SPEECHES
}

SPEECHES
OF


THE RIGHT HONOURABLE


CHARLES JAMES FOX.


VOL. II.




THE


SPEECHES


or.


THE RIGHT HONOURABLE


CHARLES JAMES FOX,


IN THE


HOUSE OF COMMONS.


IN SIX VOLUMES.


VOL. II.


DEL


DE TOTO


LONDON:


Strahan :ma Preston,
Frio Ws-Street, London.


PRINTED FOR LONGMAN', HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
PATERNOSTER-ROW;


AND J. RIDGWAY, PICCADILLY.




CONTENTS


OF


THE SECOND VOLUME.


1782.
Page


Jan. 24. Mr. Fox's Motion for an Enquiry into the ill
Success of the British Navy .....................


Feb. 7. The Same ....................... • 0.• ...... ••• ...... ••• ••• 19
13. The Same 2 6•• ...... •I•
20. The Same 27
22. General Conway's Motions for putting an end


to the American War ...... ...... 29


March 27.
The Same
30


4. The Same
32


The Attorney General's Bill for enabling the
King to conclude a Peace or Truce with the
revolted Colonies in North America ......


37
8. Lord John Cavendish's Motion of Censure on


His Majesty's Ministers 39
15. Sir John Rous's Motion for withdrawing the


Confidence of Parliament from His Ma-
jesty's Ministers 43


2o. Change of Ministry ................ .........
46


List of the Rockingham Administration 48
April 8. Affairs of Ireland ......... ............ ...... 49


9. The Same
57


May 1 7 . The Same
59


7. Mr. William Pitt's Motion on the State of the
Representation


67
June 19. Lord Mahon's Bill for preventing,


Bribery and
Expence at Elections ...... .......... .....


69
July 9. Death of the Marquis of Rockingham — Resig-


nation of Mr. Fox Change of Ministry


71
List of the Shelburne Administration ...... gz


Dec. 5. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening
of the Session. 92


s8. Mr. Fox's Motion for such of the Articles of
the Provisional Treaty with America, as relate
to the Recognition of the Independency of
the United States Os" ts•e vas ......... es6 .. .... osset0 109




vi CONTENTS.


Page
Bill for removing Doubts concerning the exclu-


sive Rights of the Parliament and Courts of
Ireland in Matters of Legislation and Judi-
cature ************ n ••••• OI• ******** ••••••• • OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO et. 114


Feb. 17. Address on the Preliminary Articles of Peace ... 119
19. The Same 125
21.


.... ••••••.•-••••• .• •• ................


List of the New Administration .....................
27. Williams's Divorce Bill


April16. Terms of the Loan ....... ..... ....... ............




25. The Same
May 7. Mr. Pitt's Motion for a Reform in Parliament
July 4. Bill for regulating certain Offices in the Ex-




chequer
Public Accountants


Nov. II. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening
of the Session


Mr. Fox's East India




The Same




The Same




The Same
Dec. i. The Same




8. The Same




17. The Same
Copy of Mr. Fox's Bill for vesting the Affairs of


the East India Company in the Hands of cer-
tain Commissioners, for the Benefit of the
Proprietors and the Public


Copy of Mr. Fox's Bill for the better Govern-
ment of the Territorial Possessions and De-
pendencies in India


19. List of the New Administration
Change of Ministry - Earl Temple's Resig-


nation - Address to the King not to dissolve
the Parliament-The King's Answer




22. The Same
24.






The Same ............................... ..........................
II


1784.


CONTENTS.
vii


Page
12. Mr. Fox's Motion for resuming the Committee


on the State of the Nation 313
14. Mr. Pitt's East India Bill 324
16. The Same 334
23. The Same 335
16. Lord Charles Spencer's Motion for the Removal


of Ministers 343
20. The Same 348
26. Mr. Eden's Motion to obstruct a Dissolution of


Parliament 354
29. Mr. Fox's Motion to adjourn the Committee on


the State of the Nation 358
Feb. 2. Mr. Grosvenor's Motion for an Efficient, Ex-


. tended, and United Administration
365


Mr. Coke's Motion against the Continuance of
the present Ministers in their Offices


377
Resolution of the St. Alban's Association against


the Exclusion of either Party in forming a
New Ministry 381


IS. The King's Refusal to dismiss his Ministers -
Postponement of the Supplies


38720. Mr. Powys's Motion, That the House relies on
the King's Readiness to form an United and
Efficient Administration


397
"March 1. Mr. Fox's Motion for an Address to the King


to remove his Ministers
414


4. The Same 4275. The Same
429


8. Mr. Fox's Motion for a Representation to the
King on the State of Public Affairs


43125. Dissolution
of Parliament - Mr. Fox's Ad-


May


June


24.
25.
8.


dresses to the Electors of Westminster


Westminster Scrutiny ........,


The Same


The Same


437
437
443
451


.16. Mr. Alderman Sawbridge's Motion for a Re-
form of the Representation of the Commons
in Parliament
49018. Motion for a Repeal of the Receipt 495


27S3.


Jan. 22.


Lord John Cavendish's Resolutions of Cen-
sure on the Terms of the Peace


March 5. Coalition of Mr. Fox and Lord North - Re-
signation of the Earl of Shelburne -New
M inistry OOOOOO ••• ...... •••••••••• ........... **Op. .......


TheSame ......... ......... ............... ......... ......... .
TheSame ....... ..... .............,. ...............
The Same


6.
24.
31.


126


142
143
150
258
163
163
166
17o
171


175
182


185
IS.
20.
z6.
27.


Bills 196
214
218
220


237
261
264


283


291


304


303
307
315




CHARLES JAMES FOX,
(^


SPEECHES


RIGHT HONOURABLE


C. (S'c°


OF THE


MR. Fox's MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO THE ILL SUCCESS
OF THE BRITISH NAVY.


January 24. 1782.




HE first object that engaged the attention of parliament after
the Christmas recess, was the long meditated enquiry into


the conduct of the first lord of the admiralty. In pursuance of
the notice he had given,


Mr. Fox rose. He began with saying, that he was per-
fectly convinced of the difficulty of the undertaking, and
also of the general impropriety of instituting an enquiry into
the conduct of men intrusted with the powers and influence
of govermnent. It was always ineligible and at times dan-
gerous; for the men intrusted with the powers of the admi-
nistration had it in their power to rise superior to the
impotence of inquiry, however just ; and by means of the
influence and the strength of office were able to crush the
efforts of those who endeavoured to expose their misconduct.
Gentlemen were, therefore, averse from the institution of
inquiries, and they were seldom made, because they were
seldom productive of advantage to the public. In such an
inquiry the evidence was in the hands of the persons accused;
they had it in their power to manage it as they pleased, and
without the evidence of office, it was not to be expected that
any benefit could arise from inquiry. That influence, there-
fore, exerted in favour of a,minister to be accused, ought to
deter any man from accusing a person so shielded, so pro-
tected. But of all the ministers in the cabinet, there was not


VOL.




If


MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jam 24.


one more formidable, perhaps not one so formidable from.
influence, as the Earl of Sandwich : his situation gave him
the influence of a whole. profession ; as a cabinet minister, he
of course would find himself supported by the influence of his
colleagues ; but the noble earl had, independent of those two
sources of influence, another, which though not equal to that
of the crown, was a powerful addition to it ; and with it,
sufficient to crush any member who should bring charges
against him: this influence he derived from the East India
company.It was easy, then, to foresee that he was about to under-
take an arduous task indeed. But all this he was ready and
prepared to encounter in this case; at the same time that he
was convinced that this was not the way which, in more
virtuous and vigorous times, a subject of this sort would be
taken up. He was convinced that, as a prelude to an in-
quiry, he ought to move for an address to the king, to
remove the Earl of Sandwich from his councils. If there
was nerve, honesty, and independence in that House, that
would be ;he mode in which they would set about this busi-
ness ; but the evil effects of that influence which he had
mentioned were, that they had poisoned the understanding
as well as the heart of that House. Gentlemen forgot what
was right and necessary, and adopted, with their eyes open,
what was wrong and nugatory; such was the habit of that
House, that it would be an idle attempt to endeavour to
convince them that there was a manifest and an essential
distinction between a motion of removal, and an implication
of censure. Gentlemen had adopted an idea, that to move
for an address. to remove a minister, was to act unfairly ; that
it was to condemn a servant of the public unheard, and to
proceed to pass sentence without allowing him to make his
own


defence. Nothing could be more absurd, more flake,
and more foolish than this idea: but he wondered not that
it prevailed, for ministers entertained the same idea them-
selves. Being men of less property than official emolument;.
for such now were the extravagant incomes of placdmen,
that their salaries and douceurs must be superior to their
private estates ; they clung to their offices, and considered
them as so rich and valuable, that at last they blended them
with inheritance, and looked upon them as sacred franchises,
in the possession of which they were secured by the law of .
the land.The contrary of this the honourable gentleman particularly
insisted upon. In his opinion, there was no occasion to
criminate a minister, in order to address the throne for his.
to naval from office. It was sufficient that he was incapable,


1182.] .


THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY.
3


fortunate, or disliked. Either of these cases were


1:iiillo.° N,tling1,11 .in which there was perhaps nothing dishonourable,
to warrant an address to the sovereign for his re-


and in which there was frequently something very much to
the credit of the minister removed. The parliament had, at
all times, an undoubted right to request that any servant of
the crown might be discontinued merely upon disliking him ;
it was by no means unreasonable. Had a minister a right
to his place for life, as to a freehold? or was he only a
servant of the public ? If he was their servant, why should
the public have less power over their servants than private
individuals had over those domestics whom they paid for their
services ? If the public thought proper not to employ their
servants any longer, had they not a right to dismiss them,
without incurring the charge of injustice ? Undoubtedly
they possessed this right ; and whoever should urge that it
would be unjust to exercise it, must necessarily deny the right
itself:


He would go farther, however, and contend, that not only
it would not be unjust, but that in many cases, as in the present,
it would be expedient to exercise this right; for the moment
a minister ceases to enjoy the confidence of the public, that
moment he ought to be removed ; nay, though be should be
a meritorious servant, and an able minister ; for in every
government there must be a confidence reposed in the ser-
vants of the crown by the people; or else the business of the
state can never be carried on with any degree of success :
and though the people should be whimsical and capricious
in their dislike of any minister, yet it never could be con-
sonant to sound policy to keep him in office against 'the
opinion and wishes of the people. The public had long since
withdrawn their confidence from Lord Sandwich, (if he
indeed ever had been honoured with it,) and therefore for this
reason alone, if not for one of the thousand others he could
urge, he ought to be removed : he trusted, therefore, that he
should hear no more of the injustice and hardship of removing
a minister, without having first given him a fair trial.


Holding it, therefore, as a general principle of policy,that a 1110I10/1 of removal was the proper step to be taken, andpr
udentially deeming an inquiry, as he had already declared,


to be not the most fit measure to be taken with a minister
while in place; such was the situation of affairs, and such
tiiiifeenclitiaiiitotetis:isconduct and ill success of our naval force, that
he felt himself obliged, under all the difficulties, the obvious


othfattnwoinulciryduiattend his endeavours, to be himself
into the conduct of the Earl of1̀11(Isvicil• Thus knowinc, and avowing what was right, he


13 2




4 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24-


was about to do what he had declared to be wrong, at least
wrong in some degree. From what the noble lord in the
blue ribbon had said before the recess, when gentlemen talked
of the first lord of the admiralty, " that they could only
accuse hire before the inquiry, but would not charge him
with the same crimes afterwards," it would be expected, that
the noble lord should himself be the first man to bring on the
inquiry. It was very true that he ought to do so. But he
was not displeased that he had not done it, for if it had been
taken up by that noble lord, he should have believed that it
would be conducted, as every thing was conducted which he
took in band, with fraud or imbecility ; and that it would be
calculated either to do nothing, or to do mischief. There
was, however, one thing which would be naturally expected
from the mble lord, after so much boasting and gallantry;
that he should give to the House the means of a full and
fair investigation of the conduct of the admiralty. If he
denied the necessary intelligence ; if he withheld papers,
and starved the trial ; the House would then say, that he, and
not the persons who attacked Lord Sandwich, hazarded ex-
pressions which he could not prove, and was bolder in giving
the challenge than in fighting the battle.


It had been said of the Opposition, and it was a charge
`of which they must clear themselves, that they brought on
the inquiry, in order to preserve the Earl of Sandwich in
his place; for that if the Opposition had not strove to turn
him out, he would have been so long before this time. This
was a very curious charge. They had been said to be in
league with Dr. Franklin, with the Americans, and even.
with the French and Spaniards. They were charged with
having contributed to the independence of America; but
all this was nothing in comparison with the charge Which
was now alledged against them; that they were in league
with the arch enemy who had robbed us of so much valuable
dominion, — the dominion of the ocean. - Better would it be
for Great Britain, were they to have supported America,
France, Spain, and Holland, than to have linked with the
present ministry, without whose uniform aid Dr. Franklin
might have been wise, General 'Washington brave, Maure-
pas, De Sartine, and M. de Castres, vigilant, crafty, and poli-
tic, America firm, the house of Bourbon full of resources,
of vigour and of energy, and Holland proved a powerful
ally to the house of Bourbon in vain ! The honourable
gentleman spoke particularly to this point. It was said, not
by the gentlemen with whom he had the honour to act, but
by the very men, who, in case of a division, would rote in
favour of the Ear3 of Sandwich, that there was an obstinacy


1782.]


THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY.
5


somewhere, that would oppose whatever was undertaken or
suggested by the gentlemen in opposition : that Lord Sand-
wich would have been turned out of place, had not Opposi-
tion desired it; and that whatever plan was in agitation, if
it were a wise one, and approved of by that side of the
House, it would be instantly altered; if it was a bad one, and
condemned, it would be persevered in, and executed. He
could not tell whether there was such a spirit of obstinacy in
existence or not; but he knew that those men, who in their
hearts desired to see the Earl. of Sandwich out of place, and
who sincerely thought him incapable of holding it with honour,
or even with safety to his country, and yet came down to the
House and voted to save him, were too bad for any society,
much less for the important trust which they held, of repre-
senting a free people. It proved to him the truth of that
declaration which the House made on the 6th of April, f78o,
that the influence of the crown had increased, was increasing,
and ought to be diminished. But he desired it to be under-
stood and believed, that though they brought on the question for
an inquiry into the conduct of the first lord of the admiralty,
they had no intention of fixing him in his seat; if lie should
be secured by their endeavours to turn him out, they could
only lament that obstinacy which they had it not in their
power to subdue. They did their duty in warning their
country of the consequences of his administration of our
naval affairs; they spoke of his repeated errors and crimes,
exposed them to view, and endeavoured to procure his dis-
charge; and they did this in the honest and upright intention
of saving the empire from the farther effects of his miserable
system. He begged, therefore, that it might not be im-
puted to them, that they wished to fix him in his seat; nothing
was farther from their intention, and he trusted that those
gentlemen who had spoken as he had said, 'and who wished
for the good of their country, that the Earl of Sandwich was
removed from office, would now be honest enough to hold.
the same language within doors that they held without, and
act with the same vigour that they spoke.


The honourable gentleman now proceeded to the matter
of the inquiry. He said, that it naturally was divided into
two distinct heads; the one,- whether the first lord of the
admiralty had the means of procuring a navy equal to the
occasions of the state ? and secondly, whether he had em-
ployed the force which he really had to the necessary services
with wisdom and ability? As to the first, he did not mean
to introduce it into the inquiry


r
• for though it was very true113 ,


that there were many occasions, in which he could prove
that the first lord of the admiralty had neglected his duty in


13 3




6 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24.
this respect, yet, as it would require so much detail of proof;
and bring forward so many office-witnesses, witnesses all
under the patronage of the noble lord himself, he did not
wish to lead the House to this part of the subject. If the
inquiry was to be continued for so great a length of time as
would necessarily be required for going into that part of the
subject, he saw no probability of gentlemen giving it atten-
tion. There was an indifference in that House almost
invincible; and therefore the only prospect that he could have
of the inquiry being regarded was, that it would not be
tedious nor perplexing. If the first consideration was taken
tip, it must be so : there would be great difficulty in ascer-
taining the facts, and the Housowould be obliged frequently
to resort to opinion and speculation on which it would not be
fair to ground censure or punishment. But' though he did
not take up this part of the question, he begged that no gen-•
tleman would suppose that he thought the first lord of the
admiralty less criminal here than under the second head ;
he was convinced of the contrary. There were many egre-
gious faults, and such as every gentleman, whether intimate
With naval matters or not, must fully comprehend.


The navy of this country was confessedly inadequate to
our occasions. It was not the question, whether it was equal
to the navy which Lord Hawke left when he went out of
office, though he could prove that the fleet, at the second
year of the war, was not nearly equal to that of the year
175 9 ; but it was with the state of the French and Spanish
navy that the comparison ought to be made. It was the duty
of the first lord of the admiralty to prepare a fleet able to
cope with that of the enemy, whatever it might be; and
when he saw equipments going on in the French and Spanish
marine, it was his business, and it was his indispensable duty
to take the alarm, and exert the powers of this country for
our defence. Would any man venture to say that the means
had been denied him? Would any man venture to slander the
House of Commons with the charge of parsimony? Surely
none would. It might safely and truly be imputed to them
that they had been- lavish and wasteful, in cases where ex-
pence was not wanted, or where it was improper: but no
man would say of them that they had been fastidious or nar-
row; that they had denied useful sums, or crippled the ne-
cessary service. As the nation had felt ail the hardships of
extravagance, it might certainly have been expected that
they should have reaped also some of the benefits. This,
however, had not been the case. The Earl of Sandwich had
procured lavish grants; he had the command of the national
purse, but he bad failed to provide for his country a fleet


1782.] THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY. 7


equal to the necessities of the state, or equal to the strength
of the enemy. He had said, however, that he did not mean
to go into this branch of the question. The examinations
which it would require, would be intricate ; the accounts
given by men in office would be unintelligible to many gen-
tlemen, and would be rendered obscure to all, by means of
the artifices of the admiralty. He wished to confine the
inquiry to that which every gentleman would be competent
to discuss, and he Promised the House that there would be
ample matter for discussion.


The branch of the question then, to which he wished to
call their attentioe was, whether the first lord of the admi-
ralty had directed the force -of this country, with wisdom and
effect, to the necessary objects of the war? Before he pro-
ceeded to this he must clear a little ground. A doubt had
been raised about the nature and extent of responsibility;
knowing, and believing, that all his majesty's ministers were
guilty of the dismemberment of the empire, and of the cala-
mities with which we were surrounded, it was to him a.
matter of indifference on whom the consequences of the
inquiry should light; whether it should be the first lord of
the admiralty, or the first lord of the treasury, or on either
or all of the secretaries of state. He thought them all guilty,
and punishment could not fail to be just, if it fell on either;
but he must pay regard to the constitution. Our consti-
tution, then, pointed out the particular minister who was
bound to give advice to his sovereign in naval concerns, and
who was consequently responsible for naval measures. That
minister was the first lord of the admiralty. A subaltern
commissioner of that board, and which he once had the
honour himself to be, would be bound, if he should receive
an order, from a secretary of state, to send a number of
ships, with a particular commander, on any given expedi-
tion, to execute that order strictly and literally, without pre-
suming to examine the propriety or the wisdom of the mea-
sure. He could not argue on the point, because he had
not the means of judging. He knew not the grounds on
which the order was made. He knew not the intelligence,
and he ought not to know it, nor the facts, nor the argu-
ments, nor the reasoning on which it bad been adopted by
the cabinet. It was, therefore, his immediate duty to obey
the mandate; but if the order had been sent by the same se-
cretary of state to the first lord of the admiralty, the case was
very different. He, as well as the secretary, was a counsellor
of the king, and he knew, or ought to know, all,the-grounds




ognroNuvuliclswhich,1 the order was made. If; therefore, knowing these
he disapproved of the measure; if he considered it


4




8 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24..
as inconvenient or dangerous, it was his duty, and he was
bound to disobey it. It was a power necessary to his office,
to exercise his discretion in every measure which he executed,
since without discretion there could be no responsibility.
This was the true constitutional doctrine, and it was this
which would give firmness and stability to our government,
if left. unshackled by influence. But it was no wonder, that
a noble lord (Mulgrave) should by the circumstances of his
situation, his friendship, his familiarity, and other reasons,
he apt to confound the minister with the subaltern, and
speak with some confusion on the subject of responsibility,
since he might, though only an inferior lord of that board,
fancy himself, in the House of Commons,, the prime minister
of the Admiralty.


The honourable gentleman now entered into an enumera-
tion of the instances of mismanagement of our navy, which
had occurred in the course of the last five years, by which
the House would see what were the particular points to
which he meant to call their attention in the proposed en-
quiry. This he did with that historical precision and accu-
racy for which he is remarked, beginning with the com-
mencement of hostilities between this country and France,
and tracing the naval minister through all the series of his
measures year by year. We cannot presume to follow him
with correctness. He said, that as early as the year 1776
his majesty's ministers must have supposed that France
would interfere in our contest for America. He took this
for granted, because at so early a date they applied to his
honourable friend, Admiral Koppel, to know whether he
would take upon him an important naval command. From
this application he collected the circumstance of their ,appre-
hension of a French war, because knowing the sentiments of
that great admiral on the subject of the American question,
they could not presume to offer him an appointment to fight
against the Americans. He did not mean to say, that
because Admiral Keppel would not fight against the Ame.
ricans, those officers were guilty who had accepted of com-
mands against them. God forbid 1 Many gallant gentlemen
had been employed in that service from mistaken principles
of discipline, and some from an early conviction of the recti-
tude of our cause. lie only meant to say, that Admiral
Keppel, with his sentiments on that question, would have
been unpardonable if he had accepted of a command. The
ministry then knew so early as 1776, that the French would
interfere, and from that moment at least, if not before, they
ought to have begun their equipments to act with deeision
against France in the beginning of the war. At that time a


1732.] THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY. 9


very worthy and industrious friend of his, Mr. Temple Lut-
trell, knowing that the first thing a statesman had to do,
before he embarks in a war, is to examine whether his ,means
are sufficient for carrying it on, moved in his place, that the
navy of England in its then state, was inadequate to the exi-
zsencies of the empire. This motion, Mr. Fox said, he had
the honour to second; but, though obviously founded in truth,
it was rejected by a majority : ministers then boasted of the
formidable and still growing state of the navy, and parlia-
ment and the nation at large were given to understand, that
we actually had, at that time, a naval force equal to every
possible exigency of the state. At the same time the House
was told from the treasury bench, that if it were not the
case, it would be impolitic and dangerous to publish it to the
world. What truth there was in such assertions experience
soon pointed out, and the public found that the assertions of
ministers, and the flattering picture drawn by them of the
navy of England, were illusive. For so far had a noble lord
in office gone, (Lord Mulgrave,) that in the present session of
parliament he had asserted not only that we were inferior to
France at sea; but that it was in the nature of things
absolutely impossible that we should be equal to her, when-
ever she should turn her thoughts entirely to our marine:
here the illusion ended; and here we were undeceived by
ministers; the motion he alluded to, had this tendency, to
make ministers reflect beforehand, and consider the strength
of France and England, before we should break with the
French; and after they should have, by mature deliberation,
discovered what must be their own inferiority in a contest
with America and France united, to persuade them to make
peace with America, and, by so doing, either prevent the
war with France, or be enabled to bring our whole force
against her, and crush her navy at a blow. If this had been
done, that country, which used to be stiled the British empire
in America, might be, perhaps, independant; but it would
not have been French.


But the circumstance to which he wished to allude in this
matter was the bold contrast which there was in the language
of gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. In 1776,
before we went to war, it was declared to be impolitic and
dangerous to say that our navy was inferior to that of the
enemy; even if it should really be so, we must not venture
to speak the truth. But in 1 7 81, a member of the board of


the fourth year
declares in the face of the whole world, during


of a war with France and Spain, that our
navy was not only inferior, but that it must necessarily be
inferior to that of the enem y, at all times when the enemy




10 MOTION TOR AN ENQUIRY INTO
[Jan. 243


pleased. The gentlemen in opposition were blamed fog
giving improper intelligence to the enemy in the year 1776.
The noble lord of the Admiralty was, no doubt, praised for
giving them intelligence in the year 1781. It was dange-r, -
rous before we went to war to tell the French and Spaniards
what we thought of our force : it was perfectly safe to in-
form them of it when we were involved in a war with them,
and surrounded in a manner unprecedented in English history.
The noble lord talked of the despondency of not looking our
misfortunes in the face but mark the difference of the noble
lord's conduct and his words. We must not look our mis-
fortunes in the face, nor examine our situation with steady,
resolute minds, when examination would be advantageous,
because seasonable ; when by examination we might have pre-
vented the calamities that ensued ; but we must examine and
publish our weakness to all the world ; nay, we must go out
of the way, and without being called or solicited, inform our
enemies at the very moment when they are ready to attack
us in every quarter of the world, that we are inferior to them,
and must he so ! It seemed all the way through the present
administration, that the ministers, as if they had been really
the servants of France, thought only of the best means of in-
volving us in wars, but took no pains to bring us out of them
ag, iain. They kept their weakness concealed tillt was too late
for the people to know it, and then they were the first them-
selves to reveal it.


But they knew so early as 1776 of the approaching Am
rican war, and that we should have occasion to prepare for
the rupture with all the industry, skill, and zeal, which we
could exert. How did they do this ? They sent all the fri-
gates of England to the American seas, for the great national
purpose of destroyingthe American trade. This was an ob-
ject so much at heart, that they not only sent all their fri-
gates to America, leaving the European seas totally unpro-
vided with small ships, but they also employed the line of
battle ships during the whole of the winter of 1778 in cruiz,
ing, for the purpose of making captures of American traders :
even in the very moment when the treaty was signing between
France and America, were the large ships of Britain tossing
about in the seas, encountering all the dangers and injuries
of winter storms, for the sake of pillaging American craft.
What was the consequence? They were torn to pieces; and
in the beginning of the campaign, when Admiral Keppel went
down to take upon him the command of the grand fleet,
he found but six ships ready for sea, although it was a well-
known, notorious fact, that the Earl of Sandwich had, in his
place in the House of Peers, declared some weeks before, that


1782.3 THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY. I t


there were between thirty and forty line-of-battle ships ready
for sea. This plan of cruising in the winter had been the fa-
vourite measure of his majesty's ministers, and had contri-
buted more than any thing else to the lateness of all our ex-
peditions. by which he had always been behind-hand with the
enemy; 'for the consequence was, that from the damages
which they sustained, and which were almost inseparable from
a channel cruize, they were sent into dock to be repaired, at
a time when it became known that the French were arming
as fast as possible : had these ships been in readiness, which
they might have been, if they had not been employed in a
service that ought properly to have been performed by fri-
gates, we might have insisted that the French should have
immediately disarmed, or we might have fallen upon them be-
fore they were prepared, and so have crushed them before
they would have been able to strike a blow.


This was the cause of that shameful deficiency which Ad-
miral Keppel found when he went down in March, 1778,
and found only six ships of the line fit for sea. Thus, to use
an expression to which he supposed the admiralty would not
object, " a glorious opportunity was lost" of striking an ef-
fectual blow at the French navy, and crushing them by a
decisive stroke in the infancy of the war ; for had Admiral
Keppel been sent to sea with his squadron at an early period
of the campaign, what might not have been the conse-
quence ? Instead of this, he was detained, -as if this faithful
servant of the king of France, the first lord of the admi-
ralty, was waiting till the French were ready to meet us.
Then, and not till then, he sent Admiral Keppel to sea with
twenty ships to fight twenty-seven, an odds so formidable,
as, in fact, to endanger the very existence of the empire.
When he sailed with twenty ships, he was given to under-
stand that his force was superior to any that the enemy had
to bring against him ; and he believed them; but what was
his disappointment, what must have been his indignation,
at finding that the enemy, contrary to his expectations, had
twenty-seven sail of the line at sea ? Here they imposed on
their commander ; but it was their vanity in having a fleet
in the channel, that made them impose upon him : had they
been as di
nt as they were vain of this parade, they might
a


linehave had sufficient force under Admiral Keppel, to have
destroyed the French navy at a blow ; and thus have pre-
vented all the disgraces and disasters that have since -be-


iecaienitielcliigteince of the equipment of a squadron at Toulon
country some months before that squadron


was ready to sail ; it was known here that some persons-of




I


12 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO •
[Jan. 24.


distinction were to embark in it as passengers : this and a
• variety of other circumstances pointed out, beyond a doubt,
that America was the quarter to which this armament was
destined : and yet though all England knew this ; though
the preparations were public during the months of January,
February, March, and April, yet not a syllable of this had
been sent to Lord Howe in America till the middle of June,
at least the dispatches were dated the 6th of May. Nay, so
far had the ministers been from giving Lord Howe notice of
his danger, before the date of these dispatches, that they
had even sent him orders to detach a part of his force to the
West Indies. He was just preparing to execute this order,
when he heard, but not from ministry, of the expected ar-
rival of Count d'Estaing in those seas. He then, with that
manly foresight, which distinguishes an able commander;
kept his force together, and by a singular effort of genius
vtnd naval skill, preserved his fleet and the army by an ar-
rangement which would place his name among the most cele-
brated of our British admirals. Such were the dispositions
made by his lordship, such the spirit and abilities displayed
by him against Count d'Estaing, that he defeated that officer
with a very inferior force ; or if he did not literally gain
a victory over him, at least he gained the substance of one ;
fortunately, indeed, for his own honour, but unfortunately-,
perhaps, for this country ; for if the army that was saved by
this victory had been captured, we should not at this day
have such a load of debt upon our shoulders and have lost so
many armies, for our ministers would have been obliged to
make peace with America. By the winter's cruize of our
two-deck ships in the Channel, and the subsequent repairs,
Admiral Byron was prevented from sailing time enough to
dispute the passage of the ,


Mediterranean with Count
d'Estaing ; and the same cause continuing to operate, together
with the absurdity of our ministers, we were not able after,
wards to prevent the sailing of M. de Grasse and M. de Ia
Motte Piquet, with reinforcements to Count d'Estaing ;
the consequence was, that Admiral Byron had the mortifi-
cation to arrive time enougheto see Grenada taken, our most
valuable settlement in the 'West Indies after Jamaica. As
dilatory in instructing and strengthening the hands of their
officers abroad, as they were in fitting oat the ships at home,
the ministers had ordered Admiral Barrington to wait at Bar-
badoes till he should be reinforced : he, too, from superior
information, ventured to disobey these orders, and saved St.
Lucia ; but so slow were ministers in sending out reinforce-
ments. that had Commodore Hotham arrived only one day
-later than he did, St. Lucia would have been lost : he de-


1782.] .THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY.


fended it, indeed, in a manner which would do him and his
country honour, while bravery and abilities should be es-
teemed in the world: he defended the island with a force
more than three times less than that of the enemy ; and yet,
exclaimed Mr. Fox, Admiral Barrington is now on shore !
He must speak a little on that circumstance. The admiral
was said to have come on shore because he would not accept
of the principal command of the fleet.


When he had spoken in debate of the number of brave
officers who were driven by the Earl of Sandwich from the
service, and it had been a subject of conversation, Lord Howe
desired that no gentleman would give reasons fbr his conduct.
This had been erroneously supposed to apply to what had fal-
len from him. In fact, it came from the noble lord on ac-
count of the reason which Lord Lisburne gave fbr Admiral •
Barrington's retiring; it was, his lordship said, because he
had weak nerves. This gave a pretty good idea of the reason
of so many brave men withdrawing themselves from the ser-
vice. Had Admiral Barrington weak nerves ? He had not
weak nerves, when, with five ships of the line, he stood and
beat off fifteen of the enemy. But he whose nerves were
not weak when he met a host of foes, shrunk from a closer
interview, and a responsible coiinection with the Earl of Sand-
wich. Admiral Barrington was a man, from whose connec-
tions it might be expected that he would not be unfriendly to
ministry, but yet he had apprehensions of the Earl of Sand-
wich. This was the cause of so many brave men retiring.
This was the cause of their choosing to withdraw themselves
from a post where they had greater enemies to meet than the
French and Spaniards. They showed us that there was a
man at the head of our naval affairs, whose quality and cun-
ning it was to make even bravery useless to his country.


The year 1 77 9 presented us with a repetition of the plan
and misconduct of I773. Late eruizing in the winter pre-
vented early equipments in the campaign. The Spanish war
broke out, and the first lord of the admiralty, as if he wished
only to fight the battles of our enemies, never once attempted
to prevent the French and Spaniards from meeting, joining,
and insulting us in the channel. Sir Charles hardy was sent
to sea without instructions to prevent the junction of the ene-
my, and it was only Providence, our good great Ally,
that saved us, by sending an eastern wind, and a distemper,
tboutd:hveleneth enemy from our doors. Sir Charles Hardy stole
along the French coast in order to avoid seeing the enemy,


got into Torbay, and the Earl of Sandwich was
Perfectly assured that the enemy was safe in Brest water, he
cOmmenced his exertions, and all was hurry and confusion at




1 4 iVOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24.
the dock-yards, that hurry which he constantly mistakes for
diligence; and when the clamour ran high, and the people
felt the indignity that had been offered to them, he promised
them that they should have a good account of the enemy.
The next piece of misconduct was in the manner of dispatch-
ing Admiral Rodney to the West Inches. A French squadron
under Count de &Michell, had sailed for that destination, and
very galarmin appearances ensued. It was exceedingly ne-
Cessary that


r ing
George should be there as soon as possible.


In order therefore to facilitate his passage, he is sent to relieve
Gibraltar, by which he is detained a considerable time, and
the enemy


are left in the quiet enjoyment of this opportunity
of reinforcing the squadron at Martinique. We had it in
Our power to have got the start of De Guichen, for the fleet
which was dispatched straight, arrived in the \Vest Indies be-
fore the French squadron. We might therefore have inter-
cepted their passage, and fought them separate. It was true
that Sir George Rodney's squadron destroyed nine- of the
enemy's ships, a capital advantage, and indeed the only thing
that had the consequences of a victory through the whole
war; but were ministers to be praised for what they did not
contrive, and what they did not foresee ? It was Providence
again, and the bravery of Sir George Rodney's fleet, but not
:die Earl of Sandwich that gave us that advantage. In the
West Indies the French and Spaniards formed a junction,
and Sir George Rodney, who is fond of promising to give a
good account, and not very apt to be depressed by the mis-
fortunes of his country, fairly owned that he durst not meet
them. Here, then, ruin stared us in the face, every one of
our islands lay at the mercy of our enemy; but there seemed,
said the honourable gentleman, to be a Lord Sandwich in
their councils, and Cod grant that there may always be a
Lord Sandwich in their councils! They met, and separated
without doing any thing.


The year 173o was remarkable for the capture of an im-
mense fleet of merchantmen and transports under Commodore
Moutray, and the circumstances of the case were striking :
they gave another suspicion among all the other parts of Lord.
Sandwich's conduct, that he was intent on doing good and
faithful service to his masters of the House of Bourbon. At
least if they had been his masters, it could not have been more
consistent with duty to have ordered Captain Moutray to de--
liver up his invaluable convoy to the jaws of the enemy, than
to do as he had done; for at the very moment when he knew
that the Spanish fleet were cruizing off the coast of Spain he
ordered Captain Moutray_to rendezvous at Madeira; that is
to say, to go in the very track where he would fall it with,


1782.] THE ILL SUCCESS OP THE NAVY. IS


the enemy. In this year again the same fault was observable
with respect to late sailing. No attempt was made either to
prevent the fleets from joining, or to prevent the sailing of
M. Ternay for America with that military force which had
lately captured the army of Earl Cornwallis. The same
scheme of bombastic gasconade still prevailed, and ships and
fleets were employed 5n needless cruizes, merely for the pur-
pose of saying, that we were in possession of the seas when
the enemy were in port. It -Was in this year that Commo-
dore Fielding was sent with six ships of the line to intercept
Admiral Bland with one. This circumstance made the as-
sertion of Lord North, " that the Dutch war was a war of
necessity, and not of choice, as we suffered more from them
while they were insidious friends than since they are become
open enemies," intelligible; it was to him inexplicable till of
late, but now he saw its meaning and acknowledged the truth
of the observation ; for when they were friends, we sent six
ships to fight one; but when they became enemies, we sent
only five ships to fight eight. This was the plan of Lord
Sandwich. As soon as a nation became our enemy, he
lowered the opposition that we made to it, and thus it plain-
ly appeared, that they were more injurious to us when friends
than now when enemies


'


for they then detached more of our
men of war than now from the contest with the House of
Bourbon.


The honourable gentleman then came to the year 178r,
the memorable period of our disgraces and infamy; and he
particularly described the naval transactions. The rupture
with Spain was the first memorable event of this period, a
measure so scandalously impolitic, and so infamously brought
about, that ministers ought to be impeached for that alone.
Though ministers seemed in the Dutch war to be actuated
by a spirit of resentment, they did not know how to wreak it
on the Dutch : if they had had a mind to crush them, and
God forbid, said he, that the Dutch should ever be crushed,
forthen indeed the present system of Europe would be no
more ! but if they wished to crush Holland, they should have
had a fleet in the Texel to awe the Dutch, and force them to
yield to the terms of England ; no such measure was adopt-
ed: instead of that five ships only were sent into the North
Seas. Providence, indeed, but no thanks to the admiralty,
had sent the Berwick to join Admiral Parker : but why the
Sampson was not sent by their lordships no one could tell.
It was true, indeed, that they sent to the coast of Norway,
to let him know that she lay at the Gunfleet; and that if he-
-wanted her he might send for her. Thus time was lost; she
night have been the messenger herself; and then our admi-




6 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24.
ral, no doubt, would have gained a decisive victory over the
Dutch. The Sampson was indeed sent to him, but she
arrived the day after the engagement.


Our Channel fleet was still, as formerly, too late to prevent
the junction of the French and Spaniards, or even to attempt
it. Their fleets appeared again at the mouth of the Channel;
Admiral Darby sent an account of it to the admiralty; but
there he was laughed at—he was not believed : the mayor of
Bristol sent to the admiralty to know if the report was true
that the enemy was on the coast; and an answer was sent to
him by Mr. Stephens, by order of Lord Sandwich, that there
was no such thing; and that Admiral Darby had put back
into Torbay, only for refreshments: thus was that admiral
spit upon by the first lord of the admiralty ; and the infor-
mation he had given treated as a lie. Such was the manner
in which the first lord of the admiralty treated an admiral
commanding the naval power of Britain ; and such was the
sort of treatment which had driven men of fine feelings from
the service ! He knew not how Admiral Darby felt it; he
had heard an excellent character of that gentleman, and he
believed him to be incapable of brooking so palpable an in-
sult. How it had been settled he knew not, but the fact was
so ; and further it was perfectly well known, that Admiral
Darby had returned to port with the advice of his officers, in
consequence of the appearance of the combined fleets. The
mayor, however, received a letter from Lord Shuldham in
about a quarter of an hour after the receipt of Mr. Stephen's
letter, in which his lordship confirmed the report, that the
enemy were in the Channel, and warned the mayor to com-
municate the intelligence to the merchants. The conse-
quence of the admiralty letter would have been to decoy the
trade of Bristol into the hands of the enemy, just as Captain
Moutray's convoy had been sent into the hands of the
Spaniards, by having been ordered to rendezvous at Madeira,
while the enemy were cruizing in his track. It seemed, how-
ever, that though the admiralty knew nothing of the com-
bined fleets last year in the Channel, or pretended not to
know any thing of them, Lord Stormont had written to Mr.
Eden in Dublin, to warn him that they were gone to cruize
off the coast of Ireland, and it was pretty evident that this
letter was precisely- of the same date with that from the
admiralty to the mayor of Bristol, in which that magistrate
was informed that the enemy was not on the coast.


The combined fleets separated last year early in Septem-
ber; but our fleet, as usual, was kept at sea to make an
empty parade after the enemy had quitted their station.
They were cruizing about, while M. de la Motte Picquet came




17 82.]
THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY. rI


out, and seized our St. Eustatius fleet, with all the plunder
of that island. Comte de Grasse put to sea; and though by
a proper use of the force we had at that very time cruising,
we might have defeated him, and prevented all the dreadful
consequences that afterwards attended his expedition, he was
permitted to proceed ; and the last consequence of our having
suffered him to pass us, was the surrender of Lord Cornwallis:.,
which could never have been effected without his naval force.
When Admiral Darby was at Gibraltar with a very fine fleet,
he should have been instructed to detach a part of it to the
West Indies, if he should not meet with any opposition in
relieving Gibraltar : such instructions would have effectually
saved Lord Cornwallis, by giving us a superiority in the
West Indies: but our ministers never thought before-hand :
at an earlier period of the war, when Lord Shuldham vas
sent out with a very capital force, to protect a great con-
voy, he was not instructed to do any thing against the
enemy.


In the West Indies we had been indulged with Sir George
Rodney's frequent promises to give good accounts of the ene-
my's fleets, when all lie had been able to do, was to fight
some drawn battles ; which were, he contended, generally
followed with the loss of some of our islands, and therefore,
in effect, were as bad as defeats. He had been employed in
the despicable plunder of St. Eustatius while the island of
Tobago was taken ; and the business of this great conquest
was not discussed time enough to prevent the catastrophe of
our American career. But the last measure was the most
abandoned of all, and which particularly demanded,the in-
vestigation of that House, the sending out Admiral Kempen-
felt with a force so inferior to that of the enemy. This had
impressed the whole kingdom with surprise and indignation :
either the admiralty were deficient in the necessary informa-
tion, or they were negligent in having taken proper advan-
tage of it ; in either case their conduct was equally criminal.
The ministry had heard that the French were doing some-
thing, and upon inquiry found, that they had fifteen ships
of the line at Brest, and two at Rochford. The naval mi-
nister knew the French had twenty-one sail, but he took
it into his head that only twelve would sail to the West In-
dies, not thinking, as he should have done, that the other
nine would bear them company to a certain latitude. He
thnere


dies,
fore thought, as only twelve ships were going to the WestI that twelve ships could intercept them, and AdmiralKempenfelt accordingly is dispatched with that force to inter-


cept them; when lo ! as might have been expected, the Frenchfleet amounts to nineteen sail ! In consequence of which, the




voL. C




t 8


MOTION FOR AN INQUIRY INTO [Jan. 24,


British commander dares not attack them, and the object of
their destination is pursued. Providence, indeed, so often
our friends, interferes ; throws some of their transports into
our hands, and destroys others by a storm. To render this
matter still more censurable, and unfold the designs of the
first lord of the admiralty, at the very time Admiral Kem-
penfelt was sent out with an inferior force, ships fit for action
were then lying in the Downs and other places._ They
were indeed stationed there to annoy the Dutch trade, but
their being withdrawn a few days from that station could
have produced no ill consequence, that could have been put
in competition with the advantages that would have been de-
rived from it.


As to Sir George Rodney, no part of his fleet, it was said,
could be spared for the purpose of attacking M. Vaudreuil.
The honourable gentleman could not but admire this sort of
excuse, as if it was not better to stop the French from going
to the West Indies than to follow them thither ; for the
most that had been urged was, that it would have delayed
his sailing to the West Indies ; not thinking, as more ra-
tional men would have done, that if M. Va.udreuil could have
been destroyed here, there would have been no occasion to
have sent any body to another part of the world to have
done it.


The honourable gentleman remarked, that we had now
been at war for some years, and, excepting in the case of Ad-
miral Kempenfelt, no endeavour had ever been made to inter-
cept the enemy. No one instance had ever presented itself of
an attempt to prevent the enemy from sailing. That of Ad-
miral Kempenfelt had been the very first of the kind ; and it
was therefore no wonder, that the minister of the naval de-
partment should have shewn himself such a novice. It had
turned out that the two ships left behind to harass the enemy
had done essential service. Unskilled as he was in profes-
sional matters, he could not help asking if Admiral Kempen-
felt had continued to harass them with his whole force, whe-
ther he could not have done infinitely more service with his
twelve ships than was effected by the two that did remain at
sea; and whether his ships, being copper-bottomed, might not
have a very great advantage of the enemy ?


Mr. Fox said, that these were the principal points to which
he wished the intended inquiry to turn. The year 178 I gave
an epitome of all the blunders of the war ; and therefore, for
the sake of dispatch, he would confine his proposition chiefly
to that period; not however forgetting the other years. The
leading, points in the inquiry then would be the naval opera-
tions of 1781 in their regular order the practice of tearing


1782.) THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY.
19


the ships in winter cruizes ; and losing every advantage of lo-
cal situation, and priority of appearance at sea, to prevent the
junction of the enemies. These were the points, and to these
every gentleman, whether landman or seaman, would be com-
petent, because they were measures of simple policy. It was
a subject which they must enter upon now or hereafter with
seriousness. We had acted too long from our hopes ; we
must now yield to our judgment; and he warned the House
not to sport longer with the feelings of a great suffering na-
tion ; nor presume to ruin a people for the sake of a man.
He meant to move for a variety of papers, but they were of a
nature that would take up a day or two to prepare. His first
motion, that for an inquiry, he doubted not, would pass with-
out objection. He then moved, " That it be referred to a
committee, to enquire into the causes of the want of success of
his majesty's naval forces during the war, and more particu-
larly in the year 178x."


Lord North and Lord Musgrave, after having replied to several
observations made by Mr. Fox, expressed their cheerful_concur-
rence in the motion. The committee was ordered to be a com-
mittee of the whole House.


Februau 7.
The House resolved itself into the said committee. As soon as


the committee was formed, the clerks, one relieving the other,
read through all the papers that had at various times been laid
upon the table, in consequence of motions made by Mr. Fox. The
reading of these papers took up three hours. This being done,


Mr. Pox rose to move a resolution of censure, founded on
the facts contained in the papers. He said, that if they had
been laid upon the table time enough to have been sufficiently
perused by gentlemen, it would have been totally unnecessary
for him to make any remarks upon their contents ; for the
mismanagement of our marine appeared so glaringly from the
evidence of those papers, that they required no elucidation.
But care had been taken, that they should not come before
the House in such time, that the members could have com-
pletely digested them before it was necessary to ground anyresolution on them ; and they were produced in such' order,
or rather disorder and confusion, that it was almost impossi-
ble, after a cursory reading by the clerks, to combine the
different parts that related to each other. It was on this
account only that he thought himself excusable in making afew observations, which he intended to confine to four differ-
ent heads.


C 2




20 MOTION FOR AN INQUIRY INTO [Feb. 7.


But before:he would touch upon these heads, lie judged it
not improper to throw out a few ideas to the committee, on
subjects, which, (though they were at present out of the
bounds of the inquiry he intended to press, the occurrences to
which he should allude, having happened out of the year
1781, to which year he meant to confine the enquiry for the
present,) were by no means inapplicable to the great object of
the.inquiry. The instructions given to Sir Charles Hardy,
to prevent a junction of the French and Spanish fleets, had
not been laid before the House; and he had submitted to it,
though he was not convinced by the reasons given for with-
holding them ; but he must needs say, that if Sir Charles was
not instructed to prevent such a junction, though, at the time
alluded to, we were not at war with Spain, it was an unpar-
donable, nay, a criminal neglect in the admiralty. From
the papers just read, it appeared indeed, that Admiral Geary
had received instructions for that purpose; but it was at a
time when there was every degree of probability, nay, when
it was known that the fleets, which he was to have kept
asunder, had actually joined before he received his orders ;
such had been the diligence of the first lord of the admiralty,
such his attention to the interests of his country ! Another
thing very remarkable was, that from the i st ofJanuary, 1779,
to the beginning of March 1 7 81, not one single frigate had
been stationed off Brest, to watch the motions of the enemy.
This was a circumstance, which, he was convinced, even the
greatest enemies to Lord Sandwich would scarcely have be-
lieved, if it did not stand confirmed by the papers that had
been read ; and what was still more singular than this omis-
sion, or rather shameful neglect, when frigates were sent in the
month of March to cruize off Brest, it was at a time when
their cruize could not be attended with any useful discovery,
for it was at a time when there was no armament carrying on
in that port, all the squadrons which were intended for seaiav-
ing long before sailed for their different destinations. He had
movedlong a list of the ships employed for the defence of Jer-
sey, at. the time of the attack upon that island; but the return
made to his motion was far from being satisfactory, in fact it
was no return at all; for having called for the ships employed
for. the defence of the island at the time it was attacked, the
return made was a list of ships sent to Jersey, after the expe-
dition against it had miscarried. Having said thus much
by way of preface, Mr. Fox came immediately to the year
.1731; to the naval transactions of which year he confined the
inquiry. In this year, he found four principal heads of ac-
cusation against Lord Sandwich.


First; that he suffered Comte de Grasse to sail for the.


5782.] THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY.. 2 1


West Indies, without making a single effort to intercept him.
From the papers on the table, it was manifest that he had had
the best and most minute intelligence of the equipment,
strength, and destination of the force under that officer ; it
was equally clear that he knew the time, or very nearly, when
the Comte was to sail; and yet not the least attempt was made
to block up Brest, or give the enemy battle after they had
set out. There were two circumstances which in this case
rendered the first lord of the admiralty highly criminal : one
was, that the object of Comte de Grasse's expedition was of
the most dangerous nature to this country : it was to destroy
its empire in the west, and in some measure to blot the Bri-
tish name out of that part of the world ; but great as these
objects were, he was permitted to pursue them without the
least molestation on the part of Lord Sandwich.


The other circumstance which rendered that naval minister
highly criminal was, that at the very time he had a force at
sea, equal to the complete destruction of Comte de Grasse and
his fleet. Admiral Darby was then at sea with thirty ships
of the line, well equipped, well manned, and in the best con-
dition. But the evil genius of England would have it that
Lord Sandwich should send such orders to Admiral Darby,
as must necessarily leave a free passage for M. de Grasse ;
our fleet, consisting of thirty line of battle ships, put to sea the
13th of March, 178 i ; the French admiral, with twenty-five
ships of the line, sailed the 22d; so that if .Admiral•Darby had
not been sent out of the way, there would have scarcely been a
possibility of the latter avoiding an engagement with us, either
before we got to Gibraltar, or on our return from it. But
Lord Sandwich, as if fearing that the French should be de-
stroyed, sent orders to Admiral Darby to cruize off the coast
of Ireland, to wait for the store-ships and victuallers that were
to join him from Cork. Here was he stationed till the 27th
of March, before he was joined by the transports : in the mean
time, the French continued their voyage without the smallest
interruption ; and what was the consequence ? He really
wanted words to describe it; the consequence was as dreadful
as if London had been burnt ; we had lost our islands; Sir
Samuel Hood had been defeated, or nearly so ; and our fosses
and disgraces were completed by the surrender of Lord Corn-
wallis's army at York-Town.


He desired gentlemen to consider that the naval minister
had it in his power to prevent all these disasters, and to. have
crushed them in the very embryo, by sending Admiral Darby
to meet Comte de Grasse; but instead of doing it, he sent
the British fleet to cruize in a quarter where it must be en-
tirely out of the track of the French. He desired they would


C 3




MOTION roe. AV INQUIRY INTO [Feb. 7.


consider that it was not for want of intelligence of the designs,
number, and strength of the enemy, that he omitted sending
Admiral Darby to meet M. de Grasse; but it was after hav-
ing had the most correct intelligence on the subject, that he
sent our fleet to Ireland. He desired gentlemen would con-
sider this, and say whether it was credible that it could have.
happened without treachery somewhere? But supposing
treachery totally out of the question, those who should think
so far favourably of Lord Sandwich, as to suppose him in-
capable of treachery, must still in candour admit, that from
the evidence contained in the papers just read, he was totally
inadequate to the management of the navy of this country.
No one could conceive the reason why a fleet of 30 ships
of the line should be sent out of their way to Ireland to meet
the transports from Cork, which ought to have been ordered
to join the fleet in the channel ; if that had been the case,
there was not a doubt but Admiral Darby would have given.
a good account of the French; and perhaps he might have
arrived time enough to fall upon the rear of the Spanish
.fleet, which, _after a cruize of two months, was returning in
very foul condition, to Cadiz. It was a very great injury
to cur affairs, that Comte de Grasse should not have been
intercepted in the European seas; but still, an able first lord
of the admiralty might have seen, that it was not irreparable;
for -he might still have defeated the Comte's expedition, by a
proper detachment from Admiral Darby's fleet. It was his
business to have given orders to our commander to detach
to the West Indies, if it should so happen that the Spa-
niards should not dispute the passage of the Streights with
us. A minister of common foresight would have said to his
admiral, either the Spaniards will fight you on your way to
Gibraltar, or they will not. If they should not, then you
will immediately dispatch a part of your fleet to the West
Indies, to counteract the Comte de Grasse. This would
have been the language of a provident minister ; but it was
not the language of Lord Sandwich. If he had so instructed
Admiral Darby, a detachment of clean English ships, with-
out convoy, would have in all probability joined Sir Samuel
Flood before the Comte's arrival and in that case there
was every degree of likelihood, that the French would have
been defeated.


The second head of accusation was the loss of the St. Eus-
tatius convoy. It appeared, from the papers before the com-
mittee, that Sir George Rodney had written to the admiralty
about this convoy before it sailed; and acquainted the board
with the course it was to steer: this letter was received on
the 25th of March. When it was received, it was well known


16


I782.] THE ILL SUCCESS OF THE NAVY. 23


to the first lord of the admiralty, as the committee had learned
from the papers, that a squadron was fitting out at Brest,
the command of which was given to M< de la Motte Piquet.
Admiral Darby was then lying off the coast of Ireland ; but
no orders were sent to him on the subject Admiral Rod-
ney's letter said, the Eustatius convoy was perhaps the
richest that had ever been bound for England. Mr. Fox
observed, that . as to the riches that were on board of it, when
he considered how they had been acquired, they were the
riches, the loss of which, of all others, he should least regret;
but still, as it was the duty of the first lord of the admiralty
to protect it, his neglect was alone sufficient to strew how dis-
qualified he was for the office he held. The squadron under
De la Motte Piquet had been a considerable time fitting out;
very regular intelligence had been transmitted to the admi-
ralty, of the progress of preparations during the months of
February, March, and April; and yet not one step had been_
taken to guard against it : and this was the more criminal, as
we were at the time in almost daily expectation of the arrival
of the Jamaica, as well as the St. Eustatius fleet : no prepa-
ration, however, was made to afford them protection ; and all
that was don.e was, that two frigates had been dispatched to
meet them if possible, warn them of their danger; and enable.
them to avoid it, if they could, by making some port in Ire-
land, or going north about. One of the frigates fortunately
fell in with the Jamaica fleet, which accidentally escaped the
danger ; but the St. Eustatius convoy was taken, at least in
part, on the 2d and 3d of May. The convoy had been
expected ever since the receipt of Sir George Rodney's letter
on the 25th of March, and Lord Sandwich knew of the pre-
parations of M. de la Motte Piquet from the beginning of
February, and yet no step had been taken to protect the one,
or defeat the other; nay, so great was the negligence of the
first lord of the admiralty, that he never thought of making
Admiral Darby acquainted with the expected arrival of the
St. Eustatius convoy, till the r oth of May ; and then dis-
patched a frigate to him, to give him orders to sail to a par-
ticular latitude, in order to protect a convoy, which had been
taken just seven days before the frigate had been dispatched
t° him : now the probability was, that this frigate could not
reach Admiral Darby in much less than a fortnight; so that
near two months had elapsed between the receipt of Sir
George Rodney's letter, giving notice of the sailing of the
convoy, and the time when Admiral Darby got orders to sail
for its protection.
. He asked gentlemen, if this alone was not sufficient to
Justify any motion that he should think proper to make against


4




24 MOTION FOR AN INQUIRY INTO [Feb. 7>
the first lord of the admiralty ? There was only one excuse,
which however poor for a naval minister, ought to be ad-
mitted in such a case as the present; and that was, that he
really had not any force sufficient to cope with M. de la Motte
Piquet ; but poor as this excuse must be in the mouth of an
English naval minister, Lord Sandwich was not fortunate
enough to have it; for it appeared from the monthly returns,
that there were ships enough in port, which, from the month
of March, when Sir George Rodney's letter gave notice of
the intended sailing of the convoy from St. Eustatius, to the
latter end of April, might have been got ready. He read a
list of the ships, and, including one or two fifties, there ap-
peared to have been in our different ports twelve sail of the
line, a force sufficient to have defeated M. de la Motte Piquet :
he read also the returns from the guard ships, stating the
numbers on board, from which he proved, that if we had.
ships, so also we had men to put on board of them : so that
he concluded, that the loss of the convoy could and ought to
be attributed only to the mismanagement, or something worse,
of the first lord of the admiralty.


The third head of accusation was the letter from the ad-
miralty to the mayor of Bristol. Admiral Darby, as appeared
from the papers, had acquainted the admiralty, that he had
fallen in with a Swedish brig, the master of which had in-
formed him, that he had been boarded by a frigate, under
Spanish colours, belonging to the combined fleets, which were
then in the channel ; and that in consequence of this intelli-
gence he bad thought proper to return up the channel for
orders; and had put into Torbay. And here it was to be
ohserved, that the master of the brig was an Englishman,
4ho would not deceive his country, and whose journal con-
firmed his story. How did the first lord of the admiralty
answer•this letter? In an insulting manner, telling the ad-
mire] he did not believe the intelligence ; and addling, if the
account had been true that the combined fleets had appeared
in such a latitude, Admiral Darby must have seen them. In
answer to the mayor of Bristol, he said that the combined
fleets were not in the channel, and that Admiral Darby had
put into' Torbay only to water. 'This he must have known
at the time to have been a falsehood ; for the admiral in his
letter assigned a very different reason for returning into port,
so that it looked as if the naval minister wanted to ensnare
the trade of Bristol by inducing the merchants to send their
ships to sea, that he might deliver them into the hands of the
enemy, just as he had sent Captain Moutray into the hands
of Admiral Cordova. But to shew how completely the ad-
xniralty either had been deceived itself; or had deceived the


1782.] THE ILL SUCCESS or THE NAVY. 25


mayor of Bristol, it appeared that Lord Stormont had, .on the
very day of the date of the admiralty letter to the mayor, sent
an express to Lord Carlisle, with positive intelligence that the
enemy was in the channel.


The fourth charge related to the management of the Dutch
war. That war was, he said, of all foolish, absurd, and mad
undertakings, the most foolish, the most absurd, and the most
mad. It had been represented to that House, in order to
get them to approve of the war, that the Dutch were in a
most defenceless state; that there was a very great party for
us in Holland ; and that we had only to make a. vigorous
effort in the beginning, to give that party the superiority in
the councils of the republic. Upon such a state of the case,
would not any one have expected, that the naval minister
would have signalized the outset of the Dutch war by an
appearance of an English squadron in the Texel ? An attack
might surely be expected to be attended with every success
that we could wish for; but nothing was more foreign to the
intention of Lord Sandwich : he suffered the enemy to equip
those ships which he might have destroyed in the Texel ; and
then brought them to an action, which certainly redounded
greatly to the honour of Admiral Parker and his officers,
and of the enemy too; but which was far from ending in so
decisive a victory as might have been expected, over an enemy
who was represented as weak and enervated. In this case
also, as in that of the St. Eustatius convoy, Lord Sandwich
had many ships which he might have sent to reinforce Ad-
miral Parker: the Sampson, of 64. guns, was one, which
instead of sending directly to the admiral, Lord Sandwich
sent to the grand fleet, to which place she was to be sent for,
if wanted. Here he took an opportunity to retract a thing
which he had asserted, in a former debate, namely, that it
was mere chance that had made the Berwick fall in with the
squadron in the North Sea. This he found not to be true,
for it now appeared that it was by order of the admiralty she
had joined the squadron. The squadron under a very gal-
lant friend of his, and a member of that House, Captain
Keith Stewart, had been kept in the Downs for the purpose
of watching the Dutch ; how well they had been watched,
the it. safe arrival of Admiral Byland had proclaimed to the
world: yet in this, lie presumed, his gallant friend was not
to blame; at least, he had never been called to an account


f
ifth, an epitome of all the other charges, he subjoined a
nith, drawn from the latest circumstance, that of the meeting
between Admiral Kempenfelt and the Brest fleet. He read
the names of the ships which might have been sent out to jeil.




26 MOTION FOlt AN INQUIRY INTO
EFCb. 13.


our rear admiral; and which, including the squadron in the
Downs, made about twenty sail of the line. With this force
which might, he said, have been sent out, it was not to be
doubted but through the known bravery and abilities of Ad-
miral Kempenfelt, we should have completely destroyed the
French fleet and convoy.


He concluded, by observing, as he had done already on a
former occasion, that his first motion ought to be for the
removal of Lord Sandwich from his majesty's councils;
but he thought it inexpedient now ; he would first move a
censure upon him, and if lie should carry that, he would
follow it up with an address to the king, which no doubt
would have its effect; and then, undoubtedly, he would pur-
sue the inquiry through every part, when the minister,
whose administration should be the subject of it, should no
longer be vested with the power to defeat it. He then moved
the following resolution : " That it appears to this committee,
that there has been gross mismanagement in the conduct of
of his majesty's naval affairs, in the year 1 7 8 1."


The general conduct of the naval war was defended by Lord
Mulgrave, Lord North, and Penton. After a long debate,
in the course of which Mr. Fox was supported by Lord Howe,
Mr. Webb, Mr. John Townshend, Mr. Pitt, Sir Fletcher Norton,
Mr. Sheridan, and Admiral Pigot, the committee divided: Yeas
183: Noes 2o5. Majority against Mr. Fox's motion 22.


February 13.
Mr. Fox said, that a circumstance had occurred to his


mind, which he did not think of at the time when the debate
of Thursday last was concluded; and that was, that the reso-
lution he had moved that day in the committee, relative to the
mismanagement of the navy, could not be entered, as the pro-
ceedings of a committee must be reported to the House,
before they can find their way into the journals; and as in
the case he alluded to, the committee had not come to any
resolution, his motion having been negatived, there was
of course nothing for the committee to report. He was re-
solved, however, at all events, that his motion should appear
upon record, and go down to posterity ; and therefore he
then gave notice, that on Wednesday next, he would move
in the House, a resolution, substantially, if not literally the
same, as kthat which on Thursday last had been rejected in
the committee.


3782.]


THE ILL SUCCESS OT THE NAVY. 27


February 2o.


Mr. Fox rose to call the attention of the House to a
motion which he had intimated against the admiralty board ;
but he would not trouble the House, he said, with all the
arguments that had been so well and accurately stated by
many gentlemen in the committee, respecting the most shame-
ful manner in which our naval affairs had been conducted of
late years, for he saw no reason for it; every thing that
ministers had advanced in favour of the Earl of Sandwich had
been so. ably answered, that he was confident every gentle-
man was satisfied in his own mind, and he trusted that there were
scarcely two opinions in the House. The very respectable
number that had divided on this motion in the committee,
although not successful, would, in any other administration
but the present, have been looked upon as a majority, for it
certainly contained the voice of the people r and no minister,
but the present, would think of continuing a man in office
whom the voice of the people was so much against, and with
so much justice. He had been informed, he said, out of the
House, that many gentlemen would have voted with him in"
the committee, but his declaration of following up his mo-
tion, if successful, for the dismission and punishment of Lord
Sandwich, had deterred them : now, he hoped no gentleman
would mistake him, for they were all different and distinct
propositions • they might vote for one, and reject the other :
but he begged leave to caution them against being lulled into
a belief of redress ; for a report had been industriously spread,
that Lord Sandwich was to retire; that report was therefore
calculated merely to serve the particular purpose of the day,
and throw gentlemen off their guard : but what faith was to
be put in the minister's promise was plainly to be seen by
his former conduct. At the beginning of this session lie
promised that the American war should be conducted on a
narrower compass, and that it was to be a war of posts; but
no sooner was his end answered, and the supplies voted, than
he changed his tone, and that brave, gallant, and judicious
officer, Sir Guy Carleton, wets appointed to carry on that
war. To be sure, to appease the people, one of the chief
leaders of that war had been removed :" ; but what was the
consequence of his removal ? a person was appointed in his


On the r xth of February, Lord George Germain, disagreeing with
the other members of the cabinet on the future conduct of the war,
resigned his office of one of the principal secretaries of state, and was
raised to the peerage, by the title of Lord Viscount Sackville. His
of ice was bestowed on Mr. Welbore Ellis, afterwards Lord Mendip. •


*),




28 MOTIONS FOR FLITTING AN 'END TO [Feb. 20.
stead who was a known friend to the American war, and a
staunch supporter of it ever since it -first began. Therefore,
as we found the minister's promise was not to be relied on,
we should not let the opportunity slip ; but while we had it in
our power we ought to have exerted ourselves in doing our
country that justice which it loudly called for. He begged
gentlemen not to imagine that his proceeding in this business
was in any shape personal against the noble lord who was at
the head of the admiralty, nor that it tended to any criminal
proceeding. He had nothing to say to the Earl of Sandwich ;
it was to the board of admiralty ; and gentlemen ought not
to be induced from personal regard to that noble lord to fail
in the execution of their public duty. He therefore hoped
every gentlemen would lay his hand upon his heart, and he
was then confident they must be of his opinion, and would
vote with him, " That it appears to this House, that there
has been great mismanagement in the conduct of his majesty's
naval affairs, in the year 178 I."


The motion was opposed by Earl Nugent and Mr. Dundas. Sir
William Dolben, who had supported Mr. Fox in the committee,
and was supposed to have weight with those members who were
called country gentlemen, declared his resolution of voting against
him on the present occasion, on account of the_ intimation he had
given of his design to move an address for the dismission of the
first lord of the Lmiralty. This he thought by far too hasty and
precipitate a proceeding. Lord Howe also declared, that though
he could not, in honour, avoid voting for the resolution before the
House, yet he should certainly be against the next step proposed.
He asked, if gentlemen were provided with a proper successor,
who would act with the present servants of the crown ? The
plan of the ensuing campaign was also, he said, certainly arranged,
and he doubted whether at such i, a moment it would be safe to
overturn the actual administration of the marine. -Mr. Fox was
ably supported by Mr. William Pitt, who laid his hand upon his
heart, and declared that he thought the whole of the proposi-
tion fully, clearly, and expressly proved. General Conway, Sir
Horace Maim. Mr. Dunning, Admiral Keppel, Mr. Sheridan,
Mr. Thomas Pitt, and Mr. Taylor, spoke also in support of the
motion, The House divided :


Tellers.
• Tellers.


-Mr. Win. Pitt 1
{Lord MulgraveYEAS t S 2 IMr. Byng Mr. J. Robinson z3


$o it passed in the negative.


1782.] THE AMERICAN WAR. 29


GENERAL CONWAY'S MOTIONS FOR PUTTING- AN END TO THE
AMERICAN WAR.


February 22.


THE appointment of Mr. Welbore Ellis to the office of secre-tary of state for the plantation-department, vacant by the
resignation of Lord Sackville, and of Lieutenant-general Sir Guy
Carleton, to succeed the commander-in-chief o 'f the forces in
North America, having occasioned a general alarm amongst those
,vho were persuaded that there still existed a secret and obstinate
attachment in the court to the prosecution of the war against the
colonies, it was resolved to make another attempt in the House of
Commons, to bind up the hands of the executive government, by
a strong and explicit declaration of the opinion of parliament..
With this view, General Conway, on the 22d of February, moved,


That an humble address be presented to his majesty, earnestly
imploring his majesty, that, taking into his royal consideration
the many and great calamities which have attended the present
unfortunate war, and the heavy burthens thereby brought on his
loyal and affectionate people, he will he pleased graciously to listen
to the humble prayer and advice of his faithful Commons, that the
war on the continent of North America may no longer be pursued
for the impracticable purpose of reducing the inhabitants of that
country to obedience by force ; and expressing their hope, that
the earnest desire and diligent exertion to restore the public tran-
quillity, of which we have received his majesty's gracious assu-
rances, may, by a happy reconciliation with the revolted colo-
nies, be forwarded and made effectual, to which great end his
majesty's faithful Commons will be ready most cheerfully to give
their utmost assistance." The debate on this occasion lasted till
two o'clock in the morning. All the arguments used on former
occasions were recurred to on both sides. The ministers continued
to hold the same vague and undetermined language as before.
In reply to Mr. Welbore Ellis, and Mr. Jenkinson,


Mr. Fox, in an able speech, exposed the duplicity of
ministers. He said he was happy to find, on a late occasion,
two hundred and nineteen honest, independent men. If the
people would only consider the vast number of contractors and
placemen, that unworthily and unjustly had seats in that
House, they must be convinced, that a majority ofnineteen, for
a minister was, in fact, a minority, as it proved most clearly
and unequivocally that the voice of the people were against


He was severe on administration, and was glad to
find that he had discovered who the evil spirit was that
conducted all our mischiefs ; it was a person higher than the
noble lord in the blue ribbon : for the noble lord was only
his puppet, . and acted as he was told. The right honourable




JO MOTIONS FOR PUTTING AN END TO [Feb. 27.-
gentleman (Mr. Ellis) had spoke out. He now understood
what was meant. He would take the word of a principal.
The other persons on the same bench with the right honour-
able gentleman, though ostensible ministers, were only se-
condary kind of beings compared to him. That infernal
spirit that really ruled, and had so nearly ruined this country,
which was much greater, though not so visible as ministers,
had spoken through the right honourable gentleman's mouth.
He said, it was now evident, that the war was to be pursued
in America in the same mad manner in which it had been
conducted hitherto. He talked of the distinction of carrying
on a war with America, and in America, and said, every
body had hoped from what had fallen from the lord advocate,
and the noble lord in the blue ribbon before the holidays,
that the war in future was only to be continued with America,
and not in America. But the right honourable gentleman's
explanation of the sort of war of posts to be adopted, had
fully convinced him. He declared, if the 1.2arned lord
advocate did not vote for the present motion, what he had
said before the holidays would bear the construction of having
arisen from personal animosity ; otherwise how was his speak-
ing against one minister, and supporting another for pur-
suing the same measures in the same manner, to be accounted
for?


The House divided:




Tellers. Tellers.


Mr. Hussey
f Mr. J. Robinson




194_




YEAS Mr. 13Yng a 93.—Nozs Mr. W. Adam j
So it passed in the negative.


Februcoy 27.


' The above "division having afforded the ministry the melancholy
majority of a single vote,. was considered by Opposition as a com-
plete victory on the subject of the American war ; and as a majority
of the absent members were supposed to coincide in opinion with
the former, it was resolved to bring the question before the House
again the first opportunity. Accordingly, this day General Con-
way moved, " That it is the opinion of this House, that the
farther prosecution of offensive war on the continent of North
America, for the purpose of reducing the revolted colonies to
obedience by force, -.viil be the means of weakening the efforts
of this country against her European enemies, tends, under
the present circumstances, dangerously to increase the mutual
enmity, so fatal to the interests both of Great Britain and Ame-
rica, and, by preventing an happy reconciliation with that country,
to frustrate the earnest desire graciously expressed by his majesty


1782.] THE AMERICAN WAR.
to restore the blessings of public tranquillity." The motion was se-
conded by Viscount Althorpe, and. opposed by Lord North, in a
long and able reply. He objected to it as unnecessary, after the
assurances that had been given by government ; as dangerous,
on account of the information it conveyed to our enemies; as
impolitic, because it entirely took away from the executive
government the use of its discretion ; as tending to retard rather
than to advance the attainment of peace, the great object in
view by both sides of the House. He therefore could only con-
sider the motion as a party measure, and, in that light, he thought
it not less exceptionable. If, said. he, the House suspects the
sincerity of the servants of' the crown, if they have any doubts of
their ability or integrity, it is not by such a motion as the present
that they ought'to express their sentiments ; they ought to address
the crown to remove those ministers in whom they could not place
confidence, and to appoint others in whom they could confide.
A minister, he said, ought no longer to continue a minister after
he was suspected by that House. IIe should be like exsar's wife,
not only free from guilt, but even from, suspicion. If, indeed,
the House should shew that they had withdrawn their confidence
from him, it would be his duty, without waiting for an address
for his removal, to wait upon his sovereign, and, delivering up
the seals of his office, say to him, " Sir, I have long served you
with diligence, with zeal, and with fidelity, but success has not
crowned' my endeavours ; your parliament have withdrawn from
me their confidence ; all my declarations to them are suspected ;
therefore, Sir, let me resign to you those employments, which I
ought not to keep longer than I can be serviceable to your
majesty and your subjects." Lord. North was followed by the
attorney-general, Mr. Wallace, who observed, that there were
many more obstacles to be removed, in order to treat of peace
with the Americans, than the House seemed to be aware of. At
that moment, several acts of parliament were in existence, which
would prove insuperable bars to such an attempt. He therefore
should recommend, that as the first necessary step, a truce ;
during the continuance of which, the enmity, occasioned by the
violence of the contest, might subside ; and each party, being at
leisure to consult their real interests, might accede to terms of
peace, which, having undergone a slow and temperate discussion,
might prove more honourable and advantageous, as well as more
likely to secure a permanent union, than those resulting from
sudden overtures and sudden acquiescence. He declared his
intentions of bringing in a with the permission of the House,
for these purposes ; and he should therefore move, " That the
debate be adjourned till this day fortnight." This attempt was
combated by Mr. Fox and several leaders of Opposition. Mr.
William Pitt was particularly severe on the motion of adjourn-
ment ; and on the ground of Lord North's own declaration, urged.
the House, by every consideration of duty or prudence, to with-
draw confidence from the present administration. Was there a
Promise, he asked, which they had not falsified ? Was there a
plan in which they agreed ? Did any two of them accord in




32 MOTIONS FOR PUTTING AN END TO [March 4. 1782,3 THE AMERICAN WAIL. 33
any specific doctrine ? No ! there was an incessant variation
a shuffling and tricking pervaded their whole conduct, and in
them parliament could place no trust. The debate lasted again
till two in the morning, when, though the proposition of the
attorney-general was supposed to have brought over a few irreso-
lute votes to the side of the minister, there appeared for the
adjournment only 215 ; against it, 234, exclusive of the two tellers
on each side. The number of those who were present at the
beginning of the debate, but had paired off in the course of the
evening, were said to have amounted to 14. The original ques-
tion, and an address to the king, formed upon the resolution,
were then carried without a division, and the address was ordered
to be presented by the whole House.


Match 4.


The Speaker reported to the House, that the House had at-
tended his majesty with their address, to which he had been
pleased to return the following answer :


Gentlemen of the House of Commons : There are no objects
nearer to my heart than the ease, happiness, and prosperity of my
people. You may be assured, that in pursuance of your advice,
I shall take such measures as shall appear to me to be most con-
ducive to the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and
the revolted colonies, so essential to the prosperity of both ; and
that my efforts shall be directed in the most effectual manner
against our European enemies, until such a peace can he obtained
as shall consist with the interests and permanent welfare of my
kingdoms."


The thanks of the House being unanimously voted to the ping
for his gracious answer, General Conway rose again, and moved,
" That, after the solemn declaration of the opinion of this House
in their humble address presented to his majesty on Friday last,
and his majesty's assurance of his gracious intention, in pursuance
of their advice, to take such measures as shall appear to his ma-
jesty to be most conducive to the restoration of harmony between
Great Britain and the revolted colonies, so essential to the pros-
perity of both, this House will consider as enemies to his majesty
and this country, all those who shall endeavour to frustrate his
majesty's paternal care for the ease and happiness of his people, by
advising, or by any means attempting, the farther prosecution of
offensive war on the continent of North America, for the purpose
of reducing the revolted colonies to obedience by force." Lord
Aithorpe seconded the motion. Lord North declared, that in pur-
suance of the address, and of the king's answer, he should use
every effort to fulfil their orders, relying on their further instruc-
tion, if he appeared to misapprehend their intentions. He consi-
dered the motion unnecessary, as it only reinforced declarations
already sufficiently strong.


Mr. Fox rose to speak but a few words on the motion ; for
as the noble lord in the blue ribbon had said that he should.


not oppose it, there was no occasion for him to enter into any
detail of


:le noble lord, on which lie must
argaument


d dropt
in


from
defence of the proposition ; some things,


ha
animadvert. But he must first beg leave to say, that he was
one of those who were completely and totally dissatisfied with
the answer of the crown to the address of that House. When
he spoke in this manner, lie would undoubtedly be understood
to mean, that he was dissatisfied with the answer which his
majesty's ministers had advised his majesty to give. It was
the answer of the ministers, and among others, of that minis-
ter who .


had, on that day, been heard to declare, that he
disapproved of the resolution of the House on which the ad-
dress was founded; they had put an answer into the mouth of


. his majesty which he could not approve of; because it was not
an answer sufficiently clear and specific. For what did it say?
That his majesty would be graciously pleased to put an end
to the offensive war carried on in America, for the purpose of
reducing the Americans to obedience by force ? No. But
that his majesty would take such measures as shall appear to
him (that is, as shall appear to his ministers) conducive to
the restoration of harmony. Could this be satisfactory? Par-
liament had pointed out the specific means by which to ac-
complish the object; namely, by putting an immediate stop to
offensive war; but his majesty's ministers, instead of declaring
in their answer that they would guide themselves by this
advice, make his majesty declare that they will take such steps
as appear to them conducive to the object. He was not in
the House when the motion for an address of thanks was
agreed to, as he understood, unanimously; if he had, notwith-
standing what he had just said, he should have voted for it,
for he was careful to distinguish between the obligation that
was due to his majesty personally for the grace of his answer
(and he sincerely believed that his majesty was, in his royal
mind, :most graciously disposed to restore the blessings of peace
to his unhappy people), and those ministers who wished to
make the crown follow a plan of conduct directly opposite to
the advice of his faithful commons. This answer of the mi-
nistry, coupled with their language in that House, Was per-


' fectly intelligible; for here they declared, and particularly
the minister for the American department, that the best way
to conclude a peace with America was to make them feel the
calamities of war. This expression the new secretary of
State,


(Mr. Ellis) had made use of but a few days before.
His majesty, he sincerely believed, wished to conclude peace
with America, as his faithful Commons had advised him; but
his ministers undoubtedly meant no such thing, for their Ian,-
guage was different.




3 4 MOTION FOR AN ENQUIRY MO [March 4
But the noble lord had said, that he never would, nor


should any man presume to act in contradiction to the voice
of the majority of that House; nor dare to call it in question ;
nor dare to abuse it, in any shape. For his own part, he
must claim to himself the right of declaring his opinion freely
and fully of the conduct of parliament, in discharge of his.
own conscience, and of his duty. When majorities acted.
wrong in his opinion, he would, both within that House and
out of it, declare his disapprobation of their conduct: but
the noble lord pronounced it, as the indispensable duty of a
minister to hold the decision of the majorities of that House
in the strictest reverence. Had he always done so ? Did
he not remember the vote of a majority of that House,
declaring that the influence of the crown ought to be di-
minished? What, then, was his duty upon that occa-
sion ? Surely, to second the endeavours of that majority
to reduce the influence. Did he so ? No. He there coun-
teracted, opposed, and at last defeated and destroyed the
desire of that House ; nay, he advised the crown, in a
shameful manner, to dissolve the parliament before its regular
period, lest they should, in another session, carry into ex-
ecution the resolutions of a former. Did he not, by his
conduct, bring upon that House the disgrace and ignominy
of having declared what was their duty, and afterwards failed
to perform it ?
. If the noble lord sought for credit in his declarations of
respect for the decision of majorities, let him now come to
the resolution of the 6th of April, 1 7 80, and reduce the
influence of the crown, and then he would be considered as
.a fair man ; but the noble lord would otherways incur the
censure of saying things in argument which he by no means
meant to abide by. His situation was truly embarrassing.
He had said in debate the other evening, and he had said it
by way of menace, that if the voice of the House should be
against him, that was undoubtedly by being against the prin-
ciple and system of his administration, he would no longer
continue in place. The House had been against him ; the
majority of the House was against him; and still the noble
lord kept his place. Such was his respect for majorities, and
such the credit that ought to be given to his declarations in
that House ! But it was no way strange, that he should
now affect to pay regard to the decision of majorities; he
stood in a situation which, he would be bound to say; had
not been precedented since the revolution ; 'he remained in
place when the House had condemned the system. Being


-then to carry on measures contrary to his own opinion, what
must be done? When he went into his sovereign's presence,


1782.]


THE AMERICAN WAR.
3y


be must address him in language to the following effect :—
6 4 I am come, Sire, to advise you to a measure, which is ex-
pressly contrary to my own opinion, and to all I ever told
you; but, however, it is the opinion of a majority of the
House of Commons." The noble lord was to gather every
thing from the opinion of that House, since he seemed re-
solved to carry on measures of which lie disapproved, if this
country should be so reduced, so poor in spirit, or so indif-
ferent as to suffer a minister to have the conduct of affairs in
a moment so dangerous as the present, when he dared not to
execute his own plans.


The free, uncorrupt voice of the majority of that House
was, indeed, respectable. He did respect it; and respecting
it, he must condemn and despise the majorities of another
description, which the minister had procured by means of
corruption. When he saw a majority, composed of contrac-
tors, whom a majority of that House had previously declared
to be ineligible to sit there, he could not respect that ma-
jority. The House having, by solemn resolutions, declared
contractors, the lords of trade, and certain other officers of
the state, incapable of sitting in that House, he could not:
afterwards respect a majority made up of those men alone. He
thanked God that the House of Commons had come to the
resolutions of Friday last. -Whatever were their present
effects, they must, in the end, be decisive ; for they had, by
those resolutions, broken, destroyed and annihilated the
principle and basis of the present system ; they had over-
come corruption ; and the system, thus deprived of its
foundation, must crumble into pieces. It was impossible
to believe that the ministry could be so daring and profligate
as to go on after what had happened on Wednesday last;
they.could not have the presumption, surely, after the tidings
that had come that day ; they could not be impudent enough
to go on. That day they had heard that the important island.
of Minorca was lost; that the garrison, consisting of tsoo
men, had surrendered prisoners of war ; and that there were
circumstances in the loss of this island, -which made. it . par-
ticularly criminal in ministers; for, besides the loss of the
garrison, he understood that there were several regiments now
on their way to relieve the place. In the last war, the loss
of this important fortress and island drove a much greater
ministry than .the present from their seats. The nation
would not then suffer loss, disgrace, and calamity, without
calling their rulers to a severe account. Would they now
suffer loss after loss, disaster after disaster ? Were they sohabituated to defeat? Had ministry made them so familiar
with sorrow that they could now bear loss without a complaint?


33 2.




36 310TION FOR AN ENQUIRY, &C. [March 4.,


FIe hoped not. He had heard that day another report; he
sincerely hoped it was not true ; he had no other reason for
believing it, but the probability, that the most important
island remaining to us in the West Indies, except Jamaica,.
he meant St. Kites, was taken. He desired ministers to in-
form the House, if it was true that this calamity also had come
upon us ; and where they meant to stop ; when they would
confess that they had done enough. From his soul, he be-
lieved, that such was their accursed obstinacy, that even
when they had lost nine-tenths of the king's dominions,
they would not be satisfied till they had mangled and destroyed
the last miserable tenth also — pride and obstinacy were so
predominant in their nature !


He could not help observing with pleasure, the- triumph of
men in every, quarter, on the resolutions of the House on Wed-
nesday last. The exultation, the triumph, the hope, painted
and expressed in every countenance, was a test of the desire
which they had for the object recommended in that House, and
the consequences that it had produced on the funds, and on.
the credit of the nation, were also inconceivable. The peo-
ple saw or heard of our triumphs without emotion. They,
heard of the victories obtained by his majesty's ministers with-
out gladness. The stocks remained the same, the faces of men
wore the same gloom ; but on the instant that a victory was
gained over his majesty's ministers, whom they considered as
the greatest enemies of their country, their joy was immo-
derate, the funds were immediately advanced, and the credit
of the nation raised, because there was a prospect of the
ministry going out of place. All yet would be well in their
conception, if this should be brought about. 'When the noble
lord, two years ago, brought in a bill for conciliatory propo-
sitions with America, the funds were not affected ; they hoped
for no benefit from any thing that he should undertake; but
when the parliament declared it, they instantly proclaimed
" now that the minister is beaten the country may be saved."
He professed that, though he could not thank God for the
many calamities which had overtaken this unhappy land, in
consequence of the fatal system by which the king and people
had been deluded, he still considered it as beneficial that the
triumph of Wednesday last had not come sooner. It had,
coming as it did, completely and effectually destroyed
corruption; the reign of it was at an end. If the conquest
had come sooner, before we had been so instigated against.
the baneful consequences of a system of corruption, perhaps
there might have been contrived some paltry and insionifi-b
cant coalitions, Which would have made the system more pa-
latable. Now they were roused, and leagued by a 'sense of


MOTION FOR PEACE WITH AMERICA. 37


common danger, to a plan of general and united „action.
though the administration might go on for a day, a week, a
month, or a year, it was nothing to a man who viewed things
on a great scale ; the foundation was taken from it on Wed.
nesday last; it must fall down, and then an effectual remedy
would be found to prevent its ever rising again.


Ministers did not venture to divide the House ; the motion,
therefore, after a feeble opposition, was agreed to.


Ti-ix ATTOTtNEY-GENERAL'. BILL Pon ENABLING THE KI.Ner
TO CONCLUDE A PEACE OR TRUCE wlTn AMERICA.


Mardi 5.


The House having resolved itself into a committee, the Attorney-
General, Mr. Wallace, moved, " That leave be given to bring in
a bill to enable his majesty to conclude a peace, or truce, with the
revolted colonies in North America."


Mr. Fox assured the committee that nothing but the per-
sonal respect he bore the learned gentleman had prevented him
from treating the proposition just as it deserved to be treated ;
and that was to burst out a laughing when he had heard it,
and then walk out of the House ; for nothing could be so ridi-
culous and farcical as to hear such a proposition from that side
of the House, and from a member who, on Wednesday last,
had combated, as far as he was able, a resolution, the obvious
tendency of which was that very peace with which the learn-
ed gentleman seemed at present enamoured. The supporters
of administration entertained at present a wish for peace ; but
they had been beaten into it ; and nothing but flagellation
and correction could drive them to think of peace : pity it
was that so much correction should be necessary l—The
learned gentleman had said, and said truly, that opening our
ports to the Americans, and facilitating mutual intercourse
with them, was the most effectual way to incline them to re-
turn to that preference which they used to give to our market
over any other. Pity it was, that the learned gentleman and
his friends had not discovered this four years sooner; then
We should not have to lament the loss of America and our
West India islands ; we should not have to regret the loss of
Minorca, or be reduced to this melancholy situation, that
of all our foreign


those -0 in India excepted, we, possessions, ioa
A 3




33 MOTION FOR PEACE WITH AMERICA. [March s.
could scarcely say that we had now remaining more than
Jamaica and Gibraltar ; and God only knew how long these
might remain in our hands I When he rose, it was not with
an intention either to support or oppose the motion of the
learned gentleman, from which however he. was free to say,
that he expected very little good ; but before he should con-
sent to furnish ministers with the means of making peace, he
would ask how far it was probable that they were inclined to
make peace? Gentlemen knew well that Spain had offered
her mediation, before she declared war. Would ministers
tell upon what grounds it was rejected ? In the year 178i,
one of the most powerful princes of Europe had offered a
mediation. Upon what principle was it rejected ? Those who
did not listen to mediations, could scarcely be ailed friends
to peace : but if measures destructive of peace had been pur-
sued,' would any one say that the present ministers were in-
clined to it, or proper agents to negociate it Was it true
that our ministers had flatly refused to suffer any agents from
America to meet their plenipotentiaries, under the mediation
of the prince alluded to ? If it was true, then it was to be con-
chided, that as they had driven the Americans to treat through
France, they would consequently have taken the most eactual
means to rivet the alliance between them ; and of course no-
thing could be more injurious to the interests of this country.
The learned gentleman therefore, in looking for the impedi
ments and bars to peace, which he was desirous to remove,
ought to look to his right and to his left, and in the persons
of his friends, the ministers, he would find those impediments.
Before he sat down, he had a proposal to make to ministers;
he would inform diem for certain, that there were persons
now in Europe, who were fully empowered to treat for a
peace between Great Britain and America; and though he
believed they would not treat with the present ministers, still
he would put them in a way of making peace; nay more, if
they did not like to interfere in it themselves, he would un-
dertake to negociate for them himself. He saw a learned
gentleman smile at his proposal ; lie was not surprised at it;
nor could he have brought himself to make it, if the good of
his country did not urge him to it ; and he might propose it,
without being guilty of more inconsistency than the noble
lord, who condemned the resolution of Wednesday last, for
peace with America, though at present he was willing to act
every day contrary to his inclination ; and to be constantly
advising the sovereign to pursue those measures, which he so
much condemned. Our affairs were so circumstanced that
ministers must lose their places, or the country must be un-
done : he would therefore let them enjoy those emoluments,


II


1782.]


MOTION OF CENSURE ON MINISTERS.
39


which they held so dear, provided he could save his country :
for this end he was willing to serve them in the business of
peace, in any capacity, even as an under commis, or messen-
ger. But in so doing, be desired it might be understood that
lie did not mean to have any connection with them : from the
moment when he should make any terms with one of' them, he
would rest satisfied to be called the most infamous of man-
kind : he could not for an instant think of a coalition with
men, who in every public and private transaction, as ministers,
had shewn themselves void of every principle of honour and
honesty : in the hands of such men he would not trust his
honour, even for a minute.


Lord North explained the manner in which mediations had been
offered, and answered Mr. Fox's insinuations against his honour.
He would not, he added, relinquish his office merely because so.
much eagerness was shown to drive him out ; but as he had hither-
to retained it to prevent confusion, and the introduction of uncon-
stitutional principles into government, he would not. resign till*
;commanded by the king, or till the House should, in the clearest
manner, indicate the propriety of his withdrawing.


Mr. Fox assured the noble lord, when he said he was dis-
honourable in private transactions, he meant in such as were
of a half public, half private nature; and not at all in his
private character, or in such part of his public character as
related to money matters, in which he was ready to admit
that he stood clear from every imputation. He wished how--
ever, in every other respect, it should be believed that he
had spoken no harsher than he meant. He ridiculed the
idea of the noble lord's remaining in office to prevent confu-
sion ; and was surprised at the difference which he found in
the noble lord's language on this day and Wednesday last,
relative to resignation.


The motion was agreed to without a division.


LORD JOHN CAVENDISH'S MOTION OF CENSURE ON
MINISTERS.


T dish


March 8.
HE following resolutions were moved by Lord John Caven.


" That it appears to this House, that since the year
1 775, upwards of one hundred millions of money have been ex-,


•D 4




p


1


40 MOTION OF CENSURE ON MINISTERS. [March 8.
pended on the army and navy in a fruitless war 2 . That during
the above period, we have lost the thirteen colonies of America,
which anciently belonged to the crown of Great Britain, (except
the posts of New York, Charles-Town, and Savannah,) the newly
acquired colony of Florida, many of cur valuable West India and
other islands, and those that remain are in the most imminent
danger : — 3. That Great Britain is at present engaged in an ex-
pensive war with America, France, Spain, and Holland, without a
single ally:—q.. That the chief cause of all these misfortunes has
been the want of foresight and ability in his majesty's ministers."
The resolutions were seconded by Mr. Powys, and supported by
Mr. Martin, Mr. Thomas Townshend, Mr. Burke, Sir Horace
Mann, Lord Maitland, Mr. Fox, Sir Fletcher Norton, Mr. Thomas
Pitt, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Byng, and Mr. William Pitt. The order
of the day was moved by the secretary at war, and supported by
Mr. Secretary Ellis, Earl Nugent, Mr. William Adam, Mr. Dun,
das, Mr. Rigby, and Lord North.


Mr. Fox rose, and answered the several matters thrown
out by Mr. Adam. He had declared, and he repeated the
assertion, that he would be an infamous man, who should, on
coming into place, abandon the principles and professions
which he had made when out of place. He was happy to say
that every principle lie had ever held had been adopted by a
majority of that House, the decisinn of which had given sanc-
tion to his opinions. The twogreat leading principles of his
mind, in which lie differed from the King's ministers, were,
the prosecution of the American war, and the influence of
the crown; in both these matters he had been supported by
the opinion of parliament. The resolutions of the 27th of
February had condemned the American war, and those of the
6th of April, 178o, had declared that the influence of the
crown ought to be - The general principle of re-


-


ducing that influence he warmly adopted. The corruption of
that House was intolerable, and to all the resolutions which
the House had come to at that time, for excluding contractors,
for excluding the members of the board of trade, of the
board of green cloth, &c. he, from his heart, subscribed.
All these members the House had declared to be incapable
of sitting and voting in that House. By taking up the
list of the division on the late memorable occasion, instead
of leaving the minister in a minority of nineteen, he would
prove, that, by taking away these contractors and placemen,
who were declared by the House to be incapable of voting,
the majority against the minister was upwards of a hundred.
To all the details prepared for the reduction of influence, he
did not subscribe; but in this he was clear and decided, that
that House ought to be made what it was originally intended
to be—the representative of the nation. With respect to


Z] MOTION OF CENSURE ON MINISTERS. 41
shortening the duration of parliament, it had always been
Lis opinion, that it ought to be shortened; it was, however,
a. question on which honest men might differ, for honest and
free men would differ ; and he was clearly of opinion, that
the shortening the duration of parliament would do nothing,
without reducing at the same time the influence of the crown;
bat he thought the shortening the duration of parliament
would be one great means of reducing that influence. He
could not help expressing his astonishment at the honourable
gentleman's declaring, that septennial parliaments were chosen
as the wisest and most consonant to the general well-being of
the state, by those respectable and great men, the NNThigs,
who settled the constitution, when the Revolution took place.
He reminded the House that the bill for septennial parlia-
ments was a bill of modern date, and though it might not be
practicable to alter that mode inunediately, he still was of
opinion that annual or triennial parliaments would be an im-
provement, calculated to preserve the privileges of the people
from the encroachments of the prerogative of the crown.


Having said this, lie begged leave to explain a matter
which he had urged on a former evening, and which he
understood had been misapprehended. It had been thought
that he gave out that there would be formed an administra-
tion of proscription. This he positively denied; on the con-
trary, it was the desire of those with whom he had the honour
to act, to form an administration on the broadest basis; an
administration which should take in all that was great and
dignified in the empire; to collect all the ability, the talents,
the consideration, and the weight of the nation ; to draw
within its arms every man of influence, every man of popula-
rity, every man of knowledge, every man of experience, with.
out regarding his particular opinion on abstract points, and
to employ all this body of strength to one great end, the de-
liverance of the empire. He had said only, that he could
form no connection with the present cabinet; that lie should
be infamous if he did. He thought, however, that they had
no weight nor consideration in the country, as private men.
Even among them, there was one, however, for whom he en-
tertained great respect. He meant the lord chancellor : a
man who had always taken care to convince the world, that
he had no share in their measures. The sense of the nation
called for a change of men, as the only probable means of pro-
ducing a change of measures, and a peace with America, who
_would. not treat with her resentful and avowed foes, the mem-
l?ers of the present administration ? What was to be expected
ll•otn an American secretary and a minister, who severally111aintained their former sentiments respecting America, and




42
MOTION OF CENSURE ON MINISTERS. [March 8. 1782.] SIR JOHN ROUS'S MOTION. 43


who considered the vote of Wednesday sthinight as a fetter
on their . inclinations. The times regttired it, and he hoped
to God, the country would soon have an administration settled
on a broad bottom, - in which they could place confidence, and
from. whose measures they might rationally hope for success.
It was by.driving the present weak, wicked, and incapable
advisers of the crown from the person of his majesty, that the
country could alone expect to recover from its present dis-
grace and misfortune. The propositions moved by his noble
friend that day, he was convinced in his own mind, would
tend to produce that great and desirable object ; and, there-
fore, wishing as he did for the removal of the noble lord in
the blue ribbon, and such of his colleagues as had been the
planners and conductors of the accursed American war, as the
best blessing he could wish for his country, he should vote
against the motion for the order of the day.


In explanation of his description of the broad-bottomed.
administration, which his friends desired to form, he said, that
they would proscribe no men, of any principles, in the pre-
sent dreadful moment, but the five or six, men -who were now,
and had been, the confidential advisers of his majesty in all
the measures that had brought about the present calamities.
To demonstrate his meaning by an example, they did not
even wish to proscribe the learned lord advocate, although
they abhorred his notions of the constitution. He then spoke
of his idea of consulting the voice of the people without doors.
It was clearly his opinion, that the people ought to declare
their opinion of men and things; and that to do this, they bad
a right to meet and consult together, provided they did it in a
peaceable, orderly manner. He would add to this, that when
that -House should become so lost to all sense of duty, and so
far gone in corruption as to abandon the rights of the people
altogether, and to become the passive instruments of the crown,
then it. might be justifiable for the people to revert to the ori-
ginalprinciples of the constitution, and to resume the direc-
tion of their own affairs, so as to preserve the popular weight
in the scale of government. The present administration was
the first since the revolution that had dared to deny this right.
But, said he, make parliament the representative of the people,
and their voice will be collected within these walls.


The debate lasted till past two o'clock in the morning, when the
House divided on the order of the day :


Tellers. Tellers.
{Mr. W. Adam 226.--.00ES Mr. William Pitt 1YEAS 216.Mr. J. Robinson I" Mr. Byng


Majority in favour of ministers


SIR JOHN R ous's MOTION FOR WITHDRAWING THE CONP1-•
PENCE OP PARLIAMENT FROM THE KING'S MINISTERS.


March r
'TUE interval between the 8th and the 15th of March was


generally supposed to have been employed in various unsuc-
cessful attempts to divide the party in Opposition. On this day,
Sir John Rous moved, " that this House, (taking into considera-
tion the great sums voted, and debts incurred, for the service of
the army, navy, and ordnance, in this unfortunate war, to the
amount of upwards of one hundred millions ; and finding that the
nation has, notwithstanding these extraordinary exertions, lost
thirteen ancient colonies belonging to the crown of Great Britain,
the newly-acquired province of West Florida, and the islands of
Dominica, St. Vincent, Grenada, Tobago, and Minorca, besides
several valuable commercial fleets, of the utmost importance to the
wealth of this country ; and that we are still involved in war with
three powerful nations in Europe, without one single ally,) can
have no further confidence in the ministers who have the direction
of public affairs." The motion was principally supported by Lord
George Cavendish, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Marsham, Mr. William
Pitt, Mr. Fox, and Lord John Cavendish; and opposed by Sir
William Dolben, Mr. William Adam, and Mr. Dundas. Lord
North spoke with considerable emotion and embarrassment, to
which the peculiarity of his situation must doubtless have much
contributed. In a most able speech he defended his own character
and administration. He did not object to the present motion so much
as to that of the preceding week ; it was divested of anger, its
terms•moderate, and its intent clear and defined. He sincerely
wished for peace, and for such an administration as could act with
unanimity and effect for the national good. He would be no ob-
stacle to a coalition of parties, for the formation and adjustment
of a new cabinet in which he should have no place. This idea
was strenuously enforced by Mr. Dundas, and warmly reprobated
by Mr. William Pitt, who defined a coalition to be a collection and.
combination of all the abilities, integrity, and judgment of several
parties, and turning the united exertion to the service and salva-
tion of the country. The administration had been one of influence
and intrigue ; he thanked God it was likely to terminate, but
trusted the House would not contaminate their own purpose by
suffering the present ministers to manage the appointment of their
successors.


neither It was the prerogative of tile crown to appoint minis-
did it become the House to settle who were to hold


places, or adjust and investigate the measures to be pursued.
Mr. Pox began with saying, that lie could not help admir-


ing the conduct of the worthy baronet (Sir William Dolben),
who had of late been exceedingly happy in passing panegyrics
all the noble lord, but unfortunately for him they all went di-




44 SIR JOHN ROUS'S MOTION. [March r5,.
rectly contrary to what he intended; for the noble lord's fort
was not for war, and, from his declaring against the Ameri-
cans, he had shewn that he was not a man fit for peace.
Certainly the honourable baronet ought to vote for the ques-
tion, that he might place his noble friend in a situation where
he could shine most ; seeing that for the offices he had held,
he was the most unfortunate man alive. The noble lord had
declared that he wished for peace, that he did not want to stay
in office, yet he had not sense enough, for near twenty years,
to keep himself above one year out of office ; nor had , he, al-
though a lover of peace, for eight years out of twelve, been
able to keep from war. An honourable gentleman (Mr.
Adam) had asserted, that the only reason why this country
could make no alliances was, the fault of Opposition; they and
their fathers,. had carried the nation in the last war to such a
high pitch of glory, that they had rendered her the envy of
all the world; and that the neighbouring states of Europe
had become so jealous of her, that none of them would enter
into an alliance with her. If the fact were so, Mr. Fox said,
it was assigning an odd reason for our having no allies. He
should have imagined that a nation, being in possession of
great and superior power, was the best inducement to other
states to seek an alliance with her. But if it was our greatness
that prevented our ability to form alliances at the conclusion
of the last war, and that disability arose from the glorious
successes of their fathers, and those great sea and land officers,
then sitting on his side the House, he would do the honour-
able gentleman and his party the justice to say, they had
completely undone all that work, and reduced the nation to a
state in which other courts need no longer be jealous of her
superior power, and therefore need not make that a plea for
refusing to enter into an alliance with Great Britain.—Mr.
Fox entered very much at large into what Lord North had
said, with regard to the conduct of the war, and the delusions
that had been held out repeatedly by ministers to parliament.
He declared, he till that day thought the noble lord had al-
ways acted a generous part with his colleagues, by standing up.
and desiring to share with them in their guilt, if guilt there5
was. That day, however, the noble lord, talking of the nu-
merous friends in America, of which they had heard so much,
had said, " it fell not within his department to receive informa-
tion of their numerous friends in America; that declaration
had been made by another minister." Mr. Fox reasoned upon
this, and asserted, that the noble lord had himself deluded
and deceived parliament in a variety of instances. The
noble lord had declared, that the present motion was by far
fairer than the former one: he believed him, and the noble


1732.i SIR JOHN ROI:S'S MOTION. 4g


lord had not made use of that subterfuge, which the secre-
tary at war did on Friday last, by moving a previous ques-
tion upon it; but the noble lord had explained why that
subterfuge was made use of'; it was because the former mo-
tions contained three truisms, which even the noble lord
allowed: and declared, that after having voted for the three,
the House must inevitably vote the fourth. Whether they
would or .not, he allowed the noble lord was right, and cer-
tainly the House was bound to vote the fourth; but here the
fourth proposition was altered from " want of foresight and
ability," to want of confidence: surely now no person could
be against the motion, let him be professional or not; and
however the noble lord's friends might be against letting him
quit his post, or however averse he might be himself to it,
he must, if not that night, very shortly quit it; if not by a.
voluntary resignation, by one less honourable; and this was
not the work of mere faction, for he had seen the most re-
spectable country gentlemen, both Whig and Tory, unite in
one common cause for the public good. His honourable
friend who moved the question, and his other honourable
friend who seconded it, were gentlemen that calumny could
not reach; they were not men supposed either to want, or
that would accept of places; they acted from quite different
principles. At present there was no government; it was a
kind of interregnum, and for the truth of that he applied tothe noble lord. The offices of ,


government had been for
some weeks past in most shameful disorder. Surely, then,
it was high tine for .some ministry to be established, for a
bad government was better than none; and whilst we were
in the dreadful situation mentioned, he desired gentlemen
would recollect the bill that was depending in that House,
(the navy mutiny bill,) which contained such dangerous
clauses, that he was fearful to speak out.- but the House
perfectly understood him, and he sincerely wished the bill
might not be attended with the evil he foresaw it would.


The House divided:




Tellers.
Tellers.


ItleEtArinftonieloau e


227.-1NMors {Mr. W. Alain
Mr. J. Robinson S 236.




Majori ty bi b
y,


in fa o
ministers 9. "When the minority were


effect, should


Fox said, that upon consulting with the gen-1::11B11111111.3;:a:givtiltFaulnv:l
was


right, that a motion, to the same
proposed en the Wednesday following.




46
CHANGE Or MINISTRY. [March 20, 1782.]


CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 47


CHANGE OF MINISTRY.


March 2o.


THE House being again uncommonly crowded, the Earl ofSurrey got up to make the promised motion ; but Lord North
rising at the same time, for the purpose of communicating to the
House some information, which, he said, might make any farther
proceeding in the intended business unnecessary, and would re-
quire an adjournment, great disorder and . confusion ensued, the
members in opposition calling out violently for " Lord Surrey,"
and " No adjournment." As soon as the House was reduced to
order, Mr. Fox moved, " that the Earl of Surrey be now heard ;"
when Lord North, having now obtained a right to speak to the
question, observed, that had he been suffered to proceed before,
he believed much unnecessary heat and disorder would have been
prevented. He meant no disrespect to the noble earl ; but as
notice had been given that the object of the intended motion was
the removal of his majesty's ministers, he meant to have acquainted
the House, that such a motion was become unnecessary. He could
assure the House, with authority, that the present administration
was no more, and that his majesty had come to a full determination
of changing his ministers ; and it was for the purpose of giving
the necessary time for , new arrangements that he meant to have
moved for an adjournment. The noble lord then took his leave
of the House as minister, by thanking them for the honourable
support they had given him during so long a course of years, and
in so many trying situations. He expressed his grateful sense of
their great partiality towards him on all, and their forbearance on
many occasions. A successor of greater abilities, of better judg-
ment, arid more qualified for his situation, he said, was easy to
be found ; a successor more zealously attached to the interests of
his country, more anxious to promote them, more loyal to his
sovereign, and more desirous of preserving the constitution whole
and entire, he might be allowed to say, could not so easily be
found. He concluded his speech, after declaring that he did not
mean to shrink from trial, that he should always be prepared to
meet it, that he even demanded it from his adversaries, with
moving the question of adjournment.


Mr. Fox said, that it did not seem to be a matter of great
importance, whether the motion of his noble friend, the -Earl
of Surrey, was put, or whether they trusted to the solely
'declaration made by the noble lord. He should have wished,
perhaps, that the motion might be put and carried, because
it would then manifestly appear to the nation at large, that
the ministers of the crown did not retire either from the ca-
price of this or that minister, or from their wishing to go out,.
or from their being tired of their situations, or from any of


the common reasons which ordinarily occasioned the resig-
nation of ministers, but because it was the sense of parlia-
went, that they should retire, because that House had
r s


ex-


p , slv called upon the crown for their dismission, and be-
cause the good Of the country made it absolutely necessary.
These were the reasons which impelled him to wish the motion
to be put and carried. On the other hand, they had the less
weight with him, because it was, he trusted, already suffi-


known, that the sense of parliament was against them;
and ta:lthough the motions of Friday and the Friday
before had not actually been carried, yet he considered that
motions debated in such full houses, and where the minister
had so small a majority as nine or ten, were in effect carried,
and in all reasonable construction, as much carried, as if there
had not been such a majority against them. The great end,
therefore, of carrying the motion of his noble friend, was
already, in his mind, and he believed, in the consideration
of the whole country, effectually answered. For which rea-
son, he begged, that let who would be the persons called on
by, their sovereign to form the new administration, they
might ever hold it in their minds, that his majesty's late
ministers were dismissed, because parliament disapproved of
the system of their government, and that it was evident from
parliament having gone so far to effect a removal of ministers,
that it would be expected their successors should act upon
different principles, and in a mariner totally opposite. He
declared, it had given him great pleasure, the preceding
evening, to hear an honourable member say in a thin House,
that he hoped, if his majesty's ministers were removed,
those who should be appointed in their room would no
longer govern ,


by influence and corruption, and that if per-
sons who had been in opposition came in, they would re-
ligiously adhere to their opposition principles, and not let.
it be a mere change of hands, without a chancre of measures.
He enlarged a good deal on this idea, and in a warm man-
ner declared, that he should ever hold those. rrleu infamous,
be they who they might, who altered their principles on
obtaining power; and that as the House had solemnly de-
termined by their late conduct, that they rejected and
abhorred a government of influence, the new ministers must
always remember that fact, and remember also, that they
owed their situations to that House. Mr. Fox concluded
with advising his noble friend, not to make his intended
motion that day, but to reserve it for 'Monday, in case the
noble lord's declaration should fall short of its expected com-
pletion. He also agreed to withdraw his own motion.




43 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [March 2d.


The House, on the motion of Lord North, then adjourned to
the 23d.*


During the adjournment, the new administration was formed under
the auspices of the Marquis of Rockingham. The new cabinet was thus
composed :
First Lord of the Treasury— Marquis of Rockingham.
Principal Secretaries of State. (The third Secretaryship abolished) —


Earl of Shelburne, Hon. Charles James Fox.
Chancellor of the Exchequer—Lord John Cavendish.
First Lord of the Admiralty — Admiral Keppel (created a Viscount).
Lord Privy Seal — Duke of Grafton.
President of the Council — Lord Camden.
Master-General of the Ordnance —Duke of Richmond.
To continue Chancellor—Lord Thurlow.
Commander in Chief of the Forces — General Conway.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and created Baron Ashharton


John Dunning, Esq.


Besides the above, which composed the Cabinet, the following arrange-
ments took place :
Lord Chamberlain — Duke of Manchester.
Vice-Chamberlain — Viscount Chewton.
Groom of the Stole — Viscount Weymouth.
Master of the Buck Hounds — Earl of Jersey.
Lord Steward of the Household —Earl of Carlisle.
Lord of the Bedchamber —Lord Rivers.
Treasurer of the Household —Earl of Effingham.
Comptroller of ditto —Earl of Ludlow.
Captain of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners — Lord de Ferrars.
Lords of the Treasory — Lord Viscount Althorpe, . James Grenville, Esq.;


Frederick Montagu, Esq.
Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty Sir Robert Harland, Bart., Hugh


Pigot, Esq., Lord Duncannon, Hon. John Townshend, C. Brett, Esq.,
R. Hopkins, Esq.


Under Secretaries of State — Richard Brindsley Sheridan, Esq., Thomas.
Orde, Esq.


Attorney-General — Lloyd Kenyon, Esq.
Solicitor-General — John Lee, Esq.
Secretary at War — Hon. Thomas Townshend.
Treasurer of the Navy— Right Hon. Isaac Barre.
Paymaster-General of the Forces— Edmund Burke, Esq.
Joint Postmaster-General — Earl of Tankerville, Right Hon. H. F.Carterct."
Vice-Admiral of Scotland — Lord William Gordon.
Lieutenant General of the Ordnance — Sir William Howe.
Surveyor General of ditto.— Hon. Thomas Pelham.
To command the grand fleet — Lord Howe (created a Viscount).
Created Lord Grantiey — Sir Fletcher Norton.
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland — Duke of Portland.
Joint Vice-Treasurers of Ireland—Earl of Scarborough, Sir George


Yonge, Bart.
Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant — Colonel Fitzpatrick.
Conunandex in Chief of the Forces in Ireland Lieut.-General Burgoyne,


/782.3 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND, ale


AFFAIRS OF IRELAND.-


April 8.


ON' first day of the meeting of parliament, after the Easterrecess, as soon as the re-elected members were sworn in, the
affairs of Ireland were unexpectedly brought before the House.
Colonel Luttrell introduced the business, by stating the prevailing
discontents in that country, and the desire of ministers to remove
them, and requiring from Mr. Eden, who had filled the situation of
secretary to the Earl of Carlisle, the late lord lieutenant, an ex-
planation of the affairs of that kingdom. Mr. Eden readily entered
on the task, describing the conduct of government and opposition
for the two last years, and descanting on the valour, loyalty, and
popularity of the volunteers, whose desires and sentiments were
the desires and sentiments ofall Ireland. The declaration of rights,
so unanimously and ardently cherished, could no longer be opposed
with success : the attempt would be as vain as to make the river
Thames flow up Highgate-hill. He did- not believe the Irish would
abuse the advantages they might obtain, and they would be re-
strained from adopting measures injurious to England, since the
king, with the advice of a responsible cabinet, must sanction all
their acts. Besides the declaration of rights, the volunteers, or,
in another word, Ireland, had called fora habeas corpus, and
obtained it ; a bill for making commissions of judges quanuliu Lene
se gesserint, demanded by them, was in its progress through parlia-
ment ; the required alteration of the mutiny act might easily he
granted, and a modification of Poyning's law, which would satisfy
the people, could not be dangerous to England. He then moved
for leave to bring in a bill, " repealing so much of the act of the 6th
of George I. as asserted a right in the king and parliament of
Great Britain to make laws binding the kingdom and people of
Ireland." He did not wish to be precipitate ; but the recess of
the Irish parliament would terminate in eight days, and Mr. Grat-
tan would then renew and carry his motion for a declaration of
rights. It would surely, then, be adviseable to anticipate the
wishes of the people, to afford them a pledge of the sincerity ofEngland, a security for the permanency of the constitution, and
of that trade they were so anxious to preserve.


Mr. Secretary Fox rose. He declared he felt it necessaryto say something, though he would not make all the obser-
vations on what had fallen from the right honourable gen-
tleman on the flow-, (Mr. Eden) which had suggested them-
selves to his mind, because he must in that case greatly
fatigue the House, and because he was persuaded every
gentleman present felt as he did, on the very' extraordinaryproc


eedings of the day. The House would recollect, that
n hon


ourable gentleman behind hint, had given rise to the
vol.. Ir.


1




[April' a
S AT'f)-.1Itg. OF IRELAND;


debate, by getting up to remind them of what he had said
relative to Ireland, previous to the recess, and that the same:
honourable gentleman had called on the right honourable
member on the floor to give the House some information
respecting the state of affairs in Ireland. Upon which that
right honourable gentleman, without any previous consulta-,
tion with his majesty's ministers, without saying a syllable to
any one member of administration upon the subject, had,
thought proper to move for the repealof the 6th of George I.
thereby abandoning at once the supremacy of this country
over Ireland, and disuniting that kingdom from this at a
single stroke.. The right honourable gentleman's motion was
in substance and effect nothing less than a declaration of
unconditional submission on. the part of Great Britain, and
a. direct relinquishment of her dearest and most valuable
rights.


For himself; Mr. Fox said, he was so new in office, he had
no right to claim any respect whatever ; but for those of his-
majesty's ministers, with whom he was joined, he was war-
ranted to say, it would have been decent, it would have been
respectful to have consulted them previous to the taking any
step in parliament, on a topic of so much importance. Had the
right honourable gentleman done so, he would have learnt,.
that short as the time was, that his majesty's present ministers
had been in their situations, they had turned their most se-
rious attention to the alarming state of Ireland, and that it
was not from any indisposition to do Ireland justice, that
they bad not on that first day of their setting their feet in
that House as minister: proposed some measures, which
should in their consideration. be wise and. expedient, and likely
to conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland, and put
an end to the maxisinesses, jealousies,- mid tumults that it was.
well known had subsisted, and continued to subsist in that
much-injured country. It was not from any want of inclina-
tion to do Ireland right, that they had not yet taken such a
step, but merely from a disdain to follow the example of the
worst sort of conduct of their predecessors in office, who were
always catching at expedients of the moment, and were
rather willing to patch up a present difficulty, at any rate,
than to meet it fairly, to fathom its depth, and to consider
what was likely to be a solid and permanent means of reme-
dying a real evil, and preventing its arising in future. It was
with a view to settle the constitution of the two countries ha
such a manner as should be perfectly satisfactory to England:
and Ireland, and should promise to give a lasting harmony.
to both, that his majesty's ministers paused upon the subject;
not from any indisposition towards Ireland, not from any.


ri821


AFFAIRS or IRELAND. 51
idea that her claims were either unjust or unreasonable, not
from the most distant intention of letting them remain nrt-
aasfied. Had the right honourable gentleman thought


per
pro-


tn consult his majesty's ministers upon the subject, he
would have learnt, that the matter had been, and was under
their consideration, and that not many days, or rather not
many hours would have been suffered to pass, before some
proposition would have been offered to that House in order
to conciliate the affections of the Irish, of whose loyalty and
of whose admiration and regard for this country there could


be Ononedotlilibnt.g , however, he had learnt from the very extra-
ordinary speech of the right honourable gentleman, and that
was, the motive of his post-haste journey to England. It
was now evident, that the right honourable gentleman had
come over so suddenly for the sole purpose of surrendering
the supremacy of this country over Ireland. New as the dee-
trine of disuniting was in the mouths of the late ministers
and their friends, and ill-advised as it might be in the pre-
sent instance, he wished they had adopted it earlier, and that
the unity of the British empire had not been so obstinately




insisted on. Had the opportunity that offered for gratifying
the reasonable requests of Ireland some years ago been seized,
had her petitions been complied with when she came, to the
bar of the 1Thuse: submissive and obedient, standing, as all
who ask a Favourdo usually stand, on the justice of their
claim, rather than on their power, this country would have
acted a wise part, and might have graciously granted those
boom which bad since been, as it were, torn from her in a
manner exceedingly disgraceful to Great Britain. But in
perfect consistency to the custom of the late ministry, (by
whom every thing, that was asked, however reasonable, how-
ever right, was contemptuously denied as long as they dared
venture to deny, and then when the moment of danger
arrived, though what was barely moderate was refused before,
more than was compatible with the honour of the country,
was shamefully and meanly given up,) the °riaht honourablegentleman, who, during his ministry in Ireland, had uniformly
apposed all the claims made by different gentlemen on dif-ferent grounds, and, as flr as he had considered them, on
egxotoetliagtahoautnedSt
the Irish parliament, was the first to post


to


L:1117


Over and propose a measure of the most alarming


said
be conceived.While he id this, be begged not to be understood asgring any


on,
Opi nion whether the measure was, or was not, ap (self. He was passing no opinion upon itlratetier le Was merely describing the very extraordinary


E 9




25 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. [April
manner in which it-was brought forward, and the nature of
it. For his part, he was most fully persuaded, that Ireland
had a just right to expect ample redress from this country
for the oppressive treatment she had long groaned under,
and he would answer for the rest of his majesty's ministers,
that they were of the same opinion; but they must be strange
counsellors of the crown, who would venture to advise his.
majesty of a sudden to come into so extensive a proposition
as that then before the House. The subject was nice, and
it required. the deepest consideration. He was not ripe to
pronounce upon the motion, but he was far from saying that.
something like it might not be proper; all he wished- was,
not to be urged to pass a hasty judgment on so important a
business.


The right honourable gentleman had talked of his ad-.
ministration having been a fortunate one ; it appeared to him
to he the oddest result of a. fortunate administration that
could be conceived, for the minister of Ireland to feel him-
self bound to post over to England, to propose such a motion
as that under discussion. God defend him from the good
fortune of producing such a consequence by his administration!
But that was not the only surprising, the only paradoxical
part of the right honourable gentleman's speech; he had
talked. of the volunteers of Ireland in a way equally unac-
countable. He had said, they took up arms in the summer
of 178o for their amusement. Oh„ most wonderful amuse-
- tient, most strange turn of diversion ! It was to that amuse-
ment, and to that diversion, that the right honourable gen-
tleman was impelled to post over to England, in order to
'make his motion. It was to the power of the volunteers of
Ireland, and not to the justice 'of their claims, that the right
honourable gentleman now felt it necessary to propose a
matter directly contrary to the whole system of his conduct
during hie adininistration. The right honourable gentleman
had said, there was no other opposition to his administration,
but such as every government must wish for, and such as just
served to keep them awake. Did the House know, what the , -
sort of opposition really was, and of whom it was constituted?
Had the House heard the names of Lord Charlemont, of
Mr. Yelverton, of Mr. Grattan, of Mr. Burgh, of Mr. Flood,
and of many others, which he - would not then mention
Names of the greatest, the ablest, and the honestest men in
Ireland ! The Lord defend him from such opposers ! The
Lord keep him from having his measures objected to by per-
sons of such wisdom, such ability, and such weight !


The whole of the right honourable gentleman's conduct.,
as the minister of Ireland, was as extraordinary a g his speech


-1132•1 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. 53
that day. Ile had been sent over here for the express pur-
pose of' bringing the Earl of Carlisle's resignation, and of
giving his majesty's ministers full, fair; and candid infor-
illation of the state of facts -in Ireland; and how had the
right honourable gentleman complied with his instructions?
He had come to town, and finding the ministry -changed,
had sent a letter to a noble lord, (a colleague of his,) -declar-
ing that he would give them no information whatever -respect-
ing Ireland, and menacing them with a threat that 'be would,
as that day, come down to the House, and speak -upon the
subject of Ireland. He owned, for his part, that he had no
great dread of that menace, though lie was at a loss to guess
what the right honourable gentleman meant to say. The
candour of the House was what he had so often experienced,
that he was not much terrified at the right honourable gen-
tleman's threat. The House now knew what -its nature was,
and he was perfectly at their disposal.


With regard to the alarming state of Ireland, lie did not
-at all doubt hut it was pretty correctly described by the right
honourable gentleman; but then it ought to be remembered
to what it was ascribeable. He declared he felt it right to
take that opportunity of saying, that though he thought but
very indifferently of the state of the country a fortnight ago,
his opinion then was nothing compared to his knowledge upon
the same subject at that moment. His suspicions of the ne-
elieence and scandalous mismanagements of his majesty's late
ministers were now matured into ripe judgments, and he was
sorry to have found that things were infinitely worse than he
had imagined them to be, and that bad as they had been
described, the description given to that House by himself
and others from time to time fell infinitely short of the real
situation of affairs — which situation was in his mind so clearly
ascribeable to the neglects of the late ministers, that he
should not think the present administration acted tidily' and
honestly by that House and the people, if they did not in-
ssttoitoudtie.


W ith


enquiries, and such enquiries as should give the coml.,
stiliao- iail correct state of the condition, in which public matters


shouldnort begard to the present motion, he trusted that he
e misrepresented in consequence -of what he had


said upon it, and held out to Ireland as a person indisposed
to grant her relief, or unwilling: to admit the truth and just-rt
ess of her claims. On the contrary, lie thought Irelandhad strong grounds of complaint, and that her claims ought


to be complied with as far as they possibly could. He re-peated it therefore, that he and the rest of his majesty's mi-
nisters were most cordially and sincerely inclined to do


P 3




54 ArizAnis or xREI.AND. [April 8,
Ireland ample justice, and that it had been one of the first


objects of their consideration upon coming into office. That
in a few hours sonle propositions would be offered to the
House with respect to Ireland, and that he did not object to
the present motion from any conviction that it was an min,
proper one, but merely because he was not quite ripe to
say, that it was the best motion that could be brought. for-.
ward on the subject. He should therefore not meet it with
a negative, but with a previous question, or, he believed,
it would be a more regular mode of getting rid of it for
the present, by moving the order of the day upon it. He
-wished for this to give time to the king's servants to deter.
mine with precision on the plan to be offered to both emu-.
tries; and he had the utmost reason to hope and believe,
that the matter would be finally settled without any of those
consequences which the conduct of the right honourable gen..
tleman in this business had been calculated to produce. He
wished, he confessed, that the right honourable gentleman


— .


would withdraw his motion, as the hest means; and by which
an honourable friend of his, Mr. Crewe, would be able to
move for leave to bring in a bill, which he had introduced
some years ago, for disqualifying excise and custom-house
officers from voting at elections. This was a part of the plan
which had been formed when they were out of office, for
retbrming the constitution of parliament, and which they
seriously meant to undertake now with the same zeal and
attention as before. Not a day l'irould be lost until the task
of reducing the improper influence of the crown, and settling
the representation of the people upon more equal grounds,
was fulfilled. The right honourable gentleman had said,
that his opposition to the various motions that had been,Made
in the Irish House of Commons, had been supported by great
majorities, He said, that he wished these majorities had been
less. It was the greatness of those majorities and the manner
in which they were constituted, that had given offence and
jealousy to the people of Ireland. They, no doubt, desired
to see a free representation, declaring honestly their voice in




the senate. To correct the abuses in influence and repre-
sentation, would be the steady endeavours of his majesty's
ministers. He concluded with moving for the order of the
day; this-he would not have done upon any other account
than that the motion was of such a sort, and came at such a
time; but he hoped that the right honourable gentleman.
would vet withdraw it.


Mr. Fox produced the letter sent by Mr. Eden to Lord
Shelburne, and said, though it was undoubtedly of a public
:nature, yet so unwilling was he to do any thing of an indeh-


17821 itrizAiRs OF IRELAND. 55


.ate, or an unhandsome sort, that he would not read it to the
House, unless the right honourable gentleman gave him his
consent. Mr. Eden having said, he had no objection to the
letter being read, Mr.. Fox read the letter and remarked


The following is a copy thereof:— '
Dowling Street,. Apri 1 5, r 782.


" Ravin; re-considered the-conferencewith which your lordship yester-
" My Lord,


,lay indulged me, I think that I ought specifically to state my reasons for
having often declined your intimations to use to enter into opinions aria
facts respecting the present circumstances of Ireland, .and the measures
best to be pursued there. When I arrived in London, I came prepared
and disposed, and instructed to serve, most cordially, in the critical mea-
sure of closing the Lord Lieutenant's government, so as to place it with
all practicable advantages in the hands of ,whatever person his majesty's
ministers might have destined-to succeed to it.


" I pre-supposed, however, that either his excellency would be recalled
very soon, but.not without the attentions which are duelo.hini, his station;
.and his services; or that his majesty's ministers would assist and instruct
him in first concluding the business of the session, and the various public
measures and arrangements of some difficulty and consequence, which are
immediately connected with it, and which cannot le compleated in less
than four or five months.


" Finding, however, to my extreme surprize, that the manner of giving
the lieutenancy of the East Riding to Lord Carmarthen, had been such as
to amount to a marked and personal insult, when it is considered that the
thing taken is merely honourar •, and .that the.person from whom it is
taken is an absent viceroy; and hearing also from your lordship, that the
Duke of Portland is not unlikely to be made the immediate and actual
messenger of his own appointment, I from that moment declined any
communication respecting facts and measures; because this line adopted
towards the present lord lieutenant, must in my opinion be fatal to the
ease of his successors fbr a long period of time, and ruinous to all good


• government, and the consequent peace of Ireland.
" Your lordship has informed me, that this is not meant as a personal


exertion of power against Lord Carlisle, but that his majesty's ministers
have adopted this mode of removing the Lord Lieutenant, as a wise mea-
sure of government. I differ so totally in my judgment, that it would be
idle in me to trouble them further respecting Ireland.j " I shall, as the duty of my situation requires, wait on such of his ma-esty's ministers as are disposed to see me, and with that respect which is
due to them, shall submit what I have here stated.


" My next anxiety is to act as I believe Lord Carlisle would wish me
to act, for his honour and the public service,— two objects which cannot at
this moment be separated. I am ready this evening, or to-morrow morn-
ing, at any hour, to attend the commands of his majesty's ministers, either


Permit,e


separately or collectively. To-morrow at two, I shall go into the country,
to make a visit of personal respect and private friendship; and on Mon_
clay,aYi in the H
mouse of Comons, I shall state, as fully as aweak voice wilt


ad E
- 1.


tNovhfa rtw t Tco, nceive to. be the


subsequent


circumstances of Ireland : I shalldo this


only
out
mixture of complaint, and with the most anxiousregar


leis


hall l
faci litate any . ou system for the public tranquillity; Ishall let it be implied by the world, from Irish facts, in con-trctio•• n to , g treatment, that the present Lord Lieutenant of Ire-land, (I borrow a own words from his last letter to your lordship,) has


B 4




S6 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. [April t
upon it in the course of his recitation of the different passages,
deducing an argument from the whole, that it amounted to
an express declaration, that the sender of it, on account of the
Earl of Carlisle being removed suddenly from his lieutenancy
of Yorkshire, and from his viceroyalty, would not communi-
cate with his majesty's ministers upon the subject of facts in
Ireland, though the right honourable gentleman's instructions
were to give ministers a lid): and full account of affairs there.
With regard to the recalling the Earl of Carlisle, Mr. Fox
said, it was very extraordinary for the right honourable gen-
tleman to declare himself piqued because he supposed the
Earl of Carlisle treated unhandsomely in being recalled,
although he had himself brought over the Earl's resignation,
and that couched in the most unconditional terms, without
the least hint of a desire to continue in Ireland any longer.
He protested, he had a great degree of personal regard for
the Earl of Carlisle. He knew him, and respected his abili-
ties, and by no means meant him any personal disrespect or
indignity. He reminded the right honourable gentleman of
the harsh manner in which Lord Carmarthen had been re.
moved from his lieutenancy, and what he had, among others,
said in parliament on that subject. In consistency to what
he had then said, the noble lord was restored to his lieu-
tenancy. In regard to Ireland, the Duke of Portland, who


goingwas oin over there, would, he had no doubt, from his abi-
lities and excellent character in private life, obtain the con-
fidence of Ireland ; and he thought that country, hearing of
the change of ministers, would have confidence enough in
his majesty's new servants to believe them inclined to do Ire-
land every possible justice.. Had his majesty's present mi-
nisters ever been advocates for nominal dignity, had they held
out principles of coercion, had they either in regard to Ame-
rica, or to any other part of what was formerly the British
dominions, avowed principles that savoured of severity or
despotism, he should not at all wonder at their intentions
being doubted ; but as, on the contrary, they had uniformly
avowed and acted upon doctrines of a directly opposite ten-
dency, be thought them entitled to some degree of credit
and confidence, and the more especially as be had so re-
peatedly and so expressly reprobated that sort of government,
which rested upon deceiving the people in any instance what-


had the good fortune to conduct the business of Ireland, at a most cri-tical period, without discredit to his majesty's government, and with many
increasing advantages to the interests of his kingdoms."


" I have the honour to Ve, &e.
"'WM. EDEN."


/782.] AFFAIRS OF IRELAND: 5 7


vier. He held all attempts to deceive and delude .a country
to be not more base in themselves, than weak, absurd, and
impolitic, and so fitr was he from thinking that Great Bri-
tain had a right to govern Ireland, if she did not clause to
be governed by us, that he maintained no country that ever
bad existed or did exist, had a right to hold the sovereignty
of another, against the will and consent of that other.


The motion was withdrawn with the leave of the House,


April n.


Mr. Secretary Fox presented the following message to the
Commons from the king:


" GEORGE IL
" His majesty being concerned to find that discontents and


jealousies are prevailing among his loyal subjects in Ireland, upon
matters of great weight and importance, earnestly recommends
to this House, to take the same into their most serious considera-
tion, in order to such a final adjustment as may give a mutual
satisfaction to both kingdoms."


The message being read by the Speaker ;


Mr. Secretary Fox rose and said, he- hoped gentlemen
would see, that as little time as possible had been lost by
his majesty's ministers, in paying a due attention to the affairs
of Ireland, in order to quiet those discontents and jealousies
that had prevailed there unfortunately for some time past,
but of late to a very alarming degree ; at the same time, he
hoped, he might presume upon so much credit with the House,
as to expect to be relied on, when he assured gentlemen, that
the paper that had been then read, was not procured in
consequence of what had passed in that House the preceding
day. Why that message was not brought down yesterday,
was rather owing to accident than to any other cause; the
discontents and jealousies that had subsisted in Ireland having
been one of the first objects of attention with his majesty's pre-
sent servants. He added, that it was not his purpose to do more
for the present, than to move, what undoubtedly it was the
duty of the House to vote, namely, an address to his majesty,
humbly thanking him for his most gracious message, and
assuring him, that the House would, at an early day, proceed


answer
his


to take such steps in the business, as should seem most likely
to swe majesty's request effectually. Mr. Fox said,
.the reason why he meant to proceed no farther just at thatTaoment, was, because it was the wish of his majesty's ser-
41
-ants not to follow the example of their predecessors in office,


and b


y applying a temporary remedy to a temporary evil,




5 8 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. [April 9.
just put off the inconvenience of the day, but they were
resolved to take care to act in such a manner as should pro..
raise a permanent peace to both countries, and give a stability,
as it were, to the restoration of harmony, good humour and
friendship, between Great Britain and Ireland. The most
likely means to quiet the discontents and jealousies that sub-
sisted at present between the two countries, was, to do it in
such a manner as should settle the constitution of both, and
draw the line between them clearly and cordially, in order to
ascertain the nature of their connexions in future. It was,
he observed, impossible to do this with the little information
then before the House upon the subject; it was first necessary
for them to come at a precise knowledge of what were the
wishes and what the expectations of Ireland ; and as there
were those going there whose duty it would be to investigate
those wishes and expectations, and who would doubtless
have none of those reasons for withholding the information
they might acquire upon the subject, which some others had
declared themselves to be actuated by ; as soon as facts were
in the possession of ministers, they would communicate them
to that House, and both together might then go hand in
hand and in certainty upon the business, and do it effectually
and satisfactorily to both countries. As a new lord lieutenant
was just setting off for Ireland, Mr. Fox declared, he thought
it indispensably necessary to take that step previous to his
setting off; in order that on his arrival in Dublin, the people
of Ireland might entertain no doubt of the sincerity of the
intentions of the new ministers, nor of the incl ination of the
crown and the British parliament respecting them. Seeing
that the intentions of that House wereiounded in reality and
seriousness, he had no doubt but they would allow the delay,
(riot a long one certainly) that would necessarily be occasioned
by the adjustment of a business, from which he flattered him-
self wouldresult very beneficial consequences to the commerce
and prosperity, the case and the happiness of both countries
He • then moved, " That an humble address be presented to
his majesty, to return his majesty the thanks of this House,
for his most gracious message; and to assure his majesty,
that this House, feeling with his majesty the deapest concern
that discontents and jealousies should have arisen among his
majesty's loyal subjects in Ireland, will, without delay, take
the same into their most serious consideration, in order to
such a final adjustment as may give -mutual satisfaction to
both kingdoms."


The motion was agreed to nem.,cone.


1 782.1


AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. 59


May T 7.


It being the declared intention of administration to proceed in
this arduous business in concert with the parliament of Ireland, a
message, conceived in the same terms with those presented to the
English Houses, was sent by the Duke of Portland, the new lord
lieutenant, to the Commons of that kingdom, immediately after
his arrival, to take upon him the government. The address to
the king, in consequence of this message, was moved by Mr.
Grattan, the great and eloquent leader of the popular party.
This address, after a full and explicit assertion of the independent
rights of the kingdom of Ireland, proceeded to state the causes
of those jealousies and discontents which had arisen in that
country ; namely, the act of the 6th of George the First ; the
power of suppressing or altering bills in the privy council ; and
the perpetual. mutiny bill. It concluded with expressing their
most sanguine expectations from his majesty's virtuous choice of
a chief governor, and their great confidence in the wise auspices
and constitutional counsels which they had the satisfaction to see
his majesty had adopted. On the ground of this address, the
House of Commons this clay went into a committee of the whole
House, to take into consideration the king's speech'of the gth of
April, relative to the state of Ireland ; to which committee the
addresses of the parliament of Ireland being referred,


Mr. Secretary Fox rose. He said, that in discussing a
subject of such magnitude as that which he was about to
submit to the consideration of the committee, it was his in-
tention to speak as plainly, as roundly, and as intelligibly as he
possibly could : at the same time he was aware, that, on such
a subject, he must speak with some degree of diffidence and
caution; because he was afraid that, on one hand, he might
be thought to grant too much to Ireland ; while, on the
other, some might think that he did not grant enough : at
all events, he would s*ak his sentiments with freedom;
desiring, however, that what :should fall from him might be
considered principally as coming from him in the capacity of
an English member of parliament, rather than as a minister.


Having premised this, he entered upon the subject. The
committee, he observed, must know from the address that
had been just read, that the parliament of Ireland had spoken


16:1:;
01and stated m clear terms, what it was -that they re-


quired. The great points to which the claims or the Irishparliament were directed, appeared to be the repeal of the
George the First ; the restoration of the appellantJurisdiction


• the modification of Poyning's law ; and the
repeal of the perpetuating clause `in the mutiny bill. On
each of these points, he intended to offer a 'few observations
to the committee.


-0




6o


AFFAIRS OF IRELAND.
[May t7;


And first, with regard to the act of the 6th of George the
First, it had always been his opinion out of office, that it 'was
downright tyranny to make laws for the internal government
of a people, who were not represented among those by whom
such laws were made. This was an opinion so founded in
justice, in reason, and in equity, that in no situation had he,
or would he ever depart from it : it was true, nevertheless,
that he was not an enemy to the declaratory act, which had
been passed relative to America ; yet his principles were not
inconsistent nor incompatible with that act. He had always
made a distinction between internal and external legislation ;
and though it would be tyranny to attempt to enforce the
former, in countries not represented in the British parlia-
ment, yet he was clear that the latter was, in reason and in
policy, annexed to the British legislature; this right of pre-
rogative or supremacy, lie was convinced, would never have
given umbrage to any part of the British empire, if' it had
been used solely for the general good of the empire; but
when it was made an instrument of tyranny and oppression,
it was not to be thought wonderful, that it should excite
discontents, murmurings, and opposition. When local legis-
latures were established in different parts of the empire, it
was clear that it was for this purpose, that they might answer
all municipal ends; and the great superintending power oft.
the state ought not to be called into action, but in aid of the
local legislature, and for the good of the empire at large ;
but when ministers, judging by what they had, of what they
might have, carried the principle of external to internal
legislation, and attempted to bind the internal government
of its colonies by acts, in the passing of .which ,the colonies
had no voice, that power, which, on proper occasions, would -
have been cheerfully obeyed, created animosity and hatred,
and had produced the dismemberment of an empire, which,
if properly exerted, it would have served to unite and bind
in the firmest manner.


Ireland had the same reason to spurn at this power of
external legislation, because it had been hitherto employed
for the purpose only of oppressing and distressing her. Had
Ireland never been made to feel this power as a curse, She
never would have complained of it; and the best and most
effectual way to have kept it alive, would have been, not to
have made use of it. Ireland would then have suffered this
harmless power to exist in the statute book ; she never would
have called out for a renunciation of it. But, fatally for this
country, this power of external legislation had been employed
against Ireland as an instrument of oppression, to establish
an impolitic monopoly in trade; to enrich one country at the


782.3 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. 61


expellee of the other. When the Irish first- complained of
this monopoly about four years ago, and asked as favours
what they might have claimed as a right, they were opposed
in that House ; and their demands, which were no less
modest than just, were disregarded. It was not local or com-
mercial jealousy, so common in all countries, that had ope-
rated to the disappointment of the Irish at that time ; their
demands had been rejected, when the then first confidential
servant of the crown in that House came down to vote against
them; the influence of the minister was exerted, perhaps for
the purpose of preserving a few votes on other occasions;
and the rights and distresses of Ireland were consigned to
oblivion. Thus the supreme power of the British parliament
was employed to gratify a few, and to distress a whole king-
dom. What was the consequence ? The Irish finding, that
they bad nothing to expect in the British House of Com-
mons from the j ustice of their demands, found resources
in themselves; they armed; their parliament spoke out; and
the very next year, the same minister who before had put
a negative on all their expectations, came clown to the
House, and making the amende honorable for his past con-
duct, gave to the demands of an armed people, infinitely
more than he had refused to the modest applications of an
unarmed humble nation. Such had been the conduct of the
then minister and his colleagues; and this was the lesson that
the Irish had been taught : " If you want any thing, seek not
for it unarmed and humbly; but take up arms, speak man-
fully and boldly to the British ministry, and you will obtain
more than you at first might have ventured to expect."
This was the happy consequence of the ill use made of the
superintending power of the British parliament, which was
perverted from its true use, and instead of being the means
of rendering the different parts of the empire happy and
connected, had made millions of subjects rise up against a
power, which they felt only as a scourge. If, therefore, he
should be obliged to move any proposition that might appear
humiliating on the part of Great Britain, or hurtful to the
pride of Englishmen, the fault was not his; it was the fault
of those who had left it in the power of the volunteers to
make the demands contained in the addresses on the table;
-%-ho had left it in their power, not by leaving arms in their.


but leaving them their injuries and oppressions.
It was his intentionnot to pursue


u
the footsteps of his prede-


cessors; and therefore he would agree to the demands of the.
relative to the repeal of the 6th of George I., not


because
was iause nntimidated, and afraid to oppose those


s; but because he believed them to he founded in




6z AFFAIRS OF IRELANI). [May 17,


justice ; and he would have been as ready to grant them if
Ireland made them now, in the same unarmed and modest
manner, in which she preferred her complaints four years
ago. A man must be a shallow politician indeed, who could
not find means of distressing Ireland, and making her feel
the weight of calamity ; it might be distressing to Ireland, if
his majesty's servants should advise the king not to give his
assent to the bill for quieting the possession of those who hold
estates in Ireland, under English laws ; the resources of this
country were amply sufficient for the purposes of devastation;
the deserted towns and villages, the ruined provinces of
America, would bear testimony to the power of the British
arms to depopulate countries, mid deluge them with blood ;
but he mast be a shallow politician who would resort to such
means to enforce obedience to laws, which were odious to
those whom they were made to bind. For his part, he had
rather see Ireland totally separated from the crown of Eng-
land, than kept in obedience only by force. Unwilling sub-
jects were little better than enemies; it would be better not,
to have subjects at All, than to have such as would be cona
tinually on the watch, to seize the opportunity of making
themselves free. If this country should attempt to coerce
Ireland, and succeed in the attempt, the consequence would
be, that, at the breaking out of every war with any foreign
power, the first step must be to send troops over to secure
Ireland, instead of calling upon her to give a willing support
to the common cause.


Having said thus much with regard to the repeal of the 6th
of George I., which he intended to agree to in the most un
eqnivocal planner, he touched next upon the appellant juris-
diction. Upon this question he thought there was no manner
of difficulty whatever ; for when the great question of legisla-
tion was given up, he did not see that it was of any conse-
quence still to maintain to this country the jurisdiction in
appeals : but even if it was a desirable object, or likely to
strengthen the tie between the two countries, it must be given
up, for the Irish insisted upon it ; and there was a particular
reason for complying with their desires on that head. The
decrees or judgine»ts of our courts of law here in matters of
appeal, were to be carried into execution—where' In Ire-
land. By whom? By the people of Ireland. Now, as ;.lie
people of Ireland had one and all declared, that they would
not execute or obey any order of any English tribunal, it
would be nugatory and absurd to maintain the appellant juris-
diction to Great Britain ; and consequently it. would be better
to give it up with a good grace, than to keep it as ?, bone of
Wntention between the two countries.


1 78'2.] AFFAIRS or IRELAND. 63


Ile came next to the modification of the law of Poyning,
admitted, bl


been
ni en ud, said, that by this law, a strange


alteration made in the form- of the constitution of
Ireland, by making the privy-council of that kingdom a branch
of the legislature; and those who were acquainted with the


ti n beha


nature of the interference of that privy-council, knew very
well, that it was of the greatest detriment to the state; for
pot onl y it sometimes suppressed bills which had passed the
House of Lords or Commons, nemine . dissentiente ; but such
was the nature of it, that bills were sometimes passed accord-
ing to form indeed, but in fact, nemine assentiente ; when it
was contrary to the intention of any man m the House, that
such bills should pass, they were nevertheless supported by all,
in confidence that in the privy-Council they would be thrown
out. This kind of conduct was merely to gain popularity;
that men who did not wish to oppose popular opinions, which
they did not approve, should nevertheless unanimously give
way to those opinions, merely because they knew they would
be rejected in the privy-council. For his own part, he was
free to confess that the interference of that body, and their
power to stop bills in their progress from parliament to the
king, appeared to him improper ; and therefore he could have
no objection to advise his majesty to consent to the modifica-
tion that they required, of that law, from which the privy-
council derived that power. But the jealousies of the Irish
went farther; they were jealous of the interference of the
English privy-council; and he admitted that the alterations
which had sometimes been made by it in Irish bills, had given
but too just cause for jealousy. It was generally understood
in Ireland, that Irish bills were frequently altered in England
with very little consideration, and sometimes by a single per-
son, the attorney-general; which single person the Irish
imagined made alterations, without giving that attention to
the bills which the importance of the subject required. He
would not say that these opinions were in general well found-


been grossly
'


ed; but this he wasaconvinced of, that, like the 6th of Geor ge I.,
this power of altering might have still remained, if an im-
praod p er use had not been made of it; but to his knowledge it
h
had


r l abused; in one instance, in particular, a bill


)


b


11 o


een


f the


sent over to England t -


of the dissenters,
for


two years ago, granting, and


.


very wisely and very justly granting, indulgences to the Ito-.
man Catholics; in that same bill there was a clause in favour


e


descr ipt ions '


policy,th
ss t rs, or repealing the ancramental test; this clause


was struckc out,


ascontrary, in his opinion, to sound
anon


n C`.0
a tended to make an improper discrimination be-


11
lter ti


two


of men, which did not tend to the
14114 people, It was by such conduct, that the IrishI


II




AFFAIRS OF IRELAND.
[May t


were driven to pronounce the interference of the English
privy-council in altering their bills, a grievance, though in
his opinion the power would never have been complained of,
if it had never been abused.


He came lastly to the mutiny bill, and he freely confessed,
that it was no matter of surprise, that the Irish should object
to a clause which gave a perpetual establishment to a military
force in their country ; and so hostile did he deem such a
clause to the constitution of England as well as of Ireland,
that if the Irish had never mentioned this law among their
grievances, he would have held it to be his duty, as an En-
glishman, to have recommended the repeal of it. The Irish
must naturally feel that jealousy for their constitution, which
the English feel for theirs, and which they express by passing
a mutiny law only for one year : this perpetuating clause had
this effect also, that it rendered the interference of the English
privy-council still more and more odious. All that remained
at present, was to spew a readiness to satisfy the Irish on this
head, and remove or repeal the clause in question.


Having thus gone through the various grievances and de-
mands of Ireland, he observed, that the committee must see
that there were only one or two points, in which the interfe-
rence of the British parliament was necessary ; and these
were the repeal of the 6th of George I. and the restoration
of the appellant jurisdiction to Ireland : the other points lay--
between the parliament of Ireland and the king ; and cer-
tainly he should, as one of the servants of the crown, advise
his majesty to satisfy the other demands of his Irish subjects.
Ireland had spoken out, and clearly and plainly stated what
she wanted; he would be as open with her, and though he
might perhaps have been better pleased, if the mode of ask-
ing had been different, still he would meet her upon her own
terms, and give her every thing she wanted, in the way
which she herself seemed to wish for it. She therefore coal&
have no reason to complain; the terms acceded to by England,
were proposed by herself; the manner of redress had been
prescribed by herself, and ail her wishes would now be gra-
tified in the way which she herself liked best. But as it was
possible, that if nothing more was to be done, than what he.
had stated to be his intention, Ireland might perhaps think
of fresh grievances, and rise yearly in her demands, it was : t
and proper that something should be now done towards esta-
blishing on a firm and solid basis the future connection of
the two kingdoms. But that was not to be proposed by Ilia.
here in parliament ; it would be the duty of the crown to look
to that; the business might be first begun by his majesty's"
servants in Ireland; and if afterwards it should be nccessarY


/782t] AFFAIRS or IRELAND. 65
to 'enter into a treaty, commissioners might be sent from the
British parliament, or from the crown, to enter upon it, and
bring the negociation to ahappy issue, by giving mutual satis-
faction to both countries, and establishing a treaty which
should be sanctified by the most solemn forms of the consti-
tut sbtoatnlid iciolguntt


iis
ries.Nioontssv


of country was parting with what she
had hitherto held and exercised, still he could not look upon
this day as a day of humiliation to her; she was giving up


:itfh


what it was just she should give up ; and in so doing, she
was offering a sacrifice to justice; policy and justice com-
bined to induce her to offer it ; but he should be sorry that
an idea should prevail, that she was giving to fear what she
would deny to justice : fear, he declared, was out of the
question. He said he entertained no gloomy thoughts with
respect to Ireland : he had not a doubt but she would be
satisfied with the manner in which England was about to
comply with her demands; and that in affection, as well as
in interest, they would be but one people. If any man en-
tertained gloomy ideas, he desired him to look at the con-
cluding paragraph of the Irish addresses, where he would find,
that the Irish people and parliament were filled with the most
earnest desire to support England, to have the same enemy
and the same friend ; in a word, to stand or fall with Eng-
land. He desired gentlemen to look forward to that happy
period, when Ireland should experience the blessings that
attend freedom of trade and constitution ; when by the rich-
ness and fertility of her soil, the industry of her Manufac-
turers, and the increase of her population, she should become
a powerful country ; then might England look for powerful
assistance in seamen to man her fleets, and soldiers to fight her
battles. England, renouncing all right to legislate for Ireland,
the latter would most cordially support the former as a friend-
-whom she loved; if this country, on the other hand, was to
assume the powers of making laws for Ireland, she must only
make an enemy instead of a friend; for where there was not a
community of interests, and a mutual regard for those in-terests, there the party whose interests were sacrificed, became
an enemy. The intestine divisions of Ireland were no more;the r


eligious prejudices of the age were forgotten, and theRoman Catholics being restored to the rights of men and citi-
tieens,


would become an accession of strength and wealth toempire at large, instead of being a burthen to the landth'at bore them. The dissenters had tasted of the liberalitythe legislature,caf th clp re, and now in common with their Roman()1Lc brethren, would enjoy. that happy toleration whichvox.
F




66 AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. [May 17.
did not confer more happiness on those who were the objects
of it than honour on those who established it.


Upon the whole, he was convinced that the Irish desired
nothing more ardently than proper grounds for being most
cordially united to England ; and he was sure that they would
be attached to this country, even to bigotry. Of the volun-
teers, he must speak respectfully : they had acted with temper
and moderation, notwithstanding their steadiness ; and he
must in justice to them, and to his own principles, declare,
that they had not done a single act, for which they had not
his veneration and respect ; and whatever blame there might
be discovered in the course of the business, he did not impute
a particle of it to Ireland ; but laid it all at the door of the
late administration. He concluded by moving, " 4 That it is
the opinion of this committee, that the Act of the 6th of
George I., intituled, ' An Act for the better securing the


dependency of the kingdom of Ireland, upon the crown of
= Great Britain,' ought to be repealed."


Mr. Thomas Pitt seconded the motion, and members of all par-
ties concurred in applauding it. Lord Beauchamp alone expressed
a doubt, that the repeal, leaving the question of right undecided,
would not satisfy the English nation. Mr. Burke said, that it was
not on such a day as that, when there was not a difference of opi-
nion, that he would rise to fight the battle of Ireland ; her cause
was nearest his heart; and nothing gave him so much satisfaction,
when he was first honoured with a seat in that house, as the idea
that it might be in his power, some way or other, to be of service
to the country that gave him birth ; he had always said to himself,
that if such an insignificant member as he was could ever be so
fortunate as to render an essential service to England, and that his
sovereign, or parliament, were going to reward him for it, he would
say to them, " Do something for Ireland ; do something for my
country, and I am over rewarded." He was a friend to his coun-
try; but gentlemen need not be jealous of that ; for in being the
friend of Ireland, he was of course the friend of England ; their
interests were inseparable.


Mr. Fox, in his reply to Lord Beauchamp, said, that O-
A Was his intention to do away completely the idea of Eng-
land legislating for Ireland, so he should have no objection
to word the repealing act in such manner, as to make it con-
tain a specific renunciation of the right claimed by this coun-
try to legislate for Ireland. It was the same with respect
Clive appellant jurisdiction, he had not the least objection to,
,give it up in toto ; after' having given up legislation, he could
not stand out for comparatively an insignificant object; ap-
peals were not the bond of connection between the two cowl'


o


1782.]
STATE OF THE REPRESENTATION.


67


tries; loyal and attached as the Irish were to his ma-i
person and government, it was not the king that was


t


sieesciiief bond of union ; it was a communion of affection,
of regard, of brotherly love, of consanguinity, and of con-
stitution. With regard to the bill, commonly called Mr.Yelverton's bill, as it was founded on this principle, thatEngland cannot legislate for Ireland, a principle milita,iny
against a positive act of parliament, the privy council could
not advise the king to give his assent to it; but if the House
should consent to the repeal of the act, then of course theprivy council might advise the passing of the bill, and then
no doubt it should be sent back to Ireland.


The motion passed without a division ; as did also the following
‘, That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is indispensable
to the interests and happiness of both kingdoms, that the con-
nection between them should be established, by mutual consent,
upon a solid and permanent basis." After which, the House re-
solved, on the motion of Mr. Pox, " That an humble address be
presented to his majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to
take such measures as his majesty in his royal wisdom shall think
most conducive to the establishing, by mutual consent, the con-
nection between this kingdom and the kingdom of Ireland, upon
a solid and permanent basis."


MR. MITT'S MOTION ON THE STATE OF THE REPRESEN.
TATION.


May 7.
R. WILLIAM PITT brought the subject of a reform in the
constitution of parliament again before the House. Theins


uperable difficulties that had occurred in bringing the friends
of such r


eformation to agree in any specific proposition, inducedhim
on the present occasion to vary the mode of proceeding, andto move, That a committee be appointed to enquire into thepresent


state
of the representation of the Commons of Great Bri-


what steps in their opinion
tain in parliament, to report file same to the House, and likewise


't may be proper for parliament to take,con
cerning the same." The debate was long, and ably. supported1!1?' the mover, Mr. Sawbridge, Sir George Savile, Mr. Secretaryl' o


x, and others on the side of a reform.


a M1. Secretary Fox said, he rose with pleasure to 'speak ontopic in which the rights of the people,. and the freedomof the
subject, were so materially concerned. It was always


P 2




1782.]


BILL FOR PREVENTING BRIBERY, &C. 69


not more than a fifty-fifth part of the representation: certainly,
no man in that House could in justice contend, that the county
of Middlesex was fairly represented ;` but if they did, he must
differ from them materially. He paid a Variety of compli-
ments to Mr. William Pitt, for his steady attachment to liberty,
and was fearful that nothing but the most imminent danger
would awaken the people to a sense of their danger. He re-
probated the ruinous measures of the late ministry, and de-
clared that lie wished for no other support than what would
naturally come from a thorough conviction that his measures
were right.


The motion was opposed by Mr. Powys, Mr. Thomas Pitt,
m•. Dundas, Mr. Rosewarne, Mr. Rigby, and others. Sir Horace
Mann having moved " That the other order of the day be now
read," the House divided :


Tellers. Tellers
{Mr.Yorke,Cambridgesh.


.—No r sMr. Macdonald 6
lyinw itt


EDAlsr. Pitt's motion was consequently rejected. Mr.Byng
f 141.


LORI> 'MAHON'S BILL FOR PREVENTING BRIBERY AND
EXPENCE AT ELECTIONS.


June 19.


ON the 2 3 d of May, Lord Mahon obtained leave to bring in a
bill for the better preventing bribery and expense in elections


of members to serve in parliament. The bill was immediately pre-
sented and read a -first time. It was afterwards read a second
time and committed. On the igth of June a motion was made fortaking the report into consideration. Upon this occasion Mr.
William Pitt warmly supported the bill. He was astonished, he
said, that any gentleman should be hostile to a measure, which, in
his opinion, was highly constitutional. It had been called an inno-
vation ; it was no innovation. It referred merely to the mode ofconducting a very constitutional business ; .a mode which had con-tinually warred with the times ; a mode which had admitted of thegrossest abuses. The regulation of this was no innovation, but arestoration of the constitution. There was indeed, nothing in the '
ill which did not meet his fullest approbation. It was calculated


e a number of very useful laws, which, from the relaxationof m


mori..a Secretary


hra: almost become obsolete. He was replied to by


the
e Fox, who, after paying every compliment to


Preceding speaker, contested all his arguments with his
F 3


68 STATE OF THE REPRESENTATION. [May 7,


contended, he said, that the people of England were virtu
ally represented, and it had been carried farther ; some per-
sons had formerly said, that the people of America were in
fact as much represented as the people, of Birmingham;
though he was free to confess, that by the present House of
Commons the people were virtually represented; yet a vir-
tual representation was only a mere succedaneum for an equal
representation, and gentlemen who were so strenuous for the
support of the present constitution, frequently made use of
the franchise granted to freeholders by Henry the VIth,
various ways, as best suited their purpose. If they would
only recollect, a freeholder of forty shillings in those days
was a man of great estate; to exclude every man now from
voting who .had not an estate equal to forty shillings in those
times, would be excluding the greatest part of the present
freeholders. That the voice of the people was not to be
collected from the votes of that House was plain, for in all
the great questions for the welfare of the country, he had
observed that the country members, who were most likely
to be independent, had uniformly voted, in a proportion of
five-sixths for the question, but had been overpowered by
the members for the rotten boroughs, which totally defeated
every good end that could be proposed. The Duke of Rich-
mond, he said, had last year introduced a bill into the other
House of Parliament for an equal representation ; he could
not, he owned, subscribe to all the parts of that bill, but he
was convinced that the noble peer meant it for the public
good ; for he was not ashamed to confess that he looked upon
him as the most able and fit Irian to bring about a reform of
any that this country could boast. It had been said, that
to add members to the counties would be encreasing the
aristocratic influence: he owned it would; and in some mea-
sure he confessed himself a friend to that doctrine; but he
would wish to be understood, at the same time, not to mean
the influence of peels, but to consider the monied interest
as the aristocratic part; men who had stakes to lose ought,
and he trusted would be the most anxious, to preserve them.,,*
It had been suggested to him, that the army and navy ought'
to be excluded that House; he was of quite a different opi-
nion ; for he could wish in order to make that House perfect,
that it should contain the landed, the navy, the army, the
monied, and in short every interest; but it did not at pre-
sent; and the city for which he had the honour to sit Nos
so little represented, that the county in which it stood, al-
though it contained one-eighth part of the whole number of
electors of Great Britain, although it ,,ax, one-sixth part of
the land-tax, and a full third of all other taxes, yet it had


Ada




70 BILL FOR PREVENTING BRIBERY, A.C. [June 19•
usual ability and address. He denied, that the principle of
the bill had been fairly stated by his honourable friend. He
wished by no means to countenance a measure which should
carry on the face of it a sort of discordance, or at least a dis-
similarity of sentiment between candidates and voters. He
was for cultivating the connection between the elector and
elected, by all possible expedients. It was by intimacy, that
character, virtue, property well occupied, had 'their natural
flu.nce. Why should they endeavour to circumscribe the very
few privileges the electors of Great Britain retained? Was
it not their business to-give them every assistance for extending
their franchises? And nothing could possibly enhance the
natural independence of Fnglish electors, more than upon an
occasion of elections, obliging their friends, or preferring
to the highest honour of the country those who, in their
opinion, seemed most deserving of it. Mr. Fox said he was
not fund of recurring to those times when representatives were
paid for their trouble by those they represented. This circurn-s
stance sounded very high with some people now. But whence
did it arise ? This house was then of little or no weight, in
the government of the country. And those arguments which
referred to such ancient usages could be of no more use, than
to put the House of Commons in mind of its ancient insignifi-
cance. lie said that nothing that could injure the cause of
the people, had any support to expect from him ; and when-
ever the honourable gentleman came forward with his ideas,
of an equal representation, he, might depend on his warmest
concurrence, and firm support. This was a point in which
they could never disagree. On the present bill, however, their
opinions did not meet, and he had stated with great deference
those reasons which made him differ from him.


The question being put, the House divided :
Tellers. Tellers.


YEAS Lord Mahon6o. Mr. Plumes 1 „
Mr. Cocks OESN / Mr. Sheridan i "'


So it was resolved in the affirmative : but on the z 1st, the bill
being recommitted, several clauses containing the pith and marrow
of it, being thrown out, Lord Mahon begged leave to withdraw
the bill ; welch was accordingly granted.


/782•]
CHANGE OP MINISTRY. 7


DEATH OF THE MARQUIS OP ROCKINGHAM. — RESIGNATION
OF MR. Fox. — CHANGE OP MINISTRY.


July 9.


Wv
IIILST parliament was successfully engaged in prosecuting


the most effectual measures for the security of its own inde-
pendenc e, for healing the breaches of the constitution, and reliev-ing the burdens of the people, a heavy calamity was approaching,
which again darkened the prospect that had so happily opened to
the nation. This was the loss of the Marquis of Rockingham ;
whose health had been for some time gradually declining, and at
length sunk under the increasing weight of public cares and busi-
ness. The first step taken by the Court after his death, which
happened on the 1st of July, was the appointment of the Earl of
Shelburne to be his successor in the treasury. Lord John Caven-
dish and Mr. Fox soon afterwards resigned their offices, and were
followed by the Duke of Portland ; Mr. Montagu and Lord
Althorpe, from the board of treasury ; by Lord Duncannon and
Mr. J. Townshend from the admiralty ;- by Mr. Burke, and by
Mr. Lee the Solicitor-General. Mr. William Pitt was made
chancellor of the Exchequer ; Mr. T. Townshend and Lord Gran-
tham, secretaries of state ; Mr. Pepper Arden succeeded Mr. Lee ;
the Lord Advocate of Scotland succeeded Mr. Barre, who was
removed to the pay-office ; and Earl Temple was appointed to
the lord-lieutenantcy of Ireland. The secession of such a weight
of talents and integrity from the service of government, could not
be regarded with indifference. The motives which were supposed
to have actuated them, were variously represented ; and some
insinuations being thrown out, highly injurious to the public
character of the persons concerned, the first opportunity was
taken of bringing the subject to an open discussion in the House
of Commons. Accordinglyhe gth of July, a debate havingy, on
arisen on a motion relative to the pension of 30001. a-year granted
to Colonel Barre, the divisions that had prevailed amongst his
majesty's servants were strongly retorted on those who had formed
the last, by Mr. Bamber Gascoyne, a member of the old admini-
stration ; and this discord was alleged to be the more culpable at
present, on account of the very critical and alarming situation of
affairs. Upon this occasion,


Mr. Fox rose. He said, that he had the honour to be
one of his majesty's confidential servants when that grant,
which was now the object of debate, was agreed to ; and
although he was not the person in whose department it lay
to advise the King on the subject, still he held himself as
responsible to parliament for the advice that was given. He


ably performed;
the pensionas a payment for services most honour-


and he by no means, on the maturest
4




7 2 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [Jely9„
beration, thought that, all the circumstances considered, it:
was either a lavish or a misapplied grant. Having gieen4
honourable testimony to the character of Colonel Barre, and
to his merits, as well as to the integrity of the noble Marquis,
who, by being at the head of the Treasury, was immediately
concerned in the grant now in the consideration of the House,
he said, that at the same time that they acknowledged the
justice of the present grant, and of another which had been
alluded to in that House, the pension granted to Lord Ash-
burton, it was peculiarly honourable to the friends and con-
nections of the deceased Marquis, that all the acts of his
administration, which had ever been complained of in that
House, had ever given rise to a motion, or had ever been
alluded to in a speech, were acts of friendship to men with
whom he had little or no connection; with whom he had no
remarkable coincidence of sentiment ; men who were not
attached to him in any shape whatever ; but who were distin-
guished by their intimacy and connection with another noble
person, who made a part of that administration, and Who now
was to be the head of the new one. The only jobs in which
the Rockingham administration were concerned, were jobs
for two men, neither friendly to their persons nor principles.
An honourable gentleman had said, that the grant was un-
wise, impolitic, and lavish, and that it was peculiarly so, in
coming ftom men who had so loudly talked of reform, and
of the necessity of public economy. To all this he could
only say, that the pension now bestowed, was a thing, in fact,
contributing to public reform,. for it was a reward, bestowed
on a man, who had most nobly pursued the object of public
reform, but who had certainly not been singular in that im-
portant matter, as it had come from an honourable gentle-
man who sat behind him (Mr. Burke). To reward the
'labours of men who had the good of the public in view,
was always politic, and could not he stigmatized with the
character which was due to the lavish and improvident acts
of the late ministry. It was however to be observed by that
House, and to be remembered by the people, that the only
favours which had been conferred, and the only defalcations
from that principle which had taken place during the short
ministry of the Marquis of Rockingham, had all been in favour
of that person and his friends who were now to form the ad-


. ministration of this country.
But a right honourable gentleman had particularly alluded


to the present circumstances of the ministry, and to the
division which had lately taken place: he had said that they
resembled their predecessors in being disunited, and divided
in their counsel. To this he must answer, that he had


1782.]
CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 73


blamed the last ministry for having the meanness to continue
when they found themselves divided ; and to hold theto act,


reins of government, when they saw that there was no con-
cert nor unanimity among themselves. He blamed the


Lord in the blue ribbon 'for having remained in
p lace, responsible for measures of which he had not cordially
nobl


approved, and when he found himself at the head of distracted
councils.


He blamed him for continuing in power under such cir-
cumstances, and having done this, having charged him' with
(mitt for having continued in such a situation, what was
left for him, when he found himself in a similar situation ?
Most undoubtedly to retire, when he found himself in a
cabinet divided upon points which he considered of the
utmost importance. -Without treachery to his country, he
could not remain in power when such opinions were held,
and such a system was to be begun, as he considered to be
dangerous, if not fatal. He retired, therefore, to prevent
disunion, to prevent the distraction which he conceived to
be so ruinous, and by so doing he had at least preserved to
himself the consolation of e"reflectine., thatdiet he had not -
mained in power longer than the system upon which they
came in continued to be pursued. He considered it as honour-
able to the party with which he had the happiness to act, that
they had not been the hunters of pensions, and of emoluments ;
and that though it might be a proof of wisdom in some men
to secure profit and emolument to themselves, it was a point
of wisdom with which they were particularly unacquainted;
but there were men so wise in their generation, that they had
always taken care to look forward to profit, and were like-
wise careful to secure to themselves this profit, by the labours
of others.


He thought himself bound to answer to his country for his
conduct in having withdrawn himself from a cabinet which
had been formed by the firmness and opinion of the country
at so critical and alarmine. a1 He must, therefore, saw,polio( .
that when he went into that cabinet, he considered himself
as pledged to his country for the system to be pursued. He
was in that particular situation which demanded from him
the most explicit, fair, and direct proceeding; it was his
disposition so to act; in the discharge of his duty to his king
and country, he was anxiously solicitous that the principles
upon which they came in should be most religiously anti im-
plicitly




b
observed. What, then, could he do, when to his plain


and evident conviction those principles were departed from by
Some of those Ministers ? It was his immediate duty to retire
fro— a situation,


ituati , in which he could no longer act with




honour to himself; as he could no longer act with service to
his country. When he saw that there was no prospect of
those principles being any longer pursued, upon -which the
administration had been framed ; when he was farther con.
firmed in his opinion, by seeing that his immediate friend s
were equally alarmed, and saw with the same eyes, he felt it
to be his immediate duty to retire from his post ; to leave
those persons, who thus chose to abandon principles, and
on the most important point of all the points which gave
rise to their ministry, chose to deviate into new grounds,
to their new system ; and that he ought instantly to come
forward and to declare the suspicions which he entertained,
and to warn that House against the system which was to be
revived.


He declared, that he, for himself, felt it to be his peculiar
duty to observe the conduct of the men who were appointed to
fill the offices of government; for having to answer to that
House for the exact system which they had pointed out in the
formation of the ministry, of which he made one, and having
declared that he should certainly depart from that cabinet,
whenever that cabinet should depart from the system, he did
now think it his duty to come forward, and to declare that he
had left his situation, and had resigned, because he believed
the day was come when the system was to be abandoned, when
new opinions and a new system were to be formed, or rather
when an old one was to be revived. He said that he could
not, and he must not, for obvious reasons, enter into a detail
of the matters which had given rise to this difference between
himself and others who had retired, and those who remained
in the councils of the King; he could only say, that there were
several points on which they had most materially differed, and
after which he should have considered himself as guilty of
the most direct treachery to his country, if he had continued
any longer to hold out his name and support to an administra-
tion, which was not pursuing the line chalked out for them by
that House, and by the people of England. His situation was
so peculiar in that House, that he should have been particularly
unpardonable, if he had been mean enough to submit to con-
tinue in a situation which he could not hold for the service of
his country. For it was to him in particular that that House
would look, as from his situation lie had to come down with
the measures of the cabinet; and being given to understand
that he was looked to, from the promises v-hich he had made,
and told by persons, whom all men must respect, that they
should consider his continuance in office as a proof that the
principle was rightly pursued, and that they should expect hint
to come forward and give the signal when the system Was


Play 9.
1782.] CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 75


and when the principle was abandoned, he felt it to
chanted,


indispensably necessary that he should come forward and


ilbeiTcltilie'liaey had, with due
alarum bell, and tell this country that the principle on


deliberation, formed this administra-


ti;I'd,
wassa


t probably
-


s


abandoned, and that the old system was to be re
with the old men, or indeed with any


been
could


said


abied foofu 11
him, and he must answer to the charge,


men
It tha


that he
places


had
and power.


out . upon
This he


pique,
denied.


dthat
They


was
e haad


contest
takenb ut


a strange method of showing their fondness for emolument, by
suffering all the favours and grants, all the pensions and gifts,
to go in favour of those who were now to be the ministers.
But it was a ridiculous charge, and he was happy to know
that men of the most respectable characters, who were them-
selves in the secrets of the cabinet, and who were possessed of
the purest and most inflexible principles of integrity, approved
of this conduct, and agreed with him in thinking that they
could not, and ought not, to have any farther confidence in
those men, who were now to direct the councils of this country.
He had no enmity against those persons, he had no personal
nor private enmity to them, but undoubtedly their conduct
was reproachable and blameable in his opinion to a very high
degree. They were men of that magnanimity of mind which.
was superior to the common feelings of humanity, for they
thought nothing of promises which they had made ; of engage-
ments into which they had entered; of principles which they had
maintained ; of the system on which they had set out. They
were men whom neither promises could bind, nor principles of
honour could secure; they would abandon fifty principles for


r y
the lonsake


ger
of


necessa
power, and forget fifty promises, when they were


secure themselves
to
in the power


ends. He had no doubt, but that
t which they had by the labour
of others obtained, they would . now strive to strengthen them-
selves by any means which corruption could procure; and he


by
to see that, in a very short time, they would be joined


those men, whom that House had precipitated from their
seats.


those distinctionswhich.
quitted his seat without a pang. He was not insensible to


with l


For his own part, he was free to confess, that he had not


consider t'


pable of vanity nor of ambition ; he had the vanity to be pleased
the applause of the good and virtuous, and he had the


ons


it gave him. He was neither inca-


ambition to b
the con ..deratiwhich0 sions of duty and conscience; the duty w he
wed to that H


a ions superior both to his vanity and his ambition,
0 be serviceabl e to his country. But there were


a House and to his country of warning them of the


74
CHANGE OF MINISTRY.




76 CHANGE OF MINISTRY.
[July 9:


danger which he saw approaching, and the conscience of re_t)
fleeting that he had discharged his obligations with fidelity
and firmness ; and that if his country was to be ruined by a
renewal of that system which it had been the labour of years
to demolish, he had at least the consolation of reflecting, that
it was not owing to, him. Moved by these considerations he
had, though in circumstances, in point of fortune, by no means
enviable, relinquished the pomp, the profits, and the patron-
age of office; he had left all this, which undoubtedly he could
not cease to regret, more perhaps, for the sake of others than of
himself; but these were not the dearest of the sacrifices which
he had made; he had had the misfortune to lose for a time the
friends that were dearest to him upon earth, the men of all
others whom he loved and revered, because they were men of
all others whom he conceived to have the purest hearts, and
the most upright intentions. They were lost only for a time,
he said, because he was convinced that the professions which
had been made to them, and the delusions which had been held
out, though they had imposed upon them now, could not long
deceive them ; their sagacity would at last penetrate through the
disguise ofthose by whom this country was now to be governed,
and they would come over to his way of thinking, perhaps,
alter giving a sanction by their names to an administra-
tion that would more fatally undo the country than any that
ever was formed, or suffered to exist in this laud. He must
content himself for the present with the conviction of his hav-
ing acted right, and with the determination of continuing to
do his duty, and to watch as a member of that House the
measures of that ministry which he must, and always should
distrust. From the experience that he had had, he might be
dispirited, yet being his duty, he would not shrink from it;
and he bad this confidence, that though this new system might'
go on for days, weeks, months, or for years, it must, like the
last, crumble into atoms, as all administrations and systems
must do, which were not founded in publicity, in virtue, and
in honour.


Mr. Fox was followed by General Conway, who, after lamenting
the fatal event that had deprived the country of the benefit of the
splendid abilities of his right honourable friend, at a time when
their value and consequence were beginning to be felt, observed,
that he could not, however, concur in opinion with him,—that
there was such a disagreement in the cabinet as to justify him in
withdrawing himself from it. When eleven ministers were assem-
bled in council, it was impossible but that some shades of difference
in opinion should exist ; but he denied that any of the fundamental
principles, upon which that administration had been formed, by


1782.] CHANGE 01'
MINISTRY. 77


the virtuous and incomparable person, now no more, had been in
any


degree departed from. To shcw that this was the case, it
L.,would be proper that he should state what were the principles on


which they did set out. First
Y set


then, it was the principle on which
they out " That they should oiler to America unlimited, un-'conditional independence, as the basis of a negociation for peace."
The House would give him credit for saying, that lie had for yearsheld it as his opinion, that this was the thing to which we were ap-


chin but, that he had always declared it to be a great.evilproa g ,
approaching, and that whenever it did come, it would come as an
evil. He was now brought to feel the necessity of granting this
independence, and this was the first great principle on which the
present administration had come into power, and had begun to act.
Had this principle been abandoned? He conceived not, and that
the noble person who was now first lord of the treasury did not
differ about this principle. There might be some difference about
the means by which the object was to be obtained. It was a dif-
ference. which however was very immaterial. The second prin-
ciple was, "that they should establish a system of economy in
every department of government; and that they should adopt the
spirit, and carry into execution the provisions.of the bill of reform
introduced into that House by Mr. Burke, and which was now ready
for the crown to . pass." Was this principle abandoned, or had
there been any symptons whatever of there being a design to de-
part from it ? The next principle was, that " they would annihilate
every kind of influence over any part of the legislature." This also
was a principle which he assured the House the cabinet was seri-
ously inclined to carry into execution, and lie knew of no division
whatever about it. Another principle was, : "that they should con-
tinue to the kingdom of Ireland, and secure to it the freedom as
now settled by parliament ; and to do this in the most unequivocal
and decisive way." In all these principles, therefore, he conceived
that there was no deviation, and no cause either of apprehension
or of jealously ; and he was determined to continue in his place so
long as these principles were adhered to. These were the great
principles upon which the administration was formed; the House
could already pronounce how faithfully three of them had been ad-
:: sieprtieoeds oatioles;omoahsfetrisito the other, which related to America, time would
convince them, that the cabinet were as determined to adhere to it


: his part, lie thus proclaimed these to be his
1:crituoci,pdeleeipisiao;


rd


hitherto, he had every reason to say, they were the prin-


pronounced


ca it infamous


; but if ever it should be resolved in coun-
cil to from any one of them, he would rest satisfied to be


the mos n of men, if he should continue to
I
talon. For


with. those men who should enter into such a reso-


measuresonly,his


part he never would take a part in a scramble or
quarrel for places, pensions, or for power ; he did not care who werettthitrree
e rs of the cabinet, nor who enjoyed power, provided


the principles ,
which he had stated as . the fundamental points of


administration, were strictly adhered to: be looked to
and not to men. He lamented as much as any man


of the noble Marquis, which had occasioned the late di-




78 CHANGE OP MINISTRY. [July 9.
vision; but he saw no ground for apprehension that the successor
who had been given to him, -4 not steadily pursue the true in:
terests of his country ; that he would not strictly adhere to the great
leading principle relative to America, which he had stated to theHouse : the noble lord in question was not satisfied with bringing
himself to think favourably of American independence, to which
the change of affairs had made him a convert; he went farther, and
he had presuaded the king to think favourably of it also. He there.
fore was at a loss to discover the essential ground of difference in
the cabinet, and the cause of that separation, and the loss of the
assistance of his right honourable friend, which no one could
snore sincerely lament than he did.


Mr. Fox expressed his hope that the House would excuse
him, if he should rise a second time, to exculpate himself
from so heavy a charge as that of having quitted the service
of the public without cause, mid ascribed a conduct or inten-
tion to the present cabinet which they had a right to disclaim.
It seemed to have been insinuated by the right honourable
general that disappointment in a contest for power, or for
place, had been the true cause of his retreat from the present
administration ; but he was happy to have it in his power to
answer this charge effectually, by assuring the House, that he
had in a full cabinet council, expressly declared, that if such
and such a measure should be adopted, he must necessarily re-
sign his employment : this declaration he had made before the
death of the noble marquis ; if he did not actually resign
before that melancholy event took place, it was because he
would not accelerate it, or embitter the last moments of a
venerable friend, by taking a step, which he knew would give
him the greatest uneasiness:, but to prove that the probability
of the death of that great and good man had no influence
whatever upon him in his resolution to resign, he said, that
when there was every hope given by the faculty, that the noble


`marquis was likely to recover, he bad on the very day
these glad but delusive tidings had been brought to the cabinet,
positively declared that be must retire, if such a particular
measure should be adopted. He was out-voted in the council,
and that measure was adopted. He appealed to the right
honourable general for the truth of this, and said, that as he
looked upon that measure to be to the last degree dangerous to
this country, he owed it to himself and to his country not
to remain any longer in a situation in which he could not
continue to act, without renouncing his own principles, or
betraying his trust with •the public. He stood, as he had said,
in a delicate situation;- it had been often said, that while he
himself and some other men should continue in office, it would
be looked upon as a pledge that nothing was going forward
that could be injurious to the public interest: must he not


CHANGE OF MINISTRY.
17823


refore deceive those who should look upon his continuancethe1 office as such a pledge, if he should consent to retain his
situation, while measures were pursuing which he thought
hialy injurious to the public interest? All that was great, all
that was good in the kingdom, had countenanced his retreat ;
his noble friend (Lord John Cavendish) had resigned his em-
ployment. ; and the public would be naturally led to presume,
that when such a character quitted the cabinet, no man of
character ought to remain in it. If the higher sense of duty
had not compelled him to resign, he had many very poweful
inducements to keep him in the cabinet : he would not say
that he was such a stoic as to wish rather to be neglected than
courted ; to prefer poverty to riches, inconvenience to case, and
obscurity to splendour and power ; but when power, emolu-
ment, celebrity, and ease, were to be acquired by a base de-
sertion of principle, an honest man could not hesitate a mo-
ment what line of conduct he should pursue. But it was said
that he differed only upon shades; perhaps to Isis right honour-
able friend the difference, which to others appeared of the
greatest magnitude, might appear only as a shade ; but to him
this difference seemed of that consequence, as to be decisive
of this great question, Whether we shall have peace or war ?
And it was not a little strange that the right honourable gen-
tleman, by whose vote in the cabinet the question was decided,
should have had so little penetration as not to discover, that
the fate of the empire, and not a little shade of difference, de-
petaled upon his vote. But it was the fate of his right honour-
able friend to be the last to discover those things which struck
ereileytr


naitn.aio alive; and experience ought to have sharpened his
penetration.


In the- year 1766, when his right honourable friend had
voted for the repeal of the stamp-act, he never dreamt that
the idea of taxing America would revive; he had then the
security of almost every man in the present cabinet; the pre-
sent Lord Shelburne was then secretary of state; the then
chancellor had signed a strong protest against taxing
America the Duke of Grafton was at the head of the trea-
sury: the characters of all those ministers were as pledges
that the system of taxing America was at an end ; but so
greatly had his right honourable friend been deceived, that
in six months after the Marquis of Rockingham went out ofphleiaecne,vitshibelright




honourable general found himself a part of
an athdemni,nitshtrealt.i ociiii determined to tax America ; then, and not
till
h visible to every other person long before ; and thus had


by his unsuspecting confidence, and his not regarding.
shades of difference, contributed in a most essential degree to.


F
79




8o CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [July 9.
the establishment of that system which in the end had ruined
or well-nigh ruined the country. The right honourable ge:
neral had too much magnanimity of character, too much gee
nerosity of mind, and too much complaisance to be is


,cor utphui:
Ions in his enquiries about the niceties and minutiaeof
the measures of those men with whom he acted.
magnanimity and benevolence he, for his own part, confessed
himself unequal : he could not repose confidence without in-
vestigating character; and he looked to principles before he
trusted to words. Were he to look back to the series of
events and causes that had so progressively brought this coma-
try to its present state, he should trace the political liberality
of the right honourable gentleman as the cause of almost all
the misfortunes that had been brought upon the country; so
that if he were to be asked who was the person who of all
others had contributed the most to the misfortune of the
American war? he should be tempted to say, the right ho-
nourable general ; and if again he should be asked, who was
the man with the most upright intentions, and who bad pur- 1


measures with the most disinterested integrity ? he should
say with much pleasure, the right honourable general. And
all this happened, because he did not attend to those shades
of difference which he thought immaterial, and which he said
his understanding could not reach ! He said the right ho-
nourable gentleman did now, what he did sixteen years ago
with the best intentions; lie joined the same men without
thinking it necessary to examine their hearts; and he would,
therefore, as he had before, quit them when he had disco-
vered their rank intentions against their country. He said he
had reason to believe that the right honourable gentleman
might on this day differ in opinion, but he hardly believed
they would have differed about facts; the right honourable
gentleman had read the creed of the cabinet ; he could only
say upon this, that he had heard this creed from him for the
first time. He never heard it in the cabinet from the Earl
of Shelburne; and he would just take the liberty of going so
far as to say, that it was upon this very circumstance that the
great difference of sentiment had occurred. That which the
right honourable general had called shades of difference,
which his. understanding could not reach, were differences
about points, upon which, in his honest opinion, the salva-
tion, or the ruin of this country depended. They were, in a
most peculiar manner, no less than upon the very principle
which he had just mentioned, the independence of America.
It was said by the right honourable general, that it was die
opinion of the cabinet to give full, unconditional, and unlimit-
ed independence to America. He could not take upon him to


178.7-.1 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 81


what was now the opinion of the cabinet, but. be could
the House that it Was not the opinion of the cabinet


hen he had made the determination to resign. But if it was
rirsis):,t,i ibitt opinion of the cabinet, he congratulated his country
on the consequences of his resignation ; for he had been able
to do more towards the deliverance of his country, by resign-


than he was able to effect with all the force of
lien he remained in. It spewed him that - it was


japi:Oggssullitbnisleerpiftoes whehim, in the present moment, to serve his count
more in that House than in any other place. He was not to


,ry


be reasoned out of his senses by his right honourable friend ;
for if it was now the intention of the cabinet, as he said, to
grant independence to America, it was an intention very
lately adopted : he had never before .seen the papers from
which his right honourable friend had stated his four great
principles; and therefore he could not be answerable for their
contents ; but this much he could assure the House, that he
differed from the cabinet on this subject, because he found
the majority of them averse to that idea of unconditional in-
dependence to America, which he conceived it to be necessary
to the .salvation of this country to have granted : if, since he
quitted his employment, his late colleagues had changed their
opinion, he rejoiced at the event ; and would feel himself sa-
tisfied, if the sacrifice he had made to his principles should
ultimately be serviceable to this country. The number of
eleven in a committee of council, he certainly thought too
great; and he was of opinion, that those ministers who hold
great responsible situations, should have more interest in the
cabinet, than those members of it who attended merely to
give counsel, but without bolding responsible situations.


He was also unhappy to say, that there were other most
material points in which he and others differed with the Earl
of Shelburne. That noble person was inclined to screen from
Jfietniodelyand punnment those delinquents who had destroyed
our possessions in the East, and involved us in all the cala-
mities which that House,had so honourably endeavoured to
remove. The right honourable general had said, that they
Were also inclined to the system of economy, and to the
reduction of the influence of the crown, and particularly


to the objects of Mr. Burke's bill. Did he not know,
and did not all men know, who had heard the noble person's
loud and specious speeches in Parliament, that he professed to
treat that bill with the utmost contempt, and called it triflingand insignificant? It was an :Mina, a pigmy, in comparison
Would




the pr mites of that noble lord, but he was convinced it
the


be a giant in comparison of his performances. It was
talent of that noble lord to promise, and he had always
"L.




8 2 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. Pune


promised much more than the noble marquis, Who Nuvatst:eli,n:
no more ; the noble marquis promised little, because he r
giously performed every promise that he made. B
was an extravagance and profusion in the manner in which
the other noble person made his promises, and ,11, magnani,
mitt'


in the manner in which he broke them.
And this brought him to state another reason for his re-


tiring; and that was the appointment of the Earl of Shelburne
to the office of first lord of the treasury : the patronage of
-that place was undoubtedly great; and whoever filled it must
have power; much more power than any other member of the
cabinet. Now, it was but just and fair, that those who went
into office, upon certain public principles, should be satisfied
that none were introduced into the cabinet, who were hostile
to those principles; and they either should have a right to re-
tire, or to have a voice in the appointment of all persons who
should be nominated to fill those vacancies that might hap-
pen : when that power was taken from them, their power
was at an end ; and if the king had a right to nominate his
ministers, his counsellors had a right to retire, whenever they
thought fit : privilege in the one case was opposed to prero-
gative in the other : but there was no question of right in the
business; the right was not to be disputed on either side; but
the moment he was called upon for reasons for having quitted
his employment, that moment it was pronounced to be a mat-
ter in which expediency, not right, was involved ; to be ac-
cused in this case, amounted to a justification of the principle;
a minister was to exercise his right to retire, whenever it
should appear to him that he ought to do it. He had been
since told, that his objections might have been removed,
without any separation or division in the cabinet ; this he
might have thought probable, if those persons, upon whom
he could most depend, had remained in the council after him;
but when he found they also had retired, then he confessed
that the very steps taken to convince him, that his objections
might have been removed without a division, had tended only
to alarm him more. One would naturally imagine, in an ad-
ministration formed on the principles of the men distinguished.
by the name of the Rockinghams, that upon the decease ol
that great man, whose virtues, whose nobleness of thinkIng,
and whose firm integrity bound them together, the man wbuld
be sought and appointed to succeed him, who most resembled
him in character, in influence, in popularity— such at least
were his ideas—and the eves of all men were naturally tiu•ned
„to the Duke of Portland. Instead of that noble person, how-
ever, the Earl of Shelburne was selected, of whom, if I re
meant to describe the character, he could not truly say that


/782.] CHANGE OF marisTri.y. 83


resemblance to his predecessor ; perhaps the ex-
lalce btlVel


any
r verse come nearer to the picture. Perhaps it


might be asked, why, thinking as lie did of the Earl of Shel-
burne, he came with him into office at all ? To this he must
answer, that he had strong objections to it, and both with
respect to him, and to another noble person, (the Lord Chan-
cellor,) the only thing that could make him submit to associate
with them in office, was the satisfactory pledge which he bad
for the integrity of the administration, of which he made a
part, in the noble marquis being at the head of it.


The country had now an administration, which could not
he that popular administration to which his honourable friend
had alluded; it was now the administration of a man who
could not think of reformation with temper, however loudly
he might speak about it ; a man who would declare, that the
influence of the crown ought to be diminished, but who
would, at the same time, say, that the king had a right to use
his negative in passing laws, and would threaten with the ex-
ercise of that negative all those who should attempt to move
any bills that went to retrenchment. Such was the man now
at the head of the Treasury ; the principles of the late mini-
stry were now in the cabinet; and the next thing he should
look for, would be to see the late ministers themselves again
in office. But perhaps he would be said to be too apprehen-
sive, and that his suspicions were vague; probably they were
so: it would, however, be acknowledged to him, that think-
ing conscientiously that he saw such danger, it was fit for him
to come forward and to warn his country in dine. He did so.
He and a few friends retired to a strong hold, into which he
doubted not to see all .his old friends and companions come
one after another, some sooner and some later in the day, but
all lamenting that they did not come with him.


General Conway said he took all the strictures on his abilities
and conduct, such as they were, which came from the honourable
gentleman in good part. He re gretted the loss of the assistance
and countenance of his late friends with great sincerity. But their
resignation on this occasion he could not help censuring as inimi-
cal to the prosperity of those measures in which this country was
at Present so fatally and deeply engaged. The honourable gen-
tleman, he said, was incapable of misunderstanding or misrepre-
senting what fell from him, yet certainly lie had stated fairly anddistinctly the great and leading objects for the accomplishment of
which the administration under the late Marquis of Rockingham
was formed. And these objects, he affirmed, were still the avowed
and invariable objects of the present. He might be mistaken, or
mi


sled, or deceived, as the best and wisest of men often were.But he was sure his intentions were honourable, as they had al-
G 2




Pane 9,84 CHANGE OP MINISTRY. 1782.] CHANGE OF MINISTRY.


ways been undisguised. His head, or his judgment might err, as
he was sensible of its weakness in a thousand instances ; but he
would boldly, publicly, and on all occasions, answer for his heart.
He might not have expressed himself so clearly, accurately, or
guardedly, perhaps, but he was not conscious of qualifying, much
less of altering any of his well-known sentiments on these topics.
That independence to the thirteen states of North America was to
be the basis of all our negotiations with them : that they were to
be treated as independent in the very mode of carrying on these
negotiations that a large and substantial reform in every branch
of the public expenditure ; and that the undue influence-of the
crown in this House was to be circumscribed—were certainly the
ground-work or public principles on which the new arrangement,
as well as the preceding one, was avowedly established. It was
on this conviction, and this alone, he pledged himself to give it all
the support and assistance he could. The moment the least symp.
toni of departing from these struck him, he would undosubtedly
follow his honourable friend's example. He would not think his
honour or his conscience safe in deviating from this broad and
beaten ground of polities in the least. He was obliged to the ho.
nourable gentleman for his kind and very flattering opinion ; but
he did not think himself altogether liable to the censure implied
in the compliment, so handsomely paid him. He was for public
measures, not men. While the former were pure, and meant for
the public advantage, it was indifferent to him who had the power.
He had no object but one. He trusted his actions were guided
solely and always by the public good: and whoever accorded with
him in facilitating this great end, was entitled, in his opinion, by
every possible claim to his countenance. For the merits of the
late first lord of the Treasury he had the most serious esteem.
His per oval and social qualities and accomplishments were as va-
luable rid exemplary as they were uniform and rare. But why
degrade the living, by an ill-timed compliment to the dead? The
Earl of Shelburne was not the less respectable because his prede-
cessor was a man of uncommon worth. No ; there was an instance
of merit in the Earl of Shelburne that it was but justice to mention
to the House. His lordship, so far from renewing the old ex-
ploded politics, had been able, as he had said, to convince his
royal master, that a declaration of American independence was,
from the situation of the country, and the necessity of the case,
the wisest and most expedient measure that government from the
pressure of present circumstances could possibly adopt. This he
observed was a satisfactory reason to his mind that nothing less
than :.tich a measure in its utmost latitude was certainly meant by
the cabinet. And while he had this confidence in the integrity
and candour of ministry, sorry as he was to differ from his ho-
nourable friend, the duty he owed to his country, to his king, nod
to his constituents, made it impossible for him to do otherwise.
His honourable friend had alluded to the year 1766; but in men-
tioning the names of the cabinet ministers of that period, he had
forgot that of the Earl of Chatham;


• when he acquainted that great
minister with his intention of resigning, he had dissuaded him fro"'


purpose, by saying, that if the well-wishers to their country
leis retire, it would make it absolutely necessary for ministry to
*ply to those very persons for support, who had been driven out


bY Fox said, a few things had just fallen from the right
honourable gentleman, which he could not pass unnoticed.
To the political creed which had been read before the House,
with so much solemnity, he was no party. It was, as he bad
said, a paper he had never till then either seen or heard.
The subject of it was certainly not unknown to him, though
the terms in general were. This was a system digested by
himself, and now held out to the public as adopted by his
majesty's council. It was now a week since he had the ho-
nour to be one of the number. A general conversion might
have been lately wrought on them. They were not, he as-
serted, agreed on any such system while he knew them. To
bring them unanimously to some such specific and decisive
ppoint, he had laboured ardently and assiduously, both indi-
vidually and collectively considered, but all to no purpose.
What was an honest man to do, who found himself situated
as he was? He had avowed principles in this place to his
friends, to his constituents, to the nation at large, with which
he deemed their existence, as a great and a respectable state,
inseparable. Was it ever conceived or expected, that ha
could continue in a responsible department of state, and be
answerable in his place to this House, for those that were
foreign to his heart, and in his opinion hostile to the best in-
terests of the empire? He trusted, the public, and all who
knew his habits of thinking and acting, hind a better opinion
both of his understanding and his heart. It was in fact a con-
duct to which he was not equal. His right honourable friend
was indifferent who were the men, while the measures were
unquestionably


random,
ti r, l good. What was this but trusting every thingl


and depending on events to justify a manifest
treachery to the cause we have espoused. The right honour-
able gentleman was welcome in this, as in every other case, to
Judge for himself, but he should not judge for him. He
would relinquish his own judgment, especially in matters
which he had so often and carefully revolved in his mind, to




anv ,
he had not the fullest and most unbounded con-


Circumstanced. was notin his power, as things were at presentle person presiding at the treasury-board
was not of a description to command that faith, which in
such a predicament was wanted, was indispensable. Thisbreach ,


on a public,. not on a personal or narrow ground.
s mind might see things on a less broad and comprehen.


G 3




86 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [June


sive scale than the right honourable gentleman, but he was
answerable only for his own feelings and convictions. These
might incline him to be less credulous, and fill him with more
jealousies than his right honourable friend was liable to enter-
tain. But he did not pretend either to censure or defend the
constitution of his mind. It was enough for him that his con-
science did not upbraid him with acting dishonourably or dis-
ingenuously. But he would say this must have been the case,
had he not done what he did. He was impelled to take this
step by every consideration that could operate on the heart and
feelings of an honest man. The right honourable gentleman
might, but he could not regard, without emotion or concern,
who took the lead in his majesty's councils. He deemed it
a great and national object, and consequently of infinite mo-
ment to every individual, but much more to a member of
parliament; and still more so to one of his majesty's cabinet
ministers. Their honour, their duty, and every thing clear
to them was at stake. What ! had he and his friends labour-
ed so long and assiduously to destroy a system, which it was
now meanly, but abortively, attempted to make them acces-
sary in reviving? and must not they see the trick that was
meant to be played on them without blame? Were they cen-
surable for detecting an artifice with which the strength and
glory of Great Britain was most immediately connected? Why
were not the right honourable gentleman and his worthy co-
adjutors satisfied of their own integrity, in keeping their
places, without blaming those who relinquish them ? Was
not their eagerness for an explanation a certain indication
that all was not right with them, even in their own opinion?
He and his friends had nothing to dread from the severest
scrutiny. Tbey had acted right, because they had acted from
fidelity to their engagements with the public, whom they
never had, and never would betray ; whose cause or interest
they preferred to every thing, and for which they had now
sacrificed whatever was most flattering to most minds. 11e
would not pay his majesty so-poor a compliment as the right
honourable gentleman certainly did, by asserting, that the
Earl of Shelburne had convinced or persuaded his majesty,
that the independence of America was now a measure that
must be adopted. It was from this House, it was from the
people at large, it was from the royal observation on the daily
occurrences of things, that any such generous and princely
ideas were indulged in the royal breast. He therefore deemed
it, if not unfair, at least a poor compliment to this House, and
to the public, to attribute that to the address of an individual
which certainly originated in the sentiments and resolutions')
so unanimously and boldly avowed by themselves. T1101413


12


1782-] CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 8


thee were altogether out of the question, it was hardly treating
his'colleagues in office with due respect, to give Lord Shel-
bo •ne the sole merit of what surely belonged to them as much


to him. Indeed, it' any individual had more merit than
another, in a business so much and jointly the object of all, it
was no doubt the right honourable gentleman himself. What
was the purport of the motion he brought into this House,
Ind by which the late administration was certainly annihilated?
If it had any meaning, it went to the full and unconditional
independence of North America. He would :not think so dis-
respectfully of his royal master, whose service he had so lately
resigned, as once to suppose he could have ,a different idea
from his people, on a subject so dear to their hearts, and es-
sential to their interests. He knew the justice, the discern-
ment, the gentleness, and the mercy of the royal character
better than to suppose he could dissent from the general opi-.
nion of the nation, on a point concerning which their senti-
ments had been delivered in so decided a mariner. But why
was not he, why was not the right honourable gentleman
himself brought fbrward, as using all their influence to carry
a point which seemed a 'favourite one with them all? Was it
not that the noble lord in question was alone suspected of
having less friendly ideas on this topic, than any of his nume-
rous colleagues in office ? He did not wish to bear hard on the
right honourable gentleman, whom he had long regarded with
sentiments of the hinlmst respect. But now that he had been
somewhat in voluntarily put on his own defence it was natural,
it was necessary in his case to state his conduct ashe had
stated it. A variety of things were against him. It was none
of the least that he did not think himself at liberty to speak


h, he had accustomed himself to do on
other occasions. Official details would in this case be deemed
both tedious and improper. And yet without a very circum-
tssatitiflelltei.,:tollY.c.glaeilt:;


i


,fuslul: ach as he did not think it became him at this


w


ise bave been.le was sensible his defence would not be so
so complete, or so generally effective as it might other-


onLwhorihdd John Cavendish stated his reasons for quitting the post ofCha
ncellor of the Exchequer, which, he said, were briefly, thathearms. a different system was meant to be pursued, than the one


the change of ministry was formed, and likewise find-


1


,ng that it was impossible by any presence of his to prevent it, lie
'a,(1.' determined to withdraw himself, that he might not divide the


n:"ef, and render it a scene of confusion, as it was in. the time of'ate ministry ; for he always should be of opinion, that a eabi-
"ut unanimous in itself, although their measures might not be so


G 4




88 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [Arne 9.


good as could be wished, was much better for the country than a
cabinet that was divided. He was of the same opinion as Mr. Pox
that he could be of infinitely more service to his country by'
being out of office, than by'being in ; for it appeared that measure's
would be consented to in his absence, that no argument he coald
make use of when present would effect.—Mr. Burke supported I nIr.
Fox. On his rising there was an uncommon confusion- at the bar.
He directed his eye to that quarter, and with considerable emotion
said, he was peculiarly circumstanced from the delicacy which he
had for one part of the House, while he felt nothing but the most
sovereign contempt for the other. This to him appeared an hour,
though a late one, of the greatest consequence. He was called
by a variety of circumstances to vindicate his character and prin-
ciples to the public. Those, who by the present unaccountable
tumult seemed dissatisfied with his private character, knew where
to find him. But he was not to be intimidated by these little un-
manly and dirty artifices, from coming forward and accounting,
with much simplicity and truth, for his short stewardship, to that
public, whose servant he had ever been. About the question re-
lating to the pension meant for an honourable gentleman, he had
but little to say. With respect to this particular pensioner, he
knew that the noble marquis thought himself bound for it, as he
had, in the year 1766, left out the honourable colonel by mistake,
from a list of promotions. Among all the encomiums made on the
character of the noble marquis lately deceased, this was one, that
he le fl his dearest and best friends with the simple reward of his
own invaluable intimacy. This singular test of their sincerity he
asked while alive, add it was a tax he left on their regard for his
memory when dead. He, for his own part, had not been without-
his share of the one, and he would soon convince the world, he was
not unequal to the other. Well might he be excused for mingling
his tears with those of all descriptions and ranks of men, for the
inestimable loss of this most excellent and most virtuous character!
He was gone, he said, to that tribunal, where we all must go and
render an account of our transactions, and he trusted, that no
soul ever went with a greater certainty of its actions being ap-
proved. On the ,late change of ministry, the people, he said,
looked up to the Marquis of Rockingham as the only person who
must be at the head of affairs, as the clearness of his head, and
the purity of his heart, made him universally beloved. It was to
him that the public looked for every thing ; they knew govern-
ment was safe in his hands, as he would not lend his name to,any
thing that was detrimental to his country. But as fate had so
ordained it, as to take that great and virtuous statesman from us,
the first step his maj,:sty's ministers should have done, was to seek
out some person the most like him in sentiment and integrity;
but unfortunately for the country, it had turned out just the re-
verse ; they had pitched on a man, of' all others, the most unlike
to him. It was proposed, he said, to have appointed the Duke
of Portland in the room of the noble marquis, as he was a person
whose abilities and integrity had gained him the love of the pecfr


/782.] CHANGE OF MINISTRY. 89


here, and the esteem and veneration of the people of Ireland.
Pie-fie was the person whose great talents and connections would havegiven weight to his majesty's councils, and hoen a means of bring,
rng about that object so much wished for, a general, lasting, and
honourable peace ; but from the turn things had taken, he was
fearful that all the good that had been effected by displacing the
late ministry, who so n igh wrought the ruin of their country, would
be frustrated ; and if it should cause a twenty years' siege, as his
honourable friend had talked of, to displace these men, he was of
opinion that few persons would have . courage to undertake it.
The noble marquis, he said, had uniformly, through life, enter-
tained one opinion ; but that was not the case with the noble earl
that was to succeed him. He was a. man that he could by no
means confide - in, and he called heaven and earth to witness, so
help him God! that he verily believed the present ministry would
be fifty times worse than that of the noble lord, who lately had
been reprobated and removed. He begged leave to make a few
remarks upon what he could not help considering as very extra-
ordinary doctrine, which a right honourable general had been
pleased to lay down under the idea of candour ; and I hope, said
Mr. Burke, it will not be considered to be impertinent, as it seems
to glance at impropriety, or (if the House pleases) a want of can-
dour in me and in my friends. Candour, if I understand the true
meaning of the word, is an impartial view of whatever the mind
contemplates ; let us apply this definition to the right honourable
general's apology for his conduct. He tells you, that he has seen
nothing improper hi the demeanour of Lord Shelburne under the
Rockingham administration ; he will therefore try him as a pre-
mier. Is this an impartial view ? No, no —surely it is not. To
be candid, we must take to mind, the whole of that nobleman's
politics ever since he had affected to be a statesman. In the late
premiership he was controuled. In former administrations, when
he could indulge his opinions, he did indulge them : and now that
he is minister, lie will give scope to them with a vengeance. Mr.
Burke trusted some credit would. be given him on the present
sent office. His domestic sensibility had never been doubted. I-le
had a pretty large family and but little fortune. He liked his pre-


The House and all its appendage* to a man of his
taste, could not be disagreeable. All this -he relinquished not,


of
tachlalepat lIblIiloseuse




might well conceive, without regret ; for the welfare
bdisid tfiaai ininvillsly Was very dear to itim. No man could conceive him


were, to sacrifice


then,


our thousand pounds per an nothing? for g 2 No;
°lie


c‘owldnoatftf


were


circumstances as his certainly


or that country and that public whose property he
Was,, and to whom lie was always ready to surrender whatever he
mosti vgalued in life. He had been long surfeited with opposition.Those who
hers and temper,


familiar with his habits of living, with his man-


be


cause his h art would not call him petulant or factious. What;
induce him to leave an administration to the forma-


of which his humble endeavours had somewhat contributed?
lie protested, but the sincerest regard for a public, in the


so t


, ervice of which lie wished to live and die. He was not satisfied,
heart would not let him confide where his duty and




P'
ri
sl
SE


bi


90 CHANGE OF MINISTRY. [June 9,
situation made it necessary that he should. The right


'


bonourahn,
general's feelings were in this respect exceedingly convenient.
He took every man by his looks; this might be very good-natured
but it was not very wise. He had read when young, of a wolf
which was mistook by a simple shepherdess, because dressed like
her grandmother, for• one quite as gentle and tame as she was:
But the first opportunity undeceived the poor girl. Take care
that none of you render yourselves obnoxious to a similar dill-
cule. But, perhaps his worthy friend might despise this lesson,
because it was drawn from a little book. He would therefore
touch upon an idea borrowed from a book of more authority. He
would ask the gentleman, whether if he had lived in the time of
the immortal Cicero, he would have taken Cataline upon trial,
for his colleague in the consulship, after he had heard his guilt
so clearly demonstrated by that great orator? Would he be co-
partner with Borgia in his schemes, after he had read of his ac-
cursed principles in Machiavel ? He could answer for him, he
knew he would not. Why, then, did he adhere to the present man?
He meant no offence, but he would speak an honest mind. If
Lord Shelburne was not a Cataline, or a Borgia, in morals, it
must not be ascribed to any thing but his understanding.
William Pitt said, he should think himself criminal if he were not
to speak on the present subject, as, in his opinion, it was of the
most serious consequence to the nation. The late right honour-
able secretary (Mr. Fox ), was looked up to by the people as the
ostensible man in that House, and therefore was to be considered
as public property ; as such, he should consider him, and, there-
fore, had a right to question him on his conduct, in resigning an
important station, when the nature of aflizirs demanded the assist-
ance of his great abilities. The right honourable gentleman had
declared, that it was to prevent dissections in the cabinet that
he had retired, as he found there was a material difference on
some grand political questions. He believed the right honourable
secretary, on account of his having solemnly declared it, but had
he not, he should have attributed the resignation to a baulk in
struggling for power. It was, in his opinion, a dislike to men,
and not to measures ; and there appeared to him to be something
personal in the business, for if' the right honourable gentleman had
such a dislike to the political sentiments of Lord Shelburne,. l'isSW.
came he to accept of him as a colleague ? And if it was only-a•
suspicion that Lord Shelburne was averse to the measures the
right honourable gentleman wished to adopt, he should have called
a cabinet council, and have been certain of it. before he had taken
such a hasty step as he had done. The right honourable gent/e-
man had said, that quite a different system was going to be pur-
sued to what was the ground on which the present ministry came
in ; he could assure him, that he had no such suspicions, for if he
had, no man would be more averse to supporting them than he
would ; but if he should be called upon to act in any capacity
under the present administration, whatever the office might be,
he should think it his duty cheerfully to lend his hand to forward
the springs of government, and give them every assistance in hip


CHANGE Or MINISTRY. 91
82.3


He professed himself a determined enemy to the late
;nous system of affairs, and pledged himself, that whenever he
bind see things going on wrong, he would first endeavour to
t them right, and II he was not successful, then resign, but not
fore.


Fox rose to explain, that so far from its being a strug-
e for power, he had absolutely determined upon resigning


previ
ous to the death of the marquis, and had communicated


those sentiments to a noble duke ; he had likewise called
together


a council, to take their sense upon the subject, and
IT C


had well weighed the matter before he put it in execution;
for he was aware, that as the public eye was upon him, they
would look up to him, and expect good and sufficient grounds
for his conduct; he trusted it was in his power to give them
these grounds; and no man would blame him for quitting a?.)
council in which he must have been a mere puppet, for he
could as well tell how every measure would be carried the
moment he knew the mover, as lie could formerly tell how
gentlemen would vote on grand political questions in that
House. Was such a cabinet a fit one for him to remain in ?
Could he submit to be responsible for-measures of which he
disapproved, and lend his name to a system in which lie had
no share? With respect to the fear of letting in the old ad-
ministration, there was none, he said, for that House would
not suffer it; the people of England would not suffer it; in-
deed no man, he believed, would attempt it. The House,
lie hoped, would do him the justice to think, that it must be
some very great, some- very material differences in politics
that could make hint give up the place he had the honour
to fill, a place which was not only lucrative, but powerful:


This conversation, which continued to a late hour in the night,
was closed by Mr. Lee, the solicitor general. He said lie held
it to be the duty of every honest man to resign his office the
moment he found public measures were carrying on of which he
c ould not approve. The appointment of a minister unqualified
for his situation, was undoubtedly a measure of that kind. He
I ad heard much of dissention, but he had not seen one person
step forward to say the Earl of Shelburne was a fit and proper
person for the high office he held. If there was any such person,lu


Pr inciple,


e9NVS;hoeuilldt jooliinear him. The noble earl to be sure possessed splen-did talents, had some friends, and was now in a way to make more.
jb


oatlided > .the reputed characteristics of the nobleman just exalted


, utatitehe.prni.niinister of this country should have other endowments.


and an unsuspected integrity. Were these, he de-
Principal department of the state ? To put him at the head


to a sound head a purity of mind, a steadiness of


4Irs in this plain and open-hearted Country, was to put him




92 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dee• s.
out of his element. The people of England were incapable oefinesse, and not fond of submitting to the government of those
who practised it. The Treasury too required a sober, honest, in-
dustrious, steady commissioner at its head. It was not an Osten.
tatious affectation of uniting the man of science and the fine gen.
tleman ; the technical jargon of arts and the gibberish of courts.
the pedantry of scholastic nostrums, and the abstruse theorems of
mechanism, that would create respect and consequence in that
high office. Who knows not, said he, how easily a head filled with
such materials may be turned upside down? He concluded with
some observations on the youth and inexperience of the new
Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whose extraordinary abilities.he
nevertheless paid the highest compliments. He said there was
an obvious intention of trifling with the people, by bringing for,
ward, one of their favourites as a compensation for insulting
another ; but though the honourable gentleman would adorn any
scene in which his part was properly cast, yet he did not think the
confidence of the people would be much increased, by putting the
complicated business of our finances into the hands of a boy.


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE
SESSION.


December 5.


`HE negotiations for a general peace were advancing so nearly
to a conclusion, that on the 2 3 d of November letters were


sent by the secretary of state to the lord mayor of London and
the governors of the bank, acquainting them, " For the inform-


The following is a List of the Shelburne Administration :
First Lord of the Treasury — Earl of Shelburne.
Chancellor of the Exchequer — Hon. William Pitt.
Principal Secretaries of State—Lord Grantham, Thos. Townshend, Esq.
Lord Chancellor — Lord Thurlow.
First Lord of the Admiralty—Lord Koppel. '
President of the Council — Lord Camden.
Lord Privy Seal— Duke of Grafton.
Master-General of the Ordnance —Duke of Richmond.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster —Lord Ashburton.
Secretary at War — Sir George Yonge.
Treasurer of the Navy — Henry Dundas, Esq. (afterwards Lord Melville).
Paymaster of the Forces — Colonel Barre.
Attorney-General —; Lloyd Kenyon, Esq. (afterwards Lord Kenyon).
Solicitor-General—John Lee, Esq.
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland — Earl Temple.
secretary to ditto — Hon. William Wyndham Grenville (afterwards L ora


Grenville).
1 0


1782


on t
:lisa,] :m


:chey


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 93


tioll .nf
the public, and to prevent the mischief's arising from spe-


-
• l - funds '


• 1dons m t IL, n ,, tnat tne neeotiations carrying


were brought


on at Pariseada
uaht so far to a point, as to promise a decisive conclusion,


either or war, before h1e, for peace i i e f me t e meeting of parliament, whichaccount was to be prorogued to the 5th of December."


On n


day the session was opened by the following speech


Lords and Gentlemen ;
the close of the last session, I have employed my whole


from the throne :


time in that care and attention which the important and critical
co juncture of public affairs required of me. — I lost no time ingiving the necessary orders to prohibit the further prosecution of
offensive war upon the continent of North America. Adopting,
as my inclination will always lead me to do, with decision and
effect, whatever I' collect to be the sense of my parliament and
my people ; I have pointed all my views and measures, as well
in Europe as in North America, to an entire and cordial recon-
ciliation with those colonies. — Finding it indispensable to the
attainment of this object, I did not hesitate to go the full length
of the powers vested in me, and offered to declare them free and
independent states, by an article to be inserted in the treaty of
peace. Provisional articles are agreed upon, to take effect when-
ever terms of peace shall be finally settled with the court of
France.— In thus admitting their separation from the crown of
these kingdoms, I have sacrificed every consideration of my own
to the wishes and opinion of my people. I make it my humble
and earnest prayer to Almighty God, that Great Britain may not
feel the evils which might result from so great a dismemberment
of the empire; and, that America may be,


free from those cala-
mities, which have formerly proved in the mother country how
essential monarchy is to the enjoyment of constitutional liberty.—
Religion —language— interest — affections, may, and I hope will
yuto,eatitihprovei a bond of permanent union between the two countries :


neither attention nor disposition on my part shall be
— While I have carefully abstained from all offensive


o
_ perations against America, I have directed my whole force by
land and sea against the other




b
powers at war, with as much vigourpsa;ailiiittgshitInieig,lsalfivoe es tuation the'ibi of that force, at the commencement of the can-


having


seen


permit.


pride


trust that you feel the advantages rc..
of the great branches of our trade. You


with u and satisfaction the gallant defence ofntc:edgovernor and the garrison of Gibraltar ; and my fleet, aftereffe cted
tn.
.(:.:eot,


c
ombin the object of their destination, offering battle tom io


-ik:od force of France and Spain on their own coasts ; those
°I. y kingdoms have remaiaed at the same time perfectly secure,
'`ate, domestic tranquillity uninterrupted. This respectable:it, aiufhideii


ic


rl the


other


blessing


of


f


my


God, I attribute 'to the entire eonfi-
din__ s w i .ch


h
su
h


b
as


sists between me and my people, and to the rea-


de- Eral
Pir it in priv


ate


dheien been she win by ki ngmy subjects
to


in
stanmyd


fcity
orth


of
- the
in Lon-


scc. Some proofs have lately been given of public
men, which would do honour to any age, and any




jests of the public receipts and expenditure ; and above all, to the
state of the public debt. Notwithstanding the great increase of itdurina the war, it is to be hoped, that such regulations may still be


st
fi'shed, such savings made, and future loans so conducted, as


e
toiaibromote the means of its gradual redemption by a fixed course
of' payment. I must, with particular earnestness, distingtiish,
for your serious consideration, that part of the debt which consists
of navy, ordnance, and victualling bills : the enormous discount
upon some of these bills shews this mode of payment to be a most
ruinous expedient.— I have ordered the several estimates, made up
as correctly as the present practice would admit, to be laid before
you. I hope that such further corrections as may be necessary,
will be made before the next year. It is my desire, that you
should be apprised of every expence before it is incurred, as far
as the nature of each service can possibly admit. :Matters of ac-
counts can never be made too public.


" My Lords and Gentlemen ; The scarcity, and consequent high
;price of' corn, requires your instant interposition.—The great ex-
cess to which the crimes of theft and robbery have arisen, in many
instances accompanied. with personal violence, particularly in the
neighbourhood of this metropolis, has called of late for a strict and
severe execution of the laws. It were much to • he wished that
these crimes could be prevented in their infancy, by correcting
the vices become prevalent in a most alarming degree.—The libe-
ral principles adopted by you, concerning the rights and the com-
merce of Ireland, have done you the highest honour, and will, I
trust, ensure that harmony, which ought always to subsist between
the two kingdoms. I am persuaded, that a general increase of
commerce throughout the empire will prove the wisdom of your
measures with regard to that object. I would recommend to you
a revision of our whole trading system, upon the same compre-
hensiVe principles, with a view to its utmost possible extension. —
The regulation of a vast territory in Asia opens a large field for
your wisdom, prudence, and foresight. I trust that you will be
able to frame some fundamental laws, which may make their con-
nection with Great Britain a blessing to India ; and that you will
take ae therein proper measures to give all foreign nations, in matters
of foreign


tY, punctuality, and


pro-an
good


entire
order


and perfect


our
confidence


government.
in the


You pmayhe


r commerc


assured, that


e




depends upon me, shall be executed
bi


steadiness, which can alone preserve that part of my do-
minaiorieist,hoerfitilllieadvco.mme:


b


erce which arises from it. It is the fixed
object of my heart to make the general good, and the true spirit
of the constitution, the invariable rule of my conduct, and on alloccasions to advance


and reward merit in every profession. — To
ensure




of a government conducted on such prin-


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
1782.3 95


aeoartment of the Mint, that the purity of the coin, of so much im-


imay
:4


n


ance to commerce, may be always adhered to ; that by render-
°e•


the difficulty of counterfeiting greater, the lives of numbers
be saved, and every needless expence in it suppressed.—I


lost recommend to you an immediate attention to the great ob-


94 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec' ,
country. — Having manifested to the whole world, by the mos


tlasting examples, the signal spirit and bravery of my peo ple 4r
conceived it a moment not unbecoming my dignity, and th


4oughtit a regard due to the lives and fortunes of such brave and gallon
subjects, to show myself ready, on my part, to embrace fair an
honourable terms of accommodation with all the powers at war.
I have the satisfaction to acquaint you, that negotiations m this
effect arc considerably advanced ; the result of which, as soon a,
they are brought to a conclusion, shall be immediately communs
cated to you. — I have every reason to hope and believe, that I
shall have it in my power, in a very short time, to acquaint you,
that they have ended in terms of pacification, which, I trust, yea
will see just cause to approve. I rely, however, with perfect con.
fidence, on the wisdom of my parliament, and the spirit of my
people, that, if any unforeseen change in the dispositions of the
belligerent powers should frustrate my confident expectations, they
will approve of the preparations I have thought it advisable to
make, and be ready to second the most vigorous efforts in the further
prosecution of the war.


" Gentlemen of the House of Commons, I have endeavoured, by
every measure in my power, to diminish the burthens of my peo-
ple. I lost no time in taking the most decided measures for intro-
ducing a better economy into the expenditure of the army.--I
have carried into strict execution the several reductions in my civil:
list expellees, directed by an act of the last session. I have in-
troduced a further reform into other departments, and suppressed
several sinecure places in them. I have by this means so regulated
my establishments, that my expence shall not in future exceed my
income. — I have ordered the estimate of the civil-list debt, laid
before you last session, to be completed. The debt proving greater
than could be then correctly stated, and the proposed reduction
not immediately taking place, I trust, you will provide for the de
ficiency ; securing, as before, the repayment out of my annual in-
come. I have ordered inquiry to be made into the application of
she sum voted in support of the American sufferers ; and I trust that
you will agree with me, that a due and generous attention ought
to be shown towards those who have relinquished their pro-
perties or professions from motives of loyalty to me, or attachment
to the mother country.—As it may be necessary to give stability to
some regulations by act of parliament, I have ordered accounts of
the several establishments, incidental expences, fees, and other
emoluments of office, to be laid before you. Regulations have
already taken place in some, which it is my intention to extend to
all ; and which, besides expediting all business, must produce a very
considerable saving, without taking from that ample encouragement)
which ought to be held forth to talents, diligence, and integrity,
wherever they are to be found. — I have directed en •enquiry to be
made into whatever regards tile landed revenue of my crown, es
well as the management of my woods and forests, that both may be
made as beneficial as possible, and that the latter may furnish a cer'
tain resource for supplying the navy, our great national bulwark,
with its first material. —1 have directed an investigation into Lb'




96 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec. s.


ciples, depends on your temper, your wisdom, your disinterested-
ness, collectively and individually. My people expect these qua-
lifications of you: and I call for them."


An address of thanks in answer to the above speech having been
moved by Mr. Yorke, of Cambridgeshire, and seconded by Mr.
Bank es,


Mr. Fox rose. He said, that Though he did not mean
to give any opposition to the Address that had been just
moved, or to propose any amendment. to it, still he did not
think that it would be proper for him, at so important a crisis
as the present, to let the first day of the session pass over,
without some remarks on a subject of the greatest magnitude.
He could have wished that it had Eden to the lot of some
other person to have taken the lead that day, on account of
the situation in which he stood, and the suspicions which he
was above denying he entertained of some of his majesty's
ministers. That situation, and those suspicions, might in-
cline the House to think that he meant, by rising thus early,
to oppose government, right or wrong, and to obstruct their
measures at any rate. He disclaimed all such intentions.
Whatever might be his situation, and whatever his suspicions,
he should support the present ministry in all things in which
he thought they were acting for the public good; and lie rose
now for the purpose of making some remarks on the speech
from the throne. With some parts he was Well pleased, and he
did not mean to give any opposition to the rest, or to propose
any amendment. There were some things in the speech which
particularly struck him, and some things also in the speeches
of the two honourable gentlemen who moved and second-
ed the address, particularly the latter. And first, he would take
notice, that in the very out-set of the king's speech, which, ac-
cording to parliamentary custom, he must consider as the
speech of the minister, there was an inaccuracy in point of
time, which he was willing to look upon merely as the effect
of inattention, and not of design ; where it was stated, that
since the last session of parliament, his majesty had lost no
time In giving the necessary orders for putting an end to
the war on the continent of America. If this date of the
orders had been correct, it would have be-en .


the strongest
proof of guilt in him, and in those with whom •


he had had
the honour to act in .his majesty's councils, for having so
long delayed to send out those orders, which parliament had
pronounced to be so necessary .; but in fact, they had been
issued long before: this much he thought necessary to pre-
mise, lest the character of a noble friend, now no more, and
his own, should suffer iv an imputation, that order& for put-


1782.] ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 97


tiny an end to offensive operations in America had not been,
sent till after the recess of parliament. [The Chancellor of
the Exchequer interrupted Mr. Fox for a moment, just to
assure him, that, upon a carefid perusal of the speech, he
would find that there was not so much as a shadow of ground
for any such imputation.] Mr. Fox again observed, that he
had not a doubt but such an imputation might be drawn from
the speech, though he was convinced that there had been no
intention in administration that the speck should convey it.
For the words of the speech were, " Since the close of the
last session, I have employed my whole time in the care and
attention which the important and critical conjuncture of pub-
lic affairs required of me," and iii direct continuation, "
lost no time in giving the necessary orders to prevent the fur-
ther prosecution of offensive war upon the continent of North
America." It: language was to be understood in its common
acceptation, this certainly meant that this important fact was
done since the last session, and consequently since he and
his friends had left his majesty's councils; and by the same
strain of language,. all the other concerns mentioned in the
speech seemed to take their origin from that date. This cer-
tainly- was so ; but he hoped and trusted it was so by inadver-
tancy only.


As to the provisional articles of peace with America, it was
impossible for him, at this moment, to approve Or condemn.
them, because he was utterly unacquainted with them; but
he would take it for granted, that the independence, the un-
conditional independence of America was recognised by the
first article. The great difference between him, and the pre-
sent minister on that head, was, that the latter wished that
the independence should be the price of peace, while on his
part, he was of opinion, that no barter should be made; but
that Great Britain should, in a manly manner, recognise at
once that independence, which it was not in her power to
check or overturn. For this he had two reasons : one was,
that it would appear magnanimous • on the part of England,
and inspire America with confidence to treat with us, when
we should set out by irrevocably granting her independence;
a confidence which she could not feel, if this independence
was to depend on other measures, which were not yet agreed
to: his other reason was, that by a provisional treaty (to
take place when -France and Great Britain should have settled
terms of peace with each other) the very preliminary article
of which was an acknowledgment of American independence,
England and America should have so completely determined
all their differences, that nothing more would remain to con-
tend for between them; the two countries might then be said


VOL. II.




98
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec. 5-


to be virtually at peace ; or if America should continue the
war as the ally of France, it would be a war so very like a
peace, that France deriving little or no advantage from it,
would be the more easily induced to think of peace, and be
the less forward to propose harsh or dishonourable terms to
-this country. These were the reasons by which he was in-
fluenced to advise the recognition of unconditional indepen-
dence; and he was the more surprised to find that ministers
had been so tardy in making peace with America by a pro-
visional treaty, when the same happy effect might have been
produced months ago, if unconditional independence had
been earlier offered. For his part, he was unable.to account
for the delay : when his majesty had given him orders to write
to Mr. Grenville, at Paris, to authorise him to offer inde-
pendence unconditionally to America, he obeyed the orders
with a degree of pleasure, which could be equalled only by
that which he felt, when he read the letter of Lord Shelburne
to Sir Guy Carleton, in which the words of the letter to Mr.
Grenville were recited ; when lie read that letter, he carried it
with pleasure to the late Marquis of Rockingham, and with
joy told him, that all their distrusts and suspicions of the noble
Lord's intentions were groundless ; but his pleasure on that
occasion was not of long duration ; for even before death
had removed the noble Marquis from the Treasury, the Earl
of Shelburne began to speak of the dreadful consequences
that must ensue to this country, if America should be sepa-
rated from it; and gave a decisive opinion, that the letter to
Mr. Grenville, and the recital of the same to Sir Guy Carle-
ton, were not an unconditional recognition of American inde-
pendence, but a conditional offer to be recalled in certain
circumstances. This


for
me suspicion, said Mr. Fox, which


I could not conceal; for in writing the letter to Mr. Grenville,
I had chosen the most forcible words that the English lan-
guage could supply to express my meaning : as far as I can
recollect they were these, or exactly to this meaning: " to
recognize the independence ( America, in the first instance,
and not to reserve it as a condition of peace." When he saw.
the recital of these words in the letter of the Earl of Shelburne
to Sir Guy Carleton, all his doubts vanished, and he was com-
pletely relieved. 'What, then, must be his astonishment and
torture, when in the illness and apprehended decease of the
noble Marquis, another language was heard in the. cabinet,
and some even of his own friends began to consider these
letters only as offers of a conditional nature—to be recalled
if they did not purchase peace. I considered myself as en-
snared and betrayed ; I therefore determined to take the mea-
sure by which alone I could act with consistency and honour


1782.]
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


99
— I called for precise declarations — I demanded explicit
language and when I saw that the persons, in whom I had
originally no great confidence, were so eager to delude, and
so determined to change the ground on which they had set
out, I relinquished my seat in the cabinet, with the heartfelt
satisfaction of having maintained my principles unstained, and
with the prospect of being able to do, by leaving it, what I
could not accomplish by remaining there. Mr. Fox said his
hopes and expectations were fulfilled, just as he had appre-
hended and stated to that House : he had been able to per-
suade his majesty's ministers to the discharge of their duty,
more effectually in that House, than he was able to do hi a
private room. Thank Heaven the measure was now taken,
the deed was done, and done, he hoped, in the most effectual
way, and he agreed with the honourable seconder of the ad-
dress, that in doing this we gave away nothing. The inde-
pendence of America was acknowledged by his majesty's mi-
nisters; and though it had been said, " that whenever this
should happen, the sun of England would set, and her glories
be eclipsed for ever," yet he was of a contrary opinion, and
he would defend the Earl of Shelburne against any peer who
should hold such language. He had set his hand to sign the
independence of America, although it had been insidiously said,
that " it would be the ruin of his country, and that he would
be a traitor who should do it." But if any peer should dare
to impeach the Earl of Shelburne for having done this, I, said
Mr. Fox, will stand up his advocate —I will defend him against
all such artful and insidious charges — I will hold him harm-
less, and protect him from the accusation of " having dared
to give away the rights of Great Britain;" and pledge myself,
that the recognition of the independence of America shall not
be " stained with the blood of the minister who should sign it."
Mr. Fox: here alluded to expressions that had formerly been
made use of by the Earl of Shelburne. Quitting this strain of
irony, the honourable gentleman said, that the noble Earl had
done this important matter even after all these sayings, and
thinking as he did, that it was so wrong, and so alarming,—
he could not avoid. on this occasion, applying to him a
distich, which he had read in a ludicrous poet:


" You've done a noble turn in Nature's spite,
For tho' you think you're wrong, Pm sure you're right."


There were some expressions in the speech, which,, though
he did not intend to find fault with, he would have been as
well pleased had they been left out ; and these were the expres-
sions of the concern felt by his majesty, at the idea of re-
nouncing the claims of this country over America ; it would


2




tO0 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec.


have been surely much better, had his majesty been advised
boldly and manfully at once to give way to necessity, and not
to express so much dejection at parting with the sovereignty
over a country, which it was no longer in his power to assert
and maintain ; but much as he disliked these expressions, he
was as much pleased with those in which his majesty indulges
the philosophic speculation of prospects of future connection
with America, from similarity of language, manners, religion,
and laws : for his own part, he did not doubt but the day
would come, when by a firm alliance between Great Britain
and America, the courts of France and Spain would awake
from their idle and illusory dreams of advantage, which they
think will follow to them by the separation of America from
the mother country; through that alliance the sun of Britain
might rise again, and shine forth with dazzling lustre. But to
induce America to confide in us, we should convince her, by
the most open and unreserved conduct, that we mean fairly,
honestly, and sincerely by her. He was always of opinion
that it was not right, in our present circumstances, to think
of treating with America, by way of bargain for her indepen-
dence. He conceived, that the only method of acting, which
was at once political and wise, was to behave with manliness
and generosity; and to shew them that there was still a disposi-
tion in the government of this country to treat them with the
nobleness of Englishmen. This was his idea, when he sat at
his majesty's council board, and this was the conduct which
he had recommended ever since he perceived that we should
soon come to the necessity of recognizing their independence,
either with grace, or by compulsion; but he was afraid that
ministers would act in such a manner as to create suspicions,
even where they meant to act honestly. For instance, in the
Secretary of State's letter to the Lord Mayor, the colonies
were very properly stiled the United States of America; and
as he made no doubt, but in the provisional treaty they were
to declared, he expected to have heard them called by this
name in his majesty's speech; and the disappointment he felt
on that occasion gave him the more concern, as he perceived
there was even now a backwardness publicly to avow and ac-
knowledge, what he trusted and hoped was already done in the
treaty — the independence of America. Surely, if it was
thought proper to call them by their proper name, in the letter
of the Secretary of State, it would not have been unfit to call
them so in the speech; surely his right honourable friend did
not mean to defraud his master of the merit of conciliating
the hearts of the Americans, and binding them to this country
by expressions of . grace and kindness. He was sorry that
his majesty's' ministers had not advised their royal master to


1782.] ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. Iot


make use of language more dignified and becoming, than
that which they had put into his mouth.


He was sorry that the speech held out no prospect to this
country of alliances to support her, in case she should be
obliged, by the unreasonable exactions of France, to continue
the war. He hoped there was no neglect in so important a
branch of a minister's duty, as that of making friends and
allies ; and yet he could not think, that if we were at this
moment without friends, it was for want of a good disposition
towards this country in some of the most powerful states of
Europe. It was true, that while the old ministry were at the
head of affairs, there was not the least ground for hope that
any power would make common cause with a country that
was ruled by madmen ; but he was surprised that, when the
nation had come to its senses, and driven these madmen front
the cabinet, the friendly disposition of some of the great
courts of Europe to England had not been courted with suc-
cess. He himself had not been long in office ; but, short as
the time was, it was long enough to convince him that Eng-
land was not destitute of powerful friends in Europe, whose
friendship might have been cultivated with success, and im-
proved to the great advantage of this country.


Peace to him appeared a most desirable object; but much
as he wished for peace, he certainly would not go the lengths
to obtain it which the honourable member who had seconded
the motion seemed willing to go: what that honourable
member had said on the subject had cast a melancholy gloom
upon his mind ; and he hoped that it was more from ima-
gination than from information that he spoke : no man felt
more the deplorable situation of the country than he did ; but
he did not think that the most effectual way to incline the
•nemy to a disposition towards a favourable and equitable
peace, was to tell them that we were so completely reduced
that no terms could be too hard for us to digest ; that our re-
sources were so dried up, that economy could scarcely enable
us to bear -up under the heavy burthen heaped upon our
shoulders; nay, that parsimony could scarcely do it; and
that hardly any thing short of avarice could save us from sink-
ing; he himself was not sanguine in his hopes of finding great
resources in this country; but he was not yet so desponding as
to say, that he would not rather carry on the war still longer,
than submit to a dishonourable peace: it was not, indeed, to
be expected, that we could treat advantageously ; but our si-
tuation was not so desperate as that we ought to accept of


, dishonourable or unreasonable terms: before the provisional
treaty with America, we had four powers to contend with ;
but as he must from the signing of the treaty pronounce the


H


0




102 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec. s.
American war to be at an end, so he thought we ought to
derive fresh courage, when we should be able to spend in
operations against the three remaining hostile powers the four
or five millions that used to be spent on the continent of
America : for he thought that the provisional agreement, if it
did not actually give us peace with America, would give us
something so like a peace, that •we might freely employ the
troops now in America against the other powers.


The honourable seconder was not satisfied, it seemed, with
the idea of subscribing to any terms of peace, merely for the
sake of getting peace; but he consulted the durability of it,
and seemed ready to sacrifice every thing in order to make it
lasting : now, he was of a different' opinion ; for in making a
disadvantageous peace, he would not for a moment think of
its durability, but attend solely to the object of availing him-
self of the opportunity afforded by the cessation from hostili-
ties, to cultivate the friendship of some of the great powers of
Europe, and to make such alliances as would enable him to
go to war again with greater prospect of success. The ho-
nourable member, after praising the conduct of General El-
liot and Lord Howe, in their gallant defence and relief of
Gibraltar, threw a gloom over the minds of all who had heard
him, by hinting at the possibility of this important fortress
being about to be ceded to the enemy. He could not easily
express how much he was struck with this alarming hint, and
he hoped that in this he spoke merely from speculation, and
not from authority; for the possession of that fortress and har-
bour was invaluable to this country, though some people of
late affected to say, that it was of no farther use to us. In
former wars its value was often felt; and if, in the present
war, the old ministry had not been as dastardly as they were
mad, perhaps all the calamities of this war might have been
prevented. If a fleet had been stationed there in time to
watch the Mediterranean, Comte d'Estaign never could have
got to America, to give that assistance to the colonies, which
had since secured to them their independence; but the mis-
fortune of this country was to have ministers at that time,
who, while they spoke in the most lordly terms to America,
and insisted that she should be reduced to unconditional sub-
mission, were - endeavouring to cajole the court of Spain ;
and refrained from sending out a formidable fleet to Gibral-
tar, because they conceived that the King of Spain would
take umbrage at seeing a fleet in the Mediterranean : but had
the measure been adopted, there would have been little reason
to be apprehensive of any bad consequences from his resent-
ment, for then we should have had it in our power to pre-
vent the evil that a union of the fleets of France and Spain


1782.]


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 103


must always threaten this country with. To cajole an ene-
my was surely not the way in which a powerful and wise nation
would seek their security. They would break their strength;
they would crush their rising efforts ; and a sagacious minis-
try would always employ Gibraltar in dividing France from
France, Spain from Spain, and the one nation from the other.
But though this measure was not adopted, from which the
most solid advantages would have flowed, still it must be ad-
mitted, that even in the present war, Gibraltar had been of
infinite use to this country, by the diversion of so considera-
ble a part of the force of our enemies, which, employed else-
where, might have greatly annoyed us. But, said the ho-
nourable member, " Spain having seen the folly of attempting
to reduce that fortress, may never again be tempted to invest
it, and therefore it•may never again occasion a diversion of
her force." This was a mode of reasoning that experience
did not seem to justify ; he had, in general, too great a re-
spect for princes to speak lightly of them : but there might be
near the heart of every prince a longing after something
which could not be removed but by the attainment or posses
Sion of that something ; a thousand disappointments might
not be able to convince him that his longing could never be
gratified. Those who knew the history of this country for the
last nine years would be ready to agree with him, that it was
not easy to convince men of their follies, even when they
were proved to be so. We had in this country continued
for eight years the war in America ; and yet the misfortunes
of each preceding campaign, which ought to have suede us
wiser, by convincing us that we were engaging in a ruinous
pursuit of an object which we could never attain, had not till
lately wrought that effect: and what should hinder us from
thinking that the King of Spain might not persevere zealously
in the longing for the reduction of Gibraltar, as a Prince
nearer home was taught to pant after the phantom of uncon-.
ditional submission from America ? The fortress of Gibraltar
was to be ranked among the most important possessions of this
country ; it was that which gave us respect in the eyes of na-
tions; it manifested our superiority, and gave us the means of
obliging them by protection. Give up to Spain the fortress
of Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean becomes to them. a pool,
a pond in which they can navigate at pleasure, and act with-
out control or check. Deprive yourselves of this station, and
the states ,of Europe, that border on the Mediterranean, will
no longer 'look to you for the maintenance of the free naviga-
tion of that sea; and having it no longer in your power to be
useful, you cannot expect alliances. The honourable gentle-
man talked of the cession of this important fortress on a prin.-


I
4




104 ADDRESS ON THE ICING'S SPEECH. [Dec. 5•


ciple the most delusive. Because it was a possession dear to'
the enemy, the object of their ambition and their pride, he
would yield it to them, as the means of preventing future wars.
This .was a maxim the most delusive that could be ; and the
honourable gentleman ought to know that generalities might
in all cases be carried too far. If you govern yourselves by
this maxim, there will be no end to cession, because there
will be no end to desire. Ambition is a vice which grows
like avarice from what it feeds on ; and the honourable gen-
tleman must be strangely ignorant of the ambition, avarice,
and lust of human governments, if he thinks that the posses-
sion of Gibraltar, because it is the immediate object of the
court of Spain, would prevent them from forming new de-
sires, which they would endeavour to gratify by new wars. If
you teach them that war induces you to cession, there is not a
doubt but they will go to war. The true policy, therefore, is
to teach them that you will not gratify passion so pursued ;
that you know there is no economy in cession ; and that it is
wiser and more for your interest to continue expensive wars,
than by unwise and foolish concessions to purchase .a tempo-
rary peace, neither safe nor honourable. The honourable
gentleman may talk of the durability of peace, said Mr. Fox,
but I can never think it wise to pay much regard to that pros-
pect. The inconsistency, the weakness, and the passions of
human governments will in all time continue to tear asunder
the bands of civil concord; and no gratification, no accession,
no dismemberment of empire, no good fortune, no calamity,
will induce kings to sit down contented with what they have
acquired, or patient under their loss, but after a little breath-
ing time they will again rise into outrage, offence, and war.
In negotiating a peace, therefore, he would rather stipulate
for the advantages, than the durability of it, sensible that its
duration must depend on contingencies not at all within his
power to reach.


Having said so much. on what the honourable gentleman
bad thrown out about Gibraltar, mid the principle of conces-
sion, he would not take upon him to say, that in no possible
situation the fortress of Gibraltar ought to be bartered, or
given up. But if, after all this, it should be determined to
give up Gibraltar, he would advise ministers not to attempt to
sink the value of it, but to rate it as high as it ought to be, and
then make the best bargain that they could, either by getting
the most money for it, or exchanging it for a valuable and ade-
quate consideration. And here he would take an opportu-
nity to express his hearty concurrence in that part of the ad-
dress which replied to the honourable mention made by his
n4esty of the defence and relief of Gibraltar: the ot:tcluct of


1782:1 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 105


General Elliott would immortalize his name ; and the latest
posterity would be at a loss which to admire in the hero
most, his gallantry in repelling the various attacks, or
his humanity in saving from impending death the enemy
he had defeated. He had combined qualities the most un-
common, and had risen almost superior to every precedent
of reality. We could only seek for his image in the chronicles
of romance, where heroes were painted in a stile of colouring
superior to human nature. The noble lord who had relieved
the garrison was almost above praise ; in the sight of a supe-
rior force he threw relief into Gibraltar ; and then, he would
not say he had insulted, because be did not wish to use bard
words, but he braved the united fleets of France and Spain.
Could he do more ? If any one in this House, (said Mr. Fox,
looking at Governor Johnstone,) thinks he could, let him speak
out, and charge the noble lord. If there is any man who has
accused him in public or in private circles, in anonymous slan-
ders, or in pamphlet attacks", let him now come forward
and speak his sentiments. It was riot in England only that
the character of Lord Howe was admired : a foreigner of dis-
tinction had written from Paris in the following terms. " Every
one here is full of admiration at the conduct of Lord Howe.
All praise his bravery and humanity. All wish to take his
conduct for their example. This makes us think, that in your
country a court martial will be appointed to try him whenever
he arrives in England." And here it was but decent to give
that tribute of


He
which was so justly due to the present


Admiralty. He had often spoken in desponding terms of the
state of the navy, when it was surrendered up by the last
Admiralty; but desponding as his language was, it did not ex-
press half the despondency he then felt: what, then, must have
been the exertions of the noble Lord now at the head of the
naval department of government, when he had fitted out a fleet
that was able to brave the combined fleets, from which we used
in preceding campaigns to flv ? It had been the astonish-


,


ment of Europe, and had given such advantages and brilliancy
to the present campaign, as would and ought to be felt in the
making of a peace.


He next touched upon the present cabinet, and observed,
that though he disliked its construction, there was some of its.
constituent parts against which he could have no objection ; for
Lie knew that though one member of the cabinet might promise
a great deal more than he intended to perform, there were.


* Alluding to a letter signed " Nautical," supposed to be written by
--Torarnor Johnstone.




o 6 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Dec. 5.
others who would hold him to the performance of his promises :
as to himself, he believed he really was of more service out of
office, and debating in that House, than he could possibly have
been if he had remained in the cabinet; for he found that those
measures, which, while in office, he recommended in vain to
the council, were readily adopted when he laid down his em-
ployments.


He was entirely of the opinion of the honourable gentleman
who seconded the motion, that a peace was to be procured if
possible; but surely the minister knew that he had the means
of supporting war. The number of men whom he found " rid-
ing in hackney coaches, crowding the streets, and travelling
the Bath road," chewed him that the nation was not exhausted
of resources, but had yet the means of supporting the war, in
case our enemies should be disinclined to an honourable
and fair peace. He was for peace in preference to war. It
was not the policy of this nation to go to war for territory, from
the lust of more dominion, or the love of power. He would
be as moderate in his desire of new acquisitions, as he would
be determined in his resolution to keep what we have.


He adverted to the reports of large voluntary gifts to go-
vernment by private individuals. He said, he admitted and
admired the public spirit and generosity of the persons who
made the offers; but he begged leave to lay in his protest
against their legality; and he conceived that the compliment
paid to them in the speech was ill judged and improper.
He conceived, that according to our constitution, no money
could be received by the executive branch, and applied to the
public purposes of the nation, which did not pass through the
hands of parliament, and had not the sanction of the Com-
mons of England. Such aids were contrary to the very es-
sence of our constitution; for by such benevolences, govern-
ment was entrusted with money which came not under the
check and controul of parliament. This question had been
agitated some time ago in that House, brought on by an
nent lawyer, now a member of the other House, and one of '
his majesty's cabinet counsellors, (Lord Ashburton,) by whose
arguments he was thoroughly convinced of the illegality of
benevolences, and gave his vote on the question accordingly.


He hoped and believed that the prospect held out in the
speech, of attention being to be paid to our East-India con-
cerns, would not be delusive. He deemed the national ho-
nour pledged in this business; and he trusted it was not in-
tended by any sophistry to depart from the resolutions already
come to concerning it. The learned lord advocate, (Mr.
Dundas,) who had been indefatigable in pursuing this business,
had received his countenance and support while in place, and


1782.71 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 107


he trusted that no change* in either of their situations would
occasion any difference of sentiment and conduct.


He assured ministers that he did not mean to give them
any wanton opposition. He would support them as far as he
could with honour and duty ; and however he might object
to the constitution of the administration, and however he
might suspect the sincerity of some among them, yet he could
not think that any thing very hostile to this country could be
formed, while he saw in that cabinet some men of whose vir-
tue and integrity he entertained so high an idea.


He concluded with taking notice of something that fell
from Mr. Yorke, with respect to the reformation in public
offices, and the distress it would bring on individuals if their
salaries were not continued during their lives. He was sure his
honourable friend who first brought about these reformations
did not mean that any person should suffer by them ; that the
intentions of his honourable friend had been greatly mis-re-
presented in that particular ; and if such cruelties were in-
tended, they were to be ascribed to those who had the execu-
tion of the arrangements. He trusted, he said, that he should
soon see the provisional articles laid upon the table ; till which
time he begged to be understood,- that the vote which he gave
on that day, he gave in the persuasion that those articles con-
tained a full and final renunciation of the independence of
America: and he begged also to be understood that he
pledged himself to no other object than that, nor possessed
any high opinion of the other parts of the speech, delivered
that day from the throne.


The address was agreed to by the House without any division.
On the following day, when the report from the committee ap-
pointed to draw up • the said address was read,


Mr. Fox rose. He said, that a doubt struck him as well
as others, with respect to one thing, which he hoped his ma-
jesty's ministers would now explain, if they could do it con-
sistently. The question which he wished to ask was, Whether
the provisional treaty concluded with America, by which the
independence of America was no doubt fully recognized, was
done unconditionally ; so that if the negotiations now carrying
forward with France for a general peace should not be brought
to a speedy determination, still the provisional agreement
would remain in force, and whenever we should have a peace
with the European powers, this agreement would be finally


* Mr. Dundas had recently been appointed Treasurer of the Navy.




108 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
[Dec. 5.


ratified? If this was the case, he approved of the vote which
he had given ; but if it was otherwise, if this provisional treaty
depended on the present negotiation, and was to die with it,
then he revoked the approbation which he had given, and
held himself at liberty to declare, that such an agreement would
be mad and impolitic. I'Ve should, by that means, have no-
thing in the shape of peace with America, but should go on
in eternal war. This was his clear, decided opinion, and he
should retract ever y syllable of praise he had given to the mea-
sure if he found it Clad been clone in this way. His reason for
asking this question was, that he had heard a different explana-
tion had been given of the provisional articles in another
place, and it was a matter of the utmost moment that it should
be clearly and fully understood before they ratified their con-
sent to the address. One thing more he would take notice of
now that he was upon his legs. It had been said of him in
the debate yesterday, that he had always been a friend to the
independence of America. This was not the case. He had
all along considered the independence of America as an evil of
great magnitude, and as such he had always spoken of it.
But when America became independent, which in his mind she
had been absolutely for the last five years, he had declared
his wishes for the recognition of their independence as an
act salutary and seasonable for the legislature of this country,
by which we might do that with grace which we must at last
do without it, and thereby conciliate and restore harmony
between the two countries. He repeated the question which
he had put to ministers with respect to the provisional agree-
ment which had been, he said, the principal purpose for which
he had risen.


In consequence of this appeal Mr. Secretary Townshend, Mr.
Chancellor Pitt, and General Conway, the Commander in Chief,
severally rose and declared, that the articles were only so far pro-
visional, that they depended upon the single contingency of peace
being concluded with France : but whenever that event took place,
the independence of America stood recognized withput any re-
served condition whatever.


1782.] INDEPENDENCY OF TILE UNITED STATES.
109


MR. FOX'S MOTION roil SUCH or THE ARTICLES or THF.
PROVISIONAL TREATY WITH AMERICA, AS RELATE TO
THE RECOGNITION OF THE INDEPENDENCY OF THE UNITED
STATES.


December 18.


THE contrariety of opinion amongst the members of thecabinet, which discovered itself in the preceding debate
occasioned a second debate in the House of Lords. On the
13th Earl Fitzwilliarn remarked, that these contradictions be-
ing public and notorious, might lead to consequences of the ut-
most importance, and therefore demanded an immediate explana-
tion. During the progress of negotiations with artful and jealous
enemies, every appearance of duplicity, or even ambiguity in our
councils, ought most anxiously to be avoided. In order, therefore
to rescue government from the suspicions under which it lay ; in
order to satisfy the country that the subjugation of America could
not, under any possible circumstances, be again attempted ; in.
order to secure confidence to administration both at home and
abroad, he begged leave to propose the following question to the
noble earl at the head of his majesty's treasury : " Is it to be un-
derstood that the independence of America is never again to be-
come a subject of doubt, discussion, or bargain ; but is to take effect
absolutely at any period, near or remote, whenever a treaty of
peace is concluded with the court of France, though the present
treaty should entirely break off? Or, on the contrary, is the inde-
pendence of America merely contingent ; so that if the particular
treaty now negotiating with that court should not terminate in a
peace, the offer is to be considered as revoked, and the indepen-
dence left to be determined by circumstances, and the events of
war?" To the question thus put, the minister positively refused to
give any answer, and was supported by the Dukes of Richmond and
Chandos. It was urged in vain, that he had already, on the first
day of the session, avowed his sentiments in a full and explicit man-
ner; that the present question was only put on account of doubts
that had arisen from the contradictory assertions of others of his
majesty's servants; that it was the language of ministers, and not
the secrets of the treaty, of which an explanation was desired ;
that the fact must necessarily be known to all the parties concern-
ed in the subsisting negotiations ; that it was a secret to the British
parliament alone ; and that no possible mischief could arise from
his giving the satisfaction required. The Earl of Shelburne per-
sisted in his refusal ; declaring that the whole house should not
force an answer from him, which he conceived he could not give
without violation of his oath as a privy counsellor. Declaring war
and snaking peace, were, he said, the undoubted prerogative of the
cro,ka, and ought to be guarded from all incroachment with the




1 10 ATOTION RELATING To THE [Dec. 18.
most particular care. If the popular parts of the constitution
thought themselves better adapted for carrying on negotiations of
this sort, he would advise them to go to the King at once, and tell
him that they were tired of the monarchical establishment, that they
meant to do the business of the crown themselves, and had no fur-
ther occasion for his services. No man, he added, could be more
anxious than himself to have the world know what he had done, and
to receive the judgment of parliament and of the people of England
upon his proceedings ; and that for this purpose, so soon as pru-
dence and policy should warrant, he would not lose a moment in
laying the treaty before them. With respect to the assertion that
had so frequently been made, that no mischief would arise from
giving the answer required, he said it was a little extraordinary that
those who knew not What the treaty was, should be so positive in
declaring there could be no secret's in it, whilst those who did
know its contents as positively asserted there were.—On the 16th
Mr. Fox gave notice of his intention to move, on the first conve-
nient day, for the provisional treaty to be laid before the house, or
such parts of it as related to the recognition of American indepen-
dence. At the same time, as a proof that he had no design to em-
barrass government, or throw any impediment in the way of the
minister's negotiations, he declared that if the secretary of state
would pledge himself to the house, that the treaty in question con-
tained particulars, which, if discovered earlier than the nioment
ministers might choose for laying it before parliament, would be at-
tended with mischievous consequences, and materially affect the
negotiations then carrying on, he would desist from his purpose
altogether. The minister refusing to pledge himself in the manner
proposed, on the 18th,


Mr. Fox rose to make his promised motion. He said,
that no two things upon earth could be more opposite to each
other than the explanation given to the same treaty by his
majesty's ministers in one place, and a minister of his majesty
in another ; for while the former had fairly and roundly de-
clared the treaty with America to be final, conclusive, and ir-
revocable; the latter as roundly asserted the very contrary.
He adverted particularly to what the Earl of Shelburne had
said on the sacredness of secrecy in this case. With what lit-
tle deference did that noble person treat his colleagues ! They
had fairly answered all these questions ; and if to answer them
fairly was to betray his majesty's secrets, and to violate the
privy counsellor's oath, the noble lord must of course look upon
his colleagues as perjured men, and betrayers of their trust.
It was a most convenient thing indeed for a man to have a
conscience, behind which he could shelter himself from what- tp
ever he did not like to face : the noble lord could not have
acted more wisely than when he had recourse to his oath ; and
a confessor could not have given a better advice : one might
have imagined, indeed, that the noble lord had drawn up


1 7 8 2.] INDEPENDENCY Or THE UNITED STATES.
J I I


case of conscience, and submitted it to a casuist; there was an
affectation in ministers, notwithstanding the diversity of opin-
ion that visibly prevailed among them, to have it thought that
they were all perfectly unanimous. But how stood that unan-
Unity ? They might indeed have all concurred in making a par-
ticular treaty ; but did they all agree in the interpretation of
it ? Not at all : the noble lord who was supposed to have the
greatest influence in his majesty's councils suffered his col-
leagues to explain as they understood: but he thought it pro-
per to assume to himself the same liberty; as he understood it
differently, so he explained it differently : all reasoning men
must allow, that unanimity in agreeing to a treaty was of little
consequence, when compared to unanimity in the interpreta-
tion of it : the words of the treaty were of themselves of little
consequence;- that which was truly consequential, was the in-
terpretation or construction put upon those words by those who
were to execute the treaty, and act upon them : a man might
differ in opinion from another, and yet might sacrifice his opin-
ion for the sake of unanimity, when there was a question of
adopting some particular measure; but when a measure was
adopted, to differ about the meaning of that measure, this was
the division, this was the difference teat he thought of the most
dangerous nature to the public. To exemplify this, in a case
in which he was concerned; he stated the Earl of Shelburne's
letter to Sir Guy Carleton, in which the independence of
America was declared to be a measure, to which his majesty's
commissioners were instructed to subscribe unconditionally ;—
from that moment he rejoiced beyond expression, and would
have been happy, if he had been at liberty to shew this letter
to those who used frequently to intimate their suspicions to hint
that the noble earl would never consent to recognize the in
dependence of America; how easily could he, if he had been
at liberty, have silenced their complaints, and dispelled all
their doubts ! But what must have been his surprise, if after
so full and ample a declaration made by the noble earl in his
letter, he had afterwards found him endeavouring to explain.
it away? What confidence could the other powers of Europe
place in the ministers of this country, when they found that
how unanimous soever they might be in agreeing to a mea-
sure, they never could be brought to hold the same opinion
when the purport of that measure was to be explained ?
What must Europe think of us, if after he had informed all .
the foreign courts, that we were about to recognize uncondi-
tionally the independence of America, they should find that
his colleague in office, who had concurred in the measure,
explained itin the most different manner ? In Mr. Secretary
Hamilton's letter, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and through him




kOTION RELATING TO THE [Dec. I 8.


the people of Ireland, were informed that the independence
of America was finally recognized by England, in a treaty
which was to take effect between the two powers, whenever
we should make peace with France. Could any terms be
more strong ? The independence being finally recognised, it
was with propriety that the Lord Lieutenant, speaking of
England and America, had called them these two powers ;
but how must his Excellency feel, how must the people of
Ireland feel, when they hear, in contradiction to his Excellen-
cy's letter that the first minister of this country has declared,
that the independence is not finally recognised ; for that as the
treaty in which it is recognised is revocable, the independence
is only conditional, and of course not finally recognised ! - To
come to a full eclaircissement on this subject, it was his wish
to see the treaty itself; and as the House would barely desire
to have the treaty, the noble earl need not be alarmed for his
conscience; he might produce the articles, and keep his mean-
ing to himself; the House of Commons would put a construc-
tion upon them themselves, which could not in future be ex-
plained away by any minister. If there was any part of the
treaty which ministers would undertake to say, could not, in
their opinion, be disclosed without danger in the present state
of the negotiation, he would not press the motion he intended
to make : there always was a willingness or bias in the House
to support government, and he would call that bias laudable ;
and shew he felt it in himself, by withdrawing his motion, if
ministers would assure him that there were parts of,the treaty
that were not yet ripe for disclosure. He had heard it reported,
that there were in the treaty with America, secret articles
unknown to France, and known only to England and Ame-
rica; he did not desire to see these articles; nay, to be can-
did, he would not even desire that ministers should say there
were any such. In a word, all he wished to learn was, whe-
ther there was really a subsisting treaty with America, which
should survive the present negotiations with France, though
they should not end in a peace ? This being a reasonable cu-


. riosity, he expected support in his motion, though he courted
none : lie did not know whether he might expect the support
of the noble lord in the blue ribbon, who, in a strange mode
of reasoning, brought himself to vote with ministers, because
they did not agree with one another. If his motion should
be adopted, the House would then be able to judge for them-
selves, whether the independence was,. as he hoped it was, un-
conditional and irrevocable. He then moved, " That an
humble Address be presented to his majesty, that he will be
graciously pleased to give directions, that there be laid before
this House, such parts of the provisional articles, agreed upon,


; '782.] INDEPENDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. T I 3


between his majesty's commissioners and the commissioners
of the United States of America, as relate to the recognition
of the independency of the said States."


The motion was supported by Lord John Cavendish, Lord
Maitland, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Byng, Mr. Burke, and Mr. Sheridan ;
and opposed by the ministers and their friends as unseasonable
and unnecessary. Mr. Thomas Pitt moved the order of the day.
General Conway, the commander in chief, at the close of the
debate, observed, that the motion had not met with the concur-
rence of the House, and Ile did not think the mover would dare
to take the sense of the House upon it, as he knew that he should
be attended into the lobby by so small a minority.


Mr. Fox entered into a full examination of all that had
been said in answer to his arguments, and in objection to his
motion. That he dared not to take the sense of the I-louse,
lie said, was language that he did not expect to hear from
the right honourable gentleman. That the smallness of aP
minority was a proof of the weakness. of the cause, was a pro-
position he thought would not have been advanced by that
right honourable gentleman, after the many hard trials and
severe struggles they had had to cure that House of their love
of the American war. He commented on his declaration, that
there was no material difference in the language of his ma-
jesty's ministers on the nature of the provisional treaty. It
was one of the slight differences then, which that right ho-
nourable gentleman regarded as immaterial; it was no more
than the independence or dependence of America. It was
no more than whether the mad scheme of subjugating Ame-
rica was abolished or not ; and this was what the right ho-
nourable gentleman, with his wonted facility and accommo-
dation, called a slight, innnaterial difference. The right
Honourable gentleman, said the American commissioners were
pleased with the treaty. With the treaty were they pleased,
or with the explanations of it ? With both explanations they
could not be pleased undoubtedly, and it was for the purpose
of affixing to it a certain, specific, absolute, and unchange..
able meaning that he desired to see it on the table. Mr. Fox
went pretty much into the enumeration of the advantages to
be reaped by its exposure, the first and greatest of which was,
that when the American people came to see that the recogni-
tion of the independence of America was ratified by


.
the l Peois-lature, all doubts would vanish; all jealousies would expire;


the bond which tied them to France would lose its energy ;
and if that hostile and ambitious power did not become mc,)
debate in its demands, America would agree to a separate
Peace. He laughed at the idle nonsense of danger, if


voL. 11.




I 14 IRISH JUDICATURE BILL.
[Jan. 22e


treaty was unequivocal. He confessed, that ministers had on
that day most implicitly obeyed the injunction they had re-
ceived of silence; for though they had spoken, he defied any
man to explain what they meant. In the king's speech there
breathed a pious hope that the similarity of language would
be a bond of union between Britain and America. If this
was true, as he trusted it was, what shameful policy it was
in the king's ministers to use language which, whether it was
English, or whether it was French, or whatever tongue it
might be, it was what no mortal could understand. They
would destroy the advantage of similarity of language. The
French might coinimunicate through the medium of a sworn
interpreter ; but the Earl of Shelburne objected to all sworn
interpreters, and insisted that they should use words to which
no meaning could be affixed of any kind whatever. Mr. Fox
most anxiously hoped, that the conduct of ministers on that
day would not give such distrust to nations, as to prevent
their gaining an honourable peace for their country. That
was the first great object of his heart, and his motion for the
production of the treaty, flowed from a sincere conviction,
that it would facilitate that great end.


The House then divided on the motion for the other order of
the day :




Tellers. Tellers.
YEAS (Lord Mahon}




Mr. Orde 219.
NOES


Byng 46.
Mr. Long S


Mr. Fox's motion was consequently rejected.


BILL VCR REMOVING DOUBTS CONCERNING THE EXCLUSIVE
RIGHTS OF THE PARLIAMENT AND COURTS OF IRELAND
IN MATTERS OF LEGISLATION AND JUDICATURE.


JanItaty 22. I 783.


VITEN
the matter of establishing. the legislative and judicial


'cr independence of the kingdom of Ireland was under the con-
sideration of the late ministry, two ways of doing it had occurred.
The one, by a renunciation of what this country held to be a right,
but which it was ready -to give up. This mode, however, it was
foreseen, might give offence to the people of Ireland, who con-




tended, that England:never had any such right. The other mode
Was by declaring that England, though it had exercised, had rie,.
ver been legagy possessed of; such a right : but to this mode


a


'783.]


IRISH JUDICATURE BILL.
II5


renunciation it was justly apprehended that the parliament of
Great Britain would not be brought to consent. The measure of
a simple repeal of the declaratory act of the 6th of Geo. I. was
therefore moved by Mr. Fox, and adopted, as most consistent
with the spirit of the people there, and the dignity of government
here : and though some leading men in Ireland seemed to think
that an absolute renunciation was necessary ; yet an address was
carried there through both houses, with only two or three dissen-
tient voices, expressing their perfect satisfaction, and declaring
that no constitutional question between the two countries would
any longer exist. After this the parliament of Ireland proceeded
in the exercise of their legislative capacity, to enact laws for re-
gulating their judicial proceedings, and for confining the decisions
of property to their own courts of law, with power of appeal to
the House of Lords of that country only. Things were going on
in this amicable manner, when a cause that had been removed by
writ of error from Ireland to the Court of King's Bench, long be-
fore the repeal had been in agitation and which the judge, by the
rules of the court, was bound to determine, was brought to a
decision. In consequence of this unlucky accident, Colonel Fitz-
patrick, on the 19th of December, called the immediate attention
of ministers to the insufficiency of the repealing act ; and on the
22d of January, 178 3 , immediately after the Christmas recess,
Mr. Secretary Townshend moved for leave to bring in a bill " for
removing and preventing all doubts which have arisen or might
arise, concerning the exclusive rights of the parliament and
courts of Ireland, in matters of legislation and judicature, and
for preventing any writ of error, or appeal, from any of his ma-
jesty's courts in that kingdom, from being received, heard, and
adjudged in any of his majesty's courts in that kingdom.


Mr_ Fox rose, not, he said, to oppose or censure the pre-
sent motion by any means. It might appear to some men's
minds extremely inexpedient; to others it was evidently right,
and indicated a degree of necessity of which, however, for
one he was clear to own he did not see the ground. But as
a measure, of which he did not perceive any either very good
or bad consequences, he would not give it an opposition ; at
the same time, he trusted no member would consider it as
resulting from what had passed in that House last year rela-
tive to the affairs of Ireland. Whoever would now come
forward, and arraign that wise, salutary, arid important mea-
sure, as producing grievances which now required the in-
terference of the legislature, he would deliver it as his opinion,dui not understand the business. He had every reason to be
convinced, as he certainly was in the fullest manner, that the
m


easure to which he alluded occasioned general satisfactionfl i •oughout Ireland. It was impossible but it must have
been as he had stated it. Did the requisition of Ireland extend
to a single point which had not by the British parliament


1 2




I16


IRISH JUDICATURE BILL. [Jan. 22,
been granted to them, and granted to them in the most tine,
quivocal and explicit terms ? Did not the repeal of the ac t of
the 6th of. George I. demonstrate that this country was far
from claiming any jurisdiction over them ? Was not this re,
peal most happily connected with a variety of circumstance;
which went to the same effect? Had his majesty's ministers,
for the time being, calculated erroneously, or proceeded on
these principles, without mature consideration ? Their plan
was, however, sufficiently justified by the event. For what
was the language of Ireland at that time? Did not the whole
kingdom breathe the most heart-felt gratitude ?


He was persuaded the friends of the bill proposed by the
right honourable Secretary would not, therefore, impute it
to that measure, or hold up the one as an amendment or
completion of the other. This, in his opinion, would be
acting unfairly and unjustly ; as the complaints of Ireland, so
far as they then went, had been, even in their own ideas, sa-
tisfactorily answered. It was true, a reference, by writs of
error to the Court of King's Bench in this country, was not
included in a full renunciation of her rights of supreme juris-
.
diction over Ireland, neither was it demanded of us by them,
It was very well if their desires and petitions were granted when
put. The Address, as transmitted from Ireland, fully evinced
the reception which the resolves and decrees of the British le-
gislature had met with from them. These were collected by
the parliament of Ireland, who were certainly competent judget
of their sincerity and expedience. The plain English, there-
fore, of there being still something more necessary than had
yet been done, and that the doubts and discontents of the Irish
were the grounds of the present motion, was, that we know
what the people of Ireland think, and how they feel better
than their own parliament does; and though their parliament
should think them pleased, we know they are not; they
are full of doubts and diffidence, in so much that an act Of
the British legislature is still necessary to allay their fears, and
persuade them that our intentions are sincere and liberal. lie
thought this a strange mode of reasoning, but was sorry 110
other could well account for the present motion. It was; il"
his apprehension, doing violence to human nature, as hew?:
certain cotthdence could never result from any exertion of il:.
legislature. It was, in, its own nature, voluntary. A Pr':
fusion of professions never had, and he would venture to Pr',
diet, never would, either produce or confirm it. It di d l'


o
ait


become an English parliament to interfere about the app; ,
in matters of right, by writs of error. This was, in h i' °}1;,
rdon, competent only to the parliament of Ireland, who,


1753.] TRISH JUDICATURE BILL. I1 7


the repeal of the 6th of George I. were virtually invested with
fa ll powers to regulate every domestic inconvenience accord-
ing to their own discretion, without the controul of any power
on earth. This they had actually clone, and a bill for the


ose had received the royal assent. Any thing farther didpUrp
eret:no therefore, strike him, as in the smallest degree essential


either to their general content or convenience. It was not his
design to go farther into the business. He was led thus far
fro n the tone adopted by the several honourable gentlemen
who had already spoken. Ill as some might think it became
him, he notwithstanding would hazard one piece of advice to
his majesty's ministers; this business must have an end some


tt.or


time or other; and the question now was, how should they
draw the line, and where would it be possible for them to stop ?
It was madness to imagine, that any measure whatever could
not, and would not be cavilled at. The people of Ireland,
like all other people in similar circumstances, would speculate
on public affairs. But surely all rumours were not objects of
sufficient importance to interest the attention of that House,
or when they did, no man could imagine that any statute, or
preamble to a statute, or form whatever, would totally sup-
press them. But the honourable gentleman begged he might
not be misunderstood on the other side of the water, as if he
retained any wish to support the supremacy of Great Britain.
His sentiments on that head were well known. He only
wished that ministers would come to the resolution of making
a stand somewhere, that they would take the most permanent
station, and by their conduct put it out of the power of party,
prejudice, or any other bad principle, to misrepresent their
meaning, or doubt their sincerity. Reason, equity, justice,
and expediency, were motives which could never be mistaken:
and whenever they assumed these for the grounds of their
system, it would prove a solid and effective one. But he
trusted no latent designs against the rights and liberties of anyosubjects to the crown, would. ever be seriously imputed to
a British ministry. He vowed to God he would rather re-


,


iniquish the dependence on the crown of England altogether,
than see them subjected to it by force of arms. There was a
Point, he had always seen, where we ought to have stopped
with


America. This might serve as a warning how we let
ourselves


ttnr.t tsh


down, or lessened the dignityand consequence of par-
'lament by bringing matters under its cognizance which wereb
.,eneath its attention. He was therefore not a little anxious


Tight
that an end should be put to this kind of business, and that itbe sufficiently- understood on both sides of the water,i


arliament come to letnal s-lotion hse It h
Enagl


di been
p
frequently


had
imputed to himsoht


fi al
his oprepoo-


I




17 8 3 .]


PRELIMINARY ARTICLES OF PEACE. 119


rogatives had been assumed, she certainly, and to all intents
and purposes, relinquished every shadow of jurisdiction and
supremacy. He was not, however, disposed to raise any
opposition to the motion ; only he would protest against its
drawing along with it any of the constructions he had spe-
cified. It was chiefly for this reason, and with this view, he
had made it the subject of so much remark. He agreed, that
something ought to be done with Mr. Yelverton's bill, in
order to settle the commercial points: and he concluded with
wishing his majesty's ministers Would not, in any other part
of their conduct, render themselves more reprehensible than
they had done in this.


Leave was given to bring in the bill, which afterwards passed
into a law.


ADDRESS ON THE PRELIMINARY ARTICLES OF PEACE.


February 17.
rTHE preliminary articles of peace between Great Britain and


France, and between Great Britain and Spain, were signed
at Versailles on the zoth of January ; and on the z7th copies of
the same, and of the provisional treaty with the United States of
America, were laid before both houses of parliament, and after
a short debate, ordered to be printed. Monday, the 17th of Fe-
bruary, was appointed for taking them into consideration ; and
in the intermediate time several motions we're made for such
papers and documents as might assist the House in deciding on
their merits. On the day appointed upwards of four hundred and
fifty members were assembled. After the papers were read, a
motion was made by Mr. Thomas Pitt, and seconded by Mr. Wil-
berforce, " That an humble address he presented to his majesty,
to return his majesty our most humble thanks for having been
graciously pleased to lay before us the articles of the different
treaties which his majesty has concluded, and to assure his. ma-jesty that we have considered them with the most Serious atten-
tion. To express the great satisfaction and gratitude with which
we perceive that his majesty, in the exercise of the powers which
were intrusted to him, has concluded provisional articles with the
States of North America on such principles as must, we trust,
lay the foundation of perfect reconciliation and friendship with
that country. That, impressed with these sentiments, we cannot
forbear particularly to lay before his majesty our earliest wish and
Just expectation that the several states of North America wil l , in
the amplest and most satisfactory manner, carry into execution


4


IRISII JUDICATURE BILL. [Jan. 22.


sition was rather to men than measures. He had wished to
meet that idea, as he frankly confessed himself not endowed
with such talents as were sufficiently calculated to distinguish
between men and measures. Most people, of whom he was
one, were very apt to. judge of the actions by what they knew
of the man. This business had been very fully discussed last
year, and those nearly interested had signified the most perfect
and entire acquiescence in the determination of the British
legislature. Many circumstances conspired to fill them with
confidence in those who then had the management of govern-
ment. He would declare openly, because he declared it from
the fullest conviction of the fact, that there never was a govern-
ment in Ireland conducted on more upright and popular prin-
ciples, than that conducted by the Duke of Portland. While
he was there, the country was at least free from dissention and
uproar. But now, since another government had taken place,
rumours of destruction were industriously circulated. The
terms prescribed by Ireland, and acceded to by Britain, 96
were all at once inadequate to the satisfaction of her sub-
jects. The wisest and ablest people on that side the water had
been consulted; and the ministers who were then in'the Ca-
billet, acted on their information and ideas. The honour of 1.
these gentlemen had been hitherto deemed unimpeachable
and unblemished, and vet here was a measure agitated which
supposed a material miscarriage somewhere. And the ad-
dress to the people of Ireland, was in words somewhat to this
effect: " Your friends have not by any means done by your
so liberally as we will. You think they have done you jus-
tice; but you are mistaken, and we will do what you ima-
gined they did." This, he said, was making themselves
popular at the expellee of those who had gone before them,
and, by doing more than was necessary, saying their prede-
cessors had done less. It ever had, and was still, his con-
firmed opinion, that, by repealing the statute of the 6th of
George every thing was amicably settled. ft came up, at
least, to all that he had ever conceived as incumbent on this
country to Ireland. The repeal was simple, but it was de-
cisive. It would not have been proper to have said, in so
many words, that whereas Ireland has been so long under the




j urisdiction of this country, be it therefore henceforward de-
clared independent. This was not language that would have
been relished by the people of Ireland ; nor on the part of
Great Britain was it decent to say, that whereas she had
usurped rights which were not hers, she therefore now, and
for ever, restored them to their lawful owners. But by an
actual repeal of that act of the legislature by which such pre-




J
120 PRELIMINARY ARTICLES OF PEACE. [Feb. 17.
those measures which the congress is so solemnly bound by the
treaty to recommend, in favour of such persons as have suffered
for the part they have taken in the war, a circumstance to which
we anxiously look as tending to cement that good-will and affec-
tion which we trust will uniformly mark the future intercourse
between us. And to assure his majesty, that we are sensible of'
his wise and paternal care for the welfare and happiness of his
subjects, in relieving them from a long and burthensome war, and
restoring the blessings and advantages of peace, by the preliminary
articles agreed upon with the courts of France and Spain. To
assure his majesty, that we indulge the most sanguine hopes, that
his subjects, of Great Britain and Ireland will successfully apply
their attention to cultivate and improve by every possible means
their domestic resources. That with these views we shall apply
ourselves to a revision of our commercial laws on the most.liberal
principles, and in a manner adapted to the present situation of
affairs, for the purpose of extending our trade and navigation on
the surest grounds, and diligently providing for the maintenance
of our naval power, which can alone insure the prosperity of these
kingdoms." — An amendment was moved by Lord John Caven-
dish, by leaving out from the words " and to assure his majesty,
that," in the first paragraph, to the end of the question, in order
to insert these words, " his faithful commons will proceed to con-
sider the same with that serious and full attention which a subject
of such importance to the present and future interests of his ma-
jesty's dominions deserves : that, in the mean time, they entertain
the fullest confidence in his majesty's paternal care, that he will
concert with his parliament such measures as may be expedient
for extending the commerce of his majesty's subjects. That what-
ever may be the sentiments of his faithful commons on the result
of their investigation of the terms of pacification, they beg leave
to assure his majesty of their firm and unalterable resolution to
adhere inviolably to the several articles for which the public faith
is pledged, and to maintain the blessings of peace, so necessary
to his majesty's subjects, and the general happiness .of mankind,"
instead thereof.— A second amendment was afterwards moved, 4
by Lord North, by inserting after the words " Commerce of his
majesty's subjects," these words, " And his majesty's faithful
commons feel that it would be superfluous to express to his ma-
jesty the regards clue from this nation to every description of men,
who, with the risque of their lives, and the sacrifice of their pro-
perties, have distinguished their loyalty and fidelity during a long
and calamitous war.' The original address was supported by Mr.
Secretary Townshend, Mr. Chancellor Pitt, Mr. Dundas, the So-
licitor General, and by Mr. Powys, Mr. Bankes, and sonic other
country gentlemen ; the amendments by Lord North, Mr. Fox,
Mr. Burke, Governor Johnstone, Lord Mulgrave, Sir henry
Fletcher, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Adam, and also 'by several of the
country gentlemen.


Mr. Fox took up the consideration of the important sub-
ject at great length. His situation, he said, on that clay,


1783.] PRELIMINARY ARTICLES or PEACE. 121
was peculiarly delicate. He was supposed to be actuated by
motives of personal pique, and suspected of setting up an Op-
position to the articles of the peace on grounds of envy, of
jealousy, and of ambition. Those who knew him best would
not impute to him such motives; and for the opinion of those
who believed every calumny that was propagated against
him, he had but little concern. This, however, was not the
only delicacy of his situation. Allusions were made to tbr-
mer opinions which he had given, and assertions he had made,
in circumstances different from the present, and to which
indeed they bore not the smallest affinity. It was proclaimed,
as an unanswerable argument against every thing he could
say, " did you not some months ago, declare that almost any'
peace would be good, would be desirable, and that we must
have peace on any terms." If, said Mr. Fox, I could suffer
myself for a moment to be so far led away by conceit, and
fancy myself a man of so much importance as to excite the
jealousy of the minister, I might give car to the reports of
the day, that every measure which the minister adopted,
every plan which he formed, every opinion which he took,
and indeed every act of his administration, was calculated
and designed to embarrass me. How well might I ascribe
the present peace to this motive ! You call fbr peace, says
the noble person, you urge the necessity of peace, you insist
on peace; then peace you shall have, but such a peace, that
you shall sicken at its very name. You call for peace, and
I will give you a peace that shall make you repent the longest
clay you live, that ever you breathed a wish for peace. I
will give you a peace which shall make you and all men wish
that the war had been continued, —a peace more calamitous,
more dreadful, more ruinous than war could possibly be; and
the effects of which neither the strength, the credit :


the
commerce of the nation shall be able to support. If thi3 was
the intention of the noble person, he had succeeded to a
miracle. His work had completely answered his purpJse;
for never did I more sincerely feel, nor more sincerely lament
any advice I ever gave in my life, than the advice of getting
rid of the disastrous war in which the nation was involved.
That the minister might have other views was very probable.
That he might think his situation depended upon peace; that
lie might think there was no other way of maintaining a dis-
jointed •system, and fixing himself in a seat, not gained by
the purest means, nor supported by the firmest bottom, was
very possible; and it was also very possible that in his eager
pursuit of this object, he has overshot the mark, and neglected
to take the steps which could alone secure the end.


But it was objected to him by the learned lord advocate,




122 PRELIMINARY ARTICLES OP PEACE. [Feb. 17.
that he who had talked of having a peace in his pocket, and
who had been so confident in his declarations that peace
might certainly be obtained, ought to slew that the peace
which he projected was better than that which was procured.
In answer to this he would inform the learned lord, that he
had never said that he had a peace in his pocket. He had
averred in his place in that House, that there were persons
in this country, empowered by the congress to treat of peace
with America. The fact was so : they had made application
to noble persons, friends of his, to the Duke of Richmond,
to Lord Keppe], and to Lord John Cavendish. They had
authorised him to mention the fact in his place in that House;
and it turned-out, as he had declared, that there were per-
sons properly authorised, and anxious to treat of peace. The 4
learned lord called upon him to produce the peace which he
had projected. This was a very loud and sounding word ;
but the learned lord not being a cabinet minister, was at
liberty to hazard bold things, which, if he was a cabinet mi-
nister, he was pretty sure lie would not do. Will any one
of the king's ministers, said Mr. Fox, give me the same dial-
lenge ? Will they call upon me to produce the peace? I dare
them to do it. I challenge them to do it. They know what
it is ; they have it in the office. If it is against me, let them .41
take the advantage of it, and hold me up as a man capable
of advising my sovereign to make a worse peace, if possible,
than the present.


I now come, said Mr. Fox, to take notice of the most
heinous charge of all. I am accused of having formed a junc-
tion with a noble person, whose principles I have been in
the habit of opposing for the last seven years of my life. I do 1
not think it at all incumbent upon me to make any answer to
this charge : first, because I do not think that the persons,
who have asked the question, have any right to make the
enquiry; and secondly, because if any such junction was
formed, I see no ground for arraignment in the matter. That
any such alliance has taken place, I can by no means aver.
That I shall have the honour of concurring with the noble lord
in the blue ribbon on the present question is very certain ; and
if men of honour can meet on points of general national con-
ce•n, I see no reason for calling such a meeting an unnatural 4junction. It is neither wise nor noble to keep up animosities
for ever. It is neither just nor candid to keep up animosity
when the cause of it is no more. It is not in my nature to bear
malice, or to live in My friendships arc perpetual, my en-
mities are not so. " Amicitice sempiternce, inimicitice placabiles."
I disdain to keep alive in my bosom the enmities which I may
bear to men, when the cause of those enmities is no more.


783.] PRELIMINARY ARTICLES OF PEACE. 123'


When a man ceases to be what he was, when the opinions
which made him obnoxious are changed, he then is no more
my enemy, but my friend. The American war was the cause of
the enmity between the noble lord and myself. The American
war, and the American question is at an end. The noble lord
has profited from fatal experience. While that system was
maintained, nothing could be more asunder than the noble
lord and myself. But it is now no more; and it is therefore
wise and candid to put an end also to the ill will, the animo-
sity, the rancour, and the feuds which it occasioned. I am
free to acknowledge, that when I was the friend of the noble
lord in the blue ribbon, I found him open and sincere; when
the enemy, honourable and manly. I never had reason to
say of the noble lord in the blue ribbon, that he practised any
of those little subterfiiges, tricks, and stratagems which I
found in others; any of those behind-hand and paltry ma-
nceuv •es which destroy confidence between human beings, and
degrade the character of the statesman and the man.


So much, lie said, for the charge which had been made by
the learned lord. He should have thought it more prudent
in that learned person, before he had been so lavish in his
charges, to recollect the place from which he spoke; and that
he who was so warmly the friend of the noble lord in the blue
ribbon, and what was worse, of the system he had pursued,
was now as warmly the friend of a system very different, and
not less obnoxious. But the learned lord informed the House
that he would always support government, provided lie ap-
proved of their principles ! This he believed to be literally
the case; and that he might always support government, he
had no doubt but the learned lord would take care constantly
to approve of their principles, whatever they might be, or
whoever were the ministers.


It was also imputed to him, that he had when in office low-
ered this country before the States of Holland in a very un-
becoming manner, and that then there appeared none of those
proud thoughts, nor that high expectation which he now ex-
pressed. He had no desire, lie said, to conceal what he had
done with regard to the Dutch ; nor if he had such a desire,
would it be possible for him to gratify it. The letter which he
had written was public, and all the world knew what had been
his sentiments; he was therefore ready to acknowledge, that
as the Dutch were undoubtedly plunged into this war without
a cause, it was his idea that we ought to make them liberal of-
fers 6f peace. Such offers were made : but they not only re-
jected them, but made such haughty demands, that the policy
of the thing was changed ; and he and his friends no longer
thought them entitled to that favour and friendship which had




1.24 pRELI3IINARY ARTICLES OP PEACE. [Feb. 17.
been honestly proffered. They saw us hampered with many
enemies, and seemed desirous of taking advantage of our situ-
ation, to procure terms from us, to which they were not inti-
tied. Then they conceived that the States ought to suffer for
their want of friendship ; and that as we had been great losers
by the war, we ought to look for recompence in the posses-
sion of Trincomale, and other objects.


This was clearly his idea still; and if it was true, as it was
rumoured, that the claim was to be abandoned, he should
think nothing was wanting to make the present the most dis-
astrous and disgraceful peace, without exception, that ever
this country had made at any time. They talked of our pre-
sent circumstances, and referred to his language on a former
occasion. Were our Circumstances the same now that they
were in the month of March last? 'Would any man of com-
mon sense and common honesty say, they were the same or
similar? He averred, that that which would have been de-
sirable then, was not good now. Our state was mended; our
navy much increased ; while that of the enemy was diminished.
Our fOrce in the 'West Indies was greatly superior to theirs.
The American war, the millstone which hung about our
necks, was gone ; we had victories of the most brilliant kind ;
the nation had just emerged from its dejection; had just re-
covered its high tone of thinking and acting: every pros-*
pect was rich, and yet, just in this moment of fair expecta-
tion and honest hope, we are damned at once with a peace,
,which, perhaps, we shall never be able to recover.


Mr. Fox now went into an examination of the several lead-
ing articles of the peace. The whole was done, he said, upon
the principle of concession. It was every where concession.
if he wished to lock for reciprocal advantages, no such thing
was to he found. He said, he would not follow the course of
many of his friends, in going over minutely the ground of the
various cessions which had been made; but he declared upon
his honour, that the terms were obnoxious in the extreme;
and he pointed out a variety of the most exceptionable pas,-
sages, and laid his finger on the points which above others
were ruinous and fatal to our commerce. He concluded with
declaring his warm approbation of the amendment of his noble
friend.


'The debate lasted till near eight o'clock in the morning, when
the House divided on the original Address:


Tellers.Tellers.
1Lord Mahon S Lord Maitland i


OYEAS 1 • - z 8.—NoEs s 2211-


Air. Bankes S
t Mr. Byng


The Amendments were consequently carried by a majority of 16.


1783•] PRELIMINARY ARTICLES or PEACE.


February 19.


On the igth of February, Mr. Chancellor Pitt expressed his
anxiety to know what the mode of proceeding would be which the
honourable gentlemen opposite meant to pursue in consequence of
carrying the Amendment. In a matter of so much importance, he
believed the usage of parliament rendered it necessary that notice
should be given of the day on which it would be proceeded upon.
Lord John Cavendish said, with regard to the day of proceeding
upon the Treaties, it was perfectly indifferent to him. Let minis-
ters chuse their own day, and that should be his. An early day
must, however, be taken, and the consideration must be seriously
gone into, when such parts as called for condemnation, in all pro-
bability, would receive it. Mr. Secretary Townshend said, as long as
he felt himself supported, and his public conduct approved by such
a set of respectable and independent gentlemen as had stood for-
ward on Monday last, and voted with him, he was perfectly indif-
ferent what other combination of parties, what new junction of bo-
dies of men opposed him. It was by that worthy description of
characters, the country gentlemen, that he wished his conduct to
be judged; by men connected with no party ; men who followed
the whistling of no name ; men who had sense and spirit to judge
for themselves, and did not pin their faith on the sleeves of
others : to such men's decisions he ever should bow with reve-
rence ; and the support of such men he ever should consider as his
highest honour. If he must fall, if he must be condemned, let
such men try his cause, and he was sure he should obtainjustice.
He was ready to meet any motion the gentlemen opposite to him
intended to make, and the sooner they brought it forward the
better.


Mr. Fox declared he was perfectly astonished at his right
honourable friend's language. It was the first time he had
ever heard a gentleman's conduct was less praise-worthy, be-
cause that gentleman acted in concert with others. This doc-
trine was not only new to him, but the more extraordinary
considering from whom it came. Had his right honourable
friend forgot for how many years they had acted together with
a large party connected upon public principle? Had he to-
tally lost the recollection how often they had in that House
fought, and how often they had conquered, when acting in
concert ? Had he always entertained the same sentiments as
those he had just delivered ? Did he think his conduct for-
merly less honourable than he conceived his conduct of late to
have been? Had the many years they had acted together in
concert proved the least comfortable of his life ? Did he feel
himself more happy and more easy where he now sat? Or,
what was infinitely of higher importance, did he imagine his




I26 RESOLUTIONS OP CENSURE
[Feb. z r. 1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE. 127


country derived more advantages from his services in his present
situation, than they had reaped from his former parliamentary
conduct ? These were questions, Mr. Fox said, that naturally
occurred to his mind ; to say nothing of the vulgar and invi-
dious stile of argument, to which his right honourable friend
had adverted ; an evident proof to him, that when men had
been baffled on one important point, they would have recourse
to any pretext, to comfort and save themselves from shame.
But if it was necessary to follow the example, it would be easy
for him to prove that the Address the House had voted, had
been supported by as many gentlemen of the description just
mentioned, as had voted the other way ; he disdained how-
ever all such vulgar and invidious distinctions, and-was free
to own, that there were on the other side the House many
gentlemen of the highest respectability, whose characters he




admired, and whose friendship he had thought it an honour
to cultivate, but who nevertheless differed extremely from him
upon political subjects. Let gentlemen exercise the freedom
of their minds ; let them judge for themselves : he desired only
to be tried by his public conduct, but he never would admit
that any man's voting with a body, united upon principle,
was a matter of reproach,


LORD JOHN CAVENDISH'S RESOLUTIONS OP CENSURE ON THE
TERMS or THE PEACE.


_February 2 I .


THIS being the day fixed for taking into further considerationthe articles of peace, Lord John Cavendish moved the follow-
ing resolutions:


r. That, in consideration of the public faith, which ought to
be preserved inviolable, this House will support his majesty, in ren-
dering firm and permanent, the peace to be conducted definitively,
in consequence of the provisional treaty and preliminary articles,
which have been laid before the House. 2. That this House will,
in concurrence with his majesty's paternal regard for his people,
employ its best endeavours to improve the blessings of peace, to the
advantage of his crown and subjects. 3 . That his majesty, in ac-
knowledging the independence of the United States of America,
has acted as the circumstances of affairs indispensably required,
and in conformity to the sense of parliament. 4. That the con-
cessions made to the adversaries of Great Britain, by the said
provisional treaty and preliminary articles, are greater ,than they


II


were entitled to, either from the actual situation of their respective
possessions, or from their comparative strength." The two first
resolutions were agreed to without any opposition. On the third
a short debate took place, occasioned by doubts having arisen in
the minds of several members, respecting the nature of the power
vested in the king, by which he had acknowledged the indepen-
dence of the United States. It was demanded, whether it was done
by virtue of his royal prerogative, or by powers granted by statute ;
and, if the latter, by what statute ? In answer to these questions,
the gentlemen of the long robe were unanimously of opinion, that
the statute passed last year, to enable the king to make a peace or
truce with the colonies in North America, any law, statute, matter,
or thing to the contrary notwithstanding, gave him full power to
recognize their independence ; though such words had not been
inserted in the act, for reasons sufficiently obvious. Other mem-
bers, who agreed with them in opinion as far as it respected the ac-
knowledgment of independence, did not think the statute in ques-
tion granted him any authority to cede to them any part of the pro-
vince of Canada and Nova Scotia. With respect to the powers of
the prerogative, Mr. Wallace and Mr. Lee maintained that the king
could not abdicate a part of his sovereignty, or declare any number
of his subjects free from obedience to the laws in being. The con-
trary was asserted by the attorney general; and each party pledged
himself, if the matter should come regularly into discussion, to make
good his opinion. A challenge to the same effect had passed in the
House of Peers between Lord Loughborough and the Lord Chan-
cellor. At length it was proposed to alter the Resolution into the
following form : " That his majesty, in acknowledging the inde-
pendence of the United States of America, by virtue of the powers
vested in him by an act of the last session of parliament, to enable
his majesty to conclude a peace or truce, &c. has acted, &c."
when it passed without a division :—The fourth Resolution occa-
sioned a long and vehement debate, in which the same ground was
gone over as on the r 7th.


Mr. Fox said:—
I rise, Sir, merely to answer a few observations that have


dropped in the course of this debate, in which I cannot but
consider that the facts have been misconceived, and the argu-
ments deduced from those facts totally misapplied and un-
firirly In what I have to say on these particular
points, I shall not trespass long on the patience and attention
of the House at this late stage of the debate. I should have
spoken before, had I not wished to have heard the general
opinion of the House on this question, before I presumed to
give my sentiments upon it.


The argument which has been used by some honourable
gentlemen on the other side of the House against the fourth
Resolution moved by my noble friend, appears to me the most
preposterous and chimerical that was ever offered. An


1




128 RESOLUTIONS OF CENSURE [Feb. 21,


honourable gentleman (Mr. Macdonald) has said, that the
House coming to a vote of disapprobation on the prelimina-
ries and provisional treaty, will be construed by our enemies
as an absolute intention of parliament not to abide by the
articles they contained. The honourable gentleman says that
it will be tantamount to a declaration of recommencing the
war. Is it then to be understood, that we are inimical to the
peace, because on the most deliberate consideration of its
articles, we arc obliged to give our candid opinions, that it is
not such a peace as we might reasonably have expected from
the relative situations of Groat Britain with France and Spain?.
I think there cannot be a greater assurance of our pacific
intention than what is conveyed in the principles of this fourth
resolution, as it is connected with that resolution wherein we
have pledged ourselves to give every stability and permanency
to the peace: for, notwithstanding the peace is, perhaps, the
worst that could possibly have been framed for the real in-
terests of this nation, yet we have resolved to preserve inviolate
the public faith which has been pledged in this negociation.
If there is a possibility of giving an assurance of our inclina-
tions for peace, it cannot be so well conveyed as in the letter
and spirit of this resolution. In the moment that we find the
peace so justly deserving of the general reprobation it has re-
ceived, we pledge ourselves to see every iota of it hailed. In
my opinion, the first resolution would not be so strongly ex-
pressive of our inclination to cultivate the friendship, confi-
dence, and intercourse with our late enemies, were it not fol-
lowed by expressing thus the sense we have of the peace being
so inadequate to what our real and relative situation might
have expected. Thus must France, Spain, and America, con-
sider, that we are determined for peace, indeed, when we can
so solemnly pledge ourselves to ratify and validate a negotiation
wherein. we find such waste of our interests and possessions.
So that every argument upon this principle is the most vague,
delusive, and nugatory, that it is possible for human reason to
conceive. • It is an absurdity too enormous for common sense
to countenance.•


But if this resolution was not so immediately necessary for
the establishing foreign confidence, it is absolutely indispensi-
ble for preserving internal consistency. Did we not in our
vote of Monday last imply, that we would give an opinion
upon the preliminaries and provisional treaty which have been
laid before us? WI): proceed to a consideration of these
papers, if the conside r ation of them must pass without an
opinion ? It is mocking the general business of parliament, to
presume that we should meet for the purpose of enquiring in-
to these papers, without giving our opinion as the result of


4


1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE. 129


the enquiry. It is beneath farce itself, to suppose, that we
can abstract the idea of giving an opinion from having exer-
cised our judgments. These papers have been the subject
of very serious and ample consideration. We have all form-
ed an opinion. And, although I will not say every person
in this House has this one opinion, yet I believe the excep-
t ions are very few, indeed, from those who are not convinced
of this peace being most inconsiderate, improvident, and in-
►dequate to the real and relative interests of the kingdom.
If such is the general opinion, why should it not be declared ?
Have we not pledged ourselves to give those sentiments which
have arisen from the most serious consideration ? If gentlemen
mean by their opposition to this resolution, that, from the
papers we have seen, our opinions are imperfect, and therefore
incompetent to pass any vote that may involve in it a cen-
sure on the noble lord at the head of the administration, why
arc not those papers laid before us which might alter our
opinions? The papers have been asked for, and, in my
opinion, improperly. If this was not my opinion, I should
not hesitate to vote for every paper which contained the least
matter of information on the subject. But when I consider
how impossible it is for me to judge what papers might come
before the public, I cannot but approve of their not being call-
ed for. Were I to call for these papers, I might ask for such
as might prove very dangerous to the interests of the country.
The minister should produce such papers as he knows not to
he dangerous; such as are proper to meet the public eye, and
will tend to clear the characters concerned in this peace
from the censure they must otherwise sustain ; but if these
papers are withheld, and there are a sufficient number already
on the table to afford just ground this resolution, it can
only be deferred with an intention of its being destroyed ; so
that I conceive this argument as only meant to impede the
performance of that promise which we have given to the pub-
lic. We cannot, if we would, dispense with this resolution,
consistently with our own honour, and the duty we owe the
people.


Then why is it urged, that this resolution is merely brought
forward as a contest for power? Is it a contest for power,
that we appear desirous of performing our engagements with
the nation ? Can it be construed into a contest for power in
the noble lord who brings forward this resolution ? Is my noble
friend to be considered ambitious for power, who has always
been known to avoid rather than to court official employment?
Surely no ! If Ile has a blemish to foil his.eminent virtues, it is
that of receding from those places where his ability and inte-
grity might promote the interests of his country. I am certain


VOL. 11.




130 ItESOLTJTIONS Or CENSURE [Feb. 21„
there is not a gentleman in this House, possessing the smallest
degree of candour, who can attribute such a base and pitiful
motive to the noble lord. Were not the insinuation as per-
verse as it is contemptible, the character of my noble friend
would have saved his resolution from such a paltry and disin-
genuous aspersion. But it is trifling with the time and atten- .
bon of the House, to give this assertion a serious reply. All
I shall say upon this part of the subject is, that the purpose
for which it is hazarded can in no manner be successful. If it
is meant to save the first lord of the treasury from the disgrace
of his measures, there needs not this resolution to pass while
the memory of the peace on your table remains in the minds of
the people. Or if it supposes, that putting aside this resolu-
tion will be the means of preserving the present system, I trust
that it is too generally known in this House, that this resolu-
tion is not necessary to destroy an administration which is al-
ready fallen. And here I must express my regret for my ho-
nourable friend below (Sir Cecil Wray) having seen any
thing in our conduct this evening to have excited in him
sentiments and expressions that I trust his reflection will con-
demn. I lament the loss of his confidence, because he pos-
sesses my friendship; but I can only attribute it to a total mis-
understanding of the principle of this resolution ; otherwise I
am confident he would never have thus sounded the alarum of
independency, and have quitted that cable of friendship which 1
should have hoped would have never been parted : so that I will
not condemn his behaviour, although I must lament the loss
of his approbation. I am assured of the honesty of his inten-
tion, while I question the propriety of his conduct. What he
has said, goes against the forming of any administration ; and
it shews, that he has not been much used to the making of
ministers.


An honourable gentleman on the other side of the House,
(Mr. Powys) thought proper to censure the coalition of parties
in a former debate. Indeed, he has mentioned them again in
the present; but I trust this censure is undeserved. What-
ever coalition of parties there may be, has arisen from the
necessity of men uniting for the purpose of preserving the
constitution of the country inviolate from the attack of an in-
dividual, who has had the temerity to act more from his own
dictates, than from the principles of the constitution, or th .
necessities of the country. If ever the situation of a country
required a coalition of parties that could preserve the vigour
of the state from debility, it is that of the present. I trust
there can be no necessity for argument to enforce this, while
those preliminaries, and that provisional treaty, lie on your
table. I am free to boast of being connected, with a set of


12


1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE. 131
men, whose principles are the basis on which the state has for
a long time past been preserved from absolute destruction. It
is to the virtues of these men that I have surrendered my pri-
vate opinions and inclinations. It is thus only that I could
prevent myself from falling into those errors which the preju-
dices, passions, and perplexities of human nature, will, at times,
occasion. And, thus I have been always answerable to my
country for my conduct ; for in every public transaction I have
thought it most safe to resign my private opinion, when I
found it departing from the general opinion, of those with whom
I was connected by friendship, confidence, and veneration.
Those whose virtues claimed my respect, and whose abilities
my admiration, could not but prove the best directors of a
conduct, which, alone, might fall by its temerity, or be lost
by temptation.


And now I must beg leave to say a few words on what I
feel of the most serious nature, as far as it relates to the com-
placency of my own feelings. The sentiments which have
fallen from gentlemen, of whom I had flattered myself to
have possessed the friendship and good opinion, have occa-
sioned in me a retrospect of my past conduct. I have re-
viewed my conduct with a severity of retrospect, that I should
scarcely have endured, had it not been from a conviction that
I really committed a fault which merited the most painful of
all feelings—that of losing the support and approbation of
men, whose virtues I reverence, and whose good opinions it
is my greatest pride and happiness to cultivate. But, however
painful this severity of retrospect may have proved, I find it
amply compensated in the pleasure every honest mind feels,
when it can bear testimony to the purity and consistency of its
intentions. As no inquisition can be so formidable to sensi-
bility as that which our own reflection holds on our actions,
the result of my enquiry is attended with an increase of satis-
fitetion proportionate to the pain I felt for its necessity, and
fear, lest I should find myself deserving of what I have this
night so painfully experienced : I mean the forfeiture of
friendship, support, and confidence, where I have always sought
its enjoyment. It is only from such characters .


as have my es-
teem, that I have sought support and connection. However, I
find myself this evening deserted by those whom I- thought
never to have given a pretence for losing their estimation ; and
!he regret I experience on the occasion would be insupportable
indeed, were it not from a consciousness of its being unde-
served. And this conviction is in a great measure confirmed
by what I have seen since I receded from that administration,
in which there was no principle of stability and connection to.
Support it, with honour to itself and welfare to the people.,


DC 2




13 2 At SOLUTIONS OF CENSURE [Feb. 21.


That we were justified in our receding from such an adminis-.
tration, has been daily evinced by those who have since fol-
lowed our example. Have not those, who were deluded by
pretence, not confirmed by principle to take share with a man
whom they now see the absolute necessity of deserting, proved
the necessity of our conduct ? It can be no small satisthction
to me to see those follow my conduct, whom, indeed, I could
rather have chosen to follow. Can there be a greater demon-
stration of the propriety of our conduct, than seeing others re-
ceding one by one from a connection which has betrayed every
principle on which their confidence was founded ?


But while I produce these as indisputable arguments in fa-
vour of the propriety of our resignation, and opposing the
measures which have been since pursued to the disgrace and
injury of the country, I shall not disavow my having an
ambition to hold such a situation in office, as may enable me
to promote the interest of my country. I will confess, that
am desirous of enjoying an eminence which must flatter my
ambition, promote my convenience, and enable me to exert
myself in my country's service; and in confessing this desire, I
trust that it cannot be termed presumption. I flatter myself that.
I am not inadequate to the importance-of such a situation ; nor
do I think that I gave, during the short time I held a respec-
table place in administration, any reason why I should not
offer myself a candidate for a share in that new arrangement
which the late neglectful, not to give a worse epithet, conduct
of the first lord of the treasury has rendered indispensible.
But this is a subject which I think more prudent to wave,
than to enforce by adducing arguments, or referring to in-
stances.


I shall now take an opportunity of observing some particu-
lars, in answer to what has fallen from an honourable member
(Mr. Keith Stewart) relative to the state of our navy not being
such as to countenance the continuance of the war. He says,
that the accounts of the relative state of our navy are untrue;
it neither was, nor is in that condition in which it has been
represented. But this assertion does not go so far against
our disapprobation as some other arguments that were made
in this and the Upper House in the course of last Monday's de-
bate. It was then positively asserted, that the real state of
our navy was represented far superior to its actual condition;
that it was by no means adequate to the services to which it
was allotted in its several destinations ; that some ships were
foul, others rotten, and others not stored. But these are in-
stances that can be adduced in every fleet; they are as equally
applicable to our enemies as to ourselves. But the candid and
fair statement of the subject would he this. Can it be proved


1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE. 133
that our navy was inadequate to any service on which it was
dispatched ? Has there been any one offensive or defensive
measure declined in consequence of our navy being incompe-
tent to. the duty ? If this can be proved., then 1 shall most
chearfully consent to lose this resolution. I will even join
those who are now so forward in the praises of a peace, which,
to every man of common sense, is the most disgraceful and dis-
advantageous of any this country can produce. I will even
join them in their loudest praises. There is nothing their
enthusiasm can suggest in its favour, but I will most readily
subscribe to. But while I am confident that no-such proof
can be brought, I must contend for the necessity and pro-
priety of this resolution.


And now permit me to mention, that this assertion is not
only destitute of evidence and veracity, but even of common
gratitude and candour. It has originated from those who
are known to be under the greatest obligations to that noble
and honourable character they are thus endeavouring to de-
preciate. But not to say any thing farther on this disagree-
able part of the subject, has it the least support from the com-
parison of facts and circumstances ? Would the noble lord
(Keppel) have been so ready to resign his place because he
disapproved of the peace, had he been sensible of our naval
inability for war? Is he to be considered so much an ad-
vocate for war, that he would absolutely risque his own cha-
racter to imputation, if not merited disgrace and dishonour?
Surely nothing can demonstrate the falsity and malice of this
assertion so incontrovertibly, as the first lord of the ad-
miralty having resigned his employment. Had he not been
confident of the condition of the fleet being adequate to every
relative service of war, he would have been sensible of the
impropriety of opposing a peace. He must have seen the
folly and danger of such a conduct, from the knowledge of
the destruction it might bring on the country, and the dis-
grace it would, consequently, bring upon himself. But, how-
ever, not to adduce any more arguments to controvert an as-
sertion that has no other foundation than error, malice, and
ingratitude, I shall proceed to state some facts which prove
the state of our navy being in a condition sufficiently power-
ful for any relative operation in war. It will prove that the
first lord of the admiralty, I mean my noble friend, had just
reason for his confidence in its competency. Whatever in-
jorrnation the honourable member (Mr. Keith Stewart) may
have received respecting the superior state of our enemies
power, I will pledge myself to produce authentic and. indis-
putable evidence, that in the course of last year our navy in-
creased seventeen in its number, while that of France had suf-


K 3




1 34


BEsOLUTIONS OP CENSURE [Feb. 21.


fered a diminution of thirteen. Admiral Pigot would have
had by this time fifty-four sail of the line in the West Indies.
This would have been such a force for every defensive and
offensive purpose, as the situation of those seas might have
required or permitted. We might then have been perfectly
at ease with regard to the safety of those possessions, especi-
ally when the state of the Spanish navy was considered, and
that we had also remaining at home thirty-four ships of the
line. If such is the situation of our navy, as I pledge my-
self to prove, can there be a pretence for vindicating the ne-
cessity of those enormous cessions which lie before us on the
table?


I might, on this occasion, repeat the arguments which
have been already adduced to show the little attention which
has been paid to the interest and feelings of the country in
this negociation. But this would be only engaging the
attention of the House to what they must have already
formed an opinion on, in consequence of the able argu-
ments that have been offered upon the consideration of
the preliminaries and provisional treaty. However, I
must observe that, in this negociation, our enemies have
exacted our possessions, without paying that tenderness to our
feelings which they have always affected to pay in similar ne-
gociations. There does not appear in this negociation the
least circumstance to flatter our sacrifice of honour as well as
possession. The papers before us bear too evident signs
of the disregard and negligence with which they have been
settled. But while they contain every mark of humility, igno-
miny, and disadvantage to this country, they evidently chew
the triumph and superiority of our enemies. For prima fizcie,
we find every advantage given to our enemies, and not one
solid and real advantage retained or restored to ourselves.
We have granted to the Americans the privilege of fishing
on the only part of Newfoundland, which is left us by our
cession to France. It true they are excluded from the
privilege of drying their fish on our territories; but this is
merely a negative advantage; it includes no positive in-
terest: for since France has a privilege of part of this island,
it will be very easy for America to fish with us, and dry
them, by permission, on French territories. Thus it is
evident, that our fishery, so much boasted, in Newfound-
land is, in a manner annihilated ; not to mention the MI-
pOlicy of ceding St. Pierre and Miquelon, all the posses-
sions that we have reserved are only such as tend to createjealousies which may be pretences for war at a future period.
But to take a general view of this peace, we find it contains
a sacrifice of our chief possessions in America,' Africa, and


1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE, I3;


Asia. By the boundaries which have been so carelessly pre-
scribed, we have excluded ourselves from the Mississippi ;
so that we only retain the name, without being able to enjoy
its possession. We have lost West Florida, and ceded the
East to compleat our loss of American territory. And, in
this last cession, in a treaty for peace, we have given Spain
the greatest temptation for war. We have resigned to them
those advantages which were always their annoyance and ter-
ror. In this as well as in every other part of this negocia-
tion, that first principle of treaty has been totally disregarded.
The retention of places, the relative power of which is to
check the operations of war, is the best security for the pre-
servation of peace. In the West Indies we have restored the
Island of St. Lucia, besides ceding and guaranteeing the Island
of Tobago; but as a compensation for this latter cession, we
have the Islands of Nevis and Montserrat; therefore what has
been restored to us by France in the \Vest Indies, cannot at
all be considered as a compensation for St. Lucia. We may
be said to have only for restoring this invaluable island to the
French, Grenada, the Grenadines, St. Vincent, and Dominica.
And for all our acknowledgments, cessions, and restorations
in America, we are only possessed of the Bahamas. In Africa
we have ceded and guaranteed to France the river Senegal
and all its dependencies, with the forts of St. Louis, Podor,
Galam, Arguin, and Portendie; and to compleat this Afri-
can cession, we have engaged to restore the island of Goree.
And in return for all the forts, the river Senegal with de-
pendencies, and Goree, France has only guaranteed to us
Fort James and the river Gambia. The dependencies of
the river Gambia are to be understood as included in this
guarantee, where we have been too careless to have them
specified in the same manner as in our cession to France.
In Asia we are engaged to restore France all the establish-
ments which belonged to them, at the commencement of the
war, on the coast of Orixa, and in Bengal: besides granting
them the liberty of surrounding Chandernagore, with a ditch
for draining the waters. We are likewise engaged to take
such measures as shall secure to the subjects of France, in
that part of India, and on the coast of Orixa, Coromandel,
and Malabar, a safe, free, and independent trade. In the
next article, we restore Pondicherry and Karical. We like-
wise procure as a dependency to this restoration the two dis-
tricts of Valanour, Bahour, and the four Magans. France
also enters again into the possession of Mahe and the Comp-
Lou' at Surat. In Asia, all this we grant without the least
cession received from France; and, notwithstanding, all this
profusion of liberality is incompetent to preserve the peace


I


4




136 RESOLUTIONS OF CENSURE
[Feb. 21.


from suspension and interruption. By the sixteenth article
we are exposed to the continuance of the war as much as if
we had not restored an inch of right, privilege, or possession
in those parts to France. In Europe we have consented to
the abrogation and suppression of all the - articles relative to
Dunkirk, from the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, to this period
inclusively. This has been entered upon without the least
pretence or appearance of equivalent. From this real state
of the negociation, can we have a possibility of withholding
our assent to this resolution ? Are not all these American,
African, Asian, and European cessions, sufficient evidence that
the peace is not so favourable to the interests of the kingdom,
as our relative state and strength required ? We may repre-
sent our own debility, to prove the necessity of a peace.
But, in our approbation of this peace, it must be demon-
strated, that from our relative debility a better peace we could
neither expect nor obtain. If our finances were straitened,
it remains to be proved, that the finances of our enemies were
not equally exhausted. Do we not know that France never
supported a war with more difficulty; that Spain was nearly
in a state of national bankruptcy; and that America was
in state of national poverty ? But this last I adduce not as
an instance of the policy of the American war. I am con-
vinced that, although she was without resource, yet her una-
nimity, her enthusiasm in the cause of her independence,
would be sufficient to repel the united forces of all Europe.


It was from this opinion, that I have always reprobated a
war that was as ridiculous in its object as it was unjust in its
principle. However, this is by no means a palliative foe
this enormous cession for which this peace has been obtained.
For, although it might be impossible to have conquered
America, yet her being destitute of resource gave us a great
advantage, when considered relatively, as she was in alliance
with France and Spain. From this knowledge, we might
have seen the policy and power of withdrawing our troops
from America, had the war necessarily continued. lvVe might
have directed them against France and Spain as an accession
of strength, without fearing its being counterbalanced ley any
assistance they could derive from _America. Without re-
source for her own exigencies, she could have no power of
granting subsidies to them. All the assistance which she might
have lent to them could be only a few troops, that, in fact,
could prove of no great advantage, while we had the policy
to confine ourselves to the object of a naval war. It is,
therefore, most clearly apparent, that we had every right to,,
expect a more advantageous peace than what is under o
consideration.


1783.] ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE. 137


_And, here, Sir, I shall take notice of an argument offered
by an honourable gentleman, to prove that this peace is, not-
withstanding every evidence to the contrary that has been
produced, deserving of our approbation : nay, that it has
even received virtually, if not positively, our applause; for
the honourable gentleman says, that in our second resolution,
we have pledged our endeavours to cultivate the blessings of
that peace, which we mean, by this fourth resolution, to cen-
sure and condemn. Surely, said he, this peace must have
received our approbation, when we have acknowledged that
it has blessings, which we are pledged to cultivate; and that
it is, likewise, self-evident, that a peace must deserve our ap-
probation, to which the word blessing can, with any pro-
priety, be annexed. I wish the honourable gentleman had
annexed the word blessings to this peace with the least pro-
priety'. But he will pardon me in saying, that he misrepre-
sents the words and meaning of this second resolution. The
word blessings is connected with the general idea and mean-
ing of a peace. My noble friend who moved the resolution,
could never have so much mistaken this peace, as to have
annexed blessings as its consequence. Let the honourable
gentleman attend to the words of the resolution, and he will
find his position has been very unfairly stated and errone-
ously conceived. He will find the words are, 64 the blessings
of peace," and riot of this peace. But in regard to the real
intention of thus pledging ourselves to cultivate the blessings
of peace, it is only a necessary assurance of our wishes and
endeavours to render it reciprocally advantageous, by which.
means its permanency can only be preserved. It is a pledge
that we mean to enter upon the consideration of our com-
mercial system, in order to make such regulations as the
alteration of our empire, and the creation of the states, may
require: for it is only by such a resolution that we can pal-
liate the neglect of administration, in having made this peace,
without having to produce the least sign, intention, or ap-
pearance, of a commercial plan adapted to the altered in-
terests of the empire. It is thus that we can only assure
France, Spain, and America, of our sincerity to keep in-
violate the public faith, -which is pledged in the preliminaries
and provisional treaty. And here I cannot avoid observing
the attempt to impose this peace upon our credulity and judg-
ment, as being negociated on the principle of the uti possidelis.
-lad this really been the principle of its negociation, France


would neither have been in possession of the Newfoundland
fishery, nor would she have had a foot of East Indian ter-
ritory. But, indeed, the absurdity of such a pretence is evi-
dent,: from the situation of the country being represented as




138 RESOLUTIONS OF CENSURE [Feb. 2r.
totally different from what is the foundation of the uti possi-
'detis. And here I must state the two principles which direct
every negociation. The one is the uti possidetis; the other,
reciprocal and general restitution. Reciprocal and general
restitution directs and governs a negociation for peace, when
the belligerent powers have equal desire and reason for con-
cluding the war. It is then they find it their interest to re-
instate each other reciprocally in the possessions they have
lost. The uti possidetis is the-principle of negociation when
either of the belligerent powers. are the conquerors. It is
then the vanquished are obliged to submit to the loss of their
possessions. As they have not power, they assume not the
pretence of demanding restitution. They are, therefore, con-
tent to purchase peace with the loss of what their enemy has
taken, because they know their imbecility to support war.
But in the present negociation we have all the dishonour of
the uti possidetis were it against us, and all the disadvantage
of partial, not reciprocal restitution. To consider the peace
in a relative point of view, we shall find that France retains
what she has taken from us, and receives a general restitution
of all we have taken from her. Never was a peace so negli-
gently, disgracefully, and injuriously concluded for this nation.
Surely, nothing can account for it so clearly as a retrospect
On the minister's conduct and consequence with whom our
enemies were to negotiate. It is evident our enemies were
sensible of his not having that support and confidence which
was necessary to invigorate the arm of war against them.
They were sensible, that he was conscious of his own tot-
tering power, and, therefore, they, with their usual sagacity
and penetration, perceived it was the happy moment for their
demands and our concessions. It is thus that we learn the
foreign character and estimation of the minister. The pre-
liminaries and provisional treaty is a foreign lesson to teach
us domestic caution and information. •


It has been urged as a mark of our weakness, that the ge-
neral system of the war has been more of a defensive than
offensive nature. Happy am I to find we have not waged a
general offensive war, according to the system on which the
war was conducted. The view of the peace before me is
sufficient reason for my approving the policy and necessity of
our war being generally defensive: for had we waged offen-
sive war with success against forts, garrisons, and islands, we
should only have had the more to have returned at the nego-
tiation for peace. Could we have confined our operations
against ships instead of forts, garrisons, districts, and islands,
then we should have retained whatever we might have had
the good fortune to have taken. These would have been real


I 783.3 ON THE TERMS OF THE PEACE.


and permanent acquisitions. They would not have lain
within the minister's power of restoring. Since I see such
a general cession and restoration of what had cost the coun-
try so much blood and treasure to retain and possess, I can-
not but lament the offensive war we have waged. Had we
taken less, less had there been to have restored. So that at
least we should have saved much disgrace in proportion as
the articles would have contained a less appearance of ces-
sion and restoration. Who that views the preliminaries
and provisional treaty will not blush for the ignominy of the
national character it will hand down to posterity ! Who
could have supposed, that such a treaty would have been
concluded in 1783, as the consequence of our successes in
the year 1782 !


And now I would beg leave to say a few words in answer
to what has fallen from an honourable baronet (Sir Edward
Astley), respecting two pensions that were granted by the
late first lord of the treasury : I mean the Marquis of Rock-
ingham. Happy am I that such an opportunity is given me
of vindicating his memory from any aspersion which might
otherwise adhere to it. The honourable baronet has been
pleased to say, that we had not enquired into those shainefill,
extravagant, and unmerited pensions which were granted by
the administration we succeeded, because we had committed
the same lavishment of the public money ourselves. As far
as the pensions to which he alludes relate to my conduct,
I have only to answer, they were granted without my appro-
bation; for I am free to confess, that I did not altogether
approve of the necessity or the principle of these pensions:
but although they might not have entirely my consent, yet.
the accusation comes rather improperly, as a reflection against
our conduct. The pensions were not granted to those who
merited our regard, either from attachment, principle, or
service in our interest. We granted them to the friends and
adherents of those who were known to profess sentiments
totally distinct from what we had adopted. But humanity
and liberality were the characteristic features of the de-
ceased marquis's disposition. He was of a temper too dis-
interested to reward his Own adherents with such pecuniary
gratuities. It was his principle, to retain the attachment of
his friends, not by mercenary benefits, but by his conduct
commanding their affection : and merit and necessity, even
In those who were inimical to himself and connections, had
always a claim to his-assistance. It was by this irresistible
conduct that he conciliated his enemies and retained his
friends. It was not his.object in possessing power, to enrich
mercenary dependents, at the expellee of the public. He




1 40 RESOLUTIONS OF CENSURE [Feb. 21.
took power, not for plundering, but preserving and promot-
ing the properties and privileges of the people. So that the
honourable baronet has with great impropriety adverted to
these pensions, as an instance of corruption in one of the
most able and virtuous ministers that ever did or ever will
direct a state.


It has been mentioned as an argument against the present
resolution, that the decision to which we came last Tuesday
morning, has been the cause of the ambassadors now in town
delaying the conclusion of the treaty. It is said, that they
have expressed a shyness to conclude what remains to perfect.
the negotiation, alledging, that they perceive from the de-
termination of the House,' their disinclination to fulfil the
articles; and that we have only entered upon this negotiation,
merely as a cessation of hostilities. But, instead of thus un-
candidly stating such a position, would it not have'been more
consistent with the truth, to have attributed this conduct to
their diffidence in the administration, possessing long enough
the power of compleating the negotiation. Is it not more
wise and prudent in them, to suspend their commissions for
treaty until they sec an administration so firmly established,
as may give a due, and proper validity to the negotiation?
It would he very hasty and premature conduct in them, to
express any eagerness at this momentf vicissitude, to finish
the ratification.


An honourable gentleman took occasion in a former debate
to censure a coalition of parties. How far this censure was
proper, the necessities of a coalition of every party that would
Join to destroy that party which has been so destructive to
the country will discover. But were there not this necessity
for coalition, 1 cannot see the propriety of censuring our ac-
cepting of the support, and according with the sentiments of
the noble lord, (North). It is true, there was a period in
which I have treated the conduct of the noble lord with that
disapprobation which I should again use on the same occasion :
but the cause of this disapprobation is now removed. The
Americans are no ‘v independent. We have no longer a pre-
tence nor inclination for continuing the war which I felt the
necessity of reprobating. The cause of disunion no longer
subsists; and the situation of the country calls loudly for then4
strongest coalition, which may reinstate the people in their
rights, privileges, and possessions. We have a minister, who
is in his nature, habitudes, and principles, an enemy to the
privileges of the people. And as I am convinced, that no
system can exist which is not supported by a fair, consistent,
and established unanimity, I am happy to join with any
party which I think has the abilities and .intentions of pro,


178•] ON THE TERMS OF TILE PEACE. i4I-


inoting the general welfare by a permanent union. This
administration has been destroyed through want of confidence.
It is, therefore, the greatest absurdity to think of preserving
the station of a man who is unsupported by every friend and
advocate for the constitution. I believe there is scarcely an
individual in this House, who would give his unbiassed sup-
port to the present premier. Is there any one who could
think of supporting a man who has in every possible manner
trifled away the general, absolute, and relative interests of the
country? Has he riot, as we have too evidently seen, made
concessions in every part of the globe without the least pre-
tence of equivalent? Then let it not be said, that such a com-
bination against a minister is unconstitutional: and while it
is acknowledged, that the king by his prerogative possesses
the right of ministerial appointment, let it be remembered,
that the people can by their privilege annul that appointment.
It is only thus, that we can derive the means of restoring the
abused confidence of the people. It is only coalition that can
restore the shattered system of administration to its proper
tone of vigorous exertion. By this means we shall regain-the
lost confidence of the people: and it is only that confidence
that can give effect to the springs of government. I trust
there is now a prospect of reviving and establishing the system
of which I have so long been proud of considering myself a
member. There is now, I trust, a certainty of the present
nugatory and shattered system being repaired, and rendered
sufficiently strong to bear the interests of the people. Now
the sense of the nation is awake to conviction. They will no
longer lend their assent to the destruction of their Own wel-
fare. The obnoxious part of administration must recede
froth the countenance of his sovereign. He has neither the .
sanction of people or parliament, or, indeed, his wonted col-
leagues. So that froth these considerations, I have the fullest
assurances of seeing the interests of the nation once more
placed on that foundation which can only save it from
destruction.


It is only from the coalition of parties, for the honest pur-
pose of opposing measures so destructive to the interests of
the country, that the spirit of constitutional power can ever
be restored to its former vigour. It becomes men to forget
private resentments, when the cause of the nation calls so
immediately for public unanimity. Besides, is it not an indi-
cation of our principles having been directed for this one end,
the general good, although we have pursued different means
for its acquisition ? And as the cause of the country may have
induced that personal asperity, which seemed to have occa-
sioned a mutual enmity, that implied an impossibility of its




142 COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &c. [March 5.
ever being destroyed; so it may be perceived that the cause
of the country can with the greatest facility turn that enmity
into confidence and friendship. From this view of the sub-
ject, it may very welt appear what the situation of the coun-
try must be, which is sufficient to unite men of such different
descriptions as myself and the noble lord. By this I mean
not the least reflection on the principles of the noble lord, but
rather the sentiments that so long occasioned that war which
has ended so unhappily. But this is past, and I trust the
consequence of the coalition will be the salvation of the
country.


The debate continued till half past three in the morning, when
the House divided :


Tellers. Tellers.{Lord Maitland'
{Lord MahonS N 1




YEA
l3yng j 20^.--NOES Mr. Macdonald S i9°`


Majority for censuring the terms of the peace 17.


COALITION or MR- Fox AND LORD NORTH—RESIGNATION
OF THE EARL OF SIIELBURNE —NEW MINISTRY.


March 5.


N consequence of the censure passed on the peace by the reso-
1 lutions of the House of Commons on the asst of February, the
Earl of Shelburne quitted his office of first commissioner of the
treasury, and the chancellor of the exchequer (Mr. Pitt,) de-
clared publicly in the House, that he only held his place till a
successor should be appointed to fill it. A ministerial interreg-
num ensued, which lasted till the beginning of April ; during
which time the kingdom remained in a state. of great disorder ;
without any responsible government at home, the finances neglect-
ed, the military establishments unreduced, and the negociations
with foreign powers, which the critical conjuncture of affairs ren-
dered peculiarly important, entirely at a stand. Various causes
were assigned for the extraordinary delay in the appointment of a
new administration. Those who wished to shift all blame from
the court, alledged, that the chief obstacle arose from the mutual
jealousy which still subsisted between the newly-allied parties,
and the difficulties they found in adjusting their several pretensions.
Others supposed, that the interval was employed in private in-
trigues with the individuals of different parties, and in an attempt
to form an administration independent of the great leading con-
nections. Others again did not hesitate to assert, that on the
failure of this attempt, the influence possessed by the lord high


783.] COALITION OF MR. PDX AND LORD NORTH, &C. 143


chancellor, whose dismission was a point insisted on by the coali-
tion, was the principal cause that retarded the new arrangements
On the 5 th of March the secretary at war brought up the mu-
tiny bill, which being read a first time,


Mr. Fox begged leave to say a few words on this bill,
which, however, he did not mean to oppose or delay in its
present stage. Gentlemen knew very well that a standing
army in this country was unconstitutional; this was a princi-
ple which the annual passing of a mutiny bill was calculated
to keep fresh in the memory of parliament; but if it was un-
constitutional to keep a standing army at all, surely it must
be infinitely more so to vote an army, when there was not a
single person in the kingdom to be responsible for the govern-
ment of that army ; and yet this was the case at present ; the
House being called upon to vote an army, when there was
not a cabinet or minister to be responsible for the manage-
ment or direction of it. Now, in this situation of affairs, he
might suppose a case, in which this bill might, if passed,
enable somebody to do what people had within these few days
heard of without doors, namely, to dissolve the parliament: for
his own part, he declared, upon his honour, he did not be-
lieve there was a man in the kingdom desperate enough to
advise such a measure. However, as it was possible there


• might be a man so lost to every sense of duty, so daring, and
so desperate, as to think of such a measure, he thought it
would be prudent to guard against his counsels, by stopping
the bill for some time in the House. The delay could not be
long, as it was impossible things could remain long in their
present unsettled state; and the bill might be afterwarda
passed time enough to receive the royal assent before the ex-
piration of the last mutiny bill.


In reply to Mr. Fox, the secretary at war assured the House
he would give timely notice of the second reading of the bill.


March 6.


Mr. Powys moved, " That his majesty's message of the zd of
Alay last. be read, and afterwards the subsequent proceedings pf
the House at a few days distance." The clerk having read the*
passages of the Journals, Mr. Powys moved, " That an humble
address be presented to his majesty, most humbly to represent,
that whereas his majesty has from his paternal regard to the wel-
fare of his people, and his desire to avoid imposing any new bur_
thenupon the public, been graciously pleased to suppress the se-
veral offices mentioned in his majesty's message to this House in
the last session of parliament, and has likewise given his royal as-




144 COALITION or MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 6.
sent to an act fir carrying the said most gracious design into full
execution, and for regulating the granting of pensions, and pre-
venting all abuses or excess therein : this House trusts, that the
same restrictions will be observed in respect to any pension his
majesty may be advised to grant antecedent to the fifth day of
April, as by the said act are thenceforth strictly and absolutely
prescribed." In the conversation that took place on this motion,
it was strenuously urged on one side, that though, for reasons
which were deemed sufficient at the time, the operation of the act
had been postponed till the 5 th of April 1 783, yet it was generally
understood, that the spirit of the act was binding on the king's
thinisters from the day on which it was brought into the house ;
and that the noble marquis, under whose administration it passed,
had declared this to have been his opinion. Mr. Chancellor Pitt
was therefore called on to inform the House whether there was any
foundation for the rumour which prevailed, and on which the mo-
tion had been grounded, that a great variety of pensions had been
lately granted to a very considerable amount. In answer to this
question, the minister first observed, that he could not subscribe
to the doctrine he had just heard ; that the spirit of the act was
binding on him before the time fixed by the express letter of the
law. The object of the act was to take away a power, which the
crown had otherwise an undoubted legal right to exercise ; but by
limiting its restrictive operation to a future fixed period, the spirit
of the law rather tended to sanction the intermediate exercise of
that power. He then entered into a detail and vindication of the
different pensions that had been lately; or were then in the course
of being granted. The first, he said, was a pension of 30001. to
the lord chancellor, to whom a grant in reversion had also been
given of a tellership of the exchequer, in consequence of a former
promise given him by the king. -The propriety of making a per-
manent provision for this great law officer had been at all times so
universally acknowledged, that he did not think it necessary. to
trouble the House with a particular justification of this pension.
The second was a pension of 20001. a year to . Lord Grantham.
This, he said, had been granted at the particular instance of his
majesty, and was to cease whenever he was in possession of any
place of greater or equal emolument. That noble lord, at-
the end. of an eight years embassy, had refused to receive the
emoluments usually continued to those offices ; and when called
to take on him the post of a secretary of state, his majesty had
been pleased to promise him a pension of 20001. whenever he should
quit that situation. The third vas another pension of l000l. to Sir
Joseph Yorke, granted him as a reward for thirty years services in
foreign embassy. Both these pensions, he said, were strictly with-
in the spirit as well as letter of the act. The fourth was a pension
of 7 001. and the fifth, another of 5ool. a year, granted to two clerks
of the treasury, whom, for the sake of some official arrangements.
they had found it necessary to superannuate. The sixth was a pen-
sion . of tool. a year, granted to a gentleman on his leaving the tax-
office, to undertake the office of one of the secretaries - to the trea-
sury, as a compensation, in case, by a change of ministry, he should.


1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, 8" 145
be thrown out of employment. The last was a pension of 3501. a
year promised by the last administration to the secretary of Sir
Guy Carleton.


Mr. Fox supported the motion, as the House must be con-
vinced from what they had heard that it was peculiarly neces-
sary. He thanked the worthy member for having moved it,
and agreed with him in the wish that it had been made
earlier. He said, he had no inclination to disturb or revoke
any of the pensions that had been so fairly stated to the House
by the right honourable gentleman, but there was something
in the right honourable gentleman's mode of defending them,
that gave him serious alarm. In the first place, he did not at
all approve of the name of his majesty having been so fre-
quently introduced ; it certainly was disorderly, and the put-
ting every act of the ministry upon the personal promise of
the king, took away the responsibility, which the constitution
had placed on the advisers of the crown, and rendered it a
very difficult matter for members of that House to do their
duty to the public. It was, Mr. Fox declared, of all other
matters the most delicate and the most disagreeable to speak
to measures,. with which persons were so intimately connect-
ed, that however any thing invidious and personal might be
fairly disclaimed, and disclaimed upon the honour of the
speaker, the world was apt to separate the person from the
measure, and to impute warrantable parliamentary objection
to the former, to envy or private pique against the latter.
With regard to the lord chancellor, he had long lived, and
he hoped to continue to live with him, on terms of sincere
private friendship; that noble and learned lord undoubtedly
possessed great abilities, but perhaps he was of opinion, that
those abilities were not exerted in a manner most beneficial,
but on the contrary, in a manner most disadvantageous and
most injurious to the true interests of the country. That
the lord chancellor ought to be provided for, if he was to
resign his high office, was a matter so obviously proper, that
no man could offer an objection to that proposition. He
should have liked the mode of providing for that noble lord,
however, better, had it not been rested by the right honour-
able gentleman upon a promise of his majesty. To put it upon
that ground created a difficulty, and in a manner barred all
comment, because whatever promises the royal personage
chose to make, he should be ready at all times to say, they
ought to be held sacred, and fulfilled at all hazards. It was
not, nevertheless, a fair argument for ministers to use in that
liouse, when a public act of administration was under dis-
eussoir ;z. With regard to the pension granted to Lord




146 COALITION' OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 6.
Grantham; with that noble lord from his earliest infancy, he
had been accustomed to live • in habits of the strictest friend-
ship ; and therefore, it was almost needless for him to disclaim
any invidious or personal motive in what he had to say upon
that noble lord's pension. He would then, without scruple,
declare, that the pension itself did not appear to him to
be greatly objectionable; but the manner and the time of
oTantino- it gav e him most serious alarm indeed. 'What hadgr ting b
the right honourable gentleman told the House ? That his
majesty, when Lord Grantham accepted of the office of secre-
tary of state, promised him a pension of 20001. a year when-
ever he should quit that office. What did this lead to, if the
practice obtained, but a most dangerous and alarming exercise
of the influence of the crown ? What was it, but bribing per-
sons by pensions to take on them offices, to accept which they
bad no inclination? By this means the crown could always
obtain an administration without the smallest regard to the
sense of parliament, or the confidence of the people.


After severely reprobating this mode of bestowing a pen-
sion, as a condition of accepting high office, and declaring
that though a. lord chancellor had a right to expect a pension
on quitting his situation, he hoped it would not be understood,
that future secretaries of state were to have the same expecta-
tions ; Mr. Fox adverted to the defence set up by Mr. Pitt for
Lord Grantham having been employed on foreign service for
the crown. Mr. Fox admitted that his lordship came under
that description, but said, he had himself moved to insert that
clause of the act of parliament, though with a different view
from that in which it was now regarded. His idea was, not
to enable the crown to grant pensions to noblemen who had
been employed in important embassies, and whose affluent pri-
vate fortunes placed them above the want of a pension, but to
enable the crown to provide for a very different descrip-
tion of persons sent upon foreign service. It was well known,
that young men of some family and abilities were picked out,
and sent early in life to foreign courts, where they remain-
ed for several years, and were then moved to other courts,
and so on. These persons, were they not so employed,
would doubtless have pursued some profession or other at
home, in which they might have been successful ; and there-
fore, when from a change of administration it became neces-
sary to recall them, he thought it extremely hard, (as they
must by that time have lost all their connections at home,
as well as their chance of success in any professional pursuit)
that they should go unrewarded. It was to meet this diffi-
culty, that he had moved the clause, and with no other vieW
whatever.


1783.] COALITION OF MR. Pox AND LORD NORTH, Ste; 147
He next came to the mention of Sir Joseph Yorke's pension,


and not having the honour to be acquainted with that gen-
tleman,he said, he was not enabled to fortify himself against
the charge of personal and invidious motives, in regard to
what he should say, in like manner as he had been able to
fortify himself, with regard to the lord chancellor and Lord
Grantham; he could only therefore disclaim being actuated
by any such motives. With respect to Sir Joseph's pension,
lie declared, though he had served his country in foreign em-
bassy thirty- years, yet when he looked at his honours and
emoluments, he saw no necessity for the pension lately granted.
He next spoke .


of Mr. 1VIorgan's pension, and said, that he
knew nothing of the promise of any such pension when he
was in office. Perhaps the noble lord below him (Lord John
Cavendish) might. .He objected, however, very strongly to
any pension being granted as a bribe to induce any person to
take upon him an efficient office. He thought the principle a
pernicious one, and though he meant nothing invidious or
personally offensive to the learned lord advocate over the
way (Mr. Dundas), he could not avoid taking that opportu-
nity of saying, that when the learned lord accepted an office
for life, at the same time that lie accepted the office of trea-
surer of the navy, (which though not a sinecure, was pretty
much like one) all the world. wondered at such a strange mode
of giving a man an office for life, as a condition of his taking
another, and that almost a sinecure office ; and it was uni-
versally declared the most lavish and absurd mode of wast-
ing the public money that could be adopted. Mr. Fox next
adverted to the two clerks of the treasury, who had been
superannuated on pensions of cool. and Too/. per annum, and
asked, if they really were, from infirmity, illness, or any
other cause, obliged-to be superannuated, or whether the whole
of that business was not a mere job, foe the sake of an ar-
rangement more agreeable to the minister ? With regard to
the granting 2001. a-year to a clerk taken from the tax-office
to the treasury, he reprobated that measure, and alluded
to a transaction that had passed in the House of Lords ten
days since, which he termed a scandalous transaction.


He again urged the bad policy of granting pensions, as
bribes to persons to take on them efficient employment, and
having fully discussed all the topics he had touched upon, he
said, though no man had a greater personal regard for the se-
cretary of state just promoted to a peerage*, than he enter-
tained ; and although no man wished him to be loaded with


The Right Honourable Thomas Townshend, had, on the p ecedhla
l̀ay been created Baron Sydney .of Chistehura, in Kent,


L 2
.




148 COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NoRTH,&c. [March 6.


honours more than he did, yet the remark was so obvious, that
he could not avoid observing, that it was a little extraordinary,
that the crown should think proper to reward those ministers
who had assisted in making


it,
peace, which the more he con.


sidered and reconsidered , the more he found cause to
wonder at the possibility of any man being capable of setting
his hand to it. And yet that peace, which, to say the least
of it, had not met with the approbation of that House, but in
some degree lay under its censure, was thought of so diffe-
rently elsewhere, that it had been found adviseable to reward
one of the secretaries who made it with honours, and the other
with emoluments.


After putting this very pointedly, Mr. Fox said, with the
leave of the House he would so far digress from the principal
subject of debate, as to take some notice of the extraordinary
remark made by the honourable gentleman who moved the
address. To find that gentleman at any time differ from him
in opinion, was a Matter that gave him real concern. He la-
mented that an honourable friend, who was every way so
respectable and independent, did not concur with him in sen-
timent, but he could not let what had fallen from that ho-
nourable gentleman pass unnoticed ; at the same time he de-
clared he knew not to what his honourable friend had alluded.
His honourable friend had talked of those who avowed, who
boasted, and who gloried in acting independent of the public.
opinion. If his honourable friend meant to allude to him,
he was mistaken : he had neither avowed, boasted of, nor
gloried in any such conduct; on the contrary, he main-
tained the very reverse idea ; and he was not a little sur-
prised to hear his honourable friend immediately afterwards
confess, he thought the government ought to go into such
hands. How was this to be reconciled? To him it appeared
most irreconcileable. He had contended, and he ever would
contend, that no ministers who acted independent of the
public opinion, ought to be employed. The public opiniori,
alone was the basis, in his mind, on which an administration-
should be formed. It had been argued again and again, that
-the king had a right to cause his own ministers. In that par.
titular, he rested on the spirit of the constitution, and not on
the letter of it; and grounding his opinion on the spirit of the
constitution, he ever had and ever would maintain, that his
majesty, in his choice of ministers, ought not to be influenced
by his personal favour alone, but by the public voice, by the
sense of his parliament, and the sense of his people. An.
administration in whom that House did not place a confi7
dente, was such an administration as it was unfafe to lodge
t:he government of this country in at this crisis: It was 110),


di


1783.] COALITION or AIR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, ate.
149


argument to say, " I am a minister, because his majesty has
made me one." The personal influence of the crown was not
the ground for a minister to stand upon. The confidence of
the people must accompany the royal favour, or the country
could not be governed wisely, prosperously, or safely. He
would repeat what he had mentioned the day before; he did
not, upon his honour, believe there were any men so ex-
tremely desperate, but it was reported without doors, that
there was an intention of dissolving the parliament. Let
the House look at the business upon their table. Let them
consider the many, the great, and the important questions,
beyond all former example, that awaited their discussion.
Let them think of the consequence, if a dissolution of par-
liament was to take place, without a responsible minister in
office. He would not offer any proposition or advice to
them. Let them weigh their situation, and act accordingly.
With regard to the coalition so frequently alluded to, let
gentlemen coolly ask themselves, if ever unanimity was most
requisite, whether this was not the time for it? Let them con-
sult their judgment, whether former animosities ought not
to be buried under the present difficulties, and whether this
was a fit moment for retorts and repartees. To what pur-
pose urge former heats and asperities ? Were there any two
of them that could be put into a room together, of whom
a third person could not say, 46 you formerly violently op-
posed each other, and this or that harsh thing was. said of one
of you by the other ?" Mr. Fox conjured all sides of the
House to unite, through a sense of the critical situation of
the country. He advised moderation and unanimity, as the
great means of restoring the public welfare, and returned his
hearty thanks to Mr. Powys, for his vigilance and care in
bringing forward, at such a moment, a motion so wise, so
necessary, and every way so proper, as that under considera-
tion. Towards the conclusion of his speech he took occasion
again to mention the talents of the lord chancellor and his
great influence. He said, the country felt that influence to
its disadvantage at that moment. Had it not been for the
exertion of that influence, he verily believed such an admi-
n istration 'would have been some days since formed, as would
have


people.
had


confidence of parliament, and the confidence of
t


Mr. Dundas assured Mr. Fox, that he had not obtained the place
of keeper of the signet in Scotland, as an inducement to accept
of the treasurership of the navy, a place which he was very will-
ing to confess was not fit for him : he had said so to persons now
within hearing ; and he declared he had consented to accept it only
until some other person should be found to fill it. But he would not


L 3




or
1'50 COALITION OF MILTON AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 24.
say he *as unfit for the place' he had obtained in Scotland; and
his majesty having been pleased to honour him with a patent place,
he would assure the honourable gentleman, he would never disho-
nour the patent, by carrying it to market. This pointed allusion
called up


Mr. Fox, who said, the transaction alluded to, namely, his
exchange of the clerkship of the pells in Ireland, for a pen-
sion on that kingdom, had nothing in it dishonourable: the
patent he had received from his father, as part of his for-
tune, and unconnected with the then administration, who
applied to him : he consented to accommodate government,
but on very bad -terms for himself, as he had given away a
thing of greater value than that which he had got in return
for it. This was the whole transaction. It had been a mat-
ter well known, a matter talked of in that House, and a mat-
ter that no one person, except the learned lord, ever thought
disgraceful or dishonourable in the smallest degree. The
place was no favour to him from the crown, no boon from
his present majesty or his ministers, but a legacy left him by
one of his relations, as disposable by him as any other species
of property whatever. Mr. Fox, after explaining this matter
very fully, declared, upon his honour, that he knew not of
the manner of the learned lord's accepting of the place of
treasurer of the navy, and mentioned, that the lord chan-
cellor bad refused putting the seal to the learned lord's patent
of keeper of the signet of Scotland for life, till he was ap-
pointed treasurer of the navy.


Mr. Rigby said, he was acquainted with the whole transaction
el Mr. lox's


's


baro:ain, which was perfectly honourable ; and in
which there was but one thing censurable— the right honourable
gentleman had parted with his patent for less than it was worth.
Mr. Byng justified Mr. Fox, with regard to his exchange of the
clerkship of the pells of Ireland, and said, that the place had no
sooner passed out of the hands of his honourable friend into that
of Mr. Jenkinson, for whom it was purchased, than its value seas
increased full 'cool. a year. The motion, after a few verbal altera4
tions, was agreed to.


March 24,
On the 19th of March, Mr. Coke, member for Norfolk,


gave notice, that if an administration should not be formed on
or before the Friday following, he would on that day move an
address to his Majesty on the subject: This notice was supposed
to have produced the desirecieffect ; and it being generally under-
stood the clay following, that the king had commanded the Duke
:of Portland and Lord North to lay an arrangement for a new ad-
ministration before him, Mr. Coke, on the day fixed, declined
making his intended motion. On Monday the 24th, the same


1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. 151


gentleman brought the subject again before the House. He said,
that having heard that the arrangement to which he had alluded,
was put an end to, he now thought it necessary to resume his in-
tention and would certainly make his motion, unless a right ho,
pourable gentleman opposite to him would declare that some other.
arrangement was conic to, consisting of men possessing the con-
fidence of the country. Mr. Chancellor Pitt assured the honour-
able gentleman, that he knew of no arrangement of administra-
tion whatever. upon this Mr. Coke moved, " That an humble
Address be presented to his majesty, that his majesty will be gra-
ciously pleased to take into his serious consideration the very dis-
tracted and unsettled state of the empire, after a long and ex-
hausting war ; and that his majesty would therefore condescend
to a compliance with the wishes of this House, by forming an ad-
ministration entitled to the confidence of his people, and such
as may have a tendency to put an end to the unfortunate
divisions and distractions of the country."—Mr. Buller said it was
naturally a matter of wonder that no administration had been_
formed, when it was known that there were a set of men not only
ready, but eager to get into office, and to form an administration
among themselves. That the circumstance called for enquiry, and;
he believed, upon probing it, the fact would turn out to be, that
his majesty had acted in time present instance as in every other of
his reign, with that graciousness and benignity towards his sub-
jects in general, which distinguished his character, and had long
since got over his personal feelings, with a hope of pleasing his
people by such a sacrifice. That his majesty therefore was by no
means the cause of so long a delay, but that it would rather be
found to have arisen from the difference of opinion that had pre-
vailed among the heads of the new coalition, who had united more
with a view to get into power, than from any other principle, and
therefore the first moment it became a question, how officers were
to be appointed, difficulties had occurred, which, to a coalition so
formed, must necessarily prove the source of much trouble, and
take a good deal of time to accommodate.—Mr. Hill, men-
tioned a design he had of proposing the following addition to the
address, " And that hi majesty would be graciously pleased not
to nominate or appoint any person or persons to fill up the vacant
departments, who by their mismanagement of public affairs and
want of foresight and abilities, when they were in office, had lost.
the confidence of the people."


Mr. Fox said, it had not been his expectation, that the
House would have gone into much debate that day, but after
hearing the right honourable the chancellor of the exche-
quer solemnly assure the House, that he knew of no arrange-
ment of administration whatever, and after hearing likewise,
what had fallen from the different gentlemen, who had spoken,
he thought it necessary to say a few words. He owned when
the honourable gentleman had risen, who spoke last but one
(Mr. Hill) he did imagine the honourable gentleman had in-


4




1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. f


whenever occasion called for it. He did' not in the present
instance conceive it possible for the calamitous situation of the
country (arising from the five weeks want of a responsible ad-
ministration) to have happened, had not the crown been ill
advised. Had a single hint only been given to those, with
whom. he acted, that the degree of confidence necessary to
carry on the measures of government would be placed in
them, every thing would have been easily adjusted. The mo-
tion went to that, and therefore, in giving it his support, he
could not think he countenanced an unconstitutional inter-
ference with the prerogative; although, had the motion borne
such a construction, as the noble earl who seconded it had
truly said, the present situation of the country would have
been a full justification. Let the noble earl only look at the
speech made by his majesty at the opening of the present ses-
sion, and he would there see a lesson laid clown to the House;
for the minister had made his majesty say, that he knew the
sentiments of the people better than their representatives.
The speech recommended the House to act with temper and
wisdom, collectively and individually, and concluded with
saying, " My people expect these qualifications of you, and
I call fir them." Surely, he said, the House had an equal
right to say to the throne, " The people expect an adminis-
tration they can confide in, and to you they call for it." To
form an administration of that kind, he said, it would be ne-
cessary to call forth great and distinguished abilities from all
parts of the House; it must be an administration formed on
a broad basis.


If ever it was right to forget former animosities, to forego
ancient prejudices, and to unite, it was right now. The situa-
tion of the country required a coalition' of parties, and in
order to attain so great an object, where so much was at stake,
and to fonn an administration on a broad and permanent ba-
sis, he was ready to shake hands even with those opposite to
Min, as well as with the noble lord in the blue ribbon, and
from out of the three parties to form such an administration
as the country could look up to with hope and with confi-
dence. In order to effect this, it would neither be wise nor
prudent to point out the former errors of one party or of the
other, but to lay aside the recollection of the past for the
sake of being able to do well for the country in future. With
regard to there being persons ready to accept of power, it
was a fact that there were. But surely for men to be ready
to endeavour to serve their country in a moment of uncom-
mon difficulty, with a table full of great and important busi-
ness, with a loan to be directly made, with many other ques-
tions of infinite magnitude, pressing for immediate discussion


152 COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NOTITH, &C. [March 24,


tended to move the same amendment, which he understood
the honourable gentleman had read to the House on Friday
last. He used the word understood, because from accident,
and from accident merely, he had happened to be out of the
House at the time. The amendment was part of a motion
which he had formerly had the honour to make, but which
had not been adopted by the House, though it had received
the support of a. very respectable minority. It could not
therefore be brought forward as a matter that had met the
sanction of the House. The honourable gentleman had now
said, he would not move the amendment for the sake of avoid.
ing the confusion, into which it might have led the House
undoubtedly such would have been its effect; but the confu
sion would have been still greater than the honourable gen
tleman seemed aware of: for had the amendment been
moved, he should have proposed an amendment upon it; if
the first amendment had been carried, which desired his ma-
jesty not to employ persons, who from want of foresight had
lost the confidence of the people, his amendment would have
been to have added the words, << and also, that his majesty


.


would be graciously pleased not to employ as ministers, any
of those whom that House had declared to have made a peace,
in which the concessions to the adversaries of Great Britain
were greater than they were entitled to." Had both these
amendments been before the House, and certainly the one
was as fair, or more so, than the other (because it stood on
the Journals of the House, which the other did not), he
verily believed the House would have been a little con
fused how to act. If the honourable gentleman insisted that
the motion of last year, although supported by a respectable
minority, ought to exclude the noble lord in the blue ribbon,
surely his candour must make him acknowledge, that the vote
of the 21st of February, above alluded to, must equally ex-
clude the noble earl, who was at the head of the treasury.
Well then, what would be the consequence? Both those par-
ties being excluded, there would be only one set left unim-
peached ; and although that was the set he most wished for,
he should have voted against both amendments, confident,
that however respectable the Rockingham party were, they
were not sufficient to stand alone.


The noble earl (of Surrey) who seconded the motion, had
treated it rather too seriously, in thinking it would be an in-
fringement on the prerogative of the crown. He was ready
to own, that it was unconstitutional in that House to meddler
with the prerogative of the crown ; but lie never could agree
that it was not perfectly constitutional for them to enquire T
into, and to censure the conduct of the advisers of the crown,


S




54 comzriorr OP MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 24.


and management, and with the prospect of a powerful oppo-
sition ; under all these circumstances, to be willing to under-
take the government of the country from a hope that they
might, by an union of abilities, and a vigorous exertion of
them, rescue the empire from its present calamitous condition,
was surely a matter in favour of those, who were ready to
undertake the government, and the more entitled them to the
thanks and confidence of that House and of the country in
general. 'With regard to the eagerness of gentlemen so sar-
castically mentioned, if any man thought in`times like the
present, that he and 'those who acted with him, were influ-
enced merely by motives of a personal nature, he was willing
to let them remain in that opinion.. To such an argument he
would not offer one word in reply. He had heard, he ob-
served, a good deal from an honourable gentleman, who spoke
early in the debate (Mr. Buller), about the new friends and
new connections of the noble lord in the blue ribbon. He
was a little surprised at hearing such an attack from such a
quarter. He was not old enough to remember it, but he un-
derstood, that the honourable gentleman himself, fourteen
years ago, quitted those who were now the noble lord's new
allies, then the honourable gentleman's old friends, to join
the noble lord. Was it more reprehensible for him, and
those who acted with him, to do that in a body now, which
the honourable gentleman had thought proper to do singly,.
as an individual, fourteen years ago ? As to the honourable
gentleman's suggestion, that the difficulty anti delay that had
attended the arrangement of ministers, 'would be found to
have arisen from a difference of opinion between the heads
of the two parties that had united, the honourable gentleman
was mistaken. He did not believe it arose from any want of
disposition on the part of his majesty to comply with the
wishes of his people, and he knew that it originated not in any
difference among those who had formed the coalition, so much
disapproved of by the honourable gentleman who spoke last.
With regard to their conduct respecting the arrangement, he
heartily wished he was at liberty to state every particular
of it without reserve. The more it was known, he was con-
vinced, the more it would be approved. It could hardly,
however, be said, that there was no government, on the
contrary, for these five weeks past it had been the most open
and bare-faced government ever known in this country. Not
a government by ministers, not by a first lord of the trea-
sury, or by secretaries of state, those puppets and instruments
of others, but by the persons themselves who had been sup-
posed only before to possess some secret influence, but who.
'low stood forward as the private advisers of his majesty tp.;


1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. 155
act in opposition to the wishes of his people and to the sense
of his parliament. [During this, Mr. Fox looked hard at
Mr. Jenkinson. j It was, he verily believed, owing to that
secret influence alone, that so much delay had hitherto been
practised. If any min wished to see who it was that had for
five weeks past governed the kingdom, and ill advised his
majesty, let them go to the other House, they would there
find the great adviser in his true character. Let them mark
the man, they would see difficulty, delay, sullenness, and all
the distinguishing features of what had been falsely termed an
interregnum of administration, but what was, as he had be-
fore said, a sample of the most open government ever known
in this country. Mr. Fox said, the motion had his hearty
approbation, and he trusted that there could be• no objection
to it. He advised the House by all means to be unanimous
upon it, to carry up the address to the throne as the sense of
that House, upon the want of an administration, and not as
the measure of any one party or set of men Whatever. If any
of the particular words of it were deemed objectionable, he
said, he could answer for his honourable friend who moved it,
that they should be giveirup or altered, as the House should
think proper ; but at any rate he hoped it would pass.


In reply to Mr. Fox's insinuation concerning the evil advisers of
his majesty, and the secret influence behind the throne, Mr.
Jenkinson considering himself as alluded to by the right honoura,..
ble gentleman, stood up to refute the charge in every; and in the
fullest sense of its unwarrantable meaning. He said that the pre-
rogative of the crown was not so limited as to proscribe any privy
counsellor the presence of his sovereign, or to take from that so-
vereign the advice of a privy counsellor. As to secret influence,
he denied such ever to have existed in him, but he thought that
When his.majesty was graciously pleased to send to him and corn,-
mand his attendance, he was bound in duty and respect to obey
the summons. He owned that in the course of the last five weeks
lie had been with his majesty more than once: he declared that
he never did go, except on official business, and when he was
sent for; and that he never did use any secret influence, or gave
any advice whatsoever, which was not warranted by the strongest
principles of national justice. In reply to various observation's
made by Mr.Macdonald,


Mr. Fox rose, and took a comprehensive view of the coa-
lition, and reprobated, in the strongest terms, every insinua-
tion and charge made by the honourable gentleman. He said,
his very severe attack on the noble lord in the blue ribbon
need not give his lordship any pain ; for as it was early in the
debate, it was probable, and there was a precedent for
it, that the honourable gentleman, before the rising of




156 COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &e. [March 24.
the House would get np and make an apology for what
he had said, or at any rate, it might be expected by the.
next clay at -farthest. He denied that the delays of form-
ing a ministry were at the doors of the Duke of Portland and
his friends ; they lay elsewhere. It was, without question,
the lord chancellor whom he meant as the secret adviser of the
crown, and the cause of the delay in the choice of an admi-
nistration. He avowed the charge, he wished not to conceal
his opinion, and he openly averred, that to the learned lord
he looked for the influence which at present directed the sove-
reign. His reasons for so doing were these ; that as there was
not any first lord of the treasury, any ostensible minister to be
answerable, the chancellor, of course, was the person to be
considered as the only official man from whom his majesty
could receive advice ; and therefore he alluded to that learned
lord. That there was influence, that there was secret coun-
cil, he believed no man doubted. 'lie coalition alluded to by
the honourable gentleman had, it seemed, met with disappro-
bation, because old enemies had become new friends ; because
those who differed on former points had, in present matters,
come to an agreement. Was this so extraordinary an affair ?
Was reconciliation such an improper, such an unprecedented,
such an unparliamentary maxim? Surely not I 'The empire
was thrown into convulsions; the state was without an helm,
and the kingdom without a government. As to what the ho-
nourable gentleman alledged in respect to the coalition oc-
casioning the delay, he was misinformed • and as to what he
had said about the contention in that coalition for power, his
information was not correct. This he advanced as a truth
incontrovertible, because it was founded in that which could
not be controverted. The coalition was founded on a princi-
ple to which every honest man in the kingdom must agree.
It was founded on a principle that went to reconcile old ani-
mosities, and to form an administration upon a permanent,
sound, and constitutional foundation. Such was the admi-
nistration that this country wanted, and such only -was the
administration that could relieve it from its present difficulties.
Much had been said about old enemies re-uniting. He took
the liberty again to mention the circumstance, and he de-
manded if that was improper or impolitic. Political diffe-
rences, and the diversified interests of party, had brought
this kingdom to its present unhappy situation. And as by the
recent and former examples of a want of coalescence, there
were evident proofs that the empire could only be happy in the
unanimity of parliament ; so it followed, that coalitions to ef-
fect that unanimity were constitutionally proper. When the
House looked at the business upon the table, when they con-


7 8 3 .] COALITON OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &c.
157


sidered the situation of affairs at home and abroad, and when
they looked to the probable and certain consequences, it must
be natural to conclude, that nothing could save this country
from ruin, but a vigorous, virtuous, and steady administra-
tion. Something had been said by the honourable gentleman,
(Mr. M'Donald) that alluded to a venal tribe, as always ap-
plied to those who had supported the administration of the
noble lord in the blue ribbon. He wished to know whether
by. that description the honourable gentleman meant those
who changed their opinion, those who left him, because, as
they themselves contended, he had not so great a power as
formerly of providing for his friends, or those who still ad-
hered to him without the prospect of reward, and had not
joined others who were likely to pay better. If he meant the
former, then the honourable gentleman spoke from convic-
tion. As to what had been said respecting a majority of in-
terest, he denied any such idea. There was indeed; as al-
ready observed, some slight difference in respect to the coali-
tion, but out of the five weeks negotiation, that only took up
ten hours, and was then finally adjusted and conclusively
settled. The charge, therefore, in that respect, was ground-
less. He begged pardon for again repeating this matter to
the House, but as it was urged in a strong manner against a
noble duke, he thought he could not too much impress the
subject on the attention of the House. The motion before the
House, therefore, became a matter absolutely requisite to be
adopted. The people demanded it, the kingdom wanted it,
and therefore it should have his .


concurrence. Mr. Fox took
notice of what had fallen from Mr. Jenkinson respecting his
giving the king his advice; he admitted, that being a privye,
counsellor, he had a right so to do, but what he found fault
with was, be declared, not that the honourable gentleman
gave his majesty his advice, but that he gave it him in secret.
There lay the rub; let it be public; let it be in the face of the
council, that the honourable gentleman was his majest y's ad-
viser, and there would be no harm in the business, nor any
thing suspicious in it; as the matter stood, the case was widely
different.


Mr. Coke's motion for an address was agreed to without a divi-
sion. To this address his majesty replied, " That it was his
.earnest desire to do every thing in his power to comely with the
wishes of his faithful Commons."




158 COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 31.


March 31.
On the 31st of March Mr. Pitt acquainted the House, that he


had that day resigned his office of chancellor of the exchequer ;
and being asked, whether he understood that any new arrange-
ment was likely soon to take place? he said, he knew of none,
but concluded, from his majesty's answer to the address, that such
a measure would not unnecessarily be delayed. This answer did
not appear to give any satisfaction to the house; and especially
as it now appeared, that the care of the public money was left
without any responsible minister whatever. Much difference of
opinion prevailed as to the steps it might be proper for the House
to take in so alarming a conjuncture. The Earl of Surrey pro-
posed as the ground work of their future proceedings, that they
should come to the following resolution : " That a considerable
time having now elapsed without any administration responsible
for the conduct of public affairs, the interposition of this House
on the present alarming crisis is become necessary." Several
objections were made to this proposition. It was said to be
worded in a manner much stronger than the occasion justified:
and that, to declare their interposition necessary in a case, ac-
knowledged on all hands to belong constitutionally to the, crown,
was little short of declaring that the government of the country
was at an end. It was further objected, that such a proceeding
was not consonant to the practice and forms of the House; and
lastly, it was objected to, as implying, that for some time past
there had been no responsible ministers, whereas every minister
was responsible for every part of his conduct till the clay he re-
signed. This motion being withdrawn, the Earl of Surrey pro-
posed the following : " That an humble address be presented to
his majesty, to express the dutiful and grateful sense this House
entertains of the gracious intentions expressed in his message of
the a6th instant.— To assure his majesty it is with a perfect
reliance on his paternal goodness, and with an entire deference to
his royal wisdom, that this House again submits to his considera-
tion the urgency, as well as the importance of the affairs, which
require the immediate appointment of such an administration as
his majesty, in compliance with the wishes of his faithful Commons,
has given them reason to expect : to assure his majesty that all
delays in a matter of this moment have an inevitable tendency to
weaken the authority of his government, to which this House is
not more bound by duty than led by inclination to give an effec-
tual and constitutional support—To represent to his majesty,
that -the confidence of foreign powers may be weakened by a fai-
lure of the ordinary means of a constant communication with them.
That the final execution of treaties, with the important and deci-
sive arrangements of a commercial and political nature in con-
sequence of a late revolution ; —that a provision for the heavy
expences and the important services voted;—that the orderly
reduction of the forces, and the expences of a new establishment ;


that the settlement of national credit, seriously affected by the,


1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NonTfi, &C. 159
critical state of the East India Company ;—that these, with other
important concerns, do severally, and much more collectively,
require an efficient and responsible administration, formed upon
principles of strength and stability, suited to the state of his ma-
jesty's affairs both at home and abroad.— And that this House
most humble repeats its application to his majesty, that he will
take such measures towards this object, as may become his most
gracious disposition, and quiet the anxiety and apprehensions of
his faithful subjects."


The decency and propriety of this address were very generally
acknowledged, but some doubts were expressed whether sufficient
time had been allowed since the answer that had been returned to
the former. In the course of the debate, the negotiation that had
broken off' eight days before was again adverted to. After the
satisfactory answer given in a former debate, that no obstacle or
impediment had arisen from any disagreement amongst the per-
sons with whom that negotiation was carried on, a report had been
industriously circulated, that it had been broken off on account
of the harsh and unreasonable demands of that party—and that
these demands went to the absolute dismission of all the private
and domestic servants of the crown. On the ground of this report,
Sir William Dolben having called on Lord North to avow its truth
or falsehood, his lordship solemnly protested, that no such cause
either did or could have. existed ; that the noble duke and him-
self had never, even in conversation, descended to the mention
of any arrangements so minute as to reach the offices alluded to ;
that he believed there was no set of men in the country, who
could be so indecent and so reprehensible as to presume to dictate


harsh He did not scruple, he said, to declare thatso a measure.
so disgraceful an attempt would justly have called for the ab-
horrence and detestation, of that House ; but that he was con-
vinced his noble and honourable friends would be as much hurt.,
as he confessed he was at that moment, to have it insinuated that
such a proof of unworthiness to fill any office whatever themselves
had been given by them. — Mr. Perceval said, if the address was
persisted in, he could wish to acid an amendment to it, by " as-
suring his majesty, that that House would fully support any ad.
ministration he might be pleased to form, as long as they acted
constitutionally." That amendment, he thought, ought to be
inserted, as it would clearly evince that the address did not 'pro-
ceed from any party motives, or that the House wished to point
out any particular set of' men to his majesty of whom to make
ch ice.


Mr. Fox rose, and declared that be by no means saw the
necessity of the amendment, mentioned by the honourable
gentleman ; the address, in his opinion, fully expressed what
the honourable gentleman wished; it said, that the House
was bound by duty, and led by inclination, to give an effec-
tual and constitutional support; surely that was saying every
thing that could be wished: it would be needless to say more;




16o coALrrloN or MR, rox AND tom) NORTH, &C. [March 244
indeed it would be wrong to agree to support men before
they knew who those men were. — In the course of the debate
the learned lord advocate had observed, that the resignation
of Mr. Pitt ought to be a means of postponing the address;
at the same time insinuating, that the great obstacle to form-
ing an arrangement was now removed. Did the learned lord
wish to say that Mr. Pitt's remaining in office for the last six
weeks was the cause why no arrangement could take place?
If he did, the blame undoubtedly lay with Mr. Pitt; but he
by no means believed that to be the case; for his own part,
he conceived the resignation of that right honourable gentle-
men neither retarded nor expedited the forming an arrange-
ment, for he had, in fact, been considered out of office these
six weeks; nay, his own words, a considerable time since,
were, that he only remained as a locum tenens, to do the bu-
siness until some other person was appointed ; surely, then,
his having resigned this day could be nothing unexpected. ,i


The learned lord had desired the motion to be postponed
for a few days. Would the learned lord assign any reasons
for putting, the address off; would he give the House any
reason to think an arrangement was about to be made, and
in such forwardness, as to promote a ministry in a few days
in iiict, would he give the House any reason whatever why an
arrangement had been so long delayed? If he would not, he
must say, that the learned lord's inexpressible reasons were
such, as by no means warranted the House in delaying the
address moved by the noble earl. The situation of the coun-
try, so truly painted by the noble earl, called aloud for an
administration to be formed with all possible speed, and the ,l''
learned lord himself had said, that any unnecessary delay cer-
tainly was culpable. Surely six weeks had been sufficient
time to form an arrangement in, therefore it was clear that •
some persons were culpable, but vdio they were, he was not
warranted in saying; yet he would persevere in what lie men-
tioned on a former occasion, that those persons were culpable
who gave his majesty advice to delay the business, and on
whom could lie fix that culpability bat on those who had
access to his royal person?


With regard to Mr. Pitt's responsibility, he was glad to-,ii.
hear the noble lord in the blue ribbon touch upon that point.
Had not the noble lord spoken in that manner to the first
motion lie meant to have done so. As long as the right !i
honourable gentleman held his office, so long he certainly -:


...


was responsible; not that he meant to charge him as the
cause of the delay, of not appointing an administration for
so long a time, —a matter which the country felt severely l
He had no inclination to prefer an accusation to that quarter;


1783.] COALITION OF MR. FOX AND LORD NORTH, &c.
161


indeed, he was neither ripe to acquit, nor ready to condemn ;
without proof he could say nothing one way or the other.
With respect to the general argument of the learned lord, if
it applied at all, it applied in a way directly opposite to that
in which it had been used. All the learned lord had said,
as Well his inexpressible reasoning, as his other reasoning,
went rather to skew that the address was necessary, than that
it was unjustifiable. The learned lord had said, if there had
been delay — if there had been delay?— had there not?
"What did all the world complain of? — But then, said the
learned lord, if there had been culpable delay? Undoubtedly
the delay was culpable. Why had that House voted their
address of Monday, but because they thought the delay cul-
pable? Why for a moment entertain the present motion, but
because the still longer delay appeared to be still more cul-
pable ? There was no doubt of the fact, the only question
under the present circumstances was this: would it not be
wise to act unanimously, and for that House to avoid as
much as possible the appearance of any thing like a conten-
tion of parties? For this reason he deprecated a_ division;
He earnestly conjured the House not to divide; he conjured
them rather to withdraw the motion, than let it go to a divi-
sion. If either the learned lord or the right honourable gen-
tleman would declare, nay, if they would hint only that they
believed an arrangement would speedily be formed, or if they
would say a motion similar in purport to the present would
be agreed to by them, if no arrangement took place in a day
or two, he would by all means advise the noble earl to with-
drawn his motion. On the present occasion, however they
might differ on other questions, he was persuaded there was
but one opinion ; where, therefore, there was a real unani-
mity, he wished most earnestly to avoid the appearance of
dissension.


Having argued this very strenuously, Mr. Fox took notice
of what Sir 'William Dolben had said. He observed, that
the honourable baronet had called for more than insinuation
to support the charge of secret influence. If the honourable
baronet would recollect what had passed last Monday, he
would have remembered, that he had much stronger evidence
of the existence of secret influence than bare insinuation; he
bad self-confession. That which suspicion had only glanced
at heretofore, boast and exultation had avowed. He had
learnt more than- ever he knew before, and, in fact, more than
ever he expected to have heard; he had learnt that a privy
counsellor, who -was not a minister, might give his sovereign
advice, and not be responsible for the effect that might be
Produced by it. Surely the House _could not agree to such


VOL. II.
M




162 COALITION Or MR.FOX AND LORD NORTH, &C. [March 24


an absurd, ridiculous, and dangerous doctrine : indeed it was
an insult to their understanding, but it had been exultingly
mentioned by a right honourable gentleman (Mr. Jenkinson)
on Monday last, and the only excuse he made for it was,
that he never gave any but good advice. How was it to be
known whether that advice was good or bad, but by the effect
produced? The effect was the only criterion he could judge
by, and if that right honourable gentleman had given his
sovereign advice in the present instance, he was the person
culpable. He knew, he said, perfectly well, that it was a
difficult matter to prove to the House the culpability of a
person in such an affair, as private conversation could not be
called for, nor could the secrets of the cabinet be divulged.
The noble lord (North) near him had been called on by that
right honourable gentleman on Monday last to declare, whe-
ther he ever found his schemes frustrated by a secret influence?
and he had declared that he had not. This might be easily
accounted for; the right honourable gentleman in question
was a known friend to the government under that noble lord,
as the measures it pursued were consonant to his ideas and
wishes. But what would the consequence be, if that right
honourable gentleman was suffered to give his sovereign
advice without being responsible? When an administration
might be in power that was of a different way of thinking to
him, what a predicament would they find themselves in !
Their schemes, their plans, formed with the best intent pos-
sible, all frustrated, owing to advice given by a person by no
means responsible for the effect of his advice ! What could
an administration do in such a case? Why, in his opinion,
they would have no other alternative than to signify their
disapprobation to the measures by a resignation of their
offices. That was the only step a virtuous administration
could take; but he sincerely hoped, that such steps would be
taken as totally to preclude any thing of the kind happening
in future.


The public were led to believe several things to the preju-
dice of himself and his friends, by a number of arrangements
that daily appeared in the public papers. How those arrange-
suents .came into the papers, or who formed them, he was to-
tally ignorant ; he could with a safe conscience say, they were,
to the best of his knowledge, erroneous; at least, he knew no-
thing of such arrangements. He was in hopes, as the whole
House seemed perfectly agreed on two grand points; first, the
necessity of an administration; and secondly, that the appoint-
ment of that administration should be such as was most con-
sistent with the dignity of the crown, that there would be no
division. This he must again urge tothe House. Unanimity,


I I


1783•]
WILLIAMS'S DIVORCE RILL.


163


however desirable at all times, being never more requisite than
at present, he therefore by all means wished the House not to
divide, but cordially to agree, as that would be one great
means towards expediting the business so ardently wished
for.


The Earl of Surrey consented to withdraw his motion, with an.
understanding that it was to be renewed in three days. The day
after this debate, a negotiation was.again opened with the Duke of
Portland, and on the ad of April a new Administration was
announced.


WILLIAMS'S DIVORCE BILL.


Merck 27.


THE House resolved itself into a committee on Williams's di-vorce bill. A conversation 'took place on the subject of the
clause, inserted in the upper House, on the motion of Lord Ashbur-
ton, the purport of which was, that the children born after the


The following is a List of the New Administration.
Members of the Cabinet.


First Lord of the Treasury — Duke of Portland.
Secretary of State for the Home Department — Lord North.
Ditto for the Foreign Department — Right Hon. Charles James Fox.
Chancellor of the Exchequer—Lord John Cavendish.
First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Viscount Keppel.
President of the Council— Lord Viscount Stormont.
Lord Privy Seal — Earl of Carlisle.


Not of the Cabinet.
Lords Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal — Lord Louah-


borough, Sir Wm. henry Ashurst, Sir Beaumont Hotham.
Master-General of the Ordnance—Lord Viscount Townshend.
Secretary at War — Hon. Richard Fitzpatrick.
Paymaster of the Forces—Edmund Burke, Esq.
Treasurer of the Navy — Charles Townshend, Esq.
Attorney-General — James Wallace, Esq.
SolicitorL General — John Lee, Esq.
.Secretaries to the Treasury — Rich. Brinsley Sheridan, Esq. Richard


Burke, Esq.
Speaker of the House of Lords — Earl of Mansfield.
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland — Earl of Northington.
Secretary to do. — William Windham, Esq.


AT 2




164 wayLIAMS'S DIVORCE BILL.


[March 27.
separation of the husband and wife should not be entitled to any
share of the husband's property, unless the said children should be
able to prove their legitimacy..


Mr. Fox arraigned this clause as an act of injustice to the
children, inasmuch as it robbed them of their claim to a pro-
vision from Mr. Williams, without so much as hearing them,
and then condemned them for not asserting a claim and mak-
ing out a title which their friendless and deserted infancy dis-
qualified them from doing. He was ready to admit that there
was an appearance of hardship on Mr. Williams; but it must
be remembered, that though the adultery of his wife was clear-
ly established, it by no means followed, that the illegitimacy
of the children was in any degree proved ; nay, it was by no
means the subject-matter of the bill, the object of which was,
simply to release Mr. Williams and his wife a vinculo matri-
monii : the parties applied to the legislature for that relief
which the law could not give : the law could pronounce on mat-
ters of filet, and determine questions of illegitimacy, &c. but it
could not dissolve the vinculum matrimonii. It was therefore
necessary that the legislature should interfere to supply the
defect of law, and dissolve the marriage : but there was no want
of power in the law to determine questions about legitimacy ;
and, therefore, what- ground could there be for calling upon
parliament to bastardize children whom the law was fully com-
petent to declare illegitimate, on proper evidence? He did
not mean to add to the misfortunes of Mr. Williams ; and
therefore he would -not object to the introduction of a bill,
which should perpetuate the evidence on which that gentleman
supposed the illegitimacy of the children might be proved;
such a bill would guard against the injury he might otherwise
sustain by the death of any of the witnesses, before the child- .
ren should arrive at full age. In the bill there were three
parties concerned, Mr. \Villiams, his wife, and the children.
The two first were only before the House, and therefore,
though he was ready to 'give sentence, as far as that sentence
could affect them, he was by no means prepared to say that
the children were bastards. He held it to be an inherent
and indispensable principle of justice, that no persons what-
ever should be deemed guilty of an offence, by any judgment
of authority, whether pronounced by parliament, or by any
other court, without having been heard in their defence, and
without having been afforded an opportunity of combating the
evidence adduced against them, in the manner that evidence
usually was combated on trials where the parties accused had
an opportunity of being in court and making their defence.
In order to render his meaning more obvious, he would sup-


i783.]


WILLIAMS'S DIVORCE BILL. 1-A5s


pose, that he was criminally indicted and tried for murder,
the blackest of all others in the calendar of crimes, and that
the indictment stated, and the evidence adduced, proved in,
the most satisfactory manner, that he, as B. was aiding and
abetting A. in the crime alledged, that he was present at the
murder, that he put the pistol or weapon with which the fact
was perpetrated into A.'s hand, that he held the person mur-
dered while A. killed him, and that he was tried for the fact,
condemned and executed. In this case, as far as the trans-
action affected him, the whole was consonant with the strictest
justice ; his execution, no man could say, had been unfair,
nor could there be a single argument raised to question the
equity of any part of the proceeding. But would any man
say, that therefore A. stood condemned. Would it be main-
tained for a moment even, that because A. had been inciden-
tally tried when B. was tried, that therefore A. ought, with-
out farther proceeding, to be likewise executed.? Undoubtedly
not. A. would be entitled to a separate and distinct trial, in
order -that A. might hear his accusation, combat the evidence,
and make his defence. If, then, in a criminal case this was
necessary, how much more so ought it to be adhered to in.
a civil one : In a case of landed property, in the case of a
fancily-estate, and, in short, in such a case as that of persons
upon whose proved legitimacy or illegitimacy depended the
validity of their claim to family honours, titles, and fortunes !
This was exactly the case of the children to be bastardized by
the clause then under consideration ; it surely, therefore,


• behoved the justice of the House to take particular care, how
they proceeded to give their sanction to a clause which de-
prived innocent infants of their estates, and declared them in-
famous, without having heard it proved that they were so.


Mr. Fox said, he had ever been of opinion, that a collusion
between a man and his wife to prove the adultery of the latter,
after that adultery had been committed, ought not to be any
bar to the passing of a divorce bill. He knew a very high law
authority had held the reverse, and On that single ground had
not only opposed several divorce bills, but in one case of fla-
grancy had been able to reject the application for a divorce,
and throw out the bill. This he thought a very great hard-
ship on the injured husband, because he thought the facility
of his producing evidence of the adultery of the wife, however
obtained, no objection to his claim for relief: but the mo-
ment he had taken up that opinion, he found it necessary to
take care to confine it merely to the husband and wife, and by
no means to suffer it to extend itself to the children. And the
reason of his feeling the necessity' of this precaution, arose from
considering how extremely hard it would be to suffbr children


;M 3




166 TERMS OF THE LOAN.


to be bastarized, deprived of their birthright, and rendered
infamous, merely because their father and mother had obtained
a legal divorce. That divorce might have been (as he was
ready to allow it should be) obtained by a collusion between
the father and mother; and, therefore, a collusion come into
by them, ought not to be a ground for bastardizing the child-
ren ; or the divorce might have been obtained by perjured evi-
dence, by false evidence, or by negligent evidence; which,
where there was no party to combat it, as must be the case
with helpless children, might have the full effect of the best
possible evidence. Upon all these reasons, he thought it un-
just to say, in a bill of that nature, more than that the man de-
served the relief he prayed for, and should have it. If the
husband wished to bastardize the children, and was convinced
they were spurious, let him resort to the courts below; they
Were open to him. He denied that the question of non-access
had been clearly established, and for that reason also, he
thought the House would go far beyond justice, if they de-
clared the children bastards. He took notice of the vulgar er-.
ror that prevailed, that non-access could not be proved, unless
it could be evinced that the husband or his wife were beyond
sea while she bred or bore children. That error, he conceived,
arose merely from the extreme difficulty of proving non-access
otherwise. Mr. Fox, in the course of his speech, expressly
declared, he had no motive whatever for taking the part he
did in the business, but a wish that those who were not before
the House, and could not defend themselves, might be done
strict justice to. He concluded by moving, that the whole
clause be rejected.


TERMS OF THE LOAN.


April t 6,


THE chancellor of the exchequer, Lord John Cavendish,brought forward the loan for the service of the current
year. The sum borrowed amounted to twelve million. Eleven
bankers, with whom the , terms of the loan were allotted, had
700,0001. each ; the remainder was divided amongst the rest of the
bankers, the great trading companies, and the clerks of the public
offices. The premium, according to the value of the stocks on the
day on which the bargain was concluded, was 31. xos. per cent.
but rising considerably within a few days after, much blame was
imputed to the minister for having made so disadvantageous a bar-


TERMS Or THE LOAN. 1,57


gain for the public. In vindication of himself, he allowed that the
premium was certainly much greater than ought to have been given
in time of peace, but he begged the House to recollect the circum-
stances under which he had been obliged to negotiate the loan.
He had only been ten days in office ; the late ministers had left
the treasury without a ; and the public service admitted of
no delay. These circumstances were well known to the money
lenders, and they had doubtless taken advantage thereof. And as
the necessity of coming to a conclusion on any terms would by
every day's delay have been the more urgent, they would certainly
have been raised upon him, the nearer that period approached.
The terms of the loan were strongly condemned by Mr. 'William
Pitt. Mr. Martin said, it was well known, that he had frequently
declared his sentiments in that House, against the admission of
members of parliament to a participation of any loan which govern-
ment might have occasion for. Having stated this, he thought
himself bound to mention, that the noble lord who negotiated the
loan, had sent to the House with which he was connected, ex-
pressing his good opinion of it, and informing his partners,
that the house should certainly be considered in the distri-
bution of the loan. Mr. Martin, as a member of parliament, dis-
claimed all idea of accepting any part of the loan ; but by that he
did not mean to exclude his partners from any profit they might
make, by taking a share of it in the regular course of business. He
however called God to witness, that should his partners partake of
the loan, he would by no means share any profits arising there-
from.


4


Mr. Secretary Fox rose, and before he entered into the
consideration of the terms of the loan, took notice of some
things that had been offered. Ile gave Mr. Martin credit for
having sent a very honourable


-
letter to his noble friend, but


declared, that, nevertheless, the same sum had been given to
the House, as had been intended before the letter was written
or sent to his noble friend, a pretty strong proof that the pro-
motion of ministerial influence was not the object that directed
his noble friend's conduct, when he, in a manner that spoke
his candour and his justice so strongly, determined . that the
bankers in general should have shares in the loan. With re-
gard to what had fallen from the right honourable gentleman


--


who had so strongly objected to the present loan, he differed
a good deal in some of the points:laid down by him, though
he agreed in others. If he was asked whether the present
loan, abstracted from all other considerations than the mere
terms, was a good peace-loan, he would answer in the nega-
tive; but if all the circumstances attending the negotiation
were taken into consideration, then he would contend that the
loan was better than might be expected. Be then entered
into calculations to disprove the assertion of Mr. Pitt, that


DI 4


[April 16. 783.3




68 TERMS OF THE LOAN. [April .16.
the premium amounted to 61. per cent. and he stated it to be
at this moment, at 3/. I os. 21d.; a premium infinitely greater
than it ought to be in peace-time; but still he did not think
that the public would lose more than sc,coo/. by the bargain;
a sum certainly not inconsiderable, but still not worth men-
tioning, when the committee should consider what inconve-
niences would flow from the circumstance of delaying the loan
till after the holidays. His noble friend had been appointed
chancellor of the exchequer on the 2d of April, and on the
16th he brings forward his loan. The delay of his predecessor
was undoubtedly the cause that the present loan was not far
more advantageous to the public; and therefore he was asto-
nished to hear a right honourable member find fault with the
terms, which, if they were bad, were so in consequence of his
own delay. The King's speech at the opening of the session
was full of promises of the greatest attention to the navy debt,
and to future loans. How had these fine promises been fulfilled
by the ministers ? No loan was made ; no plan for making a
good one laid down : the exigencies of the state required that
the loan should be made speedily ; and as they would not
brook delay, the terms could not, of course, be as good as if
.the loan had been made sooner : the right honourable gentle-
man had remained in office long after he declared that he
would quit it ; it was his duty surely either to have made the
loan in the mean-time, or by his resignation have made room
for some other who would have clone it : he did not mean to
throw blame on the right honourable member for staying in ;
he was not acquainted with his reasons; they might be very
good ; but he Was not a little surprised to hear him find fault
with the terms, which must have been better if he himself had
made the loan in time, or suffered another to make it a
month ago.


He begged leave to remind the right honourable gentle-
man of the different conduct of the noble lord Who went
out of the office of chancellor of the exchequer last year.
That noble lord, to the moment immediately previous to his
resignation, executed all the duties of the office of chancellor
of the exchequer. Had the right honourable gentleman fol-
lowed the noble lord's example, a loan on better terms might
have been had, and the public would have saved a con-
siderable sum. With regard to what the right honourable
gentleman had said of a competition, the loan of the last
year had been made in that manner, and he was persuaded,
that was a bad method. In the present instance, however,
there was no competition to resort to. The bankers had
formed such a strong connection, and acted so much in con-
cert, that there was no such thing as getting a set sufficiently


1783.] TERMS or THE LOAN. 169


opulent or powerful to oppose the set already connected.
With respect to the giving the Whole, Without reserve, to the
eleven bankers, who were to have seven millions seven hun-
dred thousand pounds of it, if that circumstance would have
got the public a better bargain, he would agree, it should
have been so clone. But the 'act was otherwise. To his
knowledge the condition was offered to the bankers, but they
would not abate their terms in consequence. So much,
therefore, for the right honourable gentleman's two better
ways of making a loan. In answer to his valuation of the
stocks, Mr. Fox said, he differed from the right honourable
gentleman. He allowed that the bonus, if without the dis-
count, it amounted to 4os. was too much : but he contended, that
putting each stock at its highest price, the bonus could not be
swelled to more than five pounds, whereas the right .honour-.
able gentleman made it six, and then with a degree of fancy
and imagination, which by no means ought to be exercised
on such a subject as that of a loan, called it a'bonus of six or
seven per cent. Mr. Fox also said, if his noble friend even
had the bonus of three millions to give away, it would only
have amounted to 18o,coo/. and not to 240,0001. as stated by
the right honourable gentleman. After arguing this Very
closely, and resorting to a variety of calculations and inge-
nious reasonings upon the doctrines of chance, as to the rise
and fall of the price of the funds, Mr. Fox took a kind of side-
wind notice of the opposition that had been given elsewhere
to the Irish Judicature bill. He- said the right honourable
gentleman had disappointed him. He had expected that he
would have called for the performance of all the notable pro-
mises in the King's speech, relative to raising loans in future
in such a way, that at the same time that they were raised a
fund should be provided for paying them oft: It would not
have been more extraordinary to have expected the present
ministry to have fulfilled all the flowery professions and pro-
mises of the last, than when they tried to pass a bill of theirs,
which they found on coming into office in an advanced parlia-
mentary stage, and about which scarcely any thing had been
said, when it was first brought in, for the adherents and sup-
porters of the last ministry to call upon them to state the rea-
sons upon which the bill had been originally introduced.
Having entered into an able discussion of the question of
long and short annuities, and contended very strenuously,
that the mode adopted by his noble friend of borrowing the
money upon an addition to funds already established rather
than on new funds, was by far the wisest method, he concluded
with repeating, that the badness of the present loan was ascrib-




570 TERMS OF THE LOAN. [April 25. 1783.] MOTION FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. 171
able to the shortness of the time in which it had been made,
and that the late ministry Were solely to blame for that cir-
cumstance.


In the course of this. debate, Mr. Pitt and Mr. Secretary Fox
were up several times. In one of his speeches, Mr. Pitt said, that
the right honourable secretary's reasoning on borrowing money to
increase the capital already owing, rather than with a view of re-
demption, was the reasoning of a gambler, who borrows despe-
rately, without meaning ever to repay the principal.


Mr. Secretary Fox replied with great keenness, and declared
the reverse of the proposition was the fact; for whether he
was or was not to be called a gambler for it, he should ever
advert to the doctrine of chances, and maintain, that borrow-
ing money on extravagant and disadvantageous terms, from a
vain hope of being able soon to- discharge that, which there
was not the smallest probability of being able to redeem, was
much more in the style of reasoning customarily held by gam-
blers; and the argument on which he should ever be governed
in public loans, was that the redemption being in the option
of the borrower, and not at the discretion of the lender, the
borrower holds the alternative either of redeeming at a fair
price, or of keeping the lender out of his principal.


25.


Mr. Secretary Fox said, as often as the badness of the pre-
sent loan was objected to, so often, whether the right honour-
able gentleman liked it or disliked it, would he state the , fact,
, tnat it was not imputable to the present administration, but


to the hurry in which it was made. "With regard to the rea-
sons that had induced the late administration to stay in till the
last moment, he could not argue upon them, because he did
not know them ; he did not, therefore; charge the right ho-
nourable gentleman, nor any body else, with criminality for
their conduct, because possibly the right honourable gentle-
man and others, might have very good reasons for it, but he
would leave it to the candour, to the justice, to the honour,
and to the common sense of every man who heard him, whether
it was not manifest, that the extreme hurry and difficulty,
under which the loan had been made by his noble friend, was
in a great measure to be considered as the reason, why the
terms of it were not better. If that was not the case, all the


uarament on the idea that the last administration occasionedn
that hurry, fell to the ground ; but that being the case, it was
fair for him to state, that the right honourable gentleman's


staying in office till the last, the very last day, as it were, before
a loan must be made, was more the cause of its being a bad
Joan, than any want of endeavours of his noble friend to make
a better. Mr. Pox said, as he was talking of a bad loan, it
put him in mind of the peace, for it occurred to him, that the
same cause occasioned the badness of both, namely, their
being obliged to be made by a certain day. The loan, the
committee knew,. must be made before Easter, and the peace
must be made by the meeting of parliament; the hurry in
which both were made, had rendered each, like every thing
done in a hurry, liable to much objection.


MR. PITT'S MOTION FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT.


May 7.


T`HIS day Mr.William Pitt made his promised motion respecting a
Reform in the parliamentary representation. As the mode of pro-


ceeding by a committee, proposed last year, had formed one of the
principal objections against the reform itself, he thought it more ad-
visable to bring forward some specific propositions: these were,
" I. That it was the opinion of the House, that measures werehighly
necessary to be taken for the future prevention of bribery and ex-
pence at elections. z. That for the future when the majority of
votes for any borough shall be convicted of gross and notorious
corruption before a select committee of that House, appointed to
try the merits of any election, such borough should be disfran-
chised, and the minority of voters, not so convicted, should be
entitled to vote for the county in which such borough should be
situated. 3. That an addition of knights of the shire, and of re-
presentatives of the metropolis, should be added to the state of
the representation." He left the number for future discussion, but
said he should propose one hundred. The motion was opposed by
Mr. Powys, Lord Mulgrave, Lord North, Mr. Welbore Ellis, and
Mr. Rigby. Amongst the converts to the question appeared Mr.
Thomas Pitt, and Mr. Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland.
It was also supported by Sir George Savile, Mr. Byng, Mr. Beau-
foy, Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and the Earl of Surrey.


Mr. Secretary Fox rose, and remarked to the House, that
he made no doubt there were some persons present who
would attribute what he said to lukewarmness, and not to




a


MOTION FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. [May 7.
zeal ; however, regardless of their censure, he would freely
deliver his sentiments, and assure the House that he most
heartily concurred with the right honourable gentleman who
made the motion, that the constitution required some reform,
and so far from its being absurd to make any innovation on it,
he was certain that the nature of our constitution required in-
novation and renovation ; for the beauty of the constitution
did not consist, as some people imagined, in theory, but in
practice. He knew it was the common and the popular
opinion, that our constitution was beautiful in theory, but all
corrupt in practice. Singular as his sentiment might be upon
the subject, he made no scruple to avow, that he looked to
the reverse as the true description of our constitution, and
thought it admirable in practice, but imperfect and very
faulty in theory. The theory was in its nature found
by experience to be absurd in several parts ; for, as it was
composed of three estates, king, lords, and commons, it was
absurd to think that one man should have an equal power to
the whole multitude; therefore, in the practical part, that
power , was wisely curtailed, and not left in the breast of one
man, but in a government consisting of several ministers. He
Regarded it as one of its chief excellencies, that it involved a
renovating principle in itself, and by being capable of re-
peated improvement, admitted the possibility of its being from
time to time carried to a degree of perfection beyond which
no human idea could go.


The right honourable secretary said much had been men-
tioned relative to the shortening the duration of parliaments,
and some persons attributed all our calamities to the want of
short parliaments. He had looked into history, and found
that when parliaments were more frequent, the nation was
more brilliant and successful ; he had also observed, that for
a period of ninny years since the passing of the septennial bill,
the nation had been at the pinnacle of its glory, therefore he
could infer nothing from that, nor did he, in fact, see that
this was material either way. The noble lord (North) in talk-
ing of the American war, had said it was popular in the be-


b. , that •ginning that i had been begun agreeably to the wishes of the
people, and. carried on by their consent until it proved unsuc-
cessful, when a stop was put to it. He differed with him ; for
although it had undoubtedly been begun by their wishes, the
people were for putting an end to it much sooner than it was
ended; and there he saw the defect of the House of Com-
mons; it did not speak the wishes of the people quick enough.
He begged leave to revert to the two hypotheses mentioned
by Mr. Thomas Pitt, wherein he said the despotism of the
crown had continued a minister in power against the wishes


1783.] MOTION ,FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. 173
of the people; and the republicanism of the people had, in
grasping for power, taken the crown captive, and robbed it
of its prerogative. Certainly, in the course of two years,
something like that had happened ; but he denied that, in all
the contentions he had held, and the systematic opposition,
as it had been called, that he gave to the noble lord, that ever
he struggled for power.


With respect to what the noble lord had said, that by ad-
ding more knights for the counties, the landed would over
match the commercial interest; he could by no means see that
to be the fact; for commerce now had spread itself so uni-
versally, that the landed and the commercial interests were
inseparable, therefore he was not afraid of any harm in that
quarter; nor did he fear much from the aristocracy that would
be occasioned : for although the motion went to a resolution
to add more members to the counties and capital, it by no
means confined gentlemen from making any wise regulations
in the bill that would be brought in, if the motion was car-
ried; and he should not probably be for adding them all to
the counties and capital, but should be for giving some to
the large towns of Birmingham, Manchester, &c. in order to
make the representation more equal.


He next touched on the offer of Mr. Thomas Pitt to give
up his borough of Old Sarum : it had a great sound, he said;
but in all those fine flourishes which gentlemen took, the
House should consider well the nature of the proposal. The
honourable gentleman had made an offer that he knew could
not be accepted, therefore the merit was not so great as it
appeared. There were many persons who were against the
motion, because it was an innovation ; yet they were perfectly
agreeable to innovations; they were not against what was al-
most a new doctrine, he meant an interposition of the other
House with respect to money bills ; there, merely for the
spirit of opposition, persons attempted to meddle with what
they were totally ignorant of, as was plain to be seen by their
conduct. [Mr. Fox here alluded to what the Earl of Shel-
burne had said of the right of the House of Lords to alter
money bills.] There one noble lord had argued about lottery
tickets, in a manner that could not help being ridiculed ;
another noble lord had attempted to prove, that borrowing
money lessened a debt ; in fact, this must be the case, where
persons officiously meddled with what did not concern them,
and talked of things in a place where they had no right to
talk of them.


The right honourable secretary entered? into a strong vin-
dication of the Yorkshire and other committees from the sneer
that had been cast on them by Mr. Powys, for the specula-




T. 74 MOTION FOR. A razonm IN PARLIAMENT. [May 7.
tive points they had thrown out. He wished the House to
recollect, that Sydney, Locke, and others writing on the con-
stitution, had speculated far beyond what was practicable;
yet much good resulted from their speculations, and they were
great helps to the practical beauty of which we so much
boasted. He would not run into a long history of a crooked
leg, in which the honourable gentleman had conducted him-
self but lamely ; but he would, in imitation of him, make a
simile, and compare the constitution of the country to that
of an individual ; it was exactly the same; it was to be fed,
it was to be nourished, it was to exist by nutriment, and
would undoubtedly be liable to disorders. Suppose the pa-
tient had a fever and was to call for water, the physician
would not be bound to comply with his request,' but would
mix up something that would nourish, that would be moist,
and that would quench the thirst, and not have the evil ten-
dency that water would ; so it was the duty of that House
to administer for the relief of the constitution, not exactly
as called for by the wild, extravagant doctrine of letting every
man who was not a fool or a madman vote, but by taking
some wise, salutary steps that would redress the grievances
complained of. He entered very fully into the nature of the
constitution, expressed himself a warm friend to a reform,
saying, that mankind were made for themselves, not for others;
and that it was the best government where the people had
the greatest share in it. He could have wished, that a corn,
mittee had been appointed similar to that moved for last year,
as he did not think the present motion would go far enough;
but as he was confident it would be an amendment, he should
give it his hearty support.


At two in the morning the House divided on Mr. Powys's mo-
tion, That the orders of the day be now read:


Tellers. Tellers.
YEAS Mr. Eden 293. -- No ES Lord Mahon 1Mr. J. Robinson Mr. Byng 149"


Majority against Mr. Pitt's motion 144.


1783.3


BILL FOR REGULATING, &C. I 75


BILL FOR REGULATING CERTAIN OFFICES IN THE
EXCHEQUER.


July
TN the committee on the bill for regulating certain offices in the
I exchequer, the chancellor, Lord John Cavendish, proposed, that
after the interest of the present auditors and tellers of the exche-
quer, and of the clerk of the pells, in the respective places, should
cease and determine, the salaries of those officers in future should
be fixed and certain, and as follow : the place of auditor 4,0001. a
year; each tellership 2,7ool.; clerkship of the pells 3,0001.; the
place of deputy to each of the four tellers i,000l. ; the deputy to
the clerk of the pells 800l.; and the receiver under him zoo/.
These regulations occasioned a debate. Mr. Pulteney strongly
objected to granting the tellers more than the amount of their
peace-emoluments ; but more particularly laid his finger on the
proposed increase of salary of the tellers' deputies or chief clerks.
He talked of the great influence the bill would throw into the scale
of the crown, and moved, " That the blanks in the bill be filled
with the words four hundred pounds' instead of one thousand."
Mr. William Pitt said, that since it was avowed that the tellership
ofthe exchequer were sinecures, he could not, by any means, con-
sent that the clerks should have i000/. a year. The honourable
gentleman, who had just spoken, had stated, that all the actual bu-


,
smess had been done for 4001. To what purpose, then give away
600l. a year ? There was something so barefaced, something so
unreasonable in the idea, that he could not but concur with the
honourable gentleman in his motion, since neither natural inclina-
tion, a necessary attention to the state of the country, nor the least
regard to a conscientious discharge of his duty as a member ofpar-
liament, would suffer him to vote away the public money so unwar-
rantably. Mr. Pitt talked of the petitions of the people for re-
form ; and asked what would be the opinion without doors of con-
duct like that the House were then advised to pursue ? The prin-
cipal offices in the exchequer were in the face of day declared to
be sinecures. The offices of the four tellers were indisputably
sinecures, and it was now proposed to pay them 2700/. a year for
themselves, and to give their deputies, whom they themselves ap-
pointed, 'odd. a year ! This was a degree of extravagant and im-
provident expenditure of the public money, to which he never could
consent ; he therefore concurred entirely with the honourable gen-
tleman near him. Nay, his ideas went farther ; he thought the emo-
luments of the other places were stated at a much higher rate than
they ought to be. He had no notion of swelling the emoluments
ofsinecures unnecessarily and inordinately ; he should therefore ob-
jaeocait ntsot it.the whole of the clause as amended, and give his vote


Mr. Secretary Fox said, that the principle of the bill was
not so much to reduce the salaries of' these offices, as to pre-




S76 BILL FOR REGULATING


[July 4,
vent the emoluments arising from them from encreasing with
the public burdens, and the holders of them from being
enriched in proportion as the public should grow poorer ; and
therefore the fixed salaries moved for by his noble friend, were
perfectly in unison with the principle of the bill. As to the
four deputies, he thought the salary of i 000l. each far from
being too much, because their offices were by no means sine-
cures; and as they held places of very great trust, none but
persons of considerable character ought to be employed in
them; and for such persons 40o/. a year would be too inconsi-
derable a salary. He said, if the bill had purported to be a
bill principally brought in for the purpose of effecting that
kind of reform which had economy merely in view, he should,
for one, subscribe to the sort of arguments he had heard
against it; but the chief object of the bib was of another nature.
His noble friend had proposed it, in order to put an end to a
matter that was in itself extremely odious, and had been much,
and, in his opinion, very justly complained of; the
existence of offices, the holders of which received an encrease
of emolument in proportion as the expellees of the country en-
creased, and , who grew rich upon the aggravation of the pub-
lic burden, and the public distress. That was the chief aim
of the bill ; and that, as the clause was proposed to be amended,
it fully and completely answered. With regard to the influ-
ence of the crown, much as he was an enemy to the encrease
of any undue influence, he was convinced, that it was impos-
sible for the government of a great kingdom to go on, unless
it had certain lucrative and honourable situations to bestow
on its officers in a peculiar line, as a provision for their fa-
milies, and a reward for their eminent and distinguished ser-
vices. Of this sort were the places in the exchequer, which,
though it might be necessary to lessen their inordinate emolu-
ments in times and seasons when they undoubtedly ought not
to encrease, yet care ought to be taken, not to pare them
so close, or to lower them so much as to render them
unworthy the acceptance or expectations of great and distin-
guished characters. In putting the tellers at 27001. his noble
friend had barely put them above their average peace-amount;
and he made 'no doubt but his noble friend meant no more.
The encrease, however, was so trilling, that it was not worth
disputing about. With regard to the argument, that giving
the clerk I cool. was in fact giving the principal I cool. in ad-
dition to this 2 7 001. that went upon so narrow and mean an
idea, that he knew not how to answer it. If those who held
the offices of tellers were base and sordid enough to stoop
to such a meanness, no bar the legislature had in its power to
provide, could possibly prevent it. Certain he, vas, three of


33•] OFFICES IN THE EXCHEQUER. 1 77
the present tellers would not demean themselves in so scanda-
lous a manner, but would spurn at any such proposition. And
indeed, the argument went so far, that if it were admitted,
there was scarce an official deputy in the kingdom whose prin-
cipal would not become liable to the same sort of imputa-
tion. The same thing might also be said of the secretary
of state, for instance, and of the two secretaries to the
treasury.; but would any man presume to hint an insinuation,
that at any time, under any administration, a bargain of the
nature m question had been driven ? He believed that man
was not to be found who would venture upon such an accusa-
tion ; why, then, feel an alarm upon such an account now ?
As a bill of influence, the present, undoubtedly, gave the crown
some influence ; but he believed it would be admitted to be a
sort of influence the least dangerous of any that could possibly
exist. To put a man in such a situation, as that the crown
should never be able to be useful to him, was, in his opinion,
a very foolish and unwise thing; but to put a man into such a
situation, as that it should be out of the power of the crown to
be hurtful to him, might, in a variety of instances, be necessary
and useful. He knew of no way of doing this more effectually,
than by giving a man an independent situation for life. In
this view he professed himself a friend to the bill; and a
stronger argument that his majesty's present ministers had no
views of a personal nature in making the salaries of the tellers
27001. a year, need not be resorted to, than a consideration of
who the present tellers were. Three of them, Lord Northing-
ton, Lord Temple, and an honourable and respectable member
of that House, ifr . Pratt, younger men than his majesty's
ministers ! The other teller, unhappily, might not be so good
a life; but then it was pretty well known, that it was promised
to a person not much older than any of his majesty's present
servants. He desired, in what he said, of the necessity of one


-


sort of influence remaining, not to be understood to extend
his ideas as far, as he had heard arguments of that nature car-
ried in another place. He had heard it said, that if the in-
fluence of the crown was too much diminished, men of despe-
rate fortunes, needy adventurers, and distressed politicians,
would be the only persons who would accept of the govern-
ment of the country. There was, he owned, something a little
strange in the argument, that men of large property and con-
siderable estates could not afford to serve their country as
cheap, as those who were less affluent. He was willing, how-
ever, to take the argument upon the grounds on which it had
been placed ; and since speaking of himself, he certainly could
not pretend to be a rich man, he was glad to hear it allowed,
thatosL.uch


as he could afford to serve the country cheaperCOL.




1 7 8
BILL FOR REGULATING [July


than men of greater affluence. In the present bill, however,
he did not think it right to take away all those emoluments,
which those who had reasoned in the manner he had stated,
thought so essential to remain. The noble and learned lord
might be assured, he envied him none of those emoluments,
nor any affluence that he could derive from office.


Mr. Pulteney's amendment was negatived. After this discussioiA
Mr. Rigby being anxious to protect the promise of a tellership
which had been given to Lord Thurlow, rose up to propose a clause
with that view. He reminded the House that Lord Thurlow, when
he quitted the profession and accepted the office of lord chan-
cellor, obtained from his majesty the promise of a tellership in the-
exchequer. This promise bad been made in the year 1778 ; and
he trusted that Lord Thurlow had a title to expect a reversion of a
tellership fully and beneficially. He therefore intended to bring
up a clause " to exempt the case of Edward Lord Thurlow from the
operation of the bill ; his majesty having, in the year 1778, pro-
mised to the said Lord Thurlow, on his accepting the office of lord
high chancellor, a reversion of a tellership of the exchequer, in as
large and beneficial a manner as tellerships were then enjoyed."


Mr. Secretary Fox said, it was difficult for the mind always'
to discriminate between motives public and personal. In
question likelike the present, it was purely personal; and to
speak on a question purely personal was certainly extremely
disagreeable; he nevertheless thought it his duty to state to
the House the true nature of the question, and then let the
Committee adopt or reject it, as they thought proper. The
right honourable gentleman who had proposed to move the
clause, and his noble colleague, had declared they could not
account for the noble and learned lord in question having de-
clined to accept the offer of a tellership when it was first made
him. They Would forgive him, if he declared that the me:
did not appear to him altogether so inexplicable. IN hee
the offir was\ first made, one reversion of a tellership was a:-
141y granted ; was it, therefore, to be wondered at, that
the noble and learned lord should not think a second reversion
quite so good a thing as might possibly conic within his reach?
They all knew that it was an unusual thing to grant a second
reversion, and for the best reason in the'world, namely, be-
cause sueli a grant was generally deemed of little value; and,
perhaps, under the peculiar circumstances under which i[
had been made to Lord Thurlow, (with two very young men
in possession, a third young man in reversion, and the first
teller at that time, to all appearance, a good life) it was o f
less value than at any other time-it could have been. Was it
to be wondered at that the noble and learned lord should have


111


1783.]
OFFICES IN THE EXCHEQUER. 179


since changed his mind ? Certainly it was not; circumstances
bad altered materially : one of the possessors was dead, and
another very infirm. Who could be surprised, then, as the
object seemed more attainable, that the noble and learned
lord should have changed his mind, and grown more willing
to accept a reversion in proportion as the object approached
nearer? But it had happened, that the House of Commons,
in the interim, had thrown a difficulty in the way, by coming
to that resolution which the right honourable gentleman had
stated. All that could be clone had been done by the last
ministry, anti a very extraordinary proceeding that was ; such
a proceeding, he believed, as had never been heard of before.
They had introduced the royal promise into the wording of
the patent, granting the noble and learned lord, what was
generally termed a floating pension, being a pension to be
neld and enjoyed by him till such time as the tellership should
fall in. But even in doing this, the late ministry (who might
naturally be supposed to be as well inclined to serve Lord
Thurlow as their ability would allow) had manifested, that it
was their clear and decided opinion, that the royal promise
must be subject to such restrictions and limitations as parlia-
ment should thereafter think fit to make respecting the teller-
ihips of the exchequer ; and, indeed, they had worded the
recognition of that promise in the patent, in phrases expressly
stating that such was their opinion. Mr. Fox produced an
extract from the patent, and read the sentence to the commit-
tee which described the promise, and the extent in-which it
was intended to be fulfilled. After commenting upon the
novelty or introducing the mention of any such matter in a,
patent, and arguing upon the conclusive argument, that
Lord Thurlow's reversion was, in the sense of the late minis-
try, to be liable to the future restrictions and limitations of
parliament, which the patent itself held out, he said he had
listened with the utmost attention to what had fallen from the
right honourable gentleman, and especially to the proviso he
had read, with a view to discover upon what principle lie
meant to rest his motion. It was clear, however, that it was
in that right honourable gentleman's own opinion an applica-
tion grounded on no one principle whatever, nor on the
smallest scintilla of a principle. The proviso expressly stated
the exemption for Edward Lord Thurlow ; nor was it in the
right honourable gentleman's power to put it on any other
ground whatever.


• The House, therefore, would consider,
that in the present case, there was no grant of a reversion to
Plead upon : it was submitted to their consideration whether
they should go out of their way to do a favour to Edward
Lord Thurlow : and if they chose to adopt a proviso 1OUIlded,


N 2




183 BILL FOR REGULATING [July 4.
on no principle, but merely stated as the case of Edward
Lord Thurlow, they undoubtedly had a right to do so. He
meant not to press his arguments upon them, nor to urge
them to reject the clause, should it be moved. It was his duty
to state to them what the motion really was that they were
about to have made, and having clone so, he should leave it
entirely to their judgment to act respecting it as they thought
proper. Mr. Fox, in the course of his speech declared, that
lie spoke from no motive of resentment whatever. Gentlemen
might imagine, that certain severe reflections personally made
upon him by the noble and learned lord of late, in consequence
of their having a difference in respect to political opinion, and
what had passed elsewhere, might have soured his mind, and
rendered him adverse to the clause. He assured the commit-
tee he spoke from no such motives ; and though the noble and
learned lord had thought proper to say, that when the crown
was stripped of its power of reward, none but desperate and
needy adventurers would accept of office, he did assure that
noble lord's friends, that he by no means wished to deny him
any share of that affluence which he seemed to consider as so
essential a qualification for office.


The proviso of Mr. Rigby was agreed to without a division. But
though he was thus successful in a committee upon the bill, on the
report of the Committee being presented to the House, his efforts
for Lord Thurlow were less ibrtunate. To give the greater
strength to his proviso, he had expressed it in new language, and
rested it on the foundation, that in the patent for Lord Thurlow's
pension, his majesty had been pleased to promise the place of a
tellership of the exchequer to him when he accepted the office of
lord chancellor. He did not know whether he was to call his
noble friend's pretension to the exemption a-promise or a bar-
gain ; but he hoped it would appear to the House, as it had con-
vinced the Committee, that it was such a pretension as was well en-
titled to the protection of parliament.


Mr. Secretary Fox said, he would not object to the motion,.
provided any eithe friends of Lord Thurlow would get up and
say, that they claimed this for him as a bargain, and not as a
promise. He- had understood that this was admitted on Fri-
day, and it was in consequence of so understanding, that he
had given up his opposition, and consented to receive the
clause that had been then moved. Let him hear the same
avowed now, and he would not oppose the motion ; but one
of two things must be cleared up ; it either was a promise or
a bargain. If a bargain, as he had just declared, there could
be no objection to the clause passing as now proposed ; if a
promise, theca the sense of the House must be taken. ge


I 7 8 3 . 11 OFFICES IN THE EXCHEQUER. 18 1


pressed this the more urgently, because that House and the
public had been so unfairly dealt with upon the subject. It
had long been made a boast of as a great merit in the noble
and learned lord, that he had accepted the seals uncondition-
ally; and on Friday last his friends had declared the noble
lord had made a bargain for a tellership as the price of the
situation he quitted when he took the seals. Both these things
could not be true ; nor had the noble and learned lord any
right to take all the merit of the one, and all the advantage of
the other. He declared himself an enemy to all impostures, and
therefore it was that he wanted to come atthe fact. lithe friends
a the noble lord avowed it to havebeen a bargain, they had a
right to the exemption. If they placed Lord Thurlow on su-
perior ground, and said, it was (what he believed it to have
been, and what his majesty himself described it to have been,
in the patent in which he recognised it) an unsolicited and
spontaneous promise on the part of his majesty, they stood
upon very different grounds indeed, and it would be for the
House to decide whether such an exemption should be made
or not. If it was a bargain, the noble lord had an indisputa-
ble claim to it; if he claimed it as a promise, then surely he
must take it in the words of his patent — " subject to such re-
gulations as our parliament may hereafter adopt." For his
part, he would not suffer any man to avail himself of the
merit of having taken the great seal without any bargain or
stipulation, and come afterwards to parliament to claim an
exemption from certain regulations on the ground of having
made a bargain. He denied that he had pledged himself to
adopt the clause in the manner stated by the right honourable
gentleman. He had, indeed, consented to receive the clause
that night in the committee; but he had by no means bound
himself down to agree to the amendment of that clause that
should be proposed in the House on the report : nor was he
now disposed to agree to it, but on one condition he had
stated, and that was — let some friend of the noble and learned
lord get up and avow, that the noble and learned lord had
bargained for the tellership when he took the seals. He con-
cluded by saying, that if the clause should be said to be
founded on a bargain, he would not oppose it; but if on a
promise, he would take the sense of the House upon it, as it
was not worded according to the manner in which the pro-
mise was expressed in the patent.


The proviso agreed to in the committee was rejected by the
House ; and on Mr. Rigby's clause, declaring " That nothing in
the act contained shall extend to affect any grant which may be


N 3




182 PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS. [July Ie. 1783.] PUBLIC =ACCOUNTANTS. 1 83
made to Edward Lord Thurlow, of a reversion of a tellership of
the exchequer," the House divided :


Tellers.
Mr. Rigby 1 Mr. ByngYEAS -NOES IMr. Kenyon C 49 Mr. Sheridan J 57•


So it passed in the negative. Mr. Hussey then moved the
following clause, " That the officers of the exchequer shall receive
no greater emoluments in time of war than in time of peace."


Mr. Secretary Fox opposed the clause ; he declared, that
he would not touch places that had been considered as free-
holds, and negotiated as personal property. , Of all the influ-
ence of the crown, he knew of no species of influence so much
to be dreaded as the influence of terror. Those who pro,:
fessed themselves the warmest and most strenuous advocates
for extending the influence of the crown of another kind, were,
he believed, as adverse as he was to this influence of terror,
because they knew that if it were suffered to be exercised in
one instance, it would be exercised in many others, and in
short that it would shake the whole kingdom. He therefore
was determined to resist it wherever the attempt was made to
exert it. He said farther, that in all matters of reform, it
was necessary and wise to begin in as broad and intelligible a
manner as possible : he presumed his noble friend had chosen
in the present bill to save whole and entire the rights of all
those persons, now in possession of places in the exchequer,
for this reason : and to fix the time for the operation of the
bill to commence, at the period of the lives of such persons as
were in actual possession of the offices it went to affect. He
thought the idea a wise one, and being persuaded, that any
attempt to alter it would produce a bad elect, and the attempt
now made the worst effect possible, he should give the motion
for leave to bring up the clause his positive negative.


The clause was negatived without a division.


PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS.


July to.


-
TN conformity to the order of the House, Lord John Cavendish


-a- laid before them a book containing a " List of the Public Ac-
countants who have received Public Money by way of Imprest,
and upon Account, and who have not yet accounted for the same,
and of those Persons from whom Balances of declared Accounts
are still due." The moment the book was laid upon the table, and


II


before any one had time to look into it, Mr. William Pitt rose to
make a motion upon it. He said that from the book that had beenjust laid upon the table, it appeared that forty-four millions of thepublic money had been issued to public accountants, who had not
passed any account whatever for these sums before the auditors of
the imprest : he did not wish to be understood to mean that such a
sum was due to the public, and might be recovered ; he did not
believe there was even an hundredth part of it that was due or re-
coverable ; nay, he knew that many of the persons who stood as
debtors to the public, in the book then on the table, had actually
passed their accounts before the treasury; nay, that in the
case of contracts, the money had actually been due, before it
had been issued from the , exchequer, because the service to
which the contractors were bound by their contracts, had
been performed before the issuing of the money : but still
though the money had been accounted for . in substance, it had not
been accounted for in form, because the accounts had not passed
before the auditors of the iniprest : this, he said, might be an ar-
gument against the present forms of passing accounts in the ex-
chequer, as such a length of time must necessarily elapse before
they were likely to be called for, that in the mean time the
money might be dissipated. He said, that it might be proper
to pass an act of parliament to operate as a quietus to the
representatives of accountants, to whom money had been is-
sued fifty years ago, and where the vouchers for the expendi-
ture might, through lapse of time, have been lost ; but on the
other hand, it would be as proper to compel accountants of a
later date to pass their accounts, and pay such balances as should
he due to the public. He concluded, by moving, " that an hum-
ble Address be presented to his majesty, representing to his ma-
jesty; that it appears that large sums of money, which have at dif-
ferent times, and many of them very long since, been paid for
public services to sub-accountants, amounting in the whole to
above forty-four millions, have not yet been accounted for before
the auditors of. the Imprest ; and that though many of them may
have been otherwise accounted for in the course of office, yet
others, to a very large amount, have not. been accounted for at alt.
That it appears to this House to be of the utmost importance, that
all public accounts should be brought forward with as little delay
as possible, and that therefore they do humbly beseech his majesty
to be graciously pleased to give directions, that the most effectual
measures should be taken to enquire concerning the persons to
whom the said sums have been issued, or their legal representa-
tives, and particularly those to whom money has been issued in
the course of the late expensive war, and to take measures in all
cases where there shall appear to be sufficient ground to compel
them in due course of law to account for the same ; and that
this House will in due time co-operate in such measure as may, on
full deliberation, appear to be proper, in order to prevent the like
delays for the future." Mr. Grenville seconded the motion. Mr.
Sheridan moved two amendments to the motion. The one was to
leave out the words " it appears to this House," and insert in their


N 4




184 ?metre ACCOUNTANTS. [July 10.
stead the following, " this House having reason to believe ;" the
other to leave out the specific sum of forty-four millions, so that
the phrase would run generally that great sums, &c. had been
issued, and had not been accounted for.


Mr. Secretary Fox said, he would adopt the amendments
in preference to the original motion, because he preferred
truth to falsehood ; it was true that he had reason to believe
()Teat sums were still to be accounted for; but it would be




a falsehood to assert, when no authentic document was before
the House, that " it appears" to the House, that great sums
arc still unaccounted for; and still more false would it be to
state these sums to amount to forty-four millions. But the
right honourable member probably had his views for stating a
specific sum; such, probably, as those persons had, who
when his noble relation (the late Lord Holland) had about
400,0001. of the public money in his hands, called him the
public defaulter of unaccounted millions ; and said, that
he had forty millions still in his hands to account for. Fifty
millions of public money unaccounted for, had been roundly
asserted to be the sum that the motion of the 28th of Fe-
bruary would bring to light. The right honourable gen-
tleman, who made the motion, had now chosen to say, he
had talked only of forty-nine millions, and lo ! the book
upon the table, in proof of the authenticity of which the
House had heard so much from the other side of the House,
stated only forty-four millions, of which the right honourable
gentleman had himself declared, he did not think the " one
hundredth part" of the sum was recoverable, or much of
it due. Having put this in a point of view that flashed con-
viction with it, Mr. Fox took notice of the manner in which -
the book had been brought forward, and said, if he were
obliged to pass an opinion on the fact, he should certainly
declare, that his noble friend did wrong to present the book
at all. His noble friend's well-known, extreme candour,
and his wish on all occasions to please every person, added.
to the idea, that producing such a book might gratify the
curiosity of the House, were certainly reasons that obviously
accounted for his noble friend's having been induced to
present the book at the bar. But if he had been consulted,
he should certainly have advised the noble lord not tohave
brought it in; and he was persuaded, if his noble friend had
taken more time to consider of the matter, and it had oc-
curred to his mind, that so ill a use was likely to be made
of the book, when presented, he would have been of the same
opinion. After urging this very strongly, Mr. Fox observed,
that it was a little extraordinary that the right' honourable


IO


I783.] ADAMS ON TIM KING'S SPEECH. 18s


gentleman who moved the address, and his friends who sup-
ported it, should so loudly and so vehemently complain that
ministers were averse to enquiry, and that they were de-
termined to oppose every proposition of reform, when neither
his honourable friend who had proposed the amendments,
nor any other person who had spoken in favour of them,
had made the least opposition to the main object of the ad-
dress. To that nobody objected. The amendments would
neither prejudice or diminish it. Considered as an enquiry,
with a view to prospective regulation, the book upon the
table was every way adequate. If the enquiry was meant
to be retrospective, undoubtedly the book was not a ground
of sufficient authenticity to rest a proceeding upon. But,
what purpose would it answer to go into a retrospective
enquiry, where there was so small a hope of benefit?


The amendments were adopted, and the address as amended,
agreed to.


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH AT THE OPENING or THE
SESSION.


November
THE King the session with the following speech toopened


both Houses:
" My lords and gentlemen; I have the satisfaction to inform


you that definitive treaties of peace have been concluded with
the courts of France and Spain, and with the United States of
.America. Preliminary articles have been also ratified with the
States General of the united provinces. I have ordered these
several treaties to be laid before you; and I am happy to add,
that I have no cause to doubt but that all those powers agree
with me in my sincere inclination to keep the calamities of war
at a great distance.— The objects which are to be brought under
your deliberation, will sufficiently explain my reasons for calling
you together after so short a recess. Enquiries of the utmost
importance have been long and diligently pursued, and the fruit
of them will be expected. The situation of the East India com-
pany will require the utmost exertions of your wisdom to maintain
and improve the valuable advantages derived from our Indian
possessions, and to promote and secure the happiness of the native
inhabitants of those provinces. — The season of peace will call
upon you for an attention to every thing which can recruit the
strength of the nation, after so long and so expensive a war. —
The security and increase of the revenue, in the manner least




i86


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Nov. i r.


burthenSome to my 'subjects, will be amongst your first objects.
In many essential parts it has suffered : dangerous frauds have
prevailed, and alarming outrages have been committed. Exer-
tions have not been wanting to repress this daring spirit, nor pains
to enquire into its true causes. In any instances in which the
powers of government may not be equal to its utmost care and
vigilance, I have no doubt that the wisdom of my parliament will
provide such remedies as may be found wanting for the accom-
plishment of purposes, in which the material interests of this nation
are so deeply concerned.


" Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; I have ordered the
estimates of the expences for the year to be laid before you.
From those you will perceive the reduction which I have made
in all the establishments, which appear to me to be brought as
low as prudence will admit ; and you will participate with me in
the satisfaction which I feel in this step towards the relief of my
subjects. At the end of a war some part of its weight must ine-
vitably be borne for a time. I feel for the burthens of my people :
but I rely on that fortitude which has hitherto supported this
nation under many difficulties, for their bearing those, which the
present exigencies require, and which are so necessary for the full
support of the national credit.


" My lords,. and gentlemen ; in many respects our situation is
new. Your counsels will provide what is called for by that situa-
tion ; and your wisdom will give permanence to whatever has been
found beneficial by the experience of ages. In your deliberations
you will preserve that temper and moderation which the impor-
tance of their objects demands, and will, I have no doubt, pro-
duce ; and I am sure that you are unanimous in your desire to
direct all those deliberatiorA to the honour of my crown, the safety
of my dominions, and the prosperity of my people."


An address in the usual form, was moved by the Earl of Upper
Ossory, and seconded by Sir Francis Basset. Mr. William Pitt
animadverted with great triumph on the inconsistency of the mi.
nisterial side of the House, in voting an address of thanks to the
king, for having concluded definitive treaties of peace, the very
transcript of those preliminary articles•which they had before voted
to be inadequate and dishonourable. He likewise called loudly
on the minister to bring forward without delay some plan for se-
curing and improving the advantages that might be derived from
our possessions in the East ; a plan, not of temporary palliation,
of timorous expedients, but vigorous and effectual, suited to the
magnitude, the importance, and the alarming exigency of the
case.


Mr. Secretary Fox returned his warm thanks to the right
honourable gentleman, and said, that few things could give
him greater satisfaction than to find that both the speech and
address appeared unexceptionable to him, and that they were
to be honoured with his support. At the same time he could
not allow that there was any ground for the triumph of the


1783.] ADDRESS ON THE RING'S SPEECH.
187


honourable gentleman, when he exultingly observed that the
present address to which the Home were called upon to assent,
was substantially the same with that to which, in -February
last, they gave a negative: the right honourable member
wished to fasten on the present ministers the imputation of
inconsistency ; there was a circumstance that he had thought
proper not to mention, which would make the inconsistency
vanish. He (Mr. Fox) thought the preliminary articles such
as the then situation of the country did not warrant; and
yet he was ready to vote for this address; but why? because
the signing of the preliminary articles had pledged the faith
of the nation, and rendered the signing of the definitive
treaties a matter not so much of choice as of necessity ; and
therefore as it had become necessary to conclude them, it
was surely proper to thank his majesty for having put the
finishing hand to a treaty which he could not refUse to sign,
without a violation of public faith. During the last session
of parliament, he had declared his opinion pretty roundly
about the preliminaries of peace; he then pronounced them
to be less advantageous than, from the relative situation of
affairs, this country had a right to expect. He still was of
that opinion, and considered the preliminary articles, in every
point of view, as inadequate to our claims; and he begged
leave to call back to the memory of the House the situation
of our affairs at that time. In the East Indies, where our
affairs bad been said to be the most desperate, what had hap-
pened to make us rejoice that peace had been concluded ?
Had any Englishman looked to an engagement between the
British and French fleets, in that quarter of the world, with
any other apprehension, than that which every humane man
feels, who repines at the prospect of an event by which much
human blood must be shed, and uselessly too, after a peace
is concluded? 'When any man said that our fleets had de-
creased, and our finances had been disordered, and then
assigned these circumstances as reasons for concluding such
a peace as the last, it was incumbent on that man to prove,
that the decrease in the one, and disorder in the other, had
taken place simply, and without being accompanied, by
similar misfortunes in the fleets and finances of the enemy,
for if, when it is proved that we have suffered, it is also made
manifest, that the enemy has suffered in the same proportion,
then the relative misfortune on our side cannot be set up as
a good argument to justify the making of the late peace.


Our finances, it was true, were not in as good a state as
we could wish; but in order to shew that the state of our
finances pointed out the necessity of making peace to avoid a
national bankruptcy, it ought to be proved that the treasury




188 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
[Nov.


of the enemy was in such a state as to set bankruptcy at
defiance: he believed that the honourable gentleman would
not think himself justified from any event that had happened
this summer (alluding to the failure of the Caisse d'Escomte
in Paris), to undertake to prove that the French treasury was
in any such condition. It was, therefore, fair to say, that
the preliminary articles did not answer the claims of the pub-
lic, nor satisfy their expectations; but the right honourable
gentleman's argument that these were in fact the same, and
that therefore the thanks in the present instance was an eu-
Fogium on the ministers who made the peace, was not well
founded: there was a little circumstance which made a ma-
terial difference in the comparison. The faith of the nation
was to be taken against the situation of the country. Know-
ing and feeling our pretentions to better terms; incapable of
accepting such as we had procured; the present ministers yet
ratified the treaties. They had no alternative; and therefore
it was not to be stated that the cases were parallel, or that
there was any comparison between the preliminary articles
and the definitive treaties.


" But," it was said, " the definitive treaties might have
been concluded sooner, especially as there was no difference."
Certainly, if there was no difference they might have been
procured sooner : but was there not great ancd essential dif-
ference? Were there not points obtained which more than
justified, and which more than compensated for the delay of
a few weeks, or even of a few months ? They might have been
concluded sooner perhaps; it was his opinion they might;
but in this their conduct was to be judged of fairly; it must
be enquired what they had gained by the delay, and what
they had suffered. If they had procured certain points which
were before doubtful or obscure, and that without incurring
expence, certainly the delay would be approved of; and on
this ground he wished the matter to be tried. If the right
honourable gentleman would give himself the trouble to read
and compare the preliminary and definitive treaties, he would
find, that the latter were not exact transcripts of the former.
There were some few variations, to some of which the noble
lord who moved the address had alluded; either of which,
in his humble opinion, was well worth the delay of a few
weeks, or even of a few months. If the right hononrable
gentleman would take the trouble to look to the 7th article
in each, he would find, that by the preliminary treaty, the
island of Tobago was to be ceded to France, but that no
regard whatever had been paid to the protection of the Pro,-
testant and British inhabitants. Whereas, by the definitive
treaty, it was evident, that care had been taken to stipulate


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 1891783.]
every condition that could be asked for the protection of
those, who had no longer the happiness to be the subjects of
his majesty; they were now as effectually secured as when
they were so. This alone he conceived to be a matter of
some moment, and worth the delay complained of. Again,
if the honourable gentleman would proceed a little farther
in comparing the two treaties, he will find, that by the pre-
liminary treaty, no boundaries were ascertained for our car-
rying on the gum trade; whereas, by the I I111 article of the
definitive treaty, the boundaries were expressly laid down
and described ; that ambiguity and want of precision which
would have been the productive source of quarrels, was re-
moved; and it would not be easy to dispute on the mean-
ing of the spirit of the article as now worded. According
to the preliminary articles, the gum trade was to be carried
on in the same manner in which it used to be carried on
before the year 1755; that is to say, when it was carried on
by violence, and constantly attended by acts of hostility, which
daily afforded grounds of quarrel, that might possibly in the
end bring on a war, that would defeat the right honourable
member's laudable wishes for the establishment of a real
sinking fund, for paying off some part of the national debt: —
by the care taken during the late negotiation, the coast on
which the gum trade might be carried on was ascertained,
he hoped to the satisfaction of all the persons concerned in
it; at least it was an advantage to have it ascertained. A
third variation, if he carried his comparison a little farther,
lie would find in the 13th article, about the meaning con-
cerning which so many doubts had been expressed in the
House last session. The words, " ancient possessions," stood
in the preliminary treaties as the only description of the pos-
sessions of our allies in India, without any definition as to
what time the word ancient referred. In the article in the
definitive treaty it would be found, that the period was fixed
and ascertained by the insertion of the year 1776. These
three differences, therefore, were to be urged in defence of the
delay in question. But there still remained a fourth, which
occasioned more trouble than all the rest, and that, though
the House in general might not immediately comprehend it,
the right honourable gentleman would fully understand, and.
that was, the settling the period for the negotiation of a treaty
of commerce, which is now filled up in the definitive treaty
with the words, " within the space of two years, to be com-
puted from the 1st of January 178 4," which fixes the period
for the negotiation to two years. Pending the negotiation, it
was reasonable to suppose the three nations would in com-
mercial matters be bound by the treaty of Utrecht: and this





799 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Nov.
he imagined was the sense of the British ministers. But sup-
posing the two years should expire before the new commer-
cial arrangements should take place, a question would natu-
rally arise, What would, in this case, become of the treaty of
Utrecht? For his part, he was of opinion, that the treaty
of Utrecht would, in such a case, still remain in full force ;
but he knew, on the other hand, that this had not been the
opinion of the courts of Madrid and Versailles, the ministers
of which contended, that if the negotiations should end with-
out producing any new commercial arrangements, the treaty
of Utrecht would, in that case, be completely annulled : the
consequence, therefore, would be this, that Great Britain.




• I


would be obliged to comply with all the requisitions of these
two courts, or else adopt one side of this disagreeable alter-
native — either to live without any commercial intercourse
between France and Spain, or to go to war with them, in
order to procure advantageous terms of commerce. In either
case this country must suffer: she must either consent to
forego the benefits arising from the treaty of Utrecht, which
had always been deemed highly beneficial ; or else run the
risk of losing all those blessings by a new war, which we might
expect to derive from the peace. By the delay , that had in-
tervened, all these difficulties had been removed ; the treaty
of Utrecht, and all others between France, Spain, and this
country, had been unconditionally revived and renewed ; so
that let the negotiations for new commercial arrangements
terminate as they may, England cannot be worse than she is:
if the negotiation should succeed, so much the better; if it
should not, then she will find herself just where she is, in the
full enjoyment of the benefits of the .treaty of Utrecht, and
this would be filially settled in two years from the 1st of
January 1784. If no other advantage had been derived
from the delay, he thought it was well compensated ; and
now that the business was concluded, he would not hesitate
to say, that, bound as he knew the public faith to have been
by the preliminary articles, he would have concluded the de,
fiuitive treaties on the basis of them, if the ministers of the
other belligerent powers had not thought proper to recede
from the letter of them. in these several instances.


He hoped that from all he had said, the House would not
think the delay had been useless ; and that they would acquit
him of inconsistency in condemning the preliminary articles
in the last session, and yet calling upon gentlemen to vote for
an address that approved of definitive treaties that were found-
ed upon them : it was proper now to carry into effect, what it
might have been better for the nation had never been pro-
posed; but having once been done, there was a necessity to


1 `)3 3 •]


ADDRESS ON' THE KING'S SPEECH. 19!


ratify it ; and whatever the ministers who advised the signing
of the preliminary articles might think to the contrary, he was
bold to say, that from a comparison of the losses and advan-
tages on both sides between France and England, he was
convinced that the ministers of the former power had, by ma-
king the peace when they did, rendered their country as
great a service as had ever been rendered by any statesman,
to any country, at the end of any war.


The right honourable member .was surprised that no com-
mercial treaty with America had been signed : but, in fret,
there was no ground for surprise; the late administration had
not been blamed, as the right honourable member imagined,
for not having produced a commercial system to parliament;
but for having, in the first instance, signed the provisional
treaty, without having made any stipulations in favour. of
British commerce ; and in the next, for not having brought
forward some regulations adapted to the situation of the mo-
ment, which should hold, till a general system could be form-
ed and adopted. For his part, he was free to own, that he
might have signed the definitive treaty with America sooner
if he had thought it necessary; but having all along looked
upon the provisional treaty as definitive and absolute, when a
particular event should happen, which had since taken place,
namely, the peace with France, he did not think any ratifica-
tion necessary. This was the language he had held in his dis-
patches to our negotiators: but as the other powers were of
opinion, that they ought not to sign the definitive treaties, un-
til the provisional articles should have been previously ratified,
he gave way, because he did not think proper to defer the
signature of the definitive treaties with the other powers, until
America and England could have settled the terms of a com-
mercial treaty; and also because he was of opinion, that the
negotiation might be better carried on in London or Phila-
delphia than in Paris. In the steps which they had taken,
the utmost care and attention had been used to bring back to
this country the minds, the affections, the commerce of America.
The gentleman who was sent to Paris to negociate this treaty,
was qualified for the task, as much from his extensive know-
ledge of the interests of the two countries, as from his
character for integrity, and the love of freedom: his abili-
ties in this negotiation had been apparent, and he deserved


'well of his country. He adverted to the measure of giving his
majesty in council discretional powers for a limited time, in
regard to the management of the commerce of the two coun-
tries. The right honourable gentleman's observations on that
act certainly were not excited by any evil which had been ex-


1




192 ADDItESS ON 'mit RING'S SPEtC11. [Nov. 1 s,
perienced. No danger nor injury had as yet arisen from these
discretional powers : but had they not been extended in dura-
tion, he must before now have come to parliament for fresh
powers, as the system of commerce had not been settled.


The right honourable member wondered that the India bu-
-siness had been'&) long postponed. On this point he was rea-
dy to take shame to himself; for the state of our affairs in the
East had for sonic time been such, that they could ill brook
any delay. The right honourable gentleman had declared,
that there were in the present ministry some, who had long ago
been extremely clamorous for the adjustment of a system of
government, applicable to the situation of our affairs in that
quarter of the globe. In that some Mr. Fox acknowledged
himself to be included : but important and pressing as the
business of India undoubtedly was, he could very easily ac-
count for nothing systematic having yet been proposed to par-
liament respecting it : the rapid change ofministers for these
last two years, was the reason why nothing had hitherto been
done. Various committees, he observed, had been from time
to time appointed by that House, and such infinite pains had
been taken to investigate and enquire into the real state of our
Indian territories ; and such able and accurate reports had
been made upon the subject, that no popular assembly could
possibly be better informed, than that House was, relative to 40
Eastern events, and the situation of our affairs there; but from
the mere accident of the rapidly-succeeding changes of minis-
try, it had been impossible to do any thing essential in the bu-
siness. The secret and select committees, who had so remark-
ably distinguished themselves by their assiduity and ability,
had both originated in the administration of the noble lord in*
the blue ribbon : and as a learned gentleman had been appoint-
ed chairman of the secret committee, who lived at the time in
great friendship and confidence with the minister, it was not
to be doubted but that the learned gentleman would have pro-
posed something material upon the subject, if his achninistra-
tion had not been suddenly dissolved. The short administra-
tion of the noble marquis, whose name could not be mention!,.*
ed without exciting the most lively regret in the breast of every
well-wisher to his country, left no time for entering upon
that business ; and even the noble earl, who had been at the
head of the last administration, had not time to take any ef,
fectual measures to heal the wounds which former governors
had given to India. The learned gentleman to whom he al-
luded (Mr. Dundas) lived in as much confidence with the no--


4 ble earl, as he had before done with the noble lord, and cer-.
tainly, if the time had not been too short, he would have


r


brought forward resolutions on the evidence which came be-;


1783j ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 1.93
fore him. During their continuance in office, however, it -was,.
well known that certain resolutions, touching the recall of a
governor, grounded on one of the reports of the select com-
mittee, were proposed, and agreed to by the House; that the
directors of the East India company ordered the recall of the
governor in question; that the general court of proprietors
over-ruled the resolution of the court of directors; and that
dispatches were made ready upon the business at the India
house, and upon being sent to the secretary of state for the
home department for his inspection and concurrence, agree-
ably to an act of parliament, Mr. Townshend stopped them,
and in his place stated to the House what he had done, and
his reasons for ,


so doing. In this, Mr. Townshend, in his
opinion, had acted with great propriety ; but all was anarchy
and confusion, both in the East and in the direction at home.
What was done by the one, was undone by the other. There
was no efficacy in the system of the government, and it was
indispensably necessary that something should be immediately
done : but as it then lay with the House to come to some re-
solution upon the business, the fault, certainly, was not impu-
table to any one of the administrations he had mentioned.
With regard to that, in which he had then the honour to bear
a part, they came not into office till April; May was the earliest
month that lie could have brought in any bill ; and when it was
considered, that although that House was well instructed in
the concerns of India, the other had not had the. same oppor-
tunities for information, lie thought it more advisable to de-
lay the matter during a. short recess, and to bring it on early
in this session, than to precipitate a business so extremely Me-
portant at the tail of the last, to put an end to which so gene-
ral an impatience was expressed. To convince gentlemen,
however, that it was his design to bring it forward immediately,
he would take advantage of the full House that he then saw,
and give notice, that on Tuesday he should make a motion
relative to India.


The right honourable member had said, that with respect to
the state of the nation, nothing ought to be kept back, but, all
ought to be submitted to the public eve; and that such burdens
ought to be cheerfully submitted to, as should be found ne-
cessary to restore public credit, and raise such a revenue as
would help to extinguish some part of the national debt. He
rejoiced to hear this language from the right honourable mem-
ber, because he hoped, that when the state of the nation should
he laid before parliament faithfully and fully, the right honour-
able member would support government in laying on the bur-
dens that should be found indispensably necessary. The pub-
l ic faith must be preserved inviolate; and as to all the nonsense


VOL. II.
0




194 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Nov. I.I.


of taxing the funds, and such doctrines as had been broached
by writers, not anonymous writers indeed, but whose names
lent no credit to their works, they had his execration. It was a
measure which no honest minister would take, and which, if any
dishonest man presumed to take, no parliament would justify or
bear. Such a measure could never be adopted in such a govern-
ment as ours, where public faith and public credit were the same
thing. From the general terms in which the right honour-
able gentleman had begun to mention the national faith and
the finances of the country, he said, he had been led to ima-
gine, that he meant to propose some enquiry that would keep •
the subject at a distance; but the right honourable gentleman
had afterwards, in a manly and open way, declared the pro-
per remedy to be applied. It was to look the situation of the
country in the face, to determine to meet the difficulty, great
as it professedly was to provide for it, be the burden ever so
grievous; and to take care that the debt, funded and un-
funded, be ascertained; and neither to conceal the true state
of it from the people at large, nor, what was still more un-,
wise, to conceal it from themselves. There was a maxim laid
down, in an excellent book upon the Wealth of Nations,
Mr. Fox said, which had been ridiculed for its simplicity,
but which was indisputable as to its truth. In that book it
was stated, that the only way to become rich, was to manage
matters so, as to make one's income exceed one's expences.
This maxim applied equally to an individual and to a nation:
The proper line of conduct, therefore, was by a well-directed
economy to retrench every current expence, and to make as
large a saving, during the peace, as possible. Nor was this
all: he would freely own that his wishes went much farther.
He should not think a prospect of recovery was opened, and
the country likely to be restored to its former greatness, un-
less ministers contrived some means or other to pay off a part
at least of the national debt, and did something towards
establishing an actual sinking fund, capable of being applied
to a constant and sensible diminution of the public burdens.
To such a purpose he should most studiously direct his atten-
tion; and he trusted, whatever might be the right honourable.
gentleman's private opinion upon politics, the right honour-
able gentleman would lend his support to make a strong go'
verni»ent, by which he meant not a strong administration,
for the thing was the same, let who would be ministers. In
order to effect, however, this great, this desirable end, the
dread of unpopularity must be surmounted, and the minis-
try who flinched from the business upon so narrow-minded
a principle, would not deserve support. The great difficulty
lay in drawing the line, and distinguishing how 'far the Fib'


17831
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


195


lie, in time of peace, could bear to be additionally burdened,
or how far it was prudent for ministers to go. It might be
contended, that the people ought not to be so far pressed, as
to deprive them of all elasticity and vigour in case of the
chance of another war. This argument had its weight to a
certain degree; but he should think it better policy to make
them temporary than lingering sufferers. If that House
would but have the fortitude to lay aside local prejudices, and
the fear of a momentary unpopularity, and would look only
to the general welfare, the path to prosperity would be con-
siderably smoothed, and the national prospect would brighten
apace. Whenever the present ministry were found to shrink
from their duty in this respect, he desired the House to with-
draw their support; but it depended upon parliament to give
execution and effect to the plans that ministers should pro-
pose. He wished, however, most earnestly to impress this
idea upon the minds of the House, that strengthening the
hands of government, was not strengthening the present ad-
ministration. It was not a matter of party, or of one side
of the House against another. It was essential to the deli-
verance of the empire; and he was ready to declare his opi-
nion, that though our affairs were deranged and bad, they
were not desperate. He did not view them with the melan-,
choly eye that some men were fond of considering them with,
nor would he venture to propose the remedies which were
suggested. The funds, he said, were unexpectedly and un-
reasonably low; they ought not to be as they were: but at
the same time he did not indulge the illusive hope, that they
would suddenly rise, and stand at a much higher price.
This, however, he was convinced might be done; our ex-
pellees might be brought considerably within our revenue:
and this was the project; the easy, simple, practicable pro-
ject upon which he would rely, in preference to all the san-
guine schemes, and to all the desperate remedies, which
weak men in their ignorance might suggest. It was that
which would give permanency and actual use to the sinking
fund, which would leave it annually- at the disposal of par-
liament, to be appropriated as the necessities might-require.
To attain this durable situation, great .


reforms must yet be
made, and much must depend on the virtue, constancy, and
ability of government. If he could indulge himself with the
idea, that the unanimity of this clay, an unanimity which
gave him the most sensible delight, was the earnest of future
temper, moderation, and union—if he could see the pros-
pect, that the spirit of dissention was at length to give way
to the necessities of the country, and that at least they were
to suspend their personal animosities till the deliverance of


02




1 96 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.
the country was accomplished, he should, indeed, be warm
in his expectations, and believe that a very few years would
behold us in renovated strength and splendour. He thanked
the right honourable gentleman for his conduct on that day;
and professed his happiness, that the speech from the throne,
and the address in return to it, met so cordially with the ap-
probation of gentlemen from all sides, and that the address
would be carried to the throne with unanimity.


The address was agreed to without any amendment or division.


MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.


November 18.


NiT R . Secretary Fox moved, that an act, made in the i3th yearof the reign of his present majesty, entitled, " An act for
establishing certain regulations for the better management of the
affairs of the East India company, as well in India as in Europe :"—
an act, made in the loth year of the reign of his present majesty,
entitled, " An act for continuing in the possession of the united
company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, for
a farther time, and under certain conditions, the territorial ac-
quisitions and revenues lately obtained in the East Indies; and
for reviving and continuing, for a farther time, so much of an
act, made in the I3th year of the reign of his present majesty,
entitled, an act for establishing certain regulations for the better
management of the affairs of the East India company, as well in
India as in Europe, as hath expired in the course of the present
year ; and for indemnifying the said company for any money they
have paid, or may pay, in or about the building of three ships of
the line for the service of the public :"—the resolutions whioli,
upon the 29th day of April, 1782, were reported from the com-
mittee of the whole house, to whom it was referred to consider
farther of the several reports which had been made from the com-
mittees of secrecy, relating to the affairs of the East India coin-
pany, and which were then agreed to by the House, together
with the proceedings of the House thereupon :—and the resolu•
tions which, upon the 16th day of May, 1782, were reported from
the said committee of the whole House, and which, upon the 28th
day of the same month, were agreed to by the House, together
with the proceedings of the House thereupon, might be read; and
the same being read accordingly,


Mr. Secretary Fox rose again. He said, that in the state
of responsibility in which he was going to put himself by


1783.]


MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 197
the proposition he should have the honour to move, he felt
much comfort and consolation in this circumstance, that the
measure to which he should call the attention of the _douse
was one not of choice, but of necessity: it was no idle specula-
tion on Ins part; the business forced itself upon him, and upon
the nation ; and if he even would, lie could not avoid or
defer the discussion of it. The deplorable situation of the
East India company was well known, and universally ad-
mitted; their extreme distress, and the embarrassed state
of their affairs, not only called for the aid of government,
bat required its immediate assistance, as the only possible
means of averting and preventing the final and complete de-
struction of the company's interests, and with them, of ma-
terially injuring, if not entirely ruining, the interests of the
nation, as far as they were connected with our territorial
acquisitions in India. These circumstances being unde-
niable, arduous and difficult in the extreme as the task he
had set himself to perform that day undoubtedly was, it was
some consolation and some satisfaction to him to know,
that he was merely discharging an act of indispensable_ duty
as a minister, that there was no choice or option before him,
that he was not about to obtrude any idle, visionary, or
speculative projects of his own upon their notice, but
was in the act of offering to the consideration of parlia-
ment the best propositions for the preservation of the India
company, and the restoration of the welfare of their con-
cerns, that his most deliberate attention could suggest; and
that he did it, for no other reason upon earth, than be-
cause4le necessity that called for it was so urgent, that it
pressed itself forwards, irresistibly, and as a matter that would'
not admit of farther delay. Did any man doubt the truth
of this assertion, he had only to take a retrospective view of
the proceedings of that House during.


the last two years:
the many abuses in the government of the territories under
the management of the East India Company had been so
severely felt, that parliament had found it necessary to in-
stitute enquiries, by which die source of the abuses complained
of might be found out, and proper remedies devised, and ap-
plied to them : committees had been appointed ; their re-
searches had been pursued with uncommon industry, and
their reports contained a body of information so complete,
that, perhaps, the like had never been laid before parliament.
He observed, that the two committees had been of different
constitutions and complexions; that men perfectly indifferent
to each other, and unconnected by any tie of politics or party,
had set upon each; that the labours of the two committees
had consequently been conducted with impartiality, and that


0 3




1 9 8 MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.
their prudence was perfectly astonishing, the magnitude of
the information they had laid before the House, as well as
the very great ability and precision with which it was stated,
infinitely exceeding any expectations, however sanguine, that
could possibly have been entertained respecting them by any
description of persons either within doors or without. He
pointed out the different mode of proceeding adopted by each
committee, stating, that one of them (the secret committee)
had not only made ample reports of the result of their en-
quiries, but come to certain resolutions as the necessary de-
ductions from their reports, to which that House had agreed,
and which it had in clue form ratified and authorised. The
other committee (the select) had pursued a different method,
and perhaps not a less useful one. They had contented them-
selves with furnishing copious reports from time to time, full
of information, and had left it to the House to draw their own
inference from the premises laid down in those reports, and
to act upon them as to their wisdom should seem meet. Both
these committees had agreed, however, in one essential par-
ticular; each of them declaring, that the farther they pro-
ceeded in their enquiries, the more it became evident that all
the distress and difficult y of the company were ascribable
to the disobedience of the orders of the court of directors,
and the rapacity of the company's servants in India. The
resolutions come to by the first committee, (the secret one,
which he had no other reason for calling the first committee,
than that it was now at an end,) carried in them principles to
which he gave his most perfect acquiescence, because they
appeared to him to be principles of justice, of humanity, and
of sound policy ; but they necessarily implied this corollary —
as they in all probability ascribed the disorder in the com-
pany's affairs to the true causes, certain specified facts stated
in the resolutions, so it appeared to be incumbent upon that
House to inflict punishment upon the authors of the mischief
incurred by those facts. This unfortunately threw additional
embarrassment upon the task, the arduous task, of a reform
of the system of governing our territories in India, by in-
volving personal considerations in one of the most important
questions that could engage the attention of parliament.


A learned gentleman, who had been chairman of one of
those committees, (Mr. Dundas,) bad moved, that it was the
duty of the directors of the East India company to recall
Mr. Hastings from the government of Bengal. The House
very readily and very properly passed the motion ; judging,
no doubt, that it would not be expedient to condemn the
system lately pursued in India, without fixing some mark of
disapprobation on the person who had been the 'soul of the


1 7 8 3 .] MR. rox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 199
system; the directors, in obedience to the sense of the House,
expressed in this motion, resolved that Mr. Hastings should
be recalled ; but not thinking they had a , power to decide
finally on this subject, they laid their own proceedings before
the court of proprietors. For his part, lie was of opinion
that the directors might, without any violation of law, have
issued their orders for a recall of Mr. Hastings, without con-
sulting the court of proprietors; he nevertheless was aware,
that a contrary opinion was entertained by many; the event,
however, proved, that it was necessary the constitution of
the society should be. amended, that inconveniencies similar
to those which had happened .should not occur again. The
court of proprietors resolved, that the order made by the
court of directors for the recall of the governor-general should
be rescinded; the directors obeyed the sense of their consti-
tuents, and having made up their dispatches accordingly,
carried them to the secretary of state, (Mr. Townshend,) to
be reviewed by him ; that gentleman, finding them so oppo-
site to the sense of the House of Commons, would not suffer
them to be sent out to India: and the House having met a
few . days after, he stated to them the transaction. In the
whole of this proceeding, Mr. Townshend acted with the
strictest propriety; an act of parliament authorised him to
examine the dispatches of the court of directors, and to sup-
press the whole, or such parts as he should conceive to be
likely to produce pernicious consequences to the public, and
availing. himself of the power with which the law bad vested
him, he stopped the dispatches, which contained an account
of the proceedings of the court of proprietors, because he
found them so completely contradictory to the sense of the
House of Commons, expressed in their vote.


But what was in the mean time the situation of the com-
pany's government in India? It was critical beyond descrip-
tion ; nay, it was a government of anarchy and confusion.
The governor-general himself, who was the principal subject
of the dispatches, was left in a situation in which even his
enemies must pity him: the whole continent of India had
been made acquainted with the resolution of that House for
recalling him; and the resolution of the court of proprietors,
by which he was to be secured in his government, was not
transmitted to him, but was kept back : so that in fact he
was in a place of eminence without authority; and of power
without energy. -Would any man of sense wish that a go-
vernor-general of Bengal should remain in such a situation ?
Could the affairs of the company prosper in such a state?
They certainly could not; and therefore it would be the duty
of parliament to prevent the possibility of such another occur-


0 4




200 MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.,
rence, as had reduced them to that state. But this could
not be prevented, while the act for regulating the govern-
ment of India should remain in its present condition. By
this act, it was in the power of the court of proprietors to
defeat the very best measures that the directors, in conjunction
with the servants of the crown, should take. If the directors
wished to punish disobedience in one of the company's ser-
vants, and therefore to recall him, they were obliged first to
apply to his majesty's ministers; but their consent was not,
according to the opinion of the day, sufficient; so that after
it should have been obtained, it was still necessary to submit
the whole to the court of proprietors, who might, if they
pleased, undo all that had been done by the ministers and the
directors; nay, defeat the purposes of the united wisdom of
the nation and parliament, expressed in their votes.


Besides these contradictions, another had lately occurred :
the court of proprietors had voted their thanks to Mr. Has-
tings; those thanks must be communicated to government,
who, acting under the spirit of the resolutions of the House
of Commons, could not perhaps suffer them to be conveyed 4
to India. This naturally led him to consider the character
of the men who generally were in the direction, and held East
India stock, with the nature of the connection between a go-
vernor-general and his principals. In the direction there
were generally two description of men; those who, being real
proprietors, endeavoured, by promoting the trade of the com-
pany, and increasing its revenues, to make the most of their
stock : the others were persons who had become proprietors,
not for commercial, but for political purposes: how, by what
means, and for what end, such persons purchased stock, he
thought it unnecessary to state to the House. Those who
looked to political connections, could not gratify their wishes
more than by supporting a governor-general, in whose hands
was lodged so great an opportunity of obliging his friends.
Those whose sole object was to make the most of their money,
were generally inclined to support that governor, through
whose means the directors were enabled to make large divi-
dends; the circumstance of large dividends might at first
view appear to make greatly in favour of a governor; but
on .a serious investigation, it might he found to be highly
criminal in him ; for seeing that, after having robbed the
people committed to his care, and peculated for his own pri-
vate advantage, there was no other way to prevent his prin-
cipals from calling him to account, but bv raising their divi-
dends; for this purpose, the poor unhappy natives must
undergo a second fleecing for the benefit of the proprietors:
so that they were to be robbed first, to enrich their governor,


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 201


and afterwards they were to be plundered, to furnish means
to prevent a discovery of his peculations. He was not sur-
prised that even the most honest directors should not venture
to put an end to such infamous practices, by which a disgrace
had been brought upon the British name in India : while
man was man, he would be subject to the infirmities of his
nature. The directors wished not to offend the court of
proprietors, to whom they owed their situations; and the
proprietors would never be easily persuaded to sacrifice ser-
vants by whom they were enriched : thus, however, the dearest
interests of the country were sacrificed, and its honour tar-
nished, while no power in law existed at present by which
the former might be preserved, and the latter retrieved. From
these considerations alone, the House must agree with him
upon the necessity of the interference of the legislature, if
there was a wish that our possessions in India should be
secured to us. But if parliament was desirous to avoid all
interference, they would find it at present impossible: the
business pressed itself upon them; and not only they must
interfere, but they must do it without delay.


The state of the finances of the East India company was
as deplorable as that of the internal government of their
territorial acquisitions. Gentlemen would remember that the
company had applied last year to parliament for pecuniary
assistance: they called for leave to borrow soo,000t. on bonds;
they had petitioned for 300,0001. in exchequer bills; and for
the remission or suspension of a demand upon them on the
part of government for 700,0001. due for customs. It might
be remembered also, that according to an act of parliament
now in being, the directors cannot accept bills drawn in In-
dia to the amount of more than 300,0001. unless they shall
have first obtained the consent of the lords commissioners
of his majesty's treasury ; the reason of this power being
lodged in the commissioners was, that possibly by some un-
unavoidable circumstance it might happen that the drafts on
the company might some time exceed in a small degree the
above sum, and therefore they were vested with a discretion-
ary power to grant their consent to the acceptance of the di-
rectors, for a larger sum than 300,0001. when it should appear
to them advisable so to do. The House would probably be
astonished when they should hear, that notwithstanding the
legal restriction to accept bills for no more than 300,0001.
without the consent of the lords of the treasury, there were
bills actually coming over for acceptance to the amount of two
million sterling. The lords of the treasury having been ap-
prized of this singular circumstance, had very prudently re-
fused to. give their consent that the directors should accept bills




202 MR. r EAST' INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.
for so enormous a sum, and very properly referred them to
parliament.


Here was another circumstance that proved, as clear as
day, that government was not impertinently, rashly, or un-
necessarily intruding into the management of the company's
affairs : if government was now stepping forward, it was
for no other purpose but that of saving the company from
bankruptcy : for if they went on in this course they must
sink ; and nothing but that interference could preserve its ex,.
istence. This was not a rash assertion, the state of the com-
pany's finances would bear woeful testimony to the truth of
it : the company owed 11,200,0001., and they had stock in
hand to the amount of about 3,200,00o1. towards paying this
immense sum; and when deducted from it, there would still
remain a debt of 8,000,000l., a sum to the highest degree
alarming, when compared with the capital of the proprietors,
Mr. Fox said farther, that when the- lords of the treasurys'''
consented to exercise the discretion vested in them by the
act he had alluded to, let the degree in which it was exercised
be what' it might, he considered them as pledging the public
litith for the payment of the bills, the acceptance of which
they permitted; and therefore it behoved them to act with in-
finite circumspection and prudence. In the present case, the
sum was extremely large ; it was nevertheless obvious, that the
credit of the company was a matter of a very delicate nature;
if' they were not assisted, they must unavoidably be ruined,
and the ruin of a body of merchants, so extensive in their
concerns, and so important in the eyes of all Europe as . the
English East India company, must necessarily give the na-
tional credit a very great shock indeed. On the other hand,
to give them the requisite assistance, without first examining
their affairs, and setting them to rights, and without forming
and enforcing a new system of management for the future,
better calculated to promote their prosperity,and relieve them
from the bankrupt condition in which they at present unques-
tionably stood, would be only to throw away the public mo-
ney, and for that House to proceed to take the last shilling
out of the pockets of their constituents, to lend it to those
whose notorious want of ability to manage their affairs had
already. brought them to the brink of destruction, and afforded
but little ground for expectation of better care for the time to
come.


It might naturally be supposed, therefore, that he did not
think for a moment of adopting the easy alternative of lending
them the money they wanted, and thus getting rid of the diffi-
culty for the present. The nature of the case required a very
different ,mode of proceeding. He would nothave gentlemen


I783,] MR. FOX'S' EAST INDIA BILLS. 203


to be led astray with the idea, that the public had no right
to take upon themselves to check or controul the government
of the company's settlements : for his part, lie knew too well
the great interest the public bad in the welfare of the Com-
pany, ever to subscribe to any such doctrine. What was
the whole amount of the dividend to the proprietors ? About
256,000/. And what sum did the nation derive from the cus-
toms paid by the company? Above 1,300,0001. The people
of England therefore had a much greater stake in the business
than the proprietors of the company. If the bills for two
million, which were shortly expected, should return pro-
tested, what would all Europe, Asia, and the world say, -but
that the people of England were bankrupts, or they would
not have suffered the bankruptcy of a company, which paid
them 1, 3 00,0001. a year? The conclusion would be natural;
and therefore the credit of the nation was deeply interested in
the support of that of the Company. It was his intention,
then, in the bill or bills that he should have the honour to
move for leave to bring in, to authorise the lords of the
treasury to consent that the directors shall accept the bills for
2,000,0001. that were on their way to England: the public
on this occasion must give effectual support to the company ;
and therefore he would have it understood that the nation by
these means would become a collateral security, and be liable


3to pay the whole, if the company should not be able to take
up or pay all debts. Thus he hoped to save the sinking
credit of the company for the present; but it would not be
sufficient to do this, without taking such steps as should guard
it in future against the same causes, that had reduced it nearly
to a state of bankruptcy.


If he were totally unacquainted with the transactions in
India, which had brought on the company's calamities, he
was of opinion that lie could argue, d priori, that they would
happen ; because, from the constitution of the company,
nothing else could happen. But with the mass of evidence
that the secret committee had laid on the table, it. would be
madness to persevere in a system of government that had
been attended with such fatal consequences. It had been
truly remarked by a learned gentleman last year, (Mr. Dun-
das,) that if a man wished to read the finest system of ethics,
Policy, and humanity, he would find it in the letters of the
court of directors to the company's servants abroad ; but if
the reverse of all this should be looked for, it might be found
in the manner in which the orders of the directors were ob-
served in India; for there, inhumanity, false policy, pecula-
tion, and brutality were to be discovered in almost every step;




204 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [YON'. Is.:


orders were given on one side; they were disobeyed on the
other; and the whole was crowned with impunity.


When the House thought proper to condemn the system
pursued in India, it was a necessary corollary that some mark
of disapprobation should be expressed relative to men as well
as measures; it was not however his intention to enter into
a detail of charges against any man ; accusation was by no
means his object ; but it was not possible to illustrate his ob-
servations without occasionally mentioning names. With
respect to disobedience of orders, there were two very sin-
gular instances, which he could not pees over unnoticed.
The supreme council of Bengal had, by a vote on which the
governor-general had been left in a minority, resolved to send
two gentlemen, Mr. Fowke and Mr. Bristow, to reside, the
one at the court of the rajah of Oude, the other at that of
the rajah of Benares. The governor general, however, re-
fused to send these two gentlemen to the places to which they
had been destined; the directors transmitted to him the most
positive orders to send them. Mr. Hastings thought proper
to disobey them ; and went so far as to say, that he could
not en:ploy them in negotiations, because he had no confi-
dence in them. Mr. Scott, agent in England for Mr. Hast-
ings, said, on his examination before the committee of that
House, that to force these two gentlemen on Mr. Hastings,
was much the same as if opposition in parliament should
force a minister of the crown to send abroad an ambassador,
in whom he could not repose confidence : so that, according
to this doctrine, the court of directors, who were in fact Mr.
Hastings' masters, were to be considered in the light of an
opposition, and resisted accordingly. What, he said, must
be the state of that government, when the servants were bold
enough to consider the power by which they were invested
with authority, as an opposition inimical to them ? But the
subsequent conduct of Mr. Hastings towards one of those
gentlemen, in whom he could place no confidence, was cu-
rious indeed ; for he was pleased to give a contract to Mr.
Fowke for furnishing oats, with a commission of 15 per cent.
which he observed in one of his letters was a great sum, and
might operate as a temptation on him to protract the nego-
tiation of peace ; but, added he, " the entire confidence I have
in the integrity and honour of Mr. Fowke, are a full and per,
fect security on that head."


To evince the difficulty of recalling their servants, he stated,
that in 1 77 6 it was the resolution of the company to recall
-Mr. Hastings; but his agent standing up, and in his name
announcing his resignation, it was accepted as a milder mode


I]83.] XX. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 205
of dismission or recall. It afterwards happened that Mr.
Hastings disavowed the assertion of his agent, and thus two
or three years elapsed, and the recall was never effected. As
e proof of the disobedience of the company's servants with re-
spect to the orders of the court of directors, Mr. Fox men-
tioned various cases that were well known.


The affair of the rajah, prince, or zemindar of Benares af-
forded an instance of breach of public faith, which would for
ever be a blot upon the character of the British nation. The
territories of this prince had been declared to be vested in him,
on condition of paying to the vizier a certain fixed and stipu-
lated tribute. The vizier thought proper afterwards to enter
into an agreement with the company's servants, by virtue of
which the vassalage of the rajah of Benares was ceded to the
company; so that he thereby became tributary to it, but pre-
cisely on the same terms that he held his territories of the
vizier; the tribute, and the conditions on which it was to be
paid, were precisely the same; so that the company stood on
no better grounds than the vizier, and the rajah did not stand
on worse. Mr. Hastings, on that occcasion, wrote to the
English resident at Benares, and authorised him to assure the
rajah that no farther tribute should be exacted, nor should it
on any future change of government be enlarged. The gov-
ernor-general's letter on this occasion was a perfect model of
elegance; it breathed humanity, justice,, and honour in every
line; but, alas ! the humanity, justice and honour of Mr.
Hastings towards Cheyt Sing, the name of this unfortunate
prince, were to be found only in his letter; his conduct dis-
claimed them : the tribute was regularly paid; and yet, con-
trary to the very tenour of his letter, Mr. Hastings called upon.
Cheyt Sing during the war for five lacks of rupees : they were
paid; a second requisition for a similar sum was made, and
complied with; as was also a third : the governor-general made
a fourth demand of five lacks; but the prince was not able this
time to comply with it : and the governor hearing that the
money could not be procured by fair means, went in person
into the territories of Benares, seized them for the company's
use; and the unfortunate prince, Cheyt Sing, driven from hie
dominions, was at this moment a wanderer and a vagabond
in the world. This unfortunate rajah referred to the governor-
general's letter, to spew that the demands that had been made
upon him were contrary to the assurance contained in that
letter; but Mr. Hastings, disclaiming his letter, referred to the
instrument, by which he promised to pay the tribute: in that
there was no mention of an assurance that the tribute should
never be higher ; to this it was replied, that a clause had been
at first inserted in the instrument to annul all former agree-




206 MR. rOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.
ments, and consequently the original agreement by which the
rajah of Benares bound himself to pay tribute to the vizier,
and which agreement had been made over to the company;
to this clause the rajah objected ; and it was struck out; conse-
quently he had a right to conclude, that the original treaty
with the vizier, by which the quantum of the tribute was as-
certained, and which he assigned over to the company, re-
mained still in fill! force ; and he was the more founded in this
opinion, as the governor-general's letter was as explicit on this
subject as Cheyt Sing could have wished ; but Mr. Hastings,
still sheltering himself behind the letter of the instrument,
said, with Shylock, " I do not see it in the bond." Here was
a most flagrant breach of national faith; for he (Mr. Fox) held
the faith of the company to have been as strongly pledged to
Cheyt Sing, by the governor's letter, as it was possible to pledge
it. The affair of the begums of Oude was another circum-
stance in which the honour of the nation had been wounded.
These two princesses were the mother and the grandmother
of the vizier of Oude, and the lands assigned to them for their
support had been guaranteed to them by the company; and
yet, notwithstanding this guarantee, the vizier was permitted
by Mr. Hastings to dispossess the princesses, and strip them
of their dower.


It appeared from all the letters and orders of the court of -
directors, that the uniform tenour of their instructions to their
servants abroad was to conduct their affairs with a view solely
to commercial purposes, and not with any view to aggrandise-
ment; whereas it was evident that the latter had been the chief
object of the company's servants. In proof of this, he mention-
ed the Rohilla war, as another instance of the lengths that the
company's servants may carry injustice ; the rajah of that
country was persecuted with fire and sword, and his territories
laid waste, for no other reason, that he could discover, but that
his country had always been, what it always would be, a per-
fect garden. The Mahratta war was another source of cala-
mity to the company, and another instance of the disregard
which was paid to the spirit of the system laid down by the
directors, of pursuing commerce, and not acquisition. He
would not say that it was begun by Mr. Hastings ; it certainly
took its rise from the presidency of Bombay; but it was adopt-
ed by him; and he would not say that the terms of the peace
with that people were such, as the merit of having made it
ought to outweigh the demerits of having engaged in the war;
certain it was, that this new treaty was infinitely less advanta-
geous to us than ,that of Poorunder, which had been broken.
He added a case, if possible, still more inhuman; and declared,
that in the statement of these particulars, he lad been actuated


MR. rox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 207


by no personal enmities, nor did he aim at any restrospective
views. His eloquence in this part of his speech was truly
great and masterly.


Having stated these various grievances and abuses in the
government of India, his next object was to point out the re-
medies that he intended to apply to them. lie declared, no-
thing but strong measures could possibly be expected to effect
a thorough reform. Strong, however, as the system was
which he should have the honour to propose ; abundantly too
harsh as he was aware it would be thought by some, it was a
palliative, an emollient, a half measure compared to the idea
of leaving things in their present condition. He hoped, there-
fore, the House would, on this occasion, take the advice given
by a right honourable gentleman on a former day; that they
would look their real situation with regard to India in the
face; that they would examine it thoroughly, view its defor-
mity, and proceed with firmness to adopt and enforce that ap-
plication, and that remedy, which the inveteracy of the case
required.


With regard to the existence of great defects in the present
system of governing India, and the dangerous and deplorable
extent of the mischiefs and abuses arising from those defects,
the House, Mr. Fox observed, were well acquainted. The
great difficulty lay in chusing the mode of remedying the de-
fects that had been so fully ascertained. On former occasions,
doubts had been started on this question ; To whom belong
the territorial acquisitions in India ? Many, and grave persons,
were of opinion, that they belonged to the crown; and they
argued, that it was absurd that a body of merchants should be
supposed capable of managing and governing great territories,
and entering into all the mazes and refinements of modem
politics. He was aware also, that very weighty persons had,
011 the other hand, maintained, that the territories belonged of
right to the company; and they retorted very justly, saying
that it was equally absurd to suppose that mere statesmen were
qualified to enter into, and conduct the complicated branches
of a remote and difficult trade. To this latter opinion, he
was himself inclined to lean. His idea, therefore, with re-
gard to India, was to form a mixed system of government,
adapted, as well as the nature of the case would admit, to the
mixed complexion of our interests in India. He was willing,
in the first instance, to leave the question of right to the terri-
torial possessions, just as it now stood, that was to say, unde-
cided. It was generally thought, that if government should
even take the territorial possessions into their hands, they
Would be under the necessity of keeping up a company to carry




208 MR. PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 18.
on a trade, by which alone the revenues of India could be con-
verted to the benefit of Great Britain.


His Plan was to establish a board, to consist of seven per-
sons, who should be invested with full power to appoint and
displace officers in India, and under whose control the whole
government of that country should be placed ; the other class
to consist of eight persons, to be called assistants, who should
have charge of the sales, outfits, &c. of the company, and in
general of all commercial concerns, but still be subject to the
control of the first seven. The board he would have held in
England, under the very eye of parliament ; their proceedings,
should be entered in books for the inspection of both Houses.
Their servants abroad should be obliged to make minutes of
all their proceedings, and enter them into books to be trans-
mitted to Europe; and if ever they should find themselves un-
der the necessity of disobeying an order from the board, (and
he was ready to admit, that cases might occur, when not only
it would not be blameable to disobey orders, but when dis-
obedience would be even meritorious,) a minute should be en-
tered, stating the reason of such disobedience : and on the same
principle, lie meant to oblige the council at home to make
minutes of their reasons, as often as their orders should not
be complied with, and they should not immediately recall the
servant who had disobeyed their instructions. This, he was
aware, was new, when applied to the common course of busi-
ness; but the long practice of it by the India company had
proved its utility.


He meant to lodge a discretional power with the council,
Which their responsibility would require. If it appeared to
them, that a servant of the company had acted in disobedience
of orders from home, from the immediate exigency of affairs,
or that he had an obvious good intention in so doing, or that
it was for other reasons inexpedient to recall him, they should
be obliged to assign in a minute, as short as they pleased, why
they did not recall him, and thus avow what they would justify
as the expedient grounds of their conduct. This would en-
sure security to the commissioners, and oblige them to act on
motives of necessary precaution. The company's servants
abroad were already in the habit of entering minutes, and it
was a custom of infinite utility; for if no such custom had ex-
isted, India would have been unavoidably lost to us ; for we
never should have been able, without these minutes, to trace
the melancholy effects up to their true causes.


For the present, he intended that parliament should name
all the persons who should sit at this board; but then it should
be only pro hdc vice : be felt already the inconvenience of par-
liamentary appointments; for at present the governor-general


/783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA RILLS. 209


of Bengal, deriving under an act of parliament, seemed to dis-
avow any power in the court of proprietors, directors, or the
king himself to remove him. He would have the board to be
established for three or five years ; orfor such a length of time
as should be thought sufficient to try the experiment, how far
this new establishment might be useful. When that should
be known, if experience should have proved its utility, then he
proposed that in future the king should have the nomination
of the seven first. If any of the eight assistant counsellors
should die, the vacancies should be


ight
up by the court of


Proprietors. A learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) in tile bill
he brought into parliament last year, proposed to give the
most extraordinary powers to the governor-general of Bengal ;
he at the same time named the person who was to fill that
office. The person was Earl Cornwallis, a nobleman whom
he (Mr. Fox) named now, only for the purpose of paying ho-
mage to his great character; the name of such a man mightb •
make parliament consent to the vesting of such powers in a
governor-general : ,but certain he was, that nothing but the
great character of that noble lord could ever induce the leais-
lature to commit such powers to an individual, at the distance
of half the globe. In this plan the greatest powers might be
intrusted with the board, because the members of it would be
at home, and under the eye of that House, before whom their
proceedings must be laid. The learned gentleman had in-
trenched his bill behind the character of Lord Cornwallis, but
he (Mr. Fox) would not mention a single name that he intend-
ed to insert in his bill : not because he was afraid they should
not be found most respectable; but because he wished the bill
might rest for support on its own merits, and not on the cha-
racters of individuals.


There were other points on which he had formed an inten-
tion to touch, and for which lie must bring in a second bill, in
aid and reinforcement of the first. An absurd opinion seemed
to prevail in Indostan, that all the lands belong absolutely to
the emperor, and that therefore they may be disposed of at
Pleasure. Upon this principle it had been customary to -turn
the ancient zemindars, land-owners, or sentry of the country
cut of their possessions, if others were found who would pay
more for them. This was a destructive custom, built on an
absurd and erroneous opinion ; it destroyed agriculture and
improvements, and took away that stimulus to the acquisition
of property, the consciousness that it would be permanent :
il ia plan would be, to enact, that upon the payment of certain
fixed rents or tributes, the landholders should enjoy the un-
disturbed possession of their lands, which no power should
lake from them : and in this he trusted he should be. most


VOL. u.




210 MR. FOx's EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 8.


powerfully seconded by the humanity and justice of parlia-
ment.


He stated also, as a very important object of his bill, and
which stood much in need of correction, the practice of the
company's servants receiving presents from the Indian princes,
and others, the dependants on the company. This was, he
said, the grand original, the prinzum mobile of all the rapacity,
disobedience, injustice, and cruelty, that had disgraced the
British government in India. In vain had the court of direc-
tors sent over injunction after injunction, to forbid the com,
pany's servants from taking any present, on any pretence, from
the Indian princes and zemindars. In vain had an express act
of parliament passed to forbid the practice. The orders of
the court of directors, the acts of the British legislature, were
held in equal, and the most supreme contempt at Bengal. A
stronger proof of this could not be adduced than the conduct
ofMr. Hastings., who had accepted various presents, and among
others a present of one hundred thousand pounds from a rajah,
who, at the very time, stood deeply indebted to the company, and
who pleaded the most abject distress, in excuse for not paying
the company what he owed them, This hundred thousand
pounds, it was true, Mr. Hastings had afterwards brought to the
account of thecompany, but it was a considerable time first, and
in the interim he had lent it to them upon bond, and charged a:.
high interest; nay, such was the opinion of Mr. Hastings himself
upon the transaction, that he had written home word to the
court of directors, " that lie did not know whether he had any
particular motive that had influenced him to accept this pre-
sent, but if he had any at the time, it was really out of his
mind." Mr. Hastings's agent, Mr. Scott, had also told the
committee, when examined by them, that it was better worth
the while of the rajah of Oude to make Mr. Hastings a pre-
sent .of one hundred thousand pounds, than to pay any part of
his just debts to the company. Mr. Fox laid great stress upon
the whole of this narration, and urged it as a glaring proof of
his former opinion, that the servants of the East India conk-
pany in India were thought by the natives to possess more
power than their masters, and that it was evident they held
the orders of the court of directors, and even the acts of the
British parliament, in sovereign contempt.


Another point to which he designed to direct the correc-
tion his bill was intended to administer, was, to the abolition
of all monopolies. These he stated to be extremely unfair
in the first instance, extremely pernicious, and as tending
to consume the vitals of commerce, rather than to feed,
to cherish, or to lend it rigour. He mentioned the ifl0
nopoly for opium, that had been given to the son of a late


II


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. /I 1


chairman of the East India company, who sold the contract for
a considerable premium the very same day, and in consequence,
the trade for opium was absolutely lost to the company. It
had been often suggested, that it would be advisable to give
to the Gentoos the laws of England; but such an attempt
would be ridiculous and chimerical ; the customs and religion
of India clashed too much with them: but though the laws
could not be established among them, yet their spirit and ef-
ficacy might; and this great principle might be carried into
effect, that no man should be deprived of his lands, while he
fulfilled the conditions under which he held them. It might
be proper to have a retrospect here, and to restore all those who
had been dismissed since any given period ; for instance, since
1772, and to bind them to the payment of such rents or tri-
butes as they paid at that period. He had turned his thoughts
also to the devising of some means, whereby criminals in
India might be brought to justice fiere, a circumstance of
the greatest importance. On this head, he had heard dif-
ferent opinions : some thought that the laws already in being
were perfectly adequate to that end; while others insisted,
that they were wholly insufficient ; and therefore that there
was no other mode of prosecuting such criminals, but by bills
of pains and penalties. All. those who had been witnesses
to the : proceedings of last year, would agree with him, that
this was a wretched inefficient mode to resort to. He had
thought of establishing a permanent tribunal for trying such
criminals ; but he felt very strong objections to such an in-
stitution : gentlemen would conceive, that it would be dif-
ficult for such judges to resist the attacks of friends and rela-
tions; and it would therefore be improper, if solicitations
should prevail, to send a criminal to be tried before that
court. The matter was full of difficulties ; and he was ready
to own, that he was not prepared as yet to bring in any bill
on that subject; not only because he had not the assistance
of the two great law officers of the crown, who were not at
that moment members of the House, but, in fact, because
he had not yet been able to arrange a plan that could please
himself. He owned he had an idea in his mind on the
subject, but it was not sufficiently matured for the House to
he made acquainted with it.


I-le' begged that, in the discussion. of the bills he should.grove for leave to bring in, gentlemen would not involve two
things that were perfectly distinct; the merits or demerits of
the hills, and the merits or demerits of Mr. Hastings. This




1vas not a day of trial for that gentleman : the bills had no
';?trospect ; not but he was ready to own, that upon the rea-
"less he should find in the House to receive his bills; it de'


P 2




212
MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. I 8,


pended whether there should be a retrospect or not. At
present, there was no connection between the bills and Mr.
Hastings: he might be the most honest, upright, humane,
and just governor that ever existed; and yet the bills pro-
posed might be highly proper. On the other hand, he might
be the most corrupt peculator, and the most cruel and unjust
governor that ever cursed the plains of Indostaii; and yet the
remedy proposed in these bills might be found inadequate.
All he asked was, that they might be considered by them-
selves, without any reference to any man. If influence on this
occasion should manifest itself, the consequences might be
alarming : no future governor would ever go to India, without
looking to influence in that House; and if the day should
come, when the whole force of patronage in India should be.
employed for the purpose of creating influence in that House,
what would become of India? Peculations there would be
protected here; and the plunderers would be protected by
the sharers in the plunder. He trusted that gentlemen in
general would meet the question fairly, and not make that a
personal consideration, which had nothing personal in it.
The influence of the crown, they had been used to say, was
too great. He thanked God it had been considerably di-
minished; but the influence of the crown, in its most enor-
mous and alarming state, was nothing, compared to the
boundless patronage of the East India government, if tile
latter was to be used in influence of that House. The coun-
try was lost indeed, lost beyond all hope or possibility of
recovery, if the boundless patronage of the East was to be
employed, to prevent government from making a reform,
called for in the loudest manner, and urged onwards by the
most immediate and most pressing necessity. He spoke not
this from a fear of tile influence to which he had alluded; he
trusted no attempt would be made to exert it in the present
instance; because if a minister was afraid to come down to
the House, and propose a measure, grounded on the most
urgent necessity, there would at once be an end. of all go-
vernment.


At the same time that he said this, he was aware the mea-
sure lie had proposed was a strong one. He knew, that the
task he had that clay set himself was extremely arduous and
difficult, he knew that it had considerable risk in it ; but
when he took upon himself an office of responsibility, he had
made up his mind to the situation and the danger of it.
had left all thoughts of ease, indolence, and safety behind Ilia)•
He remembered an honourable friend near him (Mr. Burke)
had once said, half in jest, half in earnest, " that idleness was
the best gift that God had bestowed upon man." But this


1783.] MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. - 213
was not a time for indolence and regard to safety in a minister.
The situation of the country called for vigorous exertion, for
new measures, and for some risk; he knew, that a minister
who had no consideration but his own safety, might be quiet
and safe; the consequence must be, tile country would be
ruined. How much better was it to venture what the exi-
n
(racy of affairs required; the minister it was true might be




ruined, but his country would be saved. The one considera-
tion ought to have no weight compared to the other. Nor
had indolent men any business in office at such a crisis as the
present. This was not a season for a secretary of state to be
idle. The minister who loved his ease, or rather who was
not determined to exert himself, had no business with green
boxes and green bags. His office was for active employ,
and if lie preferred indolence to application, he ought to
retire to private life, where he might enjoy his leisure without.
injury to the public. [A smile from opposition.] Mr. Fox took
notice of the smile, and said, the subject of a measure adopted
by him last session, had then been so repeatedly and so fully
discussed, that tile gentlemen on the other side must excuse
him, if he declined saying any thing more upon the subject ;
thus much he would only then say, that it had been thought
a matter worth trying, if a junction with those, from whom
he had long differed, might not be made with safety, after
the points upon which they had differed most widely were at
an end, and whether they might not act together on new
points with honour for the good of the country. That ex-
periment had been tried, and he was happy to say, that the
experience of the summer had confirmed him in his expec-
tations. The noble lord and he not having had any one
material difference, nor indeed any variety of opinion, far-
ther than that sort of occasional difference which men of
honour, determined to act freely, to give their opinion to each
other without reserve, and from candid argument to deduce
conviction, might warrantably and fairly be supposed to en-
tertain. On the present occasion, lie lamented most sincerely
the want of the great abilities of the noble lord to support
11101 in the arduous task of tile day; and he more particularly
lamented, that his loss should be owing to personal illness
and infirmity. He was, however, happy to be able to assure
that House, that he and the noble lord had consulted to-
getlaer upon the subject; that they perfectly coincided in
sentiment and opinion ,upon it ; and he trusted, the bill
Would be some time in passing, that he should still have the
benefit of' the noble lord's powerful support. With regard
to the smile the gentlemen on the other side -had chosen to
assume at his observations upon indolence, he could not be


k3




214 MR. iO
X


'S EAST INDIA plus.


supposed to allude to the noble lord's administration, because
they roust know many new projects were carried into prac.
tice during that administration, projects, which, in common
with those gentlemen, he had thought detrimental to the in_
terests of the country, and which they had together laboured
to prevent.


Mr. Fox now came to a conclusion ; and again begged
leave to impress the idea on the minds of the House, that he
had not intruded himself in this business officiously; that it was
not a mean and interested expedient for the purpose of for-
tifying a party, or to add to the influence of the crown. As
he had said, it was a strong measure, because it was a great
resolution; but. considering it as he and his colleagues did,
necessary to the salvation of the company, and, with the
company, of the state, he had applied to it with the greatest
earnestness, and had brought it forward without the loss of a
moment. He then moved, " That leave be given to bring in
a bill, for vesting the affairs of the East India company in
the hands of certain commissioners, for the benefit of the pro-
prietors and the public." His second motion would be,


That leave be given to bring in a bill for the better govern-
ment of the territorial possessions and dependencies in India."


After a short debate, leave was given to bring in the bills, and
Mr. Secretary Fox, Mr. North, Lord John Cavendish, and Mr.
Erskine, were ordered to prepare, and bring in the same.


November 20.
This clay Mr. Secretary Fox presented to the House a bill " for


vesting the affairs of the East India company in the hands of
certain commissioners for the benefit of the proprietors and the
public." It was read the first time, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Fox next moved, that it be read a second time on this clay
se'nnight. This occasioned a debate ; Mr. W. Grenville opposed
the motion, and as the business was of such importance, he gave
it as his opinion, that the Christmas recess should intervene before
the second reading. He said, the right honourable secretary
meant to take the House, not only by force, but by violence ; and
therefore, it became the business of every member, who regarded
the liberties of his country, to stand forward on this occasion. The
bill, he said, made an attack upon the most solemn charters affirmed
and confirmed by the sacred faith of parliament; it broke through
all those ties which should bind man to man, and was fraught with
the most pointed mischief against national honour and the integrity
of English legislation. He wished the second reading to be
postponed till after the call of the House.— Mr. Jenkinson ima-
gined that the point which wanted most to be determined was)
whether the bill ought to be read a second time next Thursday,
or put off till the House had been called over. He 'could see but


1783.]


MR. tux's EAST INDIA BILLS. 215


'Jule difficulty in determining that point ; for if the object before
them was interesting, it certainly was the duty of every one present
to prolong the time, before its investigation, to- the latest period.
He stated the commission as the setting up within the realm a
species of executive government, independent of the check or
controul of the crown. This he deemed an innovation on the con-
stitution, and therefore a matter that ought to be most seriously
examined. He charged the system also with injustice, inasmuch
as in the right honourable secretary's opening it the other day,
he had rested the necessity of it entirely on the misconduct 'of
the governor-general in India ; whereas by the operation of the
system, the faults of the servants were to be punished on the
masters. He said several things respecting the very dangerous
tendency of the bill, and exposed the boldness of the men who
could venture to propose a measure that threatened such ruinous
consequences to British liberty. But his chief force was directed
against the influence which Ministers were likely to derive from
the event of such a terrible system. He said it would not only
give them an unbounded power over the interests and possessions
of the East, but render their posts so formidable as to- endanger
the rights of every free Englishman. — Mr. Scott, who spoke,
.on this occasion, for the first time, observed, that the bill seemed
to him rather of a dangerous nature, but he would not declare
against it. He would rather wait till more light had been thrown
upon the subject.


Mr. Secretary Fox followed Mr. Scott. He paid some
handsome compliments to him, and expressed a high opinion
of his abilities, and the goodness of his intentions. Though
he had not had the pleasure of hearing him speak before in
that House, yet he was not a stranger to his eloquence, and
did not doubt of hearing it employed at all times on the side
of equity. He could not, however, forbear taking notice of
one thing that bad fallen from the honourable gentleman's
mouth. He had observed, that before we could decide, it
was necessary to deliberate; but how had he acted in the
present instant? Not, surely, consistently with the maxim he
had laid down; for, without any opportunity of deliberating,
he had ventured to give his decision, and he thought with a
good deal of positiveness.


The right honourable secretary observed, that he could
foresee what was to conic from an honourable gentleman on
the opposite side of the House (Mr. Jenkinson) long before
it came to his turn to speak. He well knew that the crown
influence, which was a favourite topic with the honourable
gentleman who first opposed the motion, would be taken up
by him. He could not blame him for taking up his honour-
able friend's cause, although he thought that it would not
have been done in the manner he did. To see each-gentle-


r 4




216 • MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
[Nov. 20.


man acting by instructions, and speaking what his friend had
broached, was rather to view them in an inferior light. He
really thought that they were both able enough, at least they
ought to be able enough, to think ,and speak for themselves.
But when he heard the doctrine of separating the crown
and its ministers, and talking of them as divided interests,
broached by the right honourable gentleman, who opened
the debate, he looked immediately at the last speaker but
one, convinced that he would be the leading speaker of the
day, for that such a doctrine could originate in no other
quarter. In some respects, indeed, the ministers and the
crown were distinct objects : where the measures of govern-
ment called for censure or punishment, there the ministers
alone were responsible; but with regard to most other points
of view, nothing could be so egregious as the endeavour to
draw a distinction. In the present case, in order to guard as
much as possible against the danger of increasing the influence
of the crown, the ministers were loaded with. a responsibility
that balanced their power, and insured to the people that no
ill use would be made of it : besides, who were appointed to
check and control it but that House? With regard to that
crown power, or rather ministerial power, for so they had
absurdly called it, he saw no difficulty in answering all the ob-
jections that had been started to his bill on that account ; for
it never was intended that the crown influence should be in,
creased by the plan proposed, at least but in a small degree. The
appointment of the commissioners was in the hands of parlia-
ment; and he hoped parliament would at all times keep a
watchful eye to the proceedings of administration. When
his principles led him to oppose ministry, he always viewed
the measures of administration with jealous attention ;
it was his wish, and it should always be his wish, to have
his actions scrutinized by parliament; it was their undoubted
right to do so, and he hoped it was a right they never would
lose sight of: He could not, he said, dismiss the topic,
without combating a little the witty, but at the same time in-
vidious, distinction that had been made between ministerial
power and crown power; for his part, he could discover no
ground for the distinction ; he had always considered, that
whatever conferred power on the ministry, conferred at the
same time an equal share of power on the crown, and vice
versti. There were, perhaps, some little circumstances in
which their interests might not altogether clash ; but these
were few indeed, and of no moment. The right honourable
secretary now attacked the references which Mr. Grenville had
made to the protests of some noble lords, amongst which was
the respectable one of the late Marquis of Rockingham, and


z 4


17 8 3 . ] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 2 1 7


some others now high in station. As the honourable gentle-
man, and his relation in the other house, were both able to
speak f'r themselves, it would be quite as proper if they ca-
tered less for each other, and delivered in their different situ-
ations what better belonged to those situations respectively.
Had that been the case, we should not have heard in the other
house, on the first day of the session, a laboured harangue
about the definitive treaty not being completed with Holland,
nor that day in the house in which he was then speaking, an
extract from a protest in the House of Lords. He said, the
House of Commons was not to be guided by the decisions of
any court whatever, in matters which properly belonged to
itself; and however weighty in the business before die House
the honourable gentleman might suppose those protests, he
could assure him that they appeared not of such force to him.
Those noble lords were, perhaps, right in giving in their pro-
test; but had the gentlemen considered whether their motives
were not different from any motives that might be supposed to
influence the opposers of the bill under consideration ? Gen-
tlemen would recollect, that on the first day of the session he
was called upon by a right honourable gentleman to bring
forward no palliative, no half measure. How inconsistent,
then, was it now to arraign that for being too bold, which it
was declared then could not be too vigorous ! But the fact
was this : the right honourable gentleman was loud in calling
for it — why? Because he thought no system was ready. This
explained his language then, and the very opposite language he
opposed to the system when it was brought forward. The
state of affairs in India at. that moment, he said, was such,
that even a palliative remedy was desirable ; but it was not
his intention to redress the grievances of India by palliatives
only; he wished to see something done that might penetrate
to the root of the disease, and he made no doubt but gentle-
men would find the remedy that had been proposed equal to
the end it had in view. The several clauses had been read :
and when they were understood, he flattered himself the lan-
guage of the House would be different. As to the proposition
for deferring the consideration of' the bill till the House had
been called over, he could see no good end to be gained by
that. Submitted it must be to the consideration of the
other House; 'slid as they did not know what time their
Lordships might chuse to detain it, as they would certainly
detains it as long as was consistent with the dignity of the
House they sat in; as that was the case, lie thought that no
time ought to be lost. Gentlemen who wished to be prepared,
had time enough to do so before Thursday ; and he could
look upon the desire of a long delay as nothing but a subter-




218 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. tNOV. 26.


fug to defeat the purposes of the bill. It was, indeed, in
that light he viewed the conduct of the honourable gentleman
who moved- the House for a call of the members. He wished
to have the House called, because he knew they would not
come. Had he proposed the day which the honourable gen-
tleman proposed, he was sure he would have mentioned some
posterior one. The very business before them, he said, had
been hinted at, and not obscurely, sometime towards the con-
clusion of last session ; and besides, it was both mentioned in
his majesty's speech which closed that session, and that with
which he opened the present session ; so that there was no just
ground for pleading want of information of the affairs before
them. He concluded with saying, that he did not despair of
seeing a happy issue of that political system which had been
supposed to have its rise in despotism, and its foundation in
corruption.


The question was carried without any division.


November 26.


Mr. Secretary Fox brought in his second bill relative to India.
It was entitled, " A Bill for the better Government of the Territo-
rial Possessions and Dependencies in India." Sir Edward Astley
said he did not mean to oppose , the bill then ; but he still thought
that gentlemen ought to proceed with caution in a measure, by
which so much influence would. be thrown into the hands of the


A bill of infinitely less moment, which gave infinitely lesscrown.
influence, had been opposed by some of the first and best men in
this country, because it tended to encrease, though in a small de.-
awe the influence of the crown and its ministers ; if therefore a
Measure should be adopted that would put ministers into posses-
sion of an extent of patronage, immense in every sense of the word,
and that might in its consequences threaten the liberties and con-
stitution of this country, gentlemen might then find it necessary to
come again to vote, " that the influence of the Crown has in-
creased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." He was
ready to allow, that from the present state of the company's af-
fairs, some regulations were necessary. He was ready also to al-
low, that a company of merchants were not qualified to govern
great territorial possessions ; but still he had a right to be on his
guard,est the measures proposed to' remedy the evil complained'


7
of should prove ruinous to the liberty of this country.


Mr. Secretary Fox observed, that the honourable baronet's
remarks were pointed, not against the bill then immediately
under the consideration of the House, but against the other
which he had the honour to present a few days ago ; and


783.] 1:1R. FOx's EAST INDIA BILI. g . 219
when that bill should become the subject of debate, he would.
endeavour to defend it against tile different objections that
Mould be urged against it. With respect to the influence


Jiat it would give to the crown, it would be the duty of its
opposers to shew that it was unnecessarily proposed, and that
influence Nvas,


the object, and not an adventitious circumstance
in the bill. This sort of opposition was fair and parliamentary,
and he hoped it would be followed. He hoped,. that no gen-
tleman would object to the bill singly, or consider it in a sin.
(rle point of' view ; but that, while it was stated that the bill
tended to increase the influence of the crown, the necessity of
adopting some measure respecting the future government of
India would be taken into consideration, and then the ques-
ion with respect to the influence of the crown would stand


on its true ground, and the only point in doubt would be,
whether the that was to be read a second time the next day,
increased the influence of the crown in a manner that was un-
necessary. He was glad, however, to hear the honourable
baronet say that he felt the necessity of making some regula-
tions, and that a company of merchants were not fit to govern
a vast tract of territorial possessions. As to the bill imme-
diately before the House, its principle was clearly unobjec-
tionable on the score of influence; for so far from giving any
influence, this bill was particularly to guard against it; he
presumed, therefore, - . that there would be no opposition to the
sending of the bill to a committee, for whatever objection
could arise, it must, in his opinion, be to the provisions, and
not to the bill itself; he was not so vain As to suppose that he
could frame a bill that embraced so many objects, and con-
tained so great a number of regulations, which should not be
liable in many places to objections ; it would be for the wisdom
of the committee to make such alterations in the clauses as
they should judge necessary.


Mr. William Pitt said, that it was not possible for him to form a
just judgment of a bill of such a length, from the cursory manner
in which it had been read ; but as far as he could judge, lie was
free to say that the principle of it did not strike him, as being at all
a-kin to that of the other bill which was brought in last week ; and
at present he saw no objection to its going to a committee. How-
ever it could not be expected, that he should pledge himself to
support it, or any part of it, until he should have read and well
considered the whole of the bill. — Mr. Arden observed, that the
bill mentioned in various places the commissioners to whom the
company's affairs should be intrusted ; this sheaved that it de-
pended upon another bill, and would therefore be nugatory and
absurd if that bill should not pass ; and it was not a matter so cer-
tain as the right honourable secretary seemed to suppose, that the
bill would pass.




[N220


/UR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.
ov. 27.


Mr. Secretary Fox in answer to this observation said, that
let the fate of the other bill be what it might, this bill would
not, in his opinion be nugatory and absurd; the necessity
of regulations was admitted on all hands; and let who might
be entrusted with the management of the company's affilirs,
these regulations wou:d be necessary ; he therefore wished the
bill might be gone through as speedily as possible; nay, that
it might be passed even before the other bill; and therefore
care might be taken in the committee to insert a clause,
which should declare, that let the government .of the com-
pany be in whom it might, whether directors or commis-
sioners, the powers given by this bill should rest in them.
With such a clause as this, the bill would not be dependent
upon any other ; and would be complete, though the other
should be lost. (Mr. Pitt nodded approbation.) He owned
for his part he wished it to proceed with as much dispatch as
possible; but as he was not vain enough to think, that any
bill he could fabricate would be perfect, or that a bill con-
taining so large a number of various regulations, would not
call for much discussion, and even some alteration, he cer-
tainly would give due time for gentlemen to consider the
subject.


The bill was ordered to be printed, and read a second time on.
Tuesday.


November 27.


Mr. Secretary Fox moved the order of the day for the second
reading of the bill " for vesting the Affairs of the East India Com-
pany in the hands of certain Commissioners for the benefit of the
Proprietors and the Public." The motion was agreed to ; the bill
was read, as were also the petitions from the courts of proprietors
and directors of the East India company ; and their counsel were
then called to the bar. Mr. lions and Mr. Dallas appeared, for the
proprietors; and Mr. Hardinge and Mr. Plomer for the court of
directors. As soon as the counsel had withdrawn, Mr. Secretary
Fox and Sir James Lowther rose nearly at the same time, and each
was supported by numerous friends, in his pretensions to speak
first ; but Sir James having said that he was going to speak to or-
der, Mr. Fox sat clown. Sir James then said, that he would not
for any length of time prevent the right honourable gentleman
from making his defence, for having introduced a bill that had for
its object the violation of the most sacred rights of Englishmen.
What he had to observe on the present occasion was, that it would be
necessary, before gentlemen should proceed to debate the bill, that
the accounts delivered in at the bar should be read ; for as the
bankruptcy of the East India company was the pretence 'for bring-


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 221
lug in the bill, it would be necessary that every paper should be
read that could prove either the truth or falsehood of the argu-
ment drawn from the supposition of such bankruptcy. The Speaker
said, that in point of order, all papers delivered in at the bar by
witnesses, were considered as evidence already given to the House,
and therefore it was not necessary that they should be read, except
pro, foram, and every member might argue from them as if they
had been read. He called upon the old members of the House to
Bet him right, if he was wrong in his opinion. Mr. Kenyon could
not conceive how such an order could be reconciled with reason
or common sense. In the courts of law, if a paper was given in
evidence, and its authenticity was ascertained, it was always read ;
for if it was not, it could be of no service or disservice in the cause,
as the courtand jury, though, in fact, in possession of the paper,must
in reality, as long it remained unread, be totally unacquainted with
its contents. The Speaker replied, that when evidence was offered
by a counsel at the bar of the House, he might, if he pleased,
cause it to be read : but if he did not call for that, it was not the
custom of the House to read what the counsel did not think neces-
sary to have read. In some cases, the reading of papers delivered
at the bar was impracticable ; in many instances they were too vo-
luminous ; but any member might in debate advert to them, and
cause the whole, or any part, to be read as often as he should think
fit. The point of order being thus settled,


Mr. Secretary Fox rose to state his reasons for sending the
bill to a committee. The honourable baronet has said, that
he will not keep me from my defence ; and he calls my speak-
ing to the question of commitment a speech in my defence. I
allow him his assertion. I shall always consider myself as
speaking in my defence, when I rise up to speak to a propo-
sition so great and so important as that which I have now
presumed to offer to the wisdom of the House. Whenever I
rise up in this House to present a broad and comprehensive
scheme of policy to the nation, and that scheme is questioned,
charged, and arraigned, I shall always consider what I say in
its support as an argument in my own defence; because I shall
always consider my own character, my situation, my rank in
the country, as at stake on every measure of state which I
shall presume to undertake. The honourable baronet said
truly, therefore, that I was now rising to speak in my de-
fence: bat give me leave at the same time to assert, that I
have something better than my own defence in view, because
the present bill has something greater than my own advantage;
it is a bill which I from my soul believe to be necessary to the
deliverance of the empire, and it would be better supported in
my mind by arguments in support of its own principle, than
by harsh assertions of personality, which, however they may
gratify spleen, have nothing to do with the system submitted
to your consideration.




222 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 2,"


He was really surprized, that notwithstanding the various
objections that had been stated to this bill on a former day,
he found himself this day attacked upon a ground which he
had least expected. The violation of charters, the despotism
and oppression of the bill, were topics which he apprehended
would have been principally dwelt on this clay: but he found
that these grounds were nearly abandoned; and now he was
to be attacked on that side where he felt himself most strong:
yet he would confess, that he was sorry he was so strong
there, for his strength must be founded on the weakness of
the company. It was an old and a politic custom with
ministers, in talking in parliament in the time of war of the


z,strenerth and resources of the different bodies of the commu-
nity, to describe them as if they were in the most prosperous
and flourishing condition, and, perhaps, he should himself
conform to that custom, if the country was now involved in
war. The situation of the country, however, was such as
would not now allow the practice of those deceptions. We
could only assist the nation, by knowing and declaring what
the amount of its distress was. Had not this been the case;
had not the most urgent necessity impelled, he never would
have brought in such a bill as that under discussion. The'
bill wa.; a child not of choice but of necessity. In like Man-
ner, •he answer he was about to give to the directors' state of
the company's affairs, was not a matter of option, but a mat-
ter which he could not avoid, in justice to the company, in
justice to himself, and in justice to the world. He assured.
the House at the same time, that though his defence must
arise from that weakness, he wished most sincerely that he
had no such ground of defence; the weakness of a company
so connected with the public, was not a theme which could
afford any satisfaction : but as he would stake his reputation
on the necessity of the measure he proposed, so it afforded
him, as far as his character was concerned, some satisfaction,
that he could find in the company's own accounts substantial -
proofs of the necessity of a parliamentary interposition. But,
he confessed, that while an honourable and learned gentle-
man, who sat opposite to him now, and who was likely to
do so on all occasions, (Mr. Dundas, who sat on the opposi-
tion side of the House, close by Mr. Pitt,) and other ho-
nourable gentlemen in that House, could be appealed to as
evidence of the alarming state of the affairs of the company,
he had not imagined that any long or elaborate proof that
they were not in a prosperous condition, would be necessary.
Gentlemen, he said, would find that there was no great oc-
casion for them to lament, that the account which had been
delivered in at the bar by the East India company's account-


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 2231783-3
wit , bad not been read by the clerk, as he should, in the
course of his speech, be obliged to touch upon most of the
points that it contained. In this account he- found many
things inserted, which ought to have been omitted; and many
things omitted, which ought to have been inserted. Through
these assertions, and these omissions, the company's affairs
were made to appear in a much more favourable point of
view than . he believed they would be seen in, when he should
have stated the different exceptions that he had to their ac-
count: but he begged leave again to call to the recollection
of the House, that he did not stand pledged to prove that
these were actual errors in the account. It might be regu-
larly calculated, and the sums very properly cast up. He
did not venture to say that there were positive falsehoods in
the statement; all that he said, and all that he was • pledged
for, was, that he would state rational objections to articles in
this account, to the amount of more than twelve millions.
These objections might not convince the House—they had
convinced him. He begged that gentlemen would go along
with him in the statement, and put down the articles as he
enumerated them; for in so complicated a matter, they could
not follow him from memory.


The first article in the account held out as the property
of the company; was 4,200,0001. as the debt due to the com-
pany from government, at 3 per cent. interest. To this
article he did not object: but he must make this observa-
tion; that this sum was to be considered as all other money
held in the funds of the country, as not otherwise available
to the individual than in respect of the annual interest, for
there was no obligation of payment; they could not force
the production of it; they could not make government come
to a settlement with them; but they stood exactly like the
other creditors of the public, secure of the interest, but not
armed with powers to come when they pleased at the princi-
pal. Another observation, too, occurred on this. They
took and stated this sum with evident error. Surely it was no
otherways to be estimated, than as they could carry their stock
to market. They were not to set it down in this statement
of their property at the nominal amount, but at the market-
able value of the commodity. The marketable value of the
commodity was three-liftlis of the nominal value, and at no
more ought they to have stated this sum of property, because
for DO more was the principal available in their present cir-
cumstances. It was very true, that this money was to be re-
paid to the company, if government should ever put an end
to the monopoly which the company enjoyed of the trade to
India, In that case, the full sum of 4,200,0001. must of




224 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [NOv. 27.


course be paid ; but as the money was lent, and government
was never to repay the principal, if they chose, while they
continued the monopoly, he must say, it was not so very fair
to state the sum lent at the full value of 4,200,0001.; for if the
monopoly should, in any case, be annihilated, without the
will of government, then the Money, as he had said, could
not be called for ; and if the company wished to sell their in-
terest in that loan, which was sunk in the 3 per cents. they
would of course lose about two-fifths of the. whole ; and there:
fore the account should, in candour, have stated, that towards
paying their debts, they had in the 3 per cent. stock, a pro-
perty that would sell for 2,52o,ocol.


The next article was of a very singular nature indeed, and
gave the House a specimen of the principle on which this
account was made up. A charge Wa€.


made on government
of 260,6871. for the subsistence of prisoners in the war which
concluded in 1763. To this article he did not mean to ob-
ject, as a debt desperate, and to be altogether struck out;
but in their present emergency, was it to be considered as an
article of available property ? This claim was made on France
immediately on the conclusion of the war in 176 3 , and for
fifteen years in succession, that is, until the commencement
of the last war. The payment of the sum was constantly
sought for, and as steadfastly denied. Now, though he for his
own part would promise and pledge himself to the company,
that he would exert every effort of his mind and power to
accomplish this payment, though there was a negotiation
at this instant going on at Paris for the payment of it, and
though he would pledge himself also for the exertion and ac-
tivity of the noble duke now at Paris on the subject, still he
asked, if a sum which had been contended for in vain for so
long a time, was to be assumed in such an account as avail-
able property ?


The next article of 139,8771. for expences on the Manilla
expedition, and of 21, 4471. for hospital expellees, bore the
same complexion. They were all sums which had been in
contention for so long a time, that though they might be
fairly due, they could not be estimated as property at hand,
in fund, or come-at-able; they had been disallowed by every
succeeding treasury, including even that of the Earl of Shel-
burne; he therefore begged to ask the House, whether these
three sums making 422,0111. ought to have been brought for-
ward in the present statement as property applicable to the
discharge of their debts?


The next article was under the head of cash, which was
stated in money, in bonds paid in at the sales, and again to
be issued, and in debentures and custom notes, to amount to




1783.] MR. rox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 225
609,954 Now, to this he had an objection. The bonds
were here stated as cash, and no notice was taken of a very
material article, which was the discount on their being issued
again. They bore a very considerable discount, and an al-
lowance should have been made for this discount which they
must suffer, on their being again issued. They could not
take any advantage of them but by issuing them anew, and
they must be issued at a discount. Instead, therefore, of
stating them on this side of the account as cash, and charging
them on the other side as debts against themselves, they ought
to have stated merely the amount of the discount as an item
against themselves on the debtor side of the account.


The next sum was stated to be due for goods sold, but not
delivered, 5 5 3,2581. To this he had no objection. The
next article was the value of the goods in the warehouses,
of which the freights and duties were paid, 2,500,000/.
This he did not consider as proper to be taken in the way
which they had taken it. It was to be enquired whether they
could dispose of this property, and when,—whether they
could make it productive, and to the amount at which they
had taken it,—though he did not believe that they could ; yet
he did not object to this article. At the same time it might
have been proper for them to have stated the amount without
the customs. They charged themselves with the customs on
the other side indeed; but to have made the account regular,
the sum should have been regularly stated here without the
double entry.


The next was the merchandise exported to India, but not
included in the property here, as not being yet arrived,
1,219,09 11. When a man was making out a state of ac-
counts, to prove that he had in hand a sufficient quantity of
goods, which he could immediately, or in a reasonable time,
convert into money, one might be a little surprised to find
him enumerating articles which, in their nature, could not be
converted into money; and yet the company had acted pre-
cisely in this manner; for they stated that merchandise, to
the amount of 1,21 9,091/. had been exported to India, but
not included in the accounts of property there, not being
arrived when they were made up. Now, in this account were
included military stores, to the amount of about half that
sum, which were not to be used for auy mercantile purpose,
but were to be, if they had not already been, consumed by the
arm- ;y to the sum therefore of at least 6o0,0001. in this article,
he would certainly except : it formed no part of the means of
the company to pay their present debts, and therefore ought
Rot to have been included in an account of ways and means.
They could not bring them to- any market, and they were




VOL. 2




226 i'm. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [NOV. 27.


not to be taken as available property. On this article, there.
fore, he took 600,000l.


The next sum was for silver remaining in the treasury,
a,ogol. The only notice which he meant to take of this arti-
cle was, to declare his astonishment, or rather indeed not his
astonishment, but to point it out as a fact, which proved his
statement of their finances to be right. After enumerating
their millions afloat; their millions in the warehouses ; they
came to the calculation of their specie, and it amounted to the
sum of f ogo/. This reminded him of an article in one of our great •
bard's best plays, where speaking of one of his best characters,
it is said ; so much for sack ; so much fbr 'sugar; so much for
burnt hock ; so much for this, and so much for that; but for
the solid—the substantial—the staff of life—bread—one half.
penny : so it was with this flourishing company: they had
millions of goods, of bonds, of debts ; but of silver they had
one solitary thousand pounds.


The next article was for the advance of freight, to be de-
ducted on the arrival -of the ships, f 72,3347. 1 o this article
he had very great and solid objection. It was a piece of
complete and most unpardonable fidlacy. They stated, in
their favour, the advanced freight which they had paid, but
they had not taken against them, on the other side, the sum
of freight and demurrage, which they would have to pay. To
shew the fallacy of this article, he would suppose that he had
i 000l. to pay on his note next Monday, of which, however,
he had already advanced too/. In estimating his account he
took to his favour the od. which he had paid, but took no
notice, nor made any provision for the goo/. which he had to
pay. The company had advanced the freight on fifty-three
ships; of these, fourteen had come home, and there were
still thirty-nine ships behind ; but. of these, two had been
burnt and blown up ; so that there remained thirty-seven ships
in India, and coming home, on which the remaining freight
and demurrage was to be paid, and this was to be estimated
at 50,0001. a ship. So that, instead of this sum which they
had taken to their credit, they were to be charged in this
account with 1,85o,000/. for which they were bound, and
which they must pay. This he called a very unpardonable
fallacy. He desired to know what parliament would think
of any responsible minister, paymaster, or servant, who
should actin that manner. Or was it possible, that any man
appointedunder the present bill, and accountable to that House,
could present an account so miserably deficient as this was ?


The next sum was a small charge for their shipping
England, it was only 12,3001. and he might say de mimmis
non carat preetor ; `but still he must say a few words on the


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST IND/A BILLS. 227


subject, as it spewed to what shifts the company thought
themselves driven, when they would suffer such an article to
he brought into an account; it could be merely for the pur-
pose of swelling at all events the total; this sum was estimated
to be the value of ships and vessels employed by the company
in England. - The meaning of this was, that the sale of these
vessels would produce that sum : but as such a sale could be
thought of only in case the company were going to sell off
their stock and give up business, he would object to the article;
because as nothing could be farther from his intention than to
dissolve the company, so no such sale could take place
while they should exist. The article of 2 5 3,6i 61. was excep-
tionable on the same ground : the company's houses and
buildings in London were estimated at that sum ; but as they
were not to be sold, he would object to the carrying of that
sum to the account of ways and means of the company. If
brought forward, it was to be brought forward on the pre-
sumption of their bankruptcy ; a presumption which he never
made, and which could not be taken.


To the article of 703,8241. taken as the prime cost of four
cargoes on their passage from Bengal, he objected in part.
It ought to have been stated, what was very well known, that
the company suffered a considerable loss by Bengal goods, and
this loss ought to have been deducted from the prime cost of
the four cargoes.


The Company estimated the four cargoes on their passage
from Bengal, at prime cost, to be 703,8247., to this were to
he added the duties, ta-caood., freight, 200,0001., which made
1,07 3 ,824 1., from which the sum of g6o,000/. being deducted,
as the whole of the value which those articles would here bring,
the company of course must be losers of 113,8241. To the
sum of 3 64,5151. stated as the value of cargoes dispatched
from Bengal to other presidencies, he intended also to object ;
because as these cargoes consisted of military stores, they
were not property that could be converted into money; and
consequently ought not to be stated as ways and means to pay
debts that pressed upon the company immediately. It was
in the nature of the article, to a moiety of which he had
already excepted, of military stores sent to India; and he
begged leave to remark, that whenever this sort of charge
occurred, he should object to it.


Re now came to the article, entitled, quick stock at Ben-
gal, under various denominations. In treasure and bills
777,3611. that he allowed. The goods for Europe dispatched


the goods imported and unsold—and the salt—but the ar-
ticle of stores unexpended he objected to, on the argument
a lready stated, and he took for this 680,5091. The sum ad-


2 2




2 28 MR. PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 27.


vanced to the Board of Trade was stated to be 837,4657. and
this was erroneous. The sum for investments was only
635,0001. and this sum ought to be less by x6o,oco/.
stated the particulars of this error also. It was not a little
singular to find by what means the company swelled up their
account of debts due to them, in order to chew what means
they were possessed of to pay their debts. In this place they
valued the current rupee at 2S. 3d. when every man knew
that to rate it at 2S. Id. was setting rather a high value on
it, the general exchange being at 2s.


The next article he would wish to press to the consideration
of the House : it was the debt due by the nabob Asoph ul
Dowla, 78 9,8281. This debt Was in the nature of many
others which were due to' us in India, and which had been
made the foundation of our various wars. A claim was made
on the nabobs, or the rajahs, for the debt which they owed.
Their answer was, that they were unable; but that their sub-
jects in a certain district were not only in arrears, but re-fractory, and therefore if the company would assist them
to reduce their subjects to obedience and payment, they would
pay their debts. On this pretext we entered on the war, and
what particular species of war we commenced might be drawn
from the records of the company—a war of horror and de-
vastation—we scoured deserted countries—we ravaged and
burnt the villages—we destroyed or we captured the women
and the infants—in this manner the Rohillas one year, the
Marawar country the next, then the Polygars were laid waste
and desolated, and those innocent and unprotected natives
destroyed; the men were murdered, the women imprisoned
and disgraced, their children left a prey to want, and every
religious and civil right: violated. To prove this he desired
the clerk might read a letter from Lieutenant-colonel Bonjour,
a Swiss officer in the company's service, which described the
manner in which he found a country, in India in 1 7 73, when
sent into it to force people to pay money : the villages were
deserted by the men, who left none in them but women and
children ; the men fell upon the English convoys, and cut them
Off; and put many of the soldiers to death. He represented
therefore that either the design must be given up, or reprisals
must be made on women and children, which would shock
humanity. He painted to them, in the warm colours of fee l


-ing, the scene of horror which the service exhibited, and de.-
precated such wars as inglorious and contemptible. Thank
God ! exclaimed Mr. Fox, they have always failed. TheY
have constantly been as unproductive of revenue as they 'were
productive of infamy. In every instance we have faded in
our object, but in no instance have we avoided die


783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 2291


abhorrence, the contempt of mankind. He read also a let-
ter from the Soubah of Dude, of which the following is a
copy : " When the knife had penetrated to the bone, and I was
surrounded with such heavy distresses that I could no longer
live in expectations, I wrote you an account of my difficulties.
The answer which I have received to it is such, that it has
given me inexpressible grief and affliction. I never had the
least idea or expectation from you and the council, that you
would ever have given your orders in so afflicting a manner,
in which you never before wrote, and which I could not have
imagined. As I am resolved to obey your orders and direc-
tions of the council, without any delay, as long as I live, I
have, agreeably to those orders, delivered up all my private
papers to him (the resident) that when he shall have examined
my receipts and expenses, he may take whatever remains.
As I know it to be my duty to satisfy you, the company, and
council, I have not failed to obey in any instance, but requested
of him that it might be done so as not to distress me in my
necessary expellees; there being no other funds but those for
the expences of my mutseddies, household expellees, and ser-
vants, &c. He demanded these in such a manner, that being
remediless, I was obliged to comply with what he required.
He has accordingly stopped the pensions of my old servants
for thirty years, whether scpoys, mutseddies, or household
servants, and the expences of my family and kitchen, toge-
ther with the jaghircs of my grandmother, mother, and aunts,
and of my brothers and dependents, which were for their sup-
port. I had raised 1300 horse, and three battalions of sepoys,
to attend upon me; but, as I have no resource to support them,
I have been obliged to remove the people stationed in the
mahals (districts) and to send his people (the resident's people)
into the mahals; so that I have not now one single servant about
me; should I mention to what farther difficulties I have been
reduced, it would lay me open to contempt."


He would make no cninments on this letter, be would
leave it to the feelings of the House. All these debts from this
nabob, and from all the nabobs and rajahs, he wished at
once to strike off ; and he believed that the feelings and the
magnanimity of the country would go with him in saying, that
they would rather be doomed to pay all that the company
owed, ill as they could at this time bear it; ill as their sink-
ing-fund could sustain the shock, they would apply to that,
rather than wring it from the princes of the country, by
aiding them in wars on their i inieeent people. In this part
of his speech, all sides of the House joined in the exclamation
or " hear ! hear !" as the testimony of their approbation.


The next article was, debts due by the company in Bengal,
cp.x.ses, the




23o MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 27.
on bond and otherwise, 2,367,1161. Upon this he only ob-
served, that from the word otherwise, it might he imagined
that there were considerable debts not on bond, whereas the
whole amount was on bond except co,000l.


-With this ob-
servation to mark the style of the account, he allowed the
same. But there was a very curious and singular matter 00.. -
curred here. It stated that the arrears due to the army did
not appear; but by a subsequent minute it did appear, that
the arrears up to March 1783, amount to 502,174/. This they
state to come by the last dispatches. Would it not be imagined
that at least they would bring this soo,00d. to account ? Not
one figure of it. He asked the House what they would think
of government, if having accounts from abroad of arrears
due to the army, they failed to bring half a million forward ?
Would they not impeach the defaulter? wished,


-there-
fore, to rescue the affairs of the East from a company capa-
ble of such a crime : for a crime he declared it was. Before
he left the article of the quick stock of Bengal, he must ob.,
serve, there was an omission entirely of 130,000/. due by the
company to the Military Fund established by Lord Clive,
and the nabob Asoph ul Dowla, and a considerable part of
which sum must be paid to the heirs of Lord Clive.


The quick stock at Madras came next: and here again he
objected to the article of sores, military and naval, unex-
pended, which was 264,1 1 ol. ; and on the same account that he
objected to the sum clue from Asoph ul Dowla, he objected to
the charge of 968,012/. stated to be due by the Nabob of
Arcot, to 158,2 5 01. due from the Rajah of Tanjore, and to
993,8041. clue from the renters of sundry districts.


He said, the nabob could not attempt to pay his debt
without attempting to take it from the rajah, nor the rajah
without taking it from Some neighbouring power, and all this
with the assistance of the company's troops, and at the ex-
pence of the company's treasure. As to the renters of sun-
dry districts of land, how could .money be recovered from
those who had none to give ? Had not these people been
driven from their possessions, ,


and made the victims of cruel
and unjust wars? And how could it be expected that they
should be able to answer this enormous demand ? At the end
of the account of these debts, there was a curious observa-
tion, contained in a nota bene, to the following effect:


The war in the Carnatic will delay the payment of some
of these debts, and must have rendered many others of them
precarious, so that their exact value cannot be ascertained."
After this beginning, said Mr. Pox, would not the House
imagine that .


the account was going to say that some par-,
ticular part • of the sum, -such as a 5th, an 8th, or a l oth or


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 23 I


these sums might be recovered ; but, the account, instead of
saying any such thing, goes on, and says, " but the above
sums are undoubtedly due to the company." These debts,
put together, would amount to 2,822,31o/. and to this sum
he was resolved to object, as unfit to be inserted in an ac-
count of means to answer the company's pressing demands.
The ridicule, the absurdity, and the determination to im-
pose, contained in this annotation, drew from him a vein
of irony and attack that we scarcely remember to have heard
equalled even by Mr. Fox. He once more dwelt upon the
scandalous conduct of those who had dared to produce to
parliament an account so full of imposition and absurdity ;
particularly with regard to the stating these desperate and
ruinous debts, more, ruinous in recovering than abandoning,
as a fund, and the unparalleled impudence of this conclusion
of the N. B.- that the above sums were 44 undoubtedly due to
the company." No doubt they were due: and if the com-
pany were to go on for five years more, five times the sum
might, and probably would, from the experience of past times,
be as fairly due ; and from thence it would be in the power
of those who had the hardiness to impose upon the publiciby
such an account, to shew the company in a better situation
every year, as their debts encreased : that they would soon
have it in their power to prove the flourishing state of the
company, by stating the debts of the nabob at twice 900,000/.
and those of Asoph ul Dowla at double the present sum.
But he desired the House to recollect, that it was their bu-
iness to interfere to prevent that species of prosperity from


gaining farther than it had hitherto gone, and to stem those
torrents of blood which must flow, if the attempt was .made
to procure them ; an attempt which must end in wasting
more money (setting considerations of humanity- aside) than
the amount of them would repay. To estimate the property
of the company in this way was most fallacious. In propor-
tion as they oppressed — as they racked — as they were guilty
of weakness in the first instance, and of violence in the second,
their debts would encrease; and even when they were .more
deeply involved, they might by such accounts, shew them-
selves to be on paper more flourishing. But such debts were
not available property, and could not be estimated.


The debts due by the company in Madras, 31st August
1782, including arrears to the military, 821,16 41., he stated to
have increased since ; and that the right honourable gentleman
opposite (Mr: Pitt) knew it: it was a secret disclosed to the
treasury, of which he was chancellor of the exchequer, and
he doubted not, he woald not deny it. By these disallowances,


0 4




222 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Nov. 27.


he reduced the balance of quick stock at Madras 2,078,0781.
to little more than 500,0001.


Of the quick stock at Bencoolen, consisting of the dif-
ference between cash and effects, and the debts owing by
the company, amounting on the 1 9th of March, 1783, to a
balance in favour of the company of 189,0361. he allowed
only the odd 8 9,0001. the other 100,0001. being exhausted in
the expence of the establishment, and therefore on the footing
of warehouses, not convertible, unless they gave up trade,
consequently not applicable to present relief: The quick
stock at St. Helena, 27,6181. disallowed on the same prin-
ciple. The quick stock in China, 132,5961. he allowed, be-
cause consisting of goods, and there we had no territories nor
establishment to maintain. The quick stock at Bombay, I sth
September 1782, valuing the rupee at 2s. 6d. Cash and bills
24,6631. he allowed. Goods provided for Europe, 95,1451.
Of this he disallowed 32,0001. put on board two ships that
sailed after the date here taken, and which was included in the
prior statement of goods in warehouses, and he also took the
freight and demurrage, to be paid on their arrival in Eng-
land, 148,0031. for military and naval stores, disallowed for
reasons formerly given.


The debts due to the company of 8 9 1,0691. he doubted of
as much as of the unsecured part of Ragobah's debt, for the
reasons already stated. By these deductions, the debt due by
the company at Bombay amounted to 2,000,0001. instead of
1,790,0001. There was an additional arrear to be taken as
due to the army in India, beyond what the account stated of
140,0001. They also owed to the nizam 3 o lacks of rupees,
which was 300,0001. totally omitted. Besides these sums,
which amount in the whole to 9,400,0001. there was to be
added the sum due to the proprietors of 3,200,0001. which
made the sum in the whole more than i2,000,0001. which he
pledged himself to exhibit in objection to their account.
There were other inaccuracies in their statement, which made
considerable difference in its truth, but into which he had not
particularly entered. It was alledged that the sum of 400,0001.
lately paid by the company to government, was as a price for
the renewal of their charter. It was no such thing. They
paid it as a debt due to the country, and so it was considered.'


The right honourable gentleman then went into a train of
most admirable and eloquent deductions from his premises,
and into distinct answers to the several arguments which had
been. adduced against the principle, provision, and tendency
of the bill. The peace with the Mahrattas had been held out
by the friends and agents of that great man Mr. Hastings,
a man who, by disobeying the orders of his employers, had


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 233


made himself so great, as to be now able to mix in every
question of state, and make every measure of government a
personal point in which he had a share—the peace with the
Mahrattas had been held out as so favourable to this country,
that every good was to be derived from it. What said the
last advices to that? Read the last gazette. In the very mo-
ment that an honourable gentleman, whose zeal and ardour
carried him generally too far, was loud in declaring that all
was peace in India, and congratulating the proprietors on the
prosperous situation of their affairs, came home the dispatches
contained in the last gazette. Let the House learn from
that gazette the pressing occasion for an immediate reform
of the government of India. Let them see the cause of the
disasters recorded in those direful dispatches —a quarrel
among the officers on the common theme of India, the division
of the spoil, the disposal of the plunder taken from the na-
tives ! They would learn from the gazette, that our army
had lost all subordination, as they had learnt from other pub-
lications, that our civil government in India had lost all
energy. And, in addition to that information, he would read
a letter from Mr. Anderson, stating that the pashwa and
madajee scindia, proposed that they should enter into art
alliance with the company to strip Tippoo Saib of his ter-


' ritories, and Make a partition of them between the three.
This proposition appeared to be acceptable to Mr. Hastings;
and it was therefore reasonable to suppose, or to fear, that a
new war was actually raging at this time in India.


Did the House know of the disputes in our presidencies,
es well as in the army? That Lord Macartney, that great
and exalted man, the only man who paid obedience to his
constituents, was at this instant perhaps removed, confined,
perhaps come to the fate of Lord Pigot? Would they not
remember, that, by the peace with Prance, we had engaged
not to make war with their allies in India ? And that if this
new engagement was entered into with the Mahrattas, it
would be to all purposes a new war, and consequently we
might involve ourselves again with France, and revive war
In every part of Europe? These were important considera-
tions.


It was said that this was an invasion of the chartered
rights. Undoubtedly it was: but would gentlemen say that
such infringements were not warrantable? Had they not been
frequently infringed before? when the votes of the loci. stock
proprietors were cut ofT— mid in various other instances.
Was this to be called an infringement of their charters, so
enormous and violent, when they had broken the conditions
of the charter and agreement? Did the House know, if this




234 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. ENOV. 27,


bill should be thrown out, which by the bye he did not bee
lieve it would be, that the treasury could in a fortnight after.
wards enter the premises of the East India company with an
extent, and take legal possession of all that they were worth
in the world ?


But necessity was said to be the plea of tyranny — it was
also the plea of freedom. The revolution, which established
the rights and liberties of these kingdoms, was undertaken
and accomplished —nay was justified at the time, on the plea
of necessity : a necessity that superseded all law, and was
the glorious means of giving liberty to England. On the
present occasion, had it not been agreed on all hands, that
some measure of regulation and rclbrm was necessary with
respect to India? Nay, had not a right honourable gentle-
man opposite to him, and his friends, been loud in calling
out for a system, complete and well digested ? Had they
not said, no palliatives, no half measures? Let the learned
gentleman opposite him (Mr. Dundas) say how any effec-
tual reform in the conduct of the India company's. affairs
could be made without touching their charter. Did the
present bill offer more violence to it than the bill proposed
last year? In what lay the difference? That bill aimed at
lodging an absolute and despotic power of governing in India.
This provided a controulable government; but it was a power-
ful government, and it was at home. To give power was
generally


considered as a dangerous delegation ; but it be-
came the more dangerous in proportion as it was lodged at
a distance. A virtuous and a wise man might lost his prin-
ciples and his understanding in India. Disease and luxury
might co-operate to enervate; the sight of wealth within reach
might win to rapacity, and the once pure mind, weakened by
climate and example, might be betrayed to corruption and
plunder. The temptation was not so great in England.
'The commissioners were to act at hand, and to be under the
immediate eye of parliament. Where, then, was the dan-
ger so loudly trumpeted forth to the world, and so industri-
ously made the subject of popular clamour ?


But besides the objection to the commissioners being named
by parliament, the great one was, the influence it was to give
to the crown. This he denied. No immediate influence was
to be given but the nomination of the seven commissioners;.
the patronage of the East Indies had been in the hands of
the crown before. What great officer had been appointe4,
but by the advice and influence of ministers? And ought they;,
to have been otherwise? The only difference is, that before:
the court of directors was a screen; and now, they . wilt them-
selves be responsible. He did not wish the edmmissioners


178.3.1 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 235
to be ont of parliament. He wished them to be like himself
and his colleagues, constantly under the eye and attack of the
Ilouee. -Why order the new officers to give their reasons
for what they did ? This regulation was questioned as being
idle. It was not so : it was the character of despotic go-
vernments to be dark; of popular governments to have pub-
licity; and lie averred that it was their beauty and basis.
Our judicial tribunals were bound to give their reasons. He
objected to the plan of Mr. Dundas, because he could not
agree to give to a man, at the distance of half the globe,
uncontrouled power. Even here it was dangerous; but not
so much so, because it would be watched. The valuable
jealousies •of the country would be awake, and parliament
would be ready to crush its irregular acts. Some measure
was admitted on all hands to be necessary; if the present was
disapproved, those who disapproved of it were bound to pro.-
pose a better.


Perluips it would be argued, that the distress of the com-
pany was solely owing to the burdens and pressure of an
expensive war, and that what had arisen from a specific mis-
fortune, ought not to be attributed to general misrule and
mismanagement. In proof that this was not true, he would
read a letter from a person in a high and responsible situa-
tion in India, in 1772. Mr. Fox then read an extract, which,
in the language of conviction, attributed all the disasters in
India, of that day, to a want of vigour in the principle of
the system of its government, adopted and pursued by the
directors at home. The writer of the letter, Mr. Fox said,
was not a favourite authority with him in all cases; but his
position carried wisdom in it, and his argument was founded
on sound policy.. The other side of the House, at least, he
hoped, would agree in this, when he informed them that the
writer of the letter he had just read, was no other than Mr.
Hastings himself.


That the bill ought to pass, if it passed at all, with the
utmost dispatch, a variety of reasons concurred to justify.
The seeds of war were 'ilready sown in India; and a note
left by Sir Eyre Coote, a man whose memory deserved every
possible praise on account of his gallant actions, afforded
alarming proof of it. The deceased leader of the troops in
India had written to the governor of Madras, that the ex-
pellee and the burdens incurred by the...,'company in con-
sequence of the late war, could only be recovered by a fresh
war on Tippoo Seib. Let the House pause upon this; —
let them reflect on the last gazette, the dispatches of which
reached the India house, and filled the general court with
disappointment and dismay, in the very moment that an




236


en. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. L Nov. 27,,
V


honourable gentleman, whose zealous ardour carried him
generally too far, was loud in declaring that all was peace in
India, and congratulating the proprietors on the prosperous
situation of their affairs. Let the House also learn from that
gazette, the pressing occasion for an immediate reform of the
government of India. Let them see the cause of the dis-
asters recorded in those direful dispatches — a quarrel among
the officers on the common theme of quarrels in India, the
division of the spoil, the disposal of the plunder taken from
the natives ! There were also additional causes to expect a
war there, and to dread its communicating to the other quar-
ters of the globe, if proper means to prevent it were not in-
stantly resorted to.


Mr. Fox dwelt upon this for some time, and shewed that
we might suddenly find ourselves involved in a war with
France, if due care was not taken to avert the mischief. He
also painted, in glowing colours, the alarming state of the
civil government in India, in consequence of the dissentions
between the different presidencies; he declared he felt for
Lord Macartney, for whom he had ever entertained the sin-
cerest respect. That noble lord had proved himself the most
obedient to direction from home, the purest in principle, and
the most zealous in conduct, for the national honour, of any
governor ever sent to India; but who could say that Lord
Macartney had not been suspended, nay, who could say that
he was not at this instant a prisoner, or that he had not
shared the fate of Lord Pigot ? He said farther, that he con-
sidered suffering the company to borrow more money, as in
fact lending them the security of government for what they
borrowed, and that before he proceeded that length, he held
himself bound to take every possible means to make the safety
of the public, and the prosperity of the company, go hand in
hand together. He knew that in doing so, he put his own
situation, as a minister, to the hazard; but where upon a great
national ground he could establish a measure at once salu-
tary and useful, likely to rescue the natives of India from
oppression, and save the country from. disgrace, he little cared
how great the personal risks were that he was to encounter.
He took notice of the India regulating bill, which however
deficient in point of policy, it might be fiyuntl, would not,
he believed, be thought to be wanting in regard to numerous
clauses, or spew that ministers had not very fully applied
themselves to the present situation of India. That bill, he
said, in almost every one, of its clauses, restrained and les-
sened the exercise of the power of those who were to act
under the authority of the bill then before the House. The
two bills ought therefore to be considered as it were together,


17831 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 237


the regulations of the one tending to correct and temperate
the other.


He now came to a conclusion, and said, that if he should
fall in this, he should fall in a ()Teat and glorious cause,
struggling not only for the company, but for the people of Great
Britain and India; for many, many millions ofsouls. The sepa-
ration of the sovereignty from the commerce, was a point
which he thought essential, and it was partly provided for
in the bill; but in that and many other provisions, he would
be happy to be assisted by the wisdom of the House in a
committee, to which, therefore, he hoped they would go with
him.


The motion for the committal of the bill was opposed by Mr.
William Pitt, who moved, " that the debate be adjourned till to-
morrow morning ;" upon which the House divided.


Tellers. Tellers.
Mr. Fitzpatrick} Mr. E. J. Elliot




I 20. —NoEs - • 22eSir Geo. Yongel Mr. Sheridan ' ./ 'Yvan
The original motion was then carried.


December I.


The order of the day being read for the House to resolve itself
into a committee of the whole House, upon the bill " for vesting
the affairs of the East India company in the hands of certain com-
missioners," Mr. Powys opposed the Speaker's leaving the chair,
and was supported in his opposition to the bill by Mr. Duncombe,
Mr. Martin, Mr. William Pitt, Mr. Dundas, Mr. Ord, Mr. Beau-
foy, Mr. Thomas Pitt, and Mr. Arden. The bill was defended by
Mr. Burke, who upon this occasion made his celebrated speech on
the extent and bounds of chartered right, and by Lord John Caven-
dish, Mr. Fox, Sir Grey Cooper, Mr. Gregory, and the Solicitor
General.


Mr. Secretary Fox delivered himself to the following effect :
Sir, the necessity of my saying something upon the present.


occasion, is so obvious to the House, that no apology will, I
hope, be expected from me for troubling them even at so
late an hour (two o'clock in the morning). I shall not enter
much into a detail, or minute defence, of the particulars of the
bill before you, because few particular objections have been
made; the opposition to it consisting only in general reason-
ings, of little application some, and sonic totally distinct from
the point in question.


This bill has been combated through its past stages upon
various principles; but to this moment the House has not
heard it canvassed upon its own intrinsic merits. The debate
tins night has turned chiefly upon two points—violation of




238 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. I.
charter, and increase of influence ; and upon both these points
I shall say a few words.


The honourable gentleman, who opened the debate, (Mr.
Powys,) first demands my attention, not indeed for the wisdom
of the observations which fell from him this night, (acute and
judicious as he is upon most occasions,) but from the na-
tural weight of all such characters in this country, the aggre-
gate of whom should, in my opinion, always decide upon pub.
lie measures : but his ingenuity was never, in my opinion, ex-
erted more ineffectually, upon more mistaken principles, and
more inconsistent with the common tenor of his conduct, than
in this debate.


The honourable gentleman charges me with abandoning
that cause, which, he says, in terms of flattery, Thad once so suc-
cessfully asserted. I tell him, in reply, that , if he were to search
the history of my life, he would find that the period of it, in
which I struggled most for the real, substantial cause of liberty,
is this very moment that I am addressing :you. Freedom, ac-
cording to my conception of it, consists in the safe and sacred
possession of a man's property, governed by laws defined and
certain; with many personal privileges, natural, civil, and re-
ligious, which he cannot surrender without ruin to himself;
and of which to be deprived by any other power, is despotism.
This bill, instead of subverting, is destined to give stability to
these principles ; instead of narrowing the basis of freedom, it
tends to enlarge it; instead of suppressing, its object is to in-
fuse and circulate the spirit of liberty.


What is the most odious species of tyranny ? Precisely
that which this bill is meant to annihilate. That a handful of
men, free themselves, should execute the most base and abo-
minable despotism over millions of their fellow creatures; that
innocence should be the victim of oppression; that industry
should toil for rapine; that the harmless labourer should sweat,
not for his own benefit, but for the luxury and rapacity of
tyrannic depredation ; in a word, that thirty million of men
(rifted by Providence with the ordinary endowments of hu-
inanity, should groan under a system of despotism, unmatched
in all the histories of the world.


What is the end of all government? Certainly the happi-
ness of the governed. Others may hold other opinions ; but
this is mine, and I proclaim it. What are we to think of a
government, whose good fortune is supposed to spring from
the calamities of its subjects, whose aggrandisement grows out
of the miseries of mankind ? This is the kind of government
exercised under the East India company upon the natives of
Indostan ; and the subversion of that infamous government is
the main object of the bill in question, But in-the 'progress of


II


1793.] ant. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 239
accomplishing this end, it is objected that the charter of the
company should not be violated ; and upon this point, Sir, I
shall deliver my opinion without disguise. A charter is a
trust to one or more persons for some given benefit. If this
trust be abused, if the benefit be not obtained, and its failure
arises from palpable guilt, or (what in this case is full as bad)
from palpable ignorance or mismanagement, will any man
gravely say, that trust should not be resumed, and delivered-
to other hands, more especially in the case of the East India
company, whose manner of executing this trust, whose laxity
and langour produced, and tend to produce consequences dia-
metrically opposite to the ends of confiding that trust, and of
the institution for which it was granted? —I beg of gentlemen
to be aware of the lengths to which their arguments upon the
intangibility of this charter may be carried. Every syllable
virtually impeaches Jig establishment by which we sit in this
House, in the enjoyment of this freedom, and of every other
blessing of our government. These kind of arguments are
batteries against the main pillar of the British constitution.
Sonic men are consistent with their own private opinions, and
discover the inheritance of family maxims, when they question
the principles of the revolution ; but I have no scruple in sub-
scribing to the articles of that creed which produced it. So-
vereigns are sacred, and reverence is due to every king : yet,
with all my attachments to the person of a first magistrate,
had I lived in th.e reign of James the Second, I should most
certainly have contributed my efforts, and borne part in those
illustrious struggles which vindicated an empire from heredi-
tary servitude, and recorded this valuable doctrine, " that trust
abused is revocable."


No man, Sir, will tell that a trust to a company of mer-
chants, stands upon the solemn and sanctified ground by which
a trust is committed to a monarch; and I am at a loss to recon-
cile the conduct of men who approve that resumption of vio-
lated trust, which rescued and re-established our unparalleled
and admirable constitution with a thousand valuable improve-
ments and advantages at the Revolution, and who, at this mo-
ment, rise up the champions of the East India company's
Charter, although the incapacity and. incompetence of that
company to a clue and adequate discharge of the trust deposit-
ed in them by that charter, are themes of ridicule and contempt
to all the world ; and although, in consequence of their mis-
management, connivance, and imbecility, combined with the
Wickedness of their servants, the very name of an Englishman
is detested, even to a proverb, through all Asia, and the
national character is become degraded and dishonoured. To
rescue that name from odium, and redeem this character from




240 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. /,
disgrace, are some of the objects of the present bill; and gen-
tlemen should, indeed, gravely weigh their opposition to a
measure which, with a thousand other points not less valuable,
aims at the attainment of these objects.


Those who condemn the present bill as a violation of the
chartered rights of the East India company, condemn, on the
same ground, I say again, the Revolution, as a violation of the
chartered rights of King James II. He, with as much reason,
might have claimed the property of dominion ; but what was
the language of the people? " No, you have no property in
dominion ; dominion was vested in you, as it is in every chief
magistrate, for the benefit of the community to be governed;
it was a sacred trust delegated by compact; you have abused
that trust ; you have exercised dominion for the purposes of
vexation and tyranny—not of comfort, protection, and good
order; and we therefore resume the power which was origin-
ally ours : we recur to the first principles of all government, the
will of the many; and it is our will that you shall no longer
abuse your dominion." The case is the same with the East
India company's government over a territory, as it has been
said by my honourable friend (Mr. Burke) of 280,000 square
miles in extent, nearly equal to all christian Europe, and con-
taining thirty million of the human race. It matters not
whether dominion arises from conquest, or from compact.
Conquest gives no right to the conqueror to be a tyrant; and
it is no violation of right to abolish the authority which is
misused.


Having said so much upon the general matter of the bill, I
must beg leave to make a few observations upon the remarks
of particular gentlemen ; and first of the learned gentleman
over against me (Mr. Dundas). The learned gentleman has
made a long, and, as he always does, an able speech; yet,
translated into plain English, and disrobed of the dextrous
ambiguity in which it has been iuveioped, what does it amount
to? To an establishment of the principles upon which this bill .
is founded, and an indirect confession of its necessity. He
allows the frangibility of charters, when absolute occasion
requires it, and admits that the charter of the company should
not prevent the adoption of a proper plan for the future govern-
ment of India, if a proper plan can be achieved upon no other
terms. The first of these admissions seems agreeable to the
civil maxims of the learned gentleman's life, so far as a maxim
can be traced in a political character, so various and flexible:
and to deny the second of these concessions was impossible,
even for the learned gentleman, with a staring reason upon
your table, I mean the learned gentleman's bill of last year, to
confront him if he attempted it. The learned gentleman-'


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 241
bill, and the bill before you, arc grounded upon the same bot-
tom, of abuse of trust, mal-administration, debility, and inca-
pacity in the company and their servants : but the difference in
the remedy is this : the learned gentleman's bill opens a door to
an influence a hundred times more dangerous than any that
call be imputed to this bill, and deposits in one man all arbi-
trary power over millions, not in England, where the evil of
this corrupt ministry could not be felt, but in the East Indies,
the scene of every mischief, fraud, and violence. The learned
gentleman's bill afforded the most extensive latitude for mal-
yersation ; the bill before you guards against it with all imagina-
ble precaution. Every line in both the bills which I have had
the honour to introduce, presumes the possibility of bad ad-
ministration, for every word breathes suspicion. This bill
supposes that men are but men ; it confides in no integrity, it
trusts no character; -it inculcates the wisdom of a jealousy of
power, and annexes responsibility not only to every action,
but even to the inaction of those who are to dispense it. The
necessity of these provisions must be evident, when it is known
that the different misfortunes of the company resulted not,
more from what the servants did, than from what the masters
did not.


To the probable effects of the learned gentleman's bill, and
this, I beg to call the attention of the House. Allowing, for
argument's sake, to the governor-general of India, under the-
first-named bill, the most unlimited and superior abilities, with
soundness of heart and integrity the most unquestionable;
what good consequences could be reasonably expected from
his extraordinary, extravagant, and unconstitutional power,
under the tenure by which he held it ? Were his projects the
most enlarged, his systems the most wise and excellent which
human skill could adopt; what fair hope could be entertained .
of their eventual success, when, perhaps, before lie could enter
upon the execution of any measure, he may be recalled in conse-
quence of one of those changes in the administration of this
Country, which have been so frequent for a few years, and which
some good men wish to see every year? Exactly the same
reasons which banish all rational hope of benefit from an
Indian administration under the bill of the learned gentleman,
justify the duration of the proposed commission. If the dis-
Itis, ers of the plan of governing India (a place from which
the answer of a letter cannot be expected in less than twelve
months) have not greater stability in their situations than a
British ministry— adieu to all hopes of rendering our east-
ern territories of any real advantage to this country, adieu
to ever y expectation of purging or purifying the Indian sys-


of reform, of improvement, of reviving confidence, of
VOL.




242 Mu .FOX'S EAST 'INDIA BILLS. • [Dec.


regulating the trade upon its proper principles, of restorimp
tranquillity, of re-establishing the natives in comfort, and 07
securing the perpetuity of these blessing., by the cordial re-
concilement of the Indians with their farmer tyrants upon
fixed terms of amity, friendship, and fellowship ! I will
leave the House and the kingdom to judge which is best cal-
culated to accomplish those salutary ends the bill of the
learned gentleman, which leaves all to the discretion of one
man, or the bill. belbre you which depends upon the duty of
several men, who are in a state of daily account to this House,
of hourly account to the ministers of the crown, of occasionid
account to the -proprietors of East India stock, and who are
allowed sufficient time to practise their plans, unaffected by
every political fluctuation.


But the learned gentleman wishes the appointment of an
Indian secretary of state in preference to these -conunis-
sinners : in all the learned gentleman's ideas on the govern-
'meta of India, the notion of a new secretary of state for the
Indian department springs up, and seems to be cherished with
-the fondness of consanguinity*; but that scheme strikes me as
liable to a thousand times more objections than the plan in
agitation. hay, the learned gentleman had rather, it seems,
the affairs of India were blended with the business of the of-
fice which I have the honour to hold. His good disposition
towards me upon all occasions cannot 'be doubted, and his
sincerity in this opinion is unquestionable ! I beg the House
to attend to the reason which the learned gentleman gives for
this preference, and to see the plights to which men, even of
his understanding, are reduced, who must oppose. He laughs
at the responsibility of the commissioners to this House, who,,
in his judgment, will find means ofsoodiing, and softening, and,
meliorating the members into an oblivion of their mal-admini s


-- tration. What opinion has the learned gentleman of a .secretary
of state? Does he think him so inert, so inactive, so incapable
a creature, that with all this vaunted patronage of the seven
in his own hands, the same means of soothing, and softening,
and meliorating are thrown away upon him? The learned
gentleman has been for some years conversant with ministers;
but his experience has taught him, it seems, to consider secre-
taries not only untainted and immaculate, but innocent, harm-


_


'x Mr. Dundas's bill was to have appointed a secretary of state for the
'Indian department, and to have made the governor-general despotic in
India. If the Earl of Shelburne had continued in power, it was under'
stood that Mr. Dundas was to be the Indian secretary. Mr. Fox here'
:AO to, this aaux:dote.


s,


I783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA DILLS. 243


Jess, and incapable. In his time, secretaries were all purity —
with every power of corruption in their hands; but so inflexi-
bly attached to rigid rectitude, that no temptation could se-
duce them to use that power for the purpose of corrupting, or,
to use his own words, for soothing, or softening, or meli-
oratim •. The learned gentleman has formed his opinion of
the simplicity and inaction of secretaries, from that golden
age of political probity, when his own friends were in power,
and when himself was every thing but a minister. This er-
roneous humanity of opinion arises in the learned gentleman's
unsuspecting, unsullied nature, as well as in a commerce with
only the best and purest ministers of this country, which has
given him so favourable an impression of a secretary of state,
that he thinks this patronage, so dangerous in the hands of
seven commissioners, perfectly safe in his hands ! I leave to
the learned gentleman that pleasure which his mind must feel
under the conviction with which he certainly gives this opi-
nion ; but I submit to every man who heats. measais


• at would
be the probable comments of the other side of the House, had


proposed either the erection of an Indian secretary, or the
annexation of the Indian business to the office which I hold.


In the assemblage of the learned gentleman's objections, there
is ,one still more curious than those I have mentioned. He
dislikes this bill because it establishes an imperiunz in imperio.
In the course of opposition to this measure, we have been fa-
miliarized to hear certain sentiments and particular words
in this House—but directed, in reality, to other places.
Taking it therefore for granted, that the learned gentleman
has not so despicable an idea of the good sense of the mem-.
'hers, as to expect any more attention within these walls to
such a dogma, than has been shewn to the favourite phrase of
his honourable friend near him, (Mr. William Pitt,) who calls
a bill which backs this sinking company with the credit of the
state, a confiscation of their property, I would wish to ask the
learned gentleman, if he really holds the understanding, even
of the multitude, in such contempt, as to imagine this species
ofargument can have the very slightest effect? The multitude
know the fallacy- of it as well as the learned gentleman him-
helf. They know that a dissolution of the East India com-
p-my has been wished for scores of years, by many good peo-
Oein this country, for the very reason that it was an imperium24 imperio. Yet the learned gentleman, with infinite gravity
of;faee, tells you lie dislikes this bill, because it establishes this
novel and : odious principle. Even a glance of this bill, com-
pared with the present constitution of the company, manifests
the, futility of this objection, and proves that the company is


R




244
MR. PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 1, 17831 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 245


in its present form, a thousand times more an imperiwn in
Teri() than the proposed commissioners. The worst species of
government is that which can run counter to all the ends of its
institution with impunity. Such exactly was the East India
company. No man can say, that the directors and proprie-
tors have not, in a thousand instances, merited severe inflic-
tion; yet who did ever think of a legal punishment for either
body ? Now, the great feature of this bill is to render the
commissioners amenable, and to punish them upon delin-
quency.


The learned gentleman prides himself that his bill did not
meddle with the commerce of the company ; and another
gentleman, after acknowledging the folly of leaving the go-b
vermnent in the hands of the company, proposes to separate
the commerce entirely from the dominion, and leave the for-
mer safe and untouched to the company itself. I beg leave to
appeal to every gentleman conversant in the company's af-
fairs, whether this measure is, in the nature of things, prac-
ticable at this moment. That the separation of the commerce
from the government of the East may be ultimately brought
about I doubt not; but when gentlemen reflect upon the im-
meliate state of the company's affairs, when they reflect that
their government was carried on for the sake of their commerce,
that both have been blended together for such a series of
years ; when they review the peculiarly perplexed, and in-
volved state of the eastern territories, their dissimilitude to
every system in this part of the globe, and consider the deep
and laborious deliberation with which every step for the esta-
blishment of a salutary plan of government, in the room of
the present odious one, must be taken—the utter impossibility
of instantly detaching the governing power from interference
with the commercial body will be clear and indubitable.


A gentleman has asked, why not choose the commissioners
out of the body of directors ; and why not leave the choice of
the assistant directors in the court of proprietors? That is to
say, why not do that which would infallibly undo all you are
aiming at ? I mean no general disparagement when I say
that the body of the directors have given memorable proofs
that they are not the sort of people to whom any man can
look for the success or salvation of India. Amongst them there
are, without doubt, some individuals respectable, both for
their knowledge arid integrity ; but I put it to the candour of
gentlemen, whether they-are the sort of men whose wisdom,
energy, and diligence, would give any promise of emancipating
the East India concerns from their present disasters and dis:'
graces. Indeed, both questions may be answered in 00
words. Why not choose the directors, who have ruined the


II


company? Why not leave the power of election in the pro-
prietors, who have thwarted every good attempted by the di-
rectors ?


The last point adverted to by the learned gentleman relates
to influence; and upon his remarks, combined with what fell
from some others upon the same subject, I beg leave to make
a few observations. No small portion of my life has been em-
ployed in endeavours to diminish the inordinate influence of
the crown. In common with others, I succeeded, and I glory
in it. To support that kind of influence which I formerly
subverted, is a deed of which I shall never deserve to be ac-
cased. The affirmation with which I first introduced this
plan, I now repeat ; re-assert that this bill as little aug-
ments the influence of the crown, as any measure which can
be devised for the government of India, that presents the
slightest promise of solid success, and that it tends to increase
it in a far less degree than the bill proposed by the learned
gentleman. The very gertimi of influence consists in hope or
fear ; fear of losing what we have, or hope of gaining more.
Make these commissioners removable at will, and you set all
the little passions of human nature afloat. If benefit can be
derived from the bill, you had better burn it than make the
duration short of the time necessary to accomplish the plans
it is destined for. That consideration pointed out the expe-
diency of a fixed period; and in that respect it accords with
the principle of the learned gentleman's bill : with this supe-
rior advantage, that instead of leaving the commissioners
liable to all the influence which springs from the appointment
of a governor-general, removable at pleasure, this bill in-
vests them with the power for the time specified, upon the
Some tenure that British judges hold their station, removable
upon delinquency, punishable upon guilt, but fearless of power
if they discharge their trust, liable to no seducement, and
with full time and authority to execute their functions for the
common good of the country, and for their own glory. I
beg of the House to attend to this difference, and then jud,re
upon the point of increasing the influence of the crown, ctin-
trasted with the learned gentleman's bill.


The state of the accusations against me upon this subject _of
influence, is truly curious. The learned gentleman, (Mr.
Dundas,) in strains of emphasis, declares, that this biil dimi-
nishes the influence of the crown beyond all former attempts,
and calls upon those who formerly voted with him in support
of that influence, against our efforts to reduce it, and who now
sit near me, to join him now in opposing my attempts to di-
minish that darling influence. He tells them I " out-herod
Herod ;" that I am out-doing all my former out-doings ; 'and


R 3




246


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. t,


proclaims me as the merciless and insatiate enemy of the in-
fluence of the crown.


Down sits the learned gentleman, and up starts an honour_
able gentleman, with a charge against Me, upon the same
subject, of a nature the direct reverse. I have fought under
your banner, cries the honourable gentleman, (Mr. Martin,)
against that fell giant, the influence of the crown; I have
bled in that battle which you commanded, and have a claim
upon the rights of soldiership. You have conquered through
us ; and now that victory is in your anus, yell turn traitor
to our cause, and carry over your powers to the enemy.
The fiercest of your former combatants in the cause of in-
fluence, falls far short of you at this moment; your attempts
at re-erecting this monster, exceed all the exertions of your
former foes. This night you will make the influence of the
crown a colossus, that shall bestride the land, and crush every
impediment. I impeach you for treachery to your ancient
principles— come, come, and divide with us j


This honourable gentleman, after a thrust or two at the
coalition, sits down ; and whilst the House is perplexing
itself to reconcile these wide differences, the right honourable
gentleman over the way, (Mr. William Pitt,) confounds all past
contradictions, by combining, in his own person, these ex-
travagant extremes. He acknowledges that he has digested
a paradox; and a paradox well lie might call it, for never
did a grosser one puzzle the intellects of a public assembly.
By a miraculous kind of discernment he has found out, that
the bill both increases and diminishes the influence of the
crown.


The bill diminishes the influence of the crown, says one:
you are wrong, says a second, it increases it : you are both
right, says a third, for it both increases and diminishes the
influence of the crown ! Now, as most members have one or
other of these opinions upon the subject, the right honoura-
ble gentleman can safely join with all parties upon this point;
but few, I trust, will be found to join him.


Thus, Sir, is this bill combatted, and thus am I accused.
The nature and substance of these objections I construe as
the strongest comment upon the excellence of the bill. If a
more rational opposition could be made to it, no doubt i1
would. The truth is, it increases the influence of the crown,
and the influence of party as little as possible ; and if the re-
form of India, or any other matter, is to be postponed until 4
scheme be devised, against which ingenuity, or ignorance, or
caprice, shall not raise objections, the affhirs of human life
must stand still.


I beg the House will attend a little to the manner in which


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 247
the progress of this bill has been retarded, especially by the
right honourable gentleman (Mr. W. Pitt). First, the mem-
bers were not all in town, and time was desired upon that
account. Next, the finances of the East India company were
Iris-stated by me, and time was desired to prove that. The
time came, the proofs exhibited, counsel heard, and yet the
issue was, that my former statement, instead of being con-
t roverted, became more established by the very proofs which
were brought to overturn it. The right honourable gen-
tleman has misrepresented me to-night again : he has an
evident pleasure in it, which indeed I cannot prevent; but
I can prevent this House and the country from believing
him. He prefers the authority of his own conception (eager
enough in all conscience to misunderstand me) of what
said, to my own repeated declarations of my own meaning.
He supposes a mistake because he wishes it. I never did say
the company were absolute bankrupts to the amount of the
debt; but I said there was immediate necessity of paying
that given sum, without any immediate means of providing
for it. The account of the company's circumstances, pre-
seated last week, furnished matter of triumph to the right
honourable gentleman for the full space of three hours, that
is to say, whilst counsel were at the bar. I made no objec-
tion to the account but this trifling one — that twelve millions
were stated which ought not to appear at all there, and which
were placed there only for delusion and fallacy ! I never ob-
jected to the arithmetic of the account. The sums, I doubt
not, were accurately cast up even to a figure : yet the House
will recollect, that the right honourable gentleman, about this
very hour of that debate, endeavoured to protract the busi-
ness to the next day, upon assuring the House that the com-
pany would then support their statement. I refused to accede,
because I knew the matter to be mere shifting and manmu-
vring for a vote, and that the company could not support
their statement. Was I right? The House sees whether I
was: the House sees the finance-post is now totally aban-
doned, and for the best reason in the world, because it is no
longer tenable. But the right honourable gentleman is in-
deed a man of resources; he now gives me a challenge, and
I beg the. House to remark, that I accept his challenge, and
that I prophecy he will no more meet me upon this than upon
the former points.


But there is no limit to a youthful and vigorous fancy.
The right honourable gentleman just now, in very serious
terms, and with all his habitual gravity, engages, if the
4ouse will join in opposing us to-night, that he will digest
ancl -methodise a plan, the outline of which he has already


R 4




24 8 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dee. I,


conceived. He has nothing now to offer ; but justly con-
fiding in the fertility of his own imagination, and the future
exercise of his faculties, he promises that he will bring a
plan, provided the majority of this House will join him to-
night. Now, if ever an idea was thrown out to pick up a
stray vote or two in the heel of a debate, by a device, the
idea given a while ago by the right honourable gentleman is


isprecely such i; but i f I can augur rightly from the com-
plexion of the House, his present will have exactly the same
success with all his past stratagems to oppose this bill.


The learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) with singular pla-
cidness, .without smile or sneer, has said, " as this measure
was probably decided upon some time since, the East India
company, who could not expect such a blow, ought to have
been informed of the intended project. The company was
evidently unaware of this attack, and, in fairness, should
have been apprised of it." Does the learned gentleman
imagine men are in their sober senses, who, listen to such
cavilling and quibbling opposition? The company unaware
of this- attack ! The learned gentleman's own labours, inde-
pendent of any other intimation, had been an ample warning
to the company 'to be prepared. Every-man in the kingdom,
who reads a newspaper, expected something; and the only
wonder with the nation was, how it could be so long delayed.
The reports of the committees alarmed the public so much, for
the honour of the country, and for the salvation of the com-
pany, that all eyes were upon East India affairs. This sort
of observation had, indeed, much better come from any other
man in this House, than from that identical gentleman.


But if these were not sufficient to rouse the attention and
diligence of the company, his majesty's speech at the com-
mencement: and conclusion of the late session of parliament,
gave them note of preparation in the most plain and decisive
terms. In his opening speech, his majesty thus speaks to
parliament upon the subject of India: —" The regulation of
a vast territory in Asia, opens a large field for your wisdom,
prudence, and foresight : I trust that you will be able to form
some fundamental laws which may make their connection with
Great Britain a blessing to India; and that you will take
therein proper measures to give all foreign nations, in mat-
ters of foreign commerce, an entire and perfect confidence
in the probity, punctuality, and good order of our govern-
ment. You may be assured that whatever depends upon me,
shall be executed with a steadiness, which can alone preserve
that part of my dominions, or the commerce which arises
from it."


The learned gentleman, who knows more of the disposi-


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 249
dons of the cabinet at that time than I do, can better tell
whether any measure of this nature was then intended. The
words are very wide, and seem to portend at least something
very important; but whether any thing similar to this mea-
sure was meant, as this passage seems to imply, or not, is
indifferent to the point in question. This is clear from it,
that it gives a very ceremonious warning to the East India
company; enough surely to expose the weakness and futi-
lity of the learned gentleman's remark. The changes and
circumstances of the cabinet, in the course of the last session,
can be the only excuse for the delay of some decisive measure
with regard to India; and if in addition to all these, any
thing more is requisite to confirm the notoriety of parliament
being to enter upon the business, the following paragraph of
the king's closing • speech, last July, completes the mass of
evidence against the learned gentleman. His majesty, after
intimating a belief that he shall be obliged to call his parlia-
ment together earlier than usual, thus speaks: — " The con-
sideration of the affairs of the East Indies will require to 'be
resumed as early as possible, and to be pursued with a serious
and unremitting attention." Superadd to all this, the part
of the king's opening speech this year upon India; and if the
whole do not constitute sufficient testimony that the company
had full notice, nothing can.


Yet, notwithstanding all this, the learned gentleman accuses
us of surprising the company ; and his right honourable friend,
in hopes his proposal dr another bill may have weight in the
division, repeats the hacknied charge of precipitation, and
forces the argument for delay in a taunt, " that we wish to
get rid of our torments, by sending this bill to the other
House." The right honourable gentleman's talents are
splendid and various; but I assure him, that all his efforts,
for the last eight clays, have not given me a single torment.
Were I to chuse a species of opposition to insure a minis-
terial tranquillity, it would be the kind of opposition which this
bill has received, in which every thing brought to confute,
has tended to confirm, and in which the arguments adduced
to expose the weakness, have furnished materials to establish
the wisdom of the measure: so impossible is it, without some-
thing of a tolerable cause, even for the right honourable gen-
tleman's abilities to have effect, though his genius may make
a flourishing and superior figure in the attempt !


Before I proceed to the other parts of the debate, I wish
he say one word upon a remark of the learned gentleman:
be says, that the clause relative to the zemindars was sub
Rested by his observations. God forbid I should detract
fl'orn the merit, or diminish the desert of any man I Un-




250 MR. FOX'S LAST INDIA BILLS.
[Dee, I.


doubtedly that excellent part of the regulation-bill originated
with the learned gentleman ; and if lie had been in this
House when I introduced the subject of India, he would
have known that I did him full and complete justice upon
that point.


My noble friend (Lord John Cavendish) has said, that this
bill does not arise from the poverty of the company, but that
liberal policy and national honour demanded it. Upon the
last day this bill was debated, I confined myself chiefly to
the demonstration of the fallacy and imposture of that notable
schedule presented by the East India company ; and having
proved its falsehood, I can now with the greater safety de-
clare, that if every


shilling of that fictitious property was real
and forthcoming, a bill of this nature would not therefore
be the Jess necessary. I thought we were fully understood
upon this point, from the opening speech in this business,
which did not so degrade the rne4,oure as to say it originated
in the poverty of the company, Which, as, my noble friend
rightly remarks, was the smallest reason for its adoption,
and which opinion is not, as the right houourable gentle-
man insinuates, 4 6 S711ifting," but recognising andexecording
the true grounds of the bill. If any misunderstanding, then,.
has hitherto taken place upon this head, it will, I trust, cease
henceforth, and so odious a libel upon this country will not
pass current, as that sordid motives only induced. the govern-
ment of England to that which we were bound to do, as
politicians, as christians, and as men, by every consideration
Which makes a nation respectable, great, and glorious.


Having vindicated the bill from this aspersion, and found-
ed it upon that basis which every honest and sensible man
in England must approve, I may be allowed to say that some
regard may be had even to the mean and mercenary upon
this subject—a portion of whom we have here, in common
with all other countries. Will such men endure with temper
a constant drain upon this kingdom, for the sake of this mo-
nopolizing corporation ? 'Will those, for instance, who cla-
mour against a two-penny tae, afford, with good humour,
million after million to the East India company ? The sink-
ing fund is at this moment a million the worse for the defi-
ciencies of the company, and as the noble lord (John Caven-
dish) says, an extent must in three weeks arrest their pro-
row, if parliament does not interpose or enable' them to
discharge a part of their debt to the crown. Let those, there-
fore, who think the commerce ought to be instantly separated
from the dominion, (were that at this time possible, and who
think it ought to be left •,vholly in the present hands, reflect,
that the formation of a vigorous system of government for In-


I783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 251


dig is not more incumbent upon us, than the establishment of
the eastern trade upon such principles of solidity and fitness,
as shall give some just hopes that the public may be speedily
relieved from the monstrous pressure of constantly supporting
the indigence of the company.


I have spoken of myself very often in the coarse of what
have said this night, and must speak still more •frequently in the
course of what I have to say : the House twill see this awkward
task is rendered indispensable, infinitely more having been
said concerning me, during the debater titan concerning the
question, which is the proper subject of agitation. The right
honourable gentleman (Mr. W. Pitt) says, that nothing ever
happened to give hint an ill impression of my character, or
to prevent a mutual confidence. He says rightly; there have
been interchanges of civility, and amicable habits between
us, in which I trust I have given him no cause to complain.
But after pronouncing a brilliant eulogy upon me and my
capacity to serve the country, the right honourable gentle-
man considers me at the same time the most dangerous man
in the kingdom.


Mr. Pitt said across the House, " dangerous only from this
measure :" to which Mr. Fox instantly made this reply : I-
call upon the House to attend to the right honourable gen-
tleman; he thinks me dangerous only from this measure, and
confesses, that hitherto he hasseen nothing in-my conduct to
obliterate his good opinion. Compare this with his opposition
during the last and the present session. Let every man re-
flect, that up to this moment the right honourable gentleman.
deemed me worthy of confidence, and competent to my situate
tion in the state. I thank him for the support lie has afforded
to the minister he thus esteemed, and shall not press the
advantage he gives me, farther than leaving to himself to
reconcile his practice and his doctrine in the best manner he
can.


The right honourable gentleman could not for one night
pass by the coalition, yet I think he might have chosen a
fitter time to express his indignation against the noble lord
(North) than the present moment. An attack upon the
noble lord in his presence would bear a more liberal colour ;
and the cause of his absence now"', would surely rather
disarm than irritate a generous enemy. There are distinc-
tions in hatred, and the direst foes upon such occasions mo-
derate their aversion. The coalition, is, however, a fruitfhl
topic, and the power of traducing it, which the weakest and


Lord North left the houic'. in a state of indisposition, about taidnight.




252 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
[Dec. T,


meanest creatures in the country enjoy and exercise, is of
course equally vested in men of rank and parts, though every
man of parts and rank would not be apt to participate in the
privilege. Upon the coalition, the right honourable gentle-
man is welcome to employ his ingenuity, but upon another
subject alluded to by him, I shall beg leave to advise, nay even
to instruct him.


In what system of ethics will the right honourable gentle-
man find the precept taught of ripping up old sores, and re-
viving animosities 'among individuals, of which the parties
themselves retain no memory '" ? This kind of practice may
incur a much worse charge than weakness of understanding,
and subject a man to much greater imputations than are
commonly applied to political mistakes or party 'violence.
The soundness of the heart may be liable to suspicion, and
the moral character be in danger of suffering by it, in the
opinion of mankind. To cover the heats, and obliterate the
sense of former quarrels between WO persons, i§ a very dis-
tinguished virtue : to renew the subject of such differences,
and attempt the revival of such disputes, deserves a name
which I could give it, if that right honourable gentleman had
not forgotten himself; and fallen into some such deviation.
He values himself I doubt not, too much, again to make a
similar slip, and must even feel thankful to me for the coun-
sel I thus take the liberty to give him.


An honourable gentlemen under the gallery, (Mr. Martin,)
to whom an abuse of the coalition seems a sort of luxury,
wishes that a starling were at the right hand of the chair to
cry out " disgraceful coalition !" Sir, upon this subject I
shall say but a few words. The calamitous situation of this
country required an administration whose stability could give
it a tone of firmness with foreign 'nations, and promise
some hope of restoring the faded glories of the country.
Such an administration could not be formed without some
junction of parties; and if former differences were to be an
insurmountable barrier to union, no chance of salvation re-
mained for the country; as it is well known, that four pub-
lic men could not be found, who had not, at one time or
other, taken opposite sides in politics. The great cause of
difference between us and the noble lord in the blue ribbon no
longer existed; his personal character stood high ; and think-
ing it safer to trust him than those who had before deceived
us, we preferred to unite with the noble lord. A similar


1783J NE. FOX S EAST INDIA BILLS. 253


junction, in 1757, against which a similar clamour was raised,
saved the empire from ruin, and raised it above the rivalship
of all its enemies. The country, when we came into office,
bore not a very auspicious complexion ; yet, Sir, I do not
despair of seeing it again resume its consequence in the scale
of nations, and again make as splendid a figure as ever.
Those who asserted the impossibility of our agreeing with the
noble lord end his friends, were false prophets; for events
have belied their augury. 'We have differed like men, and
like men we have agreed. A body of the best and honestest
men in this House, who serve their country without any other
reward than that arising from the disinterested discharge of
their public duty, approved that junction, and sanctify the
measure by their cordial support.


Such, Sir, is this coalition, which the state of the country
rendered indispensable ; and for which the history of every
country records a thousand precedents ; yet to this the term
disgraceful is applied. Is it not extraordinary, then, that
gentlemen should be under such spells of false-delusion, as not
to see, that if calling it disgraceful makes it so, these epithets
operate with equal force against themselves. If the coalition
be disgraceful, what is the anti-coalition ? When I see the
right honourable gentleman (Mr. W. Pitt) surrounded by the
early objects of his political, nay his hereditary hatred, and
hear him revile the coalition, I am lost in the astonishment
how men can he so blind to their own situation, as to at-
tempt to wound us in this particular point, possessed as we arc
of the power of returning the same blow, with the vulnerable
part staring us directly in the face. If the honourable gentle-
man under the gallery wishes that a starling were perched upon
the right hand of the chair, I tell him, that the wish is just
as reasonable, to have another starling upon the left hand of
the chair, to chirp up coalition against coalition, and to har-
monize their mutual disgrace, if disgrace there be.


With the same consistency, an honourable gentleman calls
us deserters — Us ! A few cold and disaffected members fall
off, then turn about, and, to palliate their own defection,
call the body of the army deserters ! 'We have not de-


. serted ; here we are a firm phalanx. Deserted, indeed, we
have been in the moment of disaster, but never dejected, and
seldom complaining. Some of those who rose upon our
wreck, and who eagerly grasped that power which we had
the labour of erecting, now call us deserters. We retort
the term with just indignation. Yet whilst they presume we


;'`-- Mr. Jenkinson sat near Mr. Pitt, Mr. Dundas, &c,
Mr. Pitt, in the course of his speech, had alluded to the duel between


Mr. Fox and Mr. Adam See Vol. p. zoo.




54 Ant. fox.% LAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. T.
we have the attributes of men, they would expect us to have
the obduracy of savages. They would have our resentments
insatiate, our rancour eternal. In our opinion, an oblivion
of useless animosity is nuch more noble; and in that, the
,condnet of our accusers goes hand in hand with us. But .1
beg of the House, and I wish the world to observe, that al-
though, like them, we have abandoned our enmities, we have
not, like them, relinquished our friendships; but there are a
set amen, who, from the mere vanity of leaving consequence
as decisive voters, object to all stable government; these men
hate to see an administration so fixed, as not to be moveable
by their vote. They assume their dignity on Ahe mere
negative merit of not accepting places, and dU the pride of
this self-denial, and the vanity of fimcied independence, they
object to every system ,that has a solid basis, because their con-
sequence is unfelt. .OX such men I cannot be the panegyrist,
and I am sorry that some such men are among the most estie
mable in this House.
• An honourable gentleman advises me for the future, not
to mention the name of the Marquis of Rockingham, who, he
says, would never .countenance a bill of this kind. This is
indeed imposing had conditions wen those who have wil,
Jingly wife-red a sort of political .martyrdom in the cause of
that noble lord's principles, those who surrendered .pomp and
power, rather than remain where his principles ceased to be
titshionable, and were withering .into contempt. I venerate
the name of that noble marquis, and shall ever mention it
with love .and reverence; but at no period of my life with


• wee .confidence than et this moment, when I •say, that his
soul speaks in every Atte of the bill before you, for his soul
speaks in every measure of virtue, wisdom, humane po-
licy, .general justice, and national honour. The name of the
noble lord who enjoys his fortune, has been mentioned this
debate, and will be mentioned again by Inc.; I will tell the
.honourable gentlemen, that ,tehis imble lord, (Fare
though not the issue of his.loins, *halts, with his property,
the ;principles of that noble marquis in all their purity and
soundness; and is as incapable as that noble marquis himself
ewes, or as any man on earth is, of countenancing any act
which either immediate!: or ultimately tends to theprejudice
.of ,his country, or the .injury of the constitution. I : haye .144c1
hithe honour of knowing the noble earl from an.early age. Xave. observed the motives of his actions,, I am endeared -t9
him by every tie of kindred sentiment, and of . mutual prin-
ciple. A character more dignified and exalted exists not in
the empire; nor a mind more firmly attached to the con-
stitution of his country : he is, what the nation would desire


5


I783°3Iit.TOYS EAST INDIA BILLS. 25 5


in the heir of the Marquis of Rockingham,—th=e only com-
pensation that we can have for his loss.


An honourable gentleman (Mr. Thomas Pitt) has :used
-.ielent terms against this bill, and the movers of it. Sir, I
tell that honourable gentleman (looking directly in the face
of Mr. T. Pitt) that the movers of this bill are not to be
brow-beaten by studied .gesture, nor frightened by tremulous
tones, solemn phrases, or hard epithets. To arguments they
are ready to reply ; but all the notice they can take-of asser-
tions, is to mark to -the House, that they are only assertions.
The honourable gentleman again repeats his favourite language
of our having " seized upon the government;" his majesty
changed his ministry last April, in consequence of a vote of
this House; his majesty did the same twelve months before,
in consequence of a vote of this House. His majesty in so
doing followed the example of his predecessors; and his suc-
cessors I doubt not, follow the example of his majesty.
The votes of parliament have always .decided upon the dura-
tion of ministry, and always will, I trust. It is the nature
of our •constitution; and those who dislike it, had better at-
tempt to alter it. The honourable gentleman called the
change in 1782 a glorious one; this in 17-83 a disgraceful one.
Why ? For a very obvious, though a very bad reason. The
right honourable gentleman assisted in effecting the first, and
strenuously laboured to prevent the second. The first battle
he fought with us ; the second against us, and we vanquished
him. In 1782 his friends were out, and would be in. In
178 3 his friends were in, nor would go out. Thus having
clone without him what we once did with him, the House
sees his motive. It is human nature; but certainly not the
better part or human nature. He says he is BO party man,
and he abhors a systematic opposition. I have always ac-
knowledged myself •to be a party man ; I have always acted
with a party in whose principles I have confidence, and if
had such an opinion •of any ministry as the right honourable
gentleman professes to have of us, I would pursue their over-
throw by a systematic opposition. I have done so more than
Once, and I think that, in succeeding, I saved my country.
Once the right honourable gentleman, as I have said, was
with me, and then our conduct was fair, manly, constitutional,
and honourable ! The next time he was against me, and our
Conduct was violent and unconstitutional, 'it was treasonable,
end yet the means were in both instances the same, the means
were the votes of this House.


A game of a two-fold quality is playing :by the other side
of the House upon this occasion, to which hope the House,
and the kingdom, will attend. They are endeavouring to




256 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. T.
injure us through two channels at the same time, th roug,
certain great quarter, and through the people. a
attempting to alarm the first, by asserting that this bill in-
creases the influence of ministry against the crown ; and roils,
ing the people, under an idea that it increases the influence
of the crown against them. That they will fail in both I
doubt not. In the great quarter I trust they are well under-
stood, and the princely mind of that high person is a secu-
rity against their devices: they are running swiftly to take off
whatever little imposition might have been put upon any part,
even of the multitude. And I wish to rescue the character
of the public understanding from the contemptuous implica-
tion, that it is capable of being gulled by such artifices. I
feel for my country's honour when I say, that Englishmen,
free themselves, and fond of giving freedom to others, disdain
these stratagems, and are equally above the silliness of cre-
diting the revilers of this act, as above the baseness of con-
federating or making common cause with those who would
support a system which has dishonoured this country, and
which keeps thirty millions of the human race in wretched-
ness. I make allowances for the hair-brained headstrong de-
lusions of folly and ignorance, and the effects of design. To
such evils every measure is liable, and every man must ex-
pect a portion of the consequence. But for the serious and
grave determinations of the public judgment I have the
highest value ; I ever had, and ever shall have. If it be a
weakness, I confess it, that to lose the good opinion of even
the meanest man, gives me some pain ; and whatever triumph
my enemies can derive from such a frame of mind, they are
welcome to. I do not, after the example of the honourable.
gentleman who began this debate, hold the opinion of con.
stithents in disparagement. The clear and decided opinion
of the more reasonable and respectable should, in my mind,
weigh with the member upon the same principle, that I think
the voice of the nation should prevail in this House, and in
every other place. But when the representative yields to the
constituent, it should indeed be by the majority of the rea-
sortable and respectable, and not, as we shall see in a day or
two, some of the honestest men in England voting against
the most popular tax ever introduced into this House, in di-
rect opposition to their own conviction, and not upon the
opinion of either the more respectable or reasonable class of
their constituents.


My noble friend, (Lord John Cavendish,) with his charac-
teristic spirit, has said, that we never sought power by cabal
or intrigue, or under-hand operations.; and this he said in
reply to an honourable gentleman, (Mr. Thomas Pitt,) whose


78 .3*] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 2 5 7


condu ct demonstrates that he thinks those the surest path for
his friends. This bill, as a ground of contention, is farcical;
this bill, if it admitted it, would be combated upon its in-
trinsic qualities, and not by abusing the coalition, or raising
a clamour about influence: but why do not the gentlemen
speak out fairly, as we do ; and then let the world judge be-
tween us? Our love and loyalty to the sovereign are as ar-
dent and firm as their own. Yet the broad basis of public
character, upon which we received, is the principle by which
we hope to retain this power; convinced as we are that the
surest road to the favour of the prince, is by serving him
with /zeal and fidelity; that the safest path to popularity, is
by reducing the burden, and restoring the glory of the na-
tion. Let those [looking at Mr. Jenkinsonj who aim at office
by other means, by inscrutable and mysterious methods,
speak out ; or, if they will not, let the world know it is be-
cause their arts will not bear examination, and that their
safety consists in their obscurity. Our principles arc well
known; and I would rather perish with them, than prosper
with any other.


The honourable gentleman under the gallery (Mr. Martin)
also says, le dislikes systematic opposition. IVhether per-
petually rising up with peevish, capricious objections to every
thing proposed by us, deserve that name or not, I leave the
gentleman himself to determine, and the House to reflect
upon that kind of conduct which condemns the theory of its
own constant practice; but I meet the gentleman directly
upon the principle of the term. He dislikes systematic op-
position; now, I like it. A systematic opposition to a dan-
gerous government is, in. my opinion, a noble employment
for the brightest faculties; and if the honourable gentleman
thinks our administration a bad one, he is right to contribute
to its downfal. Opposition is natural in such a political sys-
tem as ours; it has subsisted in all such governments; and
perhaps it is necessary. But to those who oppose it, it is ex-
tremely essential that their manner of conducting it should
not incur a suspicion of their motives. If they appear to
oppose from disappointment, from mortification, from pique,
from whim, the people will be against them. If they oppose
from public principle, from love of their country rather than
hatred to administration, from evident conviction of the bad-
11. ess of measures, and a full persuasion that in their resistance
to men, they are aiming at the public welfare, the people will.ebe with them. We opposed upon these principles, and the
People were with us; if we are opposed upon other prin-
ciples, they will not be against us. Much labour has been
e
mployed to infuse a prejudice upon the present subject; and




2 8 MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.. [Dec.. r.


I have the satisfaction to believe, that the labour has been
fruitless; making, however, a reasonable exception for the
Mistakes of the uninformed,. the first impressions of novelty,
and the natural result of deliberate malice. We desire to be
tried by the test of this bill, and risk our character upon the
issue; confiding thoroughly in the good sense, the justice,
and the spirit of Englishmen. Not lofty sounds, nor se-
lected epithets, nor passionate declamation in this House,
nor all the sordid efforts of interested men out of this House
—of men whose acts in the East have branded the British
name, and whose ill-gotten opulence is working through a
thousand channels to delude and debauch the public under-
standing—can fasten odium upon this measure, or draw down
obloquy upon the authors of it. We have been tried in the
cause of the public; and until we desert that cause, we are
assured of public confidence and protection.


The honourable gentleman (Mr. Powys) has supposed for
me a soliloquy, and has put into my mouth some things
which I do not think are likely to be attributed to me: he
insinuates that' I was incited by avarice, or ambition, or party
spirit. I have failings in common with every human being,
beside my own peculiar faults: but of avarice I have indeed
held myself guiltless. My abuse has been, for many years,
even the profession of several people ; it was their traffic, their
livelihood; yet until this moment I knew not that avarice was
in the catalogue of the sins imputed to me. Ambition I
confess I have, but not ambition upon a narrow bottom, or
built upon paltry principles. If, from the devotion of my
life to political objects, if from the direction of my industry
to the attainment of some knowledge of the constitution, and
the true interests of the British empire, the ambition of taking
no mean part in those acts that elevate nations and make a
people happy, be criminal, that ambition I acknowledge.
And as to party spirit—that I feel it, that I have been
ever under its impulse, and that I ever shall, is what I pro-
claim to the world. That I am . one of a party, a party never
known to sacrifice the interests, or barter the liberties of the
nation for mercenary purposes, for personal emolument or
honours; a party linked together upon principles which com-
prehend whatever is clear and most precious to free men, and
essential to a free constitution, is my pride and my boast.


The honourable gentleman has made one assertion, which
it is my pride to confirm : he says that I am connected with
a number of the first families in the country. Yes, Sir, I
have a peculiar glory that a body of men renowned for their
ancestry, important for their possessions, distinguished fro'.
their personal worth, with all that is valuable to men at stake,


1 7 8 3'] MR. FOX'S LAST INDIA BILLS. 259
hereditary fortunes and hereditary honours, deem me worthy
of their confidence. With such men T. am something—
without them, nothing. My reliance is upon their good opi-
nion; and in that respect, perhaps, I am fortunate. Although
I have a just confidence in my own integrity, yet as I am
but man, perhaps it is well that I have no choice but between
my own eternal disgrace and a faithful discharge of my public
duty. Whilst these kind of men are overseers of my conduct,
whilst men whose uprightness of heart and spotless honour
are even proverbial in the country [looking at Lord John
Cavenclishj are the watchmen of my deeds, it is a pledge to the
public for the purity and rectitude of my conduct. The
prosperity and honour of the country are blended with the
prosperity and honour of these illustrious persons. They
have so much at stake, that if the country falls, they fall with
it; and to countenance any thing against its interest, would
be a suicide upon themselves. The good opinion and pro-
tection of these men is a security to the nation for my beha-
viour, because if I lose them, I lose my all.


Having said thus much upon the extraneous subjects intro-
duced by the honourable gentleman into the debate, I shall
proceed to make some observations upon the business in ques-
tion. When the learned gentleman brought in his bill last
year, the House saw its frightful features with just horror ;
but a very good method was adopted to soften the terrors of
the extravagant power that bill vested in the governor-gene-
ral. The name of a noble lord (Cornwallis) was sent forth
at the same time, whose great character lent a grace to a
proposition, which, destitute of such an advantage, could not
be listened to for




one moment. Now, Sir, observe how dif-
ferently we have acted upon the same occasion. Earl Fitz-
william has been spoken of here this day, in those terms of
admiration with which his name is always mentioned. Take
notice, however, that we did not avail


• ourselves of the fame
of his virtue and abilities in passing this bill through the
House. If such a thing were to have taken place as the insti-
tution of an Indian secretaryship, (according to the suggestions
of some gentlemen) this noble lord would certainly have
been the very person whom, for my part, I should have ad-


.


.yised his majesty to invest with that office. Yet, although
his erect mind and spotless honour would have held forth to
the public the fullest confidence of a faithful execution of its .
duties, the objections in regard to influence upon a remove-
able officer, are tenfold in comparison with the present scheme,
The House must now see, that with all the benefits we might
derive from that noble lord's character,that although his
name would have imparted a sanctity, an ornament, and an


S 2




260 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. I.
honour to the bill, we ushered it in without that ceremony,
to stand or fall by its own intrinsic merits, neither shielding
it under the reputation, nor gracing it under the mantle, of
any man's virtue. Our merit will be more in this, when the
names of those are known whom we mean to propose to the
House, to execute this commission. [Name them, said Mr.
Arden, across the House.] I will not—I will not name
them ; the bill shall stand or hill by its own merits, Without
aid or injury from their character. An honourable gentle-
man has said that these commissioners will be made up of our
" adherents and creatures." Sir, there is nothing more easy
than to use disparaging terms; yet I should have thought the
name of Earl Fitzwilliam would have given a fair presump-
tion that the colleagues we shall recommend to this House for
the co-execution of this business with that noble Lord, will
not be of a description to merit these unhandsome epithets.
I assure the honourable gentleman they are not. I assure
him they are not men whose faculties of corrupting, or whose
corruptibility, will give any alarm to this House, or to the
country ; they are men whose private and public characters
stand high and untainted ; who are not likely to countenance
depredation, or participate in the spoils of rapacity. They are
not men to screen delinquency, or to pollute the service by
disgraceful appointments. Would such men as Earl Fitz-
william suffer unbecoming appointments to be made? Is Earl
Fitzwilliam a man likely to do the dirty work of a minister?
If they, for instance, were to nominate a Paul Bonfield to go
to India in the Supreme Council, would Earl Fitzwilliam
subscribe to his appointment? This is the benefit of having a
commission of high honour, chary of reputation, noble and
pure in their sentiments, superior to the little jobs and traffic
of political intrigue.


But this bill, Sir, presumes not upon the probity of the
men ; it looks to the future possibility of dissimilar successors,
and to the morality of the present commissioners, who are
merely human, and therefore not incapable of alteration.
Under all the caution of this bill, with the responsibility it
imposes, I will take upon me to say, that if the aggregate
bcdy of this Board determined to use all its power for the-


, purpose of corruption, this JIouse, and the people at large,
would have less to dread from them, in the way of influence,
than from a few Asiatics who will probably be displaced in
consequence of this arrangement, some of whom will return
to this country with a million, some with seven hundred
thousand, some with five, beside the three or four hundred
thousand of others, who are cut off in their career by the
hand of fate, An inundation of such wealth is fin: more dal-L-


I()


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 261


gerous than any influence that is likely to spring from a plan
of government so constituted as the one proposed—whether
the operation of such a mass of wealth be considered in its
probable effects, upon the principles of. the members of this
Nouse, or the manners of the people at large, more especially
when a reflection that Orientalists are in general the most
exemplary class of people in their morals, and in their de-
portment the most moderate, and corresponding with the dis-
tinction of their high birth and family, furnishes a very reason-
able presumption, that the expenditure of their money will be
much about as honourable as its acquirement.


I shall now, Sir, conclude my speech with a few words up-
on the opinion of the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt).
He says, he will stake his character upon the danger of this
bill. I meet him in his own phrase, and oppose him, charac-
ter to character ; I risk my all upon the excellence of this bill;
I risk upon it whatever is most dear to me, whatever men most
value, the character of integrity, of talents, of honour, of pre-
sent reputation and future fame; these, and whatever else is
precious to me, I stake upon the constitutional safety, the en-
larged policy, the equity, and the wisdom of this measure, and
have no fear in saying, (whatever may be the fate of its au-
thors) that this bill will produce to this country every blessing
of commerce and revenue; and that by extending a generous
and humane government over those millions whom the inscru-
table destinations of Providence have placed under us in the
remotest regions of the earth, it will consecrate the name of
England amongst the noblest of nations.


Mr. Fox then recapitulated the heads of his speech, and
sat down. He was upon his legs about an hour and a hall:


At four o'clock in the morning the House divided on the ques-
tion , that the Speaker do leave the chair :


YEA S


Tellers. ' Tellers.
t Mr. Eden 1 Lord Mahon


Mr. Sheridan S 2 7. —
NT ES° - { Mr. Arden } 103.


So it was resolved in the affirmative.


December 8.
On the 3rd of December the bill was committed, and the per-


sons nominated to be commissioners or directors were, the Earl
Fitzwilliam, Mr. Frederick Montagu, Lord Lewisham, Mr. George
Augustus North, Sir Gilbert Elliott, Sir Henry Fletcher, and Mr.
Gregory. On the 8th, Mr. Secretary Fox moved the third read-
ing of the bill " for vesting the affairs of the East-India Company
in the hands of certain commissioners for the benefit of the proprie-
tors and the public." This occasioned a warm debate, which lasted


a3




2O2
MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.


[Dec. 8.
till three in the morning. In reply to the observations of Mr.
Powys, Mr. Scott, and Lord Mulgrave,


Mr. Secretary Fox rose, not, he said, so much to remove
the unfavourable opinions gentlemen had of his conduct as a
minister, as to wipe off the infamy and reproach they had, in
the course of that debate,. been pleased to cast upon his repu-
tation as a man. He thought he had been very unhandsome-
ly treated. It was nut enough that gentlemen had allowed.
him no goodness, no virtue, no merit whatever; they had as4
cribed to him many positive defects, and had expressed their
malice, for he would call it nothing but malice, with all the
virulence and all the malignity which fancy could invent.
There was one circumstance of elimination which he took


•ex-
ceedingly ill. An honourable gentleman (Mr. Powys) had
charged him with a species of delinquency which touched his
feelings more than any other, because the only principle from
which it conk! flow, was a principle the most opposite of all
others to those by which he was actuated. That honourable
gentleman had said, that in consequence of the great majority
which ministers had in that House, be had insulted the weaker
party—in his own words, or something like his own words,.
"triumphed over the impotence of independent members." It
was, he said, a cruel insinuation ; and it was as unjust as it was
cruel. It supposed him guilty of a crime which he never was.
capable of conceiving; and it plainly declared, that all his pro-
fessions of candour, of disinterestedness, and of attachment to
the sacred rights of mankind, were nothing but words, delusive
words, framed for some other purpose. He desired that ti*
honourable gentleman who had spoken of him with so much free*
dom, might be assured that no expressions that ever had fallen
from him, were ever meant to apply to him. He did not know
that he had ever said any thing personal; if he had, it was
aimed at those self-important members, who were so fond of
their own conceits, and who thought every thing they uttered
should be received as a law. He was not certain that he had
not some time or other spoken with that intention; but to
blame the honourable gentleman, who seemed so much cha-
grined, would have been among the last things that would have
struck him. His virtue, his patriotism, his commendable zeal,
all conspired to forbid any such impeachment.


Mr. Fox here observed, that gentlemen had that night dis-
covered uncommon warmth in the cause they were engaged in.
They had been very earnest to thwart and oppose his wishes.
They had also shewn skill in their mode of attack on him :
they had placed a learned and eloquent member (Mr. Scott)
in front; and he had certainly acquitted himself ably. But


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 263


lie was not yet overthrown ; he trusted to the goodness of his
cause, and the support of his friends for success. A noble lord
(Mulgrave) had said much on the imminent danger that had been
brought upon the state, by the accession of influence which the
crown was about to receive. That noble lord, and almost every
other gentleman who had spoken, had deprecated that influence,
and at the same time had beheld with astonishment the change
of principles which sensibly appeared in him Mr. Fox)
in all his late proceedings; but he could easily satisfy them, if
they would be satisfied, of the groundless nature of their fears
in the first instance, and of their deception in the other. The
influence they so much dreaded, was not an influence that would
revert to the crown ; it might revert to the crown ; that was
not impossible; but it was more likely to return to the inde-
pendent members of that House; to those very members, with
grasping at whose indisputable rights, he was now accused
but falsely accused. Respecting the change of my principles,
said Mr. Fox, I declare, that I am sensible of no such change;
none such has taken place : at this very moment I entertain
the same jealousies of the rights of parliament, and of the
people; and I watch with the same circumspection that ever I
did, every degree of undue patronage or influence which the
crown may acquire. When I went into office, the power of
the crown had been diminished : the different powers in the
state were pretty equally poised ; that was a state I wished to
see them in, and it is a state that they shall always continue in,
if my best exertions can effect that desirable object. With re-
gard to the bankruptcy of the state, the learned gentleman
(Mr. Scow who has said so much, has told us that the state-
ment of another learned gentleman, who is now absent, was
such and such, and that he had advanced such stubborn facts
that nothing could resist them. Is it fair thus to combat one
with the opinions of a man who is not here to give his reasons?
But this is the way, the unfair way, in which I am attacked ;
every gentleman on the opposite side of the House has set his
terrors in array before me; but I am not to be terrified. I
understand their terror; and I give it its proper appellation, it
is nothing but envenomed malice,


Mr. Fox then observed, that his bill had been violently op-
. posed in all its stages ; but it stood on so secure a basis, and,
what some gentleman might wonder to hear him say, it was so
Popular, that he was not afraid to trust its issue to the decision
of the public. It had been absurdly said, that the present
bills both increased and decrease:, the power of the crown. In
God's name, said he, what power or influence does my bill
take from the crown that it possessed before ? Or what power
does it add which it did not possess before? The bill takes no


.8 4




264 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17.
influence from the crown; but it adds a good deal to parlia-
ment ; and if it be doubtful in any of its tendencies, it is the
duty of parliament to examine it carefiffly, and to try to cor-
rect its defects. The right honourable secretary concluded
with asserting the rights of the independent members; and
with declaring, that to deprive them of any of those rights
would be the last act of which he was capable.


The other speakers in support of' the motion were, Mr. Nichols,
Mr. John Luttrell, General Burgoyne, Mr. Anstruther, Mr. Adam,
Mr. Erskine, the Attorney-General, Mr. Rigby, Mr. Sheridan,
and Mr. Courtenay. The speakers against the motion were Mr.
Hamilton, Mr. Wilkes, Mr. W. Grenville, Mr.Martin, Sir Richard
Hill, Mr. W. Pitt, Mr. Arden, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr Jenkinson,
Mr. Dundas, Sir Cecil Wray, Sir Watkin Lewes, Mr. Alderman
Townshend, Mr. Alderman Sawbridge, and Mr. Flood. On a divi-
sion the numbers were


, Tellers. Tellers.
IYEAS Lord Maitland


208—NOES} VIr. Powys 1 2. *Mr. Burke Sir George Yonge '
The bill was then read a third time and passed ; and on the fol-


lowing day Mr. Fox, attended by a great number of members pre-
sented it at the bar of the House of Lords.


December 7.
Up to the period of the preceding debate, no symptoms


had appeared, at least to the public eye, that indicated the ap-
proaching fate both of the bill and its authors. Great pains, in-
deed, were taken, and with considerable success, by an almost
incredible circulation of pamphlets and political engravings, to in-
flame the nation against the measures and the persons of adminis-
tration ; and it. was also remarked, that in the House of Commons,
several of that description of members, well known by the name of
king's friends, gave their votes on the side of opposition. But it
was generally imagined, that as, on the one hand, the ministryz,
was too strong to be shook by the breath of popular clamour, so
on the other, it seemed to the last degree improbable that they
should have adopted a measure of such infinite importance, either
without knowing, or contrary to the inclinations of the king. Oa
the first reading of the bill in the House of Lords, Earl Temple,
Lord Thurlow, and the Duke of Richmond, expressed their ab-
horrence of the measure in the strongest and most unqualified
terms. A brilliant panegyric on Mr. Hastings was pronounced by
Lord Thurlow, and the flourishing state of the company's affairs
insisted on. After a short debate relative to the production of
papers, on which the lords in opposition did not choose to divide
the house, the second reading was fixed for Monday, December
i5th. In the mean time, various rumours began to circulate, re-
lative to some extraordinary motions in the interior of the court.
It was confidently affirmed, that on the r i th of December the king
signified to the Earl Temple, who had been ordered,to attend him


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 265-


in the closet for that purpose, his disapprobation of the India bill,
and authorized him to declare the same to such persons as he might
think fit ; that a written note was put into his hands, in which his
majesty declared " That he should deem those who should vote
for it not only not his friends, but his enemies ; and that if he
(Lord Temple) could put this in stronger words, he had full au-
thority to do so." And, lastly, that in consequence of this au-
thority, communications had been made to the same purport to
several peers in the upper house ; and particularly to those whose
offices obliged them to attend the king's person. Some extraor-
dinary circumstances, which happened on the isth of December,
the day of the second reading of the bill confirmed the probability
of the truth of these reports. Several lords, who had entrusted
their proxies to the minister and his friends, withdrew them only
a few hours before the house met ; and others, whose support he
had every reason to expect, gave their votes on the side of opposi-
tion. On the division, which took place upon a question of ad-
journment, the ministers were left in a minority of 79 to 87. The
same day the House of Commons, on the motion of Mr. Baker,
took into consideration the reports above alluded to. He stated,
shortly, that the public notoriety, both of the fact itself and of the
effects it had produced, called on the house, which was the natu-
ral guardian of the constitution, for their immediate interference.
He divided the criminality of the subject matt3r of the report into
two parts ; first, the giving secret advice to the crown ; and, se-
condly, the use that had been made of his majesty's name, for the
purpose of influencing the votes of members of parliament in a mat-
ter depending before them. The first, he contended, was a direct
and dangerous attack upon the constitution. The law declared
that { the King could do no wrong :' and therefore had wisely made
his ministers amenable for all the measures of his government.
This was of the very essence of the constitution, which could no
longer subsist, if persons unknown, and upon whom, consequently,
no responsibility could attach, were allowed to give secret advice
to the crown. With regard to the second, Mr. Baker proved, from
the journals, that to make any reference to the opinion of the
king, on a bill depending in either house, had always been judged
a high breach of the privileges of parliament ; he therefore con-
cluded with moving, " That it is now necessary to declare, that
to report any opinion, or pretended opinion, of his majesty, upon
any bill or other proceeding, depending in either house of parlia-
ment, with a view to influence the votes of the members, is a high
crime and misdemeanor, derogatory to the honour of the crown,
a breach of the fundamental privileges of parliament, and subversive
to the constitution of this country." The motion was seconded by
Lord Maitland, and strongly opposed by Mr. William Pitt, who
urged the impropriety of proceeding on mere unauthenticated ru-
mours ; alledging, at the same time, that if such rumours were
Judged a proper foundation for the house to proceed upon, there
were rumours circulated with equal industry, in which the same
use was made of his majesty's name in favour of the bill, that had
been so much condemned when supposed to have been used in op.




266 MR. PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec.


position to it. With respect to the effects which had been adduced
as a proof of the truth of the report, if they referred to a late divi-
sion in the other house, he thought the premises did not warrant
the conclusion, as it was no very unusual thing for the lords to re-
ject a bill that had been passed by the commons, without the small-
est suspicion of undue influence. With respect to the criminality
of the filets which were the subject of these reports, he denied that
it was criminal in any of the peers, who were the acknowledged
hereditary counsellors of the crown, to give his advice to the king
in any case whatever ; and as to the breach of the privileges of par-
liament, he contended, that the precedents which had been read
from the journals, though selected from the glorious times of King
Charles I. were in nowise applicable to the present case. Mr. Pitt
concluded his speech with reproaching the ministers for their base
attachment to their offices, though, upon their own state of the
case, they had lost their power, and no longer professed the confi-
dence of their prince.


Mr. Secretary Fox spoke to the following effect:
I did not intend, Sir, to have said any thing in addition to


what has been already urged so ably in favour of the resolu-
tion now agitated. In my own opinion, its propriety and ne-
cessity, are compleatly and substantially established. A few
particulars, suggested in the course of the debate by gentle-
men on the other side of the house, may be thought, however,
to merit some animadversion. And, once for all, let no man
complain of strong language. Things are now arrived at
such a crisis as renders it impossible to speak without warmth.
Delicacy and reserve are criminal where the interests of Eng-
lishmen are at hazard. The various points in dispute strike
to the heart; and it were unmanly and pusillanimous to wrap
up in smooth and deceitful colours, objects which, in their
nature and consequences, arc calculated to fill the House and
the country with a mixture of indignation and horror.


This, at least, has made such an impression on my mind,
that I never felt so much anxiety ; I never addressed this
House under such a pressure of impending mischief; I never
trembled so much for public liberty as I now do. The ques-
tion before the House involves the rights of parliament in all
their consequences and extent. These rights are the basis of
our constitution, and form the spirit of whatever discrimi-
nates the government of a free country. And have not these
been threatened and assaulted? Can they exist a moment in
opposition to such an interference as is supposed by the reso-
lution, as has been stated by several honourable gentlemen,
to have taken place? No: human nature is not sufficiently
perfect to resist the weight of such a temptation. When,
therefore, shall the House assert its dignity, its independence,
'its prerogatives, by a resolute and unequivocal declaration of


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
2671783.1


all its legal and constitutional powers, but in the instant of
their danger? The disease, Sir, is come to a crisis; and now
is the juncture which destines the patient to live or die. We
are called to sanctify or oppose an absolute extinction of all
for which our ancestors struggled and expired. We are
called to protect and defend, not only the stipulated franchises
of Englishmen, but the sacred privileges of humanity. We
arc called to protract the ruin of the constitution. The de-
liberations of this night must decide whether we are to be
freemen or slaves ; whether the House of Commons be the
palladium of liberty, or the organ of despotism ; whether we
are henceforth to possess a voice of our own, or to be only
the mere mechanical echo of secret influence. Is there an in-
dividual, who feels for his own honour, callous to an appre-
hension of such a consequence as this? Does not every regard
which he owes to a body who cannot be degraded without his
disgrace, who cannot expire without involving his fate, rouse
his indignation, and excite him to every exertion, both in his
individual and delegated capacity, which can reprobate, sus-
pend, or destroy a practice so inimical to public prosperity,
as well as hostile to the very existence of this House ?


But what is this resolution ? It has been called, with great
technical acuteness, a truism, which seems as incapable of
discussion as it is of proof. The foundation of it, however,
is a matter of such general and palpable notoriety, as to put
every degree of scepticism to defiance. Rumours of a most
extraordinary nature have been desseminated in no common
way, and by no inferior agents. A noble earl is said to have
used the name of majesty with the obvious and express inten-
tion of affecting the decisions of the legislature concerning a
hill, of infinite consequence to thirty millions of people, pend-
ing in parliament. The nature of this debate will not allow
me to avoid the mention °filmes. The reality of reports cir-
culating, and operating to a certain degree, is equally ad-
mitted on all sides of the house. The arguments urged to
defeat the use which is made of this fact by the resolution
under discussion, are far from contradicting its veracity. No:
its validity is supposed; the consequences only, which we im-
pute to that circumstance, are disputed. No man has yet
ventured, or dares to venture, to stand forth, and say, in so
many words, that it does not exist. This would certainly
finish the contest much to the honour of the nobleman con-
cerned, but still more to the satisfaction of this House and
the tranquillity of the public. His honourable relation, who
dares the House to a specific charge, leaves that whole load


- of suspicion and crimination on the character he would
defend, unbroken, undiminished, and unequivocal. This may




268 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec.


not be so much owing to a consciousness of delinquency, as a
sentiment of pride: pride is the passion of little, dark, intriguing
minds; and nothing but the truth of the charge can, in the pre,
sent case, be more incompatible with every principle of reed.,
tulle and virtue. This rumour has been treated with a levity
which amounts to a sarcasm or lampoon on the dignity of the
House. But I will tell gentlemen it is not a newspaper sur-
mise, but something much stronger and more serious ; there is
a written record to be produced. This letter (pulling it out
of his pocket) is not to be put in the balance with the lye of
the day. It states, that " his majesty allowed Earl Temple to
say, that whoever voted for the India bill, were not only not
his friends, but he should consider them as his enemies.
And if these words were not strong enough, Earl Temple
might use whatever words he might deem stronger, or more
to the purpose." Is this parliamentary, or is it truth?
Where is the man who dares to affirm the one or deny the
other ? or to say, that he believes in his conscience such a
rumour was not calculated to produce an immediate effect?
It certainly tended, in the first instance, to vilify, in the gross-
est and most violent manner, the proceedings of parliament.
It says to the public, that we are not equal to our trust; that
we either ignorantly or wilfully betray the interest of our con-
stituents; and that we are not to be guided in our decisions
by their convictions or our own, but by that unseen and mys-
terious authority, to whom the sovereign, his counsellors and
the legislature, are only the blind and passive instruments.
Both 'Houses of parliament are consequently parties in the
contest, and reduced, by this unfortunate and w:Lked advice,
to the predicament of a man struggling for his life. We are
robbed of our rights, with a menace of immediate destruction
before our face. From this moment, farewel to every indepen-
dent measure ! Whenever the liberties of the people, the rights
of private property, or the still more sacred and invaluable
privileges of personal safety, invaded, violated, or in danger,
are vindicated by this House, where alone they can be legally
and effectually redressed, the hopes of the public, anxious,
eager and panting for the issue, are whispered away and for


z,
ever suppressed by the breath of secret influence. A parlia-
ment thus fettered and controlled, without spirit and without
freedom, instead of limiting, extends, substantiates, and esta-
blishes beyond all precedent, latitude, or condition, the prero-
gatives of the crown. But,


b
thouah the British House of Com-


mons were so shamefully lost to its own weight in the constitu-
tion, were so unmindful of its former struggles and triumphs
in the great cause of liberty and mankind, were so indifferent
and treacherous to those primary objects and concerns for


783.] PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 269
which it was originally instituted, I trust the characteristic
spirit of this country is still equal to the trial; I trust English-
men will be as jealous of secret influence as superior to open vio-
lence; I trust they are not more ready to defend their interests
against foreign depreciation and insult, than to encounter and
defeat this midnight conspiracy against the constitution.


The proposition of this evening is, therefbre, founded on a
fact the most extraordinary and alarming this country could
possibly hear; a fact, which strikes at the great bulwark of our
liberties, and goes to an absolute annihilation, not of our char-
tered rights only, but those radical and, fundamental ones
which are paramount to all charters, which were consigned to
our care by the sovereign disposition of nature; which we can-
not relinquish without violating the most sacred of all obliga-
tions; to which we are entitled, not as members of society, but
as individuals, and as men ; the rights of adhering steadily and
uniformily to the great and supreme laws of conscience and
duty; of preferring, at all hazards, and without equivocation,
those general and substantial interests which we have sworn
to prefer ; of acquitting ourselves honourably to our constitu-
ents, to our friends, to our own minds, and to that public
whose trustees we arc and for whom we act.


How often shall the friends of the noble earl, whom I have
named, be called upon to negative the proposition, by vouching
for him his innocence of the charge? Will any of them lay
their hand on their heart, and disavow the fact in that noble-
man's name ? Let them fairly, honourably and decidedly put
an end to that foul imputation which rests on his conduct, and
the house must immediately dismiss the report as idle and ill
founded. But, while no man comes honestly forward and
takes truth by the hand, we must look to the consequence.
This House must not lose sight of its rights and those of the
community. The latter can subsist no longer than the former
are safe. We now deliberate on the life and blood of the con-
stitution. Give up this point, and we seal our own quietus,
and are accessary to our own insignificance or destruction.


But how is the question, thus unsuccessfully put to the
friends and abettors of secret influence in this, answered, when
put to the noble principal in the other House? Is he ready
and eager to vindicate his own character, and rescue that of
his sovereign from so foul a reproach ? No : but he replies in
that mean, insiduous, equivocal, and temporising language,
which tends to preserve the effect without boldly and manfully
abiding by the consequences of the guilt. Such was the an-
swer, as mysterious and ill designed as the delinquency it wasintended to conceal ; and the man only, who could stoop to
the baseness of the one, was the most likely in the world to




270
MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.


[Dec.
screen himself behind the duplicity of the other. What, therei
shall we infer from - a system of acting and speaking thus guard_
ed and fallacious, but that the device was formed to operate
on certain minds, as it is rumoured to have done; and that
such a shallow and barefaced pretext could influence those
only, who, -without honour or consistency, are endowed with
congenial understandings !


Had this alarming and unconstitutional interference hap-
pened in matters of no consequence, or but of inferior conse-
quence, the evil would not have appeared of such magnitud;;
as it does. But let us consider the nature of the business
which it is intended to impede or suppress. For nearly twenty
years have the affairs of the East India company, more or less,
occasionally engrossed the attention of parliament. Commit-
tees of this House, composed of the most able, industrious, and
upright characters, have sat long, indefatigably, and assidu-
ously, in calling forth, arranging, digesting, and applying
every species of evidence which could be found. Reports of
their honest and elaborate conduct are before the House. The
public feel the pressure of this monstrous and multifarious ob-
ject. Gentlemen in opposition were at least not insensible to
its necessity, its urgency, and its importance. An honourable
gentleman, (Mr. W. Pitt,) who has distinguished 'rims( so
much on this occasion, protested very solemnly against all pal-
liatives, expedients, or the abortive substitutes of radical and
complete measures. To meet that honourable gentleman's
idea, as well as to suit the exigence of the case, the present
bill was brought in. It has been called a rash, inconsiderate,
and violent measure. The House is aware discussion it
has occasioned; and I dare any one to mention a single argu-
-ment brought against it which has not been candidly and fairly
tried, not by the weight of a majority, but by the force of plain
and explicit reasoning. No bill was ever more violently and
systematically opposed, investigated at greater length, or by
more ability; passed the House under the sanction of a more
respectable and independent majority, or had more the coun-
tenance and patronage of the country at large. How, then,
did it succeed in the other House ? What was the reception
which, thus circumstanced, it received from their lordships?'
Some degree of decency might have been expected from one
branch of the legislature to another. That- respectable inde-
pendence which ought to be the leading feature in their deci-
sions, is not incompatible with, but essential to such a mutual
deference for the procedure of each, as must be the consequence
of acting constitutionally. The bill, however, though matured
and debated by all the abilities of this House, though urged
by the most powerful of all arguments, necessity, And though


1783.3 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
271


recommended by almost two to one on every division it occa-
sioned, will in all probability be lost.


But, Sir, I beseech the House to attend to the manner in
which it is likely to meet such a fate. Is this to be effected
by the voice of an independent majority ? Can any man view
the lords of the bedchamber in that respectable light? and
the whole fortune of the measure now depends on their de-
termination. The rumour, so often stated, and alluded to,
was calculated, and intended to answer, an immediate and
important end. I am far from saying that it ought. Those
in high office and elevated rank, should prove themselves
possessed of high and elevated sentiments; should join, to an
exquisite sense of personal honour, the most perfect probity
of heart ; should discover as much dignity and strength of
understanding as may be naturally expected from a superior
education, the distinctions of fortune, and the example of the
great and the wise. But how does this description agree
with their mode of managing their proxies? These they
cordially give in before a rumour of the King's displeasure
reaches their ears; .the moment this intimation is made, on
the same day, and within a few hours, matters appear to them
in quite a different light, and the opinion which they em-
brace ill the morning, is renounced at noon. I am as ready
as any man to allow, what is barely probable, that these lords
might receive new convictions, which, like a miracle, ope-
rated effectually and at once; and that, notwithstanding their
proxies, from such a sudden and extraordinary circumstance,
without hearing any debate or evidence on the subject, they
might feel an immediate and unaccountable impulse to make
their personal appearance, and vote according to their con-
sciences. Who would chuse to say that all this may not
actually have been the case? There is certainly, however,
a very uncommon coincidence in their lordships' peculiar
situation and this unexpected revolution of sentiment; and,
were I disposed to treat the matter seriously, the whole com-
pass of language affords no terms sufficiently strong and
pointed to mark the contempt which I feel for their con-
duct. It is an imprudent avowal of political profligacy; as
if that species of treachery were less infamous than any other.
It is not only a degradation of a station which ought to be
occupied only by the highest and most exemplary honour,
but forfeits their claim to the characters of gentlemen, and
reduces them to a level with the meanest and the basest of
the species : it insults the noble, the ancient, and the charac-
teristic independence of the English peerage, and is calcu-
lated to traduce and vilify the British legislature in the eyes
of all Europe and to the latest posterity. By what magic




272 MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17.
nobility can thus charm vice into virtue I know not nor wish
to know; but in any other thing than politics, and among
any other men than lords of the bedchamber, such an instance
of the grossest perfidy would, as it well deserves, be branded
with infamy and execration.


Is there any thing, then, Sir, more plain and obvious, than,
that this great, this important, this urgent measure, is be-
come the handle of a desperate fiction, whose principal object
is power and place? It is the victim not of open and fair
reasoning, but of that influence which shuns the fight and
shrinks from discussion: for those who pledged their honour
in its support, from an acknowledged conviction of its rec-
titude, its propriety and utility, have broken that faith, and
relinquished their own judgments, in consequence of a rumour
that such a conduct would be personally resented by the so-
vereign. What bill, in the history of parliament, was ever
so traduced, so foully misrepresented and betrayed in its
passage through the different branches of the legislature?
The stroke which must decide the contest, cannot come from
its real enemies but its false friends; and its fate, without
example in the annals of this House, will be handed down
to the remotest posterity, not as a trophy of victory but a
badge of treachery.


Here, Sir, the honourable gentleman, with his usual libe-
rality, upbraids me with monopolizing, not only all the in-
fluence of the crown, the patronage of India, and the prin-
ciples of whiggism, but the whole of the royal confidence:
but all such round, unqualified and unfounded imputations
must be contemptible, because they are not t. Le; and the
bitterest enemy, not lost to every sense of manliness, would
scorn to become an accuser on grounds so palpably false.
It is, indeed, its it has always been, my only ambition to act
such a part in my public conduct, as shall eventually give
the lie to every species of suspicion which those who oppose
me seem so anxious to create and circulate : and, if to
compass that by every possible exertion from which no
man in the sound exercise of his understanding can honestly
dissent, be a crime, I plead guilty to the charge. This I
am not ashamed to avow the predominating passion of my
life; and I will cherish it, in spite of calumny, declamation,
and intrigue, at the risk of all I value most in the world.


But, Sir, in this monopoly of influence, the lords of the
bedchamber ought at least, for the sake of decency, to have
been excepted. These, we all know, are constantly at the
beck of whoever is minister of the day. How often have
they not been stigmatized with the name of the household
troops, who, like the Praetorian bands of ancient Rome, are


1783.]


MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 273'
always prepared for the ready execution of every secret
mandate ! I remember a saying of an able statesman, whom,
though I differed with in many things, I have ever acknow-
ledged to be possessed of many eminent and useful qualities.
The sentence I allude to I have always admired for its
boldness and propriety. It was uttered by the late George
Grenville in experiencing a similar treachery, — and would
to God the same independent and manly sentiments bad
been inherited by all who bear the name ! —" I will never
again," said he, " be at the head of a string of janissaries,
who are always ready to strangle or dispatch me on the least
signal."


Where, Sir, is that undue, that unconstitutional influence,
with which the honourable gentleman upbraids me and those
with whom I act? Are our measures supported by any other
means than ministers . have usually employed? In what, then,
am I the champion of influence? Of the influence of sound
and substantial policy, of open, minute, and laborious dis-
cussion, of the most respectable whig interest in the kingdom,
of an honourable majority in this House, of public confidence
and public responsibility, I am proud to avail myself, and
happy to think no man can bar my claim. But every sort
of influence unknown to the constitution, as base in itself' as
it is treacherous in its consequences, which is always suc-
cessful because incapable of opposition, nor ever successful
but when exerted in the dark, which, like every other mon-
ster of factious breed, never stalks abroad but in the absence
of public principle,, never assumes any other shape than a
whisper, and never frequents any more public place of resort
than the back stairs or closet at St. James's, — all this secret,
intriguing, and underhand influence, I am willing and ready
to forego. I will not even be the minister of a great and
free people on any condition derogatory to my honour and
independence as a private gentleman. Let those who have
no other object than place, have it and hold it by the only
tenure worthy of their acceptance, — secret influence: — but
without the confidence of this House as well as that of the
sovereign, however necessary to my circumstances and de-
sirable to Inv friends, the dignity and emoluments of office
shall never be mine.


Is it, then, to the India bill I am indebted for, this new
,appellation? Is there a single argument on this topic which
has not been thoroughly and repeatedly discussed? But the
honourable gentleman has two strings to his bow : if he can-
not blow me with the people, by demonstrating how this
measureincreases the influence of the crown, he will try what
Ile can do with the crown, by exhibiting it as generating an


VOL. u.




274 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA
BILLS. [Dec. 17.


independence or aristocracy for the minister. His own po,
pularity may go a great way in accomplishing the one, and
secret influence will always be adequate to the other ; and
by an incessant clamour against the whole of the business,
fomented and propagated at the instance of a mean and in_
terested action, it is not unlikely he may succeed in both.
But I must beg gentlemen to consider, that this measure,
which owes all its imperfections and obnoxious qualities —
not to the original text — but to the notes and-commentaries
of its numerous editors and interpreters, is intended merely
as an experiment, subject to the cognizance and controul a
the legislature. Is there any thing here independent of the
three estates in parliament assembled? You say it is an exe-
cutive power for which the constitution affords no prescrip-
tion. But are you aware to what extent this argument goes?
It deprives you, at one stroke, of all the manifold advantages
which result from every possible modification of colonization.
What system of government can be applied to any foreign
settlement or territory whatever, which is not proscribed by
the same reasoning? And, if this literal adherence to the
form, in contradiction to the spirit of the constitution, is to be
adopted, without regard 'to the many vast commercial in-
terests which produce the most fertile resources, and form
no inconsiderable share of our national strength and distinc-
tion, we shall soon be circumscribed within our original boun-
daries, and be accounted as little among the nations as ever
we were great.


Conclusions, however, on such speculative theories as these
are as idle as unsatisfactory. We never can forget that some-
thing must be done. I deny that any thing has yet been
offered or tried, more congenial to the constitution, more ade-
quate to the object, or more advantageous to the community
at large than the bill in question. I am perfectly aware of
whatever has been or can be alledged on the subject; but,
abstracted from the scramble of interest and the pitiful bug-.
bears of design, not one solid objection on the point of
influence has yet been advanced. The novelty of the sys


-tem is quite as good a foundation for predicting the best as
the worst consequences. It is rare that men are thus prone
to misconstrue the plainest propositions without some latent
purpose; and we have the same right to comment on the
motives on which the measure is opposed, as you have for
reprobating those in which it originated.


Even supposing the rumours on which the resolution vi3'
proposed were true, it is allcdged that a noble duke in the
Other House counteracted the effect of one influence by Lo-
.Other. It had been whispered that his majesty had audio'


r783.] MR. IOX's EAST INDIA BILLS. 275
rised his name to be used with a certain view : his grace, as
the only expedient left fbr preserving the minds of their
lordships unbiassed, and the personal honour of his sovereign
unspotted, gave a negative to the fact. A tale was propa-
gated which tended equally to traduce the crown and em-
barrass government. How was he to defeat the obvious
design of such a notorious libel on the best of princes ?
Was it his duty to let it pass unnoticed, and shed undis-
turbed all its influence on the minds of those for whose in-
struction and emolument it was originally devised ? Or had
he any other mode.of averting its intention and success than
by denying its reality? It would be hard, indeed, to debar
ministers of a right to destroy falsehoods fabricated on pur-
pose to destroy them. Such a prohibition amounts to their
relinquishing a very material species of self defence, which is
one of the most valuable privileges of human nature; and,
whatever the honourable gentleman may be willing to sacrifice
to office, this is one condition at least, to which I will never
be a party.


The task, therefore, he has assigned me of being the
champion of influence, belongs more properly to himself;
who has this night stood forward in defence of a practice,
which cannot be indulged for a moment but at the immi-
nent risk of every thing great and valuable which our con-
stitution secures. With what consistency he embarks in a
cause so hostile and ominous to the rights and wishes of
Englishmen, those who have known his connections and
observed his professions will judge. Let him not, then, in
the paroxysm of party zeal, put a construction on my con-
duct which it will not bear, or endeavour to stamp it with
the impression of his own. For that influence which the con-
stitution has wisely assigned to the different branches of the
legislature, I ever have contended, and, I trust, ever shall.
That of the crown, kept within its legal boundaries, is essen-
tial to the practice of government; but woe to this country
the moment its operations are not as public and notorious
as they are sensible and effective ! A great writer has said,
that the English constitution will perish, when the legislative
becomes more corrupt than the executive power. Had he
been as sound a judge of the practice as of the theory of go-
vernment, he might have added, with still greater truth, that
we shall certainly lose our liberty, when the deliberations of
parliament are decided — not by the legal and usual — but
by the illegal and extraordinary exertions of prerogative.


The honourable gentleman declares, that if the king is thusprevented from consulting. his peers, who are constitutionally
stiled the ancient and hereditary counsellors of the crown, or


T 2




276
MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17,


any other of his subjects, whenever he is pleased to call for it,
he would be a captive on his throne and the first slave in his
own dominions. Does he, then, affect to think or allege
that it is the desire of ministers to proscribe all social inter-
course between his majesty and his subjects? I will tell the
honourable gentleman thus far his argument goes, and that is
something worse than puerility and declamation ; it is dis-
guising truth under such colours as are calculated to render
it. odious and detestable. The lords are undoubtedly entitled'
to advise the throne collectively ; but this does not surely
entitle every noble individual to take his majesty aside, and,
by a shocking farrago of fiction and fear, poison the royal
mind with all their own monstrous chimeras. Whoever knows
the mode of digesting business in the cabinet, must be sensible,
that the least interference with any thing pending in parlia-
ment must be dangerous to the constitution. The question
is not, whether his majesty shall avail himself of such advice
as no one readily avows, but who is answerable for such advice?
Is the honourable gentleman aware, that the responsibility of
ministers is the only pledge and security the people of Eng-
land possess against the infinite abuses so natural to the ex-
ercise of this power? Once remove this great bulwark of the
constitution, and we are, in every respect, the slaves and pro-
perty of despotism. And is not this the necessary consequence
of secret influence?


How, Sir, are ministers situated on this ground ? Do they
not come into power with a halter about their necks, by which
the most contemptible wretch in the kingdom may dispatch
them at pleasure? Yes, they hold their several offleesnot at
the option of the sovereign—but of the very reptiles who bur-
row under the throne. They act the part of puppets, and arc
answerable for all the folly, the ignorance, and the temerity or
timidity of some unknown juggler behind the screen : they
are not once allowed to consult their own, but to pay an im-
plicit homage to the understandings of those, whom to know-
were to despise. The only rule by which they are destined to
extend authority over freemen, is a secret mandate which car-
ries along with it no other alternative than obedience —or
ruin ! 'What man, who has the feelings, the honour, the spirit,
or the heart of a man, would stoop to such a condition for any
official dignity or emolument whatever? Boys, without judg-
ment, experience of the sentiments suggested by the knowledge
of the world, or the amiable decencies of a sound mind, may
follow the headlong course of ambition thus precipitantly, and
vault into the seat while the reins of government are placed in
other hands : but the minister who can bear to act such a dis-


;783.] MR. rox's EAST INDIA BILLS. 2 7 7


honourable part, and the country that suffers it, will be mu-
tual plagues and curses to each other.


Thus aukwardly circumstanced, the best minister on earth
could accomplish nothing, nor on any occasion, however press-
ing and momentous, exert the faculties of government with
spirit or effect. It is not in the human mind to put forth the
least vigour under the impression of uncertainty. While all my




best meant and best concerted plans are still under the control
of a villainous whisper, and the most valuable consequences,
which I flattered myself must have resulted from my honest
and indefatigable industry, are thus defeated by secret influence,
i t
is impossible to continue in office any longer either with


honour to. myself, or success to the public. The moment I
bring forward a measure adequate to tile exigency of the state,
and stake my reputation, or indeed whatever is most dear and
interesting in life, on its merit and utility, instead of enjoying
the triumphs of having acted fairly and unequivocally, all my
labours, all my vigilance, all my expectations, so natural to
every generous and manly exertion, are not only vilely fritter-
ed, but insidiously and at once whispered away by rumours,
which, whether founded or not, are capable of doing irrepara-
ble mischief, and have their full effect before-it is possible to
contradict or disprove them.


So much has been said about the captivity of the throne,
while his majesty acts only in concert with his ministers, that
one would imagine the spirit and soul of the British constitu-
tion were yet unknown in this House. It is wisely established
as a fUndamental maxim, that the king can do no wrong; that
whatever blunders or even crimes may be chargeable on the
executive power, the crown is still faultless. But how ? Not
by suffering tyranny and oppression in a free government
to pass with impunity ; certainly not : but the minister who
advises or executes an unconstitutional measure, does it at his
peril ; and he ought to know, that Englishmen are not only
jealous of their rights, but legally possessed of powers, compe-
tent on every such emergency to redress their wrongs. "What
is the distinction between an absolute and a limited monarchy?
but that the sovereign, in the one, is a despot; and may do
what he pleases, but in the other, is himself subjected to the
laws, and consequently-not at liberty to advise with any one on.
Public affairs not responsible for that advice; and the consti-
tution has clearly directed his negative to operate under the
same wise restrictions. These prerogatives are by no means
vested in the crown to be exerted in a wanton and arbitrary
manner. The good of the whole is tile exclusive object to
which all tile branches of the legislature and their different
Powers invariably .


point. Whoever interferes with this pri-
T 3


I




278
MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.


[Dee. 17.


mary and supreme direction, must, in the highest degree, be
unconstitutional. Should, therefore, his majesty be disposed
to check the progress of the legislature in accomplishing any
measure of importance, either by giving countenance to an
invidious whisper, or the exertion of his negative, without at
the same time consulting the safety of his ministers, here would
be an instance of mar-administration, for which, on that sup..
position, the constitution has provided no remedy. And God
forbid that ever the constitution of this country should be found
defective in a point so material and indispensable to public
welfare!


sir, it is a public and crying grievance that we are not
the first who have felt this secret influence. It seems to be
a habit against which no change of men or measures can ope-
rate with success. It has overturned a more able and popular
minister (Lord Chatham) than the present, and bribed him
with a peerage, for which his best friends never cordially for-
gave him. The scenes, the times, the politics, and the system
of the court, may shift with the party that predominates, but
this dark mysterious engine is not only formed to control every
ministry, but to enslave the constitution. To this infernal
spirit of intrigue we owe that incessant fluctuation in his ma-
jesty's councils, by which the spirit of government is so much
relaxed, and all its minutest objects so "fatally deranged. Dui.-
ing the strange and ridiculous interregnum o


• last year, I had
not a doubt in my own mind with whom it originated ; and I
looked to an honourable gentleman (Mr. Jenkinson) opposite
to me, the moment the grounds of objection to the East India
bill were stated. The same illiberal and plodding cabal who
then invested the throne, and darkened the royal mind with ig-
norance and misconception, have once more been employed
to act the same part. But how will the genius of Englishmen
brook the insult? Is this enlightened and free country, which
has so often and successfully struggled against ever y species of
undue influence, to revert to those Gothic ages, when princes
were tyrants, ministers minions, and government intriguing?
Much and gloriously did this House fight and overcome the in-
fluence ofthe crown by purging itself of ministerial dependants:
but what was the contractors' bill, the board of trade, or a vote
of the revenue officers, compared to a power- equal to one-third
of the legislature, unanswerable for, and unlimited in its act-
ing? Against these we had always to contend ; but we knew
their strength, we saw their disposition, they fought under no
covert, they were a powerful, not a sudden enemy. To com-
promise the matter, therefore, Sir, it would become this House
to say, rather than yield to a stretch of prerogative thus un-
precedented and alarming, withdraw your secret influence,


II


1783.]


MR. PDX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 279


and, whatever entrenchments have been made on the crown,
we are ready to repair : take back those numerous and tried
dependants who so often secured you a majority in parliament ;
we submit to all the mischief' which even this accession of
strength is likely to produce ; but for God's sake strangle us
not in the very moment we look for success and triumph by an
infamous string of bedchamber janissari es !


The honourable gentleman has told us, with his usual con-
sequence and triumph, that our duty, circumstanced as we are,
can be attended with no difficulty whatever : the moment the
sovereign withdraws his confidence, it becomes us to retire.
I will answer him in my turn, that the whole system in this dis-
honourable business may easily be traced. Aware of that glo-
rious and independant majority which added so much dignity
and support to the measure which appears thus formidable to
secret influence, they find all their efforts to oppose it here
abortive : the private cabal is .consequently convened, and an
invasion of the throne, as most susceptible of their operations,
proposed. It was natural to expect that I, for one, would not
be backward to spurn at such an interference. This circum-
stance affords all the advantage they wished. I could not be
easy in my situation under the discovery of such an insult; and
this critical moment is eagerly embraced to goad me from of-
lice, to upbraid me with the meanness of not taking the hint,
to remind me in public of the fate which I owe to secfet ad-
vice. When that hour comes, and it may not be very distant,
that shall dismiss me from the service of the public, the ho-
nourable gentleman's example of lingering in office after the
voice of the nation was that he should quit it, shall not be
mine. I did not come in by the fiat of majesty, though by this
fiat I am not unwilling to go out. I ever stood, and wish only
and always to stand on public ground. I have too much pride
ever to owe any thing to secret influence. I trust in God this
country has too much spirit not to spurn and punish the mi-
nister that does ! I arrogate no pomp, however, from the for-
mality of resignation. My noble friend, I hope, thinks with
me, that the present is one of those singular junctures when it is
necessary to act with caution as well as spirit. We are cer-
tainly agreed not to retain our places any longer than we can
maintain the dignity of government with responsibility and
effect; and to the constitutional mandate of dismission we are
prepared to bow with humility and obedience. We have been,
repeatedly reminded of our disagreeable situation ; but the chief
fact to which we owe this inconveniency was only not foreseen,
from an idle opinion that no man could be base and servile
enough to undertake it. But now, our eyes are open to trans-
actions, of which ocular demonstration only could have con-


T 4




280 MIt. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17.
vinccd us. We only beg when the revolution, which it is sup-
posed may be effected in the royal breast, is authentically an-
nounced, we may be allowed to judge for ourselves. I will
apprise gentlemen, however, that the situation of ministers is
at present extremely delicate. They stand pledged to the
public and a very honourable majority of this House, not to
relinquish the affairs of the state while in so much anarchy
and distraction. And what ministry could wish for a stronger,
or more desirable foundation than such a. majority as have
constantly voted with us? For my own part, I ever thought
public confidence the only substantial basis of a sound admi-
nistration. The people of England have made me what I am ;
it was at their instance I have been called to a station
in their service; and, perhaps, it would not be treating them
well, hastily to abandon the post to which they have generous-
ly raised me. The whole of that respectable arrangement in
which I am but an, individual, are, in my opinion, bound in
honour to do something at least for thirty millions of innocent
people, whose expectations have been raised and flattered by
our exertions; who have long struggled under every oppression,
and grappled with their fate in vain ; whose wretched and de-
plorable circumstances affect the British character in every
corner of the world with infamy and horror; and who, at this
moment, in spite of every exertion both of the legislature and
court'of directors, groan under the scourge, the extortion, and
the massacre, of a cruel and desperate man, whom, in my con-
science and from my heart, I detest and execrate.


It is impossible to overlook, or not to be su-nrised at the ex-
treme eagerness of the honourable gentleman about our
places, when twenty-four hours, at most, would give him full
satisfaction. Is it that some new information may be requisite
to finish a system thus honourably begun ! Or is the honour-
able gentleman's youth the only account which can be given
of that strange precipitancy and anxiety which he betrays on
this occasion ? It is, in my opinion; the best apology which
can be urged in his behalf. Generosity and unsuspecting
confidence are the usual disposition of this tender period.
The friends of the .honourable gentleman, I doubt not, will
soon teach him experience and caution; and, when once he
has known them as long, received as many of their promises,
and seen their principles as much tried as I have done, he may
not, perhaps, be quite so prodigal of his credulity as he now
is. Is he apprised of the lengths these men would go to serve
their own selfish and private views? that their public spirit is
all profession and hypocrisy? and that the only tie which
unites and keeps them together is, that they are known only to
each other, and that the moment of their discord, puts a period
to their strength and consequence?


1783.7 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS, 281


If, however, a change must take place, and a new ministry
is to be formed and supported, not by the confidence of this
House or the public, but the sole authority of the crown, I,
for one, shall not envy that honourable gentleman his situa-
tion. From that moment I put in my claim for a monopoly
of whig-principles. The glorious cause of freedom, of inde-
pendence, and of the constitution, is no longer his, but mine.
In this I have lived ; in this I will die. It has borne me up
under every aspersion to which my character has been sub-
jected. The resentments of the mean and the aversion of the
great, the rancour of the vindictive and the subtilty of the base,
the dereliction of friends and the efforts of enemies, have not,
all, diverted me from that line of conduct which has always
struck me as the best. In the ardour of debate, I may have
been, like all other men, betrayed into expressions capable of
misrepresentation ; but the open and broad path of the con-
stitution has uniformly been mine. I never was the tool of
any junto. I accepted of office at the obvious inclination of
this House : I shall not hold it a moment after the least hint
from them to resume a private station.


The honourable gentleman is, however, grasping at place
on very different grounds. He is not called to it by a majo-
rity of this House; but, in defiance of that majority stands
forth the advocate and candidate for secret influence. How
will he reconcile a conduct thus preposterous to the constitu-
tion, with those principles for which he has pledged himself
to the people of England ? By what motives can he be thus
blind to a system, which so flatly and explicitly gives the lie
to all his former professions ? Will secret influence conciliate
that confidence to which his talents, connections, and princi-
ples, entitled him; but which the aspect under which he
must now appear to an indignant and insulted public effec-
tually bars his claim? Will secret influence unite this House
in the adoption of measures which are not his own, and to
which he only gives the sanction of his name to save them
from contempt ? Will secret influence draw along with it that
affection and cordiality from all ranks, without which the
movements of government must be absolutely at a stand? Or,
is he weak and violent enough to imagine, that his majesty's
mere nomination will singly weigh against the constitutional
influence of all these considerations ? For my own part, it has
been always my opinion, that this country can labour under
no greater misfortune than a ministry Without strength and
stability. The tone of government will never recover so as to
establish either domestic harmony or foreign respect, without
a- permanent administration ; and whoever knows any thing
of the constitution, and the present state of parties among us,




2 8 2 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17.
must be sensible, that this great blessing is only and substan-
tially to be obtained and realized in connection with public
confidence. It is undoubtedly the prerogative of the sove-
reign to chuse his own servants ; but the constitution provides
that these servants should not be obnoxious to his subjects by
rendering all their exertions, thus circumstanced, abortive
and impracticable. The honourable gentleman had, there-
fore, better consider how much he risks by joining an ar-
rangement thus hostile to the interests of the-people ; that they
will never consent to be governed by secret influence, and that
all the weight of his private character, all his eloquence and
popularity, will never render the midnight and despotic man-
dates of an interior cabinet acceptable to Englishmen.


When 1 say in what manner, and to what ends, the wisdom
and experience of our ancestors have thus directed the exer-
cise of all the royal prerogatives, let me not be understood as
meaning, in any degree, to detract from those dutiful regards,
which all of us owe as good citizens and loyal subjects to the
prince who at present fills the British throne. No man ve-
nerates him more than I do, for his personal and domestic
virtues. I love him as I love the constitution, for the glorious
and successful efforts of his illustrious ancestors in giving it
form and permanency. The patriotism of these great and
good men must endear, to every lover of his country, their
latest posterity. The king of England can never lose the es-
teem of his people, while they remember with gratitude, the
many obligations_ which they owe to his illustrious family.
Nor can I wish him a greater blessing, than '.iat he may reign
in the hearts of his subjects, and that their confidence in his
government may be as hearty and sincere as their affection for
his person.


" That it is necessary to the most essential interests of this kin


'


The House divided on the question that the order of the day be
now read,


Tellers.
80


`ORS Mr. Baker1Lord Maitland '53.
Mr. Baker's motion was consequently carried by a majority of 73.


It was then resolved, " That on Monday next the House would
resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider of
the state of the nation." As a change of ministers appeared to be a
measure determined on by the king, and the dissolution of parlia-
ment an immediate and necessary consequence, the majority of the
House thought no time was to be lost in endeavouring to render
the attempt as difficult as possible. With this view, immediately
after the above resolutions were agreed to, Mr. Erskine moved,


g-


MR. FOX S EAST INDIA BILLS.178'3.] 28 3
done, and peculiarly incumbent on this House, to pursue with un-
remitting attention the consideration of a suitable remedy for the
abuses which have prevailed in the government of the British do-
minions in the East Indies ; and that this House will consider as
an enemy to this country, any person who shall presume to advise
his majesty to prevent, or in any manner interrupt, the discharge
of this important duty." The motion was opposed, as interfering
with the executive part of government, and trenching on the un-
doubted prerogative of the crown, without any justifiable cause.
The motion was however carried by a majority of 1 47 to 7 3. On
the 17th of December the India bill was rejected by the Lords, on
a division of 95 to 76.


COPIES OF MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.


A Bill for vesting the Affairs of the East India Company in
the Hands of certain Commissioners, for the Benefit of the
Proprietors and the Public.


'WHEREAS disorders of an alarming nature and magnitude' HEREA
long prevailed, and do still continue and increase, in


the management of the territorial possessions, the revenues, and
the commerce of this kingdom in the East Indies ; by , means
whereof the prosperity of the natives bath been greatly diminished,
and the valuable interests of this nation in the said territorial posses-
sions, revenues, and commerce, have been materially impaired,
and would probably fall into utter ruin if an immediate and fitting
remedy were not provided :


Be it therefore enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, by
and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and tem-
poral, and the commons, in this present parliament assembled,
and by the authority of the same, That the government and ma-
nagement of the territorial possessions, revenues, and commerce
of the united company of merchants of England trading to the East
Indies, by the directors and proprietors of the said company, or
either of them ; and all and singular the powers and authorities of
the said directors and proprietors, or of any special, or general, or
other court thereof, in the ordering and managing the said pos-
sessions, revenues, and commerce ; and all elections of directors
of the said united company, be, and are hereby declared to be,
discontinued, for and during the continuance of this act ; any
charter, usage, law, or statute to the contrary notwithstanding.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That for
the better governing, ordering, and managing the said territorial
possessions, revenues, and commerce, the Right Honourable


Tellers.
YEAS {Mr. NevilleDundas




284 MR. roes EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec.
William Earl Fitzwilliam, the Right Honourable Frederick Mon.
tagu, the Right Honourable George Legge, commonly called Lord
Viscount Lewisham, the Honourable George Augustus North, Sir'
Gilbert Elliott, Baronet, Sir Henry Fletcher, Baronet, and Robert
Gregory, Esquire, shall he, and they arc hereby constituted and
appointed directors of the said united compaly, and shall be,
and they are hereby constituted members of the said company ; and
that the said directors hereby appointed, or any three of them,
shall have, use, possess, and exercise all and singular the powers
and authorities which have been at any time heretofore vested
or lawfully exercised by, the said directors hereby discontinued,
proprietors, or by the general court of proprietors of the said united
company, and all such farther and other powers and authorities,
and under such directions, and subject to such limitations and re-
strictions as in this act, or in any other act, the provisions where.
of are not hereby altered or repealed, are contained, for the govern-
ment and management of the said territorial possessions, revenueiii
and commerce of the said united company, or in any wise relative
thereto. al


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the'.
said directors hereby appointed shall, and they are hereby author
rised and empowered, immediately from and after the commence;
ment of this act, to enter into and upon, and to possess them-
selves of all lands, tenements, houses, warehouses, and other build
ings whatever, of or belonging to the said united company; and al;,
so to take into their custody and possession all books, records, dot'
currents, charters, acts, instruments, letters, and other papers what;
soever, and also all ships and vessels, goods, wares, merchandises
money, securities for money, and all other effects whatsoever, ,a
or belonging to the said united company, in trust for, and for the
benefit of, the proprietors thereof, and to have, hold, and pos-e-
the same, in like manner as they were held andpossessed by the (:
rectors hereby discontinued, subject to such charges, claims, and
demands as do or may affect the same ; which directors so dis-
continued, and all other officers and servants of said united
company, are hereby enjoined, immediately upon the requisition
of the said directors hereby appointed, signified under their hands
and seals, or the hands and seals of any- three of them, to deliver to
them, or to such person or persons as they shall for that purpose.
appoint, all such lands, tenements, houses, warehouses, buildings,
books, records, documents, charters, acts, instruments, papers,
ships, vessels, goods, wares, and merchandises, money, securities
for money, and all other effects whatsoever.


And for the sole purpose of ordering and managing the com-
merce of the said united company, under and subject to the orders
and directions of the said directors hereby appointed, be it further
enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Thomas Cheap, Esquire,
George Cuming, Esquire, Richard Hall, Esquire, John Harrison,
Esquire, Joseph Sharp, Esquire,John Michie, Esquire,John Smith,
Esquire, George Tatem, Esquire, and James Moffat, Esquire, being
proprietors, each of them of two thousand pounds capital stock in the
said united company, at least, shall be assistant directors, for the


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
28 -II 8 3.1


withouturpp requi-las'a ; d sha, from me to time,
sition, and also


fo asresaid
oftenanas 'theyll shall beti




euthernto required, render
account of their proceedings to the said directors hereby ap-


pointed; and in all matters and things whatsoever, shall pursue and
'fol low such orders and directions as they shall from time to time


ose


receiveAAnd from oiitn fsuur dr ier ielcatcotrs.
ed by the authority aforesaid, That in


case any vacancy or vacancies shall happen in the office of the said
directors hereby appointed, by death, resignation, removal, or


such vacancy or vacancies shall be filled by his majesty,
r his sign manual, within twenty days after notice of such va-


otherwise,


cancy or vacancies shall have been given to one of his majesty's
principal secretaries of state.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, -
That in


tin


any vacancy or vacancies shall happen in the office of the said
assistant directors, by death, resignation, removal, or otherwise,
such vacancy or vacancies shall be filled by the majority of
the proprietors of the said united company, qualified in the
manner required by an act of the thirteenth year of his present
majesty, intitled " An act for establishing certain regulations for
the better management of the affairs of the East India company,
as well in India as in Europe ;" which proprietors, at such election


, or in any otherof any assistant director, shall not vote by ballot,
covert or concealed manner, but in an open court, for that purpose
only specially summoned ; and every such proprietor, in giving his
or her vote, shall subscribe his or her name in a book to be pre-
pared for that purpose, under the name of the person for whom he
or she shall vote.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if five
of the said directors hereby appointed, who shall be present at any
meeting, shall, upon enquiry, and after examination into the con-
duct and behaviour of the said assistant directors, find that any of
them is guilty of neglect or misdemeanour in the execution of his said
office, or of wilful disobedience of any order or orders of the said.
directors hereby appointed, they are hereby authorised and im-


(–Flowered to remove and displace such assistant directors; entering
in their journals their reasons respectively for removing or displac-
ing such assistant director, signed with their respective names.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said William Earl Fitzwilliam shall be, during his continuance as a
director by virtue of this act, chairman of the board of directors,
and the said right honourable Frederic Montagu, deputy chairman
thereof; and if the said chairman shall die, resign, or be removed
from such office of director, at any time during the continuance
of this act, then and in that case the said deputy chairman shall
succeed to the office of chairman of the said board of directors ;
and if the said deputy chairman, being become chairman of the
said board of directors, shall also die, resign, or be removed from
the said office of a director, then and in that case, and also in every
other case of a vacancy in the office of a chairman of the said
board of directors, the said directors, hereby appointed, shall
chuse and elect one of themselves to supply such vacancy ;


I()




286 RIR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. /7.
and if a vacancy, either by succession otherwise, shall at any time
happen in the said office of deputy chairman of the said board of
directors, established by this act, the said directors hereby appoint-
ed shall, in like manner, chase and elect one of themselves to sup.
ply such vacancy.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said chairman of the said board of directors, or, in his absence, the
said deputy chairman, shall have power to call or summons any ex..
traordinary meeting of the said directors hereby appointed, at such
time or times as he shall think expedient; and may, at any meeting
whatever of such directors, if he shall think fit, propose the business
to be first considered by such directors at such meeting ; and in
case of an equal division of voices on any question whatever before
the said board of directors, shall have the casting voice : provided
always, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the majority of
such directors present at any meeting from adjourning their meet-
ings to such time or times as they shall think proper.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it
shall not be lawful for the said directors hereby appointed, or any
of them, upon any question whatever, to vote by ballot, or in any
other covert manner ; and that in any difference of opinion,!ex-
cept as to the election to offices of persons not having before been


• in the service of the said united company, the said directors (as
well the majority as those who shall dissent) shall each of them en-
ter, on the journals of the said directors, his reasons for his vote,
signed-with his name, or his adherence to the reasons entered by
any other director,


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
person furnishing the said united company with shipping, or with
any article of their investment outwards, either from Great Bri-
tain, or from such ports and places as the company's ships have
occasion to touch at in their way to India, or with any naval or
military stores, or concerned in buying and selling any commodity
of the said united company's importation, shall be capable of being
a director or assistant director for the execution -if this act.


And be it also enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no per-
son shall be capable of being a director, or assistant director, for
the execution of this act, against whom the charge of any corrupt
practice, peculation, or oppression in India, doth or shall appear
in the records of the said united company within the space of two
years before the time of his nomination, or shall be made upon
oath before the said directors hereby appointed within the space
of two years before the time of his nomination, until such direc-
tors, or three of them, shall have examined into the same, and
shall have severally declared that they have examined into the
said charge, and do in their conscience believe such person not
guilty of the said charge ; or that they do, upon the said exami-
nation, find the said charge not of sufficient importance to exclude
the said person from the said office of director or assistant director,
as the case may be ; and that they have entered upon their jour-
Uals their reasons for such their opinion.


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 237


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
person who Math been, now is, or shall hereafter be, in the service
of the said united company in India, shall be capable of being a
director, or assistant director, for the execution of this act, within
the space of two years from the time of his last return from India.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said directors hereby appointed shall, once in every six months,
lay before the proprietors of the said united company, in a general
court to be for that purpose assembled, an exact state of the debts
and credits of the said united company ; the first cost and charges
of their investments, outward and inward : with the sums of money
in India applicable to an investment, according to the last accounts
received therefrom ; an account of the shipping ; an account of
the produce of the sales ; and the state of the warehouses at home
and abroad.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said directors hereby appointed shall, within twenty days after
the commencement of every session of parliament, lay before the
lords commissioners of his majesty's treasury (who are hereby
authorised and required, without loss of time, to lay the same
before both Houses of parliament,) an account of the produce of
the territorial and other revenues of the ;aid united company in
India ; and also estimates of the civil, military, and naval establish-
ments there; together with a state of the bond and other debts
due from the said united company in India, distinguishing what
belongs to each of the principal presidencies and settlements of
the said united company in India ; and. also the state of the trade,


. laid by the said directors before the said proprietors at their then
last general court.


And he it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said directors hereby appointed, or the major part of them, shall
have full power and authority to remove, displace, suspend, ap-
point, confirm, or restore, all and every person or persons what-
soever, from or to any office, station, or capacity whatsoever, civil
or military, in the service of the said united company, or within
the limits of the said united company's charters, or any of them,
or any way concerned in the management of their affairs within
this kingdom, or in India, whether any such person or persons
shall have been nominated or appointed in and by any act or acts
of parliament, or howsoever otherwise nominated or appointed :
except as herein provided and established, as to the appointment
and removal of such directors themselves, and of the said assistant
directors.


_Am" for the more speedy and effectual punishment of offences
committed in India, by persons employed in the service of the
said company, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That when-
ever any charge of corruption, peculation, oppression, extortion,
receipt of presents, usury, breach of orders, or other grievous
offence, shall be exhibited or made before the governor general
and council of Bengal, or the president and council of any of the
presidencies or settlements abroad, of the said united company,
and transmitted, from thence to the court of directors, hereby dis-




28$ MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17.


continued, or to the said directors hereby appointed, against any.
of the said governors, presidents, or members of the council, of
any of the said presidencies or settlements of the said united com-pany, or others, in any office, station, or employment, civil or
military, in the said united company's service ; or which shall be
exhibited or made by any of' the native princes. dependent upon,
or under the protection of the said united company, against any
such person or persons ; the said directors hereby appointed, shall,
within twenty days after the same shall be received, enter into an
examination of such charge ; and if; upon, or in consequence of
such examination, such directors £11011 not think proper either to
recal or order a prosecution against such person so charged, each
and every such director, making such examination as aforesaid
into such charge, shall enter in writing, and subscribe with his
name, in the journals of such directors, his opinion on the validity
and importance of such charge, with his specific reasons, on the
particular case, for not recalling the person so charged, or for not
ordering a prosecution upon such charge.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
before any person or persons whatsoever, who have been, are, or
shall hereafter be in the service of the said united company, in
any office, station, or employment whatsoever, civil or military, in
any of the presidencies or settlements of the said united company
abroad ; and who have been, or are, or shall be in Great Britain
after such service abroad ; and against whom any charge shall
appear upon any of the company records, or shall have been made
to the said court of directors hereby discontinued, or general .
court of proprietors, or shall be made or exhibited to the said
directors hereby appointed ; shall be permitted by the said di-
rectors hereby appointed to return to any part of India, either in
the same or in any other office, station or employment, in the
service of the said united company ; and also, before the said di- .
rectors hereby appointed shall confirm the appointment, or suffer
the departure from Great Britain for India, of' any person or per-
sons who may have been, or shall be, appointed to any office,
station, or employment whatsoever in the service of the said united
company, and against whom any such charge shall appear, or shall
have been made, or shall be made as aforesaid ; and also before
the said directors hereby appointed, shall themselves appoint any
person, having before been in the service of the said united com-
pany, to any office, station, or employment whatsoever, in the said
united company's service, and against whom any such charge shall
appear, or• shall have been made, or shall be made as aforesaid;
the said directors hereby appointed shall, and they are hereby
required to make a full and particular examination and enquiry
into the conduct of every such person, relative to the said service,
and the subject matter of such charge ; and shall enter on their
journals their reasons for permitting any such person to return, or
confirming the appointment, and permitting the departure, of any
such person, or for themselves appointing any such person (as the
case may be) notwithstanding such charge.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid„ That in
case of any disputes, differences, or controversies Whatsoever,


1 783.1
MR. Fox's EAST INDIA DILLS. 289


which have arisen and are depending, or which shall or may here-
after arise, between the governor-general and council of Bengal ;
or between any of the presidents of any other of the settlements
of the said united company, and their respective councils ; or
between any of the subordinate chiefs and their councils ; or be-
tiveen the government of one settlement and the government of
any other settlement ; or between any of the governors or pre-
siding powers of any of the subordinate settlements ; the said di-
rectors hereby appointed shall, within twenty days after the receipt
of any official account of any such dispute, difference, or contro-
versy, enter upon an examination and enquiry into the same ;
and shall, within three months thereafter, either come to a de-
finitive decision thereupon, or enter upon their journals their
reasons, signed with their respective names, for not coming to such
definitive decision.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if
at any time the governor general and council of Bengal, or the
president and council of any of the principal or subordinate set-
tlements, shall require the direction or opinion of the said direc-
tors hereby appointed, on any matter whatsoever for the govern-
ment of such governor-general and council, or president and
council, or for the settlement or accommodation of any matter in
dispute, or likely to come into dispute, between or among them,
or any of them ; the said directors shall return an answer, opinion, ,
or direction, to such requisition; within three months after receiving
the letter or letters containing the same, or enter upon their jour-
nals their reasons signed, with their respective names, for not
sending the same within the time aforesaid.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if at any
time complaint shall be made of any breach of treaty, injury, wrong,
or grievance, done or committed against any native prince in India,
by any of the governments of the said united company's settle-
ments, or any officer or other person, civil or military, in the ser-
vice of the said united company ; or if any such breach of treaty,
Injury, wrong, or grievance, shall (without complaint being made
thereof) appear upon any part of the correspondence relating to
the said united compan y's affairs ; the said directors hereby ap-
pointed shall, as speedily as may be, enquire into such breach of
treaty, injury, wrong, or grievance ; and shall begin their exa-
mination into the same, by reading and considering any treaties,
agreements, or assurances, subsisting between the said united com-
pany and such native prince, 017 any way relative to him, if any
Such there shall be, or any orders which may have been given by
the court of directors hereby discontinued, or general court of pro-
prietors, relating to such native prince ; and the said directors
hereby appointed, shall do full and complete justice to such native
prince for such breach of treaty, injury, wrong, or grievance, and
On every material article and head of charge (if' there be more
than one) specifically, and not upon the whole of such charge in
gross.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That three,
and not less, of the said directors, shall form a board for executing


VOL. n.




290 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec.
783.]
MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA I3ILLS. 291


this act, or any of the powers thereof, or any other powers vested
in or committed to, or which shall be vested in or committed to,
such directors, and the major part of the said directors present
shall determine, except where the voices shall be equally divided,
and then the chairman, or in his absence, the deputy chairman,
shall have two voices, or the casting voice. ‘-


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all
the correspondence of the said directors hereby appointed, with
all persons whatsoever in the service of the said united company,
shall he signed by the secretary of such directors, by order of the
board.


And whereas by virtue of the charter of the said company, and
the regulations which have from time to time been made for the


• better government of the said company, it is required, that cer-
tain acts should be done or consented to, and that certain ac-
counts should be signed by a particular number of the directors
hereby discontinued, be it therefore enacted by the authority
aforesaid, that in all cases whatsoever, where any act, matter, or
thing is directed to be done or consented to, or any accounts or
writing to be signed by the directors hereby discontinued, or to
be done or consented to, or signed by any particular number of
such directors, such act, matter, or thing shall, from and after the
commencement of this act, be done or consented to, and such
accounts or,


writing shall be signed by three of the directors hereby
appointed.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said directors hereby appointed, and assistant directors, and each
and every of them, during the continuance of this act, shall be
utterly incapable of taking, holding, or exercising any office, station,
or employment whatsoever, in the service of the said united com-
pany ; and shall also be incapable of taking, holding, or exercising
any other place of profit from the crown, during pleasure.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it
shall and may be lawful for his majesty to remove any of the said
directors hereby appointed, or assistant directors upon an address
of either House of parliament.


And whereas 'a doubt may arise, whether the place of director,
When the same shall be held by any person, to be appointed by
his'imajesty, in manner herein before provided, be not within the


iprovision of an act of the sixth year of the reign of Queen Anne,ntituled, " An act for the security of her majesty's person and
government, and of the succession to the crown of Great Britain
in the protestant line," although the said place shall have been


•created and erected by authority of parliament : be it therefore
enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, that such office
shall not be deemed and taken to be within the intent and purview
of the said act ; nor shall any person accepting and holding the
same, by an appointment from his majesty, under his royal 41;
manual, be thereby disqualified from being elected, or sitting awl


ovotin. as a member of the House of Commons.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there


shall be allowed and paid for and to each of the assistant directors'
10


for so long time as he shall continue in the office, a clear yearly
salary of five hundred pounds, payable by half yearly payments ;
and that the respective payments of the said salaries shall be stated
and allowed in the account of the disbursements for the manage-
ment of the allhirs of the said united East India company.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this
act and all the provisions herein contained, shall commence and.
take effect from and immediately after this act shall have received
his majesty's royal assent, and shall continue, and be in full force
for and daring the space of four years.


A Bill for the better Government of the Territorial Possessions
and Dependencies in India.


Whereas great disorders have prevailed in the government of
the British territorial possessions, and dependencies thereof in
India ; and the laws and lawful authority of this kingdom have not
been duly obeyed by divers of the servants of the united company
of merchants trading to the East Ind,ies.


For remedy whereof in future, be it declared and enacted, and it
is hereby- declared and enacted, by the king's most excellent ma-
jesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and
temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and
by the authority of the same, That there is not, nor hath been, any pri-
vilege, authority, power, pre-eminence, or jurisdiction granted, or
meant or intended to be granted, in and by an act of the thirteenth
vearof the reign of his present majesty, intituled, "An act for esta-
blishing certain regulations for the better management of the affairs
of the East India company, as well in India as in Europe," or in and
by any other act or acts whatsover, or in or by any law or usage what-
soever, for the governor-general and council of Bengal, or either
or any of them, collectively or individually, or any other person
whatsoever in the service of the said united company, which doth
or shall in any manner exempt hint or them, in the exercise of any
powers or authorities whatsoever, from a strict and faithful obedi-
ence to the orders and directions which have been issued to or for
them, from the late or any other court of directors, or which shall
or may be issued to or for them by the commissioners named and
appointed in an act of this session of parliament, to manage and
govern the affairs of the said united company, instead of the said.
court of directors and general court of proprietors, or such other
commissioners as shall or may be lawfully appointed for exercising
the powers given them in and by the said act.


And be it further declared and enacted, That all general or spe-
cial orders of the court of directors of the said united company, for
the regulation of the conduct of the governor-general and council
of Bengal, or of any other president and council, or of any other
person or persons, in any other station, office, employment, or ca-
pacity- whatsoever, in the service of the said united company, shall


and are hereby declared to be, rules by which the persons
herein before described shall be governed and directed, until notice


li 2




292 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. [Dec. 17,


shall be given by the said commissioners of any alteration, revo-
cation, or repeal of them, or any of them.


And whereas pretences have been used to evade the salutary re_
gulations of the said act of the thirteenth year of his majesty's
reign, relative to rules, ordinances, and regulations, as if the pro-
visions contained in the said act, relative thereto, were confined to'
certain forts and factories ; whereby a power subject to no control
has been exercised throughout the provinces of Bengal, Bahar,
and Orissa; be it therefore declared and enacted, That all rules,
ordinances, and regulations, which by the said act it is made lawful
for the governor-general and council of Fort William to issue, for
the good order and civil government of the said settlement, under
certain restrictions and provisions in the said act contained, were
not, nor are meant or intended to be, confined only to such rules,
ordinances, and regulations, as arc made or issued for the go-
vernment of, or relative to forts and factories, or other subordinate
places in the said settlement only ; but shall, and all such restric-
tions and provisions are hereby expressly declared to extend, with-
out any exception or limitation whatsoever, to all rules, ordinances,
and regulations, as are made or issued for the government of or
relative to forts and factories, or other subordinate places, in the
said settlement only ; but shall, and all such restrictions and pro-
visions are hereby expressly declared to extend, without any ex-
ception or limitation whatsoever, to all rules, ordinances, and re-
gulations, made and issued by the said governor-general and
council of Fort William, in whatever place, or wheresoever, or
over whatsoever class or description of persons, the same are to
operate.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That any
such rule, ordinance, or regulations, shall not only be duly regis-
tered and published in the supreme court of judicature, but an ac-
count or abstract of the true effect and substance thereof, and of
every clause and provision thereof, in the Persian and Hindostan
languages, shall be registered and published, and affixed up in some
commodious and conspicuous place, in each and every provincial
court within the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, or within
the territory to which it relates.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no delegation
.whatsoever of the powers of the governor-general and council of
.Bengal, or of any president and council of any other of the said
:settlements, shall be made or given to the said governor-general
or president, or any other person or persons whatsoever ; and in
case the said governor-general, or any member of the council of
Bengal, or any president or member of the council of any other of
the said settlements, or any other person or persons whatsoever,
shall be employed in the execution of any special commission, the
proceedings thereupon shall not be finally approved, and confirmed
until a full report of the same shall be made to the said governor-
general and council, or president and council, respectively ; and
the person or persons so employed shall, upon the requisition of
the governor-general or president, or any member of the said
council, deliver into council his documents or vouchers do support


1783'1 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
293


of any particular fact or facts alledged by him to have happened in
the execution of such commission, and in support of which docu-
ments or vouchers might have been had.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
all correspondence and communication whatsoever, of or by any
resident, agent, or other person employed at the court of any
native prince or state, or of or by any such native prince or
state, or any agent or minister of such native prince or state,
or of or by any chief and council of any factory or subor-
dinate settlement, or any of them, or of or by any collector of re-
venue, shall be addressed to the governor-general and council, or
president and council, respectively ; and all correspondence and
communication whatsoever of or by any such person or persons,
rhether addressed to the said governor-general or his secretary, or
to any member of the council or his secretary, shall be laid before
the council, after the same shall be received.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the governor-
general of Bengal, and the president of any other of the said
principal settlements in India, may by his own authority, adjourn
or postpone the consideration of any question whatsoever, in the
respective councils in which they preside, for the space of
and no longer : Provided always, That such governor general or
president shall not have power to adjourn or postpone the same
question more than


And be it enacted by the authority ,aforesaid„ that neither the
governor general and council of Bengal, nor president and coun-t,
cil of any other of the said united company's presidencies or settle-
ments in India, shall have power to cede to, or exchange with, any
native prince or state whatsoever, any territory, which was in the
possession of the said united company, or of any of its dependent
princes or states, in or immediately before the year nor
shall make or accept any acquisition whatsoever, whereby the ter-
ritory of the said united company shall be increased or extended,
without orders or directions expressly for that purpose, transmitted
by the said commissioners appointed in and by an act of this pre-
sent session of parliament, for managing the affairs of the said
united company.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall not
be lawful for the said governor-general and council of Bengal to
invade, or enter with any armed force, or in any hostile or offensive
manner, into the territory of any native, independent prince or
state in India, except upon intelligence, the credibility and impor-
tance of which shall be allowed by a majority in council, and so
declared to be, in minutes subscribed by each member composing
such majority, upon the records of the said council, that such
prince or state is about to attack and make war upon, or actually
making preparations to attack and make war upon the territories
of the said united company, or of some of the princes or states de-
pendent thereupon.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That nei-
ther the said governor-general and council of Bengal, nor the pre-
sident and council of any other of the said presidencies or settle-


u3




294


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.. [Dec. 17.
ments, shall have power to make any offensive alliance whets,.
ever, for the purpose of dividing or sharing any country or terri,
tory whatsoever, between or with the said united company and
any native prince or state in "India, without the express orders and
directions, for that purpose of the commissioners aforesaid.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said governor-general and council of Bengal, or any president and
council of any other of the said presidencies or settlements, shall
not make or enter into any treaty or agreement whatsoever, to hire
out to any native prince or state in India, any part of the British or
native troops serving in India under the orders of the said united
company ; nor shall make or enter into any new treaty or agree.
ment whatsoever, to or for the keeping up of any body of such
troops in any of the countries or territories of any of the indepen-
dent princes or states in India.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
said governor-general and council of Bengal or any other of the
presidents or councils of the said presidencies or settlements in
India, shall not appoint to, or employ in any office, place, or station
whatsover, any person whatsoever, native or British, who bath
been or shall be removed from any office, station, or place what-
sover, for any misdemeanour or other offence, without authority
for that purpose first had and obtained from the said commis-
sioners.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it
shall not be lawful for the said governor-general and council of
Bengal, or any president and council of any other of the said pre-
sidencies or settlements in India, or any collector of revenue, or
chief or other member of any provincial or subordinate settlement
in India, to let or rent any farm of land, or other thing whatsoever,
to any Banian, native steward, or other native servant whatsoever,
of any governor-general, president, or member of any council, col-
lector of revenue, or of any officer in the army, or of any judge in
the supreme court, or of any civil servant of the said united company;
and all contracts and agreements made contrary to this act, with
any such Banian, native steward, or native servant, for the purpose
of letting or renting any farm of land, or of other thing whatsoever,
shall be deemed and taken to be for the account of the principal,
or person in whose service such Banian, native steward, or native
servant is ; •and such Banian, native steward, or native servant,
shall account to the said united company for the profits made by
such farm of land or other thing ; which profits shall and may be
recovered from such principal, or person in whose service such Ba-
hian, native steward, or native servant was, at the time when such
contract or agreement was made or entered into. .


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from
and after all monopolies, rights of pre-emption, or pre-
ferences, by any authority, or upon any pretence whatsoever, of
any commodities or goods in any of' the said united company's set-
tlements in India, shall be, and are hereby declared to be contrary
to law, and void.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no


1783.j
MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 295


debt or balance exceeding in consequence of any ad-
vance to be made for the making of any manufacture, or for the
purchase of materials, by any person making the same, or to any
husband:ne n or actual cultivator of land, for any raw commodity,
shall be recoverable in any court, or by any action or suit at law,
or by any compulsory or other process or means whatsoever, after •
the space of' from the time of making the said advances :
And that it shall not be lawful to imprison in any common prison,
or in any private house or out-house, any person whatsoever, for
or by reason of any such advances, within the said space of
or at any time afterwards.


And whereas in and by the said act of the thirteenth year of
the reign of his present majesty, it is enacted, That every present,
gift, gratuity, donation, or reward, accepted, taken, or received,
contrary to the true intent and meaning of the said act, shall be
deemed and construed to have been received and taken to and for
the sole use of the said united company. And whereas the said
provision bath been attended with inconvenience, inasmuch as it
has been pretended that the servants of the company have liberty to
take and receive presents, accounting to the said united company for
the same : Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that
every such present, gift, gratuity, donation, or reward, accepted,
taken, or received, if' the same shall not be corruptly given to ob-
tain any place or other object, to which the person giving the same
shall not be entitled, shall be returned or re-delivered to the per-
son giving the same, or his representatives, according to the cus-
tom of the country ; and such person, or his representatives, shall
and may recover the same by any suit, action, or bill, or other
mode of proceeding whatsoever in use in the place where such gift,
gratuity, donation, or reward, shall be accepted, taken, or received,
brought at any time against the person to whom the same was
given, or his representatives; and if the same was corruptly given
to obtain any place, or other object, in or any way relating to the
said united company's service, then and in that case the person'
eiving shall not be entitled. to recover the same, but the same shalle
be to and for the sole use of the said united company, as heretofore.


And whereas it may happen, that neither the person giving such
present, gift, gratuity, donation, or reward, nor the said united
company, may sue for the same ; be it therefore enacted, that in
case the person giving the same, or the said united company, shall
not sue for the same within months, then the same shall and
may be sued for, and recovered, in manner aforesaid, by any per-
son or persons whatsoever, to and for his and their sole use and
benefit.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if
any person, from and after shall, contrary to the said act
of the thirteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, ac-
cept, receive, or take, directly or indirectly, by himself, or any
other person or persons on his behalf, or for his use or benefit, of
and from any of the Indian princes or powers, or their ministers or
agents, or any of the natives of Asia, any present, gift, donation,
gratuity, or reward, pecuniary or otherways, upon any account, or


IT 4




296
MM. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. Mee. 1783.]


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 29 7
on any pretence whatsoever, or any promise or engagement for
any present, gift, donation, gratuity or reward, and shall be there.
fore legally convicted in the supreme court at Calcutta, or in the
mayor's court in any other of the said united company's settlements,
or in any court of competent jurisdiction to_ try such offence in
this kingdom, such person shall thereupon'


-


And whereas some of the servants of the said united company,
have raised the rents paid by landholders to the said united com-
pany, and have farmed out the lands at new rents, by means of
which practices several ancient families have been dispossessed
of lands long in their occupation, and have been reduced to indi-
gence and distress. For remedy whereof, be it enacted and de-
clared by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted and
declared, That all lands and tenements within the provinces of
Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, or in any territorites in which the receipt
and management of the revenues is or shall be under the imme-
diate administration of the said united company, or their ser-
vants or agents, not in the actual occupation of the said united
company, or by them leased or farmed out, in or immediately be-
fore the year shall be deemed and taken to be the estate
and inheritance of the native landholders and families who then had
and held the same, unless dispossessed by judgment of some com-
petent court, for some crime or misdemeanour, or non-payment of
their rent, and shall be from henceforward enjoyed by them, and
their heirs and descendants, according to the custom of the country
of or relating to the same, or where the same is had and held,
without any molestation, interruption, or disturbance whatsoever,
of or by the said united company, their governors, council, minis-
ters or servants.


Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be con-
strued to deprive the said united company of the rent or tribute which
shall be clue or payable to them from such native landholders, their
families or descendants, for or on account of any such land ; or to
prevent the said united company from having or taking any means
according to the laws and usages of the said countries, for reco-
vering and obtaining payment of such rent or tribute.


And, for quieting the minds of the said native princes, and pr&
venting the corrupt practices which may arise from arbitrary alte-
rations of rent or tribute ; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid,
That the rent, tribute, service, or payment, paid or agreed to be
paid by the said native landholders, in the provinces or territories
aforesaid, to the said united company, in or immediately before the
year shall remain and be, and be deemed and taken to be,
the fixed and permanent rent, tribute, payment, or service, which
shall be payable to the said united company by the said native
landholders, their families, heirs, and descendants ; and that it
shall not be lawful for the governor-general and council of Bengal,
or the governor and council of any other principal settlement, or
the chief and council of any subordinate settlement, or any other
servant or agent of the said united company, to alter such rent,
tribute, service, or payment, upon any pretence whatsoever, or to
exact from or impose upon any such native landholder, his family',


heirs, or descendants, any farther or greater rent, tribute, service,
or payment, or any other char ge than is herein provided.And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it


and may be lawful for the governor-general and council of
Bengal to restore, and they are hereby authorised and required to
restore to every native landholder, his heirs or descendants, ac-
cording to the usage of the country, who shall have been removed
or dispossessed of his land or territory, the actual possession
thereof, upon the rent, tribute, service, or payment herein before
provided, if such native landholder shall be willing or desirous to
repossess his land or territory ; subject, nevertheless, to such farm
or leases thereof as shall or may have been made before the


and shall be still existing : and if such native landholder
shall have quitted or been dispossessed of his land or territory,
for or upon condition of receiving any pension or appointment in
lieu thereof, and shall prefer such pension or appointment, the
same shall, on no account, or upon no pretence


'


be discontinued,
withheld, diminished, or taken away, but shall be regularly paid
to such native landholder, his family, heirs, or descendants, ac-
cording as the land or territory was held, and to the terms and sti-
pulations made with such native landholder.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all
native princes and states in India, who having the management of
their own revenues, are engaged, by treaty or otherwise, to fur-
nish or keep up a body of troops for the defence or service of the
said united company, or to pay any tribute or sum of money in lieu
thereof, or to keep up or pay any body of English troops, or to pay
any tribute or sum of money in lieu thereof, .or who pay any
tribute or sum of money for the protection of the said united
company, are under the protection of his majesty, and shall not be
disturbed or molested by any of the servants of the said united com-
pany in the enjoyment of their rights according to the laws and
usage of the country.


And whereas some of the servants of the said united company
have heretofore committed unwarrantable acts in and relative to
the territories and revenues of the native princes and states under
the said united company's protection ; be it further enacted by the
authority aforesaid, That all and every of the servants of the said
united company, civil and military, shall be, and are hereby de-
clared to be amenable to the said commissioners appointed to ma-
nage the affairs of the said united company, and in and to all courts
of justice, (both in India and in Great Britain,) of competent juris-
diction to try offences committed in India, for all acts, injuries
wrongs, oppressions, trespasses, misdemeanors, crimes, and of-
fences whatsoever, by them or any of them done or committed in
any of the lands or territories of such protected native princes or
states, or against their persons or properties, or the persons or pro-
perties of any of their subjects or people ; whether the same were
committed under pretence of the order of any native protected
prince, or otherwise howsoever, in the manner as if the same had
been done or committed within the territories directly subject to
and under the British government in India.




298 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS.
[Dec. 1.7?


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That ne
civil or military servant in the said united company's service, or
person in the service of his majesty, shall, by himself or any agent
for him, take upon himself to collect or farm, or be any way con.
cerned, directly or indirectly, in collecting or farming of any of
the revenues of such protected native princes or states.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if
any officer, civil or military, of the said united company, shall in.
vade or make war upon or enter with an armed force, in a hostile
or offensive manner, any of the territories of the native princes or
states in India, not under the protection of his majesty and the
said united company, without .


express orders in writing from the
governor-general and council of Bengal, such person, upon con-
viction thereof in the supreme court of Calcutta, or in any mayor's
court, in any other of the said principal settlements, or in the court
ofKing's Bench, or in any other court which shall have jurisdiction
to try offences committed in India, shall be


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That none
of the said protected native princes or states shall have any other
native prince or state dependent upon him or them, any farther or
otherwise than as such other native prince or state shall have stood
bound or engaged to such protected native prince or state or on
before the year for the payment of any sum or sums of
money, rent, or tribute, or for furnishing or supplying some defi-
nite quota of troops, which troops shall not be required or called fior
without the orders of the governor-general and council of Bengal,
or president and council of some other principal settlement.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
succession of the said protected native princes shall be directed
and disposed of according to the laws of the country, or to such
treaties as shall have or contain any stipulation concerning the
same ; and that such succession shall not be altered or disposed of
by will, or in any other manner, contrary to the laws of the coun-
try, and the faith of such treaties.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That such
protected native princes or states shall not be permitted to rent or
take, or have any farm or lease of any lands whatsoever, of or from
the said united company.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
such protected native prince shall be permitted to reside for more
than in any of the said united company's settlements,
unless, being expelled from or driven out of his dominions, he
shall take refuge in the said united company's territories.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and af-
ter it shell not be lawful for any servant, civil or
military, of the said united company, to have or be engaged in the
borrowing or lending of any money, or in any money transaction
whatsoever, or in the farming of any lands or revenues, or in the
buying or selling of any goods or commodities whatsoever, or in
any other transaction of commerce or business whatsoever, with
any such protected or other native prince or state ; and all such
transactions, and all contracts and engagements of or relating to


t783.]


MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 299


the same, are hereby declared ; and any person or per-
sons guilty of any such offence, and thereof convicted in the man-.
ner herein before last mentioned, shall be


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall
not be lawful for the said protected native princes or states to re-
move or dispossess any zemindar, or other native prince, or land-
holder, nor to increase his rent or tribute beyond that which was
paid by such zemindar or native prince in the year nor to
farm any land at any higher or greater rent or tribute than the
same was farmed at or for in the said year nor to resume
any jaghire granted at any time before the year


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all
zemindars, and native princes and states, who shall have been dis-
possessed of their lands and territories by at any time
since shall be restored to the possession and enjoy-
ment of the same.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
nabob of Arcot, the rajah of Tanjore, or any other protected
native prince in India, shall not assign, mortgage, or pledge any
territory, or land whatsoever, or the produce or revenue thereof,
to any British subject whatsoever ; neither shall it be lawful for
any British subject whatsoever to take or receive any such assign-
ment, mortgage, or pledge ; and the same are hereby declared


and all payments or deliveries of produce or revenue,
under any such assignment, shall and may be recovered back by
such native prince paying or delivering the same, from the person
or persons receiving the same, or his or their representatives.


And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall not
be lawful for any British subject whatsoever to have, receive, or
take any payment of money, produce, revenue, goods, commodi-
ties, or effects whatsoever, of or from any such native protected
prince, or any agent or servant thereof, for or on account of any
debt now due, or claimed to be due, from such protected native
prince, except such debts as were consolidated in the year
and allowed by the court of directors, and by them ordered to be
recovered, without proof first made, to the satisfaction of the said
commissioners, or such person or persons as they shall appoint,
that such debt was fairly and bone fide contracted for money lent,
or goods sold and delivered, or in some open and avowed course of
trade and commerce, and not as, or for, a reward for any service
done or performed, or intended to be done or performed, by any
such British subject, to or for any such protected native prince, or
for any other matter forbidden or prohibited to be made or done
by any law or laws now in force, or hereafter to be in force, or by
any order or orders of the said united company, or any order or
orders to be made by the said commissioners appointed to manage
the affairs thereof ; and an entry, with the nature and particulars of
the claim, and of the evidence in support thereof, shall be made
in the journal of the said commissioners, or in the minutes of such
person or persons as they shall for those purposes appoint, with the
opinion of the said commissioners, or such person or persons
thereon.




300 MR. Fox's EAST INDIA BILLS.
[Dec. 17.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That all
disputes and differences whatsoever, now actually subsisting be.
tween the nabob of Arcot and the rajah of Tanjore, shall be ex.
ambled and considered, as soon as may be, by the said commis.
sioners appointed to manage the affairs' of the• said united com-
pany ; who shall, and they are hereby required; as soon as they
shall have sufficiently examined and considered the same, to send
and transmit such orders as shall appear to them best calculated for
the quiet and final adjustment and termination of such disputes and
differences, according to the principles of; and the terms and sti-pulations contained in, the treaty of one thousand seven hundred
and sixty-two, between the said nabob of Arcot and the rajah
of Tanjore, and to the orders and instructions of the court of
directors given to George Lord Pigot, late governor of Fort Saint
George, and to the arrangements made relative to such dispute
and differences by the said George Lord Pigot.


And be it further enacted, That the said commissioners shall,
and they are hereby directed and required to send and transmit to
the governor-general and council of Bengal, or the president and
council of Fort Saint George, or to or by such other person or
persons as they shall for that purpose specially nominate and ap-
point, fu41 and explicit orders and directions, not only to settle
and terminate the said differences and disputes, but also to take
into consideration and examine the present state of the affairs, reve-
nues, and debts of the said nabob of Arcot, and of the rajah of
Tanjore ; and to enquire into and ascertain the origin, nature, and
amount of all claims whatsoever on them by British subjects; and
immediately to make a full report thereupon to the said commis-
sioners; and to adopt, propose, or suggest such ways or means
for the liquidation and settlement of such debts as shall appear to
be well founded and contracted bong fide, (and not by any illicit
dealing, or in consequence of any breach or disobedience of the
said united company's orders,) and for the payment and discharge
thereof, by such instalments, and at such times, and in such man-
ner, as shall be consistent with justice to the creditors of the said
nabob and rajah, and to the service of the said united company,
and as shall occasion the least difficulty and inconvenience to the
said nabob and rajah ; and, as speedily as may be, to make a full re-
port of all their proceedings touching the said matters to the said
commissioners.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all
polygars, which shall or may have been dispossessed or driven out
of their lands or territories at any time since the year
shall be restored to the possession of the same, and hold the same
at and for the same, and no greater rent or tribute as such poly-
gars paid, or were liable to pay, on or immediately before


And whereas it is enacted in and by the act of the thirteenth
year of the reign of his present majesty, That the said gover-
nor-general and council, or the major part of them, shall have
power of superintending and controlling the government and ma-
nagement of the presidencies of Madras, Bombay, and Ben-
coolen, respectively, so far as that it shall not be lawful for any


1783.] MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILLS. 301


president and council of Madras, Bombay, or Bencoolen for the
time being, to make any orders for commencing hostilities, or de-
claring or making war, against any Indian princes or powers, or
for negotiating or concluding any treaty of peace, or other treaty,
v,rith any such Indian princes or powers, without the consent and
approbation of the said governor-general and council first had and
obtained, (except in the cases of imminent necessity, and of spe-
cial orders from the said united company, ) with power to the said
governor general and council to suspend any president and council
offending in any of the cases aforesaid : And whereas great dis-
putes have at different times arisen respecting the extent of the
said controlling power given to the said governor-general and coun-
cil, to the embarrassment and injury of the said united company's
service; for remedy whereof, be it enacted and declared, that
the said power given to the governor-general and council of Fort
William, of superintending and controlling the government and
management of the presidencies of Madras, Bombay, and Ben-
coolen, respectively, cloth and shall extend to all negotiations and
cases whatsoever, which, though they shall not in themselves be
the commencement, or orders for the commencement, of hostilities,
or the declaring or making war against any Indian princes or
powers, shall nevertheless be of any unwarrantable nature or ten-
dency against such Indian princes or powers, or shall be of a na-
ture and- tendency to create dissatisfaction and alarm among any
of them, and consequently provoke to bring on and occasion hos-
tilities and war, without directly importing or leading to the same:
and in all such cases, the said governor-general and council shall
have all the powers Of suspending, given them in and by the said
act of the thirteenth year of the reign of his present majesty ; and
shall enter on their minutes of consultation at large, the whole
nature of the case in which, and the reasons for which, they exer-
cise the said powers, and shall transmit the same by the first op-
portunity, to the said commissioners appointed for the manage-
ment of the affairs of the said united company : and if the case in
which the said superintending, controlling, and suspending powers,
or any of them, are exercised, be such as creates a reasonable
doubt whether the said powers apply to it, the governments and
presidencies of Madras, Bombay, and Bencoolen, are nevertheless
hereby required to submit and yield obedience to the acts of the
said governor-general and council, and to lay the case before the
said commissioners, for the determination thereof.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it
shall and may he lawful to and for the government and presidency
of Bombay, whenever and as often as any war against the said
united company, their possessions or dependencies, shall be ac-
tually commenced, or the danger thereof is impending and immi-
nent, in the north-west and western coasts of India, or in the ter-
ritories adjoining thereto, and in the neighbourhood thereof, or in
any part of the territories of the states of the Mahratta.s, to make
and conclude any treaty or terms of peace, truce, or cessation of
arms, with any of such Indian princes or states actually at war, or
about to make war, or for the amity, assistance, or alliance of au




302 MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA RILLS. [Dec. 17.
other Indian prince or states, the better to defend the possessions
of the said united company against such war commenced or
pending: Provided always, -that the said government and presi.
dency of Bombay do and shall insert, or cause to be inserted, in
all and every such treaty herein before mentioned, a clause or
provision that the same shall be null and void, unless it shall he
approved and ratified (within a certain reasonable time therein tobe named) by the governor-general and council of Fort William ;
and the said government and presidency shall, and they are hereby
required to enter on their minutes of consultation, at full length,
the occasion of and necessity for such proceedings, with the rea-
sons upon which they have acted, and the documents or vouchers(if any there shall be) for the facts alleged ; and shall transmit
the same from time to time, as they shall arise or happen, and all
propositions relative to the same, as they shall be made, to the
said governor-general and council of Fort William, and to the
said commissioners appointed to manage the affitirs of the said
united company, respectively ; and shall obey and follow, under
the pain of suspension, all such orders and directions thereupon
as they shall receive from the said governor-general of Fort Wil-
liam, until the same shall be altered or corrected by the said com-
missioners.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the
government mid presidency of Madras shall have the like powers
and authorities, under the same limitations and restrictions, in
case of war against the said united company, their possessions or
dependencies, actually commenced, or the danger thereof iru-
penditrY and imminent, on the coast of Coromandel, from
to on the coast of Malabar, or in the territories adjoin-
ing thereto, and in the neighbourhood thereof.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
governor-general, governor, or president, member of council, or
other officer, civil or military, in the service of the said united
company in India, (whether such person shall be actually in the
execution of his office in India, or shall be absent therefrom in
Great Britain, or in any other place) or any agent, in Great Bri-
tain or India, of any protected or other native prince in India,
shall be capable of being a member of; or of sitting and voting in
the House of Commons : Provided, that every such person, ac-
tually a member of the House of Commons at the time of passing
this act, shall and may sit and vote for and during the remainder
of the present parliament.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
person having been in the civil and military service of the said
united company, and who lath resigned or quitted the same, shall
be capable of being elected into, or of sitting or voting in the
House of Commons, at any time within after be shall
have been returned to and resident in Great Britain, or whilst any
proceedings in parliament, or any other public prosecution, shall
be depending against him for any crimes or offences alleged to
have been committed by him whilst he was in the said service:
Provided always, that such proceedings or public prosecution shall


CHANGE OF MINISTRY, &C.178.3•3 303


have been commenced before the expiration of the said space of
after the return of such person, and shall be finally de-


rmi i tehn ui the
thereof;


s I)pace after the after then of


the same shall not operate to
disable such person from being elected into, or fromtsitting or
ct eo w n


voting in the house of Commons, unless the delay in such pro-
ceedings, or public prosecution, shall be at the request, or through
;l ie default of the party prosecuted.


And be it further enacted, That all crimes and offences against
this act may be prosecuted in the supreme court at Calcutta, or in
the mayor's court in any other of the principal settlements in India,
or in the court of king's bench, or any other court in this king-
dom, which shall be established for taking cognizance of crimes
and offences committed in India ; and all the powers and autho-
rities given to the said court of king's bench, in and by the said
act of the thirteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, and
Dot herein otherwise provided for, are hereby declared to be ex-
tended to all the crimes and offences committed against this act :
and in all cases where the punishment is not herein appointed, the
court in which the conviction shall take place, shall appoint such
fine or imprisonment, or both, as they shall think proper, provided
the fine shall not exceed. nor the imprisonment and
may, in their discretion, superadd the incapacity of serving the
said united company.


CHANGE OF MINISTRY. — EARL TEMPLE'S RESIGNATION. —
ADDRESS TO THE KING NOT TO DISSOLVE THE PARLIA-
MENT. —THE KING'S ANSWER.


December 19.


ON 'Wednesday, the 17th of December Mr. Fox's India billwas rejected by the lords on a division of 95 to 76. It was
remarked, that the Prince of Wales, who was in the minority in
the former division, having learned in the interim that the mea-
sure was offensive to the king, was absent on this occasion. At
twelve o'clock on the following night a messenger delivered to the
two secretaries of state his majesty's orders, " That they should
deliver up the seals of their offices, and send them by the under-
secretaries Mr. Frazer and Mr. Nepean, as a personal interview
on the occasion would be disagreeable to him." The seals were
Immediately given by the king to Earl Temple, who sent letters of
dismission, the day following, to the rest of the cabinet council;
at the same time Ar. William Pitt was appointed first lord of the
treasury and chancellor of the exchequer, and Earl Gower pre-
sident of the council. On the zzd, Earl Temple resigned the
seals of his office, and they were delivered to Lord Sydney, as
secretary of state for the home-department, and to the Marquis of
Carmarthen for the foreign. Lord Thurlow was appointed high




304 CHANGE OF MINISTRY, &C.
[Dec 19.


chancellor of' Great Britain, the Duke of Rutland lord privy seal
Lord Viscount Howe first lord of the admiralty, and the Duke of
Richmond master-general of the ordnance; Mr. William Grenville
anti Lord Mulgrave succeeded Mr. Burke in the pay-office, and
Mr. Henrt Dundas was appointed to the office of treasurer of the
navy. 4k


The formidable majority in the House of Commons, who ad.
hered to the late ministers, after their dismission from his majesty's
service, made the immediate dissolution of parliament, in the
public opinion, an event almost inevitable. The passing of the
land-tax bill was a previous step necessarily to be taken. This
bill had been twice read, and on Saturday the zoth of December
was ordered for the third reading, but as the committee on the
state of the nation was to sit on the Monday following, the ma-
jority did not think it prudent to suffer this instrument of delay
to pass out of their hands, until they had taken some further mea-
sures for their security. On Friday the 19th, Mr. Baker moved,
that the House at its rising should adjourn to


_Monday; upon which
Mr. Dundas moved, that the House should only adjourn till to,
morrow. His reason, he said, for this was, that the land-tax bill,
which had this day been reported, stood for the third reading ;
and it was of the utmost consequence to the nation that it should
pass with all imaginable speed. Every one knew that on the 5th
of January great payments must be made ; and how could they be
made, unless the bill by which the money was to be raised should
pass before that day ? Did gentlemen wish to strike at the very
root of public credit? They could not surely desire that the
creditors of the public should be disappointed in the payment
of the interest due to them for the money advanced by them to
the public.


.!* The following is a List of the New Administration.
First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer — Right Hon.


William Pitt.
Secretary of State for the Foreign Department — Marquis of Carmarthen.
Ditto for the Home Department — Lord Sydney.
President of the Council—Earl Gower (succeeded by Lord Camden)
Lord Privy Seal — Duke of Rutland (succeeded by Earl Gower).
First Lord of the Admiralty— Lord Howe.
Lord Chancellor — Lord Thurlow.


The above composed the Cabinet.
Master-General of the Ordnance—Duke of Richmond.
Attorney-General — Lloyd Kenyon, Esq. (afterwards Lord Kenyon).
Solicitor-General — Richard Pepper Arden, Esq. (afterwards Lord Al.


vanley).
Joint Paymaster of the Forces Right Hon. William Wyndham Gren-


ville (afterwards Lord Grenville), Lord Mulgrave..
Treasurer of the Navy — Henry Dundas, Esq. (afterwards Lord Melville).
Secretary at War — Sir George Yonge, Bart.
Secretaries to the Treasury — George Rose, Esq. Thomas Steele, Esq.
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland — Duke of Rutland.
Secretary to ditto— Thomas Orde, Esq.


I 7 831 CHANGE OF MINISTRY, &C. 305'


Mr. Fox said that no man could he more anxious than he
was to support the credit of the nation, and consequently
to provide for the payments which would become due to -
the public on the ctli of January; and if the adjourning to
Monday could have such an effect as to prevent the passing
of the bill before the 5 th of next month, and leaving the
exchequer empty, his honourable friend would be the last
Juan to make the motion then before the House; and he was
sure there was not a man then within hearing, could be so
absurd or so wicked as to give it countenance: but when gen-
tlemen recollected that the bill had only one stage more to
pass through in that, House, and that this was only the 19th
of December, they must laugh at the idea that delaying the
third reading till Monday, would prevent its passing till the
5 th of next month. Indeed, it might be attended with one
inconvenience, which however was not a mighty one; it was,
merely this, that the lords might possibly be kept two or
three days longer from their country seats and their pleasures.
But gentlemen would think it much better at this moment,
when such calamities were hanging over the country; when,
by a rash, inconsiderate, and dangerous measure, the parlia-
ment was brought, if report was to be credited, to nearly the
eve of a dissolution, gentlemen, he said, would think it much
hotter to subject the House to that inconvenience, than to
leave their country exposed to the dreadful calamities that a
dissolution would draw clown upon the nation. He confessed
he was struck with astonishment, that there could be found
in the kingdom a subject daring enough to advise his sove-
reign to so desperate a measure. He meant not to question
the prerogative of the crown in dissolving parliament, hilt
no one would, on the other hand, question the undoubted
right of that House -to call ministers to account for any
wanton or imprudent. exercise of that prerogative. No one
would say that such a prerogative ought to be exercised
merely to suit the convenience of an ambitious young man:
and he there in the face of the House declared, that if a
dissolution should take place, and very solid, substantial,
and satisfactory reasons were not assigned for it, he would,
if he should have the honour .of a seat in the next parlia-
ment, move a very serious enquiry into the business, and
bring the advisers of it to account. At present it would.
render gentlemen in some degree accomplices in the guilt of
a dissolution without cause, to stiffer the land-tax bill to go
out of their hands, until they should have taken such measures
as would guard against the evils which might be expected
from a dissolution.


VOL. II.


X




tto.


3o6 CHANGE OF INIINISTRY, &c. [Dec 19.
Mr. Bankes supported the amendment : lie said, that to dissolve


or not to dissolve the parliament was in the breast of the king,
and it was no bad symptom of the justice and propriety of his
majesty's choice of ministers, that in case of a dissolution, he made
an appeal to his people, to learn from the elections whether his
choice met with their approbation. Mr. Arden said, that he must
be a timid Man indeed, and unfit to be the minister of this country,
who should be deterred from a dissolution by a resolution of that
House upon a question of their own continuation or annihilation;
for they were not to be the judges whether the dissolution, sup.
posing it to have taken place, was or was not a wrong measure;
that question was to be determined by another House of Commons;
by whom it was possible the dissolution might be applauded instead
of being condemned.


Mr. Fox said he would not have risen again, if he had
not been in some measure compelled to it, by a strange doc-
trine which he had heard advanced by the learned gentle-
man who just sat clown, against which he would take that
opportunity to enter his protest. He would barely take
notice in the outset, of the indecent levity, to use no other
term, with which the learned gentleman treated the votes of
that House, which though he might not approve, he ought
to treat with a little more respect. But what he meant chiefly
to take notice of was the. expression, " that he must be a
timid man indeed, and unfit to he the minister of this country,
who should be deterred from a dissolution of parliament, by a
resolution of the House of Commons." He thought that the
learned gentleman, who had studied the constitution, ought to
have known that the voice of the House of Commons was the
voice of the people of England, at least as long as it did not
appear to be contradicted by the people. There was at the
learned gentleman's elbow, another learned gentleman (Mr.
Dundas) who had told him, that if there were petitions on
the table from every county, city, and borough in the king-
dom, still it was not from these petitions, but from the House
of Commons, that the sentiments of the people of England
could be learned. Without going that length, he would say,
that in the present case there was the strongest presumptive
evidence, that the voice of that House was the voice of the
people ; for, notwithstanding all that had been said against
the India bill, two petitions only, one from London, the other
from Chipping Wycomb, had been presented against it by
the constituents of any member in that House; and from this
it might fairly be inferred, that as to the passing of that bill,
the people of England were with that House, and that it spoke
their voice. Would the learned gentleman say, that he
would be a timid minister who should suffer himself to be


1783.] CHANGE OP IVINISTRY, &C. 307
deterred from dissolving parliament by the voice of the peo-
ple of England ? Possibly the learned gentleman might answer
in the affimative; but he would tell him, that he must be a
bold minister indeed, who should dare to despise the voice of
the people. Premature dissolutions were at all times dan-
gerous; but at this time they were so in a more peculiar
manner. How stood the country with respect to foreign
powers; how stood we with our dependencies ; what foreign
power would treat with a crovermnent in which there was no
stability, no permanency These frequent changes would
expose us to the contempt of foreigners, render us and our
government the laughing-stock of Europe, and reduce every
thing at home to a state of anarchy and confusion, that might
make this country feel all the horrors of a civil war, short of
bloodshed. Future governments might think themselves
Secure, when acting upon principle and for the good of the
public, when ambitious young men might rise up, and grasp-
ing at power, plunge into the most desperate measures to
obtain it. They might be assisted in this by secret influence;
and if they should venture to think for themselves, and refuse
to be the slaves or tools of advisers whom they did not see,
the same secret influence which raised them, would as easily
pull them clown. An honourable member said, that his ma-
jesty would appeal to his people for the approbation of his
choice of ministers, which he was to learn from the elections :
this he thought would not prove a very successful manner of
getting their approbation; however, upon the popularity of
that bill, which had been rejected by the lords, lie would build
his hopes of success; he was determined to meet a popular
election; he believed there was not a more unbiassed, inde-
pendent, or numerous body of electors in the kingdom than
those of the city which he had now the honour to represent,
and to those electors he would again offer himself; nor was


confidence.
afraid


in consequence of that bill, he should lose their


The amendment was rejected, and the original motion agreed.


December 22.
Soon after the Speaker had taken the chair, Mr. William Gren.


Ville requested the House would for a moment favour him with
their attention on a subject, which, though of private concern to
C
him individually, was more particularly interesting to the House.


ertain reports, he said, which had been for some days in circula-
tion, had been made the grounds of a resolution in that House,Which he understood had been since construed to relate to a noble


X 2




308 CHANGE OE MINISTRY, &C.
[Dec. 22;


lord with whom he was most closely connected in blood, (Earl
Temple ;) and as he also understood that some farther proceeding
was to be had that day on the same subject, which might possibly
be directed against that noble lord, he was authorized by his noble
relation to say, that he was ready to meet any charge that should
be brought against him ; and that he might not be `supposed
make his situation as minister stand in the way of or serve as a
protection or shelter from enquiry and from justice, lie had that
day resigned into his majesty's hands the seals of office with which
his majesty had so lately been pleased to honour him ; so that his
noble relation was now in his private capacity, unprotected by the
influence of office, ready to answer for his conduct, whenever he
should hear the charge that should be brought against it.


Mr. Fox said, that as to the propriety of the noble lord's
relinquishing his situation, he himself was certainly the best
judge : he knew why he accepted, he knew why he retired
from office ; but certainly no one had said that any reso-
lution would be levelled at the noble lord, and his lordship
must have been aware of this, for the nature of the trans-
action to which the reports alluded was such, as almost neces-
sarily precluded the possibility of bringing evidence that
would convict the noble lord, or any other person, of the
charge which naturally arose from the rumours. But though
this evidence was wanting, and though the noble lord had
resigned, still he was of opinion the House ought not to give
up the idea of going into .


a committee on the state of the
nation, in which a 'learned friend of his (Mr. Erskine) in-
tended to make a motion, which, without any mention of
the noble lord, would guard against the fatal effects of that
baneful secret influence that threatened the existence of the
constitution.


The House then resolved itself into a committee of the whole
House, to consider of the state of the nation, in which, after a most
able speech, Mr. Erskine moved, that the chairman be directed
to move the Ilouse, " That an humble address be presented to
his majesty-, humbly to represent to his majesty, that his majesty's
most dutiful and loyal subjects, the commons of Great Britain,
in parliament assembled, think themselves bound in duty humbly
to represent to his majesty, that alarming reports of an intended
dissolution of parliament have gone forth:-.that his majesty's
faithful commons, dutifully acknowledging the wisdom of the con-
stitution, in trusting to the crown that just and legal prerogative:
and fully confiding in his majesty's royal wisdom and paternal care
of his people, for the most beneficial exercise of it, desire, with
treat humility, to represent to his majesty the inconveniences and
dangers which appear to them, from a consideration of the state
of the nation, likely to follow from a prorogation or dissolution
of the parliament in the present arduous and .critical, conjuncture


1783.] CHANCE OP MINISTRY, &C. 309


Of affairs : the maintenance of the public credit, and the support of
the revenue, demand the most immediate attention : the disorders
prevailing in the government of the East Indies, at home and
abroad, call aloud for instant reformation ; and the state of the
East India company's finances, from the pressing demands upon
them, require a no less immediate support and assistance from
parliament :— that his majesty's faithful commons are at present
proceeding with the utmost diligence upon these great objects of
government, as recommended to their attention by his majesty's
gracious speech froth the throne, but which must necessarily be
frustrated and disappointed by the delay attending a dissolution,
and most especially the affairs of the East Indies, by the assembling
of a new parliament, not prepared, by previous enquiry, to enter,
with equal effect, upon an object involving long and intricate
details, which his majesty's faithful commons have investigated,
for two years past, with the most laborious, earnest, and unre-
mitting attention : — that his majesty's faithful commons, deeply
affected by these important considerations, impressed with the
highest reverence and affection for his majesty's person, and anxious
to preserve the lustre and safety of his government, do humbly
beseech his majesty, to suffer his-faithful commons to proceed on
the business of the session, the furtherance of which is so essen-
tially necessary to the prosperity of the public ; and that his ma-


jesty will be graciously pleased to hearken to the advice of his
faithful commons, and not to the secret advices of particular per-
sons, who may have private interests of their own, separate from
the true interests of his majesty and his people."


The language used by the partizans of the new administration,
in the debate on the 1 9th, and their eagerness in pressing the
third reading of the tax bills, left no room to doubt of their inten-
tion to dissolve the parliament as soon as that necessary step was
secured. But on this day there appeared some. marks of inde-
cision, at least, if not of a total desertion of that design ; and this
change in the counsels of government was supposed to have been
the real cause of the sudden resignation that had been just an-
nounced to the House. Mr. Dundas, who was soon after made
treasurer of the navy, and Mr. Bankes the private confidential
friend of the chancellor of the exchequer, assured the committee
that there was no intention in government to interrupt the present
proceedings of parliament, either by dissolution or prorogation ;
and the latter gentleman particularly added, that he had authority
from his friend to declare, that if such, a measure should be pro-
posed in his majesty's council, he would oppose it ; and if it should
be carried against his opinion, lie would immediately resign his
office.


Mr. Fox begged that gentlemen would excuse him, if, not-
withstanding the positive assurances that had been given by
the two last speakers, be still continued of opinion that the, ad-
dress ought to be carried. He had a great deal of reliance
upon the honour and integrity of the right honourable gentle-


• X3




310
CHANGE OF MINISTRY, &C.


[Dec. 22.
man alluded to ; though he could not say he had much depen-
deuce upon his steadiness ; for to see men on one day accept-
ing official situations, and the next day resigning them, afford-
ed very little hope of that stability which at all times, but more
particularly in the present, was necessary to give effect to any
establishment that it should be thought proper to propose.
But the very means by which the power of the present advisers
of the crown had been obtained, might deprive them of it:
that secret influence, which had made them ministers, might
in the end operate to their downfal. The resignation of a
noble lord, which had been that day announced to the House,
had very little weight with him; it could not make him re-
nounce any one measure that he had in contemplation before
he heard of that event; nay, if it should have any influence at
all upon him, it would be to make him think the address still
more necessary, for he looked upon that noble lord as more
dangerous now, than when he held an ostensible situation in
government. When he was a minister of the crown, he was
responsible for his conduct, and for the advice he should give;
but now being out of office, he might, as a peer of parliament,
avail himself of that character, and, unperceived, whisper an
advice to his sovereign, that might in a moment produce those
events, which the right honourable gentleman, not now a
member of this House, was willing to pledge himself should
never be brought about through his means. It was impossible,
therefore, for him to consent that the address should be with-
drawn ; because lie ought not in duty to suffer, as far as lay in
hint as an individual member of that House, any thing to be
left undone which might prevent all those calamities which
must necessarily be the consequence of a dissolution of parlia-
ment. Not one argument had been urged to induce him to
think that the address ought to be withdrawn : indeed no one
had attempted to adduce any such argument; and as he saw
the address was in every syllable of it unexceptionable, and
that it was not opposed from any quarter of the House, he cer-
tainly was of opinion that it ought to be carried. He declared
that he meant no disrespect to the right honourable gentleman
who had lately been placed at the head of affairs, in refusing
to take his word that the parliament -would not be dissolved; as
far as that gentleman was concerned, he would readily take
his word : but in reality, if he himself were now in the situation
which the right honourable gentleman filled, knowing as much
as he did know of the power of secret influence, he would
not ask any man to take his word ; because he did not know
but at the very moment when he might be declaring that the
parliament would not be dissolved, that very measure might be
resolved upon in consequence of some secret advice, of which


1783.] CHANGE OF MINISTRY, &C. 3I I


he might know nothing until he felt the effects of it. The
right honourable gentleman no doubt meant to keep his word;
but if he should find that by a. prevaleney of secret influence,
the dissolution of parliament should hereafter, unknown to him,
be resolved on, it would be a very small satisfaction indeed to
the public, amidst the sufferings which such a measure would
bring upom them, that the right honourable gentleman meant
well, and had been himself deceived. It was the duty of the
committee to adopt a measure which would guard the consti-
tution against the baneful consequences of secret influence, and
banish it for ever from about the throne.


Mr. Bankes said, that after such a promise as he had made in the
name of his right honourable friend, the committee might rest as-
sured, that if' any idea of a dissolution, or prorogation of parliament
should be seriously entertained any. where, his right honourable
friend would unquestionably do what the right honourable gentle-
man over against him would most certainly do in a similar case,
he would resign.


Mr. Fox said, that this could not be pressed upon the com-
mittee as a reason that should induce them to give up the ad-
dress. He had not a doubt but the right honourable gentle-
man would act properly and spiritedly on the occasion ; but
what compensation would his resignation be to the public, for
the evils which a dissolution would bring upon them ? There
was not a moment to be lost; the delay of a day might be at-
tended with the most serious consequences; and therefore he
hoped that a very short adjournment, if any at all, would take
place. The gentlemen who had sacrificed their domestic en-
joyments at this season of the year to their regard for the con-
stitution, he hoped would complete the great work they had so
well begun.


It was at length resolved, without a division, that the address, as
proposed by Mr. Erskine, should be presented to the king by the
whole house.


December 24.
The House of Commons went up to St. James's, and his majesty


being seated on the throne, the Speaker presented their address,
to which his majesty returned the following answer:


" Gentlemen, It has been my constant object to employ the au-
thority entrusted to me by the constitution, to its true and only
end, the good of my people; and I am always happy in concurring
with the wishes and opinions of my faithful commons. I agree with
you in thinking that the support of the public credit and revenue
must demand your most earnest and vigilant care. The state of
the East Indies is also an object of as much delicacy and importance


4




3 12 CHANGE OF MINISTRY, 8L- C. [Dec. 24. 5783.]


STATE OF THE NATION. 313


as can exercise the wisdom and justice of parliament. I trust you
will proceed in those considerations with all convenient speed, after
such an adjournment as the present circumstances ma y


bt3o
, anyqu ire ; and I assure you I shall not interrupt your m eetingexercise of my prerogative, either of prorogation or dissolution."


The Speaker having read the said answer to the House,


Mr. Fox said, that though by his majesty's answer to the ad-
dress, the House had assurance that they should not be pre-
vented from meeting again by either a prorogation or dissolu-
tion of parliament, still the assurance went no farther than the
meeting after the recess. His majesty's present ministers had
been, it seemed, driven from their intention to dissolve the
parliament; none of them had been found daring enough to
advise his majesty to take so desperate a step ; but how soon
after the next meeting they might venture so to do, he could
.not foresee; they were resolved however to prevent the House
as long as they could from proceeding to business ; for by
moving writs at present, they would make such a number of
vacancies in it, that would furnish themselves with an argu-
ment against proceeding early to business; for they would have
it in their power to say, that it would not be decent to proceed
during the absence of so many persons as had been sent to an
election. The state of the country, however, would not admit
of a long recess, for ns the present ministers could not stand
long, (and indeed to talk of the stability and permanency of their
government would only be to laugh at and insult them,)itwould
be necessary to move for another set of writs after the holidays
in the room of those who, on the formation of another minis-
try, should vacate their seats. Therefore, in order to prevent
the calamities that were likely to befit' the country and
threaten the constitution, he would propose that the recess
should be as short as possible; he thought it could not well be
for less than a fortnight, and therefore he was of opinion that
the House should adjourn first to Friday, when he understood
it would be necessary to meet again for the purpose of moving
some writs, and then to the 8th of January. It might be said,
that knowing as he did that the ministry could not stand long,
this was spewing himself impatient to be restored to office: he
did not know that he should snake one of the next administra-
tion, but he confessed that he was impatient that the sense of
that I-louse might be soon taken OD the present ministers ; that
they might soon learn, either that they had the confidence of
the House, without which no ministry could last, or that they
had not; this was highly necessary to the public good, and
therefore the sooner the people should have a stable govern-
ment, let it be composed of whom it might, the better. He


talked of the weakness of young men in accepting offices under
the present circumstances of affairs, and he mentioned their
youth as the only possible excuse for their rashness. How-
ever, as they came in the avowed champions of the House of'
Lords against the sense of the House of Commons, it would be
necessary to proceed as early as possible in the business on
which the committee on the state of the nation was to sit, and
to take such steps as should be thought prudent and salutary,
to guard against the evils that might be apprehended from the
secret influence to which the new ministers were not ashamed
to owe their own situations. They did not seem to understand
a pretty broad hint from that House, how improper it would
be for them to come into power ; it would, perhaps, require a
broader one to convince them of the necessity of retiring,-and
therefore it might be proper to come to some pointed resolu-
tion after the holidays, in order to secure the House against a
dissolution; he was of opinion, therefore, that they ought not
to adjourn beyond the 8th of January.


The house then went into the committee on the state of the
nation. Upon the motion of Lord Beauchamp, the chairman was
directed to move the House, and it was resolved accordingly, " That
the commissioners of the treasury ought not to give their consent
to the acceptance of any bills drawn, or to be drawn from India,
until it shall be made to appear to this House, that sufficient means
can be provided for the payment of the same, when they respective-
ly fall due, by a regular application of the clear effects of the corn-
pany, after discharging in their regular course the customs and
other sums due to the public, and the current demands upon
the company, or until this House shall otherwise direct." It was
next resolved, on the motion of the Earl of Surrey, " That an ad-
dress be presented to his majesty, that he will be graciously pleased
not to grant the offices of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, for
any other term than during pleasure, before the zoth of January
next." After these motions had passed Mr. Fox said, that he
would not press the adjournment to the 8th, but would move that
the committee do sit again on the tzth of January next.


MR. Fox's MOTION FOR RESUMING THE COMMITTEE ON THE
STATE OF THE NATION.


janUary I2. 178 4.


THE expectation of the public was now fixed with great anxiety
on the meeting of parliament after the recess. A contest be-


tween the-executive government and the House of Commons was a




314


STATE OF THE NATION.
[Jan. 1 2.


spectacle, that, since the accession of the present famil3Zeute
nill."throne, bad not been exhibited in this kingdom ; and many


stances concurred to render the present peculiarly interesting and
important. The matter in dispute .


was of the very essentials of the
constitution, and could not be decided without considerably affect.
ing its bias. In defence of the authority of the House of Commons,
were ranged the united abilities of two powerful parties, long exer-
ciscd by mutual contests in all the arts of political warfare. The
champion of prerogative, was a person not less distinguished by


uhis splendid talents, and the unexampled rapidity of his rise to
power, than by the courage and perseverance he had already de.
monstrated in the cause lie now stood foremost to support. By the
natural effects of ministerial influence upon the House of COM.
moons, a sufficient number of members joined the new administra-
tion, to make their amount nearly equal in point of votes to those
in opposition. The inferiority, both in this and some other respects,
under which the minister laboured, was perhaps more than balanced
by his being obliged to act on the defensive only ; a situation of
infinite advantage, when combined with the power to chuse his own
moment of shifting the scene of battle, by an appeal to the people.
It was reasonably to be expected, that they would range themselves
on that side with which their own weight and importance in the
state was necessarily connected ; and the only hopes he could en-
tertain of drawing them from their natural interest was, by excit-
ing a jealousy of the designs, and of the dangerous strength and
power of his adversaries. This had been done with extraordinary,
and almost incredible industry, and with a success still more ex-
traordinary. Every advantage, therefore, gained by Opposition,
every point they carried, became a fresh cause of suspicion to the
people; and the minister, by a judicious choice of his ground, had
always the chance of putting his adversaries in the wrong, in their
attacks upon him.


In this state of things, both Houses met on the t ath of January
1784. As soon as the Speaker had taken the chair, Mr. Fox, in
order to get possession of the House, and to prevent any other bu-
siness from being brought forward by the minister, before certain
resolutions that had been prepared, were discussed in the committee
of the state of the nation, moved for the order of the day. He was
here interrupted by the new members who were brought up to be
sworn ; and as soon as that business was over, the chancellor of the
exchequer rose at the samemoment with Mr. Fox, declaring he had
a message to deliver from the king. A great clamour immediately
arose in the House, who should be heard first; which was at length
ended, by the Speaker's deciding in favour of Mr. Fox. The ques-
tion, whether the House should resolve itself into a committee on the
state of the nation, was then debated. The grounds on which this
was opposed by the minister and his friends, were the violent and
unprecedented measures adopted by the committee on a former oc-
casion, and the little probability that appeared, from the present
temper of the House, that their proceedings would in future be con-
ducted with less violence and passion. As parliament stood pledged,
as well from the duty they owed their country, as by their Own 50"


1784.]


STATE OF THE NATION. 315
!cum declarations, to direct their attention without delay to the
affairs of the East India Company, Mr. Pitt implored the House to
postpone, at least for a short time, the introduction of measures, that
might retard or throw any difficulties in the way of this important
consideration. He said, he was then ready to bring forward his
plan for the better regulation of the company's affairs; that he
challenged a comparison between his, and the bill lately rejected
by the lords ; and that he desired to stand or fall by the merits or
demerits of the measures he should propose. In answer to these
arguments,


Mr. Fox, rose and said :— It is, Sir, without much pro-
priety that the right honourable gentleman deprecates harsh
terms and censure upon ministers, when he has so long and
with so much asperity attacked those who now sit on this side
the House. It is rather unjust and partial in him to depre-
cate that in others which he has so profusely practised himself;
but he may be assured that I shall not deal much in asperity
and crimination. I shall endeavour to discharge my duty whe-
ther I am here, or at the other side of the House with perfect
candour and 1i:finless. I wish not to give any delay to the
India business. It is the duty of the House to go into the dis-
cussion of it without loss of time, and I wish them to go to it
as soon as it is possible for them to go to it with any probabi-
lity of success. To do that, we must go to it with freedom,
we must go to it unembarrassed, and that I aver we cannot do,
while thZ danger of a dissolution of parliament hangs over our
heads. That we are under this danger, is clear from the whole
of the conduct of ministers since they came into office. The
answer of the throne to the address clearly speaks this language
to the House: " If you dare to assert an opinion of your own,
nay if you do not without any argument or reason change your
sentiment on this ground, you shall be dissolved ; but if you
do change your opinion, if you do support the ministers of the
day you may live—Long life and prosperity• to the present
parliament !"


The right honourable gentleman had called himself the mi-
nister of the crown, and never, perhaps, was a name given with
more propriety, for he was the minister of the crown, —at least
he was not the minister of the House of Commons. If he was
not the minister of the crown or rather of the advisers of the
crown, he was not the minister of the country. But it was
said—what—would you interfere with the prerogative of the
crown? It is the prerogative of the crown to dissolve the par-
liament. Now, it had been denied by many great lawyers that
there was a prerogative of the crown to dissolve the parliament
during a session, and while business and petitions were pend-
ing. Of this, however, he was certain, that there had not been




316 STATE OF THE NATION. [Jan.
an instance since the Revolution, of any such exercise of the
prerogative, if it did exist. Amidst all the contentions of par_
ty since that glorious period, the parliament had never been
dissolved during the business of a session. In the reigns of
the miserable family of the Stuarts this sort of violence was
not uncommon. Charles I. had-done it; Cluirles II. had done
it; James II. had done it; and it was remembered, —he hoped
engraven on the minds of Englishmen,—that when this vio-
lent measure was last perpetrated, which was as he said by
James- II. that monarch had not been allowed to meet another.
He dissolved 'one parliament in the middle of a session, and
it put a period to his violations of the constitution and to his
reign. Great authorities, as he had said, had declared it as
their opinion, that the crown did not possess this prerogative.
Lord Somers, for instance, in a pamphlet which he published,
asserted the doctrine; and he quoted Lord Somers, because
he was said to be the type of him who now held the seals. To
be sure, there were points in which the resemblance was pecu-
liarly striking. In some, however, it failed, as in the particu-
lar of his succeeding to the seals after they had been held by a
jobbing commission. This was an imputation which the
rankest enemies of the late commissioners could not alledge
against them, as was another to which the first commission
was subject, that delay had been grievous to the suitors. This
was an imputation which would not be brought against the
late commissioners, whose regularity, alacrity, judgment and
fairness, had been the subject of universal praise. Whether
it might not be ascribed to others more pompously held forth
as the patterns of Lord Somers, he could not say. But the pre-
sent holder of the seals was like this great character, for Lord
Somers was remarkable for the affability, the mildness, the po-
liteness of his manners; he was all gentleness and condescen-
sion ; active and indefatigable in the performance of his
duties ; burning with the love of liberty, and zealous in the
cause of the people. These, undoubtedly, were the pecu-
liar characteristics of the present holder of the seals ; and
be, no doubt, imitating the great example of his archetype,
equally inflamed with the sacred enthusiasm of liberty, would
stand up and declare, that it was not consistent with the king's
prerogative to dissolve the parliament during the sitting of a
session. Lord Somers supported this opinion on the act of
King Richard H. Mr. Fox said he could not go with him
that length : he was not lawyer enough to enter 'on the sub-ject; but he did think that the necessity must be great indeed,
which could justify the advisers of the crown in a measure so
violent and alarming as that at the best must be.


It was for the purpose of moving a very necessary. and pro-


f 7 84.]


STATE OP THE NATION. 317


per resolution to guard themselves against this danger, that
l ie was anxious to go into the committee : but, says the ho-
hourable gentleman, it is not right to disturb government ;
we ought not to have opposition, " delirant re es, pleciuntur
^iclLivi;" if he might be permitted to give the political, instead
of the direct and classical meaning of this text of Horace, he
should say it was that the ministers of the king go mad, and
the people suffer for it. He had no wish to make the situa-
don of ministers unpleasant to them ; but he desired at the
same time that their own situation should be secure. He de-
sired that they might go into the committee to make it im-
practicable for ministers to dissolve the parliament. He
knew that this had been thrown out as the design of minis-
ters, to intimidate the House, that they meant to do this.
How had their implicit panegyrist said, if there was not
majority they would go down again to the people ; they would
appeal to the people ; and they stood better with the people
than their opponents, — a story of which he did not believe
one word. He fancied that this measure might depend on
the issue of the question of that day,—he believed that if mi-
nisters found the House of Commons firm in their integrity,
— that they were not to be shaken by any, or by all the
temptations which were held out, then he would be bound to
say there would be no dissolution, thr they would not ven-
ture to meet the consequence of a House of Commons ren-
dered so vigorous by honesty and determination : but if they
found them waver, if they found them timorous and unsettled,
or corrupt and tractable, dispositions which lie did not be-
lieve the present House of Commons would ever be found in,
then the parliament would be dissolved ; for though they
might gain a particular question, they would not think them-
selves sufficiently fortified without a dissolution : and if they
went down again to the people, he assured the House, they
would depend more on certain advantages in certain market-
able boroughs, than on the opinion of the people.


But why not suffer the right honourable gentleman to move
for his bill first, and go into the committee on the state of
the nation afterwards? For the clearest of all possible reasons.
Because, if they were suffered to pursue this course, they
feel the pulse of the House, and finding it is disagreeable to
them, the next day dissolve the parliament; whereas by going
into the committee, steps might be taken to guard against ab
measure so inimical to the true interests of the country.


The bill to be brought in by the right honourable gentle-
man, if he might argue from the resolutions, and ideas thrown
out in the public newspapers, was, in his mind, subject to in.:
finitely more reprobation than the bill lately thrown out. It




084.] STATE OF TUE NATION. 319318


STATE OF THE NATION.
[Jan. 12.


arrogated more influence, and it was an influence more dan_
gerous because less open and avowed. It was a secret, in op-
position to-a public, responsible influence. The bill infringed
on all the chartered rights of the company, for the menaced
violation of which he had been so loudly censured. It gave
to the ministers all the patronage of his scheme, but it perpe,
tuated the abuses which his bill intended to remove. With
every imputation of violence it had not the merit of efficacy,
for it went to the establishment of a distracted government,
the disunion of which would be its weakness. It followed Mr.
Dundas's bill in the creation of a third secretary of state, and
it did very little more than renew the bill of r 7


3o. It pos-
sessed all that was objected to in the late bill, without con-
taining anv of that matter which was commended. It was to
give an addition of patronage without energy, and of go-
vernment without unity ; it was impossible, in his mind, that
the House of Commons could agree to this bill, or to any
such bill, and he had too high an opinion of them to believe
that it would ever be carried into effect.


It was said, that he had got possession of the House by ma-
nagement, and that it was unfair ; he conceived it to be the con-
trary. This day was appointed for going into the committee
on the state of the nation, and in order to prevent confusion,
in order that it might not be made merely.what it had been
called, a question of strength, he had come down early to move
for the order of the day, that the House might come regularly
to a question which he intended to move in the committee.


But if the present ministers were disagreeable, why, it was
said, not move for their dismission ? He did not think this
was the precise way ; he thought it was more advisable to give
the most de