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sition of the country. His Lordship then at great length commented on the leading points of the report; urged the necessity of the measure for the preservation of the constitution and the salvation of the country; and concluded with moving, that the bill be now read a second time.
After an animated debate, protracted till past two in the morning, the House divided. Contents 150; non-contents 35. The bill was then committed, reported, read a third time, passed, and ordered to be sent to the Commons.
Dissentient, Because it does not appear to us that, in the report of the Secret Committee, there has been stated such a case of imminent and pressing danger as may not be sufficiently provided against by the powers of the Executive Government under the existing laws, and as requires the suspension of the most important security of the liberty of the country.
AUGUSTUS FREDERICK, BEDFORD,
OFFICE'S CONTRIBUTION BILL.
Feb. 28. The House having gone into a Committee on the Malt Duty, and Offices' Contribution Bill, Lord REDESDALE rose, pursuant to notice, to propose an amendment. The bill contained a clause of a very peculiar description, stating, That whereas his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and many persons holding public offices, were desirous of contributing a certain portion of the incomes derived from these offices to wards the public service, it was enacted, that it should be lawful to give the proper instructions to the officers of the Exchequer to receive such contributions, &c. The contributions were to be voluntary; but then they would be voluntary only in the sense in which the contribution for beer-money was formerly raised among their Lordships' servants. When a new servant made his appearance for the first time, he was called upon to pay this beer-money; and if he refused, the process of hooting was resorted to, and they continued to hoot him until he paid the money. But he would not consent to be hooted out of his money, and he trusted that others would not be induced to be taxed in this way, under pretence of a voluntary contribution. His Lordship then proceeded at some length to contend, that men who held official situations frequently injured their private fortunes by the expenses which they felt it necessary to incur, and to which their salaries were in many instances inadequate. His Lordship therefore disapproved of the whole clause; but his amendment was negatived without a division.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM-RULES TO BE OBSERVED IN PRESENTING PETITIONS.
Friday, Jan. 31.-Sir FRANCIS BURDETT, having some petitions to present, praying for a Reform in the Representation of that House, acknowledged that he had not felt it his duty to read them throughout, but declared that he had read their prayer. The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER referred to the Speaker to know whether the Hon. Baronet had read the petition he was about to present, when
The SPEAKER said, there were two clear points on this subject; the first was, that it was the duty of a Member to state the substance of the petition he was about to present; secondly, it was the Member's duty to know if it was couched in respectful lan guage; if not, he departed from the line of his duty in offering it. This was the estab lished practice of the House.
Monday, Feb. 3.-Lord CASTLEREAGH presented a message from the Prince Regent, similar to that presented in the House of Lords.
THANKS TO LORD EXMOUTH.
On the motion of Lord CASTLEREAGH, votes of thanks, similar to those voted in the House of Lords, were agreed to.
COMMITTEE OF SECRECY.
Feb. 5.On the motion of Lord CASTLEREAGH, the House proceeded to ballot for the Committee of Secrecy, and after the prescribed forms were gone through,
Mr BRODGEN appeared at the Bar with the report of the Committee appointed to scrutinize the lists given in for composing the Committee of Secrecy, when, the report having been read, twenty-one gentlemen were named of the Committee.
Mr Rose moved to bring in a Bill for regulating Provident Institutions or Saving Banks. In reply to some remarks from Mr Curwen, respecting the increasing burden of the poor-rates, Mr Rose said that he felt great anxiety that it should not go forth to the public that the poor-rates would be considerably diminished by the measure he now proposed. He merely wished it to be understood, that as far as it went, it would tend to afford very great relief, not only by diminishing the wants and distresses of the labouring poor, but also by teaching them to rely in future on themselves for happiness and independence.
Feb. 6. Mr CANNING gave a history of the rise and extending power of the Goorkhas, with an account of the war, and its close; and concluded with moving votes of thanks similar to those agreed to in the House of Lords.
COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS. Feb. 7.-The CHANCELLOR of the ExCHEQUER having moved the order of the
day for the House resolving itself into the said Committee, observed, that he intended to propose only such votes as would go to the renewal of certain usual annual taxes, and a grant of Exchequer Bills to replace those which were now out. The several duties on malt, sugar, &c. were then moyed; as also that £24,000,000 be raised by Exchequer Bills for the service of the year 1817.
After some observations by Sir C. Monck and Mr Calcraft, the resolutions were agreed
FINANCES AND REDUCTIONS.
Feb. 7.Lord CASTLEREAGH (the House being in a Committee on that part of the Regent's Speech which related to the Finances), in an elaborate speech of great length, and embracing a variety of views of the state of the country-past, present, and prospective,-did not disguise or extenuate the present distress, but still maintained, that with the characteristic vigour and energy of the British character, and an economy pervading every department of the public service, we should soon be restored to our high situation among the nations. He then entered into a detail of the reductions of the national expenditure which were contemplated, making a total annual dimi nution, in all the different branches, of six millions and a half, and thereby reducing the current expenses of this year to £18,373,000; and that there might be a further saving of above a million anticipated in the next year, which would bring the expenditure down to £17,300,000; and that of this sum there was not more than £13,000,000 applicable to current services, for there were now paid in pensions, and half-pay to the officers and men in the army, navy, and ordnance departments, who had contributed to bring the war to so glorious a termination, upwards of four millions. A certain proportion of the pensions would annually be available for the public service by the decease of those who enjoyed them. A hundred thousand men were now in the receipt of pensions and half-pay. He had made inquiries as to what, upon ordinary calculations, might be expected to accrue annually from the falling in of their allowances. By assuming the medium age of 40, one half of the whole would cease to exist in the course of 20 years, making 2,500 annually; and, as the allowances are four millions, the sum becoming available every year for the public service, in the reduction of the public burdens, would be £100,000. In making up the estimates, a sketch of which he (Lord C.) had submitted to the House, Ministers were actuated by the most anxious desire to effect every possible reduction; to carry into effect every plan of economy that was consistent with our situation and security; and to bring the expenditure of the nation as much as possible within its means. His Lordship took a review of the general distress that prevailed all over VOL. I.
Europe; he praised the generous sympathy which bound all classes of society together in this happy land, and those spontaneous efforts made to lighten the burdens of the destitute, by sharing them. In the highest quarter, in the head of the government of this country, the same feelings and sympathies were shared that actuated his people. He not only sympathized with their distress, but was prepared to share their privations; and, from the spontaneous movement of his own mind, had expressed his determination to abstain from receiving, in the present state of distress, so much of the civil list as he could refuse, consistently with maintaining the dignity of his station, without doing what Parliament would disapprove of incurring.-(General Cheering.) His Royal Highness had given his commands to inform the House, that he meant to give up for the public service a fifth part of the fourth class of the civil list, which, it ought to be observed, was the only branch connected with the personal expenses, or the royal state of the Sovereign; for all the other heads of charge included in the civil list, except the privy purse, were as much for paying public services as the sums included in the estimates he had this night mentioned(Hear, hear!) That branch of the civil list amounted to £209,000; and his Royal Highness offered, out of this and the privy purse, £50,000—(Hear, hear!)-for the public service. His Royal Highness had directed and applauded the exertions of his people, he had shared in their glories, and now generously sympathized in their sufferings, and determined to share their privations. (Hear!) The servants of the Crown had resolved to follow the example of their Royal Master, and to surrender that part of their salaries which had accrued to them since the abolition of the property tax. (Hear, hear!) His Lordship came then to the last branch of the subject, the formation of a Committee, for the purpose of inquiring into the income and expenditure of the country, on the mode of choosing which, and on the duties they were to perform, his Lord expatiated for some time, and then concluded with proposing the appointment of a Committee, to consist of 21 members, "for the purpose of inquiring into the revenue and expenditure of the country for the years ending the 5th January 1815, the 5th January 1816 and 1817, and also for the years ending the 5th January 1818 and 1819, with a view to the investigation of measures for affording relief to the country, without detriment to the public service; and to report thereon, from time to time, their opinions to the house." Before he sat down, it would be right to mention, that he proposed the committee should be invested with full powers to send for persons, papers, and records, (Hear, hear!) that they should possess all the means of pursuing their inquiries to the bottom.
The noble Lord concluded with reading
the following list: Lord Castlereagh, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Ponsonby, Mr Bankes, Mr Long, Mr Tierney, Lord Binning, Sir J. Newport, Mr Peel, Mr C. W. Wynne, Mr Arbuthnot, Mr Frankland Lewis, Mr Huskisson, Mr N. Calvert, Mr Davies Gilbert, Mr Cartwright, Mr Holford, Mr Edward Littleton, Lord Clive, Mr Gooch, and Sir T. Ackland.
Mr TIERNEY, and many other members, delivered their sentiments at great length, both against and for this nomination, after which the House divided. For the Committee 210; against it 117.
Two other divisions took place, on a mo❤ tion to substitute other names in the room of Lord Binning and Mr Huskisson, but the majority decided that they were to stand as part of the Committee.
Tuesday, Feb.11.-Lord CASTLEREAGH, in reply to General Ferguson, stated that the Noble Marquis (Cambden) alluded to had resigned all the emoluments and profits of the office he held (Tellership of the Exchequer, and only retained the regulated salary of £2500. (Cheering.) The Noble Marquis had been for some time desirous of making this sacrifice, but as his office was in the nature of a vested right, and as he did not know what effect this surrender might have on others in a similar situation, he delayed till the meeting of Parliament. Seeing, however, the example of retrenchment and sacrifice set in the highest quarter, he no longer hesitated, and offered now all the emoluments of his appointment. (Hear, hear!)
Feb. 14. A great many petitions having been presented praying for a Reform in Parliament, most of them claiming universal suffrage and annual elections, as the ancient constitution of the kingdom, Mr BROUGHAM Spoke to the following effect: "Sir, I have in all cases gone as far as it was possible for me to go, to assist in opening the door of this House to the people's com plaints and I have done all that I could and not less than the Noble Lord (Cochrane) -to discountenance, as far as my little influence would allow me, any proposition which appeared to me to be calculated to impede, cramp, and hamper, the exercise of popular rights. (Hear, hear, hear!) I therefore put myself on my country, in competition with the Noble Lord, as to which of us has shewn himself to be the greater friend of the people of England. (Hear, heur, hear!) But, Sir, I will not shew my friendship for the people, by telling them falsehoods. (Hear, hear, hear!) I will not be a party in practising delusion on the people. (Hear, hear, hear!) I will not take advantage of the warmth of popular meetings,-a great proportion of the individuals constituting which are necessarily ignorant of the nicer points of history and antiquity,-to induce the people to sign such petitions as those
which have lately been presented to this House. (Hear, hear, hear!) Sir, I would not be a party in telling the people, (monstrous assertion!) that twelve hundred years ago this country enjoyed a free and perfect constitution.(Hear, hear, hear!) This, sir, is a specimen of the historical knowledge,of the antiquarian research,-of the acquaintance with constitutional law of these wiseacres out of doors, who, after poring for days and nights, and brooding over their wild and mischievous schemes, rise up with their little nostrums and big blunders to amend the British Constitution! (Laughter, and loud cheers.) And then, sir, we are pronounced ignorant and daring who refuse to subscribe to the creed of these true reformers, who know accurately what happened in this country five hundred years before authenticated history begins! (Hear!) and we are told, that he who will not believe the self-evident propositions of these gentlemen, which it is said are so reasonable as not to admit of the least controversy, are dishonest as well as ignorant and daring. The people of England have presented hundreds of petitions to this House. I believe above a million of people have declared to this House some opinion or other on the question of reform. These persons have been collected together at meetings, to which they flocked simply because they felt severe distress. They knew from their own experience, and from the nature of their sufferings, that they in a great measure originated in the mal-administration of public affairs. There is one conclusion, sir, which we ought to draw from all these considerations; namely, that severe distress is the real cause of this popular agitation; and that as far as the people call upon us for great retrenchments and some reform, the call is well founded, and must be heard. I heartily hope that it may be heard before it is too late, and that the people may by that means be taken and kept out of the hands of those who would betray them into misery a hundred fold greater than that which they at present endure." (Hear, hear !)
COMMITTEE OF SECRECY, Wednesday, Feb. 19,-Mr B.BATHURST appeared at the bar with the report of the Committee of Secrecy, to whom certain papers, laid before the House by command of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, had been referred.-Ordered to be printed, and taken into consideration on Monday next.
Feb. 21.-Mr CURWEN, in a clear and argumentative speech, took a wide and comprehensive view of the Poor Laws, in their origin, progress, and present oppressive magnitude. We can only give a few detached passages. The great evils were increasing still, and would increase much more, unless some remedy were applied to bring things back to their original state. We had, it was to be recollected,
become, from an agricultural, a commercial country. In 1776 the poor rates were stated at a million and a half; now in the course of forty years, they might be taken altogether at eight millions and a half. This monstrous sum must excite the deepest regret: but it was not merely the amount that was to be deplored, for the sum of happiness and consolation was not increased by it; but, on the contrary, there was an augmentation of human misery. Something must now be applied. He was well aware that the amount was so great that it was impossible to cut it down at once. We had, in the course of years, in fact tak en away the care of the people from themselves; and the result of this conduct unfortunately was, that they regarded the present time as every thing, and the future as nothing. It was now our interest and our duty, to endeavour to rescue them from this condition, and to revive and elevate their minds by the operation of some other principle. If we did not, we should lend ourselves to the destruction of their industry, their virtue, and their happiness. A foreigner must look with astonishment at the enormous sum of nine millions raised for the relief of the poor. Few foreign Sovereigns had so great a revenue for all the purposes of their governments. He could make his appeal to those gentlemen who were Magistrates, to say, whether the poor were at present happy, contented, and grateful! No! they must answer, that they were unhappy, dissatisfied, ungrateful to those who afforded them temporary relief, and without real comfort. (Hear ! They looked on every thing with a jaundiced eye, and discontent of mind. He had visited Ireland, and when he first saw the wretched Irish cabins, with the smoke issuing through the door, his feelings of disgust were so strong, that he turned away, desirous of not entering but when he did go in, he found a surprising revolution, and the least lookedfor that he could have imagined. He saw within the place the exercise of all the affections of the heart, while potatoes were the food, and butter-milk the only luxury. He thought the Irish peasant happier than an English pauper. He saw a proof that happiness was chiefly seated in the mind. The poor Irishman did not appear broken in spirit or degraded. He travelled a thousand miles in that country, making observations on the state of the poorer classes wherever he went. Nothing, he was convinced, was so dangerous to the poor as pauperism: yet there were not less than two millions of British subjects in that degrading condition. Could the House require a stronger stimulus than this afflicting consideration, to impel them to the application of an instant remedy! After ages of inconveniences had passed, the remedy could operate only by slow degrees; but still he must assume the possibility of its efficacy. It was not possible for the Legislature to
prevent premature and imprudent mar riages; but it must be their object to inspire the poor with some forethought of the miseries that might come upon an unprovided offspring. The great object of a proper Committee would be, to find means of shewing to the people their own interest and advantage, in taking their happiness into their own hands. He gave a melancholy picture of the demands in the shape of Poor Rates, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where one farmer, occupying 210 acres of land, was called upon to pay a guinea a day; and in Sussex, Shropshire, and other counties, he mentioned assessments at 18s. 20s. 24s. and 26s.; and even higher. After stating a number of laborious calculations, to enforce or elucidate his arguments, he said it was his intention to call on the fund-holder, the money-lender, and the trade of the country, to bear their proportion of the burthen; but it was his great aim to lessen the number of claimants, to reduce pauperism within narrower limits, and to restore to the mass of population that independent spirit, which would teach them to trust to themselves and their own exertions for support. After developing his plans and intentions, he moved for a Committee to be appointed, to consider the state of the Poor Laws and the Labouring Poor.
Lord CASTLEREAGH complimented the Hon. Member on the calm, deliberate, and judicious manner in which he had introduced this important subject; and admitted, that his claim on him for his general view of the subject was fair. He was anxious to support inquiry, as were all around him. Ministers would dedicate their time to it most cheerfully, as far as was consistent with their other avocations. His Lordship then entered into a most explicit statement of his view of the subject, which we regret exceedingly that we cannot give.
A Committee was then appointed, and ordered to report from time to time to the
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF SE
Monday, Feb. 24.-Lord CASTLEREAGH prefaced the measures he had to submit to the House with expressions of extreme regret at the necessity which compelled him, in the discharge of his public duty, to bring them forward; he then entered into a very copious analysis and illustration of the report, but without adding any thing material to the statements thereof, or disclosing the facts and evidence on which it was founded, assigning the same reasons that Lord Sidmouth used in the other House. In order to counteract and repress the treasonous practices now afloat in the country, the Ministers of the Crown deemed it necessary, 1st, That a bill should be passed, suspending the Habeas Corpus Act: 2d, For the more effectually preventing seditious meetings and assemblies: 3d, For extending the same legal protection to the person of the
Prince Regent as to the King; 4th, For the better prevention and punishment of persons attempting to seduce the military from their duty and allegiance. The last two he would propose to make perpetual; the first two only temporary, perhaps to the close of the present session or the commencement of the next. He concluded with moving for leave to bring in a bill for the more effectually preventing of seditious meetings.
The debate was long and animated; and on a division the numbers were, ayes 190; noes 14; majority 176. The bill was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Wednesday.
Lord CASTLEREAGH then presented a bill to extend to the person of the Prince Regent the statute of 36 George III. for the better preservation of his Majesty's person; and a bill to extend the 37th of his Majesty, for rendering more penal the seduction of the soldiery. They were both read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Wednesday.
LORDS OF THE ADMIRALTY.
Feb. 25.-A very long debate ensued on a motion of Sir M. W. RIDLEY, the purport of which was to diminish the number of the Lords of the Admiralty, which was lost on a division; there being for the original motion 152; for the previous question moved by Lord Castlereagh, 208; majority 86.
THE HABEAS CORPUS SUSPENSION BILL. Feb. 26. On the first reading of this bill being moved by Lord CASTLEREAGH, it was warmly opposed by Mr BENNET and other members. On a division the numbers were, ayes 273; noes 98; majority 175. In the course of the debate, the LORD ADVOCATE of Scotland said, that he was in
formed that a secret conspiracy was organized in Glasgow, which had communications with societies in England. That conspiracy was held together by means of a secret oath, which he read to the House:
"In the presence of Almighty God, I A. B. do voluntarily swear, that I will persevere in my endeavouring to form a brotherhood of affection amongst Britons of every description who are considered worthy of confidence; and that I will persevere in my endeavours to obtain for all the people of Great Britain and Ireland, not disqualified by crimes or insanity, the elective franchise at the age of twenty-one, with free and equal representation, and annual parliaments; and that I will support the same to the utmost of my power, either by moral or physical strength, as the case may require. (Loud cries of Hear.) And I do further swear, that neither hopes, fears, rewards, or punishments, shall induce me to inform or give evidence against any member or members, collectively or individually, for any act or expression done or made, or to be done or made, in or out, in this or similar socie ties, under the punishment of death, to be inflicted on me by any member or members of such society. So help me God, and keep me stedfast!" (Hear, from all sides of the House).
Feb. 28.-On the motion of the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, the bill was read a third time and passed. Ayes 265; noes 103; majority 162. Another division took place on a motion of Mr PONSONBY, that the act should expire on the 29th May, instead of 1st July. Against the motion 239; for it 97: majority 142. (To be continued.)
THE Prince Regent has been pleased to grant out of the funds at the disposal of his Majesty, £1000, in aid of the subscription for relief of the labouring classes within the city of Edinburgh and suburbs.
A useful discovery.-A machine has been constructed under the immediate auspices of the Lord Mayor of London, calculated to render the most essential services. Its object is to act in case of the overturning of carts, waggons, &c. heavily laden, when by its use an immediate remedy is produced, and danger obviated, in cases where horses become entangled, and their lives endangered. The application of the machine has been already proved to be instantaneous in
its effects. The experiment was made at the brewhouse of Calvert & Company a few days since, with a dray, on which were placed three butts of beer. The expense does not exceed 30s. From a conviction of its great utility, the Lord Mayor has caused one to be placed in the care of each of the watchhouse-keepers in the six princi pal districts of the city, viz. Giltspur Street, Fleet Market, Mansion House, London Bridge, Bishopsgate, and Aldgate.
2.A flat, yet lively contradiction. [To the proprietor of the Dublin Evening Post.] "Sir,-Having seen an account of my death in your paper, I request you will contradict it."