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fore, and must therefore confine himself to explanation.
Mr. Huskisson then rose, and moved an amendment to the following purport, "That there be laid before this house, an Account of the nett proceeds paid into the Registry of the Court of Admiralty, or to the Receiver General of Droits, of all property condemned to his majesty as Droits, either in right of his crown or in right of the office of lord high admiral, since the 1st of Jan. 1793, and of the balance now remaining therein."
not at all applicable to the present debate.
Mr. Adam said, he wished as much as any one that this question should come to a full and complete issue, and this could only be attained by procuring an ample and perfect account of the amount of those droits; and it was his opinion that the motion made by the hon. baronet could not attain that object. He thought at the same time that the amendment was capable of effecting it; but still he thought that was in itself defective, inasmuch as it did not go to the application of the money arising from those droits. Would that be proper at the present moment? He thought not, but that it would come with better effect after the house had obtained the amount of the fund in question. He was of opinion that the transaction which had been mentioned by his hon. friend near him ought to be inquired into, but not in this way. The droits of the Admiralty had been left at the sole disposal of the king; and in 1795, his majesty gave for public purposes the money arising from several Dutch prizes, which amounted to a million; and the house by their acceptance, had sanctioned the right of the king's disposing of those droits which way he thought proper. Still, however, this fund appeared to be too great to be possess
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in explanation, said, that so far from the amendment being a colourable pretence to weaken or curtail the effect of the original motion, it would have the direct contrary tendency; for the hon. baronet's intention would be more fully answered by it, than by the original motion. The hon. baronet wanted to obtain the fullest discovery of the amount of droits, and this the amendment would procure most effectually; and it would be only to wait a few days, and then he might, when he was in possession of the amount of this fund, move for an account of the application of it. He had before stated, that this fund, whether wisely or unwisely, was not then the question, had been left to the sole disposal of the crown. If, however, that house or any member of it was of opinion that this funded by any one without being subjected amounted to such an enormous sum as ought not to be vested in any one without the controul of parliament, and wished to bring the subject under the consideration of the house, such member had a right to move for such accounts as would be necessary to bring the question properly before the house. If the question arose out of the amount of the sums of which this fund consisted, then it was necessary to know what those sums were, and when that was once given, the next question would naturally arise, as to its application. As to the instance which had been mentioned of the hon.captain behind him, part of the cargo, which was his own property, became forfeited to the crown from a breach of the law in a case which the East India Company might have licenced, and in consequence of the services which the hon. baronet had rendered the crown and his country, also from his services while he was in India, it had been thought fit, under all the circumstances of the case, to remit the forfeiture; but the remission of a forfeit was nothing like a grant of droits, and therefore he thought
to the controul of parliament, especially if it could be shewn that there had been any instances of a misapplication of the money arising from it. He hoped, therefore, the hon. baronet might be induced to withdraw his motion, and let the amendment be adopted, which in his mind would more completely answer the purposes he wished to attain.
Sir C. Pole disapproved of both the original motion and the amendment, and proposed a motion of his own, by which the gross proceeds and net proceeds were required to be stated in distinct columns, &c. Alluding to the delay in the distribution of prize-money, he instanced an officer who had received, only last May, his share of prize-money, for a vessel captured twenty years ago.-The house then divided, when there appeared for the Original Motion 57. For the Amendment 82. Majority for the Amendment 25. List of the Minority. Baring, A. Bouverie, E. Bradshaw, A. C. Brand, T.
issue and payment of exchequer bills, and to correct the inconsistencies, which in many instances existed between the provisions of the old bills and the modern practice respecting exchequer bills. Besides, the 22d of the king could not be construed to extend to persons who were not contractors for procuring something for the public service, but merely agents for circulating exchequer bills; otherwise every holder of an exchequer bill would be disqualified for a seat in that house.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, the clause objected to was a verbatim copy of the clause inserted in every bill, since the first adoption of exchequer bills; and that it merely meant to protect the bank, as agents for the lending of money upon exchequer bills. No objection to this clause had ever been made before; no actual abuse of it had ever yet been imputed, during 60 years; and therefore he saw no ground for the present apprehensions. Ministers would not probably bring into that house the brokers employed to circulate exchequer bills.
Mr. Sheridan said, the enormous extent to which those bills were issued of late years, was a ground of apprehension, from the increased power this would give to ministers. He stated that, to many of the public offices, viz. to the Treasurer of the Navy, instead of cash, the sums to be disbursed for the payment of seamens' wages, naval expenditures, &c. were sent down in exchequer bills, with directions that they should be converted into money
Mr. Horner, adverting to the circumstance of the creation of a new place, that of paymaster of exchequer bills by this bill, and the establishment of new modes of contracting for the circulation of exchequer bills, said, he did not mean to object to either in that stage of the bill, but felt it his duty to call the attention of the house to one clause in the bill, which ap-by the regular treasury broker, Mr. Goldpeared to him of much more serious consequence. The clause he alluded to was that which exempted persons who might contract under the bill, for the circulation of exchequer bills, from the operation of the 224 of the king, which disqualified all contractors from seats in that house. He therefore should move to have that clause left out of the bill.
Mr. Huskisson shewed that the clause alluded to, had been copied verbatim from the annual bill, authorising the issue of exchequer bills upon the land and malt taxes. The clause extended only to protect the directors of the bank, with which corporation alone it was proposed to make arrangements for the circulation of exchequer bills. No new office was created by the bill, that of paymaster of exchequer bills having been in existence under the former bills. The object of the bill was to make permanent regulations for the
smid. Mr. Goldsmid's profits, by this species of brokerage, were enormous in the course of the year; and though he might have no objection to see a man of his respectable character a member of that house, yet he did not wish to have the field opened for others. He considered the clause as a virtual violation of the letter and spirit of the 22d of the king, which excluded from the house all public contractors. Ministers avowed, that this clause was merely to protect the Bank from the operation of that statute. They were already protected by another law; it was, therefore, superfluous.
Mr. Rose defended the clause as being precisely the same as had been always adopted in bills of this nature. The idea of influence such as rendered men incapable of sitting in the house of commons on account of contracts, could not apply to the purchasers of exchequer bills, unless
they were what might be called brokers of them.
Lord H. Petty opposed the clause, and said that the house should be jealous of all possible encroachments upon its purity and constitutional independence; and in compliance with the spirit of that act which excluded from parliament all public contractors, ministers were called on in proof of their sincerity, not to insist on retaining a nugatory clause for a purpose already provided for by another law.
Mr. Adam was of the same opinion. He gave a history of the act of 1782 by which contractors were disabled from sitting in parliament. The part of the bill which made exceptions in favour of the directors of the bank and other public bodies, was adopted on his suggestion. He thought. the clause in question an unnecessary act of power, which would create jealousy in the public, and produce no good whatever, for the bill would be complete without it; and therefore he recommended it to be left out.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted, that he saw at present no strong reason for retaining the clause, nor was he aware, until this night, that it was liable to any strong objections. However, he was willing to adjourn the further proceedings until to-morrow. He should, in the mean time, re-consider the subject, and if he saw no sufficient reason for retaining the clause, he should not then oppose its expunction. -The third reading was accordingly postponed.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, February 12. ACCOUNT OF SUMS ISSUED OUT OF THE EXCHEQUER.] Mr. Henry Martin, pursuant to notice, rose to move, "That there be laid before the house, an Account of all sums of money which have been issued to any persons between the 5th of Jan. 1793, and 5th of Jan. 1802, out of his majesty's Exchequer, or by the Paymaster of the Forces, without other account than such as should be rendered thereof to his majesty, or to the lords commissioners of his majesty's Treasury for the time being, specifying the persons to whom, the times when, and the services for which all such sums have been issued; together with a list of the persons who have rendered accounts of any of the said sums to the lords of the treasury, specifying the times when such accounts were respectively delivered,
and the times when any, and which of such accounts, have been passed." This was part of a motion which he had made in the last session, though he had, on the suggestion of the difficulty of making out the account in its more extended form, consented to narrow his motion in that instance. As it was material that the house should be in possession of every information respecting that part of the public expenditure to which his motion referred, he felt it to be his duty to bring it forward at this early period of the session in the whole extent of his original proposition. As he was not aware of any objection that could be made to the production of the papers he called for, he should barely submit his motion to the house.
A conversation of some length took place on the question being put, in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Rose, and Mr. Long, though they had no objection to the principle of the motion, yet put it to the hon. gent. whether, as this object was to be brought under the consideration of the Finance Committee, he would not delay pressing any motion upon it, till that committee should have reported thereon. They likewise stated, that to call for these papers, in this instance, when the different offices ↑ were engaged in complying with the precepts of the Committee of Finance, would be productive of much inconvenience, and even if they did order them, it would take a year at least to make the return to the order; that it was impossible, in many instances, to comply with the terms of the motion, particularly as to the dates at which the accounts had been separately examined, there being no entry in the minutes to that effect, and the practice having been, before the adoption of the existing regulations, for either of the lords commissioners of the treasury, as the occasion might serve, to examine any of the accounts given in to the treasury. They observed, too, that the order of last session had been complied with in 34 days after it was made, because by the regulations acted upon since the year 1802, the accounts were filed in the offices, and there was no difficulty in taking them off the file to return to the order of the house; but as no such regulation existed previous to that period, there would be much difficulty, inconvenience, and delay, in rummaging the offices in order to comply with the order of the house. Upon these grounds, they put it to the hon. gent. whe
ther he would still persist in pressing his | tion of their lordships to a subject, permotion at present.
haps of as much importance as any that ever came before them. It must, he said, have occurred to every noble lord, that the issuing of these Orders in Council had set up a new and unprecedented system of warfare, which, from the immense magnitude and importance of the subject, required the most mature deliberation. In calling their lordships' attention to this subject, he wished them to bear in mind five points. He must suppose, in the first place, that ministers previous to issuing these Orders, had satisfied themselves with respect to their legality, both as relating to the law of nations and to the statute law; he must also suppose, secondly, that they were satisfied that there was a justifiable ground for issuing these Orders; thirdly, that they were also satisfied that it was expedient to apply that ground; fourthly, that the manner and time of issuing them were precisely those which were proper: the fifth point was of a more trifling nature, but upon which their lordships, perhaps, might have a great deal of trouble; he meant the intelli
Mr. Martin, Mr. Calcraft, Mr. Tierney, and sir John Newport, considering the importance of having these accounts brought under the notice of parliament, thought that the motion ought to be complied with, as any trouble that might be occasioned by a compliance with the order of that house, would fall upon the servants of the public, in the discharge of their regular duty, and certainly such inconvenience was not to be considered in the exercise of the constitutional control of that house, upon all matters of account touching the public expenditure. If the return could not be made till after a long interval, then it was the more necessary that the order should be made to call for it so much the earlier. As to the investigation of the subject by the Committee of Finance, they had reason to think, that none of the accounts referred to in this motion, were laid before that committee; and though the papers could not be produced during the present session, that was not a reason why the motion should not be complied with. If the return should not be made this ses-gibility of the Orders. Before, however, sion, or according to the terms of the motion, it would next session, and conformably to such documents as might be found in the offices, and the hon. mover might in the next session, bring forward any proposition which it might be his intention to ground upon the return.-Upon an understanding to the effect of the latter state-tended to be executed. The American ment, the Chancellor of the Exchequer acceded to the motion, and an order was made for the production of the Account.
going into a discussion on these points, he thought it necessary to state the circumstances connected with the subject. On the 21st of Nov. 1806, the French Decree of Blockade was issued at Berlin. It was soon found, that however boasting the terms of this decree were, it was not in
minister at Paris, general Armstrong, having made an application to the minister of marine, in the absence of the minis[EXCHEQUER BILLS REGULATION BILL.] ter for foreign affairs, received for answer, On the house proceeding to the order of on the 26th of Dec. that it was not intendthe day for resuming the adjourned pro-ed to be applied to American vessels, nor ceedings upon the third reading of the Exchequer Bills Regulation bill, a short discussion took place between the Solicitor general, Mr. S. Thornton, Mr. Huskisson, sir A. Piggott, Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Horner, which terminated in the erasure of the clause objected to, and the adoption of an amendment moved by Mr. Horner, for confining the protection from the disabilities imposed by the 22d of the king, so far as the contracts under this bill might subject thereto the governor, &c. of the bank of England.--The bill was then passed.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Monday, February 15.
to interfere with the Treaty of 1800 between France and the United States. On the 31st of Dec. the Treaty was signed between this country and the United States, previous to which, however, his noble friend (lord Holland) and himself, received his majesty's commands to sign a declaration relative to the French decree, which was delivered to the American plenipotentiaries, and which was perfectly well known. Then came the Order' in Council of the 7th of Jan. 1807. It had been said, that this Order contained expressions which recognised the principle assumed in the orders of the 11th Nov.; he contended, on the contrary, that the principle of the former order was merely the rule of 1756, according to which the
to be apprehended that by attempting to starve France we might at length teach her to make those articles which she had previously bought of us? There could not, in his opinion, be a worse argument used than, that, because France had issued a decree against neutral commerce, therefore we were to do the same by way of retaliation. The French decree against
power, and it seemed as if the effect of our Orders in Council would be to carry that decree into execution by destroying the trade of neutrals. Was it expected to derive any revenue from this measure? he did not think the revenue to be derived from it would be worth 500l. We placed neutrals between confiscation and confiscation; if they went to an enemy's port without first paying duty here, they were to be captured by our cruizers, and if they came here and paid duty, then they would be confiscated if they went to the ports of the enemy. How, then, was it to be expected that any revenue could be derived to this country from such a measure, under such circumstances? There was something absurd in the very titles used with respect to this subject; thus, in the copy sent to him of the Orders in Council, they were stated to be the Orders for regulating the navigation of the seas, and now he had heard of the Continental Blockade bill. These were high sounding titles, but how would these measures
enemy was not to be allowed in time of war the benefit of trade which had no existence in time of peace; thus, the object of that Order was to prevent neutrals from carrying on a trade between the ports of the enemy, including under the term enemy, those countries under his influence. This was the principle of that Order, and no abstract expressions in it ought to be taken for the purpose of mak-neutrals could not be executed for want of ing it appear to have any other object which it had not. On the 17th of Feb. a message was sent by the President of the United States to the Congress, stating the satisfactory explanation, with respect to American vessels, which had been given of the French decree by the French government. In July a bill passed their lordships house for continuing the effect of the provisions of the former treaty with the United States, without comment or observation. On the 26th of Oct. the Message from the President of the United States to Congress again stated the satisfactory explanation of the French government respecting the Decree, as affecting American vessels; but 8 days before that, the 18th, there was a Note from Messrs. Monro and Pinckney to Mr. Secretary Canning, which was before the house, and which purported that they were satisfied with respect to the explanation given of the French Decree. Notwithstanding this, however, the Order in Council of the 11th of November was issued, and upon what grounds?-it was said as a measure of re-really affect our commerce? He observed, taliation but the justification failed, in- from the returns on the table, that the asmuch as the French Decree had not been exports from the United Kingdom, includexecuted. With respect however, in the ing Ireland, had, for the last 3 years, first instance, to the legality, he appre- amounted to 125 millions. What they hended that the Orders in Council were might amount to by the same period in in violation of the law of nations, which 1808, under the influence of these Orders, clearly prescribed that neutral vessels was a subject to him of anxious considerashould not be molested in entering the tion. In what manner did these Orders ports of an enemy, unless those ports were affect the West Indies? He thought that actually blockaded, or unless such vessels the obvious policy would have been to were carrying contraband, of war. He have precluded neutrals from trading in apprehended, also, that they contained a the produce of the enemy's colonies; and breach of the statute law in the trade this upon the just principle, that a neuwhich was allowed to the islands of Guern- tral had no right to a trade during war to sey and Jersey, and the Isle of Man. which he was not entitled during peace. As to the grounds which he had heard Ministers had, however, adopted a directalleged as the justification, or as provingly contrary principle, and had expressly the expediency of these Orders, he did not think that any one of them at all supported the measure. To talk of starving France, who was in possession of a continent producing every thing, appeared to him to be a most absurd proposition. How were we to effect it, and was it not
allowed neutrals to trade with the ene-