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House of Commons



TUESDAY, November 29, 1774.

The King' s most excellent Majesty having, by his Royal Proclamation, dated the thirtieth day of September last, dissolved the last Parliament, and by his Writ of Summons, issued under the great seal of Great Britain, bearing teste at Westminster, on Saturday, the first day of October, called a new Parliament, and appointed the same to meet and sit this day; the Right Honourable William Earl Talbot, Lord Steward of his Majesty' s Household, came about ten of the clock into one of the rooms belonging to the Clerk of the House, where the oaths appointed to be taken by the Members returned to serve in Parliament are usually administered; and John Hatsell, Esquire, Clerk of the House of Commons, and Mr˙ Ley, Clerk Assistant, and the other Clerks, attending according to their duty; and the Honourable John Yorke, Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, having delivered to the said Mr˙ Hatsell a book containing a List of the names of such Members as had been returned to serve in this Parliament, the Lord Steward did himself, in person, administer the oaths appointed to several of the Members who appeared; and afterwards made a Commission or Deputation, under his hand and seal, empowering several of the Members who had before been sworn, to administer the said oaths to the rest of the Members returned, some of which Commissioners administered the same accordingly to such other Members as appeared; which being done, the Members repaired to their seats in the House of Commons.

After which, a Message was delivered by Sir Francis Molyneux, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod:



The King commands this Honourable House to attend his Majesty immediately in the House of Peers.

Accordingly the House went up to attend his Majesty in the House of Peers, where the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, by his Majesty' s direction, said,

My Lords and Gentlemen:

His Majesty has been pleased to command me to acquaint you that he will defer declaring the cause of calling this Parliament, till there shall be a Speaker of the House of Commons; and therefore it is his Majesty' s pleasure, that you, gentlemen of the House of Commons, do immediately repair to the place where the Commons usually sit, and there choose a fit person to be your Speaker; and that you present such person who shall be so chosen, to his Majesty here, for his royal approbation, to-morrow, at two of the clock.

And the House being returned, the Right Honourable Lord Guernsey, son and heir apparent of the Right Honourable the Earl of Anglesford, and one of the Burgesses for the Borough of Maidstone, in the County of Kent, addressing himself to the Clerk, (who, standing up, pointed to him, and then sat down.)

Lord Guernsey, then, in the usual form, after asserting the rights and privileges of the Commons of Great Britain, proceeded to expatiate largely on the tried integrity, abilities, and well known experience of Sir Fletcher Norton, their late Speaker, and concluded with moving, that he should once more be called to the Chair. His Lordship was seconded by Lord Robert Spencer, brother to the most noble George Duke of Marlborough, and one of the citizens for the City of Oxford, who was no less warm in his commendations; and the question being put, it was unanimously agreed to.

The House then calling Sir Fletcher Norton to the Chair, he stood up in his place, and delivered himself substantially, as follows:

The two noble Lords have been extremely partial to what they are pleased to term my talents and experience; though conscious of my inability to discharge so important and honourable a trust, upon any pretension but that of a strict obedience to the orders of this House; that, as the only merit I have hitherto had the least claim to, will, I trust, enable me to discharge myself to your satisfaction in future. I well know the extreme difficulty, and even impossibility, of filling the Chair, without such a disposition; and if that be sufficient, I hope to be honoured with a continuance of the same kind opinion and indulgence which I have before experienced.

The Speaker having finished, and the House then again unanimously calling Sir Fletcher Norton to the Chair, he was taken out of his place by the said Lord Guernsey and Lord Robert Spencer, and conducted to the Chair, where, before he sat down, he spoke to the following effect:

I cannot pretend to say whether the House may think as I do on the present occasion. I nevertheless look upon it as a part of my duty to acquaint them with my sentiments. If his Majesty should think proper to approve of me when I am presented, it will be a matter of course to pray for a confirmation of the ancient privileges of the Commons of Great Britain. Two of these privileges, it is well known, respecting the property and the servants of the Members of this House, having been taken away by a late Act of Parliament, to ask for them as usual, would be at least nugatory; to say they were given up, would, in my opinion, be equally improper. I would therefore, with the consent of the House, put the prayer in this general manner— such privileges, immunities, &c˙, as were taken away or abridged by Act of Parliament.

In this the House acquiesced. The Clerk of the House then took the Mace, (which before lay under the table,) and laid it upon the table; and the Speaker took his seat.

Then the Right Honourable Sir John Shelley, Treasurer of his Majesty' s Household, and one of the Burgesses for the Borough of New-Shoreham, in the County of Sussex, having congratulated Mr˙ Speaker elect, moved to adjourn till to-morrow, twelve of the clock.

And the House accordingly adjourned till to-morrow twelve of the clock.