HL Deb 15 May 1862 vol 166 cc1743-4

Before the House adjourns, it will be convenient for your Lordships to know whether there is any truth in a certain rumour that this House is likely soon to be at war with the other House of Parliament. It appears that a challenge has been offered in due form, and accepted. How far my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack was authorized by any order of the House to go the length of accepting that challenge without some preliminary notice, which might have led to a more amicable understanding between the two Houses, I am not prepared to say.


My Lords, it is undoubtedly true that the Lord Chancellor stands before you as one who has to confess, I am afraid, to another irregularity. But, my Lords, I will state the manner in which it occurred. As I was leaving the House I had the honour to receive from the Speaker of the House of Commons a challenge. It came from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, and it was delivered to me. It is true that I did not stop to inquire whether I had the authority to accept such a challenge. But having that spirit which I am sure every one of your Lordships would have desired me to exercise and exhibit, I accepted at once that challenge on behalf of your Lordships, and returned an answer that we would meet the House of Commons in honourable rivalry at any place, at any time, and with any weapon. I might probably have been irregular, but I felt at the time that it would not do to hesitate, although if I had had the fear of the noble Duke (the Duke of Buccleuch) before my eyes, I might have abstained until I had referred the question to your Lordships. I trust that we shall meet the House of Commons in the same spirit in which they have offered to meet us. I am sorry to say, therefore, that your Lordships stand pledged to this combat, and I venture to prophesy that you will not recede from it, but that you will enter the lists in a manner worthy of this House of Parliament.

House adjourned at half-past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.