HC Deb 21 February 1859 vol 152 cc606-10

said, he had to beg the indulgence of the House as he wished to make an appeal to the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), the hon. Member for Berwick (Mr. Stapleton), and to his noble and gallant Friend the Member for Sandwich (Lord C. Paget). Those hon. Members must be aware that he had given notice of his intention to make a statement on Friday next as to the views and intentions of the Government in regard to the naval forces of the country. He saw, however, Notices given for that day by the hon. Members he had alluded to upon the Motion for going into Committee of Supply. Now the duty he proposed discharging, the nature of which he had given notice of, was of an arduous and difficult character; but it would be rendered much more difficult and arduous if debates should arise upon the Motions of the hon. Members upon going into Committee of Supply. He feared under such circumstances, it would be hardly possible for him to undertake the duty he proposed. Hon. Members had, no doubt, a full right to bring on such questions, if they pleased, and he only appealed to their courtesy in asking them to waive their right on the evening in question, when they found that the details of one of the greatest interests of the country were to be submitted to the House.


said, it was generally understood that a Reform Bill should be introduced with respect to Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Monday would introduce his Reform Bill for England. If the right hon. Gentleman would then make a general statement with respect to the whole country, he (Mr. Baxter) would withdraw his notice for Friday night, but if the right hon. Gentleman meant to confine himself to England and Wales, he did not see his way at present and without further consideration to accede to the request of the First Lord of the Admiralty.


said, that with regard to the Notice he bad given, he thought it of paramount importance that there should be some discussion on the Danubian Principalities before the conference assembled. The other night when the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) appealed to him (Mr. Stapleton) to forbear taking advantage of the notice, he yielded, but adopting the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell), he then gave a fresh notice that he would bring forward the subject at the proper time on going into Committee of Supply. If he were now to give way, he might not have an opportunity of doing it at all before the conference assembled.


Sir, I think it would be for the convenience of the House as well as that of the Government, that the hon. Member for Montrose and the hon. Member for Berwick should accede to the request of my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty. It is of great importance, after all that has been said on the subject, that I should bring forward on Monday next the Motion of which I have given notice for that evening; but if those Motions of the two hon. Members are to be interposed between the business which precedes them and that which my right hon. Friend has to bring before the House—the Navy Estimates—certainly it will not be in my power to do so. Both sides of the House seem to think it desirable that there should not be any postponement of the statement of my right hon. Friend; and if he be prevented from making it on Friday evening, I shall be perfectly ready to allow him to avail himself of Monday, and I shall ask some hon. Gentleman to be kind enough to give me some evening not devoted to public business. However, Sir, it will not be my fault if my Motion does not come on at the time I named for it. With respect to what has fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose, I must repeat what I have stated in answer to questions put by hon. Gentlemen—that I think it would be more convenient if the Government were allowed to state their intentions on the subject of the amendment of the laws relating to the representation of the people in Parliament when introducing the measure which they intend to bring forward on the subject. Following the course always taken by our predecessors I shall make a statement on that occasion; and I think I shall then have an opportunity of showing the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) that it is more advantageous to the public interest that the usual course should be adhered to in this case also. With regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Berwick (Mr. Stapleton), I mentioned to him on a former occasion that the Notices, as at present fixed, were so scanty that he would no doubt have an opportunity of bringing his forward; but I did not mean to intimate to him then that he should seek an opportunity of taking a Government night. I do, therefore, hope that the two hon. Members to whom my right lion. Friend has appealed—the hon. Member for Montrose and the hon. Member for Berwick—may not feel it necessary, in pursuance of their public duty, to interfere with the arrangements which he has made for introducing the Navy Estimates on Friday night. That will enable me to make my statement on Monday night; and if I be afforded that opportunity, I trust I shall be able to convince the hon. Member for Montrose that the course I propose is the most convenient.


said, he had a Motion for Friday night. As it referred to appointments made to offices the East he was anxious to have it brought on before the persons to whom it referred had been put to any inconvenience in preparing for their journey. He bad no objection, however, to give up Friday night, but he hoped that the gentlemen would not be put to the inconvenience of starting for their posts pending events which might occur in that House, and which might make a countermand necessary.


said, that the Motion of his noble colleague (Lord C. Paget) was not in the same category as the Notices of those hon. Gentlemen who had been appealed to. It related to the Navy, and might therefore be very appropriately discussed on the night on which the Navy Estimates were to be brought forward.


said, the notice of the noble Lord did not relate to the Navy, but to the form of the Estimates, and might be brought forward upon a subsequent occasion. He said he was obliged to the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) for his courtesy, and must renew his appeal to the other two hon. Gentlemen.


said, he considered it justifiable on the part of the Government to ask hon. Gentlemen to postpone Motions which might lead to a long discussion, and throw back the statement which the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Admiralty had to make, so as to render it impossible to lain to accomplish what he had to say within the limits of the hours during which that House ordinarily sat; but he (Viscount Palmerston) would beg to remind the Government that statements of much importance, and statements concerning Estimates, had been made at an hour of the night later than that at which they were now sitting. It was therefore rather too much for the Government to protest against any one bringing forward any subject on the Motion for going into Supply on the ground that it would prevent them from going into a statement that same night. He could only say that it was not the principle upon which Gentlemen opposite acted when he was in office. During that time nothing was more frequent or common than interpositions and debates on other matters to prevent Mr. Speaker from leaving the Chair that the House might go into Supply. If this statement of the right hon. Baronet was so pressing he had had nearly three weeks' opportunity of bringing it forward. He might have made it that very evening, for there was no pressing business to come before them but a statement by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which might have been made last Friday. Therefore, he did not think the Government ought to go so far as to put back all other business fur a statement which might be given at nine o'clock or even at ten o'clock on Friday night.

Orders of the Day read, and postponed till after the Notice of Motion relative to Church Rates.

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