HL Deb 22 February 1858 vol 148 cc1849-50

My Lords, I rise for the purpose of making an announcement to the House, for which probably your Lordships are already prepared. It is this—that in consequence of what occurred in another place on Friday, Her Majesty's Ministers have thought that there was no other alternative left open to them than most respectfully to tender their resignations to Her Majesty. Her Majesty has been most graciously pleased to accept those resignations; and I understand that the noble Earl, who is not now in his place, the Earl of Derby, has undertaken the commission of forming a Government. I understand, also, that the noble Earl will think it convenient that there should be an adjournment of the House until the time when those arrangements are made. I understand that the noble Lord will be glad that the adjournment shall be from now until Friday. I am informed by my noble and learned Friend on the woolsack that it will be convenient to suitors that the House should meet tomorrow for judicial business. I think your Lordships will all agree that we should abstain from other public business until the noble Earl is able to take his place. We, in the mean time, are only holding our offices until his arrangements are made.


I have been too long and too well acquainted with the noble Lords opposite to be surprised at the step which they have taken. I have always known them to be men to whom the sense of public duty and the claims of private honour are to all other considerations paramount. I am not surprised, therefore, at the step which Her Majesty's Government have taken in resigning office. I shall not, perhaps, be blamed if I say that I feel a natural and legitimate pleasure in knowing that a nobleman has been called to the councils of the Sovereign whose political opinions are the same as my own; but that satisfaction is exceeded by the feeling that, at no time within my memory, have any political debates in this House been conducted so entirely without acrimony. On this side of the House we have carried on those debates and the divisions following them without any feeling of faction or of personal hostility to Her Majesty's Government. I look back with satisfaction to two periods of great importance and excitement, when we gave our support to Her Majesty's Government. I allude to the Russian war and the rebellion in India. I have only to add that Lord Derby is at this moment employed in fulfilling the commission which has been graciously intrusted to him by Her Majesty, and that it is his wish, as the noble Earl has expressed it, that your Lordships should assent to the adjournment.