HC Deb 11 June 1886 vol 306 cc1510-2

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £1,000, Gratuity to Lady Gosset.


I hope the Committee will allow me to explain the circumstances under which this Vote is submitted. Members of this House who sat in the last Parliament will remember the late Serjeant-at-Arms (Sir Ralph Gosset), and the efficient services he rendered for a long series of years. When he retired, after serving the House for 50 years, a Vote of Thanks was moved by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, seconded by my right hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, and supported by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), as representing the Irish Party; and the House unanimously expressed its high appreciation of the services which Sir Ralph Gosset had rendered. The House desired that the most liberal terms of pension should be granted, and accordingly £1,200 per annum was awarded to Sir Ralph Gosset, and was to commence from the 1st of October, 1885. When the House passed the Vote of Thanks my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed a hope that Sir Ralph Gosset might be spared for many years to enjoy his well-earned pension; but he lived for a very short time, and died within less than three months. Under the circumstances, the matter was brought before the late Government, with a view of ascertaining whether the House of Commons would not be disposed to mark its acknowledgment of his services by a grant to his widow. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Iddesleigh concurred in that view, and were of opinion that £1,000 ought to be given for that purpose. In that opinion the present Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Treasury also concur. I hope, therefore, that the House will make this recognition of the claim of an old and valuable servant who served the House for 50 years, whose father before him served the House for 30 years, and whose son, I trust, will be spared to serve the House for many years to come. No better case for a frank and generous recognition of faithful services has ever been submitted to the House, and I trust that the Vote will be unanimously acceded to.

MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

I hope it will be understood that it is not from any want of sympathy with the Motion that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) is not at this moment in his place, and that so few of my right hon. Friends are present. The fact is that the Motion was not expected to be made at this moment. I beg to assure the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) and the Committee generally that Gentlemen on this side fully concur in the proposal which has been made, and entirely support it. They are of opinion that it is by no means in excess of what is due to one who did so much to earn the gratitude and win the affection of the Members of this House.

SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT (Sussex, North-West)

As an independent Member of the House, I desire to say that I cordially agree with what has fallen from the Secretary to the Treasury; and I venture to believe that the Vote will be granted unanimously by the House. All who knew the late Serjeant-at-Arms must have felt his retirement as a loss to the House; and if we can mark our appreciation of his services by a grant to his widow, it is only right and fitting that we should do so.

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I hope the Committee will not deem it impertinent on my part if I obtrude a word or two in regard to this Vote. Unfortunately, from circumstances with which I need not trouble the Committee, I had no opportunity of personally joining in the vote to the Serjeant-at-Arms passed in the last Parliament. I am afraid that, during the sitting of that Parliament, I was often the cause of considerable anxiety and trouble to him. I therefore desire to bear my testimony to the very great courtesy which Sir Ralph Gosset always showed to me, sometimes under very trying circumstances. As becoming a young Member I will not say more, but that I cordially support the Vote.


I can assure the Committee that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) and his Colleagues from Ireland generally fully recognize the urbanity and kindness which the late Serjeant-at-Arms always displayed towards the Irish Members, and they also heartily support the Vote.