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they would go through the business of the nation, propose their measures ot finance, and then at the close of the section appeal to the people by a dissolution of Parliament.
The question for the Speaker's leaving the chair was put, and carried without any farther observations. Mr. Ord took the chair of the Committee, and The Sec. at The Secretary at War moved for the sum of 2,300,0001. to W»r. defray the extraordinaries of the army.
Mr. Ceorge Mr. George On/low lamented that the House had destroyed Onflow. the finest army in the world—the militia, and was now going to vote an immense sum for another every way inferior to it: the former was the natural army of this country: and as France could at all times fit out a fleet at the breaking out of a war, much sooner than we could, so of course a militia would be absolutely necessary for the defence of the country against a sudden attack. (He alluded to the resolution not to call out the militia this year.) He then said that a saving might be made of the whole gnrrison, artillery, and government of Gibraltar, by a cession of that place, which by the enormous expence it occasioned, was a mill stone about the neck of this country; for it had already cost it £ 5000,000; and to no purpose; for the trade with Spain was against us; it was an insignificant trade for white-wine and pig-nuts; and of so little use was Gibraltar, that he would venture to prophecy, another British fleet would never be seen in its bay. Mt.Xutttj. Mr. Hujpy said he did not like to ask. an impertinent question, but he wished to know whether Parliament was to be dissolved this week. A friend of his had a bill, then on the table, which had been sent down from the Lords, and which could not, according to order, be read a second time before Friday next. He understood that when a dissolution was expected, the orders were relaxed, and bills suffered to proceed sooner, with the greatest dispatch. In that case, his friend's bill might be brought on to-morrow, and be got ready for the royal assent with the other bills: and this would be to his friend a saving of near 200I. which would be entirely lost, if the Parliament should be dissolved before his bill passed. No answer was given to this question. The supply was voted, and the House resumed. Lord Mahon's bill against bribery was then put into the Speaker's band, and on the motion for its being read a third time, the House divided; —Ayes, 45; Noes, 38. The bill was then read a third time and passed.
Lord Mahon adverted to the proceedings of the upper House U.MaW. on his bribery bill, and particularly to the speech of Lord Manssield, of which he complained.
Mr. Qrd having brought up the report of the Committee of Supply on the army extraordinaries, and the Speaker having put the question* that the fame be read,
Mr. Eden said, that he did not rife in the hope of having Mr. E<!«a. better success than some of his friends had on the preceding day; but he was impelled by a fense of duty to state some remarks on the circumstances of the present motion. The Minister of the day and his adherents might disregard or mis* apprehend thole circumstances, but the time would come when the fprewarnings now given would be brought back to their recollection. He would not now enlarge upon the singular conduct of voting services to the amount of near tea millions and sinding supplies for no more than a fourth part of that sum;' if such votes were brought forward merely as a mode of amusing Parliament, he could only fay they were unnecessary, and therefore unbecoming and disrespectful: but if they were meant to give a sanction to the subsequent conduct >of Ministers, and to enable them to fay that they were justisiable in applying the public money to voted services, the reasoning was flimsy and falLicious; the votes of such services would be a mere nullity from the moment of the dissolution; they could derive no sanction from the.present House of Commons; for that fame House of Commons had voted, that any payment of the army, made after a dissolution, and previous to an act of appropriation, would be criminal, and a breach of public trust, and illegal and unconstitutional. He would not however press the right honourable gentleman', .either on this point or on other great considerations respecting the commerce, the revenue, and public credit of the kingdom, all which seemed to be gratuitously abandoned to confusion and ruin, at the very moment when both sides of the House concurred in givingevery facility and dispatch to all the business of the nation. There Certainly was an appearance of an avidity.to abuse the false popularity of the moment to the purposes ot.creating a mote subservient Parliament—but the day of trial would.come, and he acknowledged it to be unfair to urge the right honourable gentleman to foretel his defence, and to make it before a judicature to which he was not to be responsible. Mr. Eden
added, that his present object was to mention two most important considerations, which Parliament had unanimously voted to merit the most early attention, and in which he unworthily bore a principal trust. The first respected the illicit practices used in defrauding the revenue: it was his duty on that day to present the Third Report of the Committee: that Report comprehended all the means of prevention; it was of a nature to merit the most immediate discussion: bis own duty, however, and the duty of the Committee would be discharged, by presenting the fruit of labours which had been performed with integrity and with industry: he had only, therefore, to thank the House for having placed him in a Committee with a set of gentlemen, to whose candour, indulgence, perseverance and abilities, he should ever bear testimony with gratitude and respect. The next consideration Was the business of the East-India Committee; it was connected essentially with the leading feature of the present strange session of Parliament: the Committee had already gained informations of the most interesting and most urgent importance: it would be impossible to stifle those informations: there could not exist any where a wish to stifle them: but it was his wish that they should be brought forward soon, and it would be a matter of proper attention, both to the public interests and to the persons employed in this branch of those interests, to intimate, either openly or privately, whether there should be sufficient time for this Committee to form a report. He desired to be understood to state all this with th.e calmness which became a man who was standing at the side of a death bed; in the expiring moments of the present Parliament. He was certainly sorry for the interest of some individuals, and for the increasing distresses of the public; but in the choice of present evils, he was glad, that the dissolution, however contrary to credibility and common fense, was determined to take place; the kingdom, and all its dependencies, would suffer grievously by so wild a step; but the Constitution would be saved: the House of Commons would be annihilated, in"the most inexpedient moment; but it was better that it should be annihilated than dishonoured; it was better, that there should be a temporary distress, than the mortal and fatal circumstance of a Ministry continuing obstinately to exercise its functions in defiance of a vote of the representatives of the people. U. N»tth. Lord Nvrtb; after a momentary pause rose and said, that curiosity which tyas so natural for his right honourable
friend, friend, and for the House in general, to feel upon the present occasion, he felt in common with, them; and had hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have deigned to have- uttered a single syllable by way of satisfaction on a point that so materially concerned them all. The report that they were at the point of death was in every body's mouth; but he was yet willing to believe that it was untrue, and that because no one public reason could be assigned in justification of such a measure. Indeed a variety of circumstances made it appear to him to be impossible that Ministers could mean to dissolve Parliament under the present circumstances of the country. The two Committees that his right honourable friend had just referred to,, alone afforded sufficient grounds to warrant the opinion he entertained upon the subject. Each os those Committees had business before them, not only of great importance, but such as required the immediate attention of Parliament. That upon smuggling concerned the revenue so nearly, that he could not suppose any Minister who regarded the interests of his country, could possibly be brought to accede to a dissolution of Parliament, before something Was done in consequence of the Reports of the Smuggling Committee. Again, the Committee on the state of the EastIndia Company's affairs was employed in a matter of too interesting a nature to be disregarded, nay, the right honourable gentleman himself had declared on a'former occasion, that such was the urgency of the East-India Company's affairs, that the subject would admit of no delay; that It must be taken into immediate consideration, and that if any time was lost, the difficulty and the danger ariiing to the country in general from the present state of the East-India Company's affairs would be increased. To dissolve the Parliament, therefore, after-such a declaration, and without there existing a possibility for one public reason to be assigned for such a measure, would be not only unwarrantable, but in his mind highly criminal. The'side «f the House on which he stood had been charged with a design to stop the supplies, and to impede the progress of the public business; had not that charge received the amplest refutation? Did they impede the public business, or had they stopped the supplies? On the contrary, had they not voted all that had been asked j and was it not sufficiently well known, that they had no intention to throw any impediment in the way of the public business? Another
Charge charge that had been brought against them had been, that they had established a system of procrastination. He begged to ask where the procrastination and where the delay was most truly imputable I They were ready, and had been ready for many days past, to go on with the public business, to attend it sedulously, and to forward it with all necessary dispatch. To whom, then, was delay imputable, and what was to be thought of the consistency of the right honourable gentleman, who had formerly recommended dispatch, if he now consented to advise His Majesty to dissolve the Parliament, and by that means create, without any one public reason, additional delay, and put that Hbufe, with so much business before it, into a total state of inaction for two months? His Lordship reminded gentlemen of the language of their Address to the Throne, deprecating a dissolution, and the language of the Royal answer. In both, the business then before the House had been mentioned; by the House it had been pointed out as business of great importance, and as business that required dispatch; and in the King's answer it had been admitted to be business that was urgent, and dispatch had been earnestly recommended to the House. From these considerations he thought the idea of a dissolution in the course of the week an idea which it was impossible for Ministers to have entertained, much less to have embraced and resolved to carry into, execution. He would not, he said, put any question to Ministers upon the subject, because they were to answer for their conduct in that particular to another tribunal, should it hereafter appear that they had given His Majesty any such advice as to dissolve his Parliament under the present circumstances of public business. This, however, he proceeded to describe as a matter impossible to be intended. He mentioned the vote of upwards of two millions of the preceeding day, and said, he had freely assented to that grant, and that he should be ready, in like manner, to give his vote for any other grant that the public service required; but that vote convinced him that a dissolution of Parliament was not at hand, because, for Ministers to come gravely to that House and ask large grants of supplies, without having any intention to provide adequate ways and means, and to complete the business by following it with a bill of appropriation, but on the contrary, meaning almost immediately afterwards to dissolve Parliament, \yould be to do an unhandsome thing in