Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

1

trusted that the clain would be acceded to, founded as it was in justice.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed that an hon. Member opposite (Mr. Sheridan) laboured under fome mis. apprehension as to the eight fhips which were mentioned in the report, but were never brought into an English harbour. The fact was, that these ships Tiad born the Englih flag, and had been, employed in the Mediterranean during part of the year 1793: Ar the time the other thips were deltroyed by our feet, these eight vesels were destroyed by the bar!eries of the enemy. Under these circumstances they had been included in the general account; but he thought it necessary to mention, that the whole sum charged for them was not much above seven thousand pounds As to the application of the inoney, he wished the House to understand ihat the whole sum would not be issued in the first instance. It was meant that only sucii a lum should be issued as was sufficient for meeting the demands made out by principals or their relatives. The rest of the sum voted would remain in the hands of the treasury till wanted. He had only further to add, that the present measure was one solely originating wiih those now presiding over his Majesty's Governmeni. As far as Lord Hood was concerned, every thing was done in the face of day; and whatever blame attached to the measure rested entirely with Ministers. He refifted any further delay as quite unnecefTary.

Mr. Bankes supported the grant generally, but was against giving any allowance for the eight ships which had been re. ferred to, or indeed for any other part of the estimates which was not fully made out to the larisfaction of the House.

Mr. Johnstone denied that Lord Hood had it in his power 10 have taken the French fleet at Toulon, which was got possession of solely by a capitulation with the inhabiranis of ihe town. He did not admit that there was any thing on the part of Lord Hood which entitled him to fo large a remuneration as thirty thousand pounds, particularly at a moment when our annual expenditure exceeded fifty millions. He declared that he could not, on the grounds alleged, agree to the grant which had passed the Committee.

Mr. Alexander supported the grant, on the grounds of equity, policy, and expediency.

Mr. Burroughs was in favour of ihe resolution; the proceedings adverted to were part of the system of warfare, and surely,

ic

it was not for that reason the noble Admiral shoulil lose the right which attached to him in that capaciły. On principles of public justice, he concurred with the arguments of ihe rigfit hon, and learned Gentleman on the floor; it was clear in point of law, that the King's prerogative 'attached to such captures as those under consideration; nay, under such circumitances, the King might make a grant of them by his own authority; but Minilters coming to Parliament as they had done, were highly deferving of app:obation. ::

Dr. Laurence argued in support of ihe amendment. He'at firft adverted to the magnitude of the fum. He asked when it was that due reward was 'not given to those who merived it, in the way in which the noble 'Admiral did? He was ready to agree as to the King's right of granting, in such a case, by virtue of his prerogative; but the case brought before Parliament as ii' was, they thould have some better ground to go upon than a report of the Privy Council. He claimed as a member of Parliament, ihat fomne 'means should . be given of exercising their judgment upon that which they were called upon to grant.

He could refer to every case which occurred from the reign of Queen Anne down wards. It was unnecessary to have adverted to the repeated votes of thanks by that House to the noble Lord in question. He duly appreciated his meritorious conduct on the occasion; the more so, as he, in a greai degree, proceeded upon his own responsibility. The words of the Privy Council were, that some due rewards should be given; but if Parliament were to apportion those, some means thould be afforded them of judging what was proper. In this instance there was certainly a claim to equitable reward, and he wished it might appear on the face of the thing. He was averse to a general sweeping grant. He objected to the present mode of proceeding; at the saine time he considered this affair as by no means, i a personal ministerial question; neither had it any concern with the late Administration, He believed it resultert froin an application to the equity of the Crown, &c. as being originally grounded in no ftriat legal right.

The Attorney General observed, that in such a case, the King, by his prerogative, might have given the thips in the firft inftance to the captors; but in confequence of the mode of proceeding which it was deemed proper to adopt, the valuie thereof was propues to be given. Under the circumstances of this case, it was a matter of indifference, whether the pofleffion was achieved by capture or not, as it was of that Z z 2

nature

nature that was not diftributable under the prize act, fo that no right vested in the capior. He knew of no intance since the reign of Queen Anne, where a liberal remuneration had not heen given in such cases. In the present a number of years, il or 12, had elapsed since the event, and the King, in his munificence and liberalitv, was pleased to make a grant of the whole. All the circumstances were under the confideration of the Crown, and it was the royal decision that the whole should be granted...

The question being called for, the same was put, on which the amendment was negatived ; and the refolution of the Committee of Supply, that a sum not excecding 263,3wol, be granted, &c. was formally ratified by the Houle.

Mr. Dent notified his intention to move on Monday fe'nnight, for leave to bring in a bill to amend the act for railing the sum of 18 millions by way of annuity, known by the name of the loyalty loan.

The hon. Gentleman then presented a petition from cer, tain barley growers in the county of Lincoln; which was ordered to lie on the table.

Adjourned till Thursday next.

HOUSE OF LORDS.

"I HURSDAY, APRIL 5.

The Earl of Weftmeath, one of the Irish representative Peers, and Lord Grey de Howie, were sworn and took their seats.

Mr. Fowler, from the commissioners of the customs, presented an account of the balances and arrears due from the several collectors at the ports in England, on the 5th of Janury last, as far as the lanie could be made up. Ordered to lie on the table.

The bills upon the table were forwarded in their respective stages.

The order for committing the Scotch bank bill was dilcharged, and renewed for the next day.

The Earl of Dartınouth reported his Majesty's answer to a recent address of their Lordihips, reípecting thc produc. tion of certain papers, 'the effect of which was, that bis Majesty would give directions accordingly.

VOLUN

!

VOLUNTEER REGULATIONSBILL. The order of the day being read, for the House to resolve itself into a Committee upon this bill,

Lord Grenville observed, that with respect to a very im-' portant subject, forming a part of the present. bill, and which had undergone fonic difcuffion previous to the recess, namely the prerogative of his Majesty to call 'out the po-' pulation of the country, it was not his intention tu offer any observations upon it in the Committee, as he propored on a future day to bring in a bill upon the subject.

Their Lordlhips then went into a Committee upon the bill, Lord Wallingham in the chair.

The consideration of the preamble' being postponed, the Committee proceeded to discuss the clauses and provitions of the bill, and several amendments were proposed by Lord Grenville. One of these related to the exemptions. The nüble Lord obfei ved, ji should be clear and explicit, how' far the exemptionis,' in certain cales, were meant to be ex-: tended. This was by no means the cale, as the bill then food; as, to qualify for these, it was necessary that returns of certain attendances at exercise, &c. should be made at three diftinet periods of the year: the first of thote was on, or before the ift of January in each year, and the last was on the 21st of September. How a return could be made before the 1st of January in each year, was to him inexplicable, yet so it was provided in the bill; and with re. spect to those volunteers who did not attend the days of exercise, &c. until after the 21st of September, as numbers of the working people could not, on account of the harvest, or other neceffary occupations, great doubts obtained as the law at prelent tood. With a view to obviate thele doubts, and to place that part of the measure under fome systematic regulation, he moved an amendment to the efféct, that no volunteers included in the returns made between the ift' of May. 1803, and the Ift of May 1904, Thould be liable to any ballot which took place before the ist of August 1801.

Lord Il awkesbury observed, that what fell from the noble Lord chiefly referred to the principle of the bill, and not to any part which could regularly fall under the confideration of a Committee. The operation of the bill was for the most part prospective ; its object was to repeal the exifting acts upon the fubject; and to provide a system for the future regulation of the volunteer corps. He ditupproved of the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord

Lord Harrowby made fome observations upon what he considered as the total want of fyftem or consistency in the conduct of Ministers with respect to the volunteer corps, and adverted to certain parts of the bill in illustration of his position.

Lord King supported what had fallen from Lord Gren. ville upon the subject.

The Lord Chancellor vindicated the conduct of Government upon the subject in question. The noble Lord also took occasion to vindicate the conduct of ihe law officers of the Crown, with respect to the opinions given, &c. and with which undue licence had been taken; he did not mean in parliamentary debates, but in pamphlets, and other modes of public discussion, where these respectable Gentlemen had not an opportunity of defending themselves. He thought this rather hard. He observed, that on the occasion alluded to, the former course of practice had been followed. They should consider the impracticability of framing an act so as to meet every possible case, and to obviate every contingent difficulty. He renvarked upon the far greater facility to find fault than to amend.

Lords Grenville and Harrowby spoke in explanation, and severálly disclaimed an intention in what they had said, to reflect in the flightest degree upon his Majesty's present law officers : the latter Peer professed the warmest personal friendship for the learned Attorney General.

Lord Fawkesbury thought the course adopted with'respect to taking the opinion of his Majesty's law officers, as to the construction of the acts, was preferable to promulgating what might be the interpretation of Ministers thereof, and much more satisfactory to individuals.

The amendment proposed by Lord Grenville was negatived.

On the clause which went to authorize his Majesty to accept the services of additional corps of ycomanry or volunteers, a discussion took place.

Lord Grenville contended for the impolicy, in the present circumstances of the country, of increasing the number of volunteer corps, or of the number of men to which they now actually amount. He thought, fo far from entertaining an idea of increating the number of corps, a provision fhould be made for incorporating smaller bodies, so as to render the force in general more susceptible of lyftematic regulation. Under these impressions he proposed the omisfion of the words in the claule which enacted as above.

This

« PoprzedniaDalej »