HC Deb 13 February 1871 vol 204 cc232-4

, in moving a Vote of Thanks to Sir Denis Le Marchant, Baronet, upon his resignation of the office of Clerk of the House, said—I rise to propose, in conformity with the past usage of this House, that we should express in a befitting manner to you, Mr. Speaker, as the proper organ of this House, our sense of the manner in which Sir Denis Le Marchant has discharged the duties of Clerk. Sir Denis Le Marchant is a very old public servant, numbering more than 40 years of work in offices all of which were arduous, and the latter part of which have been given to the service of this House—years that certainly have been very remarkable. I imagine that this House has very long enjoyed the honour of being the most laborious, by far, of all the Legislative Assemblies of the world, and, during all the period of the existence of this House, there have been none in which its labours have been more arduous or more unremitting than during the last 20 or 21 years. During the whole of that time Sir Denis Le Marchant has been the Principal Officer at the Table of this House, and every Gentleman who has had any experience of the proceedings in Parliament knows well, from his own observation, how exacting and exhaustive are the labours which the Clerks at the Table undergo, and how kindly and how thoroughly efficient is the assistance which every Member of the House receives at the Table on all occasions in the discharge of his duties. I, therefore, am quite sure that the House will be heartily disposed to join in the tribute which I now propose. It is right that I should also refer to that portion of the duty of the Principal Clerk at the Table which consists in the government of a portion of the large establishment attached, and necessarily attached, to this House for the performance of its varied duties. Though, perhaps, it is not easy for most of us to speak from personal experience of the merits of any particu- lar officer in the discharge of functions such as these, it so happened that, during the time I held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, I had the opportunity of seeing something of Sir Denis Le Marchant in this capacity, and of learning from those who were most competent to judge how those functions had been discharged. And I believe that in that province—one undoubtedly of great moment to the good conduct of the business of this House—Sir Denis Le Marchant was distinguished by a fair and equitable spirit, and by his great desire to promote the efficiency of the establishment over which he presided by doing justice to all parties concerned. His resignation is undoubtedly matter of regret; it reminds us all of our transitory condition, and that we must submit to the law that governs us; but it is some consolation to be enabled to express a friendly regret, in the terms of a Motion such as this, at the separation when it comes.


I think it is due to an old officer of this House, who has performed public duties, as stated by my right hon. Friend opposite, for 40 years, of which 20 years have been spent in this House, that he should not pass from our service without the testimony borne to his character being conveyed to him from both sides of this House. I agree in every word which has been stated by my right hon. Friend opposite with regard to Sir Denis Le Marchant. One portion of his duties I am, perhaps, better able to speak of from personal observation and experience; I allude to those functions which my right hon. Friend mentioned in the latter part of his observations—the appointment of the officers of this House. I am quite sure that Members who have taken part in the Committees of this House must have been struck with the able manner in which the Clerks of this House performed their duties. All these were under the appointment of Sir Denis Le Marchant; and I think the manner in which these offices are filled, and in which their duties are performed, speaks highly for his soundness of judgment and discretion. My right hon. Friend has spoken of the courtesy which was always shown to Members of this House by Sir Denis Le Marchant. It is, of course, the duty of the Clerks at the Table to render every assistance they can to Members of this House in the performance of their duty to their constituents; but everything depends upon the manner in which this is done; and even in their presence, I will say that our thanks are due, not only to Sir Denis Le Marchant, but to those who have sat beside him for many years past, for the courteous manner in which they have rendered that assistence. I cordially agree in every compliment that has been paid to Sir Denis Le Marchant, and I heartily second the Vote that has been proposed.

Motion agreed to.

Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That Mr. Speaker be requested to acquaint Sir Denis Le Marchant, baronet, that this House desires to express its sense of the manner in which he has uniformly discharged the duties of his important office during his long attendance in the service of this House.

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