HL Deb 27 January 1818 vol 37 cc17-8
The Earl of Liverpool

observed, that the office of clerk of the parliaments having become vacant by the death of Mr. Rose, it was vested by reversion in his son, who being at present out of the country could not appear before them to take the oaths. In order to obviate the inconvenience which might result from his absence, he would move that Henry Cowper, esq. be authorised to affix his signature in the meanwhile to such proceedings of their lordships as required the signature of the clerk of the parliaments.

Lord Holland

regretted the situation in which the House was placed, and intimated his intention of moving for a committee to inquire into the state of the clerks of the House. There was evidently something that required to be remedied in order to protect them against such an occurrence. Perhaps it might turn out, upon investigation, that the present clerk held situations' which he was not authorized to hold without the direct permission of the House. At all events they owed it to their own dignity to inquire into the cause.

The Earl of Liverpool

suggested that the regular course would be to move for a copy of the patent by which the appointment was made. He believed there were resolutions on the Journals prohibiting persons from holding certain offices who acted in the capacity of clerk of the parliaments.

The Lord Chancellor

concurred in the propriety of the course recommended by the noble earl. He, as chancellor, was Speaker of their lordships House. Other Speakers had been appointed by letters patent in the absence of the chancellor, but if they had been absent also, the House must surely have a power to supply their place. The same reasoning would apply to their clerk. After complimenting the industry of the clerks in general, he concluded by expressing his opinion, that they should have a copy of the instrument under which the appointment was made, in order to know whether there was any body who had a title to the office, and should provide in the mean time for the discharge of its duties.

Earl Grosvenor

said, that this circumstance confirmed him in the opinion he had always entertained of the necessity of inquiring into these offices.

The motion for granting a copy of the letters patent and that for authorising the signature of Mr. Cowper were agreed to.