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Proceedings of Parliament.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Monday, March 7.
MR CANNING presented the corres
pondence between Mr Fox and Mr Windham, and the Earls of Rosslyn and St Vincent, and Lieut.-Gen. Simcoe, in August and September, 18c6. Ordered to be printed. These papers are six in number, and consist of the instructions of Mr Fox and Mr Windham to Lords St Vincent and Rosslyn and Gen. Simcoe, (who were on a special mission to Liston in August 18:6,) and their correspondence with Ministers while on that mission. They have been laid before Parliament, to prove that the late Administration gave orders to treat Portugal exactly in the same manner in which the present Ministers have treated Denmark. It appears from Mr Fox's instructions, that during the negotiation for peace between the late Ministers and the French Government, Talleyrand, to induce them to agree to his terms, had" informed our Ambassador (Lord Lauderdale) at Paris, that an army of 20,000 men was assembled at Bayonne to invade Portugal, and that the object of this invasion was nothing less than to dethrone the Royal Family, and destroy the very existence of the Portugueze Monarchy; the provinces of which were to be partitioned out, one part to Spain, and the other part, with the town and port of Lisbon, as a separate dominion, to the Prince of Peace, or to the Queen of Etruria." To avert these evils, Lord St Vincent was ordered with a strong fleet to the Tagus, and a body of troops were embark. ed, under Gen. Simcoe, to be sent after him. Lord Rosslyn was sent as negotiator, with directions to propose to the Court of Lisbon, first to take active measures for repelling the invasion by force, for which purpose the assistance of the British Government would be granted, both in money and troops. In case this should be declined, the next proposal was, to assist the emigration of the Court to the Brazils, and to offer Sept. 1808.
the assistance and protection of the British navy for that purpose. Should the Portugueze Government decline both these propositions, and seem to abandon all idea of resistance or escape, they were to be treated a Denmark has since been their fleet first demanded by sale, or as a deposit, and, in case of refusal, to be seized by force; for which purpose landings, if necessary, were to be made, and the forts occupied. Lord Rosslyn, on his arrival at Lisbon, was convinced by the Portugueze Ministry, that the assertion of Talleyrand was altogether false; that there were only 1700 troops at Bayonne, and these Italians; that Bonaparte had made no preparation at that time for the invasion of Portu
gal; and that our interference could on • ly bring down his vengeance upon that kingdom. As his Lordship's instructious had not provided for such a statement of the case, he thought it most prudent to confine himself to the first part of the instructions, an offer of assistance, which the Portugueze declined; and the English Ministry, being convinced that the information on which they had acted was false, ordered the squadron to leave the Tagus. The troops had never sailed from Plymouth. Tuesday, March S.
Sir C. Pole moved for a bill to enact that none but seafaring men should hold any office under Greenwich Hospital. The motion was opposed, on the ground that there were offices in the establishment that could not be executed by naval men, and negatived by a majority of 78 to 52.
Wednesday, March 9.
In a Committee of Ways and Means, Mr Percival proposed a resolution for funding four millions of Exchequer bills in the 4 and 5 per cents.-Agreed to. A long debate took place on the Oude charge against Marquis Wellesley. It was adjourned till Tuesday. Thursday, March 10.
Mr Canning presented a message from the King relative to the subsidiary treaty with Sweden, which was referred to
a Committee of Supply. He also presented a copy of the treaty. Mr Alderman Combe presented a pétition against the orders in Council from certain merchants concerned in the American trade, which, after some conversation, was laid on the table. A petition was also pre. sented from certain merchants of Liverpool against the orders. A division took place on a motion for hearing the petitioners by counsel-Ayes 66, Noes 99. A second, a third, and a fourth division took place, on motions for postponing the bill, for adjourning the debate, and for reading the orders. They were all negatived by large majorities.
Friday, March 11.
On the motion of Mr Dundas, a select Committee was appointed to inquire into the present state of the affairs of the East India Company. The Orders in Council bill was read a third time, and passed.
Monday, March 14.
The mutiny bill was passed, after a division on the clause for giving an option to enlist for life, or for a certain number of years-ayes 180-noes 116. Mr Canning presented state papers relative to the expedition to Constantinople. Lord Howick's instructions to Mr Arbuthnot were similar to those given with respect to Copenhagen. He was to inform the Porte that the British fleet came either to attack or defend, according to circumstances. The latter would be preferred, but as a condition, the Porte must strictly fulfil its treaties with Russia, reinstate the deposed hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia, and allow a free passage for Russian ships of war thro' the Bosphorus. The secondary points were the dismissal of Sebastiani, the French ambassador, from Constantinople, and the renewal of the treaty with England. In case the Porte refused to agree to these terms, the attack on the Turkish capital was to commence. Tuesday, March 15.
The adjourned debate on the Marquis of Wellesley's conduct to the Nabob of Oude was then resumed, and continued till seven o'clock next morning. On all the resolutions against him, excepting the last, the previous question was carried by large majorities. The last was negatived without a division;
and, on the motion of Sir J. Anstruther, a resolution was passed by a majority of 180 to 29, that the Marquis, in his arrangements in the province of Oude, was actuated by an ardent zeal for the service of his country, and an anxious desire to promote the safety, interests, and prosperity of the British empire in India.
Wednesday, March 16.
In a Committee of Supply, resolved that a sum of 1,100,000l. be granted to his Majesty to enable him to fulfil his engagements with the King of Sweden.
Friday, March 18.
Leave was given for a bill to make valid certain orders in Council for permitting the introduction and warehou sing of certain goods imported in neutral vessels, and for indemnifying certain persons for remitting the forfei tures thereupon; and also for permit. ting the importation of goods from certain countries where the British flag is excluded, in any vessels whatever. The object of this bill is the relief of the unfortunate inhabitants of Lisbon. A petition was presented from Manchester praying for the adoption of measures for a speedy and honourable peace. The bill to prevent the exportation of bark was read a third time, after a division ayes 73, noes 30.
Monday, March 21.
Another long debate followed on the Copenhagen expedition. Mr Sharpe made a motion strongly censuring it: Mr Stuart Wortley moved a resolution, warmly approving the conduct of Ministers in having undertaken it. Mr Sharpe's motion was rejected by a majority of 224 against 64. The motion of approval was carried by a majority of 216 against 61.
Wednesday, March 23.
Lord W. Russel reported from the Renfrewshire Election Committee, that Mr Macdowal was duly elected, and that the petition against his return was net frivolous or vexatious.
Friday, March 25.
The Attorney General obtained leave for a bill for the better execution of warrants issued from the Court of King's Bench in England, for the apprehension of offenders in Scotland, and for enabling sheriff's taking bail to transfer the bailbonds to his Majesty. Monday, March 28.
Mr M. Pitt, from the Stirling district of Burghs Committee, reported, that the sitting member was duly elected, and that the petition of Sir John Henderson was not frivolous or vexatious. Mr W. Dundas brought up a bill to regu late the trade between the Royal Burghs of Scotland and the Burghs of Barony and Regality. Mr Solicitor General stated it to be his intention to oppose
some of the clauses of the bill. A Com
mittee was appointed to inquire into Lotteries, and what further remedies might be applied to lessen their evils.
Mr Bankes obtained leave for a bill to prohibit, for a time to be limited, the granting of offices in reversion. (This is a revival of the bill rejected in the Upper House.) Mr Percival did not object to the bill; but, to compromise with the other House, he should, in the progress of the bill, propose, as amendments, not to prohibit grants altogether, but, in order to attach immediate responsibility to the advisers of them, to enact that no grant should be valid till advertised in the Gazette; and to ensure any retrenchment which the Committee of Finance might recommend, he should propose, that every grant should for a limited time be subject to abolition or alteration, as the King, with the advice of Parliament, should think proper.
Tuesday, March 29.
Another long discussion took place respecting the Copenhagen expedition, on a motion of Lord Folkestone, for the restoration of the Danish fleet on the return of peace. It was negativated by
105 10 44.
Wednesday, March 30.
In consequence of a motion of the Lord Advocate of Scotland, a statement was presented of the proceedings of the Commissioners of Public Records so far as regards Scotland, preparatory to the introduction of a bill for the greater se
curity and better preservation of the Records in Scotland. Mr Glassford brought in a bill for making and repairing roads and bridges in the county of Dumbarton.
Thursday, March 31.
Another discussion respecting the Oude question, and another decision approving of the Marquis of Wellesley's conduct-majority 80 to zo. Friday, April 1.
A petition from the City of London was presented relative to the rejection other House. In a Committee of Ways of the Reversionary Grants bill in the and Means, the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed that the future mafrom the Stamp-office and added to the nagement of the game duties be taken assessed taxes, for the more effectual means of collecting the same, and that woodcocks and snipes should, in future, be considered as game, so as to prevent persons from eluding the payment of game licences. The assessed taxes amounted to five millions five hundred thousand pounds; he proposed to consolidate the taxes under that head, adding two per cent. which would yield
110,000l. The resolution, after some
conversation, was agreed to. Monday, April 4.
Mr Biddulph prefaced his motion concerning the Committee of Finance, by maintaining, that the appointment of the Finance Committee should be pure from all suspicion. No person, he thought, who held any office, could consistently fulfil the duties of a Committee of retrenchment. It was inconsistent with every principle of the English law, and common sense, that a man's own cause should be committed to his own deci sion. It was a common and just rule, that interested jurors should be challen ged. He concluded by moving"That Richard Wharton, Esq. be excused from any further attendance on the Committee of Finance, and that the name of the Hon. John William Ward be substituted in his place."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, this was a question of peculiar delicacy, and that unless a specific accusation were brought against the Hon. Chairman, he, of course, would feel it his duty to oppose the motion. He denied, however,
however, that office was a disqualification to the discharge of duty. Against such an opinion he should ever decidedJy protest.
Mr H. Browne observed, that the Committee would lose a very valuable member if the motion should be successful.
The Hon. W. Ward trusted the House would do him justice to believe that he had not stimulated the motion. He rose merely for the purpose of express sing his wishes, that the Hon. Gentleman would withdraw his motion, or at least not press it to a division.
The House however did divide, when the motion was negatived 70 to 21. . April 6. Mr Huskisson moved for an account of the surplus of the consolidated fund for the year ending the 5th of April 1808. He stated, that such surplus scarcely ever before exceeded 3 millions, but in the last year amounted to 4 millions; he further stated, that the surplus of the last three months over the corresponding period of the last year was 600,000l.
April 7. The House went into a Committee on the Reversionary grants bill, when the blank limiting the existence of the act was filled up with the words, "for one year after the passing of the act,"-after a desultory debate noways interesting.
April 11. Upon the motion of the Lord Advocate of Scotland, the bill for the better regulation of the records of Scotland was ordered to be read a second time this day six weeks.
Sir Charles Pole moved an humble address to his Majesty that he would be graciously pleased to direct, that the appointments to Officers in the Naval Asylum be granted only to persons who had served his Majesty in a naval capacity. The Hon. Member entered into a long investigation of this subject, wherein he shewed that their situations were at present filled by persons who had never been in any naval situation. He thought it would not only be a system of economy, but provide for many deserving persons.
Mr Rose had no objection to an arrangement being made, to prevent hereafter persons who had not been in the naval service to these appointments.
The motion was then uegatived on a division, 71 to 46.
Monday, April 11.
BUDGET AND WAYS AND MEANS. The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose for the purpose of laying before the Committee the Ways and Means which would be required to meet the expences of the year. The Right Hon. Gentleman then stated the various heads of the navy, the army, the ordnance, Swedish subsidy, miscellaneous services, and other subjects, for which the supply had been voted, the total of which amounted to 48,653,170l. but from which was to be deducted 5.713,5661. being the proportion for Ireland.
The Ways and Means which were to be proposed, in order to cover this supply, were, 1st, the malt and pension duties, which he would take in round numbers at three millions. This was about 250,000l. more than it had produced last year; but he should take the surplus of the consolidated fund at so much lower than its actual produce. The advances from the Bank amounted to three millions and a half; the unappropriated surplus of the consolidated fund, up to the 5th of April, was 726,870l. The war taxes he should reckon at a rough guess at 21 millions, and he thought himself the more warranted in taking them at that sum, when it was recollected, that the duties to be levied in consequence of the orders in Council would be added to the war taxes.
The lottery he should reckon at 350,000l. which was somewhat less than it had produced in the last year. He proposed to issue four millions of Exchequer bills, towards the Ways and Means of the year. In addition to this, he should say about eight millions, which he would propose as the loan, and which was as much as he apprehended would be necessary for the service of the present year. When to these sums was added the surplus of the consolidated fund, which he would take at 3,750,0ccl. it would give a total of 43.076,000l. for the Ways and Means for the service of the year, which gave an excess of 187,000l. above the supplies. Although the surplus of the consolidated fund bad been taken at 3.750,000l. yet in fact it had exceeded that sum in the course of the last year by no less a sum than 726,8701.
The interest of the four millions of Exchequer bills, and of the loan for the year