HL Deb 17 June 1862 vol 167 cc668-70

My Lords, however painful is the task, it is my duty to inform your Lordships that this House has lost one of its most distinguished Members —that that great, just, and courageous man, Lord Canning, is no more. Under Divine Providence, he was enabled by the exercise of all the highest qualities which dignify statesmanship, to preserve and strengthen the dominion of his Sovereign over a vast and distant Empire. He sacrificed in that work, however, not only his own life but the life of one still dearer to him—his wife. I am sure that this House, in unison with the feelings of the whole country, will appreciate the national loss which it has sustained.


In the absence of my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby), I cannot refrain from joining in the deep sentiment of grief which we have just heard expressed by the noble Earl. I am sure your Lordships deeply sympathize with those sentiments, and I only wish I had words to express my sense of the irreparable loss which the country has sustained.


My Lords, there will not, I am confident, be one dissenting voice, either in Parliament or in the country, from the expression of deep regret for the loss we have sustained to which my noble Friends have given utterance. Without any distinction of party, without any difference of rank, I believe it will be admitted that the talents and the virtues of Lord Canning stand as high and in as proud a position as those of any man who has ever served the Queen.


My Lords, having been publicly associated with Lord Canning during the most eventful period of his career, I cannot refrain from saying one or two words on this occasion, although the opportunity was unexpected. It is singularly to the honour of Lord Canning that he went out to India impressed with the belief that he would have a long reign of peace and prosperity, during which it was his full resolve to devote his utmost exertions to promote the social happiness and the material welfare of the people of India. But during his sway the greatest and most extraordinary insurrection which history records took place, and instead of new social and financial arrangements, Lord Canning had to display his energy and his resources in defending the empire of the Queen. Lord Canning had the rare felicity of proving that he was incapable of being swayed by popular applause to do what he thought wrong; and that he was equally incapable of being driven by popular detraction from that which he believed to be right. He had the infinite glory of finishing his career in the manner in which he had hoped to commence it—by putting the finances of India in order and advancing its condition to a greater extent than it has ever before reached. Although, therefore, his private and attached friends, his public associates, and the whole people must deeply deplore his removal from us at a time when his services might have been so eminently useful to his country, for his own glory he has died not too soon; for he was not withdrawn from the scene until he had achieved the greatest honour that can be won by a subject of Her Majesty—he has preserved to the English Crown its most important province, and in the country which he governed he has left a people prosperous.

House adjourned at half-past Five o'clock, to Thursday next, Eleven o'clock.

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