Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

was. But was he, because he differed in opinion with another person, to deserve the apellation of a slave? Such language would not, he was convinced, have been used by the Noble Duke in private life, and he thougit should not have been used in public debate. Their Lordihips ought noi to bave heard it.

The Duke of Bedford tuid, that in the cbiervations he had made on the countenance given to the career of Ministers by that House, he addresied no personality to any pariicular Lord, but he felt it to be his duty to dipiciza. acquiescence that could not be justined by reason, and that was so fatal to the country. He referred again to the evidence of Mr. Giles, Mr kaikes, and Mr. Bofanquet, to shew that th y clearly understood the Chanceilor of the Exchequer, that neither Loan nor advances were to be made to the Emperor without their prerious knowledge, and he reaferted that for the whole of the last two years the declarations that they made, and the warnings they gave the Chanccilor of the Exchequer, ought to have determined him from the drain of Cash from the Bank, which had brought on the calamity of the stoppage of payınents.

Lord Grenville faid, that at that late hour of the night he should not tretpais much upon the attention of their Lordships, particularly after the very fuil and satisfactory reply that had been given to the arguments of the Noble Duke. With refpeét w tle arguments which the Noble Duke had drawn from the evidence, they appeared to him wholly inconclusive. He had contended, because Mr. Raikes did not contradict some of the evidence given by Mr. Giles, that, therefore, the other part of that Gentleman's evidence was to be invalidated, though he had given it deliberately, and with his mind fully drawn to the fubject. The Noble Duke seemed to be very much in the habit of considering nothing as true, that was not true when carried to the utmost extent, and therefore had contended, that the cause aligned in the Order of Council as leading to the run upon the Bank, could not be true, because it was possible that some other causes might tend in a slight degree to the lame confquence. But if their Lordihip’s confidered the subject maturely, it was imposible that the Noble Duke was correct in his argument, when he ailerted, that the remittances to the Einperor were the cause of this drain upon the Bank. A Noble Earl (Liverpool) had stated very truly, that the circulating cah cf this country amounted to upwards of thiity millions; the whole quantity of paper might, at the very lowuit calculation, be taken at twice that sum, so that the whole circulation of the country anounted to above one hundred millions; was it then g ible to suppose that remittances to the Emperor to the amount visine liunurid and fixty thousand pounds, could have such an

effect effect upon a circulation of one hundred millions ? But what was decisive upon the subject was, that when these remittances began, the exchange was only not against this country, but during their continuance it turned decidedly in our favour. Much had been said upon the minutes of the conversation which palled between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Bank Die rectors.

With respect to these minutes, he begged to say, that it did not appear to him fair to take in evidence minutes of a conversation, when those minutes were in some cases not taken till a day after the conversation took place. But even upon thele minutes, the construction of the Noble Duke could not be maintained.--Noble Lords had talked of Government having the direction of the Bank; but if their arguments were founded, the Bank would have the direction of the Government. It was impossible to suppose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could mean to give a promise to the Bank Directors, that he did not mean to make any remittance at all without their consent. Such a promise would be wholly inconsistent with his public duty. Indeed, the Bank could not have understood him as meaning any such thing, or they would afterwards, when they suspected that private remittances were making, have charged the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a breach of his proinise. He would not detain their Lord hips longer upon this subject; he had intended to make some observacions upon the language which the Noble Duke had thought proper to make use of ; but much of what he had intended to say was anticipated by the severe reproof which that Noble Duke had already received. Whether the language which the Noble Duke had thought proper to employ was calculated for his audiences in Palace-yard, he did not know; but he was sure it ought not to be used in that House. This was the first time that a Peer had accused a Committee of their Lordihips of making a wilful mil-Itatement in a Report; and when such a change was made without the least support in fact, the Noble Duke should recollect, that these expressions must recoil upon himself; though, perhaps, other Noble Lords would feel their own dignity, and that of the assembly they were addressing, 'to retort his language upon him. It was, in fact, a persumptuous affertion that all the talants, integrity, virtue, independent spirit, and patriotism of Parliament, and the country, was centred in and confined to the very small body of fifty or fixty persons, with whom his Grace was connected, and who alone had opposed the rest of the kingdom in the measures of his Majesty's Government though the present war; and if the same monopoly of virtue and talent No. 36.

was

*

81

was confined to the few who agreed with the Noble Duke out of doors, the country must be in a deplorable state indeed.

The Duke of Bedford laid, he did not feel that the Noble Lord, who had just sat down, had reproved him severely. As long as he existed, he should deliver his opinions clearly, without being in the smallest degree intimidated or deterred by misre. presentation. He never did presume that there was no virtue in the House; he believed, on the contrary, that there was; he believed too that there was a great deal in the House of Commons, but if he were to take, as the criterion to judge by, the support that had been given to the measures of Administra. tion, he then should be inclined to think that there was a deficiency of virtue in the country. .

The Earl of Guildford made a short reply to Lord Grenville,

The question was now called for, and the first Resolution moved by the Duke of Bedford was negative without a division. Adjourned.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Monday, May 15.

MAIDSTONE ELECTION. Mr. Sylvester Douglas brought up the Report of the Commit. tee appointed to try the merits of a Petition against the Election for the Borough of Maidstone. The Report was, that the Committee had decided Major General de Lancy to have been duly elected; the Petition of the Mayor and Freemen not frivol. ous or vexatious, and the opposition to the same not frivolous or vexatious.

AFTERNOON LECTURES. Mr. Lushington brought up a Petition for leave to present a Petition on behalf of the Lecturers in London, Westminster, and the Bills of Mortality: it stated, that owing to a mistake, they had suffered the period to elapse for presenting their Petition.

After some observations from the Speaker, expressive of his own personal knowledge of the truth of their allegation that the delay had arisen from oversight, the Petition was brought up: it complained of the hardships under which they laboured, in consequence of their being supported by voluntary contributions, a mode of remuneration not only degrading to their sacred functions, but precarious in its amount, and therefore prayed a permanent establishment, to be defrayed after the manner of parochial impositions.

The petition being read, was moved to be referred to a Committee. Mr. Baker inquired more particularly as to the nature of the

petition

[ocr errors]

petition, and how far a Bill, in compliance with it, would operate as an additional burden on the country.

Mr. Lushington said, the Bill would extend only within the Bills of Mortality; the petition did not pray for any increased contribution, but a stipend, which should be certain, by being payable out of particular rates.

Mr. Mainwaring said, if it was intended to come out of the poor's rates he should certainly be against it. He thought it would be imposing a tax the people were strangers to, and had no right to pay.

Mr. Lushington recommended the petition to be referred.

Mr. Wilberforce faid, he was disposed to favour the object of the petition. The same was referred.

EAST INDIA COMPANY'S OATH BILL. Mr. Metcalf moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Bill to empower the Directors of the East India Company to administer certain oaths to owners and commanders of ships, &c. in their service.

Mr. H. Browne opposed the principle of the Bill, upon the general ground of impolicy, in multiplying oaths unnecessarily, &c. As did also Mr. Wilberforce and Sir Richard Hill.

Mr. Fox said, he had sometimes entertained the thought of offering to Parliament some general regulation upon the subject of multiplying oaths. He thought that no man ought to be made to take an oath, unless where the taking of a false one were attended with a penalty.

The question for reading the Bill was now put and negatived on the Motion of Mr. H. Browne, and was ordered to be read a second time this day four months.

SLAVE TRADE. Mr. Wilberforce said, that as the subject to which he now wished to call the attention of the House, had been so often discufted, it would not be necessary for him to take up much of their time. If he could but bring the House to a recollection of those principles which they once professed, and of the duty which it owed itself, his object' would be accomplished; but he was sorry to say that the House seemed wholly to neglect the obligations they had entered into. There was a time when the House felt much upon this subject; but it was fingular, that in proportion as their judgment became more convinced of the propriety of the Abolition, in the same degree they seemed careless about the event. It was not denied that the Slave Trade could only exilt upon a violation of every principle of humanity and justice, aid that it retained one third of the globe in ignorance and bar

8 1 2

barity.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

barity. All this was admitted ; yet, when Parliament was called upon to redress it, they suffered themselves to be swayed by mercantile considerations. They agreed to abolish it at a certain period, yet when that period came they retracted their resolution. These considerations, he hoped, would have due influence on those who wished to preserve the character and dignity of Parliament. The object he had in view was, to give effect to that measure which the House had voted previous to the Recess, Gentlemen must be convinced that all attempts at internal regulations in the colonies must be fruitless, while the Planters had an interest in violating them. The opposite course should then be adopted, and the Planters should be taught that it was their intereit to observe them, which could only be effected by an Abolition of the Slave Trade.

Mr. Wilberforce then went cursorily through the general topics againit the Slave Trade; which, as they have been so often repeated, and so fully detailed, we forbear now to report at length. He concluded by moving, “ That leave be given to « bring in a Bill for the Abolition of the African Slave Trade, « at a time to be limited, and that the House do now resdlve it. « self into a Committee of the whole House to confider of the « said Motion.”

Mr. Ellis faid, that after the Address to the King, which had been voted by the House fo lately, on a Motion made by him for promoting internal regulations respecting the Slaves in the different Islands, the granting the present Motion would imply an avowed distrust and suspicion of his Majesty, and his servants disposition to comply with that Address; and that without the statement of a single ground. If that measure had been furreptitiously carried through the House, there might be some colourable pretext for the present Motion; but having been carried after full discussion, to assent to the present Motion would be such inconsistency, as the dignity of the House should avoid. He faid, the Honourable Gentleman could not possibly, upon his own shewing, look forward with any hope of having his plan, if acceded to by the House, carried into execution: for he himself had insisted that the Planters were so adverse to it from selfinterest, and the officers of the Army and Navy from corrupt prejudices, and a relaxation of moral principles occafioned by their residence in the West Indies, that both the one and the other were incompetent to judge of, or carry into effect, such a measure; those people, therefore, would of course be warm and zealous opposers of the execution of any law to that effect. He thought it rather extraordinary, that in the Hon. Gentleman's animation on this his favourite project, it had never ocurred to him to pay a visit to the West Indies, and be himself an eye.

witness

« AnteriorContinuar »