HC Deb 13 May 1858 vol 150 cc524-5

said, he would beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the resignation of the Earl of Ellenborough has been his own spontaneous act, or whether it is partly attributable to the directly or indirectly expressed wish of the Government that the noble Lord should resign; whether it is the intention of the Government to adopt the views conveyed in the despatch of the Secret Committee to the Governor General in Council, April 19, 1858, or whether it is the intention of the Government to accept the policy laid down in the Proclamation of the Governor General of India, dated Allahabad, March 14, 1858?


Sir, I will reply first to the second question that has been put to me by the noble Lord. I think, upon reflection, he must feel, and the House will agree with me, that the inquiry contained in his second question is one of too great a scope to form the subject of a mere question, but should rather be introduced to the House in the shape of a Motion. It is quite competent for the noble Lord to adopt that course if he wishes to obtain the fullest information upon the subject. With regard to the first question which he has put, I think the noble Lord will find the most authentic account of the motives that influenced the Earl of Ellenborough in the course of conduct which he has adopted, and the circumstances under which he adopted it, in the frank and generous speech which that noble Earl has recently delivered in his place in Parliament. I think if the noble Lord refers to that speech he will find that even the first Minsiter of the Crown was not aware of that resignation having been tendered until after it had been laid at the feet of Her Majesty, and I have no doubt that the motives which induced the Earl of Ellenborough to take that, not unconstitutional, but unusual course, were that he knew very well that if the question had been put to those who had the honour of being his colleagues, their great regard for the personal qualities of the noble Earl, and their admiration of his character, would have induced them unanimously to request him to withdraw his resignation.