« PreviousContinue »
Debate on taking it'into Consideration, ; *54
Debate on the Mutiny Bill, 2 5 5 to 2 6 7, tft to 290
Debate on Mr. Fox's third Address to the King, 268 to 277 ' • »
Mr. Eden's Motion for a Committee to examine the Accounts of the EastIndia Directors, 290 to 295
Money voted for Chelsea Hospital, 29 S
American Intercourse Bill opposed by Lord Sheffield, ibid.
Army Extraordinaries, 298
Debate on the expected Dissolution of Parliament, 301
Parliament dissolved, 307 '■
List of the Division on Mr. Fox's EastIndia Bill, 308
Mr. Fox's Bill for vesting the Affairs of the East-India Company in the Hands of certain Commissioners, fas the Benefit of the Proprietors and the Public, 316
Mr. Fox's B>H for the better Government of the territorial Possessions and Dependencies in India, 323
Mr. Pitt's Bill for the better Government and Management of the Affairs of the East-India Company, 334
t H E'
H I S T O ft Y
PROCEEDINGS And DEBATES
O F T H £
HOUSE of COMMONS,
la the Fourth and Last Session of the Fifteenth Parliament of Great Britain,
■ , .^Saturday, January 24, 1784.
AS soon as the Speaker had taken the chair) Mr. Powys Mr.Pawyi. informed the House that he intended to put a question to the Chancellor, as soon as he should appear in his place, the answer to which would determine him either to make or suppress a motion which he had drawn up relative to the present alarming situation of affairs.
In order to explain the reasons which induced the House to meet this day, it would be simply necessary to state, that after Mr. Pitt's bill had been, rejected last night, several members, and among these, some of the greatest favourers of the present Administration, rose, and successively put several questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, relative to the dissolution of Parliament, which seemed to be a subject of apprehension and discontent to both sides of the House: but the right honourable gentleman refused, for a long time, to give any answer at all. At last he gave an answer; but it was thought so obscure or equivocal by the House, that it became the general opinion, the dissolution ef the Parliament would be announced in that night'8 Gazette. This was a point which did not solely interest the mere partizans either of opposition or Administration: the independent gentlemen on both sides of the House took the ^ Vol. XIII. B alarm,
alarm* and joined in calling upon Mr. Pitt to give a decisive answer, whether the Parliament was to be dissolved or not. Nothing could conquer the Minister's resolution to be silent; and therefore, as every one was satisfied, from the Minister's silence, that a dissolution was resolved upon, the consternation that took place on this conviction might be more easily felt than described.
Mr. Sheridan had moved for the attendance (on this day) of some of the officers belonging to the Signet-Officer in order that some resolutions might be taken for the better preventing of the issuing of writs in such a manner as would give some candidates a preference over others. This motion was agreed to; and the temper of the House seemed to be such, that any resolution tending to throw a difficulty in the way of a dissolution, would have been carried by a great majority. ,'
Mr. Fox, however, interposed, and requested that the House would give the Chancellor of the Exchequer time to recover from the ill humour into which the rejection of hi9 bill might have plunged him; for that reason he very properly moved the question of adjournment, which was carried. >
The House met this day at the usual hour; and, perhaps, since the beginning of the session, there never was a more numerous attendance. As soon as Mr. Pitt had taken his place,
Mr. Powys. Mr. Powys rose: his emotion was such, that he absolutely shed tears while he was speaking. He said, that the seene of confusion, to which he had been last night a witness, had so haunted his mind, that it had never been a moment absent from it since. He had been ever since silled with the melancholy idea of the fatal consequences that might be apprehended from the temper and disposition which seemed to prevail In the House. He returned his sincere thanks to the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Fox) for having interposed his influence on the House, to prevent them from proceeding to any resolutions in the temper of mind in which they appeared when they broke up last night. He also returned his sincere thanks to all thole members who used their best endeavours to keep the House from proceeding to any business at a moment when the members appeared to be too much agitated to debate with temper: he declared that in what he wished at this moment to fay, he was not at all influenced by any previous concert with the right honourable member at the bead
of the Treasury: he was proud to boast of his friend/hip with
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he had laid down The Ch»nto himself a rule, from which he did not think he ought in £^" of*" duty to depart, which was, that he ought not to pledge bim^ x self to the House, that in any possible situation of affairs, he would not advise his Majesty to dissolve the Parliament; however, as the honourable gentleman had brought the matter to a very small point, in asking whether the Parliament might expect to meet again on Monday next, he would so far gratify the honourable gentleman as to tell him, that he had no intention to prevent the meeting of the House On that day.
Mr. Powys said, that he had put the question to the right Mr. Powyt. honourable gentleman in such a manner, that he expected from him an answer, which might be deemed the answer of the Minister of that House'; for as he had several colleagues,
B 2 it
it was possible he might be out-voted by them on a question of a dissolution.
Mr. Pitt. Mr. Pitt replied, that he conceived the question had been put to him as to the Minister of the Crown, and that as such he had answered it.
After which the House adjourned to Monday. the 26th, . .
Mr. Martin took up some time in clearing the house of Peers, which occasioned a short conversation.. The Rieht The right honourable Mr. Eden, after a short introduce
Eden M' t?F3t '.Peecn» moved» " That it appears to this House, that his Majesty's most gracious answer contains assurances^ upon which this House cannot but most sirmly rely, that hi* Majesty will not, by the prorogation or dissolution os Parliament, interrupt this House in their consideration of proper measures for regulating the affairs of the Eastrlndia Company, and for supporting the public credit and revenues of this country; objects which, in the opinion of his Majesty, and of this House, and of the public, cannot but. ba thought to demand the most immediate and unremitting .at-« tention of Parliament."
Mr. Marsham seconded the motion. ., The Chan. The Chancellor as the Exchequer rose next: he saidj that h« E "hV'uer.' D0 'onger ^l tlle objection which he had for some time past expressed, to give an answer to the many questions that had been put to him, relative to the apprehension entertained by the House of a dissolution or prorogation of Parliament, For though he held himself perfectly justisied in refusing to 'give any answer to questions put to him by individual memr bers, he held the cafe to be widely different when a question Was put to him by the House; and therefore, though he had formed to himself a resolution not to pledge himself to any specisic declaration relative to a dissolution, when called upon to do it by an individual member, yet, when a question came to him in the shape of a resolution, and countenanced by the House, he no longer felt an objection to give an answer; and he was under no manner of difficulty with respect to the consequences of the motion, as the answer he should . -. give would be such as would set the minds of gentlemen at ease. It was allowed on all hands that it was his Majesty's undoubted prerogative to dissolve or prorogue Parliaments; andfc as a Minister of the Crown, he never would advise his Majesty to pledge himself by any promise generally, and without