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If the object he pursued was obtained, he was indifferent to what hand the benefit was owing' But fae contended, that the plans were essentially different; and the one made not to supply, but to counteract the other.
The opposition in general cried shame on this manoeuvre. They said it was unfair and indecent) and that if it was not an absolute violation of established parliamentary rules, according to the dead letter of recorded precedents, it, however, militated entirely against their spirit; and that it was totally subversive of that liberality of conduct, and propriety of behaviour, which it was so necessary aud becoming for gentlemen to observe, both in tbat bouse and without, in their commerce with each other. The various strictures passed upon the plan, will appear in their place.
Mr. Burke's establishment bill, having been read the first time on the 2jd of February, the author proposed the following Tuesday for the second reading. On this much altercation arose; the minister charging the minority with precipitating a measure not sufficiently considered; they on the other hand accusing him of an intention of delaying all reformation until the supplies were granted, and then precipitately proroguing parliament, without any redress to so many grievances. The minister was called on to declare, whether he would oppose it on the second reading, or let it go to a committee. After great apparent irresolution, he declared that he did not intend to oppose the bill in tbat stage.
The bill being read the second time without opposition, just . after the minister had announced the plan for his commission of accounts, Mr. Burke moved that it might be committed for the following day. This was opposed, on the ground, that as it was necessary all bills, and more especially those of great moment, should be proceeded through with caution and circumspection, so' the usage of parliament was, on that account, against the sending of bills directly from the second reading to a committee. If this was the rule in other cafes, how much more necessary was it with respect to a bill of such magnitude, which took in such a variety of objects, and in the event of which so great a number of individuals were interested, as the present, to proceed with the greatest caution; and to afford time for sully examining its parts, and duly considering and weighing its general and particular con sequences, before it was referred to a committee. An amendment was accordingly moved, by which the following Wednesday was to be substituted, in the place of the ensuing day.
This was directly charged on the other side to the procrastinating views of the minister. It was not to be supposed, they said, that the whole of the bill wa» to be immediately considered; its parts were to be taken and treated separately; and their number rendered it necessary (if any thing serious was intended to be done) to lose no time in their proceeding. The first part to be investigated in the committee was the simple question, whether the office as third secretary of state, otherwise secretary of state for the American colonies, was not an office altogether useless, aud as such ought to be abolilhed? Surely this was not a question that required such depth os thinking, as that there had not been already full time for its Consideration.
The language which the minister now held with respect to the bill of reform, did not seem much to correspond with that he had used at the first motion for the bill. He grobably thought he had gone too far. He coldly observed, that as the bill consisted of a variety of allegations, aud was in fast a farrago of incidents, he supposed it would not be thought unreasonable, when it came before the committee, if he mould then call for evidence in support of thole facts, on which the propositions were sounded, as well as a clear account of the value of the savings to be made.
Mr. Burke treated with ridicule the idea of the noble lord, in requiring a kind of proof, which from its nature he, at the fame time, knew was impollible to be given. I assert, said he, that the third secretary of state is useless, and how am I to prove it but by the notoriety of the fact? Will the deputy, the clerks, or even the sire-lighter, come to prove it? Did the noble lord mean, that be was to bring such evidence as was necessary to determine questions of private property iu a court of justice, in order lo prove all those places to be useless which be proposed to abolilh? And was be also to bring similar evidence to prove, that. th« savings from
those reductions would amount precisely, without even the usual exception for errors, to the exact sum which he had supposed or slated? The idea is too ridiculous. It will be more manly and becoming in the noble lord, at once to avow his antipathy to every species and degree of public reform.
The question being put at iz o'clock at night, in a very full house, Lord Beauchamp's amendment to the motion, for substituting the words " Wednesday next," in the place of "to-morrow," was carried upon a division by a majority of 35; the numbers being, for the amendment 230, to 19$, who supported the original motion. The parties seemed willing to make a previous trial of their strength in these questions, before they came to the main points; and the numbers in the minority, on a mere matter of time, was a thing very alarming to ministry.
We have already observed, that the Earl of Pembroke had, for the first time, voted in the opposition. This conduct was soon followed by the removal of that nobleman from his oflice of lord lieutenant of the county of Wihs. So remarkable a concurrence of incident, and coming so close upon that which related to the Marquis ot Caermarthen, could not but excite notice and observation both within door* and without; and the matter was takeu up by the Earl of Shelburne as an object of parliamentary enquiry, who accord-, ingly summoned the lords upon the occasion.
Tif , "?"?",? March 6th. pened the busiocu by
staling. stating, that the trouble he had given them on that day, was for purposes that equally concerned the honour, dignity, and independency of parliament, and the preservation and support of the constitution. It was to enquire into the cause of two noble lords near him being dismissed their employments; to whom no charge of delinquency could possibly be made, nor even was pretended; nor could any cause be assigned but this suggestion, that one noble lord had declared the fide he should take on a question agitated in that house; and the other noble lord had absolutely voted on it. These were the only crimes they had committed; and for the exercise of this common freedom, inherent in the constitution, and belonging to every member of either house of parliament, they were disgraced in the face of their country.
The noble earl pointed out and enforced, with his usual sharpness and energy, the supposed dangerous tendency of this mode of proceeding; more particularly at a time like the present, when, as he said, every body felt and confessed that the influence of the crown was carried to such an extreme, as affected every department, from the minister to ' the lowest officer of excise. He then entered into a detail of the rise and power of the lords lieutenants of counties; and endeavoured to thew, that the powers of that great office were, from its first institution, in a very considerable degree independant of the crown; and that it was always considered as preserving a sort of balance, between the rights of the people and the power of the prerogative. He ob
served that the conduct of the court with respect to those two noblemen was the more seriously alarming, as the several laws relative to the militia, which had been passed since the year 17^2, had thrown that originally constitutional means of national defence, almost totally into the hands of the crown; so that being thus warped from the proper nature and design of the institution, there was scarcely any thing left, but the public spirit and independency of the lords lieutenants of the counties, to prevent its becoming a mere state engine of corruption; and its being even converted into a machine for the subversion of that constitution which it had been- created to preserve.
From the militia, the noble earl passed by an easy transition to the state and government of the array; a ground, on which his early military knowledge and service af'forded no small advantage. He particularly reprobated, with a soldierly vehemence, a regulation lately adopted in that school of war, called occafimal rank; this he represented, as being equally scadalous in the practice, ruinous to the service in the effect, and humiliating and degrading to the army in its principle. Nothing, he said, could operate so directly and effectually towards breaking the heart of a soldier,-and damping all military spirit and ardour. Indeed the Duke of Richmond and he seemed to want words sufficiently to express their detestation of this novel, and, as they described it, abominable practice. The whole order of things wa* reversed by it. All rank was trampled upon; all subordination
was was at an end. The high spirit of honour which characterizes a soldier; the emulation of rank, and the eagerness for fame, which include his very existence, must all perish before it.
The noble earl said, that although their frequency, within the knowledge he supposed of all the lords, seemed to render it un- • necessary to cite any instances of the abuse, and that he would rather avoid descending to particulars, yet, that it might not be thought lie deal: merely in declamation, he would ask, what pretensions a Mr. Fullarton had to be raised at once to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel, and to be appointed commandant of a regiment? That gentlemen had never held any rank, nor ever been in the army befote; he had been clerk to the noble lord now present in office, when on his late embassy in France; where perhaps he might have acquitted himself very well with his pen, but never was acquainted with the use of the sword; yet this clerk, in office, this commit, contrary to all military establishments, contrary to all the spirit of the army, was now a lieutenantcolonel, and had the superiority in command over Lord Harrington, a young nobleman of the most active and enterprizing spirit, who had sought his way, inch by inch, to command, and whose high rank and great family connections served him in no other respect, than to render his services to his country the more conspicuous.
Such promotions, it was said, so contrary to the military rules of every other country in Europe, as well as of this, was sufficient to drive every man of honour ani
spirit from the service, to disseminate dangerous discontents, jealousy, and ill-will throughout the whole army, and to deter our young nobility and gentry of weight and fortune, from following the natural bent of their genius, in attempting to serve their country. For who would devote his time, his fortune, or his life to a service, where he saw a clerk from behind his desk, suddenly raised by ministerial caprice, and put over the heads of more than a thousand officers; many of whom were of long and tried service, of established merit in their profession, and had been bred up to the art of war from their earliest youth?
The Earl of Shelburne closed a speech of considerable length, full of matter and of energy, with a motion to the following purport:— Whereas the Marquis of Carmarthen was dismissed from his employment of- the lieutenancy ot the East Riding of the county of York, on the morning of that day when his opinion to support with his vote a motion that was made in the house on the 8th of February last was well known; and whereas the Earl of Pembroke was likewise dismissed from his lieutenancy of the county of Wilts, soon after he gave his vote on the fame question, which office of lieutenant has been at all limes important, but most peculiaily so under the present constitution of the militia. And whereas no cause has been suggested or communicated to either of the said noble lords for such dismission, this house therefore hath every ground to believe, that the same had reference to their conduct in parliament.
And it was therefore moved, [/] that t'/at an humble address be presented to his majesty, to desire he will be graciously pleased to 8C-. quaint this house, whether he has been advised, and by whom, to dismiss the said two noble lords, or either of them, from their said employments, for their conduct in parliament.
The Marqu:s of Carmarthen observed, that the motion was of such a nature, that he could not in delicacy support it with his vote; but that he nevertheless heartily approved of it, as he hoped it would afford the means of enabling him to satisfy his enquiring county, as to the cause of his being displaced from acting as their lord lieutenant; for he trusted he should now hear from the mouth of some of the king's confidential servants, the reason of his being dismissed from that office. He flattered himself, that his removal was not occasioned by any abuse of the power annexed to his office; and he was happy in finding that he had not given any offence to the people of the county of York, either as lieutenant, or by the vote he had given; for he had received several Utters from many of the most respectable gentlemen in that county, containing a full approbation of his conduct in parliament.
The Earl of Pembroke explained the nature of his dismission, which he attributed entirely to-advice; a^ at that audience, at which he resigned the office os lord of the bed-chamber, he had experienced the same gracious reception from his sovereign which he had ever been wont to do. He observed, that his family had been lord lieutenants of the county of Wilts, ever since the office had been first
known in England; and he was happy to find that his conduct had been such upon all occasions, as to meet the full approbation .of his county.
That nobleman, who had served early, long, and with credit in the last war, joined in reprobating, in terms of exceeding severity, the late promotions, as well as the innovations in general which were introduced in the government of the army. He said, that he detested from his heart the means made use os to obtain rank, contrary to the established rules of service; and he affirmed, that the army in which such things were permitted, must either moulder away so as to be worth nothing, or else become a dangerous engine in the hands of government.
The discretion of the crown in the appointment and removal of its officers, was the principal ground of argument taken on the other side in opposition to the motion. That the crown was fully endued with this power would not be denied; and any attempt to circumscribe it, must be considered as a direct and violent entrenchment on the royal prerogative. The proposed address would, therefore, not militate less with the principles of right, than with all the rules of propriety, and of respect to his majesty; nor indeed could the measure be supported upon any- better ground of precedent, than what was drawn from the conduct of the long parliament. A conduct which no lord on 2ny side of the bouse could wish to pursue.
That the power of the crown might in some instances be imprudently exercised, was allowed. Every power, however modified,