HL Deb 22 September 1831 vol 7 cc479-80

It being understood that the Reform Bill would be brought up from the House of Commons there was a numerous attendance of Peers. A few Peeresses were accommodated with seats at the bar, and the space allotted to strangers was thronged to an overflow.

The Lord Chancellor had no sooner taken his seat on the Woolsack, than Mr. Pulman, the Deputy Usher of the Black Rod, appeared at the bar, and announced "a Message from the Commons." The Peers took their seats and perfect stillness prevailed. The Lord Chancellor put the next question, "that the messenger be called in," and answering it himself, gave the order to call in the messenger. The doors by which the messengers from the Commons enter, and towards which every eye was turned were thrown open, and upwards of 100 of the Members of the House of Commons, supporters of the Bill, with Lord Althorp and Lord John Russell at their head, the latter bearing the Bill in his hand, rushed through the narrow entrance, and made their appearance at the bar. The effect was striking.

The Lord Chancellor came to the bar with the usual formalities, and received "The Bill" from the hands of Lord John Russell.

Lord John Russell in delivering the Bill to the Lord Chancellor, said, in a firm and audible voice, "My Lords the House of Commons have passed an Act to amend the Representation of England and Wales, to which they desire your Lordships' concurrence."

Some Members of the House of Commons cried "Hear, hear;" but the call to "Order" was general among the Peers; and the cry of "Hear" was not repeated.

Instead of retiring from the bar, as is usual in such cases, the Members of the House of Commons preserved their position.

The Lord Chancellor holding the Bill in his hand, retraced his steps to the Woolsack, and communicated to the House the nature of the Message of the Commons, with unusual solemnity of tone and manner, and these words of mere form and ceremony, which no one perhaps ever thought of listening to before, were on this occasion, heard with breathless silence.

The Bill having been laid upon the Table, after a pause, in consequence of the absence of—

Earl Grey (the noble Earl who had come into the House)

said—My Lords, I was not present when the Bill for effecting a Reform in the Representation of the people was brought from the Commons. I beg, however, now to move that the Bill be read a first time. Having made this motion, it will be necessary to fix a day for the second reading of the Bill; and in doing this, I have no other wish than to consult the convenience of your Lordships, I think the second reading should not be taken sooner than Friday se'nnight, nor later than Monday se'nnight. It will perhaps suit the convenience of all parties if I fix the second reading for Monday se'nnight.

Bill read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Monday se'nnight.

Earl Grey

If the second reading should be carried—as I have every reason to hope it will be—I trust that there will be no objection to take the Committee with as little delay as possible.

The Members of the House of Commons retired from the bar.

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