§ First Report of Public Petition Committee brought up and read.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I am sure I am the faithful organ of the feeling of the Members of this House when I take this opportunity of expressing, as I think I may venture to do on their behalf, the deep regret which we all feel for the loss the House, has sustained in the death of Mr. Gregson, the late Member for Lancaster. In his capacity of Member of this House, he performed great services to the public; and he was Chairman, I think for seven years, of that Committee of which the Report has just been brought up and moved to be laid upon the table. His attention to his duties was most unwearying, and those who had occasion to come in contact with him, either personally or by virtue of the duties which he performed, will bear witness to his indefatigable industry, to the firmness and soundness of his judgment, to the conciliatory character of his temper, and to the combination in his person of all those qualities which rendered him a valuable and estimable Member of this House. Sir, I may add that I think the public in general are 287 hardly aware how much the public interest is indebted to the voluntary and unpretending, almost unknown, exertions of Members of this House with regard to the Private business, and with regard also to the Public business of this House. The time and patient attention which are given gratuitously by Members acting upon the Committees of this House reflect the greatest credit on their public spirit—the more so because those exertions and those labours, however arduous they may be, and however much, in many cases, they may press on the health of those who perform them, are, from their very nature, not labours attracting public attention, or giving to those who perform them that reputation which is acquired by distinguished exertions and by public speaking in this House. I think it due to the Members of this House to draw attention to these facts, and there never was a more deserving instance of that merit than may be claimed by the friends of the late Mr. Gregson. I am proud of having enjoyed his personal friendship, and therefore, in addition to regret for his public loss, I feel regret at the loss of a valuable and estimable friend.