« ZurückWeiter »
a peroration, delivered with his usual e- fervation, that the accounts of imports loquence and energy, he moved his re- and exports were incorrect, was not veral resolutions, which were, as usual, more applicable at prefent than in any an echo of the taxes.
former year; these accounts had never My Grey said, though it was not his been perfectly correct; yet with the intention upon the present occasion to fame allowance for imperfection in fordiscufs the propositions of the honour- mer years as in this, he might know that able gentleman at length, he could not our exports were greater now than berefrain from making fome observations fore. upon them. In all former years, we had Mr Fox faid, that, notwithstanding the heard much of the facility of raising mo weight of the objections urged by his ney; instead of this, we had now found honourable friend, he could not, confiftthe threat of a forced loan joined to the ently with his duty, permit the delusive proposal for a voluntary one. The pro- ftatements now made to the House to feffins now held out, of an ample pro- pafs without some notice. If what he vifion made for all expences, were the believed, relative to these statements, same that had been given on all former were true, it was an idle boait that Engoccasions of this fort by the right hon. land had a free constitution. The fylgentleman, and had unvaryingly been tem of the present government virtually found fallacious. In April last, the right included an abolition of the privileges hon. gentleman had ftated this fame ful- of the House of Commons, and the cream nefs of provision ; yet the House had, tion of a dictator, who, during the war, within these few days, witnessed, from was to expend and levy at his discretion. the excess of the navy debt, the ineffi- The right hon. gentleman had hitherto cacy of his calculation ; a sort of disco- been clear in his finances, and had not ry which would continue to be made as wanted praise from himn for that clearlong as the mode of demanding supplies ness; but was there any man fo duped for a coming year, before the expences as to say, that the prefent accounts were of the last were ascertained, should be intelligible? His hon. friend (Mr Grey) persisted in by the Chancellor of the Ex- had found in the papers on the table a chequer, who brought in, by accounts charge of four millions, as well' as a defor extraordinaries, what should have ficiency of 80,000l. in the taxes; on been laid before the House as estimates. some future day, if indeed it were worth Of the exports, which had been so loud, while to difcuss any thing relative to fily boasted of, not less than a fifth part nances in that House, this would be consisted of coffee. In the produce of proved. The right hon. gentleman had the taxes, there was a deficiency, for argued, that the produce of the taxès the present year, of 72,000l. and would would be greater in peace than they be in one in future of 84,000l. No lefs are in war. Then of what ufe were than four millions annnally were to be the papers on the table? We lay. a added to the public burdens since the burthen upon the finking fund of one commencement of the war; and, ac- million, and leave the minister to make cording to his estimate, taxes to no less up 200,00ol. in shape of a regulation, in than 2,113,000l. for the ensuing year, which fhape he had smuggled many a and probably 2,600,000l. in future, tax into that House. But did not this would be necessary, instead of those sug- come with a peculiarly ill grace from gested by Mr Pitt. If gentlemen would the minister, who, as to spirits, had examine the papers upon the table, they formerly taken off a duty, and reckonwould see fomething of the rapid pro- ed, very properly, that the produce of gress of this country towards ruin, not- the remainder would increase, and who withstanding the many fymptoms of, now held that the new duty would inprosperity urged by the right hon. gen- crease during peace, when it was well ileman, some of which he admitted to known that smuggling was most praca be juft. But they would perceive from ticable. His honourable friend ftated, those papers the incorrectness of the act that one-fith of our exports consisted of counts of imports and exports.
coffee ; and it had been fince suggested The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, to him, that the amount was four mila that he was glad to find some of the lions, though the quantity imported wit symptoms of our prosperity admitted by valued only at two millions; but this the hon, gentleman to be juft. His ob. difficulty arose from the different values
6 C 2
placed at the Custom house upon im highest price of every article, especially pored and exported articles. The mi- of bread corn ? The hon. gentleman connister had not stated the particulars of feffed, that he had sent twelve hundred our exports. In his commanding man- thousand pounds to the Emperor, withner, he had told the House, that our out the consent of Parliament. Would exports amounted to thirteen millions, he say, that any thing else was meant and were greater than before the war. by this, than that he was better entitled This was a confolation which no mini- to judge what the people of Britain fter had wanted. In the war ending should give to the Emperor than the 1749, and that commencing 1756, there H of Commons, in whom the Conwas an increase of imports and exports; ftitution had reposed that trust? If this but he did not know that Mr Pelham, was the system of the day, the ConftiLord Chatham, or Mr Legge, had ever tution was neither worthy to be fought announced this as magnificently as the or cared for. As to domestic expences, right hon. gentleman. When the House it might be true, though lamentable, had voted sums equal nearly to all the that accuracy was impossible ; but then expenditure of former wars, they would the principles of these expences were fee how properly his hon. friend had known: in the present instance, Parliafaid, that the present demands were un- ment had neither known the expence, der-rated at one million. If, last year, nor been consulted as to the principle, when the minister boafted of borrowing and the minister deserved to be impeachmoney at L.4:13: 6d. per cent. he (Mr ed, for having shewn a delign to dispose Fox) had foretold, that it would be ne- of money without the authority of the ceffary in the next year to give L.5: 125. legal guardians of the public purse. He 6d. should he not have been told, that he had aggravated this offence by omitting had predicted evil for his country; he to disclose it to Parliament the first day had now to say, that, confidering the of the Session, and by withholding the one per cent. to be added to the sinking extraordinaries of the army till the day fund, for the whole of the loan, the before the budget. The minifter had country ought to be reckoned to pay argued, for the fafety of this loan, from 61. 158. per cent. While the old s per the gallantry and valour of the House of cents. were selling at 86, the holder of Austria ; such qualities might be very new might demand one hundred pounds; well mentioned when a gift was in quel and though it would be said, as in the tion; but would the House think their American war, that the bonus was left conquefts or bravery a security for Brito pofterity, he never expected to hear tith property? Nor did the event even such an argument from the honourable of this campaign, in which the enemy gentleman. In 1793, the minister thought had fecured the important passages of it better to give exorbitant terms for a the Rhine, support the claim which the loan, rather than leave it to an open one. Austrians might be supposed to derive To what was the zeal of the country for from conquest; and with respect to that the present loan to be imputed, but that mercy which was the concomitant of they supposed the event of peace, or valour, how had it been exercised towar, to depend upon it, and would wards the Marquis de la Fayette? We make any exertion rather than submit had hitherto been told, every year of to the continuance of the war. In Oc- the war, of the insufficiency of French tober 1795, the right hon. gentleman finances, and that they were going on had taken the navy debt at one million only from week to week; but the misand a half; in April 1796, he assured calculation in this respect, was not equal the. House, with the greatest confi- to that of supposing that the campaign dence, that it could not exceed two would be dull and inactive on the part millions and a half; in O&tober, his ef- of the enemy. It must be allowed, that timate was seven millions ; in December, every man was liable to be mistaken; cight millions. Could the resources, or but was he to be always fo? What, if *the fortune of any country, fupport a his mistakes had cost the country one war of which the expences were lo in- hundred and fifty millions of money, calculable? Was it likely that the dif- and rivers of blood! What muft be the ference had arisen from the increased feelings of those who knew that their price of prévisions, when the estimate mistake had wasted such a sum of huhad been made last year, during the man life and happiness. The mistake of
suppofing, that when the French made of the Executive Government, without a treaty with the King of Prussia, they the sanction or authority of Parliament. were incapable of maintaining the rela- When he went from the House last night, tions of peace and amity? In the decla- he had considered the different articles ration of the Elector of Hanover, the in the statement with the most minute
ministers of that Sovereign seemed to attention, and reflected that he was to be join issue with those of Great Britain. give his vote, “ Guilty,” or “Not Guila
The right hon. gentleman had faid, that ty”. The result of that consideration the Sovereigns who had made peace had impelled him to come down to the were not in a better state than those who House this day, determined not to Deep remained at war. The ministers of Ha- another night without protesting againit nover afferted the contrary; and they the measure; and, under the persuasion even declared, that one reason why they that he thould be guilty of treafon awithheld the Roman months was, that gainst his country, did he voie a single to grant them would seem to impeach shilling from his constituents without a the fincerity of the King of England, full explanation from the Chancellor of who was in negociation with the French the Exchequer. Of late, he said, the republic. By the operations of this day, House had heard much panegyric on the national debt would be increased to the excellence of the constitution, and 400 millions Sterling. If the hypothesis of the traiterous designs againt it; but of a great and eloquent "writer (Mr the greatest stabs and the most deadly, Burke) were true, and that the voice of wounds had been perpetrated by the the people prevailed in that House, how ministers of the crown, who had adopthad their wish for peace, which, fince ed measures in violation of it, and the deposition of Robespierre, was uni- trampled upon the exclusive privileges versal, been so long unheard, and the of Parliament. If it was expedient to attempt to negociate for peace fo long send money to the Emperor, on fatisfypostponed beyond the period, when, it ing the House of that expediency, it was certain, that we might have ob- would have been granted; but the tranitained better terms than at present ? action was fo directly in violation of the Mr Fox concluded by saying, that on constitution, and the rights of the Comanother opportunity he thould discuss mons of Great Britain, that it had no some of the topics more fully, and should parallel in the history of the country. make some inquiries relative to the pro- Great part of the money was transmitposed regulation in the Port-Office. ted, too, during the session, without the
On the resumption of the House, the flightest intimation of the propriety or several resolutions were agreed to, and expediency of the measure. The hon. the report ordered to be received next gentleman might think himself a better day.
judge of the exigency than the House. 8. Mr Hobart brought up the re- It was not his intention to argue this port of the Committee of Ways and point on reason, but by authority. The Means, which was read a firit time; and conftitution enjoins, that when supplies on the question that the resolutions be are wanted, the Commons of England hall read a second time,
be the fole and exclusive judges of the expeMr Fox opposed the motion. It was diency. The power was not, therefore, not, he remarked, his intention now to vested in the Executive Government, but enter into a detailed argument on the in the Conimons of Great Britain. To important subject of finance, as future maintain the converse proposition, would opportunities would occur for that dif- be equivalent to the argument, that an cullion in detail, and he intreated that arbitrary government is preferable to a every individual member would give the limited monarchy, and that tyranny is ftrictest attention, as the greatelt cxer. preferable to liberty. The danger of tion was requisite to put the finances in- luch a transaction was not confined to to a train of amelioration. This was not the present day. It might be urged as the point at present; the point on which a precedent, that in 1796, fo far from he meant now to animadvert, was the the supplies being voted by Parliament, application of 1,200,000l. to the Empe. the minister did not even deign to conror, announced incidentally last night, in fult, and that the minister had by conshe minister's opening speech, by order nivance, and in contravention of the
Parliament, fent money to the Emperor. been in the habit of hearing the right hon. This was not the only instance of con- gentleman's declamation against the fercealment: Yetterday was the first time vants of the Crown and the measures they we had been told the country was at adopted. It was not the first time, they war with Spain. The omiffion might be would recollect, he had made his stand be defended by the prerogative of his Ma- hind the last dyke of the constitution, not jesty, who was not bound to communi- the first time he had predicted the downcate his reasons for making war. How fall of our liberties, and the ruin of our far this reserve was gracious, he would bnances. The right hon. gentleman had not pretend to say, but when votes of declared his determination not to sleep credit were granted, information ought another hour until he entered his protest to be given. To grant fupplies to mini- against the adoption of the resolution fters implicitly, was resigning the power which he had tacitly agreed to the prece of the public purse, and all controul o. ding night. It was not a little-fingular ver their profigacy. The question was, that a limilar expression was applied to whether Parliament, having given · no the acts of the laît session ; and not many consent whatever to fuccours for the hours had elapsed since he had intimated Emperor, the House ought to make good his intention of moving for their repeal the money so given by ministers ? For at two months---for a repeal of those one, he should think it his duty to op- laws under whose existence he had de pose the second reading, and every_ar- clared he could not sleep a single night. ticle of Ways and Means, until the Par: It was likewise a little fingular that this liament should do justice to the coun- treason, to which the House were to be try. At a future period, if the House parties if they did not vote the supplies, concurred with him, he should bring did not strike the hon. gentleman fo imforward a motion, that ministers, in vot- mediately as to induce him to rise frons ing succours for the Emperor, without his slumber. It drew not from him last the consent of Parliament, are guilty of night, nor his hon. friend near him (Mí a high crime and misdemeanour, and a Grey), a little liable to occasional irritagross violation of the constitution. Not- tion a single apprehension of its alarmwithstanding the obnoxious and uncon- ing nature. That hon. gentleman never ftitutional bills that had been pafred, he spoke more placidly than he did last believed that the country would declare night, under this apprehenfion, of the the law on the subject ; for of all the termination of our liberties. This ap writings of Paine, and every other man prehension did not then prevent him who had been profecuted for libels, not from discussing to the minuteness of far. one was so calculated to bring the go- things; and it was not till now they had vernment into disrepute, and destroy discovered that the minister's fpeeeh was the constitution, as the conduct of ad- not replete with treason; but after agreeministration. If he weré sitting as a ing unanimously to the resolutions yefjuror on the libellous matter contained in terday, they wished to negative thofe rethe hon. gentleman's speech of last night, folutions which contained no treafonwhich, without forcing the constrnction, able matter, and called upon the House meant, that he was better able to judge to negative all supply to the Crown at à of the application of the public money period of war, and at the moment of nethan Parliament, he would not hesitate gociation. He could not but hope, that a moment to decide upon the maluıs aniif the hon. gentlemen were again to fleet mys of the individual. The last Session on their wrath, they might relent on their of Parliament, had considerablyabridged, resentments. The right hon. gentleman if not annihilated the liberties of Eng- had declared, that if the House concurlishmen, and if the house now fanction- red in his motion, he would afterwards ed the right of the Executive Govern- move an impeachment. One thing he ment to apply, ad libitum, the public begged to supplicate---if he really was money, what is there, he would ask, fincere in his declaration, let him pro in the constitution for which gentle- ceed to criminate ministers speedily, and inen ought to risk their lives and for- not purfue a line of conduct that muf tunes ?
ruin the country-let him revenge himMr Pitt arose under evident marks of self on ministers, and not on England; agitation: The Houfe, he said, had long but should fupplication be disregarded
he should appeal to the House, and throw traordinaries, which constituted an ad. himself upon the candour and justice of mitted principle. all who had the interest and happiness Sir W. Pulteney faid, the intimation of of the country at heart.
the minister yeiterday struck him as beMr Pitt next proeeded to vindicate his ing unconftitutional, and he wished exconduct from the charge of treafon a- tremely for an explanation. How far gainst the country. The practice, he the explanation was relevant, was not contended, of admiting year after year, for him to decide. The minister was the expediency of disposing of money, no doubt, in the right in defending him. not previously voted by Parliament, was self to the best of his ility ; but he rewithin the experience of every member probated the infinuation, that because in the House; a practice that bad ob- Mr Fox was in the habit of calling out tained ever fince the constitution had at- the Constitution is in danger, he is not tained its matured state, and this was to be attended to. In his opinion, the fuificient to deftroy the principle con- practical good of the Constitution hingtended for by the right hon. gentleman. ed wholly in the power of the Commons His objections were equally applicable over the supply. Votes of credit and to all votes of credit and exiraordinaries extraordinaries had been urged, by way for the navy, army, &c. and acted up- of analogy, as a justification of the point on, in what must be admitted the bett in queftion; but he would ask, was it times of the constitution, and fanction- ever heard that a vote of credit applied ed by himself (Mr Fox), when he was to an ally? The act was, in his opinion, one of his Majesty's ministers. The not less culpable than the manner of anquestion resolved into this, Can Parlia- nouncing it, which did not happen till ment commit a discretion to the Crown; there was no possibility of longer conand was the conduct of administration, cealment. But the House is not to go in the present inftance, justified in the the length of stopping the supply ! It was application of the money? To convince he said, the artifice of ministers to bring the House of the affirmative of this pro- the House into the dilemma, and then position, he would only beg of them to call upon them for the supplies, without recur to their late vote on the King's offering the least apology for wounding fpcech, in which they declared their the vitals of the conttitution. He hoped resolution to grant his Majesty fuch suc- and trusted that the House would express cours as the exigency of affairs might their disapprobation of the conduct of require. Could any man doubt of the ministers, by some marked resolution. expediency of issuing that fum, which Mr Grey spoke at fome length in reply had enabled the armies of Austria to give to Mr Pitt, and moved that the fecond a turn to the tide of affairs, and save the reading be put off till to-morrow. liberties and independence of Europe. Mr Wilberforce, Mr rorke, Sir P. ArWhatever may be the event, said he, Itruft den, and Lord Hawkesbury, spoke against I shall have no reason to regret the part I the motion. have taken ; at all events, I had rather Mr Flarrison, Mr Curwen, Mr W. Smith, be convicted for having used the discre- and Mr. Fox, spoke warmly in support tion entrusted to me in the manner I of the motion. have, than be acquitted for having with- Mr Basard, in giving his vote for the 'held the exercise of that discretion, fupply, wished not to be understood as which, if I had done, might have been voting for the money to the Emperor, fatal to the interests of the country. As a transaction which, in his opinion, meto the reft, I fufpend any obfervations rited the reprehension of the House. till the charge is made ; but in defiring A division took place. The numbers you to support the resolution of your were, for the amnendment, Ayes, 58 committee, I but delire you to avoid
Noes, 164 announcing to France, that you have surrendered your duty to your country,
Majority 106 and your faith to your King:
The resolutions were then read a reMr Fox, in explanation, denied that cond time, and bills ordered. Adjournwhat been urged
apr cable to X- ed.