Page images
PDF
EPUB

If the highest subject of this realm is Mr. Pitt supported the motion, bound by the same laws which bind me, though he thought it unfeasonable, and and I am bound by those which bind repeated his promise of reviving it next the meanet, nature and reason admit feition. He affirmed that representano greater degree of liberty. Freedom tion was the leading principle in the beyond this is anarchy, and disorder, British government. This principle in and favage barbarity. The glory of the lapfe of time had declined, and its our conftitution, as it is now settled, renovation was absolutely necessary. is to unite the most vigorous and effec- But his speech was pointed chiefly tual executive power with the broadest against Lord North, on whom he was and most guarded freedom to the in- more than usually severe. He asked dividual, having all the efficacy of a him whether we were not burthened monarchy, and the liberty of a demo- . with many additional millions of debt, cracy. He vindicated his conduct with in consequence of the lamentable and regard to the American war, and denied execrable American war, commenced that the calamities of the nation were with injustice, and conducted with imputable to him. He reprobated the absurdity, involving in it quarrels with indirect manner in which the honour- the great powers on the continent, able baronet had chosen to attack him, without a single friend or ally to aslift us. and challenged a public enquiry into Mr. Fox also supported the motion. the conduct of his administration in the The idea of innovation ought to excite following words, too remarkable from no alarm, for what was the history of an ex-minister in his lordship’s fitua- our conftitution, but an history of innotion to be omitted. “ But, Sir, I vations? He gave his opinion for defire, once for all, that gentlemen will shortening the duration of parliaments, desift from those unfounded affertions, and urged many reasons, arising from that I was the author of those cala- the nature of the present crilis, in mities. If they are of that opinion, favour of such an amendment. let them come forward with a charge ; After a tedious repetition of the old I am ready to meet it; I call for it; arguments from several other members, ray, Sir, I demand it as a right. Sir, Lord Mulgrave moved the previous there can be no reason for withholding question, and persisting in it, notwithit now. If I was protected before, I ftanding the entreaties of Mr. Pitt to am not protected now. Sir, the mi- the contrary, the House divided, and nifter has every thing that can enable Mr. Sawbridge's motion was lost by a him to carry on the profecution against majority of 74. me; he has a House of Commons to June 17. Lord Effingham called the. accuse, he has a House of Lords to attention of the Lords to the present judge, he is master of all the written state of the prisons, which, he said, evidence againft me: and as to parole were crowded in an amazing manner reftimony, those who were my friends, with insolvent debtors. It was not his those who were in my secrets, those intention to propose any specific plan whom I received into my utmost con- for their relief, but to point out the fidence, from whom I concealed no necesity of some alteration in the thing, are now the friends of the right laws, which the fullness of the jails honourable gentleman; and I dare fay and the number of insolvent bills their love of justice, and regard for the which it had been expedient from time public, will make them fit and useful to time to pass, clearly demonstrated witnesses upon such an occasion. Yet, inadequate to the purposes for which Sir, with all these advantages on the they had been framed. He divided part of the minister, of accuser, judge, the insolvents into three classes, the Written and parole-testimony, I do not fraudulent, the prodigal, and the onJarink from, but court the enquiry. fortunate; and thought a plan might But this I must infift upon, that if the be formed to adminifter justice more matter is not enquired into, it shall not impartially, according to their different Le argued upon as if proved," degrees of guilt, and prevent such a

number

1

number of useful manufacturers from creasing. To repeal a tax fo producbeing cooped up within the walls of a tive, so equal, and so easy in its burprison, to the detriment of the country, then, at a time when new taxes must and the disgrace of humanity. For be imposed, and when we had no rethis purpose, he moved that a com- fources to waste, was what the counmittee be appointed to examine into try could not afford. The motion was the present state of our different jails. negatived, only twenty-nine members

Lord Thurlow regretted as much as voting for the repeal. the noble lord to see the jails so much June 21. The House resolved it. crowded, and was ready to support any self into a committee, to take into con. plan that should promise an adequate fideration the report from the commitremedy. But in a nation like our's, tee on smuggling. The Chancellor of he thought it a delicate subject. It the Exchequer animadverted on the was impollible for a commercial country alarming extent to which this practice to exist without credit, and it was, had been carried in many articles, but therefore, the business of the legislature more particularly in tea, in which the to support that credit as much as pof- illicit trade was more than double the fible." To expunge imprisonment for legal. It appeared from good authodebt might injure credit, for the debtor rity that from twelve to thirteen milmight be more tenacious of his pro- lions of pounds were consumed annual. perty, by not having a kind of punish- ly in this kingdom, though no more ment hanging over the head of his than 5,500,0colb. were fold annually debtor, to initigate him to fulfill his by the East-India Company. As a recontract. The law was similar in every medy for this evil, the committee had commercial country in Europe ; it had recommended to lower the duties on never been thought expedient to adopt tea so much, as to remove the temptaany other, and he was apprehensive it tion to smuggle, which proposal he would be a dangerous experiment. He meant to adopt. But as the revenue did not think that to appoint a com could not afford to suffer

any

diminu. mittee would be of any utility, as were tion, it would be necessary to raise as there only an hundred cases to come much money by a new tax as would be under their inspection, he doubted loft by lowering the duties on tea. their being able to discriminate between The amount of the present duties was the unfortunate man and the knave. between

7 and 800,000l. and it was The motion was rejected.

his intention to reduce it to 169,000l. June 1 8. The royal assent was given so that there would be a falling-off of to the American trade bill.

at least 600,000l. per annum. He The House of Commons went into computed the risque and expences of a committee on the navy estimates, smuggling at 401. per cent. at least, which were the same in all respects and Itated his plan to be, to ake off with those voted by the last parliament, all the excise duties on tea, and impose making in all about 718,000l. beside a custom duty of 121. 1os. per cent. which 100,000l. was resolved for re ad valorem on Bohea, 25l. on Souchong, pairing the different dock-yards in the 301. on Singlo, 351. on Hyson, and kingdom.

401. on Congou. "The tax to be subMr. Alderman Newnham made a ftituted was a tax on windows, by motion for the repeal of the receipt which he expected to raise 700,cool. tax. This he did in compliance with He entered into the detail of this tax, the instructions of his constituents, and endeavoured to shew that it would who, he said, were willing to pay their not only increase the public revenue, proportion to any other tax that should but be less burthensome to individuals he subtituted for it, but considered this than the high duties on tea. The Eafttax as vexatious, and injurious to trade. India Company would also be benefited • Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox defended the in an eminent degree, for they would tax. Its produce already exceeded find a vent for thirteen millions of 100,000l. 2-year, and was daily in- pounds of tea instead of 5,500,000.

They

They would be enabled to take up of the finking fund, by 800,000l. aa twenty additional ships, and would year. It was, he faid, 'the business of find employment for 2000 additional the ministry to endeavour to diminish seamen, a circumstance in itself of great this enormous capital, or the country national importance. It might be ob- must sink under its pressure. He jected, that the Company, having the strongly recommended Doctor Price's market exclusively to themselves, might scheme of raising a surplus of a million take advantage of the monopoly, and annually, and appropriating it to that raise the price of tea. But this it would purpose; by which, and converting not be their interest to do, since it the three per cents. into four, 267 would revive the temptation to finug- millions might be discharged in fixty gle, which it was now their wish to years;

and from the calculations of take away. However, not to trust to Baron Maseres, it appeared, that if at their discretion, if ever the price of the distance of twenty years we should tea at the Company's sales should ex. be obliged to interfere with this apceed a given standard, he proposed to propriated sum, the progress made in open all the ports of the kingdom for that time would be suficient to com. the importation of tea from the con- plete our redemption, by the intereft tinent. He concluded by moving a of the sum paid off. Whenever such number of resolutions for taking off a scheme, however, took place, he the old duties, and imposing the new; expected that it would be under the and also the different taxes on the dif- management of trustees, and not left ferent classes of houses.

to the fuctuating operations of the Mr. Pitt's calculations were not al. Treasury. As a means of raising this together fatisfactory, but his plan in surplus,' his next object was the filegeneral was well received, and the ries on the north of Scotland. It was principle of it was univerfally approved. attonithing to all Europe, that the The chief objections to it seemed to Dutch should annually draw an im. be that it was to substitute an arbi- mense profit from that source of natrary for an optional tax, and that tional wealth which lay neglected and those who do not use tea would be uncultivated by the owners. From the subjected to a new tax, without being number of persons thrown out of em. exempted from an old one. The reso- ployment by the late peace, and the lutions passed the committee without numbers that would be left without opposition.

honest means of subsistence by the fupJune 22. Agreed to the report of pression of contraband trade, we were the committee on the window and tea presented with the most favourable opduties.

portunity of establishing that branch of Mr. Orde, fecretary to the Lord trade. All there might be creditably Lieutenant of Ireland, moved for leave and usefully employed in the filheries. to bring in a bill to regulate the post- He wished also to have the whole sy. age of letters from perfons in office stem of navigation and commerce re. between that kingdom and Great-Bri- viewed. It was hardly to be credited tain.

how much improvement might be in. une 23. Mr. Dempiter rose to troduced into this great fource of pubmake his promised motion, respecting lic revenue. An object of such magthe finances of Great Britain, its com- nitude, and involving such a variety merce, navigation, and fisheries. He of interests, required a constant attenlated the funded debt at 238,000,00cl. tion and repair. The various fees of the unfunded at 38,000,0col.the wind- shipping in the friths and rivers of ing up of the war expences with North-Britain, he observed, had been 9,200,000l.of nar y bills at 22,000,000l. a continual complaint for years, which in ah 290,000,000l. the interest of he hoped would be no longer overwhich amounted to 14,000,000l. and looked. He concluded, by moving, exceeded the national estate, including That a committee be appointed to enthe kind and mait taxes, and the whole quire into the sources of the national

finances

finances, the state of the British fisheries, vinced that nothing could be more efnarigation, and commerce; to consider sential to what is techuically called the of more effectual means for their im credit of the state, but also to its honour provement and extension, and to report and charaćiér, than a strict adherence the same to the House.

to all national engagements. Sir Peter Burrel feconded the motion. The motion palled for an enquiry

Mr. Pitt afsented to the propriety of into the state of the fisheries only. enquiring into the condition and re Mr. Eden complained of the evasion fources of the country, and of calling of the taxes on carriages and servants. forth those resources in the most rigo- Of seven millions of inhabitants which rous manner. He did not view the Great Britain was supposed to contain, ftate of our affairs with an eye of de- only forty thousand servants were paid fpondency, nor was he inclined to think for. He, therefore, moved for lifts of it so unfavourable as it appeared from all persons who had paid duties for Mr. Dempster's representation. He carriages and servants in the years 1781, expreffed great confidence in the fink- 1782, and 1783; and of 'ail persons ing fund. He was of opinion that the who had discontinued paying such taxmotion embraced too many objects to es within that period. be efficient, and recommended to re A conversation then took place on ftrict the inquisition to a fingle object. Philip’s petition for a premium in conThe fisheries, for example, would con- fideration of disclosing the compofiftitate a subject of enquiry that might tion of his powders for destroying inbe eafily accomplished during the pre- fects in bread on boa d his Majesty's sent feflion.

ships. - In a former session he had Mr. Hussey corroborated Mr. Demp- prayed for 3600l. but had now lowerfter's statement of the finances, and ed his demand to 16ool. Several naval thought the public creditors ought to officers spoke to the efficacy of the contribute to ease the burthens of the powders, while others attempted to public. In a word, that a tax ought controvert it. The matter was to be laid on the funds. This called ferred to a committee. up Mr. Pitt again. He would never The House then went into a com. consent to diminish the interest or ca mittee, to consider of the state of the pital of the public creditor. He would soap and rope manufactures in Glasnot even accept of such an offer, if it gow, and to make such alterations in were voluntarily made on the part of the laws as might be found neceffary. the stockholders, because he was con

ге

IRISH REPRESENTATION.

(Concluded from our laft, page 435.) LETTER III. FROM DR. JEBB TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL SHARMAN.

SIR, I interests of Ireland, and

letter, dated the nith instant, and cordially devoted to your cause. ongratulate you upon the pleasing prospect of I have no doubt but that many individuals in fuccess to those exertions, which have been as

your lare convention gave up their own private exemplary as the object is important. A more opinions, from the beit motives, in deference to important object, indeed, never agitated the what they judged most likely to prove the human mind? It involves in it the cause of prevailing opinions of the country. You have public virtue, of civil and religious liberty, and had many difficulties to struggle with—you have bids fair to secure whatever can be valuable in acted a most glorious part-may that good Prothe light of nations, or of individuals, to your vidence, which hath hitherto favoured your seises and your pofterity for ever.

exertions, continue to direct them, untill vou I esteemed myself highly honoured by the shall have accomplished your honourable purpole, letter which I received by order of your re until you shall have gratified the laudable desire spettable committee in lait Auguft. 1 esteem of conveying the ineftimable bleflings attendant myself much more so by your favourable ac upon a well-constructed form of civil governceptance of my communications; of which I to remotest generations! I rejoice in the can fay with truth, that they proceeded from a firm and inanly declarations of the counties, LOND. MAG, July, 1784.

с

ment

[ocr errors]

&c. in support of the resolutions of Dungannon; octennial exercise of the elective franchise be both they will doubtless add force irrefistible to thole impolitic and injurious, the recovery of the resolves. Over external influence you have right of annual elections is the only satisfactory already triumphed—and what internal power redress

. If the question being fairly proposed, can oppofe itself to the general voice of a people the Commons of Ireland shall acquicfce for the determined to be free?

present in the recovery of less than their uns In this interval, between the present moment doubted right with respect to universal luffrage, and the General Convention, while many themfelves and their posterity are the parties questions lie before the public in a state of immediately interested; and, therefore, the indecifion, I cannot reitrain myself from offering collective body of the Commons in this, as well my sentiments upon certain points, which were as in the former instances, can alone give fanction more Dightly touched upon in my foriner letters to the reform. than their importance required. If the opinions I am, therefore, decidedly of opinion, that to which I have been lo long partial be un it is the interest, the right, and the duty of the founded, they will be justly disregarded—if they Commons, by themselves, or their delegatess be agreeable to right reaton, the discufiion of expressly appointed for the purpose, to state the them cannot be unsealonable, and may pollibly injury, and to exhibit a specific plan for its redress. answer fome good purpose.

The present House of Commons, by the nature Whether the specific mode of a parliamentary of its conftitution, has not the power, and I am reform, which it may appear reasonable for fatistied the majority has not the will. public wisdom to adopt, originate with the Provided, however, these points are thoroughly people or their present representatives, is not a understood, and are sufficiegdy declared-proquestion merely fpeculative--upon its just lo vided also a specific plan be formed by the en• lution, in my idea, is founded every rational suing Convention, published and avowed by the expectation of succets.

counties, &c. AS THE RIGHTFUL DEMAND Common sense initructs us, and the experience OF THE PEOPLE, and its proper sanction to of human life confirms its dictates, that, in be acknowledged to consist in their consent, ordinary occurrences, the party immediately its pallage through the present House may not aggrieved is best qualified to itate the injuries it be liable to any material objection. But this is fuffers, and to explain the nature of the required far from being necellary, as I have elsewhere redress. It is allo of consequence in the present endeavoured to demonstrate. argument to reflect, that the question respecting It was the charge of Sir George Savile against a reform of the House of Commons is not an English House of Commons a charge merely a question of expedience, but of right. avowed in its presence with that manly spirit

It is the very essence of a Commons' House which has ever distinguished his conduct, THAT of parliament, that it faithfully express the voice

IT HAD BETRAYED ITS CONSTITUENTS, of the Commons. In confequence of the pre From what evidences hitherto afforded to the fent imperfect constitution of that Houte, the public are we authorised to conclude, that their direct contrary is the fact. It does not express successors are actuated by more honourable mo? the voice of the Commons--and it does express, tives? Can it for a moment be supposed possible either jointly or alternately, the voice of the that the present House of Commons in either aristocracy, and the inclinations of the croun. kingdom will seriously promote the withes of

The reason of such deviation from its primary the people? The interest to which the majofunction is as obvious as the fact. The Com rity of the members owe their election the mons' House of parliament is not elected by the in Muence to which they are subject--will ever Commons. A imall portion of the Commons be apparent in their conduct. Hence, at once, under the most evident influence is its present are evident the neceflity of a reform in the rea constituent; and even this small portion exerciles presentation of the people, and the propriety of its elective franchise only once in eight years. the present movements, for the purpose of car

In the le circumstances the mode of redress is rying such reform into effect. A delegation like plain and simple. The present delegation cealing that appointed to meet upon the 10th of next to answer its evident intention--the eflential month will, I have no doubt, be faithful to rights of the third estate being fubtracted * its truft. I am happy in being able to add, that with the parties immediately concerned and it will read its line of duty, and trace the path injured it lies to concert the requifite measures of real glory in the first, the second, the ninth, for their restitution.

and fitteenth resolution of the Ulster Volunteers. It appears equally clear, that the proper mode At the ensuing convention it will also in all of giving efficacy to their wishes and rcfolutions is, probability be debated, how far it may be ex

pedient to restore the rights of citizenship to your If the denial of right to every male inhabi Roman Catholic brethren. tant, not disqualified by mental imbecility or The position, that a difference of opinion criminal conduct, be the injury, the restoration upon matters merely religious ought not to be of the right of univcısal suffrage is the remedy. pleaded as a reason for the subtraction of natural Ir the deviation from the ancient uiage to the or civil rights, has always appeared to me deci

fively * It may not be improper, upon this occasion, also to observe, that the power affumed by the Commons House, of imprisoning the subject upon pretence of breach of privilege—the denial of the benefit of Habeas Corpus to persons thus impriloned--the claim of deciding upon the merits of contested eleétions--the arbitrary exclution of their constituents troin the place of their allemblyare elially unconstitutional and illegal. They only form a small portion of those ulurpations, which so loudly call for the exertion of the visitatorial authority of the people.

THE WITH-HOLDING OF THE SUPPLIES.

« PreviousContinue »