pursuant to notice, rose to move that the house be called over on Wednesday the 8th of March. The question to come before the house that day was of the utmost importance, and therefore he conceived that the fullest possible attendance of members was necessary. With that view, and with that only it was, that he should now move for a call of the house on that day.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that he should not have thought it necessary to make such a motion, when he considered the manner in which the house had been attended during the whole of the time when the important subject alluded to by the noble lord was under investigation; and therefore he had no doubt of a full attendance upon the day appointed for taking that most important subject again into consideration. The 1137 question, as the noble lord had justly observed, was one of the utmost importance, and it was his own wish that in all its parts it should meet the most grave and solemn consideration before the fullest possible attendance of members. He therefore, abstained from any resistance to the motion, feeling as he did, that however unnecessary he might conceive it to be, yet any opposition to it on his part would be subject to animadversions not of the most liberal nature. But in giving his assent to the motion, he trusted that the question of that day would not be further delayed. The motion might have the effect of securing the attendance of all members in town, or within a short distance. But it could not be expected that in so short a notice as eight or ten days, any thing like an effectual call of the house could be had. But it was not because the call could not operate to its fullest extent that it was not therefore to be adopted.
assured the right hon. gent, that he had no intention of further postponing the business, neither was any such intention entertained by his hon. friend (Mr. Wardle).
thought the call of the house equally unnecessary and improper. He should think it quite impossible that in so short a period as eight days, it would have any effect in bringing gentlemen from the remotest corners of the united kingdom. It would be merely a call in name, and not in effect. From the full attendance of members during the whole of the inquiry, there could be no doubt of a full attendance on the night of discussion; and although a tolerable opinion of a subject might be formed on written evidence, yet perhaps it was going too far to call on members coming from a distance, who would not have time to examine and consider the printed evidence, after their arrival in town, in order to form their opinions to decide upon so solemn a subject perhaps the day after.
Mr. C. Adams
approved of the motion for a call of the house, and thought, that although it could not be expected to procure the attendance of members from Scotland and Ireland, yet if it only obtained that of half a dozen additional members, upon such an occasion, even that would be of some importance.
also thought the call could not be effectual. It appeared to him that to attempt enforcing this call at 1138 so short a notice, would be an abuse of the power of the house, and tend to defeat its authority on future occasions. Members at a distance would suppose it a serious call, and no doubt expect that they would be allowed a subsequent day to offer their excuses; so that the object of the present call would be defeated.
said he felt the call could. I not be so effective as was desirable, upon so short a notice; and was himself very sorry it had not occurred to him to move for it at an earlier day. He hoped, however, the house, in justice to its authority, would enforce the call for the 8th of March; for however it might be afterwards disposed to excuse those members who could shew reasonable cause for their non-attendance then, he could hardly suppose that some question would not arise out of the proceedings of that day of the utmost moment, which would, at an early subsequent day, call for solemn decision, and consequently render necessary the fullest possible attendance of members.
thought that a call of the house, on so short a notice, was unprecedented. It was something so preposterous, that when he heard of the noble lord's avowed intention, he thought it quite impossible that he could be serious. The attendance of the house already upon this subject had been remarkably full; they had divided more than a majority of the whole house, and he did not think that at the present season, and at so short a notice, there was any chance of a further attendance. Besides, he would ask, was it a desirable thing that members who had never heard a word of the evidence in this case, should be called on to decide upon the question, who perhaps would not arrive till the day before, and could not have time to read or consider the written evidence? There were many members who did not wish to interfere in this question. Was it desirable to bring such men from the remotest corners of Ireland or Scotland? And, besides, though the house had authority to enforce their attendance at a call on that day, it had no authority afterwards to prevent their going out again, or to force them to vote, he was decidedly opposed to the call, and should take the sense of the house upon it.
Sir J. Newport
said, that the hon. member who had all of a sudden shewn so much tenderness towards the members from Ireland, and reluctance to inconvenience them, had asserted that a call at so 1139 short a notice was unprecedented. He would beg leave, however, to refer him to the Journals, so recently as the 11th of last February, where there was an order that the house be called over on the following day.
answered, that this was in the case of a ballot for an election committee, where the call was pending de die in diem.
instanced another case en the Journals during the discussion of the Slave trade in 1791, where there was a call of the house at eight days notice.
§ The question was now put on lord Folkestone's motion, when the house divided,
|Majority for the Call||87|