HC Deb 07 November 1884 vol 293 cc1222-3

Perhaps, by the indulgence of the House, I may now be permitted, as I was absent at the time last night, to say a few words on my own part, as well as on the part of my Colleagues, on the subject which was introduced with very great propriety and good feeling by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and answered in the same spirit by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for War—I mean the grievous intelligence which reached us last night during the sitting of the House of the lamented death of Mr. Fawcett. Sir, Mr. Fawcett's name is a name which is heard I know, in all quarters of the House, with feelings of the greatest respect. We have all been accustomed to regard with admiration his inflexible integrity and independence of mind, his absolute devotion to the Public Service, the marvellous tenacity of his memory, combined with his remarkable clearness of mental vision; and, I think, even above all these, if possible, the rare courage, the unfailing, the unmeasured courage, with which he confronted and mastered all the difficulties which would have daunted and repelled an ordinary man in connection with the loss of the precious gift of sight. From these and other causes he acquired a place in the hearts and minds of his countrymen such as is undoubtedly accorded to few; and I believe that he had won a place equally high in the esteem and respect of the House of Commons. I wish, Sir, in these few words to place on record, in the name of myself and of my Colleagues, our deep sense of the loss of a most distinguished public servant.


Sir, having had the honour of filling for some years the Office now so unhappily vacated by Mr. Fawcett's unexpected and lamented death, I may, perhaps, be allowed to say two sentences in the same sense as those which the right hon. Gentleman has just spoken. Mr. Fawcett possessed not only those high qualities which must have struck everybody, and to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, but I think I may venture to say that from those personal communications which I necessarily have had with him, it was impossible for any man to exceed in courtesy and fairness the eminent statesman whose loss we all deplore. Sir, I speak from the bottom of my heart when I say that I feel the death of Mr. Fawcett to be a personal as well as a public and political misfortune.