« PreviousContinue »
the first he attributed the univer. fion of the house ; he observed fal applause and the high eulo. that the clause was, however, loft, giums, which Mr. Burke's pro- under pretence that the office was positions received on their being not useless, or if it was, that no firit opened to the house. The evidence of its being useless ap. temper and disposition which af- peared. terwards appeared, he was con The next clause, he said, rela. vinced, originated out of that tive to the abolition of the board house; and would never otherwise of trade, was opposed on the same have prevailed within its walls. ostensible ground of its not being
For after such general approba. useless. The minifter, however, rion, the bill was let down softly, besides the ostensible ground, main. First, it contained fome matter tained both the other doctrines, worthy of approbation, then, it that the influence of the crown was 'doubtful; at Jalt, it was was not too much, and that parfundamentally wrong and danger. liament had no right to controul ous.
the Civil Lift expenditure ; but He observed, that in the course the house was not to be drove. of the very important contest on The house revolted, and the clause different parts of the establishment for abolishing the board of trade bill, notwithlanding the dexterity was carried by a small majority. used on the other side, fome mat- The next clause of the establishters of great public concern were ment bill, Mr. Dunning observed, brought unwillingly out ; and was openly opposed on principle ; which indeed were the cause for and that principle supported, in his entering at present upon the one shape or other, by a great masubject. Particularly, in the dif- jority of that house. The kiag's cussion of the first clause of that houlhold was deemed sacred; it bill, for abolishing the office of a was not to be touched ; a distincthird secretary of state, two fun- tion was made by some of those damental points were brought into who gave the minister that majocontroversy. It had been affirmed, rity: useless places which related that tlie influence of the crown to the functions of the state, they was not too great. It had been held, might be abolished ; but the aflerted, that the influence of the king's revenue, for the support of crown, even such as it was stated his houshold, was his own personal to be in argument, was consticu- revenue, with which parliament tional and neceffary: and it had neither had, nor could have any also been asserted, that the other thing to do. That decision be point insisted on in the petitions, considered as giving the death. the enquiry into the expenditure wound to his friend's bill. of the Civil List Revenue, was a . The next attempt, he observed, business not competent to that made in pursuance of the petitions, house. After taking notice how or in compliance with the wildes the minister hrunk from the conof the people, was that by Col. test, when it was ftrenuously endea- Barre, for institucing a committee youred on his side, to bring the of accounts. But the noble miquestion forward to abide the deci- nister, he said, after freely promising his full afistance to the confidered of little or no impor. measure, well foreseeing, that it tance; to the minister's runaway would bring out many things ex- bill, which was as direct an insult to tremely irklome and unpleasant to that house, as it was a bare-faced himself, defeated the design, by mockery of their conftituents; and running a race with his honour to the contractor's bill, which the able friend for the bill, and swatch- friends of administration predict ing it out of his hands, where it will fill miscarry; or if that hope had been placed, by the unanimous Thould fail, openly boast, chat Tuch voice and approbation of that means are contrived as will dehouse. He heavily censured the feat all its purposes. Such, he maneuvre of the minister in this faid, was the manner in which bufineis, both as it respected him the dutiful petitions of the peoin the character of a gentleman, ple of England had hither to been and in that of his public capacity : treated. Der did he lets condemn his fubiti. He then stated, that as every tuted bill for a commillion of ac- other means had failed of produce counts, which he described as ing any effect adequate to the being totally unprofitable, if not prayer of the petitions, he thought worfe.
it his duty, and it was the duty of Twó other efforts, he observed, the house, to take some determiwere made towards answering one nate measure, by which the people of the princip;l objects of the peti- might know, without equivocationers, by lefsening the influence tion, what they had to trust to, of the crown in that house. The and whether their petitions were One was Sir George Saville's mo- adopted or rejected. To bring tioa for the production of the pen- both the points contested between fion lit; which was excellently the petitioners and ministers fairly calculated for answering that pur. to issue, he should frame two pose; but which he had the more propositions, abstracted from the tification of seeing defeated like petitions on the table, and take the foregoing. The other was the sense of the committee upon Sir Philip Jennings Clerke's bill them. He meánt, that they should for the exclusion of contractors; be Thort, and as fimple as poflible, which had the good fortune of be. so as to draw forth a direct affirma. ing carried through that house. tive or negative.
Thus, the whole of what had He then moved his first propo. been obtained, in consequence of filion, « That the influence of that pile of parchment before the crown has increased, is increal. them, containing the sentiments, ing, and ought to be diminifhed.” the prayers, and the petitions of He supported his motion princi: above one hundred thousand elec. pally upon the public notoriety of tors, and through such laudable the fact ; and disclaimed seeking efforts, such late and frequent dif- for that kind of explicit proofs, cussion, and so many arduous which, as they were necessary, ftruggles within the house, a. were likewise easily obtained in mounted only to a single clause in other cases ; but which, in this the establishment bill, which ttand, being impracticable, it was of ing naked,, as it did, could be courte ridiculous to require. The
question, question, he said, must be decided" but they were very improper ex? by the consciences of those, who' amples to be followed'; and in? as a jury were called opon to de- general, even in those cases, they termine, what was or was not related to some previous proceed: within their' knowledge. H¢ ob- ings in the house, some disputed served, however, as a' collateral point, some subject of controversy circumstance of evidence, that no. under discussion, in' which the thing less than the most alarming sense of the house was particalarly' and corrupt influence, could induce called for. When this happened
a number of gentlemen in that not to be the case, the person who - house, to support the minister by proposed to the house to vote an
their votes in those measures within abstract question, having a' pro. doors, which they condemned and spective view to mealures which reprobated without. That this were to be engrafted in it, w25 was the case, and within his own bound by the nature of the requiimmediate knowledge, he declared fition, to explain what those mea: upon his honour; and added, that fures were intended to be; other. though he was not himself very wife, one of those two things might Squeamih, nor over-delicate, in happen, either that the house giving his opinion, upon the mea- should vote an abltract question to sures of administration, he had no manner of purpose, or that after never indulged himself in throw. having agreed to the leading pro ing upon them such severe epi. pofition, they might, notwiththets, as had fallen in his presence standing, be under a' neceflity of from the, mouths of members a. rejecting the mea'ure to be enbroad, who, notwithstanding, sup- grafted on it, although that meaported them within those walls ; sure might well bear a strong seemnor was the number small, for, ing relation to the antecedent rebut shat the talk would be too in. folution ; a circumstance which vidious, he could mention no less would throw a disgraceful appearthan fifty members of that house, ance of inconsistency and absurdity who had held that language and upon their proceedings conduci.
The proposed resolution, they On the other hand, the mini. said, came fully within these prefters and their friends conter:ded, dicaments. It was purely abstract, that the resolution now moved was as not being connected with any clearly an abstract propofition.- one measure whatever ; it pointed The learned gentleman had de- to no remedy, nor was it appaclared, that he would not inlorm rently designed to avert any evil. the house what further measures Many gentlemen in that house he intended to graft upon his in- might posibly think, that the in. tended resolutions; his afforded fluence of the crown was really 20 them all the properties, and increasing ; others, that it was in even the exact definition of an ab- creased ; and some, perhaps, that Atract question. There were, to be it ought to be diminished. These, Sure, instances in the records of through their ignorance of what parliament, in which abstract ques. was to follow, might vote for the tions were moved and agreed to; abstract propoficion simply as it
food; and yet' might afterwards admitted, much less established by tocally disapprove of the measure la vote of parliament. For if any with which the learned gentleman such influence exifted at all, it intended to follow it up; whereas, must have existed before the pre. if the measure of correction had ac- sent ministers were born ; but the companied the fact of abuse, they charge was not accompanied or would, from a knowledge of its supported by a single argument, tendency, have rejected the ques. which could diftinguish this admi. tion in the abstract.
nistration even from any other durThey objected to the total want ing the present reign. of evidence to support the facts; They farther, urged, that the and could for themselves answer present mode of carrying on the that they were wholly unfounded. government of this country had The flightest view of the state of continued the same exactly from public affairs would directly over the revolution downwards; and throw the whole fuppofition. Was unless some proof were ihewn that it a time when America was lost! , an influence, whatever that migho it was feared irretrievably loft! be, existed at present, differend when that loss was succeeded by from that which was supposed to a war with France, and another exift in former times, the present with Spain ; was it a time, after vote would be replete with danger so long a series of disappointments, to the conftitution ; for it would docoward events, ill success and tend to alter that system of goloffes, and all the unpopular con- vernment, which had been "entafequences incident to such a state blithed by our forefathers; and of things, to suppose that the which had been approved of, conin Auence of the crown was in. tinued, and confirmed, by several creased? The people were hea. succeeding generations. vily barthened; they foresaw an The assertion, as to the repro, increase of those burthens daily bation of the measures of miniiters approaching; they felt the loss of without doors, by those who had America'; they were disappointed supported them within, was bitand out of temper; in such cir- terly resented. The fact itself cumstances to talk of the influence seemed to be doubted, as much as of the crown, was absurd and pre- propriety would admit of; and a poiterous.
court lord, after every possible de. li was besides argued to be un- gree of execration of such men, if fair and unjuft with respect to the they really exifted, called upon present adminiftration. It would them to quit his side of the house, appear, they said, if the present and to go over to the other, em-^ resolution was adopted, at least to phatically crying out, “ Go, you the people without doors, that this worst of men, be your hearts and influence had originated, and was motives ever so corrupt, preserve daily increasing, under the pre. some appearance of principle and fent administration. This implied decency, and support those prins a cenfure of so severe a nature, as ciples in public, which you apcalled for the most sound and sub- prove of, and secretly avow, in ftantial proof before it should be private.”
The The speaker, on this day, took a any. It could only be knows to decided part in support of the mo.' the members of that house, and rion. fie observed, that however they were the only persons comirkiome it was to him to take any petent to resolve it ; for such were part in their debates, and however the circumitances of the affair, that cautious he was, and ought to be, if it were even proved by evidence, of obtruding his own private opi. they only could know whether the nions on the house, there were evidence was true or false. They cases, and he confidered the pre. were bound as jurors, by the confent as one of them, in which it viction arising in their own minds, would be criminal in him to re. and were obliged tɔ determine acmain filent. The question before cordingly. them, be faid, was of infinite con. He appealed to the feelings fequence to that house, and to the and experience of gentlemen who people at large ; bich were under heard him, if the influence of the che greatest obligation to the learn- crown had not increaled, was not ed gentleman who had brought it daily increasing, and whether it onder discumon; and however it was not the duty of that house to might be determined, he was limit it? He profelled himself a happy in the opportunity which it friend to the legal constitutional aforded him of discharging his prerogatives of the crown ; but he duty, as a member of that houle, contended that there afforded the both to his conftituents, and to his ooly legitimate influence, which it country in general,
could have, or ought to exercise ; He denied that the question was and aked, whether it was not a in any degree abAraci ; it was a very vain and idle thing to limit question of fact, What were the or mete out the prerogatives of the facts? It delised the house to re, crown, while they permitted anofolve in the first initance, that the ther, and much more dangerous, influence of the crown was in, because a concealed influence, to creased; who would doubt the operate in their lead. truth of that fact ? --That it is in- He further observed, that the creafing; could any man doubt of species of government establithed that either! He believed not. If in this country, under its true and there was any such pe: son present, proper definition of a monarchy li. he was sure that he was not him. mited by law, he was free to say, felt that person. He had seen so required no other affittance for the many instances of both since he exercise of its fundtions, than what had the honour of a seat in that it derived from the conftitution house, as sufficiently jullified him and the laws. That the powers in faying, that the influe.ce of the velled in the executive part of go. crown had increased, and was in. vernment, and in his opinion wise, criafing. The petitions on the ly placed there. were ample and table avered the fact; it was the fufficient for all the purposes of duty of tha: house to say whether good government, and without any it was or was not so. It was an further aid, were much too ample allegation which called for no- for the purposes of bad govern proofs ; it did not indeed admit of ment; and ļie thought himself