this House do adjourn.

House adjourned.