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we have no information whatever; and other objects which we believe essential to the discharge of our duty, both to our own country and to India, seem to us to have been wholly overlooked in the formation of this plan. 3rdly, Because we have learnt, with equal astonishment and concern, that in this situation, and in a case involving the happiness of millions, it is the intention of the proposers of this plan to urge and press forward during the short remainder of the present Session, not only the adoption of these resolutions, but also the enactment of a Bill for giving effect to them; resolutions, no one of which has ever before this day been debated in this House, and a Bill which cannot probably be read here, even for the first time, till the first or second week in July. 4thly, Because we see the strongest reason to doubt both the policy and the practicability of the measures which we are called upon to sanction with a precipitation so very unbecoming. Imperfectly as we are informed upon this plan, we cannot avoid perceiving that it is satisfactory to none of the interests concerned, but is considered by all as likely to prove injurious both to the commercial prosperity of our country, and to the welfare of our Indian subjects; it bears, we think, but too much the appearance of a weak and ill-considered compromise; intricate in operation, inconsistent in principle, ill calculated to ensure its professed objects, and most especially negligent of those for which it ought most carefully to have provided. 5thly, We object generally to the prevalent and increasing practice of postponing to the close of every Session all its most important and difficult business; and we are peculiarly unwilling to conclude the discussion of so extensive a subject as this, involving so many and such important interests, by precipitate decisions taken on insufficient grounds, and at a period when due deliberation is impossible, and when (such is the haste with which this measure is now pursued to its close, after so much procrastination in its production) a Bill appears by the votes of the other House to have been actually ordered in upon these resolutions, before any answer has been returned by this House to the communication in which our concurrence in them was desired.
Henry Richard Fox Vassall, Lord Holland.
James Maitland, Lord Lauderdale (Earl of Lauderdale).
In order to prosecute the European war with greater vigour after the disastrous retreat from Moscow, Lord Liverpool, in answer to a message of the Prince Regent sent on the 28th of June, moved for a vote of credit to the amount of £5,000,ooo. Lord Holland took the opportunity of pressing an addition to the address, in which the Regent was intreated to use the earliest opportunity of offering peace on just and reasonable terms. The amendment was negatived without a division, and the following protest inserted. 1st, Because the amendment, if adopted, would have left his Majesty's government unfettered by any opinion of this House as to the time, the terms, or the mode of treating for peace. 2ndly, Because in our present state of imperfect information a humble but firm representation of our hopes that no opportunity for negotiation might be improvidently neglected, appeared both prudent and necessary, when we were called upon to extend our confidence to persons, who, during a period of unexpected success had given no public proofs of a disposition to restore the invaluable blessing of peace. The disastrous retreat of the French armies from Russia last winter, seemed to afford an opportunity of negotiating with dignity and success, and no overture made to the Emperor of France at that period has been communicated to Parliament, nor any reason publicly alleged for not resorting to such a measure. It would then have been easy to devise and honourable to propose such conditions of peace, as, without humiliating the pride, or interfering with the internal government of France, would, if acceded to, have secured the independence of all powers directly or indirectly allied with his Majesty, and would, if rejected, have exposed to the indignation of Europe the unjust pretensions of the enemy. Prudence and magnanimity concur in recommending moderation in the hour of success; and the truth of this maxim is painfully
proved in the present melancholy consequences of an opposite system of conduct. The omission of all public overtures for peace and of all distinct declarations of the object of the war, has obviously enabled our enemy to recruit his armies, to animate his people, and to retrieve his affairs by imputing to Great Britain and her allies designs which it was convenient to his purposes to suppose, but which it was the interest and duty of his Majesty's government by the most public and unequivocal acts to disclaim. *
Henry Richard Fox Vassall, Lord Holland.
The following protest was entered against the second reading of the East India Company's Charter Bill. Because I cannot consent to participate in the disgrace this House must incur, by presuming to pronounce, within forty-eight hours of its introduction, on the propriety of giving a second reading to a Bill sixty-seven pages in length, which, with a thorough contempt of every thing that could be considered as salutary in the resolutions the two Houses of Parliament had acceded to, regulates the intercourse with our Eastern possessions on principles in absurdity unparalleled. Because, even the slightest examination of this Bill makes it apparent, that its enactments are no less repugnant to the political welfare of our Indian possessions, than subversive of those commercial principles on which the Company's trade can alone be conducted with any prospect of success; whilst they must render it utterly impossible for the merchants of this country, with prudence, to engage in that free trade with India which Government have professed by this measure to impart. For by enacting, ‘That a sum equal to the actual payment that has been made from the funds at home, on account of the territorial charges in the preceding year, shall in each and every year be issued in India, for the purpose of the Company's China and India investments, or of remittance to England,’ this Bill, in truth, sanctions the utter ruin of our territorial possessions, by providing that they shall be annually robbed of millions without a return ; whilst by fixing the value to be yearly remitted from that country, without regard to the extent of European demand for its produce, it departs from every true principle of trade, and prescribes a rule which must be ruinous to the commercial interests of the Company; to those of the merchant, who is foolish and ignorant enough to participate in such a trade; and even to the welfare of our manufacturers of British muslins, and of all home-made articles, that naturally enter into competition with the commodities of the East.
Because the despoliation of our territorial possessions in India, the destruction of the commerce of the Company, as well as of the prospects of the free trader, and the injury our manufacturers must sustain, are not the only evils with which this Bill threatens the country.
For it discloses to the public the melancholy information, that instead of having any hope of now receiving from India that long-boasted financial aid the Bill of 1793 taught them to expect, Government anticipates the certainty of the people of this country being taxed, and of our resources being further exhausted, to suspend the ruinous crisis our erroneous policy in the management of our Indian possessions must ultimately occasion; as it enacts, ‘That the residue of the Bills drawn in England shall, in the event of the Company’s not possessing sufficient funds, be discharged in such manner as Parliament shall from time to time provide.”
James Maitland, Lord Lauderdale (Earl of Lauderdale).
By certain engagements entered into between Bernadotte, the Emperor Alexander, and the Cabinet of Great Britain, Norway was transferred from Denmark to Sweden, the English Government pledging itself to use force in order to effect the unwilling submission of the Norwegians. The Danish Government ratified the union. But the Norwegians took up arms in defence of their liberties, elected Prince Christian, son of the King of Denmark, as their King, and though they were overpowered at last, succeeded in obtaining very favourable terms, see Alison, chap. xcii, who gives his justification of the attitude taken by the British Government. The opposition to the Government was taken by Earl Grey, who moved an address to the Regent, praying him to intercede in the struggle in favour of Norwegian independence. His motion was defeated by 1 15 to 34, and the following protest was entered.
Because we consider the attempt to subjugate Norway to the crown of Sweden as a manifest violation of the sacred rights of national independence; and we cannot reconcile ourselves to combat in this case the same principles, in defence of which his Majesty and his allies have, in the case of the other nations of Europe, so gloriously and successfully contended.
Because it was contended in debate, and to our apprehension not sufficiently answered, that even if such an engagement could be considered as lawful, the conditions of our treaty with Sweden had no view to the resistance of the people of Norway to the proposed cession of their country by Denmark, and did not bind us by any obligation of good faith to assist in reducing by force that unoffending and independent people.
Because we cannot see, without the deepest regret, the employment of the British flag to inflict upon a people, whose friendship it is the natural policy of this country to cherish and cultivate, the dreadful calamities of famine, for the purpose of enforcing so odious and unjustifiable a project.
Augustus Frederic, Duke of Sussex.
DXLVI. JUNE 13, 1814. By 54 George III, cap. 69, the grant of bounties on the exportation
of corn and the levy of duties on the same process was brought to an end. An attempt was made to prohibit exportation in times of scarcity