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HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, May 5.
KENT ELECTION. Mr. M Dowall reported from the Committee on the Kent Election, that they had determined that Sir William Geary was duly elected, and neither of the petitions was frivolous or vexatious.
LOAN BILL. The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, he had already stated that it was his intention to propose in the Bill now before the Committee, that provision be made for the repayment of the advances that have been already made to the Emperor. But that it was not his intention at present to make any provision for fur. ther advances to be made to the Emperor, according to the ground which he had for forming his opinion this moment.
The Bill then passed the Committee, and the result was ordered to be received.
SUPPLY TO HIS MAJESTY. The Chancellor of the Exchequer then moved that the House do now resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of a supply to be granted to his Majesty.---. Agreed to.
He then moved that his Majesty's gracious Message be referred to the said Committee. Ordered.
He then moved that the sum of 80,000l. be granted to his Majesty, to enable his Majesty to give a portion on the marriage of the Princess Royal.
Mr. Curwen said, he would not oppose the resolution which was now proposed; but he could not help saying, that considering the burdens which have been lately imposed upon the people, and the great necessity there was to take care that they should be made to bear as little more as possible ; considering many things which he need not enumerate, he would have been happy if, instead of coming to the country, the King had provided for this marriage himself. At such a moment as this, when the sums imposed upon the people were so great, there was nothing that could be done to spare the people that ought not to be done. He was as willing as any other man to express all necessary affection for the Throne, and for the different branches of the Royal Family ;, but at such a moment as the present, he must repeat, he thought it would have a good effect if this expence was defrayed by his Majesty himself.
The Resolution was then put and carried. Mr. Hobhouse stated, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had held out the amount of the neutral cargoes, as amounting only to 800,000l, at the opening of the lait budget--whereas 7 Y 2
the claimants made it out to be 1,554,888l. 45. gd. this would occasion a great deficiency in the Ways and Means of the year. Besides, it was the opinion of the Bank Directors, that these would insist on payment of their claims in specie, or bullion ; this would be a great drain out of the kingdom. - The Chancellor of the Exchequer explained. He said nothing in the budget about neutral cargoes. The Honourable Gentleman mistook the matter, and confounded the thing which he had a!luded to with the Dutch captures to that amount; they were the property of his Majesty by virtue of his prerogative, but which his Majesty had ordered to be applied in aid of the public service. With respect to the claimants of neutral cargoes insisting on payment in specie, or bullion, he knew not of any right they had to insist on such payment any more than others, nor of any power they had to enforce such demands ; they must be satisfied by bills, like other creditors, while the regulation lasted.
INCLOSURE OF WASTE LANDS. Sir John Sinclair moved the Order of the Day, which was for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the Report of the Select Committee on Waste Lands.
The House in a Committee,
Sir John Sinclair moved, " That the Chairman be directed “ to move the House for leave to bring in a Bill for dividing, « allotting, and inclofing Waste Lands in England, by agree« ment of parties interested therein, and for removing certain " legal disabilities in parties to do fo”--Agreed.
Also, “ That the Chairman be instructed to move for leave < to bring in a Bill for enabling any person or persons who may “ be entitled to Walte Lands, to inclose and allot the same in « severally.”
The Question was then put and carried, and the House being resumed, leave was given to bring in the two Bills.
The other Orders of the Day were deferred.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Saturday, May 7. The Report of the Committee of Supply relative to the por. tion of the Princess Royal was brought up and agreed to. · Adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Monday, May 9. Received several Bills from the Commons, which were read a Firft Time.---Adjourned,
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Monday, May 9.
PETITIONS FROM ARTIFICERS. Mr. Tierney faid, he had Petitions in his hand from a class of men, whom he had only to name, in order to call the attention of the House to their interests ; he meant the persons employed in the Dockyards, on the River Thames, Ship-builders, Sail-makers, Caulkers, and Rope-makers, whom nobody should offend. They complained that a Clause had been introduced into a Bill, now palking through the House, which struck at the means they possessed of supporting themselves and their families, at the same time that it would prove highly injurious to the interests of the country. The Clause was one, of which, he believed, very few persons in the House were aware. It went to nothing short of a repeal of the Navigation Act, by allowing the Eałt India Company to build their thips in India. . He should now move for leave to bring up the Petitions, to which he hoped the House would listen with attention, and not without some astonishment, that Ministers, under all the circumstances of the times, should consider this as the fit moment for irritating the people employed in the Dockyards.
Mr. Ryder said, that he had it in contemplation to move that the Clause in the Bill, against which the Petitions were directed, Thould be left out, and he submitted in that cale to the Honourable Gentleman, whether it was necessary for him to persist in bringing up the Petitions. He denied that the Bill had been carried in a clandestine way through the House, or, that supposing it to have passed in its present form, that it would at all have the effect which he had represented.
Mr. Tierney congratulated the House on the Honourable Gentlemen on the other side having learned to concede expeditiously, but persisted in his Motion for bringing up the Petitions with which he had been entrusted.
Mr. Secretary Dundas asserted that there was nothing farther from truth than the statements of the Honourable Gentleman. He contended that it was the Honourable Gentleman, not the Bill now before the House, who wished to repeal the Navigation Act. That Act applied to Asia as well as to America. Had the Honourable Gentleman never heard of the Britannia and the Sir Edward Hughes, ships, both of which were built in the East Indies, and which were now in the service of the East India Company. Nothing was more clear than that ships according to the Navigation Act might be built in India as well as in Canada ; how far it might be a measure of policy to comply with the Petitions of the people in the dock-yards was another question, though he was by no means of opinion that the allegations
contained in them were true, even in view of their personal intereft, far less of national advantage.
Mr. Fcx declined going into any discussion upon the Navigation Act, but he contended that the question of the Company's right to build thips in India could not be so clear as had been represented by the Honourable Gentleman, else it would not have been deemed necessary to introduce a Clause into a Bill for the purpose of ascertaining it.
Mr. Tierney believed the Right Honourable Secretary would find it difficult to gain the affent of any East India Directors to the position, that what were called the British settlements in India belonged to his Majesty. There was a manifest distinc. tion between them and her colonies in respect to the Navia gation Laws particularly, which he thought it the more necef sary to bring forward in a separate discussion, as Gentlemen, while they renounced the measure, thought fit to defend the principle.
He then presented various Petitions from the Sail-makers, the Rope-makers, the Caulkers, &c. The Petitions were read, and ordered to lie upon the Table till the third reading of the Bill.
ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO SEAMEN, &c. The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, and the Estimate being read of an additional Allowance to Seamen,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered himself in substance, as follows:---" I rise pursuant to the notice which I gave on a former day, to call the attention of the Committee to the subject of the Estimate now before them. I feel myself on the present occasion placed in a situation of considerable difficulty and embarrassment. I am aware that it has always been usual, when any addition to the public expence, and consequently to the public burdens, was proposed, to enter into the grounds of the propo. sition, and to explain in detail the particulars of the measure. I now, however, feel it necessary to declare that I cannot, in the circumstances in which I am placed, confiftently with the duty I owe to the public, enter into such a statement'; the proposition therefore which I shall have the honour to move, I shall fubmit to them without entering at all into its merits, trusting that they will pronounce a silent judgment upon it, conceiving as I do, that I should be departing from my duty, and that the Commmittee would be acting contrary to the most important interests of the nation, to entertain any discussion upon a subject of so much delicacy at the present moment. For whether I consider the occurrences which happened some time ago, or the difficulties which now exift--the particulars of which I am nor
prepared to state, but which perhaps may have arisen from mifrepresentation of what passed in another place---this must operate as a motive for the exercise of additional caution to guard against the slightest misapprehension, while at the same time they afford ground of hope, that the knowledge of the decision of Parliament, upon the proposition which I am about to submit to the Committee, will entirely remove the discontent which has prevailed, or which may at present exist. Under these circum. stances then, I feel it my duty to ask and entreat the silent judgment of the Committee on the proposition which I shall make, grounded upon the estimate now before them. The amount, which is perhaps the point least worthy of attention, will be, For advance of pay
£.351,000 For additional allowance of provisions
185,000 Making a total of
536,000 “I think it my duty to state, however, that the estimate for the increased expence of victualling, was framed upon an cld rate, when provisions were considerably cheaper than they are now, so that the actual amount upon that head will considerably exceed the estimate. Making allowance for this excess of the actual amount above the estimate, the whole expence for the nine months of the presene year I compute at 372,000l. I shall therefore conclude with moving that the sum of 372,000l, be granted to his Majesty on account for defraying the expences of the additional pay and allowance to the Seamen and Marines for the year 1797.
Mr. Fox.--.“ I certainly shall vote for the resolution which is now before the Committee; but I cannot do it in the manner which the Right Honourable Gentleman proposes, namely, to give it silently. I cannot do so without betraying my conftitu. ents. He seems to deprecate discussion upon this subject at this moment, as being likely to increase our difficulties. It is not to discussion, but to silence, we owe that difficulty. This House Should not have been the confidants of the Minister, and remained silent so long upon this subject. Had this House interposed upon the commencement of this matter, instead of indulging the Minister with the scandalous delay of a fortnight, for which I hope that at a future period Ministers will not only be considered as responsible, but will also be made seriously to anfwer, I verily believe we should not have heard any thing of the misfortunes which have recently happened. The Minister has said that much of what has recently happened was owing to misrepresentation and consequent misunderstanding, and that debating the subject is not the way to put off that evil; that it can