Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

enough George may praise the constitution' George and his family receive, under this inestimable constitution, not less then ten thousand good pounds a year. Where will he find such another constitution in the whole world ——The marriage settlements came out at last. That is excellent. I suggested, I believe, a few weeks ago, that the places and pensions, granted to some persons, had an elfect the contrary of that of “ che, king population;" and, I had, I must confess, heard, that, upon two especial occasions, Hymen, in the shape of an old usurer of a father, had actually refused to light his torch, 'till Cupid, in the shape of a minister of state, had made his appearance with a most moving piece of eloquence written upon parchment, having a pa. tent seal upon one corner ; but, we are now told plainly, in the Honourable House, that “ there are some who could not have “ their marriage settlements without pen“sions, reversions, &c. &c.” We are told this plainly ; and that, too, in the Hononrable House itself, there being no contradiction to it. Nor, as to the sinecure, enjoyed along with his place of 4,000 l. a year, did Mr. Huskisson make any reply. What an excellent country this is for Mr. Huskis. son | What an invaluable constitution'—— This little interesting digression being over, Mr. Perceval proposed his amendment,

which made the motion this : “ That there

should be an instruction to the Committee

of Public Expenditure to procure a List of ALL Offices, Places, Pensions, &c. speci

“fying by whom they were held, with the creeption of the Army and Navy, and Officers below 200l. a year in the Revenue; and cause this list to be laud on the table of the House.” Why any exceptions at all 2 But, observe, that this list would have confounded members of parliament with others; so that, to have found them and their wives, children, sisters, and mothers out would have been not only a work of several weeks for any one man; but, it would have been morally impossille for him ever to have arrived at the point which lord Cochrane had in view ; for, how would any examiner of such list be able to say, whether such or such a child, or such or such a woman, was related to a member of parliament : This amendment was, in fact, a negative upon the motion ; and, accordingly, the House having divided upon lord Cochrane's motion, there appeare', for it 01; against it, go; leaving the ministers a majority of 29. —After this Mr. Perceval proposed his motion, to which lord Cochrane proposed, as an amendment, to leave out all the latter

part and to substitute the words of his motion. Now another excellent debate followed. We have it only in substance; but that substance is beyond all praise. I must beseech the reader to go over it with attention; for, the day will come, when it will, every word of it, be to be re-considered, “Lord HEN“ R Y Petty again repeated the objection formerly urged by him, that by the constitution of the Committee of Finance the present was an inquiry which was already before them, and which if they failed to investigate, they would not do their duty. To prove this be requested that the order appointing the Finance Committee might “ be read. This being done, he said, if it was meant that the Committee should quit every other subject of inquiry, and attend to this akone till they could make their report, and that such report could be made immediately, he should have no objection to it, as then it might be of some utility; as the motion stood, however, it could in his opinion produce no “good. MR. W.M. SMITH thought an order of the house to every public office to produce the lists in question, would do better than adopting the motion as it now stood. He hoped the motion would be so worded as to instruct the committee immediately to proceed in the inquiry in “ question, or that it would be withdrrwn, “ and the papers be called for by an order ‘‘ of the house. MR. PeF ceval, said he had already stated, that he at first thought of this mode of proceeding ; but it afterwards occurred to him that the committee might be able to direct the attention of the house to something in the accounts which might escape his observation. He could not forbear observing how unfortunate he had been, after having adopted the suggestion of the hon. gent. (M. r. Whitbread) that that gentleman should have abandoned his own opinion the mo-' ment he (Mr. P.) thought of acting on it. MR W Hit BREAD said, in answer to the allusion to his conduct, that concurring as he did in principle with the noble lord who had brought forward the motion, and differing from him only in the mode of proceeding, he submitted the “ suggestion which he had thrown out to “ the noble lord, and not to the right hon. “gent. The right hon gent. had indeed “gone in with his (Mr. W’s) suggestion as ‘‘ to form ; but it did not from thence fol“ low that he must agree in the motion of “ the right hon. gent. to the principle of “ which he objected. He thought the right “ hon, gent, would better consult the feck

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]

“ings of the public by agreeing to the ori“ginal motion. He hoped at least the “right hon. gent, would allow his motion “to be so altered, as that the committee “should be instructed to proceed forthwith, “ and that they should also in their report “distinguish those sinecures, &c. which “were held by members of that house, so “ that the noble lord's motion might not be “entirely evaded. The noble lord unques“tionably meant that there should be ex“hibited during the present session of par“liament a list of all the members of that “householding sinecure offices, places, to c. “under government, and in that way lia“ble to have their conduct influenced. If “ such a return was not made the house “would disgrace itself. Those who respect. “ed the house at present would suspect “ that all was not right, and those who al“ready suspected them would have their “suspicions confirmed.—MR. BANKEs “wished that the aecounts might be order“ed to be laid before the house, that the “ committe might not fall into disgrace It “ was IMPOSSIBLE THEY COULD RE“PORT THIS SESSION, AND IT WAS “ EQUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY “HOW EARLY THEY MIGHT BE “ABLE TO DO SO IN THE NEXT. “If the returns were to be made to the “ house, no time would be lost in complet“ing them, and then if it was thought the “ committee could be of service, it would be time enough to refer the papers to them. ‘ It would be but doing them slender jus“ tice, to allow the delay which might take place in making the returns to seem to attach to the committee. * RIDAN thought it impossible, after what “ had fallen from the Chairman of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

MR. SHE

“Committee of Finance (Mr. Bankes), that

“ the Chancellor of the Exchequer could “ persevere in his motion, or if he did so, “ that the house would support him in it. “It was nothing but an evasion of the nolie lord's motion. Its object was to see “how many members of this house were “ possessed of sinecure places, pensions, “&c. and of course might be supposed to “ be under the influence of the crown. “The motion of the Chancellor of the Ex“chequer, however, “List cf all persons whatever having any “ place, pension, &c. This was to over. “whelm the inquiry, and to strangle and “suffocate the object which the noble lord “ had in view. MR. Vyse supported the “ motion of the Chancellor of the Exche“ quer. — MR. Biopulpi; thought the in“quiry could not be charged as invidious,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

went to exhibit a

o

to r

o

o *

o t

as some Gentlemen had represented it, unless it had been directed against persons on one side of the house only. Mr. Wileekforce was surprised at the great change which had so lately taken place in the language of gentlemen on the other side. Lately they confessed that there was little or no difference in the object which seemed to be in view by all parties, and that the form was the only obstruction to unanimity. Now they had all at once discovered, that the motion of his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was calculated only to evade and defeat the object which the noble lord had in view. He contended that the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was completely adapted not only to the olject sought to brigained, but that the evidence to be obtained by it might also be of importance in other respects. DR. Law ReNce lamented to see gentlemen who talked of their independence, and prided themselves on that circumstance, so entirely forget in what it consisted as to lend their countenance to a deception on the public.—M R. H. MARTIN objected to the delay which was likely to result from the business being referred to the Finance Committee; and stated, that when the Committee appointed in the year 1797 were retiring from office, they made a report that their precepts had not been obeyed. This was a conduct which no public office should dare to pursue to that house. Mr. Rose supported the motion, maintaining that all the places, pensions, &c. were already well known,and that sinecures were not now sonumerous as they had been. MR. CALcRAFT observed, that such a list as was now spoken of, might, if any person were to give himself the trouble to do so, be collected from papers that were already on the table of that House. The object of the motion he conceived to be simply this, to bring fairly before the House in one point of view the names of all the members of that House, who either held places or enjoyed pensions, or else whose wives or children derived a similar emolument from the crown. He could adt avoid remarking, by the way, the great activity of the member for Yorkshire (Mr. Wilberforce) in interposing with his shield over those who were in toot situation. with regard to the hon and right hon. 5. on the opposite bench (the reasury bench) he might certainly find some room to compliment them on their ingenuity upca this 9-cision; out he was “ as a member of the committee, and as “ having himself presented a petition to the “ house against Mr. Mills, stated a few “ points, which, in his opinion, the house, “ duly regarding its own honourand dignity, “ circumstances much more important “ than the privileges of an individual, ought “ deliberately to consider. The petition to “ which he alluded had been presented by “ him with the concurrence of the person “ against whom it was directed, and for “ whose interests he and others had exerted “ their utmost efforts; those efforts had “ been fruitless; because that hon. gentle“ man did not choose to atide by his own propositions. Mr. Mills's debts, of va“rious descriptions, exceeded 2&30,000.“ Not one of his creditors wished to inter“fere with the privileges of parliament; “ but they thought, and certainly they were “...justified in thinking that while the house “ of commons attended to the preservation “ of their privileges, they should also at“tend to the demands of justice, and to the “ preservation of their credit with the pub“ lic. As far as time would allow, the “ committee had exaurified all the prece“ dents which appored to bear upon the “ present subject, but in his opinion, not ‘‘ one was found that met the case stated in “ the petitions. The petitions contained “ this allegation, that the petitioner had obtained his seat in Parliament as a temporary protection, in order to evade the de

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

cions are groundless; 3dly, Mr. Perceval proposes to new-shape the motion, and instead of an inquiry confined to members of parliament and their relations, to instruct the Finance committee to make out a list of all pensions, places, &c. &c. &c. held by all manner of persons, and not distinguishing members of parliament and their relations jrom other persons; 4thly, Mr. Bankes, the chairman of the Finance Committee, states, that it is impossible, that the committee should make their report, upon his motion, during the present session, and equally impossible to say how early they may be able to report upon it in the next session; 5thly, Mr. Wilberforce says, that the motion of Mr Porceval is completely adapted to the o!ject sought to be gained This is a fair statement, and this statement I leave to ny readers with an expression of my en; nest hope, that they will not forget any part of this day's trans ictions. ln one part of the debate, Lord Cochrane “observed, that “ his sole motive for making this unotion was a regard to the public benefit. He wished to include the Army and Navy, because of the manner in which he had observed commissions to have been aisposed of in the latter service. The assent to this

[ocr errors]

c. :

in their situations; for, though they shood secure all the votes in the house, they could not keep their places loog against the current of public opinion, which would set against them if they negatived it. The Committee of Finance i.i.d sufficient business already. If (fier the committee for which he fooved shooid have node their report as to the or kers, it should be tought desirable to have an a'oetical list of all places, pensions,

riotion would tend to establish ministers

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

&c. he would have no oljection. It would be an olject of great curiosity. He thought that the subject should be gravely considered in parliament. He was of opinion, that many would be ashamed of these practices if they were exposed to public view, and therefore desired to give them publicity.” In this last particular his lordship was mistaken. It is owing to his inexperience, that be supposes that some of the members of the Hici;ourable House would do any thing that they would be ashamed of. No, they do nothing that they are ashamed of. It is for common mortals to do things to be ashamed of; this is never the case with a man after he becomes a member of the Honourable House ——II. Precious Privil EGE ——On the 8th instant, there was made, in the House of Commons, a report from what they call there, a committee of privileges, of which, it would seem, George Rose is at the head. This report related to the case of a Mr. George Galway Mills, who, it appears, was in the King's Bench prison at the time of his being elected to serve in parliament. Some petitions against his being released had, it appears, been presented to the House. But, I dare go no farther. I must now confine myself to the report of the debate, just as I find it in the Morning Post Newspaper of the 9th instant, to which report I beseech the reader to pay attention. It will do him great good, if his mind be fluctuating upon these matters. It will tend to give him feelings such as the times, and especially the approaching times, call for. ** M. R. Rosz “ brought up the Report of the Committee “ of Privileges, to whom the letter address“ed by George Galway Mills, Esq. to the Soaker of the House of Commons, and “ the retitions presented against the said G. “ G. N., l's, £sq. had been referred. The Re“ port stated, that the Committee had exa“ mined and found that the said G. G. “ Mills, Fsq. was a member of the house of “ commons, and that he was then in the “ custody of the marshal of the King's ‘‘ Pench. The committee had consulted “ precedents, and had at stained from exa“ mining the nosegations contained in the “, petitions which had been referred to them, “ conceiving that even had those allegations he n proved, that woo!d not have i

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]

mands of his creditors, and ultimately, he

was compelled to say so, to defraud them. “He was sorry to be obliged to use such “ language when speaking of one with whom “ he had been in habits of intimacy; but in a “ case so glaring, which so strongly excited “ the public attention, at times like these, it “would be well for the house to pause be“ fore they granted to any man under such “ circumstances, the benefit of the privilege “ by which the ends of public justice would “ be defeated. He had proposed to the “ committee to go into the allegations con“tained in the petitions. The report can“ didly stated, why they had not done so. “ There might be peculiar cases in which it “would be adviseable to grant privileges “ without such an examination; but this “ did not appear to be one of them. Was “ it proper that he should be a legislator, “ who himself attempted to trample upon “ law?—MR. Rose observed, that there “ was a precedent as nearly in point as “ could possibly be expected; it was that “ of Mr. Basset, in the reign of Charles I. “ who had been arrested on a mesne process,

" when it was resolved that he was decidedo - a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ly entitled to the privileges of parliament. 3. this ground, and on the ground that even were the allegations proved, they could not influence the resolutions of the committee in this respect, those allegations had not been gone into. Mr. C. WYNNe agreed most cordially with the report of the committee. The house were bound to support their privileges which were given to them, NOT FOR THEIR ADVANTAGE, BUT FOR THAT OF THE COUNTRY AT LARGE. The privileges which members of parliament enjoyed of freedom from arrest, was as good for the electors as for the elected; were it not so, many of the former might be unrepresented. There was not a single instance on the Journals of o House, refusing the privilege when clearly defined. Should the abandonment of this privilege be argued, he trusted it would be argued not on a particular but on a general view of the subject; not with a reference to the individual immediately concerned, but with a reference to the honour of parliament, and the advantage of the community. MR. Coch RAN E Joh Nston F thought that a special report ought to have been made by the committee on an inspection of the petitions which contained so strong a charge on the character of one of the members of that house: they stated that he had procured a seat in that house for the express purpose of enabling him to evade the payment of his debts and to escape to the West Indies. He understood that four or five persons now in the King's Bench were and iously waiting the decision of the house, in order that if that decision were favourable to Mr. Mills, they might avail themselves of his earample, and take similar steps in order to rePieve themselves from similar embarrassments. He entreated the house, for their credit's sake, before they ordered the liberation of this gentleman, either to refer the petitions back to the committee, or to take the subject into their grave and serious consideration. MR. Ellison declared, that the committee had entered upon this subject with feelings as allied to the foulness of the case, as could possibly be entertained. If the allegations of the petitions were proved against Mr. Mills, he thought that no hon, member ought to sit in the house with him ; but he also thought, that circumstanced as they were, the committee could do no more . than they had done. Although he was of opinion that it would be better to consider

“ this subject generally, yet if it were deem* ed adviseable to take it up particularly, he would go as far as any man to rescue the house from the imputations that might otherwise be cast upon it, if there was one duty more solemn than another, it was, that at the present moment the house should keep itself as clear as possil le from any suspicion of dishonour..——M R. S1MEoN observed, that no imputation could fossibly rest on the house, because the allegations contained in the petitions had not yet been examined. The committee of privileges had nothing to do but with the simple case, whether Mr. Mills was a member of the house, and whether he was in the custody of the civil law MR. BAR HAM deprecated any interference with the privileges of the house on this single case. If it could be proved that Mr. Mills had procured his election for fraudulent purposes, that would be a fit subject for the consideration of an electurn committee; he thought that Mr. Mills had been rather hardly treated, in having such grave accusations urged against him in his absence, when he was unable to reply to them.——THE CHAN cFI.LoR of the Excheaue R declared, that it was impossible not to approve the conduct of the commit

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

allegations of the petitions. Mr. Mills's letter had been referred to them to ascertain the facts which it, contained, and not to consider the law dependent on those “ facts which had never been questioned. “Even had such a special report been “ made, as was wished for by an hon. gent. “ and had the allegations been found proved, “still the horse must have granted the privilege. What the law was, and what it ought to be on revision, were two very different considerations. On this subject He would at present say, that it would require some very strong arguments to induce him to believe that the public conve“ nience and advantage would be promoted by the abandonment of this privilege of parliament, although he was aware that in some cases it was productive of private “ injury. Neither could he agree with the “ hon, gent. (Mr. Barham) that, if it could łc proved that an election was procured for fraudulent purposes, such election must become void. If the charges against Mr. Mills, with the aggravating circumstances attending, could be substantiated (which, “ in justice to that gentleman, he must re“ mark had not hitherto been done), it “ night aimount to a question of expulsion ; " but even in that case, it would be proper

[ocr errors]

-

-

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

tee, in refraining frcam entering into the

“ that the accused should be within the “ walls, to defend himself and his seat. Mr. Littleton and Mr. Herbert each said a few words. MIR. W. SMITH remarked, that the house might surrender the exercise of a right in a particular instance without abandoning it. He thought the report of the committee was perfectly proper; it was for the house to take it up if they should think fit.——The motion for agreeing with the committee in their resolution was then carried, as was also a motion by Mr. Rose, that the said G. G. Mills, Esq. be discharged out of the custody of the Marshal of the King's Bench.” The least, said is soonest mended upon a subject like this; and, therefore, I shall content myself with a word or two upon the observations of Mr. C. Wynne. An empty-skulled fellow, though that skull were covered with a wig with as many tails to it as can be made out of a grey mare's switch, would have thought that the precious privilege, above spoken of, was invented, or enforced, at least, for the sole advantage of persons under arrest; for the sole purpose of screening members of parliament from the just demands of their creditors. But, no, says Mr. Wynne, very shrewdly, “ the house's privileges are given them, not “ for their advantage, but for the advantage “ of the country at large;” and then comes the reason; “ because,” says be, “were it “ not for these privileges, many of the “ electors might be unrepresented.” This is so true, so beautifully true, that one wonders, upon reading it, that the thought never struck one before. “Be unrepresented " That, indeed, would be . . ... it would be the very devil! I lose all patience when I contemplate the possibility of such a thing; and, if the venting of a rough exclamation prevents me from gnawing off my fingers, I hope the reader will excuse me. “Be unrepresented " Aye, you stupid people, do you not hear 2 If there were not a privilege, exempting members of parliament from being confined for debt, while the rest of us are liable to be confined for debt for our whole lives ; if this were not the case, “ many of us would be unrepresented " Do you understand it now If you do, I need say no more; and, if you do not, you are unworthy of the few words that I have already bestowed upon you.-- III. Irish Inst; R RECTION BILL.--—T his bill, which was introduced on the 9th of this month, is now upon the point of becoming a law. Its provisions are such as one might expect in a case where the whole, or nearly the whole,

| of the people are suspected of a wish to avail

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »