« PreviousContinue »
fit in the Committee; but rather thought the Committee should be appointed by ballot.
Commodore Johnstone perfectly coincided with the right Commohonourable Chancellor. He could not admit that Mr. Fox dore John, had been actuated by a principle of philanthropy, as stated." by the gentleman who made the motion, in bringing forward his bill for the government of India. That honourable gentleman had of late dedicated a great portion of his time to the consideration of India affairs; but he was much inclined to fufpect that ambition had as great a share in prompting such ideas as a spirit of philanthropy, or any other motive whatever. The villanies perpetrated in India were a favourite topic, with certain gentlemen ; but he was convinced as great villanies were committed in this metropolis. The Commodore then went into a long examination of the principles of Mr. Fox's India bill, and anfwered fully Mr. Eden's arguments.
Mr. Dempster expressed a wish that something decisive Mr. Dempa might be done for India, and that in the confusion of affairs Rer. at home that continent might not be neglected till it was to. tally lost to this country.
Mr. Fox asserted, that if India was lost to this country, it would no longer have any thing worth retaining, but would in fact perish along with it. He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would quickly bring forward fome scheme for the regulation of India ; if not, he must once more take it upon himself.
Mr. Lushington said a few words in favour of the motion made by Mr. Eden. : · Commodore Johnstone replied; after which the motion was put and agreed to..
polis. This great villanich certain gen perpe
Mr. Alderman Sawbridge moved for a Committee to take into consideration the state of the representation of the people; which, after some debate, was negatived by 141 against 93.
March 15. Appointed a Select Committee to examine the accounts of the India House.
- March 16. A short conversation occurred on the first reading of the Alnerican Intercourse bill.
March 17. On voting the annual sum for Chelsea Hospital, Sir Cecil Wray stated the enormity of the expence ; it amounted to srl. gs. a man : he wished therefore the house was pulled down, and an annuity given to the men.
. March 19.
amendments made in the Committee on the American trade Lord Shef- and intercourse bill, Lord Sheffield said, he always wished to field. in avoid giving trouble, and was sorry to find it necessary to op
pose the bill then before the House, in its last stage, but the distrust of the Minister, which he had expressed on a former day, was greatly increased by the requisition, to have the extraordinary powers contained in' it, granted for so long a term as three months, at this period of the feffion especially, it was now extraordinary; the present Solicitor General, no longer ago than last year, had objected to it for more than three weeks. His Lordship said, he trusted the House would not think any bill of the kind nécessary; that every measure in any degree complicated, appeared to the ignorant extremely difficult; but when these will give themselves the trouble of a little enquiry and examination, those which seemed difficult, would appear perfectly simple and easy. He was sure it would prove so, as to what was necessary to be done in regard to America ; but if this was too much for the Minister, the present proclamations might have been thrown into a bill for the present, the Minifter might have proposed such alterations or omissions as his knowledge might suggest; any other Minister would have ftudiously declined such extraordinary responsibility. If the present was not disposed to desperate measures he must have done so ; his Lordship said he could not place such confidence in a man, whose greatest
admirers did not pretend to any ground for their confidence, except his having done nothing; a child just born had che same advantages, yet might not be fit to be Minister; but he was sorry he could not consider the Minister in such a harm.' less state of innocence.Exclusive of his conduct towards this House, and the leading part he took in the late peace; there are acts by which he can be judged ----First, the bill he brought in last year for the regulation of trade between the American States and the subjects of Great Britain ; every ciause was altered ; but the principle was so bad, that at length the bill was dropt : It would have proved ruinous to our navy and commerce; and Parliament rather chofe to give an extraordinary temporary power to the King in council, of disposing of laws, the continuance of which powit, kopa longer time, is now most unnecessarily demaoded. nu her transaction by which he is known is, the manner of ciicuinventing the late Administration, perhaps the most capable : and efficient this country has ever known; that subject required no illustration.—The third act by which he may be judged is, his late ineffectual East-India bill; on which it is only necessary to observe, that although many voted for it, as proceeding from the Minister, it was not believed a single member sincerely approved it. His Lordfhip added, that so far from admitting the Minister had yet done nothing, and therefore he should be tried, he thought him guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour, by making or keeping open a breach between the Crown and the representatives of the people. It is not necessary now to comment on the words he has put in the mouth of Majefty, but the time may come when the measures of the Crown or Minifters may not be popular; this House, degraded and made insignificant as it is, will not be in a situation to step in between or support them, but in the mean time, because it is not subservient to every measure of the new Minister, because, it cannot change its principles and alter its proceedings as quick and as often as Administrations are changed, it is to be diffolved ; when that happens on such ground, there is an end of the Constitution, and there can be no change for the worse : but the young Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to 'fancy the exiftence" of the empire depends on his continuing first Minister, when it is obvious to the world, that on his refignation of an office, for which he is so unfit, order would immediately take place of our present iniserable, helpless state, and much impending mischief would be prevented. He will however find that Vol. XIII.
even if he should have a majority in Parliament, he and his associates would not be capable long to carry on the business of the country. His Lordship concluded by saying, that not having any other acts by which he could judge of the Minifter, those we knew should inspire every man with diftruft instead of confidence; and he was justified in ftating his reasons for not trusting him with the unnecessary and extraordinary powers now demanded, especially when it was known he wishes to promote and establish, through it, the principle of that destructive bill he introduced last year, which would have ruined the marine of England, if this House had not refused to adopt it.
Sir Adam Ferguson, Sir P. J. Clerke, and the Chancellor of ihe Exchequer took part in the debate ; and nearly the same arguinents were brought forward as had been used on the (former readings of the bill; after which the report was brought up and agreed to.
The report from the Committee of the whole House on Lord Mahon's bill, for preventing bribery and corruption at elections for 'members to serve in Parliament, was brought up. · Lord Mahon moved that the amendment be now reaj. : Mr. Minchin opposed the motion, and moved that fix months be inlerted instead of now. i After some debate the House divided upon Mr. Minchin's motion. For 11, 49 ; against it, 70.
A clause was then proposed by Mr. Hussey, for providing, that nothing in the act should be construed to extend to the preventing of candidates from defraying all necessary expences of voters from their homes, to the place of voting, and back again; still keeping up the principle that the voter, nor any one for hiin should touch the money ; but it should be paid to those who had carried and fed the voters. The 'motion was afterwards modified; but the principle of it was carried, and the House adjourned.
March 22. . The Sec. at The Secretary at War moved the order of the day, War for going into a Committee of supply, on the estimates
for the extrordinaries of the army: the order was accordingly . read, and the Secretary at War then moved, " that the Speaker
do now leave the chair.”
Sir Grey Cooper begged leave to say a few words before the Sir Grey question was put. He said it was now generally understood, Cooper. that the Parliament was to be diffolved: but so daring and unwarrantable a measure would a diffolution be under the present circumstances of affairs that he could not conceive how ministers had ventured to resolve upon it. The House, it was true, had voted the army; but how was that army to be paid ? He believed there was not a man in the House who would be bold enough to say that any money could be issued for the pay of the army, after the resolution had been pafled to the cons trary, until an appropriating act should have passed : a speedy diffolution would prevent that, and the mere votes, both of the troops and pay, would be completely done away by either a prorogation or a diffolution. If therefore any money should be issued for the pay of the army after the diffolution, and before the passing of the appropriating act, he would not hesi tate to say that such a measure would be an infraction of rights, inasmuch as it would cause to be kept up and paid an army without the consert of Parliament; and Minifters must recollect, that when a bill of rights was presented to King Wil. liam and Queen Mary, it was presented as the condition by which they were to hold the Crown. Ministers might expect an act of indemnity, but they should beware how they establish the dangerous precedent of violating the Constitution, with the hope of being able to have such a Parliament returned as would indemnify them from the consequences of violation of the Constitution. As to a diffolution in the middle of the session, while so much business remained to be dispatched, it was a measure that had never been heard of. The diffolution in 1705, on account of the dispute between the two Houses in the Aylesbury cause, was not a case in point; for almost all the public business had been dispatched, the army and navy yoted, the supplies, and the appropriating act passed, and the session very far advanced, before the Parliament was diffolved.
Mr. Harrison did not see the smallest pretence that Ministers Mt. Hartia had now for a diffolution. The gentlemen on his side of the sono House (the opposition side) had declared that they would not oppose the measures of Administration. Why therefore was, not the puble business brought forward? The reason was plain ; Ministers knew that their popularity was founded . . . only in delusion, and misrepresentation, and that the revolution of a few weeks would put an end to it, and therefore, they trusted for support, not to their measures and their popularity, but to a new House of Commons. If this was not the case,