Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr,Powy«. Mr. Povuys said, he was truly sorry that the right honourable gentleman had forced the House to the harsh measure now proposed. He had had sufficient time: they had shewn every indulgence. But he was sorry to fay that the disposition to union did not appear to be reciprocal. He conceived the present step to be absolutely necessary. They were no longer a branch of the Legislature, if they submitted to the arrogant contempt> of their authority which had been shewn by Ministers.'

herfofce!" Wffcersarce desired n's honourable friend (Mr. Powys)

to reconcile his present opinion with that which he had formerly given, that it would be unbecoming in Mr. Pitt to go out with a halter about his neck, and negociate for place again.

Mr. Powys. Mr. Powys declared that his language had never been ambiguous. He left ambiguity for men who had sinister purposes. His heart was in his words. He had never said that Mr. Pitt could disgrace himself by paying respect to the solemn sense of that House. He was no enemy, but a friend of Mr. Pitt. He wished to see him make a part of the new Ministry. It was the design of no men to exclude him ; but at the fame time it was his opinion that the loss would be smaller to his country if he were to retire at this time altogether, than to continue in setting up ideal punctilios to the sacrifice of the dignity, and extinction of the utility of that House. Mr. Pitt could not be disgraced by negotiating with Mr. Fox. He could only be disgraced by a surly and supercilious contempt of the opinion of that House, fur, H. Mr. H. Dundas entered at considerable length into the quesBiioto. tion, and urged the impropriety of moving so harsh a proposition after two o'clock in the morning. Time and intima.tion ought to be given; it was a most solemn discussion ; for in his conscience he believed that it put a final end to every prospect of union. Gentlemen talked of the moderation of their conduct, of their wishes for union, of their temper, forbearance, and candour, while at the fame time they pushed so harsh a question as this at such an hour. He had objected to their previous measures, because he considered them .as hostile to the end which they professed to have in view; and this he considered as the completion of the resolutions Which they had already passed. ' He said he had laboured most strenuously for an union. He had exerted every nerve and all his influence to bring it about. He wished to heaven that the resolutions had been of another complection, and more moderate than they were. He said that gentlemen ought at

least

least to postpone the question. They ought not to put union '' out os our reach; and he thought that this address would do it effectually.

Mr. Lee made a long speech, in which he declared that the Mr. Lee. House of Commons was extinct — it was dead and buried if they did not manifest their authority. It was their office and duty to declare their opinion of Ministers; but of what avail was their opinion, if they could not give authority to their resolutions? The question was for their existence. He alluded to tlie conduct of Ministers, and the clamour which they had set up in the country against the India bill — a clamour which was consined to assertion and ridicule, and he had by accident contributed-to the greatest part of the ridicule, as . . well as of the wit and argument, that had been used against it.

The honourable Mr. Villiers made his sirst speech, and The Hon. spoke in favour of Ministers. The opposition wislied, he Mr.Vllller* said, to crush his right honourable friend, and to malfe him a cypher in the Administration which they were to form.

Mr. Rolle also spoke against the motion: it was unexpec- Mr. Rolle. ted, he said: it had not been intimated nor supposed; and the House was to be taken by surprise. It was not consistent with the declarations which some of the present supporters of it had formerly made, but they had sliewn themselves to^ be political weathercocks.

The honourable Charles Mar/ham took notice of this ex- The Hon. . preflion. Was he a political weathercock, because he sup- 9^** r" ported the House of Commons against thf punctilios of Mr. Pitt? Because he ceased to vote with him on his standing in opposition to their declared sense? What must men of independence, who underwent the laborious duties of that House for the fake only of the public, think of such a conduct as the right honourable gentleman had been pleased to hold? They must, with all their predilection for him, give the preference to where it was due — to the dignity, the support, the efficacy, and the independence of that House.

Mr. Coke also spoke in answer to an assertion of Mr. Rolle's, Mr. Coke. respecting the resolution which he moved; and he said that no man should tell him that the calamities that might flow from the pretent interregnum were to be ascribed to him for making that motion; they were to be ascribed to those Ministers who dared to stand up in proud opposition to the voise cf the House os Commons.

Governor John/lone spoke in vehement terms: he said he Governor bad all along called on the gentlemen to come to an address; Jalll,1W

2 E 2 but'

but now he must blame them, for they had come to it at a shameful hour, and after the strangers were removed from the gallery, that the proceeding might not come to the public eye. It was wejl that they had moved for strangers to withdraw. He alluded to what Mr. Lee had said of the ridicule which had been thrown on the India bill, in consequence of the misrepresentation of a paragraph in his speech, and he desired him to state the expression over again, that it might be fairly understood. Gentlemen talked of their temper, their moderation, conscience, and all the other tricks of professions, and yet they proceeded to this hasty and violent step.

Mr. Fo». Mr. Fox said, that as they complained that the present motion was likely to be a bar to union, and that it would fae wife at least to postpone it, he, who had through the whole of this most alarming contest shewn himself to be a friend to moderation, would inform them, that if the right honourable gentleman, or the learned gentleman, or any other member in the immediate friendship and confidence of the Minister, would rise and say, that by the postponement of the motion till Monday, the smallest particle of benefit could arise, or that thereby any thing like a promotion of union might be obtained, he would most chearfully entreat the JHouse for leave to withdraw his motion.

No member rose to give the desired satisfaction.

The Solid- The Solicitor General ipade a long speech, in which he traced

tor General, the resolutions from their origin, and called all along for information, at what time it was that Ministers became unconstitutional, by which the country gentlemen had been drawn from their fide to vote against them. The couptry gentlemen had been seduced by the idea of forming a broad and extensive Administration; but now it was beginning to appear that it would end in what he had always suspected,' a change of the present for the old set of men, without any union. Sir Robert Srnyth spoke for the Ministry.

hi. North. Lord North said, that Mr, Dundas had declared, that the carrying an address to the Throne would be the means of putting an entire end to the hopes of union; but when Mr. Fox offered, that if he or any other gentleman would rife and fay, that by putting it off till Monday, any thing like union might be obtained, or any sort of advantage, the learned gentleman sat still. It was therefore evident, he did not think that the passing of the address that night did put (. any farther bar to union than the resolutions already passed had done, He desired it to be so understood.

Mr,

Mr. Henry Dundas said, he did not think there could be Mr. H. any great difference between moving it to-night and on Mon- Dundas. day. He coukl not presume to pledge himself to the bringing about an union. After seeing that the many gentlemen of independence, who had undertaken to promote union, had been so defective and unsuccessful in their measures, he could not presume to venture on that olio which so many abler cooks had spoiled.

Mr. Powys thanked Mr. Fox for the very manly conduct Mr.Powjs. which he held. His moderation would establish his character among all thinking men. But he declared, that as the motion was made, unless some person on the other side would rise, and move to adjourn, he could not consent to the motion being withdrawn. If any gentleman did rise, he would second the motion.

The Chancellor of the ExcJxqutr said, that without entering The Ch»nat all into the argument, whether the postponement of the £j|["ofa*c motion till Monday could promote an union, or whether the c e1a"' putting it now could retard one, he would content himself with asking gentlemen if it was perfectly fair and candid to put it at so late an hour without intimation, and when many friends of his had gone away, in the considence of there being no more business.

Lord Maltland denied that gentlemen had gone off singly. Lord Mait. He believed not one, and he called on any member to rife up, land' and mention one person who had gone off uncoupled. 4

The honourable William Norton said that he was going, The Hon. but he was stopped, and desired to stay, as important business w. Norton. was expected.

The honourable Charles Ma'Jham still called on the gen- The Hon. tlemen opposite to him to stand up fairly, and fay whether C.Marsliam they wished to adjourn or not.

Mr. Powys said, that in the love of moderation, he would Mr. Powjrs. go farther than he at sirst proposed. He would second the motion, if any other gentleman would make one for an adjournment, even without a reason. If they would not do this, the fense must be taken, and the nation would know which of the two sides were the obstinate party.

Lord Mahon said a few words.- Mr. Fox had said that Ld.Mahon. Mr. Pitt's declaring his resignation would be sufficient forrrev gociation without resigning. Would that satisfy the dignity of the House?

The honourable Charles Marjham concluded the debate The Hon. with saying, that Ministers must be answerable for the con- c. MaWhana sequences of their obstinacy.

The

The House divided—Ayes, 177; Noes, 156; majority for the address, 21.,

A Committee was appointed to prepare the address; who in a few minutes returned, and reported it as follows: .

v "To the KING'S Most Excellent Majesty.

"W E your Majesty's most faithful Commons, impressed with the most dutiful fense of your Majesty's paternal regard for the welfare of your people, approach your Throne, to express our reliance on your Majesty's paternal wisdom, that vour Majesty will take such measures, as, by removing any obstacle to forming such an Administration as this House has declared to be requisite in the present critical and arduous situation of affairs, may tend to give effect to the wishes of your faithful Commons, which have already been most humbly represented to your Majesty."

The address was agreed to. Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox moved, that it be presented to the Throne by the whole House—Ordered; — and also, that the members of the Privy Council would learn from the King when he would be waited on by the House with the address.

The report of the Ordnance estimates was then brought up, and agreed to unanimoufly.

At past five o'clock in the morning the House adjourned to Monday.

February 23.

The Attor- The Attorney General made a string of motions for accounts nej General cf balances in the hands of Mr. Rigby, on the 13th of November and 30th of December last, and of all payments made by that gentleman since, during the last twelve months. Mr. Rigby, Mr. Rigby, as it might naturally be expected, did not suffer such motions to be pasted in his presence, without making some observations on them. He said he had no objection to them; but he was greatly surprised, that, contrary to all practice and rules of civility observed in that House, they had not been previously communicated to him, or the least intimation given to him that such motions were to be made; but civility was a thing he had no right to expect from the learned gentleman; but he appealed to the House, whether even common decency had been observed on this occasion, where questions of so very personal a nature were brought forward in such a manner. He had no objection to the motions; his objections lay solely to the manner in which theT were brought forward.

- ■ -> The

« PreviousContinue »