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but I am confident the house will go before self to public business in general, and para: me on this occasion. [Hear! hear!) It ticularly to that enquiry into the state of the will be disposed to select for the chair a Public Records of this house, which was person rather from experience of the past, instituted on his own suggestion. Through than from the recomiendation of any in- this enquiry, the public will have the benefit dividual. If, sir, the sight of that chair of those stores of ancient wisdom, which reminds me of the duties attached to, and were hitherto confined to private and indi-' the requisites to fill it, I am persuaded it vidual research. The same comprehensive will call to the recollection of the house mind, and the same application of great* the manner in which it has been filled. talents, are as peculiarly required for the The difficulty under which I labour, con- higher duties he has to discharge, and the sists not in the apprehension of what will success and ability by him displayed upon be the collected sense of the house. In the subject to which I have alluded, is a detailing the duties of a Speaker, and in pledge of what may be expected from him proposing Mr. Abbot as a fit person to on every occasion which relates to the profulfil them-[a general cry of hear! bear!) ceedings of this house, and the general adthe difficulty I feel, consists not in my ap- vantage of the public. It is upon thiese prehensions of an uniformity of opinion, considerations, as well as upon many others, but in the recollection of the very superior I feel it my duty to move, “ That the right manver in which that right hon. gent. was bon. Charles Abbot do take the chair of proposed and supported in a former in- this house as speaker.” [Hear, hear!) stance, by a learned gent. (sir William Mr. Wilberforce said, that in seconding Scott) whom I do not now see in his place. the proposition of his right bon, friend, he But, I console myself with the reflection, felt the embarrassment of the situation in that the experience of Mr. Abbot's public which he placed himself, by venturing to character, and the general extension of that prescribe to the house, in the most remote wisdom and knowledge he has evinced degree, any course that it was to adopt on from his first taking bis seat, make it less so solemu and important an occasion. difficult for the house to dispense with abi- At the same time he confessed, that he was lity on the part of the person who again considerably relieved from this embarrassproposes him. I am the less anxious con- ment, by the manner in which he perceived cerning my own deficiency, in the manner the proposition, just submitted to them, I bave stated the duties of the situation of had been received by the house. It often speaker, because I am convinced the house happened to a member of parliament, that will refer to the high character of the gen- he felt himself obliged painfully to discharge tleman I have proposed, and give me credit certain duties, from a sense of public prinfor having passed by many topics of eulo- ciple, though contrary to his private feelgium to which he has a just claim. I am ings, because there must always be a sacripot only conscious that the conduct of the fice of private considerations to public duright hon. gent. I have named, justifies a ties. But he had then the satisfaction to much higher panegyric than I have passed say, that he was about to discharge a duty upon him; but I am free to declare, that which, whilst it accorded with every private Mr. Abbot has exhibited a more perfect feeling, was, at the same time, equally conmodel of the office itself, than ever I had sistent with the most scrupulous regard to formed an idea of in the abstract. There public duty. His right hon. friend had are other topics of praise to which he is well pointed out some of the leading qualiequally entitled. In speaking of the ge. fications for the office of speaker, as well as neral duties of the office, I have passed over, the great importance of that high and cor:with reference to Mr. Abbot, the facility fidential situation. But he that would cal of private intereourse with, and access to culate all the important duties of the him on matters of business ; I have omitted speaker of the house of commóns, would to notice his dignified hospitality, which undertake a great and difficult task indeed. conforms so well to the wise munificence It was an office commensurate with all the of parliament. These are qualities which functions of parliament, and consequently have been well known, and often expe- identified with the existence of parliament rienced by those present, who were mem- and the freedom and happiness of the peobers of ihe late parliament. But I might ple. The qualifications of a speaker were also have adverted to that indefatigable great and numerous, and, perhaps, it wa industry, with which he has applied him- difficult to form an accurate estiais e
their real value, on account of the quiet not to be ruffled, and a suavity of manners, times in which we had lived. It was a Il was unnecessary for him to mention how common disposition of the public mind to peculiarly the right hon, gent, who had imagine, when matters went on quietly, been proposed was gifted with all these that they went on of themselves, and with-qualities. The recollection of those who out any actuating impulse; but those to liad known him during the late sessions whom he was addressing himself knew, that would supply abundant instances in which although the principle of action was kept they had been conspicuously exerted. He out of view, it was that principle which di- might mention various other qualifications, rected the whole machine, gave it motion, but they had been alluded to by his right and preserved the order and harmony of hon, friend. There was one with respect all its parts. Undoubtedly it was not to to which he could not avoid saying a word be supposed, that, because we had lived or two. He referred to those peculiar quahappily in times when the public liberty lifications which characterized the proposed was secure, and the privileges of this house speaker for what, by rather a misapplication unendangered, that it was therefore unim- of the term, was called Private Business. portant to choose a man as speaker of the Certainly, compared with those great ques. house of commons, who was intimately ac- tions which constaully occupied the atten, quainted with all the parts of the British tion of the house, it might with propriety Constitution. In the exercise of this pri-be denominated privale business.
The vilege, they should not shut out from their house was always engaged upon subjects view, that the happiness of the people, and of national importance; but there were the interests of the empire, depended in a matters of private business, which, ale great degree, ou their choice. They should though they did not attract observation, not merely, because they happened to live were no less essential to the interests of in quiet times, leave objects of such magni- the public. It was not merely the value tude to accidental events. They should, of the property at stake, though it would by the wisdom of their choice, guard excite astonishment if he were to state the against the possibility of future evils. Il amount of the property decided upon by was peculiarly necessary that he who was the committees of the house, but there placed in the chair of the house of com- was something in such decisions even of mons, should be intimately acquainted with more importance than any pecuniary sum the constitution of the country, in order could give an idea of. It was, that the characthat he might be sensible of those slight ter of parliament itself was in a consideradeviations, which in the end introduced ble degree concerned in the variety of quesgreat and material alterations. It was only tions that arose concerning the property of by such an intimate acquaintance that any individuals. Of those questions he was man could estimate the importance of well persuaded no person was better quasmall changes, and know how in the first lified to judge than the right hon. gent. instance to check and repress them. There who had been proposed as speaker. If foré, among the qualifications of a speaker, those questions were decided in a summary a perfect acquaintance with the constitu- way, without a just sense of the imporzion of the country was a first and indis- tance of adhering to privciples of law, pensable one. Whoever was intimately he knew nothing that would be more likely acquainted with the constitution, could not to infuse into the public an alienation of but become more and more attached to it, mind with regard to the house of commons; and in proportion as he developed its se- therefore it was desirable that the house of cret springs, conteniplate it as ihe source commons should be known and acknowof public happiness. Unquestionably too, ledged as a place where the rights of the an extensive acquaintance with the history subject were always safe. It was equally of the country, and a perfect knowledge of important that the person in the chair its constitutional, or parliamentary bistory, should be considered as the guardian of was requisite. It must also be obvious to the weak, and the protector of the poor. every one, that the speaker of the house of The opulent and powerful would attend to commons should be a man who had saga- their own interests, but upon all questions city and penetration to decide on the in- where the private property of individuals stant; that he should be possessed of an was concerued, whatever their situation uncommun degree of recollection and me- might be, it was important and requisite mory, a soundness of judgment, a temper that there should be a man to inspect and
watch over them, who would see that prece-sions of admiration and esteem, was dents were carefully adhered to, and the more than made up by the universal ap true principles of legislation not departed probation of the house. This reminded from. He had dwelt the more upon this topic, him of another qualification, perhaps the because he had witnessed the many instan- most essential of all, and certainly one ces in which Mr. Abbot had applied his that could not be possessed by any person knowledge and experience to this desirable who bad not filled the situation of speaker. purpose, whereby be had sustained the It was not merely that the house had the character of parliament, and endeared the experience of past years, but they knew house of commons to the warmest affec- that the right hon. gent, proposed to botions of the people of England, It was, nour their chair would possess the confitherefore, with singular satisfaction he dence and attachment of the bouse, and seconded the motion made by his right nothing was of greater importance than hon. friend; and, as he had just observed, that he should possess it. It was an asit was not from the ordinary habits of his surance that he would vindicate the rights life and pursuits that the house was war- of parliament on the one hand, and preranted in conceiving he would fill the chair vent the disposition of members to extend with ability and dignity, but from the ex- those rights too far, to the prejudice of perience that he had done so already, and other branches of the legislature. He had consequently would do it again. It was but one word more.
There was one quaimpossible not to know, that, even be- lity he possessed in a most eminent degree. fore he had been raised to the chair, he It was, that at the same time he had bad given a pleasing anticipation of the shewn his love of public liberty, true conpatriotic feeling by which he intended to stitutional liberty, he had manifested a due be governed; that he bad rendered servi- sense and proper regard of the privileges ces to the country, which must have en- of parliament. He had shewn that true deared him to the house ; that he had sat greatness of mind which impelled him to at the head of a committee appointed consider it as equally dangerous to the conto investigate and examine into all the stitution, that the commons should atpublic offices of the kingdom, with a view tempt to strain their privileges beyond to the adoption of a systein of economy. their due bounds, as that they should not For his own part, there was no man who assert them when they were attempted to considered with more satisfaction than be violated. It required a great mind to himself the elevation of that right hon. be invested with extensive powers, withgent. to the situation and rank of first out being, at the same time, disposed to commoner of the empire; but he should loverstrain them. The house were sensible have contemplated it as a public robbery, that the right hon. gent. was possessed of if he had been placed there before he had all these qualities. He therefore conclu. had an opportunity of rendering to his ded by saying, that to second the mo. country those services he had performed, tion of his right hon. friend, gave him the and of pointing out to his successor the most perfect satisfaction, and the greatest means by which similar bonours were to possible pleasure. be attained, and shewing him, that, in Mr. Abbot.-In rising to address the order to merit such a distinguished pre- house this day, it is impossible for me not eminence, be must become, like himself, to feel the deepest sense of gratitude for an upright independent member of parlia- the general favour and kindness with ment, the true friend to the constitution which this proposition has been received. of the country, and the faithful guardian Many, very many of the commendations of the liberties of the people. It was for wbich my honourable friends, by their those qualities he had been raised to his partiality, have been pleased to bestow situation, that his principles might act with upon me, I dare not flatter myself with fuller effect.--He begged pardon of the having merited; and altbough they are house, for having detained them so long; pleased to suppose that my former expebut it was natural to expatiate upon a rience in the chair of this house may afe pleasing theme. He had the satisfaction ford an argument in favour of their choice, of knowing that he spoke to those who yet that same experience has left on my approved of the proposition of his right mind a very different impression; for I am -hon, friend. It was gratifying to him to persuaded that whoever aspires to under. feel that what was wanting in his expres- stand and execute the duties of that high
and important office, will readily acknow-| ledge, and a just dispensation of those ledge its various difficulties, as well as wise and enlightened opinions which actuhis own insufficiency 4 Nevertheless, cus-ated him—these were topics so pleasing to tom long established, and a just respect dwell upon, .so natural to expatiate upon, towards the house, forbid any person that he was persuaded the house would whose services have been already tried in indulge him in pursuing such themes ; that office from insisting or dwelling much but yet from those topics he felt himself at large on his own demerits. I do there-reluctantly compelled to abstain. When fore commit inyself wholly to the pleasure he recollected that the person who was of the house, with an earnest hope that the the object of his eulogium, was the person event of their choice may not be injurious to be was addressing, he was compelled by its interests, or detrimental to its honour. motives of delicacy not to dwell upon the -Mr. Abbot was then conducted to the subject, grateful as it was to him. He chair by Mr. Bragge Bathurst and Mr. should conclude by saying, that he did Wilberforce; and when seated therein, he most heartily congratulate the house, the again rose and thus proceeded:-Since it country, and the right hon. gent. himself, has been the pleasure of the house to on the choice that had been made.-llo place me again in this chair, I have to make then moved, that the house do adjourn, my most grateful acknowledgements for and the house adjourned accordingly. this proof of its high and distinguished confidence, and to assure the house,
HOUSE OF LORDS. that while I have the happiness to possess
Tuesday, December 16. that confidence, every moment of iny
This day at twelve o'clock four of bis both within and without these walls, sball majesty's commissioners, namely, the lord be constantly and faithfully devoted to its chancellor, the earl of Aylesford, earl service. The speaker having seated him- Spencer, and lord Walsingham, took their self in the chair,
seats in the usual form. Mr. Quarme, Mr. T. Grenville rose and said, that on the deputy usher of the black rod, was an occasion so solemn and important as sent to the house of commons to require that of selecting a speaker, it had been their attendance. A great number of the not unusual to allow some of its members members of the house of commons, preceto express those sentiments which he re- ded by Mr. Abbot, in full dress, shortly afjoiced to see were so unanimous. He terwards appeared at the bar. freely stated, that, on the present occa- Mr. Abbot addressed the lords commission, he did not feel it necessary to offer sioners as follows :— My lords, I bave to any apology for obtruding himself on the acquaint you, that in compliance with the attention of the house. If the business coinmands of his majesty, and in the exerthey had so happily concluded had been cise of their undoubted privilege, the comone which required high talents in the mons of the united kingdom, in parliament person who offered his congratulations, he assembled, have proceeded to the choice should have known himself better than 10 of a fit and proper person to fill the high have offered a single observation ; but, in and important situation of speaker to presenting bimself the first to congratulate their house. As the object of that choice, the house, he was only expressing those I now submit myself for the approbation sentiments which were common to all who of his majesty, with due and sincere humiheard him. To have a strong sense, and lity, deeply impressed with a sense of the to express it, of the benefit the country had inany and undeserved favours I have alderived from the right non. gent.'s being ready received from his hands, and fully placed in the chair; to augur happily of the confident of my inadequacy to fulfil the future by the grateful recollection of the duties of this high situation in a manner past; to anticipate the services the coun- correspondent with the dignity and importry would receive; to indulge in ihe me- tance of so sacred a trust. But of this I mory of those already conferred; to re- am convinced, that should his majesty flect that by his being placed in the situa-conceive the present choice of his faithful tion in which fortunately he was placed, cominons not consistent with his own and the house would assure to itself the exer- the public interests, they will immediately cise of a steady and temperate authority, proceed to the election of soine more suitan impartiality and integrity not to be sha- able and proper person to fill that imporken, a rich fund of constitutional know- tant and dignified situation.
• The Lord Chancellor in the name of the bar, and summoned the house to the house commission said, Gentlemen of the house of peers. of commons; We have it in command The Speaker accordingly went up, folfrom his majesty to signify his most gra- lowed by a number of the members.' On cious approval of the choice you have made their return he addressed the house thus : in the important appointment of speaker to -I bave to acquaint the house, that I have your house. For my own part when I re- been in the house of peers, where his mafiect on the great and comprehensive ta- jesty, by his commissioners, has been gralents, on the perfect acquaintance with the ciously pleased to approve and confirm the fornis and precedents of parliament, of the choice of this house, in the election they gentleman whom you have honoured with have made of me to be their speaker, and your choice; when I reflect on that high that I have there laid claim, by humble pecharacter for learning and wisdom for which tition to bis niajesty, to all our ancient and he is so pre-eminently conspicuous; it is undoubted rights and privileges; and uunecessary for me to say any thing further more especially, freedom from all arrests than merely to express that his majesty fully or molestations, for ourselves, and our approves of the object of your choice. servants; freedom of speech in debate, free
The Speaker then said,--My lords; His access to his majesty's royal persou, as ocmajesty having been most graciouslypleased casion may require, and that all our proto confirm the choice of his faithful com- ceedings may receive the most favourable mons, my first duty, after returning my construction. All which his majesty has most grateful acknowledgements for the been pleased to allow in as full and aniple kind manner in which the performance of a manner as has ever been done to any of ny duties have been accepted and ap- my predecessors. And now I have again proved; and after expressing the strong to return you my warmest and most conviction I feel of the indulgence his ma- grateful thanks for the high honour which jesty has ever manifested to unintentional you have been pleased to confer upon me, error, is to lay claim, in their name, and on assuring you, that it is my purpose to act their behalf, to all their ancient rights and in all matters with the strictest impartiaprivileges; particularly that their persons, lity; and I have, at the same time, to enestates, and servants, may be free from ar- treat the house to afford me their constant rest, and all molestation ; that they may support in maintaining the established enjoy liberty of speech in their debates“; rules and orders, all which ha e been found that they may have access to his majesty's so necessary for the dignity of our proroyal person, whenever occasion may re- ceedings, and the dispatch of business. I quire; and that all their proceedings may have now only further to remind the house, receive from his majesty the most favour- that the first thing to be done upon the able construction. For my own part, 1 present occasion, is, for the several memdo entreat, that whenever any thing in the bers to take and subscribe the oaths of sushape of failing or error may occur, it may premacy, abjuration, and qualification as be attributed to myself only, and not to his ihe law requires. The speaker hiunself first majesty's faithful commons.
took the usual oaths. The members then The Lord Chancellor in his majesty's came to the table by parties, and were name replied, that the accustomed privi- sworn in the usual manner. This business leges of the bouse of commons would be continued till 4 o'clock, when the house continued to them, and that the most fa- adjourned till to-morrow. vourable construction would be put upon all their acts. The commons then withdrew, , after which the house adjourned Wednesday, December 17, and Thursday, during pleasure. At three the house again
December 18. met, and sat till four, during wbich time On these days the lord chancellor took several peers took the usual oaths and his seat on the woolsack at three, and the their seats.
clerk continued to swearintbepeers till four.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Wednesday, December 17, and Thursday. The Speaker came to the house at 12
December 18. o'clock. Soon after this, Mr. Quarme, de- At 1 o'clock the speaker came down to puty usher of the black rod, appeared at the the house. Several members presenice