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than himself to reprobate it in the very important subject before the strongest terms. He thought, when- whole was considered. ever this subject should be discussed, The earl of Guilford replied, that nothing relative to the injustice that neither he nor the noble duke or ill-conduct of the war ought to be meant to say any thing at present on alluded to, as it might make an the sums already sent to the empeimpression on the public mind. ror; but, as the bank were ordered
The earl of Guilford said, that to stop payment, he thought it imthe words “ extraordinary and ille possible to justify the sending of gal” being offensive, he made no specie from the country, and at the doubt but the noble duke would same time withhold it from those readily strike them out, as he beld, who have an undoubted claim on under the present circumstances, the their own property withholding of specie from foreign The duke of Norfolk rose to dopowers an indispensable measure tice the objectionable words contain
The duke of Grafton urged the ed in his motion, viz. “ extraordinecessity of acceding to the motion, nary and illegal," which he thought as the refusal of the house would strictly applicable to the order of have an evil tendency with the pub- council ; but had he supposed bis lic, at large. He thought they motion would have met with a more should assore the nation, that no favourable reception without them, more specie would be exported out they certainly should not have been of the kingdom till the sense of par- inserted. His grace observed, that liament should be taken upon it; and he must take the sense of the house contended, that it was the duty of on the whole of his motion. That the noble secretary to state upon the order of council was extraordi. what grounds the present measure nary and illegal, no person could dehad been adopted. He approved of ny, since it required the bank not to the words “ extraordinary and ille- pay money to those individuals who gal," from a conviction that they were presented their notes. It had been applicable, and merited attention. remarked, that the order of council
Lord Grenville said, as the sub. was not binding upon the bank. ject was to be discussed the next His grace could not tell what was the day, he had no right to be called on extent of its jurisdiction; however, for an explanation. His lordship it certainly was an high constituted argued, that the bank were not authority, and must produce great obliged to obey the order of council, effect on those to whom its orders though he could make it appear they were directed. His grace concluded acted highly proper for themselves by asking the noble lord one quesand the public. He was ready, he tion: Was it intended to send mosaid, to prove, that transmitting mo- ney to the emperor of Germany ? ney to support our allies was strictly The duke of Grafton observed, necessary, and attended with the that answering this question, and most salutary effects to the country, assuring the house that no such thing He assured the house he would cer. was intended, must give the greattainly vote against the present mo- est satisfaction to the country; and tion, as it tended to convey an insi- it would not then be necessary to nuation against ministers, and to press bis noble friend's motion to a decide, in an indirect way, part of a division.
Lord Grenville replied, he would cussed with deliberation and cannot discuss that day the subject dour. Notwithstanding the illwhich was to be taken into con- founded alarm, he was persuaded sideration the next.
the resources of the country were The earl of Moira roše, and de- in a most flourishing state, and he clared he thought an answer ought contended, that the present meato have been given by the noble sure was only of a temporary nasecretary of state. He was afraid, ture. His lordship avoided going that, in consequence of the refusal into a detail, as all parliamentary to answer on this subject, a suspi- proceedings, affecting the public cion might go abroad that ministers purse, were considered as falling did mean directly to send specie out more immediately within the proof the kingdom; when they had vince of the other house. He taken a measure to withhold it from should, therefore, recommend to its right owners. However, free as their lordships to wait till the prohis mind was from suspicion, he be- ceedings of the house of commons lieved the inore the affairs of the came before them. He, however, bank were inquired into, the more informed the house, he had two substantial their affluence would be motions for their consideration; found. He concluded by voting the first, that an humble address be with the noble duke. The question presented to his majesty, to return being put, the house divided, ihanks for his gracious communiContents
. 5 cation, and to assure his majesty, Non-contents - - 34 he might rely with the utmost con
fidence on the wisdom of parliaMajority ... - 29 ment, to call forth, in case of ne
On the 28th of February, the or- cessity, the extensive resources of der for taking his majesty's message the kingdom. into consideration having been read, His other motion was for the apand afterwards the message, lord pointment of a committee of nine Grenville rose to explain the nature lords to examine and report on the of the motions relative to his ma- outstanding demands against the jesty's message, and observed, he bank, and the state of the funds to should not have occasion to go discharge the same, and also to inmuch into detail as to the causes quire the cause that rendered the which had induced the board of order of council necessary; and he council to issue that order referred made no doubt but the result of the to in the message. Their lordships inquiry would give their lordships, were summoned to take into consi, as well as the country, the most deration, under the exigency of the convincing proof that the bank was times, the measure which his ma- " in a state of affluence. His lordjesty's ministers had thought proper sbip observed, that in an investigation to adopt, and which, he trusted, into so delicate a matter as the after a due consideration, they would concerns of the bank of England, approve. His lordship observed, the utmost secrecy and caution that, in the course of the debate the were necessary, as the interests of precediog day, some noble lords every individual were deeply imhad treated the order of council plicated, and a disclosure would be with great asperity; though he attended with dangerous cousethought the subject ought to be dis- quences. He therefore proposed, 1797.
Chat the committee should be select The earl of Guilford thought att and secret. Having thus explained act of indemnity absolutely necessathe nature of his motions, he would ry, at least for the directors of the not trouble the house with any far- bank and their clerks, who must ther observations.
act illegally, and be liable to actions. The Duke of Grafton supported His lordship then adverted to the the address, and hoped it would speech of the noble secretary, in pass nemine dissentiente; but wished the opening of which, he said, some it had not come before the house so of the noble lords had been disposed, suddenly, as it was almost impossi- in the preceding day's debate, to ble to form an opinion respecting it. treat the measure harshly and with The noble secretary of state had said asperity : for his part he could not something, to shew that his ma- recal a single word he had uttered jesty's ministers were driven to this on that subject; he had forborne to measure by imperious necessity. give his opinion till he heard more His grace made some pertinent re- of the reasons on which it was marks on the conduct of ministers in grounded. His lordship said, he adopting so miserable an expedient, had no objection to the first motion and said they had gone to the ex- relative to the address. With retreme length of a measure, founded spect to the secoud, there were parts in an assumption of power unknown of the inquiry which by no means reto the laws and constitution of the quired secrecy; on the contrary, they country. Ministers being aware of ought to be made as public as possithis, would be obliged to have re- ble. His lordship had a strong obcourse to a bill of indemnity to lega. jection to the committee being a lize their conduct. For unless this act secret one, as it was a mode of could be obtained, the bank direc- smuggling business through the tors were liable to an action from house, and giving up the power of every individual to whom they re- judging to nine individuals, howfused payment.
ever respectable they might be. If Lord Grenville said, undoubtedly the bank were in such a flourishing his majesty's ministers had under- state as it was represented, it ought taken a very arduous responsibility ; to be laid before the public, to rethey had adopted the ineasure which move all ground of suspicion. the order of council contained, on The earl of Liverpool' approved the ground of state-necessity, though of a secret committee, where subjects the bank were not bound to obey of a delicate nature were to be inthat order. With regard to the vestigated. His lordship saw no bill of indemnity, it would be for ground for the noble' earl's objectheir lordships, after the whole of tion, as the committee would make the subject had been considered, to their report to the house, and their decide whether the bill of indemni- lordships might determine upon it ty was necessary or not. His lord- as they thought proper. ship admitted, that the measure The duke of Grafton could not could not be justified by the strict accede to the arguments of the noletter of the law, but thought it the ble earl relative to a secret comduty of ministers to consider the in- mittee, as the idea of secrecy coniterests of the public, and not to veyed something disagreeable and hesitate in adopting a measure suspicious. He thought the subject which the exigency of the case re- ought to come openly before the quired.
house, that they might act upon it
13 their wisdom and judgment, contained in the motion, warited thought proper ; which mode of pro- some explanation. If it was to ceeding could not fail of giving the continue the stoppage of payment, utmost satisfaction without doors. it certainly would ruin public creHis grace declared, he concurred dit. i entirely with what the noble ear! The duke of Bedford stated sebad said respecting a bill of indem- veral objections against the appointnity; he thought it the wisest way ing of a secret committee. He that ministers could adopt to preserve thought that a subject of so much imthe law and constitution, which he portance could not be made too pubconsidered as violated
lic; as its publicity tended to eluciLord Grenville reprobated the date the solidity of the bank. His idea of an open committee relative grace said, before he sat down, he to the concerns of the bank, as should move to leave out all that part highly improper, and highly impo- of the motion, relative to the comlitic; neither could he suppose, that mittee's reporting their opinion by instructing the committee in the upon the continuance of the meamanner mentioned in the motion, sure. With respect to its expedithe power of the house was taken ency he could say nothing. But
. considering the ill conduct of miHis lordship observed, when the nisters throughout the war, and the committee made their report, it alarming state to which they had would of course be subject to the reduced the country; Ķe thought it consideration and discussion of the not improbable that the measure house, who would exercise their was indispensably necessary. His judgment upon it. With respect to grace remarked, that when he read a bill of indemnity, he did not say the order of council, he was astothere were not grounds for such a nished to find that the unusual demeasure, though the bank were not mand of specie was imputed to illlegally obliged to act upon the re- founded and exaggerated apprehenquisition contained in the order of sions of individuals, though ministers council.
themselves had been the cause of raisHis lordship concluded by say. ing them. His grace reprobated the ing, he had not the least objection conduct of ministers in the most to an act of indemnity. 'He ob pointed language, and contended served, however, that as there was that they had done every thing in no difference with respect to the first their power to disgrace the British motion, the house had better de. character, and reduce the country to cide the question upon the address. a state of ruin. He then adverted to
The question being put, the ad. a number of instances to prove the dress was agreed to nemine dissen- carelessness and inattention of mia tiente.
nisters. He alluded to the invasion The motion for a secret commit. of Ireland, and said, had not the tee was then made by lord Gren- elements interfered, and obliged ville, and read by the lord chancel them to retire, the enemy would
have done there incalculable misThe earl of Guilford rose, and chief. The duke also made some renewed his objections, and remark- remarks on the disembarkation of ed that the words, « Confirmation the enemy. in Wales; and after and continuance of the measure;" enlarging upon these topics, and
I 2 indulging
indulging in a variety of reflections (he said) their lordships had heard on ministers, in whom the house refuted again and again. His grace (he said) had been in the habit of had been pleased to reprobate the placing implicit confidence, he re- conduct of ministers in almost every turned to a consideration of the instance, and had made use of motion before the house, and was language which was neither parliaastonished that any individual should mentary nor decent. The noble determine a national consideration duke had charged ministers with of such immense importance, on having themselves been the authors the opinion of nine lords, however of ill-founded and exaggerated aprespectable. The words, as they prehensions relative to invasion ; now stood in the resolution, autho- yet, in the same speech, it was rized the committee to report their not a little singular, where the opinion of the necessity of confirm- noble duke charged ministers with ing and continuing the measure raising false alarms, he mentioned adopted by the bank in conse- two actual attempts of the enemy quence of the order of council, to invade this country. With re. which was neither more nor less, gard to the noble duke's motion for than that the bank should continue an amendment, he should certainly to stop payment, and to give only oppose it, as it tended to take away paper instead of cash, when pay. an essential part of the original moment in money was demanded, tion, and render the other of little which was both inconsistent and use. Many arguments had been alarming. His grace, therefore, made use of to prove the advantage moved, by way of anendment, to of a public and open inquiry relative leave out all the remainder of the to the affairs of the bank : but nomotion after the first part of it. He thing that had fallen from their concluded by again asserting, that lordships on that subject had in the he was a friend to open discussion, smallest degree changed his opinion ; as their lordships would be enabled he was well assured, that exposing a by that to form a judgment of facts subject of so delicate a nature would within their own knowledge, and be dangerous in itself, and useless to to ascertain how much of the pre- the public. sent calamitous state of the country. The duke of Bedford rose to was connected with the bank. His make some remarks, in answer to grace moved his amendment ac- the noble baron (lord Auckland) recordingly.
lative to a secret committee. His Lord Auckland said a few words grace concluded with declaring, on the subject; and contended, that that he should take the sense of the . in matters of so delicate a nature as house on his amendment. an inquiry into the affairs and soli. The duke of Norfolk. said, he dity of the bank of England, com- had unfortunately not been present non policy forbade a disclosure. when the noble secretary of state His lordship, however, lamented opened the subject; and explained the necessity of having the commit- the grounds of his motion. He. tee secret, as being a very unfortu- however, strongly objected to a senate circumstance.
cret committee. He thought it was Lord Grenville rose to notice for the honour of the bank that there some of the observations made by should be no concealment, if they the duke of Bedford, most of which were equal to all demands. His