Slike strani

ceased to be imported. Nor was this all : was, whether felony was a punishment by diminishing the quantum of slaves, the too severe for the crimes described in the demand for them would be reduced, the bill? In order correctly to decide upon misery of the islands would be mitigated, that point, the fair way would be to iake and the horrid condition of the African a view of those offences, which incurred natives would be meliorated. Neither the penalty of transportation, and then would the blessings of abolition stop here; say whether, upon the comparison, many the example of our colonial possessions of them were not inferior in moral turpiwould have a happy effect on all Europe, tude to the atrocity of crimes which dif. and pave the way for universal abolition ; fused barbarity over the continent through in his mind this was an irresistible argu- | which desolation had been previously ment for speedy abolition. His hon. carried. The avarice of man might lead friend (Mr. Rose) had remarked, that if him to such a course shocking as it was, we abandoned this trade, its profits could but the law which restrained him could be transferred to Ireland. He was sur- not be too severe.- The criticisms made prised at such an idea having occurred to upon that clause in the bill, which allowed any man; if, however, such a conse- the cargoes of slave ships taken in the quence should follow, he would only say prohibited trade to be sold for the reward for one, that if the slave trade was to and encouragement of the captors, at have a continuance at all, it was more once gratified his mind, and confirmed honourable to the British legislature to his opinion, as to the absolute necessity have that national stain affixed to any for the immediate abolition of so liorrid a other people than those over whom it ex- traffic. Compared with the principle of ercised control. Ireland possessed an the bill, the clause was doubtless inconindependence, which exempted it from sistent, and the necessity of it was to be the jurisdiction of the British government; deplored; but it flowed from the radical yet Ireland, by participating of the ad. and incorrigible viciousness of the system, vantages derived from our colonial trade, that when you drag a man into slavery had in return agreed to respect the regu. from the bosom of his family and conJations we thought necessary, and upon nexions, it is in vain for you afterwards that ground we had a right to expect to attempt to make him any atonement; from them a co-operation in this measure. the injury done is without possibility of But this was not what he relied on. He remedy. Notwithstanding this, he hoped would not do so much injustice to any that this apparent inconsistency with the part of his majesty's dominions, much principle of the measure would be found less to the spirit and generosity of the capable of some remedy. However much sister kingdom, as to suspect, for a single he might lament the necessity which moment, that Ireland would meet this should induce the House to agree to this question with any other sentiment but partial augmentation of slaves, he would that of cheerful acquiescence. Ireland accept that alternative rather than suffer would certainly disdain to transplant to the indiscriminate importation to continue. its own bosom the reproach and shame He was nevertheless happy in being able indignantly driven from our shores. To to suggest some thing which might relieve proceed to his hon. friend's objections to the House from the necessity, and at least the clauses of the bill: the first clause was alleviate the sufferings of those who should that of making persons taken on the high be intercepted in their passage. Expeseas, in the exercise of this trade, guilty rience had shown the necessity of securing of felony, while it had been encouraged to the persons employed, an interest in for a hundred years past. It was much the execution of all laws of this description, to be lamented, that the legislature had and possibly that object might be gained so long sanctioned the continuance of this by allowing the captors a reward governed trade : but it was a perversion of the fact by circumstances, calculated to ensure to say that this bill went to inflict pu- humane treatment to the negroes found on nishments for any of those previous pro- | board the ships taken. The next consi ceedings to which the law heretofore gave deration was, how the Africans so taken, countenance. The bill had no such ob- should be disposed of? No man could ject; it merely stated and defined what it deny, that it would be only an aggravaineant to constitute offences in future, tion of their wrongs to send them back to and those who should incur them, did it suffer death in the place from which they with their eyes open. The question, then, were taken. Such conduct would be but a mockery of humanity. An asylum

List of the Minority. however, still presented itself in other

Abbot, Charles M'Leod, general parts of their own country, when distri

Adair, James

Martin, James buted among the factories established by Adeane, J. W. Milbank, R. an African company, whose objects, far Annesley, F. Mills, William from promoting slavery, were to diffuse Baker, William Milnes, R. S. happiness and freedom, and where the Bankes, Henry Montagu, M. poor creatures might receive all the con- Baring, John

Mordaunt, sir John solations which their unfortunate situation Bastard, J. P. Muncaster, lord would admit. There were also other

Belgrave, viscount North, Dudley
Bullock, J.

Page, Francis parts of his majesty's dominions, in which Burch J. R.

Pitt, right hon. W. persons so circumstanced might be dis


Plumer, w. posed of occasionally, and where, while Buxton, R. J. Pybus, C. S. they were usefully employed, they might Calvert, J. jun. Rolle, John receive that protection, and most of all, Canning, George Ryder, hon. D. those instructions best calculated to re- Carvsfort, carl of Sheridan, R. B. pair, as much as possible, the wrongs both Courtenay, John St. John, hon, A. of themselves and of their countrymen.

Dolben, sir W. Smith, S. Mr. Pitt concluded by declaring that he Eliot, hon. E. J.

Dundas, Charles Smith, William

Smith, J. should vote for the total abolition of the

Eliot, hon. J.

Spencer, lord Robert trade.

Fitzpatrick, R. Stanley, J.T. General Tarleton rose, amidst repeated Fletcher, sir H. Steele, T. cries for the question, and claimed the at- Fox, hon. Charles J. Thornton, s. tention of the House to the great injus. Francis, Philip Thornton, R. tice which would be done to the commerce

Grey, Charles Thornton, H. of Liverpool, if this trade were abolished.

Halhed, N. B.

Townshend, C. The dry docks there had, he said, been

Hare, James

Whitbread, S.

Harrison, John Wilberforce, W. built principally on account of the African

Howard, Henry Windham, W. trade. He stated, from authorities which


William Winnington, sii E, he could depend on, that the Americans, Jodrell, R. P.

Wood, R. the Spaniards, and the Swedes, were offering the greatest encouragement for Debate on Mr. Grey's Motion for a Com. the prosecution of this trade, and he de- mittee on the State of the Nation.] March clared, as he was sure both Spain and 10. Mr. Grey rose, in conformity to his America would encourage the traffic of notice, to call the attention of the House slaves, 60 would Ireland, which would to the state of the nation. He said that, rise on the ruin of Liverpool. He con- whatever opinion might prevail as to the cluded with moving “ to leave out the justice of the cause in which we were enword “ now," and to add the words “ gaged, it must be acknowledged on all upon this day four months.”

hands, in whatever view it was taken, that Mr. Dent seconded the motion. He the situation of the country was such as the implored Mr. Piti to pause, before he most sanguine could not look at with congave his vote for the abolition of a fidence. We were arrived at a crisis which trade which produced a

revenue of was likely soon to lead us to life or death. 3,600,0001. If the slave trade were to be Next to that Providence, in whose hands abolished, he hoped the merchants would were the issues of life and death, the care, have some compensation from parliament. the vigilance, the firmness, the patriotism, If this were not done, it would be a viola- and integrity, or the remissness, neglect, tion of the Bill of Rights.

and corruption of those whom the people The question being put “ That the have chosen as the guardians of their word 'now'stand part of the question," liberties and the stewards of their fortune, the House divided :

would tend to decide the fate of the coun. Tellers.

try. Under that inpression it was that

he called upon the House for the discharge The Lord Muncaster

} 70

of that duty which the constitution had

vested in them, and which they could not Gneral Tarleton.

omit to perform, without a breach of the Noss { Mir. Robert Dundas

} 74 trust reposed in them. He therefore

solicited their attention to what he should The Bill was consequently lost. have the honour to lay before them, a

Yeas { Mr. Matthew Montagu

series of facts, descriptive, in his opinion, pay great attention to the improvement of the state of the nation.

of their marine. This he mentioned In entering upon this important sub- merely to express the strong sense which ject, he felt considerable discouragement he entertained of the necessity of our proin referring to his experience of the con- viding, if possible, against future jealouduct of the majority of that House, dur- sies. In looking to the rest of Europe, ing the last three sessions. Nor was he there was in the north an active and amat all relieved in looking around him that bitious potentate, whose views of naval day, as it would seem, from the thin attend- aggrandizement were apparent, and who, ance, that many members did not think it was obvious, had entered into the war it worth their while to leave their dinners to raise herself upon the depression of in order to examine into the situation of other powers. That, therefore, would be the country. Under these discourage an additional call upon us to maintain our ments his hopes of success were not san- naval superiority. guine;, but as he felt his duty to be im- Having premised thus much generally, portant, and such as he could not in ho- he should now proceed to the particular nour forego, he would endeavour to dis- object of his motion. We were now in charge it. A right hon. friend of his the fourth year of the war, and had some (Mr. Fox) had last year made a motion knowledge of the expense of the prefor a committee to inquire into the state ceding three years. During these three of the nation.* He was impressed at that years we had added 77 millions to time with the danger with which this the capital of our funded debt. In order country was threatened. He took, as he to provide for the interest of this sum, was well qualified to take, a general view new taxes must be imposed to the amount of the situation, not merely of this of 2,600,0001. This debt, when compared country, but of Europe. Humbler should with the service performed while it was be his efforts, as humbler were his abi- accumulating, was of such enormous lities.

magnitude as to demand the scrupulous The House of Commons were, in a pe- investigation of that House. The war culiar manner, the guardians of the pub- had been calamitous beyond example; lic purse, and sustaining this constitu- it had also been extensive to an extreme tional character, it was a duty immedi- deyree; when, however, he compared it ately incumbent on them to watch care- with former wars, he was unable to find a fully the expenditure of the public money, just cause for this vast expense. If we and to attend to the resources of the looked at the war of king William, the country, It would be acknowledged present in extent or importance was not on all sides, that whatever might be their equal to it. Was not our religion and opinion of the cause of our present situa- constitution then at stake? The princition, that situation it was important to ples and objects of both wars were similar, know. Whether we were to continue the the sphere of operations as extensive, and war, or to look for a specdy peace, it was the exertions as great. To come, how. extre:nely necessary for us to know the ever, to very recent times; let us comextent of our resources. Without the pare the expenses of the present war with most rigid economy we could not go on, those of the American war, when by the even supposing the great blessing of bad policy of his majesty's then advisers, peace to be arrived. Whenever peace we kept up a very large army, and we was made, it should be so made as to re- should find there was nothing to justify move, as much as possible, all grounds of the present enormous profusion. The jealousy. Without attention to this ob- present war exceeded the American war ject, we could not, even upon the conclu. in expense to a degree that would astosion of a peace, be said to be in a state of wish the House. We were in that war safety. Ministers had declared their wil nearly matched with all Europe, beside lingness to treat, on suitable terms, with the vast continent of America. In the latthe present government of France. He ter place, we had an army of 40,000 men; hoped we should be able to treat with the at the same time we supported a vigorous French republic: but in treating we war in the East and West Indies, and at should recollect that in all probability, Gibraltar braved the united forces of the French government would in future France and Spain; yet in six years

such a war we only incurred a debt of See Vol. 31, p. 1945.

53 millions. We had in the last three


years exceeded that war of profusion debt was stated to be 10,788,0001.; to this by 14 millions. He should be told that must be added other sums, and it would great expense must necessarily follow appear that the excess of expenditure such a war as this. He admitted it. beyond the votes would amount to But then he must contend that such ex. 13,700,0001. No man felt greater pride pense called upon the House to examine than he did in the superiority of our navy. it, to compare its amount with the services When, however, he compared the force performed, and to compare both the ser- of that navy with the force of the enemy vice and amount of debt with those of it had to contend with, he must say that former wars. During the last three the sum expended was extravagant be. years, there had been incurred for the yond all example. When we had met the navy, a debt of 15,200,000/.; for the army, enemy at sea, he was proud to say our 17,600,0001; for the ordnance 2,600,0001; superiority had been decided; but if we in all, about 35,400,0001.-- a sum infi- looked at the general distribution of our nitely greater than ever had been voted strength, we had no reason to be satisfied. for the same services during the same We had not received that advantage which period. After the House had granted to might have been expected; nor had our the minister every thing he asked, they trade at any period, or in any war, been would be astonished when they found so ill protected. that, in addition to this, enormous sums With regard to the Army we were not had been expended without estimate, in a better situation. The extraordinary without the consent of parliament. expense above the estimate exceeded nine

The first head of expense which called millions, and the vote of credit was more for the attention of the House was the than double that of any former period. Navy, and he wished to remind them of In elucidation of this part of his subject, the principle which the minister avowed Mr. Grey entered into various calculalong ago, with regard to the navy debt, tions, and maintained, that the whole sum The right hon. gentleman was minister in expended under this head, not specifically 1782, and was therefore responsible for voted for that purpose, amounted to upthe tenor of the king's speech at that wards of fourteen millions, and over time. In 1782 the speech from the throne which, speaking upon principle, parliament recommended to the serious consideration had no control ; for the items had not of parliament, that part of the debt been previously submitted to them. This which consists of navy, ordnance, and system had been severely reprobated victualling bills,” and farther stated that during the administration of lord North ; “the enormous discount upon some of and again in 1782, in the report of a comthese bills showed this mode of payment mittee of that House of which the present to be a most ruinous expedient."*' This chancellor of the exchequer was himself speech must be taken to convey the senti- a member. In the war of king William, ments which the minister then entertained which lasted nine years, the extraordiupon this subject. Indeed, he had him- naries of the army did not exceed self confirmed it in 1793; for when he 1,200,000l. In queen Anne's war, which asked for a loan of 4,500,0001., he said he lasted eleven years, only two millions. had made ample provision for an extensive And what had we to comfort us for this scale of expense. He made a pledge to iminense expense of our army? Not even the House, at the beginning of the war, a single victory. The American war was that, as far as he was able, he would keep once supposed to be the acme of profudown that which was usually called the sion. But in 1778, 1779, and 1780, the extraordinaries of the navy, and would whole extraordinaries of that war, did not prevent the accumulation of unsunded amount to nine millions. In the Ameridebt. But how stood the case? Having can war we had an army of 40,000 men received an estimate exceeding the libe- acting offensively. We acted vigorously rality and even profusion of former par. in the West Indies. Our success against liaments; having carried extraordinary the united force of France and Spain at expenses farther than ever had been Gibraltar was brilliant. But in the last known in the same length of time in any year of the present war, had we done former war, the sum expended beyond any thing that was worth recording? We the estimate was enormous. The

navy had an army on the continent, which

came home without doing any thing. * See Vol. 23, p. 209.

We had an expedition to Isle Dieu and


to Quiberon. As to the West Indies, had | laid before them a sufficient claim for inwe an army to act on the offensive there? quiry. There were other instances of unThey were not only not so, but to a certain constitutional practices on the part of the extent unable to preserve themselves. executive government; and a principal He would say, therefore, that the extra- one was the erection of Barracks. It was vagance of the last year of this war was alarming enough to raise money for any so great; the effect of it so disastrous to purpose without the consent of parliaus; the weakness of the councils con- ment, but when that practice was made ducting it so manifest; that if the House use of to invade the rights and privileges refused to go into an inquiry upon it, of the people, it was not only a breach of they would surrender to the minister the duty in a minister to incur such expense, power specially vested in them by the but a still greater breach of duty in that constitution for the benefit of the people. House to suffer it. He would therefore

The next point to be considered was say again, that if that House did not call the Ordnance, in which we had been told, the minister to account for his conduct there had been great reform and reduction with regard to these barracks, they would of expense.

For this head of service, scandalously betray their trust.–Since 2,608,0001. was voted on estimate; and it the year 1790, upwards of 1,300,0001. appears from the accounts, that the ex- had been raised without the knowledge or traordinaries amount to 2,964,0001., a sum consent of parliament, in erecting baractually exceeding the estimate. To this racks in this country. Are they to be perdeficiency, the observations he had made manent barracks? They will hold 40,000 upon the army and navy would apply men. Is that to be our peace establishwith equal propriety. This mode of in- ment? 18,000 used to be the number in creasing the public expenditure was un- time of peace, together with 4,000 from constitutional, and had been condemned Ireland for our colonies abroad. The opi. by parliament, and by the chancellor of nions of the best writers upon our constithe exchequer himself. Yet we found tution, were clearly against barracks al. this system, so reproached and con- together. Barracks indeed they were demned, increasing every year under the called, but more properly by Blackstone, direction of this very minister. The total inland fortresses.” Why did not the of what had been expended without the minister tell the people plainly for what consent, and consequently without the purpose these fortresses for 40,000 mea control, of parliament, amounted to were really erected ? That subject de31,280,0001. This enormous surs, with manded an inquiry. It was not the ex. the sums voted by parliament, amounted pense alone which created the objection, to 66,800,000l., funded in the 3 and 4 per it was the influence which they might cents, spent in three years of the present have, and which they might be intended war, in which little could be found but to have ; and the unconstitutional effect continued discomfiture, defeat, and dis- they might produce. He said, he was grace. If that House suffered the people warranted in entertaining this suspicion, of England thus to be drained of their when he coupled the barracks with certreasure without inquiry, they would rob tain expressions used in that House by and plunder the people of England. He the secretary at war, such as “a vigour had no doubt, the right hon. gentleman beyond the law,” and other expressions would remind him of an event in which of an alarming nature. his personal feelings were interested, and The enormous amount of the army exask him if he had forgot what had been traordinaries, the navy debt, and the orddone in the West Indies ? No, he cer- nance extraordinaries, he had stated for tainly could not forget it; on the con- the consideration of the House, as reatrary, he was proud of it ; but this was a sons why he thought it necessary to topic on which he would rather any body inquire into the state of the nation. He else should speak than himself.

had stated likewise the unconstitutional He said he had stated in round sums mode of proceeding on a system that kept the money voted, as also the money ex- from the public eye the real state of pubpended beyond the estimate, as a ground lic affairs. He was arraigning in some on which he thought the House ought to degree, and charging with misconduct a inquire into the whole subject. If he minister who had only to ask and it was were to leave it here, he might, he con- given to him. That such a man, so conceived, be entitled to submit, that he had fided in and so supported, should have re

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