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the most unhandsome manner; to aggravate offence, and to. treat the Ho'use. with unparallelled insult and contempt. Besides, what end could such conduct answer? The House had come to a resolution (and that resolution, he recollected, had passed unanimously) that for any Minister to apply the public money to answer the votes of Supply, in cafe of a prorogation or dissolution of Parliament, before an appropriation act had passed, would be guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour. That Government had acted contrary to the directions of Parliament, in cafes of emergency, , and that their conduct had not in that particular provoked « censure, he was ready to admit, but then the emergencies had been unforeseen. In the present case, the emergency was foreseen; it was known, that money must be had to pay the army; it was known, that money would be wanted to pay the ordnance. To dissolve the Pailiament, therefore, and by that means wilfully to create the emergency, would be highly criminal. There never had been an instance of such a rash, inconsiderate act, -and is it was attempted, and it was proved by the result that public money could be applied to the votes of supply, before ways and means were provided to answer the Supplies already voted, before an appropriation act had parsed, and in desiance of the resolutions of the fame House of Commons that had voted '/ those supplies, he should contend that the law and the. constitution of this country were at an end. His Lordship reasoned much at large, and very forcibly upon the several points we. have mentioned; and after having held up in glaring colours, how highly criminal, and how flagrantly unconstitutional it would be for Ministers to advise His Majesty of a sudden, in the midst of a session, and without the existence of a possibility to assign a single public reason for such a conduct, to dissolve his Parliament, concluded with faying, that he should sit down with his mind easy, under the conviction, that it was impossible for Ministers to have any such intention, notwithstanding the general credit given to the report that Parliament was to be dissolved jn a day or two.
General Conway said, much as it was the habit of the right Gen.. Conhonourable gentleman opposite him to sneer at any man who waypresumed to talk of the dignity of that House, and to make a jest of every expression of a wiih to preserve its importance in the scale of the Constitution; he would nevertheless venture to fay a few words respecting the report of an approach
Vol. XIII. R r ing
ing dissolution, and to add one more reason to the many that had been already assigned in proof that such a measure ought not to take place, and that it could not be adopted without infinite inconvenience and hazard to the country. The matter he meant to allude to fell within the sphere of his profession, and thence impressed his mind the more forcibly. When the Ordnance estimate had been under the consideration of that Hause, an honourable and respectable friend of his (Mr. Hussey) had proposed to curtail the estimate and to vote a sum fliort of it to the full amount of one hundred thousand pounds. This proposition had, the General observed, been made in one of the thinnest houses that ever perhaps fat upon so very important a subject, and- it was acceded to. He had the best authority however for faying, that it had been intended by the right honourable gentleman at the head of the Exchequer to bring the" matter forward again and obtain a reconsideration of it. 'Great part of the services left unprovided for by the curtailment of the estimate that he had mentioned, had stood still ever since, and were, to his knowledge, services not only of indispensable but of immediate necessity. He meant the works carrying on for the defence of the kingdom. Many of these were works that absolutely required the utmost dispatch in their completion, a fact which he well knew, and which was equally well known to the noble Duke, his noble relation, at the head of the Ordnance Board. The General dwelt for some time on this circumstance, and pointed out the great mischief that might arise from Parliament's being dissolved before the works in question were provided for. He afterwards urged a great variety of remarks, to shew the extreme inconvenience that would attend a dissolution under the present circumstances"of the country. Among other things he said, he did suppose in the new Parliament the right honourable gentleman would have a majority to support him as a Minister. In that cafe he only wished, he might use his power for the service of his Country; in that case, he cared not who was the Minister. He declared he had himself no personal ambition; no anxiety for place or emolument. In the late contest, he had gone much farther than he had ever gone in party before; but he had done so, because he saw the importance of that House was endeavoured to be trampled upon, and the Constitution was endangered. Let them be preserved, and let the country be benefited, and all his ambition was gratified. He reasoned-for a considerable time in this manner.'
The Report being read a first time, and a motion made to read it\a second time,
Lord North said, as it was a new question, he would fay 'a few words more respecting a dissolution. His Lordship then took notice of the secrecy and silence of the Minister, and said, he supposed, it was designed to have a Parliament of question, and another Parliament, in like manner as it appeared to be intended to have one Parliament for voting supplies, and another Parliament for providing ways and means, and passing an appropriation bill. But notwithstanding that no answers had yet been given, and that no answer was likely to be given till the next Parliament, when all the questions that had been then proposed must necessarily receive their answers, he would state one more question. To put the cafe hypothetically, and without saying either that Parliament would or would not be dissolved, he would state is thus: If Parliament were to be dissolved, he would then aik upon what principle of law, upon what opinion of the Constitution, upon what argument, or upon what authority would Ministers issue the money for the subsistence of the army for the month of May? His Lordship reasoned upon this question for some time.
No answer was given, but a smile from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The report was read a second time and agreed to.
Mr. Hujpy then put a question relative to the Committee Mr.Hussey. on a private bill's being'brought forward, and changed to an order for the next (this) day.
The Speaker stated to the House that it was contrary to The Speatheir Order so to accelerate it; but said, they had it in their ker, power to do it if they thought proper. \ The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, the House might act T-j" ch*?as it' thought proper, and gentlemen might make what Exchequer. speeches they chafe, he would not fay a word one way or the other.
The order for the commitment of the bill was discharged, and it was committed for this day.
The King came in person to the House of Lords, and having given his Royal assent, closed the Session with a Speech from the Throne, for which vide Lords' Debates.
The Parliament was then prorogued.
And next day, the 25th of March, it was dissolved.
We insert the following List of a Division, as being the most authentic of any of those that were taken during the Session:
House of Commons, Jovis 2j° Die Novemhris, 1783.
A LI'ST of the MINORITY and MAJORITY on the Second Reading of a Bill for vesting the Affairs of the EastIndla Company in the Hands of certain Commissioners, for the Benesit of the Proprietors and the Public, brought into the House by the Right Honourable Char les-James Fox, Member for Westminster, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and seconded by the Right Honourable Lord North, Member for'Banbury, and Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Against the Bill.
Neville, Richard Aldw.
Grenville, Hon. W. W.
Bootle, Richard Wilb.
Jervis, Sir John
Against the Bill. Gascoyne, Bamber
Jenkinson, Right Hon. C.
Lowther, Sir James Lowther, William Lowther, John Garforth, John-Baynes
Rolle, John Palk, Sir Robert Boone, Charles Brett, Charles
Cumberland. Carlifle Cockermouth Do.
Do. Derby Do.
Denonjhire. Ashburton Do.
Weymouth, &c. Do.
For the Bill.
Cooper, Sir Grey
Basset, Sir Francis Stephenson, John
Curzon, Hon. Nath.
Payne, Sir Ralph
Stuart, Hon. James
Clerkc, Sir Philip-JcnnJngs
Rigby, Right .Hon. Richard
Bampfylde, Sir Ch.-Warwick
Darner, Hon. George