§ MR. SPEAKER
addressed the House, announcing his intention of retiring from the Chair, as followeth (all the Members being uncovered):—Before the House passes to the Orders of the Day, perhaps it will allow me to occupy its time for a very few minutes. I have to announce to the 870 House that I propose to retire from the Chair to-morrow. That announcement is perhaps a formality. The fact is known already to all Members of the House, but it is a becoming and usual practice that when the Speaker retires from the Chair and gives up the office to which he was elected by this House, he should, if possible, personally intimate that intention to the House and state his reasons for retiring.My reason for retiring I can deal with very briefly. On the 10th of April last I had completed ten years of service in this Chair, and, thanks to the blessing of almost uninterrupted good health during that period. I was able to attend punctually and diligently to the service of the House. Some six weeks ago I became unfortunately disabled from continuing that service, nor do I yet feel able to perform the duties in the continuous and satisfactory manner in which they ought to be performed by the occupant of this Chair. Under these circumstances I have thought it light not to trespass any further on the indulgence of the House but to retire from my office, bearing in mind (I may add) that I have arrived at an age at I which a wise man ought not to take too sanguine a view of his capacities for doing hard work and undertaking great responsibilities. Under these circumstances, therefore, I have thought it right to retire.I will not disguise from my brother Members that it is to me a very hard and painful thing to sever my connection with this House, with all its interests, its friendships, and its associations. It is not merely that I am relinquishing a high and honourable office in the tenure of which I have always taken a great and not unnatural pride; it is that I am quitting an Assembly by which, by every part of which, and I might truly say by every Member of which, I have always been treated personally with the greatest courtesy and consideration—a courtesy and consideration which fill my heart with lasting gratitude.I desire to take this opportunity of thanking the Clerks at the Table and the officials of the House for their local and efficient help to me in the discharge of my duties.871Above all my thanks are due to the House itself, for the generous and traditional support which it has always accorded to me, a support without which the authority and the influence of the Chair could not exist.I thank the House very sincerely for having allowed me to say these few farewell words.Whereupon Mr. A. J. Balfour and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman severally addressed the House, as follows:—
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
It is with the greatest grief, Mr. Speaker, that the House will have heard both the declaration of your intention to resign the great office which you have held with such distinction and the reason which you have given for the relinquishment of that post. Many thoughts rise to one's mind, many words naturally rise to one's lips, but, as the House knows, this is not an occasion on which it would be in accordance with tradition nor would it in any way be proper for us to express the feelings which are shared by every man in this House, to whatever Party he may belong, or however long or short his experience may be of our deliberations; this is not an occasion on which it is proper for us to express to you what we think we have owed to you during the ton years of your service—of your ungrudging service. It is rather my duty on the present occasion to give notice to the House that I shall to-morrow, in accordance with tradition and usage, move two Resolutions. The first is as follows—That the thanks of this House be given to Mr. Speaker for his distinguished services in this Chair for more than ten years, that he be assured that this House fully appreciates the zeal, ability, and impartiality with which he has discharged the duties of his high office through a period of unusual labour, difficulty, and anxiety and the judgment and firmness with which he has maintained its privileges and its dignities, and that this House feels the strongest sense of his unremitting attention to the constantly increasing business of Parliament and of the uniform urbanity and kindness which have earned for him the respect and esteem of this House.872 So runs the first Resolution which I shall move to-morrow, and it will be received, I doubt not, with the unanimous assent of the House. The second Resolution will be as follows—That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying His Majesty that he will be most graciously pleased to confer some signal mark of his favour on the right hon. William Court Gully, Speaker of this House, for his eminent services during the important period during which he has with such distinguished ability and dignity presided in the Chair of this House, and assuring His Majesty that, whatever expenses His Majesty shall think fit to be incurred on that account, this House will make good the same.I am sure those Resolutions, which have been moved for many of your distinguished predecessors, will never be moved in a House more ready to receive them with cordiality and enthusiasm.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I willingly and cordially join in the expression of regret, deep and profound regret, which has fallen from the First Lord of the Treasury. We are all aware, as he has reminded us, that this is not an occasion upon which formal expression of the feelings of the House of Commons is given. Leaving that formal expression over to-day, it is open to us very briefly and lightly to express our personal feelings towards you, Mr. Speaker, after the long relations which have subsisted between us. It will be a grievous thing to us to miss your familiar presence in the Chair. We shall lose in you a friend to every Member of the House, and we are well aware that the same friendly, and I would say even affectionate, spirit prevails on your side towards all the Members of the House as we entertain towards you. But this informal occasion is not that upon which we can best express the feelings which we entertain towards you and towards the office which you have held so worthily and with so much dignity. I reserve, therefore, for my part until to-morrow the fuller expression of the feelings of those who sit on this side of the House.