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'January 29. - .
Another conversation and debate took place on the affair of Mr. Hamilton of Bergany; and the matter being explained to the satisfaction of every one, the order for his attendance was discharged.
Mr. Fox said, this was the day in which it was intended Mr. Fox, to resume the Committee on the state of the nation. He * regretted, that when this order had been made, the circumstances in which it originated were not so effectually chauged us to occasion in his mind any substantial reason against a literal compliance with it. The House and the public still sow, to their sorrow, a Ministry in this country retaining their situations in direct opposition to the House of Commons. They saw the servant of the Crown claiming the privilege of setting up his single opinion in opposition to theirs. They saw an obvious intention of putting all their resolutions and measures to defiance. Was it not resolved, after the most solemn and deliberate discusion of a very full House, that the present Ministry, who came in on secret influence, and were supported by every sort of influence except that of a public and avowed one, were difbonour,able to4 Parliament, and injurious to the service of the country? s
Jt was on account of their occupying this very singular and un&tisfactary ground, that their conduct had engrossed so muen of the attention of the House. And were matters now altered, for the better? What new facts had been stated, what other reasons assigned than those already heard from the right honourable gentleman? The House consequently was reduced to the disagreeable and mortifying situation of being insulted and despised with impunity. Was this an honourable or decent situation for such an as-' sembly? It was a situation in which Ministers could do no public good whatever. National affairs were perfectly at a stand. And why? The right honourable gentleman said he would insist that his judgment was preferable to the collected wisdom of the House.
But let gentlemen consider what the present state of the public is. Does not the business of the community actually cease? What is it that can be carried on of any consequenee to the community at large, while the Ministry and their representatives are not agreed? He knew not wha.t facts the right.honourable gentleman might be in the
humour to deny; but he .was perfectly founded in saying, that whatever depended on the concurrence of Parliament, was by his pertinacity' or obstinacy perfectly at a stand.
In what business then were Ministers engaged? There were always things enow to do in the mere etiquette of ofsice. The world were not to learn that much private favour had been lately distributed. But would Ministers and their partisans fay wkh what view these valuable gifts were vouchsafed? Was it not to strengthen, stimulate, and prosmote certain views which had excited Ministers to increase '.a body'of men which it was their object to render inimical to the constitutional in'ftuenee of that House > '.'.'.<':
This Was a project which evidently ofiginatediwith «the secret advisers of the'Crown,' whose interest it was to vitify and traduce the representatives of the Crown; and those who would thus stoop to be their tools, their instruments, and their creatures, were always sure of encouragement at Court. The considence of the House of Commons, of'the public1, and' of the world at large, was no object, no^ecomnjendation to them* But in proportion as they cdrfciliated the good opinion of the '. public^ in -proportion'oas they stood well with the House, in proportion as their measures were likely to be ef general and eminent advantage, in the fame proportion would they be condemned, censored, and expelled the considencej the caresses, and the favour of the Sovereign. What then 'signisied a majority of Che House of Commons to a Minister who stood on such a ground? 'it- might serve him -to carry -a few 'necessary measures, but would never exhibit him as-an eligible servant of the Crown. No. It was only in so far ai he deviated from the Constitutions as he shewed-a contempt for the opinion of the people, as he preferred his'own ^judgment to that of Parliament, that he should gain in the Royal esteem, or merit (he approbation and support of those who were constantly exercised in whispering the worst tbings of the best men. :7 ''" '.. '- ,'. '.. •
These were the glorious and important purposes for whidh the whole patronage of the Grown had devolved on them, and was used with all the licentiousness and partiality of private property. He always expected to be told on such. topics as this, that the prerogatives of the Crown were not to be impaired or restrained. He was the last man who would ever wish to fee one of the three estates stript of any of those powers with which it was legally invested. But
were Were not all those powers originally given with a view td the public service? He would be glad to know how such an object as this could be served by the late creations which had taken place. He trusted nothing he said would be understood in any degree as personal; but he thought it his duty to mention the interest which, as it struck him, the public undoubtedly had in whatever either directly or indirectly affected their interest.
He would insist on it that Ministers were responsible to the House of Commons for the exercise of every prerogative belonging to the Crown. It was in the House of Commons, or by the people in their original capacity, that every exertion of those powers which distinguished the Sovereign of the Empire, were ultimately to be tried, and in proportion as they answered the primary intention of their institution, be acquitted or condemned;
Now, however, the secret came out on which the present arrangement proceeded; they forfeited the confidence of the House, or, what was the fame thing, treated it with* the greatest contempt, because it ensured them a welcome reception from their private employers. Their conduct: was therefore no longer a mystery to the public* It Was written in the most legible characters. They not only opposed their own official consequences to that of the House, but by their obstinacy and temerity established a most melancholy and dangerous variance between the Sovereign and the people. Through the medium of this ill-omened Administration, the subjects at large, and their Supreme Magistrate, were taught to regard each other with jea-» lousy and mistrust. This was one capital object of their system, and it was undoubtedly very well calculated foe attaining its end.
To what lengths the House would be justified in going under such a circumstance, it did not become him to sayj but neither would any one opposite to him pretend to as-firm that Parliament w»s not defied by Ministers. Why . did they not condescend to gratify the public, to meet the ■wishes of the people, to sacrifice theii1 attachment to place for the sake of restoring tranquillity to the country, 'and Confidence in an Administration which might do the business of the people as it ought to be done? Who did not remember to whom the interregnum of last year wa9 owing? How was the interval of public business then filled up? Things were then done which the nation could not soon
Vot. XIII. D forgets' forget; and they were done under the same circumstances of public discontent, and,the same instruments which gave them their formality and effect. A similar indignity to the country in the eyes of all Europe was now going forward j was perpetrating in open day; was insulting those radical and hitherto undisputed powers which the Constitution had lodged in the House of Commons. All the world were witnesses to a farce which the present actors could only submit to play. — They kept the country without a government at a period when the pressure of public business never was greater; for at this time it could not be said w« had in fact any thing like an effective government. He trusted in God men's minds would soon open to the ridicule of their own situation, and save the British name from that ignominy, that contempt, inseparable from rulers of such a description.
But how long were they destined to continue under all the disadvantages of such an executive power, which was altogether destitute of energy, of influence, of respectability? How was the House of Commons, thus irritated and insulted, to conduct itself? He had conceived from their late conduct the best opinion of their resolution, their sense of dignity, and their attention to their honour and privileges as a body; he should therefore hope they never would suffer themselves to fall into the snare thus laid for them by those who wished, and only waited to take every possible advantage that might arise from their conduct in a situation thus critical and trying. They had already disappointed those who had thus proved them, by a temper, a moderation, and a magnanimity, which did them the highest honour. This was the calm, the deliberate, and the manly line of conduct in which he hoped they would persevere, and from which no temerity, no haughtiness, no obstinacy from those individuals who had set themselves against them, would ever tempt them to depart. He, for one, would not wish to precipitate things to such an extremity as might even be justified by their peculiar disposition and mode of thinking, to which che nation was obliged for all its present calamities. He therefore recommended firmness without obstinacy, and moderation without pusillanimity, as that which, notwithstanding every consequence, would still justify the- strongest measures in the eyes of the
He therefore proposed the House should adjourn till Monday, in which, did nothing occur to give public affairs a more favourable aspect, it would certainly be necessary to resume the Committee on the state of the nation. The sew days respite which such an adjournment would afford might be employed as those which were passed had been. He trusted the well-meant endeavours of such as wished to produce something like an union, might not ■again prove abortive. But he was bound in conscience once for all to declare, that while the present Ministry retained their situations, every effort of that kind, however laudable and well intended, must be useless and unavailable.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not rife to oppose the The Chanmotion of the right honourable gentleman, but was called "liorofthe up in very express terms to state his objections to the mode ,c tv>"' of arraignment thus constantly adopted by those on the opposite side of the House. Against all that very high language thus personally addressed to him, he would only oppose his simple assertion, as no more argument was used on one side than he mould affect on the other. Indeed he doubted not the House would think with him that such a torrent of criminating assertions were not by any facts whatever to be established. He was conscious to himself no part of his public life or official conduct stood in the least need of any apology.
The delicacy of his present situation required discretion. He was determined to sustain it with as much firmness and decency as he could. This resolution was the result of deliberation, and no invective or aspersion which the right honourable gentleman could throw out should divert him from that sort of behaviour he had already pursued; he could only act in so far as his own judgment directed him. This direction he trusted would not lead him into any very palpable mistake; and while he retained a confidence of this kind, it was in vain to expect he would be the dupe of any other.
The right honourable gentleman, in saying they did not possess the requisites of a legal Administration, was wrong, as they certainly had every formality which belonged to them as the servants of the public. These epithets, so well calculated to throw an odium on them, were therefore improperly applied; for whatever the right honourable gentleman might think of a majority, he would not allow
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