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tation. The act to which he alluded was the one which suspended the 36th of Geo. III. By the law, as it previously stood, augmented cures, under queen Anne's bounty, were considered as benetices, and therefore subject to the same restrictions, The act of the last session went to repeal this clause. Much inconvenience and injury to the rights and dignity of the church had followed. Many persons continued to possess themselves of the emoluments of those benefices, who were legally ousted; whilst others, properly presented and duly inducted, were prevented from the exercise of their professional functions, and deprived of those profits to which they were entitled in right of their appointment. The right reverend prelate, then moved, That a bill for the repeal of the Curates' Suspension bill be then read a first time.
force. [Copies of the said Orders will be found at p. 126.]
Lord Auckland declared himself in no ordinary degree anxious to learn from his majesty's ministers, their intentions with respect to the very serious and unprecedented importance of these Orders. He wished first to ascertain, whether it was their intention to make any motion, or institute any proceeding, tending to explain to that house, and to the public, the meaning and object of the measures determined by these Orders to be pursued ? He felt solicitous to obtain this preliminary information, before he made a motion for some other documents, in his opinion, necessarily connected with the full explanation of these Orders in Council. It was impossible for him, or any man, when they contemplated the nature of the innovation made by these documents on the political and commercial interests of this country, and of the whole world, not to wish to hear from their framers the fullest, most perspicuous, and most speedy ex
The Lord Chancellor observed, that it was not his intention to oppose the principle of the bill proposed by the right rev. prelate. He wished to remind him of the peculiar way in which the houseplanation of their meaning, import, object, stood, with respect to this act of Suspen- and presumed effect. In seeking that exsion. At the close of the last session it planation, any wish to embarrass his mawas sent up from the house of commons, jesty's government was most foreign from merely as a measure of temporary relief his mind. He had given this subject a to the persons supposed to be aggrieved. great deal of attention, he had bestowed It was then recommended to pass the pre- much time on it, and called to his assistsent act, confining its operation to 40 days ance persons experienced in the knowledge after the commencement of the next ses- of that department to which these Orders sion of parliament. In that situation the referred, yet he professed to God, that he house stood, as to the present bill, and he was still totally unable to ascertain their was only anxious to ascertain, whether the nature or drift, much less to divine the principle of the measure, and of the relief remotest possibility of interest or advansought, would better be discussed upon the tage likely to accrue to this country from second reading of the bill, proposed by their adoption. Notwithstanding the unthe right rev. prelate, or upon any new intelligible manner in which these Orders question to be brought forward on the ex-appeared to him, he was still unable to piration of the 40 days?
The Earl of Lauderdale thought it highly proper that the fullest time should be given to the persons standing in the unfortunate predicament which the act of the last session went to relieve.
The Duke of Norfolk expressed his inclination rather to support a farther suspension for 40 days, than that the persons seeking relief should be surprised by any premature hurrying of the present bill.The bill was then read a first time. [ORDERS IN COUNCIL ] Lord Hawkesbury laid upon the table the various Orders in Council with respect to the new commercial regulations, which, during the recess, his majesty's ministers had judged it proper to advise his majesty to put in
suppress great and powerful feelings of alarm. He shuddered at the state of policy upon which this country was proceeding to act. Neither could he hide from his contemplation the danger of that precipice, to the verge of which it was so lamentably and so rapidly advancing. What was the ultimate object of the new commercial code, seemingly established by the joint consent of the governments of France and Great Britain?" It was mutual destruction. It resembled the efforts of a set of persons, whose chief object was to starve each other, and who, to obtain their respective gratification, were all pursuing the means of insuring the inevitable starvation of themselves. Such conduct could only be compared to the insanity of
maniacs, who cutting each other with knives across the veins, disregarded the positive injury that each individually received, and were only satisfied in consummating the destruction of them all. This was a dreadful state of things, and required on the part of their lordships, the utmost circumspection, before they gave their concurrence to the measures which tended to promote it. For his part, although the encouragement came from the most dignified and exalted source, he could not so far, in compliance with it, look upon the dangers of the country, either unappalled or undismayed. The news of that day, as connected with our relations with America, was replete with melancholy reflections. It was to him the source of very deep regret, stronger than he had, in the course of his political life, on any previous event, ever felt. He had still the personal gratification to review the line of conduct which he, and those with whom he had acted, had made it their duty to adopt towards America: conduct, that if persisted in, would have produced between those two countries the strongest bonds of friendship and alliance, without any surrender of the rights or any compromise of the honour and character of Great Britain. He again impressed upon ministers the necessity of an explicit and prompt avowal of the objects and meaning of these documents. In order to understand them, it was, in his opinion, absolutely necessary that a copy of the Declaration, signed by himself, and a noble friend of his (lord Holland) as plenipotentiaries of the British government, on the 21st of Dec. 1806, and handed by them to the plenipotentiaries of the United States, should be produced for the consideration of that house. These Orders in Council arose from, and were actually founded upon, that Declaration. Indeed, there was another document, the source and origin of all the subsequent regulations; but he was at present at a loss to know in what way or form such a paper could be introduced before their lordships, he meant the Decree of the French Government, dated the 7th of Nov. 1806. Previous to his offering any motion for those papers, particularly for the copy of the Declaration of the 21st of Dec. 1806, he wished to hear from the noble secretary of state, whether he had any objections to their production, and if so, what they were?
Lord Hawkesbury assured his noble friend, that it was the wish of his majesty's
government to afford to parliament the fullest information, consistent with their public duties, and to submit the whole of those Orders and regulations to the most ample and accurate discussion. In what way, or by the adoption of what proceeding, in the present stage of that subject, he was not prepared to propose. It had occurred to him, that as those papers were presented in another place, and were likely to be put in such a train of procedure as must in due time be submitted for the consideration of their lordships, the most desirable mode was, to await that period, under the probable hope, that the most beneficial effects would arise from suspending the discussion until brought forward in that shape, when if approved, their passing into law would immediately follow the discussion. However, it was competent for the noble lords on the opposite side to institute any other proceeding more compatible with their view of the case, and calculated to produce that investigation from which neither he nor his colleagues were in any degree inclined to shrink. With respect to the question put to him by his noble friend, he could only say, that the objection he felt to the production of the papers alluded to, arose solely out of considerations of form. The Declaration of the 21st Dec. had been the subject of much observation. It was much spoken of in public, and had experienced a good deal of notoriety, but as it was an appendix to a treaty never laid before that house, it was, in his view, out of the course of all form to produce it in a separate character. Not less so was the French Decree: government had got it in a way which all late administrations had considered official. It was received by them, inserted in a paper which stated itself to be the official register of the edicts of that government, namely, the Moniteur. At the same time, he could not see in what manner such a document could be brought before parliament. At all events, he was willing, with the consent of the noble lord, to suspend his ultimate answer for a short period, until he considered more maturely the grounds of the objections which then presented themselves to his mind.
Lord Holland thought, that though there was no official copy of the French Decree, yet that there might be some document received officially from the minister of a neutral power containing an explanation given by the French govern
ment, as to the objects of its Decree, and the intended mode of carrying it into effect. He wished to know whether there existed such a document ?
Earl Bathurst said, there was no official communication upon this subject. He denied that the Orders in Council would have the effect inferred by the noble lord (Auckland), or had any such tendency. Lord Grenville said, that what had been urged by the noble earl was an additional reason why further information should be laid before the house. He was not wholly unversed in such subjects, but with all the attention he could give them, he could not thoroughly understand their meaning or object. It could not be supposed that it was the object of those who framed them totally to destroy the commerce of this country, and yet, on reading over the Orders it would be difficult to discover that any other effect could be produced from them than the total destruction of that commerce. Were they to understand that, with a subject of this immense magnitude before them, they were to wait for three or four weeks until they received their lesson from the other house, before they obtained any further information, and before ministers explained to that house what their intentions and views were in advising the issuing of such orders? Were they to understand that ministers, after advising Orders in Council, which were a violation of the law of the land; after giving advice to the crown, which no ministers had ventured to give since the reign of James II.; when that monarch was advised that he had a power to dispense with the laws of the country; after doing what was a gross and flagrant violation of the law of nations, and of the municipal law; were they to understand that ministers did not intend to come to parliament for indemnity, or to explain the motives and reasons of their conduct? He thought that not an instant should be lost in obtaining full information, and coming to the discussion of the measure.
Lord Hawkesbury said, that there might have been, in some instances, connected with the Orders in Council, a literal violation of law, but the Orders themselves in their great object and views, were neither a violation of the law of nations, nor the municipal law of the land. As to any question of indemnity, if any should be thought necessary, the reasons for asking it would be stated at the time of proposing it. It was, however, competent to any
noble lord to bring forward a question upon the subject, which would be met by his majesty's ministers.
Lord Holland thought the noble lord had treated very lightly the idea of a violation of the law. He repeated his question with respect to the existence of any document of the nature he before alluded to, observing that it was understood some explanation of the French decree had been given to general Armstrong, the American minister at Paris.-No answer being given,
Lord Grenville urged the same question, and asked whether it was to be understood that ministers refused to give any information upon this point?
Lord Hawkesbury said, that no official communication had been received in the shape alluded to by the noble lord.-The intended motion of lord Auckland, for papers, was then withdrawn.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Wednesday, January 27.
[MINUTES.] Several Election petitions. were presented, and ordered to be taken into consideration on the following days respectively: Saltash, on the right, and Saltash double return, on the same days as former petitions of a similar description from that borough. Bridgewater, March 17. Westminster, March 22. Christchurch; and Dungarvan, March 29. Newry, March 31.
[ORDERS IN COUNCIL.] Lord H. Petty rose to put a question to the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer. That right hon. gent. had fixed a day for referring the Orders in Council presented yesterday to the committee of ways and means, but he had not stated on what day he proposed to move for leave to bring in the bill of Indemnity, which he had stated his intention to bring forward for certain acts done by ministers under these Orders in Council. It was desirable that the house should be apprised of the day on which this question would be brought forward, because, whenever it should be under discussion, the house would have to consider it in two points of view; first, whether the immediate necessity was such as to intitle his majesty's ministers to the indemnity they claimed, and, in the event of its being so considered, whether that necessity was sufficient to cover all the violations of law committed by them, in and under the Orders in Council?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did
not know what answer to give to the noble lord, because he could not collect what was the object of his inquiry. He had undoubtedly given notice, that he should, on Wednesday, move to refer the Orders in Council to a committee of ways and means; he had certainly declared, that it was not his intention to propose any bill of Indemnity for issuing the Orders in Council, because he was persuaded there was no illegality in the transaction. But there had been some measures resorted to in consequence of these Orders in Council, which required indemnity from parliament for those who had been concerned in advising and acting upon them. It was not an unusual proceeding to issue Orders in Council concerning matters, and he would beg of the noble lord to restrain his judgment till he should know more fully the nature of those proceedings for which it was proposed to apply for a bill of Indemnity. One of those was a measure adopted respecting goods imported on the occasion from Portugal. From the hurry in which British subjects had brought themselves and their goods, away from Portugal, it was found impossible to provide native shipping. They took advantage of neutrals to convey themselves and their property to Great Britain. It was thought but just to issue orders to the officers of the customs to permit those goods to be landed, and, as by the navigation laws they could not be legally imported, except in British ships or Portuguese vessels, it became therefore necessary to get an indemnity for the transaction. This was one of the measures which required that an act of indemnity should be applied for, and he trusted the house would be of opinion, that it was a case which intitled the persons concerned to protection. Again he had to repeat, that the Orders in Council were not contrary to law, and did not consequently require any bill of Indemnity.
Lord H. Petty apologized to the right hon. gent. for not having more distinctly put his question. He however did learn from the explanation given by that right hon. gent. that it was not his intention to move for an act of Indemnity to cover the illegality of any of the Orders in Council.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer again repeated, that he had never stated any intention to bring in a bill of Indemnity for the Orders in Council, because they
involved no violation of law, and could not consequently require any indemnification for the parties who had advised them. What he had stated was, that certain measures had been adopted under these Orders in Council which required indemnity, and it was for those measures that the bill he proposed to bring in was to indemnify the persons who had any share in them.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, January 28.
[VOTE OF THANKS-EXPEDITION TO COPENHAGEN.] Lord Hawkesbury said, he rose in pursuance of notice, to move a Vote of Thanks to the Officers employed in the expedition to Copenhagen, and in doing so he thought it would be only necessary to detain their lordships for a short time. This motion, he would premise, had no relation to the policy of that attack, it merely related to the execution of the service upon which that expedition was sent; and, were that expedition as unjust and unnecessary, as he thought it just and necessary, or as impolitic and unwise, as he thought it politic and wise, still he would contend that that would be no ground of opposition to a Vote of Thanks to those who had so ably and skilfully executed the services which that expedition required. In this case, he would put out of consideration the policy of the expedition, and confine himself to the manner in which its purpose had been carried into effect. The object of that expedition was undoubtedly of great magnitude and importance; that object was obtained by the skill and ability of the officers employed. The circumstances attending it were shortly these: In April last a large force was ordered to be prepared for the general purposes of the war, a part of which was subsequently sent to co-operate with the troops in Swedish Pomerania, When his majesty's government afterwards received intelligence of the circumstances attending the Treaty of Tilset, it was deemed adviseable to send a large force to Copenhagen, for the purpose of securing the Danish fleet, and preventing it from being used against this country. This force was got ready and sailed with the utmost promptitude, with a minister on board to negociate with the Danish court, and thereby prevent, if possible, the painful necessity of resorting to arms.
viscount Cathcart, knight of the thistle, for the judicious and decisive measures, which, after exhausting every means of negociation, were employed by him for effectuating the surrender of the Danish Navy and Arsenal of Copenhagen.
A junction was to be formed with the troops in Pomerania, the commander of which was to take the command of the whole. This necessarily took up much time, notwithstanding which, the fleet was off Copenhagen on the 8th of August. The attempts to induce the Danes peacea- Lord Holland rose to perform, what he bly to deliver up their fleet, having failed, felt to be a most painful duty, for painful the disembarkation of the troops com certainly it was to him to refuse his assent menced on the 16th. This necessarily to a motion of the nature of that made by took up some time, and was not com- the noble secretary of state. But as a pleted till the 22nd or 23rd. It was effected member of that house he thought it incumwithout opposition, but when disembark- bent on him to support its dignity, and not ed, our troops had to contend with be- to allow the highest honour it could confer tween 30 and 40,000 men in arms, besides on distinguished merit, to become a matter the peasantry. Even then, another at- of course, and to sink into a mere complitempt was made to prevent an appeal ment. These were his grounds for his opto arms, but this also having failed, ap- position to the motion, and he did not proaches were made against Copenha- imagine that any man would think so gen. The command of the army in the meanly of him as to suppose that his vote field was given to an hon. friend of his, on such an occasion could be prompted by major-general sir Arthur Wellesley, who any personal dislike to the officers in upon that occasion displayed all that whose favour the motion had been made, energy, zeal, and ability, which so con- Far was any such feeling from his breast; spicuously marked his conduct upon every what acquaintance he had with these occasion. On the 1st of Sept. the bom- noble officers was, indeed, but slender, bardment commenced, and on the 7th a but it was enough to fill him with esteem capitulation was signed; thus, in a period for their private character and professional of 14 or 15 days the whole object of the merits. He perfectly agreed with the expedition was completed. It was under noble secretary in the propriety of sepathese circumstances that he called upon rating the merits of the present motion the house for a Vote of Thanks. He was from the question of the political principerfectly ready to admit that so exalted ples upon which the expedition had been an honour as the thanks of Parliament, undertaken, and he would endeavour to ought not to be made too common, but observe that distinction. What he should ought to be reserved for great occasions. offer was on the nature of the service itHe contended, however, that if in this self, and on the claim it had to the discase the magnitude and importance of tinction which it was proposed to bestow the object attained was considered, and upon it. The noble secretary of state had the skill and ability displayed in the means dwelt much on the importance of the by which it was attained, it must be service, and on the skill, judgment, and deemed one of those instances which high-promptitude, with which it was performed. ly deserved the thanks of that house, nor did he see on what ground it could be opposed. He did not think it would be contended, that it was only the greater quantity of blood shed in an action, that entitled the commander to thanks, as, on the contrary, thanks were rather due to a commander who, by skilful and judicious dispositions, prevented the effusion of blood. He, therefore, relied confidently on the disposition of the house to agree to a Vote of Thanks in this instance. He could not conclude without adverting to the promptitude and rapidity with which the Danish ships were fitted and brought away, and the stores put on board. His lordship concluded by moving the Thanks of the house to lieut. gen. lord
As to the importance of the expedition, another opportunity would occur to deliver his opinion of it; but, in the circumstances that attended the execution of it, he could see nothing that was entitled to the honour of the thanks of that house. Granting that service was important; granting that it had been performed with the utmost ability, yet these circumstances alone were not of a nature to challenge and justify so high a distinction. Where was the danger, where the difficulties that were to be encountered and overcome in the performance of that service? Had it in it any of those brilliant traits that excite admiration and command respect Had it in it any thing that redounded to the glory of the country, or to render its