§ Mr. John Abel Smith
rose to call the attention of the House to a circumstance peculiarly and personally affecting him. He alluded to the irregular and improper manner in which he had obtained admission into the House on Friday night, so as to have his name inserted in the list of the majority in the Division. He was aware that it could not be retained on the votes, and he admitted that he had transgressed a rule which it was of great importance to observe. He could palliate it only by the great anxiety he naturally felt to be present, in order to record his opinion upon a question of so much magnitude. In his cooler moments he deeply regretted the course he had taken, and through the Speaker begged to express his sincere contrition. He must, however, after apologising for himself, bg the attention of the House to the case of the messenger (Bailey), through 509 whose instrumentality he had contrived to get into the House, so as to be counted in the Division, although previously locked out. He understood that he was a most respectable and excellent man, who had unwarily yielded to his (Mr. Smith's) most earnest solicitation and entreaty, and had thus transgressed his duty. He himself was, in truth, the only guilty party, and he hoped that the offence would only be visited upon himself.
§ Mr. Aglionby
bore strong testimony to the good character of the messenger, who came from the same county as himself. The offence he had committed arose out of his extreme obligingness of disposition; and he hoped that the Speaker, yielding to the sense of the House, would take no further notice of the transaction.
§ Sir George Clerk, who had been one of the tellers on the occasion, said that he had felt it his duty to follow the course taken on previous occasions, viz., to state to the House on the first opportunity that the names of some Members appeared in the list of the majority which ought not have been there. Owing to the absence of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Smith) yesterday he could not then do it, but it was generally required by the Chair, when it was duly informed upon the subject, that such Members should avow themselves. All that was necessary was that the hon. Member's name should be struck out of the list. At the same time he expressed his hope that the Speaker would take no farther step regarding the messenger.
§ The Speaker
This being a matter bearing upon the privileges of the House, and looking to the position in which I stand on this occasion, I am sure the House will feel I should be wanting in respect to them, and injustice to my own feelings, if I did not immediately take the opportunity of dismissing any individual who has so misconducted himself in violation of its established rules. I can assure the House that I was not aware of what had occurred, until my attention was drawn to the matter by the hon. Baronet (Sir George Clerk).
§ Mr. Aglionby
felt much disappointment at what had fallen from the Speaker, after the House had expressed its opinion that no further punishment should be inflicted on the messenger.
§ Sir James Graham
observed, that the messenger came from the county he represented, and that he bore an irreproachable character. The rules and orders of the 510 House having been vindicated, he thought that no further proceeding was necessary.
was of the same opinion, and in the name of the House entreated the leniency of the Speaker.
§ The Speaker
I can assure the House, that I feel it is not for me to hesitate in complying with their wish, but that, on the contrary, I feel it to be my duty to give effect to the general sentiment of the House. I feel, however, that a sense of duty to myself, as well as my sense of duty to the House, require that I should not retain this individual, or any person in my service, without being first assured that, in so doing, there should be no chance of a recurrence of a neglect of duty. I can only assure the House that the messenger was deeply sensible of his error within five minutes after he had committed it, and has repeatedly expressed his extreme sorrow at the very culpable act of which he was guilty. I am satisfied the House will see that there is no one thing which it is more my duty to attend to, than that of seeing that its regulations are strictly abided by; but, in this instance, I shall conform to the suggestion which has been made, and admonish the individual in severe terms.