« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
sincere and conscientious, from conciliat- were lying on the table of the house praying the people of Ireland by a liberal and ing for peace, was it becoming to shew an generous system of policy, at least not to indifference to peace, or to a subject so encrease their present irritation by a mea- materially calculated as the present must sure which might seriously affect their be to affect the situation of the persons so trade. He concluded with moving, "That applying? The right hon. gent. however, the house do resolve itself into a committee at the very same time had anticipated the of the whole house, on to-morrow se'nnight, answer to his own question, by supposing to consider of Trade and Navigation.' that he (Mr. P.) might say, that though The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, if these petitions had not been presented till the objections so repeatedly made to the after the passing of the Orders in Council, Orders in Council were only to prove vex- they had been prepared long before. This atious to himself, he should not much re- was his answer, and he thought it sufficient gard them. With respect to these Orders to prove that the Orders in Council could they were expressly laid before the house, in no respect have contributed to the for the purpose of some practica! measure grievances complained of in these petibeing adopted upon them. He had been tions. When, therefore, the right hon. of opinion that this measure should be the gent. stated, that the government of this imposing of certain Duties, and he had country was running a race of privations accordingly moved, that they be taken with our enemy, he could not sufficiently into consideration in a committee of ways express his admiration and astonishment. and means. The right hon. gent. had The privations which the people of this said, it was sufficient to satisfy him if a country suffered, arose from the measures fair opportunity was given for discussing of the enemy. The measures since adopted the measure. Now, he would venture to by this government were not resorted to say, that no man could have witnessed the for the purpose of running a race of priproceedings in that house without acknow- vations with the enemy, but to make him ledging that such opportunity had been abandon the measures he had adopted, afforded in the most ample manner. How and to cause him to feel what must otherfar these Orders in Council were agreeable wise have been alone felt by this country. to law; how far they were consistent with He, the right hon. gent. declared, if he policy, not only had been open to discus- thought the course pointed out better than sion, but had actually been repeatedly the one which the house already had, and discussed. On the first day, when he must still have, in the course of the difmoved to have them referred to a com- ferent stages of the bill to pursue, he mittee of ways and means, both these would not be withheld, by any idea of false points had been argued. It was there dignity, from agreeing to it. As he had open to any member of that committee to stated, however, the house had already move any measure he chose upon them, had full opportunities of arguing the quesand to endeavour, in any manner he tion, and three more would occur in the thought proper, to prevail on the com- course of the bill now before the house : mittee to adopt his view of the case. Sup- so, unless there was something in the obposing the committee to have been of opi-jection as to the want of form, which could nion that the Orders in Council were so impolitic that they ought not to be acted on, could there be a doubt that they might have refused to sanction them, and might have ordered such information as they deemed necessary to support the opinion they had formed? But the right hon. gent. said, that ministers had acted with unbecoming boldness in taking this measure, intirely on their own responsibility. He denied they had done so. He referred to the house if, on the contrary, they had not submitted arguments to the house to shew that the measure was justifiable in law, and consistent with sound policy. The right hon. gent. had said, when petitions with 30 or 40,000 names adhibited to them,
not be got over, he was of opinion the motion of the right hon. gent. was unnecessary. As to the point of form, he was thoroughly convinced there was nothing peculiar in a committee of ways and means, which precluded gentlemen from there discussing the merits of the measure, and as to the observation addressed to the chancellor of the exchequer for Ireland, he could only say, that he did not esteem that the proper course of proceeding, and should not recommend it to his right hon. friend.
Dr. Laurence said he should be happy if by the discussion of the present question one day of reflection could be gained to the house to consider of the ruinous mea
means. If so, he contended, that was not the proper place. To discuss the question with propriety three different heads presented themselves-finance, legálity, and policy. How was it possible that the two last of these could be at all considered in a committee of ways and means, where nothing but finance was cognizable? He should state a fact, which, in his opinion, was decisive of the question. In the year 1731 it was found necessary to change the duty on Irish linen from the fund in which it then stood to the aggregate fund. It was impossible that any thing could have a greater relation to finance than this, yet, by the advice of a gentleman who then sat at the table of the house, than whom none was ever more competent to point out the proper mode of proceeding, it was resolved that the house should in the first instance go into a Committee of Trade, to which it was properly considered that every thing relating to trade, though it might latterly become a subject for financial regulation, primarily belonged. He should suppose a case, that his majesty might be advised to make an alteration in our courts of justice, and to connect with such alteration a question of revenue. He would ask, would it be allowed, would it be borne, that such proposed alteration should be taken into con
sure they were about to adopt. Form, he was of opinion, should at all times be regarded; it was often the only barrier to oppose to rashness and overweening confidence. Was not the present a measure which went to overturn every part of the Navigation Acts? It was at the same time so much of an experiment that the right hon. gent. himself could not even give a name to the amount of the duties which it might be supposed to produce. If he could not tell us this, it was impossible he could tell us what the effects of the measure would be in other respects: and were we not, before we allowed every thing to be put upon the cast of a die, to inquire if it was likely to answer any good purpose? Something had been said as to the Petitions for Peace, now lying on the table. He was one of those who never could recommend such petitions, being satisfied that they had a tendency rather to put to a greater distance the object they had in view. But was it not of consequence that we should hesitate when such petitions were before us, and not run headlong into an act calculated to lead us into a new war, and that, too, with almost the only power with whom we were now at peace? Mr. Adam could not agree with the right hon. gent. opposite (the chancellor of the exchequer), either in the answer he had given to the speech of his right hon.sideration in a committee of ways and friend, or in the advice he had given to means? He felt himself called on to say, the chancellor of the exchequer for Ire- if the house laid it down that the measure land. He thought the house had com- in question had been properly taken into mitted an error which it should correct; consideration in the committee of ways and that it would commit another error if and means, and that a similar mode of it followed the advice of the right hon.proceeding ought to be adopted as to Iregent. as to Ireland. The Grand Com-land, it would lay down a principle which mittees belonging to this house were in- would equally apply to the Grand Comtroduced in the best days of our parlia-mittees of Justice, Religion, &c. ment. To involve the Committee of Fi- Mr. Rose thought the hon. and learned nance, or the means of making good the gent. had confounded the Grand ComSupply to his majesty, with the Committee mittees with the Standing Orders of the of Trade and Navigation, was to root up house. When there was any material inand destroy one of the most salutary privi-novation made, then it was proper that leges of that house. When any measure was to be brought before the house, they knew its different stages for discussing the principle and detail. But when Grand Committees were established,one additional stage was granted, attended with this advantage, that members were not limited as to the number of times they might speak on the principle of the measure in one sitting. The question was, had this been done in the present instance in the proper committee? It was said, it had been discussed in the committee of ways and VOL. X.
the measure should go through a committee of the whole house. Here there was no innovation: it was only a due exercise of the king's prerogative. He did. not say that the exercise of such prerogative was not to be inquired into by parliament; but here opportunities of doing so had been afforded.
Mr. Ponsonby said the practice of the house had been, that questions of navigation, trade, justice, religion, &c. should be considered by committees of the whole house. The right hon. gent. who spoke
the measure could never, there, be decided on with effect. In a committee of ways and means, nothing could be examined into which was not referable to duties. What his right hon. friend had said was perfectly apparent, that this was a question of the greatest importance, infinitely more so than that of a treaty of navigation and commerce. In the present measure all the world was interested; yet here we had neglected what we had done in cases of much less importance.
last had supposed that the present measure | business had been conducted directly in stood in a different situation in consequence the face of the regular proceedings of the of its flowing from the king's prerogative. house. It was impossible, in a committee He would ask, could any exercise of the of ways and means, to enter into the merits king's prerogative be figured in which of these Orders in Council, or to judge in that house not only was not intitled, but that place, whether his majesty had been even in which it was not absolutely bound properly advised in the exercise of his to interfere, in order to see that his ma-prerogative. The justice or propriety of jesty had been well and properly advised? Here his majesty had expressly referred the Orders in Council to the house. His majesty had not desired, or even suggested to the house, what sort of measures it was his wish should be adopted, but had simply referred them to the consideration of parliament. In that situation it became the duty of the house to proceed to the consideration of the business in the most regular and parliamentary manner. He should state a case from the Journals, arising out of one of the most unexcep- Mr. Tierney, in reply, did not deny that tionable and undoubted prerogatives of the house had had opportunities of discussthe crown, which he believed did exist, ing the question as to the merits of these and which he presumed to think was not Orders in Council; what he complained by any means so important in its nature of was, that they had never been allowed as the present-namely, the making of at an opportunity of deciding on them. In treaty, which sufficiently pointed out a committee of ways and means they could the mode of proceeding in such cases. have no means of deciding on any quesIn his majesty's Speech in the year 1787, tion. They could not command any he found a passage stating, that his ma- materials for that purpose, nor could they jesty had concluded a treaty of Naviga- effectually touch on any thing unconnecttion and commerce.with his most Chris-ed with finance, unless they had received tian majesty, and that he recommend-special instructions to that effect. It had ed to parliament to adopt the best means been said, that, there was nothing in this of carrying it into effect. How did par- measure contrary to the navigation laws. liament act in consequence of this refer- He would ask, was it nothing contrary to ence? Did they carry it into effect, as the navigation acts to force a vessel out of ministers had now done? Did they pro- her tract to this country, and then to tell ceed to bring in a bill directly? Or did her you may proceed to the place of your they refer the treaty to a committee of destination, but you must leave the most ways and means? They did neither. They valuable part of your cargo behind you? proceeded in the way that was proper and This he considered to be not only a noestablished. They resolved that the house velty, but also to be a novelty which was should, on a given day, resolve into a com- perfectly disgraceful to this country. He mittee of the whole house to consider so still maintained, that merely because the much of his majesty's speech as related to measure related to trade it must originate navigation and commerce; and they refer- in a committee of the whole house, and not red to that committee to see, if the king in a committee of ways and means. If the had been properly advised in the exercise committee of ways and means, where no of his prerogative in concluding that in structions had been given, would enable Treaty. On the 21st of Feb. following, all proper steps to be taken for deciding the committee of the whole house ap-on the justice and policy of the measure, proved of the exercise of the royal prerogative, and appointed a committee to prepare an address, notifying to his majesty their approbation of the exercise of his prerogative. They then referred to the committee of ways and means, for the purpose of enacting resolutions of finance. There was no doubt, however, that the
as well as on its financial merits, then he was wrong; if it could not, then he was right. He recollected a bill having been introduced by the lord advocate of Scotland, during the last parliament, for altering the practice as to Teinds in Scotland, in which the Speaker interfered, and put the learned lord to rights as to the form;
it being requisite that such bill, as affecting religion and also justice, should originate in a committee of the whole house. He conceived the present bill to stand in a similar situation, and he begged to have the opinion of the Speaker on this point.
The Speaker thought that the rules of the house were sufficiently clear on the subject, and that it was only the application of them that could be dubious. With respect to Grand Committees, near a 160 years had elapsed since any report had been made by one. The standing order of 1770 was the rule by which the house was now governed; that order said, that all matters of trade should originate in a committee of the whole house. It was true, however, on the other hand, that un
[ORDERS IN COUNCIL BILL.] The house resolved itself into a committee on the Orders in Council Bill. On the first clause of the bill being read,
Mr. Tierney took an opportunity of censuring the incongruity between the bill and the American Treaty bill, that had been recently passed, which he contended were in direct contradiction to each other.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, til these very few years the committee of that there was no inconsistency in the bills ways and means had not been so separately to which the rt. hon. gent. had alluded. The employed on ways and means alone as to American Treaty bill went merely to conexclude from their discussions every other tinue the provisions of an act that was subject. Now, certainly the practice of shortly to expire, and as that was a meathe house was, that not any thing should sure to which America was no party, and come before the committee of ways and contained a clause for its amendment or means but what related to the duties to be repeal in the present session, any alteragranted to his majesty. In that committee, tion which the legislature might think fit however, it was perfectly competent to to make in it could not be a violation of any member to use all the arguments and any engagement with America. The bill inducements, direct and collateral, which then before the house would have the efwere calculated to produce assent to or fect of repealing only one or two clauses dissent from the question agitated. Un-of that bill, whilst the remaining clauses doubtedly, evidence could not be examined in that committee; but should evidence be deemed indispensible, the chairman might report progress, and the house, if they thought fit, might go into a larger scope of enquiry.
Mr. A. Baring conceived the regulations in the bill to be a complete innovation of the navigation laws. It was a bill not of finance, for the right hon. gent. could not name the amount of the duties to be expect ed from it; but it was a bill of regulation and prohibition, which never could originate in a committee of ways and means. It was a financial measure in appearance only; in reality it was a measure of commercial regulation, and that, too, of the very greatest importance. He had only got the bill today, and hoped it would not be pressed forward this night; but that a committee of trade would be appointed to consider it.
it contained would still continue in force.After some further conversation the clause was agreed to.
On the clause enacting certain duties on Cotton Wool or Yarn, and Jesuits bark, being read,
Mr. Whitbread rose to move, that the words Jesuits Bark' be omitted. He did not think it very necessary to examine minutely the details of the bill, believing that it could never be executed, as a war with America would probably be the consequence. But he wished to mark his most decided disapprobation of the principle of the prohibition, as far as it regarded the bark. In the first place, the right hon. gent. was deceived in supposing that there was such a want of bark on the continent. He had said, that bark had risen in France from 10 to 70s. the pound; but that which bore the higher price was not the common bark, but the red bark, which was always dearer.
There was no reason whatever to suppose that the pressure from want of common bark would be such as to be an inducement to the enemy to, apply for peace. The continent, according to the intelligence which he had re
of the hon. gent. refuted itself. If France had the supply he asserted, France could suffer no practial inconvenience from the measure. The information upon which he acted, however, represented France as much in want of bark, and that there were
supply of that article to the continent. As to the policy of the prohibition, he should state that his object was, that as the exportation would be permitted by licence, under certain circumstances, France should not be allowed to receive that article, without taking, at the same time, other articles from this country. The effect expected, was to break down that barrier which France had raised against the commerce of this country. There would be no difficulty felt in obtaining any quantity of this article, the moment the enemy took off his prohibition from the importation of other articles; the inconvenience, therefore, which might be felt, was not to be imputed to this country: what difference, he would ask the hon. member, was there between this article and articles of necessary sustenance?
ceived, was weil supplied with hark, and with sugar for two years consumption, so that it must be a long time before the right hon. gent.'s scheme could operate. Sugar was cheaper there than it had been this time 12 months. Upon the view❘ which the right hon. gent. had of the sub-many orders received in London for the ject, therefore, his measure was the most childish and nugatory that could be conceived. In another view, however, it was most detestable, for it was a war with the helpless, the sick, and the hospitals,-one at which the feelings of all mankind would revolt. It was reviving the savage practices of remote antiquity, and substituting them for that modern civilization which rendered even war itself less horrible. Bark grew in our enemy's colonies, and though the right hon. gent, should send tens of thousands of poor sick persons to their graves, yet the enemy would have the means of a severe retaliation, for they might say, that we should have no bark from their colonies. But, did the right hon. gent. know so little of the science of medicinę, as not to have heard, that there were many substitutes for bark? There were many instances in history to illustrate the bad effects of an atrocious and malicious hostility of this kind, and the good effects of generosity. It was not very long since an application was made for bark by France to this country; and the answer was, that they might have as much as they could carry away. But this turned out to be a mere private speculation; for so little was it wanted, that the French government prohibited its entrance. He sincerely hoped that this part of the bill would be given up. If you prevented the removal of disease, you must, on the same principle, wish its increase; and this principle would lead to the promotion of pestilence, poison, and assassination. If it ence became the policy of this country to starve the continent, the evil, might be visited on ourselves. The ports of the Baltic were shut; and we were provoking a war with America, while we might be in want of corn. If we pressed this, they might say that we might starve; and reap in that fatal vengeance the fruits of our own detestable policy.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed that the arguments of the hon. gent. applied to the provisions of another bill which it was his intention to bring in, not to the clause under consideration, which went only to impose a duty on the exportation of Jesuits Bark. But the statement
Mr. Lushington stated the price of bark at Amsterdam, at different periods since Nov. in order to shew, that the price would not be enhanced by this measure, the price in Nov. having been 10s. per pound, and at the latest account, 25s. for the very best quality.
Mr. Herbert said a few words against the clause: he saw no insuperable obstacle to the restoration of peace, but the obstinacy of ministers.
Mr. Secretary Canning justified the principle of the clause, because, though innocent persons might suffer by its operation, there was no mode of warfare in which that was not the case. If the hon. gent. could devise any mode of carrying on war, by which the injuries would be made to fall not on the innocent but on the guilty, they would bestow a benefit on mankind. He was at a loss to distinguish the privation under this measure, from the privation of necessary support from the civil inhabitants of a besieged town. We were justified in retorting his measures upon the enemy, and on this ground we should be justified in the complete prohibition of the exportation of bark. The measure was not intended to promote the greatest possible degree of affliction amongst our enemies; God forbid! the object was to endeavour to bring the system acted upon by the enemy to an end. The statement of the