ο»Ώ - , NOTES IN THE HOUSE OF I .COMMONS.'|1880-06-26|The Cardiff Times - Welsh Newspapers Online
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NOTES IN THE HOUSE OF I COMMONS. (BY A WELSH HEMBEB.) NDON, Saturday,—It really seems as if the Work13 °b3truction threaten to reduce the •a** ^le begun with so much th*jS^neS?' to zero. One evening in 6 1,aS^ week was absolutely wasted ,in a gabble provoked by Mr O'Donnell. It was a 'serable scene, which most members who look the legislation of a great country as a serious Usiuess must have witnessed with unmitigated _*sgust. There v, as probably not a man in the °Use who had the smallest sympathy with the attacks made by the member for Dungarvan upon the ambassador-designate from France to this country; not a man who did not leok pon it with distaste amounting to loath- Ing. Every one of the Irish members who spoke emphatically condemned his proceed- And yet from about five in the a ternoon till 1 o'clock in the morning, all business Was stopped by excited and incoherent talk about this wretched matter. And what rendered the whole thing more pitiful was the fact that the cader of the Opposition, who usually conducts miself with great temper and moderation, was enipted, by the opportunity of making a hit against the Prime Minister and Mr Bright, to add his influence to swell and perpetuate the dis- treditable broil. Mr O'Donnell, himself is im- penetrable to all appeals to good sense or modesty, .otherwise he might surely ask himself whether one man, who represents 120 constituents, is entitled to WMte the time and irritate the temper of four or five hundred gentlemen, on a question that has absolutely no relation to the business on which they have been sent by the country to Parliament. Happily, when he made an attempt on Thursday to renew the tumult, he was p it down by the Speaker with a mixture of firmness and dignity which was quite refreshing, and when he marched out amid the cheers and Iaught r of the whole House, there were not a few who hoped that he was shaking off the dust of his feet, and departing to return no more. On Tuesday, Mr Richard had an opportunity to bring forward his motion on the European arma- ments. It is a curious illustration of the kind of confused impression which even well-informed men have of public questions that this has been referred to by several papers as though it were an "annual motion." But so far is that from being the case that Mr Richard never before introduced any such proposal in the House of Commons. Seven years ago he brought for- ward and carried a motion on International Arbitration, which was an entirely different mat- ter. No doubt, in some quarters, this reference to an "annual motion" is made merely for pur- poses of disparagement, with a view to represent the member for Merthyr as boring the House by the reiterated discussion of a crotchet. But others fall into it through mere oversight. Be that as it may, nothing could have been more respectful and lerious than the reception accorded to the motion, or more encouraging to Mr Richard than the whole tone of the discussion. If there has been any dis- position out ot doors, of which we are not aware, to treat it with levity, there certainly was none in the House of Commons, As Mr Bax- ter said, in supporting the motion, M.r Richard made his speech to "a far more sympathetic audience than he had ever addressed before." The deep interest with which the sub- ject was regarded was strikingly testified by the fixed attention and the cordial cheers with which the speech was received. And in the debate that followed. if that might be called a debate where AU the speaking was on one side, not a word of opposition or disapproval fell from the lips of any 'peaker to the sentiments uttered by the proposer, or to the object he had in view. Even Captain Burnaby, the representative of the military party, ipoke of the motion with entire respect, and Acknowledged that there ought to be a diminution European armaments. Mr Gladstone, in his 'peech, though he was not willing to accept the Motion in the form proposed, so thoroughly 'odorsed Mr Richard's views as to the appalling Bvijs the present armed condition of Europe, aDu was, moreover, so noble- and eloquent in exposition of his own pacific policy, that it would ave been well worth while to have introduced the subject in the House were it only to have elicited such a speech. But there was a very •Pecific declaration on the part of Mr Gladstone, Vhat the Government were associated with Mr ftichard in the desire to substitute pacific methods for those belonging to the way of violence, though he asked him to allow the Government lome discretion as to the time and circumstances bringing so delicate a matter of this kind Before the governments of Europe." And ulti- nately he allowed an amendment, suggested by Mr Bright, which really did nearly all that Mr Richard asked for.thoughin theform of a resolution of the House instead of an Address to the Crown. to be passed without a dissentient voice. That amendment was, That in the opinion of this House, it is the duty of Her Majesty's Govern- merit on all occasions, when the circumstances admit of it, to recommend to foreign nations a reduction of European armaments." And when this was passed, members came crowding around AIr Richard to congratulate him on what they re- garded as "a real victory." Some of the London papers who represent for the most part the cynical temper of the clubs, have tried to minimise as much as possible the significance of this event. But we have had very abundant evidence, within the last few months, that they at any rate do not represent the serious opinion of the country. On Eiiday evening Sir Wilfrid Lawson, after BO many years of strenuous and unrequited toil, scored a remarkable victory. Towards the close of the debate there was a very crowded House, and the only question was, among his friends, what would be the number of his minority. The division was delayed for half an hour by an inve- terate bore who came in at the last election, a Mr Warton, member for Bridport, who sits on the Conservative side, and who threatens to be- come a standing nuisance. He speaks, or tries to speak, on almost every question that comes before the House, and he does this with self-confident and nonchalant air which Is peculiarly irritating and offensive.' And when, at half-past 12 o'clock on Friday night, it a time members' were anxious for a division, he itarted up, there w as a loud groan through most d the benches, as of men who felt they were objected to an intolerable infliction. This was followed by a fixed determination not to listen to I him, and amid loud and incessant cries of J divide," "agreed," question," and other lu- iCOlS and inarticulate nokes, the conflict went \1 on between the tore and the House, and lasted for Dearly half-an-hour. Not a syllable of what he was heard, and when he sat down he was IfWeted by a shout of relief, which betokened how thankful we were for the deliverance. As the mem- bers were trooping out to the two lobbies great cu- riosity was felt a to how Ministers would vote. Mr Gladstone and Lord Hartington went against the motion, but Mr Bright, Mr Forster, Mr Chamberlain, Sir Charles Dilke, and other mem- bers of the Government went forit. And when, on the return of the members to the House the Clerkat he table handed the paper with the numbers on to Sir Wilfrid Lawson, itself a proof that he had won, a ringing cheer went up, partly for the suc- cess of the cause, and partly also for Sir Wilfrid personally, who is very popular with all parties, and whom everybody felt was, at last, reaping the reward of a long and gallant fight. When the numbers were announced the cheering was re- newed, and in the lobby the members of tLe Al- liance who had crowded the galleries and other parts of the House, were rushing about in wild excitement, shaking each other's hands with a violence that threatened dislocation of the jointlr.


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