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parties, on occasions of such a nature, to blind and prejudice the public. This manœuvre has lately been practised with respect to the India bill. How few of mankind are able to judge of its properties? Yet how many phrases, such as chartered rights, invasion of property, &c. have been got upas popular watch-words on the occasion — and what is now the subterfuge of Ministry — under these forms of popularity, in the maintenance of their office r Suffer us (fay they) to remain till such time as we are tried — till such time as we are chargeable with crime — But how pitiful is the pretext? Does not their conduct resemble a species of burglary, or that of a villain who enters my house with an intention to purloin my goods? Such a fellow I seize by the throat, I threaten him with all the severities of justice — He, however, insists that he has done no harm — He even intreats permission to be allowed to continue till such time as he is chargeable with a fault, or perhaps ha» audacity to propose a coalition with me, as the best'atonement he can offer for the injuries he meant. r.Dundat Mr. Dundas said, that after so much declamatory and inflamatory language, he would not venture to make a speech, • but only to throw out a few observations—He observed, that with respect to the privilege and prerogative of the House of Commons, and of the other branch of the Legislature, to give advice to, the Treasury, all were agreed; but he figured an instance in which both these parts of the Constitution gave a different advice. In this instance what would be the conduct of Ministers? The resolution alluded to, he did not consider as binding in the fame degree as a law — Still, however, it bound up the hands of Ministers so far— it obliged them, in the acceptance of India bills in every instance beyond the sum of 300,0001. to consult the sense of the House of Commons. This was the embarrassment which it surely imposed on them, and which in its literal fense, and as he understood the English language, to the understanding of which he would not lay an equal claim either with his learned friend (Mr. Macdonald) on the right, or his other learned friend (Mr. Erfkine) on the left. He would therefore propose an amendment on the fourth resolution, and that a clause should be added to it, explanatory of the sentiments of the House respecting it, and of its original intention in the formation of it. He wished also that the fourth resolution might be the first, and the others would naturally follow from it as corollaries. On neither of these points 2 would would he however insist very strenuously. As to the argument 11m ad bominem, it might be a legal phrase, but surely not a parliamentary one. He did not think himself bound to answer what had been thrown out on that subject. In the case of Mr. Henleys, that gentleman having, obtained no appointment from His Majesty, an address was incompetent, and a declaratory resolution of the House of Commons became absolutely necessary. He spoke of the addresses which had been presented, and denied the interposition of ministerial influence with respect to them.
Mr. Fox confessed himself much astonishd at the speech Mr. Fox. of the learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) who, in his opinion, had acted the part of an able and ingenious, though not a prudent, advocate for the House of Lords. He meant nothing invidious or personal by the term, but would appeal honestly and fairly to the House, whether, had their Lordships meant to plead their cause at the bar of the House, they could have fixed'on any one who could have managed the interests of his noble clients with more address. For what was the amendment proposed, that the House did not understand its own opinion? It was an explanation which virtually and substantially recanted the sentiment conveyed by the resolution. It was however to be remembered, that the House of Commons spoke not to the House of Lords, but to the Lords of the Treasury, and that the House of Lords had signified their difference with the House of Commons for an exertion of those privileges which were their exclusive right; and the mode of blaming the resolutions which they had treated thus disrespectfully affected every resolution of the House. It gave them all a colour of ambiguity and obscurity which they did not deserve. It lowered them in the eyes of the public, and made them speak a language which it was the interest of some that they should speak, but which, however, was foreign to their hearts. By how many stratagems was it endeavoured to produce this effect both within and without doors? A bill had been brought into Parliament which all acknowledged was founded on the most imminent necessity. Never did a more striking and tried majority stamp a greater sanction and value on any measure than that by which the bill before Christmas was carried through the House. That bill was, notwithstanding, lost. But how? Will any man assert, that the free, unbiassed suffrage of their Lordships operated to that effect? In contempt, however, of the House in which the measure originated, and the il
lustrious majority who espoused it as their own, it was not only thrown out, but the Ministers perished with it, and perished only, a6 it would seem, because they were supported by the confidence of that House. A new Ministry was brought forward on the fame principle; and were not these men held in office in direct opposition to that House, which never in a similar case had been disregarded without danger to the Constitution? How was the strange unconstitutional step justified by those principally concerned? Not by vindicating their own conduct, but vilifying that os the House. Did it not seem an object to make the tepresentatives of the people insignificant and useless? Were not his Majesty's present Ministers called to office, maintained in office, and by every mean and vulgar artifice exhibited to the people, not as objects of respect and merit, but of innocence and pity? But what was the object of the Constitution in Vesting the House of Commons with the absolute, the unequivocal, and sole disposal os the public purse? Was it to endue that branch of the Legislature with various separate and independent powers? No—For this peculiar prerogative the House of Commons possesses not as a branch of the Legislature, but as the representatives of the people, unconnected with any other powers or body of men whatever. In this distinguishing attribute of their delegated capacity, neitheir King nor Lords had any right of interference. It was a trust connected with their existence and their honour, and to relinquish it on any account was to prove traitcious to the confidence reposed in them by their constituents and the public, Whoever, therefore, had the use' of the public money, was responsible to them for the use they made of it in proportion to their trust. 1 hey had not, consequently, gone too far in asserting whatever the resolutions of his noble friend would bear. Their predecessors had gone much farther .— he doubted whether they had move provocation. He trusted the temper of the House, however, would be uniform, and that they would go through even with the arduous duty prescribed them, in a manner that would do them honour with the world and with posterity. But it was obvious how they had been treated. He wished the House to recollect the dates of the several resolutions, and how tamely they had constantly been received. One noble Lord (Effingham) had indeed now and then harped on these resolutions, but no sooner had he broached the matter, than the House was adjourned; and it was not till the House had declared,
clared, that a sirm, extended, efficient, and united Administration could alone restore harmony to the country and the House of Commons, that their Lordships seemed alarmed. So long as the House did not sind fault with Ministers, their resolutions were innocent and inosfensive; hut the moment they attacked an unconstitutional Administration, they took sive, and with equal industry and vehemence ransack their Journals, and pronounce their anathemas on every word which they can misconstrue into an object of animadversion and censure, and without regard todelieacy or reserve, charge the House with what they never did or thought to do. He was sorry that he was obliged to recur so often to the facts which had distinguished the earlier part of the present session; for these were the facts which had incurred the resentment of their Lordships, and which'they seemed so verymuch offended by. They had acquired their object, and still they were ditsatissied. The measure on which the honour of the House was pledged they had disposed of, but in a manner extremely disgraceful; some said by a Court juggle, others by the absolute commandos Majesty; but none ever allowed the House of Lords any merit whatever in this famous decision of that celebrated measure. He then adverted to Mr. Dundas's commentary on the resolution concerning the recal of Mr. Hastings in the year 1782, and exposed the ingenious reasoning of that learned gentleman on that particular. He was astonished at the conduct of some men beyond expression— He admired the ingenuity of the learned gentleman; but he knew not how it was, he never had heard him so much unequal to himself as in the speech he had just made. Was it that men of the strongest: talents were not able, with all their powers of eloquence and comprehension, to render falsehood as forcible as truth, or how could it be accounted for, that on such occasions the brightest parts funk beneath themselves? H: was likewise unable how to unravel the conduct of those men who had said so much about coalition, anJ notwithstanding, appeared to be of such, if he might use a new word, uncoalescible and ununiteable qualities. He illustrated the interference of the House in cases where discretionary powers were invested by the Attorney General, who, in his opinion, was the servant of the House, who had always acted at the command of the House, and who, in case of disobedience to their orders, he did not fee how he could be punislied. The great
principle principle that guided him, and which the House still supported in all their servants upon trust, was, a deference to their opinion. Where this did not exist, their interference by admonition or advice would be unnecessary. But it was on the supposition of its operating to a certain degrecon their servants of all descriptions, that they had interposed by suck means. He declared the impolicy and injustice of insisting cn the extreme of right in any cafe where all forts of powers and prerogatives were still under limitation; and he deprecated the necessity the House of Commons might yet be under to asiert, as her dernier resort, that great check which she undoubtedly had over the executive government, by denying the supplies. This he would state'till the very last moment as hypothetical, not suffering himself to believe that men contd be so mad as to suffer the constitution of the country to run such a risque from obstinacy, or whatever other motive may influence them. He insisted that all the prerogatives of the Crown were limited by the great object for which they were originally instituted, which was the benesit and advantage of the public. Had not this House interfered with the present Ministry solely because they were evidently inadequate to this capital and primary idea? He wished, however, that every thing should still be cairied on with prudence and moderation. The present was a trying crisis, and he could fee a determination to try them still more. But he trusted the spirit and magnanimity they had already discovered would never forsake them, but bear them up under all the difficulties and temptations to which the exercise of their duty to the public, to their constituents, and to themselves, unavoidably exposed them. He warned the House with much earnestness and importunity against the venom and poison of the amendment, or explanation, which the learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) had suggested. The point to which they tended needed no illustration. The words seemed harmless, but were the more dangerous for their apparent insignisicance. They were evidently intended to tarn the most serious business in which that House had ever been engaged, into ridicule, and brought against them the very solemn and formidable charge of suspending the exercise of law. But every circumstance which attended the progress of the whole affair demonstrated the purpose to which it was directed. He was certain the design, whatever success might attend it, was to slander them in the country,