« PreviousContinue »
Jords should take up the per slacken under a cessation of action ; formance of a duty appertaining the recess likewife afforded time to them. And now, when a bill and opportunity, which were by of the same tendency, which ori- no means loft or neglected, for ginated with, and peculiarly re- using effectual means to bring the lates to themselves, is unabi. numerous deserters from the court, mously pafied, and sent up by that? who had been afraid to oppose the house, the same noble lord endea- late popular torrent, back to their vours with all his might that it original standard. thould be rejected, without the In effe&, the meeting of the smallest consideration of the dan- house of commons, after this short ger of a breach between the two recefs, presented to new a face houses, which he had on the for- and appearance of things, and mer occasion held out as an object such a total change of temper of so much terror.
and disposition, that it leemed no They concluded, by a strong longer the lame identical body. appeal to the necessities and the The first public quef- An temper of the times, and by hop- tion
of consequence “P ing, that the lords would have too before the house, was a postponed full and lively a sense of what they motion of Mr. Dunning's, which owed to their own honour and had been deferred on the last day dignity, to suffer that house to of meeting, on account of the become an engine in the hands of speaker's illness. The motion was the minister; and thus to do that for an addre's to his majesty, refor him, which he was ashamed questing that he would not diffolve and afraid to attempt doing for the parliament, nor prorogue the himself in the other.
present sellion, until proper meaThe question being put, after a fures should be taken by that very long debate, the bill was re- house, to diminish the influence jected by a majority of 20 ; the of the crown, and to correct the numbers being 61 to 41. A pro- other evils complained of in the telt was 'entered, figned by 25 petitions of the people. peers; and in the greater part by This motion brought out great another.
and long debates; in the course of Nothing ever happened more for- which, almost every ground, that tunately in favour of any admini. we have hitherto seen trodden, reftration, than the illness, at this lative to the various great objects of peculiar juncture, of the speaker the prelent controversy, was again, of the house of commons. It upon some occafion, and in some seemed as if nothing else could at degree taken. Whether it was, that time have saved them. The that the leaders of the opposition recefs, indeed, was not long; but understood, or that they only apit produced extraordinary and un- prehended, the defection of their expected effects For besides that late but new allies, they however the ardour and apimation, which took all imaginable pains, and ever attend new enterprize, and used every pottible argument, to perhaps more in cases of reform fhew the neceílity of their supportthan any other, naturally cool and ing their own determinations; as
well as the shame and disgrace that promised their endeavours to promust attend a dereliction of those cure redress for the people, they principles, which they had fo re- did not thereby give up the right cently avowed and establithed. of exercising their own judgment, They had already subftantiated, whether in chusing the most elithey said, by the refolutions of gible means of obtaining that end, the sixth of April, the grievances or in deciding upon the measure of complained of in the petitions ; redress which it might be right and they had also bound them- and necessary to obtain. selves, by the same relolutions, The ministers cheared their old under the mott indissoluble obliga- or new friends with the warmest tion to the people of England, to plaudits, for; that liberality of senprocure full redress for thote griev. timent, which disdained the tramances. So that no gentleman, who mels of vulgar restraint. They had supported those resolutions by likewise exclaimed loudly at the his vote, could, without the most impropriety, indecorum, . and in. Thameful inconsistency of conduct, delicacy of their antagonists, in and a dereliction of principleso endeavouring to put gentlemen manifest, as to afford room for the out of countenance, by confrontmoft odious surmises, refuse giv- ing them with their former coning his support to any fair meature duct and opinions. This they dethat was proposed for obtaining clared to be unparliamentary and that redress, unless he could him. unfair. Nor could there be any self substitute a better, or at least lack of precedents or reasons, to Thew, that the means offered were support a change in either or in themselves eiientially faulty both.
A few, though but very few, The question being put a little freely declared, that they neither before midnight, in an unusually did nor should, whether upon the full house, the motion was rejected present, or upon any future occa- upon a division by a majority of fion, hold themselves at all fettered 51: the numbers being 254, to in their conduct, by any former 203. . resolutions or opinions. They Mr. Fox rising to speak immeMondd estimate every question that diately after the motion, a most came before them by its own in- extraordinary scene of disorder was trinsic value ; and consider its displayed, arising (as the minority probable consequences, merely as affirmed) from the unwillingness it then appeared, without the of the majority to hear the detrouble of any retrospect. It by ferters treated as they deserved. no means necessarily followed, The chair being repeatedly called that those who supported the re. on to exercise its authority, the folutions of the 6th of April, were fpeaker at length, with the utmost to approve of the present motion; vehemence of voice, called on erery no charge of inconsistency could fide of the house to order ; and therefore be incurred by their op. having ordered the officers to clear posing either that, or many others the bar, required and ingifted that which might poflibly be held out every member should take his under the same idea. If they place.
This opened the way to Mr. those who voted with him on the Fox; and after all that had been 6th of April, and who voted with supposed done to prevent it, the the minister that night. No man gentlemen concerned found theni- held in greater contempt those felves condemned to hear, the who were at the devotion of the keenest philippic, that perhaps minifter, than he did himself: they ever was spoken in that house. were slaves of the worst kind, beNo calls to order, nor other means, cause they told themselves; yet, could either check the torrent of base as the tenure of their places his eloquence, or restrain the bit. was, they had one virtue to pride terness of his invective. He de- themselves on ; their fidelity, conclared the vote of that night, to listency, and gratitude, were sub- , be scandalous, disgraceful, and jects of commendation. To all treacherous. He did not apply their other demerits, they had not these charges to the 215 gentle added the absurdity and treachery, men, who had, along with the of one day resolving an opinion to mninister, opposed the resolutions be true, and the next of declaring of the 6th of April. These gen- it to be a fallhood. They had tlemen acted an open, a con- not taken in their patron, their fiftent, and a manly parı, in their friends, or their country, with opposing the address proposed on false hopes, and delusive promises. the present day. They had dif- Whatever their motives or sentifered from him; he was forry for ments might be, they had adhered it; but he could not blame therh, to them; and so far as that went, because they differed from him their conduct was entitled to his upon principle.
approbation. But who could contemplate, he Mr. Dunning joined him in the said, without a mixture of the charge of direct treachery to the greateft surprize and indignation, nation. For that the counties, the conduct of another set of men depending on the faith of parli. in that house? Those who had re- ment, for the redreis held out solved that the influence of the by those resolutions, had relaxed crown was increased, and ought greatly in the measures which they to be diminished; that the grieve were pursuing for obtaining it by ances of the people, ought to be other means; and that the county redressed; who pledged them- of Cambridge in particular had, selves to that house, to the nation, upon that dependence, rescinded to their constituents, to each other, its own resolution for appointing a and to themselves, that it was their committee of aflociation. They duty to redress the grievances coni- both likewise declared, that the plained of; and who had now division of this night was totally Thamefully fled from that folemn decisive with respect to the peti. engagement! It was shameful, it tions; that it amounted to a full was base, it was unmanly, it was rejection of their general prayer; treacherous. The gentlemen he and that all hope of obtaining any meant, he said, surrounded him; redress for the people, in that house, they fat at his side of the house; was at an end. he was sorry for it. They were The minister answered Mr. Fox
in a long speech ; in which he ex- a division, by a majority of 210, prefled the utmost astonishment at, to 183. The principle of reform and a good deal deprehended, the being in effect abandoned by the Itrange language, and the un late vote, the attendance on par: bounded censure he had heard. ticular parts now grew daily less The administering comfort to his and less. suffering friends, was not, how. The committee then proceeded ever, his principal object, He upon the succeeding clause, for was much more anxious to obviate abolishing the board of works. the impression, which the charges This brought out new debate, in made, of reje&ting by the present which the mover of the bill diftin. decision the petitions of the peopie, guished himself more than ever by might occasion without doors - the force of his arguments, the He accordingly laboured that fertility of his invention, and the point much, and upon the same pleasantry with wbich he enlivened ground which had been before a matter apparently dry and intaken relative to the rejection of lipid in itielf; but the question some of the clauses in Mr. Burke's being at length put, the clause bill. He asked, whether any con-, was rejected, upon a division, by clusion could be more extravagant, a majority of oz to 118. or irreconcileable to common sense, The minister's bill, for a comthan that the giving a negative to miflion of accounts, had brought a lngle proposition, Thould be con- cut upon him, in the various sidered as deciding the fate of the stages of its progress, more aspe. petitions, and as amounting to a rity of language, and severity of general reje&tion of the whole ? censure, than perhaps had ever The resolutions of the 6th of April been undergone upon a similar were ftill in full being. Other occasion, by any other minifter in measures might be proposed on that house. This partly pro, them. And surely it might very ceeded from the manner in which, well happen, that those who did we have seen, he had taken the not approve of the means in one bill out of the hands of another mode of redrets, might readily. gentleman, and partly from the concur in others.
measure of appointing commillions Mr. Burke's establishment ers, who were not members of the bill, after lying for some time house of Commons. This was said dormant, was brought forward to be directly subversive of the con2fth.
. a few days after. The ftitution. That it was no less than
". firit clause agitated was a surrender of the firlt right of that that for abolishing the office of house, that of managing, as well the great wardrobe, and all those as of granting, the public money, lesler offices and places depending and of directing and controuling on it. This question brought out its expenditure. And fome of long and very confiderable de the opposition contended firongly bales; and it was supported by the that the house was not competent frames with all bis usual vigour to such a religuation. That be. and ability. The clause was, ing only delegates themselves, however, at length rejected upon they could not delegate to others.
They might as well appoint their fioners being members of that own successors. If they were in-house, had laid the ground of fre, capable, or indisposed, to dif- quent difference with the other. charge the duties of the great trust He likewise endeavoured to supdepolted with them, they were port the measure by precedent, and bound in duty to return it into the for that purpose referred to the hands of their constituents. But 13th of Charles the second, when they had no right to appoint de-' nine commissioners were chosen by puties to tranfa& that essential ballot, some of whom, he conpart of the buliness of the nation, tended, were not members of parwhich was - entrusted only to liament; but upon examining the themselves.
reference, the evidence was found On the other hand, the minister defe&tive, it not positively appear. gave every assurance, that he had ing that any one was not a memnot the smallest with or intention, ber, and it seeming certain that either of violating any of the pri- some were. vileges, or of abating any of the The house being in a powers of that house; and that he committee on the sub- way to was fully convinced, that there ject, the nomination of the commis. were gentlemen on both sides fioners brought out great and various within those walls, of as great in- debates; and the naming of Sir tegrity, honour, ability, and pof- Guy Carleton, in particular, afsetsed of as warm a zeal for the forded room for much censure and public welfare, as any in the ridicule on the side of oppofition. kingdom. That he had already They said it was completing and given one of his motives for rounding the present system a proposing that the commissioners dopted in the government of the should not be members of that army; as well as extending it to house, which was to avcid the new objects. In the first instance, invidou refle&tions which that they dragged clerks out of offices, circumstance would draw both to place them at the head of regiupon himself and them. That ments; and now, they pull the debates ran fo bigh, and the times truncheon out of the hand of a were to contentious, that almost brave and veteran commander, and every gentleman in that house had placing a pen, an instrument totaken one side or other; a circum- tally out of the line of his profesftance which must render their fion, in its place, oblige him, at condue, bowever pure, liable to a time of life little calculated for great and continual misconstruc- new habits or acquirements, to tion Among a number of other commence commissary of accounts. Icarons, be ftated the prefent im- It was ftill more absurd and immenity of parliamentary business, proper, because Sir Guy Carleton which would not afford leisure to was himself, at that very time, an the members for lo tedious and accountant with the public. Why laborious an undertaking. That was not that gallant officer enithe failure of former commilions ployed in his proper sphere of proceeded from their originating action, in a season when his serin party. And that the commif- vices were so much wanted ? On