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mutually retard each other's proceedings. mination. On that occasion the two right If the reports of both should alternately hon. gentlemen on the opposite sides of agree in this point, there would have been the House alternately named a member. an unnecessary and inconvenient delay on If that practice should once be established, a subject peculiarly pressing. If there it would not merely vilify and degrade the should be any material variation between House; it would wholly annihilate its the two reports, laid together on the table, character of a deliberative assembly; it a third committee must be chosen to de- would avowedly divide the House into cide between the former two; and the si- two parties under two adverse chiefs; it tuation of the House would be still worse, would hold them forth to their constituents if one report having been early made, the and the world, as sitting there to hear House should take any legislative measure causes argued by two eloquent counsel, upon that, and what they had done should who might make compromises or references afterwards be impeached by another re- as their own interests, discretion, or conveport from the secret committee. It would nience might dictate : a condition to be most expedient therefore to wait till which he trusted the House would never the committee already appointed, had suffer itself to be reduced.—When the fully discharged all its present functions, report of the committee should be on the and then to consider in what manner the table, if from their conduct any just obgeneral inquiry into the causes should be jection could be advanced against any or conducted. -As a reason for proceeding all the members, he should feel himself to institute a new committee, the present at liberty to vote for à partial or a total had been said to be chosen through cor- change. He would never, he said, repose rupt influence; and a list had been read, a blind confidence; but he would repose which, it was prophesied, would be found a general confidence; in particular cases, to contain the names of the actual mem- where the circumstances demanded it he bers, when the result of the scrutiny into would inquire ; but he would never blindly the ballot should be declared. He did not rush into inquiry. In his opinion there himself know whether any list had been was no more delicate consideration in the circulated really containing those names. practice of our constitution than the preBut what was admitted about the list, was cise point where confidence ought to end, enough to satisfy him. It had been dis- and inquiry begin. Upon the wise applicatinctly allowed, that all the names were tion of both, in proper season, depended in highly respectable. Now, the only argu. our constitution that union of opposite exment, which the right hon.' mover had cellencies, which some had thought chimehimself urged for preferring an open no- rical, the secresy, dispatch and consistency mination to a ballot, was the opportunity of a pure monarchy with the cumulative of objecting to any improper person ; but impulse, weight, and force as well as the it was confessed that not only that end had means which publicity affords of checking been attained in the present instance, but all abuses in a pure democracy. a positively good committee had been Mr. Courtenay lamented the acuteness of procured, of men possessing ability, inte his learned friend's feelings, as he had ima. grity, and every other requisite for the gined that he was not of quite so nervous a public service. He should never be in frame. The delicacy of his feelings, howhaste to refurin ancient practices which ever, had been disturbed by every thing drew after them such beneficial conse- which had occurred on that side of the quences; he should rather cherish the cor- House. The state of the country had ruption which produced such purity. In- agitated his feelings, the pleasantry of his deed, the open nomination which had been hon. friend, by forcing him to laugh, had proposed, was no less subject to influence throws him into so violent a tremor, that than a bailot. It mattered little whether he had almost lost the power of speech. one right hor. gentleman, or the other The learned doctor's feelings seemed to publicly named a person to the choice of be of the texture of Tilburina, in the the llouse, or put his name written on a Critic, who was in continual alarm lest her slip of paper, into the hand of his next feelings should be disturbed. He could neighbo'ir'; they who voted, or they who not conceive how this unco: mon delicacy ballotted, would equally pay regard to the had been produced, till he? an to reflect authority of the proposer. But the pre- that the innate modesty i the doctor cedent, to which reference had been made, must have been greatly strengthened and showed the real nature of the intended no improved in Doctors'-commons in the

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nice examination of crim.con. transactions, should like to see tried what savings could and in the elucidations of subjects of di- be made. vorce and séparation à mensa et thoro. The House divided : The Attorney General pressed the ne

Tellers. cessity of an immediate decision by the

S Mr. Sheridan committee. With respect to the appoint-YEAS

Mr. Whitbread ment of a committee by ballot, it had been the uniform practice of our ances. Noes

S The Lord Hawkesbury

161 tors and the present was not the moment

{ Mr. Sargent to treat it with disrespect.

So it passed in the negative. Mr. Bankes said, that in the present

Mr. Ilobart then reported, that the folcrisis of the country it was very

indifferent lowing gentlemen were chosen to be to him what committee was appointed, members of the committee of Secrecy; so that the question could be properly viz. W. Hussey, Charles Grey, W. Plumer, and truly examined ; because he trusted T. Powys, T. Grenville, W. Wilberforce, that a committce of that House, whether J. Blackburn, T. B. Bramston, C. Bragge, nominated in the House or chosen by sir J. Mitford, W. W. Bird, J. Fane, I. ballot, would do their duty; and as to H. Browne, sir John Scott, and Alderthe committee being (a majority of them

man Anderson. Mr. Sheridan then myy. at least) favourable to the politics of the ed, That the right hon. Charles James minister, that appeared to him to be an Fox be added to the said committee. objection of but little weight; for let the Upon this the House divided : Ycas, 53; committee be chosen whatever way it Noes, 140. might, it was natural that, as a part, it must have the general complexion of the

Debate in the Lords on appointing a whole. He made use of the list that was Committee to examine the Outstanding Degiven to him before the ballot upon the mands on the Bank.] Feb. 28. The orcommittee, but he made use of his discre- der of the day being read for taking his tion also upon that list. He saw no im- Majesty's Message into consideration, propriety in that list being given to him. Lord Grenville said, he had but little The only doubt he had on the motion to trouble their lordships with by way of now before the House resolved itself into preface to the motions which he would a question of time. If he was sure that

have the honour to submit to them. As the matter to be investigated by, such a to the first, which was merely an address committee as was at present asked for, of thanks to his majesty for his gracious would not branch out into a length that communication, and assuring him, that would defeat the object that was now in their lordships would take it into their view, and in which dispatch was so essen- serious and immediate consideration, tial, he should be ready to agree to the

there would be, he believed, but one opimotion. But he feared the length of nion. On the next point, it was almost time which the investigation would re- unnecessary to state, that a full investirequire, would be injurious, perhaps fatal, gation ought to take place on the importo the object which the Tlouse had in tant business to which the message al. view. The question of the solidity of the luded. It was with much satisfaction he bank would lie in a very narrow compass,

stated his opinion to be, that the result and it could not be supposed that much of such an investigation would satisfacto. time would be required to make a report. rily prove, that the Bank, upon a due But with regard to the other question, comparison between the amount of its namely, the causes of the present press outstanding debts and engagements, and sure, the matter was very different; the the assets actually in their possession, investigation must necessarily be of an would be found to be in a most flourishing intricate nature, and must take up much situation. It was his intention to move, time as well as labour. It was a desirable that the committee should be a secret thing to restore confidence to the people one. He then moved an Address simiin our public affairs; and in order to do lar to that moved this day in the House so, it would } : necessary to go into the of Commons by Mr. Pitt. whole syster of our finance. In the ma- The Duke of Grafton did not rise to nagement anwdistribution of that finance oppose the Address. He could have there had been great expenditure; much wished, however, that the noble secretary of it he believed was unavoidable; but he of state had said something to show that

ministers had been driven to it by im. 1

The Duke of Bedford objected to the perious necessity, and considered it as committee being a secret one. He did an act of their own, not as a measure of not think their lordships ought to deterstate springing out of the legal exercise mine a question of such immense impor. of the prerogative of the crown: that tance, on the report of nine lords, be they there was no choice before they assented who they might. Of the real exigency to the miserable expedient, and went the which induced ministers to issue the Order extreme length of a measure founded in of Council, he should not speak, because an assumption of power unknown to the he was not possessed of information to laws and constitution of the country, and enable him to form a proper judgment of that they were aware it would be neces-it. The noble secretary of state had, sary to follow the measure up with a bill however, mentioned the public mind being of indemnity. Till an act of indemnity agitated and alarmed by unfounded and was obtained, it was competent to every exaggerated reports of an invasion. Who, holder of a bank note, who when he pre- he would ask, were the first propagators sented it for payment, was refused money of those reports ? Ministers themselves. at the bank, to bring an action against the They had given every degree of currency Bank Directors,

to the reports of invasion, and now they Lord Grenville said, that ministers had came and prefaced the necessity of the adopted the measure on the ground of present unexampled measure, by alleging state necessity, but it was clear the bank that the minds of the people were agitated were not bound in law to act upon that and alarmed by unfounded and exagorder ; he thought, however, that they gerated reports of an invasion! He thought had done wisely, and usefully for the the words in the motion, after the word public, in having immediately taken the “ House,” ought to be left out; and step, which their lordships had seen, and moved accordingly. the spirited and patriotic resolutions of Lord Grenville said, he would oppose the bankers and merchants who had held the amendment, az it tended to take meetings on the subject, proved the sense away an essential part of the original mothey entertained of the salutariness of the tion, and render the others of little use.

With regard to a bill of indem. The Duke of Norfolk objected to a nity, it would be for their lordships after secret committee. If the bank Tvas equal they had gone through the whole of the to all demands, it was for their honour subject, to decide whether it was neces that there should be no concealment. sary or not.

Any thing like secrecy would make a seThe Earl of Guilford had no objection rious impression without doors. to the address. With regard to the se- The Duke of Grafton was decidedly cond motion, many things might come against the secrecy of the committee, and out before the committee, that ought to also against any report by the committee, be kept secret, but there were parts of the on the necessity of confirming and contiinquiry which by no means required se- nuing the measure adopted in the minute crecy; on the contrary they ought to be of council. made as public as possible. If the bank The Marquis of Lansdown said, he had was in such a flourishing state as was re- | long foreseen and foretold the present presented, it ought to be laid before the exigency. Noble lords would do him the public, for the purpose of removing all justice to recollect, that not one session ground of suspicion.

had passed over since 1793, in which he The Address being agreed to nen. dis. had not, to use a vulgar but a strong exlord Grenville next moved, “ That a pression, bored their lordships with his Secret Committee, consisting of nine prophetic admonitions. His mind had been lords only, to be ballotted for, be ap- early taught a most sacrei reverence for pointed to examine and state the total that most delicate and is limit thing, amount of Outstanding Demands on the called public credit. A!, il pumphlet, Bank of England, and likewise of the but a most able one, ha en it into Funds for discharging the same, and to his hands and recowme chis study : report the result thereof to the House, it was the producidun O' & "put ard distogether with their opinion on the ne- tinguished memberi pa bent, I wley, cessity of providing for the confirmation earl of Oxford. Tut roligt atlibor il. and continuance of measures taken inlustrated the nature of prolie (resit by pursuance of the minutes of council, on saying, that it was to the je po Gicat the 26th instant."

measure.

Britain what the soul of man was to his į the administration of the country was, in body. It was pure soul: it was immate- reality, nothing more than a committee rial in itself, and yet it was that which for the management of this credit. To gave to substance its functions. It was ascribe the shock that had been given to not the cause, but the effect; it flowed it to the idle stories of unfounded and exfrom the happy organization of all the aggerated alarms, was ridiculous. It parts of the material body. It was not to proceeded from deep, progressive, accube created; it was not to be forced : its mulated causes. It was material to enprecise seat in the body politic could not deavour to ascertain the causes that had be discovered ; it at once pervaded over brought us to this dilemma. One cause and proceeded out of the whole. It both was manifest—the inordinate increase of gave and received its animation and its expense, of places and establishments in existence. It was not property, for no every corner of the empire. This had branch of the body could call it its own. been growing to a height beyond every It was not the king's credit; it was not thing that the mind could conceive; it the credit of parliament; it was public was incredible and scandalous; the in

redit. It was that thing which sprung crease of fees, of salaries, of places and from the happy concoction of all the vital pensions, of new boards of commission, juices of the national frame, which pro- and new appointments of all kinds, had ceeded from the nice distribution of our not only served to open all the gates of parts, and their mutual co-operation ; waste and profusion, but to beat down which gave to the national system a sym- and destroy all the checks of controul, and pathetic connexion, a unity of action, a all the means of correction.—Another correspondence and promptitude, which in cause of our present shock was, undoubtmatter of finance is known by the name of edly, the war: it was contemptible to punctuality. This public credit was the say, that sending money out of the kingsoul of England ; it was that which had dom did not make us poorer : it was concarried the nation to a height infinitely temptible to tell us, that, because it did beyond its numerical power. It was our not go forth in specie, it was therefore credit that set all the calculations of poli- no diminution of our wealth ; it was a tical arithmetic at defiance; it derided the great fatal source of decrease, it dimicold diffidence of those who judged of nished the reproductive power of the our means by the geographical limits of country, and it was found in the annual the island, or the visible number of its deficiencies of our revenue, which again people. Public credit did not even look became another cause of the present dito security as its basis, it always connected lemma; for the minister had, year after security with punctuality. Many poble year, to practise new expedients for the lords with their 20,0001. a year would find concealment or the supply of this defiit difficult to procure the loan of 1,0001. ciency; and thus it was that, year after on an emergency, though they had per- year, they had been kept in a state of defect security to offer, when a neighbouring lusion, which, more than any thing else, tradesman, with a capital of, perhaps, only was mortal to the delicate frame of public a few hundreds, would find the loan with credit. Good God! what a scene was facility. Why was this? It was the known opened to the eyes of Englishmen. He punctuality of the one placed against the did not dare to approach the measure of known want of punctuality in the other: Sunday last ; he had not yet ceased to it was because the lender knew that the shudder at it; he would not dare to say merchant was tenacious of a credit about one word as to its prudence; he only which the nobleman was indifferent. would admonish their lordships, that upon This was the character of England. the conduct of the legislature, in this This it was time had distinguished us from momentous crisis, depended the fate of all the other vations of the earth, and England. He had the utmost confidence particularly von France: there, every in the Bank of England; their probity thing hur de nded on the king's credit; and their ability were undoubted; it was here, all dep ince was on the nation : totally indifferent to him whether there there & disor nized spirit of expense was a secret committee or not; he was sheltercd its under the credit of the confident that they could safely come grand monarque; here, every thing con to the bar of that House and prove, tributed to, as every thing flowed again in the face of the world, that they from, the wountain of public credit ; and were equal to all their own engagements;

1

no

that they dreaded nothing but the in morning, many horrible effects had preterference of the state, and this interfer. sented themselves to liis mind. The dan. ence it would be well for their lordships ger that they had to apprehend from for. to guard against. This was the rock upon gery, was none of the least of the evils ; which alone we could split. To the report we should have the re-action of the blow of a committee of nine noble lords, who we had struck at France; we had made should confine themselves to the single our base instruments adepts in the science, object of examining the ability of this and it was not to be expected that they company, he had no objection; in his would suffer the opportunity to pass mind, too, it ought to be a secret com- unimproved. Another evil was, that of mittee, not because there ought not to be jobbing in bills and money. Adventurers the utmost publicity in every thing that of all descriptions would start up, the regarded the pecuniary state and circun- precious metals would disappear, and stances of the nation, but because the every article would bear two prices, one Bank was a private company, and parlia for money, and one for paper. Another, ment had no right to pry into their affairs. and a monstrous evil would be, that it Taking it for granted, however, that it would open the door to unlimited expenwas at their own express desire, be had Jiture, and we should have not merely a no objection to the appointment of a com- continuance of the war, but all the frantic mittee of nine lords, who should strictly and delusive expeditions which were now confine themselves to the examination of projected would be fatally put into execu. their funds and their engagements

tion. He warned ministers against all this

. farther. All the latter part of the mo

He warned them against the folly of at. tion he must object to. The only way in tempting the Spanish South-American which the measure could be countenanced, possessions. In three or four years they was as a measure of persuasion : he was would fall away from Spain themselves; sorry to have seen in the order of council a greater good could not be done to Spain so improper a term as the word “ require;" than to relieve them from the curse of it was a word unknown to the law, and these settlements, and make then an in. which ought not to have been used; it dustrious people like their neighbours. was an importation from France. Rcqui- A greater evil could not happen to Eng. sition carried with it the idea of terror, land than to add them to our already which could only be carried on by force.over-grown possessions. It ought to have been a recommendation, The Lord Chancellor said, that it had The first error must be repaired; if an never entered into the contemplation of attempt shall be made to use force, we ministers to use any forcible means. It are gone as a people. Mark my pro- was impossible to say what plan the phecy, my lords," exclaimed the noble wisdom of the legislature might devise, marquis, « and do not disdain the counsel, upon the report of the committee; but he while yet in time. If you attempt to could take upon himself to say, that it make bank notes a legal tender, their cre- never yet had been conceived that it would dit will perish. They may go on for a be wise or prudent to make bank notes a time; but the consequence is certain. legal tender. No art, no skill, no power, can prevent Lord Grenville confirmed the declaratheir falling to a discount. We do not tion that ministers had it not in contemspeak upon conjecture; the thing is mat- plation to coerce the acceptance of bank ter of experience. A fever is as much a notes. fever in London as in Paris or Amsterdam ; The question being put, Whether the and the consequences of a stoppage of words proposed to be left out shall stand payment must be the same in whatever part of the question?

the House divided: country it shall happen. The fall will be Contents, 78; Not-Contents, 12. The slow, perhaps, and gradual for a time ; original motion was then agreed to. but it will be certain. A few months may bring to the recollection of your lordships March 2. A committee was appointed with contrition, the prophecy that I have consisting of lords Chatham, Winchelsea, now made to you." In meditating on Graham, Hardwicke, Liverpool, Sydney, the consequences of the measure that | Grenville, Ossory, and De Dunstanville.

END OF VOL. XXXII. 3

Printed by T. C. Hansard, Peterboro' Court, Fleet Street, London,

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