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ly, indeed, been a vehicle of intelligence on which the Public might rely •, but fince the commencement of the present war, experience had taught us to regard it in many instances as a publication to deceive us. If the Noble Earl could have inFormed him of the destination of the French, when Admiral Hotham fell in with them, or what was more, where the Toulon fleet now was, it would at least have afforded him some consolation, arid he should the more readily have concurred in the motion of thanks; but while it remained a matter of doubt and uncertainty, whether what had happened was effective to any important purpose, he felt little satisfaction on the subject.
Earl Spencer said, that the Noble Earl might, with the exertion of very little ingenuity, have discovered, that the very Chips which bore the fame names as those disabled and partly destroyed by Lord Hood at Toulon, might have been repaired Or rebuilt; or other ships, according to u'hat was well known to be the French practice, might have been named after them. The Ville de Paris would soon be at sea, and stiould it be taken by the enemy, and afterwards a proposal be made in the National Convention to thank the Admiral for such an achievement, any member of that Convention might start up with as much propriety as the Noble Earl now did, and fay that the fact could not be true, as it was notorious that the Ville de Paris had been funk many years ago. The Noble Earl might amuse himself and their Lordships as much as he thought fit; but the observations he had m*de, did not appear to him to be quite applicable to the subject.
The Earl of Laudtrdale said, that with regard to ingenuitv, he did not pretend to use any ; he lest the Noble Earl to draw as often as he pleased upon his great stock in trade of that article, in which there was no fear of his ever feeling a deficiency. He had indeed given an instance of it that day. With regard to the idea of his attempting to amuse himself, he could only say, that in attending that House, he had something in view more important than amusement. He attended his duty as a Peer of Parliament, to call ministers to their duty, aud to do all he could to undeceive the Public. What the Noble Earl had just said, was a proof of the necessity of these observations. The information which he had given to the House was serious and alarming indeed j for he had told the House that the lhips which had been alluded to, might have been since rebuilt. He was indeed alarmed, if large (hips of v. ar could, info short a space as the period of a few months, be built on the keels of those which had been burnt to the water's edge by Lord Hood at Toulon. "What was this, but confessing the superiority of the enemy to us in the art of building lhips of
war? war? With regard to the Ville de Paris, every body knew that ship had been lost so long, that there had been ample time for her havi1*^ been entirely rebuilt. What he had stated with regard to the Gazette, he must repeat and he would add, that the accounts in it were studioully fallacious. It was no* a publication to deceive the Public, and on which the present Administration endeavoured to build their narrow fame. He was still further alarmed, on finding that the Noble Earl had not been able to inform their Lordships, whether he was aware of what was become of the Toulon fleet.
Earl Spencer said, he was under the necessity of troubling their Lordships with a few more words in explanation. He had not meant to fay, that such of the French Ihips as had been burnt by Lord Hood down to the water's edge, were already rebuilt from the keels of those ships so destroyed; but that other ships not so rriuch damaged might have been repaired, and made lit sor sea, in time to have been with the French fleet, met by Admiral Hotham lately in the Mediterranean* Another material question of the Noble Earl, he had accidentally omitted to take notice of, viz. that about the present situation of the Toulon steet. To give an answer to such a question, under the existing circumstances, he conceived to be highly improper on his part. It was enough for him to be able to assert, that whatever had been the object os the French, when that fleet had been fitted out, over which Admiral Hotham had obtained a victory—that object had been entirely defeated, and put an end to for the present. He would only add, that the question before their Lordships was, whether the victory obtained over the enemy by Admiral Hotham, was such as merited the thanks of that House.
The question was then put, and carried.
As were also the thanks to Vice Admiral Goodall, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, officers and men, &c.
Their Lordships then received several Bills from the Commons. After some private business was over, the House adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. Tuesday, April 14. Mr. Thomas Grertvi/Je said, that if the subject to which he . rose to call the attention of the House was as new as it was important, he should certainly feel considerable apprehension in bringing it forward. It was not, however, his intention to propose any new principles with respect to the mode of deciding in questions of ■ controverted elections, but only to suggest some regulations in order to follow up more strictly, accurately, and usefully, the provisions of the Act already sub
listing for that purpose. The principle of that Act was acknowledged to be good; it had son. a series of years rescued the House from that melancholy and disgraceful state with respect to disputed elections, in which it had before been placed, and it only remained to remedy one or two inconveniences of a practical nature. The principal inconvenience which had been felt, had arisen from the want of attendance of Members on the days appointed to ballot for Committees. Many modes had been suggested to obviate this evil. It had occurred to several persons, as well as to himself, whether it might not be proper to set aside five or six weeks at the beginning of the session, in order to try questions of controverted elections. It was certainly a most important duty to ascertain, in the first instance, those who had really a right to sit in Parliament, and to have the representation of the people, with as little delay as possible, as full and complete as the constitution .of that House would permit. The objection to the mode he had mentioned was, that there might occur duties of a nature paramount to that of deciding with respect to controverted election, and that the appropriation of five or six weeks for the purpose, might, in some instances, interfere too essentially with the dispatch of public business of the most urgent and pressing description. He was at the fame time desirous, if possible, to avoid bringing forward any new mode of procuring, bv compulsion, a sufficient attendance of Members. Many instances of neglect latterly were exhibited by the Members, and no attention whatever paid to such days.—The Journals of the House furnished instances of fines for non-attendance in such cases; so that the House had already ample powers for that object; and it was only his wish, by the Bill which he should bring forward, to restore to the House the full exercise of those functions, and that the authority which had been suspended in the 10th of the reign of his present Majesty, should again be revived. But while he secured the advantage os that authority, it was also his wisti to afford some relief to the Members, by the mode which he stiould adopt in formjng the Election Committees. In diminishing the numbers, however, he would by no means have it understood that he intended to relax the duty. The diminution of numbers which he would fnggestwas, that instead of a hundred Members being required to atend, sixty might be sufficient; that instead of forty-nine, only twenty-seven might be drawn; and instead of fifteen, only eleven appointed as a Committee, including the nominees. This calculation would be found to be very nearly in the proportion of the former numbers. There were some other regulations which he should propose, namely, where out of sixty
Members Members they should not be able to make a Committee, that, those who had been excused in conseq lence of age or service, should be obliged to take their turn in the order in which they had been drawn in the ballot; and that a peremptory excuse should not be admitted, except, as in the cafe of a Jury at the Old Bailey, the Member had attained the age of 70. There were some other regulations with respect to the time allowed for the renewal of petitions, and the taking of affidavits, &c. which would more properly come to be discussed in the Committee. He had mentioned only a few of the outlines of his intended Bill; and if leave should be given to bring it in, he should move that it might be read a first time to-day, in order that it might be printed, and a subsequent day appointed for its consideration. ,
Mr. Baker objected to any diminution of the Members by the Bill proposed to be brought in; he should rather wish that a clause might be introduced requiring them to be increased.. He suggested, that ou every day appointed to ballot for an fclection Committee, there ought to take place a call of the House.
Mr. Ffx was also of opinion that the numbers ought not to, be diminished. He suggested that on the days appointed to ballot sot an Election Committee, there might be a standing order to call over the House that day; and when an attendance of three or four hundred was secured, they might proceed to appoint more Committees than one on the fame day. Thus the House would be saved from the awkward and indecent predicament of being obliged, as in the present Parliament, to appoint Committees at the end of the third session, in order to try the right of Gentlemen to sit there as Members. On days appointed for transacting public business, they might choose at least one Committee; and on ordinary days they might proceed without delay or interruption to what certainly ought to be considered their first duty, viz. adopting the most effectual mode of correctly ascertaining those who were qualified to sit in the House.
Mr. Ryder objected to strong measures being adopted, such as frequent Calls of the House, in order to compel the attendance of Members, as it might prevent Gentlemen who were in particular situations, such as lawyers, merchants, and persons in office, from taking feats in the House.
Mr. AL A. Taylor laid, that if Gentlemen thought proper to accept of seats in the House, they ought to be prepared to discharge their duties, let their prpfesiions out of Parliament be what they might; every man was equally bepnd, and there ought to be no distinction. The plan proposed by his Right Hon.
1 Friend friend (Mr. Fox), for having the days of election ballots considered as Calls of the House, he certainly approved of, and he would himself propose a regulation that might save the Committees much trouble; it was, as i9 done in the Old Bailey, to have the evidence taken in short hand—this, he was confident, would save t«-o days out of five; he however thanked Mr. Grenville for the necessary regulations he proposed.
Mr. Sylve/fer Douglas thought the Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Grenville) had struck out a proper medium in the business, and one which he preferred to a Call of the House. With regard to the length of time, taken up in controverted elections before a decision ensued, there was certainly great cause of complaint, and the Public were much inconvenienced by it. Many causes however were of that complicated nature in point of evidence and law, that they oceupy perhaps two or three days, and if the* time were abridged, the Public may fay that justice may not be done. Mr. Douglas referred to the practice of the House of Commons in Ireland, in respect to petitions on contested elections.
After some further remarks from Mr. Hawkins Browne, and a few words in reply from Mr. T. Grenville, leave was given to bring in the Bill.
CONGRATULATORY ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY. Lord Parker signified to the House his Majesty's pleasure to receive their address of congratulation, on the nuptials of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, at three o'clock neit day.
MOTION FOR A MONUMENT TO CAPTAIN FAULKNOK.
General Siaitb said, that pursuant to the notice he had given on a former occasion, he rose to -make a motion to which he conceived that there could not be the smallest opposition. He mast own-indeed, he was rather surprised that some difficulty wa6 entertained with respect to the proposition which he meant to bring forward, as not being sanctioned by any precedent. He should have thought that it would only have been necessary to leave the decision to the justice of the House. They could-not, **^*iin the space of three short months, have forgotten the dist- ,<4'i;d merits, and gallant services of tha brave officer, to *//*At'it memory he now proposed to erect a monument. To commemorate the services of these officers who had fallen in the course of a naval campaign, with such distinguished courage, did honour to themselves and country. General Smith entered into a recital of the conduct of Captain Faulknor on different occasions, particularly the action in which he lost his life. It .was-true that it was-in-somc mea
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