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„ Mr. Powys lamented that his honourable friend should oppose a resolution which he was in hopes would have met a pretty general, if not unanimous, concurrence of the House. Whatever might be his honourable friend's opinion of the coalition, which by the bye he himself had not very well digested as yet, the question was-not now, whether that coalition ought or ought not to have been formed; it was now in existence; it was formidable from its numbers, and from the abilities of those who composed it; and it was supported by a majority of .the House. But this was not all: the House had thought proper to go so far as to declare it had no confidence in the present Administration; and whether from good motives, or bad motives, or no motives at all, the House not only passed this declaration, but also adhered to it. It was impossible, therefore, that the present Ministers could carryon the business of the nation; and consequently, while such a declaration existed, they could not remain Ministers. His honourable friend must be therefore convinced, that a general coalition was now become a matter of necessity, not of choice; and that a man could not oppose it, without voting, in effect, that the business of the nation should stand still, to the utter ruin' of all our affairs. When his honourable friend lhould have well considered all these points, he made no doubt but he would concur with him in supporting a motion, the object of which was, to cause an Administration to be formed, which should be able to carry through that House and the other, such measures as should be found calculated to promote the public good.
Mr. Martin said he would not take up for a minute the attention of the House. The honourable gentleman who spoke last but one, had so well expressed his sentiments on the present quastion, that he would barely say, that he most heartily concurred with him in every thing he had said.
Sir Cecil Wray opposed the motion. He thought he could not, consistent with his duty, give a vote which might contribute to recal back again to the cabinet those very men, who, for the daring attack made by them on the rights and property of their fellow citizens, had been so very justly, and so very properly dismissed by His Majesty from his services, some of whom ought to have been brought to the scaffold. Exclusive of this general objection to the restoration of the late Ministers of the Crown, he had a particular objection to the motion then before the House: it stated, that there were divisions and distractions among the people. He wished somebody would prove, or at least attempt to prove that assertion: for his part, he did not believe one word of it; he believed the people were nearly all of one opinion relative to the men who at present advised the Crown, and those who had been lately dismissed from the service of his Majesty. He believed that the former were generally esteemed, regarded, and believed by the people to be a wife, an honest and- virtuous set' of men; while the latter were looked upon as persons who had been deservedly driven from power, because they had attempted to abuse it, for the purpose of raising a new and urt- . constitutional power in the state, and invading the most sacred rights of the people. There was scarcely a second opinion on this subject without doors; and therefore he was well founded in his objection to that part of the motion, which stated that there existed divisions and distractions, because the House had of late held a language different from that of the people. The House had declared, that it had no considence in the present Ministers; but the addresses which poured in from different parts of the kingdom shewed that the people placed the highest considence in them; and consequently these addrefles proved, that the voice of the House of Commons was no longer the voice of the people of England. He wished most devoutly, that by way of trial on whom the considence of the nation rested, the Members had been sent back to their constituents by a dissolution: he was sure it would then have been found that the present, and not the late Ministry, possessed the considence of the nation; and then the present advisers of the Crown would have been able to free themselves from the shackles forged for them by the framers of the late resolutions which had passed the House.
Sir Peter Burrell expressed his astonishment that the present Sir Pete* Ministers should have given so much trouble to the House, as- Bur"uter the explicit declaration that it had no considence in them. One might have imagined that such a declaration would have produced a proper effect, and made the Ministers retire, when they found they could no longer expect to carry on the business of the nation in a House which placed no considence in them. We»e the resolutions of the House to remain a mere dead letter? Were they to be inoperative? Were they to stand solely as a monument of the disgrace of that House, and of its impotent folly in having passed resolutions which it was not able to enforce? The dignity of the House called fbr farther proceedings -y its honour was deeply engaged, and it £ould not now recede, without surrendering its own consequence, its dignity, and its honour; and without betraying the most essential rights of those whom they represented, and
to support whose weight and influence in this Constitution was one great part of their public duty. CoTfmor Governor Jobnjione said that this appeal to the honour of Johnstone. House had heretofore produced the worst of consequences;
and he was apprehensive, that a mistaken notion of honour; might plunge the House into difficulties and contests, which every honest man ought to prevent as far as lay in his power. It was this idea of false honour which set the House of Commons at variance with their constituents on the great question of the Middlesex election, and involved it in a contest, which ended by no means to the honour of that House: for the attempts which were renewed every year, notwithstanding the disheartening circumstance of repeated defeats, for rescinding the resolution on that question, succeeded at last, and the resolution was expunged; so that the journals now bore witness that the Commons had actually spoken a language different from that of the people: and what made them-speak such a language? A false idea of dignity and honour, which operated like a charm on the minds of men, and'set them at variance with the people. It was an appeal also to the honour of-the House, which procured support for the American war; gentlemen having once voted for it, were called upon to act with consistency, and not betray the honour of the House, which stood committed, as it was argued, by the first vote that was given on that great and important question. This appeal to the honour of the House might, in the present instance, in^volve it in the most disagreeable consequences; and therefore he begged gentlemen would consider, not that they had given such or such a vote already, but whether adherence to that . vote would be found prejudicial or advantageous to the public. ...... v . .. .
Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox adopted the motion with the utmost readiness.
He would not, however, consider it, or have it considered by the House, as including a sense which it did not bear, and with which those who acted with him could not'agree. It was, in his apprehension, substantially the same with that which the public expected this day from the House/ '" It went to all the points which gentlemen could wish, as it expressed a sentiment in which the public seemed not a little cordial, that the present situation of this country with respect to an Administration, was, at least, not altogether satisfactory.
In such an idea he doubted not every one was ready to join. He did not indeed conceive how a different opinion
could be entertained. At least, whoever would contradict this idea, were, in his mind, bound to shew that all the House had been doing for some time back was radically and essentially wrong. Conceiving the proposition as thus stated, he would give it his firmest and most cordial support) which he begged the House would believe he would not do from any motives of accommodation whatever. The fense in which he understood it, as stated to the House, struck his mind as a complete approbation of all those steps which the conduct of Ministry had imposed on them, and which they could not depart from till the Ministry set them an example of relinquishing their situation. It gave decision to their proceedings, and proclaimed aloud that they were not content with those who at present filled the ostensible departments of State. And he would be glad to fee the man who would give the negative to this proposition. What but this discontent, this ominous, this portentous discontent, could have proved such a bar to public business?
Under this notion of the resolution now moved, he was under the necessity of recalling the attention of the House to a variety of topics, of which no man who revolved in his mind the present dissentions which prevailed, could bo wholly ignorant. These constituted the subject of every public and private circle in the kingdom, and very justly, as involving whatever was dear to men, either as individuals or members of one great society, which depended on the issue of the present dispute.
Gentlemen were not to learn that the weakness of any Administration, as rendering it inefficient, must also render it a bad one to this country. For what was to be done without a Parliament? How were public affairs to be carried on against the representatives of the people, not only without their concurrence, but in flat opposition to their desire? Thus circumstanced, the best men on earth would be inadequate to such a situation. The Government of this country did not require ability or virtue singly or Combined, nor any other personal qualities of the most popular description possible to conceive. But all these united were absolutely insignificant without such an influence as would always carry the House along with it on every material and interesting question.
Why then did the House make it a point To remove the present servants of the Crown? Not certainly from any personal motives or aversions, but solely because their re
Voi. XUI. F tainjng taining their situation on the grounds of an undue and unconstitutional influence wa3 an impediment to the progress of national business. This was an object on which the several resolutions of the House, concerning the aukward condition in which they stood, in regard to the executive power, undoubtedly were founded; and till these were done away, it was impoiftble any solid union, any form of union whatever, between the two sides of the House, could take place.
His opinion of such an union as had ijecn desired, was no secret. He thanked God the personal sacrisices which he was or might be called to make, would prove no obstacle whatever. A punctilio between persons merely, were pitiful and absurd indeed, where so much was at stake: no man could expect any thing like a relinquishment of principle or honour; and these great and essential qualities secured,. what had any man, who wished. well to his country, which he would not renounce in her favour? Was it personal consequence or personal pride which could stand. a- moment in competition with duty? He, for one, detested the imputation, The present state of the country demanded a permanent Administration, and where was the individual who did not think himself bound by every obligation which could attach the heart and affections of a man to his country, to mankind, to contribute all in his power in effecting this event?
He trusted at the fame time it would, as it well deserved, be remembered that they were not now settling any point of ceremony among persons. The punctilio which remained to be adjusted was, in fact, between the House and the servants or servant of the Crown; and the question now to be decided was, whether his opinion, his authority, or that of the House was to prevail? Should he be able to support himself against a majority. of the House, then the business ofthe public was at an end; or should his obstinacy. and lingering in ossice weary those who had hitherto opposed him of doing their duty, and by that means secure him ultimately such a majority merely as might carry on the objects of parliamentary discussion, from that moment the Constitution would be irrecoverably ruined. This great object stared every man of fense in the face. It-was big with mischief, as terminating in a dissolution of that divine Constitution which had already subsisted so long and so gloriously.