HC Deb 01 February 1855 vol 136 cc1261-3

Mr. Speaker, I rise to make, in the usual manner, the communication to the House naturally expected from Her Majesty's Ministers, which is of course no new information to them, and which would have been made on Tuesday, but that from accidental circumstances the House of Lords had been adjourned over that day. I have now to state, that in consequence of what passed in this House on Monday night, Her Majesty's Government felt it to be their duty to tender to Her Majesty the resignation of their several offices; that that resignation has been graciously accepted by Her Majesty; and that we only hold our offices for the transaction of public duties until our successors are appointed. From this circumstance, the House will naturally feel it to be inconvenient to proceed to the despatch of any public business. I shall, therefore, propose, that this House at its rising should adjourn until to-morrow. My reason for not proposing a longer adjournment—which under existing circumstances would be more natural—is this. I understand from you, Sir, that an hon. and gallant Member of this House, the Member for Westminster (Sir De Lacy Evans), who is to receive the thanks of this House in his place here, has announced to you, Sir, as Speaker, that he will take his seat to-morrow. I am sure that I should be doing violence to the feeling of this House, if I proposed by any longer adjournment to deprive them of the earliest opportunity of testifying to the hon. and gallant Member the sense which they entertain of his brilliant and distinguished services. There is also the Bill which my hon. Friend the Under Secretary for the Colonial Department introduced two days ago—a Bill to carry into effect the treaty recently concluded with the United States. And if there be no disposition on the part of anybody to oppose the second reading, it will be convenient to the public service, and tend to promote the interests of the country, if the House would allow that measure to proceed a stage. With these circumstances before them, I hope that the House will understand that in proposing to meet to-morrow, we simply meet for the purposes I have mentioned. In the present state of public affairs I am sure the House will agree with me in thinking that any other questions, or Motions of any other kind, are not at the present moment proper subjects for our consideration. I therefore move, Sir, that the House at its rising do adjourn until to-morrow.

Motion agreed to.


said, he could not avoid expressing his regret that no statement had been made as to the prospect that might exist of any Government being formed to replace the one just resigned. In the present crisis of public affairs, and with the troops in the Crimea in that lamentable condition in which they were known to be, not only from the statements of eye-witnesses, but, also, upon the high official authority of one of the Cabinet Ministers who had lately resigned office, he trusted that it would be borne in mind that days, and almost hours, were of importance, and that in no quarter, from the highest downwards, would any feeling of past favour or aversion be allowed to interfere with the desire to procure for the country the best and most efficient Ministry to carry on the war to a successful issue. He rejoiced very much that the noble Lord the Home Secretary had only adjourned the House until to-morrow, and he confessed he wished that some other reason for that had been assigned than the perfectly satisfactory reason. [Laughter.] The perfectly satisfactory reason, he repeated, considered by itself, of the thanks of the House having to be given to the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster for his distinguished services. He could have wished that some allusion might have been made to the urgency of the present crisis; to which, having lost relatives in the war, and having still some of those nearest and dearest to him engaged in it, he might, perhaps, attach more importance, though he hardly thought he did, than the country at large.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Five o'clock.