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Mr. Secretary Canning stated, that the predicament, that though well disposed to king of Sardinia was not an ally of this listen to the petitioners, they could not, in country, and that he had never been asked point of form, attend to them? If so, it to concur in the measure; and that from was the only instance that ever had octhe king of Sweden, who was our ally, the curred in the history of parliament where most satisfactory assurances on this head petitioners were rejected, without some had been received.--After a short reply other mode being pointed out by which from lord H. Petty, a division took place : they might state their complaints. He For the motion 71. Against it 130. professed his respect for the usage of ad
LIVERPOOL PETITION RESPECTING THE mitting no petitions against tax bills, beORDERS IN COUNCIL Bill.) General Gas- cause, if petitions should be received coyne presented a Petition from the Mer- against them in the session in which they chants of Liverpool against the Orders in passed, every one would be so anxious to Council bill. He said he was sensible of shift the burthen from himself, that the the readiness with which parliament and public business could not be carried on. ministers attended to the petitions of the But this petition was not against the dupeople, and the high respectability of the ties, but against the regulations; and Liverpool merchants would, he was per- though it was contrary to the letter, it was suaded, obtain for them all due attention. perfectly consistent with the spirit of the He was aware that the forms of parliament usage. This tax was, besides, not within might operate against his motion for re- the principle of duties, for it was merely ceiving the present petition, and he was a tax on foreigners, laid with a view not far from wishing for any departure from to revenue, but to the carrying into effect its rules. The petition, however, did not certain commercial regulations. Against go to oppose the duties, but the spirit of these this petition was presented, and the the bill, while it expressed apprehensions petitioners would have the strongest that from the nature of the warfare, we ground of complaint if they were shut out might lose much, and the enemy gain. from bringing evidence to prove their alLiverpool at present possessed three- legations. The house too had much reason fourths of the trade with America; and to complain. Hitherto the responsibility the disbursements amounted to 150,0001. of these Orders rested with those who adannually for the last three years. From vised them; but when the bill passed it bearing so great a portion, Liverpool would would rest with the house. Could the be most particularly affected; and he members say, that they had sufficient evitherefore hoped there would be no objec- dence from commercial men, that they tion to receiving the petition against the were just and proper ? Had the ministers present bill.
satisfied them with their speeches ? There The Speaker asked if the Petition was were grounds to suppose from what had against the bill which provided certain passed that some of the provisions would duties under the Orders in Council? be changed, so little had ministers them
General Gascoyne answered, that it only selves matured their measure. But all that went to oppose certain clauses, but not the petitioners had in the world was at stake. the bill in the general view.
The ministers said, that this was a bill • for The Speaker stated the usage of the the protection of trade;' the petitioners house to be, not to receive any petition said, that they would shew that it was a against a duty bill. If the hon. general bill not for the protection, but for the decould satisfy the house that his petition struction of trade. Would the house take did not come under this description, it upon itself the intolerable responsibility of might be received; not otherwise. this measure, without listening to such a
Mr. Tierney observed, that the house was heavy complaint preferred from such a obliged to the Speaker for the distinct quarter? It was an intolerable hardship manner in which he had stated the usage on the petitioners, to be sent back unof the house. This was a most important heard, merely through the negligence and petition. Interests of the greatest magni- blunders of the ministers. They might, tude were concerned in it; yet these pe- upon a pretence of this sort, deprive a titioners were now to be told, that they man of his estate, without allowing him could not be heard. Where then could to be heard, by inserting in the bill a they be heard? Was there any course duty upon the stamp for the convey; for them to pursue to obtain a hearing? ance. Our ancestors had prevented such Or did the house stand in this unfortunate things, by confining the duties to the
committee of ways and means, and ties, and could not, therefore, consistently originating other things in such a way as with regard to the usages of parliament, to allow petitioners to be heard. Mr. be received. The precedent would prove Pitt had been scrupulous in avoiding the injurous, by establishing a deviation from committee of ways and means where he so wise and necessary a principle of not could; and of this the cases of the conso- admitting petitions against supplies immelidation of the duties, and the two-penny diately necessary for the service of the post duty, were instances. Oh, that the state. He lamented as much as any man gentlemen on the other side would imi- the
war ; but tate Mr. Pitt in what was just and proper, there could be no general good in such as well as in his mistakes! All that the cases, without some partial evils; and the petitioners desired, was to be heard some interests and safety of the state would be way. He had given the right hon. gent. sacrificed, if we permitted ourselves to be some credit for his mistake in this busi- diverted from general purposes, by yieldness ; but he could not even give him that ing to complaints of a local, nature. Unnow, since he found that he persevered der these considerations he was sorry to in his plan, and so shut out petitioners.be under the necessity of opposing the Was this to be endured, especially with motion for receiving the petition. such petitions on the table, where it was Mr. Ponsonby considered that the petistated; that thirty or forty thousand peo- tion, both in form and substance, was adple were deprived of bread? The present missible, and contended that from the petition was not a party one, nor could great interest the petitioners had in the such a thing be even alleged, for it was bill, they had a right to be heard upon the known, that many who signed it were subject. friendly to administration. Would minis- Lord Castlereagh insisted that the usages ters thus aggravate the distress of the of parliament, which it was so necessary people? He had given them credit for to hold sacred in respect to the necessary pitying them; but if they rejected this supplies for the public service, would not petition, he would give them no such admit of the petition being received, and credit. Here we were told, not of forty enforced the other arguments adduced by thousand people, as in the other petitions, the chancellor of the exchequer. but of four hundred thousand, who would Mr. Sheridan could see no good reason be deprived of bread by the destruction for refusing to receive the petition; and of the Liverpool trade; a circumstance entered into some general arguments that would spread devastation over all the against the tendency of the measure of surrounding country. Usage in such a which the petitioners complained. case as this ought to stand by, as the pe- General Turleton wished the petition to titioners had been shut out by the neglect be received, although it was not signed by of the house. He said, that the same any one of the 1461 voters who supported course ought to have been taken here as him at the last election ; nor was he rein the case of the convoy tax, where a quested by any one of those voters to incommittee of trade and navigation had terfere in its behalf. The hon. officer been appointed. He had thought this took occasion to inveigh against the want from the beginning a most important of national spirit on the part of opposipoint, and now the difficulty began to be tion; and on their disposition to panefelt. The forms of the house were the gyrize the talents of foreign generals, perfection of wisdom for the convenience while they overlooked the merit of their of business, as the common law had been own countrymen. These gentlemen were, called the perfection of reason. The de- in his apprehension, pursuing a dreadful parture from these had placed the house course ; which, although perhaps their in this unpleasant predicament. But it only object was to turn out ministers, was impossible that the house could, with would tend to turn out the country [a any shadow of justice or prudence, refuse laugh.] The hon. officer bore testimony to hear the petitioners in some way or to the respectability of Mr. Rathbone, the other.
delegate from Liverpool, but he did not The Chancellor of the Erchequer ob-like his sectarian principles. served, that the bill before the house went Mr. Whitbread observed, that his gallant to levy certain duties to carry on the war, friend seemed to allude to some remarks of and the petition, in opposing the bill, his on a former evening, relative to the obviously went against levying those du- talents of foreign officers; but however
transcendant those talents were, or how- | would be covered with petitions against ever much was to be apprehended from it, on the authority of this precedent. them to any part of the empire, he had Mr. Sheridan rose to a point of order. the consolation to think, there was one He said that it had been declared from the place which defied their attack; that at other side of the house in the course of the least Berwick was safe. (A laugh, general debate, that the authority of the Chair had Tarleton being now governor of Berwick.] decided against the claims of the petitiThe hon. member argued forcibly in favour oners to be heard in this instance, and of the motion.
that authority had been quoted, and made Mr. Huskisson observed, that every pro- the ground of arguments in the discussion. viso of the bill against which the petition Now, the point of order to which he rose was levelled containing the imposition of was, that as he had not heard any such opia duty, it was completely. a money bill, nion stated from the Chair, he wished to and therefore the motion could not at all know whether the question had been so be acceded to, consistently with the usage decided upon from the Chair ? of the house.
The Speaker then rose and said, that Lord H. Petty said, that his object was the house must perceive he was called to rescue the petition from the represen- upon in no usual way; however, he should tation made of it by the hon. member who not shrink from the performance of his had just sat down, and to shew it was a pe- duty, whenever he should be called upon tition against the bill by its title, and to perform it. He apprehended that any therefore not within the meaning of the member of that house, who might have established usage of the house. The title had the honour of being appointed to the of the bill was, “a Bill more effectually to chair, had two duties to perform. The carry into execution certain Orders in first was, when a member thought proper Council. He contended, therefore, that to consult him upon any question touching
, there was no ground of usage that could the forms of that house, or the nature of preclude the merchants of Liverpool from its proceedings, he was always ready, as, being heard upon so important a question. indeed, it was his duty, to state to him his The Hawkers and Pedlars bill had not been personal opinion, upon the point submitted divided, but referred to a committee of the to his consideration. It was also his duty, whole house, in which the petitioners were whenever a question arose in the course heard by their counsel against the bill, the of their proceeding, respecting the orders, counsel having been warned to confine forms, or usages of that house, to explain themselves to the matter of the regulations, the rules of its conduct, and the nature of and not to meddle with the part of the the particular order or usage that might bill granting duties. Were the merchants bear upon the question, always leaving it of Liverpool not to be allowed that privi- to the house to make the application. It lege which had been granted to chapmen, was not for him by an avowal of his opihawkers, and pedlars? Was the house to nion to attempt to sway the debates of that have its doors hermetically sealed against house. If, however, it should be the pleathe petitions of the people ? He trusted, sure of the house, to call upon him for his however, that they would not suffer them- opinion, he should be ready to deolare it; selves to be led away from their duty by for he did not fear to state his opinion. his majesty's ministers, but decide that But the matter was still a question in the they would hear the petitioners then at house, and upon it the house alone could, the bar, on a question of such vital im- by a vote, decide. He 'had stated what portance to the trade and prosperity of the usage was, and that, if the bill under the empire.
consideration was a Money bill, pursuant Mr. Rose contended, that the usage to such usage no petition could be received which precluded the reception of the peti- against it. But he had understood the tion, had never been departed from. The house to have been debating the question, Hawkers and Pedlars bill, had been rather whether the bill was a Money bill or not. of regulation and police than of duties, and Upon that point, a vote of the house alone therefore was not analogous to the present could be decisive ; and if, in the only case
If the house were to throw open in which he could be called on for an opiits doors in the present instance, they nion upon it, in the case of a balanced opi. would never be able to close them; for nion in the house, it should be his duty to whatever might be the nature of a tax pronounce that opinion, he would know bereafter to be proposed, their table how to do his duty; but, until then, it was not for him to express any official LIVERPOOL Petition AGAINST THE ORopinion.
DERS IN Council Bill.] Mr. Tierney held Mr. Sheridan, in justice to himself, to in his hand a Petition against the Orders the house, and to the chair, was bound to in Council Bill, framed in consequence of explain the motive which induced him to the rejection of the petition from the merput the question to the chair. He had chants of Liverpool offered last night. not the most distant idea of putting his That petition being incompatible with the question from any feeling of disrespect to orders of the house, the present was framed the chair. He had heard the hon. gentle- to suit those forms, and that was the reason men opposite assert, that the opinion had why it was signed only with the names of been decisively given by the chair, whicb the three gentlemen who acted as delestatement he very much questioned, and gates, instead of the 400 merchants who he was happy to find that his opinion was had signed the other. confirmed by what had fallen from the The Chancellor of the Exchequer having chair.–A division then took place, heard the prayer of the petition read, For receiving the Petition
80 feared it still militated against the forms of Against it
128 the house, as adverting and being appliMajority against it -48 cable principally, if not exclusively, to List of the Minority,
the bill before the house. If the petitiAbercromby, J. MKenzie, general
oners would state their grievances under Adam, W.
Maddocks, W. A. the Orders in Council generally, the peAnstruther, sir J. Mahon, viscount tition might be received and attended to. Aubrey, sir J. Martin, H.
Mr. Tierney defended the petition against Baring, A. Miller, sir T.
this objection of applying to the bill beBaring. Thos. Mosley, sir 0.
fore the house. It applied simply to the Bernard, S. Newport, sir J.
Orders in Council. Blackburne, John
North, Dudley Blackburne, John J. Ord, W.
Mr. Huskisson argued that the petition Bouverie, E. Ossulston, lord applied substantially to the bill before the Bradshaw, A. C. Parnell, H.
house. Browne, Anthony Pelham, hon, C. A. Sir John Anstruther contended, that the Byng, G.
Petty, lord H. undoubted right of the subject to petition Calcraft, J. Piggott, sir A.
for redress of grievances was trifled with, Calcraft, sir G. Poosonby, G.
when the petitioners were told one day, Cavendish, lord G. Porchester, lord Colborne, N. W.R. Prittie, F.
that it was exceptionable to petition Craig, J. Quin, W. H.
against the bill, and another day that it Dundas, hon. C. L. Russel, lord W. was equally exceptionable to petition Dundas, hon. R. J. Sharp, R.
against the Orders in Council; to which Ebrington, viscount Sheridan, R. B. he contended this petition exclusively apEden, W. F. E. Shipley, W.
plied. Elliott, W. Smith, w.
Mr. S. Bourne argued against the petiFergusson, S.C.. Stanley, lord
tion. If his majesty, recommended a viFitzpatrick, R. Stanley, Thomas Greenhill, R. Tarleton, B.
gorous prosecution of the war, it would be Griffen hoff, J. Taylor, M. A
competent to petition against the continuHerbert, H. A. Temple, earl
ance of the war, but not against any tax Hibbert, G. Tierney, G.
that might be imposed to carry on the Horner, Francis Tracey, H.
war. Howard, w. Walpole, hon. G.
Mr. Whitbread maintained, that the peHume, W. H. Ward, hon. J.
tition in its present form ought to be reJekyll, Joseph Wardel, G. F.
ceived. The present petition was, in fact, Knox, T. Warrender, sir G,
altered from a form which was objected Lamb, w. Western, C. C.
to, to a form deemed unexceptionable. Latouche, R. Wbitbread, S. Lawrence, F. Windham, W.
If the petition in its present shape was Leach, John Wynne, sir W. W. objected to, he wished to know in what Leman, Charles
shape the aggrieved persons who signed Lloyd, J. M.
it could apply for redress. Lushington, S. Gascoyne, Isaac
The Chancellor of the Exchequer felt it his Macdonald, James Creevey, Thomas
duty to oppose the petition equally as the
last, if it was in terms contrary to form. HOUSE OF COMMONS,
There was no objection but in point of Friday, March 4.
form; and if the petition were put in
proper form, no doubt the house would Sir Arthur Pigott contended that the peand must receive it.
titioners ought to be heard, and evidence Mr. W. Smith represented the extraor- examined at the bar, for the purpose of dinary situation in which the house would putting the house in possession of the be, if by any captious objections in point valuable information which the petitioners of form, the grievances of the petitioners could give. It would be too late for them should not be taken into consideration till to present their petition when the bill the bill had gone out of the house. He should have passed, and therefore they understood the chancellor of the exche- ought to be heard in this instance. The quer had represented the measure in some bili had been originally introduced, not of his conferences with the merchants, to as a revenue bill, but for the
of be not a measure of revenue: why then carrying the Orders in Council into effect, should it be now put on such a footing in and therefore the petition should be conorder to preclude the petition ? But, in sidered as applying against the Orders in the present form the prayer was general, Council. and therefore the petition ought to be re- Mr. Bankes agreed in the principle laid ceived.
down in yesterday's debate; but was of The Chancellor of the Erchequer thought opinion, that the petitioners could not it possible that in his conferences with the suffer any material injury by having their merchants, he might sometimes have said petition deferred to Monday. the measure was not intended as a revenue Mr. Tierney declared, that no eloquence measure, neither was revenue the object, nor any earthly influence should induce though revenue may be the means of car- him to depart from the line he pursued rying the other objects into execution. with respect to this Petition, because he
Dr. Laurence thought the present at- had never stood upon a broader principle tempt to get rid of the petition a trick not than when pressing it. The reason why unworthy of the worst attorney, or the the title of the bill was rehearsed in this worst exciseman, in the country: He Petition, was because the petitioners were hoped the house would not be involved in the same parties who had been last night such absurdity as to come to a decision, before the house, and they felt it necesand afterwards find themselves under the sary to state a reason for their appearance necessity of hearing evidence. It was again as petitioners. The petition yes
. their duty to give that degree of redress terday had been rejected, because it had to the grievances that they could, and re- been laid down by the chair that no petiject that part that was objectionable on tion could be received against a Money
a account of form.
bill, but no such authority bore upon
the Mr. Adam blamed the cruelty of barring present petition; and he had the authothe petition in every shape. The peti- rity of the petitioners to state, that they tioners might have applied to the king in did not petition against the bill, but against council, they might have applied to par- the Orders in Council; and the rejection liament before the bill was introduced ; of this petition would lower the house of but now they could not apply to the king commons in the estimation of the public. because the measure was before parlia- -A division then took place: ment, and they could not apply to parlia- For receiving the Petition .... 57 ment because it was a revenue bill.
111 The Solicitor General understood it to be Majority
54 the received sense, that, as applying to Law of PARLIAMENT RELATIVE TO OFFIthe bill before the house, the petition CIAL COMMUNICATIONS.]—Mr. Adam rose could not be received; as distinct from pursuant to the notice he had given on a that measure, it was unexceptionable. former evening, to propose a motion someThe remaining question was merely on what new in its nature, because the cirthe construction of the petition before the cumstances which had induced him to house, which he referred to the bill, and bring it forward were novel, and, he might was of course of opinion that it could not say, unprecedented. Before stating the be received. If a petition not applying terms of this motion, he found it necessary to the bill should be offered, it must be to enter into some discussion of general received; but whether the petitioners principles, and to state the facts upon should, after all, be heard by counsel, was which he intended to found it. The oba separate question for the discretion of ject was, to prevent the repetition of a the house
practice which house had had occasion Vol. X.