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passed, “ that the influence of the crown had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished,” and that some measures had subsequently been taken for its diminution; but, that the abundance of new commissions which had been since passed, and the number of places since created, amply made up for the diminution; and he contended, that the patronage that would result from the proposed augmentation must necessarily increase it abundantly. He asserted, that it was unfair to reckon upon the whole saving that would be occasioned by the employ of the seconded officers in the new companies, since, though little had, as he believed, as yet arisen from their deaths, more would every day accrue as they died off.
With regard to the Hessian treaty, he declared himself a friend to it; but the passage of it that appeared to countenance the introduction of Hessian troops into Great Britain required explanation. He recapitulated the effect of the jealousies that had formerly arisen on that head, and mentioned the late Lord Chatham's having differed from the minister (Mr. Pelham) when he held an office under him, and said, that his great argument in favour of the militia being instituted, rested entirely on the plea that it would prevent the possibility of there ever again arising the smallest necessity for employing Hessian troops within the realm. He acknowledged that he had supported the proposition of last year of not calling out the militia so frequently as had been the practice before, and as was the wish of many gentlemen, who were not only his particular political friends, but in every point of view most respectable characters, and declared that he did it from a consideration, that the economy of the new measure was a greater national advantage than any benefit which could result from continuing to call them out as usual. He mentioned also the late Lord Chatham's having always declared himself an advocate for a strong navy and a reduced army, and contrasted the late lord's conduct in both particulars with that of the present minister, declaring that although he himself as well as the right honourable gentleman might handsomely and honourably differ, in some of their political opinions, from those of the persons to whom they owed every endearing filial obligation, it was rather extraordinary, that the right honourable gentleman should appear to have countenanced the introduction of foreign troops into Great Britain, in preference to calling out the militia, and to have consented to a stipulation with France to reduce the naval force of the country, and then come forward with a proposition for an augmentation of the army. Mr. Fox said, that the 36,00ol. expence incurred by the Hessian treaty must certainly be added to the increase of
deration, that advantage than any as usual. Here
the army estimates, whereas he had considered it as enabling us to increase our marine, and protect the West India islands with a naval force. He stated as another objection to the proposed plan, the unhealthy climate of our West India islands, and declared, that if the augmentation had been applied any where else, he should have better liked it. He mentioned Nova Scotia as a healthy colony, and said that it would have been a better station for a military force than the West Indies, and the troops would have been sufficiently near at hand in time of danger. He spoke also of the dispersion and distance of the West India islands from each other, the uncertainty of sea voyages, and the constant uniformity of trade winds and tides, as other sources of inconvenience, which amounted to a corroboration of the impolicy of having a large land force locked up in the islands.
Mr. Fox next returned to his first reasoning, upon what he stated to be of an unparliamentary and unconstitutional tendency, the inclination to put a confidence without bound or limit in the minister, in a case where he contended implicit confidence ought not to be granted. He called, therefore, upon those who were the real friends of the minister, to join with him in convincing him of their sincerity, by making their stand there; and though they had concurred with him, and with the public, in giving due praise to the right honourable gentleman for the happy event of their exertions in the course of the year, convince him that they meant him better, than blindly to follow in supporting all his plans, whether explained satisfactorily and sufficiently, or introduced without a single reason that could tend to impress a conviction of their propriety. The hour of triumph, Mr. Fox added, was that of all others in which it was the most necessary to be cautious, and to guard with more than an ordinary degree of vigilance against being surprized into the sanction of a permanent measure, which could not afterwards be recalled or remedied.
It having been remarked, in the course of the debate, by General Burgoyne, that the plan of augmenting the forces in the West Indies, seemed necessarily to imply a correspondent system of fortification in that quarter, and that some explanation of the intentions of government upon that point was requisite for the information of the House; Mr. Pitt avowed that some additional fortifications, upon a moderate scale, and with a view to render the military force more efficient, were intended, and were so connected with the plan of augmenting the land force to be stationed there, that they might be considered as an indispensable part of it. For the propriety of this measure, they had not only the sanction of a board of English general officers, but that of the most eminent French engineers; since not only every island belonging to that nation was fortified, but they also had begun to fortify those they took from us in the last war, as soon as they came into their hands.
Mr. Fox answered, that what had fallen from the right honourable gentleman confirmed him more than ever in his opinion, that it was utterly impossible for the committee to vote the augmentation proposed, without farther and more satisfactory explanation. The right honourable gentleman had told them in a fair and candid way, that a system of fortification was intended to be adopted in the West Indies. How, then, was it possible for them to vote at all in the present case, without their being previously made acquainted with the extent to which that system was proposed to be carried, and the amount of the expence it would cost the public? When he said this, he did not mean the mere sum to be voted on account annually, but the total amount at which the completion of the proposed new system was estimated. The right honourable gentleman's argument, Mr. Fox said, afforded a strong additional reason for there being in that House a commander in chief to explain to them, that such a system of insular defence as that proposed was necessary.
A division at length took place upon the motion, that 315,8651. be granted for the forces for the plantations and Gibraltar, for: the year 1788; when there appeared, Ayes 242 : Noes 80.
IMPEACHMENT OF MR. HASTINGS.
December 11. IN consequence of the order of the House of Lords with which I Mr. Hastings was served towards the close of the last session, to put in his Answers to the Charges exhibited against him by the Commons on the first Tuesday after the next meeting of parliament, on the prescribed day he appeared at the bar, and pre. sented answers. Of these the lords sent a copy to the House of Commons on the 5th of December. The answers being read short, pro forma, Mr. Burke moved, “ that the said answers be referred to the consideration of a committee;" which having been agreed to, and Mr. Burke being named by Mr. Pitt as the first member, Mr. Burke then named Philip Francis, Esq., and, upon the question being put, the House divided, Ayes 23: Noes 97. Mr. Burke, upon this, rose and declared, that of such material assistance had they deprived him, in rejecting Mr. Francis, that he scarcely knew
how to proceed, and felt the cause to be in some degree damned by the recent act of the House. He reminded them of the seri. ousness and solemnity of the whole proceeding, a proceeding which, after deep and frequent deliberation, had been brought, step by step, to its present advanced stage, and ought to be continued during the remaining part of its progress with equal steadi. ness and uniformity. He admonished the House, that their conduct in this very important and grave transaction was a matter most highly interesting to the national character, and that, conse. quently, they were amenable, for every one of their proceedings respecting it, at the high and awful tribunal of the public and the world at large. He pressed them to consider of the dangerous effect of their appearing in the smallest degree to prevaricate in the course of the prosecution, and urged the manifest injury and injustice of changing their committee, and rejecting any one of the members of the former committee without a reason previously assigned. The only presumeable reasons for rejecting any one member of the former committee, could be no other than two; either a general disqualification on general grounds, or a personal disqualification from inability or unfitness to assist in conducting the prosecution. Both these questions had been already decided, and the House would have acted wickedly and weakly in suffering his honourable friend to take so great a part in the proceeding hitherto, and to have adopted his ideas, if they had judged him to be disqualified to take a share in the business. The fact was, his honourable friend was most eminently qualified to assist in the prosecution ; for through his superior knowledge of it had all the charge relative to the revenues been made out and established, and so greatly had he himself been aided and assisted by the information which he had received from his honourable friend, that he in his honour and conscience declared, he felt himself disqualified from conducting the remainder of the prosecution safely and securely without him. It was for this reason, essential to himself, and essential to the House, and their joint credit, that his honourable instructor and associate (for so he might justly term him) should continue à member of the committee. Why the House had by their recent vote thought proper to reject the future assistance of his honourable friend, he was utterly at a loss to guess ; - that those members who had uniformly expressed a disinclination to the prosecution, and in almost every stage of it endeavoured to put a stop to it, should have made a part of the majority on the late division was natural enough, because nothing could be more consistent than for those who had declared themselves adverse to any prosecution, to endeavour to take away the means of pursuing it, when once a prosecution was instituted; but for many of the gentlemen of another description, who had cordially co-operated and assisted in the investigation, previous to the mate ter having assumed the regular shape and form of a criminal process, to concur in a vote which embarrassed and weakened the cause, and endangered its ultimate event, was to him a circumstance altogether, unaccountable. The committee then naming was not the committee of managers, and therefore not of equal importance ; but so fully was he convinced of the great utility and importance of the assistance of his honourable friend, and that he should feel himself, who knew the subject as well as most men, so exceedingly crippled and enfeebled without the advantage of his honourable friend's superior information, that when the day for naming the next committee should come, he would again appeal to the sense of the House, and try to have his honourable friend re-instated.
Mr. Fox followed Mr. Burke, and appealed seriously to the gentlemen on the other side, upon one particular resulting from their late vote, by which they had thrown so great a discountenance on the prosecution; and that was, the necessity of filling the chasm in the committee, which they had occasioned by rejecting the only member who, from every consideration, appeared to be the most proper to be upon it. Mr. Fox, therefore, submitted it to the consideration of the other side of the House, whether it would not be right and becoming in them to supply the vacancy, by naming from among themselves some person of acknowledged information upon the subject. He suggested the right honourable gentleman at the head of the India board; but said, that he would agree to the nomination of any other well-informed gentleman, whom the other side of the House might consider as a proper person for their acceptance.
No notice being taken of this address, Mr. Burke proceeded to nominate the committee, which consisted of the same persons as the former, with the additition of Mr. Wilbraham, Mr. Fitzpatrick, and Mr. Courtenay. Mr. Burke then moved, “ that the committee be armed with the usual powers,” which was agreed to. On the Friday following, Mr. Burke brought up from the committee a replication to the answers of Mr. Hastings, in which the Commons, in the usual form, aver their charges against the said Warren Hastings to be true, and that they will be ready to prove the same against him, at such convenient time and place as shall be appointed for that purpose. The replication was ordered, the next day of sitting, to be carried by Mr. Burke up to the Lords, who appointed the 13th of February for proceeding upon the trial in Westminster-hall.
On the 11th of December the House proceeded to appoint the members of the committee above mentioned to be managers of the impeachment. After which,'
* Mr. Fox begged leave to trespass upon the attention of the House, whilst he adverted to his design of proposing, as a member of the committee for managing the impeachment at, the bar of the House of Lords, an honourable friend of his whom the House had approved as a member of the committee to whom the drawing up of the articles of impeach