HC Deb 07 February 1872 vol 209 cc90-2

addressed the House, announcing his intention of retiring from the Chair, as follows:—Before the commencement of Public Business, I would ask leave to say a few words to the House. I am very glad of the opportunity which has been permitted to me of again meeting this House, and of explaining to them in person the reasons why I feel it necessary to withdraw from the Chair. I hope the House will not think that I am running away from engagements entered into, or from labour which it would he in my power to perform. Such is not the case. I have been happy in the service of the House, for a considerable period of years, and I shall quit the Chair with regret. To preside in this House, to live in friendly intercourse with its Members, and to take some small share in smoothing the course of the great machine of Government is, to me, honour sufficient. I have no ambition beyond it. But the labour of the House has of late years been very great, and last year it was excessive, it much overtaxed my strength, and I have not been able, during the recess, to rally from the effects which it produced upon my health. I feel that I now could only offer to the House imperfect service; and, rather than that, I think it is more becoming to ask leave to withdraw. With regard to the exact time of my withdrawal, I should desire to consult the convenience of the House. I shall resume the Chair to-morrow at the usual time.


Sir, the nature of the announcement which you have now conveyed to the House, and likewise the deep and genuine feeling which has prompted its conveyance, and the marked manner of its conveyance, must render this a special occasion to us. I am quite sure that it calls forth in the mind and heart of every man who has heard you sentiments entirely answerable to your own. But, Sir, this is not the occasion on which the House ought to be invited to express the feelings with which it is affected. I shall therefore restrain for myself—and I hope that others will likewise, in conformity with usage, be contented to-day to restrain—that which it must be in our minds, and almost upon our lips, to utter. I will proceed simply to give Notice of two Motions which I propose to move tomorrow. The first of these is— That the Thanks of the House be given to Mr. Speaker for his distinguished services in the Chair during a period of nearly fifteen years; that he be assured that this House fully appreciates the zeal and ability with which he has discharged the duties of his high office, through many laborious Sessions, and the study, care, and firmness with which he has maintained its privileges and dignity; and that this House feels the strongest sense of his unremitting attention to the constantly increasing business of Parliament, and of his uniform urbanity, which have secured for him the respect and esteem of this House. I shall also on the same occasion move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty that She will be most graciously pleased to confer some signal mark of Her Royal Favour upon the Right Honourable John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of this House, for his great and eminent services performed to his country during the important period for which he has, with such distinguished ability and integrity, presided in the Chair of this House. These Motions will be moved to-morrow at half-past 4 o'clock.


Perhaps the occasion for Motions of which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government has given Notice for to-morrow will be a more appropriate one for the expression of those feelings by which I am sure every hon. Member on both sides of this House is animated; but, in the unavoidable absence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), I cannot refrain from saying one word to express how heartily I myself—and I am sure every one of my Friends on this side of the House—sympathize with those expressions which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. I will not on this occasion detain the House with many words, but will simply, Sir, say that which I am sure will be more grateful to your feelings than many words, and which will be to express my earnest hope that your retirement may at once lead to the restoration of your health, our deep regret that your health should have been impaired, and our cordial assurance that you will retire from the position which you have so well filled in possession of the respect, the gratitude, and the attachment of every hon. Member of this House.

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