Debates anb likoretbingsin113ar1iament.
OPENING OF THE NEW PARLIAMENT.
Both Houses of Parliament assembled on Thursday. The House of Commons met before two o'clock ; almost all the eminent men on both sides being present. In about half an hour they were summoned to the House of Lords ; whither they repaired, headed by Mr. Ley, their Chief Clerk. As they were going out, Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel met at the bar, and shook hands very cordially.
The Lord Chancellor entered the House of Lords at half-past two.
A commission appointing the Lord Chancellor, the Marquis of Lans- downe, the Marquis of Normanby, the Earl of Clarendou, and Viscount Duncannou, Lords Commissioners to open Parliament, was read and then the Lord Chancellor told those present that they should ;her- wards be informed of the cause of calling his Parliament together; and directed the House of Commons to choose a Speaker, and to pre- sent the person whom they should choose next day, at two o'clock, for the Queen's approval. The House of Commons then withdrew.
The Lord Chancellor next took the oaths singly, and then his seat. The certificate of the Scotch Peers was read ; and several Lords took the oaths, the Duke of Wellington being the first on the list. Some of the new Peers took the oaths and their seats,—the Earl of Surrey, as Baron Maltravers ; Sir Richard Vivian, as Baron Vivian ;" and the Earl of Belfast, as Baron Ennishowen and Carrickfergus. The last to take the oaths on that day was the Duke of Sussex, who did so singly. The House of Lords adjourned at four o'clock. The taking of the oaths was continued yesterday.
On the return of the Commons to their own House, the Chief Clerk having taken his seat at the table, Lord WORSLEY rose to propose the reelection of their late Speaker; whose fitness for the office had been confirmed by the experience and testimony of both sides of the House— During the period he had executed the office of Speaker, he had been invari- ably looked up to with the greatest respect ; and the ready manner in which honourable Members had obeyed his decisions, whenever he had found it ne- cessary to call them to order, proved that they had all considered him emi- nently qualified for the performance of his arduous duties. As there were some new Members in the present House, he might be allowed to quote the expressions made use of by Lord Stanley in speaking of Mr. Lefevre--" The greater his respect for the personal character of the honourable individual who now filled that chair, the more he felt thankful for the manner in which he had invariably performed the duties of his situation. Though elected to that chair by the other side of the House, he had by his impartial conduct succeeded in earning the esteem of both sides of the House." (This assertion was echoed by cheers from all present.) Lord Worsley was glad to find that the justness of that compliment was acquiesced in by the House ; and that it seemed, there- fore, that there was no intention to propose, in opposition to the motion he was about to make, a gentleman who had yet no experience in the chair. He had the more confidence in proposing Mr. Lefevre for their Speaker, because he re- collected that his intimate acquaintance with the manner of conducting the private business of the House was one of the principal reasons for inducing the House to think him qualified for that eminent situation.
Lord Worsley concluded by moving "that the Right Honourable Charles Shaw Lefevre do take the chair of this House as Speaker."
The motion was seconded by Mr. EDWA_RD BULLER ; who appealed for support to Members who had witnessed the combination of temper and firmness with which Mr. Lefevre knew how to control the unruly passions of that House. (A slight laugh greeted this passing mention of the characteristic.) Mr. Buller delicately hinted that Mr. Lefevre's impar- tiality would stand the test of all changes in the position of parties and their policies— "Depend upon it, whoever may be called upon to hold the reins of govern- ment—whatever may be the issue of the present state of affairs—whether we shall witness a course of brilliant successes in removing restrictions and pro- hibitions which at present hamper and cripple the industry of the country, or whether a different and an injurious system of policy shall be adopted—(inter- rytion)—the situation of our Speaker will be arduous ; and for this reason I rejoice that we are likely to elect an individual who has not only ability, but experience, and the choice of whom cannot but redound to the honour of the House. He is especially and peculiarly fitted for the duties he will be called upon to discharge, and it will be only an act of justice to afford him the un- equivocal testimony of reelection."
Sir ROBERT PEEL should vote for the motion, upon the principle for which he voted in 1833 and upon which he acted in 1837—
" I contended for that principle, in the first place, because I thought it most in conformity with the precedents in the best period of our history. I find that in 1728 Mr. Arthur Onslow was chosen Speaker, and that he continued in possession of the chair for the long period of thirty-three years ; and the same course of proceeding continued until the period when Lord North objected to the reelection of Sir Fletcher Norton, who had been in the chair, and was willing to serve again. In 1784, after the great struggle between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, and when Mr. Pitt had a decided majority, Mr. Pitt nevertheless acquiesced in the reelection of Mr. Cornwall. In 1806, when Lords Grey and Granville were the Ministers of this country, and supported by a great majo- rity, they likewise acquiesced in the election of Mr. Abbott. In 1831, soon after the accession of Lord Grey to power, the Government acquiesced in the reelection of Sir Manners Sutton, now Lord Canterbury ; and again in 1833, with the sanction of the Government, the right honourable gentleman was reelected to the chair. There was no opposition to the course of these pre- cedents, except in 17e0, when Lord North opposed the reelection of Sir Pletcher Norton ; and in 1835, when the party opposed to the Government of which I was a member objected to the reelection of Sir Manners Sutton. I did not think it necessary that the person previously elected to the chair, having conscientiously and ably performed the duties of his office, should be discharged because his political opinions were not in consonance with those of the majority."
He did not, however, mean that there should be no exception to the rule of reelecting the Speaker of the previous Parliament : a Speaker might neglect his duty, or prove unfit for it. Such was not the case with Mr. Lefevre-
" I am bound to say that the right honourable gentleman who is now pro- posed has fulfilled the expectations which were formed of him by his supporters, and has conducted himself in the chair of this House, in the regulation of our debates, with integrity and impartiality. He has manifested such attention to that most important branch of his duties the conduct of private business, as entitled him to the respectful acknowledgments of this House ; and by the con- fidence of this House in his integrity and impartiality I think he has established that moral influence which is quite as efficacious in maintaining his authority as all the positive power which his situation can confer. On these united grounds I shall conclude, without further discussion, by expressing the great satisfaction I feel in giving the right honourable gentleman my support.
Mr. CHARM; Stem LEFEVRE accepted the approbation of his past conduct as ample reward for the toil and anxiety inseparable from the office of Speaker, and as the best incentive to future exertion-
" As regards the privileges of this House and the maintenance of those rules and orders which have been established for the conduct of business and debate, I know how much is intrusted to the care and vigilance of the Speaker. I am bound to say that the more intimately I have become acquainted with those privileges, and with their nature and object, the more I see the impeiative ne- cessity of guarding them with the greatest jealousy against the least violation ; and I look on the rules and orders of the House as affording the best security for the dignity of our proceedings, and for that safe and regular despatch both of the public and the private business which can alone secure to IMA HORSEY the respect and the confidence of the people."
Mr. Lefevre was led to the chair by his proposer and seconder. The mace, the ensign of authority, was taken from under the table and placed upon it.
The SPEAKER then rose, and repeated his acknowledgments from the chair.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL congratulated the Speaker upon his reelection, and the House upon the unanimity in their first act, and upon having secured a person so eminently qualified to preside over their debates. He compared Mr. Lefevre's former support by one side of the House with his present election by both, as the proof of the approbation ac- corded to his construction of the constitutional questions which arose for his decision. Without entering into any discussion, but just to pre- vent misconception, Lord John said, that he did not act on the election of Speaker in 1835, solely upon the opinion that the Speaker ought to be the organ of the majority : other circumstances induced him to op- pose Sir Manners Sutton's reelection, in spite of his eminent qualifica- tions for the post. On the motion of Lord John Russell, the House then adjourned, at a quarter past three o'clock.
The House went up to the House of Lords, yesterday, to present their new Speaker, Mr. Charles Shaw Lefevre, for the approval of the Queen. They were received by the Lord Chancellor, the Marquia of Lansdowne, the Marquis of Normanby, the Earl of Errol, and Viscount Duncannon, as Lords Commissioners ; who signified the Royal approval. The Speaker then made the usual claim to the rights and privileges of the House ; especially freedom from arrest and mo- lestation for the Commons and their servants, freedom of speech in de- bate, free access to the Queen, and a favourable construction on all their proceedings. The formal accord was given; and the Commons with- drew.
The House of Commons then proceeded with taking the oaths of the Members.