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secondly, for the liquidntion of those debts already contracted, In one circumstance he confessed that he had experienced some degree of disappointment; he had hoped that the notice given of the Bill intended to be brought in would have produced some communication to the House, from the illustrious Per-, sonage most immediately interested in the transaction.
Mr. Grey professed himself still of his former opinion, that no notice ought to be taken of the debts, and that every application for their payment should be resisted. He considered a positive refusal as the only answer which ought to be given to a proposition for the payment of debts which never should have been contracted. To those, however, who thought otherwise, he could not help remarking, that the question was unfairly put. It was stated, that they were only called upon to vote for such a sum as, abstractedly considered, was adequate to the purposes of a proper establishment' for the Prince os Wales, while at the fame time it was suggested, that they ought to vote for the particular sum, with a view to the portion to he annually appropriated for the payment of debts, Let the House then be undeceived; let them not, by this unfair mode of blending the question, be led away with the idea, that they were only voting a proper establishment, while they are in fact called upon for the payment of debts. If the honour of the Royal Family had been consulted, a different proceeding would, in his opinion, have been adopted. The minister should, in the first instance, have come to the House for a proper establishment, a:ul then an express message might have been brought down from his Majesty, with the consent of the Prince, praying for relief with respect to the debts which had "been unfortunately contracted. This would have been much better than the prelent mode of proceeding, which had the ignominious appearance of tying down the Prince without his own consent. The whole of the transaction, however, as it stood with respect to the debts, he must again state, met with his direct disapprobation.
Mr. Curiven said, that he considered the notice that had been given by the Right Hon. Gentleman to be perfectly fair. He had voted for the larger sum, meaning to bring forward a proposition that the whole of the augmentation, c5c,oocd, should be applied to the liquidation of the debts. The remaining 6o,oool. he should leave the Prince to dispose of as he pleased, without any limitation as to his not contracting fur* ther. He trusted that his Royal Highness understood too well the fense of the Haafe with respect to the present transaction, to incur the riik of such a step in suture. Is he should, however, again presume }o run in debt, the consequences might bo siich as it would neither be pleasant for that House to takej nor for him to have taken.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer remarked, that the present conversation was not strictly in order. By the mode of proceeding which he had adopted, he wished the House to discuss first, what income ought to be given to the Prince, and next what provision should be set apart out of that income, for the liquidation of debt. He wished them to dispose of the general question, in order that they might come to the particular discussion in the Committee. By the notice which he had given, he did not intend that on Monday next they should discuss what appropriation should be made for the payment of debt, but only whether there should be any appropriation at all.
A motion was made, that Mr. Charles Yorke have leave tb go out of town on public affairs, which was explained to be to attend his duty as a field officer. After some conversation, in which it was stated that every regiment had three field officers, any one of whom was equivalent to the discharge of the necessary duty, the House divided,
For the motion - 52
Against it - 59
A motion was then made, that Captain Berkeley have leave to go out of town, being ordered to join his stiip. The cafe of a naval officer being understood to be an exception to the principle adopted in the former decision, the motion, after some conversation, was agreed to.
. A motion was made, that no motion be made for Members . to go out of town, except between the hours of four and five'.— Ordered.
Mr. Secretary Dmidas brought down a copy of General Myer's affidavit.—Ordered to be laid on the table.
Mr. Durtdas again deferred his India Budget to Monday the 8th of June, stating at the fame time, that if any Gentleman had occasion for that day, he was perfectly ready to give it up.
Captain Berkeley moved for leave to bring in a Bill to prevent' the selling of ale without licences.—Granted.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that the House resolv-e itself into a Committee of the whole House, on the Convention between his Majesty and the Emperor.
The Speaker having left the chair,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that important as he felt this measure to be, as many of the considerations connectVeL. III. 3 B ed ed with it had been involved in other discussions, and even in that which had lust taken place, he should not have occasion to" trouble the House much at length. It did not occur to him tobe necessary to say any thing at present as to the propriety and reasonableness of availing ourselves of every means of assistance for the vigorous prosecution of the centest in which we were engaged, or as to the expediency of securing to ourselves, in the way proposed by this convention, the co-operation of so great a military power as the Emperor. The House had already decided on those points. They had,- however, reserved to themselves, when the conditions should be laid before them, to judge both as to the security offered for the assistance, to the extent to which it had been stipulated, and for the repayment of the sums advanced. When the message was originally brought down, it was doubtful whether, with a view to a larger sum, still more extensive co-operation might not have been required than that which was now fixed. The advances that had been already made, went to the exceedings above the four millions; they amounted to about 550,0001. From the general vote of the House on the former occasion, he collected that this sum would sufficiently meet their approbation. Every precaution had been taken that could tend to render the transaction safe or advantageous to us. As to the security for repayment, he stated it to be—in the first place, a general engagement to pay—next, a mortgage on the Emperor's hereditary revenues, to be recovered according to the laws of that country, and a deposit of actions on the Bank of Vienna. In cafe of non-payment, the sum to be made good by this country. But the Committee would carry along with them that we were guarantees for only a half-yearly dividend on the accidental failure of payment. A considerable delay had taken place, which had been full of anxiety to those concerned in the speculation, as they were obliged to have their money in readiness. Gentlemen on the other side had formerly stated, that the transaction did not present a very advantageous prospect to the subscribers. Fortunately, however, the reverse was the cafe, and he had no doubt that Gentlemen would rejoice in the circumstance, both as a symptom of the flourishing state of public credit, and as it was fair that those who had run the risk should likewise reap the advantage of any change that had taken place. With respect to the subscribers, therefore, he Ihould consider that the discussion stood precisely on the same footing as formerly. He did not consider it necessary for him to say more, except he should have occasion to add any thing in the way of explanation. He concluded with moving,
«« Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Committee, that provision should be made for guaranteeing the payment of the dividend of 4,600,000!. provided by the Convention between his Imperial Majesty and the King of Great Britain, of the 4th of May 1795."
Mr. Fox said, he should not on the present occasion go at large into the general arguments on the supposed policy of the subject before the Committee, because there was not that attendance which he thought the matter demanded. It was therefore exceedingly probable that he should call the attention of the House to it at a future period, if he should find it attended to in the manner which a thing so very serious and extraordinary in his opinion deserved; however, he could not help making some observations upon it then.
When this business was before the House on a, former day, they were told that four millions were to be granted to the Emperor on condition of his providing two hundred thousand men for the common cause, as it was termed; but that if he should provide a larger army, it was said that there should be r.o objection on our part to granting him the sum of six millions; and it was said, that the Emperor had received some of this money in part of the whole loan; and at that time it ■was not known how the proposals from London would be accepted at Vienna. The fact had at length turned out, that he was to receive four millions six hundred thousand pounds over and above the sums which had been already advanced to him. What was the consequence os this? Did the Emperor undertake to furnish more than the two hundred thousand men? No such thing; and it appeared that the Emperor had neveT agreed to what had been stated to the House by the minister. Perhaps it was not criminal on the part of our Government to advance the money which the Emperor had actually received j but he was sure that the House of Commons ought to have more and better information than the minister had been pleased to give them, before they agreed to a proposition which was both dangerous and alarming. There was a Tumour that this faithful ally of ours had acted in a manner not very consistent with the character which had been given him } if this be true, we were about to proceed upon very important business indeed, without the least security that we should not be deceived. It had been said, that when the British and the allied armies were in a situation of the greatest peril, and when a delay of only twenty-four hours of the Austrians would have been essential, that delay liad been refused by his Imperial Majesty; and the silence of the minister upon that subject made Mr. Fox think that this rumour was
3 B 2 well *cell sounded. We had continued to pay the Emperor one hundred thousand pounds a month after he had deserted us-. When an inquiry was proposed to be made into this business, they were told' there were some difficulties in the way of an explanation. He would ask, was that an answer to a House os Commons called upon to vote away by millions the public money r It was objected to by many, and by him particularly, on the discussion of the Prulhan treaty, that we should paw our money in such large sums without having an opportunity of knowing correctly how former engagements had been fulfilled. The House was told they could not have any precise information, because the regular returns of tbe operations of the armies had not been made. This was, in his opinion, a scandalous omission. He disapproved of the Prussian treaty j but that treaty contained an article, by which they were entitled to call for an account, but which they never kn*w, because no inquiry had been instituted. In the present instance there was no such power, in point os fact, and yet they had been careful to preserve the appearance of it. If, in one month, the Emperor should sail in the performance of his cngagement, they might have correct information, but they had no means to prevent that failure. It had been stated, that we were not answerable for the whole amount of the loan, is the Emperor should fail; we were answerable only for the dividends from time to time, as the failure should occur. He really thought this curious: He could not help smilmg at it, altlwugh he had hewd that ignorance is apt to smile. He was i really too stupid to lee the distinction between being answerable for the whole sum, and paying for ever the dividends that shall become due upon it. The distinction between that and paying a sum of money he did not comprehend. He wished to know upon what our securily rested with regard to this loan. He should be answered, no doubt, on the punctualities the payments of the Emperor; upon that he wished for some explanation, betore the House proceeded further in this business. There were some, and he confessed he was one of that number, who had doubts concerning this punctuality, as well as to the faith of the military engagements of his Imperial Majesty; and these were points which required a good deal of explanation. Mr. 1-ox read an extract of a letter from a person at Vienna to his correspondent here, stating that the Court of Vienna had come to a resolution not to pay dividends of old loans to any persons resident in France; to another resolution, not to pay any persons who had not emigrated horn 1'ranee—that was to fay, the Emperor would net pay, except vhcre emigration was proved. Sums of money were due to