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of necessity. If this plea is at any time the expense is nothing, for that all state to be received with jealousy, it must be expenses must be great; but I have al. in the present instance; and it is indeed ways understood, that in proportion to curious to observe the language by which the magnitude of the expense, is the prothis measure is attempted to be defended. priety of instituting an inquiry. The exIn the mode of granting the money, says pense in the present instance is unquesthe right hon. gentleman, there may postionably great; and how is it attempted sibly have occurred some deviation from to be justified? We are told that the dif. strict form, but nothing has been done ferent circumstances occasioning it were substantially prejudicial. What! is it unforeseen. This, indeed, if any, is the from him that such language was to be only excuse which can be made: but expected ? From him who has a sanctified mark the inconsistency, observe the aphorror at every thing which bears the plication of this excuse to the manner in the subject of a reform in the representa- evening. We are told that barracks were tion, trembled at the bare idea of taking erected, and expense incurred upon the one step towards innovation? Is he the spur of the occasion. This is the experson who comes forward and tells us cuse: but not satisfied with this, the right that forms may be dispensed with ?-But hon. gentleman, in the same breath, let us see what is actually the form, as it enters into an elaborate justification of is called, which we are desired thus to the propriety of keeping them up as a dispense with.
Are we not rather de permanent source of expense. He insired to dispense with a fundamental prin- forms us, that necessity produced all this ciple of the constitution ? Are we not de- of a sudden, and at the same time assures sired to dispense with the exercise of that us that it has been long a matter of excontrol which we ought to have over the perience, that the military could not be public purse, and called upon to sanction properly accommodated in any other those expenses
which never obtained our manner. The plan has avowedly been consent? The constitution says, that long in agitation, but ministers have never money shall not be raised without the thought proper to bring it regularly beconsent of parliament. Has that not fore the House. They have, on the conbeen done in the present instance? When trary, incurred all the expense, and gone the question of barracks was under the on in the prosecution of an extensive contemplation of government, should it system, not only without the authority, not have been brought before parliament, but in absolute defiance of parliament. and not merely be laid before them for When I talk of erecting barracks on a their approbation, after the expense has system, the right hon. gentleman may been incurred ? In the common affairs of perhaps not choose to understand me. I life, if a servant came to his master and remember a dispute I had with him upon says he wanted 1,000l. for any particular the laws of nations. Those laws he purpose, the master would naturally de. treated with very little ceremony, and liberate on the propriety of the proposed seemed to be of a similar opinion with measure; but, were his steward to inform citizen Genet, who thought that without he had actually expended a few thousand any great loss, they might all be thrown pounds in such and such a way, the into the sea. If this system is to be deter would startle at this being done with fended, and defended in such a manner as out his previous consent; and were the I have heard this night, we may dispose, steward to justify liis conduct, by saying in the same manner, of all the laws of Eng. he considered that to be a mere matter land. We may, when we please, throw of form, the master would no doubt give into the sea, the commentaries of Mr. his servant to understand, that such forms Justice Blackstone, and the brilliant were not to be dispensed with. The speeches on this subject delivered by the steward might then be induced to justify late lord Chatham.- We are triumphantly himself on the score of necessity. Cases told, that our ancestors gave their occa. might certainly occur where such a plea sional consent to such a measure. What! might be admissible, but they must be can the right hon. gentleman say, there cases neither of any great magnitude, nor is any resemblance between small canwhere the same purpose could be equally tonments partially taking place, and the well effected in a more satisfactory man- whole army of this country being con. ner.-We are told that the magnitude of stantly secluded from the rest of the in
habitants, and shut up in permanent bar- selected to fill such situations under goracks? I certainly do not ask much upon vernmnt, but I do venture to say, on good the present occasion, when I state it as authority, that many are appointed for no my opinion, that before we introduce in real purpose but that of forwarding minovations contrary to the avowed doc- nisterial elections. There is an ostensitrines of Mr. Justice Blackstone and other ble and a secret purpose combined. It constitutional writers, parliament ought is, in the language of the right hon. gento be consulted, ought to have time for tleman himself, like a theatrical dress, deliberation, and ought to give its so- where the gold and embroidery serve to lemn decision.-Great reliance has been conceal the dirt and filthy dowlas beneath. placed upon the argument, that this sub-The right hon. gentleman tells us, that ject was actually discussed in the de- no barrack-masters were appointed withbate upon a motion brought forward in out an intention of erecting barracks. I ' 1793, by my hon. friend who spoke hardly could suppose they would be so last. *
That motion was for the purpose absurd as to appoint barrack-masters of passing a resolution, such a system as without any intention at all. He allows, was then entered into of erecting bar- however, that there were three instances
acks, wa contrary to the practice and where no duty whatever was performed. example of our ancestors. What was He has appealed to the honour of the then done by the House? They did not gentleman at the head of that department, put a direct negative upon it, but got rid the barrack-master-general, for the proof it by the order of the day. Can this priety and economy of the manner in be called a solemn decision of parliament, which the business is conducted. Does upon the principle of this measure? The he not recollect, that to pledge a man's most that can be said of it is, that they honour is not the most honourable mode did not disapprove of what was immedi- of accounting and that to such a man it ately doing; but that decision gave no may be answered, “ I have no intention of countenance whatever to the unauthoriz. disputing the point of honour, but I want ed expenditure of public money. I very to know what you have done with the well recollect, that that debate, in which money? For these different reasons I I took a share, by no means turned upon exceedingly approve of appointing a com. the principle, but upon the words of the mittee of inquiry ; and if it be resisted, I motion. The right hon. gentleman has do say, however liable I may make mycertainly logic enough to perceive the self to invidious observations, that we difference, and to allow that the denial of have but a mockery of a constitution. If any particular proposition is not an uni- ministers disregard all fundamental prinversal affirmation of its opposite.But ciples,-if this House calmly tolerate how stands this question with the consti- | their excesses,--if the power of raising tution? Its opposers say it is but a name and applying money be exercised, not by -but a mockery of a constitution. How the House of Commons but the king's many melancholy facts daily occur to ministers, what is our constitution, but a justify the assertion! Large sums are farce and a mockery ?-We hear, Sir, expended, without consulting parliament, many orations upon the necessity of obewithout bringing forward any estimate dience and subjection to the laws; but if whatever.-- The right hon.gentleman seems those at the head of the government paid to hold all arguments of fact extremely equal deference to the laws, with the cheap. He says, he understands our other orders of the community, we should manner on this side of the House. I have little reason to complain. Example think he was long enough with us to un
would avail ten times more than precept. derstand our sentiments too; and he It is strange that those who have the law ought to know, that when we talk of the constantly in their mouths, should, with increase of patronage, it is not as mere equal perseverance, be acting in direct matter of declamation, but as an object of opposition to it. My hon. friend illusserious apprehension to the liberties of trated this subject by an allusion to what the country. He defends himself by say. passed on the fortification act. The iling. What! would you deprive the poor lustration was certainly in point. If this officer of this his last resource? I know House had not entered into the examinanot how many worthy objects may be tion of that system previous to its being
carried into execution, what would have * See Vol. 30, p. 473.
been the consequence? Would it have
met with the fate which it experienced ? exceptions to the general principle while By no means. Had the expense been the hon. gentleman who preceded him, first incurred, and the plan brought for- seemed to entertain a similar opinion of ward afterwards, this House, I believe, the few in Scotland. Yet it all those would have acceded to the measure.- barracks had been in repair, they would The only tools which ministers seem not have contained 20,000 troops; and that to think dangerous are edge-tools; they fact alone proved that it was not a deviaplay with them with all the complacency tion from the general principle. Such imaginable. I repeat, that the maintain. was the case of that part of the question. ing of a standing army in this country, The other was that which went to inquire and dissolving the connexion between the whether there was any ground of abuse soldier and the citizen, is a subject of the to justify the motion, and since there aphighest delicacy, of the greatest intrica- peared to be none, he should give it his cy, and is not thus wantonly to be sported decided negative. with by ministers, without condescending After a few words in support of the to consult parliament. We seem to have Motion, from Mr. W. Smith, Mr. Cour
own away all that constitutional jea tenay, and Mr. Grey, the House divided : lousy which ought ever to be awake in a
Tellers. free country, We have sacrificed it to
Mr. Sheridan a false alarm. The exorbitant power and Yeas
Mr. M. A. Taylor
} 24 influence of the crown in this country must ever be pregnant with danger to
98 its liberties. In better times than these,
Mr. Sargent the opinion was, that it ought to be cur- So it passed in the negative. tailed; and, in the present day, is there no ground for a watchful jealousy ? On Debate on Mr. Francis's Motion rethe contrary, the more power we give, specting the Regulation of Slaves in the the greater is the cause for jealousy. West Indies.] April 11. Mr. Francis rose Such was always the opinion of our an. to make his promised motion, and addressed cestors; such ought to be our opinion ; the House as follows : and before ministers dared, upon a plea of Mr. Speaker ; It is hardly necessary for necessity, to trample upon the rights of me to say that the sight of so numerous Englishmen, it would have been but de- an attendance, on the present occasion, cent, to have given this House an oppor. gives me great satisfaction. I consider it tunity of exercising its deliberative func- not only as a practical acknowledgment tions.
of the importance of the business of the Mr. Pitt said, that on the question of day, and of the interest it excites, but as barracks, he was now at issue with the an omen of success. Convinced as I am right hon. gentleman who spoke last of the intrinsic merits of the cause I am Because soldiers were cut off from all se- engaged in, I cannot but rejoice to find ditious infection, did it follow that they that so many gentlemen are still disposed would be deprived of all social inter- to attend to it. The greater the number, course ? Certainly not. They would and the more they examine it, the more still enjoy the society of their friends, and I am assured that, sooner or later, it will still have a share in the prosperity of the make a deep and universal impression, country. Without contending whether the and finally prevail over every opposition. erection of barracks was right or not, he | I believe, Sir, I may venture to assert, insisted that they had been erected with without a risk of contradiction, that, the approbation of parliament. From including the greatest learning, by which time to time the expense had been sub- this House is at all times adorned and mitted to parliament, who had approved sometimes instructed, there is no man of the mode of applying the money. If here better qualified than I am to introthere had been any improvident expendi- duce a serious subject of any kind with a ture, then there might have been ground dull, tedious, elaborate exordium. The for censure ; but as it was, there could be power and the faculty being undisputed, no need of inquiry to know whether the I shall not abuse it. Instead of tormentcharges were defrayed out of the extraor-ing you with a long preface, I shall submit dinaries, or out of previous estimates. to the House some short but earnest reThe right hon. gentleman contended, that quests, and then instantly to my subject. the barracks erected in former times were The first is, that you will grant me
patient audience. I ask it with humility 1 There is no affectation in confessing that for myself; but I demand it, as a debt of I have but little confidence in my own justice for my cause. On this day, it is strength. Allow me to claim the benefit your lot to exercise a high jurisdiction not the merit of this confession, if you over a question important to a great por- believe it to be sincere. Conclude for tion of mankind, and interesting, I trust, me, as you ought to do, that I am con. even to those who think they have no vinced of the strength of my cause, and concerni in it. If this be your office, your that I rely on it for support That I am patience is your duty. My second re- earnest in my opinion you cannot doubt. quest is, that gentlemen will have the The value of it must be estimated by goodness and the candour to liear me out ; others. On this day, Sir, it is eminently that they will not suffer their minds to my duty, as it is at all times my interest travel faster than I do; that they will not and inclination, to look round me for anticipate my conclusions, and much assistance, and to conciliate, if I can, more, that they will not conclude for me every class of persons and opinions, into
The subject naturally divides into two which the House has been divided on the parts ; the principles and object on one subject of the slave trade. To the enea side, the means on the other. Each of mies of this traffic, a resolute and I hope these divisions constitutes of itself an an unconquerable phalanx, to those, who entire whole, the merit of which, if it has have hitherto advised and insisted on any, will depend on the mutual relation, abolition, I think I have some right to correspondence, and consistency of its apply for support. I have gone the full constituent parts, united in one view, and length of their opinions, and given them, acting' together for one general purpose. from first to last, the utmost assistance in It cannot be fairly determined, or even my power; and, if ever they should think it thoroughly understood, by any conside- prudent or advisable, if ever they should ration of particulars, that detaches the see, what at present I despair of, a rational materials from the composition, or that prospect of success in that direct pursuit, values the component part without regard they shall find me at my post, and as ready to its position. The most irregular frag- as ever to second their efforts. Is it posment, in meeting another fragment, finds sible they should tell me in return, as I the place that belongs to it. But, above think, implicitly they would do by refusing all things, I must appeal to your justice to concur with me this night, that they against any attempt or inclination to con- will not suffer any part or portion of that found the consideration of the two general entire system, which has totally failed in divisions of the subject, by drawing objec- their hands, to succeed in mine? They tions from the means, and applying them may say, perhaps, that their principles to the object. The second may be eli. will not permit them 'to negociate with gible and practicable in its nature, though guilt, or to compound with crimes, as they possibly not by that course, or through must do, if they consented to palliate or that medium, which to me might appear to qualify an evil, which they cannot repreferable to all others, if not the only move, and much more if they appeared to one likely to be successful. You may authorize or even to acquiesce in its exisapprove the purpose without admitting tence, by contributing to reduce it to a the means. But you cannot honestly or less intolerable form. Neither would I, reasonably contend, that decisive objec- if I could help it. But is it true that, by tions to the means are necessarily fatal to yielding to necessity, any principles are the end. Sir, I am thoroughly conscious abandoned? Do I renounce even their of my own infirmities. I cannot hope to object of ultimate abolition, or do I pursue make myself understood, unless I am it by a course, perhaps more effectual, heard without impatience or interruption. though less rapid and direct than that Even signs and gestures are sufficient to which they have hitherto repeatedly tried disconcert me. From that sort of distress, without success? Are there no stages however, I hope to guard myself in some and gradations between complete success degree, by ob erving a rule, which is not and absolute despair? Are there no so much iegarded as it ought to be, by expedients in practice, of which prudence fixing my eye as steadily as I can upon should avail itself to compass whatever is you, Sir, from whom I expect nothing attainable of the objects of wisdom and but what I have always experienced - benevolence ? Have they a moral right kindness, encouragement, and protection. to this extreme precision in a question of [ VOL. XXXII.]
action, in which the sufferings of others tell them frankly that, while I exist, the are instantly involved. Have they no- question shall never die ; and though it thing to consider now but their own were dead, yet shall it live. Some years consistency? Is it pride or is it charity ago it was said by a member of this House, to say to a fellow-creature, the suffering respectable for his age,-where he his subject of the argument and victim of the now I know not, - "Why cannot you be debate, that you will not submit to re- content? Are not we all very happy? lieve, because you have been disappointed Do not we enjoy good dinners and pleain attempting to cure? From those gen- sant society, and all manner of comforts? tlemen I have a right to expect better I dare say the negroes are very well off, morals, if not better logic. My appeal to and why cannot you let them be quiet ?" the planters and proprietors is of a diffe. My answer was and is that such principles rent nature, but equally intended to con- and practice never ought to find peace on ciliate their good will
, and to obtain their earth. It is in vain to look for it. By concurrence. Of them I demand no power and by force they may obtain & thing but an exact consistency between partial triumph from day to day : but it their conduct this day and all their former must be in a perpetual struggle between professions. They cannot consent to active wrong and persevering right, until abolish; but they are ready and desirous the moral sence of justice, charity, and to regulate and to improve. Such has shame, shall either tinally prevail, or be been their constant language, whenever utterly extinguished in this land. To any abolition has been proposed. They are other issue the war is immortal. Address: at all times ready to meliorate the per- ing myself now to the House collectively, sonal condition of the negro, though not to I certainly mean to do it with the deferput an end to the trade. · Now I take ence and submission that becomes me. these gentlemen at their word. Let us If I could personify the House of Com. heartily and honestly unite our endea- mons, it would be my interest as well as vours to accomplish that which they are my duty to approach 80 great a person willing to concur in, which they confess with the utmost respect. But respect ought to be done, to place the negroes in does not exclude firmness, and should not the islands on such a footing of regulated restrain me from saying, that it is the service, no longer at personal discretion, function of your greatness, as well as of but under a legal security, that the exis- your office, to listen to truth, especially tence of the trade itself for a farther period when it arraigns a proceeding of your may possibly be endured. Some of the own. I am not here to admire your conparties, I am told, are highly dissatisfied sistency, or to applaud the conduct which at my attempting to revive the subject in I am endeavouring to correct. These any shape. For what purpose do you topics do not furnish any subject for stir a question, now finally settled by a applause. You have nothing like praise resolution of the House ? Are we never to expect from me ; unless you feel, as I to be at resť? To a complaint of this do, that a compliment of the highest kind, I might truly answer, that if I were order is included in the confidence, which silent, or if I were not in being, there are appeals to your justice against your incliothers who would resume the subject nation. Compare the resolutions of the with as much zeal, and with greater same House of Commons in 1792 and ability ; who would never suffer it to 1796. Against the second I plead the perish or be forgotten. On this point first, the result of a longer debate, the the gentlemen I allude to may as well decision of a greater majority. If the resolve at once to make up their minds authorities are equal, to which shall we to their situation. They may be assured, submit ? Contradictions caanot act togethat as long as the grievance exists, at ther. Is it possible to remember the least in its present form, they will have pledge that was given, the faith that was no repose; they can never be at rest. engaged, and really to respect a power, But this is not my language. It would by which both have been broken? It is have the air of an apology, which I will not for me to qualify the proceedings of never make to any party or to any power, this House; but they cannot escape the for endeavouring to do one of the greatest records of history, To save you from everduties incident to my station. In doing lasting dishonour, that leaf must be torn it I want no shelter, nor would I stoop to out. There is one person left, Sir, (Mr, solicit it from any human resentment. Pitt) whose support, if I really had it,