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so inform the house, that it was, in some respects, rather a substitution df other taxes to those that had b^n relinquished, for the ease of the public, than the imposition of new ones: he also stated, that service! unprovided for, and of which Ik propriety was evident, would demand the means of performance. Having withdrawn the tax on printed linens and callicoes, calculated to produce one hundred and thirtyfive thousand pounds, he would now propose to replace that deficiency by a tax upon does, computed at one hundred thousand pounds, and by another on hats, estimated at forty thousand. To these two taxes he would now add one, of twenty pounds a ton upon wine, which would yield six hundred thousand pounds, with very little addition of expence to the consumers of this ar.'icle.
The scarcity os money was, at the fame time, he noticed, an object of essential attention to ministry, and every effort would be exerted to rind a remedy. This scarcity proceeded, in some measure, from the neceslary support of our foreign allies, and the extraordinaries for our numerous forces; but there were also other causes: the immensity of commercial speculations, the vast capital in constant employment, and the insufficiency of the pecuniary medium to answer mercantile demands. To remove this difficulty, he proposed to fund the public debts remaining unfunded, which would enable the bank to make larger advances on their bills to merchants than while it was so much applied to for discount, in consequence of the debt unfunded. The total os the suras demanded,
by Mr. Pitt, for the services unproVol. XXXVIII. .
vided for, amounted to two millions and a half, and the annual charge of interest for the sums to be levied, in order to provide for those services, and for the funding of the unfunded debt, arose to five hundred and seventy-fix thousand pounds. The loan, which was to furnish the means of carrying the above scheme into execution, would amount to seven millions and a half, at the moderate profit of three pounds six shillings and three pence per cent, to the lenders. This, be observed, was an incontrovertible proof of the flourishing situation os this country, of its surprising resources, and of the confidence reposed in the ministry by people of property. It ought to silence the misrepresentations of those who took such pains to state this countryas reduced to distress, and who had thereby encouraged the French to aflume the arrogance of dictating the terms of a peace, when their own finances were wholly shattered, and the whole country and nation involved in every species of public and private embarrassments, from which nothing but a peace could possibly extricate them.
Mr. Grey replied with great fervour to Mr. Pitt. He charged him with coming to the house no less than three times in fourteen months, with three different budgets, as if he well knew that he had only to alk, in order to obtain: but the fact was, that the minister's address to the house, on this day, was, though aa indirect, yet a clear acknowledgement of his errors and misconduct, and a plain, though vainly concealed, endeavour to rectify them. Parliament, however, was bound, in justice to its constituents, to submit to no fal[ F ] lacious lacious and illusory accounts, and to investigate the ministerial statements with the severest slrickness: this would shew, that in many circumstances, they were not to be relied on. Mr. Grey went into a variety of particulars, in proof of his Own assertion. Notwithstanding the loan of twenty-five millions, interest had not, he said, been provided for the outstanding debts. He warned the house to be ware os giving credit to the asseverations, so regularly brought before it, of French distress, and incapacity to maintain the contest. To such delusion the war was owing, together with its fatal protractions. He concluded, by asserting, that if a fair investigation was made, by a committee ot inquiry, it would appear that provision had not been made, as stated, for the interest of the public debt.
Aster an answer from Mr. Pitt, justifying his assertions and statements, and controverting those of Mr. Grey in the most essential particulars, Mr. Fox took up the subject with great animation. He coincided with the assertions of Mr. Grey, and treated, with marked asperity, the idea, that a people plunged, as the French were described, in the gulph of bankruptcy, should compel the British ministry to demand such endless supplies of money, and call upon the people of this country for so enormous a sum as twenty-five millions within little more than a year. He noticed, with equal severity, the arrears due in a variety of departments, particularly the retention of the small allowance to the emigrants, who had (hewn such contidznee in our generosity, and who had no other means of subsistence. ]
Other members spoke on each side of the question. On putting the resolutions moved by the minister in favour of the new loan, and additional taxes, they were carried without a division of the house.
The mortality that had so fatally prevailed among the British troops in the West Indies, and the inadequateness of the successes obtained there, to the expectations formed from the sums expende/J on the expeditions against the French islands, were topics of general conversation and complaint. Opposition ascribed the disappointments that had happened in those parts to the incapacity, or ill conduct, of ministry, and demanded the production of the papers relating to those expeditions.
On the21 stof April, Mr. Sheridan, after many strictures on the conduct of ministry, moved for a return oftbe men carried off by disease and fatigue in those countries. So shameful, he asserted, was the neglect of the troops, that, on their arrival in that destructive climate, they were destitute of slioes and stockings. Had not diseases ravaged the enemy's forces, our own must have fallen an easy prey into their hands. The hospitals were crowded wfrfi the sick and wounded, for whom neither medicines nor bandages were provided. Such was the inhumanity they sometimes experienced, that ninety, or a hundred, of these unhappy men. were once, Jest to' pass a whole night on the beach, in consequence of which only seven or eight survived. With such motives for an inquiry how could it be declined * He required it, together with an account of the force employed under lord Moira in 1791- and 1795, and which ought to, have been,dispatched' pafche3 to the relies os th»? troops m the islands, and not kept inactive at home. He would also require a lift of the officers and soldiers lost, specifying the lois of each regiment. Stcil information would shew what a drain these expeditions had proved from the population of the British islands, and how much thev tended to weaken them. Accounts ought, bv the fame reason, to be laid belore the house, of the numbers carried off in the ports of Southampton, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, were it only to make known the iniquitous neglect of those wlio could leave troops confined seven months on board, exposed to the infallible tlTechi os such a close imprisonment, notwithstanding the remonstrances made to government. He moved, at the lame time, for the production of other documents of the fame nature, by which he pledged himself lo prove the misconduct of ministers; adding, that unless they felt a consciousness of the rectitude of his charges, thev would gladly seize the occasion, now offered them, ol vindicating themselves from the imputations so loudly and generally laid to them bv the public.
The difficulty of the minister's situation was strongly represented by Mr. Dundas. Papers and documents were demanded from them, ot which official secrecy prohibited the communication to the public. The time would certainly come, when they would gladly meet the srrictfcst scrutiny of their conduct, fore that it would stand Hie severest test. All had been done in the West Ir.dies that circumstances \\ould permit, and reinforcements and tupplies of all kinds had been transited without delay, on the first notice of their being wanted.
In the course of this debate, the transactions, under fir C. Grey, came into discussion. Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Francis, and general Tarleton, inferred, from words spoken by Mr. Dundas, that he meant to inculpate the conduct of that officer; biit both he and Mr. Pitt bestowed the highest encomiums upon him. Mr. Grey, the member, declared, however, that sir C. Grey was earnestly desirous to give every elucidation respecting the business with which he had been entrusted.
On the twenty-eighth of April, a violent debate took place on those subjects. Mr. Dundas entered into a minute and elaborate recapitulation of the conduct of government, respecting the West Indies. He carefully detailed the forces of the kingdom, and what had J>ecn detached from them, on expeditions to those parts. He gave a circumstantial account of all tha,t had happened there, and exerted himself to shew that thedisasiersand disappointments, that had befallen us, arose from accidents that were wholly unavoidable: the conduct of our commanders had been judicious, and that of ministry irreproachable.
This apology did not prove satisfactory to the opposition. The imputation of having neglected the troops, in the West Indies, was reasserted, by Mr. Sheridan, with much positiveness, and the distribution of the forces ailigned to the various services that took place at that time, improbalcd at ill-judged; and some of the service* themselves represented as unseasonable, and interfering with the others. The troops destined for the Welt-India expedition were alio described as unworthy the name of soldiers: thev con's F 2 ] 'listed sifted of elderly men, and mere boys, with raw youths at their head. This certainly was no better than mockery and parade. Mr. Dundas having expressed, with much warmth on this occasion, his hope that the Cape of Good Hope would never be restored to (he enemy, Mr. Sheridan took notice of the mortifying inipreflion that such a declaration roust neceflarily make on the siadtholder, who could not fail, thereby, to perceive, that w hat we took, from the Dutch we were determined to keep. The stadlholder, in his retreat at Hampton, had, indeed, the satisfaction or feeing his fleets, and foreign possessions, tailing, not into the hands of his enemies, but (hose of his friends; yet, as these friends dragged him into the war, under the assurance of protection, he might well- fay,«jvith the Roman poet, Pol me occidistis Amici, non scrvdst sl» Houat.
The result of this debate was, that ministry acquiesced in the motions made by Mr. Sheridan, which were for accounts of the number of men destined for the expedition to the West Indies, under sir C. Grey, in 1793; for accounts of the number withdrawn from that service, to form an expedition against the coast of France under lord Moira, and of the numbers, who, after the conquest of IVJartinico, St. Lucia, and Guadaloupc, were detached to St. Domingo. But the other motions, made by Mr. Sheridan, for a variety of official papers, relating to the circumstances of other armaments and intended expeditions, were negatived, on Mr. Dumlas engaging to give explanatory answers to the .questions upon those subjects.
The expedition to Quibtron, in. the summer of 1795, and its unfortunate issue to numbers of the French emigrants embarked in it, had be?n a subject of universal disc uffion in this country ever since it had happened, and had given occasion to the severest censures of those, to whom the management of it had been entrusted. The person whose fall was most lamented was the count de Scmbreuil, a French gentleman of a most amiable character, anu highly respected for hii many excellent qualities. He had, with many others, fallen into the hands of the enemy, and, like them, was condemned to death as a rebel. On the eve of his execution he wrote a letter to Mr. Wyndham,wherein lie alluded to two others, one written to fir J. B. Warren, the other to Mr. Wyndham; a copy of this last, was demanded by general Tarleton, as being of a public nature, and conformably to the desire of the coarit himself, who had, in the letter to sir J. B. Warren, expressed a wish that Mr. W'yndham would publish it: but this gentleman alleged it was more of a private than a public nature. In the mean time it was published in a daily paper, and Mr. Sheridan affirmed that he sound it related to matters of public importance, and represented the expedition alluded to in a very unfavourable light to ministers. Mr. Wyndham, in reply, asserted that it concerned the count himself, who was dillhtissied with the part assigned to him in that expedition. He did not, hovve.vur, force it upon the count, who acted merely from his exceilive zeal in (he cause he had embraced. This answer provoked
* By G—, my friends, ye have not served, but ruined me. ftoiAT.
aother inolber from general Smith, in which he represented Mr. Puiflaye, who had the charge of that expedition, M unworthy of it, and as an emigrant of little consideration among his countrymen. Other members spole on this occasion: but the deSaie eodel by Mr. Pitt's moving li* the order of the day; and Mr. Sheridan's motion for the latter was ihereby negatived.
Years had now elapsed since the famons declaration, made by the house os commons, during the American vrar, " that (be influence of the rrown had encreased, was still encreafing, and ought to be diminished." At that period several refnlutions had al'o pafled for the rclorra of various abuses. But though this salutary work had been proceeded upon, it had gradually been MI aside, and the public had long ceded lo hear of any progress in the alterations proposed and promised at that time It was to recall tiiefe divers object? to nolice, that the msrqais of Lanfdowne moved for the leveral papers relating to therm On the second of May he made a long and elaborate speech, in tire house of lords, on the subject of their contents, urging, with great force, the propriety of tuning them hro consideration at a time when lw purpose lor which the regulations contained in them were framed, and which was the retrenchment of reedless expellees, demanded the attention ot the legislature more than ever. The marquis entered ir.to a number of particulars in order to corroborate his assertion, that a tlcless and expensive augmentation 61"places and offices had taken place. The patronage thence arising to ministry had proved enormous: but the most dangerous was that de
rived from the influence they possessed over the bank, os which the management was now become entirely their own, contrary to the spirit os its institution, and the lasety of the constitution itself, which was manifestly endangered by so vast an accession of power to the executive branch os government. Who could have the face to deny that theso were glaring abuses, and that they called for immediate remedies? He would, therefore, in this critical siluation of affairs, endeavour to procure the realizing of those measures of reform, so long resolved upon, and which ought, from every motive os duty and honour, to be no longer d-layed. For this purpose he would move, that an inquiry should lie instituted into the causes that had prevented the prosecution os thole reforms so solemnly sanctioned by the legislature, and so strongly recommended by those to whole wisdom and'integrity it had formally committed the inspection of that department most essential in all states, the revenue and finances of the nation, and all that was connected with this important object. Me made other motions tending to the lame end; and concluded, By renewing the disapprobation he hud so often expressed of the war, as destructive of men, and wasteful of treasure, beyond all precedents.
The reforms alluded to were acknowledged by lord Grerrvilte, in reply, to have been thought expedient by the commissioners who had been appointed to examine the public accounts; but it siiould not be thence inferred, that they were applicable to all times and emergencies. The proposal, for instance, to throw some of the revenue-offices into one was [ F S ] imprac