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terfere by any means with the exercise of the prerogative,, the House was to blame for having agreed to the resolution which passed yesterday unanimously, which stated that a firm, efficient, extended, and united Administration was necessary in the present state of affairs: for supposing such an Administration was now formed, what might not the advocates for the prerogative of the Crown infer from it ?. That nothing could be more dangerous or more unconstitutional than such an Administration; for being composed of all the heads of parties in both Houses, they would of course be supported by majorities in both; and then the King would have forced upon him an Administration which lie could not dismiss.
Mr. Banks. Mr. Banks spoke against the motion, as did Sir George Howard, who condemned all the resolutions that had been passed against the present Ministry, because they were unsounded, being supported only on vague reports and idle rumours. -Before he would consent that these resolutions should be laid before the King, he desired some fault might be alledged to have been committed by the right honourable gentleman: for it was contrary to every principle of justice that punishment should precede a trial.
Mr. Rigby. Mr. Rigby replied, that it was by no means necessary that a fault should be alledged against the right honourable member, whom by the bye he thought'faultless; it was sufficient for his removal that he possessed not the confidence of that House. When a motion was made for an address to remove Sir Robert Walpole, there was no crime or fault laid to his charge; and when he found that he had but a majority of one, he took the hint, and never after set his foot in the House of Commons. When a motion was made to resolve that the House had no farther confidence in the noble Lord in the blue ribband, there was no charge of crime or fault brought against him; and yet, though he negatived that motion by a majority of nine, he thought it prudent to retire, and did so. What could keep the right honourable gentleman in his situation, in defiance of the resolutions of that House, he knew not; but this he knew, that the consequence of the House must fall, or the right honourable gentleman must retire. It had been objected to the late Ministers, that they had not been able to make a single Peer; this was net an objection that could be made to the present Ministers, who had already been pretty liberal of honours: and it was pot a little singular, that of the < I four
four Peers who had lately been created, three of them lived in a'county where there were a great many of those places which are generally called rotten boroughs. These creations were not like those of Queen Anne's reign, which were for the purpose of giving the Minister a majority in the House of Lords; for the present Ministers were already in possession of a majority there: but these creations had taken place, in order that persons might be had who would do business in the House of Commons. Those who remembered how the Duke of Northumberland gained his former honours, could not be surprised to see that noble Duke, tottering under the weight of ribbands and coronets, still anxious to add to them the coronet of another barony. It had been often suggested that if this House should go on with resolutions, the House of Lords might come to counter resolutions: they might so; but he trusted there was still too much sense in that House, to countenance any measure that might make a breach with this. If they did, however, the counter resolutions would not prove the Commons in the wrong: and he'hoped, that when the Commons conceived themselves to be in the right, they would not be intimidated from the discharge of their duty by the proceedings of any other assembly.
Mr. Aubrey and Lord Fielding spoke against the motion, as did Governor JobnJlonet who made the House laugh Got. John* heartily, by saying, that the right honourable gentleman on ston?* the floor calling upon the right honourable gentleman at the head of the Treasury to relign before he would treat with him, put him in mind of the sable of the fox and the raven, in which the former said, " Monsieur Corbeau, come down from the .hfigh branch on which you are perched, and then we shall settle these matters.
The Solicitor General disclaimed any intention to be per- The S> lici. verse, or to make use of any asperity; butf some few days tofGen,:ral; ago, a gentleman on the other fide of the House had used very harsh and indecent language to his right honourable friend, and which might justify retaliation. He-then called for the charge on which his right honourable friend was to be condemned; he defied his bitterest enemies to produce one that could affect his character. He concluded by mov- , ing an amendment to the motion for laying the resolutions before the King, to this effect: "Although, after various examination* into the state of the nation, no charge whatever
ever was brought forward or proved, notwithstanding His Majesty's Ministers had repeatedly called for.the fame."
Mr. Sberi- Mr. Sheridan said, that if the honourable gentleman, in stating that harsh and indecent words had been used by him some time ago to the right honourable gentleman, meant any allusion to any thing that had fallen from him, he wished he had quoted his words: the honourable gentleman had a convenient, if not an accurate -memory. What he said in allusion to the great Duke of Buckingham was, that those persons who owed their promotion to the personal favour of the Crown, and stood on the. principle of favoritism, were minions of the Crown! the right honourable gentleman appearing to him to stand on that principle, he had, in very proper parliamentary language, called him one of the minions of the Crown.
Th^Sol!«i- "she. Soltcitcr General said it was not to that honourable 'gentleman who spoke last that he alluded, but to another.
Mr. Powyj. Mr. Powys said, that looking upon the charge originally brought against the right honourable gentleman to be completed by the resolutions of the House, the House was, of course, bound by them; and could not properly bear that language, which said that no charge had been brought. A charge, and of a very serious nature, was certainly brought, and after various debate.s,. resolutions were sinally agreed to. He would, indeed, gladly have the business revised; but as long as it stood as it did at present, he must look upon it as .completed. He still believed that it had been intended that the prerogative should be set up in opposition to the rights and privileges of the House, and therefore he had voted on the opposite side to the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) to whom he was a sincere friend, but he was a still greater friend to the Constitution.
The question was at last called for, and put, when the Solicitor General's amendment was rejected without a division. The House then divided on the original question for laying the resolutions passed last night before his Majesty, Jrvhen there appeared
For the motion, 211; — Against it, 187. Majority against the Minister 24.
Mr. Fox, Mr. Fix then moved to adjourn the farther sitting of the Committee on the state of the nation, which stood for this day, to Monday next; and the House adjourned to Thursday,
February February 5.
After some previous" unimportant business, Lord Beau- Lord Beau: champ begged leave to submit to the House a motion, to chamP' which he did not believe there could be any objection: he confessed, he had no better grounds for making it than rumour; but he was of opinion, that every one would allow rumour was a very good ground for enquiry. From rumour he had heard, that the House of Lords had taken into consideration a resolution which this House had passed on the ,24th of December, and made it the foundation of what he conceived to be a very unwarrantable attack upon the privileges of the House of Commons: His surprise was greats indeed, this day, when he was informed thrj: the House of Lord* had been sitting last night in solemn deliberation on a resolution which had been proposed in the House of Commons, and which had been adopted on Christmas eve. That resolution conveyed to the Lords of the Treasury an opiniort relative to the farther acceptance of bills drawn from India oft the East-India Company; and he understood that this resolution had been construed to amount to an assumption on the part of the House of Commons, of a power to iupercede an act of Parliament, or, in other words, to take away, by a resolution of one branch of the Legislature, a power granted by all three. But this surely was a construction which the resolution would not admit; and nothing but captious malignity could think of torturing it, so as to make it speak a language so little in the contemplation of the House when it agreed to the resolution. The House of Commons assumed no new power, when it attempted to state to a public boards how far that board ought, in the opinion of the House, to exercise a power which they might or might not exercise, at their own discretion: there were a thousand instances in the Journals, of instructions given to all the public boards, with respect to the exercise of powers vested in them by act: of Parliament; and there was not before yesterday, one single instance in which such instructions had been declared to' bean attempt to dispense with an'act of Parliament. The right honourable gentleman at the head of the Treasury had, at the conclusion of the last session of Parliament, moved a resolution, that certain placeSj which it was clearly the just prerogative of the Crown to fill up, should not be disposed of till the next meeting of Parliament, because there were eertain regulations relative to these places then actually de
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pending in the House. Had any one ventured to assert, that the right honourable gentleman in moving, or the House in adopting his motion, had attempted, by the resolution of one branch of the Legislature, to take away from the Crown a prerogative vested in it by the law of the land? No one had been so absurd as to advance such a proposition: and if it was not improper to state to the King an opinion of the House of Commons, relative to the exercise of a power. given to His Majesty by law, could it in fairness be said, that it was improper or unconstitutional for the House to state an opinion to a public board ? It ought to be particularly observed on the present occasion, that the resolution which had given the Lords so much offence, and which it was to him matter of surprise they had not long since taken into their consideration, related to a subject in which the public purse, of which the Commons were peculiarly the keepers, was deeply concerned. The Directors of the East-India Company are by law empowered to accept bills drawn upon the Company to the amount of 350,000b but when the sums drawn for exceed 350,0001. then the Directors must apply to the Lords of the Treasury, for leave to accept such bills, or as many of them as exceed in value that sum; and the Lords of the Treasury have a discretion to grant or withhold that leave, as they (hall think fit, or to grant it to what extent they may judge expedient. Now it was well known that bills to the amount of between one and two millions sterling had already been drawn and received, and that many more were expected from India. The sums for which these bills had been drawn were immense, and far beyond any thing that had been imagined by Parliament when the act alluded to was passed. If the Treasury should permit the acceptance of all the bills, the public credit would be thereby pledged, 1 and bound to provide for the payment, if the Company
should not be able to take them up; and would any man be bold enough to assert, that the House had not a right to give an Opinion in a case which might so very materially affect the property o£ their constituents? He did not expect that this right would have been questioned by any one, and much less by the House of Lords. The Commons had a right to exercise it at all times; but more particularly'in an alarming situation of affairs, when the names of the Lords of the new treasury board were not so much as known; so that it would be improper for that House, and a breach of its duty to its constituents, to trust so important a concern to the discretion