Slike strani

question is not, whether the conduct of redoubled efforts, and advanced so far ministers was proper or improper ; but into the heart of Germany: The right whether we shall announce to France that hon. gentleman asked, whether, in order the supplies of the year are to be stopped, to pass a previous censure on this conand the exertions of the executive power duct, the House would stop the supplies suspended ?

of the nation ? It was this dilemma Sir W. Pulteney said, it was with con- which, in his mind, aggravated the miscern and astonishment he had heard, on conduct of the minister, who put the the preceding evening, that the minister House in that situation, that it must had taken upon him to appropriate so either acquiesce in an expenditure made large a sum of the public money, without in so blameable a manner, or bring danger the consent of parliament. The control on the country by stopping the supplies. of the House of Commons over the pub. He trusted that this proceeding would not lic purse was the main point upon which pass the House without receiving some our constitution rested. The present strong marks of its disapprobation. case was one of the very last importance. Mr. Grey said, that if the obsequiousThe justification offered by the chancellor ness and servility of the House had not of the exchequer was grounded upon two encouraged the designs of the minister, arguments, drawn from the words in which they never would have seen this daring the vote of credit was expressed : first, invasion of their rights. When at last, that it was meant to defray the extraordi- however, they were sensible of the dannary expenses of the year. Undoubtedly ger, if the outrage was not expiated by it was, and unfortunately it happened the punishment of the right hon. gentle. that extraordinaries and a vote of credit man, he would maintain that there no must be granted in every year of a war. longer was any law or constitution in But surely it never was intended, that | England: How must the astonishment subsidies to foreign powers should be and indignation of the House be increased, supplied by a vote of credil. New cir- when they found, that when parliament cumstances might doubtless occur to ren- was sitting, these advances had been der it proper for ministers to exercise made ! The whole system of the right their discretion ; but here the circum- hon. gentleman indicated a desire to con. stances were foreseen, and had been laid ceal this matter as long as possible. before parliament. The fact that this The right hon. gentleman will rest his sum had been advanced, came out in a defence on the general principle of army very suspicious manner indeed. There extraordinaries; he will tell us that a seemed to have been a desire of conceal- case of real exigency, is a case that ought ing the fact as long as possible, and a dis- to supersede the inferior demands of closure was only compelled by necessity: ' economical, or even legislative prudence. He could not go the length of stopping But let me tell him that no financial exithe supplies, though he was of opinion gency can be paramount to the constituthat a strong mark of censure ought to be tion; that no duty is so sacred as the inflicted by the House. By neglecting maintenance of it. The existence of the to consult parliament at a time when it constitution depends on the vigilance of was sitting, the minister appeared to set a discerning House of Commons over the himself above their control. As to the acts of ministers. Such a House will not influence which a parliamentary sanction be satisfied, on great constitutional questo this measure might have had upon tions, with

pompous denunciations of public credit at an earlier period,' he the opposers of ministerial arrogance, of thought it too trifling a consideration to the foes of ministerial profusion. It will weigh against the fundamental principles not be satisfied with retrospective and unof the constitution; and, with regard to constitutional measures of any kind; but the credit which the minister assumed for will in every situation evince, by the conacting advantageously when he concealed duct of its members, that there is still a from the enemy the intention of affording barrier to encroachments, a line beyond supplies to our ally, he considered that which not even his majesty's ministers concealment as having had a very dif. can extend their predatory efforts. In ferent effect; for it was clear to him that the present case, it cannot for a moment it was in a great measure on the supposi- be argued, that it was not the duty of tion that this country had refused supplies ministers to come to parliament with a to the Emperor, that the French had made specific proposition, before the money


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the people was applied, in a way that a pledge of the spirit with which they must subject them to new and extraordi. would resent the insults of the enemy. nary burthens. That the public money Assuming that exalted situation on which was thus applied, is evident. That the

evident. That the a free people ought to stand, they would constitution was infringed, is equally so. negociate more advantageously with a free But the right hon. gentleman will tell us, people; a people that he hoped would rethat, granting our principle to be a fun- main free; a people whom the right hon, damental principle of the constitution, gentleman considered capable of maintainthere yet is an exception to that, as well ing the relations of peace and amity, who as to all general rules. He, indeed, has had “snorted away the indigested fumes of told us, that the sum advanced to the Em- the blood of their sovereign,” and with peror was advanced under circumstances, whom the right hon. gentleman deigned and at a time when it was necessary that to negociate. But, in reality, the propothe exception should be adopted. Thus sition did not go to negative the supplies : he takes the exception, and argues from it was only intended to suspend them the necessity of the case. We might, in till the wound given to the constitution the same way, at once, give an unlimited was made whole. He therefore would vote of credit to ministers. Perhaps the move an amendment, « That the second right hon. gentleman will next tell us, reading be put off till to-morrow;" and if that any account of the disbursement of the House agreed, he would to-morrow the army extraordinaries might thus be move the House to resolve, that in making avoided. So it might. There was, how these advances without the consent of ever, a time when the right hon. gentle parliament, the minister had been guilty man would have called such an exception of a high crime and misdemeanor. as he has this night adopted, paltry; a Mr. Wilberforce said, he was averse to time when he was an enthusiast in the postponing the passing of the resolutions, cause of liberty, an economist, and a re- even till to-morrow, on the score of proformer. In the year 1782 this circum- priety and policy, but more particularly stance of extraordinaries would, by the when he recollected the essential differright hon. gentleman, have been spoken ence there was in the manner in which the of and reprobated as an evil which could business appeared to gentlemen yesterday not be too jealously watched, as an in- and to-day, and the great difference that fringement ever to be resisted, as a prin- might possibly take place in their opinions ciple that could not be too severely re- before to-morrow; for he could not conprobated. These avowedly were thenceive that the question which had been his sentiments of that species of minis- suggested, had any thing at all to do terial chicanery; insomuch, that imme- with the business of supply. The chandiately after he was made minister, the cellor of the exchequer had by no means House was called upon, by a speech from left the matter of the subsidy to the Em. the throne, 10 watch with jealousy, and peror to repose : on the contrary, he had, repel with dignity, every such attempt to in his speech of yesterday, mentioned the dilapidate and infringe the constitution. matter as a necessary part of the financial Much apprehension had arisen, from the statement; and that he did not rest his fear of an invasion; but he would venture justification of the measure there, but to say, that no invasion or attack that would reserve it for future discussion. could take place, would go so decidedly on an attentive perusal of the vote of to the destruction of all that was valuable, credit, it would be found to convey an as such a power lodged in the hands of mi- impression that ministers were authorized nisters. Viewing the subject in this light, in employing the whole, or any part of he thought it his duty to oppose, or at the sum provided by it, in such manner as least suspend the supplies. "It was ask the exigencies of the state might require. ed, Were the supplies to be suspended; Upon this, then, a question arose, whethe supplies, the possession of which ther the mode in which ministers had apwould afford to government so much plied the money was or was not necessary weight and vigour? He would answer, to the success of the cause in which the yes ;

and he was sure we should not ne- nation was embarked. If there was no gociate less favourably if the French saw necessity for applying the money in the that the House was determined to main. way in which it had been advanced, he • tain its rights. The firmness with which would be found not among the last to they asserted their own dignity, would be

censure the conduct of ministers, But (VOL. XXXII.]

[ 4 N]

every one disposed to determine impar- 1 granted by the vote of credit, he knew no tially, must recollect the peculiar circum- law nor precedent why a part of it should stances attending the time in which it not be sent to the Emperor, any more was advanced ; the state of public credit, than to St. Domingo or Toulon ; if the and the state of our allies ; and, striking exigency of the case required. The quesa just balance between the caution to be tion, then to be considered was, whether observed with the one, and the attention the exigency of the circumstances redue to the necessities of the other, make quired it, and upon that he entertained a just allowance for the difficulties under no doubt whatever. Although he did not which ministers were obliged to act, and wish to have the resolutions postponed, decide, if not with liberality, at least with he certainly hoped the hon. gentleman justice. The question was how far his would bring forward his specific accusaright hon. friend had acted right? And tion, that the House might determine as in this the event justified him. It appear speedily as possible whether the minister ed from the manner in which the money was justifiable in his application of the was issued, and the disproportion the vote of credit. It appeared to him that whole of it bore to the sum originally in- he was justifiable, and that instead of retended, that he was swayed by motives of probation, he deserved commendation, caution, and a consideration of the neces- and might exclaim, in the spirit of what sity, to accommodate himself to the circum- Scipio said to the Romans, “ I have stances of the times. The effect his con- spent 1,200,0001., but I have saved Gerduct had produced was obvious to every many." man. Who was there acquainted with Mr. Harrison maintained, that to apply commercial affairs, who would not say money without the consent of parliament, that the state of public credit was much as it had been applied in this instance, worse then than it is at present? Every was a high misdemeanor, and deserving symptom of weakness at such a crisis the reprehension of that House and the would have been dangerous.

For his more so, as it was part of the system of own part, he considered the measure not the minister to take away all the power merely justifiable, but deserving of praise of the House of Commons, and to vest instead of censure.

it in the hands of the executive govertiMr. Yorke thought the present question ment. the most important of any he had ever Mr. Curwen said:_The question we heard discussed. If ever there was a time have now before us is, in my opinion, the since the Revolution, when partial affec- most important that has ever been distions and party interests ought to be aban- cussed within these walls. It is not that doned, the present was that time. The 1,200,0001. have been given to the Emquestion before the House was merely, peror. The real question for the House whether the resolutions of the committee to decide is, whether we will suffer the of ways and means should be agreed to most important principle of the constituby the House ; for the assistance given to tion to be violated with impunity, the inthe Emperor was out of a sum of money disputable right of the Commons to the granted by a vote of credit to defray any guardianship of the public purse. Much extraordinary expenses of the army that as it is our duty to provide for the secumight accrue; and as the extraordinaries rity of the country against foreign eneof the army were not yet voted, it was mies, it is yet more important to preserve consequently a separate consideration : the constitution. On the vote this night yet an hon. gentleman had proposed to depends the value of the stake we have to negative this question, on the principle contend for, and the future importance of that the money granted by the vote of this branch of the legislature. No one credit in a former year was misapplied, will controvert the sole right of the Comand thereby to postpone the supplies ne- mons to dispose of the public money; and cessary for the service of the present year. yet the right hon. gentleman has dared Such a delay in the provision of the sup- | to do it. If the necessity of the times plies might be of dangerous consequence; called for such a measure in the absence for gentlemen were to recollect, that we of parliament, could any thing justify the were still involved in a dangerous war, delay of a moment as soon as the House and were at the most critical period of was met to come for indemnity? The the most critical negotiation. With res- plea of necessity is totally inadmissible. pect to the application of the money if we suffer this to pass, I should consider

[ocr errors]

Yeas {Mr. Charles Yorke

the constitution as destroyed, the dignity for the House to decide on was, whether and importance of the Commons as gone, the question of his right hon. friend was and every claim to respect forfeited. I of sufficient importance to induce the trust the House will by the vote this House to dismiss the reading of the reso. night, teach the right hon. gentleman that lutions, and give that the preference ? If the season is not yet arrived, when with it was, he thought the House could not impunity he may trample upon the Com- consider the motion for delay unnecessary. mons of Great Britain.

Lord Hawkesbury wished the charge to The Master of the Rolls could not well be brought forward directly; but let it be say, whether he had ever assisted at a de- brought forward when it would, it did not bate on a subject so delicate and impor. prevent the House from voting the suptant as that which was then before the plies that evening, because the money House. In the opinions of some, it ought sent to the emperor was not included in to supersede the discussion of every other the question of the resolutions, nor was subject, even that of voting the supplies; the House pledging itself at a future time while others seemed to require that mi- to justify that expenditure.

All must nisters should have come down to the agree that the supplies ought not, at this House for an act of indemnity, to screen particular crisis, to be stopped unnecesthem from the consequences of the un- sarily for a single moment; and as the constitutional measure with which they question alluded to could be brought forare accused.

To neither of these opi. ward as well to-morrow, no injury could nions did he incline ; nor did the present arise from delay. question call on him to pronounce on these The question being put that the word points. In general, he thought the second “ now” stand part of the question, the thoughts of the gentlemen opposite much House divided : better than their first; but on this occa

Tellers. sion, he must regard their first thoughts

The Lord Hawkesbury as preferable to their second. On the

} 16+ preceding night, among all the arguments they had adduced, none were pointed to

Noes { Mr. M. A. Taylor

: } 58 the subject at that moment in agitation; neither could he conceive what had put it So it was resolved in the affirmative. in their heads to stir the question they had now started : ministers were as criminal The King's Message respecting a Deon the preceding night as at that moment; claration of War by Spain.] Dec. 12. but even supposing them thus guilty, Mr. Secretary Dundas presented the folcould not gentlemen permit the present lowing Message from his Majesty: business to go on one stage more, without “George R. supposing themselves precluded from “ His Majesty is concerned to acquaint bringing forward at a future period the the House of Commons, that his endea. investigation they were so eager to insti. vours to preserve peace with Spain, and tute? Abundant opportunities would to adjust all matters in discus-ion with offer of bringing it before the House ; that court, by an amicable negotiation, and if it was of that importance it was said have been rendered ineffectual, by an to be, ought it not to be brought forward abrupt and unprovoked declaration of directly and distinctly, and not collate- war on the part of the Catholic king. rally, and involved in a business with “ His Majesty at the same time that he whích it had no connexion ? At present sincerely laments this addition to the cahe was not prepared to decide on the lamities of war, already extending over so question, whether the conduct of the mi- great a part of Europe, has the satisfacnister should be imputed to him as a crime tion to reflect, that nothing has been or not. It was not the question that omitted on his part, which could connow awaited the decision of the House, tribute to the maintenance of peace, on and he wished no gentleman would an- grounds consistent with the honour of his swer what might be farther offered on the crown, and the interests of his dominions. occasion ; for his part, he was not obliged “ And he trusts, that, uniler the proto stay, nor would he permit himself to tection of Divine Providence, the firmness be convinced by the arguments that were and wisdom of his parliament will enable urged on the other side.

him effectually to repel this unprovoked Mr. W. Smith said, that the question aggression, and to afford to all Europe,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

an additional proof of the spirit and re- May 1793. Since peace was concluded with sources of the British nation.

G. R."

the French republic, I have not only had the

best grounded motives to suppose England Declaration of War by Spain.]


harboured an intention to attack my AmeriSecretary Dundas also presented, by his can possessions, but I have received direct

injuries, which have confirmed to me the reMajesty's command, the following

solution formed by that ministry, to oblige Declaration of War by the Court of Ma. me to adopt a part contrary to the good of drid against Great Britain. Dated, Pa- which is annihilating

Europe, and contrary to

humanity, torn to pieces by the bloody war lace of St. Lawrence, October 5, 1796.

the sincere desire I have manifested on reOne of the principal motives which deter- peated occasions to put an end to it, by means mined me to make peace with the French of peace, proposing my good offices to accerepublic, as soon as its government began to lerate its conclusion. England has in fact take a regular and solid form, was the con- showed openly her views against my domiduct which England had observed towards me nions, by the great expeditions and armaduring the whole course of the war, and the ments sent to the Wesi Indies, destined in just distrust which the experience of her ill part against St. Domingo, in order to impede faith ought to occasion on my part for the its delivery to France, as is evident from the future. This ill faith became manifest in the proclamations of the English generals in that most critical moment of the first campaign, island, by the establishment of trading comfrom the manner in which admiral lord panies in North America, on the banks of the Hood treated my fleet at Toulon, where he river Misouri, with an intention to penetrate attended to nothing but the destruction of through those regions to the South Sea; and what he could not carry away with him, and lastly, by the conquest she has just made on from his presently after taking possession of the continent of South America, of the coCorsica ; which expedition that admiral con- lony and river of Demerari, belonging to the cealed with the greatest care from Don Juan Dutch, which advantageous situation puts de Langara, when they were together at her in the way to occupy other important Toulon. The English ministry afterwards points : but her views have been still more confirmed the same, from their silence in all hostilely and more clearly shown, by her retheir negotiations with other powers, espe- peated insults to my fag, and by the violence cially by the treaty which was signed, the committed in the Mediterranean, by her 19th November 1794, with the United States ships of war, in taking out of different Spanish of America, without any respect or considera- vessels, the recruits for my armies, who were tion for my rights, which were well known coming from Genoa to Barcelona; by the to them : I noticed also that ill faith in their acts of piracy and vexation, by which the repugnance to adopt the plans and ideas Corsican privateers, protected by the English which might accelerate the conclusion of the government in the island, destroy the Spanish war, and in the vague answer lord Grenville trade in the Mediterranean, even within the gave to my ambassador, the marquis Del bays of the coast of Cataluna, and by the deCampo, when he applied for succours to contention of several Spanish vessels laden with tinue it: I was finally confirmed in that opi- Spanish property, which have been carried nion, by the injustice with which they appro- into the English ports, under frivolous prepriated to themselves the valuable cargo of texts, especially by the embargo of the rich the Spanish re-captured ship, St. Jago or cargo of the Spanish ship Minerva, executed Achilles, which they ought to have restored, with outrage to the Spanish flag, and still deaccording to the agreement between my first tained in spite of the most authentic docusecretary of state, and of the Despacho the ments, showing the said cargo to be Spanish prince de la Paz and lord St. Helens, his Bri- property, having been presented in the proper tannic majesty's ambassador, and by the de court: the offence has not been less grievous, tention of the naval stores coming for the which has been offered to the character of my use of my arsenals, on board Dutch vessels, ambassador Don Simon de las Casas, by one the forwarding of which was delayed under of the courts of law in London, which ordered fresh pretexts and difficulties. Lastly, I had him to be arrested on the ground of a demand no doubt left of the ill faith in the conduct of made by a master of a vessel, for a very small England, from the frequent arrival of Eng sum of money: and lastly, it has been no lish vessels on the coast of Peru and Chili, longer possible to tolerate the enormous vioto carry on a contraband trade, and recon- | lations of the Spanish territory on the coasts noitre those coasts, under the pretext of the of Alicant and Galicia, committed by the whale fishery, a privilege they claimed by the brigs of the English navy, the Cameleon and Nootka Convention. Such were the proceed- Kangurroo; and that which took place at the ings of the English ministry to prove the island of Trinidad, was still more scandalous friendship, good understanding, and strict and insolent, when captain Vaughan, comconfidence which they had offered to observe mander of the Alarm frigate, landed with with Spain, in all the operations of the war, colours flying and drums beating, at the head by virtue of the convention of the 25th of of his whole ship's company, armed to attack


« PrejšnjaNaprej »