HC Deb 18 February 1859 vol 152 cc508-11

said, that, not seeing the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his place, he should not then ask, but on the earliest opportunity he would ask, whether it is true that Captain Howard Vyse has been appointed Consul in Japan.


said, that in the absence of his hon. Friend (Mr. S. FitzGerald) he would reply that it was quite true Captain Howard Vyse had been appointed Vice Consul in Japan, and it was an appointment, in his opinion, which would secure the services of a most efficient officer.


said, he should then take the earliest opportunity of proposing a Resolution on the subject.

On Question, that the House at rising adjourn till Monday next,


said, he wished to call the attention of the House for a moment to the subjects on the Paper which were about to be brought forward on that Motion. He had always supported, on whichever side of the House he had sat, the privilege of hon. Gentlemen to bring forward on these occasions the various topics which they thought of urgent interest. He had always thought it better to trust to that general sense of propriety which he hoped characterized—as he was sure it had always characterized—their proceedings, rather than to have any restrictions or restraints upon discussion and debates to regulate those proceedings. In looking over the subjects which were to be brought before the House that evening, and which were eight in number, seven of them appeared to him subjects which might very legitimately be brought forward in this incidental manner. He begged, however, to call attention to one, No. 18, which was to be moved by the hon. Member for Berwick (Mr. Stapleton). which appeared to him of a very different kind. The language of that notice was as follows:— To call the attention of the House to the organization of the Danubian Provinces, in as far as it is affected by the election of Alexander John Sourza to be Hospodar of Wallachia, he having been previously elected Hospodar of Moldavia. The House, he was sure, would see that this notice opened one of the largest and most important questions that could come before it. He would not enlarge upon the circumstances, but at the present moment the conferences at Paris were about to be reopened to discuss among the Representatives of the different Powers that very subject. He would not ask the House to consider whether it was expedient to forestall what might occur at the conferences by a discussion in that House, but he thought the House would agree with him that it was a subject which, if brought forward, ought to be brought forward in a formal manner. It was, in fact, a Motion, and the House would remember that there had been Motion night after Motion night since the House had assembled, when they had been discharged from their duties at a very early hour, and there had been no want of opportunity for hon. Gentlemen to bring forward any Motion which they liked, or which they considered demanded discussion. He would put it to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwick whether he thought, under all the circumstances of the case, it was a discreet and proper course to introduce that subject to the discussion of the House at that moment, and especially in that manner. The hon. Gentleman, if he thought fit, might avail himself of the legitimate opportunity of a Motion night to bring forward any subject which he thought ought to be brought under their notice. He would not use so harsh a word as to say it was an abuse of a very useful privilege which, if exercised with discretion, was a great public advantage; but this was not the manner and not the occasion when this important subject ought to be brought forward, and he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not insist upon his privilege that night to introduce it to their notice.


said, he quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that discussions upon highly important subjects ought not to be raised on the Motion for adjournment until Monday, unless there were some special and pressing reason. It was rather an opportunity for questions which could be shortly put and shortly answered, but which required rather more explanation than ordinary questions. When the Motion for going into Committee of Supply was made in a substantive manner it would be desirable that some discussion should take place both with regard to the Danubian Principalities and some other questions of importance relating to foreign affairs. That would be the constitutional time to enter into such discussions, and to require explanations from Her Majesty's Government. He would take that opportunity of asking whether the Secretary for War had any serious intention of going into Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates on Monday night? It had been the usual practice to take the Navy Estimates first. On one occasion, many years ago, when it was proposed under Lord Melbourne's Government to bring forward the Army Estimates before the Navy Estimates, the late Sir George Clerk, who had great experience in such matters, raised an objection, stating that the course was most unusual, and the Government at once yielded to his representations and brought in the Navy Estimates first. On the present occasion that course was peculiarly desirable, for the Army Estimates had only been a short time before the House. The whole question, both in regard to the number of men and the expense, was one of great importance, and it would not be desirable to bring it forward at so short a notice.


said, he hoped that one general comprehensive statement would be made on the Army Estimates, instead of three or four short ones, as was the case in the previous year.


said, he had intended to announce this evening that he should not ask for any vote of money on Monday. His only object in going into Committee of Supply was to ask the House to agree to the number of men, in order that the Mutiny Bill might be brought forward. Of course, if there were any objection, he would abandon his intention.


said, he would withdraw his notice with regard to the Danubian Principalities, and that he should bring it forward on going into Committee of Supply.