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time transports had been got in readiness to carry them over to Germany; and they would put to sea as soon as news should arrive that the Weser was no longer bound by the
Mr. Banks spoke against the motion, and directed his speech Mr. Banks, principally against Mr. Powys, who, he laid, could not, with a! very good grace, mention the word consistency in that house. — This called up
Mr. Powys, who said, that his consistency was certainly Mr. p«wy«; not that which many men would call consistency; his was a consistency of principle, which made him disregard men, arid advert only to measures. Others having once voted on a particular side, thought themselves bound always to vote'' on that side, and this they called consistency; but guided as . he was by principle, he could without inconsistency vote this day with a man, and to morrow against him, if in the mean time the nature of the question had changed. Thus he opposed the sirst resolutions that were carried against the right honourable gentleman; but when once carried, it became the dignity of the House to maintain them: like an officer, who in a council of war strenuously opposes a proposition for attacking the ehemy, but sinding himself over-ruled and outvoted, it becomes his duty to exert his. slcill and bravery to maintain the honour of his army, andr render it, if possible, victorious. He was not afraid to appeal to those to whom he was responsible for his political con- J duct; and he was full of hope that his appeal would meet with success.
Mr. Rigby was astonished that a gentleman in office fliould Mr. Rigby, feel hurt, because a member of Parliament had asked why foreign troops were kept in the kingdom. The father of the present Minister used frequently to rail at the idea of foreign. troops being, not in the kingdom, but even in the pay of England, though in foreign countries. How then would he have felt, if he had received a reprimand from a Secretary at War, if, in the discharge of his duty, he had asked why foreign troops were kept in the kingdom? But every thing was new irt the present days: never before had a. Minister the audacity to remain in office, with a majority of the House of Commons against him. The true political and constitutional method was,i that private opinions ought to give way to the fense of majorities; and so convinced was the father of the present Minister of the truth of this doctrine, that he made use of a very strange expression in that House, which from its singularity
Vot.XIII. Mm had'
had made a deep impression on his memory: this expression, was, "that he had borrowed a majority;" for at the very time, when he was carrying this country to the highest pitch of glory, the majority was known to be with the Duke of Newcastle; but so convinced was that great man of the necessity of a majority, that, to use his own expression, he borrowed that majority. Lord Granville, who was in the greatest confidence with the old King, finding that the majority of the House of Commons was against him, immediately resigned, because he could not have served either King or country with effect, while he had not the confidence of the Commons. It was reserved for the present days for a Minister to disregard this, and fay, "I care not for your majority; the King has appointed me, and you have nothing to do with the business." For his part, he would reply to this, that the confidence of the House was indispensably necessary to a Minister, and that the Commons might or might not give that confidence, just as they pleased; and if they withheld it, the Minister ought to retire ; and therefore he argued that it was by no means necessary the House mould point out any fault in, or lay any charge against him: this he maintained to be sound constitutional doctrine. As to the mutiny bill, it was now become the duty of the House to pass it only for a short time; and he declared his blood boiled in him, when he heard the very mention of the idea of an army being kept up in this country without a mutiny bill. If the Lords should venture to alter the duration or a money bill, the consequence of the Commons would be at an end, if they submitted to the alteration. But who would dare advise the keeping up of an army without an act of Parliament? For his part, if the mutiny act was suffered to expire, he would say to every soldier he met, "Why don't you go about your business? You are as free as air; for there is no law in this country to compel you to serve any longer:" —Who even Would entertain soldiers, if the act was expired?
Would the publicans submit without compulsion to
what they feel now as a heavy grievance? Where then could the soldiers find shelter ?— Would the Grocers' Company take them in ?—After having proceeded some time in this strain, he said lie would not dwell any longer on the subject, because he could not think of it with patience, or speak of it with temper. He concluded therefore, by observing that so jealous had the House been always of the mutiny bill, that Mr. Onflow, when Speaker, used to call the attention of the House to every clause of it, while it was under consideration, that a bill so foreign from the genius and nature of the Constitution might
• - - •■ be be watched with a jealous eye. Would the House then all at once forget that constitutional jealeusy, and suffer to be so much as hinted, that an army might be kept up without an act of Parliament? or that the Lords might alter at their pleasure so consequential a money bill, as was that for compelling some of their constituents to provide quarters for a body of men, who had always been objects of national jealousy?
Lord Mulgrave replied to Mr. Rigby; but he directed his Lord Mul* speech principally to Mr. Powys, and mentioned a Sir Ben-Erave« jarain Wright, an honest country gentleman, who fat in the long Parliament, who was fond of seeing himself in print, and who had been led by the malignant party to make a number of motions, which were carried, but which would have been rejected, had they been made by any malignants. But as they came from an honest country gentleman of large estate, the other country gentlemen followed him; and thus both he and they were dupes to the designing party that led them on.
The Honourable Charles Marjham defended the conduct and The Hon* character of Mr. Powys. He knew he acted from the die- £'a^ar" tates of his own judgment, and was not prompted by any 1 person upon earth: and he would go farther and say, that both his honourable friend and himself would never suffer themselves to be intimidated from doing what they conceived to be right, by any misrepresentation of their conduct to the public. He conceived the dignity, the very existence of the Commons, to be at stake; and he wished to rescue them from that ruin, into which the obstinacy of Ministers seemed to be hurrying them. Nothing could be farther from his intention than to delay the business of the nation: he called upon the Minister to bring forward his loan and his taxes; he desired him to state by what means he intended to raise public credit, and provide for the unfunded debts, and the desiciencies of the taxes. If he could approve, he would support him; if he could not approve, still he would not divide against him; he would not diyide at all; and thus the right honourable member might be said in some measure to derive strength from his own weakness.
Sir P. Clarke and General Conway said a few words in favour of the motion; and Governor Johnstone spoke against it, as did also Sir William Dolben, who closed the debate.
The House divided at half after eight o'clock, on the motion for adjouring the order of the day; when there appeared for it, 171; against it, 162. Majority against the Minister, 9.
M m 2 Mitch
The expectations of the public were so uncommonly excited to hear the important proceedings of the House on this day, that members took the trouble of going-down with their friends to procure than admission t'o'the gaffery at ten cfclock in the morning. By eleven the place alloted for strangers was crowded, and the gentlemen fat, with the utmost patience, from that hour till feur in the afternoon wjthout any business; at that time counsel was heard on Nisbett's Divorce bill; and just as the House was proceeding to the important business for which the relations and friends of the members had undergone so much fatigue,-' . -' Sir J»me3 Sir James Lowthcr rose, and complained that on bringing l«wtlier. jown hisfriend, the brother of the member for St. Alban's, he found it impossible to procure a feat in the gallery for him, * . though it was only at half past three; and this being the cafe, and also because he had reason tobelieve that there might be strangers in the gallery not introduced by members, he insisted upon catryipg into force the standing order of the House, and desired that all strangers be offered to withdraw-—Many members interfered, and with great earnestness solicited the honourable baronet to recede from his order; hut Sir James had said it, and the gallery was accordingly cleared.
By this means it is not in our power to enter into the detail of the debate; we collected some account of it from a member.
After a laudable effort on the part of the country gentlemen yet to moderate the spirit of the times, and to procure a short adjournment, had been opposed by ministers, Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox after a brilliant preface, containing an exposition of the curious and uncommon circumstances of the time, and of his own situation, stated a number of general axioms for the government of a free state, full of the most elevated policy. It was not, he said, right thatj the Ministers of the country should be so immediately dependent on t,he Crown, as' it seemed now the fashion to assert they ought to be: if their study was to please the Crown, then Ministers., it seemed, were safe ; but if they dared to do their duty, their own rain was the certain consequence: it well became the House of Commons, therefore, not to suffer men to be disgraced and forsaken who had been thus strenuous in their duty: it was f better, he said, to be a courtier in France than in England, for
there the King's favour was the sole object; but here the courtier must play a double part; for he must also delude or
enllavs enslave the House of Commons into obedience to the Crown: and its secret advisers. As for the King's answer, he cqnld not have thought it possible for any Minister to put into the mouth of Majesty such contradictions and such scandalous duplicity: there were passages in it big with danger to the freedom of this Constitution; he could not have believed that the tight honourable gentleman had so detested this Constitution, he could not have believed that he would have dared so to insult the House of Commons, as again to ask for the rear sons of their resolutions. Every beggar, in every arbitrary country, had a right to petition his King, stating the reasons of his petition: and this forsooth, was the whole mighty privilege, that by that speech the King was advised to allow the British House of Commons—the House of Commons had often addressed, without stating their reasons. He then desired the clerk to read the address in the cafe of the American war, which desired His Majesty to put an end to an offensive war on that Continent; as the withdrawing of the troops from thence would give us advantage over the French in other quarters, and would tend to conciliate the Americans. Thus^ he said, the House there gave only a general reason, in the same manner as in their late address. The House, in the one instance, had desired the King to withdraw his troops, for the fake of making peace with America: in the present case they desired the King to dismiss his Ministers, for the fake of making an united and extended Administration.—It was true, that in the instance of the American war, the King returned an answer, declaring, indeed, his approbation of the end they sought, but not explicitly promising his concurrence in the means; upon which the House instantly came to a resolution, that he should be an enemy to his country, who should advise His Majesty to prosecute an offensive war in America. Upou exactly similar ground the House of Commons, in the present instance, ought to be admitted as the best judges both of the means and of the end; and he should be perfectly warranted by this precedent to move a resolution, "that he was an enemy to his country, who should advise His Majesty to continue his present Administration ;" by the earnest advice of some friends, however, he did not mean to propose such a resolution -—what he should move would not be an address, but an hum*' ble representation to His Majesty, for, to that no answer was customary; and he wished for no answer, because nothing was so unseemly, nothing could disgrace us more in the eyes of Europe and the world, than to fee the King of England and his; Parliament wrangling about words, and engaged in a contro