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the Prince of Wales, after due consideration, had determined to enter into, from a consciousness that though it certainly added to the duties, it much enlarged the comforts of life. His Royal Highness had well weighed the consequences of such a serious change of his condition, and viewing the bright example of connubial felicity which his Royal parents held up to all their subjects, had been equally led by reason and choice to enable himself to imitate their conduct, under the assurance that a perseverance in the same steady course of mutual affection, and unceasing regard and attention to each other, would ensure to him and his illustrious consort the same continued series, of the fame enviable enjoyments arising out of that substantial bliss, domestic happiness. No reasonable man, the Earl said, could contemplate the state of marriage without being convinced that it was a state in which all the amiable passions were engaged and interested in the cause of virtue and truth; the best and most essential felicities of life derived their origin from that source; it enhanced the joys, and divided the sorrows to which human nature was unavoidably liable; it diffused the blessings that resulted from it, universally, pervading the palace and the cottage alike, pouring the balm of consolation and comfort into the breast wounded by affliction, whether caused by sudden calamity and change of fortune, or the less avertible evils of personal pain or individual illness. Thoroughly persuaded of the permanent, pure, and tranquil joys that flowed from it under every circumstance of life, he felt it to be a solid ground of congratulation to his Majesty in so auspicious an event as the marriage to which he had referred; and therefore, without any longer detaining their Lordships, he would come directly to his purpose, and move that an humble address be presented to his Majesty to congratulate his Majesty on the nuptials of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, &c. &c. &c.
The motion was agreed to netnine eontradicente, and a Committee was instantly appointed to draw up the proper address.
The Lords named on the Committee withdrew, and in a few minutes returned with the address, which was agreed to, and the Lords, with white staves, ordered to wait on his Ma- , jesty, and know his Majesty's pleasure, when he would be attended by that House to present the same.
The Earl of Mansfield then moved an address of congratulation to her Majestv on the fame happy occasion, which was likewise agreed to uemine dijsentiente.
His Lordship next moved a congratulatory address to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales on the fame joyful occasion.
"Agreed to nenune dijsentiente.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
The Bill for widening the avenue to the city of London through Temple Bar was read a second time, and ordered to be committed before a select Committee.
Mr. Byrig presented a petition on behalf os the gardeners, maltsters, brewers, distillers, soap-boilers, chandlers? and other tradesmen, stating, that if the Bill now pending for the observance of the Lord's day be passed into a law, they would be materially injured in their trades, and some of them ruined.— Referred to a Committee on the Bill.
The Southern Whale Fishery Bill was read a first time, as was also the Bill for indemnifying Governors, &c. of the West India islands, who have permitted the importation of goods in foreign bottoms.
The British Fishery Bill was ordered to be read a third time this day fe'nnight.
Mr. Hobart brought up the report of the Franking Bill.
The amendments to the resolutions of the former Committees upon the Bill being read,
Air. Dent said, he had great satisfaction to fee Government attentive to the object of correcting abuses in the privilege of franking—abuses which had subsisted to an alarming degree. He had no objection to this Bill, but he wanted to abolish other abuses, namely, those which arose from the exercise of it by clerks in the different offices. He must, however, observe, that some of the Members of that House had abused the privilege of franking to a degree that made it shameful. He understood, that sojne Members had for their own emolument franked letters to a vast amount. He would suppose it to be to the number of 300. If a Member of that House had got another to assist him, who could write a better hand, and more expeditioully than himself; in that case some further information should be had from the Post-office. He would suppose another case, that a Member under the allegation of j his his being too infirm in body to write for himself, although he might come to the House in apparent good health, should appoint another to write for him a prodigious number of letteTS daily for a great length of time; he would then ask, whether some further regulation than this Bill provided was not necessary to check an evil on which the Public with some reason cried out shame? There was a circumstance to which he could not help alluding, because it was so applicable to the subject before the House. He had lately read in a newspaper, that a Member of that House had sold his privilege of franking for 300I. a year. If this were true, the House ought to institute an inquiry into the fact. If it were false, the vengeance of that House ought to fall on the printer of so atrocious a libel. —This he said in order to call the attention of the House to the abuses that had so long and so shamefully subsisted in the privilege of franking; and although the Bill now before them went to prohibit the sending by any one Member, more than ten letters each day, and the receiving more than fifteen, yet if some regulation was not adopted with regard to clerks in offices, he was sure the Public would be greatly defrauded.
The amendments were then read a second time, and agreed to.
Mr. Long brought up a clause to continue the law as it now stands, with regard to postage on newspapers; which was agreed to.
He brought up another in favour of officers and men in actual service, and writing upon their own business only. The clause contained various provisions as to the manner of directing such letters, &c.
General Smith applauded the liberality of Government in this instance, and said he hoped that the officers would take care that no improper use should be made os it.
The clause was then agreed to.
Mr. I. H. Browne moved, that petitions sent to Members of Parliament might be included in this exemption.
Mr. Mainiuaring objected to this; as sometimes, he said, petitions came to Members, containing several hundred signatures.
'Mr. I. H. Browne said, he only meant such petitions as alluded to public or private Bills, which might not come immediately within the weight allowed, and yet not be a great deal over it.
This motion, not being seconded, fell to the ground. Mr. Porter proposed a clause which specified various regulations of abuses in the public offices in the franking of letters, ters, and appointed an inspector, &c.—the purport of it was
to the following effect:
* That no letters going to, or from, any clerk or other person belonging to any of the offices of Government should be free of pottage, except such as were really and bena fidt on the public business of Government. That all such letters should be directed to, and sent by certain stated persons, such as the president and secretary of the board in each office, and that inspectors should be appointed for the purpose to examine into the books in which all such letters Ihould be entered, and the daily amount thereof. And that copies of such books, transcribed on oath, should be kept for the inspection of Members of tbe House, whenever they might chuse, within certain reasonable hours, to look into and examine the fame."
Captain Berkeley doubted the utility of the clause, and asked the Hon. Member who moved the clause, whether he thought the expences attending the appointment of inspectors, &c, would not be greater than any benefit which might be derived from it might be worth.
Mr. Porter replied, that he believed it would be a saving to the Public of at least fifteen thousand a year, and he thought that the salaries of a few inspectors would be very trifling indeed, when compared to such a sum, even allowing them very ample compensation for their trouble.
The Secretary at War thought the law sufficient for the correctionof the abuses which the clause was intended to remedy. He observed that there were various correspondences which Government did not wish to suppress, and which had the object of expediting public business, and yet would be chargeable to poslnge by the clause in question.
Mr. Courienay said, be was glad that ministers were C\ct termined to remedy abuses; but observed, that the Hon, Member who had spoke last, had' been so short a time in office that he had not been able to perceive any abuses in it, but long enough to stand up stoutly against persons in those offices being put to any inconvenience. It was somewhat extraordinary that on the ground of the privilege os franking having been abused, and that only by one or two Members of that House, it had been thought proper to lay a restriction upon the privilege which applied to every Member of the House, and confined them to the number of ten to send, and fifteen to receive; yet after having imposed this restriction on the gross charge of abuse of privilege, it was thought necessary, that this privilege should be taken from Members of Parliament, and should yet be endeavoured to be continued to clerks and
other persons in public offices to an unlimited extent. The abuses of the offices were great indeed; upwards of 30,000!. a year were taken up by the franking of the clerks; this was more than one third of the whole amount of franking by both Houses of Parliament. He wished to know upon what ground it was that these Gentlemen were to have a discretionary power, and the Members of the two Houses to have none. He thought that too much trull was p it in the virtue of these Gentlemen. Were they purified by some fixed air among themselves? Indeed he apprehended that this Bill would tend to increase abuse in the privilege of franking in these offices, for some of the Gentlemen belonging to them might become partners, not Jleeping, but writing partners in banking-houses, unless something like the clause now offered ihould be adopted. It was idle to fay that the abuses would be corrected in the offices; he never knew any body of men who corrected abuses among themselves, either in church or slate. He saw something already that tended to the reverse of this, for when any abuse of office was mentioned, and an attempt made to do it away, some minister or other was sure to step in to defend if, whenever anyone attempted to approach the abuse of office, ministers seemed to say, "Take off your shoes, for'now you stand upon holy ground."
Mr. Long observed, that there was a particular law in being to restrain the abuse of franking in public offices.
General Tar/e/on said a few words on the general abuse of franking. In the matter which he brought forward a few days ago, he declared he had not been actuated by any desire of persecuting an individual Member, as had been suggested by some, but with a desire to take the business up on a broad and extensive scale. An imputation of abuse of privilege had been call upon the whole of the Members of the House, for the abuses of one or two. It was his intention to have thrown the blame where it ought justly to lie. He hoped, by using the word escape, he should not be thought too harsh; but certainly the Hon. Member who was the object of his motion, had escaped, and, he believed, through the means of ministerial countenance. However, as he thought abuses were as likely to prevail amongst the clerks of public offices, as among Members of that House, he should certainly give his vote for the present clause, as tending to prevent them.
General Smith observed, that in the year 1785, the whole amount of official franking amounted only to the sum of 850I. and now it was risen as high as thirty thousand annually. This great and rapid increase in the space of ten years, ce»» tainly seemed to require a check. Such motions and discussions