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these facts are stated, this last, as well | occasion, however, much of that vigilance as the vote of credit immediately preced- seems to me to have been exerted in vain. ing it, was applied to purposes in their na- They have not, with all their industry, ture not unlike those to which necessity fallen even in the way of one precedent, impelled the ministers of the present day that might have induced some little relaxato apply the vote of 1796. I might also tion of their inordinate zeal. They have not refer gentlemen to another instance of an discovered that the act they have marked advance to foreign troops. An advance with every species of obloquy, of which to the duke of Aremberg, commander of language is capable, is an act that has the Austrian forces, in 1742, was noticed been again and again approved of. It is in debate, and censured in the adminis- even within the admitted principle of suciration of Mr. Pelhamma name this as cessive parliaments. But the members dear to the friends of constitutional li- who sat in the last parliament have not berty as perhaps any that could be men- forgot that, when a foan of four millions tioned: but the inquiry was avoided by and a half was proposed to be granted to moving the previous question. It hap- the Emperor, the intention of granting pened, however, that, not long after, the that loan was known as early as February same question was made the subject of a 1795. A message had been received specific discussion. It appeared that the from his majesty, stating that a negotiaadvance had been made under the autho- tion was pending with the Emperor to rity of an assurance expressed by lord maintain 200,000 men. The loan to be Carteret, and not in consequence of any granted when the negotiation succeeded, previous consent of parliament; but it ap- and when it failed, to be mentioned. peared also that the progress of the Aus- Soon after the answer to this message trian troops was considerably accelerated was communicated to the throne, a moby the influence of that aid, and their tion was made for an account of 250,0008. subsequent successes owing chiefly to it. advanced to the Enperor in May, 1795; The vote of censure, therefore, which had and again a similar motion was made for been founded on the act of lord Carteret, an account of 300,000l. also advanced to was amended, and the advance declared the Emperor in the month of May follownecessary to the salvation of the empire. ing. With respect to these sums, it was But, Sir, let us compare the crisis of agreed by the House before the loan was 1796 with that of 1787, when the expenses debated, that they might be afterwards incurred by our endeavours to protect made good out of the loan. ' This, Sir, I Holland were recognized under the head have stated to show that the members of secret services. This, too, was an who sat in the last parliament cannot be unanimous recognition of the act which, altogether ignorant of the principles of had it been the offspring of 1796, the right the constitution. After the negotiation hon. gentleman, influenced by his new was concluded, the loan was debate: ; the opinions, would, I have no doubt, marked House was divided, but no objection was with h s disapprobation; but so stood the made to these advances. On the subject fact then.
of the prince of Condé's army being supThe right bon. gentleman avoids no plied with money by this country, I can opportunity to express his disrespect for only say, that whatever sums that army the memory of the last parliament. But has as yet received have been paid, on acsurely he ought to recollect, that, count of services rendered, as forming a although he has often told us that the part of the Austrian forces. The circumlast parliament completely undermined stance of a part of the 1,200,0001. stated the constitution, there yet remain princi- | as being sent to the Emperor, being afterples for which the right hon. gentleman wards received in this country in part thinks it his duty to contend, under the payment of the interest due on the second sanction of which, he is yet permitted to Austrian loan, is also easily accounted accuse his majesty's ministers as criminals vor, these payments, on account of being for doing that which necessity provoked, in their nature the same as if the Emperor, and which precedents warrant. Un- instead of being so accommodating to doubtediy, Sir, I think that whether the himself as to pay the money, by his agent, people of England will hereafter approve on the spot, had ordered it to be sent to of the conduct of opposition as constitu- Vienna, and transmitted by the same post tional conduct, they will admit that it is to this court. a vigilant opposition. On the present I may now, Sir, I think be permitted [VOL. XXXII.]
to ask on what principle of justice a cri- | pursue that line of conduct which I conminal charge can be brought against me ceive to be essential to the interests of the for merely having followed the uniform country and of Europe. But while I bow tenure of precedent, and the established with the most perfect submission to the line of practice? By what interpretation determination of the House, I cannot but of a candid and liberal mind can I be remark on the extraordinary language judged guilty of an attempt wantonly to which has been used on this question. violate the constitution ? I appeal to the Ministers have been broadly accused with right hon. gentleman himself, who is not a wanton and a malignant desire to viothe last to contend for the delicacy which late the constitution : it has been stated ought to be used in imputing criminal mo that no other motive could possibly have tives to any individual, and to urge in the actuated their conduct. If a charge of strongest terms the attention which ought such malignant intention bad been brought to be shown to the candid and impartial against men, who have affirmed the preadministration of justice. In what coun- sent war to be neither just nor necessary, try do we live ? and by what principles and who on that ground cannot be supare we to be tried ? By the maxims of posed friendly to its success; who have natural justice and constitutional law, or extolled, nay, even exulted in the prodi, by what new code of some revolutionary gies of French valour ; who have gloried tribunal? Not longer than a year and a half in the successes of the foes of civil liberty, since, the same principle was adopted, and the hostile disturbers of the peace of Eů. suffered to pass without any animadver- rope, men who blasphemously denied the sion; and now, at a crisis often-fold im- existence of the Deity, and who had reportance, and where the measure has not jected and trampled on every law, moral outrun the exercise of a sound discretion, and divine ; who have exclaimed against it is made the foundation of a criminal the injustice of bringing to trial persons charge. We are accused with a direct who had associated to overawe the legisand wanton attack upon the constitution. lature ; those who gravely and vehemently Is is not supposed that we have been actu- asserted, that it was a question of pruated by any but the blackest and most dence, rather than a question of morality, malignant motives. We are not allowed whether an act of the legislature should the credit of having felt any zeal for the be resisted; those who were anxious to interest of our country, nor of those expose and aggravate every defect of the advantages which the measure has pro- constitution : to reprobate every measure duced to the common cause. I have now adopted for its preservation, and to obweighed the whole merits of the transac- struct every proceeding of the executive tion before the House, and with them I government to ensure the success of the am well content to leave the decision. contest in which we are engaged in comWhile we claim a fair construction on the mon with our allies; I say, if such a principles and intentions which have charge of deliberate and deep-rooted maguided our conduct, if it shall appear lignity were brought against persons of that it has in the smallest instance deviat- this description, I should conceive that ed from any constitutional principle, we even then the rules of candid and charitamust submit to the consequence, whatever ble interpretation would induce us to be the censure or the punishment. It is hesitate in admitting its reality; much our duty, according to the best of our more when it is brought against indivijudgment, to consult for the interest of duals, whose conduct, I trust, has exhithe country: it is your sacred and pecu- bited the reverse of the picture I have liar trust to preserve inviolate the princi. now drawn. I appeal to the justice of ples of the constitution. I throw myself the House, I rely on their candour ; but, upon your justice, prepared in every case to gentlemen who can suppose ministers to submit to your decision ; but with con- capable of those motives which have been siderable confidence, that I shall experi- imputed to them on this occasion, it must ence your approbation. If I should be be evident that I can desire to make no disappointed, I will not say that the dis- such appeal. appointment will not be heavy, and the Mr. Bragge said, that with regard to mortification severe ; at any rate however the confidence which was placed in the it will to me be matter of consolation, ministers of the crown, and so much de. that I have not, from any apprehension claimed against in that House, it was of personal consequences, neglected to right to distinguish between it and that sort of individual confidence, to which not stand in need of such justification. some of the animadversions more justly Mr. Alderman Lushington said, it was applied. The confidence reposed in the true there had been a meeting of his conexecutive servants of government, was of stituents that day, and a large majority a public and constitutional nature, to be of the Common-hall had resolved to give exercised for the benefit of the public, and their instructions to support a motion for the use or abuse of which, they were for censuring ministers; but he could responsible. This confidence was far never consent to receive instructions to from being unknown in the general admi- pronounce a verdict in a criminal case nistration of government; for surely mi- before he had heard the defence. It was nisters might, with much better reason, said that the constitution had been violatbe trusted with the disposal of this vote ed; but the papers on the table proved of credit subject afterwards to the revi- the contrary. He was at first inclined sion and approbation of parliament, than to think a bill of indemnity would be with the secret service money; of which proper, but he had since heard enough no account whatever could be demanded to convince him that it was not necessary. of them. Parliament, in passing that vote, Mr. Alderman Curtis said, he had been was sensible that the public service that day at the Common Hall, where a would be liable to exigencies which could majority appeared in favour of the resonot at that moment be foreseen, and the lution to censure the minister beforehand. money was made generally applicable to Previous to the meeting, he knew that any exigencies which might arise. The such would be the result; nor did he situation of our principal and truly faithful consider it as a regular expression of the ally produced that exigency; the state of sentiments of the livery. He told his public credit required that the mode in constituents that he could not, under such which assistance was conveyed to him circumstances, promise to abide by their should not be generally known, and those instructions, but would attentively concombined circumstances brought on the sider all that should be advanced on both necessity which fully justified the minister sides, and act as his conscience should in the measures he had so meritoriously direct. adopted. The conduct of the minister, Mr. Alderman Anderson said, there so far from meriting censure, was highly were about one-tenth of the livery assemdeserving of the gratitude of the nation; bled, and it was his fortune to differ from at the same time, he was desirous that his constituents ; when they were assemthe proceeding dictated by necessity bled, an hon. gentleman (Mr. W. Smith) should not be drawn into precedent in made a flaming speech to them, and they future, notwithstanding the auspicious immediately gave the instructions as consequences with which it had been stated by his colleague. He told them attended. He would therefore move, as he would not vote to censure ministers an amendment to the motion, to leave out until he heard their defence. With this from the first word " That" and to insert defence he was fully satisfied, and would these words, “ The measure of advancing support the amendment. the several sums of money, which appear, Mr. J. Nicholls blamed the measure in from the accounts presented to the discussion, from the inconvenience to which House in this session of parliament, to the country was exposed by too sudden have been issued for the service of the a diminution of the circulating coin; which Emperor, though not to be drawn into had of late very alarmingly diminished. It precedent, but upon occasions of special was necessary that there should be a cernecessity, was, under the peculiar circum- tain proportion between the coin and the stances of the case, a justifiable and proper paper in circulation. Though he could exercise of the discretion vested in his not agree to the original proposition, he majesty's ministers by the vote of credit, thought the constitution should be proand calculated to produce consequences, tected, by an express declaration on this which have proved highly advantageous point. No minister should have power to to the common cause, and to the general send money out of the country, without interests of Europe."
the previous consent of parliament. This Mr. Samuel Thornton said, that, he at important fact should be settled, but by first felt some difficulty, whether a bill of what means he was not prepared to say. indemnity would not be proper, but he Perhaps a bill of indemnity sounded too was now convinced that the measure did harshly in ministers ears. A declaratory law, or any thing more palatable, might of parliament to declare, that the money be passed. He wished Mr. Fox would which the House voted for the purpose withdraw his motion, and yet he owned of defraying unforeseen charges, and anit was necessary that some proceeding swering a particular species of expendishould take place to prevent the es- ture, should not be applied to purposes tablishment of a bad precedent.
for which it obviously was not intended. Colonel Wood said:-Sir; were any The great argument which has converted minister to be so far wanting in his dutý, so many gentlemen is this, that the meaas, without any previous sanction of par. sure at first deemed so reprehensible is liament, to dispose of the public money justified by precedent. It is however for the purpose of subsidising foreign not a little extraordinary, that while prestates, I agree that no censure in the cedent so powerfully operates conviction, power of this House to impose would be it is not to be permitted to pass as an an adequate punishment. The question example for future imitation. In reality, for us to determine is, whether or not par- while they admit the cases which have liament ever granted to ministers any di- been urged in justification, they say that rect, or even implied power, under which the present instance is so fatal in its opethey can justify their conduet in giving a ration, that it must not be establisised. temporary aid to the Emperor; and if | The hon, mover of the amendment seems so, how far that power had been exer- to have had his proposition previously arcised for the advantage of this country. ranged. He does not seem to have been It is certain, that parliament voted a aware that a great part of the sums sent credit of 2,500,0001. for the general ser. abroad were remitted to the army of vices of the country. The nature of Condé, to which his motion does not at such a credit seems to imply a discretio. all refer. The amendment is wholly nary power to make use of such money silent upon this part of the motion. towards such extraordinary and unlooked. What is this but an implied censure upon for services, for which parliament had the transaction so far as it relates to the not provided, trusting to the future respon- prince of Condé ? This disposal of the sibility of ministers, that it would be dis-money is likewise stated by the right hon. posed of in such manner as might be most be- gentleman to be a justifiable use of this neficial to the nation. If, from the disastrous vote of credit, though in reality part of events at the beginning of the last campaign the money was contained in the army ex--events which put the very existence of traordinaries, to which the defence does the Emperor in danger—the minister, not apply. The proposition which my with a vote of credit of between two and right hon. friend has moved, consists of three millions at his command, had he- two parts, perfectly distinct. That part sitated to give some pecuniary aid to- which we bring forward as a charge, we wards encouraging those glorious exer- are bound to prove; but when we have tions which had rescued Germany, such established the principles of the constituminister would have merited execration. tion, and alleged the facts by which
Colonel Gascoyne said, he came down they are violated, the onus lies upon the to the House with a determination to vote right hon. gentleman to show that the in favour of the motion ; but from the statement is fallacious, or to produce the precedents that had been quoted, he was circumstances of palliation by which the convinced that the transaction was per- transgression is to be excused. In this fectly constitutional.
view, therefore, we have to prove that Mr. Sheridan said :— The hon. gentle certain sums are destined and approman who moved the amendment, is de- priated to particular services. Here I termined to turn every expression of cen- will not examine whether the power of sure into a testimony of approbation. granting supplies and controlling their The hon. gentleman behind me (Mr. application be as ancient as the governNicholls) does not approve of the mea- ment itself, and coeval with the exsures of ministers upon this occasion, but istence of the constitution. It is suffihe wishes to have a bill, enacting that a cient that I refer to the best times in similar application of the vote of credit which its principles were established. shall not in future be made. To this This' salutary regulation arose from the last proposal I least of all can agree. I abuses of the government, from the misconsider it to be a libel upon the consti. conduct of ministers, from the treachery tution, to say that it requires a new act of parliament, from tyranny, from cor
ruption. The reign of Charles and is a given up. The right hon. gentleman sufficient authority for the appeal to his wonders, that after having allowed the tory. At the Revolution it was solemnly subject to pass over upon the first day on recognized, and since that period it has which it was brought forward, we should been interwoven with our parliamentary now so keenly make it the object of inusage. The precedents, upon which só vestigation. He seems to conceive us to much stress has been laid, do not apply be bound by the same rules which limit to the present case.
The first is that in the country in the prosecution of a thief, 1706 of the advance to the duke of Savoy where, unless the hue and cry be raised, of 47,000l. If gentlemen, however, will the benefit of prosecution is taken away. take the trouble to look into the Journals, We have been called, ironically, I supthey will find that this sum was granted pose, a vigilant opposition. I am ready during the recess of parliament; that not to put in for my share of blame for want only was the ally of this country placed of vigilance, when the circumstance in perilous circumstances, but that Turin which is now erected into a precedent was actually in a state of siege. A demand took place upon the communication of was made for 50,0001., and the letter the intended loan to the Emperor, by which Mr. Secretary Harley sent in an- the king's message in 1725.
But even swer to the ambassador of Savoy, will any negligence which might have been show the inapplicability of the precedent. displayed upon that occasion is by no The letter states, that it is not practica means of sucha magnitude as our acquiescble, according to the custom of the con- ing in the present measure would imply. stitution, while parliament is not sitting, The situations were very different. Then to comply with the request; yet, in the there was a certainty that the advances pressing circumstances of the case, her to the Emperor would be repaid, because majesty was willing to grant a certain they were to be deducted from the loan sum to be deducted out of the subsidy which was to be granted. In the present that was paid to the duke of Savoy case, the concealment which has taken Will it then be said, that the present place precludes the House from remedymeasure can be justified by an appeal to ing any negligence that has been comthe authority of this precedent. The mitted, or repairing any mischief that next precedent was in 1742. The money has been produced. The right hon. genwas then disposed of when parliament tleman says, could parliament have judged was not sitting, and it was afterwards of the propriety of the measure I anmoved in that House, that the sending swer, yes ; and might have judged, too, sums to any foreign prince, without the upon the same grounds upon which miconsent of parliament, was a dangerous nisters formed their judgment. Indeed, misapplication of the public money. On the principle on which this measure is these words an amendment was 'moved, defended, appears more dangerous than adding that the measure was necessary,
even any application of it can be thought and of great consequence to the common impolitic. It arrogates to ministers a
At that time, therefore, the right to judge of the extent, as well as measure was condemned, and the only the mode of public expenditure; it is justification set up was its indispensable erecting the minister into an absolute necessity. The next precedent is the dictator; it is a pretension beyond humacase of Holland, in 1787, when the money nity to claim; it is usurping the attri
taken out of the secret-service butes of the Deity, the power of refusing money; and it is well known, that, by the desires and disappointing the wishes Mr. Burke's bill, if the secretary of state of those over whom they rule. Joined makes oath the money was actually em- with the other parts of the conduct of ployed for the interest of the country, ministers, it forms a subject of serious no farther inquiry can take place.--Such alarm. If they claim the right of landing then, are the precedents, on the credit of foreign troops without consent of parwhich every idea of atonement for our liament, and of paying them, by this deviolated laws and constitution is to be licate process, without application to
this House, where is the security left * For a report of the debate upon this for our liberties and our constitution ?occasion, taken from the MS. Parliamentary Mr. Sheridan concluded with observ, Journal of the hon. Philip Yorke, see Vol. ing, that there was only one point 13, p. 698.
which he should notice, and that was the