Page images
PDF
EPUB

answer to him, and had argued it to be a favourable circumstance in the present case, that the patent was in the fourteenth year, and nearly expiring: He continued to think, that the nearer the Public were arrived to the enjoyment of what was to become public property, the more cautious should be the Legislature in consenting to postpone a beneficial right. On the other hand, he did not insist, as a Noble Duke (the, Duke of Richmond) seemed to attribute to him or to the Chancellor, that the House should in no possible case interfere in favour of patentees. Special cafes might exist: But he had not heard of any special circumitances in the present case.

The two Noble Earls (Lords Guildford and Carlisle) had called on him to fay, whether he really apprehended that any commercial mischief could result from locking up the present invention in the hands of the inventor? He was not prepared to fay that there could. But he conceived that much commercial mischief might result from a bad precedent, which would open the door to every application on the slightest grounds. Upon the whole, he mull take the fense of the House; because he wished to mark his decided opinion against a measure which he could not reconcile to his fense of law, jusstice, policy, commercial expediency, consistency, and decorum.

The Lird Chancellor left the woolsack, not, he said, certainly to enter again into argument, but to ask leave to change the motion, which was, as it stood at present, "that the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House whereas, he found that the usual practice with all such Bills was, " that they be committed."

On the question the House divided,

Contents - - 31

Not-Conicnts 3

Majority 28

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, May 14.

The Speaker having taken the chair, took the earliest opportunity of returning thanks to the House, for the indulgence which had been shewn to him on Monday, on account of his indisposition; and expressed his regret that he should have been the accidental cause of any delay in the progress of public business.

Mr. Whitbread gave notice, that he should at some future day, move for leave to bring in a Bill for the purpose of regulating lating a mode of obtaining returns from parish officers, so as to ascertain the quantity of grnin -which shall have been sown in the kingdom at Midsummer next.

Mr. Eajl moved, that the Bill for preventing the removal of poor persons until they shall become actually chargeable, be taken into further consideration on Monday next.—Ordered.

TRADE TO AND FROM INDIA.

Mr. Secretary Dundas said, that in consequence of the number of ships British built, now in the service of Government, which before had been in the India trade, it was necessary some measures should be speedily adopted to lupply the defects on this head j he would therefore move, That the House do resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take the same into consideration.

The House resolved itself accordingly, when a resolution to the following essect passed the Committee, "That it is the opinion of this Committee, that goods be imported and exported to and from India and China in certain ships not British built."

TROOPS FROM THE CONTINENT.

Colonel Maitland moved, That there be laid before the House an account of the number of effective men belonging to the infantry last returned into this country, as far as the return can be made up.—Ordered.

HIS MAJESTY'S MESSAGE ON THE PRINCE OF WALES'S
ESTABLISHMENT, Arc.

The Chanccllcr cf the Exchequer moved the Order of the Day for taking into consideration the Message from his Majelly, relative to the establishment os theii Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Walts, and to the liquidation of the debts of the Prince.

Mr. Hujfty moved, that the seventeen Reports of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into, consider, and report on the state of the forest and other lands belonging to the Crown, be referred to the Committee upon this message.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he did not mean to discuss the subject of the disposition os these lands at that time. He must, nevertheless, object to this motion, ns he saw no necessary connexion between that subject and the one about to be submitted to the consideration of the House, •which was an establishment for Iiis Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. These two objects were surely of importance sufficient to call for separate and distinct considerations.

Mr.

Mr. Hujsey referred to the Act of Parliament of the first of Queen Anne, chap. vii. which being read, he observed, that such was the fense of the country one hundred years ago in respect to the aid of the civil lilt, and it proved the subject of the forest and Crown lands, and that of provision for all the branches of the Royal Family of this country, to be closely connected. Out of these lands a revenue might be had, not only for the purpose of maintaining the establishment of the Prince of Wales, but also of alleviating the burdens of the people. Eight years ago the Committee had made a report upon the subject of these lands, and he was of opinion they ought to be fold; therefore he had moved that these Reports should be referred to the Committee on his Majesty's Message, as worthy of the most serious consideration.. These lands had never produced above 6oocl. a year, although they might be improved to the amount of 400,0001. a year. On that account this appeared to him to be a proper fund for the purposes above mentioned, and therefore he wished r the matter to be referred to a Committee. He wished to

have an establishment for the Prince, and a relief from his embarrassments, obtained in an handsome way, without burdening the people, and he saw none that was so likely to do so, and at the fame time relieve the people of some of their burdens, as this of the sale of the Crown lands. As a ground to establish what he said, he wished to refer to these Reports, and the House to judge of them. If he was stopped in limine, the fault was not his. If the House and the Public were o£ opinion that these lands should remain as they are, he must be satisfied. He had done his duty in bringing the subject forward, and he wished to say nothing more upon the subject.

[Mr. Burden and Mr. Duncombe interrupted Mr. Hussey in the course of his speaking, with a question as to his object in wishing to have the Reports referred to the Committee: His explanation is given in the above account of his speech.]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hussey) that for his part he had not the smallest objection to letting the Crown lands, &c. go to the benefit of the Public; but as he could not possibly fee any natural or necessary connexion between the Hon. Gentleman's motion and the King's Message, he would oppose it. In the consideration of the latter, two things were to be attended to, namely, the establishment of the Prince's household, and his present immense embarrassments, none of which the plan suggested would at present promote or remedy. The Hon. Gentleman has said, that he wistied not to burden the people; but would the

taking taking away the forest lands from them be not a burden? If cultivated, he has also said, that they would annually produce a considerable sum, without considering that such income is i merely contingent and remote. If, then, this be the cafe, the liquidation of the debt is not likely to receive any immediate succour from sucli sale or improvement, and it must be derived from some oth-r channel. As to the Act of the first of Anne, he denied that it could be deduced from it that the forests, &c. were subject to be made liable to supply the deficiency of the civil list; and if the House would go to alienate them, they would do wrong. In consequence of the management of Crown lands, different Hills have from time to time been brought into the House, all of which were of very important consideration. The structure of our navy ought to be ever the primary consideration of the House when this subject comes before it, and whenever that should happen, he thought it ought to be in a separate Committee.

Mr. Fox admitted that he might perhnps be prejudiced upon this subject, in consequence of the sh.ire he had taken in some discussions upon it, and the opinions he had then delivered. From the statute of Queen Anne it was clear that these lands were applicable to the making a provision for the Royal Family. Something additional, he supposed, was intended to be given to the Prince of Wales; and if so, it behoved the House, in a moment of exigency like the present, to look at the resources of the country, and in that view he thought the Reports in question ought to be examined. If it should be more convenient to raise this additional income, and perhaps in some degree to relieve the Public, by the alienation os the Crown land-:, he thought they should be alienated. He was convinced that a landed estate for the King of Great Britain was in no way a beneficial estate for the people •, for it tended to increase an influence already too great, namely, the influence of the Crown. Under all the views in which he saw the subject, he was led to agree to this motion.

Mr. Eiiji declared himself sorry that the motion had been made, because it tended to bring on a discussion which was not before the House. They had not yet said that they would look into the incumbrances of his Royal Highness, and therefore to agree to any motion that went to appropriate a fund for the discharge ot them was improper. If the House should agree to inquire into the incumhrances he mentioned, they Inould examine them deeply, and look at them over and over again before they came to any determination upon them. He was therefore against this motion.

Mr.

Mr. Fox begged it to be understood that he did not mean to consider the House as pledged to do any thing with regard to the incumbrances of his Royal Highness; that would be matter for future consideration. He had said a few words with regard to the additional income of his Royal Highnels, because he never heard any Member yet say, he thought it would be improper.

Mr. Grey was against the motion. The question that night was to be what, under the circumstances of the country, would be fit to grant to his Royal Highness? When the incumbrances came before the House, this motion would be proper; but it was not so in his opinion in the present stage os the proceeding.

Mr. Ryder sai^y-nnat the motion os the Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hussey) might as well be introduced in any other Committee, and was entirely against its being considered collaterally with the King's Message.

Mr. William Smith interrogated Mr. Pitt as to a word that had fallen from him in the course os the conversation.

Mr. Martin approved of the principle of the motion, and: hoped it would be brought forward at a future time. . ■

Mr. M. Robinson agreed that there was no connexion between the Reports and the subject of the Prince of Waleb's establishment and debts; but still he would support Mr. Husfey's motion, because he thought it a proper measure abstracted from the present question.

Mr. Burdin said a sew words.

Colonel Macleod wished the Public to reflect that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been minister of this.country, and had lost to the Public upon one article the ■ difference between 6000). and 400,0001. a year; for if the Crown lands might be made to produce that sum, the minister must have neglected his duty in not making them produce it.

The motion was then negatived.

The question being put for going into a Committee,

Mr. Maiinuuring-desired to know of the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the House would be pledged to is it consented \o the Speaker leaving the chair.— There were two points, to. be considered,as he understood: The establishment, aud the incumbrances of his Royal Highness. He wished to know if the House would be pledged to go into both, if the Committee was agreed to. or whether Members could fay, "We will go thus Far, but no farther?-"—He said, he aiked this, because he had not made up liio mind upon ihc' subject.

The Chancellor cf the'Exchequer conceived, that the motion Itself was an answer lo the Hon. Gentleman's question. The

Vol. HI.' Ff Com

« PreviousContinue »