HC Deb 15 June 1871 vol 207 cc72-3

I wish, Sir, to take this opportunity of saying that I find I was under a mistake the other day when I accused the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) of exercising an extreme right, or something more than an extreme right, in changing the terms of his Motion. I have since learnt that the course he took could be quite justified by precedent, though I still think it was inconvenient when so very serious a matter as the existence of anything that could fairly be called "widespread discontent" in India was in question. I wish further to say that I desire entirely to retract any moral blame which I attached, or was understood to attach, to the hon. Gentleman. My expressions will not at all bear the interpretation he put on them in his reply, as I am sure he will see if he has them read over to him again; but they do, I think, convey some fraction of moral blame, and that I absolutely retract.


Sir, I beg to thank the Under Secretary for the explanation he has given. Not only when I heard the words in question used, but when they were read to me the next morning, they caused me very considerable pain. My conduct had not been dishonourable. The course I took was this:—I immediately consulted the highest official in this House as to whether it was in the least degree unusual or improper for a Member to alter the terms of his Motion three days before he brought it forward. Had my conduct been in the smallest degree unusual I should have asked the Speaker to have allowed me to make the most ample apology, not only to the Under Secretary, but also to this House, for, above all things, I have been most anxious since I have had a seat here that I should do nothing which any opponent would be able to say was not perfectly straightforward. I am sure that in future the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary, if I should have occasion to speak on the subject of India, will do me the justice of supposing that I am actuated by motives not less worthy, and a desire not less sincere, to promote the interests of India than he himself is actuated by. In conclusion, I beg to thank both sides of the House, for the great kindness which they have shown to me in this matter, and I beg most particularly to thank the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) for the generous way in which he spoke the other night of the motives with which I brought forward my Motion.