SPEECHES
}

SPEECHES


OF


THE RIGHT HONOURABLE


CHARLES JAMES FOX.


VOL. M.




AND J. RIDGWAY, PICCADILLY<
,itv4


8 is,
nd
Preston,


Printers.Street, London.


LONDON:
PRINTED TOR LONGMAN, IXURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,


PATE RN OSTER-Row ;


THE


11,


SPEECHES


THE RIGHT HONOURABLE


CHARLES JAMES FOX,


IN THE


HOUSE OF COMMONS


IN SIX VOLUMES.


VOL.


(: 031--7-671\


°O4for


1Th




CONTENTS


OF


THE THIRD VOLUME,


1784. Page
Mr. Pitt's Bill for the Government of India July i6.
Bill for the Restoration of the Estates forfeitedAug. 2.


I0.
in the Rebellion of 1745






4.1


785.
Commutation Act


1;
Jan. 25. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening


of the Session
Feb. 9. Westminster Scrutiny z6


21. The Same .. 34
March 9. The Same


41
Feb. z8. Nabob of Arcot's Debts


45
2z. Irish Commercial Propositions 54


March 3. The Same 61
FT. The Same


64.
May 12. The Same




69
19. The Same


IO2
23. The Same


1c6
3o. The Same


122
July 22. The Same




138
April Mr. Pitt's Motion for a Reform in the Represent-


ation of the People in Parliament


145
20. Repeal of the Cotton Tax




152
29. Mr. Fox's Motion on the State of the Public


Revenue
15.5


3ra:1:7..86.24. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening
of the Session


166
17. Mr. I3urke's Accusation of Mr. Hastings


179
March 3 . The Same ....... ......................




6. The Same


184


Feb. 17. The Same




189
........ 189


27. Mr.. Pitt's Motion for. Fortifying the Dock Yards 198




vi CONTENTS. CONTENTS. Vii


7786.


March 2: Motion for the Repeal of the Shop Tax
zoz


29. Mr Pitt's Plan for the Reduction of the Na-
tional Debt ........... ...................... 206


April 6. Arrears of the Civil List
June r. Articles of Charge against Mr Hastings -


hill a Charge .......... ........ ......... ................
216


3 . Articles of Charge against Mr. Hastings- Be-
nares Charge


214


7787.
Jan, 2.3. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening


ofthe Session ......
..... ..•..... .......... ....... 251


Feb, 2. Treaty of Commerce with France
260


5. The Same
263


9. The Same ..................... Or• Oe• ••• 0.4 tee • ............ JO ••• 268
12. The Same
272


75. The Same .


284.
16. The Same


286
21. The Same


292
March 7. Mr. Fox's Motion respecting the Nature and


Extent of Parliamentary Addresses to the
King ...••••••••••••••• ............... ••• •••••• •.• 298


Feb. 7. Articles of Charge against Mr. Hastings
3o+


April 2. The Same
307


March 28. Mr. Beaufoy's Motion for the Repeal of the
Test and Corporation Acts


3 7 o
April 24. Mr.Tox's Motion for the Repeal of the Shop


Tax
318


30. The Prince of Wales's Debts
32 r


Nov. 27. Address on the King's Speech at the Opening
of the Session 329


Dec. 5. Subsidiary Treaty with the Landgrave of Hesse
Cassel


338
to. Augmentation of the Land Forces


339
tr. Impeachment of Mr. Hastings


346
tz. Right of Petition


352
2788.


Feb. 8. Sir Elijah Impey's Complaint of sundry Libels
published against him


355
4. Mr. Fox's Complaint of a Pamphlet respecting


the Impeachment against Mr. Hastings
3 63


25. East. India Declaratory Bill 368
March 5. The Same


371
7. The Same


371
13. Mr. Fox's Motion for the Repeal of the Shop - ,


Tax 379.


1788.


April 18. Conduct of the Admiralty with regard to the
Promotion of Admirals


382
May Abolition of the Slave Trade 387


Charges against Sir Elijah Impey
392


Dec. ro. King's Illness - Regency


398




12. The Same
405




16. The Same 41
The Same ......... 00.0•0•00.400•04•90 ............ ......... "4000 428


1789.
jan. 6. The Same




', 29. The Same
March to. Address on the King's Recovery
April 2. Mr. Fox's Motion for the Repeal of the Shop Tax


27. Mr. Hastings's Petition, complaining of Words
spoken by Mr Burke in Westminster Hall ... 465


474
484


Page


244


Page


43 8
446
458
461


May
4-.
I. The Same ............... t•tf0.1 .....


The Same
........ ot p teoteoce ......... IliQtt•IM111.1601"2/00.0




SP3E CITES
OF TIM


RIGHT HONOURABLE


CHARLES JAMES FOX,
4 .C. (S'e.


MR. PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA;


July 16, 1784.


ON the 6th of July, Mr. Pitt obtained leave to bring in a billfor the better regulation and management of the affairs of
Ole East India company, and of the British possessions in India.
This act, though framed upon the same model with that brought
in by Mr. Pitt in the last parliament, yet differed from it con-
siderably in several material points. The powers of the board
of controul, • which, in contrast to the plan of the late ministry,
and in compliance with the temper of those times, was kept as sub-
ordinate as possible, were now greatly enlarged. In cases of
urgency, which might not admit the delays of consultation, and
in cases of secrecy, which might not admit of previous commu-
ideation, they were enabled to issue and transmit their own
orders to India, without their being subject to the revision of
the court of directors. It also vested in the governor general
and council an absolute power over the other presidencies in all
points relative to transactions with the country powers, and in
all applications of the revenues and forces in time of war, with
a power of suspension in case of disobedience. — The second part
of the bill contained a variety of internal regulations respecting
the affairs of India. The clauses relative to the debts of the
nabob of Arcot, to the disputes between him and the rajah of
Tanjore, and to the relief of dispossessed zemindars, and other native
landholders, were adopted from Mr. Fox's India bill, with some
exceptions and limitations, Various restrictions were also laid
upon the patronage of the directors, and retrenchments directed
to be made in the company's establishments. The third part
of the bill related to the punishment of Indian delinquency. All
British subjects were wade amenable to the courts of justice iT1


VOL. III,




2 MR: PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. [July 1 6.


England for all acts done in India. The receiving of presents was
declared to be extortion, and disobedience of orders, and all cor-
rupt bargains to be misdemeanors, and punishable as such. Power-
was given to the governors of the several settlements to seize all .
persons suspected of carrying on illicit correspondence, and, if ne-
cessary, to send them to England. Every company's servant was
required, within two months after his return to England, to deliver
in upon oath to the court of exchequer, an inventory of his real and
personal estates, and a copy thereof to the court of directors for the
inspection of the proprietors ; and, in case any complaint should
be made thereupon by the board of controul, the court of directors,
or any three proprietors possessing stock to the amount conjunc-
tively of io,coo/. the court of exchequer were required to examine
the person complained of upon oath, and to imprison 'inn until he
should have answered the interrogatories put to him to their satis-
faction; and any neglect or concealment herein was punished by
imprisonment, forfeiture of all his estates, both real and personal,
and an incapacity of ever serving the company again.— Lastly ; for
the more speedy and effectual prosecution of persons charged with
crimes committed in the East Indies, a new court of justice was
appointed, consisting of three judges, appointed by the three courts,
four peers, and six members of the House of Commons: the four
peers to betaken by lot out of a list of 26, to be chosen by ballot
at the commencement of every session of parliament, and the six
commoners out of a list of 4o members, chosen in the same man-
ner; liberty being given to the party accused, and to the prose-
cutor, to challenge a certain number of the same. The act also di-
rects, that all depositions of witnesses taken in India, and all writ-
ings received by the court of directors, and copies of those sent out
by them, shall be receives as legal evidence. The judgment of the
court is made final, and to extend to fine and imprisonment, and to
declaring the party incapable of ever serving the company in any
rapacity whatever. The bill met with a strenuous opposition in al-
most every stage. On the 16th of July, upon the motion for going
into a committee on the bill,


Mr. Fox rose, and discussed the principle of the bill. He
began with saying, that Ile rose in the present stage to object to
the speaker's leaving the chair, because he found himself under
the necessity of objecting to the bill tot() ceelo — in all its parts,
and in its fundamental principles. He had flattered himself
that the right honourable gentleman's second and third propo-
sitions, namely, those relating to the regulations, and the newjudicature to be appointed for India, would be so far conform-
able to the opinions which he held on the subject, that he
should have been able to have gone into the committee, and
for this reason he had foreborne to say any thing on the second
reading of the bill ; but now that the bill was printed, and
that he was able to examine the two latter parts as well as the
first, he must freely and explicitly declare; that he objected to
the whole. He thought the principles of the bill the direct op-


5


1784.] MR. PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. 3


ins
posite of what they ought to be with regard to the regulationss well as the government; and he could never consent to the


titution of the sort of tribunal stated in the bill, without
giving up every principle. on which he had been taught to ap-


rteooftiEleniglrhadi.pp r oAv se of the o b j criminal eu rdelait le of the bill, the
present was the stage in which he must deliver his opinions.
He begged the House, at the same time, not to be deceived
by the distinctions which it was now the incessant practice to


between the principles and the objects of a bill. It was
Illa.itae,ekly become the practice to confound the one with the other.
It was often said to them, " What ! would you refuse to go into
the committee on a bill which has for its principle to reform
the abuses of India? Would you object to a bill which is to
restore the zemindars to their possessions, and which is to
punish delinquents ?" They thus artfully confounded the
matter; for these were not the principles, but the objects of
the bill. The principles were very different; and, to the prin-
ciples, that was, to the foundations of the bill, the House
were ever to look ; and when these were not good, they were
not justifiable in going to a committee, merely because the end
was desirable. No man upon earth acknowledged with more
readiness than he did, the necessity of the object of the present
bill; no man would go greater lengths to accomplish it; but
he could not accept of the principles of this bill as the means ;
much less could he believe that those means, if accepted, would
be effectual.


'With regard to the first part of the bill, namely, the set-
tlement of the government of India, he Must observe, that dur-
ing the discussions on the bill which he had the honour to
propose to the last parliament, it was asserted that he had vio-
lated the chartered rights of the company — and chartered
rights were of so sacred a nature, that nothing but extreme
necessity could justify their violation. The right honourable
the chancellor of the exchequer had made the confession, that
necessities might arise to justify the rescinding of a charter ;
and it was well he did so ; for if ever a charter was completely
and totally annulled, it was the charter of the East India
Company by the present bill. He by no mean brought this
as a charge against the right honourable gentleman T• it was
his opinion that the charter of the company ought to be an-
nulled : it had always been his opinion, that no charter ought
to exist pernicious to the community whom it affected, and
that the rights of a few ought not to stand in competition with
the well-being and happiness of the whole. This had always
been his opinion, and the chancellor of the exchequer,had come
over to it. He had abandoned his former opinion on this


B 2




4 MR. PITT'S BILL TOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. [July 16.
subject. He repeated, that he by no means brought this
against him as a charge ; on the contrary, he wished to God
he had abandoned all his other opinions, and all the principles
on which he came into office—he should like him and his
ministry the better.


When the right honourable gentleman brought in his for-
mer bill, he said that his entrenchment on the charter of the
company vas not a violation, because he had the consent of
the company. On the present occasion, however, the House
had heard of no consent. The consent, indeed, which the
right honourable gentleman then stood upon was a fallacy ;
because in a community like the East India company, the con-
sent of every individual proprietor was necessary to a surren-
der, and could only make it legal; for where every individual
proprietor of stock was concerned and involved, it was a fal-
lacy to say that a resolution of the general court, hastily con-
vened, poorly, attended, or even consisting of a majority,
could make a surrender of the properties of those who were
absent. Then it was a delusion; but here this circumstance
was wanting : there was no consent even hinted at, and in
reality none had been given. He begged, then, that they
might hear no more of his bill having violated chartered
rights, and that therefore it was not to be borne : the present
bill Was guilty, if it was guilt, of equal violation ; and it had
this peculiar quality, that it violated the charters of the com-
pany without promising to amend the general interests of the
empire.


The right honourable gentleman had abandoned his ground
with respect to commissioners. He had adopted the notion
contained in his bill, of vesting the powers in the hands of
.commissioners; and he must again repeat, that he wished to
God he had abandoned all his other principles. He wish-
ed he had abandoned the principles on which he came
into power —principles which were neither honourable to
himself nor safe for the country. The right honourable
gentleman, continued Mr. Fox, has taken notice of what my
honourable friend, Mr. Francis, has said respecting the pre-
amble of the bill. In my mind, the observation of my ho-
nourable friend is perfectly just ; but the omission of the abuses
by the framers of the bill has been very artful. If they had.
stated the grievances of the East Indies, they would have ex-
posed the weakness of the bill; for they would have shewn,
that not one of its provisions was calculated to redress the
grievances which the preamble would have stated to exist.
This is my idea, and I trust I shall be able to shew the House,
that it is a bill calculated to increase every principle that has
given rise, to the calamities of India ; that instead of reforming,


Ij,


1734.] SIR. PITT'S BILL TOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. 5
it is calculated to perpetuate the abuses which exist, and to
put the conclusive seal to the miserable system of that country.


What, Sir, are the principles of the calamities in India?
Are they, that worse men have been sent to India in the
government of our affairs, than those who go elsewhere, or
who stay at home ?- To : the men are not worse, but the
temptations to delinquency have been greater, and the greater
distance from the seat of government has given impunity to
abuse. If this is the source of the calamity, which I contend
it is, what is the remedy? Surely, that the power shall in
future be given to persons on the spot here, who consequently
will neither have the temptations nor the impunity. Instead
of which the bill before us gives more temptation and power
to the governor in India. He is rendered infinitely more
capable of abuse, and he is set more above the reach .of
punishment. What has been declared as the next principle
of our calamities? That orders from home have been dis-
obeyed in India, and that no instructions which have been
sent out have at any time been regarded. What is the evi-
dent remedy for this evil ? Surely, to make the chief officer
in India so directly dependant on the source of government
at home, that he shall not have it in his power, whatever may
be his inclination, to disobey the orders which he may receive.
Instead of which, the bill adds so considerably to the powers
of the governor there, that lie has no check upon his am-
bition. If the bill had been framed by the delinquents them-
selves, it could not, in my mind, have been more directly
calculated.to perpetuate the abuses. Whether the bill may
not have been framed by those delinquents, or at least by their
emissaries, is a matter which it is not our business to discuss,
whatever may be our suspicions.


My next principle, continued Mr. Fox, with regard to
India, always has been, that whoever has the government
ought also to have the patronage. The Tight honourable
the chancellor of the exchequer may talk speciously in this
House about the division of the power and the patronage;
but in my mind, if there be a receipt, a nostrum for the
making.


of a weak government, it is by giving the power of
contriving measures to one, and the nomination of the per-
sons who are to carry those measures into execution to
another.


Nothing, in my mind, can be more clear than this pro-
position, that the concerting of the measure, and the ap-
pointing of the officer, ought to be in th
stance a great army : If a plan of operations for ane same breast. In-
campaign was concerted by




aitniontwio)ertatiillet
y one board, would


height of madness and absurdity that the power of nominat-
B 3




6 MR.PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. [July 16
ing the general who was to carry that plan into effect should
be trusted to .


another? In such a ridiculous system, where
would be the responsibility ? The authors of the plan, if it
miscarried, would say the fault was in the officer. The no-
minators of the officer would say it was in the plan. Oh but,
say the ministers, we know that such a system would be too
absurd to last, and therefore, you see, we have the power of
a negative. I am pleased that they have any tiling that looks
like unity ; for surely nothing can be so ridiculous, and
nothing so childish, as to disjoin the patronage from the
government.


If, for instance, the new commissioners should send out
instructions to check all farther accession of territory, all
future sanguinary measures, all rapaciousness and bloodshed,
and at the same time that the court of directors should appoint,
which it is very probable they would do, Mr. Hastings to
carry their instructions into execution—does not the bare
statement of the case shew the complete absurdity of the
idea ? Theories which do not connect measures with men
are not theories for this world ;, they are the chimeras with
which a recluse may divert his fancy, but they are not prin-
ciples on which a statesman would found his system. Mr.
Hastings, for intance, has declared his mind. He has shewn
us, by the experience of many years, that he determined to
disobey orders which tend to peace. But whet are all the
instances, compared to that daring act of disobedience, his
not carrying into execution the orders for the restoration of
Cheyt Sing? [Here Major Scott said across the table, " No
" such orders were ever sent."] Mr. Fox went on. He
thought there were; but should he be ordered to replace
Cheyt Sing, after he has declared that he will never consent
to so degrading an instruction, what must be the feelings and-
sentiments of India on the occasion ? Would they not say,
these are pompous words ; you preach out charity to the ear ;




you say peace, peace, when there is no peace; you tell us that
the sanguinary system shall be no longer pursued, and in the
same breath you continue a person ill power, of whom a
learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) some time ago, said, " that
he never went out of Bengal without carrying blood and
devastation in his train : that be never paid a visit to the
borders but for the imprisonment of some prince, or the ex-
termination of a people." -What other can we conceive of
such inconsistency, but that you design to cheat us? We
can have no opinion that you are serious. You have all along
(riven the same instructions to the same man ; he has always
disobeyed them, and we, therefore, have no longer confidence
in your sincerity.


178.1.] ME. Pirr's BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.
7


But the negative provides against the appointment of im-
proper officers. The commissioners have a negative, and
therefore they have full power. Here, then, is the complete
annihilation of the power of the company. Ministers take
the complete ,government into their hands, and here is a full
and direct violation of chartered rights. That the bill origi-
nated in India, or that it was in all its parts suggested by men
who had imbibed the politics of India, he verily believed. It
was a scheme of dark and delusive art, and seemed to be built
on the model.of the attack made on the great mogul and the
king of Bengal. It worked upon the company's rights by
slow and gradual sap. Tile first assumption made by the
minister was the power of superintendence and control.
What he means by this power I cannot easily imagine. Does
he mean such a superintendence and control as this House
has over ministers ? No; for this House has not the power
of giving official instructions. It is to be an " active con-
trol :" and this is the next step. An active control is not a very
clear species of authority, and may be carried to a very great
length, until at last they give a. full exposition of their views,
and seize upon every thing but the shew of authority. Such,
exactly, I am informed, was the plan by which the great
nfogul and the king of Bengal were reduced to what they
now are.


To this artful and progressive scheme I peremptorily
'Object. If it be right to vest the powers of the court of
directors in a board of privy counsellors, to which however I
should object, it should, at any rate, be done openly. A
great nation ought never to descend to gradual and insidious
mcroachment. Do what you wish for openly ; and shew the
company that what you dared to do, you dare to justify. If
the question were merely, whether the powers ought to be
continued in the hands of the directors, or put into the
hands of a board of privy counsellors, I should not hesitate
one moment to give it to the latter; but, unquestionably I
do not approve of tile idea of ,giving it to board of privy
counsellors.


The great object in settling the government of India is to
contrive the means of separating the commerce from the
revenue. The right honourable the chancellor of the exche-
quer, who is infinitely more fond of talking about looking
our situation in the face than he is of really doing so, has
not upon this occasion, and in this instance, looked our situ-
ation in the face. I took much pains in my enquiry concern-
ing the commerce and the revenue.. I consulted with every
°Leam ns; but


xibcapable of giving
nmme instruction, or of suggesting the


I could not devise the means of really and tene-llye,1m
B 4




.$ AIR. PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVEBNMENT OF INDIA.% [July L6.;
ficially separating the commerce from the revenue. I fount',
that they were so involved, as to be for a time at least inse-,
parable. I found that the revenue was absolutely necessary to
the conducting of the commerce, and that the commerce was
essential to the collection of the revenue. I felt the difficulty.
I agreed with some of the most intelligent men, that a sepa-
ration (night be effected by time, but I looked our situation in
the face, and finding the necessity of the state called for the go-
vernment of India, 1 took the commerce as well as the govern-
ment. This was my measure, and the House knows the cry
Which was circulated throughout the country. What is the mea-
sure of the right honourable gentleman? The board may send.
instructions to India in commercial matters, where they think
the revenue is concerned. The chancellor of the exchequer,
and one of the secretaries of state may do this. But if the
company should conceive that the subject of the instructions
is merely commercial, they may appeal—appeal to whom,
from whom ? Appeal from the chancellor of the exchequer,
and one of the principal secretaries of state, for the time
being, to thein his council ? What, will not the king)&?in his council advise and take the opinion of 'the chancellor
of the exchequer and the secretary of state? Or is it insi-
nuated by the bill, that the security of the company consists
in the appeal being from the ostensible advisers of the king
to the secret junto, who are really the efficient ministers of the
country ? Is this, ,


which has been with so much probability
suspected to be the case, now to be acknowledged ? Or is
the appeal any thing more than a fallacy and a farce?


Here, then, is the difference between my abominable bill
and the bill of the right honourable gentleman ; between my
bill, which has excited so much clamour, but upon which I
am ready now, and ever shall be, to appeal from the public
to the public; not doubting but that, however they were de-
luded by the nonsense of epithets for a time, they will form
a true judgment at last. By my wicked bill the commerce
was taken as well as the government. By Ili's bill, if the
commi ssioners do meddle with the commerce, the directors
have the glorious privilege of appealing from the minister to
the minister. My bill placed the commerce in the hands of
nine gentlemen, who either were at that time, or had bet=
formerly, in the direction, and who consequently were com-
petent to the care of it. This bill gives government, terri-
tory, revenue, and commerce, to a board of privy counsellors.
This is a bill, in my mind, calculated to perpetuate weakness:
It perpetuates weakness by dividing the power. Leave the
entire powers with the directors, or take them entirely away.
There is no middle course to be rum


174] MR'
PEWS BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. 9


I have been told since I came into the House this day,.
that the clause of secrecy is to be withdrawn. I am glad to
hear it, if it is meant fairly. It would have been highly ab-
surd that such a contradictory system should have been esta-
blished under the name of a government, where orders might
secretly be conveyed to India, by the commissioners, at the
very moment when they were giving their open countenance
to instructions to be sent from the directors of a quite con-
trary tendency. It would have been a farce, a child's play,
rather than a government, to suffer such a scheme of dark
intrigue.


I now come to speak of the influence which has been made
so much a topic of declamation and of clamour. I do not
scruple to say, that I would infinitely rather see the influence
erected at home than abroad, because I am sure that at home
it would be much less than abroad. Will any man tell me,
that if Mr. Hastings had been at home he would have been
able to do the same things which, with his long arm, he has
been able to do in India? Could he have withstood the reso-
lutions which the learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) so much
to his honour, moved against him two years ago ? Or could
he have had such influence as to have worked upon the same
learned gentleman, after he had made the declaration which
I have recalled to the memory of the House, namely, that
Mr. Hastings never went to the borders of Bengal, without
having in view the imprisonment of a prince, or the extermi-
nation of a people, to state to the House much in his praise,
and very little in his disfavour, and to say, that his recal was
only a matter of expediency at the time? Could such a con-
version have been accomplished by any person in England?
No, Sir, it is the great India governor at Calcutta whose in-
fluence I dread.


But, say ministers, the plan of succession by seniority and
gradation will destroy the great influence of the chief gover-jnor in India. Is this true? Are all captains alike? all ma-ors, all colonels, all appointments of the same rank, civil
and military? No, the source of influence in India is the
service on which they are sent. One captain may be sent to
one place, and another to another ; one to


.
Benares, • another


b
to Oude ; and the ()Teat object is to procure


.
the lucrative in-


stead of the valueless destination. Hence, then, the absur-
dity of the projected scheme of seniority and gradation. By
such a scheme you take from the power at home the means
of securing the attachment and loyalty of the inferior. Com-
pare it4in to an army. The general must undoubtedly be
investe("Nwith powers sufficient to the execution of the mea-
sures intrusted to him ; but at the same time he should con-




I 0 MR. PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. [July i 6.
stantly know, that his authority is derived from a source to
which all his army look up for preferment, and from which
atone he can draw security for himself. Establish the prin-
ciple, that all his officers and men should be advanced ac-
cording to seniority and gradation, leaving to him the sole
authority of sending this colonel to one service and that to
another, and what is the consequence? That the army be-
comes the property of the general more than the king. Just
so of the company. If the civil and military officers do not
look to home fior preferment, if their fortunes are to depend
solely on the chief governor, what more have they to do than
to court his favour, by entering into his views. If he should
desire to disobey the instructions, his army is ready to support
him, for the parent power has yielded up the means of draw-
ing the expectations of the body to itself. Unhappy hind !
thus art thou devoted to the continuance of that pernicious
system which has devastated thy fields, which has drenched
itself in thy blood, and fattened on thy spoils ! Thus, mi-
serable people, are you to be abandoned to the merciless and
insatiable lusts of a successive band of sanguinary adventurers,
before whose eyes no punishment is set up equal to the temp-
tations which the luxuries of your land present to them !
"Would it not be better to say to the governor which you
shall send out, act as you please in Hindostan for these
four years to come? Do as you like; all I shall require from.
you is to give me an account of Your transactions when you
return?


My bill was charged with erecting a Iburth estate in the
legislature. Did it erect any estate which did not exist at
the time? The court of directors was the fourth estate, and
my bill only changed the nature of that estate. It changed
it from an estate without efficacy, to one which promised to
have it. It changed it from one which, from its quality, was
liable to much delusion, to one which, by being incessantly
under the eye and inspection of parliament, was less liable to
imposition, or to misconduct. It changed it from one not
controlable, to one constantly under check, and removeable
by address from either House. Could the commissioners
have continued in ofiice one moment after an address? They
could not, like the present ministers in the last parliament,
come to reason against the address. They must have re-
tired. If that board had been nominated and removeable by
the crown, I may venture to suspect that the bill would not
have been so harshly treated in another House.


Had I made the board removeable by the crown, it might
not have been so palatable to the last House of Commons; but
to the other branches of the legislature, I think I may yen-


1784.] MR. PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. I I


tore to suspect it would have been more agreeable. I have
been accused of grasping at power. Did I shew such a dispo-
sition ? The road was open. I had only to be instrumental to
the influence of the crown, to the increase of that influence
which I had contributed to diminish, and the road to power
was open. But it would neither have been honourable to


the people. eople. I chose my course; ; and I domyself, nor safe f r
not regret the personal consequences. This bill, on the con-
trary, increases the influence of the crown, without reform-
hie the abuses of India ; it goes a length which mine never,
presumed to go ; and, indeed, it is too much the character of
the present ministry to subject the country to very great and
alarming inconveniencies, for very uncertain, tend, at best, but
very slender good.


With regard to the regulations which are proposed with
respect to presents, I thin:: that in the year 1784 they are
idle and ridiculous. They were made in the year 1773.
They were then made as strong as they can be now, and they
have been of no avail. The only efficacious plan of putting
an end to this and every other abuse is, by the institution of a
vigorous government. Place vigorous powers in the hands of
men constantly under the eye of parliament, and what are the
consequences? If they should come down and say, " We sent
out strict injunctions, but they have been disobeyed," the an-
swer would be apt and conclusive, " Why do you not remove
the disobedientofficer? Instantly appoint his successor, and
bring home the delinquent." Such was the prospect which I
had in the appointment of commissioners ; and so far am I
from thinking that the institution of such a board would have
given iinmense influence to the ministers who should appoint,
that even now, when I shall hardly be suspected of wishing
permanency to the ministers in being, I am most earnestly de-
sirous that they should invest commissioners with the complete
power of the Indian affairs ;


-ermaptheIamanxiousso
nency of the Indian government. for


But I was asked, why should the Indian government be
rendered more permanent than the British ? It is more neces-
sary, in my opinion, that there should be more permanency
in a distant government than in a near one. Shocks in the
one cannot be observed when they happen, and the effect of
changes might not be seen in time to be remedied. My
board had not complete permanency, but it had a chance forper


manency by its constitution.. from what source has all
the weakness of the Indian government sprung ? From the
variations which happened in our government at home. 'Why
has Mr. Hastings presumed to disobey the orders of govern-ment? Because he has dependence on a party, which, in the




12 MR.-PITT'S BILL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. [July 16.
chance of changes may be able to protect him by the time that
his disobedience is known. I see an honourable gentleman
(Major Scott) smile. Perhaps that honourable gentleman's
'smile means to insinuate, that his great friend's dependence is
on a power not liable to the changes of party, and from which
all the Calamities of the reign have originated. Perhaps it is
too true, and too visible, that the present bill is the produc-
tion of the same fountain. The time may come, and I trust
it is not far distant, when the eyes of that quarter will be
opened to the true interests of the crown and the people.


To sum up my objections to the first part of the bill, they
are these. It provides for a weak government at home by the
division of the power ; and it perpetuates the abuses in India,
by giving additional authority to the officers abroad. It is
unstatesman-like in its principles; for it absurdly gives the
power of originating measures to one board, and the nomi-
nation of officers for the execution of those measures to ano-
ther. It increases influence without vesting responsibility;
and it operates by dark intrigue, rather than by avowed
authority.


In regard to the second part of the bill, consisting of the
regulations, I think, and always did, that the zemindars
and polygars ought to be restored to their possessions, and
that the rents should be fixed and settled by a rule of past
periods, and not of future inquiry. Begin fresh inquiries
and assessments, and you give authority to the very evils
which you profess to remove. I consider all the prohibitory
clauses against presents, as mere words, and must do so in
recollecting how much has already been tried, and to how
little effect.


Mr. Fox here referred to the conduct of General Clavering,
Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, of which he spoke in the
most handsome terms ; he alluded to the memorable expres-
sion of Lord Thurlow, " that he wished the ship had gone to
the bottom that conveyed them to India;" an expression which
be softened, by saying, that he made the wish 44 because he
could spare them out of the world." He treated this language
in terms of strong indignation.


The third part of the bill, which he should take notice of,
was that which related to the mode of trial intended to be
adopted, instead of a trial by jury. He had no objection to
that part which legalized evidence to be taken in India, and
properly transmitted here; but what he never could give his
assent to, was the abolishing the trial by jury; for although it
was equally necessary for both judge and jury to possess a
sound head, good sense, and an honest heart, yet the mature
cf. their stations were widely different, one was to judge of the


784.] MR. PITT'S BILL FOIL THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.


.matter of fact, the other of the law ; the jury had merely to
consider of the evidence before them : and the only similar
trial to the one in question that be knew of, was that of a'
court-martial ; but that materially differed, as every soldier
at the time of his enlisting knew what tribunal he must submit
to ; but in the present instance, persons gone out to India
went out on the faith of being tried, if occasion offered, by
the then known laws of the land, and not by any arbitrary
mode that might be afterwards adopted ; and if the present
bill was not to affect any that were already gone abroad, it
was, in fact, doing nothing. In a court martial a man
Was tried by his peers, by men brought up in the . same school,
in the same profession, with the same notions of honour and
discipline; but here was a material difference, and as the
clauses were framed, it appeared to him intended more as a
screen for delinquents, than as a punishment; for there were
but two kind of accusers, and who were they ? Why, the
company or the crown. Now, supposing Mr. Hastings coin-
ing home; would the attorney general accuse him ? fro ; cer-
tainly he would not, for the grave chancellor had declared
the man innocent already. Well, then, would the




accuse him ? Certainly not ; for it would be an absurdity to
suppose that the company who were his servants, his domes-
tics, would dare to accuse him ; therefore the tribunal might
fairly be called a bed of justice, for justice would sleep


The India company would be sure not to accuse him, for at
'the time he was committing the depredations in Oude, to
stop the mouth of the company, he sent them home an in-
vestment ; and to curry favour, employed the son of the
chairman, in direct opposition to the orders lie had received
from home ; of course he was secure from the company, and.
had, nothing to do but to make his peace with government; for
he certainly was as much at their mercy as he would be in the
most arbitrary and despotic country that ever was formed ;
for the mockery


of three peers to be chosen, and six com-
moners, was absurd to a degree, as every person must know that
the crown would have the appointment of the whole, and
what chance did an individual stand who was to have the crown
for his accuser, and to chuse the judges, to try and deter,:
mine ? He was extremely severe on ''the reflections that hadbeen cast on him, relative 'to invading the charter, and di




tecout by what means it would now entirely be *taken' away frontthe proprietors ; therefore he cautioned them to be careful,
not in the blindness of their zeal for a, man, however


fair 1(mover air his
character might be, to suffer him to do that which they would
hereafter be sorry for, when too late. He concluded by say,




14 BILL FOR RESTORING FORFEITED ESTATES. [Aug. 2.
ing, he would not trouble the House any more at present, as
be should have an opportunity in the committee, and he hoped
several times before the bill passed, of pointing out to the -
country the danger there was in passing this bill, and the
mortal stab it would give to the constitution of this country.


After a long debate, the House divided on the question, That
the speaker do now leave the chair,


Tellers. Tellers.
{Mr. RoseLord Maitland


YEAS Mr. R. Smith 1s 27 I .-NOES Mr. Sheridan Go.
So it was resolved in the affirmative.


BILL FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE ESTATES Fortnum)
IN THE REBELLION . OF 1745.


August 2.
• ,t5


THIS day Mr. Dundas moved for leave to bring in a bill to en-able his majesty to grant to the heirs of the former proprietors,
upon certain terms and conditions, the Forfeited Estates in Scot- te
land, which were vested in a board of trustees by an act passed in
the 25th of George the second, and to repeal the said act. Mr.
Pitt seconded this motion.


Mr. Fox said, the proposition had his most hearty appro-
bation. The execution of some, and the confiscation of the
estates of others, had sufficiently atoned for their crimes ; and
their descendants had been punished by forty years depriva-
tion of their fortunes for the faults of their ancestors. The
principle of restoration was just, generous, politic, and hu-
mane, and he did not.see that any one could form an objection
to it, He approved so much of the principle, that he thought
the proposition ought not to stop where it did ; if the princi-
ple was good, it ought to be carried as far as it would go, and,
therefore, it ought to extend to all forfeitures of estates in


b
Enaland, as well as in the highlands of Scotland for the same
rebellion. Gentlemen would feel, that lie alluded particu-
larly to the case of a noble lord, to -whom he bad the honour
of being related, he meant the Earl of Newburgh, the present
representative of the Dcrwentwater fiunily. He did not wish
to.speak of crimes long since committed, and long since atoned
for ; nor did he mean to justify rebellion ; but this much he


COMMUTATION ACT.
1:784.]


would say, that there were circumstances in the case of the
Derwentwater family, which palliated, excused, nay, did
every thing but justify, the treason committed by it. He was
aware, that with respect to the Derwentwater estate, there
were difficulties, which did not exist in the cases then before
the House, as the former was appropriated for the support of
Greenwich hospital; but he submitted to the consideration of
the chancellor of the exchequer, whether some means might
not be devised to extend the munificence of parliament to Lord
Newburgh, to which he had as good a claim as those who were
now about to enjoy it ; the principle was equally applicable to
all; and though he was convinced no partiality existed in the
minds of those who patronised the present measure, still it
would be more complete and free from cavil, if the English
estates were restored as well as the Scots. He did not expect
thatany thing would be done in this session for Lord Newburgh;
but he hoped the right honourable gentleman would turn
the case of that noble lord in his mind, so as to be able to
propose something on that head next year.


As this measure had for its object the relief of individuals, whose
unequivocal attachment and loyalty to his present majesty and his
family could not be supposed to be tainted or affected by the
crimes of their ancestors, it met with the perfect approbation of
the commons.


COMMUTATION ACT.


August


nN the 21st of June, Mr. Chancellor Pitt moved several reso-
lutions, as the foundation of the act, since known by the


name of the Commutation Act. He stated to the House, that the
illicit trade of the country had of late increased to so alarming a
height, as to endanger almost the very existence of several branches.
of the .revenue, and more particularly that of tea. It had ap-
peared before the committee on smuggling, that only 5,5oo,0co lb.
weight of tea was sold annually by the East India company,
whereas the annual consumption of the kingdom was supposedfrom good authority, to exceed twelve millions, so that the illicit
trade in this article was more than double the legal. The only
remedy he could devise for this evil was, to lower the duties ontea to so small an amount, as to make the profit on the illicit trade
not adequate to the risk. It was well known, that in this trade the
price of freight and insurance to the shore was about 25 per cent.,
and the insurance on the inland carriage about to per cent more.





16 COMM T3TATI 0 N ACT. [Aug. to.
The duty on tea, as it then stood, was about 5o per cent., so that
the smuggler had an advantage over the fair dealer of 15 per cent.,
as the voyage from England to the continent might be easily re-
peated four or five times in the year ; he therefore proposed to
reduce the duty on tea to per cent. As this regulation would
cause a deficiency in the revenue of about 600,000l. per annum,
he proposed to make good the same by an additional window tax,
This tax, he said, would not be felt as an additional burthen, but
ought to be considered as a commutation, and would in fact prove
favourable to the subject : a house, for instance of nine windows,
which would be rated at Jos. 6d. might be supposed to consume
71b. of tea ; the difference between the .old duties on which, and
the new duty proposed, might, at an average, amount to 11. 5 5.


sod,
so that such a family would gain by the commutation us. 4d. But
the principal benefit he expected from this measure was the abso-
lute ruin of the smuggling trade, which, he said, subsisted almostt.t.
entirely on the profit of their teas. Another benefit would be,
the timely and necessary relief it would afford the East India corn-
pony. By this regulation they would find a vent for thirteen, in-
stead of five millions of pounds of tea, and would be enabled to
take twenty more large ships into their service. The resolutions
proposed by the chancellor of the exchequer were agreed to,
in consequence of which he obtained leave to bring in the bill,
which met with a warns opposition. 'On the loth of August, upon
a motion for taking the report from the committee on the bill into
consideration,


Mr. Fox objected to the principle of the bill, as well as to
many parts of its detail, because it was founded on a deception,
and held that out as a commutation, which was no commuta-
tion whatever ; on the contrary, it was taking off a tax upon a
luxury, to lay a tax upon a necessary, and not only laying a.
tax on a necessary, but laying it in a way, at once partial, un-
equal, and oppressive, by making the poor pay for the rich,
and taxing those that did not drink tea, in order to accommo-
date those who did, and to enable them to drink their tea at
a. cheaper rate. The bill, to have come before the public
fairly, ought to have been divided, and brought in as two bills;
the one, a bill declaring, that, for the better prevention of.
smuggling, parliament found it expedient to take off the sub-
sisting high duties on teas, and in their stead to lay a duty of
IV,. per cent. only ; and the other, a bill to lay certain
additional duties on windows. Had the two bills been so
brought in, they would have stood upon their separate prin-
ciples, and might have been separately examined and dis-
cussed. There would then have been no fallacy, no decep-
tion, nor any ground for the objection he was now stating,
namely, that the bill as it stood, tended to deceive and to mis-
lead; that it told the public it did one thing, while in fact it
did another, directly the reverse of what it affected to do. The


1784•J
COMMUTATION ACT.


17


proposed byth epi resent : htbe
was


ill, Nv a
far


an
wyi :13: 11:
1


71se:17r diiiejois
upon the public
f r eo n


saying
"


were not actually necessary he
knew- thatthey were, and however other gentlemen might think,
cnceeilit,lvag


tax heavy
ea


he was convinced, that still heavier burdens were necessary
and must be imposed before the country could be retrieved ;
but what he meant to contend for was, that when burdens
were laid upon the people, there should never be practised the
smallest attempt to deceive them ; they should be dealt withhonestly and openly, and not blinded as to the real nature of
the tax, which undoubtedly they were on the present occasion,
since windows had no more necessary relation to tea, than
bricks, or hats, or horses, or any other` of the objects selected
for taxation this year.


From this remark, Mr. Fox proceeded to consider the bill
as to its object; and he said upon this head, undoubtedly
snuggling could not be prevented effectually by merely lower-
ing the duty upon teas; spirits, as an honourable gentleman,
a friend of his, had well remarked, were an article of smug-
gling equally necessary to be attended to, but no man could
look at the idea of extending the principle of the bill to spirits,
without feeling even more horror than they felt on the present
occasion, because it was not to be borne, that men should be
called on to pay a tax upon their houses for gdrinkin spirits
in them. Spirits, he observed, were a species of luxury still
more than tea, and to tax all descriptions of men as the pre-
sent bill did, in respect to the pretence that they might drink
spirits in their houses if they chose it, was something too
bad to be thought on for a moment. --His grand objection to
the principle of the bill was, that it was compulsory, and not
optional. This was, to the highest degree, unjust and op-
pressive; and this it was that took from it the semblance as
well as the reality of its being a commutation. As the com-
bmeeinicembniteeotfinansa3b,sitee,mh ao(fi irtelglinutlabteioeini onto'


ITunl es i
t
might


i7f,•
ifn 2.111


stance, it had been enacted, that the occupiers of such houses
as chose to drink tea were obliged to take out licenses annu-
ally, after a rate proportionable to the size of their houses
1 t case it certainly would have beenda commutation and


intha
tax;


an
optional


had


p
ersons




houses, without having taken
ncnotnsInacitie a o


license,
k


been
tea


subjec t
ec


their
a heavy penalty, he should have thought it perfectly fair a nd
perfectly reasonable. Such a system of regulation might have
been afterwards followed by other licenses for wine, &c., but
as the tax stood in the bill, the drinkers of tea and those who
never drank tea, were confounded together ; and in order to
lighten the burdens which ought to have been borne by the


VOL. III.




I 8 COMMUTATION. ACT. i o.


former, the latter were taxed, and the poor, who had been
too much pressed upon already by the taxes of the year, were
to be ground down, and severely oppressed. Tea, Mr. Fox
said, was, of all commodities, one of the best objects of
taxation, because the best possible recommendation of any
tax was, that it would be equally beneficial, whether it
proved productive or not. What he meant by this, was,
that if the tax proved productive, it answered that way;
and, if it did not, in that case the consumption was not suffi-
ciently great to check the consumption of some other article,
the manufacture or the growth of our own country, from
which a revenue equally large, might be derived. If, not-
withstanding that the duties hitherto paid on teas produced
900,0001. it was really wiser to raise that money in another
way, we had not, he said, heretofore been so much obliged to
the East India company, as had been thought ; because that
position being admitted, it followed, that without having re-
course to the company, the same revenue might have been
obtained at home upon our own houses, and our own windows.


He took notice of the minister's readiness to concede on
any point that concerned himself and his own opinion merely,
and of his obstinacy in refusing to concede in the least, where
the benefit of the East India company was the object. It had
of late been the practice to cry up the great importance of the
East India company, and to contend, that every thing ought
to be sacrificed to the benefit of that company ; he supposed,
therefore, that as the present bill had, for one of its-great ob-jects, the assistance of the East India company, the minister,
ready as he had been on a late occasion to concede his own opi-
nion to clamour and to the arguments of opposition, would not
on the present concede in the least, or consent to alter in any
material respect, a bill equally unwarrantable in its principle
and defective in the detail of its clauses. At times, he said, he
had heard taxes for luxuries called for in his mind very idly,
because many such taxes, however popular they might sound
when proposed, would have tended to detriment the revenue
by proving unproductive. He was not, therefore, for having
the idea of taxing luxuries carried to the extent that some gen-
tlemen wished, but when a tax was laid upon tea, which un-
doubtedly was a luxury, but a luxury so much in use, that it




came near to be a necessary, and when that tax was so far ef-
ficient as to produce near a million yearly, he was not for aban-
doning that tax to lay a tax on an absolute necessary, which
houses undoubtedly were. Nor was he quite so sure, th,.t this
tax upon windows would prove as productive as was expected,
or that the old window tax would continue as efficient as it
had been hitherto found to be. Let .gentlemen remember,
that when the window tax as it stood at that day, had beat


1741


19COMMUTATION ACT.


last augmentedand regulated, many persons blocked up several
of their windows, to avoid paying it; now a tax on windows,
so much heavier was imposed, it was natural to expect that
they would. block up more, by which means, not only the ef-
ficiency and productiveness of the new tax would be checked,
but the productiveness of the old window, tax would be di-
minished.


Mr. Fox, after various arguments against the general prin-
ciple and the probable operation of the bill, spoke to several
of the clauses, and animaverted on the mode in which Mr. Rose
had answered Mr. Eden's remarks. The general reply, he
said, had been, " Oh, we shall bring up a clause for that," and
this had been repeated several times, which was a pretty strong
proof of the necessity of re-committing the bill. His right
honourable friend had contended very wisely and ably, that if
gentlemen having three houses were not to pay for more than
two, that by a parity of argument, those who had two houses
ought not to pay for more than one. This was undoubtedly
fair reasoning, and the fact was, that if the present were a tax
on houses, and were meant to be such, every house in the
possession of any person ought to pay; if he had three, all three;
if four, all four : on the contrary, if it was really designed as a
mere substitute for the tea tax, in that case, only one house
belonging to any gentleman ought to pay it, and that the houseb
where he himself resided, as that would be the house undoubt-
edly in which tea would be drunk. He declared, the only


-reason that struck his mind, that could be urged against chartbing every house belonging to gentlemen who had several, was,
that it was recollected the right honourable gentleman, in
opening the proposition originally, had stated,


that individuals
would save by paying the tax instead of paying the high prices
upon teas, and it was thought that after such a declaration, it
would be .too much to ask a gentleman to pay for four houses,
for the privilege of drinking tea in one of them. Ile adverted
to the question about minors and guardians, and said the ho-
nourable gentleman had not answered that, by asking whether
the Duke of Bedford ought not to pay the tax ? Undoubtedly
he ought; but as the bill stood, the mischief was, that the Duke
of Bedford and a minor of a certain description, who had a
fortune, not only far inferior, but scarcely equal to his support,
were to pay the same exactly. Mr. Fox dwelt on this for
some time, and pointed out, that by the inaccuracy of wording
one of the clauses, if a person possessed a thousand, or any
great number of houses, let out to more than one family each,
he had it in his power to pay the tax upon no more than two
of them. He explained this, by sheaving, that the bill stated,
that where two houses were let to more than one family, the


c




20 COINIMIITATION ACT. [Ang.
landlord should, in that case, be taken to be the occupier ; and
in another part of the bill it provided, that any person occu-
pying more than two houses, should pay only for two. This,
however, he stated rather as a proof that the bill wanted ver-
bal correction and amendment, than as a serious objection
to it.


An honourable gentleman had compared the present pro-
position, which compelled all persons, whether they drank tea
or not, to pay a tax for it, to the custom of obliging every
person in France to pay a tax on salt, but greatly in his mind
to the injury of the mild spirit of French taxation. There
was, he said, no degree of comparison on the score of necessity
between the use of salt and of tea. The latter was clearly a
luxury, and no way conducive to health, perhaps far other-
wise, as many had. thought. Salt, on the contrary, was a ne-
cessary, and, therefore, it was far less oppressive to oblige all
the_ subjects in France to purchase as much salt as it was sup-
posed a person of any given description in life would have oc-
casion for. Mr. Fox reprobated Mr. Rose's expression, that
he had a clause to bring up as a rider, at the third reading.
He declared, he never had heard such a reply come from a •
secretary of the treasury, when a bill was in progress. Bring-
ing up clauses by way of rider, was not a regular matter, but
a mere matter of resort, when any material circumstance had, ,
through inadvertency, escaped notice, till it was too late to
insert it in the body of a bill ; it was therefore an additional
reason why they ought to re-commit the bill. He said, the
great amendment he wished for was, that total and material.,
alteration of the principle of the bill, the making it optional,
and not compulsory. That alone, in his mind, could cure
the defects of it; but as he did not imagine he could prevail
on the right honourable gentleman to make that alteration, he
must join issue with the honourable baronet, who had said he
hoped, as the present was a bill of experiment, it would bemade
on ly a temporary bill. He thought it ought not to be rendered
permanent, and indeed he heartily wished the right honoura-
ble gentleman would consent to postpone going on with the
bill till the next session. A few months could make no great
difference, and the matter did not press in point of revenue.
The whole of the bill might be re-considered by the right ho-
nourable gentleman during the recess, and be brought forward
next year under considerable improvements. Mr. Fox reca.,
pitulated his several objections, viz. that the bill held out a de- -
ception to the public on a subject on which they ought to be
treated with plain dealing and with confidence; that it was
compulsory when it ought to be optional; that it ground the
face of the poor, and imposed a general tax on all persons, as


IO


1784.]
well those who drank tea, as those who did not drink it, and
that it did not appear to him likely to put an effectual end to
smuggling. Were he certain that it would operate as a mate-
rial check upon smuggling, he owned he should like it much
better; but he feared it would not. In the course of his
speech, Mr. Fox often glanced at the East India company ;
and before hasat down, he reminded gentlemen, that accord-
ing to the forms of the I louse the motion must be negatived
before they could re-commit the bill; all those, therefore,
who thought as he did, would join in attempting to negative
the proposition..


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH, AT THE OPENING Or
THE SESSION.


January 25, 1785.


T
HE king opened the session, with the following speech :


" My lords and gentlemen ;
" After the laborious attendance of the last session of parliament,


it has given me peculiar pleasure that the situation of public affairs
has admitted of so long a recess. Among the objects which now
require consideration, I must particularly recommend to your


.earnest attention the adjustment of such points in the commercial
intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland as are not yet finally
arranged ; the system which will unite both kingdoms the most
closely on principles of reciprocal advantage, will, I am persuaded,
best ensure the general prosperity of my dominions. I have the
satisfaction to acquaint you, that notwithstanding any appearance
Df differences on the continent, I continue uniformly to receive
from all foreign powers the strongest assurances of their good dis-
positions towards this country.


" Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; Z have ordered the es-
timates for the ensuing year to be laid before you ; I confide in your
liberality and zeal to grant the necessary supplies, with a just re.•
Bard, as well to the (conomy requisite in every department, asto the maintenance of the national credit, and the real exigencies
.of the public service.


" My lords and gentlemen ; the success which has attended the
measures taken in the last session towards the suppression of smug-
gling, and fair the improvement of the revenue, will encourage you
to apply yourselves with continued assiduity to those important ob-
jects. Youwill,I trust, also take into early consideration the matters
suggested in the reports of the commissioners of public accounts,
and such farther regulations as may appear to be necessary in the
-different offices of the kingdom. I have the fullest reliance on the


c3


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
2I




22 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


continuance of your faithful and diligent exertions in every part of
your public duty. You may at all times depend on my hearty
concurrence in every measure which can tend to alleviate our na-
tional burdens, to secure the true principles of the constitution,
and to promote the general welfare of my people."


An address, which, as usual, was an echo to the speech, was
moved by Mr. Philips and seconded by Mr. Gerard Noel Edwards.
The total silence which the king's speech observed, relative to the
affairs of India, called up Mr. Burke ; who adverted to what he
considered as an unpardonable omission therein. This silence,
said Mr. Burke, is indeed an alarming confession of that distress
which it forbears to mention. After dwelling for some time on
the enormous degree of profusion and peculation prevalent in our
government in the East Indies, he pledged himself in the most so-
lemn manner, to support his assertions with proofs the most irre-
fragable ; and concluded by moving the following amendment to
the address proposed : " Convinced, as we are, by the most deci-
sive and most melancholy experience, that all waste of the public
treasure, in the East Indies, immediately or mediately applicable
to the company's use, and all division of that treasure from public
service to the private emolument of individuals, must not only bring
an unsupportable burthen on the natives of those countries (mul-
titudes of whom are our fellow citizens, and ought to be the objects
of our most tender concern), but has a tendency to bring home
the same burthens on the inhabitants of Great Britain, we will, with
a care worthy of the magnitude of the objects which such an abuse
may effect, employ our most diligent researches to discover,
and our best endeavours to bring to condign punishment, the
authors of such misdemeanors, if they shall be found to exist."


Mr. Fox rose next, and began with declaring, that though
he most cordially concurred in every thing that his right ho-
nourable friend had said on the subject of India, and thought
it highly necessary that some notice should have been taken
of it in his majesty's speech, nevertheless he should give the
address his assent; and that he should do so, whether the
amendment was carried or not. He then went into a dis-
cussion of Indian affairs, declaring that he begged pardon
of the East India directors for having supposed that no sys-
tem of government for India could be so bad as that carried
on under their direction. Experience had shown, that under
the present absurd and miserable board of control as much
peculation and corruption was carried on in India as ever.
But as this subject would soon be brought forward in the
House, either for advice or elimination, he would dismiss it
for the present.


He desired not to be understood as pledging himself to
any particular measure, by giving his consent to the present
address. As far as what was in it went towards a declara-
tion that the measures lately pursued for the prevention of


thbsiliaenettiliogipangudIblic,
oing
bee
that wild, unjust, oppressive ai
een told they had; but if any t1 3). (iiilg,evleikre banur(alie)r on


had been effectual, he had no objection, because


the commutation tax, as it was called, was uum-
plied ,ntnod tehrattbbee


did not


of the measures against smug-
assent, because he held it in utter ab-


horrence. It reminded him, he said, of a language that
had been held during the administration of the Earl of Shel-
burne, of increasing the revenue by taking off taxes; an idea
as absurd as ever entered into the mind of man. The com-
mutation tax bad acted exactly in the contrary way; it had
added to the burdens of the people, without increasing the
revenues of the country.


Having stated the hardship put upon the public by the
commutation tax, and particularly reprobated it as a most
ill-timed measure, it being suggested and carried at the very
hour when the public were unavoidably to be galled by new
and burdensome taxes, Mr. Fox spoke of the unanimity
which Mr. Pitt had mentioned with so much satisfaction as
marking the proceedings of the day, and advised the chan-
cellor of the exchequer not to draw too flattering a presage
from the circumstance. He put him in remembrance that
the two last addresses at the opening of the two last sessions
of the old parliament, had been carried unanimously, and
that nevertheless the two administrations then respectively in
office, had been speedily afterwards overthrown; a circum-
stance as little to be expected by them, and as little probable
at the time, as a sudden overthrow of the present adminis-
tration was or could be. — -With regard to what had been
said on the subject of a parliamentary reform, Mr. Fox de-
clared himself a fast friend to a measure of that tendency,
but he could not but conceive that the minister's proposing
a specific proposition was the most unlikely means of obtain-
ing the end. He proceeded to remark on a letter circulated by
the reverend Mr. \Vyvill, wherein the chancellor of the
exchequer was said to have promised his support to the mea-
sure " as a man and as a minister." — Of this he required


The following is the copy of a circular letter sent by the Rev. Mr.
Wyvill, to the chairmen of the several committees of the counties and
cities associated for the purpose of obtaining a reform in the representa-
tion of the people.


" Nerot's Hotel, King Street, St. James's,
cc Sir,


" December 27, r784.
" I am authorised by Mr. Pitt to declare, that he will bring the subject


of a parliamentary reformation before the House of Commons as early ae.
possible in the next session ; that he will support his intended proposi-


c 4


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH, 23


1 7 85.1




24
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. [Jan. 25


an explanation; to support as a minister, could literally but
mean, as a servant of the king; nor could it be tortured into
any other sense, unless it applied to the exertion of an undue
influence, which the constitution did not acknowledge, and
which, therefore, he hoped the right honourable gentleman
would disavow. — He then alluded to the Westminster scru-
tiny, of which, he said, he would not at present anticipate a
future discussion; but surely every pretension to reform
was in itself a mockery, when such a power was permitted in
a returning pilicer, as to delay the return, for years perhaps,
according to his pleasure.


He then took notice of the reduction of the army, and
said, that if, notwithstanding the pacific assurances his ma-
jesty received from all foreign powers of their good dispo-
sition towards Great Britain, administration had reason to
suspect that something would, or only imagined that some-
thing might arise upon the continent, likely to affect the
interests of this country, they would do wisely not to reduce
the army ally lower. He reminded ministers of the necessity
for their keeping a wary eye over the conduct of the house
of Bourbon, and bid them look to the preservation of the
balance of power in Europe, which had ever been thought
material to the preservation of the interests of this country.
The management of the military force, he observed, was
no part of the privilege of that House, but rested in the
king and his prerogative. In fact, the army was altogether
in the hands of the executive government, and in the nature
of things, the conduct must beentrusted to the executive
government. His majesty came to that House to ask a
supply for the pay and clothing of the army, and that House


tions to the utmost of his strength, and that he will exert his whole power
and credit, as a man, and as a minister, honestly and boldly, to carry such a
meliorated system of representation as may place the constitution 'on a
footing of permanent security. I am happy to communicate this in-
telligence, which, I trust, will give _pleasure to you, Sir, and to every firm
and unquestionable friend to the rights of the people. And from recent
communication in Yorkshire, I can venture to assure you, that it is highly
probable, if the borough of , and other respectable bodies, should
be heartily disposed, on this occasion, to testify their sentiments in favour
of political reformation, a vigorous effort would be made in Yorkshire, in
concurrence with them, to give effectual support to the necessary measure
— the improvement of our representation.


" I am, with great respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
" C. Wyvill."


" As the appearance of this intelligence in the newspapers, for some
time, would do infinite disservice to the cause, I would request you to avoid
that with caution ; though, short of publication, I think it cannot be too
generally known."


Z785.]
ADDRESS ON THE RING'S SPEECH. 25


had it then in its power to check any abuse the executive
covernmen it might commit in that respect: but if it were
Po


ssible that a king of Great Britain could be imprudent
enough to keep up too small a military foi;coeh,lbinie alisnokmileignst
of alarm (which certainly was not very probable,
were generally inclined to maintain .as large an army as
their subjects would pay for), he for one should think it
expedient that the House should address the crown, and ad-
vise the having a larger army: he hoped, therefore, that
administration would not, if they saw occasion to the con-
trary, think of making a further reduction of the army. Mr.
Fox said, he hoped also, that administration would have the
firmness, if additional burdens were necessary for funding
the remainder of the national debt, and for providing an
annual surplus of the nature of a sinking fund, for the pur-
pose of diminishing that debt, to propose such measures as
were necessary. Let administration be composed of what
men it might, however opposite their political opinions, they
might rest assured of his hearty support. The objects were
great national objects, and in all such he was ready ,to agree.


Mr. Fox commended that part of the speech, which
advised the consideration of the matters suggested in the
reports of the commissioners of accounts, and said, he hoped
the consolidating the duties of the customs would be among
the matters so taken under consideration. He commended
also Mr. Pitt's intention of moving for a call of the House,
in order to procure a full attendance, when the subject of
parliamentary reform should be brought under discussion,
and said, be had it in his intention to uitro pose various motions
relative to India and other topics, which deserved the ma-
'wrest consideration. He therefore should take advantage of
the proposed call of the House, although the business of the
session .w-as likely to be so extremely important, that, in his
opinion, every gentleman who had any regard "'or the public
interests, any sense of what he owed to his country, ought
to need noof greater


the ma
sstimulativesti ulativeto attend constantly, than the


reflection and multitude of the objects that
must necessarily be submitted to parliamentary debate and
deliberation. He reprobated the issuing attachments from
the court of bkincr's bench in Ireland. If, said he, the pil-
lars of the constitution are to be sapped, and the sacred rights
of juries are to be invaded, n •
and futile.' I will not


, our expected reform is frivolous
y here,


hich say that the measure may not be ne-cessar
inexedient;


but 1 must leinsist,
and circumstances


cases,
renderp ;


are precisely and
innocence


the same. TI hThere cannot possibly


-meet
in be guiltone,


in the other; and from this truth,




26 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [Feb. o.
what alarming inferences are not to be drawn ! 'We know
the minister not to be hostile to the measure; we can there-
fore only argue, that in the violence of this procedure, he
seeks to establish a precedent which he may find useful. He •
concluded with saying, that to the address l ie gave a qualified
consent. He had interpreted it according to his own ideas;
but when it was mentioned, that the " true principles of the
constitution were to be secured," no person, in his opinion,
could vote as he did, unless convinced with him, that cause
of clanger did then exist.


The amendment moved by Mr. Burke was rejected without
a division; after which, the original address was agreed to.


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY.


February 9.


ik.
GREEABLY to the resolution come to by the House on the
8th of June last, the high bailiff of Westminster proceeded


with the scrutiny during the remainder of the session, and also
during the recess. Not quite two parishes out of the seven, into
which Westminster is divided, were finished, when the parliament
met the second time, and yet the scrutiny had then continued for
eight months. It was calculated ( taking into consideration that
one of the parishes already scrutinized was comparatively small)
that the business already gone through was not more than an eighth
of the whole. Of the votes on the side of Mr. Fox, seventy one
had been objected to in the first parish, and the objections made
good only against twenty-five : in the same parish, out of thirty-
two of the votes for Sir Cecil Wray, which were objected to,
twenty seven were declared illegal.


In the second parish, out of two hundred objected to, Mr. Fox
lost eighty : Sir Cecil Wray, out of seventy five, at that time ob-
jected to (for the examination was not closed), had sixty struck


In this state did the Westminster scrutiny again come before the
House, upon a petition from several of the electors, the 8th of Feb-
ruary, when the high bailiff, and his counsel, Mr. Hargrave and
Mr. Murphy, underwent a long examination at the bar of the
House, touching the practicability of carrying on the scrutiny,
and the difficulties and delays attending the same. The high
bailiff gave in evidence, that, calculating from what had been al-
ready done, it would take certainly not less, but probably a much
longer time, than two years, to finish the scrutiny. The day fol-


1785.]
"WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 2 7


lowing
IVIr. Welbore Ellis moved, " That it appearing to this House


that Thomas Corbett, esquire, high bailiff of Westminster, having
precept from the sheriff of Middlesex, for electing two


received
acitizens toserve in parliament for the said city, and having taken


and finally closed the poll on the 17th day of May last, being the
day next before the day of the return of the said writ, he be now
directed forthwith to make return of his precept of members chosen
in pursuance thereof." To this motion Lord Mulgrave moved an


i out. from the word " That," to, the end ofamendment, by leaving
the question, and inserting, " The speaker do acquaint the high
bailiff, first, that he is not precluded by the resolution of this House,
communicated to him on the 8th of June last, from making a
return, whenever he shall be satisfied, in his own judgment, that
he can so do : and secondly, that this House is not satisfied that
the scrutiny has been proceeded in as expeditiously as it might
have been : that it is his duty to adopt and enforce such just and
reasonable regulations as shall appear to him most likely to prevent
unnecessary delay in future ; that he is not precluded from so doin g
by the want of consent of either party, and that he may be assured
of the support of this House in the discharge of his duty." The
amendment was supported by the Master of the Rolls, Mr. Bear-
croft, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Dundas : the original motion by Mr. Tho-
mas Pelham, Mr. Montague, Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor, Mr. Lee,
Lord North, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Fox, and Mr. William Windham,
who upon this occasion addressed the House for the first time.


Mr. Fox followed Mr. Windham. He began a speech
of considerable length, with congratulating the House on
the accession of abilities they had found in the honourable
gentleman who had spoken before him. He then adverted
to the various speakers against the motion, and answered
their several arguments. He reprobated the doctrine of Lord
Mulgrave, that the Westminster scrutiny had nothing to
do with a reform in parliament. It had to do, he said, with
the reform of parliament, and was a subject which every
real lover of reform must countenance, since it amounted in
reality to the disfranchisement of the city of Westminster,
and with that of every other popular place in the kingdom.
He observed, that the chancellor of the exchequer had very
dogmatically declared, that every one who went before him
had spoken to every thing but to the question really before
the House; he would not dispute the right honourable gen-
tleman's splendid abilities; he never did it, he never would do
it; indeed, it would be absurd in him to dispute what he him-
self had always acknowledged, what the whole House ad-
mitted; indeed it would be no less absurd than to dispute the
Theright honourable gentleman's confidence in those abilities.right honourable gentleman sat out with saying, that he
was too much upon his guard to suffer himself to be betrayed




28 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY.
[Feb. y.


by any temptation, to use personal asperity to any one: he
wished that the right honourable gentleman's protestations
and his observations upon other men had been a little less at
variance; for he was sure every one who had heard the right
honourable gentleman's remarks upon Mr. Hargrave, would
think that he absolutely forgot his resolution not to use as-
perity towards any man. For his own part, he would say,
that he had never heard a more unmerited attack upon any
one : that gentleman had been praised, as being one of the
most learned, the most able, the most indefatigable and la-
borious persons of his profession; but it would seem as if
ability, learning, and diligence, were not the requisites for
an assessor ; for the House had been told that other persons
would be found much better qualified for the office. Their
qualifications not being founded on equality of professional
knowledge, learning, and industry with Mr. Hargrave, peo-
ple would be apt to inquire in what those qualifications might
consist. In his opinion, integrity was one of the most ne-
cessary in a judge, and he was sure that Mr. Hargrave pos-
sessed it in an eminent degree; he' believed, also, that Mr.
Murphy was a man of integrity ; but who could tell that
he would long continue in his present office? And what a
lesson would the minister's speech of that day be to his suc-
cessor in advising the high bailiff? Would it not say to him
in plain terms, that one assessor of inflexible integrity had
been removed; his situation had been previously rendered so
disagreeable to him, that he could not, consistently with his
own dignity, remain any longer in his office, and to crown
all, having resigned, he was held up in an odious or ridiculous
light, by the minister ? Was not this as much as to say, if an
assessor, shall presume to think for himself, he shall be pub-
licly ridiculed, reviled, and reprimanded; whilst, on the other
hand, the courtly, the complaisant assessor, who may come
hereafter, may learn the way to gain the favour, the countenance,
and the smiles of the minister—no trifling considerations with
men who must look up to government for advancement or
promotion in their profession. Mr. Hargrave was charged
by the right honourable gentleman with having been himself
very instrumental in causing the delay of which there had
been such complaint. He would ask, if since Mr. Murphy
had taken his place, the scrutiny had been conducted with
greater dispatch ? The contrary was notoriously the truth.
The right honourable gentleman could free the high bailiff
from the supposed necessity by which he thought himself
bound to make no new regulation that should not meet with
the approbation and concurrence of both parties. , Now he
would be bound to say, that the most effectual way to pro-


1785.3 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY.
29




cure dispatch, would be to induce the ,.parties mutually to
agree to regulations ; and in this Mr. Hargrave was extremely
useful, as both parties had been often induciteedatecr sctuiro-nign
resolutions, to which they previously had ei
objections, but which they were persuaded to relinquish, bythe engaging and soothing manners of Mr. Hargrave. It
had been said last year, and had been repeated that night,
that non-entities had been admitted to poll ; and that the
supposed or ostensible inhabitants, if the expression might be
used, of persons not in existence, had been stated to be prin-
cipally in St. John's and St. Margaret's. To the first part
of this he would reply, that they must be credulous in-
deed who could suffer themselves to be led away with
the idea, that puppets or figures stuffed with straw had
been produced and admitted to poll at the hustings; for
without this, the idea of non-entities polling was nonsense,
for it must be supposed, that for every name set down in the
poll books, some entity had actually appeared at the hustings.
Now, he thought it might be very easy to account for the
notion that had got abroad relative to non-entities having been
polled. When a great many persons were assembled at once
to vote, more than one at a time might give in their names
and places of abode; and in the confusion the name of the
voter might have been set down right, but the habitation of
one might be set down in the books as if it were that of
another: and, therefore, when inquiries were made for Peter
in a street, of which, by Mistake, lie was in the poll books set
down as an inhabitant, and was not found there, it was the
fashion of the day to call him a non-entity ; but it by no means


6
followed that he had not a crood vote, because by a mistake
be was set down as an inhabitant of one street, when he really
kept a house in another : and, indeed, this was not an ima-
ginary case, for it had actually happened ; and a vote was
struck off from the


set opposite to
poll,ll, because he could not be found in the


street came iu tie book ; am) yet he madetladpli.siecraorotd7 athe satisfaction of the hiu
b
li bailiff himself, that he


ote as any man in Westminster.
Having premised thus much, he begged leave to say some-


thing upon the law of the


-t.
not leave the right honoucrlaubelemngentleman at liberty to saywith truth, when


- he should have concluded, that the legality
of the scrutiny stood ummpeached. What he had to sar :-asr
educible to the following heads : Statute law—the practiceof parliament—and the


then, first, that 1
day specified


°reason of the thing. He contended
)31. statute, the writ was returnable onthe


in it; and this would appear clearly from the actQf Henry Gth, by which an action of debt was given to a per-




30 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY.
[Feb.. 9.


son aggrieved by any return ; the act provided that such ac-
tion however should be brought within three months after the
meeting of parliament. Our ancestors, who formed that act,
must have looked upon the meeting of parliament, and the re-
turn of the writ, as convertible propositions : or it would have
been absurd in them to give a man an action which could be
so easily defeated, if the practice introduced by the present
parliament had prevailed in the days of Henry the 6th ; for
the sheriff not making any return till three months, or as it.
might be in the present case, three years after the meeting,
no action could be brought against him, because by law it must
be brought within three months after the meeting, or not at
all. The next statute he would mention, was that of Wil-
liam III. which made it absolutely necessary that the sheriff
should make his return on or before the day of meeting. In
this, surely, was virtually included every inferior returning
officer, who, by making their returns to the sheriff; must en-
able him to obey his writ, ,and transmit it to the crown office
in due time before the opening of the session. It had been
said by the learned master of the rolls, that a writ for
the election of a burgess during the sitting of parliament was
not returnable within any limited time. The difference be-
tween that and the present case was very striking : the king
was supposed to know best when a new parliament ought to
meet, and, therefore, he summoned it to meet on the day
which appeared to him most proper; and it was necessary
that the Commons should be fully represented before parlia-
ment proceeded to make laws ; but it was different with re-
spect to a vacancy made by death in a House of Commons
already sitting ; for the same reason for dispatch not prevail-
ing, the act of William III. required only that the return
should be made within fourteen days after the election : but
by the new mode lately introduced, a scrutiny might be de-
manded or ordered, and as it was the continuation of the poll.
or election, the actual close of the poll not being deemed a
conclusion of the election, the precept might be held even
for years by the returning officer, notwithstanding the act of
William III.


He next maintained, that a scrutiny, protracted beyond
the exigency of the writ, was contrary to the uniform and in-
variable practice of parliament. In the great Oxfordshire
election, the sheriff granted a scrutiny, which lasted till the
day before his writ was returnable, and then closed it, con-
trary to the wishes and intreaties of the parties that had de-
manded it : he then returned all the four candidates : the
House was not angry with the sheriff; on the contrary, it sat
from day to day to determine who ought to have been returned


12


I 7 85 .]
WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 31


as
the sitting members, and pronounced in favour of Parker


and Turner, and against Dashwood and Wellman.
Lastly, he said it was contrary to the reason of the thing;


for it was left in the power of returning officers to protract the
return as they pleased (and who could find fault with or punish
them, when they declared inexorable conscience to be the
cause 'of the delay?) a packed parliament might meet for
shameful purposes ; the members of Old Sarum, Midhurst,
Thirske, Knaresborough, and the like, might take their
seats, whilst the representatives of Westminster, Liverpool,
Bristol, Newcastle, and every populous place, were not yet
elected !A scrutiny in itself was not a measure into which a return-
ing officer was bound to go, except in the city of London,
where a provision was made for it by a special act of parlia-
ment ; if he was, why was not the sheriff of Bedfordshire pu-
nished by the House for refusing it; why did not the House
call to account the returning officer of Southwark, Lancaster,
&c. who had also refused to grant a scrutiny ? And here he
begged leave to remark, that the doctrine broached by the
right honourable gentleman (the chancellor of the exchequer),
that let the bad votes be on which side they might, a scrutiny
ought to be granted, was truly dangerous; for in cases where
the majorities were very small, as in Bedfordshire, where it
was only of one, and in Southwark where it consisted of eleven,
&c. a scrutiny demanded by the person who had the minority,
and granted, would keep the legal members out of their scats,
the electors unrepresented, and leave the members of decayed
boroughs to transact the business, for which such a parlia-
ment might have been packed.


He had not a doubt, then, that as this scrutiny was con-
trary to statute law, to the practice of the House of Commons
immemorially, and to the reason of the thing, the only object
that the minister could have in view was, to harass and per-
secute an individual, whom he had honoured, by


b
°


distinauish-
ing him from amono. a number of others, to make the victim
of his resentment. He had always wished to stand well with
the right honourable gentleman : he remembered the day he
had first congratulated the House on the acquisition of his
abilities; it had been his pride to fight side by side with him
the battles of the constitution, little thinking that he would
one day desert his principles, and lend himself to be the in-
strument of that secret influence, which they had both com-
bated so successfully. He might have been prepared to find
a formidable rival in the right honourable gentleman ; a rival
that would leave him far behind in the pursuit of glory ; but
he never could have expected that he would have descended




3 2 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [Feb.9.
so low, as to be the persecutor of any man. I fancied, said_
Mr. Fox, I saw in him so much generosity of soul, so much
elevation of mind, that so groveling a passion as malice
could not have found an asylum in his breast. If he thinks
that it is merely for a seat in parliament that I am contending,
he knows me not ; but I was willing to take the hard task ol'
stemming the tide of misrepresentation, that had artfully and
studiously been disseminated through the kingdom. I was de-
sirous that the citizens of Westminster, to whom my public
measures were best known, who knew even my private thanes,:
as I had been bred, and had always lived among them, should
pass the judgment on my political conduct, and proud I am
of the issue, which has taught the more distant parts of the
kingdom that they were misled.


As to the election for Kirkwall, it was owing, he said, to
an accident; and he declared, upon his honour, that after he
had heard the greatest ornaments of this country had been sa-
crificed to the popular prejudices, when lie heard that Lord
John Cavendish had been thrown out by the citizens of York,.
that General Conway and Mr. Coke had lost their elections, he
was sorry that, by an election for any other place than West•:
minster, he had been robbed of the glory of suffering in such
company. He saw plainly, lie said, that it was a pecuniary
contest, and that his friends were to be tired out by expellees.
The scrutiny on both sides could not cost less than 30,0001.
a-year : this was enough to shake the best fortunes. His own
last shilling might be easily got at, as he was poor ; but still,
little as he had, lie would spend to the last shilling : if, in the
end, he should lose his election, it would not be, he well knew,
for want of a legal majority, but for want of money ; and thus
should he, perhaps, be deprived of his right, and the electors
of Westminster of the man of their choice, because he was not
able to carry on a pecuniary contest with the treasury. He
would not, however, withhold from them the satisfaction of
knowing, that however zealous he and his friends might he,
protraction must overcome them. His persecutors had only
to be stubborn, and they must succeed.


He said that he considered the present measure, with re-
spect to Westminster, :as a succedancum to expulsion. The
case of the Middlesex election, which had been so much re-
probated, had at least the merit of being more manly; for
here they accomplished the same end of expulsion, without
daring to exhibit any charge against the person whom they
expelled. It had been alleged that the bad votes had, on his
part, been poured forth from the parishes of St. Margaret and
St.John. Without dwelling on the circumstance, that thi s
had been said of every parish in its turn, he would appeal tai,


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 33
1 78 5'.]


the good sense of' the House, and
ask them whether they


thought him or his agents so absurd and
impolitic as, even in


the supposition of their using such means,
that they should


confine themselves to one parish only? Would they not at


least have mixed their votes, and spread diem over all
the


parishes, that they might the more readily pass unnoticed?
Those who were willing to charge his agents with the iniquity
of such means, would hardly suspect them


em thofat
the
by


folly of
cu
suc


la-
h


an arrangement of the plan.
tion of there being two hundred bad votes in the one-fourth
part scrutinised, that in the end there would be eight hundred
bad; was that any proof that his opponent would have a ma-
jority ? Had any of the proceedings warranted such a belief?
Certainly they had not ; and when the minister, who, in-
stead of an advocate, should have acted as a judge, mentioned
St. Anne's parish, he should also have mentioned St. Martin's;
but that he purposely forgot, because it would make against his
calculation. In St. Anne's, where he stated the difference to
be as five to three bad on the side of Mr. Fox, it was easily cal..
culated, and would be found to be as seven to five; therefore,
even supposing that Sir Cecil should strike off seven in every
hundred of what he had polled, and he only five out of every
hundred of his opponent's, still he should have a majority of
one hundred ; for by that mode Sir Cecil would strike off four
hundred and thirty-thu•, and he should strike ole three hun-
dred; but in St. Martin's parish the difference, on the gross
amount of the poll, was not more than thirty, and the number
disqualified on each side would be equal. But if the doctrine
was suffered of returning officers having a right to make no
return, on a scrutiny being demanded, and the appearance of
bad votes would be sufficient grounds to demand a scrutiny,
it would be in the breast of Sir Cecil Wray, or any losing
candidate, to pour in bad votes, on purpose to give a colour for
a scrutiny, and by that means keep a gentleman out Of his seat
for three or four years. Among the various reforms, which
the minister was pledged to bring forward, was one for short-
ening the duration of


-parliament ; but by the maxim adopted,
the election would last longer than the parliament. The
committee who tried the Bedford petition, did not think
themselves bound to go into the merit of the petition, butdecided the one vote in dispute, and made their officer makehis return ; so in every case that ever came before parlia-
ment, the like custom had been pursued. The right honour-
able the chancellor of the exchequer
on false facts and absurd


i
had been, he


mention the del


said, arguing
4:57s occasioa)dotbhyeses, and had not chosen to


Sir Cecil's mold


wantonVOL. in. g




34
WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [Feb.2 1785.]


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 35
objections to votes that he could not sustain. And he must
say of Lord Hood, that he had been rather patient and sub-
missive, if not negligent of the interests of the city which had
so handsomely honoured him with their choice, in not striv-
ing to do them justice in so far at least as his own seat was
concerned. His election was unquestioned by all sides, and
yet, under the same ridiculous and unwarrantable measure, he
also was kept out of his seat, and Westminster continued to-
tally unrepresented.


He concluded with declaring that if, to his astonishment,
the House should be so far infatuated by party as to forget
this night what was due to the rights of election, and the purity
of representation, the question should not sleep. He assured
them it should be brought on in one shape or another again
and again ; and he had no doubt ultimately of seeing them
come to a determination favourable to the cause of the people.


• The question being put on the motion first moved by Mr. Wel-
bore Ellis, the House divided;


Tellers. Tellers.
YEAS


I Lord Maitland
Mr. Sheridan 1


135. — Noss I Lord Mulo-rave 1 -




Mr. R. Smith 174e.
So it passed in the negative. The amendment moved by Lord


Mulgrave was put and carried ; after which the high bailiff wac •
called in and made acquainted with the said resolution.


February 21.


It appeared from this last division, that the prosecution of the
scrutiny was not defended by any thing like so numerous a majo-
rity as during the preceding session. The novelty of the case, the
fear of its being drawn into a precedent, the difficulties and delays
attending it, and the appearance, whether well or ill founded, that
it exhibited of a personal persecution, began to have their effect in
the House. It was not therefore to be expected, that a contest,
which was commenced by the opposition under the most discou-
raging circumstances, should be abandoned at the moment when
it began to take a turn in their favour. Accordingly another pe-
tition, on the 18th of February, was presented by Colonel Fitz-
patrick from the electors, praying to be heard by counsel at the
bar, in defence of their just rights and privileges, and to state new
facts, which they were not apprized of at the time of presenting
their former petition. The new facts, mentioned in the petition,
related to an offer which was made by Mr. Fox's counsel, whilst
in the parish of .St. Anne, to go next into the parishes of Saint
Margaret and Saint John (wherein Mr. Fox was stated to be
most vulnerable), but this proposition was refused by the counsel
for Sir Cecil Wray.


.On the motion made by Colonel Fitzpatrick for calling in the
counsel to be heard, an amendment was moved by Lord Frederick
Campbe ll, " that the counsel be restrained from going into any
other matter than such as may prove the evidence offered at this
bar on Wednesday, the yth of February, defective and incom-
plete ; or into such other matters as may have arisen subse-
quent to the order of the House on the said day." This amend-
ment his lordship proposed, he said, to check the counsel from


t'
arcruing against the legality of the scrutiny, which ought not now
to be impeached, as the House had already given judgment on
that head. Lord Muncaster concurred cry much with those who
wished to see an end of the scrutiny, and of the expences with
which the parties concerned were borne down ; and he believed
it was then in his power to point out a mode by which these de-
sirable objects might be attained. It had been said within these
few days, " that Mr. Fox had proposed that the scrutiny should
be carried into the parish of St. Margaret and St. John : ' if this
was true, it would greatly facilitate what he had so much at heart;
for he had then in his power to make a proposal on the part of
Sir Cecil Wray, to the right honourable gentleman, which he
would read as part of his speech. It was in substance, that Sir
Cecil wished the scrutiny should immediately be adjourned to the
parishes of St. Margaret and St. John; that Sir Cecil would then
object to four hundred votes, given to the right honourable gentle-
man by persons, stating themselves to be resident householders of
this united parish, that he would object to them, not as paupers,
or persons not rated in the parish books, but merely as not resi-
dent housekeepers, as non-entities ; that if he should disqualify so
many as that he should obtain a majority on the poll, he should
then be returned, and the right honourable gentleman would
have the liberty to petition the House ; that if Sir Cecil should
not disqualify these votes, he would then give up both the scrutiny
and the right of petitioning afterwards.


Mr. Fox observed, that as the noble lord had so personally
pointed to him, he presumed it would be expected he shouldi mmediately say something in reply to so singular a proposi-
tion. It appeared to him very singular indeed, that though
Sir Cecil Wray and himself were frequently together, he had


th
not thought'proper to communicate to him in private, or in


e vestry room, the extraordinary proposal that had been
Just read by the noble lord : it was also very singular, that
he should have thought proper to have it communicated toltloimm)kepublicly in the House of Commons. Such a proceedinghe co


nceived to be very disrespectful ; and were he inclined
a compromise on the occasion, he would not treat


the House with so much indignity as to make it a partyto
at it. As to the proposal itself; he must say he was astonished


'


the imp
Cecil


of it, and was really at a loss how to treat8proposed that the scrutiny should be imrnedi-
D 2




S 6 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [Feb. 21.
ately adjourned to St. Margaret's and St. John's. Amazing
good nature ! After his opponent had disqualified as many
votes in St. Martin's as he could, and finding it was likely
there would be, after all, a majority against him there, he was
anxious to have the scrutiny stopped in St.Martin's, and
transferred to St. Margaret's ! Here, again, he seemed to make
a candid offer, by confining his objections to those voters only
whom he should be able to disqualify, as not being resident
householders : but there was more the appearance than the
reality of good nature and candour in this proceeding; for it
was very well known that the principal objections on both
sides were to votes given, not by paupers, or non-entities, but
by those who were not such resident householders as to be
entitled to a vote. But what was transcendently candid and
good-natured in Sir Cecil was, that, beginning the scrutiny
himself in St.Margaret's, he should be returned, if he should
disqualify such a number in that parish as would give him a
majority over Mr. Fox in the numbers as they stood at the
close of the poll; and this, too, without waiting for Mr. Fox
to disqualify in return the objectionable votes that Sir Cecil
should have in the same parish. But, come what would, he
would never consent to so base a compromise : he would never
give up the right he had to have determined, by a Com-
mittee under Mr. Grenville's bill, the question of the return
on the day on which the writ, from which the high bailiff's
precept derived its authority, was returnable; and until
he should be convinced to the contrary by a resolution, he
would not believe that fifteen gentlemen could be found in
that House, who, upon their oaths, would not determine that
the power of the precept expired the moment the writ for
Middlesex was returned, and consequently that the high
bailiff ought to have returned him to that House on the


8th of May last.


Mr. Bankes approved of the right honourable gentleman's con-
duct, in not listening to any compromise in the House, whatever
he might do out of it. He wished with all his heart that there
was an end of the scrutiny, in which, unfortunately, the House had
engaged, and out of which he wished his right honourable friend
the chancellor of the exchequer fairly extricated. As to himself,
he had opposed the scrutiny both in the last and the present ses-
sion; he condemned it still, and he would always maintain it as
his opinion, however he might differ from those whom lie most
esteemed, that the return ought to have been made for Westmin-
ster, together with the writ for Middlesex. However, as the
House had ordered the high bailiff to proceed in the scrutiny, as
the end of such a proceeding was most desirable, and es gentle-
men seemed to wish only for evidence that would justify them in


1785.]
Ordering a return, lie would wish the amendment carried, in hopes
that proofs would be brought to shew, that the evidence on which
the scrutiny had been continued, by order of the House, was de-
fective and incomplete. These new proofs would, perhaps, have
the desired effects ; and then the business of the nation would no
longer be interrupted and impeded by debates on 'the scrutiny.


Mr. Fox declared it was very far from his inclination, to
impede the public business of the nation; and assured gentle-
men they had misunderstood him, when they imagined he had
said, that there shotild be applications made to parliament
every week on the subject of the Westminster election. He
had never said any such thing ; but this he had said, that at
every turn ministers would meet this scrutiny ; they would find
it standing in the way of a parliamentary reform, and defeat-
ing all its purposes; they would feel that it had raised suspi-
cions of the minister's sincerity, in declaring himself the friend
and patron of reform. It had been remarked by a learned
gentleman, that there were only a few names to the Westmin-
ster petition: he did not expect to have heard such a re-
mark; for though he might have procured thousands of
signatures, if he had invited the electors to public meeting,
he thought it would' be better to present a petition with
a few names, than to disturb the quiet of the city by a meeting
in Westminster Hall. But should such remarks be repeated
again, such a meeting might possibly be thought necessary.
He was not at all surprised that ministers should wish to be
fairly rid -of the scrutiny; it was high time for them to blush
at it, when they found themselves deserted on that question by
the most respectable of their friends, and by none more re-
spectable than the honourable gentleman who spoke last. A
learned gentleman had said, " that the House was to be haunted
day and night by the ghost of the Westminster scrutiny."
The learned gentleman had, probably, assisted at some splen,
did representations of late in which the ghost of a guilty con,
science haunted the misdoer; he might well catch the idea,
and tremble for his House of Commons that had murdered
the electors of Westminster, and left them aerial forms and
spiritual essences, without representatives; well might lie fear
to be haunted by the ghost of the scrutiny; well nicr It he fear
it would push him and his friend from their stool! Where
could lie find a man who would not tell him he was sick of his


from excessive sweetness,


not all the minister's friends tired of it? Did
nwotasthtehierre astomachs turn at it, not because it was nauseous


s ie s eetness, but from its extreme bitterness?


the beginning
ouse, did not condemn, in the most pointedterms,


learned man connected with the minister, who,
out of that I


„inning and prosecution of the scrutiny? He him-
D 3


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 37




1.38 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. • [Fa).


self had heard a few days ago, in another place, (the court of
king's bench) a learned gentleman, who knew how to treat,'
with invective in the House the declared enemies of the scru,,'
tiny, speak of that proceeding with greater disapprobation than
he could well have conceived; for he there heard him say, that
all law and sense were confounded in the scrutiny : in this the
learned gentleman was right; he could wish only that he
would endeavour to be right always and uniformly, and not find
one doctrine for the bar and another for the senate. There
was no doubt that the majority of the House most heartily
wished for the end of a proceeding that disgraced it; but how
was that to he accomplished ? Was it by rejecting both law
and reason ? By refusing to hear arguments that would make
the absurdity of the proceeding appear in glaring colours?
The poor expedient of the amendment proposed by the noble
lord, would be found truly futile, if' the learned gentlemen 4;
who were to appear at the bar, had a mind'to evade it ; and
they would be able so to connect the evidence they had now
to adduce with that which had been already given, as to in-
troduce the one whilst they were seemingly urging only the • ,
other. For his part, he did not see any expedient short of re-
scinding the resolutions already passed, to cure the wound
that had been given to the constitution ; for if the scrutiny
was to be continued to the same length that the principles
would go on which it was ordered, it would last for ever. In
discussing this point, two great general propositions would be
found to create insurmountable difficulties. One was the uni-
versal affirmative, that in every possible case whatever the
House was justifiable in granting and carrying on a scrutiny,.
when the returning officer's conscience required it. The other'
was the universal negative, that in no case whatever had the
House a power to order a returning officer to make a return,
until his conscience should be satisfied. If the latter should
be denied, what would be the consequence? Why, that the
former must stand impeached; for if the House must order a
scrutiny whenever the conscience of a returning officer called
for it, it would follow, that the House could not, consistently
with this delicate regard for conscience, compel the man to re-
turn the members as long as his conscience was undetermined ;
and therefore a scrutiny might last as long as a parliament.
From this he hoped gentlemen would perceive the absurdity
of the past proceedings of the House, and the necessity of pro-
viding a remedy for the wounded constitution of the country;
and none could be effectual but the expunging the past resolu-
tions, and entering anotherupon the journals, passing upon the
doctrines contained in them the most unreserved censure. As
to the motion of amendment made by thenoble lord, he hoped


'


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 39
1785.7


it would be rejected ; and that should a motion be made that
the


high bailiff do make his return, it would meet with no
opposition ; if it should, it was out of his power to say whatons the electors of Westminster would makefarther applications
to that House.


Alter much debate, the House divided on the amendment :.
Tellers.


Lord" MaitlandTellers.
Mr. Sheridan L4-5'Mr. Elliot 203.-NOEsYEA s [Mr. Rose S


So it was resolved in the affirmative. The counsel, Mr. Erskine
and Mr. Piggott, being then called to the bar, and.acquainted by the
speaker with the said resolution, Mr. Erskine addressed himself to
the House as follows :


' Mr. Speaker ; as my learned friend and I cannot submit to the
restraint which the House, in its wisdom, has been pleased to im-
pose upon us, without departing from the positive instructions of
the electors of Westminster, whose rights, under the law, we are
engaged and prepared, as lawyers, to assert and support, we must
beg leave to withdraw ourselves from the bar.'
They accordingly retired, and the high bailiff was called to


the bar, and examined as to the offer made by Mr. Fox's counsel
to go immediately into the parishes of St.Margaret and St.John.
The high bailiff gave in evidence, that such an offer was made, and
not accepted by the other party ; and after being examined to some
other points, he was taken very ill and obliged to withdraw.
Colonel Fitzpatrick then moved, " That it appearing to this House
that Thomas Corbett, Esq., high bailiff of the city of Westminster,
having received a precept from the sheriff of Middlesex for elect-
ing two citizens to serve in parliament for the said city, and having
taken and finally closed the poll on the x 7th day of May last,
being the day next before the day of the return of the said writ,
he be now directed forthwith to male return of his precept of
members chosen in pursuance thereof." This motion was opposed
by Mr.Dundas and Mr. Pitt, and supported by Lord North. Mr.
Pitt said, that if the new evidence was true, it certainly was imma-


scrutinyterial ; but he much doubted its authenticity ; and as the • • ' m
was now near coming to the parishes that were so ardently wished
for, he thought it1 t toug ) o proceed : if it appeared otherwise to the
House, they were at liberty to adopt different ideas ;


i
but the mat-


ter appeared so plain to him, that he should think himself
if he took


mbe cu pa-
ble
proposition.


up much of their time in pointing out so clear a


Mr. Fox said, that the lateness of the hour, and the full
and ample manner in which his noble friend Lord North had
discussed the subject, made it necessary for him to say but
few words. How any gentleman could disbelieve the evidence,he was at a loss to know; or how any person could say it had
fallen short of expectation, was strange; for it was a plain,


D 4




40 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY.
[Feb. 21.


simple fact that was not to be controverted : and as to the
circumstance of his not being present when the proposal was,
made, it was well known that both Sir Cecil and himself,
when they went out of town, left their causes in the hands of
their counsel; and Mr. Morgan had certainly given a clear,
positive answer, when he said be was not prepared. Yet it
was to be laid down that it could not be possible for Mr. Fox
to be unprepared on the Toth of June, and ready on the loth
of July; but it was possible that :Air. Morgan might be pre-
pared on the I oth of June, and not ready on the loth of
July ! That it was a matter of surprise to the high bailiff.
that the proposal was refused was plain, for he declared that
he had often since mentioned it to Mr. Grojan. But it surely
was imagined that he must be an ideot, or such an indecent'
proposal as that exhibited by Sir Cecil, through the hands of
the noble lord, could never have been made. It was nothing
more nor less_ than this—Let the high bailiff make a partial
investigation in one parish—strike off as many votes as would
give him a majority—make an instant return, and leave Mr.
Fox to petition against the merits. No : whilst he had a ma-jority on the poll, he never would submit to such an indecent
and unconstitutional measure; nor could, he by any means
consider that House as a fit party to make a compromise on
a business which, agreeably to law, ought to be decided in
his favour; for it was a fundamental principle, that he who
had the majority on the poll should be returned, and he who,
on investigation, had the most legal votes should be the sit-
ting member. He had observed, by the questions put from
the opposite side, that the, high bailiff's conduct had not
pleased them; he was rather too conscientious for them, and
not . willing to proceed in the partial manner they wished for;
it was plain that they had given him some broad hints to pro-
ceed in a manner that they were afraid to avow, and ought
to be ashamed to be seen in. With respect to the finishing
the next parish in eight days, let them do it as they wished,
and, by striking off a number, partially make a return. But
hardy and desperate as they were, he trusted they had not
courage sufficient to do that.


The House divided on Colonel Fitzpatrick's motion :
Tellers. Tellers.


1
.,. I Mr. Hussey 1 {Mr. Eliot1 E AS - 136. —Noes t Mr. SheridanMr. R. Smithl 145'


So it passed in the negative.
The same motion was again brought forward, on the 3d of


March, by Mr. Alderman Sawbridge, and the question of adjourn-
ment was moved on it by Mr. Pitt, which passed in the negative,
the numbers for the adjournment being 124, against it 162. The.


.1785.7


main question was then put and carried ; and the high bailiff on
the following day made a return of Mr. Fox and Lord Hood.


March 9.


As soon as the above question had been carried, Mr. Fox rose
and moved, " That the entries in the journal of the House, of
the 8th of June, in the last session Of parliament, of the proceed-
ings of the House, in relation to the last election for the city of
1,Vestminste r, be expunged from the said journal." The debate
upon this motion was adjourned to the 9th, on which day it was
warmly supported by Mr. Francis, Mr. Bastard, Mr. Welbore
Ellis, Mr. Powys, Mr. Anstruther, Mr. Scott, the Earl of Surry,
Mr. Adam, and Mr. Sheridan ; and opposed by the Attorney and
Solicitor General, the Master of the Rolls, Sir James Johnstone,
Sir Gregory Page Turner, Mr. Bearcroft, Mr. Rolle, Mr. Pitt,
and Lord Galway. The noble lord reprobated the Westminster
election, and insisted that Mr. Fox was not the legal member, for
he was chosen by a mob ; he had, he said, by means of a mob,
prevented the legal constituents from polling, and suffered that
mob to obtrude themselves on the poll. His lordship spoke in
such heat, that it was difficult to understand him ; the House were
out of all patience, and at last his lordship sat down, amidst the
disorder of the moment. Mr. Fox rose three times to begin his
speech, and was as often interrupted by Lord Galway, who com-
plained of the treatment he received from the House in not being
permitted to finish what he had to say. He was checked by the
chair, who told him that he was disorderly.


Mr. Fox at length got possession of the House, and began
with observing, that he was particularly pleased when he saw
the noble lora rise; for as the city of York had that day sent
up instructions to their members to vote for rescinding those
resolutions, lie was in hopes his lordship rose to obey the in-
structions of his constituents. He felt ()Teat satisfaction in
finding the electors of the city of York had not changed
t ir principles with their representative; they had felt like
Englishmen upon the proceedings of the Westminster scru-
tiny, and had instructed their representatives to vote against


to direct


ii.1;e0i ne of them, he said, from a natural love of equity, and
a due sense of the illegality of that House taking upon itself


o ftitilaiet tul,tiite ,scrutiny should be proceeded in, after the
had uniformly voted with him on every


tqhmure(stion respecting it. He said he was glad to see that the
alarm of establishing so fatal a precedent had extended itself


ghout the kingdom ; and though the city of York had
ib
een the first to take notice of it, and to instruct their mem-


_ ers to oppose the continuance of the scrutiny, he had no
doubt but a similar disapprobatiou; of it prevailed in other


WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 4 1




4 2 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [March 9.
places, because he was sure that all but those who were led
away by motives of personal pique and party prejudice could
be but of one opinion upon it. That it was illegal, that it
was unconstitutional, that it was destructive of the rights of
election, and injurious to that House, were facts so broad,
so plain, so immoveable, that all the art, all the ingenuity,
all the legal quibbles, and all the misrepresentations of the
statute and the common law, that had peculiarly marked and
distinguished the debate of that day, had not been able to dis-
guise or to conceal. The right honourable and learned gen-
tleman who spoke first on the other side of the House (the
attorney-general) had, in a most extraordinary and unprece-
dented manner, endeavoured to supply his lack of' argument
with the.


weight of authority. He bad begged the House to
believe that the proceedings upon their journals were legal.
Why? Because the right honourable and learned gentleman,


and because others in high departments of the law, had thought
proper to say they were so. This mode of appealing to a
man's own authority, in confirmation of the assertions he was
using for want of argument, was, Mr. Fox said, equally new
and unprecedented ; but it was surely a pitiful resort for any
man to fly to for shelter. When the business of the Middle-
sex election was moved to be rescinded, and erased from their
journals, he, and those who with him had voted in support of
it, had not acted in so paltr•a manner. That business had
been honoured with the support of the present Lord'Thurlow,
the late Lord Walsingham, and all the lawyers of those days,
who, at least, were as good authorities as the right honour-
able and learned gentleman, and those who sat on the same
bench with him; but they never dreamt when a proposition
for expunging the proceedings on the Middlesex election from
their journals was in agitation, of bidding the House consider
what high authorities had pronounced in their approbation;
had they done so, they would have thought they acted in a
mean and pitiful way. Mr. Fox took notice of the dark in-
sinuations the right honourable and learned gentleman had
chosen to throw out, and complained of the extrema unfair-
ness of his charging him with having protracted the poll, and
declaring that he had still his own opinion upon the subject.
In this assertion he would not take the right honourable and
learned gentleman's word. The right honourable and learned
gentleman well knew that he had no more protracted the poll
than Sir Cecil Wray had protracted the poll, excepting only
the three last days, when unquestionably he had not yielded
to the application that was made to him, of concluding the
poll for the direct purpose of iisauting a scrutiny. ' He
knew also that there was no ground whatever for his insinua-


1785.] WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. 43
tions that there could still exist a doubt as to the real quarter
from whence delay came. He knew that as fewer of his ob-
jections had failed than of the objections of the other party,he had not added to the delay of the scrutiny. If; after all
that had passed upon the subject, the right honourable and
learned gentleman had still opinions of his own, what sort of
principles would he carry to the bench with him, when he
should be made a judge ; and what security could there be had
in his administration of justice, who presumed to suggest and
insinuate opinions contrary to all they bad heard at their bar,
and contrary to the evidentia rei ?


Having expressed this with some warmth, Mr. Fox men-
tioned the advertisement in the newspapers relative to the bad
votes stated to have been discovered in the parishes of St.
Margaret and St.John, and argued upon that publication as
a publication carrying upon the face of it sufficient evidence
of the fallacious pretences that bad been urged for carrying
on the scrutiny. He also mentioned that there were but nine
days more for a petition to be presented to carry the election
to be tried by a tribunal competent to investigate it, and give
an honest and just judgment ; a tribunal, the members of
which were themselves, bound to decide upon their oaths, and
upon evidence delivered upon oath. He said, the considera-
tion of the expence alone excepted, lie heartily wished for a
petition, were it only that such-dark and injurious insinuations
as the right honourable and learned gentleman had sug-
gested, might be for ever wiped away, and their truth or false-
hood demonstrated beyond all contradiction. With regard to
what had been said in the course of the debate, as to the law
puzzling the_ plain sense of the argument, and leaving him an
ample field to enter upon, lie declared the reverse appeared to
him to be the case ; his learned friends had argued the whole
of the law and of the constitution and common sense of the
question so fully, that they had scarcely left him any thing to
say. One learned gentleman in particular (Mr. Scott) had
entered into the whole of the case with a soundness of argu-
ment, and a depth and closeness of reasoning, that perhaps
had scarcely been equalled in the discussion of any topic
within those walls that turned at all on the statute and com-
mon law, on the analogy of writs, and the sort of legal re-
ferences that had been made in the course of the debate: so
well and so ably, indeed, had that learned gentleman argued it,
that nothing like an answer had been offered to any one of
his appeals to his brethren of the long robe, or any one of
his doctrines. In truth, he was convinced, it was out of the
power of ingenuity itself to overthrow the positions laid down
by that learned gentleman, to whom he would offer no ape-.




44 WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. [March 9.
logy for any allusion he might have made to him on a for-
mer day, since having drawn forth so masterly and instruc-
tive a speech, be considered himself as peculiarly happy in
having been able to say any thing that had the good fortune
to be productive of such consequences. The only attempt
that had been made to reply to the learned gentleman had
been by his majesty's solicitor-general, who, as the learned
gentleman had stated clearly and unanswerably that the writ
carried on the face of it its object and its end, had said, that
the writ had a third, as well as the former two orders to the
sheriff. It not only directed him to chuse a person at such a


-


place to serve in parliament by such a time, but to take care that
the person returned had the majority of legal votes at the elec-
tion. Mr. Fox ridiculed this argument, and contended that it
was equally weak and absurd.


He answered some parts of the master of the rolls and of
Mr. Bearcroft's arguments; and took notice of what had been
said by Mr. Bastard early in the debate, who had expressed his
wishes that an act had been resorted to, rather than a mo-
tion to rescind the resolutions. Mr. Fox said, the reason
why he did not take that method was, his extreme difficulty
what sort of bill to frame for the purpose, and the risque that
must necessarily be run as to the getting such a bill through
the three estates. If a declaratory bill were brought in, it
would be liable to every objection to which the present motion
was liable; and if he were to bring in an enacting bill, perhaps
it would be said by the first law authorities in the other
House, (Lord Thurlow, for instance) " Why do you send
your useless bills here? To what end cram your statute books
with acts of parliament, pronouncing that to be law, which
every body knows is law already," This, he thought, as it
had been said on one occasion already, might be said again;
and he was sure,. it could not be said on any occasion more
truly, than if he were to bring in an enacting bill of the na-
ture in question, and that House were to pass it, and send it
to the lords. Mr. Fox paid Lord Thurlow great compliments
on his abilities, and said, there was also in the other House a
professional peer, venerable for his years, venerable for his
learning, his talents, and his integrity, he meant his majesty's
chief justice of the court of king's bench, whose opinions, he
believed, were the same as his own upon the subject, though
he did not speak from any secret communication. He rested
his belief that they were so, from the noble and learned
lord, who was many years since a practical lawyer, hav-
ing at that time uniformly acted upen the same ideas.
Mr. Fox concluded with an earnest recommendation to the
House, to do away the errors they had committed, and re-


6


1785.3
NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. 45


probated the idea of its being derogatory to their honour to
confess their mistake.


On a division, the numbers were,
Tellers.


S Lord Maitland Mr. Eliot
t Sir James Erskine Mr. R. Smith. 242.


So it passed in the negative. Mr. Fox, as soon as the division
was over, urged the necessity of bringing in a bill to prevent the
repetition of any such business as the Westminster scrutiny. That
was now, he said, the only means of preventing the bad precedent
of the 8th of June last being acted upon. Mr. Pitt assured him, it
was his intention early after the holidays to bring in a bill fin- the
purpose ; but he feared it would be a bill that the right honourable
gentleman would oppose, as he certainly should not be for a de-
claratory but an enacting bill.


-
NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS.


February/


N Mr. Fox's East India bill, the new commissioners were directed,
-L without delay, to examine into the origin and justice of the
claims made upon the nabob of Arcot ; and a cautionary clause
was inserted to forbid in future any of the company's servants to
acquire mortgages, or have any pecuniary transactions with the
-native princes of India. In the regulating bill of the last session,
the cautionary clause was omitted by Mr. Pitt, but the examina-
tion into the nature and circumstances of the debt is referred to
the court of directors, " as far as the materials they are in pos-
session of shall enable them to do;" and it is enacted, " that they
shall give such orders to their presidencies and servants abroad, for
completing the investigation thereof, as the nature of the case
shall require, and for establishing in concert with the said nabob,
such funds for the discharge of those debts which shall appear to
be justly due, according to their respective rights of priority, as
shall be consistent with the rights of the said united company, the
security of the creditors, and the honour and dignity of the said
nabob." The court of directors, in execution of the trust reposed
m them, prepared orders to be sent to their council at Madras, in
winch, after stating the suspicious circumstances under which
many of the debts appeared to them to have been contracted, they
direct them, in obedience to the postive injunctions of the act, to
proceed to a more complete investigation of the nature and origin
thereof: These orders being communicated to the board of con-
trol, were rejected by them, and a new letter drawn up, in which




46 NABOB OP ARCOT'S DEBTS.
[Feb. 28.


the claims of the creditors were all, with some little limitation,
established, and a fund for their discharge assigned out of the re-
venues of the Carnatic, and the priority of payment settled
amongst the several classes of creditors. At a meeting of such
of the nabob's creditors as were in England, these orders were
publicly read ; and, on the ground of this proceeding, a motion
was made in the House of Lords by the Earl of Carlisle, on the
t8th of February, " that there be laid before the House, copies or
extracts of all letters or orders issued by the court of directors, in
pursuance of the injunctions contained in the 3 7th and 38th clauses
of the regulating act of the last session." This motion, after a
long debate, was rejected by the lords without a division. On the
28th, a motion to the game effect was made by Mr. Fox in the
House of Commons. Upon which occasion,


Mr. Fox said the House was well acquainted with the mo-
tion which he was now about to propose. The public were.,
also apprised, in some measure, of its intent and conse-
quences. Whether the papers he meant to call for would
be granted or not, he would not determine ; but it was pretty
obvious how the denial would be relished by the people in
general. It seemed to be a maxim with his majesty's mi-
nisters to grant no species of information which the House
had any right or reason for urging. An honourable friend
of his had moved for a letter, in which it was roundly as-
serted, or rather avowed, that a conduct had been lately
preferred by the company's servants abroad, which was in
direct defiance of all the acts of parliament which had been
enacted on the- subject. Here was not only a gross viola-
tion of the order of the legislature, but an unequivocal
avowal of that violation. When, therefore, a paper of
such an extraordinary tendency was thus formally demanded,
his majesty's servants would not grant it for this simple rea-
son, that the substance of that letter was still under the
consideration of the board of control. Whatever weight
this might have with the House in that instance, it could
have none in the present. For the object of his motion was
specifically different, as it regarded papers, which recorded not
any thing under contemplation, but that which was finished
and complete. He augured ill of the board of control, from
the moment they appeared thus peculiarly shy of their com-
munications; and every ill omen which had presented itself
to his mind, their conduct had literally justified. Why this
aversion to submit their actions to the inspection of their
countrymen ? Why thus treat the House, who had treated
them with so much distinction, as to place the whole of this
trust unconditionally in them ? Did such a proceeding tend
to conciliate attachment, or promote confidence? Or, was


17853
NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. 47j$,'


it
not natural to all honest men, from the aspect which marked


the whole of their conduct, that something was wrong, or at
least doubtful?


That no intelligence of any kind whatever,
relating to the state of a country so remote, and so momentous
to the British empire, had transpired in the speech from the
throne, had a very suspicious appearance, and marked strongly
the tenor of conduct adopted by the board of control, and the
servants of the crown. How such a mode of secreting from
the nation an object thus important, would suit the humour
of the House, he would not pretend to say ; but he saw it
would produce infinite trouble to individuals, as well as much
general speculation. Within these few years the public atten-
tion had naturally been much turned to the affairs of India,
which were so involved with those of Great Britain, that
whoever felt an interest in the former, could not regard the
latter with indifference; in consequence therefore of this
general curiosity and interest, three different plans had been
proposed for better regulating the affairs of India. These
plans he specified as having Mr. Dundas, Mr. Pitt, and him-
self, for their respective authors. The one proposed by the
right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had alone
received the sanction of the legislature. But he mentioned
them only, to remark this circumstance to the House, that
materially as all of them differed in most of the topics, and
chiefly in the principle to which they were directed, yet on
the subject of the nabob of Arcot's debts, they so far coin-
cided as to express almost the same language, the same ideas.
The bill brought in by the right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer provided, that whatever debts were due
to the servants of the company by any of the Indian princes,
should be investigated, and made an object of special inquiry,
prior to any step whatever being taken to effect payment.
The whole provision to this purpose was highly deserving the
attention of the House.


He then said, that the motion he was now about to urge,
went to a direct crimination of the new board of com-
missioners, as acting in flat opposition to the late act of par-
liament, which, in this instance, at least, whatever otherwise
he might think of the bill, was wise and unexceptionable.
It was calculated to put a check where it was most wanted,
and where it would certainly operate to most advantage. He
(‘1,ihdonoktntehwiltiikie iitlitonseciessaif'y to state for the information of those
those who




of India, what however would surprise
Ntvo bodricl: not. Nothing was more common, than for:


mia. adniya, pteo brsons who left this country, when neither in a con-
inborrow great sums nor lend them, on their arriva


all at once creditors to the first princes in




4 8 NABOB or ARCO • 'S DEBTS. [Feb. 28..
that country, and that to a very considerable amount. This
well-known fact would naturally lead to many conjectures.
Thus much, at least, was obvious an(' indisputable ; that such
pecuniary obligations could not take place, but on the sup-
position, that some services were thus Vired, which it was not
the fashion, or convenient, to own.


He next went into a statement of the nabob of Arcot's:
debt, with a view, by illustrating the several articles of which
it consisted, separately to sinew which of these were most in-
titled to immediate payment. This, he contended, was in,
perfect conformity to the spirit of the late act, which instituted
that inquiry should precede payment. And whatever should
be the fate of the present motion, or the complaisance of the
minister to the requisition, and the necessity of the House
with respect to the information required, he was happy, as he
trusted every member who wished well to the public would be,p
that a copy of the identical papers which he called for was
before the public, and that Mr. Debrett had done that for the
public which the board of control, as well as his majesty's
ministers, had refused, though urged with great propriety ,
and from motives of necessity, to do either for the company
or parliament. To this publication he referred, as containing an
accurate and systematic view of the subject. It was an inquiry,
he said, to which every well-principled mind would unavoidably
press to discover the origin, occasion and justice of those debts
which were due to individuals from the nabob of Arcot. The
board of directors, as they had often done, had ordered a
strict inquisition to be made ; and from the facts which should
be brought forward, in consequence of that inquisition, some
plan of arrangement might take place. But this new board
of control had over-ruled the resolution of the directors ; and
in flat defiance of'what the directors had thus formally enacted,
had resolved forthwith to admit that the claims, which were*
at best suspicious, or unknown, should supersede those which
were known .and valid. This was the great question to which
he begged the attention of the House, as also to the various
papers which he should read on this subject. It was a cir-
cumstance which could hardly escape the attention of the
House, that many of these debts bore date from the time
when the presidency of Madras entered the Carnatic by an
army, and attacked the kingdom of Tanjore, as it was well
known, and at the express instance of the nabob of Arcot.
He desired this fact might be seriously considered ; he de-
sired that it might be coupled with a variety of things which
had since taken place, and especially with the order of the
new board of commissioners, which his motion was intended•
to bring under the cognizance of the public and of the House.


NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. 491785.]
It had always appeared to him, and he had always stated it
./s one of the greatest preventives to the authority of the
direction operating with dignity and effect, that the servants
had, by peculation and intrigue, acquired a sovereignty over
their masters. Here, then, was the same dreadful and pre-
vailing evil still predominating ; and this additional board,
instead of strengthening the old government, enfeebled it, by
relapsing into the only radical flaw in the original constitu-
tion ; for he was aware no man would stand up in his place,
and give such an account of these debts as would correspond
with principles of justice between man and man. Yet such
were the debts which the new board among its first acts,
and to the detriment of debts actually due, had put in a
train of payment ! So that unless the House of Commons, or
the legislature, interfered, and set aside the order, it would
inevitably become final.


In urging this question, therefore, he was not hastily attacking
either individuals, the nabob of Arcot, or the commissioners,
but pleading the cause of the public. The arrangement of the
debts due to individuals he selected chiefly under those of the
old debts, the new debts, and the debts of the company. 'With
the first of these he agreed in substance, and should not
make any animadversions on that part of thelnatter. He was
more peculiarly interested in those which were denominated
the new consolidated debt, and the pretensions on which the
payment of them was demanded. He concurred with all who
had given any deliberation to the subject, in thinking some-
thing doubtful or unaccountable in the accruing of them.
He mentioned the directors and the board of commissioners
particularly, as holding the same language ; it struck him
forcibly that, after stating their reasons for hesitating on the
matter with great plausibility, and laying down a variety of
premises, which led to quite an opposite conclusion, they came
all at once to the absurd, or at least most unexpected one,
which he trusted this House would reprobate. They allowed
that those debts were not recommended by the same forciblo
reasons, which operated in the other case. They owned
themselves much at a loss concerning their authenticity.
They stated strong dislike, as if truth extorted it from them,
whenever these debts were mentioned ; but what would the
Rouse expect should be the result of all this? That they


hypothetical


cy ssef (ibeent
satisfactorily discharged.




ueee ntiinclined to defer the settlement of debts thus
only, till such as were not could be fully and


. This, one might imagine, would
he conclusion of their statement. But it was quite


the reverse.


isc aig


else. They ordered indiscriminate payment of all,




50 NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. [Feb. 23.
The motives for such a decision were singular and various.
One was, that the nabob's debts might be no longer kept a-float.
But how this discharge would prevent that consequence, he
was at a loss to conceive. However, he owned himself struck
by what follows : " When we consider how much the final
conclusion of this business will tend to promote tranquillity, -
credit, and circulation of property in the Carnatic:" All this
he perfectly understood. It was precisely in the spirit of the
general character which had distinguished the conduct of the
company's servants in the Asiatic settlements. This order
would naturally prove to them satisfactory, and consequently
promote tranquillity. It would have a similar effect, he pre-
sumed, on circulation,. in the Carnatic, as it would take out
of the nabob's pocket, and put • into that of the company's
servants. They added, " When we consider that the debtor
concurs with the creditor in establishing the justice of these
debts consolidated in the year 1777, into gross sums, for
which bonds were given, liable to be transferred, different from
the original creditors." On this it was concluded, that no
good can result from an unlimited investigation. This was
dispatching the wisdom of the legislature in a very summary
way, as it was saying in effect — We know the act of par-
liament says so and so ; but this also we know, that the pro-.
vision is useless and unnecessary. At the same time they
order that complaints which they limit, be admitted, these are
directed to originate only with the nabob himself, or such of


other creditors as by this arrangement may deem them-
selves injured. These were substantial reasons in abundance,
which would always render the nabob's complaints sufficiently
accommodating, not to create any alarm or uneasiness what-
ever ; but the creditor who was most injured, and who had
actually preferred her complaint, was the East-India company.
Her case was well known to the public, and especially to every
individual who had made her affairs any object of his attention;
and he virtually barred the claim of these debts, even supposing
it valid.


This was the purport of the motion, to impress the House
with the absurdity and injustice of the preference which had
been given to private, where public interest was so notorious
and urgent. He then stated the consequences of this false
step; it went to an implicit acquiescence with all the fraudu-
lent conduct which had brought so much disgrace upon this
country in that part of the world: he would not impute any
bad intention to the gentlemen of the board; but the decision
which, on this very pressing matter, had been come into,
filled him with astonishment and concern : he knew not how
to account for it; but it would undoubtedly be considered


785:3 NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. j L


abroad as encouraging and patronising all those mal-practices
and peculations for which the servants of the compaey have
been so much blamed. It did not adopt the maxim in so
many words, but, however, indulged the principle; it would
prove the truth of his observations by its future operations,
as it would furnish a precedent to men of a certain descrip-
tion, which would have all the force of a statute, and which
it would not be very easy for any board of direction or con,
trol henceforth to dispute. Such, he said, were the conse,
quences which this inauspicious measure, both for India and
Great Britain, seemed calculated to effect; it therefore seemed,
in his mind, a very proper subject for the interference of the
House; it was an instance which plainly shewed how wisely
the power of cognizance was lodged by the constitution in the
House of Commons.


Concerning that part which respected the crop of i775,
it was evident that the rajah of Tanjore paid the nabob of
Arcot the arrears and the tribute, with the interest due
thereon ; but it was a matter of justice, that the man who
sowed should reap, or that he should have the profits of his
own harvest. The right honourable gentleman then entered
again on the first topic of his argument, and added a farther
observation on the debts of the nabob of Arcot. He said,
that the faction, though sometimes supported by the direc-
tors, and sometimes by the proprietors, yet still kept up
their friendship for him; perhaps it might be their fear of
him, or of the servants in India; for it was clearly evident,
that the orders of the company were never enforced, and
that the culprits were not brought to justice, even by the
most factious of the proprietors; or the most daring of the
directors ; nor did they attempt to have any legal authority
whatsoever, under which it was their duty to act. The
board of control was now suspected, and there were certain
papers in the possession of his majesty's ministers, which
would either bring home the criminality, or exculpate those
suspected persons. The point thus lying between the di-
rectors and the board, it was certainly become an easy mat-
ter for government to prove to the House whether those
charges were founded in falsehood or in truth, and whether
the spirit of the act of parliament had been attended to, and
its letter obeyed. It was, in fact, the only mode by which
the legislature could arrive at an authenticated information,
whether those into whose hands they had given the business
of India had betrayed their trust or not. It was the duty of
the House to watch those servants whom they had employed,
.and to judge of the measures which were adopted by the fruit
they produced; as it was evident, that nothing but the most.


E 2




52 NABOB OF ARCOTS DEBTS. [Feb. 28.
effectual and coercive acts would tend to do any service in
India. The gentlemen in administration knew this to be
the fact, and they confessed it when their bill was brought
into parliament. He begged, therefore, of the right honour-
able gentleman (Mr. Dundas) to come forward and defend
his measures, on producing the papers called for. But he
trusted that, as the subject was a matter of consequence to
the kingdom, he should not be answered by invective, and
told, " that which you have done is worse than what we
have done."


He requested the House to consider, that if his bill had
any merit, which could not be controverted even by sophistry
itself; it was the merit of making the House judges in all-cases,
and hiding no transaction whatever from the view of . the
public: this undoubtedly was, and in the end it would be
found so, the only way of truly governing the people of ,
India. Darkness was the shelter under which all the iniqui-
tics of the servants of the company were hid; and to make
visible the conduct was the true method of correcting their
-vices, and doing justice to the public. A detail of India
business, it was true, came but with a bad prospect of atten-
tion at present. Men's minds were taken up on much more
important subjects. Their dearest interests, their most va-
luable privileges were now at stake, and engrossed their
principal thoughts; but still it must be recollected, that
India, though removed at a great distance, yet, in its pre-
sent state, and from the late alarming accounts of the system
-of plunder, peculation, and resistance to legislative authority
continuing, it became a matter of importance. If the pa-
pers which he should call for were produced, he pledged
himself not to shrink from the inquiry ; and that he would
so far do justice to the public, to the directors, to the board
of control, to his


as
ministers, and to the servants


of the company, s to obtain from the House a decision
which should either exculpate or criminate. Should it prove
an acquittal, then all the glory, and let them have it, would
be to the framers of the late bill; and surely if the inquiry
was not dreaded, the motion he intended to make would be
acceded to. There was a large arrear of authentic intelli-


••aence due to the House, and the public looked for it. They
looked for it, because a kind of jealousy arose on account
of the many eager, warm, anxious, and zealous supporters
of the servants of the company in India, who sat in parlia-
ment. But this phalanx did not deter him, nor was he afraid
of the present House of Commons. Five hundred and fifty-
eight gentlemen would not be deaf to- reason, nor shut their
eyes and their cars to truth. They would listen to the voice


17851 NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. 5 3


of truth ; they had done so on a late occasion, and he had no
fears for their determination on the present. However par-
tial they might be to the general politics of the minister, yet
on particular occasions, they would not fail to recollect that
they were the representatives of the people.


He again repeated his intreaties that ministers would open
their minds, judge by the merits of the case, and therefore
not withhold that information from the House, which it was
so very requisite the House should have: . There was a con-
nection between the public revenue of this country and the
India company, which bound us in such a manner to pay
their debts, that common honesty required ministers not to
deny those papers, which were necessary to prove what had
been done in consequence of the act passed in the last session
of parliament. He begged that the House would look to
the debt of two million and a half, due to the Bombay pre-
sidency, which at present was not put into any mode of pay-
ment„ and the bonds in consequence were so reduced, that
they sold at 6o1. per cent. discount; districts indeed had
been given as security, but those districts, by the hand of
power, were taken away; and the claim of a number of sus-
picious private creditors were preferred to the public debt,
against which there was not any proof whatever, nor even
the smallest idea of fraud. This surely was a most serious
object of inquiry, and it was a matter which he wished the
whole court of directors to hear. The chairman, he ob-
served, was behind him, and it made him happy to find him
there, because he could give his opinion whether he thought
this new board of control had acted with fidelity or not, to
that trust which the House had so confidentially committed
to their care. Matters of accounts could not be made too
public; and this was an aphorism well known to the House.
There were-two purposes to which his motion tended, and
he wished the House to consider them well—The crimina-
tion of the board of control, or an amendment of the act
of parliament. He then moved, " That the proper officer
do lay before this House, copies or extracts of all letters and
orders of the court of directors of the united East India
company,


in pursuance of the injunctions contained in the
37tH 38th clauses of the act passed in the last session of
parliament, for the better regulation of India."


The motion was seconded by Mr. Francis, and supported byMr. Burke, in a speech, which, notwithstanding the unpromising
nature of the subject, was supposed to be one of the most elo-quent


that was ever made in either House of parliament. The
task of opposing the motion and defending the board of control,


i 3




54
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. EFebd 22. 1785.]




IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. SS
was undertaken. by Mr. Dundas. On a division, -the ntunbett
were,


Tellers. Tellers.
I Lord MaitlandYEAS NoEs C Mr. EliotSir James Erskine C '9 ' 1. Mr, R. Smith


So it was resolved in the negative.


IRISH COYIMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


February 22.


PREVIOUS to the meeting of the Irish parliament, in January1785, the British cabinet, in concert with commissioners
appointed on the part of Ireland, had formed a plan for regulat-
ing and finally adjusting the commercial intercourse between the
two kingdoms. On the 7 th of February, Mr. Orde, the secretary
to the lord lieutenant, announced this system to the House of
Commons, and on the i th, a set of resolutions, which he had
before laid on their table, were moved and agreed to by the House
without much discussion, and without any material alterations: -
The concurrence of the House of Peers being soon after obtained,
these resolutions were immediately transmitted to England, as the
proposed basis, on the part of that country, for an equitable and
final adjustment. — Almost immediately after their arrival, the
business was opened in the British House of Commons, by Mr,
Pitt., who, on the 22d of February, moved, " That the House will
immediately resolve itself into a committee of the whole House,
to consider of so. much of his majesty's speech to both Houses of
parliament, upon the 2 5 th of January last, as relates to the ad-justment of the commercial intercourse between Great Britain
and Ireland." This motion being carried, the various papers on
the table relative to Ireland, were referred to the committee ; and *,
the Speaker having left the chair, Mr. Gilbert took his seat at the
table. The eleven resolutions agreed to by the Irish parliament
were then read as follow :


" Resolved, I. That it is highly important to the general in,
terest of the British empire, that the trade between Great Britain
and Ireland be encouraged and extended as much as possible ; and
for that purpose, that the intercourse and commerce be finally set-
tled and regulated on permanent and equitable principles for the
mutual benefit of both countries.


2: " That towards carrying into full effect so desirable a settle,
merit, it is fit and proper, that all articles, not the growth or ma-
nufacture of Great Britain or Ireland, should be imported into
each kingdom from the other, reciprocally, under the same re-
gulation, and at the same duties, if subject to duties, to which
they are liable when imported directly from the place of the
growth, product, or manufacture ; and that all duties originally paid


importation into either country respectively, shall be fullyondrawn back on exportation to the other.


sho
" That for the same purpose, it is proper that no prohibition


uld exist in either country, against the importation, use, or sale
of any article, the growth, product, or manufacture of the other ;
and that the duty on the importation of every such article, if sub-
ject to duty, in either country, should be precisely the same in the
one country as in the other, except where an addition may be ne-
cessary in either country, in consequence of an internal duty on
any such article of its own consumption.


4. " That in all cases where the duties on articles of the growth,product, or manufacture of either country, are different on the
importation-into the other, it would be expedient that they should
be reduced in the kingdom where they are the highest, to the
amount payable in the other, and that all such articles should be
exportable from the kingdom into which they shall be imported,
as free from duty as the similar commodities or home manufactures
of the same kingdom.


5. " That for the same purpose it is also proper, that in all cases
where either kingdom shall charge articles of its own consumption,
with an internal duty on the manufacture, or a duty on the mate-
rial, the same manufacture, when imported from the other, may
be charged with a farther duty on importation, to the same amount
as the internal duty on the manufacture, or to an amount adequate
to countervail the duty on the material, and shall be entitled to
such drawbacks or bounties on exportation, as may leave the same
subject to no heavier burden than the home-made manufacture ;
such farther duty to continue so long only as the internal consump-
tion shall be charged with the duty or duties, to balance which it"
shall be imposed, or until the manufacture, coming from the other
kingdom, shall be subjected there to an equal burden, not drawn
back or compensated on exportation.


-6. " That in order to give permanency to the settlement now
intended to be established, it is necessary, that no prohibition, or
new or additional duties, should be hereafter imposed in either
kingdom, on the importation of any article of the growth, product,
or manufacture of the other, except such additional duties as may
be requisite to balance duties on internal consumption, pursuant
to the foregoing resolution.


" That for the same purpose it is necessary farther, that no
prohibition, or new or additional duties, should be .


hereafter im-
posed in either kingdom, on the exportation of any article of na-
tive growth, product, or manufacture from thence to the other,
except such as either kingdom may deem expedient, from time to
time, upon corn, meal, malt, flour, and biscuits ; and also ex-
cept where there now exists any prohibition which is not reci-
procal, or any duty which is not equal in both kingdoms, in
every which case the prohibition may be made reciprocal, or the
duties raised so as to make them equal.


" That for the sane purpose it is necessary, that no boun-
ties whatsoever should be paid, or payable, in either kingdom, on
the exportation of any article to the other, except such as relate to


E 4




IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 57
I 785..1


56 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[Feb. 22,


corn,- meal, matt, flour, and biscuits, and such as are in the
nature of drawbacks or compensations for duties paid, and that no
duty should be granted in this kingdom on the exportation of any
article imported from the British plantations, or any manufacture
made of such article, unless in cases where a similar bounty is pay.
able in Britain, on exportation from thence, or where such bounty
is merely in the nature of a drawback or compensation of, or Cot
duties paid over and above any duties paid thereon in Britain.


9. " That it is expedient, for the general benefit of the British
empire, that the importation of articles from foreign states should
be regulated from time to time, in each kingdom, on such terms
as may afford an effectual preference to the importation of similar
articles of the growth, product, or manufacture of the other.


lo. " That it is essential to the commercial interests of this
country to prevent, as much as possible, an accumulation of na-
tional debt, and therefore it is highly expedient that the annual
revenues of this kingdom should be made equal to its annuals
expenses.


I . " That for the better protection of trade, whatever sum the
gross hereditary revenue of this kingdom (after deducting all draw-
_backs, repayments, or bounties, granted in the nature of draw-
backs) shall produce, over and above the sum of 656,coot. in each •
year of peace, wherein the annual revenues shall be equal to
the annual expenses, and in each year of war, without regard to
such equality, should he appropriated towards the support of the
naval force of the empire, in such manner as the parliament of this
kingdom shall direct."


As soon as the above resolutions had been read, Mr. Pitt rose,
and concluded a speech of considerable length with moving " That
it is the opinion of this committee, that it is highly important to
the general interest of the empire, that the commercial intercourse
between Great Britain and Ireland shall be finally adjusted; and
that Ireland should be admitted to a permanent and irrevocable
participation of the commercial advantages of this country, when
the parliament of Ireland shall permanently and irrevocably se-
cure an aid out of the surplus of the hereditary revenue of that
kingdom towards defraying the expense of protecting the general
commerce of the empire in time of peace." In the course of his
speech, Mr. Pitt took a review of what had


. already been granted
to Ireland by the British parliament, and observed, that the con-
cessions now proposed to be made to that kingdom, ill order to put
the two countries on a fair and equal footing, he should reduce to
two heads : First, the importation of the produce of our colonies in
the West Indies and America through Ireland into Great Britain.
Second, a mutual exchange between the two countries of their re-
spective productions and manufactures, upon equal terms. With
regard to the first, he allowed it had the appearance of militating
against the navigation laws, for which England had ever had the
greatest partiality. But as she had already allowed Ireland totrade
immediately and directly with the colonies, he could not sec how
the importing of the produce of those colonies circuitously,through
Ireland into Great Britain could injure the colonial trade of this


which was a direct one, and therefore to be made at a


Irsnet;;Perice and risque,
than that which was circuitous. In re-


turn for these concessions on the part of Great Britain, he pro-
posed that- Ireland should agree to the payment of a certain
stipulated sum, yearly, out of the surplus of her hereditary re-
venue, towards defraying the general expellees of the empire.


he would not take up a great deal of thesaid, he


as be meant not in that stage of the


btitsi\lielnliss to go into a
discussion of the propositions, a matter


that would unavoidably lead him into great length ; nor would
he debate the general resolution before the committee, which


glad they were not called upon that day to decide byhe
aste",since it extended to the whole of the resolutions thathad been read, and comprehended the extreme of the extra-


ordinary system, the outlines of which had been explained to
the committee. He rose, he said, in consequence of some al-
lusions which the right honourable gentleman had made, he
supposed, to what he had said in a former debate on the subject
of the propositions having been stated to the parliament of
Ireland, before they were opened to that House. No man,
Mr. Fox declared, thought more highly of the right honour-
able gentleman's abilities than he did ; but nothing he had
said that day had in the least altered his opinion of the-mat-
ter lie had just alluded to. He thought it not only highly in-
decent and disrespectful that the propositions had not been
first opened to that House, but a circumstance that might
produce consequences of the most mischievous nature. As
the business had been managed, there might be, indeed it was
true, there would be, some mischief arise if that House did
insroete atgoraknee tothe propositions; and yet, mischievous as he was


ow edge it would be, he, for one, was afraid that
the should clot it. th e able, to give them his consent. Convert


proceeding, and then let the right honour-
able gentleman see how the matter would have stood. Find
the proceeding originated in that House, and had they agreed
on any propositions as the basis of a system-of intercourse with
Ireland, and the parliament of Ireland had afterwards refused
its concurrence in those propositions, they would have been
then but where they were when they set out, and no great harm
Would have been done. The case was far otherwise at present.


singular instance of ingenuity, that, ill opening the outlines of


the
Mr. Fox, after this remark, said, it had struck him as a


his majesty's Ministers, the right honourable gentleman had
contrived to do away a good deal of what had been said upon


in
the subject in another speech, delivered in another assembly ;


system of intercourse with Ireland in the contemplation of


ced, the right honourable gentleman's speech, by far the





58 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITION'S.
[Feb. 22.,


greater part of it, had been little else than an answer to the
speech- of Mr. Orde in the Irish House of Commons; but,
after having read the one, and heard the other, he must do
Mr. Orde the justice to say, that he thought he had de-
fended the propositions, and argued upon them infinitel3
better than the right honourable gentleman. It was not,
however, a little curious to observe, in how different a manse,
the minister in Ireland and the minister in England had re-
commended the same propositions to two different parlia-
ments. In Ireland they had been stated as highly advanta-
geous to that country, as putting it upon the same footing
with Great Britain, and rendering it an emporium of trade,
and the source and supply of the British markets. In Eng-
land, and in that House, they had been told, the system was
advisable, and the propositions were such as this country
might gladly accede to — why? " Because it gives Ireland no-
thing but what it had before; because Ireland cannot rival
you ; because Ireland is poor and feeble; and because Ire-
land must remain so, if not for ever, at least for a considerable-
length of time."


Having urged this, Mr. Fox said, he was not certainly pre-
pared, nor was that a fit moment for him to enter at large
into his objections to the several propositions, but he enter-
tained many, and those of a nature not very easy to be re-
moved. Some, in fairness and in candour, he would hint at.
Among others, the fifth proposition struck him as liable to
great objection, and as likely, in its operation, to contradict
and destroy the very principle that had been stated to be that
on which all the propositions were founded. He entered into
a discussion of the nature of what was termed the countervail-
ing duties, and put the case of a piece of broad cloth about
to be imported from the country in which it was made. This
he argued to its conclusion, and urged that its result would be
a direct contravention of the principle of all the resolutions,
and a conversion of an established maxim of commercial po-
licy. Mr. Fox also asked how, if the propositions were
adopted, they were to guard against the produce of the colo-
nies of foreign states being first smuggled into Ireland, there
put on board Irish or British bottoms, and so brought into
the ports of this kingdom ? He said that large quantities of
rums, sugars, and much other produce of foreign powers
might thus be smuggled into Great Britain. The whole ten-
dency of the propositions appeared to him to go the length of
appointing Ireland the sole guardian of the laws of naviga
tion, and grand arbitress of all the commercial interests of
the empire; a trust which he felt no sort of inclination to
part with out of our own hands; not even to Ireland, of whose


II]
IRIS COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


I785•


generosity, loyalty, and gratitude no titan entertained a higher
Opinion.Having given, what he called, hints of several of his objec-
tions, Mr. Fox proceeded to the defence of Lord North and
himself from the attacks of Mr. Pitt on the score of the con-
cessions they had severally made to Ireland formerly. He said,
when the right honourable gentleman opened his speech, he had
given him very great pleasure ; but he soon took care effectu-
ally to remove that satisfaction. When he had heard the righthonourable gentleman solemnly express a hope that there was
a disposition in all parts of the House to unite in a business of
so much serious importance, he had taken it for granted he
should not have heard any thing like personal attack and per-
sepal provocation from him that day ; but the right honour-
able gentleman had soon undeceived him, by talking of ca-
lumniatory publications industriously circulated, and by mak-
ing a most uncalled-for attack upon his noble friend. At the
same time that his noble friend had made the propositions to
the committee in 1779, undoubtedly he had himself thought
great blame was clue for the having suffered the affairs of Ire-
land to remain unadjusted thus long, and a share of that blame
he had then said, and always would say, was imputable to the
noble lord; but by no means was the noble lord alone to
blame. There were those now sitting near the right honour-
able gentleman who, at that time, lived in confidence with the
noble lord, and supported his measures ; to them he appealed
for their opinions of his noble friend's conduct, and whether
they had not approved of the concessions he had proposed to
that House as proper to be made to Ireland ? The House
in general had approved of them, and he himself among
others. With regard to the resolution he had brought into
the House, to which the oright honourable gentleman had ad-
verted, that resolution, if he did not quite forget the circum-
stance, did not originate with his majesty's minister, but
was the consequence of an address from one or other of the
Houses of Lords, either here or in Ireland. There were
those now in office who were at that time in office with him,
and he perfectly recollected that the resolution was shewn to
the whole administration, who, at the time, approved of it.
Those to whom he alluded were Lord Camden, Lord Sidney,
and the Duke of Richmond ; but sure he was, at that time,
sntoutholeixetorafvtah,eacilit Tit in contemplation to proceed to any


Length of concession to Ireland as the system
opened to the House that day would go. Mr. Fox said far-
ther, in defence of Lord North's concessions, that the first
secular officer of the crown at that time had also been in the
-same situation when his noble friend came forward with the




GO IRISH COIUMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[Feb. 22


resolutions of 1779, and thephad his approbation and con.
sent.


Before he concluded, lie referred to what Mr. Dempster
had said, declaring, that he hoped the House would not be
so disgraced as to have the doctrine of his honourable frien
avowed by any minister, namely, that the dissentions in Ire-
land rendered such an extent of concession, on the part of
Great Britain, necessary. He regarded the late proceedings
there with a view to prevent the holding of the meetings
of the delegates as highly unconstitutional. He said he should
consider it as no answer to hear it said, " the laws of Ire-
land are not the same with those of this country." The sta-
tute law might differ in particular cases, but the common
law was the same in both countries, springing from the same
source, governed by the same precedents and the same usages,
bearing the same analogy, and administered in courts pre-
cisely similar in their Constitution to the courts of 'Westmin-
ster hall. 'What the common law of England, therefore,
would not countenance and warrant, the common law of;
Ireland, lie was persuaded, would neither countenance nor
warrant : but be that as it might, he hoped that House was
not to be told, that, from motives of apprehension and timi-
dity, on account of the feuds and dissentions in Ireland, it be-
came necessary for Great Britain to purchase her tranquillity
at the expellee of her trade, her commerce, and her naviga-
tion. He declared he differed with the chancellor of the
exchequer, Coto ccdo, as to the points in which the right ho-
nourable gentleman had said he would trust Ireland, and
those in which he chose to " make assurance double sure :"
Mr. Fox said he would trust every thing to her generosity,
but not much to her prudence. Ireland would always give
Great Britain every possible assistance when she had it in her
power; but she might not act in moments of difficulty with
a degree of wisdom equal to the exuberant gratitude of her
nature. He said he would not challenge the truth of the
declaration of the right honourable gentleman, that Ire-
land would be perfectly satisfied, and would ask no more of
this country, after the proposed concessions were made ; this
might be true, for the best of all possible reasons, &c. because
this country would have nothing left to concede. He re-
peated, that he believed he should be under the necessity of
opposing the propositions, but he did most earnestly de-
precate the idea, that because the parliament of Ireland lmd
agreed to the propositions, and because the rejecting them
would be productive of some mischief, that House was to be
precluded from freely debating them, and exercising their


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
1785'3


°pillions as,
became them as members of parliament to exert


cite them for the good of their constituents.


The further consideration of the Resolution was postponed.' The
chairman was desired to report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
A.


fortnight elapsed before the subject again made its appearance ;
daring which interim a report, prepared by a committee of the
board of trade and plantations, was laid by the minister upon the
t
able of the House of Commons, to assist its deliberations. This
report was'stated to be founded upon the declarations and opinions
of some of the' principal manufacturers and merchants in the king-
dom, who had been examined by the above-mentioned committee ;
and its particular object was to prove the expediency of that part
of the system which related to reducing the duties payable upon
the importation ot Irish produce and manufactures in Great Bri-tain, to what the same sort of articles were charged with in this
country. In the mean time, the merchants and manufacturers
who had been examined before the committee, joined by great
numbers of' others from every part of the nation, met together forthe purpose of taking the Irish propositions into their consideration.
During the course of their proceedings, it appeared, that the opi-
nions of the former were in direct contradiction to the inferences
which had been drawn upon their examination in the report laid
before parliament. Whether this was occasioned by any change
which, upon a fuller consideration, had taken place in the minds of
the merchants and manufacturers themselves, or whether the com-
mittee of the board of trade and plantations had strained and per-
verted their declarations, it is not easy to determine. However, the
consequence was, that it threw a considerable degree of discredit
upon the report itself, and seemed to point out the necessity there
was for the House of Commons to examine the different com-
mercial and manufacturing bodies concerned, at their own bar.
This mode of proceeding gave the first check to the system in its
progress through the House, whilst without doors it became more
utingpaotelar, in proportion as it became more thoroughly inves-


March 3.


Mr. Pitt observed to the House, that anxious as he was that they
should proceed in settling the commercial intercourse between the
two kingdoms, he would not press the business forward with indis-


. ereet haste. At that moment he was unapprized of any applica-
tion that was intended to be made from any quarter to be heard by
counsel at the bar, or to produce any evidence, that might state
to the House facts and circumstances, which had relation to the
system, an outline of which he had the honour to open to them on
Tuesday se'nnight; he should therefore name some day in the
next week for the committee to sit again, for the purpose of re-
ceiving information, examining witnesses, or hearing counsel,


6s




6z IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS, [March 3.
should any be offered ; and when that day came, if no application
should be made to desire that counsel might be heard, or witnesse4
examined, it was his intention to propose sonic resolution upon the
business. He concluded with moving, That the Committee of the
whole House do sit again on Tuesday next.


Mr. Fox rose to declare, that should it happen that no ap..
placation was made to be heard by counsel, or to offer evi-
dence of facts at the bar, he for one should object to the right
honourable gentleman's pressing the House to come to
any vote respecting the propositions that had been laid
upon the table, as resolutions voted by the Irish parlia-
ment; nor should he object to such a motion only on Tuesday
next, but on that day week, or even that day month, should
they not have by that time heard something more of what had
been done upon the subject by the parliament of Ireland. Cir-
cumstanced as they were, it was impossible to proceed to vote
any proposition whatever, before they knew the whole that
the parliament of Ireland had done upon the subject, without
getting into a situation the most extraordinary that ever par,
liament put a country into. He begged gentlemen most se..
riously to revolve in their minds the very singular predicament
in which the parliament of England and the parliament of
Ireland would stand, should that House, either on Tuesday
next, or on any subsequent day, come to a decisive vote upon
the subject without previously knowing what was the ultima-
tum of the parliament of Ireland. The right honourable gen-
tleman had stated it as the great good of his system, and as
matter of reproach to the noble lord in the blue ribbon, and
to himself and to such other persons as had ever proposed any
thing to be done for Ireland, that they had not taken care to
obtain a return on the part of Ireland fin- what this country
granted her. Now, as matters stood, the House was igno-
rant what that return, what that something, what that quid pro
guo was. By slight conjecture only had lie any idea what it was,
and his conjecture was grounded upon the resolution of the par-
liament of Ireland, which Mr. Orde had proposed on the Mon-
day subsequent to the vote of the former ten resolutions on the
Friday. He supposed, therefore, that it was that resolution that
was to be the return ; but till the House knew it, they could
not vote a decisive resolution of their own without precipi-
tating themselves into a dilemma. The situation of the two
countries would then be this : on the Journals of the parliament
of England, and on the Journals of the parliament of Ireland,
would stand resolutions criminating each other. When he,
on a former occasion, reprobated the business being first opened
in Ireland, as a matter equally indecent and inconvenient, and
as a matter that would be attended with serious ill cense-


6


.1785'3
auences, he had been answered by its being said, that if the
parliament


of England had first voted resolutions, and the
'parliament of Ireland should refuse to agree to them, it would
be a circumstance disgraceful to this country, and perfectly


should it
otnov its eunl teiliensa .
proceed to a vote, before the parliament of Ireland


had some Now, this very disgrace would the House incur;


he had himself stated. Mr. Fox
It would be liable also to all the


other
repeated his determination to oppose any attempt to press the
House to a vote upon the subject, so early as Tuesday, de-
siring gentlemen to hold it in their minds, that they would
have done nothing but sow the seeds of future ill blood be-
tween the two countries, should they vote a resolution, before
they were informed of the ultimate determination of Ireland.


In reply to some reflections cast on him by Mr. Pitt,


Mr. Fox said, he had not been actuated by any wish pre-
maturely, and at an improper time, to go into a general dis-
cussion of the affairs of Ireland, but had thought it candid to
say fairly and plainly what his intentions were, if the right
honourable gentleman should next Tuesday press the House
to a decisive vote under the present circumstances of the busi-
ness. The right honourable gentleman had charged him with in-
consistency, but in fact there was no inconsistency in his having
said, he disapproved of the business having been opened to the
parliament of Ireland before it was stated in that House, and his
having that clay declared, he would object to any proposition
that House might be called upon to decide, before they had
heard the ultimatum of the parliament of Ireland. He had
said, and he was sure that it would have been more handsome
and more decent to have begun the business within those
walls; but the other method having been taken, the case was
so altered, that it should be known entirely and completely
-what the wishes of Ireland were, before that House proceeded
to take any decisive step in the business. For his part, he dis-
approved of the matter, as well as the manner, of making the
propositions; a free grant on the part of each country struck
him as the properest mode of coming to an adjustment satis-
factory to both. But, at any rate, it would have been better
for the two parliaments to have separately resolved what each
was disposed to give. Mr. Fox pointed out the extreme dif-
ference between Ireland declaring voluntarily, and on her
0 wa mere motive, what her wishes were ; and the business be-
ing opened there by an Englishman, a member of the British
parliament, who went over to Ireland, procured a seat in


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 63




Cif IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [March I


Irish House of Commons, and in the capacity of secretary to
the lord lieutenant, or, as it would, unconstitutionally speak-
ing, be called, acting as .the British minister in Ireland. He
contended that the ministers at home, and the ministers in
Ireland, had led the parliaments of the two countries into the
strange situation of holding a different language on the same
business; and voting resolutions of a contradictory and even
of a criminating nature. With regard to what the right ho-
nourable gentleman had said of industrious misrepresentation,
he could only say for himself, that he had neither seen nor
countenanced any misrepresentations ; the publications he had
seen were mostly extracts from the speech of Mr. Orde in the
Irish House of Commons ; the right honourable gentleman,
therefore, must mean to charge Mr. Orde with misrepresenta-
tion, if lie intended to charge any body. But of this he was
sure, that to endeavour to represent the matter as it really was,
to inform the people of a subject of the first importance to the
national interests, to draw their attention to it sufficiently,
was a laudable and a worthy species of industry, of which
no man need be ashamed. Mr. Fox concluded with decla-
ring his intention to oppose any attempt to call upon the
House to come to a decisive vote till they had heard farther
from Ireland.


March i I.


On Mr. Pitt's moving, That the House should again resolve it-
self into a committee of the whole House, to take into further con-
sideration so much of the king's speech to both Houses, upon the
25th of January last, as relates to the adjustment of the commer-
cial intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland,


Mr. Fox rose and said, that was the first opportunity that
had presented itself for him to say a few words on the report
of the lords of the committee of council, and of the conduct of
his majesty's ministers, which he thought extremely unwise,
in respect to the propositions of the Irish parliament, at that
time on the table. It appeared from the report of the lords
of the committee of council, that two questions had been re-
ferred, the one to desire their consideration " Upon the
propriety of reducing duties payable in Great Britain on the
importation of goods, the growth and manufacture of Ireland,_
to the same rate as the duties payable in Ireland on the im-
portation of the like goods, the growth and manufacture of


1785.]


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


65


Great Britain." The other, 44 What preferences are now
given to the importation of any article, the growth, produce,
or manufacture of Ireland, by any duty or prohibition on the
importation, use or , sale of the like articles from foreign ports;
and how far it may be the interest of Great Britain in future to
continue or alter the same ?"


What he meant chiefly to speak to, Mr. Fox said, was, two
points that had not been referred to the committee of coun-
cil, and which, he must own, not a little surprized him. The
subject of the two questions that had been referred to the
committee, and any information that could be obtained upon
it, was certainly extremely desirable, extremely fit to be ob-
tained by the committee of council, and extremely proper
to be by them submitted to the consideration of the House;
but what had struck him, and what lie believed had struck
every man's mind as the primary consideration of all, was the
question of the propriety and policy of permitting the pro-
duce of Africa and.America to be brought into Great Britain
through Ireland. On that, in his humble opinion, by far the
greater part of the doubts, whether the propositions were
such as Great Britain ought to accede to or not, depended.
It was, therefore, not only extraordinary but somewhat unac-
countable, that the question he had stated, was not referred
to the lords of the committee of council. With regard to
the questions that had been referred to the lords of the com-
mittee of council, and the examination and evidence that they
had stated in their report, he did not doubt but they had pro-
ceeded with great wisdom and prudence, and that the ques-
tions to the manufacturers examined were such as ought to
have been put; hut he could not help remarking, that the
lords of the committee of council themselves expressed a
wish that they had had. more time to pursue their investiga-
tion farther. This- therefore confirmed opinions that had
been floating in his mind before, of the extreme and press-
ing necessity for that House to have fall and complete in-
formation before them, relative to all the probable conse-
quences of the carrying into effect the whole of the -propo-
sitions, previous to their going the length of the first propo-
sition, which was a general resolution, involving and impli-
cating all the rest.


Mr. Fox expatiated on this argument very amply, and.
took infinite pains to press it on the minds of the House, as
a matter exceedingly important, and as a matter deserving
their most serious attention. If the lords of the committee
of council, he said, whose judgement was not definitive, and
was merely an opinion, neither operative nor binding, found
Occasion to express a wish, that they had been able to haye


VOL. M. F




66 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[March tr.


given farther time to their investigation, and to have ob.,
tained a greater degree of intelligence and information, how
much more necessary was it for that House, who were to act,
and not merely to state matters of opinion, to be fully in-
formed, before they proceeded to vote a resolution, to be
made the basis of an intercourse with Ireland, that was nut
meant as a temporary expedient, but as a final and conclusive
system? Let gentler:. m consider the extremely disagreeable
and even melancholy consequences that must ensue, if they
precipitately voted the general resolution, and they should
afterwards have applications made to them, in objection to
the other propositions. In that case, what must Ireland feel,
and what would she have to complain of, but a departure
from an implied agreement, and a gross breach of national
faith ?—a circumstance that would be attended with the most
fatal consequences to both kingdoms.


He wondered, therefore, that the right honourable gentle-
man had not thought it necessary, long before that time, to
call to the bar of that House some of the best-informed and
principal manufacturers of the kingdom, whose interests were
likely to be at all affected by the system of intercourse to be
arranged with Ireland, in order that the House might learn
from them the probable consequence, with regard to the dif-
ferent branches of manufacture they were severally concerned
in, that would result frbm that House proceeding to form a
system of intercourse with Ireland, on the propositions that
had been voted by the Irish parliament. Such information
could not be had too soon, both upon the great consideration
of the propriety of permitting the produce of Africa and
America to be brought into this kingdom through Ireland, and
upon the questions that had been referred to the lords of the
committee of council. Indeed, there was an additional, and,
in his mind, a very cogent reason, in proof of the neces-
sity of calling witnesses before them on the two latter questions ;
and that was, that it appeared upon the face of the report of
the lords of the committee of council, that the lords had drawn
conclusions from the evidence given by the merchants and ma-
nufacturers they examined, which the merchants and manu-
facturers were at this time contradicting at the meetings that
were daily holding on the mbject of the proposition. The
inferences drawn from the examination of the perwns examined
before the committee of council, and stated in , the report,,
were directly the reverse of the inferences those persons drew
themselves, as far as their public conversation and conduct
went to prove what their opinions were. Mr. Fox here took
occasion . to mention the proceedings of the meeting of the
West India merchants on Tuesday last, which, he said, were


to


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 67


of a very different tendency from that the right honour-
able gentleman had conceived, and stated to the 'House in the
debate on that day. The West India merchants had not at
that meeting declared that alarm, and very great alarm, was
not entertained by them on account of the propositions ; that
alarm was undoubtedly still entertained by them ;- but the mat -
ter in discussion, at the meeting last Tuesday, was merely the
mode of their proceeding, in order to have such regulations
introduced into the bills that should be brought into parlia-
ment, as should best tend to secure them and their commerce
front the impending danger, which they thought likely to re-
sult, were not such regulations introduced. All that. the issue
of the meeting amounted to was, a resolution not to petition
the House in that stage of the business.


Mr. Fox isal, there were different orders and descriptions of
manufacturers, whose trade would be very materially affected
by the intended plan of arrangement, and whom that House
ought to have before them, previous to their proceeding to
vote their general propositions. One set of men, not ordina-
rily ranked with manufacturers, though, strictly speaking, they
were so, the ship-builders of Great Britain, ought in particu-
lar to be called upon and examined as to the consequence to
their manufacture that they were of opinion would follow,
in case the propositions were agreed to. By thus pressing for
the manufacturers to be called to the bar, he did not mean to
have it understood, that the House ought to be guided solely
by their opinions; undoubtedly not.


ugh
House should act


in this, as in every other case, according to its own sense, of
the wisdom and policy of the measures to be taken ; but he
must nevertheless contend, that without having the fullest inT
formation before them, it was not possible for the House to
judge, what the wisdom and the policy of the plan of inter-.
course with Ireland, that had been proposed to them, were.
It might possibly be said, that calling for such information
would occasion delay, and take up a great deal of time. That
was, in his mind, no objection to what he had proposed; for
let it occasion what delay, or take up what time it would, that
time would be well spent by the House making itselfthorough-
ly master of the extent of the subject, before it came to a deci-
sive vote upon it. Let gentlemen recollect, that when they
had voted the general resolution, the House was committed to
all the remaining resolutions ; from which they could not re-
tract without giving Ireland cause to complain of a breach of
national faith, and without laying the ground for much future
mischief.


He pressed this again and again onthe House, and said,
he trusted it was the general wish of both sides, and the wish


E 2




68 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[March I 1 ,


of every man both here and in Ireland, that the plan should be
fully understood by both countries, and that there should not
remain the smallest possible chance of future cavil. He asked if
gentlemen felt themselves prepared to go the length of voting
the first resolution, before they knew more of the conse-
quences likely to result from voting the rest. There was not
one of them that did not, day after day, suggest new difficul-
ties to his mind. The fifth proposition for instance, that re-
specting the countervailing duties, was a proposition ex-
tremely prolific of doubt and alarm. He dwelt for some time
upon this, and said, the House ought, at least, to have the
same opportunity of examining persons who were competent to
give them information upon any parts of the subject, as the
fords of the committee of council. For their own good,
therefore, for the security of administration, for the future
repose and quiet of both kingdoms, he hoped 4c right ho-
nourable gentleman would see the 'propriety of what he had
proposed.


In reply to some observations made by Mr. Pitt,


Mr. Fox rose again, and said he really had not seen the
report of the committee of council till within the last two days,
and therefore he bad not an earlier opportunity of saying
what he had thought it necessary to say on that day. With
regard to his not having moved for persons to be called to the
bar, he had purposely avoided it. Let the right honourable
gentleman recollect, that he was, as it were, a kind of marked
man, and that the right lionounible gentleman and himself
were involved together in many political opinions, and in
various topics, that placed them before the public in a point
of view more conspicuous than that in which most other men
moved ; under such circumstances, it would not have been
proper for him to have made any such motion ; besides, he
chose to save himself from affording room for insinuation, as
the right honourable gentleman had shewn himself ready


- enough to insinuate, even when there could be no grounds
for it, that he had brought to the bar persons who bad been
prompted to give such evidence as should throw most impedi-
ments in the way of the proposed system of the intercourse
with Ireland. Having said this, Mr. Fox repeated his argu-
ment, how necessary it was to call the merchants and manu-
facturers to the bar, who had been examined before the com-
mittee of privy council; because, as their declarations at their
meetings were directly contradictory to the inferences which
the lords of the committee had drawn from their examinations
arid stated in their report, the House ought to have an oppor-


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


691785.]
tunity of hearing from themselves what their sentiments were.
Mr. Fox urged Mr. Pitt not to wait for this or that member
moving For persons to be examined, but of his own accord to
bring to the bar some of the best informed of each branch
of capital manufacture, that the House might sift the matter
to the bottom before they embarked init.


May 12.
During the remainder of the month of March, and the whole


of April, the House was principally occupied in receiving the pe-
titions and hearing the evidence of manufacturers and merchants
Of every description. This laborious investigation having been
gone through, the propositions were again brought forward by Mr.
Pi tt, on the I ztli of May, but with a variety of amendments, va-
riations, and additions. To the original set of propositions, several
new ones were added, some of them only supplemental to, and
explanatory of the former, but several containing much new and
important matter. The Propositions as proposed this day to the
House by Mr. Pitt were as follow :


" Resolved, I. That it is highly important to the general interest
of the British empire, that the intercourse and commerce between
Great Britain and Ireland , should be finally regulated on perma-
nent and equitable principles, for the mutual benefit of both coun-
tries.


z. " That a full participation of commercial advantages should-
be permanently secured to Ireland, whenever a provision equally
permanent and secure shall be made by the parliament of that king-
dom, towards defraying in proportion to its growing prosperity,
the necessary expences in time of peace, of protecting the trade,.
and general interests of the empire.


3 . " That towards carrying into full effect so desirable a settle.:
meat, it is fit and proper that all articles, not the growth or manu-
facture of Great Britain or Ireland, should be imported into each
kingdom from the other reciprocally, under the same regulations,
and at the same duties, if subject to duties, to which they arc liable
when imported directly from the place Of their growth, product,
or manufacture ; and that all duties originally paid on importation
into either country respectively, except on arrack and foreign
brandy, and on rum, and all sorts of strong waters, not imported
from the British colonies in the West Indies or America, shall be
fully drawn back on exportation to the other.


4.. " That it is highly important to the general interests of the
British empire ; that the laws for regulating trade and naviga-
tion, should be the same in Great Britain and Ireland ; and
therefore, that it is essential towards carrying into effect the
present settlement, that all laws which have been made, or shall
be made in- Great Britain, for securing exclusive privileges to the
ships and mariners of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British colo-
nies and plantations, and for regulating and restraining the trade
of the British colonies and plantations, shall be in force in Ireland


r' 3




70
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


EMaY 2.
in the same manner as in Great Britain ; and that proper mea-
tures should from time to time be taken, for effectually carry.
ing the same into execution.


5. " That it is further essential to this settlement, that all goodsand commodities of the growth, produce or manufacture of Britishor foreign colonies, in America or the West Indies, and the Bri-tish or foreign settlements on the coast of Africa, imported intoIreland, should, on importation, be subject to the same duties
as the like goods are, or from time to time shall be subject to
upon importation into Great Britain.


6.
" That in order to prevent illicit prN:tices, injurious to the


r.evenue and commerce of both kingdoms, it is expedient that all
goods, whether of the growth, produce, or manufacture of Great
Britain or Ireland, or of any foreign country, which shall here-after be imported into Great Britain from Ireland, or into Irelandfrom Great Britain, should be put; by laws to be passed in the
parliament of the two kingdoms, under the same regulations itithrespect to bonds, cockets, and other instruments, to which the likegoods are now subject, in passing from one port of Great Britainto another ; and that all goods, the growth, produce, or


manufac-ture of Ireland, imported into Great Britain, be accompanied
a like certificate, as is now required by law, on the importation
of Irish linens into Great Britain.


7.
" That for the like purpose it is also expedient, that when


any goods, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the BritishWest India islands, shall be shipped from Ireland for GreatBritain, they should be accompanied with such original
certificates


of the revenue officers of the British sugar colonies, as shall be
required by law on importation into Great Britain ; and that
when the whole quantity included in one certificate, shall not be
shipped 'at any one time, the original certificate properly


endorsedas to quantity, should be sent with the first parcel; and to iden-tify the r
emainder, if shipped at any future period, new certifi-


cates should be granted by the principal
,
officers of the ports inIreland, extracted from a register of the original documents, speci-fying the quantities before shipped from thence, by what


vessels,and to what port.
8.


" That it is essential for carrying into effect the present
settlement, that all goods exported from Ireland to the British co-
lonies in the West Indies or America, should from this time be
made liable to such duties and drawbacks, and put under such
regulations as may he necessary, in order that the same may notbe exported with less


. incumbrance of duties or impositions, than
,rthe like goods shall be burthened with when exported from GreatBritain.


9.
" That it is essential to the general commercial interest of


the empire, that no goods of the growth, produce, or
manufactureof any


countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope, should be im-
portable into Ireland from any foreign European country ; and that
so long as the parliament of this kingdom shall think it adviseable
that the commerce to the countries beyond the Cape of GoodHope shall be carried on solely by an exclusive company, no goods


1785.]
of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the said countries should
be allowed to be imported into Ireland, but through Great Britain,
and that the ships going from Great Britain to any of the said
countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope should not be restrained
from touching at any of the ports in Ireland, and taking on board
there any of the goods of the growth, produce, or manufacture of
that kingdom.Io. "That it is necessary, for the general benefit of the British
empire, that no prohibition should exist in either country against
the importation, use, or sale of any article, the growth, pro-
duce, or manufacture of the other ( except such as either
kingdom may judge expedient, from time to time, upon corn,
meal, malt., flour, and biscuits,') and that the duty on the im-


portation of every such article, if subject to duty in either country,
should be precisely the same in the one country as in the other,
except where an addition may be necessary, in either country, in
consequence of an internal duty on any such article of its own




consumption.
" That in all cases where the duties on articles of the


growth, product, or manufacture of either country, are different
on the importation into the other, it is expedient that they should
be reduced in the kingdom where they are the highest, to the
amount payable in the other ; and that all such articles should be
exportable from the kingdom into which they shall be imported, as
free from duty as any similar commodities or home manufac-
tures of the same kingdom.


" That it is also proper, that in all cases where the articles
of the consumption of either kingdom shall be charged with an
internal duty on the manufacture, the same manufacture, when
imported from tile other, may be charged with a further duty
on importation, adequate to countervail the internal duty on the
manufacture ; except in the case of beer imported into Ireland ;
such further duty to continue so long only as the internal con-
sumption shall be charged with the duty or duties, to balance
which it shall be imposed, and that where there is a duty on
the importation of the raw material of any manufacture, in one
kingdom, greater than the duty on the like raw material in the
other, or where the whole or part of such duty on the raw mate-
rial is drawn back, or compensated, on exportation of the ma-
nufacture from one kingdom to the other, such manufacture may
on its importation be charged with a countervailing duty as may
be sufficient to subject the same so imported to the same bur-
dens as the manufacture composed of the like raw material is sub-
ject to, in consequence of duties on the importation of such ma-
terial in the kingdom into which such manufacture is so im-
ported ; and the said manufactures so imported, shall be entitled.
to such drawbacks or bounties on exportation, as may leave the


ru
miliectsuurbeject to no heavier burden than the home-made ma-
13. " That in order to give permanency to the settlement now


intended to be established, it is necessary that no prohibition, or
-new, or additional duties, should be hereafter imposed in either


F 4


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.




41


7 2


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12.


kingdom, on the importation of any article of the growth, pro-
duct, or manufacture of the other, except such additional duties
as may be requisite to balance duties on internal consumption,
pursuant to the foregoing resolution.


14. " That for the same purpose, it is necessary, farther, that
no prohibition, or new, or additional duty, should be hereafter
imposed,


in either kingdom on the exportation of any article of na-
tive growth, product, or manufacture, from thence to the other ;
except such as either kingdom may deem expedient, from time to
time, upon corn, meal, malt, flour, and biscuits.


15. " That for the same purpose, it is necessary that no boun-
ties whatsoever should be paid or payable in either kingdom, on
the exportation of any article to the other, except such as relate
to corn, meal, malt, flour, and biscuits, beer and spirits-istil-
led from corn, and such as are in the nature of drawbacks, or
compensations for duties paid ; and that no bounty should be
granted on the exportation of any article to any British colonies •
or plantations, or on the exportation of any article imported from
the British plantations, or any manufacture made of such article,
unless in cases where a similar bounty is payable in Great Britain,
on exportation from thence, or where such bounty is merely in the
nature of a drawback, or compensation of or for duties paid, over
and above any paid thereon in Britain.


16. " That it is expedient., for the general benefit of the British
empire, that the importation of articles from foreign states should
be regulated, from time to time in each kingdom, on such terms as
may afford an effectual preference to the importation of similar
articles of the growth, product, or manufacture of the other.


17. " That it is expedient, that the copy-rights of the authors
and booksellers of Great Britain, should continue to be protected
in the manner they are at present, by the laws of Great Britain ;
and that it is just that measures should be taken by the parliament
of Ireland, for giving the like protection to. the copy-rights of the
authors and booksellers oithat kingdom.


i8. " That the appropriation of whatever sum the gross heredi-
tary revenue of the kingdom of Ireland (the due collection thereof
being secured by permanent provisions) shall produce, after' de-
ducting all drawbacks, repayments, or bounties granted in the na-
ture of drawbacks, over and above the sum of six hundred and
fifty-six thousand pounds in each year, towards the support of the
naval force of the empire, to be applied in such manner as the par-
liament- of Ireland shall direct, by an act to be passed for that pur-
pose, will be a satisfactory provision, proportioned. to the growing
prosperity of that kingdom, towards defraying, in time of peace,
the necessary expences of protecting the trade and general in-
terests of the empire."


Mr. Pitt opened the business to the committee, and concluded
a speech of considerable length with moving the first proposition.
Lord North submitted it to the candour of the chancellor of the
exchequer whether it would not be proper to adjourn the debate,
and cause the new resolutions to be printed for the use of the
members. Lord North having concluded his speech, after a short
pause,


1785.]


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 73


Mr. Fox rose and addressed himself to the chairman of the
committee as follows:


Mr. Gilbert; though I now rise to submit my sentiments
on the present important subject, yet I beg it may be under-
stood by the committee, that I shall cheerfully give way to
any gentleman on the other side, who may be authorised to
declare, that it is not meant to press us to a vote this night.
I do not conceive it possible indeed, that any objection can be
made to the motion of my noble friend. The vast variety of
matter perfectly new, as well as the numerous alterations of
that which we had previously before us, demanding the most
minute and accurate discussion, surely the right honourable
the chancellor of the exchequer will not force the committee,
at an hour so unseasonable, to come to a decision upon so dif-
ficult and so perplexed a subject. I have paused, Sir, to give
an opportunity for discovering, if such be the intention of
aentlemen: but from their continued silence, it is evident
they are determined, at all events, to precipitate the com-
mittee to this extraordinary and unparalleled decision. I
must, therefore, intreat a more than usual indulgence from
the committee, if, compelled as I find myself to enter into
this important discussion, I shall, even at so late an hour,
intrude for a considerable length of time on their patience.
The committee will recollect, that in addition to the eleven
original propositions, no less than sixteen new ones are now
for the first time submitted to parliament ; so that at one
o'clock in the morning, I have to enter into the discussion of
no less than twenty-seven of the most important and complex
propositions that ever were the subject of parliamentary de-
bate. Nor is this the whole of the difficulty : the sixteen
supplemental propositions are not confined to verbal explana-
tions, or to mere literal amendments of the former; on the
Contrary, they directly change the whole tenor, and abso-
lutely subvert the main principle of the original system, upon
which the right honourable gentleman declared it to be his
fixed intention to proceed; so that in truth they are altoge-
ther as unexpected, as they obviously are new and contradic-
tory. Surely, therefore, under circumstances so very novel
and embarrassing, I may with less presumption intreat the
committee to forgive that unavoidable intrusion on their time,
which must be the consequence of compelling us to come to a
vote on so interesting and so complicated a subject, before it
is scarcely possible for gentlemen to form even any general
Ideas on the whole of the subject, as it is now modelled.


But first with respect to this extraordinary system, most
undoubtedly the claim of merit in being the author of it, can
admit of no question. My noble friend has waved all possi-




74 IIZISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12,


ble pretensions to it; but not, I am sure, more chearfully
than I concur with him, in declaring it to be the sole and en-
tire possession of the right honourable gentleman who has
officially produced it. With him let the whole credit of it
reside, undisputed and unenvied. He indeed who contends
with him for its honours must be instigated by unjustifiable
motives : for, surely, never did there appear a. work more
completely, more indivisibly the sole and genuine composition
of its author, than the present system evidently demonstrates
itself to be exclusively the work of the right honourable gen-
tleman. No necessity can be alleged to have given rise to it,
for it flows from the mere will of the proposer. No urgent,
no pressing calamity bore a share in its introduction. It is
the offspring of peace and domestic tranquillity. Surely,
therefore, it would be false and injurious to allege, that the
people of Ireland had forced the British minister into a tame
surrender of the manufactures and commerce of our country.
The fact is directly the reverse. The British minister has
proffered this surrender from his own mere motion, his own
Sound will, his own unbiassed judgement. Unquestionably,
therefore, he, and he only, is clearly entitled to enjoy all the
merits and all the honours of a system so completely and so
perfectly his own.


Perhaps, indeed, from the examples which the right ho-
nourable gentleman has so frequently afforded us of a won-
derful perseverance in the defence of his own opinions, and
at the same time as complete an adoption of the amendments
which we suggest, and he himself disapproves, we ought not
to be very much astonished at any new and sudden appear-
ance that his present system may have assumed ; but I confess,
however, it was with considerable astonishment that I heard'
the right honourable gentleman state his new propositions.
For these, Sir, are at once, directly, totally, and vitally in
contradiction to the whole of that system on which he set out,
and from which, if we had trusted merely to his own solemn „
declarations, we must have believed it impossible that he
could deviate in the minutest degree. In saying this, the
committee must be sensible that I speak merely from the im-
pression which the resolutions have made on my mind as they
were cursorily read over and explained by the right honour-
able gentleman. I have not had time, and the committee are
not to be permitted to have time, to read and weigh these pro-
positions before they determine upon their merits; but such.
is the impression which, on the first blush, they have made
upon my mind.


Sir, I have all along understood, that the basis of the,right
honourable gentleman's original system was reciprocity in


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITION. 7508S-1
correspondent duties, and reciprocity in the prohibition of
the export of raw materials. Now, these principles, in my


the right honourable gentleman has completely aban-
dnnd,olined in his new propositions; for, particularly in the article
of beer, an exception is made to the reciprocity in correspon-
dent duties, and, in the seventh resolution, a change is made
with respect to prohibitions. The right honourable gentleman
has, therefore, retracted and recanted his original principles;
he has abandoned the ground on which he set out, and on
which he so frequently pledged himself that the whole of his
propositions should stand or fall. He has abandoned the re-
ciprocity in correspondent duties; he has abandoned the re-
ciprocal prohibition of raw materials. In these instances,
which if they are said to be trifling in themselves, are not
trifles when considered as departures from principle, he has
abandoned his ground; and by doing this, he opens a new
system, and comes forward with a set of propositions, so far
ibrth diametrically opposite to, and fundamentally different
from, that system which he himself has most repeatedly as-
sured us could not possibly admit of the slightest change„and
was, indeed, to be wholly inviolable.


Sir, the right honourable gentleman reprobates the charge
which has been imputed to gentlema of rashness in the original
propositions. Was there ever a charge made with more truth,
or demonstrated with more clearness? Has not the right ho-
nourable gentleman's conduct on this day given the most un-
equivocal testimony to the original rashness of his system?
What can be a more decisive proof of original rashness, than
subsequent retraction ? The right honourable gentleman
brings forward a set of resolutions, as the basis of a system for
the intercourse between the two countries : he pledges the
government of this kingdom for the literal establishment of
his system: lie proudly resists inquiry, and scorns delibera-
tion; but, when circumstances arise which lie has not ability
to overcome, and time, in spite of his opposition, is procured
for inquiry and discussion, he is constrained to acknowledge
the errors of his first opinions, and he comes forward with a set


we


01 propositions directly the reverse of the former. Whether this
does not exhibit the rashness of the right honourable gentle-
man in side more warm and durable than any with whichv


the House are able to characterise his conduct,
I submit to the committee and the public. The rashness of
the right honourable gentleman is proved by the right ho-
nourable gentleman himself; and it is singularly striking —
that by the whole of his behaviour—the rashness of one day
is to be proved by the rashness of another. He now brings
forward to the committee a set of propositions directly contra-




76 IRISH. COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May


r


dictory to those on which he first proceeded ; and having
thus himself demonstrated the rashness of his own conduct in


-


the first instance, he becomes enamoured of this boasted weak-
ness, arid yet most liberally determines that we also shall be
admitted to a full participation of it, by a rash, premature
adoption of these his latest notions; which, however, may as
suddenly and as consistently be abandoned as the former. So
hostile is he to deliberation, such an avowed enemy to every
thing that looks like inquiry and reflection, that even on this
day, when he is suffering the shame of rashness, he calls upon
us to be rash. Although his propositions have been but once
cursorily read over, and in that reading embellished and set.
off with all the lustre of his eloquence,—although they areY
perfectly new,—and although he has not submitted them to
the committee till after midnight, he demands and compels
us to come to a vote on them. The decency of this conduct
I will not insist upon; but thus driven, thus forced to a divi-
sion, I must, however unwilling to give a hasty negative,
vote directly against his propositions, as conceiving them to be
at the best unnecessary, most probably pernicious, but un-
doubtedly so productive of an entire revolution in our corn-
Mercial system, as to involve a train of consequences, against
which the wisest and best characters of this country might de-.
spair of providing any adequate security.


But, Sir, I must congratulate the committee—I must con-
gratulate


the country—on tie happy escape which we have
had from the system proposed by the right honourable gen,
demon but two months since. That system, the ruin of which
has been this day so ably demonstrated, was then within four
and twenty hours of being carried through this House : so
that when we look back on all the circumstances of the case;
we have indeed good reason to rejoice in. our fortunate escape.
The first propositions, when they were originally opened in
this House, were pronounced to be so pure and beneficial—
so clearly end demonstrably perfect, that not a moment was
to be. wasted in a useless discussion of their merits. The
right lionourabb? gentleman, tliereore, inveighed against the
strange, uncandid opposition which was made to those his first
propositions. He attributed the opinions of this side of the
House to mere faction and disappointment : he called our
solemn appeals to the legislature and to the nation, illiberal
artifices to excite unnecessary clamour : he gave a haughty
defiance to the manufacturers and merchants, to exhibit
any reasonable argument against a system so replete with
every beneficial consequence to themselves ; and he triumphed
in the circumstance, that for some days not a single petition
was brought to the House from any part of the country


IRISH COMMERCIAL. PROPOSITIONS. 77
1785.3
against those propositions. Afterwards, indeed, he was forcedto abate his triumph ; he found no want of petitions, nor of
argument ; but his language was still lofty, and his mind
implacable. His system was so superior to the petulance
and faction of those who opposed it, that he declared his
resolution of carrying it into a law, even to the letter of
the specific resolutions. Convinced, however, as we always
were, that these resolutions were fraught with injury and
rain to the manufactures and commerce of this country, we
warned —we conjured the House to deliberate — to call for
information — to examine those, who, from their situations,
were the most likely to be possessed of intelligence. We
called for the commissioners of customs, and the commissioners
of excise, that the House might learn front them, whether
from the operation of these resolutions the revenues of the
country were not instantly exposed to insurmountable dangers.
The right honourable gentleman reprobated the proceeding.


- He asserted, that we called for these commissioners merely
to gain time; that our purpose was insidious delay, in order
to inflame the public, and stir up factious clamours. But
what has been the issue of all this ? Will the right honour-
able gentleman now dare to attribute our conduct to those
unworthy motives? The commissioners, whose opinions on
the subject he considered of so little avail, have declared by
their report, that material and alarming injury would unavoid-
ably arise from these resolutions, fraught, as they conceive
them to be, with innumerable dangers. But still more
strongly has the right honourable gentleman himself; on this
day, described, in his own beautiful language, the variety of
ruinous consequences that must have attended his original
system. He himself has enumerated to the committee the
long train of evils we have escaped, by opposing his pro-
positions—be himself has emphatically described the destruc-
tion we should have incurred by adopting his own exploded
system. Let the committee recollect the detail of fatal con-
sequences thus authoritatively admitted.


First, it has been now admitted, that if the original reso-
lutions had passed, we should have lost for ever the monopoly
of the East-India trade. It has been admitted, that we could
no longer have renewed the exclusive charter of the company;
but the sister kingdom, having once an equal power with our-
selves to trade to Asia, we must wholly have depended on the
will of Ireland for a renewal of the charter, by which the
monopoly could alone have been maintained.


If these resolutions had passed into a law, it has equally
been admitted, that we must have hazarded . -all the revenue
arising from spirituous liquors ; no distinction having been




7 8


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12.


made between our own and foreign liquors, nor any provision
thought of to prevent their admission into this country.


If these resolutions had passed into a law; we should equally
have sacrificed the whole of the navigation laws of this coun-
try. These laws, the great source of our commercial opu-
lence, the prime origin of our maritime strength, would at
once have been delivered up in trust to Ireland, leaving us
for ever after totally dependent on her policy, and on her
bounty, for the future guardianship of our dearest interests.


If these resolutions had passed into a law, we should have
opened the door to a more extensive contraband trade than
ever yet was known to exist in this country, for




not a shadow
of protection was provided against every species of smuggling,
not even 'the means which we think it necessary to use hi our
own traffic from port to port— that of requiring bonds, sock-
ets, and other instruments, on goods sent coastwise.


If these resolutions had been carried into a law, we should
have endangered the loss of the colonial market to the manu-
factures of Great Britain ; for no care was taken to prevent
Ireland from giving bounties, or allowing drawbacks, on
goods exported to the colonies; so that it was left in their
power to give so decisive an advantage to their own manu-
factures, as must have ascertained to them the market, or,
which would have been equally ruinous, have forced us to
enter into a warfare of bounties, to the extinction of our
revenues.


If these resolutions had been carried into a law, dangers as
extensive must have equally been incurred by our colonies;
for not a single provision was stipulated for laying permanent
high duties on the produce of foreign colonies imported into
Ireland ; so that, at any future time, Ireland Might have taken °
off the annual high duties, and given admission to the pro-
duce of foreign colonies, on terms, which must completely.
have ruined our West India islands. I need not state to the
committee a fact so universally known, as that the produce of
our colonies is dearer than that of the foreign islands. But
we have nevertheless preferred the home market, on account '
of the natural interest which we have in them : and un-
doubtedly we must continuo to do so. Ireland has no such
obligation : on the contrary, her interest would as forcibly
lead her to the foreign colonies.


If these resolutions, therefore, had passed into a law, we
should have been irretrievably bound to our part of the bar-
gain, whereas Ireland would by no means have been confined
to hers.


If these resolutions had passed into a law, by the monstrous
incongruity of the afth, it would have been in the power -of:


1785.1 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 79


Ireland to draw a revenue from our consuniption. They had
only to lay an internal duty in Ireland, on the articles of
our consumption, equal to the internal duty that might exist
'on such articles in this country, and it must have followed,
that they of course would have drawn the revenue from the
country that was to consume the goods. This astonishing
absurdity is done away by the removal of the latter part of
the fifth resolution. Thus also, if these resolutions had passed
into a law, the leather trade must as certainly have been
ruined ; for though we were bound in all future time to send
our oak .bark to Ireland duty free, Ireland was not bound to
prohibit the exportation of raw hides to Great Britain, with-
out which the trade could not subsist.


These, Sir, are some few of the evils, which confessedly
would have taken place, if the original resolutions, which the
right honourable gentleman proposed but two months ago,
had unfortunately passed into a law. All these menaces,
these fatal consequences of his own rash system, the right
honourable gentleman has on this day himself acknowledged,
at the same moment that he introduces, for the first time, a
new set of complicated propositions, in remedy of the detected
mischiefs of the former. In doing this, he has at once com-
pletely changed the ground on which he first set out ; for
having originally declared, that the very spirit and soul of
his system was to square and finally determine the relative
situation of the two countries, he then maintained that this
salutary, this grand, this primary object, could only be ac-
complished by a complete and perfect reciprocity ; yet that
essential, that vital principle, he has now totally and directly
abandoned, as well in the remarkable change which he has
introduced in the seventh resolution, as in, the article of beer,
the export of which is of infinite consequence. Reciprocity,
therefore, which was the vital principle, the spirit, the quint-
essence of his system, is now completely abandoned.


Sir, that these alterations arc for the better, I most cheer-
fully admit. Undoubtedly, they tend to make the present
system far more palatable to Englishmen. Why then, it may
be asked, do I now state them ? Clearly for this reason : to
manifest to the House the important benefits of deliberation.
I mention them, to shew that the alarm given by gentlemen
of this side of the House, was a most fortunate alarm for
this country. By that fortunate alarm, the manufacturing
communities in every corner of the kingdom have been apprized
of their danger ; they have had time to come forward ; they
have had time to give those lights to the committee which
have been the happy means of producing the alterations of
this day. I mention them to skew what =at have been the




0


8o IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 12.
consequences to the empire if the committee had implicitly
fallen into the system, which the rashness of the right ho-
nourable gentleman, I will not say his ignorance, but which,
to give it an easier term, his extraordinary confidence in his
own abilities, induced him so peremptorily and so authorita-
tively to propose.
• There is also another, and even more powerful reason for my


enlarging on these important alterations. It is, Sir, to con-
vince the committee, that there is still a powerful appeal to our
equity, our benevolence, and even our common sense, for afford-
ing the merchants and manufacturers of this country a much
longer period of deliberation, and surely as strong a claim on
the justice of the minister, to suspend the vote of the com-
mittee on a question of such infinite magnitude to all our just
and dearest interests. The committee will be taught, by a
due estimation of the benefits already acquired from salutary
delays, that most important advantages are to be derived from
fair inquiry and impartial discussion. If in two months such
serious and consequential errors have been discovered, what
may we not expect from longer time and more careful inves-
tigation ? If in two months the right honourable gentleman
has gleaned so much from this side of the House, and from
gentlemen whose ideas be certainly is not much disposed
avowedly and ingenuously to adopt, however willing he may
be to benefit in secret from them, what may we not expect,
when his bright talents have had more time to work on the
suggestions with which we have furnished him ? That he
has largely profited from this side of the House, the committee
will readily perceive ; neither will they, I believe, consider It
extremely presumptuous, if I arrogate some degree of honour
to myself; in having contributed a little to the amendments •
of this day. From my right honourable friend (Mr. Eden)
the minister has certainly collected many more of his new
opinions. Surely, therefore, from


-the excellent use which
the right honourable gentleman has already made of our dis-
coveries and suggestions, it will more and more be the wish of
all impartial men, that he should have time to mature the
many other matters which he has not yet so far honoured us
as entirely to adopt. For what must be the fruits of those
ideas, how ample, how rich must be the harvest they produce
when his protecting hand shall raise them from obscurity to a
richer soil: when he himself shall 64 transplant them to his
own fair garden where the sun always shines." Nothing surely
can be more beneficial than to wait for their mature produc-
tion I speak for myself; and I am sure I may speak also for
my right honourable friend and the other gentlemen round
me, that we shall be happy to trust our progeny to his care.


14


71785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 8


If he is a plagiary, he is a plagiary uncommonly endowed;
for he decorates that which he steals in apparel so gay and
luxuriant, he enriches whatever he takes with such additions
of flowers and embroidery, that though, as their legitimate
parents, we recognize our own offspring, we view them with
no small degree of wonder in their strange and sumptuous
attire. On this day, indeed, we may be proud to contem-
plate the predominating efficacy . of our own suggestions ;
and on this day alone has the right honourable gentleman,
for the very first time, condescended to depart from his usual
stateliness and overbearing sense of his own superiority.
Upon this day, with new and unaccustomed affability, he
neither reprobates nor reviles the opinions to which he has
deigned to accede. It is t9 us a strange and unexpected tri-
umph, not indeed to have pur ideas received by the right ho-
nourable gentleman, (in that acceptance be is courtesy itself)
but to hear them, even in the moment they are admitted, un- •
stigmatized by the receiver, nor as usual traduced in words,
while they are approved in fact, and vilified at the very mo-
ment of their adoption.


The right honourable gentleman, whom my noble friend
(Lord North) most truly painted, when he asserted, that "he
had a mind which found gratification in invective"'," has this
day alluded to a letter written by a noble lord as a dispatch.
from Ireland, during the administration of which I had the
honour to make a part, and he has insinuated, that the letter
manifested an intention in that administration to have gone
the lengths of the present system, "if they had had energy
" sufficient for so great an adventure." I did not expect that
even from him such a construction would have been put upon,
that dispatch. From his colleagues in office, I am confident
of meeting with more candour. But'the letter has been read :
I submit to the committee the terms of that letter, and call
upon them to say, if the English language could furnish ex-
pressions more decisive of the contrary opinion, than those in
which we declared to the lord lieutenant, that we could not
encourage him to make a promise to Ireland which,' if fu-


Lord North said in the course of his speech, "There are some men,
Mr. Gilbert, who seem to be organized for slander; there are some men
who, by the peculiar temperament of their nature, find gratification in invec.
tive, and so eager are they for the enjoyment of their lust, that they go about
to seek for blemishes, in order to expose them ; and in pursuit of their .game,
they will sometimes pretend to find them where they are not. Such men,
if they propose any measure, are infinitely more desirous to make it stand
upon the faults of others, than on its own merits ; and such a man I take the
right honourable gentleman to be."


VOL.




82 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12.


filled, wouldbe destructive to Britain. In that opinion we were
then unanimous, and to that opinion we firmly adhere. But
are these the arts by which the noble lord and I are to be de-
graded in the eyes of Britain ? Let the minister persist in
these unworthy insinuations : he shall not deter us from what
we know to be our duty—he shall not overcome that delibe-
rate firmness which, after healing the calamities of Ireland,
and happily establishing both her commercial and constitu-
tional liberty, had sufficient spirit, sufficient justice, to with-
hold what it were ruin to relinquish, and what indeed was as
little expected or sought by Ireland, as it was safe or just for an
administration here to bestow. That letter, which was writ-
ten by the noble lord in his official capacity, was of too much
consequence to be written under the sanction of any individual
department.. Every one of his majesty's confidential servants
was privy to the measure; nor was any dispatch ever made
up on a more decided and unanimous opinion. Let the right
honourable gentleman refer to some of his present colleagues
for information on the point. As to the " want of energy-
" the temporizing spirit—the half measures—and the expe-
" clients of getting over a session by a Post Office or an Ad-
" miralty Court ;"—all these are insinuations which my noble
friend has completely refuted. Neither the Post Office nor the
Admiralty Court were conceded as expedients to get over a
session; they were neither given nor accepted as boons ; they
were the natural consequences of the previous change of system;
they flowed naturally from the new situation in which Ireland
stood by the independence of her legislature. What occasion
had we for expedients to get over a session ? Thelord lieutenant
of that day enjoyed as high a degree of confidence, and de-
served it as well as any nobleman that ever filled the station.
We were guilty of no violences, and there existed no cla-
mour.


I cannot help stopping here for a moment, to make a re-
mark on a curious distinction to which the right honourable
gentleman appears most remarkably attached; a distinction
which betrays a feeling that I cannot well describe — a sort
of self-complacency — a kind of over-pleasure with his .own
situation. In speaking of the noble lord in the blue ribband
at different periods, he is ever solicitous of distinguishing be-
tween the first lord of the treasury and the mere secretary of
state. In the one character he ascribes to him all the dignity
of sovereign rank, of superintendency, and of sole authority —
in the other, he considers him as rather acting under or with a
ministry, than as a minister possessed of either power or re-
sponsibility. He says of him at one time, " When the noble
lord was the minister of the country ;" at another, " When the


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


noble lord held a subordinate situation in the cabinet." By these
distinctions, the right honourable gentleman takes a juvenile
pleasure in glancing at his own elevation, He considers the
personage who fills the united offices of chancellor of the ex-
chequer and first lord of the treasury, as a character so lofty
end exalted, so supereminent in his station, that he must on
no account be confounded with inferior persons. In like man-
ner, when he talks of coalitions, and reprobates them, he is
moved by. the same feeling. His charge against me and others
is for coalescing with the minister, the great superintending
minister of the American war His own coalitions he can
readily defend by the very same distinction. " I own," he
says, "I have certainly coalesced with some of the ministersiwho were concerned. in the patronage and conduct of the
American war: they, however, were inferior characters; lords
chancellors of England, and such like persons, of no account ;
but never have I been so influnous and abandoned, as to form
a coalition with the chancellor of the exchequer and the first
lord of the treasury, the great superintending minister of the
crown, who was the soul of the system." I do not, Sir, enlarge
upon this feeling of the right honourable gentleman, as a
charge against him: it is a feeling, in the enjoyment of which
I am by no means inclined to disturb him : a feeling, in the
enjoyment of which. I know of no person that has any interest-
to disturb him ; unless, indeed, there may be some of his ilia,-
mediate colleagues, who may think it would be somewhat more
decent in him to gratify his passion or his pride in a 'mode less
publicly offensive both to their spirit and their dignity.


But to return, Sir, to the propositions on the table. I must
now renew the observation that" made in the outset of this
business ; namely, that there was a gross and fundamental er-
ror in= originating these propositions in the Irish parliament.
Independent of the insult to the parliament of this country,
in not submitting, for their consideration, a great and exten-
sive innovation in the whole system of our commerce, till after
it had been determined upon in Ireland — surely the expe-
rience of this day sufficiently demonstrates the impolicy of so
strange a measure, For is it not evident, that after the pare
liament and people of Ireland have been suffered to cherish
the belief, that the resolutions which the ministers of that king-
dom assured them would be religiously adhered to as the basis
of the new system, the ministers of England come forward,
_and change the spirit, principle, and tendency of these resos.
futions? Is it to be imagined, that, after the solemn pledge
which the people of Ireland have received from their minister§
and which undoubtedly was held out to their parliament as 4


2




IRISH
DIRRCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May


sufficient ground for an immediate extension of their revenue
—is it to be imagined, I say, that, by any private tampering
with the individual leaders of a party, the whole body of that.
nation will as rapidly acquiesce in the supplemental resolu-
tions now brought forward as they at first did in the original
propositions; and when, too, the latter are directly framed to
weaken and diminish the effect of the former, which those who
proposed them in Ireland, had peremptorily insisted should
never undergo the slightest or most minute infringement ?
Nothing can be more absurd than the state of this proceed-
ing. First, the original propositions were made in Ireland —
now, the amendments are made in England. The Irish thus
exposed what alone would content them, and they were of-
fered it without knowing whether it was what England would
grant. Now, England is called upon to say what she will give,
without knowing whether it is what Ireland would take. Thus,
a double inconveniency and dilemma arises from the strange
and incoherent proceeding. Nor is this the only impolicy in
the mode of conducting this extraordinary measure.


His majesty's ministers have erected a board of trade under
the name of a committee of the privy council, which certainly,
with proper regulations, I should consider as a wise and
wholesome institution ; but this board was appointed not to
prepare materials for the system with Ireland; not to supply
government with information upon which they might delibe-
rately proceed to the adjustment of the intercourse between
the two kingdoms. On the contrary, this board was ap-
pointed to inquire rather into the propriety of what mini-
sters were actually doing, than what they ought to do. For,
at the precise time when Mr. Secretary Orde first agitated the
business in the Irish House of Commons, this committee 'of
the privy council were employed in the examination . -of evi-
dence, and the discussion of points on which the merits of the
proposed arrangement were ultimately to be estimated. Never,
surely, was a board of privy council so perverted, so degraded
as this ! Not appointed to investigate and examine all the ne-
cessary evidence as a preliminary to an important measure —
not constituted to deliberate on the various effects of a great
national change, the outline of which was nierely in idea, un-
settled, and unadopted by the minister ; but, in truth, to pro-
vide a posthumous defence for a plan already fixed, and to Iii-
bricate a vindication for mischiefs too far advanced to admit
of qualification or amendment. With such views, and for
such purposes, was this board of privy council at first con-
vened. A right honourable gentleman (Mr. Jenkinson) whose
feelings on being studiously excluded from all the ministerial
departments of state, it was found not wholly inexpedient to


1785.] IRISH commEnciAt PROPOSITIONS. Ss


console and soothe, by some temporary delegation of insigni-
ficant eminence, was prudently appointed to the presidency of
this mock committee. No higher mark of confidence was then
bestowed on thenow avowed associate of the great superintendant
minister. On the report, however, of such a board thus con-
stituted and thus directed, did the chancellor of the exchequer
call upon this House to depend with unreserved confidence for
the complete justification of his plan. In other words,, we
were to trust the most important rights of British commerce
to the opinion of a board of the king's privy counsellors, ap-
pointed by the king's ministers themselves, to inquire whether
the measure that they had adopted was wise or the contrary.-
Can the committee imagine any thing more frivolous, more
absurd, than so partial an appeal ? Do we not all know, that
when his majesty's ministers are committed on any one point,
the servants whom they employ must be careful not to deliver
an opinion hostile to that measure? The board of council are
selected by the minister, not as deliberate judges of his con-.
duct ; it were the extreme of folly to consider them in such
a light; on the contrary, it was their object to afford every
possible support to measures which they were called upon di-
rectly to countenance. This always was, and ever must be,
the case ; and so the committee of privy council in the pre-
sent instance seem entirely to have considered it. At first,
indeed, before the minister had thought it safe to commu-
nicate his plan to the right honourable president of this board,
some opinions, far from favourable to the plan, did appear
upon their minutes, and of course are still to be discovered in
their report ; but this was a transient gloom : from the mo-
ment that the present complete intelligence and intimacy was
established between the right honourable president and the
ministers, a new light seemed to flash at once on the whole
board of council ; the happiest means were instantly pursued
to effect the concealment of ministerial error; the most deci-
sive mode of examining witnesses was systematically observed :
not only the most apt and artful questions were propounded,
but with equal skill the most fortunate answers were generally
provided ; all, however, was carried on with much plausibility
and stateliness of deportment. " It was an open court, it was
accessible to witnesses of all descriptions, and accordingly"
(as was repeatedly asserted), " gentlemen attended them of
their own accord, and voluntarily offered their impartial testi-
nlony, on the various articles of their respective manufactures."
But how has this description been verified? We have it in
proof, that every individual witness who attended that board
was expressly sent for — and that questions were put of an
abstract nature, and on premises unexplained,. 1Are have


G 3





86 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May t


found, too, that the answers so obtained were reserved, to be
brought in contradiction to opinions which, when the premises
were fully examined, and the consequences weighed, it was
obvious could not fail to be stated in testimony at the bar of
the House of Commons. The right honourable gentleman,
who is at the head of this board (Mr. Jenkinson) has thought
proper, however, to inform us, that the manufacturers were
voluntary attendants on the committee.• But to this more
than one gentleman of eminence and respect has directly an-
swered, that in truth the witnesses were expressly sent for ;
Mr. Rose of the treasury having repeatedly entreated them to
attend the committee. " Ay," says the right hon. gentleman,
" but we have nothing to do with Mr. Rose, nor with the
" treasury, we did not send for you."


It is said in praise of simplicity of action, that 44 the right
hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth." Perhaps this
may be the case here ; but which, Sir, is the right hand,
and which the left, of the present administration, it is not so
easy to ascertain. Certainly, the chancellor of the exchequer
has, till of late, been fond of disclaiming all connection with
certain obnoxious characters. He has generally, in high tone,
and pompous parade, disavowed and reprobated all intimacy,
all friendship, all connection, with the right honourable gen-
tleman who has long been suspected of promoting an undue
influence in the government of this country. But all this
was the language of a period when the momentary popularity
which the minister had obtained had placed him above the
degradation of so obnoxious a connection. When the con.,
duct of the popular branch of the constitution was bestowed
upon the present minister, under the description and characs
ter of a popular statesman, it would indeed have been mad-
ness in the extreme to have held any other language of one,
whose habits, whose principles, whose avowed prejudices,
marked him out as utterly disqualified for a situation, which,
even in cdnnnon prudence, ought never to be subject to the
direct control, or to the disguised influence, of prerogative.
When the scene, however, began to change, when the Irish
resolutions excited alarm, and the minds of men were irri-
tated at so lavish a surrender of every thing that was dear;
when the right honourable gentleman began to feel himself
weak and insecure, his language was less inflated, his proud
rejection of obnoxious characters was heard no more :


Tclephus et Peleus, cum pauper et mil uterque,
" Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia vcrba


" Misery makes us acquainted With strange companions."
For .


my Own part, Sir, though I have always considered


1785'] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 87


the right honourable, gentleman alluded to, as an objection-
able character for mixing in the conduct of the British go-
vernment, yet I must do him the justice to :;ay, that in this
singular instance, his cautious temper, his patient laborious
habits, have undoubtedly been well employed in correcting
the strange incoherent levities of the original propositions.
And, therefore, it would be wholly unfair to withhold the
merit of some of the alterations of this day from the instruc-
tion and advice so generously administered by the right ho-
nourable gentleman (Mr.Jenkinson) in the hour of danger
and necessity.


But to return, Sir, to the committee of privy council. I
cannot suppress my indignation at the petty, miserable plan,
which I am sorry to find they have pursued, of first entrap-
ping witnesses, by inducing them to give hasty answers to
questions unexplained, and afterwards endeavouring to detect
contradictions in their evidence, when they came at the dis-
tance of six weeks, to speak at the bar of this committee.
Upon such conduct, very ill becoming a board of privy coun-
cil, I cannot but observe, that undoubtedly it would have
been far more graceful for the right honourable gentleman
to have lent his utmost aid to the manufacturers of this coun-
try, when they were forced to the bar of this committee in
support of their clearest privileges: surely, upon such an oc-
casion he ought himself to have manfully declared, 44 I re-joice to see you here : eager as I am for the discovery of
truth, I am happy that you are come to explain all those
points in which you have either been mistated or snxsre.,
presented by the committee of council. You have :sow an
opportunity to correct those errors ; improve it with all the
sincerity and zeal that are the best characteristics of English-
men." Such, Sir, ought to have been his language; for surely
ft is by no means discreditable for a man of the strictest honour
to explain his opinions, when more mature reflection and
greater light on the subject have convinced him that he was
wrong. And yet, in pursuing• a line of conduct diametri-
cally opposite to that which I have described ; in adopting
the poor and miserable expedient which the minister preferred
to the plain feeling of justice and honour, I pledge myself to
prove, that, with all their sinister industry to confuse and to
prevent, they have completely and utterly failed ; for not a
single instance have they been able to offer, of glaring and
material contradiction in any one of the numerous wit-
nesses who have been the constant objects of their illiberal
attacks.


I have said, Sir, that so far as I have been able to com-
prehend the alterations, by hearing them once read over, I


G 4




IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12,


am ready to acknowledge, they are infinitely more palatable
than at first ; but I desire to be understood, that I still insist,
they are by no meanswhat they ought to be. Much ofpnny
objection remains; and I have no doubt, but when gentlemen
come to discuss the amended resolutions, they will yet exhibit
weighty arguments against their acceptance, as the basis of
the future intercourse between the two countries.


The right honourable gentleman has now removed the
objection which originally%


existed against the first resolu-
tions ; namely, that we thereby sacrificed the monopoly of
the Asiatic trade. How the right honourable gentleman
could originally overlook that most important concern, un-
less he meant to abolish the monopoly; is


• a point for which
I am utterly at a loss how to account. Surely the 'peculiar
services which the company have rendered to his administra-
tion, might well have claimed a more serious attention to
their particular interests than the right honourable gentle-
man seems to have paid them at the present important crisis :
but roused to the performance of his duty, by the zeal of
gentlemen on this side of the House, he has at length, in-
deed, made some provision for the security of the East India
trade. Certainly I do not grudge to the people of Ireland
the benefits which he has allotted to them in this branch
of commerce: it is by no means improper that they should
have a share of the outfit of the East India ships, as they
consent to a part of the return. Excluded from the com-
merce of Asia, it seems but barely equitable to permit them
to supply some proportion of the export trade. On the
contrary, if at any time, either the necessities or the mere will
of the East India Company, should resort to Ireland for such
supplies, in preference to the established trade with their ouk
native dealers, I am sure there is no Englishman of sense
or spirit who would debar Ireland from every fair participa-
tion of those benefits which may be safely and justly divided.


The right honourable gentleman has made use of the most
unfortunate argument that I ever heard delivered by the most
unfortunate speaker in this or in any assembly. He says,
that giving to Ireland the English market for the issue of colo-
nial produce, though it will not enable the Irish to enter into
any dangerous competition with us at home, will yet be of great
avail to them, for they will thereby be more capable of taking
advantage of the foreign market. This he explains by saying,
that having the issue of the English market to depend upon
in the last resort, they will have a greater spur to adventure;
they will import more of the produce of the colonies ; and,
trusting to the power which they will now have of coming
in. the eqd, to England with their commodities, they will


13


785.]
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


i!)o9


strive to increase their foreign trade, and necessarily make
their country a sort of commercial depot. If this argument
is true of the colonial produce, it is equally true of their own
manufactures. If they have the advantage of having the Eng-
lish market as an issue to enable them to push their foreign
trade to a considerable increase in the colonial produce; then,
with precisely the same ground, may we contend, that, having
the issue of the English market, they will be able to advance
their foreign trade for their manufactures.


Here, then, is an end to all the invective which was thrown
on the manufacturers for having asserted, that those resolu-
tions would affect the manufactures of Great Britain in the
foreign market: they were told with petulance, that they did
not understand the matter ; and that if there was any danger
of meeting a powerful competitor in the Irish manufactures at
the foreign market, that danger existed before; that the fo-
reign market had always been open to the Irish manufacturer
—true, and of this they were not ignorant : but Ireland had
not till now the sure issue of the English market as a collateral
security for enterprize, and as a spur to speculation. I thank
the right honourable gentleman for this argument; but I must
apprize him, that it refers more to manufactures than to co-
lonial produce. Does he not know, that in colonial produce,
the home market is every thing, and the foreign market no-
thing? In manufactures, it is the reverse, or nearly so. There
was good ground, therefore, for the manufacturers to state,
that they should now find a dangerous competitor in Ireland
at the foreign market.


-
With respect, Sir; to the navigation act, upon which I


have said so much in the course of this discussion, do we not
now find that all my apprehensions were well founded? The
right honourable gentleman has at length acknowledged, that
the navigation act was in danger, notwithstanding his repeated
declarations 'to the contrary. This conviction may be collected
from the nature of the remedy lie,has thought it expedient to
adopt. Strong must have been the apprehensions which- sug-
gested such a relief; it is a relief which, in the peculiar cir-
cumstances of the two kingdoms, will require very particular
consideration indeed, as its tendency is no less than this —
that notwithstanding the independence of Ireland, she must
still, in commercial laws and external legislation, be governed
by Britain. That she shall agree to follow whatever regula-
tions we may think it right to pursue from time to time for
securing privileges to our shipping, or for restraining the
trade with our colonies, and that such laws shall be in full
force in Ireland, is a remedy certainly of a very hazardous
kind; but, Sir, though it goes so far, it does not satisfy .me;





90 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May
it is dangerous indeed, but not efficacious; nor do I think
that, strong and bitter as it is, it will be attended with the
effects of preventing the various and radical evils whin are
attached to this pernicious system. I am of opinion, that even
if Ireland should agree to this provision, we shall deliver up
into the custody of another, and that an independent nation,
all our fundamental laws for the regulation of our trade, and
we must depend totally on her bounty and liberal spirit for the
guardianship and protection of our dearest interests.


Now, Sir, although I feel as strong a disposition of par-
tiality and favour towards the Irish nation as any man in this.;
House ; although I believe them to 'be a people as distin-
guished for liberality as any people upon earth, yet this is
not of all others the particular point in which I would
chuse to trust to their liberality. I think the guardianship of
the laws which I have mentioned can be deposited in no
hands so properly as in our own. It would be the interest
of Ireland to evade those laws, and I ask you what security ,
there is for the due performance of a commercial contract,
when it is the interest of a nation to evade it? He who trusts
to the vague and rash notions of abstract right in preference to
the constant and uniform testimony of experience, will find
himself miserably deceived in his calculations on all subjects
of commercial or political discussion. When it is the interest
of a nation to evade a law, that law will be evaded : it always
was so, and it always will be so. Perhaps there is no instance
of a country snore tenacious of engagements than our own;
but, do we not all know, that finding the illicit trade which
was some time ago carried on to the Spanish main, highly be-
neficial to the country, that that trade was connived at,
though in the very teeth of our national engagements. Now,
Sir, when it shall be felt that Ireland will be materially be-
nefited by evading our laws, and that the introduction of fo-
reign sugars will be so much more valuable to them than the 14,.
legal importation of our colonial produce, is it to be imagined
that the people of Ireland will, out of mere love and libera-
lity, shut their eyes against their own immediate interest, or
that the laws which may be made in conformity with this new
system will be enforced with vigour and with efficacy? In-
terest is the leading impulse with nations, and it supposes
nothing unfavourable to the Irish, to suppose that the com-
mon feelings which actuate all mankind in their public cha-
racter as states, may prevail also with them. When it shall be
found that foreign sugar may be introduced fifteen or twenty
per cent. cheaper than our own ; and when it shall be found


. that they can be introduced in American bottoms 'cheaper
than in shipping navigated according to the law of Great


1785.1 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


Britain, it is idle to suppose that they will not be so intro-
duced, that this sinister advantage will not be so obtained;
that is, in other words; that the commerce of England will
not be so affected and diminished.


Mr. Orde, on opening his system to the Irish parliament,
if we may trust to the reports of the newspapers—and that we
may do so, is evident from this circumstance, that though
Mr. Orde was in London several days, he never came down
to the House to contradict the reports, though argument was
daily founded upon them—stated that Cork would become the
emporium of the empire. This expression, to be sure, he
afterwards changed to a term more prosaic and modest, affirm-
ing that his original phrase had been that Cork would become
the medium of trade to the empire. The difference is immate-
rial, except in the sound of the word ; for by medium I can
understand nothing else, than that the produce of the western
world will, in the first instance, be imported into Ireland, be
deposited there as the magazine of the empire, and be subse-
quently dealt out to Britain as her wants may make such ap-
plication necessary. We have a less sounding and less intel-
ligible phrase, but the real meaning remains still the same,
and the measure of oppression and injury unchanged or un-
abated. That Ireland will be this medium, I have no doubt;
and its being so will produce an evil beyond the mere loss of
the direct trade to our colonies ; for there is every reason to
believe, that by this means the produce of the French and
other foreign colonies will find their way into the country, to
the ruin of our West India planters and merchants. But,
says the right honourable gentleman, it is not to be believed,
that a circuitous voyage, as this will be, can be preferred to a
communication with our colonies; and in a whisper across the
house he says, that Britain even now supplies the Irish mar-
ket with colonial produce. This, Sir, in my opinion,


- strengthens my argument ; such is the decided benefit re-
sulting from having two markets instead of one, that now we
are able, with all -.)the disadvantage of the circuitous voyage,
to supply Ireland. What, then, must be the consequence to


u


Ireland when she shall enjoy the double market, added to all
the advantages arising from harbours so admirably accom-
modated by the hand of nature for the intercourse in ques-


f
tion


iora


m ; from cheap labour, and from an almost total exemption


, or if the right
burdens?


M


She will indeed become the empo-


rwth respect to the


table gentleman, out of compli-
ein to his friends in England, likes it better, the medium of


trade to the general empire, and indeed almost exclusively so
with


produce of our colonies,
right honourable gentleman has been =ions to set




92


TRIM COMMRRCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May


up an argument in favour of this country, that great capital
would in all cases overbalance cheapness of labour. I know
this to be the fashionable position of the present times, and of
the present government: but general positions of all kinds
ought to be very cautiously admitted ; indeed, on subjects so
infinitely complex and mutable as politics and commerce, a
wise man hesitates at giving too implicit a credit to any gene-
ral maxim of any denomination ; and with this conviction in
my mind, I am prepared to controvert the position of the
right honourable gentleman, at the same time that I do not
desire to be understood as wishing to establish the contrary.
I do not think that great capital will always overbalance
cheapness of labour, nor that cheap labour will always over-
balance great capital; as general theorems I dispute both, at
the same time that I am clearly of opinion, that under cer-
tain circumstances both may be true; we have known several
instances in which the cheapness of labour has triumphed
over greatness of capital. In the rapid transitions of fortune


,in this country, do we not daily perceive the triumphs of in-
dustry over wealth ? Have we not abundant precedents to
show, that our manufactures have changed their positions in
this country merely on account of the cheapness of labour and
provision ? Have they not within these thirty years travelled
into Scotland, and is it not likely that precisely for the sam
reason, together with other incitements, they will migrate to
Ireland? But, says the right honourable gentleman, the dif
Terence is not so great as is imagined in the price of labour;
it is only rude labour which is cheap in Ireland, and the finer
parts of work are much dearer there than in England. In
proof of this assertion he brings Captain Brook to the bar of
the House of Commons, a gentleman who has established a
very considerable manufactory of cottons in Ireland. Whe-
ther it is perfectly proper to bring gentlemen from Ireland, to
give evidence before the House of Commons, on a subject
that is to benefit Ireland and not England, I will not take up
much time to inquire.


The Irish are beyond all question greatly interested in the
conclusion of this bargain, and exclusively so as to hopes of
benefit; their evidence, therefore, as parties influenced and
prejudiced, may perhaps be deemed improper when brought
forward to support the system, and to persuade this House.
I know it may be said, that Messrs. Richardson, WalkerAt


• Peel, and others, who have given evidence on the other side,
are also interested in the termination of this compact. I ad-
mit the fact; but on which side does their interest lie ? and
to which ought we in this House to incline? They are in-
terested for England, of which we are the delegated guar


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 93


dians — Mr. Brook is interested for Ireland, who is on the
other side negotiating for himSelf. Taking it, therefore, in
that point of view, I cannot hesitate a moment as to the path
which it becomes me, as a British member of parliament, to
pursue, in the credit which I am to bestow on the evidence
adduced. But in this point of the cheapness of rude labour,
hear what the intelligent Mr. Peel says:—" The finer parts
of work cannot be carried on without the ruder. It is on the
rude work that the hand is qualified in its art, and every
Irian who is employed in the finer branch, was first employed
in the coarser." The cheapness of rude labour is, therefore,
an advantage which in manufactures of the finer kind must be
highly favourable; but in those which are in their quality
coarse, must give to the country a decisive superiority. In
one instance this has been proved. A manufacturer of Nor-
wich gives it in evidence, that he can buy in Norwich, Irish
worsted yarn cheaper than he can buy English, although it
is subject to five or six duties before it reaches him, and sub-
ject also to the expense of the voyage and of the carriage, as
well as of the internal duties in Ireland; so that upon a fair
and just calculation, it is demonstrable, that they can manu-
&due worsted yarn in Ireland 45 or SO per cent. cheaper
than in England. But, say the witnesses from Irekind, it is
by no means likely that Ireland will ever establish a cotton
manufactory to rival that of Manchester : it would not be
her interest to do so, and there are many stubborn inconve-
niencies which she has to surmount. I will admit the sup-
position for the sake of argument, though I by no means
think it founded in probability. But admitting even that she
shall not think of establishing a cotton manufactory, she may
still by these new resolutions effectually cut off the Irish mar-
ket from ours; for having a manufacture of her own to sub-
stitute in the room of this, she may lay a duty on cottons,
which by the principle of countervailing duties might amount
to a prohibition of ours, and, by a side blow, annihilate the
Manchester manufacture hi the Irish market at once.


And this leads me to an argument which has been much
insisted on in favour of these resolutions—that by the means
of the new system, the right honourable gentleman would
have the merit of putting an end to all idea of protecting du-


On what rational ground does he claim to himself this
merit? By the power which is thus left to each country, to
lay internal duties on such manufactures as they may covet to
crush for the sake of advancing a substitute, he gives rise to a
countervailing duty that will act as a complete, though indi-
reCt, prohibition ; and that this is in favour of Ireland and ini-
I:weal to England, is evident from this circumstance, that by




94 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 12,
the fatal ninth resolution we have for evergiven up the only
remaining hold which could have operated as a protection
against so obvious and alarming an inconvenience.- Il 4ofect-
ing duties, however threatened, would never have been im,..i.,
posed under the old intercourse; for the good sense of Ire«
land would not have suffered the danger of retaliation on their
staple commodity: that danger they will now no longer beo4
exposed to. But, the right honourable gentleman says, thaf
we shall by this means bind the two nations together in indis-


, soluble bands; that between nation and nation the intercourse
should be regulated by principles of equality and justice; and
that this ought to be more particularly studied between na-
tions that are sisters, as it were, and are so connected in in-
terest and in blood as Great Britain and Ireland. To such
principles as these, if acted upon with wisdom or the chancejof mutual harmony, far be it from me to object ! My ob-ection is, that the intercourse is not to be regulated by prin-
ciples of equality and justice. Let us suppose a fair and equal
admission of manufactures into each country free of all du-
ties—which of the kingdoms would shudder most at such a
freedom ? The Irish undoubtedly. "We arc to give them
an intercourse infinitely more beneficial than throwing open
our ports entirely ; and in doing this, we have given to Ire-
land the power of offending us without reserving the means
even of retaliation, much less of prevention.


By the seventh resolution we bind ourselves in no future
time to prohibit the export of raw materials to Ireland. This
is a measure which may be found highly prejudicial to our
manufactures. In the course of this session we have passed an
act to prevent the export of rabbit skins, for the benefit of
our hat manufactory. May not other occasions arise, hi
which it would highly affect us to suffer raw materials to go
out of our hands Into those of foreign states, under the name
of Ireland; for such is the danger that I apprehend. A cargo
of raw materials may be entered at our custom house for Ire-
land ; but what security shall we have, either for their being
carried thither, or for their stay in the country if they reach
it? Never let us be so weak as to trust to generosity, when
interest is at stake.


The ninth resolution, Sir, is that which reprobate the
most, and in that no alteration is made. By that resolution
we for ever surrender the only power which we had of en-
fbrcing the due performance of all the parts of the bargain
obligatory on Ireland. By giving up all legislative control
over the admission of her staple into Britain, we for ever throw
ourselves on the mercy of Ireland, and have no means, of pro-
tecting ourselves against her future caprices. It is by such


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 95
means that the right honourable gentleman hopes to produce
a lasting amity between the two kingdoms. He provides ill
for peace, who deprives himself of the weapons of war. True
policy suggests, that with a disposition to be amicable our-
selves, we should be prepared against the effects of a contrary
disposition in others.


In regard to the compensation, I hardly know in what view
of it to express my particular reprobation. The exaction of
a permanent provision from Ireland is what I consider as a
measure pregnant with the most alarming consequence to the
liberties and to the constitution of both countries. As an
Irishman, I would never consent to grant it; and as an Eng-
lishman, I cannot accept it. 'What Ireland cannot concede
with safety, England cannot receive with grace. It has
always been the leading and characteristic privilege of our le-
aislature—and when I speak of ours in this instance, I may
9include the legislature of Ireland also—to limit all grants of
supplies to the period of one year. Thus the supplies for the
army are voted annually, for the navy annually, for the
ordnance annually, and so also in every description of public
expenditure that may any way tend to produce an undue con-
trol over the subject : to make them perpetual, even though
the application of them is to be left to the disposal of parlia-
ment, is a measure to which • I cannot give my consent : it
establishes a precedent for diminishing the sole security which
the domestic branch of the constitution possesses against the
encroachments of the executive. Annual supplies are the
vital source of the influence and authority which the repre-
sentative body have, and ought to have, in the respective le-
gislature of the two countries, and I can accede to no regula-
tion that has the operation of impairing so invaluable a privi-
lege in the smallest degree. I object to this compensation on
another account; and that is, that I do not think it worth our
acceptance; for even if the surplus of the hereditary revenue
should amount to a sum, which might be valuable when ap-
pliedd to the maintenance of our navy, what security have we
that the Irish nation may not withdraw the sum which they
nappropriate to the army? They now maintain a very
considerable part of our army. I wish to know if it will not
be in their power to withhold that sum whenever they shall


r:


deem it expedient, after the establishment of this new system:
therefore what we gain in the one way, we may lose in the
other, We may lose from our army what we are to gain in
our
he twor


navy, with this material difference still existing between
t e that the supply which is now granted on the
part of Ireland for the support of our army, is granted in a
manner and perfectly congenial with the practice and




96 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12.


spirit of our own constitution ; whereas the proposed expe..
client of the service of ORD navy originates in a violation of
both, and cannot operate but to the obvious disadvantve of
the popular department of the Irish government. The right
honourable gentleman says, the surplus of the hereditary re-
venue would be appropriated to the purchase of provisions for
the navy, and that thus it would be beneficial to Ireland.
To this I have no objection; I think it would be reasonable
and advantageous. But to the permanency of the grant, I
must enter my most cordial and determined protest. The
right honourable gentleman says, that there he would not trust
to the generosity of Ireland for a compensation, which he
considers as founded in justice. He will implicitly trust to
her generosity and kindness for the due and vigorous execu-
tion of the trade laws, but he will not trust to her generosity.
for the return which she shall make for bis present benevo-
lence towards her.. In this I completely differ with the right
honourable gentleman. I would trust to Ireland in the case
where he would not, and I would not trust where he is in-
clined to do so. If there be any nation upon earth, in whom,
on a point of honourable compensation, I would have im-
plicit confidence, it is Ireland : but in the due performance
of commercial regulations, where the laws stand for ever in
the way of interest and adventure, I would not trust to any
people existing. In the case of the compensation, the voice
of all Ireland would be heard in her parliament. In the in-
stance of sinister trade, it would be confined to the intrigues
between smugglers and custom-house officers; and neither the
generosity nor the manliness of the more enlightened and
polished part of the nation would be at all concerned in the
discussion.


The right honourable gentleman has insinuated, that there
is an immediate necessity for adopting the system which he
has proposed; that is as much as to say in plain English, he
has held out the resolutions to Ireland, and the necessity for 4
adopting them has arisen from his having done so. This is a
mode of argument which merits a great share of countenance,
whatever truth there may be in the fact. Ireland is not how-
ever, I trust, so unreasonable as to insist upon the rash and in-
temperate transfer of privileges, demonstrably ruinous to
England. "But," says the right honourable gentleman, "this
system will finally determine every question between the two
nations, and nothing can arise in future to make a contest be-
tween them." I call upon the right honourable gentleman to
say, what security he can give us for the certain accomplish-
ment of his presage. Does. he speak from experience ? Evi-
dently note Experience of the Borst, 6Qr/Qei.VO to. be


1785.3 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 97


the best criterion by which to determine the probability of the
future, is against him. When the noble lord in the blue
ribbon, in the year 178o, opened to the Irish the trade of our
colonies, the parliament of that country declared themselves
fully gratified,. and thanked his majesty in terms of the utmost
gratitude and apparent satisfaction. In a few months, how-
ever, their voice was heard again. In the administration of
which I made a part, their legislature was declared to be inde-
pendent; and in addresses from both Houses of parliament, they
professed themselves so entirely content, as not to consider it
possible that any subsequent question of political division could
arise between the two kingdoms. Yet in the very next session
they gave indications of new dissatisfaction, and farther conces-
sionswere made. How are men to argue from these facts? One
would imagine, that the most effectual and satisfactory method
of quieting the apprehensions, or relieving the exigencies of a
distressed country, would be that of appealing to their own tes-
timony fol. a knowledge of their circumstances; to collect infor-
mation from themselves; to desire them to state, in their own
persons, the measure of their calamities, and the best expedi-
ents for the relief of them. This was precisely the way pur-
sued heretofore. The concessions were granted on the declas
rations of the best informed men in the land— men the best
qualified to know the state, the wants, and the expectations of
the kingdom. Mr. Hussey Burgh and Mr. Grattan, names
which no man could mention but with the sincerest and most
cordial respect, were the authorities on which England pro-
ceeded, and on, which she relied. But this, it seems, however
specious and natural, was not the proper method of ascertain-
ing the ss•ants or wishes of another kingdom. The true and
only means of finally concluding all disputes with Ireland, is
to send a stranger there, and order hinist6 address himself to
their senate in such language as this: "Hear me, ye men of
ignorance and credulity ! You know nothing of what you
want, what you wish, or what would be good for you —
trust yourselves to me I am perfect master of all your in-


:


fiefs:nines here is the specific that will cure you, the infalli-
ble nostrum for all ailments." It seems that this is the only
conciliatory expedient for administering to the relief of a dis-
ordered state not to suffer the inhabitants to speak, but to


(.clxietr:Invabn,9.;apmongst them ignorant at once of their exigen-
ties, their grievances, and their policy, to propose wild schemes
Wilich he it speculation, and prescribe for the disorder,
withou t


the painful tediousness of tr ying to understand it. In
erepliance with this new idea, Ms. Uncle, an English gen-


tleman, the secretary to an English nobleman, the lord. lieu-
tenant


for the time, rises up and proposes a set of resolutions
pledges himself to carry into complete execution.


V OL. III.




98


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May


These resolutions are brought to England, and after two
months discussion are completely and fundamentally altered.
Upon these resolutions the right honourable gentleman think,-,
himself warranted to say that the system will be final. The
right honourable gentleman said, that he must have a fund of
credulity who believed all the evidence which the manufltcturers
had given at the bar. In like manner I say, that he must
have a fund of credulity indeed, who can believe on such
premises that the Irish will be content with this system, or
that the general interests of both countries can be promoted
by its establishment.


" It is possible," says the right honourable gentleman, "that
one country may lose what another may gain." I am ready
to agree with the right honourable gentleman, that in similar
manufactures, or even in the same manufacture, one country
might open channels of commerce unknown to another, the
one acquire riches without the other suffering diminution : but
it so happens, that between England and Ireland, under these
resolutions, this cannot be the case. Their channels of con-
sumption are precisely the same, and a mutual participation
in all markets is the leading principle of the agreement. Ire-
land, therefore, cannot make a single acquisition but to the
proportionate loss of England. I defy the fight honourable
gentleman to mention any one article —and he has not men-§,
toned one—in which Ireland may gain without England suf..;
fering a loss. This, Sir, constitutes the distinct and promi-
nent evidence of the impolicy of the 'system. It is this which
will stir up jealousy between the two countries, and make.
Englishmen and Irishmen look at one another with cold hearts
and suspicious eyes. If any one thing demands more than
another the cautious deliberation of the committee, it is ?hat
of guarding against insidious competition ; to take care that
the. new system shall not make the countries rivals instead of
friends.


Another objection requires a more satisfactory answer than
it has yet obtained. We have gone great lengths for the sup-
pression of smuggling, and have loaded our constitutents with
a commutation tax of a most heavy and unequal kind, merely
to crush the contraband trade on our coasts. Upon the very
heel of a most oppressive and unequitable expedient for the
prevention of smuggling, we are preparing to adopt a new
system, that will give to every species of this indirect and con-
traband commerce ten times the vigour and the generality
that it ever possessed in the country. This is the right
honourable gentleman's consistency. In one year he loads
the subjects with the most intolerable imposition' to which
they were ever exposed; and the single motive, as well


T 0


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
I785'] 99.


the only possible excuse for it is this—the prevention of
smuggling. The next year, he introduces a new measure,
the obvious and undeniable tendency of which is, to. -en-
courage all illicit trade to an extent hitherto unknown in
any period of our history; for by means of this new inter-
course, no laws, no watchfulness, no penalties will have power
enough to prevent the revival of every sort of contraband trade.
I shall mention only a single article or two, to shew the facility
which these new resolutions will give to the exercise of smug-
gling. At present, so anxious are we to guard against the il-
licit importation of French gloves, that we have had recourse
to a prevention of unexampled severity. Besides the penalty,
which is uncommonly high, the person in whose custody sus-
pected gloves are found, is obliged to prove that they were
made in this country. The onus probandi lies upon the per-
son accused, an instance of severity unknown to the general
penal provision of our statutes. 'When this communication
with Ireland is opened, what will he the consequence ? The
person has only to say that they are Irish. It will be in vain that
you call upon him to prove that they are manufactured there—
and thus you will have articles of every kind poured in upon
you. Silk stockings is another article of the same kind.




Distinctions will be impracticable ; and every species of light
goods, of small package and easy transfer, will flow in upon
us, to the ruin of our manufactures.


I shall conclude, Sir, with supplicating the committee to
take time to deliberate, and to inquire fully before they decide
on this measure, which must make an entire revolution in the •
whole system of British commerce. 'We have seen the bene-
fits of delay. Let us be wise from experience. It is impos-
sible that Ireland can object to our desiring a sober delibera-
tion on a subject so infinitely important. It is said, that Ire-
land is out of temper, and that she has been irritated almost
beyond her bearing. Ministers are answerable for this irrita-=
tion, if such irritation exists. The violences which they com-
mitted in Ireland deserve the most marked and general repro-
bation. Their attacks on the liberty of the press; their en-
deavours to prevent the legal and quiet meetings of counties •
to deliberate on the best peaceable means of amending their
deficient representation ; their proceeding against men by sum-
mary attachment : all were violences which, perhaps, may
have inflamed Ireland, and now ministers are desirous of
avoiding the consequences of imprudent insult by imprudent


But let us be cautious how we assist them in a
design which may eventually turn out as insidious to that
Country as it would be ruinous to this; a design which may,
Perhaps, involve in it another commutation, and that a more


a 2,




Ali


100 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 12.


pernicious one, even than that well-known- and universally-
execrated measure which now bears that name—a commuta-
tion of English commerce for Irish slavery.


Let us remember, that all the manufacturing communities
of Great Britain are avowedly against the system. So general
an union never took place as on this occasion. So large a
number of petitions never were presented from the manufac-
turers on any former occasion; and what is still more remark-
able, there is but one solitary instance of any manufacturing
body having expressed a syllable in its favour. The voice of
the whole country is, therefore, against the resolutions. it is
within the memory of all men, that sometime ago the right
honourable gentleman was an advocate for the voice of the
people — " What," said he, when a number of petitions were
presented against the India bill which I had the honour to
move, "will you persist in this bill against the voice of the
people? "Will you not hearken to the petitions upon your
table?" It was ever my opinion, Sir, that petitions should
be heard, and most seriously attended to; but it was not my
opinion, that they should always be implicitly complied with.
A distinction should be made between petitions, as temporary
circumstances, or the casualties under which they are pre-
sented, shall suggest; and I should certainly be at 'all times
more inclined to pay respect to them, when they applied to
subjects of which the petitioners could, from their habits or
otherwise, be considered as competent judges —much more so,
beyond all question, than when they spoke merely from vague
representations, and on topics with which they had no means
of being conversant. The right honourable gentleman is of a
contrary opinion. It is only when they come, against the
India bill that he thinks them worthy of notice. When Inm-
dreds of thousands come to our bar, deprecating the counte-
nance of a system, which, from their own knowledge, they pro-
nounce to be ruinous to the manufactures of England, he
treats them with something that merits a severer term than
disdain. Mr. Wedgwood, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Walker, and
the other great manufacturers, and who, from opulence and
every other consideration, arc worthy to be ranked with the
best men in this House, have received from the right honour-
able gentleman every species of ill treatment and indignity
that the lower or most degraded characters could receive, or
the most contemptuous and violent could bestow. Their in-
telligence on their respective manufactures ought to give weight
to their petitions as well as to their evidence, and to ensure
them, not only a decent hearing, but a most attentive regard.
The right honourable gentleman, however, considers, the voice
of the people only as sacred and commanding where it is ex,


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 101


erted against things upon which the petitioners are not com-
petent to decide. For instance; if when these gentlemen —
who, I dare say, during the rage of opposition to the India
bill, also signed petitions against a — were at the bar, they had
been asked if they objected to that bill, and they had answered
in the affirmative, would their testimony in the one case have
been deserving of the same notice as on the interests of their
particular manufactures ? Surely not. In the one case they
spoke from what they heard, or from what they conjectured ;
in the other, from what they knew. Can the committee think
that they - know more of the Manchester manufacture, than
my. Richardson and Mr. Walker ? — of the iron manufacture,
than the gentlemen that we have heard this day ?— and of
every other manufacture, than the persons who have spent
their lives in the study, and embarked their fortunes in the
progress? If we do know better, let us in the name of heaven
discharge our consciences, and speak as we think, against those
manufacturers ; but at any rate let us deliberate, let us take
time to think before we act. Our decision will not he less ef-
ficacious for being the result of inquiry; nor is it possible that
any evil can arise from a delay which affords some interval for
decent discussion.


Before I sit down, Mr. Gilbert, it may not be amiss to sug-
gest to gentlemen, that the present is a subject from which,
above all others, private partialities or personal attachments
ought to be totally excluded. This is not a question of per-
sonal struggle between man and man, a contest for power, nor
the mere war of individual ambition. It is a question of life
and death for the country — not for the official existence of
this or that minister, but for the political existence of Great
Britain herself. In the consideration of such a question, there-
fore, let gentlemen strip themselves at once of prejudices and
predilections —let them guard their minds equally against an
undue bias of every denomination, whether of political sym-
pathy with the minister, or of attachment to opposition _
whether of individual respect for gentlemen on that side of the
House, or on this — let them recollect that the minister has, by
his conduct this day, demonstrated to the House, that implicit
confidence in him is as dangerous as it is absurd; that infalli-
bility is no more the prerogative of the right honourable gen-
tleman than of the rest of the world. He has introduced six-
teen new propositions, the general object of which is to correct
'11(1 to qualify his original system, and the particular aim of


some of which is to change the very essence or vital nature
of his previous plan. Let us suppose, then, that this princi-
ple of implicit confidence had prevailed in the minds of gen
tlemen, when this system was originally proposed to the Howe,


s 3





10 2 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 12


if they had acceded to the propositions, in the shape and for-
mation in which they were at first presented — and that it was
for a long time the minister's intention to obtrude them upon
this House with all their original infirmities upon their head,
is well known to us and to the world—what would have fol-
lowed ? Why, evidently this — that this confidence so reposed,
would have led gentlemen to do that, which in the opinion of
the minister himself would have been wrong. Let this exam-
ple, therefore, of the demonstrated and acknowledged peril
which results from blind predilection and the total resignation of
personal judgment, warn gentlemen how they 1411 into the same
error a second time. The minister himself tells them this day,
that they would have been in the grossest and most pernicious
error in which the legislators of a great country were ever in-
volved, if they had trusted entirely to him on a former occa-
sion. I will take upon me to tell them that their error will
not be less gross, nor less pernicious, if they trust him too
implicitly on this.


I shall only add, Sir, that he who can understand so com-
plicated and so extensive a subject upon so slight and transi- 4
eat a view of it, possesses an intellect not common to the gene-
ral body of' mankind, and which certainly cannot be the ge-
neral characteristic of this House. For one, I can truly say,
he must possess an understanding of infinitely more quickness
and acumen than any to which I pretend. He that votes for
the propositions without understanding them, is guilty of such
a desertion of his duty and his patriotism as no subsequent
penitence can possibly atone for — he sacrifices the commerce
of Great Britain at the shrine of private partiality, and sells
his country for the whistling of a name. The minister who
exacts, and the member who submits to so disgraceful an one-
dience, are equally criminal. The man who, holding the first
seat in his majesty's council, can stoop to so disgraceful and
fallacious a canvas, as to rest his ministerial existence on the
decision of a great national question like this, must be wholly
lost to all sense•of dignity, of character, or manly patriotism ;
and he who acquiesces in it from any other inducement but
that of cautious and sincere conviction, surrenders every claim
to the rank and estimation of an honest and independent
member of parliament, and sinks into the meanness and de-
gradation of a mere ministerial instrument, unworthy the
situation of a senator, and disgraceful to the name of an
Englishman.


After a debate which lasted till five o'clock in the morning, the
committee divided on the question of adjournment moved by t
Lord North ; Yeas 1 55 : Noes 281. The first resolution Was then
agreed to.


1785.7


IRISH CO3DIERCI AL PROPOSITIONS. 103


May 19.
The House having resolved itself into a committee to take into


Further consideration the Irish propositions, Mr. Pitt moved the
third resolution ; viz. " That towards carrying into full effect so
desirable a settlement, it is fit and proper that all articles, not the
growth or manufacture of Great Britain or Ireland, should be im-
ported into each kingdom from the other reciprocally, under theisame regulations, and at the same duties, f subject to duties, to
which they are liable when imported directly from the place of
their growth, product, or manufacture ; and that all duties origi-
nally paid on importation into either country respectively, except
on arrack and foreign brandy, and on rum, and all sorts of strong
waters, not imported from the British colonies in the West Indies
or America, shall be fully drawn back on exportation to the other."
The resolution was strongly opposed by Lord North, Mr. Burke,
and Mr. Pelham ; and supported by Mr. W. Grenville, Mr. Pitt,
Mr. Wilberforce, and Mr. Dundas. Mr. Sheridan observed, that as
several fresh petitions had come in, and gentlemen not sufficiently
acquainted with the subject would wish for more time, lie would
move, that the chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
—When the question was going to be put,


Mr. Fox said, that after having expressed his sentiments on
the propositions so fully on a former day, and after hearing
his noble friend (Lord North) discuss them so ably that night,
he should not have troubled the committee again, if some
observations had not in the course of the debate, from
gentlemen on the other side of' the House, directed so per-
sonally to himself; that not to take some notice of them would
be pleading guilty to the charge. It was not without some
astonishment that he heard the propositions defended on the
score of their popularity, and•that astonishment was increased
when he reflected on the quarter from whence that defence
came. The honourable gentleman, who was representative
for the county of York, and who could not be unacquainted
with the sentiments of his constituents on the present measure,
as they instructed him to vote against it, had expressed the
disapprobation of his numerous and respectable constituents
-in the same breath that he asserted the popularity of the mea-
sure. That circumstance alone should have instructed him
better, if he was not to be informed by the petitions which
crowded the table, containing the signature of sonic hundred
thousands. There was a time when the opinions of the people
were apparently collected from a less numerous and less vo-
luminous body of evidence. There was a time when collected
opinions were opposed to measures : and when those opinions
Were considered decisive on a question to which the epithet of


H 4




111
104


TRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 19, r785.7


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 105


rash was this day added, while the more lenient, and agree-
able epithets of courageous and bold were applied to the sub-
ject now under consideration. But without taking to himself
the credit of much sagacity, he could not be supposed totally
ignorant of the danger to which he exposed himself in vro-
posing his system for the government of India. Yet, unpo-
pular as that bill was, and much as it was decried, he was
ready at all times to defend himself on it; and the experience
of another system, which was more successful, gave him no
reason to change his opinion. He gave gentlemen credit for
the dexterity with which they contrived to introduce this bill,
and blend it with every other subject: he was also prepared
to hear the American war adverted to, however foreign to the
subject. But among the many advantages of youth, it wa.s
ho inconsiderable one, that in affairs of which they knew
little but by report, in transactions in which they never bore
any part, young gentlemen, after taking their seats ia parlia-
ment, were at liberty to choose whatever side should then he
most popular, in a question that had been long before dis-
posed of. To hear such persons talk, who would not sup-
pose that they partook in the toil of resisting those measures
in their progress? Who could hear the declamation of the
honourable gentleman (Mr. Wilberforce) but must be of opi-
nion, that to him belonged the merit of concluding the Ame-
rican War? But these were auxiliaries which the gentlemen
on the other side never failed to call in to supply the absence
of reason and of argument. An honourable gentleman (Mr.
W. Grenville) in a speech of considerable length, replete with


- invective and declamation, had used no other arguments ex-
cept what had been before urged by the right honourable
mover of the propositions: nor had he replied to any argu-
ment against them, but what consisted in misrepresentation;
and indeed, for the best of reasons, because the arguments
used in opposition to them were perfectly unanswerable. In
the present arrangement, wherever there was advantage, it
lay on the side of Ireland; but to this country every provi-
sion was adverse. It was curious reasoning to account for
the clause by. which Irish linens, which was their staple corn,
malty, should continue to be imported, duty free, into Eng-
land, by saying that the same exemption from duty shall be
there extended to British linens. It would be as reasonable
in Prance, should she treat with them on similar terms, to
say, you shall suffer our wines to be imported duty free into
Great Britain, and we in return will admit your wines duty
free into France, whenever you may have any. There were
but two ways by which this country and Ireland could meet
on equal terms; either to take offall duties, and admit every


indiscriminate article from either country, or to lay general
duties, ad valorem, on every commodity. The sixteenth pro-
position, if worded with a view to promote cavil and increase
ambiguity, could not be more successful ; nor could any words
be used more likely to be productive of dispute than the words
(< effectual preference." And the alteration of the fifth pro-
position to the twelfth was liable to the same remarks. The
idea of countervailing duties, carried an absurdity on the
very face of it; for as it was not only necessary to equalize
the duty of the internal excise, but to bring it to a fair ba-
lance, it would also be necessary to consider all the attendant
and incidental expences to which the British manufacturers
were unavoidably exposed. There were some taxes in this.
country which it would be impossible to countervail, as the
house, the servant, and commutation tax, &c. The commer-
cial complaint of Ireland he always considered ill founded,
though he thought otherwise of their political ones; but
whatever ground of complaint they might have, this cer-
tainly was not the measure which could in any degree satisfy
them. They wanted not this participation ; they looked for
protecting duties; and were the advantages tenfold, he would
not pay the price demanded for them, except he lost sight of
that spirit of liberty with which that country was of late
years particularly inspired. He was sorry to hear an ho-
nourable gentleman insinuate that a rupture might be the con-
sequence of refusing this system to Ireland. He confessed,
that though the powers of that country were much inferior
to this, if unemployed elsewhere, he could not without hor-
ror reflect for a moment on the possibility of such an event,
and there was scarcely any thing be would not surrender to
prevent it. In his own person he entertained the most un-
bounded national partiality for Ireland; he had the most par-
ticular attachments there, and there was an excellency in
their character which must always endear people of that
country to such as had these attachments; yet he was so
much of an Englishman, that he cotild not part with those re-
sources and advantages, on which our national existence de-
Pended.—He then took a view of the general question, and
mentioned the circumstance of an union as extremely desirable,
but what could scarcely be obtained, and was thrown at a
greater distance than ever by the provisions of this arrange-
ment. Adverting to Mr. Wilberforce's remarks on personal
confidence, he said, the honourable gentleman having pro-
feisstecrulchtiiomns oelf to be influenced only by his judgment in this
day's vote, deserved to be commended, and the more so as he
ex cised that judgment in opposition to the opinions and


his constituents. But other members of par-


Is%




o6 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 23,


liament did not hesitate to express that they were unacquaint-
ed with the merits of the question, but were ready to vote
for them, reposing in the confidence and attachment they
bore to his majesty's minister ; and in doing this, they made
that sacrifice, which was the last a member of parliament
should yield ; they not only surrendered their own opinions
into the hands of the minister, but at the same time they sur-
rendered the opinions of their constituents. If a member could
form no opinion of his own, he ought rather to adopt the
opinions of those constituents who sent him into parliament,
and whose interests he was engaged to consult, than yield
himself to the direction of any individual. In complimenting
the minister, it was judicious to adopt invectives against
others. His popularity, if lie possessed any, had a greater
foundation in the conduct of others, than in any action of his




own ; for no measures of his own had any merit to recoin-
mend him to popularity ; even his most zealous advocates
were obliged to abandon him in one of the principal transac-
tions of the session; but the misconception of the conduct of
others was the base on which his merit was erected, it was his
'4 Gay hope by fancy led." There were now petitions before
the committee which ought certainly to be attended to before
they decided on the question. It had appeared in evidence :
at the bar, that false and deluding expectations were held out
to the manufacturers; and though it was attempted to be con-
troverted in the absence of one of the parties concerned, he
was now in London, and ready to corroborate what was
stated before. Disapproving so much as lie did of the pre-
sent system, he was determined to give it all the opposition
in his power; for which reason he intended to try the force
of amendments with which lie was prepared, and which, if
adopted, would at least qualify the resolutions, and render
them less dangerous.


The committee divided on the motion of adjournment : Yeas go:.
Noes 195.


May 23.


The House being again in the committee on the Irish propositions,
Mr. Pitt moved the fourth resolution : viz. " That it is highly ha-
portant to the general interest of the British empire, that the laws
for regulating trade and navigation, should be the same in Great
Britain and Ireland ; and therefore, that it is essential towards
carrying into effect the present settlement, that all laws which
have been made, or shall be made in Great Britain, for .securing
exclusive privileges to the ships and mariners of Great Britain,


1785'] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
107


Ireland, and the British colonies and plantations, and for regu-
lating and restraining the trade of the British colonies and planta-
tions, shall be in force in Ireland (by acts to be passed in the par-
liament of that kingdom) in the same manner as in Great Britain ;
and that proper measures should from time to time be taken, for
effectually carrying the same into execution." Mr. Sheridan
asked if the words " by acts to be passed in the parliament of
Ireland," had really been moved on Friday morning last ; fin • he
did not recollect to have heard them till the moment the chair-
man had read them. Mr. Taylor replied, that the words alluded
to were most certainly part of the motion put into his hand on
Friday morning by the chancellor of the exchequer. Mr. Pitt
said, that the alteration observed by the honourahle gentleman
had been made in consequence of a gesture he perceived on that
side of the House when the proposition was read. Lord Beau-
champ moved by way of amendment to leave out the words from
" Ireland" to the words " and that proper measures should be
taken," &c. Mr. Sheridan contended, that it was fair to argue,
that the proposition was a direct attempt to legislate for Ireland,
and not the less so in consequence of the amendment. It was,
therefbre, he said, insidious in the last degree for Mr. Orde not to
have stated it to the Irish parliament, to whom the business had
been opened in a very different manner. He declared, that the
voting resolutions to bind Ireland down to pass such and such laws,
without enabling her , to go even into a committee with the bills,
was crippling that right of legislation which she had claimed and we
had admitted, and leaving her the mere shadow of independence,
as a sovereign state, instead of the substance. He therefore con-
tended, that it was probable in the highest degree that the resolu-
tion under consideration would cause great alarm, and excite much
constitutional jealousy in Ireland.


Mr. Fox- began by observing, that when the Irish proposi-
tions were first laid before the British House of Commons, the
minister declared that the consequence must certainly be, that
all the complaints of Ireland would be completely settled, not
only upon fair but upon advantageous terms to Great Britain.
That although a participation of our commerce would be
granted to Ireland, yet, such was the deliberate wisdom with
which the propositions had been framed, that although great
advantages were promised to Ireland, we, in fact, should be
adding very considerably to our own.


He declared, that, as a friend to Ireland, no man had it
more at heart than he had to grant every advantage to that
country consistently with the safety and welfare of his own :
that lie was perfectly of opinion, the prosperity of Ireland was
the prosperity of Great Britain ; and, on the other he , he
was also of opinion, that the prosperity. of Great Brii
douhtedly, must be the prosperity of Ireland. To promote
the welfare of Ireland, and to see that perfect cordiality and




IOg
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


[May


mutual confidence firmly established, which were so essential
to the prosperity and happiness of both countries, no man
could entertain a sincerer wish, or should exert himself with
greater zeal than he was ready to do, in order to accomplish
a purpose so necessary for the good of both countries. '4


He should ever consider it tobe his duty, as a member -of
the British parliament, not only to view the propositions as
they might affect the interests of his own country, but also to
see in what way they would operate in Ireland; for he con-
sidered; that if they should tend to injure the interests of
either country, the purpose for which they were intended must
be equally and certainly defeated.


That some measures were absolutely necessary to establish
content and mutual friendship between Great Britain and
Ireland no man could doubt : but how little the propositions
that had been laid before parliament were adapted to produce 1
such a happy consequence, every day's examination had more
and more confirmed. That this was the fact with regard to
the propositions in general, no one could doubt-who bad given
them the least attention ; but if there was one proposition
more pregnant with objections, and against which both coun-
tries had greater reason to complain, it was certainly this
fourth proposition now under the consideration of the com-
mittee. This very proposition would certainly be found to
contain matter so injurious to both countries, that instead of
producing any thing like salutary consequences, it must, of
itself, prove the cause of' endless jealousies, ill blood, and ani-
mosities between the two countries.


Mr. Fox then adverted to the insidious conduct of ministry,
and to what had fallen from his honourable friend behind
him (Mr. Sheridan) respecting this very proposition not
having been laid before the Irish parliament with the rest.
Mr. Fox was certainly of opinion, that no power of language
could do away the charge of insidiousness made by his ho-
nourable friend, when the direct attack against the legislative
independence of Ireland came to be justly viewed. He called
to the recollection of the committee, that when the original
propositions were laid before the House, the right honourable
the chancellor of the exchequer peremptorily declared that
they must pass then —that they could not be altered but
that such as they were they must stand or fall together. 'When
the minister made this declaration, it must also be fresh in
the memory of every gentleman present, with what indecent.
hurryit had been attempted to carry those propositions through
the House; as well as with what extreme difficulty he had
been able to prevent the minister from succeeding in that at-
tempt. Nad the minister been successful in carrying the ori-


1785.]
crinal propositions, it was now very well known that some of
the essential intae,ts of this country must have been sacri-


10111
;


could not be ranked as the least. These facts plainly
among which the East. India company's charter cer-


proved, how necessary it was take sufficient time, to weigh
well the different. effects the propositions were likely to pro-
duce : several alterations, called amendments, had already
been adopted, which at first appeared to lessen the evils
the proposition contained ; but they certainly were not ade-
quate to remove those solid objections that still remained
against them in general, and this fourth proposition in par-
ticular; and without removing which, the worst. and most un-
happy consequences must necessarily follow.


Mr. Fox declared, that aware, as he undoubtedly was, of
the imbecility of the councils by which the Irish propositions
had been framed, and doubtful, as he must certainly be, of
the wisdom or even fairness of any negotiation carried on by
the present ministry, he owned, however, that his apprehen-
sions had been principally roused by that hurry with which the
minister attempted to drive the original propositions through
the House of Commons, and the difficulty with which he had
been able to get the opportunity that had been acquired to
consider them with some attention. Added to this, lie could
not forget, how every species of obstruction had been adopted,
to prevent information from the different manufacturers from
being brought to the bar of the House; from whom informa-
tion of the most valuable kind ought to have been looked for
in the present business. Nor could he forget the duplicity
with which some of these men had been treated by ministry :
it was the characteristic of men who meant to deal fairly, to


had been




information; while men of a different descriP-
tion did every thing in their power to prevent it. That this


the conduct of the present ministry was sufficiently
established by every part of their conduct relative to this ne-
guoilaitioln :d


most


yet, such was the confused texture of this busi-
iiileisisli,sttrii,a. t what with the ignorance, duplicity, and ' arrAT,,,


conspicuous; but taken altogether, it was highly necessary
to watch, with the keenest attention, the conduct. of the


la appeared, it was difficult to say which wei .g os




By the original propositions that ministry had attemptecieltlol
hasten through the House of Commons, it was now very v
known that they would have given up the power of the Bri-
tish parliament to renew the East India company's charter.
Tro wolsiaittioniIslfiv wawere N s it


to
r we to impute this circumstance in thec


be looked upon as an effect of the
minister's ignorance ? Or, was it 'a concealed and secret sacri


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. IC9




110 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May z3,


lice intended to be made of one of the principal branches of
the revenue of Great Britain ? If we were to attribute this
sacrifice merely to that stupidity which so eminently displayed
itself throughout the whole conduct of ministry, he should be
glad to know, what reliance could be placed on any their
measures ? Were men capable of such neglect worthy to be
entrusted with the concerns of a great commercial nation ? If,
on the other hand, we were to imagine, that ministry were
aware of giving up the power of the British parliament to re-
new the East India company's charter, what must the public
think of their fidelity to that company, upon whose shoulders
they had raised themselves to their present station ? In either
way the consequence must prove equally fatal to every thing


confidence in the present ministry.
But what rendered the conduct of ministry most atrocious in


the propositions that had been attempted to be passed, was,
that these very propositions, which ultimately went to the anni-
hilation of the East India company, as a company, altogether,
were introduced by that very man who owed his popularity to
the pretence of vindicating their charter, which all the world
knew had been abused ! Yet, we had seen that Very man, who
was the pretended friend of the East India company's charter,
merely because it was a charter, introducing propositions as a
minister, by which the annihilation not only of the charter;
but of the company itself, as a company, must have been the
consequence. The public in general, and that company in
particular, were now sensible or soon. must be sensible, who
were the real friends of the East India company.


Mr. Fox begged leave to observe, that every species of
misrepresentation had been made use of; to mislead the minds
of the public relative to the bill he had the honour to intro-
duce for the better regulation of the East India company's
affairs. Those misrepresentations had been but too success-
ful at the moment; but he felt that confidence which filled the
mind of every man who was conscious of having acted upon
just principles for the good of the empire, that time would open
the eyes of the public, and show them who were the real
friends to the true interests and prosperity of the country
in general, and of that company in particular. He declared
in very animated language, that no man was a firmer friend to
personal liberty, or held the security of personal property
more sacred than himself. That no measure of his, ever
had, or ever should contain an infringement of either; and,
although such an idea had been


- maliciously interwoven with
his East India bill, yet, that such an idea was false and ground-
less, he boldly maintained, and defied any man to prove that
there was any foundation for it. The charter by which the


1785,i
MKT COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


East India, company held the monopoly of that trade, was
like all other charters ; it was a charter granted upon certain
conditions, tc a certain number of men, for the better con-ducting a plan for their advantage no doubt, but not merely and
entirely for their advantage, but for that of the community
at large. The East India company's charter w-0 therefore a
trust, which so long as the conditions were fulfilled, and were
not injurious to the public, ought not to be interrupted or
molested. But, when that trust had been abused, would any
friend to the present government pretend to say, that it was
not the duty of parliament to interfere? Or that by a viola-
tion of the conditions on their part, they did not themselves
forfeit their charter? The East India company's charter was
precisely a trust, not an irrevocable grant : and the conditions
upon which parliament could grant such a charter must be
consistent with the good of the empire, without which par-
liament could not grant a monopoly to any set of men what-
ever, nor, consistently with its duty to the public, permit
any charter to be continued the conditions of which had
been violated, or which became injurious to the public good.


The abuses of the East India company's trust, it was well
known, had been recognized by parliament, and in this
House by a very large majority. Their misconduct had not
only disgraced this country abroad, but threatened bankruptcy
and ruin to their trade at home ; and such had been the con-
sequences, that parliament had not only been obliged to forego
some of its claims on the company, but to administer consi-
derable assistance to save it froth destruction. To preserve
that trade, which he well knew was essential to the British •
revenue, he had introduced his bill, and in the hour when
popular prejudice was at its height, he had always stood ibr-%
ward with this declaration. He was ever ready to avow that
bill, and he was sure that time would show its' necessity,
though perhaps too late to effect those salutary consequences,
so greatly wanted to give stability and prosperity to the East
India company's affairs.


Mr. Fox observed, that his bill was founded on the necessity
of a regulation of the East India company's charter; not to
remove the property or to affect it, but to give it that per-
manency and support which its tendency to dissolution avow-
edly stood in need cif. But what was the conduct of the right
honourable the chancellor of the exchequer on that business?
Why, although it was proved on all hands, that the charter had
been abused, and that the conditions upon which it had been
granted had been violated, yet he opposed the bill and de-
fended the charter merel y because it was a charter. That the
right honourable gentleman was successful in exciting ground-


III




I I2 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 23.


less apprehensions respecting his bill was well known ; and
now let us see upon what degree of consistency, and what de-
gree of sincerity his friendship to the East India company was
really founded. Why, the proofs of them were to be found,
and would remain for ever against him in these veity pro..
positions. The first negotiation he was engaged in as a
minister, lie had made their charter, and their existence as a
company, a sacrifice—an unnecessary, unsolicited, wanton,
and careless, or treacherous, sacrifice to Ireland. Mr. Fox
said, that lie for one, would never consent to make a surren-
der of the East India company's charter; and zealous as he
undoubtedly was for the prosperity of Ireland, •yet he never
could consent to place this country in so humiliating a situa-
tion, that it should be obliged to solicit the consent of the
Irish parliament for leave to grant a renewal of the East
India company's charter. Upon that trade Great Britain
depended for a considerable revenue, and this the minister
ought to have remembered. Was it to be imagined that Ire-
land would have returned so immense an advantage; or, that
the Irish parliament would have been justified in giving it up
again, although they had obtained it unsolicited, through the
ignorance, or some worse motive, of our ministry, and it
should even have appeared without their intention ? Un-
doubtedly it would have been absurd to expect any such thing.
Once gone, there was airend of it for ever.


Of the propositions now before parliament, the more they
were considered, tie more he found them liable to serious
and insuperable objections.


The ministry, notwithstand-
their boasted determination of carrying them in their orioi-
nal form, had been obliged to give ft up, and thence had
proved to all the world, that they could not vindicate them, and
that they themselves now considered them as originally inade-
quate ; that they had stood upon ground which they found
not tenable, and therefore, to make them less exceptionable,
certain additions and amendments had been adopted. But V
could any gentleman take upon himself to say, that the amend-
ments were sufficient to remove the evils contained in the pro-
positions


? Certainly not : and it was his opinion, that it 11-
would be infinitely better for the peace and harmony of the,
two countries that no treaty at all should take place, than
that the propositions now before the committee should pass:
For unless such a plan was devised, as should effectually
remove the grounds of uneasiness, without being materially
detrimental to either country, it were better, doubtless, that
no plarnat all should be put into execution.


Mr. Fox then said, that the propositions were to be con-
sidered as a treaty between two independent powers for the


1785'3 IRISH
COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.




I 1 3


mutual advantage of both. It was a bargain going on be7..
tween them to this purpose, "1 will give you so much for so
much." In the construction of all fair bargains, it was ever
understood, that both parties were to be benefited ; that neither
was to be wronged : that neither was to be injured. But
this fourth proposition possessed the most extraordinary qua-
lities that ever marked a negotiation : it promised so much
to Ireland, that it threatened the existence of many of our
most valuable manufactories ; it also demanded a surrender.
from Ireland of her legislative independence. To grant Ireland
advantages detrimental to the. immediate support of the British
empire, could never be required by Ireland; and ought not
to be given by us. To grant Ireland advantages, and require
a price she could not accede to without relinquishing her


c independence, would be an insult to her understand-legislative i
such was the absolute tendency of this fourth


proposition, and such the consequences that must take place
if it was carried.


The complaints of Ireland undoubtedly merited every
attention, and might, if not removed by wise and salutary
measures, prove the cause of serious consequences. But did
any one imagine, that her complaints were to be relieved by
advantages arising from a participation of our trade, when
she, on the other hand, was to be obliged to relinquish the
independence of her parliament? Would not that resump-
tion of the legislative power of the British parliament over
that of Ireland, be a means of defeating every advantage to
be expected from a participation of our trade ? Undoubtedly
it would : and in this case, Ireland made an absolute and cer-
tain surrender of what was her chief pride, — the indepen-
dence of her parliament — for a participation, the advantages
of which Great Britain could always defeat by her resumed
power over the parliament of Ireland.


That the uneasiness of Ireland was worthy of the greatest
exertions of our abilities, and required immediate attention,
must be admitted : but when the effects of this proposition
should take place on the manufacturers of this country who
who bad applied by petition, were we to imagine that the
Complaints of the people of England would be less formidable,
when they should find their interests sacrificed ? Did any
man pretend to say, that a commotion in England would be
less an


l this circumstance, that the propositions, when acceded
to by Ireland, would-and must be final. An honourable gen-
tleman (Mr. Dempster) imagined it was necessary that these


VO L. III.




11 4 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 23,


propositions should be tried, because something was neces-
sary to be done ; but he was clearly in an error respecting
the nature of the present negotiation. The honourable gen-
tleman considered it as differing from the treaty with Scotland
which forms the union, as that treaty could not be altered;
because, said he, one of the parties who framed it is no more,
meaning the Scottish parliament. He imagined that the pre-
sent propositions could be altered, because both the parlia-
ments who agreed to them will still remain. In this Mr. Fox
begged leave to observe, the honourable gentleman had totally


. misunderstood the fact. The propositions, when agreed to by
the British and Irish parliament, - would form a solemn treaty,
which neither country could afterwards alter or infringe, with-
out a direct violation of good faith. And in this he held the
language and idea of the chancellor of the exchequer; and in
this, and in this only, he agreed with him. However detri-
mental the propositions, therefore, might hereafter be found
to either country, that country could not redress herself; for
such was the nature of the treaty. Did they not therefore
demand the most deliberate investigation ?


The alterations that the propositions had already under-
gone, were standing proofs, that no dependence ought to be
placed in the wisdom of those who originally offered them to
parliament. After the declaration made by the minister, upon
his first laying those propositions before parliament, that they
must stand or fall together, his mortification could not be small,
to find himself forced to submit to alterations, in order to pre-
serve that majority from which he bad received so many proofs
of acquiescence to his measures. Supported as the right honour-
able gentleman often had boasted he was, yet he had certainly
been disappointed in the present business : he had not found the
present House ofCommonspliant enough entirely to forget their
duty to their country : he had been forced to admit amend-
ments ; but, whether with a view to benefit this or that country,
or only to maintain the station he now filled, the public must
be left to judge. That the minister had solemnly declared, he
would adroit no alteration in the original propositions, was a
fact. Had he kept his word? No: but by acting as he had
done, it was plain his confidence in the support of the present
House of Commons 'began to abate. And there was littledoubt, but as they receded from the minister's confidence, they
would rise in the good opinion of the public. For, perhaps,
a more general and better-founded alarm had never spread it:.ka
self all over the kingdom than had been excited by these prti-
positions.


The people had been very slow in their apprehensions of
-the present ministry. Fyom the present parliament, undoul*i






1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 115
edly, the people had a right to expect the strongest exertions,
and the most unremitting care for the general good. The
majority had been sent to parliament under the most popular
approbation, though founded in delusion, that ever had marked
a general election. Yet, of the ministry, the people had shown
by the petitions that crowded the table, that they had not now
that confidence they once had, and that they were seriously
alarmed for the safety of their trade and manufactures, and in
a degree that no minister had ever dared to expose them to
before. Little, indeed, could the people suspect, that the same
man who had made himself popular by a clamorous support
of a charter which had been abused, would, when in power,
have attempted to hurry propositions through the House, that
entirely gave up for ever the power of renewing that very char-
ter ! For no man would pretend to say, it would have been
doing less, if the minister had been able to pass the original
propositions. But with what astonishment must the people be-
hold him engaged in a business, by which so man manufac-
tories must be exposed to ruin ; and which, at one blow, swept
away the means of existence to thousands of the manufacturers
of Great Britain ! That these were facts, the petitions upon
the table proved. And petitions from a more numerous or
more respectable body of men (however neglected and insulted
by ministers) had never been presented to this House before.


Much, though ill-founded, reliance was placed on the
amendments that had been made. But were they adequate
to remove the evils with which the propositions were loaded?
No. Had the petitions ceased to come in since the amend-
ments had been adopted? No. Had ministry been able to
get any one set of manufacturers in the kingdom to approve
of the propositions, notwithstanding the amendments ? No.
They had not been able to obtain one paper of approbation to
lay upon that table, which groaned with the mass of petitions
against the propositions? Was the conduct of the ministry
sanctioned by any one set of men in the kingdom, who had
appeared in the business? No. Was not every man in a
State of alarm who had the least sense of the danger of the
Propositions? Certainly. That this fourth proposition con-
tained in it subject of serious alarm to the manufacturers of
Great Britain was fully established.


But let us see how Ireland would be affected. Would she
Only be benefited ? Was there nothing prejudicial to her in-
terests contained in this proposition ? Undoubtedly yes : forit a. •
tive


as made a part of it, that she must relinquish her lecisla-_
independence, and adopt again in future, laws made by


the British parliament. To take a more direct view of this
Proposition, it would be found, that where the ministry h: ad.


I 2




116 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS, [ May 2 3 ,


not displayed their imbecility, they had been insidious; where
they had not been insidious, they had been treacherous ; and
by one or other or all these, had they been directed in their
prosecution of this very proposition now before the committee.


His honourable friend behind him, (Mr. Sheridan,) had
clearly established the insidious conduct of ministers in not
having laid this proposition before the Irish parliament with
the others.; particularly, as by it, Ireland bound herself to re-
sign her legislative independence. If it should be pretended,
that there was no insidious intention in not carrying this pro-
position before that parliament, it became a proof of their
imbecility in not having done so ; because it was deemed es-
sential : and therefore it proved that ministry had not been ca.
pable of finishing and compleating their system to lay before
Ireland. If it should be pretended that there was no
Meaning in the clause which bound the Irish to adopt the
British acts of parliament, and that Ireland would not boil,
bound by it, then must the whole be treachery to this country‘.


As a proof of the imbecility of ministers, and how distant
this negociation was from the estimation due to a well-digested
plan, Mr. Fox observed, that very early in that evening's de-
bate the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had
informed them, that one of the alterations, called amendments.,
in this fourth proposition, was made in consequence of song
gestures he perceived on that side of the House when the pro-
position was read in the committee the last time of meeting.


Could a stronger picture be given how little administration
was able to rely upon their own deliberations, than was con-
veyed in this declaration of the minister? That nothing per-
manent or beneficial to either country could be expected from
the councils of those who framed the propositions, Mr. Fox
said he well knew. But that such a mark should be set upon
them by the minister as this, that he had adopted an alteration
barely upon perceiving a gesture on that side of the House,
was an acknowledgement how little they could depend our
their own judgments beyond what he could have looked for.


What could the people think of the whole system, when a
gesture was the avowed cause, by the minister, of an alteration.
in one. of the Irish propositions, which was declared essential
towards carrying into effect the present settlement, and formed
one of the most important branches of that system which was
to give content to Ireland, and mutual happiness to both king-
doms ! That very system, which the same minister told them
must stand or fall together, we now found, by the same
minister, was become so weak in their own eyes, that a gesture
was sufficient reason to make an alteration in it. , Such was
the.consisteney,and firmness of the present administration I


at




1785.3 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 1 17


But, notwithstanding this gesticulated alteration, the origi-
nal evil still remained. Like every other alteration made in


llydicaraitselfinwaswhath bad, every amendment, as they
were called, only sheaved the- original deformity of the propo-
sitions in stronger and stronger colours. This fourth propo-
sition, as it now stood, could never be agreed to. The first
and second part were incompatible, and it was impossible that
both countries could agree to it. In the first part Ireland was
promised a participation of our trade. This must afford,
at first sight, a fruitful prospect to her. But What were the
terms upon which she was to attain this participation ? Why,
by binding herself to adopt such British acts of parliament,.
hereafter to be made, as Great Britain should think fit to send
there. Would Ireland agree to this with her .eyes . open ?
And would the Irish not discover the surrender demanded of
them on the first perusal of the proposition? Undoubtedly
they would; for to suppose they would not, would be estimat-
ing them a nation of idiots. However detrimental an unlimited
participation of our trade might be to our manufacturers, yet
the benefit to Ireland must be remote. And - Ireland, by this
proposition, in surrendering her legislative independence, gave
up a certain good for en uncertain benefit. If a Man were to
set about framing a proposition that could contain matter
most objectionable to both countries, be could not frame one
more completely so than this-fourth proposition; seeing that
the advantages held out by the first part of it are overbalanced
by the demand of a surrender of the legislative power of.
Ireland. Hereafter Ireland would have no power to consult
her own interests, but must adopt the British acts of parliament;
and having once agreed to the propositions, she from that time
would have no alternative, but must adopt the laws framed
here, and sent to her. -Was it imagined the people of Ireland
would not see through this farce as a favour? Would not the.
mind of an Irishman revolt now at the idea of keeping up the
Ibrin of a parliament, who must register those laws which
should hereafter be sent to Ireland? °They would have no al-
ternative, nor could they call one of those laws into question,
ocormdiletbioaitie.




An




even upon their merits : having agreed to accept
tIirloe2.1saeinlpropositions, they would be bound for ever to obey this


Ireland,


siattempt bad been made by the opposite side of the
Roils to assert, that whatever the consequences might be to


she would have no right to complain, because the
Propositions originated in her own . parliament. 'With re-
spect to the fourth proposition, this argument, mean as it cer-
tainly was, could not be applied, as it did not originate in
Ireland. But as to laying any 'stress upon the propositions


3ao




S
HUSH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIMN LMay


coming from Ireland officially, it was well known and generally
admitted that they sprang originally from the ministry here.
Therefore there could be no advantage taken against Ireland
on account of the propositions coming from her parliament.


To impose upon a people under any pretence, but rfarticu-
laxly at the same moment you are telling them of granting
them advantages which they did not possess before, could
only be attempted by the worst of men, and the most profli-
gate of ministers. Even if such a trick could be successful,
would any man pretend to say that an imposition was the
most likely way to heal the disquietude of the people of Ire-
land? Did any man pretend to say that a system built upon
such principles was capable of establishing any thing like an
harmonious or permanent understanding between the two
countries? He must be a visionary in politics indeed, who
could entertain an idea so absurd. In order to illustrate this
position, Mr. Fox begged leave to suppose a case, that we were
carrying on a negociation with any foreign power that was
friendly towards us: and that the minister of this country had
induced that power to prefer such and such proposals to our
parliament. When they found that they had been trepanned
into an imposition, was it to be imagined they would abide by
it, merely because they had been seduced by our minister to
be the proposers of it? Undoubtedly they would not : and
indeed, so far from thinking themselves bound to abide by it
under such circumstances, their pride and interest would feel
doubly wounded, and the treachery of such a minister would
operate with double force to make them reject. it more firmly
and with greater resentment.


As Ireland by this proposition must be obliged to adopt
whatever laws Great Britain in her wisdom should see fit to
make for the regulation of that trade which Ireland was to
share, was it not the most obvious thing in the world, that,
having that power, the British parliament would abandon the
interest of this country, if, in framing her laws, they were not
particularly attentive to the particular interests of Great Bri-
tain ? No man could doubt it. Yet if we were even to allow
that this should not happen, and that it never did happen,
gill, such was the natural jealousy of human nature, such
the apprehension naturally raised by giving power to others,
that suspicion would unavoidably rise, and the natural conse-
quences of such suspicion must follow.


The chief aim of Ireland in all her late endeavours was
to obtain an independent parliament, and she was now pos-
sessed of a legislature independent of Great Britain. Was
it to be imagined that, under the idea of getting a participa-
tion of our trade, she would relinquish that power ? It would,.


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


I 191185.]
be yielding up her independency entirely to do so;


jant f'cl 'itt,would be estimating them a nation of idiots, to suppose
they would give up the principal characteristic of a free peo-


e or make a certain sacrifice for a promised benefit they
never might be the better for. Even if Ireland agreed to
surrender her legislative independence, and bound herself to
adopt in silence whatever laws Great Britain should here-
after think proper to impose, were we to expect the same
obedience to those laws as if they had been framed by their
own parliament? There was, Mr. Fox observed, a material
difference between that kind of obedience, which arose from
a mind influenced and guided by voluntary and constitutional
ideas, and that which arose from the mind which aimed not
beyond that which claimed no higher description than the
French gave by the term par manidre d' acquit. Tedious
and ineffectual must be the obedience paid to laws framed
in this country for Ireland now, when that spirit, which alone
gave energy and dignity to the execution of all laws, was
broken and discomfitted. This fourth proposition, there-
fore, is so pregnant with evils and objections, that the framer
of it seemed only to have been engaged how to distress us
with the difficulty of enumerating them. Thus stood the
objections against this fourth proposition objections on all
sides unanswerable, solid, and irremoveable — objections that
in the very face and front of them threatened worse con-
sequences, and, in future, greater evils than any that could
now exist.


Mr. Fox begged leave to state before he concluded, that it
was the practice of the right honourable the chancellor of the
exchequer, in answer to any remarks that he had the honour
to submit to that House, to take great pains to make it be
believed that lie (Mr. Fox), by exposing the weakness and
fallacy of the measures of administration, in effect created
them. Gross and absurd as such a mode of argument cer-
tainly was, the right honourable gentleman was so constantly


• in the use of it, that Mr. Fox said he foresaw that on the
present occasion it would form the line of his conduct. Of
this it was only necessary to observe, that it would be in-
cumbent on the right honourable gentleman to prove how
the exposure of an evil could create it. Mr. Fox, with some
warmth, declared, that he hoped he was too well acquainted
with his duty in parliament to sit there merely to registerezt,'the measures of any ministry without examining them to the


th
best of his abilities. If the arguments he had used to show


e fallacy and insufficiency of this fourth proposition, and
its direct tendency to injure both countries, were not founded
upon facts, the good sense of the people of Ireland would pay


4




120
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


[May 23,
no regard to them. The manufacturers of Great Britain
would be contented.


Administration had taken some pains to make the House
believe that if they could carry this fourth proposition,


in the
Irish parliament, there would be an end of the business, and
an end to all apprehensions on our part, as the treaty must
then be final. But let the House not deceive themselves with
this idea, nor think so meanly of the Irish, that even if their
parliament should make a surrender of their legislative in-
dependence, the people at large would agree to it, or remain
quiet under such a sacrifice. There were recent historical
facts which proved that the acquiescence of the Irish House
of Commons was not conclusive. And it was necessary to
make this remark now, that we might not be deceived into
a belief, that by their acceding to this fourth proposition the
business must be finally settled. It was not the acquiescence
merely of this or that description of men that could settle
upon a firm basis the terms that were equal to bind and
cement the interests and prosperity of a great connnercial
people, if that acquiescence was given in opposition to reason
and to facts.


Saha populi supremo: lex was a maxim universally admitted.
And such was the unfortunate construction of the fourth
proposition, that nothing was more probable than that both
countries would be obliged to appeal to it for relief. In-
competent as the propositions had been found to quiet the
uneasinesses or secure the affections of Ireland, and per-
nicious as this fourth proposition was, in particular, to the
honour or interests of either country, Mr. Fox appealed to
the candour and good sense of the committee, whether it
would not now be more fair, more manly, and more honour-
able to address the Irish to this purpose; — " that, however
desirous and happy we should be to serve you, yet, in jus-
tice to our own country, we find we cannot grant what we
offered. 'Without being the ruin of many here, we cannot
serve an equal number of you. Without exposing our own
country and its manufactures and manufacturers to ruin, or
without your yielding up the independency of your parlia-
ment, we cannot grant the participation offered to you."
Gloomy, disgraceful, and fatal as this address would prove
to the present ministry, yet it could not be denied but that
the same address was conveyed to the Irish indirectly by this
very proposition.


To prosecute this measure upon terms that never could be
adhered to, and, if admitted, could never prove permanent,
must prove the source of endless and additional complaints
from Ireland, and of trouble to Great Britain. As a generous


1785.]


COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 121


and liberal people, the Irish ought to be dealt with accord-
ingl y. They were capable of receiving the worst with for-
titude; but it was by no means to be expected, therefore,
that they would be imposed upon with patience. The pros-
perity of Ireland was undoubtedly to be considered as , the
prosperity of Great Britain, and there was no Irishman of
sense but was equally sensible that the prosperity of England
was the prosperity of Ireland. In our prosperity the Irish
were as firmly interested as we were in theirs; and if they
could not prosper without endangering that trade upon which
the.revenue of the empire principally depended for support,
they would ultimately find it a purchase dearly bought. Yet
it was by no means his opinion that the prosperity of Ireland
might not be promoted without injury to the British trade :
but Of this he was sure, that no good could ever arise from
the present measure of ministry towards carrying on the pur-
poses. so much wanted—that of a perfect and cordial.under-
standing between the two countries.


Nothing was more plain, and nothing more true, than that
the more the Irish propositions had been investigated, the


gr
eater number of objections had arisen up against them.


They promised much to Ireland, but took away more than
they gave. The learned gentleman over the way (Mr. Dun-
das) had said more to these points probably than he intended:
he had avowed a caution necessary on his part, to say how
little Ireland would be benefited, how much Great Britain
would be a gainer. This was the ministerial language
here; and it was well known they held another language in
the other kingdom. This was only part of that littleness of
conduct, mixed with duplicity, that distinguished all the
measures of the present ministry, and particularly their con-
duct throughout this negociation.


This system was pregnant with the worst consequences to
both countries. 'Without administering any certain good to
Ireland, it was to be accomplished only by a surrender of her
legislative independence. The participation threatened, on
one hand, ruin to many of our most valuable manufactories,
and demanded a surrender from Ireland, ever too dear for
her to pay, for any advantages of trade so remote and un-
certain as it might prove. A system loaded with such ob-
jections, and pregnant with such mischiefs to both countries,
Mr. Fox declared he could not vote for. Monstrous as the
sacrifices were that had been attempted .by ministry to be
made to Ireland (in particular that of the power of renewing
the East India company's charter); destructive as this fourth
proposition must prove to thousands of manufacturers in this
kingdom; yet nothing was more obvious than this fact, that




r22 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 30.


Ireland would reap no advantage whatever, as the resump-
tion of the British parliament over that of Ireland took a
power that did away every idea of benefit to be expected from
the participation of our trade.


Numerous as the objections against this proposition really
were, Mr. Fox declared he did not take upon hint to say that
all the objections contained in them were yet found out; for
as more of them were discovered, the more they seemed to
multiply, and grow daily stronger by their numbers. It was
not, therefore, to be wondered that ministry did every thing
in their power to hurry them through parliament; but let
them beware of the consequences.


Impregnated as the propositions were with the most alarm-
ing mischiefs to both countries, and foreign as they were to
effect any one good purpose to either, it was his duty to
oppose them ; for, instead of producing benefits, they would
certainly prove the source of the most unhappy consequences
both to Great Britain and to Ireland.


The question being put on the amendment. proposed by Lord
Beauchamp, the committee divided : Yeas 36: Noes 194: The re-.
solution was then agreed to.


May 3o.


The report of the committee of the whole House on the Irish
Propositions was this day taken into consideration. Mr. Sheridan
opposed the fourth resolution in a most able speech. Mr. Pitt said,
that it had been his intention to have remained silent, not expecting
any thing new to occur on a subject which, for a long series of
time, had undergone such frequent and patient debate. However,
though nothing had been brought forward in the course of the pre-
sent argument, except what tended to inforce objections that had
already been made and answered ; yet the channel through which
the present opposition came, and the mode in which it had been
handled, was such, as strongly demanded some farther notice from
him. When he considered the language that had been held, and
the quarter it came from, when he reflected on the designs of
those who had presented themselves in so conspicuous a manner as
the enemies of the resolution then before the House, and saw with
how much artifice and zeal those designs were supported, and when
he weighed the motives, as well of those who had been silent as
of those who had spoken to the question, he could not remain an
idle spectator_ in a transaction that so essentially concerned the
interest of the two kingdoms, which composed the remaining part
of the British empire. If a chain of recent events, and the whole
tenor of the conduct that had been adopted by perspns of a certain
description had not exhausted and anticipated his surprise at any


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 123


thing that could come from them, he could scarcely believe his
senses, when he beheld a gentleman (Mr. Sheridan), who for many
weeks had concealed his intentions so effectually as to leave it 'a
doubt whether he was friendly or hostile to the arrangement now
depending, stand forth the avowed enemy of a part of the system
which was necessarily connected with the whole, and take up a
ground of opposition the most dangerous and inflammatory that
could possibly suggest itself. But it was not to be wondered at
that the conduct of the honourable gentleman should be so incon-
sistent, when it was remembered, how inconsistent all the measures
of the party of which he was the mouth, were in themselves, and
how inconsistent the persons who composed that party were with
one another. Still the pursuits of that party, however various and
however contradictory, had one uniform tendency. Whether they
reprobated on this day, what they had approved on the preceding,
or whether they abandoned a principle which they had before ad-
mitted; whether one individual differed from or coincided with the
rest of his associates, still the effect of all their efforts, of all their
perseverance, and of all their tergiversation was to be the same —
to embarrass and confound the measures of administration, to em-
broil and disunite the affections of their fellow-subjects, to excite
groundless alarms, and on those groundless alarms to foment the
most dangerous discontents. The noble lord in the blue ribbon,
in assenting to the resolution, and the honourable gentleman in
opposing it, had taken care to support their several opinions by the
same argument, and that argument was, of all others, best calcu-
lated to promote the ultimate design of both, however different the
modes they took to accomplish it—the jealousy and resentment of
the sister kingdom. The resumption of legislative supremacy over
Ireland was the ground of acquiescence in the one, of dissent in
the other ; and thus they divided between them the two features of
the character which their right honourable friend, Mr. Fox, had
shewn himself so ambitious to assume, that of an English and an
Irish patriot. How gentlemen could think themselves warranted
in setting up an opposition to measures, in favour of which they
had borne more than a silent testimony, (for they had expressly ac-
knowledged the several amendments to be such, as not only were
in themselves unexceptionable, but had also the positive merit of
correcting, in a great degree, the objectionable qualities of the ori-
ginal propositions,) was a circumstance only to be accounted for
by those who, from a close attention to the conduct of the party,
and a congeniality of sentiment with them, had brought themselves
to understand and to adopt the whole of their system, and were
thence enabled to see that it was a double game that they were
Playing, and that their appearing to oppose the resolutions by
arguments directly contrary to each other, was merel y


with a view
to secure the same end, and to compass the same design.


Mr. Fox began with remarking, that, in the personal and
political character of the right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer, there were many qualities and habits that had




170,5•] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
125


1/.-w that preposterous ambition, that gaudy pride, and vaul-
ting vanity, which glare upon the observer beyond all the
other characteristic features of the right honourable gentle-
man, and which prompt him to look down with contempt on
Ids political coadjutors — to fancy himself the great overseer,
the surveyor-general of the British government — we saw
this glittering assemblage melt away, and that right honour-
able gentleman descend to a curious and most affecting sym-
pathy with the other supporters of this system, as well as into
something like a modest and civil demeanor towards those who
oppose it. 'But, alas ! the right honourable gentleman's de-
viation into a moderate and humble course of argument,—into
a course befitting a man detected in ten thousand instances of
folly, precipitancy, rashness, weakness, and consummate ig-
norance of the subject in discussion, was but transient and
temporary. The hopes of a reform in his conduct were as
fillacious, even as the many hopes of other reforms which
that right honourable gentleman has gulled a variety of per-
sons in this country to entertain upon points of more import-
ance. Upon this night, the right honourable gentleman has
relapsed into his own favourite and darling habits — the am-
pulla anti sesquipedalia verba are again resumed, with addi-
tional redundancy. Nerved with new rancour, and impelled
with fresh vehemence, the right honourable gentleman rushes
blindly forward ; but surely it cannot escape observation, that
the display of these passions, and the resumption of that
mode of reasoning, are the best proofs that the right ho-
nourable gentleman is, indeed, reduced to the last extremity;
and, by the use of such arguments, that he thews himself
destitute of any that better become a real statesman, or a
great orator.


Beaten out of every thing that bears the resemblance of ar-
gument, without the least shred or remnant of reasoning to
Support him, the right honourable gentleman is forced upon
the rash and dangerous hazard of carrying the war into the
enemy's camp ; and finding it impossible to say one word in
vindication of his own deformed and miserable system, he is
obliged to throw out a series of invectives, and, by exhibiting
a list of charges against us —charges which, the very moment
he gave them utterance, he knew to be absolutely and en-
tirely destitute of every vestige of truth — to engage the at-
tention, and divert the notice of the House from his own
wretched and contemptible schemes. The admirable argu-
ment of my honourable friend (Mr. Sheridan) is answered
with hard epithets, with strong assertions, with lofty phrases,
with long and . laboured calumnies, and with the usual round
of redundant and disgusting egotism's. In proportion to the


124 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 30.


often surprised him, and, he believed, had confounded the
speculations of every man who had ever much considered or
analyzed his disposition ; but that his conduct on that night
had reduced all that was unaccountable; incoherent, mod con-
tradictory in his character in times past, to a mere nothing.
That he shone out in a new light, surpassing even himself;
and leaving his hearers wrapt in amazement, uncertain whether
most to wonder at the extraordinary speech they had just
heard, or the frontless confidence with which that speech had
been delivered. Such a farrago of idle and arrogant decla-
mation, uttered in any other place, and by any other person,
upon the subject in question, would naturally fill the members
of that House with astonishment; hut, spoken by that right
honourable gentleman within those walls, in the presence of
men who were witnesses of all the proceedings upon this bu-
siness, every one of whom could bear testimony to the gross


I and unblushing fallacy of the right honourable gentleman—
it was, Mr. Fox said, an act of boldness, a species of parlia-
mentary hardihood, certainly not to be accounted for upon
any known or received rules of common sense or common
reason.


I cannot (continued Mr. Fox) help remarking the vast dis-
parity in the tone, the temper, and the style of expression ex-
hibited by the right honourable gentleman upon this night,
from those which he deemed it expedient to adopt when he
opened the eighteen propositions to this House. On that
night I quoted a passage,


Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper exul et uterque,
Projicit ampullas, et sesquipedalia verba ;


and quoted it to exemplify the change occasioned by the deplor-
able situation into which his rashness, his ignorance, or what is
not more reputable than either, his servile adoption of other
men's fancies, and thrusting forward the crude heap of dis-
cordant and dangerous materials which form this miserable
project, had involved the right honourable gentleman. Upon
that occasion, I could not help observing, that the ampulla
and the sesquipedalia verba — that the right honourable gentle-
man's magnificent terms, his verbose periods, and those big,
bombastic sentiments which constitute, in general, the prin.,
cipal part of his orations, had for once forsaken him, or been
relinquished, for language and for manners better accommo-
dated to his disastrous condition. Then we saw the avowed
confederacy of the right honourable gentleman with those
about him, whose co-operation in the general system of his
government he is commonly so anxious to disavow, but whose
opinions he so uniformly propagates and asserts—then we




I26 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.
[May 3 o,


poverty of the cause he engages in, is the pompous assume.
tion of the right honourable gentleman ; and of all the various
singularities which compose his character, nothing, I confess,
amazes me so much as the perfect composure with wleich he
attempts to criminate his adversaries, upon points in which he
is himself; of all men living, the most vulnerable; and the
steadiness and resolution with which he puts forth accusations,
in desperate defiance of (truth, and with as determined a
contempt of prudence and propriety in the manner of urging
them.


Before I touch upon the charges to which I allude, I cannot
help observing, with what special grace the right honourable
gentleman ridicules long speeches — with what a singular pro-
priety he, of all the members in this House, attempts to cor-
rect others for occupying much of the time of the House. I
do not intend to deny the right honourable gentleman the
merit of great abilities, great eloquence, and great powers of
pleasing his hearers; but of all the crimes to be




06
urged against


.


any person within these walls, the last, undoubtedly, for the
right honourable gentleman to venture upon is, to charge the
long duration of his speech as a fault against any member.
The right honourable gentleman, like myself, is under the
necessity of troubling this House much oftener, and for a
much longer time, than is, perhaps, agreeable; and it ill be-
comes either of us to reprobate others for a practice we our-
selves so frequently fall into. Grateful for the indulgence we
are favoured with, we should certainly be the last to condemn
that in which we ourselves are the greatest transgressors.
And I shall drop this part of the subject, with only remark-
ing, that if an almost uniform deviation from the immediate
subject in discussion, — if abandoning liberal argument for il-
liberal declamation, — if frequently quitting sound sense for
indecent sarcasms, and preferring to rouse the passions and
inflame the prejudices of his auditory to the convincing their
understandings and informing their j udgments, tended to di-
minish the title of any member of this House to a more than
common portion of its temper and endurance — I do nob
know one gentleman who would have so ill-founded a claim
upon it for such favours, as the right honourable gentleman
himself:


The right honourable gentleman has struggled much to fix a
charge of inconsistency upon my noble friend, and upon my ho-
nourable friend near me; and such is the fatality of an inordi-
nate appetite for accusation, that the only point bywhich he has
chosen to illustrate this inconsistency, is a point that proves as
clear as day-light, that both the one and the other is perfectly and
thoroughly consistent. The noble lord supports the fourth pro-


I785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 127


position, because he thinks it makes laws no more for Ireland
than is, in this instance, just. The honourable gentleman repro-
bates it, because he thinks it an insidious, deceitful, and treach-
erous manoeuvre, to cheat the Irish out of their independence,
and dupe them into servility, by prospects of advantages of
another kind. The noble lord and the honourable gentleman
have taken the same side, argued upon the same principle,
and acted under the same impression, upon the same subject,
from the first moment the right honourable gentleman in-
troduced it to this House ; their language has been unvarying,
and their conduct in strict unison with their respective decla-
rations. The noble lord has shewn the danger to the trade
of England from the adoption of these propositions, and has,
in my judgment, unanswerably proved, that the promised
compensation is fallacious in the extreme; in both these posi-
tions my honourable friend concurs ; nay, he goes farther,
and demonstrates, that although he might wish well to the
propositions as generally favourable to the trade of Ireland in.
their original state, the right honourable gentleman's altera-
tions have so radically changed their nature, that Ireland will
be the positive loser in these three great branches, viz. the
American, \Vest Indian, and East Indian trade ; so that the
only chance she has of benefit, or of indemnifying herself for
the injury she receives by the change of her present system of
trade in these great lines of commerce, consists solely in the
hopes of underselling England in the English markets. He
therefore considers the arrangement upon the whole as preju-
dicial to Ireland (independent of the attempt at resuming the
power of legislation under the fourth proposition)—because
it is not by the downfal of England that he wishes Ireland to
prosper. Thus, all my noble friend's argument tended to
slim the danger to the manufactures and trade of England
from the proposed system : my honourable friend admits,
that Ireland's only source of benefit is confined to England,
for that, in the arrangement of the foreign trade, every thing
Is against her ; and in this point, so triumphantly dwelt upon
by the right honourable gentleman as the criterion of their
contradiction, nothing, in fact, appears but the most precise
consistency on their part. This detection of his mistake may
perhaps—but I believe nothing can—teach the right ho-
nourable gentlemen to consider a charge before he makes it,
and not to waste so much phlegm, nor expend so many fine
periods, upon subjects which will only shew his own rashness,
weakness, and, I had almost said, absurdity.


But the right honourable gentleman seems determined, at
all risks,


to fill up the catalogue of accusations, and in the
bey-day of his spleen, in the plenitude of his indignation, to1,




111


28 MISR COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 3o.
contemn every consequence to himself, provided he succeeds
in giving us a side blow. What is the world to think of that
right honourable gentleman's discretion and judgment from
this night, who, upon the subject of the Irish propositions,
ventures neither more nor less, than to charge us with shift-
ing our ground, and playing a double game? Is there a
gentleman present, who would have believed that the right
honourable gentleman could have been so unguarded, so
senseless, so mad, as to stumble on such a charge? For him
to talk of our shifting our ground ! He, who has shifted his
ground, until, in truth, he has- no ground to stand upon !
He, who has assumed so many shapes, colours, and charac-
ters, in the progress of this extraordinary undertaking ! He,
who has proclaimed determinations only to recede from them;
who has asserted principles only to renounce them ! He,
whose whole conduct, from the first moment the system
has been proposed, has been one continued chain of tricks,
quibbles, subterfuges, and tergiversations; uniform alone in
contradictions and inconsistencies ! Compare the twenty pro-
positions now upon your table, with the eleven original ones,
as the right honourable gentleman introduced them to this
House ; compare his language on that day with the language
of this night; compare the nature of the two strings of propo-
sitions, substantially and fundamentally subverted in many
parts, in all materially altered, with those reiterated declara-
tions, that not one principle could on any terms be meddled L_
with : let the House reflect upon these circumstances, and
then let them judge, whether a grosser piece of insanity -was
ever heard of than that the author of all this miserable foolery
should charge others with shifting their ground !


Who proposed the scheme to Ireland as a digested system,
final and complete ; pledging the faith of government that
the eleven propositions contained the whole, and that not one
of them should be altered ? The right honourable gentleman.
Who swelled these eleven propositions to eighteen — in a va-
riety of fundamental points radically altered and overturned?
The right honourable gentleman. Who assured the body of
British traders and manufacturers, that their respective
branches should be faithfully secured from every evil ; who
denied this assurance afterwards ; who solemnly declared, in
the face of the House of Commons, that all the principles of
the original eleven propositions should remain inviolate; who
was it afterwards that openly violated this solemn declaration ?
Let the right honourable gentleman answer these questions if 4'
-he can, and let the world decide which side of the House has
been playing a double game.


But, Sir, it is not in retorting these silly charges that we
i;est our defence. From the beginning we have been uniform


1785.1 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPoSITIoNS. 129


and consistent ; and if any new objections have been urged by
us, they are attributable to the novelty of the propositions
which the right honourable gentleman has produced without
any previous notice to this House. It were, indeed, a hard-
ship and injustice, if because we combated the defects of a new
scheme, we were liable to the charge of shifting our ground
against an old scheme, no longer the object of discussion.
And here I cannot help observing, that if it be true, that ingra-
titude is the worst of sins, I can see no light in which the right
honourable gentleman appears, but that of the worst of sin-
ners. What a pernicious scheme would this have been, nn-
purged by our amendments ! and what a return does lie make
us ! But there are proud and sullen souls enveloped in fas-
tidious admiration of themselves, and haughty contempt for
the rest of the world, upon whom obligation has only the ef-
fect of enmity, and whose hatred is best secured by redeeming
them from danger and dishonour.


There remains one charge to be noticed, which is more
Singular, if possible, than the former, because it is more pals
pably groundless. The right honourable gentleman affirms,
that now, for the first time, an objection is made to the
fourth proposition ; and he infers from my silence this night
that I have no arguments to oppose to it. How any man,
with the smallest faculty of recollection, with the slightest
feeling of shame, can hazard such an assertion, is, I confess,
to me perfectly unaccountable ! I do not believe there is one
man, not merely in this House, but in this country, who reads
a newspaper, that can be ignorant, that I have uniformly
reprobated this fourth proposition from the first moment of its
introduction --that we divided the committee upon this very
clause of the system—and that our minority was a very small
one. The very arguments I shall now urge against it, will
demonstrate the falsehood of the accusation, for they will only


tautology. ta ro


er:tition of what I have said before; and, when the
House recollect that I am charged with having never before
objected to this proposition, they




will, I trust, excuse the


Here Mr. Fox went over the ground of his objections to
loitanhuisdsi,espaanr:of the system. He said, he had no doubt the fair
construction of the fourth resolution would appear to any
'Ilan of common sense, to be virtually to make laws for Ire-


would be to renovate rashly and wantonly the jea-


pecul
duet to


o t:fIreland,


t:le whole Irish nation, upon a point of the most
iar tenderness and delicacy. In vain were attempts


gn states.




this surrender of the legislative indepen-


Inwithsi the case of treaties between two so-verei the latter case, one state bound itself to
v.01. III.




130 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 3c,


do something defined and specific when the other adopted
some defined and specific measure. Here was no condition
of servitude and obedience, but a mutual agreement to ac-
complish something understood and particularisedRby com-
mon consent, for their common advantage, upon a certain
Contingency. To make the cases similar, an instance should
be produced (which instance, Mr. Fox affirmed, could not
be found hi the history of mankind) where one independent
state bound itself solemnly to do any thing undefined, un-
specific, and uncertain, at the arbitrary demand of another
state. Precisely such a demand would be made upon Ire-
land ; and if this proposition was adopted, no man would be
simple enough to deny, that' England would make laws for
Ireland; for what would be the passing of a bill -under the
operation of this member of the proposed system through
the parliament of Ireland but a legislative mockery? For not
a single change could be made in it afterwards, and fair dis-
cussion and free agency would, from that moment, be utterly
extinguished.


Thus incontestably stood the matter in point of reasoning
and in point of fact. He could conceive many possible cases,
where the concurrence of the Irish parliament might be re-
quired to arrangements absolutely destructive of the interests
of Ireland: suppose an English act of parliament restrained
the trade to the colonies to particular articles in which Eng-
land flourished, and which Ireland dealt in little or nettling:
suppose an English act of parliament prohibited all foreign
trade in ships of a certain description, and in which de-
scription alone Ireland now carried on her trade. Many
other cases would cccur to gentlemen, if they would take the
trouble of reflecting upon the possible operations of the fourth
proposition. This system once adopted, Ireland, without
breach of filth, could not refuse to register the English law
into her statute book; and numerous instances might occur
hereafter, where the parliament of that kingdom must rest
upon this desperate alternative, either to violate the faith of
the nation, or to betray and, sacrifice its dearest interests.
This consideration, .Mr. Fox said, even independent of its
insidiously resuming a. power most solemnly renounced,
would persuade him to the rejection of the proposition ; and
in this, as well as in a thousand other points of view, he saw
the whole of the proposed plan, a& the infallible source of
eternal discontent, animosity, and ill blood, between the two
kingdoms, though we were captivated with the flourishing.
and fimciful pictures'of the harmony and concord that were'
to cement the sister nations, according to the right honour*
able gentleman's predictions.


1785.3 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 13 1


The right honourable gentleman had adopted a mode of
recommending the fourth proposition, perfectly suited to the
capacity and turn of those who proclaimed their confidence
in him, as the principle .that • procured their support to a
system, of which they made no scruple to avow themselves
perfectly disqualified from judging. But unless he thought
all the members of that House were blinded by the same scan-
dalous ignorance; unless he was weak enough to persuade
himself that the nation was possessed with the same bigottcd
enthusiasm and inveterate idolatry for him, why would he ven-
ture upon such nonsense? The argument was—As well might
England complain of surrendering her legislative indepen-
dence, because she was bound by this treaty to similarity of
trade and navigation laws with Ireland ; that was, that Eng-
land, who was to make the law, might as well complain as
Ireland who was to obey the law. This was the right ho-
nourable gentleman's argument; and let no one imagine that
he employed such rank folly from want of abilities: the right
honourable gentleman's abilities were very considerable, and
if the cause admitted of a better defence, the right honourable
gentleman would certainly make it. When England should
agree to he governed by trade laws originating in the Irish
parliament, the right honourable gentleman's reasoning would
be forcible; but with all the partiality of that House for him,
even he would not dare to give utterance to such a proposition
within those walls. Why he thought the Irish were more
insensible to the blessings of their constitution than the
English, Mr. Fox said he knew not.


(concluded
the right honourable gentleman charges upon me,nclu


a Mr. Fox) that I have not heretofore opposed this
proposition, he might surely have recollected, that a noble
lord near him (Lord Mahon) had attempted to ridicule me
when this question was before under discussion, as being now
an English, now an Irish patriot; and to that ridicule, impo-
tentt and aukward though it fell, I beg leave to plead guilty.
I wish to appear what I really feel, both an English and an
Irish patriot ; only let it be recollected, that I am not so now
merely for the exigency of the moment. Let it be recollect-
ed, that if; in defending the liberties of Ireland, and disco-
vering a jealousy for her constitution, 1 deserve the name of


Irish patriot, to that honour I am entitled ever since the
first day of the session, when I could not foresee the events
el the present day, and long before I knew that any com-
mercial treaty with Ireland had ever been talked of. I em-
°Need the first opportunity afforded by the meeting of this
House, to declare my execration of the conduct of the king's
/11inistry in their proceedings in Ireland, where I saw the hul-


l( 2




I 32 IRISH COMMERCIAL - PROPOSITIONS. [May
damental and most sacred principles of the constitution da-
ringly overturned, and doctrines advanced and measures
adopted, in my judgment, utterly subversive of everyotrace of
civil liberty; and all this in the zeal of the right honourable
gentleman to suppress the reform of parliament in Ireland.


Upon the opening of the proposed arrangements in this
House, I repeated the same arguments, and was convinced
that Ireland never called for 'this system, nor ever thought of
it, but was seriously occupied with other objects, I added,
that I considered the whole plan as a lure to divert the Irish
from constitutional points, by throwing the trade of England


• at their feet; and to reconcile them to• the violation of the
laws of the land and of theconstitution, by the enchanting
prospect of the commercial benefits held out by this system.
In this opinion I aril strengthened every day, and the eager
part acted by those who surround the right honourable gen-
tleman would confirm to me that my fears for the constitution
of Ireland were not ill founded, had this fourth proposition
been to this hour withheld from England, as it has been stu-
diously concealed from Ireland. If this conduct, Sir, consti-
tutes an Irish patriot, then am I one; and if to struggle to
save the trade of England from annihilation, gives any claim
to the appellation of an English patriot, I possess that claim.
I did not incite the merchants and manufacturers to an oppo-
sition to this scheme. If I were capable of making them in-
struments in this business, they were incapable of becoming
my instruments : they did not follow me; I followed them..
To the right honourable gentleman's government they were;
exceedingly partial; and not quite recovered from the insanity
of the times, they were absolutely prejudiced against me and
my friends. They are as discerning and respectable a body
of men as 'any in Europe, and merited, I think, better treat-
ment than they experienced from the right honourable gen-
tleman. No man was ever more indebted to the protection
of the people than that right honourable gentleman; and no
people I believe ever so soon began to repent of their predi-
lection. Every act of his government has tended to open their
Ryes; they are, I believe, completely cured of the popular in-
fection, but I fear their conviction comes a little too late.


I shall now relinquish this subject, perhaps for ever, with
repeating a sentiment that I have before thrown out during
the discussions upon this business : I will not barter English
commerce for Irish slavery; that is not the price I would pay)
nor is this the thing I would purchase.


The Resolutions were then passed and ordered to be carried up
to the House of Lords. They here again encountered a eonsi-


17E15.]
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPoSITIONS. 133


derab le degree of opposition, and received several amendments.The propositions as finally agreed upon by both Houses were as


solved, That it is highly important to the general in-
ftoerl eos'ietylo :of the British empire that the intercourse and commercebetween Great Britain and Ireland should be finally regulated on
permanent and equitable principles, for the mutual benefit of both.
countries.
. That it is consistent with the essential interests of the ma-
nufactures, revenues, commerce,.and navigation of Great Britain,
that a full participation of commercial advantages should be per-
manently secured to Ireland, whenever a provision, equally per-
manent and secure, shall be made by the parliament of that king-
dom towards defraying, in proportion to its growing prosperity,
the necessary expellees, in time of peace, of protecting the trade
and general interests of the empire.


3. " That, towards carrying into full effect so desirable a set-
tlement, it is fit and proper that all articles, not the growth or
manufacture of Great Britain or Ireland, except those of the growth,
produce, or manufacture of any of the countries beyond the Cape
of Good Hope, to the Streights of Magellan, should be imported
into each kingdom from the other reciprocally, under the same re-
gulations,_ and at the same duties (if subject to duties) to which
they would be liable, when imported directly from the country or
place from whence ;he same may have been imported into Great
Britain or Ireland respectively, as the case may be ; and that all
duties originally paid on importation into either country respec-
tively, except on arrack and foreign brandy, and on rum, and all
sorts of strong waters not imported from the British colonies in
the West Indies, shall be fully drawn back, within a time to be
fixed, on exportation to the other ; but, nevertheless, that the
duties shall continue to be protected and guarded, as at present,
by withholding the drawback until a certificate from the proper
officers of the revenue in the kingdom to which the export may
be made, shall be returned and compared with the entry outwards.


4. " That it is highly important to the general interests of the
British empire, that the laws for regulating trade and navigation
should be the same in Great Britain and Ireland ; and therefore
that it is essential, towards carrying into effect the present settle-
ment that all laws which have been made, or shall be made, in
Great Britain, fbr securing exclusive privileges to the ships and
mariners of Great Britain, Ireland and. the British colonies and
plantations, and for regulating and restraining the trade of the
British colonies and plantations (such laws imposing the same re-
straints, and conferring the same benefits on the subjects of
both kingdoms) should be in force in Ireland, by laws to be passed
in the parliament of that kingdom, for the same time, and in the
same manner, as in Great Britain.


5. " That it is farther essential to this settlement, that all goods
and commodities of the growth, produce, or manufacture of British
or foreign colonies in America, or the West Indies, and the British
or foreign settlements on the coast of Africa, imported into Ireland,


x 3




1 3 4 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [May 30.
should, on importation, be subject to the same duties and re,
oulations as the like goods are, or from time to time shall ht


.
sob.


sect to, upon importation into Great Britain ; or if prohibited to
be imported intc Great Britain, shall be prohibited in like manner
from being imported into Ireland.


6. " That, in order to prevent illicit practices injurious to the
revenue and commerce of both kingdoms, it is expedient, that all
goods, whether of the growth, produce, or manufacture of Great
Britain or Ireland, or of any foreign country, which shall hereafter
be imported into Great Britain from Ireland, or into Ireland from
Great Britain, should be put (by laws to be passed in the parlia-
ments of the two kingdoms) under the same regulations with
respect to bonds, cockets, and other instruments, to which the
like goods are now subject in passing from one port of Great Britain
to another.


7. " That for the like purpose, it is also expedient, that when any
roods, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the British West
India islands or any other of the British colonies or plantations,
shall be shipped from Ireland for Great Britain, they shall be
accompanied with such original certificates of the revenue officers
of the said colonies as shall be required by law on importation
into Great Britain ; and that, when the whole quantity included
in one certificate shall not he shipped at any one time, the
original certificate, properly indorsed as to quantity, should be sent
with the first parcel ; arid to identify the remainder, if shipped
within a time to he limited, new certificates should be granted by
the principal officers of the ports in Ireland, extracted from a
register of the original documents, specifying the quantities before
shipped from thence, by what vessels, and to what ports.


8. " That it is essential, for carrying into effect the present settle.
ment, that all goods exported from Ireland to the British colonies
in the West Indies, or in America, or to the British settlements on
the coast of Africa, or to the countries beyond the Cape of Good
Hope to the Streights of Magellan, should from time to time be
made liable to such duties and drawbacks, and put under such
regulations, as may be necessary, in order that the same may not
be exported with less incumbrance of duties or impositions than
the like goods shall be burdened with when exported from Great
Britain.


9. "That it is essential to the general commercial interests of the
empire, that, so long as the parliament of this kingdom shall think
it adviseable that the commerce to the countries beyond the Cala,
of Good Hope to the Streights of Magellan, shall be carried on solely
by an exclusive company, having liberty to import into the port of
London only, no goods of the growth, produce, or manufacture
of the said countries should be allowed to be imported into Ireland
but through Great Britain ; except dye stuffs, drugs, cotton or
other wool, and spiceries, which may be imported into Ireland
from foreign European countries, so long as the same are import-
able from foreign European countries into Great Britain : and that
it shall be lawful to export such goods of the growth, produce, or
manufacture of ,any of the countries beyond the Cape of Good


13




HUSH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 135
3785.]
Hope to the Streights of Magellan, from Great Britain to Ireland,


same duties retained thereon as are now retained on their




exported to that kingdom, but that an account keptshall be
retained, and not drawn back on the said goods ex-


b;efilt1. :tlige:edhede altxuosptoierse and the amount thereof shall be remitted,porte
the proper officer of the revenue in Ireland, to be placed to the


account of his majesty's revenue there, subject to the disposal of
the • *. lit of that kingdom : and that the ships going from
Great goingBritain to any of' the said countries beyond the Cape ofGood Hope to the Streights of Magellan should not be restrained
from touching at any of the ports in Ireland, and taking on board
there any of the goods of the growth, produce, or manufacture of
that kingdom ; and that no ships be allowed to clear out from Ire-
land for any of the said countries;hut such ships as shall be freighted
by the said company, and which shall have sailed from the port of
London : and that, whenever the commerce to the said countries
shall cease to be so carried on solely by such an exclusive com-
pany, the goods, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the
said countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope, to the Streights of
Magellan, should be importable into Ireland, from the British or
foreign settlements in the East Indies, subject to the same duties
and regulations as the like goods from time to time shall be subject
to on importation into Great Britain ; and if prohibited to be im-
ported into Great Britain, should in like manner be prohibited from
being imported into Ireland.


":That no prohibition should exist, in either country,
against the importation, use, or sale of any article, the growth,
produce, or manufacture of the other, except such as either king-
dom may judge expedient, from time to time, upon corn, meal,
malt, flour, and biscuits : and except such qualified prohibitions,
at present contained in any act of the British or Irish parliaments,
as do absolutely prevent the importation of goods or manufac-
tures, or materials of manufactures, but only regulate the weight,
the size, the packages, or other particular circumstances, or pre-
scribe the built or country, and dimensions of the ships importing
the same ; and also, except on ammunition, arms, gunpowder,
and other utensils of war, importable only by virtue of his majesty's
license ; and that the duty on the importation of every such article


i(if subject to duty in either country) should be precisely the samen the one country as in the other, except where an addition may
be necessary in either country, in consequence of an internal
cbtiust:,itsoi.i any such article of its own consumption, or an internal
bounty in the country where such article is grown, produced, or
manufactured ; and except such duties as either kingdom may judge
expedient, de t, from time to time, upon corn, meal, malt, flour, and




not Iexceeding


• "l'hat,
all cases 1which the duties on articles of thegrowth, produce, or manufacture, of either country are different,


importation into the other, it is expedient that they should be


re


uced, the kingdom in which they are the highest, to an amount
toe duties which were payable in the other on the


K 4




136
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


CATay3O.


17th day of May, 1782, so that in every case in which any article
was charged with a duty, on importation into Ireland, of ten and


a
nalf per centum, or upwards, on the 17th day of May, 1782, the
amount of the duties so reduced shall not be less than the said
duty of ten and a half per centum, unless in cases were any articles
are importable duty free into either kingdom from the other, which
articles shall hereafter be imported duty-free into each from the
other respectively ; and that. all such articles should be exportable,
from the kingdom into which they shall be imported, as free from
duties as the similar commodities, or home manufacture of the
same kingdom : provided always, that when any such articles shall
he liable, in either country, to any duty on being exported to any
foreign country; the same articles, when re-exported from either
of the said kingdoms into which they shall have been so imported
as aforesaid, shall pay the like duties as if they had been 'origi-
nally,


exported from the kingdom of their growth, produce, or
manufacture, to such foreign country.


12. " That it is also proper, that, in all cases in which the
articles of the consumption of either kingdom shall be charged
with an internal duty on the manufacture, such manufacture,
when imported from the other, may be charged with a further duty
on importation, adequate to countervail the internal duty on the
manufacture, such farther duty to continue so long only as the
internal consumption shall be charged with the duty or duties to
balance which it shall be imposed, provided that the counter-
vailing duty to be paid upon manufactured salt imported into any
part of Great Britain, shall be computed upon the internal duty


.payable thereon in England ; and that, where there is a duty on
the raw material of any manufacture in either kingdom, such ma-
nufacture




may, on its importation into the said kingdom from the
other, be charged with such a countervailing duty as may be suf-
ficient to subject the same to burdens adequate to those which
such manufacture is subject to in consequence of such duties on
such raw material in the kingdom into which such manufacture
is so to be imported ; and that the said manufactures so imported
shall be entitled to such drawbacks or bounties on exportation as
may leave the same subject to no heavier .


burden than the home-
made - manufacture ; and that, in every case where a duty shall be
payable in either kingdom on ally article carried coastwise from
one port to another of the said kingdom, the same article, when
imported from the other kingdom, should be subject to the like
duty.


13. " That, in order to give permanency to the settlement now
intended to bc established, it is necessary that no new or addi-
tional duties should be hereafter imposed, in either kingdom, on
the importation of any article of the growth, produce, or manu-
facture of the other, except such additional duties as may be
requisite to balance duties on internal consumption, pursuant to
the foregoing resolution, or in consequence of bounties remaining
on such article when exported from the other kingdom.


14. " That, for the same purpose, it is necessary, farther, that
no new prohibition, or new or additional duties, should be here-


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 137
1755.3


after imposed, in either kingdom, on the exportation of any ar-
ticle of native growth produce, or manufacture, from the onekingdom to the other, except such as either kingdom may deem


lient from timeto dine, upon corn, meal, malt, flour, andexpo(
biscuits ; provided, that when any article of the growth, produce,


. manufacture of either kingdom, shall be prohibited by the •
laws


of the said kingdom to be exported to foreign countries, the
came article, when exported to the other kingdom, shall he pro-
hibited to be re-exported from thence to any foreign countries.


15. " That, for the same purpose, it is necessary, that no boun-
ties whatsoever should be paid or payable, in either kingdom, on
the exportation of any article to the other, except such as relate
to corn, meal, malt, flour, and biscuits, and except also the boun-
ties at present given by Great Britain-on beer and spirits distilled
from corn, and such as are in the nature of drawbacks or com-
pensations for duties paid ; and that no bounties should be pay-
able in Ireland on the exportation of any article to any British
colonies or plantations, or to the British settlements on the coast
of Africa, or British settlements in the East Indies, or any manu-
facture made of such article, unless, in cases where a similar
bounty is payable in Great Britain, on exportation from thence,
or where such bounty is merely in the nature of a drawback or
compensation of or for duties paid over and above any duties paid
thereon in Great Britain ; and that, where any internal bounty
shall he given, in either kingdom, on any goods manufactured
therein, and shall remain on such goods when exported, a coun-
tervailing duty adequate thereto may be laid upon the importation
of the said goods into the other kingdom.


16. " That it is expedient, for the general benefit of the British
empire, that the importation of articles from foreign countries
should be regulated, from time to time, in each kingdom, on such
terms as may effectually favour the importation of similar articles
of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the other ; except in
the case of materials of manufacture, which are, or hereafter may
be allowed to be imported from foreign countries duty free ; and
that, in all cases where any articles are or may be subject to higher
duties on importation into this kingdom, from the countries be-
longing to any of the states of North America, than the like goods
laarieldo trim theb subject to when imported as the growth, produce,
or manufacture of the British colonies and plantations, or as the
produce of the fisheries carried on by British subjects, such ar-
ticles Shall be subject to the same duties on importation into Ire-


im the countries belonging to any of the states of North
America, Os the same are or may be subject to on importation
from the said countries into this kingdom.


17. " That it is expedient, that such privileges of printing and
'ending books, engravings, prints, maps, charts, and plans, as are
or-ma,y be legally possessed within Great Britain, under the grant
of the crown or otherwise, and that the copy rights of the authors
and booksellers, the engraved property of engravers, print and,Ina pP sellers, of Great Britain, should continue to be protected in
the manner they are at present by the laws of Great Britain ; and




138 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [July 2 2,
that it is just that measures should be taken by the parliament of
Ireland for giving the like protection to the copyrights of authors
and booksellers, and to the engraved property of the engravers,
print and map sellers of that kingdom.


18. " That it is expedient, that such exclusive rights and pri-
vileges, arising from new inventions, as are now legally possessed
within Great Britain, under letters patent from the crown, shall
continue to be protected in the manner they are at present by the
laws of Great Britain ; and that it is just that measures should be
taken by the parliament of Ireland, fur giving the like protection
to similar rights and privileges in that kingdom ; and also that it
is expedient that regulations should be adopted, with respect to
letters patent hereafter to be granted in the case of new inventions,
so that the rights, privileges, and restrictions, therein granted and
contained, shall be of equal force and duration throughout both
kingdoms.


19. " That it is expedient, that measures should be taken to
prevent disputes, touching the exercise of the rights of the in-
habitants of each kingdom to fish on the coasts of any part of the
British dominions.


2o. " That the appropriation of whatever sum the gross here-
ditary revenue of the kingdom of Ireland (the due collection thereof
being secured by permanent provision) shall produce, after de-
ducting all drawbacks, re-payments, or bounties granted in the
nature of drawbacks, over and above the sum of six hundred and
fifty-six thousand pounds in each year, towards the support of the
naval force of the empire, to be applied in such manner as the
parliament of Ireland shall direct, by an act to be passed for that
purpose, will be a satisfactory provision, proportioned to the grow-
ing prosperity of that kingdom, towards defraying in time of peace,
the necessary expences ofprotecting the trade and general interests
of the empire."


July 22.


Mr. Pitt moved, " That the foregoing resolutions he laid before
his majesty, with an humble address, assuring his majesty, that his
faithful Commons have taken into their most serious consideration
the important subject of the commercial intercourse between Great
Britain and Ireland, recommended in his majesty's speech at the
opening of the present session, and the resolutions of the two
Houses of parliament in Ireland, which were laid before us, by
his majesty's command, on the 22d day of February last :


" That, after a long and careful investigation of the various ques-
tions necessarily arising out of this comprehensive subject, we
have come to the several resolutions which we now humbly present
to his majesty, and which we trust, will form the basis of an ad-
vantageous and permanent commercial settlement between his
majesty's kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland :


" That we have proceeded on the foundation of the 'resolutions
of the parliament of Ireland ; but in considering so extensive an


Ham COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.085.3 130


arrangement, we have found it necessary to intrquee some mo-
difications and exceptions, and we have added sileh regulations
aild conditions, as appeared to us indispensably necessary for esta-
blishing the proposed agreement on just and equitable principles,
and for securing to both countries those commercial advantages,
to an equal enjoyment of which they are in future to be entitled :


" That his majesty's subjects in Ireland, being secured in a full
and lasting participation of the trade of the British colonies, must,
we are persuaded, acknowledge the justice of their continuing to
enjoy it on the same terms with his majesty's subjects in Great


d it is, we conceive, equally manifest, that, as the ships and
en11.'And of Ireland are to continue, in all time to come, to enjoy


nitBrehai!i'slllame privileges with those of Great Britain, the same provisions
should be adopted in Ireland as may be found necessary in this
country, for securing those advantages exclusively to the subjects
of the empire : this object is essentially connected with the ma.
ritime strength of his majesty's dominions, and consequently with
the safety and prosperity both of Great Britain and Ireland :


" We therefore deem it indispensable that these points should
be secured, conditions as necessary to the existence and duration
of the agreement between the MO countries : they can only be
carried into effect by laws to be passed in the parliament of Ire-
land, which is alone competent to bind his majesty's subjects in
that kingdom, and whose legislative rights we shall ever hold as
sacred as our own :


" It remains for the parliament of Ireland to judge, accord-
ing to their wisdom and discretion, of these conditions, as well as
of every other part of the settlement proposed to be established by
mutual consent :


" Our purpose in these resolutions is, to promote alike the com-
mercial interests of his majesty's subjects in both countries ; and
we are persuaded, that the common prosperity of the two king_
doms will be thereby greatly advanced ; the subjects of each will
in future apply themselves to those branches of commerce which
they can exercise with most advantage, and the wealth, so diffused
through every part, will operate as a general benefit to the whole :


" We have thus fir performed our part in this important bu-
siness, and we trust that in the whole of its progress, reciprocal
interests and mutual affection will insure that spirit of union so
essentially necessary to the great end which the two countries
have equally in view :


" In this persuasion we look forward with confidence, to the
final completion of a measure which, while it tends to perpetuate
harmony and friendship between the two kingdoms, must, by aug-
menting their resources, uniting their efforts, and consolidating
their strength, aftbrd his majesty the surest means of establishing
on pairela.sting foundation, the safety, prosperity, and glory of the


After the motion had been opposed by Lord Beauchamp and
:qr. Eden, and supported by Mr. Jenkinson,




140 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.. [July 22.


Mr. Fox rose. He began by an allusion to lord Beau-
champ's apology for the apparent inconsistency of approving
of the original propositions, and yet objecting to the resolu-
tions as now before the House, declaring that he was ready to
acknowledge himself in much greater danger of the censure of
inconsistency; for so far was he from approving either the one
or the other, that he most sincerely and heartily reprobated
them both, although he confessed that they appeared at the
same time to be completely contradictory to each other. He
believed, indeed, that there never had been known two systems
so diametrically opposite, and yet each so objectionable, as the
two systems, that which had been sent from Ireland, and that
which had originated in that House, were in all their parts.
His right honourable friend (Mr. Eden) had made an at-
tempt to sum up the whole account between Great Britain
and Ireland, but he was afraid the calculation would be
found much too sanguine; and so far from each country*
gaining by the arrangement, they would both of them be con-
siderable




Ilk


losers. Great Britain would lose her own market,
and. the direct trade to her colonies, together with her navi-
gation laws, on which her strength and importance so much
depended, while Ireland would lose her constitution, and
again become a dependent, subordinate kingdom. 4ot


One strong objection against the arrangement with him
was, that there was at present no necessity for it, and that
such an arrangement ought never to be wantonly brought
forward, but only resorted to when it was found necessary.
This necessity was known by the minister and his friends to be
so essential to the propriety of the plan, that he had en-
deavoured on many occasions to enforce it by that topic.
But what means did he take to point out the necessity ? The
principal one was that which a right honourable gentleman
opposite to him (Mr. Jenkinson) had just stated, namely, that
the necessity of such an adjustment had been declared by a re-
solution, which he had the honour to move in that House in
the year 1782. He declared then, as he had declared before, 4
that no idea of a commercial regulation had been entertained
by the administration of that day, in proposing that resolu-
tion. There were at that time certainly some regulations
wanting between the two countries ; but those regulations
were to extend to political objects alone, and not to commer-
cial; they were partly to establish what was much wanted,
something to replace that power, which, in their struggles for
independence,- the Irish had imprudently insisted on having
abolished, and which he had himself given up, in compliance
with the strong current of the prejudices of that nation,
though with a reluctance that nothing but irresistible necessity


1785.] IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS.


could have overcome. The power, which he wished to have
seen replaced was that, which had been so often of late un-
der discussion in parliament, and which had been variously


being sometimes called commercial, at other timestermed,
external, and frequently,. imperial legislation. It certainly
was highly necessary, that power being precipitately abolished,
That some succedancum should be found" for it ; for without
one general and superintending authority to embrace and
comprehend the whole system of the navigation of the empire,
it must necessarily happen, that much confusion and great in-
convenience would take place. It was an unpromising cir-
cumstance in those resolutions, that they were not so much
argued to be- the result of the judgment of those who brought
them forward, as of a strained and fabricated opinion, said to
have originated with a former administration, and, as such,
forced down the throats of those who had composed that ad-
ministration, and under the sanction of their names imposed
upon the House. He declared, that such gentlemen as had
asserted, that that resolution went to any idea of commercial
regulation, asserted what was wholly unfounded in fact, and
diametrically opposite to the truth.


Having so often trespassed on the time of the House in de-
bating the different parts of the system, Mr. Fox said, he
would not now enter into any arguments on the detail of the
resolutions ; but would confine what he had to say to the ge-
neral question of policy and justice that arose out of the whole.
But admitting that there was any necessity for a cominercial
arrangement, how was it to be ascertained which system was
best, when two systems had been brought forward by the very
same person, the one to be laid before the parliament ofIreland
to which it had agreed, and the other for the use of the
English parliament? Those two systems, each invented by
the same person, each promising the same effect, the mutual
and permanent good understanding between the two countries,
and the one professing to be an amendment of the other, were
u nfortunately so completely contradictory as to afford no pos-
sibility of finding a single argument in support of the one,
that did not apply with equal three against the other. He
desired to know why the motives for making so complete and
effectual an alteration, as well in the spirit as in the words of
every one of the propositions, had not been communicated to
Parliament? Was the right honourable gentleman encourag-
ed to this omission by that confidence which so many of his
friends had declared they placed in him ? a confidence so un-
limited and so determined as not to give way to the vast body
of evidence which was offered to that House, and which they
natl. since confirmed by their oaths at the bar of the_ House




142
IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [July


of Lords. If confidence, and blind acquiescence in the opi-
nion of others was a proper ground of parliamentary conduct,
he thought. that confidence ought to be rather placed with
those persons, who, from their number, from their knowledge
of the subject, from their interest in it, and from their oaths,
were much better intitled to it than a single individual could
possibly be. It was not his intention, however, at present, to
make any effort to overturn or destroy this confidence in the
minister ; for being intirely at a loss to conceive on what it
was founded, so must he be ignorant of the means by which it
could be attacked.


He reprobated the absurdity of the whole proceeding, which
had been conducted on a principle of making each parliament
state what it would be willing to accept, instead of what it
would be satisfied to give. Whereas on the contrary, the
proper mode would have been, for each parliament to have
well weighed what they could give, and then they would have
been competent to determine; for each knowing, and having
specified what it could give, and the other ascertaining what it
was to receive, it would be easy to strike a balance between
them ; whereas, on the contrary, Ireland was first brought to
make her demands on Great Britain in the eleven propositions
sent from thence, and Great Britain in her turn had made her
demands on Ireland, in the fourth and fifth of the amend-
ed propositions. Hence it was, that the whole plan had the
Misfortune of being equally detested, both in England and
Ireland. This equal and violent degree of aversion had af-
forded room for a weak and pitiful argument that he had
heard used, that the clamour of one country against the reso..7
lutions, was a strong argument in favour of them with the
other. After exposing the fallacy and illiberal tendency of
such an argument, he observed, that it was in one respect the
'most fortunate argument he had ever known ; for being built
on the unpopularity of the measure, it enjoyed the advantage
of that unpopularity, to the utmost possible extent, and was
equally applicable in both kingdoms, the plan being equally
execrated in both. It was an unhappy omen, that in an ar-
rangement proposed as a basis for mutual affection, and a
pledge of mutual advantage, each party to the negotiation had
discovered the strongest motives of discontent, and the strongest
grounds of jealousy and apprehension. A right honourable
gentleman opposite to him had indulged the benevolence of
his own mind, and the luxuriancy of his fancy, with a picture
of a liberal system of commerce, without any restraint what-
ever; but after amusing himself and the House with his the-
ories, he at last acknowledged that he had been only amusing
them, for that they were incapable of being applied to the


1785.]
f the two kingdoms. He recommended it to the right


csntaitieseaeocit:o, fwere perfectly incapable of being reduced to practice.


'honourable gentleman, for the future, rather to employ his in-
tienuity in discovering what was practicable and useful, in-


hunting for systems, which, however beautiful in


When he had said, that he had regretted the giving up the
power of external legislation, as likely to prejudice the general
interests of the empire, and therefore necessary to be replaced,
he desired not to be understood as meaning to seek for it again ;
what he meant was, to find some system, that without reclaim-
ing the power, or infringing in the smallest degree on the full
emancipation and independence formerly conceded to Ireland,
should afford the means of avoiding that confusion which was
otherwise so much to be dreaded. The right honourable
.the chancellor of the exchequer had made use Of an ex-
pression on a former occasion that somewhat surprized him,
as little calculated to allay those apprehensions in Ireland
which he had so wantonly excited. He had said, that it was
by no means his intention to resume that legislative supremacy
over Ireland in so short a time after having relinquished it.
For his part, he did not think any time could be long enough
to justify this country in again possessing herself of those le-
gislative rights, which she had so solemnly surrendered; on the
contrary, when the supremacy of the British parliament was
given up, although he might lament the necessity, and per-
haps dread the consequences of such a measure, yet he looked
upon it as an inviolable compact, that could never be receded
from without the most flagrant breach of public faith ; and he
should have thought it equally repugnant to the true sense
of the compact between the two kingdoms to have endeavoured
to get back the power then resigned by a fraudulent negocia-
lion like the present, as by a direct and barefaced act of
power-


He adverted to the argument that had been used in vindi-
cation of the fourth and fifth resolutions, by comparing the
principles of them with treaties between independent and so-


relative situation in which Great Britain and Ireland were to
Ns-tear: idgn states, arraigning it as weak and inapplicable to the


after the conclusion of this arrangement; Ireland was
to be bound to adopt laws made by Great Britain, of the
nature and tendency of which she was to have no opportunity
of judging, because they were not expressly stipulated at the
tsiamere


ifie


oefn:akin f h f giv
up her legislative discretion and free agency into the hands of
Great Britain ; whereas he defied any gentleman to produce a
single instance of any prince or state having ever made such a


the treaty; and thereore se was so ar to e


or if they had, he would then contend for it, that


IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. 143




144 IRISH COMMERCIAL PROPOSITIONS. [July 22,


such prince or state was no longer independent, but was be-
come a vassal and feud to the other.


But there was another strong objection to the system, inas-
much as it contained a principle that essentially intrenched
on the constitution of Ireland in another particular ; this was
the compelling her to set apart, by way of tribute, a certain
sum over which she was hereafter to have no controul, nor any
power of resumption. This he argued in the strongest and most
brilliant manner, shewing how modern liberty, which he con-
trasted with that of ancient nations, depended on the limited
duration of pecuniary grants. This limitation afforded an op-
portunity to the legislature to withhold supplies until grievances
should be redressed. This check on the executive authority
would be completely done away, if a sum of money ade-
quate to the immediate expellees of domestic government were
permanently to be granted. This principle of temporary
grants had been never abandoned by the parliament of Great
Britain, except in a particular instance, where a permanent
grant was necessary to secure the interest of the national debt
to the public creditors ; but he should be glad to know what
any gentleman would think of a minister who should propose
to make the malt and land tax perpetual; and yet this he de-
clared to be an exactly similiar proposal. It was, he granted,
true, that the surplus of the hereditary revenue ought never to
be so considerable as to operate in this manner; but he was
at liberty to argue it so, because, if it were to be contradicted,
then would it follow that this compensation to Great Britain


. was nugatory and contemptible.
The right honourable gentleman had recommended firmness .. -


to parliament in the course of the business, and he himself •
would join in recommending that temper as well on every other
occasion as the present ; but he was very much afraid the right
honourable gentleman, in recommending firmness, had unfor-
tunately confounded the meaning of that temper, and meant,
instead of firmness, obstinancy and presumption. The dis-
contents of the people were argued from, as the cause which
rendered this arrangement necessary. He was willing to ad-
mit that there were discontents, but they were not the fore-
runners or cause of these resolutions, they were their effect and
consequence. But how were these discontents to be appeased
by the plan now going forward, or what reason was there for
such a hope? Was it because that from their first. appearance :.i.,,
in each of the different shapes which they had assumed, they
had raised an universal outcry in both kingdoms ? Was it be-
cause the benefits to be derived to each nation under them iii;
were looked upon by both as trivial and insignificant in the
extreme; while, on the contrary, what each was to give, was


MR. PITT'S MOTION FOR A REFORM, &C.7851
r43


considered as most valuable, and greatly to be regretted? He
assured the House, that if, by the exertion of influence and
corruption, the resolutions could be got through the Irish par-
liament, so violent was the aversion of the people of that
country to them, that they would unquestionably in a short
tune be able to effect their repeal : for the united voice of the
people must at last be obeyed, when their views were sted-
fastly directed to one great object, and regularly enforced by
firm and constitutional exertions.


It was, he concluded, extremely unfortunate and ominous,
that this system, which professed try


be a pledge of future
affection between the two countries, should be so odious and
detestable to each of them. He declared, that if it was a
philter, it was, of all he had ever heard of', the most disgust-
ing and nauseous; but still the, minister, like a self-sufficient
physician, was determined to pour the draught down the
throats of his patients, assuring them, that however it might
hurt their tastes and violate their inclinations at the time,
yet when swallowed, it would. amply compensate their


b


suffer-


fnas, by the comfortable effects they would in the end findrom it.
The address was agreed to, and leave was given to bring in a-bill


" for finally regulating the intercourse and commerce between
Great Britain and Ireland, on permanent and equitable principles,
for the mutual benefit of both kingdoms." The bill was after-
wards brought in and read. a first time before the send of the
session.


MR. PITT'S MOTION FOR A REFORM IN THE REPRESENTATION
OF THE PEOPLE IN PARLIAMENT.


April 18.


THE weight and influence of government had hitherto beenexerted more or less in opposition to the measure of' a
reform in parliament; but the minister having pledged himself
to exercise the whole weight of his official situation to attain it,


'present opportunity was looked upon as the most favourable
it could ever experience. The question was accordingly brought
before the House of Commons this day, by Mr. Pitt himself, who
concluded a speech of' considerable length with moving, " Thatleave be given to bring in a bill to amend the representation of
the people of England in parliament." The plan which he pro-
posed for this purpose, was to transfer the right of chasing repre-


v oL.
L




146 MR. PITT'S MOTION [April
sentatives from thirty-six of such boroughs as had already, or were
falling into decay, to the counties, and to such chief towns and
cities as were at present unrepresented —That a fund should
be provided, for the purpose of giving to the owners and holders
of such boroughs disfranchised, an appreciated compensation for
their property — That the taking this compensation should be a
voluntary act of the proprietor, and if not taken at present., should
be placed out at compound interest, until it. became an irresistible
bait to such proprietors. lie also meant to extend the - right of
voting for knights of the shire to copyholders as well as freeholders.
Such was the outline of Mr. Pitt's system*. The motion was sup.


The Rev. Mr. Wyvill, chairman of the Yorkshire committee, with
whom Mr. Pitt conferred on the formation of his Plan, gave the following
" Summary Explanation of its Principles," at a public meeting :


" The number of additional representatives to the great districts is pro-
posed to be seventy-two; for which the disfranchisement of thin -
small boroughs would be wanted. The means by which so considc
a surrender of the right to return members to parliament is expected to
be obtained, is certainly adequate to the end proposed, and yet in the
view either of equity or of expedience, perfectly unexceptionable.


" It is proposed that a million of pounds sterling he set apart, as a fund
for compensation to the boroughs which may be disfranchised ; that this
-whole sum be divided into thirty-six shares, of which, that each borough
agreeing to surrender its elective right, and applying, by petition from two
thirds of its electors, to parliament for that purpose, be entitled to one
share, to be distributed in due proportion among the several persons in.
terested therein, according to their respective equitable claims, by a special
committee of the House of Commons, to he appointed in the same manner
as committees are appointed to try the merits of contested elections; by
which, if any question should arise, touching the right of voting, or whether
the petitioners are actually two thirds of the voters, 'such question shall
be decided : that the interest of these thirty-six shares, or several prin-
cipal sums of money, be suffered to accumulate and be added to each prin-
cipal sum, until, by the decision of such committee, each sum, principal
and interest included, shall be awarded to some small borough on Its
voluntary application to be disfranchised. By this provision, the sum ap-
propriated, if not large enough at first to induce the decayed boroughs




surrender their obnoxious rights, would continually increase, and Oa,
temptation to resign them would become ultimately irresistible.


" By the other part of Mr. Pitt's system of reformation, a Subseqn0;
improvement of the borough representation would he ascertained, 40.0.
carried into execution on similar terms; and, moreover, a principli4
future and perpetual improvement in the representation of towns to all
indefinite extent would be established.


" When the representation of the counties and the metropolis shell
have been rectified in the mode and to the extent already described, it iS
proposed that a second sum be set apart to induce such decayed or in-
considerable boroughs aforesaid, as may still remain, to make a farther
surrender of the right of electing members of parliament, in order 04.v
such right may be transferred to the towns of Birmingham, Manches*i
and other large unrepresented places, whenever such unrepresented 00
shalt respectively petition parliament for the same—Also, that the elective'
franchise, exclusively enjoyed by a few inhabitants, members of the cor-
porate body in certain towns, may be imparted to the inhabitants, house'


13


r 65.] FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. 147
00 rted by Mr. Duncombe, Mr. -Wiforce, r. Fox, M. Dun-
las, the A ttiorney General, Mr. Arde


lb
n,


er


and Lord Frederick
r


Camp-
. (bell, and opposed by Mr. Powys, Lord North, Lor1.1 iNiulgrave, Mr.
Burke, Mr. Rolle, and Mr. Young.


Mr. Fox said, that after the many occasions on which he
had expressed what his sentiments were on the subject of a
reform in the representation, he should not consider himself
under any great necessity of troubling the I-louse, had there


holders of such towns, occupying houses assessed to a certain small amount,
on the voluntary application of such corporate bodies to parliament to
surrender their exclusive privileges.


" The extension of the right of suffrage to many substantial hoitse-
holders in the metropolis, the unrepresented towns, and those towns where
the right of representation is at present exclusively enjoyed by a few in-
habitants, would be the necessary consequence of the several transfers,
and communications of the elective right proposed in the two parts of this
system. The admission of copyholders to the right of voting at county
elections, would form a still greater, and a perfectly unexceptionable,
addition to the constituent body; /or which, it is understood, that a
separate bill would be provided accordingly. Regulations also for mid-
tiplying the places of poll in the counties, for the


ascertainment of
the right of voting, for reducing expellee, and preventing bribery at elec-
tions, would he included as subsidiary parts of the same system."


" I. Estimate of the number of boroughs that would probably be dis-
franchised, and the consequent addition of members that would he made
to the larger districts and to unrepresented towns; and also the number of
large towns in which the exclusive right of the corporations to elect mem-
bers would be imparted to the substantial inhabitants, householders of the
same respectively; provided Mr. Pitt's whole plan should be adopted by
parliament.


Boroughs.
" By the first part of his plan would be disfranchised, on volun-


tary surrender, in order to reinforce the representation of the counties
and the metropolis


-
- -


-
-


-


" By the second part, to give representatives to certain large un-
represented towns, at least -


- -
- - -


-


" It is impossible to estimate the whole future disfranchisement
under this head : but there are at least four large unrepresented towns


Unmediate view, as fit to receive the right of representation; for
which transfer, consequently, the disfranchisement of at least fourboroughs would be wanted.


" Total of disfranchised boroughs
- - - - - 7 40


Corporations of arge towns that probably. would surrender their
exclusive right of representation -




- - - - - -


"
" Addition to the metropolis and the counties




To unrepresented towns
-


-
- -


" Representation thrown open in ten large towns
4c


Total addition of representatives to the public
.•nn••••n1.


L 2


36


4


Io
Members.


7z
8


20


ICO




6,500
500


99,000


148 MR. PITT'S MOTION [April 18
not been extraordinary circumstances attending the intro-
duction of the present question. That he had always been
a friend to the principle of this bill was a fact which did not
require to be repeated. Whether the means taken to effect
that principle were such as were most unexceptionable must
remain for future discussion, but could not provoke his op-
position to the motion. There remained ample opportu-
nities in the stages of the bill to examine and correct it.;
opportunities which in themselves would be the highest ac-
quisition. In the review which had been taken of the ques-
tion that night, means had been used to implicate the Ame-
rican war in the subject now under discussion, by suggesting
that it was supported by the influence of burgage tenures,
and that if they had been withdrawn, that war would have
had a more speedy termination. He acknowledged, that
it would have been in the power of the parliament to have
brought that war -to a period had they considered it an
improper one; but the manner in which it must have been
done, would have been such, as he should little expect to
hear recommended from the gentlemen on the other side of
the House. When the delay of a few days in passing the sup-
plies had been represented last year as the most heinous pro-
ceeding, what would have been the enormity of stopping, not
only the ordnance supply, as was the case, but all the other
supplies also, as would be the case in the event mentioned by
the right honourable gentleman, namely, the active inter-
ference of the House of Commons to put a period to a war.
This would be a conduct worthy of a House of Commons,. in
certain situations, and would show them to he sensible of their
due weight and importance in the scale of the constitution,
and that they were not the instruments of a superior power,


'•


II. " Estimate of the augmentation of the constituent body, that would
be effected by the several extensions of the right of suffrage proposed by .
Mr. Pitt.


" Householders added in Marybone, Pancras, and other un-
represented parts of the metropolis, about - - - xo,oco




' Unrepresented freeholders in the city of London - 1,000




" Copyholders in Middlesex, including the metropolis 7,oco
" Copyholders in other parts of the kingdom - - - 6sso0o
" Householders in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, and


Leeds, independent of other unrepresented towns, to whom the
right of returning members to parliament may be imparted


- 9,000
" Householders in Scarborough


'


Bury, Bath, &e. - -
" Unrepresented freeholders of I-Iullshire, probable about -


" Total addition


1785•] FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. 149


kept for no other purpose but to register edicts, and to per-
form an annual routine of business.


guch had been said of the merit of dissolving the cohe-
sion of parties which existed in that House. That cohesion
did exist, was a truth in which -he took too much pride to
think of denying, and from which this country had derived
too much advantage to be an enemy to: his connections were
formed on liberal and systematic principles, and could not be
dissolved by any regulations, as long as the .same union in
sentiment and principles continued to cement them. When an
honourable gentleman said, that parties formed on one side of
the house occasioned similar engagements on the other ; he
should have considered, that it equally applied to one as to the
other. But there might be circumstances which induced that
honourable gentleman to look forward with eagerness to the
.dissolution of such attachments, if they obliged him to sup-
port and defend measures in which his opinions did not cor-
respond; if they found him to act one" wayand think another.
Under such circumstances, it was perfectly natural that he
should pant to be disengaged from such connections, and re-
sign the load which seemed•so much to oppress him.


To that principle which, by a diminution of the members-
for boroughs, tended to increase the proportion of represen-
tatives for counties, he was sincerely a friend. But while he
was thus explicit on the subject of his approbation, it was but
just to mention, that there was another point to which he to-
tally objected. With all the respect which he always paid to
a House of Commons, and among the rest to the present
House, he could perceive in it no superlative excellence, no
Just superiority, which could justify the suspension of the ope-
ration of this bill. To defer for the period of six years any
system of reform, however partial and inadequate, was by no
means complying with the declared wishes of the majority of
the electors of this country ; whose voice, though by no means
to be acknowledged as that to which the House of Commons
must conform, when they were directed by any sudden im-
pulse, as the opinions of a moment, should always be obeyed
on points which the experience and consideration of years
had taught them finally to decide upon. The people, not-
withstanding all diet had been said, had no peculiar obliga-
tions to this parliament, for uncommon instances of that pro-
priety of conduct, which could warrant so implicit a reliance
in it. No very flattering proofs of extraordinary attention to
the rights of the people had been given by his majesty's pre-


' sent ministers, in their support of that excellent measure, the
Westminster scrutiny ! And no very splendid testimony of
their prudence in financial concerns, could be drawn from the


L 3





ISO MR. PIreS MOTION
[April


commutation tax ! This was a proceeding the hardship of
which they already felt ; and there were some others now
agitation, which were not likely to turn out much more fa-
vourable. These only were the reasons the people could have
for a reliance in the present parliament. He did not, however,
mean to say any thing which could be construed into invective
against them ; he had before been accused of insulting them ;
he did not know that he had done so, but if heat should have
led him at any time to say any thing which could have that ap-
pearance, he was exceedingly sorry for it. There was nothing
in any of these circumstances which could impress them on
his memory; but he bad observed, that nothing he ever said
in his warmest moments, had ever drawn forth so much pas-
sion and ill temper on the other side of the House as nwhen he
attempted to praise them.


The right honourable gentleman had in this instance, re-
ceded from those opinions which on two former occasions he
seemed to maintain, and the alteration which he had now
made, for the purpose of a specific plat), was infinitely for the
jworse. It was in vain that he endeavoured to qualify the ob-ections, which the idea of innovation raised in the minds nfg
some, by diminishing the extent and influence of reformations
From the earliest periods of our government, the principle Of.
innovation, but which should inure properly be called amend-
ment, was neither more nor less than the practice of the
constitution. In every species of government (putting abso-
lute monarchy out of the question, as one which ought never to
exist in any country) democracy and aristocracy were always
in a state of gradual improvement, when experience came to
the aid of theory and speculation. In all these, the voice of
the people, when deliberately and generally collected, was
invariably sure to succeed. There were moments of periodi-
cal impulse and delusion, in which they should not be grati-
fied, but when the views of a people had been formed mid
determined on the attainment of any object, they must ulti-
mately succeed. On this subject the people of this country
had petitioned from time to time, and their applications were
made to their parliament. For every reason, therefore, they
should be gratified, lest they night be inclined to sue for re-
dress in another quarter, where their application would have
every probability of success, from the experience of last year.
Failing in their representatives, they might have recourse to
prerogative.


It had been urged, that now, while this business was in
agitation,. the people of Birmingham and Manchester had not
petitioned to be represented. This was an argument which
at this time, of all others, could have but little weight ; for


1785.] FOR A REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. 151


while they were alarmed for their trade, and their subsistence,
it was no time for them nto set about making improvements in
that constitution, in which they were not certain how long
they might have any share. On the eve of emigration, they
were to look for this in another country, to which their pro-
perty and business were soon to be transferred. The different
parts of this plan would certainly, in a committee, be sub-
mitted to modification and amendment; but as it now stood,
admitting only the first principle, every other part, and the
means taken to attain the principle, were highly objectionable.
He should not hesitate to declare, that he would never agree
to admit the purchasing from a majority of electors the pro-
perty of the whole. In this he saw so mach injustice, and
so much repugnance to the true spirit of our constitution,
that he could not entertain the idea for one moment. On
the other hand, when the property of a borough was in one
man, there was no chance of his disposing of it, on the
terms this day mentioned. For when a particular sum was
laid down for a particular purchaser, and interest suffered to
accumulate on that sum, the man must be a fool, who could
he in haste to get possession of it. There was something in-
jurious in holding out pecuniary temptations to an English-
man to relinquish his franchise on the one hand, and a poli-
tical principle which equally forbad it on another. He was
uniformly of an opinion, which, though not a popular one,
he was ready to aver, that the right of governing was not
property, but a trust ; and that whatever was given for con-
stitutional purposes, should be resumed, when those purposes
should no longer be carried into effect.


There were instances of gentlemen offering to sacrifice the
interest they might have in boroughs, to the public good.
He expressed, however, his surprise, that the present propo-
sition was not attended by any liberal offers from those whom.
government had loaded with honours, and whose connection
with the present administration should naturally excite an ex-
pectation of something more liberal than a procedure by mere
bargain and sale. He was averse to the idea of confining par-
liamentary situations to men of large fortunes, or those
who had distinguished . themselves in public professions.
Should this be the case, there was scarcely any man so little
acquainted with the history of parliament, as not to know,
that the House would lose half its force. It was not from men
of large and easy fortunes, that attention, vigilance, energy,
and enterprize, were to be expected. Human nature was too
fond of gratification not to be somewhat attentive to it when
the means were at himd ; and the b st and most meritorious
Public services had always been performed by persons in cir-


L 4




1:
1S2 REPEAL or THE COTTON TAX.


[April 2o.
war


cumstances removed from opulence. The right honourable
gentleman need not be ashamed to take some of those regula-
tions formed in the time of the protector, Oliver Cromwell.
For though he was a character too odious ever to be the object
of praise or imitation, his statutes, confirmed afterwards by
his successor, Charles II., bear strong marks of genius and
ability ; for his political disposition was as good as that of his
successor, and his genius infinitely more powerful. He con-
cluded with earnestly entreating all sides of the House to con-
cur in the question. He was sorry the honourable gentleman
who spoke before him did not in all the warmth he professed
on the occasion, take the most conciliatory mode of acquiring
strength to it.. Instead of reproaching the noble lord (North)
for confining himself to old arguments and observations, he
should rather tremble for the success with which those old ob-
servations had been applied by his noble friend, and the con-
trary fate which had before attended the novel and


.
more


variable stile of the minister.


The question being put on Mr. Pitt's
vid.ed :


Tellers.
YEAS {Mr. Eliot 174.—NotsMr. R. Smith


So it passed in the negative.


REPEAL OF THE CoTToN TAX.


Apra 20.


THE House having resolved itself into a committee on the peti-
-R


- tions against the tax imposed last year on cottons, cotton stuffs,
&c. Mr. Pitt moved for leave " to bring in a bill to explain and
amend an act passed in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of his
present majesty, for imposing a duty by excise on certain cotton
manufactures, and to repeal so much of the said bill as imposed a
duty on plain cottons and fustians."


Mr. Fox rose, he said, with great satisfaction to second
the motion, concurring as he did completely in the re-
sult of the right honourable gentleman's argument. He
thought it highly necessary to declare, that he voted for
the motion on a very different ground from that stated


REPEAL OP THE COTTON TAX. 153


by
the right honourable gentleman in the commencement


of his speech. He acceded to the motion, not because he
thought the manufacturers of Manchester had either exag-
aerated facts, or failed in making out their case, but because
they had so far made out their case as to satisfy his mind, thatthe allegations stated in their petition had been completely
proved at the bar of the House ; and if the right honourable
gentleman would give himself the trouble to recollect the evi-
vdence he had heard, and would ground such lair and just
computations upon the price of labour, and upon the amount
of the money paid by the manufacturers for duty, as each
warranted, he believed he would find himself a good deal
mistaken in the computations that he had made, and that the
revenue to be given up and abandoned, was by no means so
large as he had imagined, nor, in fact, larger than the sum the
manufacturers themselves had stated it to be in evidence.
Mr. Fox declared the calculations of Mr. Pitt to be erroneous,
and stated in what he disagreed with him. He had not a
doubt that the manufacturers were strictly warranted in every
thing that they had alleged in their petition, and asserted in evi-
dence; and that the revenue to be relinquished was certainly
a trifle, compared with the injury and embarrassment so capital
a manufacture would have sustained, had it not been taken
off: He desired not to be ranked in the number of those who
held that manufactures, as manufactures, were improper ob-
jects of taxation ; he never had entertained such an opi-
nion; on the contrary, he held that articles of manufacture
were in many cases a fair and just object of taxation ; in some
undoubtedly they were not, and especially where the imposi-
tion of a tax would so far harrass the manufacturers as to
take considerably snore money from them than the revenue
received, and check the progress of a manufacture, and prove
vexatious and oppressive to that degree, that it would affect
its prosperity, and endanger its existence. This he verily be-
lieved, notwithstanding all that the right honourable 47 ntle-,
man had said, would have proved to be the case with . the
fustian manufacture, had not , the duty been repealed. He
agreed, therefore, perfectly with the right honourable gentle-
man in his idea of repealing that.part of the tax of the last
year ; he agreed with him also in retaining the part of the tax
that remained on printed cottons, &c. He was not of opinion
that any sufficient reason had been made out to shew that
there was real danger to be dreaded from the continuance of
the.


tax on printed cottons, &c., he was therefore fbr its re-
Mauling. He must however deprecate a principle that the
tight Iioreicocuil-


as a
h n rable gentlemanhad laid down in the latter part


of his p ec ground upon which any tax might be


motion, the House di-


Tellers.
r1V1r. Eden
1Mr. NorthS 248°




154 REPEAL OF THE COTTON TAX.
[April p',


abandoned; and that was, on account of popular clamour,
and prejudices which were founded in error. To such a prin-
ciple he never would accede; nor ought that House to Blake
it the ground of their proceedings; because if it were once
known that a great degree of popular clamour and prejudice,
no matter how ill founded, was a sufficient inducement for that
House to give their consent to the repeal of any tax, the rtk.
venue would be in perpetual danger ; arid that sinking fluid,
of which the right honourable gentleman was so fond of in-
troducing the mention in almost every debate, and to which
they all looked forward with the most anxious expectations!
would be only a matter to be talked of, and never to h6
brought into existence. It was by no means wise in any mi-


. nister to declare, that he gave up that to prejudice Ethd cla-
mour, which he refused to reason and to fact; he did there-
fore most earnestly deprecate the principle, and deny that it
was the ground on which he seconded the motion. The right,
honourable gentleman had thought fit to introduce allusions tai;
what he had said in a former debate, relative to the Irish pro-
positions, although no man was more ready than the right ho-
nourable gentleman to reprobate others for doing so disorderly
a thing as to refer to what had passed in prior debates. The
right honourable gentleman would recollect, that the subject
of India and a certain India bill, had been repeatedly alluded
to by himself and his friends in debates, where the question,
was infinitely more foreign, .than the consequence the passing
of the Irish propositions was likely to have upon the people,
of England, was foreign to the question of reforming the state
of the representation in parliament. Besides, in that very de-
bate, the right honourable gentleman lied himself introduced
the mention of the American war, and other topics equally
foreign from


• the subject at that time under consideration.
But the•right honourable gentleman had laid down two dif-
ferent rules of conduct, the one for himself and friends to act
upon, the other to be applied to those who took part against
him. With regard to how far the present subject had a re-
ference to the Irish propositions, he made no scruple to say
he thought it had ; because undoubtedly, if the tax on fustians
had continued, and the Irish propositions passed, the manu-
facturers would be affected very materially, not indeed in their
home consumption, but in their export trade; since the fifth
proposition, that of the countervailing duties, would only
make it necessary for the Irish to lay on a duty equal to what
the revenue received; whereas the manufacturers paying
more than the revenue received, in consequence the Irish
and they would not export on equal terms. Having stated.
this, Mr. Fox took notice of what Mr. Pitt had said of his es4-4


1785.] STATE or
THE PUBLIC REVENUE.


Phi
pectation to be vilified and calumniated for the manner in


he had come forward to repeal the tax. The right ho-
nourable gentleman had forgot, he said, that the conduct of
others had been full as much vilified and calumniated as his
own, and, he was satisfied, with as little reason and as little
justice. There was no ground for censure in honestly ac-knowledging an error, and desiring to retract it; there might
be ground for question, and for something not very like praise,
in declaring that a sacrifice was made to prejudice, and to
prejudice merely.


STATE or THE PUBLIC REVENUE.


April 29.


IIE order of the day being read,


Mr. Fox rose to make his promised motion on the state of
the public revenue, and to call the attention of the House to
the calculations and statements which had been recently made
by the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer. He
prefaced his motion with saying, that whatever differences
there might be in that House upon questions of a political
nature, and in speculative opinions, there was no difference
with respect to the propriety and necessity of supporting the
public credit. The House had in all administrations been
uniform in maintaining the credit which had been so useful
to us in our difficulties, and in countenancing every measure
which tended to the advancement of our revenue, or the secu-
rity of the national creditor. It would not, therefore, be irn-
puted to him, that he rose this day to agitate the House on
the subject from motives of fiction, or for the purpose of ex-
citing alarm in the country. In what he should say, he would
give occasion for no such charge. It was his first and most
earnest desire to see the revenues of this country rendered so
indubitably equal to our necessities, that neither cavil nor
ingenuity should be able to excite terrors in the breasts of
those who had lent their money on the faith of government;
and lie did not believe there was an individual in the House
who entertained different sentiments.


There had been, he said, a good deal of conversation at
different times on the subject of the sinking fund, and on the
Propriety of applying it to the necessities of the state. With-


155




56 STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE. [April 29.
out entering at all into the question, whether it was wise in all
possible cases so to apply it ; or whether the public might not
be more benefited by its appropriation occasionally to Other
purposes, this much was certain, that though it had been
applied occasionally to make up for the year the deficiencies
of any tax which might have failed of producing what it was
calculated to produce, or to answer any sudden and unfore_
seen emergency, it never was yet taken and applied to the pe•_
manent payment of the annuity of any sum which we had
had occasion to borrow. To this length we never yet had gone ;
the wisdom of the House had always provided by taxes a per-
manent fund for the payment of the national creditor ; and
the produce of the sinking fund was only held out as an addi-
tional security to them, that in case those taxes should fail,
their annuities would still be regularly paid. The right ho-
nourable gentleman at the head of the finances, had said.
some days ago, that by the late production of the taxes we had
reason to hope that the revenues of this country would annu-
ally produce the sum of fifteen millions and a half, which con-
stantly would leave a surplus of one million to be applied to
the extinction of the national debt. He would not be confi-
dent in the precise words which the right honourable gentle-
man had made use of in stating this fact; but this was the
result, and this his friends had adopted, with the most san-
guine disposition.


He was by no means pleased that the state which he should
give of the public accounts did not warrant the conclusion
which the right honourable gentleman had drawn from them.
He by no means wished that his state of the public revenue
should turn out to be the true state, in contradiction to that
of the right honourable gentleman; but the House must not
argue, that because he went into these discussions for the pur-
pose of spewing them that the conclusions which had been
drawn from them were not well founded, that therefore he
was anxious to affect the public credit, and to lower the state
of the funds. He was actuated by no such motive. It was
his opinion, that the true and only foundation on which the
credit of this coun try could be maintained, was in the publicity
and deafness of our accounts ; it was in the evident determina-
tion of parliament at all times to look their situation in the


'face, and neither to deceive themselves, nor to deceive others
with fallacious statements which could only serve interested
purposes for a moment, while they might produce lasting and
dreadful consequences to the country. Utterly to despond
was as injurious as to be too sanguine. Despondency would „.
depress the genius, enterprise, and energy of the' country:
and again, to be too sanguine in our expectations, would pre-


STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE.
1571785.7


vent us from taking those measures which might be necessary
to our deliverance. Apprehending that the state Of our
finances was very different from that which the right honour-
able gentleman had held out, it was his opinion, that though
our circumstances were bad, they gave no reason for despon-
dency; they were yet to be retrieved; but they were only to
be retrieved by our chearfully submitting to new and to heavy
burdens. This, in the present situation of the country, was
undoubtedly a melancholy prospect; but he had too much
confidence in the good sense of the people, and in the wisdom
of parliament, to believe, that when the neAsity was made
apparent for new burdens, the one would either hesitate to
impose, or the other to bear them.


He was afraid, that in what he should have to state to the
House, he should make the necessity fin' new burdens too ap-
parent. The right honourable gentleman had laid before the
House a paper to show the comparative produce of the taxes
of the quarter ending the 5th of April, 1784, and of the quar-
ter ending the 5th of April, 178 5 . From the amount of the
latter he had argued, that the produce of all the taxes for the
year would leave a surplus of one million above the payment
of all the annuities and establishments of the year. It had al-
ready been stated to the House, that to draw this conclusion
from this particular quarter would be fallacious, for that the
quarter consisted of eleven days more than either of the other
three. The quarter in general was ninety-one clays and a
fraction ; but this quarter was one hundred and two days in
length. The amount of the taxes for this long quarter was,
by the account produced 3,066,0001. which multiplied by
four, undoubtedly made the produce of the taxes for the
whole year 12,260,0001. He avoided fractions to make the
matter more readily intelligible. The eleven days, however,
which were to be taken from this quarter made the amount
very different. On an Average the amount of the taxes was
about 3 0,0001. per day, which for the eleven days amounted
to 330,0001. and this multiplied by Ibu•, made the sum of
1,300,0001. which was to be taken from the calculation of the
right honourable gentleman. This, therefore, reduced the
annual produce of the permanent annuities to „ I i,oeo,000t.
Add to this 2,500,000/. for the amount of the. land and malt,
and the whole was only thirteen millions and a half, which
was two millions short of the calculation of the right ho-
nuurable gentleman.


It was not a fair nor a true way of stating the taxes, by
taking the amount of a quarter as a fourth of the year. The
quarters sometimes varied exceedingly ; and arguing in this
way, from this particular quarter, was liable to much fallacy.




15 8 STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE.
[April 29.


He had it not in his power to argue by comparisons of all the
quarters for any given number of years; but having an ac..
count in his hand of the amount of the customs for eleven
years, he did not think it would be unfair to argue by analogy
from them, and to shew how treacherous it would be to decide
on the amount of the customs for a year by any one quarter.
In comparing the several years, he would naturally pass over
the last year, as by the postponement of the customs due by
the East India Company, that year could not be set in cone_
parison so as to give, any fair estimate of the public revenue.
The total of the customs for the quarter ending the 5th oft
April last, was 770,0001. To argue that this was a proof
that the other three quarters would be equally productive,
he was afraid would be very fallacious, and would not be
borne out by the experience of former years. It was a fact,
that whenever the spring quarter was high, the summer quar-
ters fell off, and whenever it was low, the summer quarters
made up for the deficiencies. The years 1778 and 17 79


pre-
sented instances like the present year of high spring quarters:
in the one, the customs amounted to 708,0001. and in the
other to 71 s,00d., and yet it so happened that these two years
were the lowest of all the eleven years, for which the account
on the table was made up. Was it, therefore, reasonable to
infer from the high amount of the customs in this quarter,
that the amount of the year would be equally or proportion-
ably high?


But in this particular quarter on which the right honour-
able gentleman had calculated in so sanguine a manner, there


fi


were several articles which struck him in a very forcible
"N


manner as being charged too high. East India goods, for
instance, were stated in this quarter to have produced 86,0001.,
a sum so much above what they had ever produced in a for-
mer quarter, that he knew not how to take that as a fourth
of the produce of this article for the year. The average pro-
duce of this article for the last eleven years was but 120,0001.
a year; and the quarter ending the 5th of April 1784, had
produced but o,000/. On such experience, it was impossi-
ble that he could set down this article at 340,0001. for the
year. There must have been in the payments made this
quarter, some arrearages paid up, or some extraordinary cir-
cumstances which would not enter into the other quarters,
and which therefore it would be unfair to calculate upon in
this statement.


Another article struck him as curious. The duty of eigh-
teen and a half per cent. on muslins was stated to produce
86,000l. in this quarter; this was as much as the duty had
produced for the whole of the last year. The excise duties


1785.3 'STATE
OT TIIE PUBLIC REVENUE. 159


which wer • paid into the exchequer at the rate of 350,000f.per week made another very material inaccuracy in this ac-
count ; for, by the addition of the eleven days in this quarter,
the excise duties were paid for fifteen weeks. So that if this
was to be taken as a fourth of the year, the year must consist
of sixty weeks instead of fifty-two.


The stamp duties which had been imposed by his noble
friend, Lord John Cavendish, were stated to have produced
in this quarter 96,0001., a sum which very much astonished,
and which, if it were true, would very much please him.
He was afraid, however, there was no truth in this state-
ment. The whole produce of these duties, which undoubtedly
had fallen short of their calculation, had never yet amounted
to much above I oo, coo/. a year ; to state, therefore, that
they had produced 96,0091. ill one quarter, was a thing for
which lie could not account, however he might wish that the
fact were so. The additional stamps which had been laid
since that time, were stated also at 96,0001. This would give
on each of these articles: an annual produce of 38o,000/. ;
and he called upon gentlemen to say, whether they expected
such a sum, or any thing like it, from these dude; ? Besides
this, there was to be mentioned other charges, which were
evidently inaccurate—the deduction from salaries, the coin,
position of the bank for the whole of the stamp duties on
notes was 12,0001. a year, and yet in this quarter Good. of
that sum was taken, and which therefore could not be multi-
plied by four.


It was impossible that he could speak on these points with
the authority of the right honourable gentleman, because he
had not the information. He conceived these things to be
curious and unaccountable, and he trusted that the right ho-
nourable gentleman would explain them to the House, in
support of the reasoning and conclusions which he had drawn
from this quarter. These articles, which he had enumerated,
would amount, in the calculation for the whole of the year,
to upwards of 15o,000l. but he understood the right ho-
nourable gentleman had said, in his statement of this quar-
ter, that there was one sum of 125,0001. to be deducted, and
that there was ioo,00d. to arise in another quarter, which
was not in this.' Not knowing precisely in. the present stage
what were the articles on which the right honourable gentle-
man had said that these deductions were to be made, he would
not insist so much on the particular objections as on the great
objection to the eleven clays in this quarter which were not in
the others; and upon this he still contended, there was a de-
duction to be made of 1,300,0001. from the calculation for
the year.




16116o STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE.
[April 29.


Another way had been taken in stating this business. In
stead of multiplying this quarter by four, the two winter
quarters were taken together and multiplied by two. He Con.
ceived this also to be fallacious, though not perhaps so falla..
cious as the other. He must reason on this also from the
account of the Customs on the table.. In that account he
found that the average of ten years was about 74,000/.
favour of the summer quarters; and here it was to be observed,
that taking it in this way, there was a difference of five days
in the calculation. The winter quarters included from the
Jodi of October to the 5th of April ; but one thing particu-
larly deserved the notice of the House, and that was, that
by the account of the customs on the table, it appeared, that
whenever the spring quarter exceeded 700,000/. the summer
quarters were proportionably low. But admitting this mode
of stating the account, and multiplying the two last quarters
by two, to give the probable production of the present year,
the amount would be but 11,400,000/. which would still leave
a deficiency of 1,650,00o1. of the fifteen millions and a half
stated by the right honourable gentleman.


He understood the right honourable gentleman had argued
from this account in another way. He had compared this
spring quarter with the spring quarter of last year; he consi-
dered-


this as still more fallacious; he had compared it with the
worst spring quarter for the last ten years. The quarter of
last year Was bad for the reasons he had stated, namely, the
postponement of the East India duties: but he begged gen-
tlemen again to look at the account in their hands of the
customs; they would find, that though the spring quarter of
1784 was the worst of the whole ten years, yet the year 1784
was the best but one of all that period. Nothing could be more
erroneous than to argue, that from the goodness of the


ctsprin
quarter the whole year was to be estimated. It so happened,
that whenever the spring quarter was highest, the whole year
was low: for instance, the spring quarter of 177 9 was
715,0001. The spring quarter of 178 4


was 385,00o/. Yet
the whole of the year 1779 produced but 2,200,0001., while
1784


produced 2,600,000/. It was in vain, therefore, to ar-
gue from this mode of statement. But he said, that in giving
the right honourable gentleman every tiling he demanded, in
stating the account with all the possible advantages which
could be enumerated, and omitting all the objections which
he had made, by laying the two winter quarters together,
and even permitting him to say that the summer quarters
would be better, granting that they would be better as six is to
five, yet in this way, the whole amount of the permanent re-
venues, and of the land and malt,a_t, would be but 14,233,0001.


] sTATE OP THE PUBLIC REVENUE.1 785.
which would be a sum of 300,000/. short of .what he had an-
nuall y to pay, and 1,300,0001. short of the statement of the
rioldlionourable gentleman, by which there was to be a sta-


P
tus of 1,000,000/. a. year for a sinking fund:




1therefore, it was the determination of that House to meet
the situation of the country fairly; if they intended, with the
honesty and determination that became them, to put the-
finances of the country beyond the reach of cavil, give secu-
rity to the creditor, and manifest to the whole world their
disposition to be strictly honest, they must lay additional
burdens on the people to the amount of 1, 3 00,000/. a year.
The alternative was undoubtedly unpleasant ; but no man
could hesitate one moment in making his choice. The alter-
native was, that in the present moment, when the people of
this country were labouring under taxes that were almost In-
supportable, they should impose new and heavy burdens on ,
them to the amount of 1,300,000/. a year ; or that the 1111-
mense load of this country should be suffered to continue
for ever; by which, when some new struggle might occasion
extraordinary calls, we must be brought to that dreadful state
which no considerate man could look at without horror..=a
national bankruptcy. Study, in this view of the matter, no
man would hesitate in his choice : he who could cherish in
his bosom for one moment the idea of embracing the one side'
of the alternative, must have a head incapable of judging: a
national bankruptcy would be national ruin ; and the head of
that man must be strangely dull, or his heart inhuman, who
could harbour such a. notion. it was not to be thought of:
and vet he knew that strange, mad, and atrocious schemes
had been engendered in the brains of some men to this end;
but no practical statesman had ever thought of them, no wise
man had ever countenanced them, and no good man, he
trusted, would ever adopt them. The right honourable gen,.
tleman had properly stated to the House, that it was only by
the gradual diminution- of the debt that we could retrieve
our affairs. This was his belief; and he was sincerely of
opinion, that by -cheerfully submitting now to an increase of
burdens, our affairs might not only be retrieved, but we might
be brought to a more prosperous condition than we had ever
enjoyed.


It.might be said, let us wait another year before we lay any
more taxes on tine people. Let us see what the result of our,
wishes are. This, he said, was truly impolitic; the loss of,a
Year of peace was a material loss. If the sum was actually
not wanted; if there should at this time be a sinkino. fund,(t fie1,)0eiL.increase ofi that fund would be a blessino. and the year


not to be lost, though he knew it was the opi-
%




162 STATE Or THE PUBLIC REVENUE. [April 29,
nion of some men, that war was the proper time for the dimi-
nution of the national debt. Perhaps it might be said, that
he pushed ministers to do this, in order to make them nut)°,
pular, because it must be an unpopular measure to lay addi-
tional burdens to so large an amount. If such should be the
imputation thrown on gentlemen who rose in that House to
deliver their opinions on subjects of revenue, it would be wise
for them to absent themselves whenever such subjects were
mentioned; but no such imputation could with justice be
brought against those who fairly offered to share in the unpo-
pularity by assisting the ministers in the task.


Fle concluded with saying, that it was his intention to have
moved, from the grounds which he had stated, that it appeared
to the House, that the permanent revenues of the country
amounted only to between eleven and twelve millions ; but
not being able to state the precise amount, he did not think
that such a motion would have the accuracy which the House
should require; and therefore he proposed to move " That
a committee be appointed to enquire into, and state to this
House, the annual net produce, from the 5th of April 1775
to the 5th of April 1785, of the several taxes now subsisting,
which were granted previous to the 5th day of January 1776,
distinguishing each year, together with the totals, and stating
also the average produce of each tax, and of the totals; and
also, the produce of the several taxes granted since the 5th
day of January 1776, for one year, ending the sth of April
1785 ; and also, the amount of the public debts as they stood
at the receipt of his majesty's exchequer, on the sth day of
April 1785, with the annual interest and other charges payable
thereon ; and also, the amount of the exchequer bills, navy
bills, ordnance debentures, and other unfunded debts; and to
report the said accounts, with their observations thereupon,
to the House." 1*


The motion was seconded by Mr. Eden. Mr. Pitt entered into
a detailed review of Mr. Fox's speech, and. congratulated him on
his having become a proselyte to the measure of a sinking fund;
but still there were some of his collateral doctrines on the subject,
in which he could not but differ with him in opinion. He denied
that it was contrary to the proper intent of a sinking fund ever to
apply any part of it to any other purpose, except the diminution
of the debt ; not even to the payment of the interest ; for, on the
contrary, it had been the constant practice of all financiers so to
apply it, if necessary, still making up the deficiency arising from
such application by other taxes ; and, indeed, the sinking fund,
was at all times considered not only as a resource for paying eft
the debt, but was also uniformly understood to be a collateral
mccurity to the public creditors. He paid some ironical compli•


IO


1780 • STATE OP THE PUBLIC REVENUE. 1 63


atN to Mr. Fox for his zeal on the subject ; a zeal, however,pl-
-which, like that of all new converts, was more ardent than judi-
cious ; for in his great anxiety that a sinking fund should be
established, he was desirous immediately to proceed to the im-


. tinon of taxes for that purpose, without being satisfied to wait a
ew moths longer to see whether those now in being would not be


found sufficient. He returned the right honourable gentleman his
thanks for his readiness to ease him of the most disagreeable part
of his duty, that of proposing new taxes, and hoped the same dis-
position would continue, if it should be found, contrary to his
present expectations, that they were necessary ; for he should be
more happy to see all that brilliancy of eloquence, and all that
force of argument, exerted on an occasion when taxes were to be
laid on, than at a time when no such thing was in agitation, or at
all requisite. But though the arguments of the right honourable
eentleman were, on this occasion, useless and inapplicable, he
should not forget them, but would treasure them up in his memory
for any future use to which they might be turned, when the sub-
ject of taxation should come forward. And he hoped the House
would remember, that the right honourable gentleman, by hits
extreme forwardness on the present day to lay new burdens on the
public, had pledged himself to support whatever measure of finance
should from any future disappointments be found necessary.


Mr. Fox rose to reply. He began with observing, that the
right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had thought
proper to bestow the name of a proselyte upon him. He
desired to know at what period of his political life it was that
he had ever held any other than one and the same language,
respecting the necessity of keeping up the sinking fund, so
as to be able to apply a certain sum unalienably towards the
discharge of the national debt, in time of peace. At all
times, and on all occasions, when questions of finance were
agitated, hadhe not contended, that unless this were done, the
nation would be inevitably ruined ? How happened it, then,
that the right honourable gentleman had discovered that it
was a new doctrine in his mouth? With regard to his having
declared, that the surplus of the sinking fund ought never
to be applied towards the annual establishments, or in dis-
charge of the public annuity, he had said directly the reverse;
',laving declared, that it was, in his opinion, right so to apply
it, when a necessity arose, as Sir Robert Walpole and all his
successors had occasionally applied it ; but he had at the same
time said, that it ought not to be suffered to remain as a fund
appropriated to those purposes generally; on the contrary, its
Great object, namely, the applying it in diminution of the
Public debt, ought ever to be held in view. Mr. Fox repro
bated MI Pitt's argument as in the highest degree fallacious
and illusory. The right honourable gentleman uniformly


N 2




164 STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE. [April 297'
avoided and flew from any computation grounded on the
average of a number of years and upon experience—to resort
to what ?—a computation built upon the amount of the pro-
duce of the two last quarters, an amount exceeding any that
had gone before for obvious reasons, joined to the amount of
two summer quarters, which accidentally had been the greatest
of any two summer quarters to be instanced.1 This was, he
said, of all weak modes of reasoning, the weakest. It was
not merely trusting to visionary speculation, hut to that sort
of speculation most ;liable to failure. With regard even to
the confidence the right honourable gentleman had placed in
his conjectures,. in consequence of his boasted quarter ending,.
April 5, 1785, he might find his conjectures deceive him ; sinee
the only quarter's produce that had greatly exceeded others,
was a quarter in the year 1779, the remaining quarters of
which failed beyond all example. Mr. Fox defended Lord
John Cavendish's budget, and said lie should not have ima-
gined the present administration would have imputed blame
to it, since they could not have forgotten, that Lord John had.
been obliged to open his budget within three weeks after he
had kissed his majesty's hand as chancellor of the exchequer,
and that he succeeded the right honourable gentleman in that
office, who had remained in it six weeks perfectly inactive,
and without doing one thing for the public in point of
finance. Had Lord John continued another year chancellor
of the exchequer, undoubtedly he would have been prepared
with new taxes, to have supplied the deficiencies of his own
taxes, and with some plan for establishing a fund to be
applied immediately in diminution of the national debt. But
what had been the right honourable gentleman's conduct?
Who, that had last year seen him assume an air of the utmost
personal importance and gravity, and heard him ardently,
talk of his determination to encounter loss of populariths.
public clamour, and public odium, rather than not effect so
necessary a purpose as applying a fund towards the imme-
diate diminution of the national debt, would have imagined
that he would this year have come forward with a series of
computations, founded in demonstrable fallacy and error,
order to ground a pretence for putting off the great work till
another session ? What pledge had the House that he would
begin upon it even next session ? Indeed, his words were suf.
ficientiy big with promises, but would a minister's promise
insure a minister's performance? Last year he gave a verbal
pledge, and bound himself by words as fast as words could
bind him. Master as he was of words, he defied the right
honourable gentleman to invent expressions more ,binding or
more strong than those he had used last session; and yet the


1785•] STATE OF THE PUBLIC REVENUE. 165


Mouse had witnessed what security his verbal pledge had
proved ! Thus might he go on promising and promising
ad infinitum, and a work that ought to have been begun before,
and that would not admit of longer delay,-be deferred till we
found ourselves again involved in a sear; and he was not yet
brought over to the opinion that war was the fittest season for
the discharge of the national debt.


Mr. Fox took notice of Mr. Pitt's sneer at his having ar-
gued in support of the imposition of new taxes on an occasion,
where no taxes were necessary to be imposed", In answer to
this, he said, he conceived the question of the day would de-
cide whether new taxes were necessary or not ; and therefore
it was, of all others, the fittest moment for pressing the
argument. Were there nO doubt in the case, and were it
the decided opinion of that House that taxes ought to be laid,
any argument of his in support of such an idea, would un-
doubtedly he superfluous ; it could only be of use where
the question was in contest. Mr. Fox, in answer to Mr. Pitt's
allusion to the India bill, said, the very conduct that the
right honourable gentleman had at that time imputed to him,
he was now practising himself;—that of holding out fallacious
accounts and Use statements of the revenue, to mislead and
delude the public. With regard to India, did any man now
believe, that the accounts presented to that House by the
directors of the East India company last year, and upon which
they had proceeded to pass a bill into a law, were not falla-
cious? After what he had lately seen from Bengal, after
what the learned gentleman next him (Mr. Dundas) knew
of the affairs of the company in India, did the right honour-
able gentleman think the accounts of the last year were to be
relied on ? He was persuaded he did not. With regard to
the putting the office of chancellor of the exchequer in com-
mission, he had no such intention, nor if he had, should he
have thought of putting the chancellor of the exchequer at
the head of that connnission, any more , than he should have
thought of putting the office of master general of the ordnance
in commission, and have placed him at the head of a board
Of commissioners appointed to controul the executive branch of
his own department. The sort of committee he wished to
have instituted, might, he said, prove essentially serviceable,
by investigating facts, and reporting them to the House,
whence they would have the way cleared, and be enabled to
proceed with certainty. To a committee of the House, be it
composed of whom it would, he was ready to trust that or
any other business, because he was convinced by the conduct
of a committee last year, that however gentlemen, who were
chosen in a committee; might generally differ in their politi-


m 3I




/ 66 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
[Jan. 147


cal sentiments, they would always form such a report as would
do them honour, and would prove of essential benefit to the
public, by affording the House a species of useful and authen-
tic information they could not otherwise obtain.


The motion was negatived without a division.


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


January 24. 1786.


HE King opened the session with the following speech to both
Houses:


" My lords and gentlemen ; since I last met you in parliament,
the disputes which appeared to threaten an interruption to the
tranquillity of Europe have been brought to an amicable conclu-
sion ; and I continue to receive from foreign powers the strongest
assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country.—
At home, my subjects experience the growing blessings of peace
in the extension of trade, the improvement of the revenue, and the
increase of the public credit of the nation.—For the farther ad-
vancement of those important objects, I rely on the continuance of
that zeal and industry which you manifested in the last session of
parliament.— The resolutions which you laid before me as the basis
of an adjustment of the commercial intercourse between Great
Britain and Ireland, have been, by my directions, communicated to
the parliament of that kingdom ; but no effectual step has hitherto
been taken thereupon, which can enable you to make any further
progress in that salutary work.


" Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; I have ordered the es-
timates for the present year to be laid before you : it is my earnest
wish to enforce economy in every department ; and you will, I am
persuaded, be equally ready to make such provision as may be ne-
cessary for the public service, and particularly for the maintaining
our naval strength on the most secure and respectable footing.
Above all, let me recommend to you the establishment of a fixed
plan for the reduction of the national debt. The flourishing state
of the revenue will,. I trust, enable you to effect this important
measure with little addition to the public burdens.


" My lords and gentlemen ; the vigour and resources of the
country, so fully manifested in its present situation, will encourage
you in continuing to give your utmost attention to every object of
national concern ; particularly to the consideration of such mea-
sures as may be necessary, in order to give farther security to the
revenue, and to promote and extend as far as possible the trade
and general industry of my subjects."


-1786.] ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 167


&n address in the usual form being moved by Mr. Smyth, the
01,,mber for Pontefract, and seconded by Mr. Addington, the Earl
of Surrey moved by way of amendment to omit that part of the
pr.opo8ed address which related to the commercial negotiations
veldt Ireland. After which,


Mr. Fox rose, and declared, that of all the speeches from
the throne which he had ever remembered to have heard de-
livered at the opening of a session of parliament, of all the
speeches of that kind which he had ever heard of by relation,
or read of in history, he did not recollect to have met with an
instance of one so cautiously worded, or that afforded such
little: ground for objection of any kind. He rose, therefore, to
speak to what was out of it, rather than what was in it; to that
which perhaps ought to have been there, rather than to what
was there. The propriety of a minister's contenting himself
with addressing a British parliament from the throne, with ge-
neral ideas of the political situation of a country, instead of
specifically adverting to facts and circumstances, which deeply
and materially concerned its first and dearest interests, rela-
tively considered with those of other states, would be for
others to judge and to decide upon. It was enough for hint
to see, that there were so many matters pending, and so much
had been lately done by foreign powers, the consequences of
which might more or less critically affect Great Britain in pro-
portion to the measures that his majesty's ministers had pur-
sued; and, indeed, upon the ground of these transactions,
he had looked for something more than vague assurances of
the tranquillity of Europe, and had expected his majesty's
speech would have given that House a variety of lights upon
a variety of great and important subjects, intimately connected
with the future prosperity or ill fortune of the empire; upon
abllleocf; awr kh Icehs s the speech left the House in utter and impenetra-


With regard to the extension of trade, the increase of the
public credit of the nation, and the growing surplus of the
revenue, those were circumstances in which every man must
rejoice ; and at which no party, no- political faction, no set of
Persons of any name and description whatever could suppress
their exultation, because they went to prove, what must be to
all ranks of men and all political parties, a matter of solid sa-
tisfaction and unrestrained triumph, the returning vigour of0 0
our resources. But, were these matters of surprise, were these
circumstances to cause astonishment? Undoubtedly they were
not. Almost every man knew there would be some surplus ;
almost every man expected it; they only differed about the
amount of that surplus, one gentleman alone excepted, who


M 4




168 ADDRESS ON THE moo's SPEECH.
[ Jan. 9


had certainly contended, and had endeavoured to prove, that
there would be no surplus ; but that gentleman had probably
been since convinced of his error, had retracted it, and as every
man of candour would do, he had no doubt he was ready
publicly to acknowledge that retractation. That there would
be some surplus, he had always admitted; what that surplus
was, he would not then attempt to enter into the discussion of,
Indeed, it was not possible till he knew it, till he had it stated
to him, and its amount was fairly before him, and capable of ar-
gument and of investigation. He would not assert to what the
signs of returning vigour were ascribable; thaemight be flatter
of much useless difference of opinion; several of them might
be owing to the success of some of the measures, of the present
administration; he would not be so uncandid as to deny that
they were; but more, far more, he believed, were owing to the
failure of others of their measures, which, had they succeeded,
must have been attended with consequences, the most fatal to
the revenue and to the national credit and prosperity, that
could possibly be imagined. ,Nothin but the alarm and dis-
gust created by the agitation of those bad measures could have
so long kept back the returning trade of the country, the na-
tural consequence of peace, winch ever had been the case at
the end of every war before the last. That alarm and dis-
gust had been clone away, in a great degree, by the failure of
the measures to which he alluded, and the tide of trade was
now returning toitS- old and natural channel.


For his part, lie certainly should not object to the ad-
dress in general, though he might probably vote with his
noble friend for his amendment; but there were two matters of
considerable importance, which, in one instance, arose out
of the wording of the speech, in its first paragraph, and in
another, was mentioned in a subsequent part it, upon both
of which he must say a few words, and, expect to receive
some answer : whether satisfactory or not the event would prove.
What he meant was, to inquire what sort of construction,
whether a broad or narrow one was to be put upon that part
of the speech which related to the tranquillity of Europe, and
stated, that his majesty continued to receive the strongest as-
surances from foreign powers of their friendly disposition to-
wards this country. He wished also to know, what was
meant by the manner in which the resolutions relative to an
intended adjustment of a commercial intercourse with Ireland
was mentioned, and whether they were to understand, by be-4
ing told from the throne, that they were incapable of making
any farther progress in the work, that the resolutions were
completely abandoned and given up, or that they were to be
revived, and endeavoured to be carried into effect at any


1786.3 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
169


future period of time? On both these points it was exceedingly
material that such information should be given, that each
might be clearly and precisely understood.


iVith regard to the first, if the mention of the tranquillity
of Europe alluded only to the end that had been put to the
threatened war between the emperor and the United States of
Holland, in that case the construction was too narrow, and
his majesty's ministers greatly undervalued the information
of that House, and not of that House only, but of every
man who read or attended to the political transactions of
Europe, and who was at all aware of what passed on the
continent, the different treaties lately entered into by dif-
ferent foreign powers, and the conduct which ought to have
been pursued with a View to counteract the operation of those
treaties and transactions, as far as it was likely to prove
prejudicial to the interests of Great Britain. He was aware,
that not being a minister, he had it in his paver to speak in
a style, in which it would be highly imprudent for his ma-jesty's ministers to express themselves, and as the matters thathe should have occasion to treat of; were of infinite considera-
tion, he should endeavour to make himself as well under-
stood as possible; With respect to the naval force of this
country, and what ought to be the criterion of its number
and strength, his noble friend the Earl of Surrey had men-
tioned only the naval force of France, forgetting that France
was but one branch of the . powerful confederacy of maritime
powers, that had been entered into with a lirofessed hostility
to Great Britain; for though all treaties were avowedly trea-
ties of a defensive nature, and entered into upon a pretence of
mutual defence, every man who knew any thing of the mean-
ing of treaties, knew that their true intent and purport was
offensive to all who, in the opinion of the contracting par-
ties, took any measure, considered as inimical to the interests
of either of them. The treaty, therefore, which the House
of Bourbon had persuaded the United States to enter into
with them, and which effectually secured Holland in their
hands, was to be considered as a .treaty hostile to this country,
inasmuch as it combined three of the most powerful maritime
powers of Europe in a confederacy against Great Britain.
That it was unadviseable and impolitic for the United States
to enter into any such treaty, he verily believed ; but, as the
treaty was made and executed, it behoved our minister to be.
vigilant and assiduous in engaging in some alliances with
other European maritime powers, whose connection and sup-
port might enable us to counteract the mischievous tendency
and effect of the operation of the confederacy in case of a war
with either of the contracting powers. In explanation of the




170 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
' [Jan. 24.


consequences to be dreaded from this confederacy, he should
beg leave to remind the House, that our late war with France
had been purely a maritime war, as we had carried ore no mili-


j
tary operations by land, excepting only against our own sub-
ects in America; and this, surely, afforded arguments to shew


the extreme and urgent necessity for our forming a close and
intimate alliance with the court of Petershurgh ; and doubt.
less, if the two cabinets properly understood the relative in.
terests of Great Britain and Russia, and how much they were
by the character, commerce, and situation of each mutually
involved, and naturally combined, they would lose no time in
the negotiation of such a treaty. Two years ago a crisis was
formed, of which this country ought to have taken advantage,
and which he had, at the precise moment, pointed out in that
House. Many gentlemen might recollect the moment, to
which he alluded : it was that, when the Empress of Russia had
settled her differences with the Porte, on the subject of the
Crimea. Though it had been admitted on all Inflicts, that the
settlement of those differences respecting the Crimea had form-
ed the crisis he talked of, and that the most glorious opportu-
nity had been afforded for Great Britain to help herself; had
the circumstance been .managed with dexterity, nothing had
yet been done. The recent advantage France had acquired
as a maritime power, by obtaining possession of a port in
the Baltic,-should, if possible, have been prevented. -


In one situation of affairs, the possession of Gottenhurgh,
it was true, France could make but little use of it; but, in
case of a war, the advantage must be prodigious to her. Let
gentlemen recollect, that in all her wars, France had been
most embarrassed by her continental situation, and the dread:
of an attack from the neighbouring powers; the whole of
her policy, therefore, had been directed to engage them in
such a manner, as to add to her security; and hence it was,
that during her last war, she had been able to render her
maritime force so respectable and so powerfill, because she
had no occasion to give her attention to the strengthening
of her frontier towns, the adding to her internal fortifications,
the recruiting her garrisons, and all that variety of consi-
derations necessarily kept alive, while it appeared possible
for her continental neighbours to seize the opportunity of
profiting of her being engaged in hostilities at sea. Nay,
she was even able to aid her resources by a reduction of her
army in time of war, and apply the saving to the increase
of her maritime strength. What was the case at present?
France was safe by her family compact, as to any fear from
Spain; and she had by the late treaty quieted all possibility
of dread from Holland; which, indeed, had never been very


/786.3
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


/30 ,erful by land. Her only cause of alarm, therefore, was
di court of Vienna; and that, notwithstanding all former
assurances of good fellowship, and notwithstanding the still
more endearing bonds of connection cemented by family
union, was a constant and serious source of alarm ; but that
cause of terror we had put to rest, having given his imperial


majesty great disgust, and rendered his feelings adverse toGreat Britain. All this had arisen from the part which the
Elector of Hanover had taken in joining the Elector of
Saxony, and other Germanic princes in the league founded
on the plea of preserving the liberties of the empire. The
safety of France by land was effectually secured by the effect
of that league on the mind of the emperor, and we should find
her hands strengthened considerably in any future war in
which we might be engaged with her. France had nothing
to wish for before that league was made, but that some cir-
ctunstance or other should happen to create a jealousy and
dislike of Great Britain in the emperor. That circumstance
we had ourselves provided, and provided gratis, at a moment
when France would have paid us any price for it, far more
than she had expended in bringing about the peace between
the United States of Holland and the emperor. The most
sanguine dreamer of national good fortune could not have -
pictured to himself the possibility of such a prosperous event
in favour of France.


One circumstance looked propitious to this country, which
he had heard from such authority as he could rely on, and
therefore he would mention it. At the same time, he did not
doubt but the right honourable gentleman, as a minister, was
aware of it; but as it was a favourable omen for Great Bri-
tain, he was glad to be the person to announce it in that
House, — and that was, that there now offered a good opportu-
nity for renewing a treaty of commerce with Russia, and that
it was in a fair way to be renewed with success. He well
knew the fashionable mode of calling treaties commercial and
treaties political distinct and separate sorts of treaties; but he
was not to be blinded by any such new-fangled and ill-
founded distinctions; treaties of commerce entered into be-
tween two countries always had influenced their politics in
a very great degree, and he had not a doubt but a treaty of
commerce, entered into between the court of London and


ts


eoxftbreontillel


the court of Petersburgh would have its due and .salutary
effect, politically as well as commercially; he was, therefore,


circumstance so promising to the interests
1


countries.
glad


i eof as
To the mention, however, that the treaty was likely to go


on between Russia and Great Britain; he thought it fair to


171




172 ADDRESS ON THE RING'S SPEECH.
[Jan.


add, that he had heard Russia would, at the same time,
enterinto a commercial treaty with France; of that, he had re-


ceived his infatuation from a very different quarter, fro/al
an authority not equally good with that from which fie had
heard the other, and therefore -he hoped, and believed; that
the information was ill founded. He had no opinion of
any good resulting to this country from a commercial treaty


• between Great Britain and France, and his reason for not
thinking that such would be its effect, was, that the expe-
rience of past times proved, that this country had grown
great, prosperous, and flourishing, from the moment that site
quitted all her commercial connections with France. He
expressed his strong disapprobation of the idea of putting the
country to the expense of two different establishments for
two different plenipotentiaries at Paris, and contended that it
was idle and unnecessary. There were two ways of doing the
business of this commercial treaty, and finishing the negocia-
tion of it. Either the noble duke (of Dorset) now there might
do it, or a person like Mr. Crawford, who had been employed
already, might act under him; at any rate, he declared he
saw no reason for sending out a gentleman, whose rank in
life rendered it improper for him to act in a subordinate
capacity. The right honourable gentleman at the head of
the treasury, had undoubtedly chosen a gentleman (Mr. Eden)
for the-office of extra plenipotentiary, who knew somewhat
more of the defails of trade and commerce than he did him-
self. That the right honourable gentleman was better ac-
quainted with commercial concerns, the last session had well
convinced the minister on more than one occasion ; but still
he saw no reason for employing even that right honourable
gentleman's talents on the subject, and he feared the appoint-
ment had rather been made out of respect to the person, than
from any necessity for. the exercise of the right honourable
gentleman's abilities in the way in which they were to be
employed. The new board of trade, which was undoubtedly
composed of men of great abilities and consideration, and-
men of higher rank than the members of the old board of
trade, were the most extraordinary timists, if he might so
call them, that ever existed. Last year, after the propositions
had come over from Ireland, and just as the British parlia-
ment was called upon to vote them, the new board of trade
proceeded to inquire whether the propositions were such. as


- were fit for either country. In the case of the commercial
treaty, they were equally singular in the time of their send-
ing out a person with proper powers to negotiate it. By
the treaties of T 8 2, a treaty of commerce was to be nego-
tiated between this country and Fratwe, on or before the


/786.] ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
173


i
ct of January 1786, and from that day all negociation was


to be at an end. Now, therefore, when the time of nego-
tiation was past, the new board of trade were busy with the


subje
ct, and they were about to send out a negotiator. Ile


pposed no step had been taken, nor scarcely any progress
made within the time prescribed by treaty. *A second proof
of the bad timing of our political proceedings was, that Sir
James Harris had presented a memorial to the States upon
the subject, but unfortunately not till after the treaty was
concluded. When he read the memorial, he pitied the situa-
tion of Sir James, as he could from his own knowledge de-
clare, that Great Britain never had a more respectable, a more
able, or a more active and accomplished ambassador at any
foreign court whatever.


As to the state of affairs in India, ever since the board of
control had been established, a dark veil had been carefully
drawn over all that had passed in that distant part of our
dominions, and he verily believed not without good and
sufficient reason ; secrecy, he was persuaded, was the only
safeguard for the conduct of the commissioners, whose orders
had added to the confusion of our affairs in India, rather
than produced any one salutary effect in the British pos-
sessions in that quarter of the globe. Let the minister de-
clare, whether after all that -had happened, he would still
venture to talk of his East India bill in his usual tone of
triumph. Every man was pardonable for entertaining a spe-
culative opinion of the probable good effect of any measure
of his own before it came to be tried; but no man ought to
be allowed to indulge himself in expressions of self-praise,
Irhich experience had proved that he by no means merited.
His India bill had been attacked on the ground of its tak-
ing away the charter of the East India company, after proof
of its having been grossly abused; but the right honourable
gentleman's bill did what was ten thousand times worse;
it took away the unalienable rights of individuals, and de-
prived British subjects of their birth-right, the right to trial
by jury, and of trial by their peers; a right secured to every
Englishman by the great charter of our liberties. The clause,
obliging all the servants of the company who came from
India, after a certain period to give an account of their for-
tunes on oath, was most unjust and delusive. It held out
protection and security to the rich, .while it obliged the poor
to submit to its severest operation; it gave all that wished
not to submit to it three years to return home in; and this
the opulent, and the opulent alone could take advantage of.
As to the boasted accounts of the promising state of the re-
venues of India, instead of a deficiency of only 1,400,0001.




174
ADDRESS ON THE XING'S SPEECH.


[Jan. 2e
they would now, he believed, find not mere errors of fractions,
but errors of millions. He said, that Lord Macartney had
acted throughout the whole of his stay in India upon the most
upright principles, and had come home with hands perfectly
clean and unsullied. His lordship, from a conviction of the
necessity of the measure, had taken the collection and ma-
nagement of the revenues of the Carnatic out of the hands,
not of the nabob, but of his agents and usurers, who plun-
dercd the natives and robbed him, and had vested both in
the hands of the company. This measure the board of con-
trol had overthrown by their orders, and directed the col-
lection and management of the nabob's revenues to be re-
stored to him. The fatal effects of the order had spread
alarm and terror through the Carnatic, and impressed the
council at Fort St. George with so strong an idea of its im-
propriety, that Lord Macartney went himself to Calcutta, to
remonstrate with Mr. Hastings, and to deprecate the conse-
quences. Let the House guess the surprise of his lordship,
on finding Mr. Hastings departed for Europe, and a com-
mission there appointing him governor general, a situation it
was impossible for him to accept, while the order to restore
the collection and management of the Carnatic revenues to the
nabob Continued in force. How absurd was it to remove the
governor general, who recommended the measure Lord Ma-
cartney had reprobated, and appoint his lordship to the post
of governor general with orders to do, what he himself had
found to be equally unwise and mischievous to the interest Of
the company and the interest of the nabob, and had con-
demned I Mr. Fox gave the highest encomiums to Lord
Macartney, and before he quitted this part of the subject,
declared he did not speak from any authority derived from
Lord Macartney, nor did he wish to be understood, that
what he had said-was any thing more than what he, in com-
mon with the rest of the public, knew and was acquainted
with.


The last point Mr. Fox brought under his discussion was
the business of the Irish propositions, respecting which, ase*
he had before observed, he said it vas highly necessary that
parliament and the public should clearly know what was in-
tended. He reminded the House, that when the subject was
first started the right honourable gentleman, in some of the
most vehement strains of his all powerful eloquence had con-
demned the noble lord in the blue ribbon for having given
Ireland certain grants, without having first asked her whe-
ther they would be acceptable, and for having left matters
as they stood, when the propositions were first taken up, the
right honourable gentleman-having again and again told the


/786.] ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 575


House, it was impossible they could remain as they were.'
Ne desired to know what was the true construction and
weaning of that part of his majesty's speech then under con-
sideration that mentioned the resolutions, but a declaration
to that House, that matters must remain as they were? Mr.
Fox. dwelt on this for some. minutes, and with great force of
ridicule animadverted on all that had passed upon the subject,
and especially on the language that had been held by the
minister and Mr. Dundas, upon the propriety of the line of
conduct that had been pursued, in first taking the sense of
the Irish parliament in order to ascertain their expectations,
before the English parliament were called upon to consider
the subject. He urged the flat contradiction that the event
of the business had given to all their predictions respecting
its success, and stated in strong terms the mischief that he
conceived the agitating the matter at all, had done, by dis-
gusting the manufacturers of Great Britain, and teaching
them that the House of Commons would disregard their pe-
titions, stating their dread of the mischievous consequences.
to their several branches of manufacture, were the intended
system carried into execution. As the best means of check-
ing the evil, and preventing the effect of having ever entered
into a discussion of points, which, he said, he was convinced
ought never to have been disturbed or brought before the
public, he advised the minister explicitly and unreservedly
to declare his determination to abandon all further thought
of attempting to carry a measure so odious and detestable in
the eyes of the manufacturers and merchants of Great Britain.
and Ireland. He spoke of the manufacturers in terms of the
highest respect, and declared he was satisfied that to their
ingenuity and industry, and to their spirit and perseverance,
the country owed that exaltation to the state of respect, cha-
racter, consideration and prosperity, to which its trade, ma-
nufactures and commerce, had been raised in the eyes of all
mankind. He took notice of the reasoning used by the se-
cretary of state for Ireland in his celebrated letter to his con-
stituents, in recommendation of the propositions, on the
ground, that as the British manufacturers considered the
grant of the propositions to Ireland to be highly injurious to
their interests they must necessarily be advantageous in an
equal proportion to the interests of the Irish manufacturers,
as au argument perfectly sound and forcible in itself, but as
as argument extremely humiliating to the British ministers,
and which placed them in a very contemptible light.


After remarking upon this, and a variety of other facts
and observations, Mr. Fox briefly recapitulated the heads of
his speech, which he admitted was rather a series of reason-




176
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH:


Pan. 24,


ing against what was out of the speech than against what was
in it, and sat down with desiring an explanation of the two
main points of the speech to which he had alluded, declaring,
that if they were satisfactorily answered, he would give the
House no more trouble on that day, though most of the topics
he had touched upon, would, he observed, require a full dis-
cussion on a future occasion in the course of the session.


In reply to some observations which fell from Mr. Pitt,


Mr. Fox said, that he felt it difficult to avoid smiling at
the absurdity of the right honourable gentleman's argumentit-
respecting the accession of Hanover to the Germanic league,,
as it was obvious that the regency of Hanover ought neither_
to form laws nor enter into any treaties which might prove,
injurious to Great Britain; consequently it behoved the mi..
nesters of this country to have prevented their entering into
any alliances which might involve serious consequences to the
interests of England. If Hanover, through this mistaken
policy, should sustain a detriment, it naturally followed that
Great Britain must become


• her guarantee. Such was the.
drift of his argument; and he only had contended that mi-
nisters were not warranted, by any plea or pretended exigency
whatever, to disable Great Britain from acting subsequently
with the Emperor, provided that a co-operation of this nature
should appear the most likely to advance the interests of the
former. And, surely, the right honourable gentleman would
not presume to run lengths to which no former ministers had
dared to proceed, and disavow the fullest responsibility for all
the counsels which he might give his royal master in his cha-
racter of elector of Hanover. The right honourable gentle-
man seemed eager, Mr. Fox observed, to meet his arguments
with unjustifiable misrepresentation; and therefore he must
desire him to bear in mind, that when he said that he could
speak more freely concerning our particular connections, with
foreign powers than if he were a minister, he did not — in
fact, he could not—mean, even in the most distant manner,
to drop the slightest intimation that he was more entitled than •
the right honourable gentleman to utter words, conveying an
unpardonable tendency to wound the interests of this country.
The fullest scope of his allusion was, that he felt himself war-
ranted to mention


-
France as the natural enemy of Great Bri-


tain, in terms more open and unguarded than those consistent
with the reserve which, upon principles of decent policy, a
minister either was or ought to be, under the necessity of .
maintaining.— The right honourable gentleman had been
pleased to exercise his wonted ingenuity-, by putting the case •


1786.J ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.
177


o
f two private men engaged upon the settlement of an account,


and tracing out the supposed absurdity of contending that
they ought to be excluded from all power of giving it a p •e-
vious discussion. Be the absurdity what it might, he would,
with chearfulness, monopolize the whole, and still stedfastly
and inviolably embrace his former argument, that in great
questions requiring a settlement between two princes, two par-


ments, or two powers, considerations and objects wouldl
arise of which the discussion could never prove allowable, ex-
cept under the firmest assurances that both parties were ulti-
mately determined to receive them with unequivocal assent.


The amendment was negatived without a division, and the ori-
ginal address agreed to. On the following day, when the report
of the address was brought up,


Mr. Fox rose. He said, that as the observations which he
should beg leave to make, bore an affinity to his remarks on
the preceding day, they would all lie within a narrow com-
pass. Recent in the memory of the House were his two ques-
tions to the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer.
To one of these he had given a precise and clear answer; to
the other he had not spoken in terms equally unambiguous;
and as that was a question of infinite importance to the in-
terests of the country, it was his duty to endeavour, if possi-
ble, to obtain such an answer as should remove all doubt and
difficulty. What he alluded to was, the particular degree in
which ministers held Great Britain to be committed, as to
any future consequences that might arise from the effect of
the league entered into by the Elector of Hanover with the
Elector of Saxony, the King of Prussia and other Germanic
princes. He was aware, that the right honourable gentleman
at the head of his majesty's councils had disclaimed all re-
sponsibility for the wisdom and policy of the measure, had.
stated it to be a separate and distinct transaction from any
British concern, am,1 had declared that Great Britain was not
committed as to her future conduct, should the league be
productive. of disturbances in the empire, in which her in-
terests might call her into action. If this was really and truly
the case, and Great Britain was not affected at all by the
league, the more clearly it was known to that House, to the
public, and to all Europe, the better; because, however well
We understood the distinction between Great Britain and the
electorate of Hanover, as separate states, it was not a very
easy matter to teach foreign powers to understand the same
discrimination. A variety of possible cases existed in which
it would be almost out of the power of this country to adhere




178
ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


[Jan. 2„
to any such distinction in practice, however clearly it might
be defined in theory. It might, hereafter, happen that (iv,
cumstances would make it an essential policy in Great Britain
to join the court of Vienna, and to proceed in counteraction:
of the league. In that case, as all treaties were offensive
their effect, though nominally defensive, a war between tiir
parties to the league and its opponents might probably arise,
Granting the likelihood of such a war, could the British
troops act against those of Hanover? Or, to make the case
stronger, and yet to put a possible case, suppose the Elect*
of Hanover were to head his troops in person, (and they were
all aware that it was not a new thing for an Elector of Hano-
ver to take the command in the field,) who would say that the
British army could be directed to act hostilely against troops
led by their sovereign in the character of Elector of Hanover?
The supposition teemed with the grossest absurdity, and it
was to show the extraordinary predicament into which the
Elector of Hanover's becoming a party to a league of the na-
ture in question, and without the advice of a minister respon-
sible for his conduct to that House, might draw Great Bri-
tain, and involve its interests, that he brought forward such
unaccountable cases. One historical example would strengthen
the argument which he had used, and prove beyond all do
the mischiefs to which this country was liable to become eX7.
posed, by considering herself as wholly independent of the
interests of Hanover. The case to which he alluded, was
that of George the First, who, by his treaty with Denmark
for the sale of Bremen and Verden, drew down upon him
the vengeance of Sweden; and the consequence was, that
this country had been threatened with an invasion, the most
alarming, and the most dangerous to the liberties of English-
men, of any it ever had occasion to expect. General Stan.
hope, at that time the minister of the crown, had, When the
treaty was first heard of, come down to that House, and
used precisely the same sort of language as that uttered by
the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer on t14*
preceding day. He had talked of the separate and distina
interests of Great Britain and Hanover, and had said, that
the British parliament had nothing to do with the conduct of
his majesty respecting his electoral dominions. But what was
the consequence? The very next year, General Stanhope,
who. held this language, came down to the House, and urged
the expences which his majesty had incurred on account of
his purchase as a plea for callings for additional supplies. IT
the matter were not now fully anti clearly ascertained, so that
foreign powers, as well as that House, might be certain that
Great Britain was not committed as to any part which her




170.] MR. BURKE
,
S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 179


0
licy might dictate to her as most advisable to pursue here-


policy
In the case of a war in Germany, the right honourable


gentleman, who had on the foregoing day disclaimed all re-
sponsibility for the wisdom and policy of the measure in q-


cca
ues-


tion, might come down to the House, on a subsequent o
sio, and make that very measure, respecting which the
British parliament was excluded from all inquiry and control,
the ground* of an application for additional supplies. Mr.
Fox concluded, by observing, that he never spoke concerning
a point of state with less reluctance, persuaded that, on the
present occasion, he neither divulged a secret, nor gave the
slightest wound to the security and interests of the nation.


MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS.


Februcny 17.


nN the first day of this session, Mr. Burke was called upon by
kJ' Major Scott, the agent of the late Governor-general of Ben-
gal, to produce the criminal charges against Mr. Hastings in such
a shape as might enable parliament to enter into a full discussion of
his conduct, and come to a final decision upon it. On Friday, the
17th of February, Mr. Burke brought this subject before the
House of Commons : after desiring the clerk to read the 4.4.th
and 4. 5 th resolutions of censure and recal of Mr. Hastings,
moved by Mr. Dundas on the 2 9th of May I78z; he said that
he entirely agreed in opinion with the friends of that gentle-
man, that the resolution which had been read should not be suf-
fered to remain a mere calumny on the page of their journals ; at
the same time he lamented that the solemn business of the day
should have devolved upon him by the natural death of' some, by
the political death of others, and in some instances by a death to
duty and to principle. It would doubtless, he said, have come
forward with much more weight and effect in the hands of the right
haoctnteovurable gentleman who had induced the House to adopt those
resolutions, or in those of another gentleman, who had taken an


part in the select committee, and then enjoyed a confiden-
tial post in the Indian department, the secretary of the board of
controut; but as he could not perceive any intentions of the kind
in either of those members, and as he had been personally called
upon, in a manner highly honourable to the party interested in the
proceeding, but in a manner which rendered it impossible for him
not to do hisduty, he should endeavour to the best of his power
to support the credit and dignity of the House, to enfbree its inten-
tions, and give vigour and effect to a sentence passed fbur years ago;
and he trusted that he should receive that protection, that fair and


N 2




1813o MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION or MR. HASTINGS. [Feb.
honourable interpretation of his conduct, which the house owed tothose who acted in'its name, and under the sanction of its male
rity. Having endeavoured upon this ground to remove the ode
of appearing a forward prosecutor of public delinquency,
Burke called back the recollection of the House to the several pro.
ceedings which had been had in parliament respecting the vial-adm
nistration of the company's affairs in India,f•om the period of Lord
Clive's government down to the reports of the secret and select
committees, the resolutions moved thereupon, and the approba-
tion repeatedly given to these proceedings by ltis majesty from the
throne.--It was upon the authority, the sanction, and the en-
couragement thus afforded him, that he rested his accusation ofMr. Hastings, as a delinquent of the first magnitude.—After
going through an infinite variety of topics relative to this part of
his subject; he proceeded to explain the process which he should
recommend to the house to pursue. There were, he observed,
three several modes of proceeding against state-delinquents, which
according to the exigencies of particular cases had each at diffe.
rent times been adopted. The first was to direct his majesty's at-
torney general to prosecute; from this mode he acknowledged


' himself totally averse, not only because he had not discovered in the
learned gentleman, whose respectable character and professional
abilities had advanced him to that high official situation, that zeal
for public justice hi the present instance, which was a necessary qua-
lification in a public prosecutor ; but more especially, because be
thought a trial in the court of king's bench, amidst a cloud of
causes of meum and tuum, of trespass, assault, battery, conver-,
sion, and trover, &c. &c. not at all suited to the size and enormity
of the offender, or to the complicated nature and extent of his of-
fences. Another mode of proceeding.occashmally adopted by the
house was by bill of pains and penalties ; this mode he also greatly
disapproved of, in the first place, as attended with great hardship
and injustice to the party prosecuted, by obliging hirn to antici-
pate his defence ; and secondly, as putting the house in a situation
which, where the nature of the case did not absolutely require it,
ought carefully to be avoided, that of shifting its character back-
wards and forwards, and appearing in the same cause one day as
accusers, and another as judges. — The only process that remained,
was by the ancient and constitutional mode of impeachment ; and
even in adopting this process he should advise the House to pro-
ceed with all possible caution and prudence. It had been usual,
be observed, in the first instance, to resolve that the party ac-
cused should be impeached, and then to appoint a committee to
examine the evidence, and find the articles on which the impeach-
ment was to be founded. This mode of proceeding lied, from the
heat and passion with which the minds of men were sometimes
apt to he inflamed, led the house, on more than one occasion,
into the disgraceful dilemma of either abandoning the impeach-
ment they had 'toted, or of preferring articles which they had not
evidence to support. In order to steer clear of this disgrace, he
should move that such papers as were' necessary for substantiating
the guilt of Mr. Hastings, if guilt there was, should be laid before


1 4


17 86.] MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OP MR. HASTINGS.


the House ; and that these papers, together with the charges
ex-


tracted
from them, should be referred to a committee of the whole


house, and evidence examined thereon : if the charges• shouldappear, what he believed they would be found to be, charges
then appear


and dignity to the bar of the House of Lords.— Having


blackest and foulest nature, and supported by competent
Bhseufficient evidence, the House would then proceed with confi-


stated these matters with great precision, Mr. Burke went into a
series of reflections on the nature of the office he had undertaken.
Every accuser, he said, was himself under accusation at the very
time he accused another ; it behoved him to act upon sure
grounds, and he had therefore chosen the line of conduct he hadjust explained, as being at the same time the most effectual for the
purposes of public justice, and the least exposed to the danger of
error: he urged the unavoidable necessity of making the enquiry
personal ; he asked what would be the sentiments of the miserable
and oppressed natives of India, if the result of the proceedings in
that House should be to find that enormous peculation existed,
but that there was no peculator ; that there was gross corruption,
but no person to corrupt, or to be corrupted ; that a torrent of vio-
lence, oppression, and cruelty, had delu ged that country, but
that every soul in it was just, moderate, and humane? To trace
peculation to the peculator, corruption to its source, and oppres-
sion to the oppressor, had been the object of the researches of the
several committees that had been instituted at different times by the
House ; and the result was, they found that government in India
could not be foul and the governor pure. After a speech of con-
siderable length, iu which these and many other topics of the same
nature were urged with great force and perspicuity, Mr. Burke
concluded, by moving, " That there be laid before the House,
copies of all correspondence, since the mouth of January 1782,
between Warren Hastings, Esq., governor general of Bengal, and
the court of directors, as well before as since the return of the
said governor general, relative to presents and other money pri-
vately received by the said governor general." — The reflections
thrown out by Mr. Burke, relative to the resolutions of the secret
committee, and the conduct of Mr. Dundas, called up that gen-
tleman to justify the part he had taken. He acknowledged that he
undoubtedly was the person who suggested the resolutions alluded
to, and he had not the smallest scruple to admit that the same
sentiments that he entertained respecting Mr. Hastings at the
time ef proposing those resolutions, he entertained at that mo-
ment ;


but would any one contend that those sentiments went's°
far as to suppose Hastings to be a fit object for a criininal pro-
secution ? The Resolutions went to the recal of Mr. Hastings, a
matter which he at the time thought expedient, ,and lied recom-
me


nded it to the House as a matter of expediency only. He
thought the conduct of Mr. Hastings, since the period to which
those resolutions referred, not only not criminal, but highly me-
ritorious, and lie had for that reason approved of the vote of •
thanks which the court of directors had conferred upon him. As
Boon as Mr. Dundas had sat down,


N 3




182
MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS.


.[Feb. I -
Mr. Fox rose, and declared, that he had not the smallest


idea of speaking during the course of the debate, nor would
he have troubled the House, had not some observations fallen
from the right honourable and learned ',gentleman, uniter
which it was impossible for him to remain a moment
The only way in which he could meet the matter, was to ()P..
pose assertion to assertion ; and to declare upon the word and
honour of a gentleman, that if; in talking of the thirty,*
writers sent out in 1783, when 'Sir Henry Fletcher sat at the
head of the board of East India directors, and when he hat
himself the honour to be in administration, the right hop(
able and learned gentleman meant to insinuate, that he
been concerned in sending out any, he was completely
perfectly mistaken. In the whole course of his life, he never
had sent out, or rather procured to be sent out to India, but
one single writer, and that was at the time when the Earl of
Shelburne, now Marquis of Lansdown, presided over his ma,


• esty's councils: That, upon his word of honour, most :ea
lemnly pledged to the House, had been the only writer for
whom he had ever procured a recommendation and succecd..
Indeed, if the House would recollect a little, it was not vet
likely, that the administration in which he had the honou•
be, should stand remarkably well with the board of direene.,
as it was well known what their intentions were at the tinxoe
with a view to effect a reform of the company. Mr. Fit*
added, that he considered it right to say thus much in con*,
quence of the insinuation of the


b
riaht honourable and !carnet!


gentleman,.(re le en and the manner in which it had been conveyed
the House.


Previous to his sitting down, he should b eg leave brici;)
to touch upon the consistency of the right honourable and
learned gentleman, who, when hard driven to the point, anil
obliged, as it: were, to defend his own conduct, had done that,
which heaven knew the right honourable and learned goy;
man could do at all times, with his opponents face to face,
the argument bear as much as it would against him ! Bit
what sort of a defence had the right honourable and learn
gentleman made ? He had been reduced to the necessity of
admitting, that he at one time entertained an opinion that
Mr. Hastings, with respect to certain points, proceeded in a
manner highly culpable; nay, he added, that he was still of
the same opinion, although almost in the same breath, cer-
tainly in the same speech, he had declared that he entertained
a high opinion of Mr. Hastings, and praised his conduct as
warmly in the latter part of his observations, as he had abused
it in the former part. And what points had thc!.1, right ho


-nourable and learned gentleman chosen to select as the
points in which - he considered Mr. Hastings as having


57861 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 18,


been highly culpable? Merely the two points of the Rohilla
war, with the breach of- the treaty of Poorunder, and in
having introduced expensive establishments in India. Gra-
cious heaven ! did the: whole idea which the right honourable
•ad learned gentleman entertained of the culpability of Mr.
Hastings amount only to this? had the House heard nothing
of Corah. and Allahabad? Of Cheyt Sing? Of the Beguins ?And of all the long catalogue of crimes committed in India,
to the infinite disturbance of the peace of the country,
to the misery and even butchery of the natives, to the destruc-
tion of all confidence in British faith, and to the everlasting
disgrace of the British name and character. in Hindostan?


.Mr. Fox now read the resolution immediately preceding
that in which the House resolved, in i 782, that Mr. Hastings
and Mr. Hornby should be recalled, and appealed to every
man of common sense; whether that marked and strong cen-
sure did not go immediately to Mr. Hastings and Governor
Hornby ? It was not in language to express disgrace more
strongly than to declare that the delinquents ought to receive
some mark of parliamentary displeasure. Certainly these two
resolutions, and the obvious construction of both, with- the
vote of recall passed at the India house, in which Governor
Hastings was permitted to resign in consequence of his long
and meritorious services, was not a little strange. How was
this mode of recall to be reconciled to the resolution which
stigmatized Mr. Hastings, and declared it as the opinion of
the House that he deserved some mark of parliamentary dis-
pleasure? Was it not a contradiction insulting. to that House,
and inconsistent to a shameful degree? The right honourable
and learned gentleman thought proper to declare that lie
would not have sheltered himself under a minute of the board
of directors, but that had he been a director, he would have
signed that minute likewise ; and, therefore, the right honour-
able and learned gentleman, who had himself prevailed upon
the House of Commons to resolve in a grave and phlegmatic
form, but in strong and energetic phrase, that Governor
Hastings deserved parliamentary censure, would have given
that gentleman thanks for his long and meritorious services !
What egregious inconsistency ! For the word " long" in the
minute of recall, undoubtedly comprehended the whole of the
services of Mr. Hastings, as well those before 1782, as those
subsequent to this period. During the debate, his right ho-
nourable friend who commenced it, htid been censured by a
worthy alderman (Le Mesurier) for his supposed remark in.
respect to trial by jury. The worthy magistrate had misun-
derstood his right honourable friend, who had not expressed
any disapprobation. of the general principle of trials by jury,


N, 4




184 MR. )MIRKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [March 3.
but merely observed, that the cause under consideration was
of too much magnitude for the cognizance of the court of
King's Bench, and had proposed to appeal to a tribunal and
a form of trial as ancient as the constitution itself, of which
it was a part. Thus had his right honourable friend evinced,
that the highest species of offenders might be brought to trial,
without resorting to any novel experiment on the constitu-
tion, but in a manner conformable to usage, and before an
ancient, legal, and constitutional tribunal. All this amounted
to one powerful proof; that the new court of judicature, which
took away the birth-right of Britons, made that evidence that
was not evidence before, and obliged criminals to accuse and
to convict themselves, was not only -a tribunal unconstitutional
in its origin and its principle, and tyrannical and oppressive
in its practice, but altogether needless.


The question being carried, Mr. Burke proceeded to move for
a variety of other papers, which he alleged were necessary for the
prosecution of the cause lie had undertaken. These motions pro-
duced much conversation, and, towards the close of the day, there
appeared some hesitation in the ministers of the crown, whether it
would be proper to produce whatever papers might be called for
on the mere suggestion of the mover, without insisting upon his
stating to the House the connection they had with the matters
contained in the reports of the committees, beyond which they
did not think he ought to go in the matter of his intended accusa-
tion. At this stage of the business the House adjourned at one
o'clock, on account of the illness of the speaker ; and the day fol-
lowing the conversation was renewed, upon a motion for papers
relative to the affairs of Oude. Major Scott agreed with Mr.
Burke, that the papers were necessary to be produced ; and Mr.
Pitt, after many professions of the most unbiassed impartiality,
concurred with them ; remarking at the same time, that it would
be but fair and candid in the right honourable mover, to give the
House some specific information of the subject matter of his
charges, and to state the grounds and reasons for the production
of such papers as he might think it necessary to call for in sup-
port of them. In compliance with this request, Mr. Burke read
to the House a short abstract of the several charges which he de-
signed to bring forward ; and pointed out the matters which the
several papers, he afterwards moved for, were intended to explain
and substantiate.


Marck 3.
On the 3d of March, Mr. Burke moved, " That there be laid


before the House, copies or duplicates of all papers relative to the
last peace with the 1VIahrattas, or any demand made by the Mali-
rattas concerning the cession or restoration of any territories now
in the possession of the company, or its allies, or of the payment
of any chout (or fourth part of the revenues), or of any sum in


1786.] MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 185


lieu thereof, or concerning any payment of money, or loan, to any
of the said Mahrattas, made or paid since the 1st of January,
1779 ." This motion was opposed by . Mr. Pitt and Mr. Dundas,
on two grounds ; first, that the treaty in question was a wise and
salutary treaty, and had saved the British empire in Asia; and,
secondly, that the production of the papers moved for would dis-
cover transactions relative to that peace, which ought to be keptia secret from the country powers in India, insomuch as it would
disclose the means by which the several states that were confe-derated against England were made jealous of each other, and
the intrigues by which they were induced to dissolve that confe;.


Fox rose, and desired to be favoured with a serious
dery..i\alcr


answer to this necessary question, whether the professions of a
determination to persist in a refusal of the papers were ac-
tually sincere? Surely there was nothing in the rule of con-
duct Nillich the gentleman of the other side laid down for
themselves that did not argue most powerfully and convin-
cingly for their production. If a specific purpose was neces-
sary to be mentioned, and the object of the motion requisite
to be explained, there was a pointed and specific charge in the
treatment of the Ranna of Gohud, who was allowed, and
indeed mentioned in former treaties, as the ally and friend of
Great Britain, and neglected in the general peace which ter-
minated the Mahratta war. This was the fact, as it appeared
uncontradicted, and the House ought surely to inquire -whe-
ther such desertion of the friends of this country was justifi-
able in the governor general. To withhold any information




on this subject would be not only unjust to Mr. Hastings,
who was accused, but indecent to the House, whose honour
was so much concerned in the full and rigorous examination
of such a conduct. There was no behaviour whatever which
would operate more injuriously to the British interest, either
in this or any other quarter, than to find that its friendship
was no protection to its allies. An unwarranted desertion,
if such it could be proved, must certainly be considered as a
great misdemeanor ; and nothing was more necessary either
to the character or vindication of the person accused, than to
explain the grounds on which he was justified. There might
Possibly exist a plea of necessity for this proceeding, and,
for the present moment, he would admit that it did exist.
But when there was a certain assurance that the allies and
defendants of Great Britain had been abandoned by her in a
negotiation, there was a crime prima facie evident, and the
proceedings in that negotiation should certainly be laid before
the House, in order to convince them of that necessity. It
would be very unfair, and indeed yery improper, if gentlemen




166 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [March 3,
should have these feelings barely when their own honour or
their own characters were at stake, and seem wholly uncoil-
scions of them, when the question was against the character
of others. Thus the ministers of the time, when the late
peace was concluded, knew the defection from the loyalists
to be a conduct so mach in need of justification, that they
very decently came down to the House, in order to excuse
themselves on the ground of necessity. Whether such neces,
shy existed, it was not for him to discuss; but the means of
inquiry on the subject were undoubtedly open. Why not,
then, pursue the same line of conduct on the present occasion,
when positive and direct charges were brought against the
measure ? If motives of necessity recommended the treachery,
why was that necessity not explained ? And if principles ti
policy dictated the conduct, why was not that policy mad
known ? It was indeed alleged, that the interests of the coun-
try might be endangered by the disclosure which the papers
would make : but in our constitution there were both advan-
tages and defects, and the same must also be true of every
other' constitution and species of government. We, however,
were of opinion, that the advantages which we constitu-
tionally possessed by far outbalanced the disadvantages; and
it was one of the leading principles, to prefer the respon-
sibility which belonged to our officers and ministers to the
secrecy which was deemed so necessary in other countries.
Supposing, then, (for he was tar from admitting it,) that-some
injury might be apprehended from the production of these
papers, it was only the necessary consequence to which everyiol
investigation was liable; and there could be no inquiry of a
public nature, in which circumstances did not come out which
might better have remained a secret. The House, then,
would do well to reflect what a precedent they were laying
down, for future public officers to take advantage of. For
if this excuse should once be admitted, there was no circum-
stance, and no situation, to which it would not be found to
apply. A right honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. Dun-
das) had, on this, .as well as a former night, :endeavoured to
play off the conduct of Mr. Hastings, posterior to the reports
of the committee, against the delinquency of his former mea-
sure, to which the right honourable and learned gentleman
had himself borne such full and ample testimonies in the
course of those reports. But what was the meaning of this
language, or what other sentiment did it express but this?
" I think his conduct since that period laudable and good,
and I wish you to think so with me; but, in the mean dare, 1
am resolved that you shall have no reason to think so beyond
my assertion, and I will deny you the information which


II


786.3 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 187


N ecessary to convince you of it." Sufficient had been the re-
3narks of his right honourable friend, Mr. Burke, to prove,that not even the most trivial cause existed for those apprehen-
sions of danger which gentlemen on the other side of the
House, for reasons best known to themselves, thought proper
to express; and therefore he trusted that the House would call
for arguments less frivolous, before they gave their sanction to
the withholding of the necessary papers. •


Mr. Pitt, in the course of his speech, reminded the House, that
the policy of Kr. Fox, at a period when this country was labouring
under the pressure of a war against combined and powerful foes,
was to detach a part of that confederacy. In answer to which,


Mr. Fox said, that he felt it necessary to bring into clearer
points of view some allusions started during the course of the
debate, and which had even been touched upon beyond the
walls of parliaments, relative to his negotiation for a separate
peace with Holland. He was well aware that the right ho-
nourable gentleman did not mention it by way of blame, nor
did he wish to impute to him any such intention; but as it
had so often been glanced at, he was glad to have the oppor-
tunity of speaking two or three words to it in this public man-
ner. He was sorry that the House was so thin of members,
but he was pleased to see so full a gallery. When this measure,
of detaching Holland and America from the confederacy which
was formed against us, was first proposed, he had been only
three days in office, and consequently was obliged to meet those
people in the cabinet from whom he was accustomed to differ
upon political subjects ,; and yet,—what was a circumstance
that did not often happen, — he had the honour to pro-
pose that measure with the unanimous concurrence of all
his majesty's cabinet ministers. This he thought himself at
liberty to mention, because, though it might be improper to
state the' dissensions or disagreements in the cabinet, there
would certainly be no impropriety in mentioning their unani-
mity; He would farther Observe, that this policy was by no
means ineffectual as to some of its objects, though, in others, it .
certainly had not the wished-for success: for those gentlemen
who were then in office might well recollect, that the disposi-
tion of some courts in Europe was not then extremely favour-
able to this country, and that the measure now alluded to
had at least the effect of averting those consequences which
might otherwise have been apprehended. — Having said this
much for the allusion, he would next return to the propriety
of admitting the present papers. He observed, that it was ex-
Pressed in the treaty subsisting between the company and the




188 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [Mardi


Ranna of Gobud, that he was to be protected by the powers of
Great Britain against their mutual foes. In consequence of
which. he had lent his services during the war, and was to
have been, of course, included in the peace. There were als6;
according to Mr. Hastings's own letters, several other rajahs
and princes who had the same, or similar, claims upon the
protection of Great Britain ; and yet it appeared from the
Mahratta treaty of peace, that none of them. were included in
the provisions of it. This was not the time to argue from
what motives, or upon what policy this was done. But the
omission was prima fizeie evidence either of treachery or guilt,
to obviate, or to substantiate which, was the object of the pre-
sent motion, and was, in his judgment, a debt claimed as well
by the justice due to the sufferers in India, as to the di gnity ofparliament and the acquittal or condemnation of Mr. Hastings.
He agreed that it was nut sufficient ground for the produc-
tion of all papers, to say that one gentleman was the prosecu-
tor, and would pledge himself to prove their application to
the object in view. But, in the present case, the production
of the papers could not be followed by any political peril
whatever, and the strongest reasons existed in favour of the
disclosure of their contents.


Major Scott observed, that the difference now subsisting be-
tween Mr. Fox and Mr. Hastings was not greater than that which
formerly prevailed between him and his noble friend Lord North ;
nor were his charges more severe against the one than the other.
In all the proceedings against Mr. Hastings, and amidst all the
abuse poured out against him, the Major said he had never
entertained the smallest apprehensions, nor ever made any over-
tures of accommodation. On the other hand, when the right ho-
nourable gentleman brought in his India bill, an intimation was
given, in a private conversation which he had with a person of
authority, that matters might be accommodated; and he made no
doubt, had Mr. Hastings then come home, he would have heard
nothing of all this calumny, and all these serious accusations. As
soon as the Major sat down,


Mr. Fox immediately rose, and said, that, on a subject
which concerned his honour and character, he would not he-
sitate a moment to offer himself again to the House. He
would first premise, that at no period could he declare that
offers were made to him, either by Mr. Hastings or his agents,
in order to bring about an accommodation; for if there had,
he would instantly have treated them with the most absolute
and marked refusal. At the same time lie would assert, upon
his honour as a gentleman, that no proposal whatever wasmade
to Mr. Hastings or his friends, with either his knowledge or
his cwicurrence ; and he was also certain that no such proposal


1786..1 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 189


came from any of his colleagues. So that whoever made,
ever
or even hinted at such an offer as coming from him, did it
without the smallest shadow of authority. In private conver-
sations with his friends it had been frequently suggested by
them, that Mr. Hastings being a very powerful man, it might
make the India bill go down the easier, if the idea of prosecut-
ing that gentleman was given up : but he had always resisted
such advice; and, indeed, so determined was he, to have the
governor-general brought to trial, that in his opening speech
on his India bill, he had dwelt so much upon the mal-adminis-
tuition of Mr. Hastings, that many of the enemies to that
bill had objected to him, that there seemed to be no other re-
medy necessary for the evils in India, than the recal of
Mr. Hastings.


The House divided on Mr. Burke's motion :




Tellers. Tellers.
f Mr. Eliot


YEAS
Sir James Erskine




:VII. Francis 5 44- — IsT°Es 'Mr. Rose
So it passed in the negative.


March 6.


This day Mr. Burke moved, " That there be laid before this
House, copies or duplicates of all consultations, instructions, and
other correspondence, relative to any negotiation at the court of
the great mogul, wherever residing, concerning any treaty with the
said mogul or concerning any of the ministers of the said court, or
any of the chiefs in the neighbourhood of Delhi, or relative to any
claims or demands for, or on behalf of, the said court, upon the.
East India company, since the 1st day of January 1781."—Mr.
Pitt refused to comply with the motion, as tending to affect the
policy of India, by opening the secrets of negotiations in that
country, which the peace and tranquillity of Hindostan rendered
absolutely necessary should remain undivulged. After a short
debate the motion was rejected, on a division, by 88 against 34. A
motion being immediately afterwards made for" a copy of a letter
from Major James Brown to Warren Hastings, Esq. governor-
general of Fort William, dated from Delhi, on the 3oth of December
1783; also copies of two letters from Warren Hastings, Esq. to the
court of directors of the East India company, dated the 3oth of
April and 16th of June 5784,"


Mr. Fox rose and remarked, that if the papers stated in
the question were refused, there was an end of asking for
Papers, however material to the prosecution those papers might
be, and however free from any imputation of being dangerous
?• likely to affect the policy of India. He could not believe,
however, that his majesty's minister would go the length of


s 7'




190 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [March 6,
refusing the three letters in question. If he did, what a shame.
flax fact would it establish ! For would it not then appear in
broad and striking colours, that a right honourable and learned
gentleman had persuaded that House to vote a number of
strong resolutions, to not one of which he meant that they
should ever give force and efficacy ? -Of the papers now called
for,- the House could already perceive the tendency, since, in
the preceding debate, they had heard the most material pas.
sages read and argued on. They must, therefore, be awa*
that no harm whatever could arise from making them public:
he and his friends had duplicates of them already in their
possession, and were perfectly masters of their contents. In
refusing to let them formally be laid upon the table, the other
side of the House would stand without. excuse. Mr. Fox con-
tended that it was, in his mind, impossible that they should do
so. If they did, and pleaded that their granting the papers
would affect the policy of India, he must declare, that ever
since be sat in parliament, he never had witnessed so disgraco-
ful a conduct. His comfort, nevertheless, would be, that, how-
ever the minister might withstand every individual motion for
papers, and prevent any thing like evidence from being obtain-
ed, and however he might rely on the power of his niajorities
in that House, there was another tribunal to which he must go
for trial, the tribunal of the public, who would judge for their
selves. The right honourable gentleman might be assured,


.


that, though that House would rest content, the honour of t1;0
nation would not be satisfied, nor would the people be pleased
at seeing their representatives act in a manner so disgraceful p
themselves, and so foreign to the purposes of substantial j‘s
tice.— What a precious farce, exclaimed Mr. Pox, is daily
acting within these walls ! We see the friends of Mr. Hastings
affecting to be' eager that every paper called for should be
granted : we see the king's ministers rising to declare that
every e).thin that can properly be granted shall not be-refused:
we hear other gentlemen, who call themselves independent
men,, saying, by all means let the House know the whole,
and be put in possession of every necessary species of infor-
mation ; and yet we see the same men all of them dividing
together to enforce a negative to a motion for such informsk
tion, and we see them helping each other out with hints anl
whispers during the debate, and pointing to matters apposite


,."


to the argument on their side the question, in like manner 04'
my right honourable friend and myself would assist each
other when w.f.! are maintaining the same point and arguini
for the same purpose !
-


The motion was negatived.


786 M1 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF R. HASTINGS. 191


March-17.
Previously to his troubling the House on the subject which he


wished to gbrin under their consideration, Mr. Fox moved, " That
the entries inbring journal of the House, of the 28th day of May,
17 8 2 , of the six resolutions reported from the committee of thewhole House, to whom it was referred to consider farther of the
several reports which had been made from the committee of secrecy,
relating to the affairs of the East India company, and which were
then agreed to by the House, might be read." And the same
were read accordingly, as follows :


Resolved, " That the orders of the court of directors of the
East India company, which have conveyed to their servants abroad
a prohibitory condemnation of all schemes of conquest and en-
largement of dominion, by prescribing certain rules and bounda-
ries for the operation of their military force, and enjoining a strict
adherence to a system of defence upon the principle of the treaty
of Illahabad, were founded no less in wisdom and policy than m
justice and moderation."


" That every transgression of those orders, without evident neces-
sity, by any of the several British governments in India, has been
highly reprehensible, and has tended, in a chief degree, to weaken
the force and influence, and to diminish the resources, of the
company in those parts."


" That every interference, as a party, in the domestic or national -
quarrels of the country powers, and all new engagements with-
the ► in offensive alliance, have been wisely and providently for-
bidden by the company in their commands to their administrations
in India."


" That every unnecessary or avoidable deviation from those well-
advised rules should be followed with very severe reprehension and
punislimentfor it, as an instance of wilful disobedience of orders, and
as tending to disturb and destroy that state of tranquillity and peace
with all their neighbours, the preservation of which has been re-
neoiemiimt jeiluIllelccillas.,,the first principle of policy to the British govern-


" Mat the maintenance -of an inviolable character for modera-
tion, good faith, and scrupulous regard to treaty, ought to have
been the simple grounds on which the British government should.
have endeavoured to establish an influence superior to that of other
Europeans- over the minds of the native powers in India ; and that
the danger and discredit arising from the forfeiture of this pre-emi-
nence, could not be compensated by the temporary success of any
pl an of violence or, injustice."


" That as an essential •failure in the executive conduct of the
Supreme council, or presidencies, would make them justly liable to
the most serious animadversions of their superiors, so should any
relaxation, without sufficient cause, in these principles of good
government, on the part of the directors themselves, bring upon
them, in a heavier degree, the resentment of the legislative power
of theiri t ecioieurnatlr131,1,issrwhich alone can interpose an effectual correctionto




192 MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [March 17,


" That it appears, that the government general had been previ.
ously in possession of a letter from the duan of the rajah of Berar,
containing overtures for mediation fb• peace and alliance with the
peshwa ; and that this material information was wholly suppressed
by them in their dispatches to the court of directors ; but a copy
of it was sent, by the same conveyance, to the private agent of
Mr. Hastings ; and that, thus neglecting to make immediate corn.
munication to the court of directors of such important intelligence,
the government general appear to have failed in an essential part
of their duty.".


These Resolutions having been read,


Mr. Fox rose and observed,,
that he was perfectly convinced,


that, previously to all endeavours for the successful introduce
tion of a motion for papers, effectually and substantially, ah
though perhaps not formally similar to that which, during
the course of a preceding debate, received the investigation,
and —with concern he spoke it— suffered under the dissent
of the House, an apology was due to them upon the principle
that it must always prove indecent frivolously to trespass upon
their attention. But if he ever had reason to be dissatisfied
with the decision of that House; if he ever thought a motion
of the first importance to the honour and dignity of the House
required a re-consideration, it was the motion for the Debi
papers; and that, because the decision the House had come to
when they negatived it, had proved a decision in the teeth of
the resolutions just read, and in defiance of every sound and
solid argument advanced in support of those resolutions.' It
was, therefore, for no light or trivial purpose that he again
begged the House, for the sake of its dignity, for the sake of its
own honour, for the sake of national justice and national
character, to re-consider what they bad decided upon, and,
before they confirmed a denial of the Belli papers,—which
denial, it appeared to him, they could not confirm, without,
loading themselves with disgrace and impeaching their own
honour and dignity—to weigh well what they were about, to
reflect a little on the frivolous point of view in which such an
illjudged confirmation would place their own resolutions, an d
the effect which it must necessarily have upon the conduct of
the company's servants in .


India. He begged them also to
recollect, that in passing the resolutions of the 28th of May,
1782, they had held out to the country powers of India a.
code of wise, wholesome, and salutary laws, as the basis of
the conduct of the British government in India. in future;
and that the House had, in fact, pledged itself to adhere
to the letter and spirit of their own resolutions.


These were surely great and important considerations, con-
siderations which ought to have a deep effect on the minds of
gentlemen before they gave a vote, which must involve in it so


1786.] MR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 193


many and such interesting consequences. Some persons had
supposed that our government and constitution were attended
by certain disadvantages with respect to their intercourse with
foreign states, arising from the public manner in which many
important parts of our administration must necessarily be con-
ducted ; but from this evil, if an evil it was, a most important
(1 ood would be found to result, when it was considered how
far this publicity tended to create a confidence in all other
nations, and how strongly it contributed to bind us to certain
defined and specific modes of political conduct. From hence
it arose, that we could lay clown (as we had done in the pre-
sent instance) a particular system of proceeding, for the due
observance of which all those states might reasonably look to
us; an advantage not in the power of any arbitrary govern-
ment whatever ; for if a king were to issue an edict, setting
forth the principles by which he intended to conduct himself
with respect to foreign nations, it would be received only a$
a notification of' the will of the minister of the day, who, by
death or disgrace, .might lose his situation, and leave room


n for a successor of different sentiments, who, of course, would
pursue a different line of conduct; whereas, with us, when
the British House of Commons published a system of foreign
administration, they not only committed the whole nation in
the persons of their representatives, but absolutely bound indi•
vidually, as well all those who had already been ministers,
and had a prospect of being so for many years to come, as
those who were so for the present.


That he might, if possible, still more impress the House
with a proper idea of the magnitude of the duty which they
had engaged to perform, when they voted the resolutions of
1782, he should not hesitate to describe them as measures of
a strong nature, and affording, he believed, the first instance
of that House thinking that It became them to depart so far


I out of their immediate province, as to interfere with any partof the exercise of the executive government; a circumstance
which they certainly would not have consented to, but from
the extraordinary complexion of the case which seemed to


Call for peculiar notice and a peculiar mode of proceeding.
Having premised these observations, Mr. Fox entered into


a discussion of the principles on which the House usually
called for papers, declaring that they never did it lightly,
and being conscious that they


t'
oucfht not to do it lightly, be


never had, nor would attempt to move for any that he was
not convinced were absolutely necessary for some great and.
Useful • by
to


III. ppurpose.pose. The 'House, he was aware, ought not
- grant any other ; and, it was true, he was willing to admit,


that Papers necessary for some great and useful public pun


yo




1 94 M II-BUIME'S ACCUSATION OF ant. HASTINGS. [March re
pose might be called for, the producing of which might,
nevertheless, be attended with mischief to the state, of such
a dangerous tendency, as would more than overbalance the
good that might arise from the purpose being answered for
which they were moved, and which, therefore, afforded his
majesty's ministers sound and cogent reasons for refusing
them; and, under such circumstances, it. was undoubtedly
their duty to refuse them. But though he was ready to admit
this, yet he held, that in all such cases the refusal ought not
to rest solely on the bare ipse dixit of a minister; that many
questions of confidence might, it was true, be agitated, ou
which a minister's word ought to be taken; but then, some..


♦ thing, at least, ought to be stated, in order to convince the
House that mischief might arise if the motion were complied
with.


In regard to the motion in question, the motion with which
he should conclude what he had to say, for the Delhi papers,
it had been on a former day stated by his right honourable
friend, the avowed accuser of Mr. Hastings, that those papers
were material to the matter in charge, and therefore they had
been called for ; but, material as they were, if they were not
granted, his right honourable friend had declared, he already
was in possession of Sufficient materials to prove and make
good every thing that he had said at various times


b
respectinq


the delinquency of the late governor general of India: his
character, therefore, was safe, and on shore. This, Mr. Fox
said, which he was satisfied was perfectly true in respect to
his right honourable friend, he wished was equally true in
respect to that House. He wished that House to be on
shore, and its character safe; and therefore it was, that he
should again call for the papers.


But before he did so, let the House recollect upon what
ground the papers had been once refused. It had been stated
by the right honourable gentleman opposite to him, that the
papers were not essential to the charge against Mr. Hastings;
that they proved nothing, Mr. Hastings not having authorised
Major Brown to enter into a treaty with the shah; and,
thirdly, that they involved in them secrets respecting the tie.
gociations that had during the war been carried on in India,
the divulging of which would tend to disturb the tranquillity
of the respective powers concerned in those treaties, and to
induce consequences that might be attended with danger to
the British state.


For his own part, he was confident that he should not.
experience much difficulty in proving that these grounds 01
denial either (lid not apply, or were not sufficiently materi -
to. justify withholding the papers; and to establish his posi


/786.] MR.MIIIKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. 195
tion he might venture to rest much of his reasoning on the
letters of Major Brown to Mr. Hastings. It was manifest


of offensive alliance had been negotiated with the
11 .::,,i
dra


'


'i:rlewhich was directly contrary to the express resolution
of that House. It was manifest, from Major Brown's letter,
that Mr. Hastings had authorised that negotiation, and that,
in Major Brown's opinion, good faith, morality, and justice,
required that assistance should be afforded the mogul, in


-


compliance with the terms of that treaty. The emphatic
words of Major Brown's letter were, 44 we have offered to
treat; he has accepted : we have annexed conditions, he has
approved of them." These words proved incontestably, that
the treaty commenced by voluntary offer on our part; and
the subsequent words in which Major Brown in his letter
proceeded to urge Mr. Hastings, for the sake of the good
faith, morality, and justice of the British nation, to send
troops to the assistance of the mogul, to lay siege to certain
districts of country, in order to drive out the inhabitants,
and to give the lands to the troops for their subsistence,
proved equally forcibly that the treaty was a treaty of offen-
sive alliance. It was evident that the resolution of the House
had been trampled on and contemned by Mr. Hastings in
this instance; and it was more than matter of suspicion that
the treaty was never intended to have been concluded when
it was begun.


When, during the former debate on the same subject, he
was complaining that the resolution had been infringed by
Mr. Hastings, who began to negotiate a treaty of offensive
alliance, the right honourable the chancellor of the exche-
quer had thought proper tO say across the House, 44 a treaty
never completed:" he therefore must beg leave to know
whether he was to understand from those words that it was
taken as a merit that the cons pa»y's servants in India got
into this dilemma. They had violated the resolutions of the
House by commencing a treaty, which local or temporary
policy might appear to make it expedient to commence, and
then they had violated the national faith by deceiving -the
mogul, and refusing to conclude the treaty so commenced;
thus proving to the princes of Hindostan how little security
Was, on the one hand, afforded them by the code of laws held
out to them in the resolutions of the British House of Com-
'lions, and how little safety was, on the other hand, to be
acquired by entering into treaties of alliance with the British
government in India.


FIe felt himself thoroughly justified in contending that,
in spite of any narrow principle which temporary distress
or local circumstances might seem to call for, such as keep-


0 2




196 AIR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION OF MR. HASTINGS. [March
i •


197
1786.j I% IR. BURKE'S ACCUSATION


OF MR. HASTINGS.


ing the mogul out of the hands of the French, or of T.


orni;


Sultan, it became a nation of great weight and character


vin down a code of laws, to be made the fou
nd ation


la


oo.
the




:


like Great Britain, to depart from general systems, fon lde


t


t/.
in wisdom and in justice, for any such petty considerations,
that if such narrow policy were to justify a depart


f
a great parliamentary system, there was an end of


t
11(


of a government, of simplicity, of publicity, and of good
faith. In fact, the whole -of the negociation had been
secretly carried on by Mr. Brown, as the agent of Mr.Hastings.


With respect to the ground of refusal of the papers, on
the plea that their production would betray some secrets of
negociation, the divulging of which might disturb the tran-
quillity of the powers of Hindostan, and prove dangerous to
the safety of the, state, he must candidly confess that it was
most difficult to meet it with any argument, the other side
of the House having given him so little to lay hold of, and
not having said enough to enable him to guess even at what
the danger could possibly be which would arise, were the state
secrets, which they so much dreaded to lay open, to become
divulged. Situated, however, as he was in these respects,
he could, without hesitation, declare, that no government
secret of any kind could justify the withholding papers which
were to enable the House to support and substantiate the
resolutions to which they stood solemnly pledged. For what
was it but to say to the princes in India, " We know our
servants have committed delinquencies, and we are convinced
that they have broken faith with you; but we must not in,
quire into their conduct, because that would betray state
secrets, that would develope state mysteries, which must be
kept sacred !" Would not every man in India laugh at so
absurd a reason for refusing to do justice? Would it not
plainly appear that the board of control, and that House,
were following the exact steps of the old boards of directors?
That they were laying clown complete systems of ethics in
their orders and resolutions, but refusing to take the onl)
means possible to enforce their performance? The effect of
such conduct was too manifest to need illustration. Instead
of reformation in India, it would encourage abuse, and in-,
crease delinquency ; the board of control and the Ho use 01
Commons would be answerable for having suffered the com-
pany's servants, employed in the government of India, to
believe themselves secure from inquiry, and safe from punish-
ment. 'What was it but to put it in the power of a minister
to interfere in every investigation, and, by his single veto, Put
a stop to the process, and defeat the aim of that House in the


of its first great constitutional character —that of theeorci


e
orand inquest of the nation ? Armed with , such a power, to
what lengths might not a minister proceed ? Every criminal,
however notorious his delinquency, however numerous his
crimes, however injurious to the national honour, would only
hare to secure the minister's protection to be able to laugh
at


accusation, and set conviction at defiance.
Much had been said by the friends of ministers concern-


ino. secrets; but there could be no secret in question; nor
cobuld the papers called for possibly make any thing public
which was not already well known in India. If it were asked
vily he, who was so strenuous for the publishing of every
matter relative to India, and so urgent in contending that
nothing respecting that country ought to remain a secret,
did not hold the same argument with respect to the Euro-
pean powers, mid in like manner maintain that nothing which
regarded treaties and negotiations between the court of Great
Britain and any court of Europe ought to be made a state,o.
secret in that House, by any of his majesty's ministers, he
would answer that question by proposing another. Had that
House ever expressly laid down rules of administration for
the executive government with regard to European powers?
Most certainly it had not; and that for very clear and ob-
vious reasons. Why had it done otherwise with respect to
the administration of the executive government of the British
possessions in India? Because from the series of abuses,
mismanagement, and delusion, which had crept into the
conduct of the executive government in India, the Britishb
honour was tarnished, and the native princes no longer had
confidence in British faith. Nothing, therefore, but the in-
titeleirsefteotii•leeatti ei te.


0


of parliament could redeem the national credit, and
in the eyes of the country powers in Hindostan.


Having
could osol


interfered,
alone support


and having
a system


laid
of gdownvern


the code
adapted


lawsa
tow


the n t..


merest


native princes — a system of government founded on sim-
7 e of the case,


o


and likely to regain the confidence of


publicity, and good faith, —would that House, on the
pretence of a state secret, without the smallest informa-


tion to prove that there was a real state secret in the way,


It}ligetifte


with nothing more than a minister's ipse dixit for it, shut
their


stood
it;


ts:rela:oplfihavin,
man


see the necessity of— to their proceeding to substantiate
eyes to what every man who was not wilfully blind


so particularly pledged? Even yet, however, lie should
resolutions and fulfil their promises, to which they all


(Mr. Dundas) would rescue the House from the
sh his hopes that the right honourable and learned


o-
o


been persuaded by him to vote resolutions,*
o 3




19$ Nit. PITT's MOTION
[Feb. 2:7


which, if the papers were refused, it would be fair to say he
never meant should be acted upon. Let the right honourable
and learned gentleman recollect What had been done last year
by the board of control respecting the debts of the nabob
of Arcot. If he did not know the circumstance, he would
possess him of it; but most probably he knew it more cor-
rectly than he did ; if he did not, however, he would inform
him of the fact. It was this: — that so far from the arrange-
ment then made being attended to, new loans were at this
time going on, and new debts contracting. Mr. Fox con-
cluded a most able speech with moving, " That there be laid
before this House an extract of Bengal consultations, dated
loth January 1784, as far as relates to any letter received
from Major Brown, dated the 3oth of December 1783."


After a long debate, the House divided on Mr. Fox's motion :
Tellers.
Tellers..


YEAS - - •Mr- North ' Mr. Eliot IL Sir James Erskine C 73 ' {Mr. Rose—So it passed in the negative.


MR. PITT'S MOTION FOR. FORTIFYING THE Dom< YARDS.


Februaly 27.
rr HE first object of importance that engaged the attention of


parliament in the present session, was a measure which ori-
ginated with the Duke of Richmond, the master-general of the
ordnance. It was a plan for fortifyingthe dock yards at Ports-
mouth and Plymouth. The House of* Commons had in the pre-
ceding session expressed their unwillingness to apply any part of
the public money for this purpose, before they ; yore made ac-quainted with the opinions of such persons as were best able to
decide concerning the utility and propriety of such a measure.
In consequence of this intimation, a board of military and naval
officers was appointed by the king, with the master general of the
ordnance as their president ; and the proposed plan of fortifications
was referred to them for their opinions and advice. After they
had investigated the subject, and had made their report thereon,
the plans recommended were laid before a board of engineers to
make an estimate of the expences necessary to carry them into
execution.


This estimate, which amounted to no less a sum than 760,0971.
Mr. Pitt laid before the House on the loth of February, and on
the 27th, he introduced the measure in the form of a general
resolution to the following effect ; " That it appears to this House,


/786.:1 FOR FORTIFYING THE DOCK YARDS. 199


that to provide effectually for securing his majesty's dock yards
at Portsmouth and Plymouth, by a permanent system of fortifica-
tion, founded on the most Leconomical principles, and requiring the
smallest number of troops possible to answer the purpose of such
security, is an essential object for the safety of the state, intimately
connected with the general defence of* the kingdom, and necessary
for enabling the fleet to act with full vigour and effect, for the
protection of commerce, the support of our distant possessions,
and the prosecution of offensive operations in any war in which the
nation May hereafter be engaged." The resolution was supported
by Lord. Hood, the honourable Captain Berkeley, the honourable
James Luttrell, Captain Bowyer, Sir C. Middleton, Mr. J. Haw-
kins Browne, and Lord Mahon. In opposition to the measure, it
was moved as an amendment, by Mr. Bastard, and seconded by
Sir W. Lemon, to leave out of the resolution all the words from
the word " house" to the end of the question ; and to insert, " that
fortifications on so extensive a plan as proposed by the board, are
inexpedient." This amendment was defended by Mr. Wallwyn,
General Burgoyne, Captain Macbride, Colonel I3arre


'


Mr. Courts-
nay, the honourable Charles Marsham, Mr. Windham, Lord
North, and by Mr. Sheridan, whose speech upon this occasion was
the subject of-much admiration. As soon as he had set down,


Mr. Fox rose and remarked, that his honourable friend
had gone so fully into the whole of the subject, and had
argued it so closely, that it was unnecessary for him to take
up much of the time of the House. He would, therefore,
speak only to a few points, so personal to himself, that the
House, he conceived, would think it highly necessary for him
to take some notice of them. The right honourable the chan-
cellor of the exchequer had pretty strongly insinuated that
the system of fortification, now in contemplation, was a part
of that identical system which he had, when in office, pro-
posed to the House. This was not by any means a correct
representation of the fact; for, in truth, he never bad pro-
posed any plan of fortification whatever ; but in the ordnance
estimates of the year 1 7 83, a specific sum was asked for the
purpose of going on with Fort Monkton, and another small
fort which had been begun ; yet, a demur arising upon the
subject, he had agreed in the committee to take the two
charges out of the estimate, and reserve them for future con-
sideration ; and the remaining part of the estimate was voted
Without them. In his opinion, a right honourable colonel
(Barre) had well said, that it was not by fortifying Portsmouth
and Plymouth merely that we were to look for a defence
of the kingdom, either from invasion or dangerous attacks;
because, undoubtedl y, there were other vulnerable parts of


coast which required attention as well as those proposed.our
i


4




MR. PITT'S mdrIOM
[Feb. 27,Oct 1786.]




FOR FORTIFYING THE DOCK YARDS, 20


As to the late peace, some observations concerning which
had given such offence to the right honourable colonel, he
should still deny that it had been either a necessary, or a
great and glorious peace; and contend, that in the relative
state of this kingdom, at the time, compared with the state
of other powers, we had a right to expect a much more ad-
vantageous treaty. If; however, the peace had been great
and glorious, those who remained in office, and enjoyed a
share in making it, had divided the rewards of it in a man-
ner singularly striking. For themselves they had taken
places and emoluments, and left the person, who was sup-
posed to have been the principal negotiator of it, in full pos-
session of all the encomiums which the warmth of his pane-
gyrists could bestow.


But " ease and praise," said Mr. Fox, are the true objects
of genuine ambition. These they have liberally bestowed on
the noble lord (Lansdown); these substantial recompences,
these solid honours, have they nobly secured to him, in his
favourite retirement, in his sequestered happiness, in rustic
peaces and undisturbed repose ! For themselves, on the con-
trary, have they not reserved all the cares, the anxieties, the
fatigues, the solicitations — and the emoluments of office?
Generous partition ! — substantial fame for their patron;
mere official reward for themselves !


It is the extreme of absurdity to imagine, on party consi-
derations, that the carrying the proposed amendment can
prove an object of the slightest estimation. 'Who can con-
ceive that either I or my friends will be one step nearer the
acquisition of office or of power, whether the Duke of Rich-
mond's fortification plan succeeds or fails? If defeating the
minister, even in points which he has unequivocally supported
to the utmost of his power, could have served us in a party
light, how comes it that, notwithstanding the numerous de-
feats which he has endured, he continues unshaken, and even
more firm than ever? Has the complete failure of the Irish
propositions in the least affected him as a minister ? Did his
shameful defeat in the question of the 'Westminster scrutiny
either prejudice him, or serve me, in a ministerial light ? Did
his abandonment of the cotton tax take an atom from his
consequence? The fact is, ,he is a minister who thrives by
defeat, and flourishes by disappointment. The country gen-
tlemen oppose him upon one occasion, only to give him more
strength upon another; he is beaten by them upon one sub-
ject, only to be assisted by them in a succeeding one; if he
falls by the landed interest to-day, he is sure to rise by them
to-morrow with added energy and recruited vigour. '


In conclusion, he must beg leave to remind the House,


that the right honourable gentleman had, as • usual, availed
himself of his machinery in his opening speech. He had
drawn into his argument the American war, and the coali-
tion. He was a little surprised that the poor India bill had
escaped. Those topics, however, the right honourable gen-
tleman might bring forward as often as he thought proper.
No part of his conduct was he ashamed of; and although
clamour, artfully raised, and industriously kept alive, might
for a while put a false and injurious construction upon it,
time would dissipate the cloud of prejudice, and convince all
men how egregiously they had been duped and deluded.
And here he should avow, that he retained all his great party
principles upon constitutional questions; and that it was this
circumstance which formed the line between him and the
right honourable gentleman. I stand, said Mr. Fox, upon
this great principle. I say that the people of England have
a riglit to control the executive power, by the interference
of their representatives in this House of parliament. The
right honourable gentleman maintains the contrary. He is
the cause of our political enmity; to this I adhere; to this I
pledge myself; and upon this ground I mean to vote for the
amendment.


After a long discussion of the subject, the House divided on the
original motion, as moved by Mr. Pitt :


Tellers. r.


YEAS Mr. Steele
Telles


{Lord Maitland 169.Mr. M. A. Taylor} i69.—Nons Capt.Macbride
The numbers being equal, Mr. Speaker Cornwall said, that


although he should have wished to have stated at lar ge his reasonsr,
for the opinion he had formed on the question, yet, after so long
a debate, he had too much respect for the House to take up any
more of their time ; and therefore declared himself with the noes.
So it passed in the negative.


Mr. Fox then said, that the motions which his right ho-
nourable friend, Mr. Burke, was to have made on the pre-
ceding clay, for papers relative to Mr. Hastings, could not be
made before Wednesday; on which day they probably would
be made by his right honourable friend, who was then pre-
vented by illness from attending his duty in that House —a
fortunate circumstance for the right honourable the Speaker,
as it had given him an opportunity, which he otherwise would
not have had, of gaining immortal honours, by his casting
`vote upon the subject of fortifications.




202 MOTION FOR TILE REPEAL OF TEE SHOP TAX. [March 2.


MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE SHOP TAX.


March 2.


THE House having resolved itself into a committee of the wholeHouse, to consider of the several petitions which had been
presented praying for the repeal of the shop tax, Sir Watkin Lewes
moved, " That the chairman be directed to move the House, that
leave be given to bring in a bill to repeal an act passed during the
last session of parliament, entitled, An act for granting certain
duties on shops within Great Britain.'" The motion was sup.
ported by. Aldermen Sawhridge, Newnham, Townshend, Hain.
met, and Watson, Sir Jos: ph Mawbey, Mr. Thomsok„ Mr. Drake,
Sir


6
Gre&ory Page Turner, and Mr. Fox ; and opposed by Air


Edward Astley, Mr. Loveden, Mr. Powys, Mr. W. Stanhope, Mr.
Pitt, and Mr. Grigsby.' In reply to Mr. Pitt,


Mr. Fox said, that the right honourable gentleman might
rest assured that he admitted, without even the slightest ex-
ception, the justice of his arguments in favour of the necessity
of perpetually endeavouring to introduce whatever might tend
to improve the national revenue, and of refusing — unless
the most unanswerable reasons could justify a contrary pro-
cedu •e — to relinquish a tax, from the produce of which a
considerable sum might be looked for. So fully was he per-
suaded that his sentiments became not only every minister,
but every member of that House, and so deeply was he, at the
same time, convinced, that, in matters of taxation, the unpo-
pularity of any particular impost ought not to be the reason
for its being abandoned, that much as he professed of respect
for his constituents of 'Westminster, and still more, as he felt
of regard and reverence for those whom he considered as his
first constituents, the people at large, whose interests he held
himself bound to watch over, and, as far as in him lay, to
protect and defend within those walls; vet, notwithstanding
the numerous petitions on the table, and notwithstand ng the
instructions which he had received from those whom he im-
mediately represented, and their known wishes, he made no
scruple to declare, that he would have supported the right
honourable gentleman in resisting a motion for the repeal of
the shop tax, had he not been fully convinced that the to
was radically bad ; that it was founded in the grossest pa r


-tiality and injustice ; and that no modification whatever, much
less the sort of modification proposed by the right honourable
gentleman, could cure its defects, or render it fit to be en'
(lured. The motion for its repeal should, therefore, have his


14


1786.7 MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE SHOP TAX. 203


fon support, and in giving his vote for a repeal of the act in
tato, he hoped he should not be considered as an enemy to
the revenue. When the tax had been originally proposed,
he objected to it, and then declared, that, though the right
honourable gentleman chose to call it a shop tax, it was in
fact an additional house tax, partially applied to houses, of
which shops made a part. That was, undoubtedly, the state
of the case, and consequently it was not the first, but the se-
cond shop tax; for the tax on houses had operated partially,
and to the disadvantage of shopkeepers; inasmuch as shop-
keepers, compared to all other descriptions of householders,
paid by far the highest rents of any persons in the kingdom.
To lay a n6w burden on the shoulders of that description of
people, who were too heavily burdened before, was oppressive
and unjust ; and that, therefore, were there no other, was a.
strong reason, and indeed it ought to operate as an unan-
swerable one with the committee, for agreeing to the motion.
for a repeal of the act.


The right honourable gentleman had put the case, if houses
were to rise in rent considerably all over the kingdom some
years hence, what would then be the situation of shopkeepers,
and would they have any reason to complain that they paid
higher rents than they did at present? If the right honourable
gentleman meant merely, that if money grew cheaper, and all
sorts of property fetched a larger proportion of money in price
proportionably, ill that case things would just remain in the
situation in which they stood at present; but if the right
honourable gentleman.meant (and so indeed he must mean,
if he meant any thing) that the houses of shopkeepers only
were at any given period to be raised in their rents all over
the kingdom, he had then very fairly described the additional
tax in question, because that tax operating upon shopkeepers
oalitlill3y


over


,, did what the right honourable gentleman had stated: it
raised the rents and welled the capitals of shopkeepers'houses


the kingdom, at the same time that it raised the rents
of no other houses. How extreme was the injustice of select-
ing that useful body of people, the shopkeepers, as objects not


of separate and distinct, but of oppressive and unjust tax-
ation ! With regard to the two points, which the right ho-
nourable gentleman had laboured so much to establish,
namely, that the tax was not personal, and that it might he
laid on the consumer by the shopkeeper who paid it in the
first instance, both those positions must he deny in the most
unequivocal manner, and declare that the tax was a direct
personal tax on the shopkeeper, and that it was utterly impos-
sible for




him to repay himself by laying it on the consumer,
without putting the public not merely to five times the charge




204 MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE SHOP TAX: [March 2,
of it, (as an honourable member had stated to have been the
case in regard to the duty imposed on wine sonic years since),
but to forty, or perhaps one hundred times the charge. 04
this occasion, he must beg leave to remind the committee, that
nothing could be more easy than to ascertain exactly to what
the sum of additional duty per hogshead upon wine came, a n d
what would prove the amount of that duty when divided into
gallons, and from gallons into bottles. If; then, in a case so
easy, obvious, and intelligible, the retail dealer had bare-
facedly charged the public five times as much for every bottle
as he paid to the exchequer, what an advantage must not be
unavoidably made where the distribution of the tax was pri-
vately laid on a variety of small articles ! In fact, the con-
sumer, if he paid the tax at all, must imperceptibly and in-
sensibly, even to the shopkeeper, pay it over and over and
over again; but he defied the right honourable gentleman to
prove that any shopkeeper either had, or could charge it to
the consumer. Being therefore undoubtedly a personal tax,
he should advise the right honourable gentleman, in this in-
stance at least, to give way, and offer some tax, less exception-
able, in its stead ; in short, the tax was so radically bad, that
no modification could cure its defects.


The right honourable gentleman, in the greater part of his
argument, had endeavoured to prove that the tax was not
personal, and that it must find its level, and fall on the con-
sumer. If this were true, what was there to recommend
his modifications ? The right honourable gentleman had
stated that he would take off and modify the portion of the
tax to be paid by all shopkeepers who lived in houses at less
rents than twenty and twenty-five pounds, which would con,!:.:
siderably lighten the load, and exonerate the shopkeeper.
Would it ? Of what would it exonerate him ? Of the money
paid by the consumer ! For if the consumer was to pay the
whole of the tax, the consumer would be exonerated by thon,
modification proposed, and not the shopkeeper. In like man-'
ner, the generous and compassionate bounty of the right ho-
nourable gentleman, in fact, amounted to nothing ; because
if the consumer really paid the tax, the poor shopkeeper, who
was not to pay towards the tax, if he was excused the payment
of parochial taxes, was excused from paying that which, ac-
cording to the right honourable gentleman's argument, wasi,
to come out of the pocket of another.


The right honourable gentleman had thought proper to ha-
zard the remark, that the tax would, no doubt, find its level;
but that the shopkeepers had not yet found out how to make,
its distribution. This was an extraordinary thing, to say (0.•
men, the daily business of whose lives was to lay out large sums


1786.] MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE SHOP TAX. 205


to purchase articles in the gross, and to draw back and collect
the sums so expended by a multitude of minute profits. How
strange and idle to impute the sort of ignorance in question to


who, all others, were most in the habits ofthose men,
making such a distribution as that which it had been said
they had not discovered how to make ! In fact, the laying the
tax on the consumer at all was impossible. Upon this occasion
he should instance his own receipt tax, which every body
knew was to this day paid by the person who received the
money, although he had a legal right to oblige the person
paying it to pay for the receipt.


Air. Fox declared, that though he did not pretend to be
above popularity, but, on the contrary, was shocked and af-
fected when it fell to his lot to become unpopular, yet he
would, at all times, in spite of unpopularity, stand up an ad-
vocate for a tax after it was once proposed, unless, as in the
present instance, lie thought the tax radically bad, and unfit
to remain unrepealed. 'l'hc present tax was a personal tax,
and at the same time partook of the nature of a tax on the
consumer in the worst manner, because it left the power of
distribution solely at the discretion of the shopkeeper, and,
what was more exceptionable, to be by him secretly exercised.
The requisite to make a personal tax palatable was, to lay it
so that its operation should be general, if not universal. The
servant's tax was an unexceptionable personal tax, but, he
feared, ill collected. The argument of a worthy alderman
was ce •tainly well-grounded in regard to the principle of tax-
ation, though it went a great way farther than he was ready to
go upon the subject; but the right honourable gentleman, he
thought, went much farther himself, when he had asserted
that nine tenths of the revenue depended upon taxes raised
upon the principle which the honourable alderman had repro-
bated—the principle of imposing mere personal taxes, and
those such as did not affect themselves. Whenever taxes
were under consideration, one material defect in the construc-
tion of that House manifested itself, and that was, that the
city of London, which paid, in general, so large a share of all
the taxes, had not a greater proportion of representatives to
secure it its due weight in determining of what taxes should
consist. The right honourable gentleman, notwithstanding,
deserved a tribute of applause for such modifications as he
intended to introduce; and, for his own part, having a total
aversion to the whole of the bill, he should be glad to discover
that, with the aid of the right honourable gentleman, some
Portion of it might become repealed, if it were vain to hope to
see it actually thrown out of parliament. An event of this last
desirable and happy nature would rescue the shopkeepers o




2o6 PLAN FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. [March 29,
London and Westminster from the burden of an almost into,
lerable grievance. Anxious to emancipate them from such
unmerited oppression, he felt it a duty which, upon the pre,
sent occasion, he should most chcarfully fulfil, to vote in fa.
your of the motion for an absolute repeal of the act, passim
during the course' of the preceding session.


The committee divided:
For the repeal of the shop tax -
Against it
-


- 176
The motion was consequently rejected ; but leave was given to
bring in a bill to explain and amend the said act.


R. PITT'S PLAN FOR THE REDUCTION or THE NATIONAT,
DEBT.


March 29.


.g A RLY in this session, Mr. Pitt had taken notice of that part of
" his majesty's speech which related to the necessity of providing


for the diminution of the national debt; he had at the same time given
the House to understand, that such was the present flourishing
condition of the revenue, that the annual national income would
not only equal the annual national disbursements, but would leave
a surplus of considerable magnitude ; this surplus. he said, he
meant to form into a permanent fund, to be constantly and,invaria-
bly applied to the liquidation of -the public debt. In pursuance of
this information to the House, and in order to ascertain the amount
of the surplus in question, Mr. Pitt, previous to his entering into
the state of the finances, or ways and means for the present year,
moved, " That the several accounts and other papers presented
that session, relating to the public income and expenditure, be
referred to the consideration of a select committee, and that the
said committee be directed tb examine and report to the House,
what might be expected to be the annual amount of the income
and expenditure in future." This motion was unanimously agreed
to, and the select committee having framed their report, laid it
before the House on the 21st of March. Mr. Pitt on the 29th,
together with the supplies and ways and means for the present
year, brought the consideration of the national debt, and his pro-
position for the diminution of it, formally before the House. After
entering at great length into the actual and probable resources of
the country, Mr. Pitt said, there was little doubt but that the
growing resources of the country, and the contingent


,receipts of
the different sums he had mentioned, would be more than suffi-


1786.j
PLAN 'FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEIST. 207


dent, without a loan, to discharge the exceedings which our
establishments, i


during the next three or four years, would amount
to, their permanent level, as stated in the report. But if
it'sliotild be otherwise, he nevertheless was of opinion, that money
,bould rather be borrowed for the discharge of those extraordinary
-demands, than that the institution of the fund in question should


or infringed upon at any time after it was esta-
Pitt next proceeded to explain the mode he meant


to adopt, 11:iel itilr'o. ird' er to insure the due application of this fund to its
tbe postp oned


object : he proposed, he said, to vest in a certain number
of commissioners the full power of disposing of it in the purchase
of stock for the public in their owt names. commissionersThese
should receive the annual million by quarterly payments of25o,o00l.
to be issued out of the exchequer before any other money, except
the interest of the national debt itself; by these provisions, the
fund would be secured, and no deficiencies in the national reve-
nues could affect it, but such must be separately provided for by
parliament. The accumulated compound interest on a million
yearly, together with the annuities that would fall into that fund,
would, he said, in twenty-eight years, amount to such a sum as
would leave a surplus of four millions annually, to be applied, if
necessary, to the exigencies of the state. In appointing the com-
missioners he should, he said, endeavour to chose persons of such
weight. and character as corresponded with the importance of the
commission they were to execute. The speaker of the House of
Commons, the chancellor of the exchequer, the master of the
rolls, the governor and deputy governor of the bank of England,
and the accountant general of the high court of chancery, were ,
persons who, from their several situations, he should think highly
proper to be of the number. Mr. Pitt concluded by moving,
" That the sum of one million per annum be granted to his ma-
jesty, to be vested in commissioners, and to be by them applied to
the reduction of the national debt, and that the same be charged
upon, and made payable out of, the surplusses, excesses, over-
plus monies, and other revenues, composing the fund commonly
called the Sinking Fund."


Mr. Fox observed, that the elaborate and far extended
speech of the right honourable gentleman, whilst it reminded
him how much time had elapsed, suggested also a conviction
of the impropriety of trespassing, at the present advanced
hour, too long upon the attention of the House; but in the
outset of what he had to say, he begged leave to declare that
no man in existence was, or ever had been, a greater friend
to the principle of a sinking fund than he was, and ever had
shewn himself from the first moment of his political life. He
agreed most perfectly with the right honourable gentleman in
his ideas of the necessity of establishing an effective sinking
fund for the purpose of applying it in diminution of the
national debt, however much he might differ with him in




208 PLAN FOR. REDUCTION OP THE NATIONAL DEBT. [March ay,
respect to the most prudent and useful mode of making the
application, and however much he might differ with him as
to many parts of his speech, and a variety of observations it
contained.


With respect to the conduct of the committee to whom the
papers had been referred, he should not scruple to declare
that their mode of taking averages had been not only diffe-
rent from that of every former committee, but totally the re-
verse of that which bad ever been deemed the fairest mode
of taking an average. In illustration of this remark, he in-
stanced the produce of the tax on malt, in averaging which,
for six years, the committee had stated, that a particular
year (the year 1782) was uncommonly deficient. Now, the
use of an average had ever been supposed to arise from the
averaging a number of years produce, among which years
there might be years of extraordinary deficiency, or years of
extraordinary plenty. He next pointed out the fallacy of
stating the receipt of the present year, which happened to
be a year of uncommon rise of revenue, and opposing to it,
not the actual expenditure of the present year grounded on
the votes of that House; but the probable expenditure of the
year 17 9 o. He asked, whether that was a fair comparison of
the annual receipt with the annual expenditure, and whether—
as the right honourable gentleman had admitted, what in-
deed no person could deny, that 600,000l. more had
been voted for the navy, and 4.00,0001. more for the army,
this year, than appeared under the head of expenditure—it
was not manifest, that so far from there being a surplus of
900,0001. there was not a deficiency? He reminded the
committee of the difference last year between himself and the
right honourable gentleman, respecting their reasoning upon
the balances of certain quarters, which had been selected as
the most favourable quarters, and said, it now plainly ap-
peared, that if he had at that time calculated the balances,
that would result upon the whole of the four quarters, when
the - year should be completed, somewhat too low, the right
honourable gentleman, it was evident, had calculated them
much more too high. He reminded them also, that when
lie had said in argument, on one of those occasions, that he
believed there would be some balance, the right honourable
gentleman had echoed the words " some balance" with an air
of disdain, as if he (Mr. Fox) had talked with ridicule or with
contempt of a matter which it was certain would turn out to
be a monstrous balance. The fact was now before the com-
mittee, and he begged leave to ask whether it was not true,.
that so far from there being some balance for the present year
there was none at all ? Though it had turned out to be in


-86.] PLAN FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL
209


both particulars exactly as be had stated it would trim out, he
mentioned them not with any view to triumph over the right
honourable gentleman, but merely to show that he had been
right before. The right honourable gentleman had observed,
that i,800,cool. for the navy, included x 8,000 seamen, a
larger number than had ever been known in a permanent peace
establishment in the most flourishing state of this country.
He could wish to know what the right honourable gentleman
saw in the situation of the affairs of Etu-ope that could in-
duce him to imagine that a less numerous establishment of
seamen would be sufficient, or a more contracted navy than
1 ,800,o0ol. could provide? For his part, lie saw much that
served to prove that a still greater naval establishment was ne-
cessary : for much had of late happened, Which looked as if
all Europe was combining to form engagements hostile to this
country, and detrimental to its interests at present, and its
efforts in case of a future war ; while no transaction that had
lately taken place in any of the foreign courts wore a favoura-
ble aspect. Under such a period to say we had a more power-
ful navy than had ever been known in time of peace, in the
most flourishing of former periods, was saying nothing. Had
we a navy sufficient to cope with the combined marine of the
maritime powers ? If we could not effect such a purpose, we
fell short of what was, in his opinion, indispensably necessary
to our immediate safety and otr future security and well being
as a naval power. He agreed nevertheless in the propriety of
dedicating the surplus fond to the diminution of the national
debt, and whether the whole of the report was true, or whe-
ther it was erroneous, he should still be of opinion, that it
was right to pay off a part of the national debt, and highly
proper to begin doing it immediately, even if the consequence
were, that the sinking fund was not found equal to it; in
which case, he held it to be the duty of that House to make
good the sum so appropriated to that important service, and
to continue so to do, even if they were annually obliged toimpose new taxes on the subject. When he said this, how-
ever, he begged to be rightly understood, as to how far he •
agreed in respect to tile present plan it was merely to the
commencement of some plan; and a better one than that pro-
Posed, might easily be adopted. The parts of the plan that


disapproved were two-fold, the one, making the sum ap-
Pppriated unalienable in the time of war, the other, making
the obligation to pay off the debt general, and not pledging
or binding it closer. He pointed out various disadvantages
that might result from tying up the sum in time of war, and
contended, that as the committee and the object of their insti-tution Were not bound down to any specific point, both were


vol..




210 PLAN FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. [March 29•


liable to be annihilated by a future parliament. He reminded
the House of the mode of the original institution of a plan
for paying off a part of the national debt, which had been
by a subscription of individuals, to whom the faith of pare
liathent had been pledged to pay off certain specific portions
at stated periods. He dwelt on the difference between the
two modes, observing, that when the nation or when parlia-
'Tient stood bound to individuals, the pledge was held as
sacred as the pledge to pay the interest of the national debt
at present, or the annuities now payable; and, undoubtedly,
nothing short of a national bankruptcy would prevent the sums
engaged from being paid to individual subscribers; whereas
-upon the conditions on which the committee would stand,
what should hinder a future minister, in a future war, when
the exigency of affairs might require additional burdens to
be imposed on the subject, from coming down to that House
and proposing to repeal the act authorising the institution of
the committee, and enabling government to apply all the
money and stock in their hands to the public service? What
should hinder the House from agreeing to the proposition? Or
was it at all likely that, under the exigency of the moment,
they would not immediately agree to it, when so much mo-
ney could be easily got at, and when they could so readily
save themselves from the odious and unpleasant task of im-
posing new taxes on themselves and their constituents?
With' regard to the chancellor of the exchequer being one of
the commissioners, he thought it perfectly right, that who-
ever held that office Should be one at least in such a commis-
sion. The chancellor of the exchequer was an officer 111
whom that House reposed great confidence in respect to mat-
ters of finance, and who certainly ought to have an imme-
diate connection with the diminution of that debt, the crea-
tion of which had unavoidabl y been an act of his own, in the
necessary discharge of his Official duty. From the ya•iOus
guards which the right honourable gentleman had suggested
it to be his intention to put upon the committee, it was ob-
vious that he saw the suspicions to which it would be liable,
and therefore, Mr. Fox declared, the more guards put upon
it the better. Unfortunately, however, the more the guards,
the less the ceconomy of the system. He expressed some
doubts whether the compelling them to lay out the money
on certain days might not raise the market; and whether it
might not happen that on some of those days when they might
be obliged to buy, there might be no sellers, and consequentlY,
the committee become compelled to force the market, and
by so doing, raise the price so high, that in such instances
all the benefit would be lost to the public. The right ho-


17 86.7 PLAN FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. 21 I


pourable gentleman had talked of spreading the money into
several sums, and by that means reducing each so small as to
avert as much as possible the effects he had stated as probable
to happen. Of that he approved, bid he could by no
means agree that the committee were to act a public
part. The flact was, they were to become private stockbrokers with the public money. He descanted on this,
and stated his reasons for wishing their acts to be as pub-
lic as possible ; which were, he said, the only means that
he knew of to save them from a good deal of that suspicion
to which it was easy to see they would be exposed. Mr. Fox
the adverted to the report and to the statements made by
the chancellor of the exchequer in the course of his speech,
several of which he combated, and endeavoured to disprove.
He mentioned the necessity of providing new taxes in lien
of such as had failed, that should produce the sums for which .
they had been given, and by that means preserve the sinking
fund whole and entire. In order the more amply to point out
the necessity for this, he animadverted for some time on the
actual produce of the different taxes of the last year. The
shop-tax, for instance—which, he said, he should ever hold
to be an odious, oppressive, and unjust personal tax had
been nominally given for 120,0001., whereas it appeared from
the assessments thatif they were all paid, (which undoubtedly
was not likely to be the case,) the produce would amount to
no more than 70,0001., and when the modifications lately made
to it, came into operation, that 70,0001. would be reduced to
5o,000l., so that a tax taken at 120,0001. would produce no
more than 50,0001. In that case, and in all cases like it, he
held it to be the duty of a chancellor of the exchequer to pro-
pose either a new tax that would be efficient for 120,0001. and
repeal the shop-tax, or a tax that would be efficient for the
7o,000l. the sum which the shop-tax fell short of producing.
During the war he had repeatedly held language urging the
necessity for the deficiencies of the new taxes being made
good by other taxes, and the answer of his noble friend in
the blue ribbon had always been, that during the war, they
must get on as well as they could, but that when peace
should come, that would be the fit opportunity for making
good the deficiencies on the war taxes. For that answer there
was some reason; but the right honourable the chancellor
?f the exchequer had , not the same excuse; and yet all his
taxes did not produce much more than one half of the sums
tor which they had been given. As to the commutation
tax, he must wish to ask the right honourable gentleman ifthe


. greater consumption of tea that had occasioned in thin
P 2




212 PLAN FOR REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. [Marhcilil2ie91.
kingdom, as well as the greater consumption of a far greater
proportion upon the whole than ever of teas of the a
sort, quality and price, which increased the necessity of the
East India company to send out to China and expend con-
siderably more in the purchase of teas than ever had gone to
China, was any matter of solid satisfhction to him, as guardian
of the commerce and revenues of Great Britain ? Was it by
such extensions of trade, that,


he wished to be considered as a
friend to the revenue or commerce of the kingdom ? Or
would he assume any merit for having extended a trade,
before so disadvantageous to this country, in respect to exports
and imports ? He thought it fair to warn the right honour-
able gentleman on so important a consideration; and he would
leave it to himself to draw the necessary conclusion from the
circumstance. The right honourable gentleman had said, he
observed, that our- resources were near cracking just before
the war was brought to a conclusion : for his part, he never
had been of that opinion, nor ever had stated that he was:
but what sort of melancholy reflection was held out to the
public by his committee, when it was the clear deduction from
their statements, that the permanent peace establishment *
not to be expected before the year 1 791—eight years after
conclusion of the war ? Mr. Fox declared it as his opinion, that
with good management, the expellees of the war might hie
been sooner wound up. He recapitulated his principal db-
jections to the plan proposed, and said, he thought they were
considerably weakened by not making the fund unalienable in
time of war. He entered into a good deal of argument to
prove, that twenty-seven years" was too long a period to look
forward to for the effect of the plan; as, before that period,
it was not improbable we might have another war; and a
variety of circumstances might occur which would operate as
temptations to a future chancellor of the exchequer, to pre-
pose to a future House of Commons to repeal the act, annul
the institution, and divert the appropriation of its stock to
the immediate services of the year : he therefore again, in
very forcible terms, recommended the other mode of proceed-
ing by individual subscription. In the course of his speech
he entered largely into the detail of the argument of Mr. Pitt,
assuring the House that however difficult they might think the
subject, and therefore be loth to listen to it, or to endeavour
to make themselves master of it, nothing was more easy ; there
was not the smallest conjuration in it, and he that ran might
read. Mr. Fox spoke rather loosely, but he displayed, as
usual on budget days, great ingenuity, and a wonderful fa-
miliarity with the subject of finance iu all its branches.


1736.] PLAN FOR REDUCTION OE THE NATIONAL DEBT. 213


The motion was carried in the affirmative without a division, and
/eve was given to bring in a bill according to the said resolution.
The bill vas brought in upon the 3 d of April, and on the motion
for the second reading upon the 6th,


Mr. Fox remarked, that his objections were not so weighty
as to induce him to wish that the bill might never come to a
second reading. They arose against the mode of creatinp.
the fund : the principle of the fund itself he highly approved,
but it was commenced in error ; for instead of there being
even some surplus this year, on a comparison of the receipt
with the expenditure, it would be found there was none.
What he approved in the plan was, that it would oblige the
minister, whoever he might be, whenever be made a new
loan, to take especial care to provide a fund to answer it.
Instead, however, of applying an imaginary surplus to the pur-
pose of instituting a fund, he would have advised the creating
a million or more by additional-burdens; the fund would then
have rested on solid grounds, which at present it did not do.
He would have advised, also, the taking of individual sub-
scriptions, as a better means of paying the debt; for as it was
proposed, he feared that the public would buy dearer and sell
cheaper, than any other buyers and sellers in the market.
Another objection he had to the proposed plan was, the tying
up the money even during a time of war; but that was an
objection upon which he had more doubt than .upon his
former one, though, like that, it did not prevent his voting
for the second reading of the bill. Mr. Fox then entered
into the discussion of the suggested idea, of applying the un-
claimed dividends at the bank to the public service, and said,
that the utmost advantage which could be made of that pro-
ject, would be, that the public would have the benefit of the
interest of the money ; for the principal of the dividends they
Could not assume and alienate, as the public would indis-
pulatavbs claimlybe le)dou. nd to make the principal good as soon as everi


Oa the izth Of May, the day appointed for reconsidering the
report of the committee on the national debt bill,


Mr. Fox rose to move a clause, which he thought would
Conduce to the improvement of the bill. His great objection
had been to the making the sinking fund to be created by the
bill unalienable in time of war from the purpose of paying Off
the debt, and the objection rested on the difficulty the country
might be thereby thrown into in consequence of being obliged
to make a new loan. What he should wish, therefore, was,


P 3




21 4 ARREARS OF THE CIVIL LIST.
[April 6.


that whenever a new loan should hereafter be made, the raj,
nister should come forward, and not only propose taxes that
were efficacious and productive to pay the interest of the loan,
but also sufficient to make good to the sinking fund, what
should have been taken from it, and likewise to empower


.
the


commissioners to accept the loan, or so much of it as they
should have cash, belonging to the public, in their hands
to pay for. Mr. Fox explained this latter part of his object
by, stating, that be meant that if, when a new loan of six
million was proposed, there should be one million in the
hands of the commissioners, in such case the commissioners
should take a million of the loan, and the bonus or douceur
upon that million should be received by them fbr the public;
so that in fact the public would only have five million to
borrow. I 'laving expatiated for some little time on the benefit
and advantages that would accrue to the public from this
plan, and stated that he had shewn his proposed clause to
the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer, who
approved it, and thought exactly as he did on the subject, and
that the bill so amended would be a good precept to posterity
to follow up in example, Mr. Fox brought up the clause
empowering the commissioners, in case of a new loan, to take
as much of it on behalf of the public, as they had money in
their hands to satisfy.


The clause was received by Mr. Pitt with the strongest marks
of approbation. The bill was read a third time on the, isth of
May, and carried up to the Lords, where it also passed without
meeting with any material opposition.


.^In111••n••


ARREARS OF THE CIVIL LIST.


April 6th.


R. Gilbert reported from the committee of supply the follow'
inn resolution, " That a sum not exceeding 30,0001. be


granted to his majesty, to discharge the arrears and debts due and
owing upon the civil list, on the 5th of January 1786."


Mr. Fox remarked, that although he did not entertain the
most distant idea of discountenancing any grant in favour
of his majesty, he could not forbear to express his astonish-
ment at finding a demand of that kind made by the crown
after the promise contained in the speech from the throne,


1786.] ARREARS OF THE CIVIL LIST. 215


at the beginning of the session of 1782, that there should in
future be no exceeding in that department ; the words of
which promise were as explicit as words could possibly be ;
and ran thus : 44 I have carried into execution the several
reduction s of my civil list expences, directed by an act of the
last session. I have introduced a farther 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." These words
were a part of the speech at the opening of the first session
after a noble earl (of Shelburne) was first lord of the trea-
sury, and the right honourable gentleman opposite to him
chancellor of the exchequer ; and it was evident from the
subject of the motion then before the House, that the pro-
mise contained in them had not been perfiirmed ; so that
either his majesty's ministers had advised him to make a
promise to parliament which it was impossible for him to
keep ; or they had advised him to break a promise which he
might have adhered to ; either of which actions were highly
criminal. —He said he could not avoid touching on a subject
which he understood had been mentioned the day before —
the establishment of his royal highness the Prince of Wales;
and he professed that it was not so much from motives of
gratitude for the confidence and condescension with which
his royal highness honoured him, nor from the affection
which he bore him for his many amiable qualities, but because
he really thought it highly necessary for the honour of the
crown and the advantage of the nation, that the hei •-appa-
rent should be enabled to live in splendor and in ease: for
there could be no friend to the monarchical part of our con-
stitution, who did not wish to make a full provision for sup-
porting the dignity of a person so nearly connected with the
monarchy. In the reign of George I. although the civil list
at that time was only 7 00,0001. a year, r 00,000/. of it was
allowed to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George II. ; and
yet, now that the civil list was so considerably increased as
to amount to 900,0001. a year, besides an additional aid of
50,0001. in amount at least, arising from the salaries of the
offices suppressed by the bill of his right honourable friend
(Mr. Burke) falling in, the income of the Prince of Wales
was only 5 o, °cc/. If his majesty could not make 950,0001.
cover his expences, how could it be expected that his royal
highness the Prince of Wales could live upon sc,00d.?
His royal highness's household establishment was more ex-
pensive, compared with his contracted income, than that of
his majesty, compared with the large amount of the civil list,
and the other sums which came in aid of it ; 5 0,0001. was,


P 4




2 I 6 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June


he confessed, equal to the establishment first granted to
Frederick Prince of Wales; but that prince's establishment
was known to be extremely inadequate, and was therefore
afterwards increased : and, besides, the expence of living had
risen considerably since that time. He knew no proper
method of bringing the business be ore the House, except by


°
messaoe from the crown, and he earnestly hoped ministers
would advise his majesty accordingly. If they did not, he
should himself venture to introduce the business previous to
the rising of parliament.


The resolution was agreed to by the House.


ARTICLES OE CHARGE .AGAINST MR. HASTINGS - ROHILLA
CHARGE.


ON the 4th of April Mr. Burke, in his place, charged WarrenHastings, esq. the late governor general of Bengal, with
sundry high crimes and misdemeanors, and delivered at the table
the nine first articles of his charge, and the rest in the course of the
following week, amounting in all to twenty two in number. On
the 26th Mr. Hastings requested by petition to the House to be
permitted to be heard in his defence to the several articles, and
that lie might be allowed a copy of the same. Mr. Burke de-
clared his wish that every reasonable degree of indulgence should
be shewn to Mr. Hastings: he should therefore readily consent to
his being heard in his defence, though lie did not think it quite
agreeable to the regularity of their proceeding, that lie shoald be
heard in the present stage of it. With respect to a copy of the
charges, he believed, there was no precedent of such an indul-
gence being granted. It ::as well known that it was his original
intention to have gone through the whole of his evidence before
he delivered in his articles, and to let the charge grow out of the
evidence ; but the House, in its wisdom, had thought proper to
vote a different mode of proceeding, and to direct that the charges
should be first made; and that he should then proceed to sub


-stantiate them by evidence. Hence he had been under the neces-
sity of new arranging his plan, and of making his charges as com-
prehensive as possible, taking in and zJtating every thing with which
private information could furnish him. In their present form they
were to be considered merely as a general collection of accusatory
facts, intermixed with a variety of collateral matter, both of fact
and reasoning, necessary for their elucidatien ; and the committee
to which they were to be referred would necessarily find occasion


I2


0.86.1
CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 211


t
o alter them materially. For this reason also lie thought it would


b


to give a copy of them, in the present stage of
the business)


r Fox observed, set


Mr. Hestings.


M .ved that the charges before the House were
ueot g113' improper, iculated charges, but merely general collections of ac- .
cusator3/facts, out of which the real charges were to be ex-


.


,


.y. body knew, that even af.:er the House had


tdrea
d


decided upon those real charges, articles short, specific, and
:n


cl were to be drawn up and sent to the House of


cted, an eve'


grounds of impeachment. Unless a precedentui


highl






articulated


1' copies of chto
argprove


es
that under such peculiar circum-


stances
party accused,


lied been granted by that House to
a


I:ea sa (tea eet d,


d he should be of opinion that the House
could not grant charges, loosely drawn, and which the corn-


iLords,
c 0 i dt e


,


mittee, to whom they were to be relerred, wotdd necessarily
alter materially.


Mr. Pitt was willing to admit That the charges contained criminal
matter, and such as it \yes highly incumbent on the House to in-
vestigate and bring to a most strict enquiry ; but still they were so
filled with aggravations and unconnected details ; they were so
confused and complicated , so irrelevant, and in many places so
unintelligible, that he thought it absolutely impossible for the
House at large to. be able to separate accurately and distinctly those
parts which were worthy of attention, from such as were entirely
foreign from the main design.


Mr. Fox remarked, that it could only be from want of
leisure that the right honourable t;entleman had not been
able to understand the charges laid upon the table by his
right honourable friend. He believed no other man in that
H.
ouse, who had looked into them ever so slightly, would


rise and say he did not understand them. Those without
doors, as well as those within, who hid read them, would ,
not deny that they were perfectly intelligible, however expla-
natory — for explanatory they necessarily must be. With


be
regard


denied
to their not being relevant, he expected it would not


formparts contained


and 1.


him, that the charges in their present cast and


all that w


much matter of criminal offence. That was
as necessary, because it was sufficient for the com-


Inittee to whom




they were referred, to report that ; and thenit became t le duty of the House to draw out the criminalctu i A
to


s tape them into articles, as fit grounds of impeach-
mein be


might appear
to the House of Lords. Whatever al-


teration
considerat on. H t necessary, was matter for subsequent


He described the difficulties his right honour-
able fr iend had experienced in his progress to that stage of




2 1 8 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June 1,


the business, and said, that no man with less abilities than
those of his right honourable friend could have surmounted
them. As soon as he had brought the business in one shape,
it was stated by the other side of the House, that the form of
proceeding was wrong, and that another form must be
adopted. His right honourab]e.. friend thereupon accom-
modated himself to the new mode, and followed it. The
next time the business came on, the other side changed it
again, and again his right honourable friend adopted it; still
new modes were proposed, new delays invented, new artifices
played off to retard, impede, and embarrass. But the House
and the public must see through the whole. The right
honourable gentleman opposite to him had admitted that the
charges bore on their face and in their body, much matter of
heinous offence, but he chosen to complain of confusion and ir-
relevancy, and had gone the length of stating that they were
in some parts utterly unintelligible. Why were these com-
plaints urged ? Because the guilt imputed was clearly under-
stood ; because it was felt ; because its impression could not
be concealed. In spite of every objection conjured up for
the sake of disguising the real effect of the charges, the cri-
minal matter stood - prominent and could not be denied.
Some people pretended not to understand the charges, be-
cause they understood them too well ! They pretended to
see no guilt in them, because they saw too much !


The question was at length put and carried.


June I.
The House having resolved itself into a committee of the whole


House to consider further of the several articles of charge of
high crimes and misdemeanors against Warren. Hastings, esq. late
governor general of Bengal, Mr. Burke brought forward the
Rohilla charge, and moved the following resolution thereupon :
" That the committee having considered the said article, and ex-
amined evidence on the same, are of opinion that there arc
grounds sufficient to charge Warren Hastings with high crimes and
misdemeanors upon the matter of the said article." Mr. Burke
introduced his motion with a solemn invocation of the justice of
the House, which he said was particularly due, as well to the
people of Great Britain, because the national credit and character
were deeply involved, and implicated in the issue of the business
about to be brought before them, as for the sake of their own
honour and dignity. He described with great force the nature of
the question to be decided ; declaring emphatically, that it was an
appeal from British power to British justice. The charge, he said,
must either condemn the accuser or the accused : there was no
medium. The result must he, that Warren Hastings, esq. had
been guilty of gross, enormous, and flagitious crimes ; or, that he


1786.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 219


was a base, calumniatory, wicked, and malicious accuser. He en-
larged upon the degree of guilt ascribable to that man who should
dare presume to take up the time of the House by rashly coining
forward, and urging groundless and ill-founded charges against a
person who had been intrusted with high and exalted offices in the
government of a part of our territories; much larger and more ex-
tensive than the whole island of Great Britain. There were, he
observed, but three sources of false accusation, viz. ignorance, inad-
vertency, or passion; by none of these three had he been actuated :
ignorance he could not plead, because he knew the subject as fully
as the labour and study of six years could make him know it :
inadvertency as little could he be charged with, because he had
deliberately proceeded, and examined every step he took in the
business with the most minute and cautious attention : and, least
of all, could it be said, with any colour of truth, that he had been
actuated by passion. Anger indeed he had felt, but surely not a
blameable anger ; for who ever heard of an enquiring anger, a
digesting anger, a collating anger, an examining anger, or a
selecting anger ? The anger he had felt was, an uniform, steady,
public anger, but never a private anger ; that anger which five
years ago warmed his breast, he felt precisely the same and un-
impaired at that moment. Not all the various occurrences of the
last five years, neither five changes of administration, nor the
retirement of the summer, nor the occupation of winter, neither his
public nor his private avocations, nor the snow, which in that period
had so plentifully showered on his head, had been able to cool that
anger, which he acknowledged to feel as a public man, but which,
as a private individual, he had never felt for one moment. —He
observed, that the vote they were to give that day was not merely
on the case of Mr. Hastings ; they were to vote a set of maxims
and principles, to be the guide of all future governors in India.
The code of political principles which they should that day establish
as the principles of British government in its distant provinces,
would stand recorded as a proof of their wisdom and justice, or of
their disposition to tyranny and oppression. He entered at large
into those peculiar circumstances m the connection between this
country and India, which rendered the retribution of justice, in
cases of cruelty and oppression, extremely difficult, and contrasted
them with the situation of the provinces conquered by the Romans.
The Roman empire was an empire of continuity, each province
being either immediately or nearly accessible by land ; they had
likewise one general Tongue to speak with, so that each man was
able to tellins tale in his own way. They had another advantage,
which arose from the very circumstance of their being conquered,
and it was, that the principal persons who accomplished the con.
quest always acquired a property and influence in each new pro-
vince by them subdued, and of course the vanquished found patrons
and protectors in the persons of their conquerors. Each province
was also considered as a body corporate, and consequently each
province was enabled to send their grievance to Rome collectively,
and to state them as speaking with one mouth. He next adverted
to the situation of an accuser in Rome, and to the advantages that




220 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [June Y.
attended him in prosecuting his charges against a state delinquent,
who was stripped of his power, and even of his rights as a citizen,
pending the prosecution, the better to enable his accuser to make
out and establish his accusation. He drew a distinction between
this facility of coming at a Roman governor, charged with high
crimes and misdemeanors, and the extreme difficulty of zmbstan-
ti;Iting an accusation against a British governor. When it was
considered that Mr. Hastings had been for fourteen years, at the
head of the government in India, and that nc one complaint during
that time had been transmitted to England against him, the House
must be convinced of the enormous degree of power he had to
contend with,. to which alone could !se ascribed the silence in ques-
tion, since it was not in human nattre, situated as Mr. Hastings
hkd been, to preserve so pure, even handed, and unimpeachable a
conduct, as to afford no room Thr a single accusation to be stated
against him. After this exordium, M •.Burke stated at large the
subject matter of the charge, and concluded a long and eloquent
speech, with desiring the clerk to read the resolution of May 1782,
to clear himself from the imputation of having rashly and singly
meddled with the subject ; and to show that the House had, in very
strong terms, already reprobated Mr. Hastings's conduct in the
Raffia war. The motion was supported by Mr. Wilbraham,
Mr. Powis, Mr. Montague, Lord North, Mr. M. A. Taylor, Mr.
Windham, and Mr. Hardinge; and opposed by Mr. Nicholls, Lord
Mornington, Mr. H. Browne, and Lord Mulgrave. At half past
three o'clock the debate was adjourned, and renewed the day fol-
lowing by Mr. Francis, Mr. Anstruther, and Mr. Fox, on the one
side ; and Mr. W. Grenville, Mr. J. Scott, Mr. Burton, Mr. Wil-
berforce, and Mr. Dundes, on the other. Upon this .


ocsasion,


Mr. Fox rose, and said :
Mr. St. John, I rise at this hour, to express what I think


with regard to this Inn..:iness, a:,er debating two clays about
the form in which it t;hocld be pat. It is indeed to me of
very little corLequence, in what shape the question is brought
before us: I want only to come at the ground upon which the
matter stands ; I wish only to meet the thing itself truly And
openly; the participation, the wilt, the criminality which may
justly be imputed to Mr. Hastings, wIth regard to the war
with the flobillas— a war carried on to the ir ruin, destruc-
tion, extermination, or any other name you may please to give
it, for it was certainly more than conquest. This is the ob-
ject to which I have dore a!1 in my power to call the atten-
tion of the House ; and I rrra,t confe6s that I am not a little
surprised tlnt. it has been so indch evaded, as it certainly has
been, and that in a manner so extremely marked.


The first charge exhibited by my right honourable friend
appeared not to meet the wishes of the House. A charge
specific of particular facts, was called fhr — this was complied
with. My right honourable friend brought a charge entirely


1786.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 221
of the nature and description of what had been demanded : it
was then thought more agreeable to gentlemen to move a
question upon the charge as it originally stood: this was ac-
ceded to with equal facility.


Had I foreseen the use that would have been made of
these concessions, I -would never have consented ; I do not
mean that my consent would have been of any avail, but I
would have debated to the last, rather than suffered the motion
to take the form it has now assumed. It has, indeed, always
been my opinion, that, the best mode of proceeding in this
business, was to move a general question, whether the whole
of the charges contained matter of impeachment ; and if this
should be the opinion of the committee, to consider what par-
ticular articles were to make a part of this impeachment; arid
had it not been that I confided in the declarations of the right
honourable the chancellor of the exchequer, I would have
still persisted in this manner of taking up the business. It is
my opinion that the number, as well as the weight of the
crimes that might be found, should go in the minds of gentle-
men who form a resolution for impeachment ; that the crimes
should be great and enormous ; and that not only should
they bear that character, but that they should be in number
very considerable, in order that the aggregate and not
the individuals alone, might form ground for inducing this
House to present them before the Hour of Peers, in the only
mode in which they can charge any man, that of impeach-
ment. The right honourable the chancellor of the enchequer
professes entirely to agree with me in this point ; he has de-
clared that he does not consider the vote upon this article, or
any one article, as pledging gentlemen to impeach, if upon a
retrospect of the whole, after having gone through each; they
do not find grounds to lead them to such a determination.


But although the right honourable gentleman professes this
to be his opinion, I must contend lie means something else.
Why, otherwise, should he be so much for retaining the word
impeachment at alt in the' motion ? If, as he declares, the
vote is solely whether there are high crimes and misdemeanors
imputable to Warren Hastings in th:s charge, that word can
only tend to mislead, and occasion a sense of the motion be-
fore the House different from what it really is in its true in-
tention. As I have said a good deal upon this in the course of
the evening, I beg only that it may not be misunderstood by
gentlemen, and that the motion may be taken in the sense ex-
plained by the right honourable gentleman to be his sense,
and which certainly is mine, that every gentleman who is
convinced that Warren Hastings is criminal, highly criminal,
with regard to the Rohilla war, ought to vote for the question.




222 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June


Much blame has been thrown by an honourable gentle..
man (Mr. Wilberfbrce) upon my noble friend ,


in the blue
ribbon, for not recalling Mr. Hastings at the time he blamed
him, as he declares he did, for the Radio, war. The fact is,
the noble lord did desire to recall Mr. Hastings, but his
wishes were opposed by those who were Mr. Hastings's
mediate masters. He did all in his power; he sent out
General Clavering, Mr. Monson, and Mr. Francis, to ex,
amine into his conduct, and to be a check upon the violence
of his proceedings. The effect has been as he foresaw, and
it has brought to light those actions which are the subject of
inquiry this day.


My right honourable friend too, who brought forward this
charge, has been accused of a persecuting spirit ; of bringing
forward actions that had been passed over, and which it was
right to bury in oblivion. Such imputations, I believe my
right honourable friend will not much regard; but when the
honourable gentleman complains of parliament, it is too
much to pass it over in silence. This business was first in-
quired into, in the committee of secresy, in the year 1782 ;
it was then censured, and severely censured ; and although it
was a transaction which happened so many years before
that period, it was not made known to them as a subject of
inquiry before the appointment of that committee. It was in
consequence of the facts that were discovered by that corn-7
mittee, that the resolutions reprobating the conduct of the
governor general were passed by the House of Commons.
My right honourable friend, it is true, moved for several
papers : some were granted him, many were refused; but
the whole had its origin in the year 1782. But why should
not the conduct of Mr. Hastings be entered into ? If by the,'
resolution of the House not to inquire into the transactions
of the year 1781, an act of grace was passed, was all his life
to be exempted ; or was it only that period of it between the-
year 1781 and the year 1782? Certainly there must beiki
sonic time for this purpose; and if the honourable gentleman
could prove that the Itohilla war was after this time, in which
no inquiry was to be made, he might do something; but let
this be left to those who are convinced of the guilt of
Mr. Hastings and do not choose to condemn him, as their
last subterfuge; but to which, it is to be hoped, they will
be ashamed to fly.


It has been said by some, that they see too much of party
spirit in this business. I agree that professions are nothing.
They have often deceived, and will deceive again ; but I
rest upon something better than professions. I rest , upon my
uniform conduct in this business. I was from the first, a spp-


17 86.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 223


Indian


of an inquiry into the management of the affairs in
India : I was in the origin a strong advocate for the necessity
of punishing the delinquency that was found there, by the
activity of the learned gentleman over against me (Mr.
Pandas). Through the whole of that business, I supported
chat learned gentleman, at a time when I disapproved of
his politics as much as I do now: I supported him, even
when those who were his friends were against the measures he
proposed.


Sir, I can appeal to something better than party spirit. I
can show that this has always been the line of my conduct; I
can appeal to the part I took upon myself at a much earlier
period, in bringing to justice crimes committed in our Asiatic
dominions; and there, too, by a man who had great advan-
tages in his favour : for great fame, great glory, great acts
for his country, were all in the character of Lord Clive; but
these I valued as nothing. Under whose banners did I then
contend ? It was under the banners of that Man, who is now
at the head of all the law and religion of this country, the
present lord chancellor of England, who treated the subject
with that manly eloquence for which he is so much distin-
guished; who crushed, I may say, to atoms, all those who
attempted to set up the services of Lord Clive as a bar to
punishment. He would not suffer a word to be heard, he
would not allow mention to be made of any thing that was
done by him, as any argument to prevent his punishment. I
supported him, and if such was my opinion with respect to
Lord Clive, I do not see any thing in Mr. Hastings's conduct
to induce me to change my mode of action. I do not think
that in any capital instance he has been of great use to the
company. The Mahratta peace is alledged in his favour. I
have my doubts whether this peace had the merit ascribed to
it; but if it had, it was a peace only upon a war entered into
by himself, on his own wanton provocation ; for he does not
seem to have been at any time a friend to peaceable measures.
He opposed also the forming, and the accomplishment of the
treaty of Poonah and Poorunder ; he opposed also the peace
with Tippoo Saib.


With respect to the particular question, I wish by no
means to treat it lightly. I do not approve of making the
difference of opinion, in the gentleman at the bead of the
board, on this subject, an object of pleasantry. The whole
business is, in my opinion, solemn and important to the last
degree. Much has been said of side questions, but I per-
suade myself there is a disposition in gentlemen to meet this
question fairly and openly. , Much disgrace would be upon
this country if they should countenance the advice that has


been




12 4 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 1.111c T786.3
CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 225


been given them by some persons, of assenting to this war,
as founded on justice.


As for this war of the Rohillas, it has appeared to all the world
so wholly unjustifiable, that there has not been found amen R
any set of men, any person that could defend it. If it shall
be 'supported by .a British House of Commons, it will be the
greatestnisfortune that can befall this nation.


The determination of this night will be attended to by all
Europe. The nations around us will form upon it their
future measures with regard to their powers in India; and
may justly presage the total loss of all confidence in the
justice of this nation in that part of the world. What must
be thought by our government in India ? The rule held out to
them they must, no doubt, consider as that by which they
are in future to direct their conduct.


It was said, that if we guaranteed Sujah Dowlali, we
ought to follow him to the extent of what he proposed, and
that there was no medium between forfeiting our faith as
guarantees, and joining with him in the destruction of the
Rohillas. This is, indeed, horrid policy! Instead of acting
the part of an equitable umpire and mediator, what is it but
to countenance and assist barbarous vengeance and rapacity?
to defend that which has cast indelible stains upon the moW
brilliant monarchs?


If any thing similar to this, of which we are speaking,
were to happen in Europe, how great would be the cry
against it? If Great Britain were to guarantee a truce
between the emperor and the Dutch, in which they stipu-
lated to pay a certain sum of money to the emperor, and
afterwards were to refuse to perform this, we ought, ac-
cording to this reasoning, to join with the emperor in the
compleat conquest of Holland. A noble lord (Mulgravc)
has, indeed, most sagaciously asked, what, in such a
situation, is a governor of India to do; is he to consult
Puffendorf and Grotius? No. But I will tell him what
he is to consult—the laws of nature—not the statutes to
be found in those books, nor in any books—but those la-s,'s
which are to be found in Europe, Africa, and Asia — that
are found amongst all mankind — those principles of equity
and humanity implanted in our hearts, which have thei .
existence in the feelings of mankind that are capable of
judging.


I have compared the conquest of the Dutch to the case of
the Rohillas—but it was more than a conquest. The word
extermination has been used ; but if the meaning of it be,
that every man, woman, and child was put to death, Mr-
Hastings is not guilty of so enormous a crime. Suffer me


to


to
make use of an example, that may come home more to


your feelings ; and that is with regard to Ireland. The
Ervilish are not above one ninth of the inhabitants of that
country, but they possess all the power, together with the
greatest part of the property and landed estates of it. Were
a French army to come and take possession of Ireland, and
Say to the English, 44 You are a set of robbers, those lands do
not belong to you; you are usurpers, and you came here
under the greatest usurper in the world ;" (for I believe
most of the English families settled in Ireland in the time
of Oliver Cromwell) "get you gone—get over that channel,
and leave this country, of which you have so unjustly taken
possession"—what difference would there be in an act of
this kind, and what has been done to the Rohillas ? Only
this—the Rohillas had been in possession fifty years, and the
English one hundred and fifty. No one, I believe, will think
that the time could make any material difference; but if this
was done by an enemy, it could only be done under the pre-
tence of restoring the country to its ancient masters. 'With
regard to the Rohillas, that is not the case—in other -respects
the case would not be dissimilar. If all the English were extir-
pated from Ireland, the manufacturers, the plownv, and the.
labourers would still be left—but I believe uo one would
say, that there would not be great hardship in such case,
great injustice, great cruelty. Figure to yourselves such a
body of people driven from a country in which they were in
peaceable possession, rooted up, and sent amongst you with
their wives, with their children, without property, without
any thing to support them in existence: yet they would have
another advantage ; the English would only be sent across a
narrow channel to their friends and countr ymen; but the
wretched Rohillas had no country—the country they had
left, had long been possessed by others, and where were these
miserable people to seek for a place of shelter—from the
persecution of whom ?—of Englishmen—natives of a country
renowned for its justice and humanity ! They will carry
their melancholy tale into the numerous tribes and nations,
among whom they are scattered, and you may depend upon
it, the impression which it must make, will, sooner or later,
have its effect.


A great deal of argumen4 has been made use of, with
regard to the guarantee, it is said, we entered into. I own
I think very differently from most people on this particular
Point. I think it necessary to consider first, if the agreement
was a guarantee : I think Mr. Hastings was guilty, if it was
11 guarantee ; if it was one, I think he is most guilty. But
't was no guarantee. Sir Robert Barker, who signed the


vox,"


'.1




X26


CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June 1,


treaty alluded to, had no powers for this purpose. He him-
self thought it no guarantee. The board thought it no gua-
rantee. In truth they could not enter into one, not even
Mr. Hastings himself, without contradicting in the most ex-
press manner the very opinions he was at that time strongly
impressing to be the directors of his conduct.


On the subject of offensive war there has been much dis-
pute; but Whatever may be the sentiments of others with
regard to it, Mr. Hastings most explicitly declares his opinion
to be against it. In the year 1772, Mr. Hastings, in his
letter to the court of directors, says, " I can in this beg leave
to assure you, that I adopt, with sincerity and satisfaction,
your orders against offensive war ;" and with regard to the
vizier, he declares that " nothing shall either tempt or com-
pel him to pass the political line which they had laid down
for his operations with him." He makes use of a very singu-
lar expression, for the purpose of shewing his strong deter-
mination on this point; it seems to me to be nonsense ; but
it is intended to chew his measures in a strong light : he says,
" in the mean time you will observe, that I have refused to
go farther than agreeing to a passive defence of his domi-
nions." This letter was written in the month of November,
1772 ; in the month of June preceding the treaty was signed
by Sir Robert Barker. If he had guaranteed them by this-
treaty, and come under an obligation to support such a gua-
rantee by an offensive war, it is impossible he could have ex-
pressed himself in this manner. In Mr. Hastings's own letter
he takes merit to himself for having gone into no offensive
treaty; and it is not to be supposed, he could be either so
absent, or have so much duplicity, as to speak of a business in
a light which he knew to be false, and which might so easily=
be discovered.


But they double the guilt by supposing a guarantee. If he
was guarantee, it could be no reason for his taking up arms;
the object was solely the acquisition of a sum of money ; and
I must beg leave to say, that the object of profit can be no
reason for taking up arms at any time or upon any emergency.
Here was solely the purpose of acquiring the sum of forty
lacks of rupees. No previous requisition was made of them,
but the country was immediately invaded. Couple this with
the office which they ascribe to, him ; he was an umpire and
a mediator. Every person who is a guarantee to a treaty is a
guarantee on both sides. An honourable gentleman said,e)
that he might be such, and not be bound to interfere this I
deny; he has a power of chusing; he is bound to procure the
effect of it in its full extent. But what was the ,conduct of
Mr. Hastings? He receives a bribe for the purpose of ex°


7786.] CHARGES AGAINST M. HASTINGS. 227


lofting a sum of money from those he was obliged by treaty
to defend; and he adds to the character of a cruel invader,
that of a corrupt and profligate judge.


I declare, Sir, that in all the writings I have ever seen, I
never recollect such doctrine maintained as I have heard on
this subject in this House. I do not pretend to be greatly
conversant in books of this kind, but in all of them I have ever
looked into, I have never seen conduct such as this attempted
to be defended; not even in Machiavel, nor the most corrupt
defenders of crooked policy. It is worse than any mode of
acting adopted by the meanest states of Italy ; and if such
doctrines are allowed by the House of Commons to be valid,
they are the first public assembly —I do not say that has
acted upon them — but they are the first which has ever
avowed and adopted them in any part of the civilized
world. Unfortunately for mankind, actions are not always
derived from pure sources in public bodies, but in general,
they take care to hold forth to the world principles of equity
and justice.


But if he did guarantee this treaty, it is insisted that he
was bound to see the money paid to Sujah Dowlah. Was
there no other way of procuring this than the one which
Mr. Hastings followed ? I cannot put it better than in tine
words of an honourable gentleman (Mr. Harding), who,
when he pleases, possesses the powers of eloquence as much
as any gentleman I know, but in a plain and simple manner
he expressed this more strongly than by the most magnificent
figures— Mr. Hastings' language to the Rohillas was this,
" If you do not pay this sum of money, be ye exterminated."
An honourable gentleman complains, that an appeal has been
made to his passions. It is true, it is an appeal to the pas-
sions; this'simple expression is an appeal, the strongest that
ever was made to the feelings of mankind — it is one of those
subjects which eloquence cannot heighten, and the force of
which words can only diminish. If a sum of money was due
by any one country to another with which we were in
alliance ;• if that sum was demanded and refused to be paid,
we might join our ally in arms; but we should not rush
blindly into war; we should weigh its policy; balance the ad-
vantage to be gained ; and at any rate, we should follow it
no farther than procuring the payment of the sum, and the
expence of enforcing it.
oblItedntoo


join
was pleased to say, that Mr. Hastings was


n in arms with Sujah Dowlah, and having
Joined him with his troops, he had no more control over
them : but this is by no means the line of his proper conduct.
If Mr. Hastings thought it right to grant an aid of troops to


2




228 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June


Sujah Dowlab, it ought to have been only for the purpose of
enabling him to recover this sum of money; but he ought not
to have suffered him to carry his resentment to the Rohillas
any farther ; and even to enter into an offensive war for this
purpose, would have been contrary to his orders, and what
the object would not have been equal to. Had Mr. Hastings
said to himself, " I will procure this money for Sujah DowIA,
as the guarantee of the treaty ; as the director of the English
forces, and the president of the company's servants I feel
myself bound to see that the stipulation is fulfilled, — " Fiatjustitia, runt aelum." 1 am determined to risque every thine
to maintain the claim of Sujah Dowlah ; let the policy ana
displeasure of the company yield to the necessity of maintain-
ing our faith :" his conduct might have left room for an apo-
logy; but this is not his language. What does he say ?
says, give it me; I must have this sum. And he thinks fit to
represent to him what the orders of the company were, in
order to enhance the merit of joining his forces with him, and
to induce him to be more ready to let him have these forty
lacks. Besides, the Rohilla country was always esteemed a
barrier against the Marattas, and they were at that time prepar-
ing to go to war against that nation. The security, therefore,
of the company's territories required, that they should rather
be defended than expelled ; that they should be rather pro-
tected than wantonly attacked and destroyed.


It is in every respect a clear point, that Sujah Dowlah had
no claim upon you for your assistance, whether there was a
guarantee, or whether there was no such connection existing.


attestation of any treaty, —and Sir Robert Barker's sig-
nature was no more, — can never he considered as a guaran-
tee. As well might the signature of Mr. Oswald and Mr.
Franklin, to the treaty of the last peace, he considered as a
guarantee that this country and America should perform the
conditions they separately agreed upon with France. I think
it must be equally convincing to all who attend to the true
state of this business, that if there was a guarantee, it only
tended to increase the criminality of this conduct. There are
the orders of the company against all offensive alliances ; and
there is the security of the country depending upon the strict
compliance with these orders. No one can doubt, that the
orders of the company arc clear, and that the disobedience ofd
these orders is as clear.


With regard to the justice of the war, it is impossible, in
my opinion, that any human mind can feel, that it is not
highly unjust in every respect, and in the most extensive de-
gree. No principle that could tend to justify it was ever de,.
fended Ina this period, —and that, too, in a British House


3


p-86.] CHARGES AGAINST ant. HASTINGS. 229


or Commons! Much difference has arisen about the policy of
restricting servants in Asia from entering into offensive war.
I must own, that I am on that subject entirely of the opinion
of the directors. I think that the reputation of equity and
moderation is so necessary to the preservation of our posses-
sions in India, that if the rich dominions of the Rohillas had
been annexed to our territory, the acquisition could not have
made up for the loss of character we have sustained. I think
nothing that was possible to be proposed could make up for
it. The principle upon which Mr. Hastings acted was horri-
ble; it was the principle upon which the most insignificant
mercenary states form their measures of acting. What a
principle for a great nation; for the English nation ! It was
no less than this in the most express terms—you must pay me,
and I will exterminate them. This was the language held by
the man who was entrusted with the government of the
greatest territory belonging to the British empire, or perhaps
to any empire; give me the forty lacks of rupees, and I will
break through the orders I have received from my masters,
and you shall make use of their army to exterminate the Ro-
hillas, and take possession of their country.


But behold what follows. In the year 1782 he is accused
of partiality to Sujah Dowlah ; his reply is ready, he makes
the company participators in the crime, and by pretending
their advantage, endeavours to evade the punishment due to
such behaviour. I did not, says he, mean to serve Sujah
Dowlah; I made this engagement to serve you, by bringing to
your treasury a sum of money, and drawing him nearer the
frontiers of the Marattas; so that by his dread of them, he
may be more dependant upon you. The whole and every
part of this transaction forms a picture of so sad and crooked
a policy, that it is infinitely detestable.


But this was not only a war merely of contention for vic-
tory. It was carried on with circumstances of the most atro-
cious cruelty. But that I may not seem to exaggerate, what
in itself needs no exaggeration, I shall beg leave to read to
you the letters of Colonel Champion, complaining of this be-
haviour. — Fox here read the following letters :


Letter from Colonel Champion to Mr. Hastings, dated Bissoullec,
Toth of March, 1774.


Dear Sir, I have the pleasure to send you a short address for the
hoard, requesting permission to repair to the presidency, and I beg
you will not tail to present it as soon as credible accounts shall ar-
rive of any officers being on the way to Bengal, to take the corn-
Maud of the army.— Not only do I wish to get down as soon as
Possible, to put my little affairs in the best order for my return to


Q 3




230 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [June r •
Europe, but I must be candid enough to unbosom myself to you,
and confess, that the nature of the service, and the terms on which
I have been employed this campaign, have been inexpressibly dis-
agreeable.—The authority given to the vizier over our army, has
totally absorbed that degree of consequence due to my station.
My hands have been tied up from giving protection or asylum to
the miserable. I have a deaf ear to the lamentable cries of the
widow and fatherless, and shut my eyes against a wanton display
of violence and oppression, of inhumanity and cruelty.—The
company's interest constrained me in public to stifle the workings
of my feelings, but I must give them vent in private.— Though
we had no active part in these base proceedings, yet if is well
known that the success of our arms gave him the power of commit-
ting these enormities, mid I much fear that our being even silent
spectators of such deeds, will redound to the dishonour of our
nation, and impress all Hindostan with the most unfavourable opi-
nion of our government. — As matters are now, I know of no
remedy that would so effectually re-establish our character for jus-
tice and clemency, as your taking the family of Hafez under the
wings of your mercy and protection, and influencing the nabob to
make provision for them, in some degree suitable to their birth.—
It would affect your sensibility too much, were Ito descend to par-
ticulars ; let it suffice that the nabob Mahabbit Cawn, the eldest
son, and the rest of the family of Hafez, who are under close con-
finement ( the Begums and other women included) have been
driven to the necessity of making private applications for a little
rice and water.— I wish, my friend, to leave scenes which none
but the merciless sujah can bear, without heart-bleeding pain.
Relieve me, therefore, as soon as possible, and oblige, dear Sir, &c.


" A. CHAMPION."


Extract of a letter from Colonel Champion, dated Camp, 1 zth
ofJune, 1774.




"
In compliance with the board's desire, I am now to mention a


very unpleasing subject, the vizier's treatment of the family of
Hafez Ramet, &c. The inhumanity and dishonour with which
Mihebullah Khan, his brother Fittiullah Khan, late proprietors of
this city and this country, have been used, is known all over these
parts ; a relation of them would swell this letter to an immense
size, and withal prove very disagreeable reading ; I send you
translations of two letters, and a copy of a third, which, affecting
as they are, will convey but a faint idea of the treatment these un,
happy people have met with.— I could not help compassionating
such unparalleled misery ; and my requests to the vizier to spew
lenity were frequent, but as fruitless as were the advices which
I almost hourly gave him regarding the destruction of the vil-
lages, with respect to which I am now constrained to declare,
that although he always promised as, fairly as I could wish, yet
he did not observe one of them, nor cease to overspread the
country with flames, till three days after the fate of Hafez
Rhamet was decided ; but that gentleman, as in all pciints


'


ex-
cepting such as immediately respect the operations of' fhe field,


1786.1 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 23t


he is solely entitled to prescribe ; the reputation of the British
name is in his hands, and the line which has been laid down
for me is clear."


Translation of a letter from a wife of Hafez Rhamet Khan to
Colonel Champion.


The English gentleman, renowned through Indostan for jus-
tice, equity, and compassionating the miserable. Hafez Rhamet
Khan for forty years governed this country, and the very
beasts of the forest trembled at his bravery. The will of God is
resistless ; he is slain, and to his children not an atom remains,
but they are cast from their habitations, naked, and exposed to
the winds and the heat, and the burning sand, and perishing
for want even of rice and water : how shall I either write or state
my condition ? My sighs dry my ink and scorch my paper. It is
evident as the sun the English are brave and merciful, and who-
soever they subdue, their children they preserve, who forget their
sorrows by the kind treatment they receive ; nor draw the sword
in an unjust cause. Yesterday I was chief of an hundred thousand
people ; to-day I am in want even of a cup of water; and where I
commanded, I am prisoner : fortune is fickle, she raises the hum-
ble, and lowers the exalted: but I am innocent, and if any one is
guilty, it is Hafez : but why should the innocent be punished for
the errors of their father ? I am taken like a beast in a snare, with-
out resting place by night, or shade by day. From you, Sir,
hope justice and compassion ; for I ani as a bird confined in a cage,
'tis better to give up life by the dagger, than famish thus by hun-
ger and thirst ; you, I hope, Sir, will reflect on my state, or my
misfortunes will be doubled ; I have nothing left ; pardon this
paper."


Extract of a letter from Colonel Champion, dated June isth,
1774.


" I am most heartily disposed to believe that the board could
not have suspected their orders would have had such consequences
as have fallen out; they could not have foreseen so sudden and so
total an expulsion and downfall of a whole race of people ; they
could not have supposed that a man, exalted and supported by the
British arms, would have paid so little deference to the advice and
counsel of a British commander ; nor was it possible to conceive
that a man who himself had tasted the gall of misfortune, should
be so totally unmindful of the unbounded, and unparalleled
grace shown to him, as to delight in denying a single ray of be-
nevolence to others ; such however has been the case ; and in this
intimation of it, I have discharged that which was incumbent up-
on me. I too can say that the nabob, as an agent of oppression, is
alone culpable ; but whilst all Asia well knows that the English
gave him the rod, and whilst they in vain look up to them as those
who ought, if not to direct its application, at least prevent an ill
use being made of that rod; will they not conclude that the
scourges which the agent gives are connived at? Will they not
say every English chief is a sujah ?"


R4




232 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [June I
Extract of a letter to the governor-general and council, dated


Both of Jan. 7 75 .
" Consider, my friend," says his excellency the vizier, repeat-


edly to Mr. Hastings, " that it was my absolute determination to
extirpate the,Rohillas, and that I requested the assistance of the
English for that purpose."


However well it is known, continued Mr. Fox, that his
excellency is equal to the barbarous design for which he thus
publicly and daringly avows that he solicited the aid of the
English, is it possible we can believe, that the respectable gen-
tleman here traduced, could have been privy to so horrid a
purpose ? Could he have so entirely overcome the feelings of
humanity? Could he have been so lost to every sense of
honour, as to prostitute the English troops, and to stain the
glory of the British name, by subscribing to a prcconcerted
massacre? What is not his excellency capable of advancing?


But with regard to all this, the noble lord (Mornington)
says, he considers Mr. Hastings as not at all blameable, that
he did all that was in his power to prevent Sujah Dowlah from
behaving with cruelty; but that he could not turn his face
against a prince whom he had engaged to assist. Why did
he not? The principles of humanity and equity are paramount
to all treaties and all ties. Ile ought to have made use of his
power to prevent the violation of the sacred obligations of hu-
manity. Sujah Dowlah and his troops were nothing. It was
easily in the power of our people to have put an entire end,
and to have prevented the ravage they made among the Ro-
hillas. Whatever are your engagements with any ally, you
must never forget the rights of mercy and humanity; and
when you find those who arc with you unwilling to act their
part, you ought to prevent them from making a bad use of
the rod you have put into their hands. It is a greater motive
for opposing their violence, that you have contributed to put
it in their power to abuse victory. But at all times, and on
every occasion, you are obliged to do all that is possible for
you to do, to prevent cruelty.


I refer not to Puffendorf and Grotius; every man who has
the feelings of a man is capable of judging. Does it require
any investigation of minute relations in points of justice and
equity, to decide, that you ought to put a stop to cruelty and
barbarity whenever it is in your power so to do? These cruel-
ties are not, indeed, chargeable on Mr. Hastings personally;
but when I state, that he levied an unjust war, the COMO-
quences that fellow he is guilty of: with all the mischief oc-
casioned by these means lie is chargeable. In the prosecution
of a war founded on justice, it cannot be said, that we draw


1786.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 23 3
upon ourselves the guilt of all the evils that may happen : but
it is far otherwise in an unjust war. Having departed from
rectitude and justice in the outset, every farther deviation,
even without our immediate act, is additional guilt heaped
upon our heads.


But it has been said, that Mr. Hastings is not liable to be
charged with it, as he was at a distance, and could not remedy
the evil. Neither is this a true representation : Mr. Hastings
had intelligence of the cruelties that were practised, and lie
did not take the means to put a stop to them, which were
entirely in his power : he even refused, at the requisition of
Colonel Champion, to give relief to the severities which were
suffered by that unhappy people ; and the reason he gives is,
that Sujah Dowlah, if they were to controul him, might make
that a pretence of refusing the stipulated sum he had agreed
to pay. The whole transaction,. from beginning to end,
was carried on for the purpose of acquiring these forty lacks
of rupees; for that sum, the character, the dignity, the honour
of the English nation were basely and treacherously ex/posed


,to sale.
I think I have now gone over the four principal features


of this business, in a manner, indeed, very desultory, owing
to the time of the night at which I speak, and which makes
me desirous to hasten through the business as soon as possi-
ble. The four principal matters to which I wish to draw
your attention are, First, the direct disobedience of the orders
of his masters, approved by himself, and perfectly- well under-
stood by him. Seccndly, I have endeavoured to prove to you,
that the war was entered into on our part, without any kind
of obligation upon us so to do. Thirdly, I have spoken to
the justice; and last of all, to the policy of this war. In
all these I think I have demonstrated, that there is not a
shadow of ground to stand up in defence of Mr. Hastings.
His orders are clear, and his disobedience of those orders
equally clear.


I think I have made it also obvious to the conviction of
every one, that Mr. Hastings was under no obligation to give
the assistance to Sujah Dowlah that he did give; that there
was no claim upon us in any respect of the matter ; and that
in this light it was understood, both by Sujah Dowlah, by


Hastings, and by the council. I have also endeavoured
to prove, that the action was most unjust, cruel, and inhuman,
Iu Sujah Dowlah, and still more so in us; because it was in
ofaluii. ,power to prevent it. By our countenance it was accom-
pl ished; and the whole iniquity of the ruin of these people


upon this nation. I have lastly spoken to the policy
of it, and I hope neither its policy nor justice will ever be




234 CHARGES AGAINST AIR. HASTINGS. [June i1;,'


defended by this House. It was no other than a memo..
nary bargain. for a sum of money, to destroy a people against
whom we had no ground for complaint. What an example
to future governors, should this action have the sanction or
the approbation of this House ! I have not enlarged upon the
cruelties in the execution of this business; the business itself
speaks enough to your passions, and it ought to speak to your
passions. Vengeance is due to the injured Rohillas. It is •
due to the character of this country, stained and violated in
so gross a manner. It is clue to the honour, the dignity, and
the justice of this House.


Against all these principles is set up the personal character
of Mr. Hastings. I am far from being desirous of detracting
from the character of any man. I wish to think well of every
man ; and am willing to believe Mr. Hastings possesses very
good qualities; but when I am told that he is all mildness and
humanity, even to womanish tenderness, I must hesitate. If
the Begum and the other women, in favour of whom Colonel
Champion intreated Mr. Hastings in vain, had been told that
the man who had it in his power by a word to relieve them
from the distress and dishonour which they suffered, and who
turned a deaf ear to their miseries, was a man possessed of
the tenderest feelings of humanity, would they not hold up
their hands, and possess minds full of wonder and surprise?
It seems indeed impossible, that a man whose heart was not
uncommonly hardened, could have acted the part in this mat-
ter which was acted by Mr. Hastings.


In this corner of the world, happily for us, we see few
atrocious acts of cruelty, and are strangers to that fierceness
of temper and unfeeling disposition which prevails very much
in other quarters of the globe. The people we converse with
are in general mild and humane; and have an external po-
liteness and softness of manner, which we suppose to be the
natural effect of these qualities : and wherever we meet with
that external appearance in ally man, we are apt to persuade
ourselves that he is possessed of these virtues; but in fact they
have no natural connection in themselves, andive often find
that those who are of an insinuating, soft, and engaging man-
ne•, conceal more cruelty and inveterate hatred in their tem-
pers, and have less of real sensibility for the distresses of others,
than men of a very different external appearance : men whose
manner appears full of warmth and passion, have generally
more real tenderness and humanitytthan others who are calm,
cool, and collected in their behaviour.


But how ought the character of Mr. Hastings to be tried?
We cannot judge of it from what any persons in India can
tell of him. There is, in my opinion, a much more certain


1786.] CHARGES AGAINST AIR. HASTINGS. 235
mode of judging—from his despotism in India. Uncon-
trolled power always corrupts the heart, renders a man har-
dened to the distresses of others, and destroys the finer feel-
ings of the mind. No man has ever been able to enjoy great
power without being made worse by it; but the true mode of
judging of any man's character is by his actions, and the effect
of his actions. I read Mr. Hastings's character in the ruin
of Hindostan, in the desolation a the country of the Rohillas ;
these mark a character extremely different from the accounts
presented to us by partiality, or particular habit. If Mr.
Hastings had possessed the feeling which it is alleged he does,
would he not have reflected before lie committed an army,
powerful enough to do any mischief, under the direction of
such a prince as Sujah Dowlah ; whose cruel and perfidious
disposition was sufficiently known to him ?


it is said, you are not to consult the character of the
princes with whom you are engaged. But you ought to con-
sult them so far as to know the length to which you can put
confidence in them ; and knowing the character of Sujah
Dowlah, Mr. Hastings undoubtedly deserved much blame for
suffering him to possess so great an authority over the British
troops; and he ought most certainly to have given the strictest
orders to prevent his exercising any cruelty over the inha-
bitants of that devoted country, which he had suffered them
to attack. But, on the contrary, we find Mr. Hastings ex-
citing Sujah Dowlah to the full accomplishment of his pur-


• poses, and afterwards giving up the devoted Rohillas to the
will of this tyrant.


In every light in which I can view this war, it appears to
me equally indefensible, equally disgraceful to the character
of this nation. I think it leads to every thing that is bad; and
if the principle of this transaction should be approved of by
this House, the governors of India will have little restraint
upon their actions, and certainly will believe it unnecessary
to observe any other laws than those which rapacity and vio-
lence may dictate.


An honourable gentleman was pleased to blame my right
honourable friend for charging Mr. Hastings with a transac-
tion which passed so many years previous to this period ; .but
he ought to recollect, that this is not the first time the Rohilla,
war has been condemned, and that severely too. We have
/Ton the journals of the House a specific resolution against
the Rohilla war, censuring it in as severe terms as can be
made use of, framed and passed on the motion of the learned
gentleman (Mr. Dundas) who is desirous of treating all that
system which he had so strenuously maintained at ,a former
period, as a mere chimera. For it is not this resolution alone,




236 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June


but that whole plan, that code of laws esteemed so necessary
to the government of India, which is wholly overturned by
the approbation ,of this transaction ; they must remain so
much .dead letter ; a monument of the zeal of their author
who now has abandoned what he once so eagerly contended
for, and has displayed an example of inconsistency scarcely
equalled in the political history of this country. If the reso-
lutions which the learnedgentleman brought forward had any
meaning; if they were to be taken in their obvious sense; in
the sense they were by all at the time of their being brought
forward understood; they certainly amounted to a full and
total reprobation of the measures carried on in India by the
governor general, Mr. Hastings: they pointed out the neces-
sity of a change in the whole of the mode of administering our
affhirs in that part of the world, and by being adopted by
this House, we have become pledged to see them put in exe-
cution. This is the first opportunity we have had of skewing
cur determination to enforce them, and if this is omitted, it
will be justly considered as an entire relinquishment of the
plan of moderation and equity we thought so necessary at that
time to establish.


What colouring the learned gentleman can possibly give to
his behaviour, it is impossible to conjecture. After having so
solemnly bound himself to carry on this inquiry, to evade it
in the manner he has clone, is too shameful to admit of apo-
logy. Can he assert that he did not mean that Mr. Hastings
should be charged with the crimes he has imputed to him?
Did he intend to calumniate him in his absence, and when
Mr. Hastings had an opportunity of defending himself, to
shrink from the accusation, and leaving the stigma which he
had thrown upon that gentleman to remain, to refuse to give
him an opportunity of vindicating his innocence ?


Where would be the injury to Mr. Hastings, of sending
up an impeachment against him? -Where is the danger? In
that assembly, where all the law, the religion and the justice
of this country is collected, it is impossible any injury can be
suffered. A fhir and equitable trial of the business must take
place, and the culprit have it in his power to vindicate himself
from the charges which have been made against him.


These resolutions brought up by the honourable gentle-
man, undoubtedly were intended to be a pledge that a charge
would be made against all who had disobeyed them, and that
it would be carried into effect by this House of Commons.
There are only three modes by which any man can be charged
by this House : two of them are disapproved of: why should
not the remaining one have its fair operation ? .But it is
said, there should be some fixed marks of parliamentary tins.-


86.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 237


by the Commons of England is a charge of great solemnity,


of which he is accused, and passing some opinion with regard


and much weight, yet it is no condemnation. The House


J
,,errace upon Mr. Hastings, it is too much to impeach him.—


too btleelnilZtrd at the proper bar ? It is true, an impeachment


3ut how is this to be done, without inquiring into the crimes


Would you condemn him without suffering him


possesses no judicial sentence; it only, in this instance, fol-
lows up what is laid down as the rule to which it was to ad-
here, with regard to our servants in India. But to-night we
pass no resolution of impeachment, we decide only upon the
crime; the former must be left to au after consideration of the
whole, not any particular part of his measures.


Let the whole of the conduct of Mr. Hastings be met
fully, and without evasion ; let it be examined with firmness,
and with a determined purpose of asserting the principles of
moderation and equity we have held out to the world, and
upon the maintaining of which, the stability of our footing in
India must undoubtedly exist. If our views of administering
government in India are changed


• if we believe that those
resolutions which were framed with an unanimity not always
to be expected, and at that time very uncommon in this
House, were not founded in good policy, nor in justice, let
us declare it to the world. I call upon the learned gentleman
to whose labours we are so much indebted, and to whose
exertions we owe all that system this House has pledged itself
to establish, to come forward, and with manliness and spirit
move that they be erased from the journals of this House.
Why do they remain enrolled an evidence of the impotence


jor of the folly of those who ought to be the guardians of theustice of the nation ?
But the right honourable gentleman says, lie intended only


that Mr. Hastings should be recalled. He determines, in
May 1782, that Mr. Hastings should be recalled—Mr. Has-
tings did not arrive in England until 1785. The right ho-
nourable gentleman was no short time in office before the re-
call was thought of; time for reflection had been gained, and
he found that he had been too zealous. But he had proceeded
too fh.r to retreat; he therefore at length determined to re-
call Mr. Hastings, and he did recall him—with thanks, with
approbation, and with every mark of favour and protection
that a minister could bestow. Is this the effect of the boasted
reformation in India? Is this the earnest of the new system
of eastern government, which was to produce so much hap-
piness and prosperity in that part of the world? Is this an
example of


boasted determination of ministers to punishA




238


CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June I.


An honourable gentleman (Mr. Grenville) has been ple ased
to speak of the bill which I brought into this House, with
regard to that part of our dominions; with some severity, and
has described it as a bill that will be long remembered in this
country. I hope it will not soon be forgotten. It may be
thought that on this point I feel sore. I own I do not think
it wise on their part, to mention this matter now : no part of
that business can redound much to their honour. The bill
which they have framed, has been renewed and amended,
until it scarcely bears the resemblance of the original form.
I do not wish to call up this subject, but I know what I owe
to myself. I must take this opportunity to declare, that the
bill to which the honourable gentleman alludes, I esteem the
most important measure of my life. The principle on which
it was built, I am satisfied, is that alone which is capable of
maintaining order, and preventing abuse in the government
of those distant territories. Long had I revolved m my own
mind, the plan of which I am now speaking ; and when I
came into office, I did not feel easy until I had attempted to
bring into existence, what I held so essential to the right
administration of our government in that part of the world;
and until I should accomplish it, I felt I had not done justice
to India.


An honourable gentleman (Mr. Jenkinson) has thought
proper to arrogate merit to himself; in having rendered abor-
tive the system which I proposed, and has been pleased to
boast of his influence in contributing towards its overthrow.
It is, indeed, an influence.which you have all felt; it is a rod
which has severely chastised this country ; which has brought
it to the brink of ruin ; inclosing all things in concealment
and disguise, it still continues to spread its baneful effects
over the measures of the government of this nation. But long
as this has been suspected, persevering and forcible as has been
its action, never until this day has its existence been avowed,
and made a subject of undissembled boasting. The honourable
gentleman, indeed, is right to make himself formidable by
something. He possesses knowledge and industry ; but if his
influence was not more powerful than his argument and his
consequence in this House, and in this country, it would
speedily find its own destruction, and be reduced like them,
to less than nothing.


But how much soever the honourable gentleman may make
a triumph of his power in the instance to which I allude, I
can assure him I feel myself very little personally affected by
it ; and I do declare that unless I had been able to accomplish
the great point to which I had bent all my thoughts, I would
not have rekualPed one day in office. Had I accomplished it,


12


86.11 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 239


I would not have left India in that forlorn state, in which I
think it is now left, abandoned to the management of men in-
cessantly driven from one object to another; appearing deter-
mined now, and again deserting their ground; and every thing
at last failing them, they have been forced to rest all their
hopes upon the virtues of a single man. I will venture to
foretell, that this measure will be found as little effectual, for
the purposes wanted in India, as the other schemes they have
held up to deceive the public.


Perpetual, constant, strict responsibility to this House, is
the only way in which it is possible to govern, with justice
and with effect, these distant possessions. It is in this way
only we shall be able, and it is upon these conditions alone
that we have a right to preserve them. It was on these prin-
ciples that I founded my bill, and I am still confident they are
the only principles that can impart stability and rectitude to
that part of the administration of the empire. I know that the
measure was by some persons loudly execrated and condemned;
but I take this opportunity of declaring that whatever others
may think of it, my opinion is only more and more confirmed
of its propriety and necessity. The principle of that bill it is
my ambition to have considered as the object which, above all
others, I think the most necessary for this country to attain.
Those who opposed it have passed another, different in form,
and founded on very different maxims. What have they
done? They have passed one bill one year, another bill ano-
their year; and we see them driven about from one principle to
another, until they scarcely themselves know upon what they
are proceeding.


The whole government of India rests upon responsibility.
This is the grand object to which our attention should be di-
rected, And let me ask, how is this to be effected ? If, in
every instance, and at every point of time, you have not the
means of enforcing this principle, it is not possible the govern-
ment of this country can be preserved in its purity in the
east. You have no other hold of the people whom you send
out to that part of the world, but by placing them in such a
situation, that every thing they do is to be canvassed and in-
quired into, and if criminal, punished with severity. If you.
lose sight of this for a moment, your power over that country
is gone. If a bad act is committed, what can you do? You
threaten, and you recall, you appoint committees, and pre-
pare all the apparatus of punishment. This consumes time;
and with regard to that part of the world, thirteen months are
thirteen years. Before you can bring this man before you,
something may happen that will be a set-oft; and the whole
may at once vanish away. The inquiry will be silenced, and




•11


240 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June i.


affairs go on in the same wretched train in which they hitherto
have been conducted.


People are greatly mistaken if they imagine there can be
the responsibility in India that there is here, -and by similar
means. In this country facts can be got at with ease; the
conduct of men is under the public eye, and if they betray the
trust reposed in them, it is possible to come at the means of
detecting their guilt. But how arc you to procure evidence
of crimes committed in so distant a country ? The time neces-
sary for such a purpose would suffer any mischief to be car-
ried on, perhaps to the total ruin of our possessions.


I would have strict, literal, and absolute obedience to or-
ders, in all those whom I entrusted with the administration
of government in that country ; that we might know the
ground upon which we were treading, and be able to form
some judgment of the real state of our affairs in that part of
our possessions. This House has already passed certain reso-
lutions, and has pledged itself to see them put in execution ; an
opportunity is now presented, the matter is now in issue, and
if it is suffered to fall to the ground without a spirited and a
firm examination, all inquiry


.
may sleep for ever, and every


idea of punishment be buried in oblivion.
This is, as I have said before, a matter of the utmost im-


portance, and one which admits not of delay. If these prin-
ciples are founded in truth, justice, and ;


good policy, it is.
incumbent on you to lose no time to bring them into effect;
and, by a striking example, to convince the world that the
principles of equity and moderation, which you have held out,
were not intended to deceive; and that you did not begin the
work of reformation without being determined to carry it on
until it should have its full effect, by restoring happiness, and
preventing oppression throughout our dominions in Asia.


I have thought it proper, Sir, to shew the House that my
opinion is not altered, and to declare that I do not see any
thing hitherto done which is in any respect likely to place our
affairs in that quarter upon a stable and prosperous basis.
Deeming, as I do, the affairs of India to be weighty to the
last degree, I trust I need make no apology for endeavouring
to impress upon the House the only mode of governing these
possessions, that I am confident can ever be attended with
success, namely, that of responsibility to this House. With
this principle the present inquiry is most intimately con-
nected. If you suffer it to be evaded, an abandonment of all
control over your people in India must undoubtedly follow.
Mankind will always form their judgments by effects; and ob-
serving that this man, who has been the culprit of this nation,
and of this House, for a series of years, is absolved, without a


766.3 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 241/
trial of his crimes, they will easily conclude, that an-regu., find the same mode of coming at protection, and


°
t1tililiterfenalrayof punishment need not, at any time, interrupt the


PUIrsItsiriotatgaagititii.n, Sir, before I sit clown, shortly revert to the
matter immediately before us. The principles of morals are
to be drawn from books, and from the tongues of men, not
from their actions. The fact is, indeed, too true, that men
have in all ages been little governed in their actions by equity
and justice ; but seldom has it happened, that they have openly
avowed that they have not been directed in their conduct by
rules so generally established as the foundation of all inter-
course among mankind. The war against the Rohillas carries
with it so great an abandonment of all the great leading prin-
ciples of morality, that it is astonishing that any man can at-
tempt to defend it. We should reflect that our character is
at,stake — and undoubtedly we should preserve that fair and
unsullied. It is natural to trust in a fair character ; and when
that is lost, all confidence is carried with it.


We should cbusider that Mr. Hastings himself does this.
He acts upon the character of nations : he states the charac-
ter of the Rohillas as a reason for their being exterminated.
If we were to go on this principle, and exterminate every
nation of that description, we should soon leave the face of the
earth thinly, inhabited; and I am afraid our own country would
not be able to stand up with much confidence in defence of
its own character, if it should give its assent to such barbarous
doctrines. But there was nothing in the character of the
Rohillas to excite the indignation, or draw down the resent-
ment of any nation, much less of Great Britain. They were
a brave people, and, what is singular, the only free people in.
India. They governed the country of which they were pos-
sessed with a mildness of which its very flourishing condition,
so as to be called the garden of Hindostan, is an-undeniable
proof; they were endowed with aft those national virtues
which Britons have been accustomed to admire, and which
form a strong chain of connection between countries which
enjoy the blessings of liberty. Ought not such a people to
have met with sympathy and regard in the feelings of this
nation? Ought not a cause such as theirs to have interested a
British bosom ? To mark out such a people as the objects of
avarice, as the victims of unprovoked resentment, or to aban-
don them to the rod of tyranny and oppression — what con-
duct could be more derogatory to the character of a nation
which enjoys the influence of libert y ? What mode of pro-
cedure could be more disgraceful to the honour and humanity
of the British name?


vol..




24 2 GHARGtS AGAINST' MR. HASTINGS. [June
An honourable gentleman (Mr. Grenville) has spoken of


the religion and tenets of the Rohillas as an argument for their
destruction. I think he said, they were of some particular
sect of musselmen, the sect of Omar, and different from Hirt,
door, the original inhabitants of the country. Men, Sir, have
been persecuted on account of their religion ; but that an ar.
gument of this kind should be made use of at this time of day,
to palliate the crime of exterminating a nation, is a mattei I
do not understand. Of what consequence is it to the question
of the justice of the war, whether their tenets or their practice
differ from those around them ? I am indeed sorry to hear
such doctrine as the justice of this war, defended by a young
man, who, from his situation in office, gives us reason to
dread, that on principles like these, the new government in
India is to be established.


The whole of this business is now before you. You are
now to decide, and I call upon you to reflect, that the cha-
racter, the honour, and the prosperity of this nation de-
pends on your decision. I have appealed to what is called
the passions, that is, the indignation of mankind against
enormous guilt, against violence and oppression. It has
been my opinion, that we ought, in this manner, always
to feel with regard to Indian delinquents. The people of
Hindostan have a claim upon our protection, upon our pity,
and their distresses call loudly for vengeance upon their op-
pressors. Sixty thousand Rohillas driven like a herd of deer
across the Ganges from their houses and from their lands,-
to perish through want of subsistence, or depend on the pre-
carious bounty of nations with whom they had no connec-
tion; these circumstances excite you to take vengeance on
those who have abused your authority, and tyrannized over
them ! The Begum and other women, and the princes of
that wretched nation, who, in vain, pleaded for relief from
the hands of your servants, call upon you to vindicate your
own character, and to let the guilt fall upon those who have
deserved it.


We ought, it is said, to be counsel for the prisoner. If
a man is not able to plead his own cause, it is right to allow
him every indulgence, and to put it in his power to bring
forward a fair state of the circumstances of his case. Truth
is the object which we wish to grasp, and every mode of -
bringing that before us is to be attended to. My duty is,
when I find great crimes, to state them, and that not merely
on my own authority, but from the accounts of those who
were eye witnesses. It is our duty to bring a culprit to
justice. Mr. Hastings is the culprit of the nation. , He has
infringed our orders, and we have bound ourselves to call


.00


x786.] CnATIGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 243


him to account. Whatever may be his services, they cannot
be pleaded here: they never can be considered as preventing
his offences from being inquired into : if he is guilty, he ought
to suffer the punishment due to them.


right honourable friend has brought forward his ac-
cusation s openly and boldly. He did not basely slander Mr.
Hastings, when he was riot present, and then meanly hide
himself behind some pitiful evasion ; but lie has come for-
ward with his charges to his face,,,and given him a fair op-
portunity of clearing his innocence to the world. Mr. Has-
tings has declared his wish to meet it. Why, then, will you
not suffer it to take its regular course? I say again, where
is the danger? Where the injury? Nothing but good can
result from it to your government in India. Lord Corn-
wallis has been just sent out, with powers greater than were
ever entrusted to any governor. By what rule is he to frame
his conduct? Are those which have been laid down, and are
now disapproved of by this House, to regulate it? Or is he
to govern himself by the example of Mr. Hastings, of whose
management this House must, if they acquit him on this
business, be supposed to approve?


My right honourable friend has singled out this transac-
tion, because it has two features, which strongly mark the
political conduct of Mr. Hastings; — contempt of the orders
of his superiors, and an entire disregard of all principles of
justice, moderation, and equity. These pervade all his ac-
tions, the whole system of his conduct, and appear to have
taken entire possession of his mind. This transaction with
Sujah Dowlah, and this war against the Rohillas, will give
you an idea of his character, much better than any words
can display it. These two characters are alleged to be
contained in this charge which is brought against him. It
remains for you to decide. And allow me again to intreat
you to remember, that you are not pronouncing merely on
the merits of •an individual, but you are laying clown a sys-
tem of conduct for all future governors in India. The point
is at issue. Your decision is most serious and important.
11 pray to Heaven it may be such as will do you honour !


At half past seven in the morning the committee divided, when
there appeared for the motion 67: against it 519.


R 2




244


CHARGES AGAINST II . HASTINGS. [June 1.3.


ARTICLES OP CHARGE AGAINST MR. HASTINGS - BENAT;
CHARGE.


June 13.


THE order of the day for going into a committee on the chargesagainst Warren Hastings, esquire, having been read, the
Speaker left the chair, and Mr. St. Andrew St. John took his seat
at the table.


Mr. Fox then rose, and began a most able and eloquent
speech with observing, that as something like censure had
been cast on his right honourable friend, Mr. Burke, when
the committee were last assembled, for having introduced a
considerable deal of preliminary matter, generally allusive
to the subject of the several charges, not then under imme-
diate consideration, but, in his mind, extremely pertinent
and extremely essential, and as he was convinced, that if
censure could be at all deservedly imputed to his right ho-
nourable friend on such an account, it might with much
more foundation and propriety be imputed to him, where he
to attempt to take up the time of the committee, with again
going into the discussion of any topics not immediately con,
meted with the subject to which he meant that day to call
their attention; he, therefore, would make no preliminary
observations whatever, but proceed directly to the matter
-upon which he meant to found the motion, which he should
have the honour to offer to the committee, namely, to the
third charge; — to that relative to the conduct of Mr. Has-
tings respecting Benares:


Elle committee, he trusted, as well from the preliminary
remarks and arguments of his right honourable friend, as
from what had passed within those walls, were so far familiar
with the subject of all the charges, that he should find it no
very difficult task to make them perfectly masters of the facts
to which he meant to draw their attention. He would begin
with the year 1770, in which Bulwant Sing, the Prince or.
Zemindar of the province of Benares, died, and the presi-
dency of Calcutta interfered through the medium of Captain
Harper, to procure a confirmation of the succession to his
son, Cheit Sing-, and an agreement was entered into between
that Rajah and the Vizier Nabob of Oude, of whom he pur-
chased, for valuable considerations, his right and inheritance
in his zemindary, or by whatever other name, it might be
called. When Mr. Hastings came over as president of the


1786.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 245
supreme council of Calcutta, he found Cheit Sing in pos-
session, and in I in the month of October, lie was, by


sunmid granted to him by Sujah Dowlah, obtained by the
instance of Mr. Hastings, acknowledged zeinindar of the


• vince. In 1 7 74, the governor general and council ap-pro ince
by act of parliament, obtained the sovereignty pa-


ramount of the government of the province of Benares; and
to obviate any misconstruction of the treaty, with regard to
the tenure of the Rajah of Benares, Mr. Hastings himself
proposed at the board, that whatever provision might in the
said treaty be made -for the interest of the company, the
same should be " without an encroachment on the rights of
the rajah, or the engagements actually subsisting with him."
On the transfer of the sovereignty, Mr. Hastings proposed
a new grant to be conveyed in new instruments to the Rajah
Cheit Sing, conferring upon him farther privileges; and,.
these were the addition of the sovereign rights of the mint,
and of the right of criminal justice of life and death ; Mr,
Hastings proposing the resolution for that purpose in council,
in which were these words, " that the perpetual and in-
dependent possession of the zemindary of Benares, and its
dependencies, be confirmed and guaranteed to the Rajah
Cheit Sing and his heirs, for ever, subject only to the annual
payment of the revenue hitherto paid to the late vizier, &c.
That no other demand be made on him, either by the Nabob
of Oude, or this government." This resolution clearly esta-
blished the independency of Cheit Sing, and chewed it was
the aim of Mr. Hastings to make him independent. Mr.
Fox also read farther in confirmation of this, the following
article of the treaty proposed by Mr. Hastings, on the 5th
of July 1775; " That while the rajah shall continue faith-
ful to these engagements, and punctual in his payments, and
shall pay due obedience to the authority of this government,
no more demands shall be made upon him of any kind; nor
on any pretence whatsoever shall any person be allowed to
interfere with his authority, or to disturb the peace of his
country." Which article was by the other members of the
council assented to.


The committee would, therefore, please particularly to
carry in their mind, that Cheit Sing had been declared in-
dependent, at the express instance of Mr. Hastings, that it
was actually stipulated, that no more demands should be
made upon him, besides his annual tribute, and that toe
stipulation might be the more clear and intelligible, the words
" of any kind" had been added. And yet, shortly after the
deaths of Sir John Clavering and Mr. Monson, Mr. Has-
tings, without any previous general communication with the


R




246 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [June,1 3
board, by a minute of consultation, made an extraordinary
demand on the rajah of five lacks of rupees. Exorbitant,
indeed, was this demand, and incompatible with the stipulated
terms of the rajah being declared independent in 17741
How were the words " no more demands of any kind" to be
interpreted ? And by what principle of construction was the
meaning of the stipulation to be made to bear out this? The
demand, however, was made, and the rajah murmured at it,
and begged _that he might be permitted to pay


it by instal-
ments, and with his quarterly payments ; but 'Mr. Hastings
peremptorily insisted on its being paid by a certain day,
when it. was accordingly paid, though on the express con-
dition that the exaction should continue but for one year,
and should not be drawn into precedent. Notwithstanding
this, the same demand was repeated a second year, and, after
some fruitless murmuring and complaint on the part of the


° rajah, paid ; a third year a like demand was made, and in
like manner satisfied. 'Various and extraordinary were the
circumstances of vexation and despotism, under which these
several demands were made, such as a threat at one time, to.
march the English company's forces in to the province of
Benares to compel payment, &c.


Mr. Fox stated Mr. Hastings's defence of himself against
these filets, and argued upon both the charge and the defence
collectively and comparatively. He next spoke of the requi-
sition for all the cavalry that Cheit Sing could spare; and
observed, that General Clavering had by a minute recom-
mended it to the rajah to keep up two thousand. From
whence he inferred, that Cheit Sing was left at his discretion
to keep up as many as he chose, and to send that number
only which he could spare. Mr. Hastings, however, after-
wards demanded, through his agent, Mr. Markham, two
thousand, afterwards fifteen hundred, and, after that, he
lowered the requisition to one thousand. But Cheit Sing
sent word, that he 'had but thirteen hundred, and offered only
five hundred, declaring that he could spare no more, but at
the same time substituted in lieu of the remainder five hun-
dred matchlock men. Upon this, Mr. Hastings said, in his
defence, " my patience was exhausted by such repeated acts
of contumacy"—an expression the absurdity of which might
be unanswerably exemplified, by recapitulating the facts to
which it applied. Mr. Hastings, after stipulating that no
more demand of any kind than the annual tribute should be
amide upon the rajah, demanded first five lacks of rupees, which
were paid, but with some murmuring; he next demanded five
lacks more, which were also paid, though with same mur-
muring; he again demanded a third five lacks, and these


1786.] CHARGE'S AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 247
:wain were paid. He then called for two thousand cavalry.
eheit Sing sent him word he had but thirteen hundred, and
those distributed through his territories; that he could spare no
more than five hundred, and those he should have. 'Would
ever mortal have construed such conduct as this into contumacy
but Mr. Hastings, who says, " his patience was exhausted .by
such repeated acts of contumacy ;" and adds, that 64 he de-
termined to convert them into an advantage for the company's
affairs." Mr. Fox upon this monstrous determination rea-
soned with great warmth and energy, appealing to the com-
mittee whether they ever before heard of such an idea as
punishing men, not for the great end of all punisliment, exam-
ple, but—in order to convert it into an advantage for his
employers ! Mr. Fox put this in various strong points of
view, and having here impressed the several facts he had
stated very forcibly on the minds. of the committee, proceeded
to mention Mr. Hastings's determination to levy a fine of forty
or fifty lacks of rupees upon Cheit Sing for the imputed con-
tumacy, and his journey to Benares for that purpose. He
spoke of his conduct on his arrival in terms of severe repro-
bation, declaring, that his language and conduct to the rajah
was rude and insolent in the extreme. Soon after his arrival
he caused Cheit Sing to be put under an arrest in his own
palace,—an instance of unparalleled indignity; for what would
be thought of any tributary prince in Europe being arrested
in his palace by the order of the sovereign paramount ? Would
not his authority be lost for ever? This whole proceeding
provoked Mr. Fox's execration: he- condemned and denied
the right of Mr. Hastings to levy and fine ; and contended
that there was no ground for such an unwarrantable stretch
of power, since the conditions of the stipulation had been
all complied with, the rajah having continued faithful in
his engagements and punctual in his payments, and having
paid due obedience to the authori ty of the British govern-




ment. He ridiculed the three rights to fine the subordi-
nate princes that Mr. Hastings had, in his defence, laid
claim to. The first of these was, he said, the right derived
from Sujah al Dowlah of fining in case the mint was abused ;
the second was that of imposing a fine for investing, upon
every new possession of the zemindary. This, Mr. Fox ob-
served, was a miserable cavil, and a gross perversion of the
Word fine, since nothing was more distinct and different than
file meaning of it in the two senses here mentioned ; and the
third right was, he declared, still more extraordinary. In
'764, Bulwant Sing, father of Cheit Sing, departed from his
loyalty and joined Meer Jaffier and the English, against Su-
Ph al Dowlah, when the latter, a$ Mr. Hastings stated in his


4




248 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [June 1 3,
defence, " would probably have fined him" had not the
English protected him and prevented it.


Mr. Fox diverted himself for some time with the idea of
what Sujah al Dowlah " would probably" have done, had riot
the English prevented him. He pressed also upon the coin,
mittee the declaration of Mr. Hastings, that according to the
institutes of Jengheez Khawn or Tamerlane, the rights of the
subject are nothing, while the power of the sovereign is every
thing, and urged the injustice of such a despotic maxim with
great energy. He next took notice of the inordinate vanity
and presumption of Mr. Hastings in saying, that if Cheit
Sing was a great prince, he as his sovereign, was a great king.
In order to shew the absurdity of this, he put the case thus;
Suppose the Emperor of Germany were to send an am-
bassador to the Elector of Hanover or the Elector of Branden-
burgh, and he were to tell either of them, " if you are a great
elector, I am a great emperor." Having pushed the ridicule
to some extent, he returned to his narrative of what had hap.
pened Benares, and stated all the facts of the ill treatment
of the rajah, subsequent to his having been put under an arrest,
to the massacre of the British, and the escape of Cheit Sing.


Mr. Fox after having gone through the whole of the facts,
proceeded to take notice of the fourth and fifth articles of the
charge which he said he should speak to shortly, considering
them rather as matters of aggravation, superadded to the
treatment of Cheit Sing, than as charges of much importance
themselves. He then stated all the circumstances that took
place at the castle of Bidgigur, and of the inducements to
plunder, held out by Mr. Hastings to the soldiery, descant-
ing on the mischievous consequences of such a practice, a doc-
trine for which he declared he had the authority of Mr. Has-
tings himself, who some years before had written a declara-
tion that " the very idea of prize money suggested to his re-
membrance the former disorders which arose in their army
from that source, and had almost proved fatal to it. Of this
circumstance you must be sufficiently apprized, and of the
necessity for discouraging every expectation of this kind
amongst the troops ; it 3S to be avoided like poison, 8w."
Having thus proved how very contradictorily Mr. Hastings
had behaved in that respect, he mentioned the strange sort of
affidavits and depositions that were made for the purpose of
imputing suspicions of disloyalty and designs to rebel to Cheit
Sing. One of these from a person,. deeply interested in the
ruin of the rajah he read, to shew the House that almost
all the allegations it contained were on hearsay evidence
only.


Mr. Fox came at last to the fourth and fifth articles, 9114


7 86 .J
CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 249




stated the appointment of Derbege Sing to act as representa-
tive of the abdicated rajah, and his being soon afterwards de-
prived of his office, and thrown into prison, and the admi-


-trttion of affairs given to Jagher Deo Seo, who levied and
collected the revenue with extraordinary severity to the great
oppression of the natives. He also read the celebrated letter
to the council at Calcutta, from Mr. Hastings at Lucknow,
which was deemed so disgraceful to the British government;
and he appealed to the common sense of the committee, if it
was to be wondered at that Jagher Deo Seo should be rigor-
ous in his collection of the revenue, when it was considered
what an example Mr. Hastings had held out to him?


After having circumstantially gone through the whole, and
applied a great deal of reasoning as he proceeded, in order to
elucidate and enforce the criminality of the facts, he at length
appealed to the honour and justice of the House, to decide
by their vote of that evening, whether they chose to be con-
sidered as the avengers of those oppressed by Mr. Hastings,
or his accomplices? There was, he declared, no alternative.
They must either appear as the one or as the other. He re-
collected the language that had been held in 1782, when that
code of laws, the resolutions were voted, and when it had
been well said by an honourable and learned gentleman op-
posite, (Mr. Dundas) that Mr. Hastings scarcely ever left, the
walls of Calcutta, that his steps were not followed with the
deposition of some prince, the desertion of some ally, or the
depopulation of some country. How oddly, then, must have
sounded in his ears, the arguments in justification of the Roe
hilla war, that had lately come from the bench on which the
learned gentleman sat—arguments that appeared to him to
be the voice of the directors and proprietors of old defending
those servants who had disobeyed their orders, and disgraced
the British character by their rapine and injustice, but had
taken care to make the company sharers in the spoil, by re-
mitting home the produce of their plunder in investments, so
as to ensure a good dividend to the proprietors


There had been, he acknowledged, something like a colour
for the vote the committee had come to respecting the Rohilla
war ; the extreme distance of the time at which it happened,
the little information the House had of it till of late, the
alleged important services of Mr. Hastings since, (though he
maintained that they were neither meritorious nor services),
and other causes and justifications; but there were none such
to be urged against voting on the present occasion. The
facts were all of them undeniable, and they were atrocious,
and they were important; so much so, that upon the vote of
that night, would, in his mind, the fate of Bengal depend.




250 CHARM AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[June


Happy was it for them that they could plead ignorance of
East India affairs for so long a period ! It was the best salvo
for their honours, and could be advanced with confidence as an
argument, that the individual servants of the company alone
had been guilty of all the enormities that had disgraced and
disgusted Indostan, but that they bad neither participated in
the gnilt, nor approved of the principle upon which it had
been carried on. The facts had now been brought before
them, and that in so able, so clear, so comprehensive and in-
telligible a point of view, that they had no longer their former
plea to fly to for. an excuse. They must do something, and
they might rejoice that the happy hour was arrived when they
might make the distinction manifest to all the world, between
the enormities committed by individuals, and the sense of a
British House of Commons, as to the system under which
those enormities have been committed. From their vote that
night, France and 'all Europe would learn what the system of
government was, that they chose to be carried on in India,
and it would be seen whether they determined, upon suf-
ficient proof of this guilt, to reprobate oppression and punish
the oppressor. He never would be the advocate of despotism,
but he had, he said, often heard it argued, that the happiness
of a people was secure, where the despot's mind was virtuous.
He never had beard it contended, that the most despotic had
a right to use his power for the misery of those under him,
and not for their happiness. He thanked his right honour-
able friend, therefore, for having brought the charges forward.
In one shape or other, they must have been subjected to discus-
sion; and, let the House in general decide as they thought pro-
per, what had passed would prove, that there were Englishmen
who did not avow those principles which had originated in
the corrupt heart of a most corrupt individual; but that they
set their faces against them and execrated the conduct, which
had been marked with the most gross oppression, inhumanity
and injustice. Nor was it in his mind, Mr. Fox said, enough
that the House should content itself with the punishment of
an oppressor, it ought also to make atonement to the op-
pressed. He heartily wished, therefore, that all that had been
taken front .


individuals could be restored ; but as that neces4.
sarily could not be proceeded upon just at present, he should,
till an opportunity offered, content himself with singling out
an offender for justice.


Mr. Fox emphatically repeated, that they must appear
either as the avengers of the oppressed or the accomplices of
their oppressor. he hoped they would not confess themselves
the accomplices of Mr. Hastings, but would assume the nobler
chara,eter4 kie added an infinite number of wean appeals to


1786.]


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 251


the feelings of the committee, and before he sat down, moved
That this committee, having considered the third article of


the charge of high crimes and misdemeanours against War-
ren Hastings, esq. late governor general of Bengal, and ex-
amined evidence thereupon, is of opinion, that there is
around for impeaching the said Warren Hastings, esq. of
hie+, crimes and misdemeanors, upon the matter of the said
article.


.ePitt concurred with the motion, but upon very narrowground. He thought that the demands made upon the rajah went
beyond the exigence of the case, and that Mr. Hastings had pushed
the exercise of the arbitrary discretion entrusted to him beyond the
necessity of the service. The conduct of the minister on this oc-
casion drew upon him much calumny from the friends of Mr.
Hastings ; they did not hesitate to accuse him out of doors, both
publicly and privately, of treachery. They declared it was in the
full confidence of his protection and support, that they had urged
on Mr. Burke to bring forward his charges; and that the gentle-
man accused had been persuaded to come to their bar, Nvith an
hasty and premature defence : and they did not scruple to contri-
bute this conduct in the minister to motives of the basest jealousy.
Nearly the same persons took a part in this debate as in the former,
and it was carried by a majority of 119 to 79.


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


Jantuziy 23. 1787,


f-IN the 2 3 rd of January, his majesty opened the session with the
following speech to both Houses :


" My lords and. gentlemen; I have particular satisfaction in ac-
quainting you, that since I-last met you in parliament, the tranquil-
lity of Europe has remained uninterrupted, and that all foreign
powers continue to express-their friendly disposition to this coun-
trY.— I have concluded a treaty of navigation and commerce with
the most Christian king, a copy of which shall be laid before you.
I must recommend it to you to take such measures as you shall
Judge proper for carrying it into effect; and I trust you will
find that the provisions contained in it are calculated for the en-
couragement of industry and the extension of lawful commerce in
both countries, and, by promoting a beneficial intercourse be-
tween our respective subjects, appear likely to give additional per-
n:1411eL1Qc to the blessings of peace. I shall keep the same salutary




'1'52 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. Pall, 2,-,
-J n


objects in view in the commercial arrangements which I am ne,
gotiating with other powers.— I have also given directions for lay.
mg before you a copy of a convention agreed upon between me and
the catholic king, for carrying into effect the sixth article of the
last treaty of peace.


" Gentlemen of the House of Commons; I have ordered the
estimates for the present year to be laid before you ; and I have
the fullest reliance on your readiness to make the provision for the
several branches of the public service. The state of the revenue
will, I am persuaded, continue to engage your constant attention,
as being essentially connected with the national credit, and the
prosperity and safety of my dominions.


" My lords and gentlemen ; A plan has been formed, by my
direction, for transporting a number of convicts, in order to remove
the inconvenience which arose from the crouded state of the gaols
in different parts of the kingdom ; and you will, I doubt not, take
such farther measures as may be necessary for this purpose. I
trust you will be able this session to carry into effect regulations
for the ease of the merchants, and for simplifying the public
accounts in the various branches of the revenue ; and I rely upon
the uniform continuance of your exertions in pursuit of such objects
as may tend still farther to improve the national resources, and to
promote and confirm the welfare and happiness of my people."


On the usual address being moved by Lord Compton and second
ed by Mr. Matthew Montague,


Mr. Fox rose and declared, that there was not in the speech
nor in the address one sentiment which he did not fully agree
with, nor which he was not ready to avow. Indeed, he should
have been exceedingly sorry had there been occasion for any
difference of opinion respecting an address beginning with ex.
pressions of congratulation to his majesty, upon an event, in
the failure of which every man, of every party and description,
both within and without those walls, must be of one and the
same mind, and must cordially and sincerely join in the most
heart-felt joy and satisfaction. He was glad, therefore, that
the address had been so properly worded, that it did not call
for opposition or objection of any sort, since, without pledging
the House to an approbation of the treaty Of commerce, or to
any future vote upon the subject, it barely returned thanks for
his majesty's gracious communication of the fact, and pro-
mised to consider it, when properly before the House, with
the attention which a matter of such infinite importance well
deserved.


That being the case, and as from the subject of the early
part of the address)


it must be to be wished, that such an a d
-dress should pass nemine contradicente, he assured the House,


he would not object to it, and that, in all probability, he shoved
have contented himself with giving his silent vote on the goes'


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S St'EECH. 253


fi0I1 then before the House, had not something fallen from the
noble lord and the honourable gentleman, who moved and
seconded the address, and particularly from the latter, that
looked so like grasping at general principles, as the principles
upon which the commercial treaty was to be maintained, that
lie thought. it necessary to rise then, and in as few words as
possible, take sonic notice of those principles, which he would
do in a general manner, without entering at all into detail
upon the treaty, which he was well aware was neither properly
before the House, nor then -under discussion, but which he
would give his sentiments upon at a future opportunity.


The noble lord who moved the address, and the honour-
able gentleman who seconded it, had contrasted the uncer=,
minty of war with the solid advantages of peace, and the
tantial benefits of commerce with the destructive means of
conquest, as if it were a fact, that this country had ever gone
to war for the sake of extendingi a dominion, or gratifying a lustb
of power, and an inordinate ambition. The filet, he declared
was notoriously otherwise, and he was enough of an English-
man to rise in vindication of his country; and assert in that
assembly, and he would assert the same in an assembly ap-
pointed to hear the cause of nations, were it possible for such
an assembly to exist, that in all our wars— all our late
wars at least—this country had not gone to war for the sake
of ambition, nor with a view to acquire extension of dominion,
but had been forced to take up arms either in her own defence,
or for the sake of defending the liberties, and balance of power
of Europe, endangered by the over-weening pride of France,
and her alarming endeavours. to grasp at the government of
aril the European powers of this quarter of the globe. This,
any one who looked into the history of this country, would
find to be the true state of the case; he therefore denied, in
the most unequivocal manner, that any insinuations to the pre-
judice of this country, as if she had heretofore gone to war for
the mere sake of triumph and of conquest, had any, the small-
est foundation in truth. Every man knew, that peace was
preferable to war ; commerce preferable to conquest : it would
be highly preposterous to advance an opposite opinion ; and
upon that principle had the government of this country been
u niformly conducted for the last century.


After dwelling upon these points for some time, with his
usual warmth and energy, Mr. Fox adverted to the treaty with
Prance, upon which, he said, he had not yet made up his
mind; nor was it possible for him so to do, until the treaty
was not only properly before the House, but until he had
heard front his majesty's ministers a full explanation of the
real character of the measure. He was not yet aware whether




54 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. E..Tan. 13.


it was to be considered as a treaty having a political tendency,
and calculated to operate in the manner of an alliance with
France, or whether it was to be considered as a treaty merely
commercial, and as having no other effect than the establish-
molt of a commercial intercourse with the neighbouring king.
dom. In one or other of these lights the treaty must have
been made, and in one or other of these lights must minis-
ters mean that it should be regarded ; but, then, it• could
be considered in one of these lights Only, and not in both.
One of them must be denied, and Ole other avowed : one
defended and the other disclaimed. /Not meaning to go into
the treaty then, and not having the information that ministers
possessed, it was not in his power to say which of the two
descriptions was the proper one ; but thus much he was wil-
ling to say beforehand, and without any further information
on the subject; namely, that he should be much better pleased
if ministers were to declare that they meant it merely as a
commercial treaty, and that France understood it as such,
and as such only. In that case ministers would have to
prove, that it did not provide a new channel of commerce at
the expence of all the other ancient channels, which this king-
dom had long been in possession of, and which had been
found to be sources of commercial wealth and prosperity. If;
on the other hand, ministers avowed that the treaty was meant
as a political measure, and that they had in view that sort of
connection that should render it more difficult for France
and this country to go to war than heretofore, they then would
have to spew strong and satisfactory reasons for their having
pursued and concluded a measure so new in the annals of this
country, and of such infinite magnitude and importance. 4,


Mr. Fox took a general view of the conduct of France to-
wards this country, and towards all the powers of Europe.
He desired it to be remembered,. that France had only chang-
ed her means—not her end. Her object had uniformly been
the same, though her system of acting was different. In the
reign of Louis the fourteenth, the aim of France was open
and avowed ; the means she employed to attain her end, of-
fensive, arrogant, and shameless. She had seen her error,
and acted upon principles of a wiser policy ; her means were
now more mild, more amiable, more benevolent. They did
her humanity credit; they allured, they conciliated, they
worked her purpose secretly, but securely. Formerly, op-
pression and power were her engines; engines offensive to
all Who beheld their unjustifiable exercise, and such as
could not fail to rouse general indignation, and animate to
resistance every power that had a spark of spirit, of gene-
rosity, or of goodness in its composition. Hence the weak


17871 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. 255'


round advocates, the oppressed protection ; and hence the
daring attempts at universal monarchy, made by Louis the
fourteenth, were opposed, baffled, repelled, and frustrated.
What was the engine with which France operated her wished
for end at this time? Influence ! that secret and almost resist-


. less power; that power with which ambition gains its purpose,
almost imperceptibly, but much more effectually than with


time, too, it ought, Mr. Fox said, to be held in
anyiotteisr.t


mind, that Louis the sixteenth possessed abundantly more
power than ever Louis the fourteenth could boast of, and that
superiority, great as it was, would in all probability, be con-
siderably heightened very shortly. At such a moment then,
was it right to enter into a connection by treaty with the
christian king? How was it to be accounted for, but by sup-
posing that there were in this country some men so dazzled
with the splendour of Louis the sixteenth, so conscious of the
eminence of power which France had lately attained, that
they sunk before it, anti, lost in their own despondency,.
thought it right for us, diminished as our splendour was, in
comparison with .the aggrandizement of our continental neigh-
bour, to seize the earliest moment of making terms with
her, forming a connection by treaty, and by that means artfully
securing a claim to her protection. Far was it from him to
intend to charge the right honourable gentleman opposite to
him, the present chancellor of the exchequer, with entertain-
ing such abject opinions, or with thinking of abandoning all
expectation of the possibility of France being once more hum-
bled ; but, he was persuaded there were men in the country,
so lost to the memory of its former greatness, as to feel in the
manner he had mentioned, and to advise and act upon the
littleness of their own minds.


Having put this forcibly, Mr. Fox asked to what motives
were we to ascribe the sudden civility of France towards us?
-Was it to be considered as a proof of her moderation? Had
she entered into the treaty with a view to give the lie to the
old and rooted opinions of philosophy, that it was a prin-
ciple inherent in human nature to be eager to acquire more,
in proportion as a great deal more than could have been ex-
pected, was already acquired? Did she mean to clear up
her character at once, and do away the libellous charge so
long alleged against her, that she was actuated by overween-
ing ambition, and an insatiable thirst after extension of power?
Glorious conduct, if such was its principle and its motive
Matchless self-denial ! to abjure the acquirement of almost
irresistible power, when it was rendered so easy.




256 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECHe [Jan. 23.
, But, could any man in his senses believe in the splendid


allusion ? Could any statesman think that moderation, at a
moment when moderation seemed, least necessary, was the
real and true motive that had induced France, to put us in a
state that had the appearance of rendering all future hostili-
ties between her and Great Britain almost impossible to hap-
pen ? Let those, who thought so, recollect, that paradoxical
as the assertion might appear, the cabinet of France had been
the most consistent in its conduct of any that ever existed.
Notwithstanding the genius and character of the French, as
a people ; notwithstanding the levity of their manners, the
fickleness of their minds, the constitutional mutability of their
conduct, the cabinet of France, as a cabinet, had uniformly
acted upon the same principle, aiming at the same end, and.
only changing the means of attaining that end, as the necessity
of the times, and as the suggestion of a wiser policy dictated.
If ministers supposed that France acted upon a principle of
sincerity and friendship towards us, let them point out the
proofs of that friendship. The way to judge of the friendly
intentions of those with whom we negotiate, was not, he said,
by looking to the manner of their negociating with us, but
their conduct with other powers, as far as it regarded our
interests. Ministers might, as yet, be said to be in the honey-
moon of their connection with France. Had they, during
that period, felt the influence of France greatly operating in
our favour with those powers with whom we were negociating
treaties ? Did it manifest itself in the court of Portugal, in
the court of Spain, or in the court of Petersburgh ? Were
the symptoms of it strongly traceable at any one of these
courts? 'Where else was a symptom of it to be found ? At
this time France, that formerly was celebrated for having the
most powerful army of any European nation, had an army
the fourth only upon the continent ; Prussia, the emperor, and
Russia, had much greater armies. What was the reason of
this? The reason was obvious. France relied for her secu-
rity on other means of defence—on the influence she pos-
sessed with the neighbouring powers, and the alliances she
had formed. Those circumstances enabled her to diminish
her land force, to reduce her army, and direct all her attention
to her marine. Was her doing so a favourable symptom to
this country ? Did it indicate any extraordinary proportion
of partiality towards Great Britain ?


The honourable gentleman who had, with considerable
ability and much to his own credit, seconded the address)
had laid down a position, the language of which was more
elegant than the sentiment, he feared, was just. He had said,
that in abandoning the monopoly of our trade with 'America,


7 87-7


ADDRESS ow THE KING'S SPEECH. 257


and opening a commercial intercourse with France, we gave
up a precarious and ill-paid annuity, for a fee simple, with
prompt and constant payment. The expression was cap-
tivating, and the style of it beautiful ; no wonder, therefore,
that the House appeared to feel it, and gave tokens of their
satisfaction. But, was the position true ? Could the benefits
that might result from our commercial intercourse, whatever
they might turn out, be compared to a fee simple, with prompt
payment ? Surely not. What was to ensure us the stability
and permanency or peace? A commercial treaty with France ?
No means, Mr. Fox said, appeared to him less likely to pro-
cure such an effect. Instead of a fee simple with constant
payment, the more apt comparison would be an annuity, the
payment of which was liable to frequent interruption. Did
history encourage us to expect a long duration of peace, or
were we weak enough to imagine that France, from her pre-
sent enjoyment of uncommon power, was therefore less likely
to break with-us ? Let former precedents teach a better pru-
dence. Refer to the records of the best and most authentic
historians, and it would be found that France was most in-
clined to preserve peace, when she was most humiliated and
degraded. This country had been often charged with having
borne herself arrogantly and dictatorially after the close of a
triumphant war ; but had it ever been said, that success
checked the pride, or reduced the overweening ambition of
France ? Past experience proved, that whenever France saw
this country weak, and thought her incapable of effectually
resisting, she seized the opportunity, and aimed at effecting
her long-desired destruction. What prompted her to corn-
utence her hostile attacks at the beginning of the war pre-
ceding the last? The occasion was flattering, it promised easy
success, and the opportunity was irresistible. A- similar op-
portunity would, doubtless, produce similar consequences. It
was idle, therefore, to suppose that France, who had really
had such frequent reason to consider Great Britain as her
most powerful rival, and had received so many checks from
her, that she had long wished to annihilate her as a state
whose enmity was to be dreaded, would all of a sudden for-
get her resentment, and, just at that moment when there ap-
peared to be the least rational .motive to prompt her, aban-
don a purpose she had long and uniformly endeavoured to
atchieve.


Mr. Fox observed, that his majesty had been graciously
Pleased to declare in his speech, that a Copy of the treaty
should be laid before the House. That instrument alone, he
believed, would neither enable the House nor himself to form
any decision upon the propriety of the treaty. Before the


von. Ht.




258 ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH. Pan, z 3.
House could justify any vote upon the subject, they would
undoubtedly expect to hear from his majesty's ministers,
the state of the various other treaties at this time nego-
ciating. At present, there were more in agitation than
this country perhaps ever had at one time before—the
treaty with Russia, the treaty with Spain, and the treaty
with Portugal. As ministers had, a twelvemonth ago,
boasted of the facility with which the treaty with Russia
might be brought to a conclusion, he presumed, that it either
was concluded, or so near conclusion, that it might fairly be
considered the same as concluded ; he would therefore say
nothing upon this part of the subject. But it was material
to know in what situation the treaty with Portugal stood.
Perhaps the present treaty with France virtually annulled
and abrogated the treaty with Portugal, commonly known-
by the name of the Methuen treaty. It was also important
to know how the treaty stood with Spain ; because, if the
FIouse meant to act as statesmen on the occasion, it was im-
possible for them to come to any warrantable decision respect-
ing the treaty with France, without being fully apprized of
the relative situation of every other existing treaty, or treaty
that was at present negociating.


In order more strikingly to elucidate this argument, Mr. Fox
said, that possibly the present connection with France might
operate to the destruction of all our former connections
with other powers so Er, that when, at a future period;
France might think it worth her while to break with us, we
should find ourselves destitute of friends, and universally
abandoned. Two years, he observed, had been given in the
definitive treaty, as the period, by the end of which a cm-


.-


mercial treaty with France was obliged to be concluded,
clearly that ministers might have time to look about them, to
.see how old treaties stood with other powers, and to conclude
such new ones as appeared most likely to conduce to the in-
terest of Great Britain, before they entered into any treaty
with France.


He said, he might possibly be misrepresented both at
home and abroad, as a man so Er prepossessed by illiberal and
vulgar prejudices against France, as to wish never to enter
into any connection with her. Be that as it might, he should
not easily forget that those prejudices against France,, and
that jealousy, which had for years prevailed, of her ambition,
had been productive of no bad consequences to this country;
on the contrary, that the wars grounded on our alarms at her
stretches after. inordinate power, and the jealousy which we
had entertained of her desire to overturn the balance of power
in Europe., had made this country great and glorious. lie


ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH.


259X787'3
adverted to the peace of Utrecht, and talked of the bugbear
which the ministers of that clay had set up to frighten the people
into a belief that peace was absolutely necessary, namely, the
probability of the House of Austria requiring an improper
share of power. He alluded also to the circumstances that
characterised the history of Holland, and its present situation
and future prospects.


Speaking of the convention with Spain, for carrying into effect
the sixth article of the treaty of peace, he said he did not see,
-nor could he admit the necessity for entering into any such
convention : that the article was sufficiently intelligible, and
had ever appeared so to him, though he Was aware there
had been some doubts stated respecting its proper construc-
tion : that the country to be evacuated under the convention
was a part of the Musquito coast, that never had, before the
treaty, been considered as belonging to the crown of Spain
and that instead of being a mere spot for the




''


cuttina of log-
wood, it was an actual British colony. To oblige the inha-
bitants and settlers therefore, to evacuate it by February,
would be an act Of the most horrible injustice, because it
would be to oblige them to quit their possessions before they
could reap the fruits of their industry, which must, in that
case be left in the ground. Mr. Fox descanted upon this
for a considerable time, and asked, for what purpose such a
cession could have been made? He should have supposed,
he said, that if England had a treaty in hand with the court
of Madrid, and a cession to make which that court was desi-
rous of having made to her, it would have been political to
have held back the boon that Spain was anxious to obtain, till
after the objects of our wishes, as stipulated for in the treaty
negociating, were complied with. Possibly, the cession was
made before hand, in order to put Spain in a humour to
grant us what we wanted with the greater cheerfulness.


After animadverting upon this matter with obvious irony,
and touching upon a variety of particular points, to which
the treaty with France appeared to him to have a natural and
necessary reference, Mr. Fox declared, that he joined most
heartily in the congratulation of his majesty, on an event,
which nothing but the phrenzy of a lunatic could have induced,
and which it became the character of the nation to act upon,
exactly as they had done. Having mentioned this in a style
that spoke the master of the art of oratory, and intreated the
pardon of the House for having taken up so much of their
time, which he declared he would not have clone had he not


'-'


thounbt it necessary to repel the French mode of talking
that had fallen from the noble lord who moved, and'the hO-


2




260 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 2;,-
nottrable gentleman who seconded the address, and to rescue
the nation from being thought liable to such reflections, Mr.
Fox concluded with giving an affirmative to the address.0 .0


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.


Febrztau 2.


'11 %/1" P. Pitt having given notice that it was his intention to move
I that the treaty of navigation and commerce with France be


taken into consideration on the 12th instant. Mr. Fox said he
thought the day much coo early ; so much. so, that he was amazed
that the right honourable gentleman should think of naming it.
Lord George Cavendish intimated, that as the treaty was a matter
of great importance, in as much as it deranged all our ancient and
established treaties of commerce with other countries, a call of the
House might be proper. Mr. Pitt replied, that although sincerely
anxious to have so important a subject investigated before the ful-
lest assembly possible, yet he believed, from the circumstances of
the present suggestion, that he should be justified 'in giving it his
negative. In short, he looked upon the suggestion in no other
light, but as an artifice to delay the consideration of a subject, on
which reason and sound policy required a speedy determination.
If a call of the House were really necessary, what excuse could
be made by the noble lord, or any of his friends, for having delayed
it so long ? Was it, that, until the present moment, they had
never considered the French treaty as an object of sufficient im-
portance to justify a call of the House ? or would they pretend to
say, that they had never known, until now, that it was the inten-
tion cf . his majesty's ministers to bring it forward as early in -the
session as possible? He begged leave to remind the noble lord of
the expressions of a right honourable gentleman ( Mr. Fox) who
sat near him on a former day, " that the pending treaty had given
rise to so many speculations, and had so materially affected the ope-
rations of our manufacturers and merchants, that it became highly
necessary to bring it to as speedy a conclusion as possible, in order
to put an end to that suspense which its present unfinished state
must necessarily give rise to, and a continuance of which must be
highly detrimental to the interests of those concerned."


Mr. Fox rose with great warmth to declare, that he never
would consent that the House was to neglect its duty to the
country, and go precipitately into the consideration of a mea-
sure of great national importance, because any set of men
whatever, however respectable their characters, however nu-


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.


2e11787.]
merous their description, had thought proper to run before
the sanction of parliament, and enter into speculations which
they were by no means warranted to risque engaging in. The
right honourable gentleman had alluded to what had fallen
from him on a former day, as if he had called for a precipitate
and hasty discussion of the treaty ; whereas, what he bad said, was
not that because any set of men had rashly speculated upon the
grounds of the treaty before it had received the sanction of
parliament, the deliberation of the House ought therefore
to be accelerated, but that whenever the House had delibe-
rated upon it, and passed a vote of approbation should such
a vote pass —it was their indispensable duty to proceed to the
carrying it into execution with all possible celerity, in order
to realize those speculations, that the vote and sanction of the
House might, as it were, have authorised and encouraged.
It was the execution and not the deliberation, that he wished
to have hastened, and therefore, when the right honourable
gentleman thought proper to quote what he had said on any
former day, he wished he would be so good as to quote hinl
with something like correctness. It was the characteristic of
the right honourable gentleman's administration to be preci-
pitate in deliberation, and lingering in execution. In most
of his measures he had been hasty in coming to the decision
of a vote, and he had almost as often had occasion to lament
the want of greater deliberation ; but he had scarcely ever been
equally prompt to carry the vote into execution after it had
passed. With regard to the call of the House suggested by
his noble friend, he was astonished at the right honourable
gentleman's objecting to it. A call of the House had some-
times been vexatiously made, but it had scarcely ever been
refused when desired by -ally member. That it was now in
common decency proper, who would be hardy enough to
deny? A measure more novel, or more important, had per-
haps never come under the consideration of the House. The
right honourable gentleman told them himself the measure
was important ; the House knew it to be important; the whole
country felt it to be important. Would the business, did the
right honourable gentleman think, derive a grace in the eyes
of foreign courts, from its being there known to have been
rashly and precipitately brought on, and that. a call of the


hazard


House, it,a. thing usual in cases of infinitely less magnitude, had
been refused ? 'There was something so ungracious in a refusal,
that he was astonished the right honourable gentleman would


\f • . Pitt ridiculed the idea of procrastinating the consideerbaetiroai!
of the treaty, under the specious pretext of more serious dli


s 3




w
262 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 2.
lion. It was in fact only an affectation of deliberation, for it was
nothing more than putting off; as long as possible, the time
for beginning to deliberate, which, •in effect, was the sure way to
render their deliberations short and sudden— it was like taking
time to deliberate previous to deliberation, and put him in mind
of the notion of a man falling down in a fit of apoplexy thinking
of nothing.


Mr. Fox replied, that he never had dreamt of arguing in
the illogical, nonsensical, and absurd manner that the right
honourable gentleman had ascribed to him ; though he was
ready to admit, that on a former day the right honourable
gentleman had so represented him to have argued; but that
misrepresentation had been so ably and so completely cor-
rected and cleared up by two of his honourable friends, (Mr.
Francis and Mr. Burke) that he had not thought it necessary
on that day to trouble the House with any explanation him-
self: Indeed, it would have been a bad argument for him to
have used, had he urged the necessity of precipitating the de-
liberation of the commercial treaty with France, in the very
same speech in which he was maintaining, that it was impossi-
ble for the House to be competent to decide on that treaty,
unless they previously had submitted to them, authentic infor-
mation of the state of our trade with Portugal, as it stood at pre-
sent, and as it was likely to stand hereafter. With regard to the
right honourable gentleman's quibble, that if the day of deli-
beration was deferred, the House would be in the state of a
man, who fell clown in a fit of apoplexy, thinking of nothing,
in the interval of the delay, he neither thought the sort of al-
lusion very decent to use within those walls, nor was it at all
respectful to the House, talking of them generally, to apply
such an allusion to them. The right honourable gentleman
was welcome to apply such allusions to him personally, but to
the rest of the House, a little more decency and respect was
due. Did he believe that the House, because they at any
time postponed the deliberation of any measure of great na-
tional importance, from one clay to another, " thought of no-
thing" in the interval ? Was it a fact, that gentlemen so far
lost sight of and neglected their duty, as not to prepare them-
selves without doors for the discussion of great questions to be
decided in parliament ? Many measures were of a nature, to
the proper consideration of which, few of the members of that
House were competent. Questions of commerce and trade,
more especially, were questions, which members of parlia-
ment, generally speaking, were not quite so well informed
upon as other persons. Before gentlemen, therefore, could
make up their minds to the proper vote they ought to give O.


16


1787.] TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 263


the treaty, they must inform themselves by conversing with
those whose avocations and professions enabled them to be
more conversant with commercial subjects. As to the day of
deliberation being desired to be procrastinated, it was a ne-
cessary procrastination, and not as the right honourable gen-
tleman had called it, " an affectation of deliberation, and a
mere putting ofF the day of beginning to discuss the treaty."
What was the day ? Perhaps the debate might be of so much
length as to be adjourned, and so occupy two days or more.
Still it would be but a single debate, and would all be de-
cided by a single vote. Would the right honourable gentle-
man, therefore, contend, that too much reasonable time could
be taken in order to enable gentlemen to examine a question of
so much novelty, and such acknowledged importance, before
they came ultimately to decide upon it by their vote ? If the
argument of the right honourable gentleman, that the im-
portance of the question alone was a greater motive to cause a
full attendance than any call of the House, were a sound one,
upon that principle, all the calls of the House that had hi-
therto taken place, had been idle and absurd.


Februau 5.


Mr. Pitt having moved that the House should resolve itself into
a committee on that day gevennight, to take into consideration
that part of the king's speech which related to the treaty of navi-
gation and commerce with France, Lord George Cavendish said,
that thinking that on a discussion so truly important, there should
be the fullest possible attendance of the representatives of the peo-
ple, it was his design to move for a call of the House. He wished
to do this in order ; but the motion now made by the right honour-
able gentleman precluded. him. The period was too short for a
call. He must therefore move an amendment, by substituting the
words, " this day fortnight" for " this day se'nnight," and then he
should follow the motion thus amended by a motion for a call of
the House. The Speaker having stated the question,


Mr. Fox rose, and remarked that in consequence of the
numerous opportunities which had arisen to confirm his idea,
that the disposition of the right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer was sanguine even to excess, he felt a slighter
degree of astonishment at discovering that on this, as on other
important topics, he should violently urge on the House to
the consideration of the treaty. But the same experience
which he in common with other members had of the conse-
quences of rashly falling in with the wishes of the right ho-
nourable gentleman in this respect, prevented him from rea-


4




264 TREATY' OF CO3IMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 5.
lily believing -that the House would go rashly with him into a
discussion, so novel in its quality, and so pregnant with con-
sequences either good or the contrary. It was a' new system,
in which not only the established doctrines of our forefathers
were departed from, but by which the great and most essen-
tial principles in our commerce, principles which, whether
wise or erroneous, had made us opulent, were to be com-
pletely changed. Surely, a system affecting thus our com-
merce in its most vital parts, affecting our most intimate and
advantageous connections, and which, though it held out
present profit to certain branches of our manufactures,
threatened, according to sonic opinions, ultimate and final
loss to them all, if to be admitted at all, was a system only
to be admitted after the most serious and deliberate discussion.
What must be the consequences to the character of the na-
tion — What to the dignity of their proceedings, if they
should suffer this business to go forth from their hands, ac-
cepted on bad grounds, partially stated and not thoroughly
understood ?


There was one thing particular in this treaty—one in
which it differed from all that ever went before it, and which
tended very much to strengthen the argument for a serious de-
liberation — and that was, that we must take it all or none.
It was not a measure, into the detail of which the House could
enter with the precaution incident to ol her topics, of adopting
only what part they liked. They . . ht;nadopt and embrace
the whole of the system, or reject it ail. On this occasion,
though he would not be construed to say, that the general.
vote given by the House would preclude them from going into
the detail, still there was in this measure something essen-
tially different from most questions; for their going into a
committee on that day se'nnight, as they were desired to do,
was not•to be considered as the beginning of their deliberation
—but, on that first discussion, the opinion of the House was
to be called for, he supposed, to the general question of the
admission of the treaty. It was, therefore, highly incum-
bent on them that they should have time maturely to weigh
the consequences of a vote which was to have so much effect
on the final discussion of the subject. An occurrence had
arisen., the memory of which ought to influence the House
on the present occasion—the treaty of navigation and com-
merce with Ireland: that treaty which was better known to
the House by the Irish name of the Irish propositions. On
that subject, as on the present, the right honourable gentle-
man deprecated delay. Ho objected to the arguments of those
who recommended to him time and thought. He desired
then, as . now, to hurry them on. without consideration--


II


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.a 7 7-7 26$
without tithe for inquiry— or for collecting the opinions of
those who were the most able to judge of the expediency of
the measure. Ought not the- right honourable gentleman to
be thankful to the House for not yielding to his rash propo-
sals ? For what must have been the consequences to this
country if the propositions had passed in the undigested shape
in which the right honourable gentleman brought them into
parliament, and pressed them on its acceptance' All the dan-
gers would have been incurred which the right honourable
gentleman himself afterwards so forcibly enumerated. For-
tunate for the country was the wise caution of the House in
that instance—fortunate for the right honourable gentleman
Himself—fortunate, indeed, had been his failing in this as
well as in other pursuits, when he has been rescued by the
wisdom of the House from the dangers of his own rashness !
Never had the good fortune of the right honourable gentle-
man been more apparent than when he had been unwillingly
brought to delay the discussion of his hasty projects; and when
the good sense and sober judgment of the House had snatched
him from the impending ruin of his sanguine measures. It was
not only in the instance of the Irish propositions that he had
been thus fortunately checked. He had also brought in a
plan for a commercial treaty with America, and that would
admit of no possible delay. The House however, had taught
him the rashness of the proceeding; and that bill lie never
brought again into the House. On that subject he had been
made completely to change his mind, in consequence of the
lights which he received by prudent delay.


The House would please to consider the size of the object
which they were thus required without the necessary infor-
mation being granted, and without even providing for a full
attendance of members, by a call of the House, decidedly
to investigate. They were to consider its influence on all
that was great in the features of their general commerce —
in the principles under which, whether right or wrong, that
commerce had flourished — and in its power over their con-
nections with other states, and particularly Portugal. He
must still urge how greatly he felt himself alarmed at the state
of our connection with that power. He was not convinced that it
would be wise for England to enter into a commercial connec-
tion with France, unless it was clearly demonstrated that such
a Connection was in no wise to affect our valuable connection
with Portugal. What was the alternative of this treaty ? If
there was to be no sacrifice of the revenue arising from wine,
there was to be a sacrifice of the Methuen treaty. If the
Methuen treaty was not to be sacrificed, then there was to be
tt sacrifice of revenue in the article of wines only, to the




266
enneeTY Or COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb.


amount of between Ise) and 200,0001. a year. He seieeet!
should not, in spite of this immense loss, hesitate a moment, if
the necessity of the alternative' was apparent, which side
take ; for the Methuen treaty had justly been considered es
the commercial idol of England. There were extravagant
rumours out of doors, if they were to listen to all the extrava-
gant rumours circulated concerning the Portugal trade — that
it had fallen off; arid that it was no longer to be viewed in the
same light as formerly. But to these rumours he could give no
ear ; and the House ought certainly to know the precise state of
the trade. They were, on the contrary, called upon to act in
the dark. The question, as far as' the relation of Portugal to
England went, bore three fixes — They were, first, to con-
sider the French treaty either under the idea that the duties
on Portugal wines were to be lowered ; or, second, that the
Methuen treaty was to be sacrificed ; or, third, that there was
a negotiation pending. In which of these faces was he to
consider the Portugal trade while discussing the French
treaty ? It surely ought to be clearly and fully explained
to the House, before they were called upon to come to this
decision.


Another circumstance most forcibly demanded considera-
tion. A convention had been exchanged, and at length ra-
tified — and this convention was so little of a piece with the
treaty, nay, was in some respects so totally dissimilar, that one
might have conceived it as possible to decide on the merits of
the Irish propositions in their last shape, from having read
those which the right honourable gentleman first brought. in,
es to form a clear and conclusive judgment of the convention
from having read the treaty. The convention which gentle-
men had only received that day, contained adjustments of
duties, and an arrangement of different articles of hardware,
which were all so huddled together in the treaty, that the most
enlightened of the manufacturers and traders would be puzzled
to decide at once on its precise merits. A fortnight only was
desired. Surely the right honourable gentleman could not be
serious in objecting to a period so short. What did he fear,
or what could he possibly have to fear from the delay ? He
had insinuated that the .great body of the people were anxious
for the completion of the treaty. If the majority of the
people were for the treaty, surely he had


i
nothing to appre-


hend from delay. If their approbation of t was well-founded,
deliberation would only fix them in their opinions more
thoroughly; but if he suspected that they Were loud in their
praise more from the novelty of the object than from their
conviction of its merits ; that they had, like himself;' taken it
up hastily, and attracted by the glitter of a French cornice-


TREATY or COMMERCE WITH .FRANCE. 2671787.3
tree, or tempted by the view of immediate profit, had not
taken time to sit down and thoroughly weigh the merits of
ire case; then, indeed, the conduct of the right honourable


n


gentleman as a temporiser might be right. lie snatched at
Tee seasonable moment to catch the transitory breath of their
praise


'


• and seized on their delusion to betray them into his
But he could not think so poorly of the right honour-


able gentleman. He surely could not be content with a
P so obtained. A triumph of this kind he might havein the fullest measure of national delirium, if he had


pushed the nation to a question on the treaty eight clays after
its publication. There were a sort of people to whom, in
every instance, novelty was attraction. If a measure had the
merit of being new and glittering, they were soothed by its ap-
pearance,, and for a time became subject to its fascination.
But this was a sort of magic easily broken. It endured no
longer than the novelty itself; and a rational estimate pro-
ceeding from cool inquiry followed the momentary intoxica-
tion of the senses. Surely the right honourable gentleman
could find no true enjoyment in any other than the triumph
which should proceed from the concurring voice of the coun-
try, seriously and deliberately pronounced in favour of the
treaty which he had negociated. He must revolt from a tri-
umph obtained over delusion and error. And while he thus
earnestly requested time, he must again recall the memorable
circumstance of the Irish propositions. What was the case
there? 'When the right honourable gentleman was intreated
to allow time for inquiry, and for collecting the sense of the
people, he triumphantly pointed to the table, and inquired
what petitions there were on it. What was the conse-
quence of this? The manufacturing bodies in every part of
the country, gave the right honourable gentleman petitions
in sufficient number— they gave him the most convincing
proof; not only that he was opposed by the whole body of the
people, but that he was wrong in every article of his scheme.
From these gentlemen the House had also gained a complete
treatise on manufacture and commerce — a treatise which,
though given in the case of the Irish treaty, was equally ap-
plicable to the French treaty, and would for ever be referred
to and respected in every case of commercial discussion.


He should now beg leave to caution the House against
entering rashly into the first discussion, because their first
opinion delivered on the treaty was so material. It was not
with this as with the Irish treaty—they had no parliament, jea-
lous of the constitution, like themselves, to revise what they
might do. He had been said to have delivered very free
opinions about French perfidy, and perhaps he might not




268 TREATY OP COMMERCE: WITH FRANCE.
[Feb. 9.


think that nation the most filithful in their political contract,
of any people in Europe; but he never had said that thee
were so treacherous — that they were so unobservant of the&
public faith, — that if the British parliament were to ie.
sert some small passage into the treaty different from the
present letter of it, they would reject the whole. The Irish
did this: a clause inserted at the conclusion of the inquiry had
the good luck to arouse the jealousy of the parliament of Ire,
land, and they, much to the satisfaction of every thinkhe•
man, rejected the whole scheme; but, in this instance, we
had no such good fortune to expect, and therefore parliament.
should be more cautious how they suffered a thing to pass,
which, once out of their hands, was not likely to meet its
doom elsewhere. Such sentiments as lie had now expressed,
would, he was convinced, entirely bear him out in voting for
the amendment; and the more particularly, as the consequence
of its passing would be a full House, and its natural result, a
close investigation of a subject, than which few, if any, were
superior in importance..


The HOuse divided on the amendment, which was negatived by
213 against 89. The motion fbr a call of the House was after-
wards put, and rejected without a division.


Feb•uau 9.


Mr. Fox observed, that it gave him pleasure to assure the
House, that he should trespass but a short time upon their
patience, as the documents for which he meant to move,
went merely to the situation of our present, and the probable
state of our future trade with Portugal ; which though an
object essentially necessary to be known in that IIouse, pre-
vious to their coming to any decision upon the Commercial
Treaty with France, yet, as far as it opened a field for ar-
gument, could only be considered in one of these two points of
view, viz, whether before we had entered into a commercial
treaty with a new customer, we had taken care to secure our
connection with an old and valuable one; or in case of not
having done so, whether having made a treaty with France
we were likely to keep our connection with Portugal, our old
customer, if the treaty was to be commercially considered;
our old ally, if the treaty was to be considered politically ; or
solely trusted to putting ourselves exclusively into the hands of
France, both as a customer, and — not an ally, for that she
certainly could not be called, but as a new political friend.


These were the heads under which every argument upon
the subject must range; and the better to make himself under-


TREATY or COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 269i787.3
stood by the House, he would point out the three periods of .
thee, at which the treaty with Portugal could alone have been
made, but at each of which periods undoubtedly, there was a
material difference in point of ease and advantage. The first
of these periods was, that of all others, most desirable, becauseit must have been free from every imputation, either on the
score of impolicy or suspicion of any kind whatever; the last
of the three periods was certainly open to a proportion of sus-
picion, but lie really thought, that though some suspicion might



at first attach to it, in a very short time that might be done


away: but there was between these two periods, an intermediate
period of a very doubtful and suspicious nature indeed, and that
of all others was the most objectionable. The period most
advantageous of the three, obviously was, that prior to the
conclusion of a treaty with France. Had a treaty with Por-
tugal been secured and settled at that moment, it would have
manifested a fairness and a decency on our part to an old ally;
and it would have exhibited a good example of the dignity of
this country, by skewing, that before we enter into new trea-
ties, or sought for new friends, we took care to secure the
continuance of our old connections. At that time, therefore,
in his mind, the treaty with the court of Lisbon ought to have
been adjusted, because he never could be brought to admit,
that our commercial connection with Portugal ought to be
blended with, or make any part of the measure of a com-
mercial treaty with France, though the converse of the pro-
position might we true, and indeed was so.


The next best period for making a treaty with the court of
Lisbon, was subsequent to the parliamentary sanction and
ttilid


after


into effect the commercial treaty with France,
the reduction of Portugal wines, according to the


reserve made in the 7th article of the French treaty. That
period, as he had before said, was certainly not so free• from
objection as the former one, but most objectionable was the
intermediate period, namely, that between the sienine .


the
French treaty, and the parliament of Great Britain giving it
their sanction, and engaging to carry it into execution. In
order to illustrate this assertion, and explain more fully what
he meant, Mr. Fox went into a good deal of argument to
Prove, that if Portugal should, through any perverseness, or
ill-judged obstinacy (which Heaven forbid should be the.
case!) refuse to corrtinue the same connection with us that had
subsisted between the two countries under the Methuen treaty,
ever since the year 1 703, France would., in that case, derive
a great additional advantage from us, for which we neither
should have an equivalent, nor could claim one.




9270 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [F. ,eb
He knew that some doubts had arisen as to the right


construction of the Methuen treaty : a minister when in
office, he had felt it to be his duty to negotiate it one way,
but be was aware that the court of Lisbon bad contended
that Irish woollens were not comprehended under the Me,
thuen treaty. — [The chancellor of the exchequer said. across
the table, if the right honourable gentleman acted one way
as a negociator when in office, he hoped he would not lend
the weight of his authority the- other way, now he was not
in office.] Mr. Fox said, if the right honourable gentleman
had heard him to the end of his sentence, he was sure he
would not have thought what he meant to have expressed,
to have been wrong, or injudicious, or ill-timed. What he
was proceeding to say was this, that the court of Lisbon
had contended that Irish woollens were not comprehended
within the meaning of the Methuen treaty ; but that was an
idle and a mistaken notion. The spirit of the Methuen
treaty undoubtedly went to Irish as well as British woollens,
and to lay down any distinction between the two was nar-
row and impolitic, and by no means consonant with that
generous and liberal line of conduct that the court of Lisbon
and the court of London should mutually take care to follow
respecting the concerns of each other. His opinion was,
and that an opinion founded on conviction, that Portugal
was bound to listen to the complaints of our merchants, and
that it was the duty of ministers to take care to enforce their
just demands, so as to have the Methuen treaty observed
as to its spirit, rather than as to its mere letter. On our
part we ought to act with equal liberality, and rather grant
4) Portugal more than she could claim by treaty than less.
Upon that principle the two countries might continue con-
nected and be useful friends to each other. If Portugal
should, either by the influence of other powers, or the per-
verseness of her own ministers, break with us entirely, and
an end should be put to the Methuen treaty, we should lose
a useful friend, and should undoubtedly feel the loss; but
Portugal would soon find, that she had acted rashly and
injudiciously, that she had injured herself most essentially
by breaking her old connection, and that no new commer-
cial treaty she could enter into or conclude, could possibly
prove in every point of view so serviceable and so advan-
tageous to her, as her connection with this country had
proved. In that light, he had uniformly considered the
Methuen treaty and the connection between Great Britain
and Portugal, and so, he believed, every , man who knew
any thing of the commercial interests of the two countries
:must have considered them.


1787.]


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 271


Mr. Fox next proceeded to spew the disadvantages Of put-
ting the finishing hand to the French treaty, by parliament
coining to a vote upon it, before they knew what would be
the state of our trade with Portugal. The principles of the
French treaty were reciprocity of advantage in respect to com-
merce; not that each country was to do the same thing exactly
in respect to each commercial commodity, because that would
be impossible, but where the ,duty was lowered upon any
commodity in one country, an equivalent was to be granted
by the other. But if the treaty with France was sanctioned
without knowing what was to be done with Portugal, we
must remain in the dark, and might eventually give France
an advantage for which we neither had the prospect of an
equivalent, nor could set up any claim to one. Mr. Fox
explained this, by putting the case, that Portugal should,
either through her own perverseness, or the influence France
was known to have over the court of Lisbon, be so unwise
as to refuse to come into any treaty with Great 'Britain ;
in that case, we certainly should not lower the duty on
Portugal wines, and then France would positively have A
material advantage, in addition to the advantage already given
by stipulation in the treaty, for which additional advantage,
we should not have a right to claim an equivalent. Thus
France would be in the condition of a person purchasing
an estate, with a mine upon it, without having paid for the
mine. Would not every man, in that case, blame the seller
of the estate, for not having ascertained, whether there was
a mine upon it or not, before he sold his estate? The case
stood exactly in that manner between Great Britain and
France: if Portugal broke with us, France would have all
the benefit without having stipulated to give any equivalent
to this country. Mr. Fox put this very forcibly, and then
mentioned, as another probable inconvenience, that if we
should lower the duty on Spanish wines, France would have
a right to call upon us to make the same reduction in the
duties on the French wines, because we had stipulated that ,
her wines should come in upon as low duties, as were paid
on the wines of any country, except the wines of Portugal.
The validity of this argument would be seen- by reading the
sixth, the seventh, and eleventh articles of the French treaty.


Mr. Fox recapitulated the heads of his argument before
he sat down, and then said, that if the object he aimed at,
which he hoped he had made sufficiently clear to the right
honourable gentleman, could be obtained by any other mo-
tion, or by any other way of wording his motion, he was
ready to give it up, or alter it, though he could not give up
his argument, as he conceived nothing could be more evident




272
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH ritaxer. [Feb. 12,


than the grounds he had rested if upon. Mr. Fox explained
why he had selected the year 1782 as the date, from which
the papers were to be made out.• He said, he would not
go so far back as the year 17 5 8, when the merchants began
to complain of the conduct of the court of Portugal as to the
non-observance of the Methuen treaty, but fixed upon the
year 1782, as more modern, at the same time that it was
not so modern, as to be a period that interfered with nego-
tiations of a nature too recent to be touched upon. He con-
cluded with moving, " 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, copies or
extracts of the Instructions that have been given to his ma-
jesty's ministers in Portugal since the first of May 1782,
respecting the Complaints of the British merchants. As also
the answer or answers of the Court of Portugal to the re-
presentations which have been made in consequence of such
instructions, with the several dates of the said instructions
and answers."


The motion, after being seconded by Sir Grey Cooper, and
opposed by Mr. Beaufoy and Mr. Pitt, was negatived without a
division.


Februca I 2.


The House having resolved itself into a committee of the whole
House, to take into consideration so much of the king's speech on
the 25th of January, -as relates to the treaty of navigation and com-
merce with France, Mr. Pitt in a speech which lasted three hours,
entered into an explanation and defence of the treaty, and con-
cluded with moving his first resolution ; viz. " That it appears
to this committee to be expedient that all articles of the growth,
produce, or manufacture of the European dominions of the French
king, which arc not specified in the 6th article of the treaty ()I'll
navigation and commerce, between His Britannic Majesty and the
Most Christian King, signed at Versailles, the 26th of September
1786, shall be imported into this kingdom on payment of duties
as low as any which :ball he payable on the importation of the like
articles from any other European nation."


Mr. Fox rose immediately as the chancellor of the excite-.
quer sat down. He began by declaring, that he clearly saw,
that the right honourable gentleman had considered a great
and complicated subject on narrow and confined ground.
When he was in office he had begun the only system on
which commerce between the two countries could have-been.
carried on, without disgrace and embarrassment to Great


T787.] , TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.
273


Britain. To the greatest part of what had fallen from the-
right honourable gentleman with so much eloquence and
ability, he was prepared to give a direct and innnediate ne-
oative; and he at the same time.scrupled not to assert, that
no one argument the right honourable gentleman bad urged
in favour of the treaty carried conviction to his mind, or
altered his Opinion of it in the smallest degree. The right
honourable -gentleman 13 ad done what he expected, because
it was what every person must have done, who undertook
the defence of a commercial treaty with France he had
talked a great deal of the assurances given by the court of
Versailles of her amicable intentions towards Great Britain,
and on these assurances of friendship had he rested his con-
fidence, that France was sincere in her professions, and that
she really wished well to this country. In that confidence he
never could join ; nor could he ever be brought to believe
that France was sincere when-She professed to be the friend
of Great Britain.


The right honourable gentleman had said, " Surely no man
would go so fhr as to assert, that France must be actuated by
an unalterable enmity towards us, and that it absolutely was
impossible that the two countries could ever be brought to act
towards each other with amity and friendship." He un-
doubtedly, Mr. Fox said, would not go the length of assert-
ing that France was, and must remain the unalterable enemy
of Great Britain, and that there was not a possibility for any
circumstances to occur, under which France might not se-
cretly feel a wish to act amicably with respect to this kingdom.
It was possible; but it was scarcely probable. That she, how-
ever, felt in that manner at present, he not only doubted but
disbelieved. France was the natural political enemy of Great
Britain. What made her so ?—not the memory of Cressy
and of Agincourt; the victories of those fields had nothing to
do with the circumstance.. It was the overweening pride and
boundless ambition of France; her invariable and. ardent


- de-
sire to hold the sway of Europe. If the right honourable
gentleman thought the friendly assurances of France were in-
fallible proofs of her sincerity, let him but turn over the cor-
respondence to be found in the secretary of state's office that
related to what had passed between the British ambassador
and the , French. ministers at the time that Lord Stormont
had been our ambassador, and immediately before the deli-
very of the French rescript, previous to their breaking with
-as, and joining America against this country, and he would
there see assurances of sincere regard, and professions of firm
6iendship as warm as could be made. How far those as-


VOL. III.




274 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb,


surances had been verified, and how far those professions
had been fulfilled, the House and the country but too well
knew !


Mr. Fox said, that one reason to distrust France was, the
amiable character of the French king, a monarch celebrated.
for his love of justice, for his desire to serve his country, and
his wish to aggrandize her name. That monarch sat on the
throne when France last went to war with us, and the minister
of that day was M. Maurepas, a man of known talents, but
a man of that time of life not likely to be led away by inipro_
bable speculations on visionary projects more flattering than
solid. Assurances of friendship, therefore, on the part of the
court of Versailles were not to be relied on, especially at this
moment, when France was so powerful, and had so little rea-
son to part with any thing, really meant for the good of this
country.


Mr. Fox contended that France was the natural foe of
Great Britain, and that she wished by entering into a com-
mercial treaty with us to tie our hands, and prevent us from
engaging in any alliances with other powers. He answered
that part of Mr. Pitt's speech in which he had said, that at
one time France and Great Britain were friends, and had
carried on a commercial intercourse with each other. The
reason he said was, this country had at that time another na-
tural enemy, and that was Spain. He elucidated this, by
referring to the history of Europe, and stated that from the
reign of Henry VI. after those wars were over, that this coun-
try had derived so much glory from, France and Great Bri-
tain did for a long time continue upon an amicable footing
with each other.


The right honourable gentleman, he observed, had dwelt a
good deal on the benefit that individuals would reap from
the treaty being carried into execution. That was, Mr. Fox
said, one good reason with him for disliking it. Connections
of such great political importance ought not to rest on the
advantage that would accrue from them to interested indivi-
duals, but on the good effect they were likely to produce to
the public and to the state. In the reign of Charles the Se-


.'cond, we had a connection with France; why; —for the
good of an individual,—because of the corruption of the
crowned head. Oliver Cromwell, it was true, notwithstanding
his wisdom and the vigour of his measures, was also in con-
nection with France; the only reason that could be assigned,
was probably for the sake of the safety of his own personal
situation, having to dread that France might lend her aid to
the family of the abdicated prince and assist in restoring them
to their legal rights: that consideration might operate and


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.
2751787.]


induce him to prefer his own interest and the preservation of
his power to the glory of the country, over which he, in
almost every other respect, ruled with so much credit to him-
self. Charles the Second, from the moment he came to the
throne, began to put schemes in execution for the ruin of
the religion of his people, and almost every thing that it was
his duty to maintain and uphold.


In King William's time, a more glorious conduct was pur-
sued, and also in the subsequent reign, until the people were
led away with false notions of their interests, and were not
only persuaded, that the victories and triumphs of the wars
they had carried on so successfully


against France, had been
purchased at too dear a price of blood and of treasure to this
country, but that those who had planned those wars in the
cabinet, and conducted them in the field, deserved execration
and punishment. At that era it was, that the tories got the
government into their hands, and under the influence of idle
rumours of the church being in danger, and the most incre-
dible reports, prevailed on the tory parliament to pass censures
on men, whose characters were afterwards proved not to have
deserved the smallest imputation of blame. Even the Duke
of Marlborough himself; who hat fought the battles of his
country with so mach glory to the British name and charac-
tei:, and so much signal honour to himself; did not escape
without slur, and without abuse. At that era it was, that the
treaty of Utrecht was thought of and negociated ; a treaty
that deservedly met with the execration of all ranks of people !
Even that parliament,—a parliament that had proved so
servile, that it had disgraced itself in a variety of instances,
would not consent to swallow the infamous treaty of Utretcht,
but rejected it. They thereby proved, that though they were
a tory, they were not a French parliament; but although
they did reject the 8th and 9th articles of the treaty Of Utrecht,
they were so adulatory to the then tory ministry, that if they
could not bring themselves to approve their works, they never-
theless praised their persons, and sent up an address to the
queen, flattering to the administration, though it condemned
their treaty.


Mr. Fox drew a parallel between their conduct and the
treatment the right honourable gentleman had himself expe-
rienced ever since he had been in power. The right honour-
able gentleman had talked of the Irish propositions, and, as
it were, invited their being mentioned. But would not the
fate of those propositions sufficiently prove, that although the
measure failed, yet the right honourable gentleman, high in
favour with his sovereign, and with the people, lost not an
atom of the confidence of either ? The House might recol-


T 2




276
,21.be[F.PRANCEWITHCOMMERCEOPTREATY


lect, that when the Irish propositions came ultimately to be*
voted in that House, many gentlemen of great character and
esteem in the country, expressly declared, that the measure
was too complex for them to comprehend, but that they were
ready to vote for it, from the confidence they had in the right
honourable gentleman's.integrity, and in his having declared
that it was a right measure.


The right honourable gentleman, Mr. Fox observed, had
laid great stress on the assertion, that no petitions had been
presented against the treaty; the same degree of stress exactly
had he laid on the same circumstance, in the case of the Irish
propositions, and yet they all recollected how the boast of the
right honourable gentleman had turned out. But in the pre-
sent case, there was a petition from the chamber of commerce,
signed by some of the most respectable names to be found
among the manufacturers of the country. Mr. Fox justified
Messrs. 'Walker, and the house of Mills and Haywood, for
their conduct, and said, if such men declared they did not
rightly understand the treaty it behoved the committee to
proceed cautiously, and not to lose all sight of their being a
deliberative assembly. He asked, did the right honourable*
gentleman himself, or any other gentleman take upon him to
assert, that lie understood the interests of the cotton manu-
facture better than Mr. Walker, or the interests of the woollen
manufacture better than the house of Mills and Haywood?.
He replied to the several observations that had been made by
Mr. Pitt on the report from the chamber of commerce, and
defended every part of that report, declaring the questions
put in the report were pertinent and pointed, notwithstand-
standing the right honourable gentleman had thought proper
to treat them with so much levity, and to declare that he
should be very much ashamed if any gentleman thought what
he was about to read, was really a part of his speech. With
respect to the doubts entertained by the chamber of commerce,
as to the construction of the fifth article; he was very free to
say, that those doubts appeared to him to be ill-founded, and
to agree with the right honourable gentleman, that if there
were any laws existing, by which aliens and foreigners were
debarred from exercising a retail trade in this country, they
were a disgrace to the statute book, and ought to be done
away.


After dwelling for some time upon this matter, and justify-
inc. the report and the question proposed in it for enquiry,
Mr. Fox returned to his first argument, that France was not
to he trusted, and that she insidiously meant to draw this
country into her scale of the balance of power, which could
not but make it preponderate. He observed, that the right


TREATY OF COMMERCE 'WITH FRANCE. 2771787.3
honourable gentleman had talked of the facility, the ease, and
accommodation manifested by France all through the nego-
tiation ; circumstance at which, Mr. Fox said, he was not
surprised, because upon a perusal of the treaty it was evident,
that France had her own great end in view, and not the good
of Great Britain. In order to explain this, Mr. Fox re-
/narked, that notwithstanding the levity of French manners,
notwithstanding the constitutional mutability of that people,
yet, to the astonishment of all the world, during all their
changes of administration, they had for more than a century
kept to one regular and constant idea, that of overweening
pride and natural aggrandizement. Anxious to grasp at
more than a due influence over the other powers of Europe,
France had endeavoured by different means, to attain her ob-
ject. In the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, she had openly
avowed her purpose, and endeavoured to effect' it; but find-
ing that arrogant conduct offensive to all the other powers of.
Europe, and that it created against her an host of foes, she
had lately changed her means and determined to do that by
the more laudable mode of commercial connection, which she
saw she would not be suffered to accomplish by force of arms.
Hence her facility to treat with this country, because she
knew she would have an opportunity of taking an advantage;
an advantage which she had not permitted to escape her.
When the family-compact was entered into, Mr. Fox said, it
gave great offence to the European powers; and when we
negotiated the peace of Paris in 1 7 63 , being at that time the•
successful combatants, and granting relief from the fatigue
and expellee . of a disastrous war, to an almost exhausted foe,
we got France, then humbled as she was, tacitly to abjure
the family-compact, as would be seen by referring to the first
article of that treaty. In our last treaty of peace, the treaty
signed at Paris in 1783, the French adhered to their abjura-
tion, but as we did not deem that sufficiently satisfiletory, the
Duke of Manchester was sent over, who obtained a declara-
tion which expressly answered the purpose. Notwithstand-
ing these precautions, France had been artful enough to revive
the family-compact in the present commercial treaty, and had
thereby obtained a recognition of it on the part of this coun-
try. Mr. Fox, to prove this position, read the 25th article
of the family-compact, and the different articles from the
treaties of 1763 and of 1783, and was extremely pointed ., on
the circumstances which he said was an admirable proof of
the sincerity of the assurances of France, and her professions
of friendship towards Great Britain, and accounted very sof=
ficiently for the ease and facility which she had manifested in
the course of the negotiation.


T 3




278
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [ Feb.12 ,


He enlarged upon the argument, that this country oughtnot by any means, in point of policy, to connect herself 7o0
closely with France. Her true situation was that, he said, of
a great maritime power looked up to by the other powers of
Europe, as that to which the distressed should fly for assist..
:ince, whenever France unjustly attacked them with a view to
the attainment of her favourite object. Two things it be-
hoved a wise ministry of this country to aim at, with respect
to France, the one was to divert her attention front her ma-
rine, and turn it to land connections and fortifications; the
other, to procure an alliance for Great Britain with some
maritime power that could assist her whenever France thought
it a fit moment to attack her. Both these ends, if they
could be answered, were extremely desirable; but if both
could not, it was the duty of ministers to endeavour to gain
one of them. - Mr. Fox declared, he had lately heard, and
with much true joy, that the probability of our once more
recovering our situation with Holland, was not quite so hope-
less as it had been. He was sincerely glad of it, for the pre-
sent treaty did not appear to him likely to invite other powers
to enter into alliance with us. He went over the whole of
the arguments used on Friday last, relative to the Methuen
treaty with Portugal, throwing new lights upon it, and de-
claring that our connection with the court of Lisbon had
been made a sacrifice and peace-offering to France, and had
been clearly given as the price of the treaty. He said, that
the French in the much boasted reserve, contained in the
seventh article of the commercial treaty, had completely
outwitted us. He explained this, by reminding the committee,
that the reserve, as to Portugal, was the reserve of a right
actually existing when the Treaty was negociated ; whereas
the reserve on the part of France, viz, that of an article
in the family compact, was not admitted by us to have an
existence. •


After very fully going over the ground of the policy of tho
treaty, he touched upon the commercial and the revenue divi-
sions, contending that the honourable gentleman had been
mistaken in almost every one of his arguments respecting both
those heads. Much, he said, would it become the House se-
riously to contemplate the effect which this treaty might have
on the revenues of the country. What were the advantages
that ministry could possibly expect from it? With regard to
the prevention of smuggling, he did not conceive how the ar-
guments used by the right honourable gentleman would apply.
He had said, with respect to the brandies, that what were for-
merly smuggled into this country would now come under the
legal duty, and thus would the revenue receive all the advan-


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 279178 7.]
tags of which it was formerly defrauded. But how did this
fact really stand? The duties on brandies made their impor-
tation to the merchant 7s. 6d. per gallon: this was 400 per
cen t. Would the right honourable gentleman therefore pre-
tend to say, that when the duties on brandies were 400 per cent.
On


the first cost, that they would not be now smuggled in as
great a proportion as they were formerly? They certainly
would ; for where there was such a temptation, there would
smuggling always exist. But, to prevent this smuggling of
brandy, the right honourable gentleman had declared that he
had a plan to propose to effectuate it entirely. What was
this plan? Did he mean to reduce the duties to loot. per cent?
Would he lower the duties to 3s. 4d. per gallon? And if he
did, what assurance could he give that they would not then
smuggle brandies into this country ? But if he reduced the
duties on brandies, the duties on rum must be reduced in pro-
portion, otherwise the consumption of our colonial produce.
in the West Indies would be materially diminished. He was
therefore assured that he could not, with any consistency of
policy or expediency, lower the duties beneath their present
standard. If he did, he would risk the diminution of the re-
venue in one instance, and the diminution of our West India
produce in the other. Therefore he could not conceive in
what particular smuggling would be diminished with regard
to the exportation of brandies, under the stipulations of the
present treaty.


As to the commercial part of the treaty, the first object that
claimed his attention was the woollen manufactory. It had
been argued, that we had opened to ourselves a market, con-
taining twenty-four millions of people, while France had only
obtained a market from us of eight millions. But- with res-
pect to the number of persons in a market, he did not esti-
mate the advantages to be derived on such a scale of compu-
tation. The advantages were to be estimated from the con-
sumption of the national produce. The raw material, if grown
in the country, and then manufactured, was certainly the es-
timate of the profit of one nation with another in a.commer-
cial intercourse. Now, how stood the situation of this country
with regard to our woollen manufactures? As far as the wool-
len articles we might export to France, by virtue of this treaty,
were composed of English wool, we should clearly have be-
nefit. But as we used at least 3 50,000 lb. of Spanish wool in
our manufactories of woollen cloths, we clearly lost this ad-
vantage of the raw material. And this was not all; for this
35o,000 lb. when manufactured into cloth, was estimated, by
those most conversant in the trade, to amount to no less a sum
than 70o,0001. Thus, such a value would be clearly to our


T 4




28o
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb.


12.
disadvantage. And what yet more increased our loss was


,that Spain might give France an opportunity of importingtheir wool under the sanction of the treaty, which restoredboth to .France and Spain the privileges of the family-compact.
By this France would be able to manufacture this article, and
afterwards serve us with the commodity which we before made


• ourselves.. And as it was a species of cloth which our wool
would not make, we should be obliged to purchase it from
France, under the disadvantage of their having the labour,
and we the loss of the artificers; they the emolument, and we
the loss of the manufacture.


Thus, having shewn in what manner the advantages of reei-
procity were to be estimated in this treaty, he proceeded to se-
veral other articles. Among these was the importation of bran_
dies into this country. He had before manifested, that in no
possible manner could this treaty diminish the smuggling of
this article into the country. And now lie meant to evince,
that the revenue could not possibly be benefited under the idea
of a greater quantity of brandy being imported into the coun-
try. Ooo,000 gallons were the estimate of the brandies im-
ported here. But of this quantity, only 16o,000 gallons
was the quantity imported annually from France. It was,
therefore, evident that the rest must be chiefly imported from
Spain, or some other countries on that part of the continent.
Consequently, lowering the duties of what were imported from
France could not increase the revenue; for, as what was im-
ported from thence was evidently so disproportionate to what
we imported from Spain and other countries, no increase of
consumption in French brandies could possibly be expected.
Unless the constitutions of the people could be altered, he be-


lieved a greater quantity could not be consumed than what
was at present. He, therefore, could not conceive any advan-
tages of revenue, or indeed Commerce, to be derived from
lowering the duties on this article. He then proceeded to the
cotton manufactory. This, he said, was chiefly supported by
the working of a raw material, of which no less a quantity than
seventeen million of pounds of cotton wool was used. hu t of
this quantity half was imported from France, Portugal, and
the Brazils. Was not this an alarming circumstance to a
manufacture of such consequence as the cotton, finstain, anti
velvet was to this country ? By this treaty, France herself
might withhold two millions of the quantity we used, and keep
it for her own rising manufactures. And if we were deprived
of this raw material, one of our greatest manufactures would
be destroyed, or at least transplanted to France. What•was
there in the treaty to compensate for such an essential loss to
the commerce of the kingdom ? He knew of none. Much had


1787.3
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 281


beer' said with regard to its reciprocity, but with all his ex-
amination of it lie could riot find one article in which any trace
of that reciprocity existed.


Proceeding thus through several articles of our commerce,
lie adverted to our situation with Portugal with respect to the
present treaty. As to the idea of our renewing or preserving
the Alethnen treaty, he had not the least expectation. We
bad not preserved to ourselves the only chance which could
give us any pretence to ask it with confidence. Portugal
knew that we had formed a treaty which precluded us from
every possibility of making any advantage of any proposal we
might offer, and she might think proper to reject. She would,
therefore, not be inclined to give us a benefit for a bonus wehad it not in our power to bestow; for notwithstanding we
had a reserve to reduce her wines one third below those of
France, yet as we had no means of giving, or rather selling, this
advantage to any other, should she refuse it, she could have no
reason to accept a proposition tending so much to her disad-
vantage. What gave a pretence for a treaty was, to have it
in your power to offer to one, what, if rejected, you might,
with advantage, offer to another. But this you could not ex,
pect in the present instance of Portugal wines, and therefore,
lie did not perceive on what species of confidence we could
expect the Methuen treaty to be continued. What was to
compensate for the advantage which we lost? nso,000l. of
salt fish we annually sent to that country. Where could we
had a market for this invaluable article of our commerce? If
any where, we should expect to have it in France. For as
we lost a benefit in consequence of giving them an advantage,
we certainly had a right to expect from them a compensation.
But could we expect this? No ! They had a fishery of their
Own. They, therefore, would not take ours. Where, then,
would the right honourable gentleman find the reciprocity in
this particular? None could be found. It was consequently
evident, that here a most Material sacrifice was offered to the
pretences of France. 'We lost not only this sale of our pro-
duce, as it might be called, but we lost this opportunity of
reaping those advantages from our fisheries, which rendered
them the nurseries of our seamen.


•The right honourable gentleman had made some extraor-
dinary observations concerning the importation of wines into
this country, in consequence of the treaty. He did not cone
ceive that any particular advantage could ever be derived from
this concession—if it might be so called. Wines were cer-
taiuly a luxury, and a most agreeable species of luxury, with
which we could not dispense. But surely, their importation




282 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.
[Feb. 1 2,


on one third less duty than before would not prove the least
advantageous to the country from any .pretended equivalent
that might be offered us. With respect to the equivalent
which we were to have for the reduction of the duties on
French wines, so as to admit them more freely into our ports,
what article had we the privilege of exporting into France?
He knew of none. It appeared to him, therefore, an advan-
tage given to France without the least sign of an equivalent.
We were admitting French wines into our ports to the exclu-
sion of those of Portugal, reducing our duties. on both, and
forfeiting all those advantages which we formerly enjoyed by
the Methuen treaty. Such was the policy and principle of
the leading feature of this treaty !


The right honourable gentleman had used arguments not
less extraordinary in favour of establishing peace between this
country and France. FIe had asked in


establishing
zeal and sangui-


nary wishes for the event, were not the two countries nearly
situated, were they not nearly connected in their mutual inter-
course, were they not pursuing the same means of encreasing
their prosperity, and was not this the only means of uniting a
people in the bonds of peace, amity, and prosperity? Such
arguments might be used with regard to Spain and Portugal.
Portugal might say, Am I not nearly adjoining to Spain ? Do
we not speak almost the same language? Are we not of the
same religion ? Are we not similar in manners? And should
I not rather seek alliance and protection from a neighbour so
near me, and so competent to afford protection from insulting
and invading neighbours? These questions were certainly as
applicable to Spain and Portugal, as they were to France and
England. And yet the answer which would naturally be
given to Portugal .


as well as to Great Britain, was, that vi-
cinity of situation, instead of being the means to connect, was
what should excite our fear and jealousy. Portugal being so
near to such a superior power as Spain, was certainly in dan-
ger from her ambition. It was, therefore, that she rather sought
foreign connections and alliances, than union with a country
to which she might be sacrificed, had she not such a friend as
Great Britain to call to her assistance. This was the reason
why Portugal could not enter into any treaty with Spain with
safety, any more than Great Britain could possibly enter into
a commercial treaty with France. Both transactions
equally dangerous to us and Portugal; for our relative situa-
tions were such, as to render this policy extremely hazardous/


were


not only to the prosperity, but to the existence of each country
as a nation. As to the stipulation of reducing Portugal wines
one third below the French wines, while the eleventh article


12


1787.] TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH PRANCE. 283


of the treaty subsisted, he could not conceive that this could
have the least effect in preserving the Methuen treaty unbro-
ken. For by the eleventh article it was agreed, that all com-
modities imported . f.om either nation into the other should be
on terms of the most favoured nations, Portugal excepted.
Thus, if we reduced the Spanish wines, we should be obliged
also, by the French treaty, to reduce to the same degree the
French wines, unless they were already as low as the duties on
Portugal wines. Thus should we be obliged to reduce the
duties on both the French and Portugal wines, to the great
diminution of our revenue, without the least probability of an
equivalent. Mr. Fox maintained, that the treaty was a tempt-
ing bait, which none but gudgeons the most simple would
have bitten-at; and concluded a most able speech with moving,
That the chairman do leave the chair, report progress, and
ask leave to sit again.


Mr. Francis followed Mr. Fox, and concurred in opinion with
him upon the mischievous political tendency of the measure under
their consideration. He went even farther ; he dreaded the effects
of an intimate political connection with France upon the character
of the British nation. The first step towards enslaving a free peo-
ple was to endeavour to corrupt them ; and he was convinced that
a freer intercourse with France would produce that effect. There
were other reflections, he said, which belonged to the subject,
too obvious to require explanation, and too delicate to be expres-
sed. There might be too strict an union between the two crowns
through the medium of an union between the two nations ; and that
union might be fatal to the liberty of Great Britain. He remind-
ed Mr. Pitt of the opposite opinions of the late Lord Chatham,
and lamented that the pomp of modern eloquence should be em-
ployed to derogate from the merits of his administration. The po-
lemical laurels of the father must yield, he said, to the pacific myr-
tles which shadow the forehead of the son. The first and most
prominent feature in the political character of Lord Chatham was
antigallican. His glory was founded on the resistance he made to
the united power of the house of Bourbon. The present minister
had taken the opposite road to fame ; and France, the object of
every hostile principle in the policy of Lord Chatham, was the gens
amicissima of the son.—Mr. Powys was of opinion that the treaty
was not safe in its policy, and that it put the commercial interests
of this country unnecessarily to hazard.—Mr. Baring, the member
for Exeter, and himself a person of great commercial dealings,
thought the treaty, as far as his consideration of it had gone, had
both its advantages and disadvantages ; but upon the whole, com-


i


eially considered, his opinion went in its favour.— The treaty
W as defended by Mr. W. Grenville upon the ground occupied by
Mr. Pitt; and the question being at length called for, Mr. Fox's
amendmentmai o r


majority o
of 24was 8netgoaltis8'e. d ; and the resolution moved agreed to by





285284
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH IMANCE. [Feb. r5.


February zs.
The House having again resolved itself into a committee, Mr.


Pitt read, without any preface, his second resolution : " That it ap-
pears to this committee, that wines, of the produce of the European
dominions of the French king, imported directly into this kingdom,
shall in no case pay higher duties than the wines of Portugal now
pay." Mr. Flood in a long and eloquent speech condemned the
terms of the peace. Mr. Wilberforce rose in answer to Mr. Flood.
He said, that the right honourable member's speech abounded with
false reasoning, and unwarrantable conclusions. He had asserted
that the manufacturers disliked the treaty : of his own knowledge
he could take upon him to assert the reverse was the fact. lie
had seen a great number of the manufacturers of different descrip-
tions, he had conversed with them upon the subject, and they all
highly approved of the treaty. He next addressed himself to
Mr. Fox, and said, he heartily wished he would come down to that
House coolly and dispassionately : that he would sometimes forget
that he was a politician, and consider matters under discussion
with a greater degree of attention to their particular merits. He
asked, to what end it was to tell a poor cottager, groaning under
a load of taxes, and sitting with scarcely a snuff' of candle to light
him, while he was poring over a newspaper, containing a violent
speech of the right honourable gentleman, so put together that the
sense of it could scarcely be made out, &it he was a balancer of
the power of Europe, and a protector of its liberties ? Was that a
proper language to be told to such a man ? Was it likely to stimu-
late him to better exertions or industry ? He declared be had been
run away with frequently by the oratory of the right honourable
gentleman, and obliged to appeal to his reason and his principles to
prevent being declaimed out of his understanding.


Mr. Fox rose to condemn the low and desponding argu-
ments made use of by Mr. Wilberforce. That honourable
gentleman had stated, in the meekness of his nature, that he
dreamt not of power, nor did he wish to tread the paths of
ambition; but immediately afterwards, he had a vision, which
told him, that the navy of Great Britain must be kept up;
and then he drew a most affecting picture of the distresses of
poor cottagers groaning under the accumulated weight of
taxes ! Tiiis was, no doubt, a very ingenious mode of cap-
tivating the vulgar; but he would ask the honourable gen-
tleman how the navy was to be supported without taxing the
subject? Or how the visions of the honourable gentleman
could be realized without a great expellee to the nation?
But the honourable gentleman had the admirable talent of
making attacks under the shield of modesty. Was this coun-
try, then, not in a situation to take a part in preserving the


787:3 TREATY OE COMMERCE WH
IT FRANCE.


x 3
liberties of Europe? 'Was she so sunk in distress as to con-
.icier herself inadequate to the preservation of that to which
she owed her existence, and her rank among the nations ofEurope? Did the honourable gentleman mean to hold that
language to the world? He wished to know if that was the
language meant to be maintained; he wished some person
ia authority would stand up and say so, because he could then
meet it fairly. Would the right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer himself declare, that we were no longer in a
situation to hold the balance of power in Europe, and to be
looked up to as the protector of its liberties? He should be
°
lad to come at that point. As to the assertion, that a poor


cottager was not to be talked to in that manner, he must
maintain that lie was; and notwithstanding the pressure of
taxes under which the lower order of people in this country'
laboured, yet it was a comfort to hear that she was the ba-
lancer of power, and the protector of the liberties of Europe.
That it was that enabled him to bear his poverty with cheer-
fulness, anti to feel the satisfaction, amidst all his-distress,
of reflecting on the thought of his being one of the subjects
of a free country, whose characteristic it was to balance the
power of Europe. Shameful was the neglect which ministers
had shown in the formation of alliances. Till that unhappy
period when we were left without an ally, we had always
fought successfully. From that, however, he did not mean
to contend, that it was better to build our hopes on the
strength of our alliances than on the strength of our navy.
He was aware of the difficulty which attended negotiations
of that nature; but he asserted, that ministers were culpable
in turning away with impatience from any object which they
might have attained, had they pursued it with persevering
firmness. — Mr. Fox severely answered that part of Mr.
Wilberforce's speech, in which lie charged him with having
said, that he had a peace with America in his pocket. The
matter it alluded to, passed five years ago, and the honour-
able gentleman now brought it forward under a gross mis-
representation. He had never used the words, but had said.
there were those in Great Britain empowered to treat for
peace. And the fact had turned out exactly as he had
stated it.— With respect to the negotiation with the Dutch,
if there were any blame to be affixed to that measure, he was
willing to take his share of it, though it had been done with
the unanimous consent of his majesty's council. That it had
failed he did not pretend to deny, and its failure, he verily
believed, was owing to the influence of France. On that
subject, however, he would say no more, as he could not see
the connection between it and the French treaty, though .the




2 86 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 16,
honourable gentleman seemed to consider it as a strong
argument in his favour.


After several members had delivered their sentiments,


Mr. Fox rose again and observed, that the circumstance
which was very natural to happen, had arisen from the right
honourable the chancellor of the exchequer having so Pro.,
perly declined to make any speech ; and the debate had pro..
ceeded solely on the general merits of the treaty, without a
single word having been said to the particular question before
the committee. He would therefore bring forward an amend-
ment which would go to the question immediately, and that
was, to add, as part of the resolution, " that it was the opi.
nion of the committee that the duties on the importation of
Portugal wines should at the same time be lowered one third."
This, Mr. Fox observed, would be an effectual means of pre-
serving the Methuen treaty in full force, so far as it related
to our part of the obligation, and would enable government
more advantageously to negotiate the pending treaty with
Portugal. Tile proposition was so self-evident, that he saw
not any ground on which it was objectionable; but he was
prepared to debate it either then, or, as it was so late an
hour, the next day, if the right honourable gentleman and
the committee thought proper. He added, that as the com-
mittee had not regularly before them any information that a
treaty was pending, or what state it was in, it the more be-
came them to convince Portugal, and all Europe, that their
wish was to continue the Methuen treaty.


This motion was negatived without discussion, by 91 to 76.
The original resolution was then put and carried.—Mr. Fox re-
probated the conduct of ministers, and stated that the committee
would be disgraced by such rash and ill-advised precipitancy and
by such indecent hurry; he declared he would be no sharer in the
shame that must result from a conduct so obnoxious to public
censure ; he therefore rose and left the House, followed by the
whole opposition.


Fe7rua?i 16.


This day Mr. Fox made another effort to induce the House to
take some step for securing the continuance of the Methuen treaty,
and averting the danger, to which lie contended it was exposed by
the resolution they had come to the preceding evening. On the
order of the day being read, for the House to resolve itself into a
committee to take into further consideration the treaty of naviga•
tion and commerce with France,


1787'3 TREATY OF
COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 287


Air. Fox rose and observed, that he was now resolved to
submit to the consideration of the House the question which,
on the preceding evening, he had been prevented from intro-
ducing, in a manner much more extraordinary than any in-
terruption which, during the eighteen years of his having
enjoyed a seat in parliament, he recollected to have expe-
rienced. If he might take the liberty of pressing his own,
opinion upon the House, he should unequivocally declare,
that with this particularly important question their reputation
and their dignity were closely interwoven. The question
was at the same time so intimately connected with that part
a the treaty with France then under deliberation, that it
was impossible to pass it by, and not come to its consi-
deration, without manifesting a disregard to Portugal little
short of a direct affront. He had been much blamed, in the
debate of the preceding day, and described as a person pecu-
liarly fond of talking of alliances with foreign courts, of trea-
ties, and of negotiations. That he was addicted to fall into
that vein of debate, unless when it was necessarily and una-
voidably connected with his subject, he was not himself
aware, nor did he believe that this was really the fact ; but
how subjects, in which negotiations, treaties and alliances
with foreign courts were involved, and with which those
matters were inseparably connected, could be properly, or
rather could be at all discussed, without a reference to those
topics, he was at a loss to conjecture, unless that House was
to take the advice given by an honourable gentleman, and no
longer consider themselves as politicians. That advice not
happening to suit with his notion of the duty of a member
of parliament, he, for one, must be excused if he continued
to think, that it became him, and every gentleman entitled
to a seat within those walls, to consider himself as a politi-
cian, and to direct his opinions accordingly. He had thought
n necessary to premise thus much, because he was afraid that
he must again that day incur the censure which had been
cast on him the clay before, and make mention of those
topics once more, which it had been said he was too much
inclined to talk upon.


After an exordium to this purport, Mr. Foy. said, the
subject to which he meant to draw the attention of the House
was the reserve made in the seventh article of the treaty of
navigation and commerce with France in favour of our con-
nection with Portugal under the Methuen treaty. The com-
mittee had the preceding evening come to a resolution to
lower the duties on the wines of France on importation into
this country; it appeared to him, then, to be highly and in-
dispensably necessary, that the second part of that resolution




1'
ISS TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH rttaNcr. [Feb. 160
should be a resolution to lower the wines of Portugal to that
reduction at which they were intended to stand, provided
the Methuen treaty was to continue, and things to go on
as they had done from the time of concluding that treaty in
the year 1703.


Mr. Fox directed all his arguments to prove the indis-
pensable necessity that he had stated, and to convince the
House, that if they did not come to the resolution then, they
indicated a negligence respecting the continuance of the con-
nection of the two kingdoms under the Methuen treaty, and
an indifference to the commercial benefit thence derived
reciprocally to both countries. He professed himself aware
that it bad been contended that the Methuen treaty bound
Portugal only, and that it was optional in Great Britain to
take the wines of Portugal or not. This he knew others
contradicted, and maintained that we were bound to take
the wines of Portugal on low duties, as much as Portugal
was bound to admit our woollen cloths. But in whichever
point of view it was_ considered, the advantages of the Me-
thuen treaty had been so great, that we should act in the
most unwise and impolitic manner, • if we did not take every
step on our part to convince Portugal that we were desirous
of continuing the connection. He had never been fond of
that mode of arguing which deemed exports a gain and
imports a loss; but admitting for the moment and for the
sake of argument, that this was the true way of judging, in
the case of Portugal the argument so managed was strong
in favour of our adhering to the Methuen treaty. Our im-
ports from 'Portugal consisted of brazil, cotton, of oil, of
dyeing drugs, of salt to salt our fish with, and of other articles
without which we could not possibly contrive to go on as a
commercial country; if, therefore, imports were a loss, they
were a loss in this particular, that we could not possibly do
without sustaining. If our connection with Portugal was
put a stop to, we must go and purchase our loss at another
market; for the articles of our imports from Portugal, as
he had before stated, were what we must at any rate pro-
cure. On the other hand, our export trade to Portugal,
was a most valuable one. It amounted to near a million
annually, and was otherwise precious to us, because the com-
modities now exported to Portugal were saleable in no other
market. The Portuguese, he understood, took from us the
whole produce of a woollen manufacture in Yorkshire. He'
knew not the name of the cloths, but it was an undeniable
fact, that the consumption of Portugal was equal to the
whole produce of the manufactory in question, and that the
woollens were saleable no where else. This, then, alone was


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.1787.] 289


an important consideration; but, added to this, Portugal
annually bought a very considerable quantity of salt fish—
another commodity for the sale of which we could find no
other market. Formerly, there was another very considerable
export, an export of corn to Portugal; but that had lately
dwindled to nothing, which he imputed to our increased
home consumption.


Mr. Fox said, he was aware, that the salt fish carried to
Portugal was conveyed thither, not under any agreement or
stipulation in the Methuen treaty, but under the conditions
of anterior treaties, and therefore it might be fair to suppose,
that if the Methuen treaty was put an end to, we still had
a right to expect that the faith of anterior treaties should
be complied with. He entered here, however, into a series
of arguments, to spew the possibility of the putting an end
to the Methuen treaty being considered by Portugal as a
separation in toto from all connection with this country, tak-
ing care to guard this doctrine by an explicit declaration,
that Portugal had derived such advantages from her connec-
tion with Great Britain, and must necessarily be so serious a
loser, by giving up all pretence to her protection, that if, by
a lamentable state of perverseness, or the influence of bad
advice, she should be induced to break all connection with
us, and risk her safety in the best bargain she could make
with her neighbouring continental powers, she would do the
most rash, most unadvised, and the most absurd act that ever
a country, situated like Portugal, could commit. At the
same time it was to be remembered, that greatly as the ba-
lance of advantage derived from the connection under the
Methuen treaty, was in favour of • Portugal, Great Britain
would feel no inconsiderable inconvenience from the loss even
of such an ally as Portugal. What our commercial disad-
vantage would be, be had stated in enumerating the species,
and mentioning the value, of our exports to Portugal. Our
political disadvantage might also be serious. In case of a
war with the House of Bourbon, we should feel — perhaps
severely feel— the. want of some friendly port from Gotten-
burgh, now a French port, clown to Gibraltar. These were
not ideal inconveniences, and, rash as it would be in Por-
tugal to put us into such a situation, we oould not but thence
lament the loss of such an ally.


Again must he repeat, and press most earnestly upon the
consideration of the House, that all the too sanguine sup-
porters of the treaty should consider the relative situation of
England and Portugal. For near a century back, an alliance
of mutual, though he would not say of equal convenience,
had subsisted between them. The connection, he was ready


VOL. III.




290 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 16*
to acknowledge, was more necessary to Portugal than it Iva,
to England, considered in a political point of view. She
allowed us great commercial advantages in return for Rote:
(ion. Such was the condition, and such the politics fo the
European potentates, that the weaker states, must court die
alliance of the more powerful. Now, was if" not highly pro.
bable, that our conduct might induce the Portuguese to re..
fleet, that they were near neighbours to Spain, and that they
were no longer natural enemies; that nature intended them
to supply each other's wants, and to exchange commodities
for their reciprocal benefit? This, at least, might as well be
said of Portugal and Spain, as of France and England ; and
might induce Portugal blindly to throw herself into the arms
of Spain, and to add her balance to the already preponderat-
ing weight of the House of Bourbon. Thus should we not
only lose the benefits we might derive from an alliance with
Portugal, but have her in the scale against us. Nothing
could more tend to exasperate, and move her to act in this
manner, than the present conduct of ministers. The pride
and dignity of Portugal, as an independent kingdom, had
been wounded by them. No person in this House was more
an advocate for acting with vigour towards foreign states
than he was; but he confessed that he thought this rigid tone
might be assumed with more honour and justice towards
other states than towards Portugal. Not long ago we were
blamed by all Europe for our insolence; and he was sorry
to find, that we should not be acquitted of the exercise of
that vice. If we thought proper to retain our style of haugh-
tiness, it ought to be towards our old rivals and equals in
power, and not a subordinate, and, in respect to us, a very
defenceless people. That was far from being the conduct
that a brave and a generous nation ought to adopt.


Mr. Fox contended strenuously, that if the House did not
instruct the committee to come to an immediate resolution,
that the duties on the wines of Portugal should be lowered
one third, they, in fact, broke the Methuen treaty, or at
least departed from its spirit and meaning; intimated to Por-
tugal a ground of doubt as to their intention of not ultimately
complying with the Methuen treaty, and, in fact, for the
moment paid France a compliment at the expellee of Po•'
tugal, by holding it out to all the world, that during the
course of their proceedings France was preferred, and her
interests first attended to; Suppose, said Mr. Fox, that the
Queen of Portugal were to publish an edict, prohibiting the
importation of our woollens into her dominions, would thi.
country think that a handsome thing towards them, or t1.18‘
it dignified their ground ion renewing a negotiation ? In 111:e


vi87.]


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH PRANCE.
29!


/winner let them feel for Portugal; if the Methuen treaty
was not recognized without delay, it was virtually broken,
because the duties oni the Wines of Portugal, as far as the
ultimate intention of the legislature was to be collected from
., resolution of the House of Commons, appeared to stand
on the same footing as the duties on the wines of France;
and if they actually were left to stand on that footing, every
gentleman knew it would be a direct violation of the Me-
thuen treaty. Great, indeed, was the difference between
recognizing the condition of the Methuen treaty primarily
and secondarily, or in other words, by a resolution antecedent
to the sending the bill to be brought in upon the resolutions
come to in the committee, up to the House of Lords; or by
a resolution afterwards. But what be contended was the
strongest argument to induce the House to act in the man-
ner he had advised, was their not having before them in due
parliamentary form, any grounds whatever to lead them to
suspend an act expressive of readiness on their part to ma-
nifest their desire to comply with the Methuen treaty. They
had, indeed, heard of negociations pending with Portugal,
and they had heard of grievances complained of; but they
knew not the grievances, nor the situation and circumstances
of the pending negociations. They knew not that the com-
plaints of grievances were even justly founded, and therefore
as a House of Parliament they had no grounds whatever to
induce them to act otherwise than as if no negotiation what-
ever was pending, nor any complaints of grievances existing.
Mr. Pox pressed this as the great foundation of his argu-
ment, and as the basis of his motion, and after a variety of
other points, recapitulated What he had set out with, namely,
a statement of the two points of view in which the Methuen
treaty had been considered as


obindin on Portugal, andding


oii)e


ti be antiofitia


,rsttinstruction


„lalt.h regard to us ; or, as binding equally on Por-
tugal and Great Britain. He concluded with moving, ” That
t


to the said committee, that. they do, in


tain, so place, p


i


%


upon to consider of ieducing the dutiesbpon wines
that


directly imported from Portugal into Great Bri-
such wines may pay no higher duties than two-thirds


.Lillottse ila an
g


from
of theF1 duties to be imposed upon wines imported di-


rectly
France."


Cooper, The motion was supported with great ability by Sir Grey
opposed by Mr. Pitt, as interfering by a prematurejsolution in a matter delegated by the constitution to the execu-


:e government. With respect to what had been said of the
no parliamentary knowledge of a pending negocia-


"tit he asserted that a-declaration delivered by him in his place,
u 2




292 TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 2r-
and as a minister,. that such a negociation was pending, was entitled.
to be considered as formal parliamentary information. He con-
cluded - with repeating his declaration, that he had every reason to
expect the negotiation would prove successful ; if, however, it
should not succeed, he would lay before the House, for their judg.
menus, the grounds. upon which it had failed.


Mr. Fox said, he would not take the sense of the House,
as the right honourable gentleman had put the matter upon
such an issue. He said the right honourable gentleman had
rested on an assertion, but no argument. The right honour-
able gentleman, the House would remember, was responsible,
not fin-- the success of the measure, as that no man could an-
swer for, but for any unfortunate turn the treaty might take
in consequence of the mode of negotiation, the right honour-
able gentleman, as a minister, had thought proper to choose.
Mr. Fox defended his motion, and denied that it would have
embarrassed government; on the contrary, he contended it
would have been a good ground for government to have
acted upon. He by no means consented to admit that his
motion was an active measure in favour of Portugal, and
beyond what she had a just right to. He contended it was
exactly the reverse, and to prove the argument, lie again
put the case, that if the Queen of Portugal should have
issued an edict prohibiting the export of our woollens, lie
should have thought she had acted unfairly by us. His
motion, he insisted upon it, was an act of bare justice to
Portugal.


The motion was negatived without a division. The House then
went into the committee, in which the remaining resolutions were
carried. On the r 9 th they were reported to the House, and finally
agreed to, upon a division, by a great majority.


February 2r.
The last debate which this important measure gave rise to, took


place this day, upon the motion of Mr. Blackburne, the member
.for Lancashire, " That an humble address be presented to-his
majesty, assuring his majesty that we have taken into our most se-
rious consideration the provisions contained in the treaty of navi-
gation and commerce, concluded between his majesty and the mat
Christian king ; and that we beg leave to approach his majesty with
our sincere and grateful acknowledgements for this addition al
proof of his majesty's constant attention to the welfare andhappi'
nets of his subjects.—That we shall proceed with all proper expe-
dition in taking such steps as may be necessary for giving effect


• to a system so well calculated to promote a beneficial intercourse
between Great Britain and France, and to give additional perolg-


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE..11 8 7 • 1 -293


Bence to the blessings of peace.—That it is our firm persuasion,
-that we cannot more effectually consult the general interests of
our country, and the glory of his majesty's reign, than by concur-
ring in a measure which tends to the extension of trade, and the
encouragement of industry and manufacture, the genial sources of
national wealth, and the surest foundation of the prosperity and.
happiness of his majesty's dominions."


In opposition to the address Mr. Charles Grey*, the representa-
tive for Northumberland, made his maiden speech, and astonished
the House by another of those wonderful displays of oratorical
abilities, which, in the course of a few years, had burst forth, on
every side, amongst its younger members. Mr. Grey was acknow-
ledged not to be inferior to any of those who preceded him, in co-
piousness and elegance of diction, in strength of argument, or in
perspicuity of arrangement, and superior to them all in the graces
of elocution. He agreed with Mr. Fox in considering the general
policy of the measure as by far the most important object it
involved ; he stated at large the relative situation and political in-
terests of the two nations, and from thence inferred the wisdom of
that established system of our policy, in which France had always
been regarded with the most suspicious jealousy at least, if not as
our natural foe. He confirmed these opinions by a reference to
our unvaried experience ; and asked upon what grounds it was
presumed that she had at once totally abandoned all her ancient
political principles, and had no longer any object in view inimical
to our interests ? He endeavoured to prove, that the present mo-
ment was perhaps that, -of all others, in which our jealousy ought
to he the most awake, and in which we had the least reason for re-
posing any confidence in her. With this view he read a state pa-
per, which had passed between M. de Calonne, the French minister,
and Mr. Jefferson, the plenipotentiary of the United States of
America in Paris. It contained a proposition on the part of France
to concede to that country, without stipulation, a great variety of
'commercial advantages detrimental to her own revenues, in which
no other European nation, not even the Spaniards, were indulged.
And ;vas it to be supposed that France really expected no equiva-
lent? She doubtless expected it in a monopoly of that trade which
we once enjoyed, and which constituted two-thirds of our commer-
cial marine :—she expected it in the augmentation of her own
navy, and in the ruin of ours. Whilst she was enticing us by what
had been justly called by Mr. Fox a "tempting bait," to conclude a
treaty of commerce with her for the supply of her own market, she
had been securing customers to take the commodities off her hands ;
and thus not only to become the carrier, but to trade to an extent
she had hitherto been unable to aspire at, upon the capital of this
country. Another object which he believed France had in view,
Was to render us as much politically insulated, as we were insulated
in our local situation. One effect which she would look for in this
tempting treaty was,. to draw us off from seeking alliances with the


' The present Earl Grey.
1.7 3




ed


Z94


l'IiEATV OF COMMERCE WITI{ FRANCE. [Feb
• 2 t,


rest of Europe ; it had already, in some degree, produced this.
feet, as was manifest from the coldness which ministers ‘iiseover
with respect to the Methuen treaty.


• He earnestly recommendede'instead of the present treaty, a more intimate connection witi;
America; such an intercourse would be the most eligible for Great
Britain that could be devised, and entirely consistent with her truepolitical interests ; and such an intercourse he had the best reason
for believing America was both willing and eager to enter into
upon fair and equitable terms. He remarked upon the indecency 4
well as the impolicy of granting to France what we had refused to
Ireland, and of giving to a rival and a natural enemy what we had
withheld from our friends and fellow-subjects. With respect to all
the temporary advantages, some of which he believed might reason.
ably be expected from the treaty, they were to him additional rea-
sons for rejecting it. Every offer of service from France, he re.
oarded with suspicion —t,


—timeo Dames & dona ferentes-
Ant ulla putatis


Dona carere delis Dana= ?
The address was also opposed by Mr. Burke and Mr. Sheridan,


and supported by Mr. W. Grenville, Mr. D. Pultenev, Lord
Mornington and others, upon the grounds already stated; but at a
late hour an objection to the address was stated by Mr. Welbore
Ellis, who contended that the motion for an address in the present
stage of the business was premature, unprecedented, and unparlia.
mentary, tending to deprive the House of its powers of delibera-
tion, and to pledge them to pass bills for carrying the provisions
of the treaty into effect. He therefore moved the previous ques-
tion. Mr. Anstruther defied ministers to produce a single instance
from the journals that could in any manner be brought to bear upon
so extraordinary a proceeding. Mr. Adam endeavoured to show,
that, by the principles adopted by parliament, and the invariable
practice of the House, the address ought to be resisted by all who
had any regard for the independence of the House of Commons, or
the dignity and honour of the crown. The proceedings ofparliament
upon the treaty of Utrecht were referred to as a case in point, and
as an useful lesson to the House against hastiness and precipitation.
That treaty was laid before the House by a message from the queen.
A committee of the whole House was appointed to take the 8th and
9th articles into consideration. After a long debate in that com-
mittee, on the question that the House be moved for leave to bring
in a bill to make effectual the 8th and 9 th articles of the treaty of
commerce, the question was carried by a very large majority, greater
than on any vote on the present treaty. The bill was brought in,
and read a first time, at the distance of a fortnight from the vote in
the first committee. There was an interval of a week between the
first and second reading of the bill. Petitions now came in frog'
all quarters: and the committee on the bill sat for many days. t°
hear the petitioners by their counsel against the treaty. The re7
port from this committee was received and agreed to. But. on the,
question, that the bill with amendments be engrossed, it was carve()


/787.]
the negative by a majority of nine. No address was presentedin


to the queen till after the rejection of the bill.


gr. Fox said, that the House having had the goodness to.
bear him so frequently, and sometimes at considerable-rength,
upon the subject of the commercial treaty, he would not, they
m ight rest assured, abuse their indulgence, but would in a
s •v brief manner offer a few observations to their notice on
the immediate matter before them. With regard to the ad-
dress, of all the practices of administration, it was the most
alarming, the most dangerous, and the most unconstitutional.
He would not, indeed, go so far as an honourable and learned
friend of his had gone, and agree, that if a single precedent
could be found upon the journals for such a proceeding, he
would relinquish the point, and vote for the address. There
might be, and there undoubtedly were, bad precedents upon
the journals in a great many instances. There might possibly,
therefore, be a precedent for the present proceeeding, but if
there should be a precedent to be found, he would venture to
say, that it must be a precedent to be reprobated, and not a
precedent fit to be made an example.


Mr. Fox reminded the House that the address went to de-
prive the House of its legislative capacity, to preclude debate,
and to render null and void all those forms which the wis-
dom of their ancestors had provided, as the parliamentary
cautions and guards against surprize, and for the purpose of
preventing any measure of a legislative nature from being hur-
ried through the House, without ample deliberation and ample
discussion. Had the business been brought on in the usual.
way, they would have:enjoyed full time to know the opinion.
of the manufacturers, and to discuss the subject again and
again, before they came to a decisive vote upon it. In all cases
ot_ifotnrsa,de,hthe forms of the House obliged the matter to be first
submitted to a committee of the whole House, where resolu–
tions were necessary to be moved, and consequently where the
matter


when


-first instance open to debate. The resolu
agreed to, were reported to the House, and on the


that been th to the report, a bill was ordered in. Had
t


h
e mode of proceeding adopted in the present case,


instead


ultimate


of a premature address, the House would have had
six stages to have discussed the subject in, before they came to


ate vote. The bill must be read a first time, it must
be readthrd time, time, committed, reported, engrossed and
read a uric, and passed. At every one of these several
stages, the House would have found ample opportunity of
debating deliberately; whereas what was the case then ? They
Were called on to vote an address which tied up their hands,


u 4


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. 295




297296
TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE. [Feb. 2


which pledged the House to support whatever bill might be
broil* in, and precluded all future debate and. all future dis-
cussion.


Mr. Fox said, that this was an ill omen of our future inter-
course with France; it was a bad beginning; it was adopting „
and copying the French constitution at the same time that we vm
were about to take the French commerce. It was commencing
our intercourse with France in a most inauspicious manner,
and it was not more ungraceful than unnecessary, because the
coming to a vote upon the address would not accelerate the
conclusion of the proceedings on the commercial treaty ; it
would not forward them one hour. 'Would it not then, on
every account, have been more wise, more grave, and more.
becoming that House, to have proceeded in the usual way
by bill, and after they had gone through all the six stages,
through which a bill must necessarily pass, would it not have
been better, in every sense of the word, to have then voted an
address, and gone up to the throne with it, informing his
majesty, that his faithful commons had complied with his
royal requisition in his speech to parliament, and agreed to
support the commercial treaty with France? Mr. Fox put this
in a most striking point of view, and said, that should the
address unfortunately pass, which he flattered himself it would
not, he must in that case heartily wish that the House had
been in a committee, if it were only to save the Speaker from
the shame and disgrace of going up to his majesty and pre-
senting an address. What sort of a speech could the right
honourable gentleman possibly make, should he have the dis-
agreeable task of attending at St. James's with the address?
With what an aukward feeling must the right honourable
gentleman say, that his majesty's faithful commons had de-
stroyed their own forms, and grossly violated the constitution.
He reasoned upon this for some time, and after stating it
powerfully in various ways, he urged to the House the great
unreasonableness of the right honourable gentleman opposite
to him, if he pressed the motion on the address at that time,
since it was evident that he would not forward the business
by so doing. It was not delay; he said, that he was con-
tending for, because the delaying the address could not ope'
rate as any procrastination of the measures to be taken for the
conclusion of the treaty. He took notice of the contempt
with which an honourable and learned gentleman had talked
of the manufacturers who signed the petition on their table.
They were not, he said, a " few solitary" manufacturers as
they had been described to be, but men of undoubted charac-
ter and undoubted worth and honour. Men, who, when they
came before that House, either as the delegates and represeAr


TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE.
1787'3


naives of others, or in their own individual character, were
well entitled to be received and listened to with attention.
They had a right to be heard in every stage of the business;
hitt how would the House be able to hear them after the ad-
dress was presented, when they would be precluded from act-
ing upon any information, however important, that Mr. Wal-
ker or Mr. Holmes, or any other of the subscribers, might lay
before the House? Having put these questions strongly, and
paid an handsome compliment to his honourable friend Mr.
Grey, Mr. Fox at last concluded a most animated speech, with
expressing his hope, that it would be the determination of the
House to reject the address for the present, by agreeing to
the motion for the previous question, since, if they did not, they
would not only make a bad precedent for that House, but as
absolutely preclude the House of Lords from free debate, as
if they had followed the example of Oliver Cromwell, and
silenced that necessary and constitutional branch of the legis-
lature.


In answer to these objections, Mr. Pitt insisted upon the ad-
dress on the Irish propositions, but two years before, as a prece-
.dent in point, in favour of the mode of proceeding he had adopted.
Mr. Sheridan rose with ()Teat warmth, and many gentlemen calling
out spoke ! spoke ! he said he meant to move a new question, the
question of adjournment ; in order that he might have an oppor-
tunity of proposing a resolution upon the subject of the extraor-
dinary doctrines which had been laid down ; doctrines as new and
as unconstitutional as ever were heard in those walls ! — The
question of adjournment being put,


Mr. Fox said, that as his honourable friend had omitted to
state what resolution he meant to move, he would declare,
that his object was to move a resolution, " that it was the opi-
nion of that House, that it was impossible for them to bind or
preclude themselves by an address to the throne, from either
debating or voting upon any subsequent legislative question
whatever." Mr. Fox reiterated his former arguments, to spew
the propriety of proceeding by way of bill, and instanced the
case of the Irish propositions, declaring that no man present
dreamt of moving an address, stating in express words to the
throne, that the House would pass any specific number of
bills for the purpose of enforcing the propositions. Had such
an address been moved, it would have been reprobated. In
the case of the peace of Utrecht, let the House recollect that
a Dill had been brought in to enact the eighth and ninth
articles of the treaty of commerce. The question for leave to
bring in the bill had, on a division, been carried by an an-


:commonly large majority, the numbers having been above




11,


298 MR. sox's MOTION RESPECTING [March 7.
10o to 12 or 13. It was read a second time upon a division
of a large majority also, and it went through the committee,
and two or three days afterwards, was in the very last stage
.thrown out by a majority of 194 voice's against 185 *. This
proved the importance of a regular compliance with the forms
of the House, and a due exercise of their deliberative powers,
A large majority had thus been, by mere dint of debate and
discussion, converted into a minority, and one of the worst,
and most hostile treaties to the British constitution that ever
was heard of; was put an end to and annihilated. What was
the. reason that the right honourable gentleman did not pro-
ceed in the same way now? The reason was obvious. Aware
of the event of 171 3 , lie was determined to proceed in another
manner; and in order to ensure the success of his treaty, in-
stead of risquing the chance of deliberation, he had profited
by the fate of the treaty of Utrecht, and had caused an address
to be moved to tie up the hands of the House, and preclude
all debate and all danger of future opposition. Had Lord
Bolingbroke and Mr. Harley, in the year 1713, been aware
of the. fate of their treaty, they no doubt would have aimed
at doing the same thing ; but in those days when one of
the most powerful factions governed this country that had
ever been in possession of power, they never dreamt of ven-
turing such a length as the right honourable gentleman, who
had profited by the short-sightedness of the ministry of 1713,
and had whetted his sagacity upon their dulness.


YEAS [Mr. Rose 6 Lord Maitlandz .—NoEsMr. M. A. Taylor 3 Lord Downe. S 116.
So it was resolved in the affirmative, and the main question being


put, the address was agreed to, and ordered to be communicated,.
at a conference, to the lords.


Ma. Fox's MOTION RESPECTING THE NATURE AND EXTENT
OF PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESSES TO THE KING.


March 7.
N consequence of the preceding debate, and in pursuance of a
notice which he had given,


If See New Parliamentary History of England, vol. vi. pp. Izto. 12zo•


7$7.3 PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESSES TO 'THE 299
Mr. Fox rose for the purpose of making a motion concerning


die nature and extent of parliamentary addresses to the Crown.
He said, that he felt it his duty to call the attention of the
House to a few remarks which he must beg leave to make on
a recent occurrence, in which, at least in his conception, were
most essentially involved the established rights of parliament,
and the best interests of the nation. The matter to which he
alluded was the address which that House had thought proper
to vote on the commercial treaty. The time at which this
address was moved. and passed tended, in his mind, to subvert
the fi.vins of parliament, and thereby to destroy the legislative
authority, the spirit of the constitution, and, consequently,
the dearest privileges of the nation. On the preservation of
the forms of parliament the security of the laws depended.
No part of the constitution had been more tenaciously pre-
served than the forms by which all laws were enacted. If the
forms were dispensed with, the constitution of the legislature
must be annihilated ; and he thought that the forms were
destroyed by the address being passed on a subject before that
subject was determined. For this address, having been passed
after certain resolutions had passed, and previous to a bill
being brought in founded upon those resolutions, the House
were precluded from exercising their right of decision on the
subject ; and the words of the address containing not only an
approbation, but a pledge, of using the earliest means of
carrying the treaty into effect, he thought the intention was
to preclude parliament from the exercise of their opinions,
with which they were invested by the constitution. With
respect to the system of this parliamentary form, as to its
efficient political principle, he should observe, that the mode
of passing bills, both in .this and the other House, was cer-
tainly very deliberate. It might indeed, in the opinion of
some, be considered tedious; but those gentlemen who enter-
tained such sentiments betrayed their rashness and inex-
perience. He did not mean to say what were the forms of
the other House ; he had never studied them, and was there-
fore not so well acquainted with them as with those of the
House of Commons. In the latter, in the form of passing a
bill of such importance as the present, there were several
stages. A bill relating to commerce or finance, was, 1st,
moved for in a committee; 2d, that committee reported ; 3d,
leave was given to bring in a bill ; 4th, the bill was read a first
time ; 5th, a second time; 6th, committed ; 7th, reported ;
8th, read a third time; and 9th, passed ; besides two other
stages of lesser consideration, the engrossment, and the motion
for leaving the chair. -


The reason of these different stages was in order to give


The motion for an adjournment was then negatived. After.
which the House divided on the previous question :


Tellers. Tellers.




300 MR. PDX'S MOTION RESPECTING
[March 7,


parliament so many different opportunities of considering the
tendency of the measure before they finally gave it their con-
currence. This caution was therefore exceedingly wise; for
nothing required more deliberation than laws enacted for the
welfare, protection, and government of the people ; and there-
fore it became their constitutional guardians, their represen-
tatives, to be exceedingly cautious of adopting any measure
which might tend to preclude them from the free and un-
limited exercise of their judgments, on every subject in which
the interests of the country were essentially concerned. It
was with this view that he meant to submit to them, before he
sat down, his motion; for he was clearly of opinion, that the
address which the House had lately voted to his majesty was
an infringement of the free, unbiassed, and unrestrained ex-
ercise of their judgment. After the business had been only
four or five days before parliament, and in its second stage,
the House had absolutely come to a vote which precluded
them from giving any opinion in the subsequent stages through
which the treaty was to pass ; and thus, whatever their senti-
ments were, or might be, they could not prove availing. Hav-
ing pledged themselves to his majesty to take all early and
possible means of carrying the said treaty into effect, they
were reduced to a very unpleasant dilemma, either to let the
treaty pass, however repugnant its principles, or subject them-
selves to the charge of having given a faithless promise to his
majesty. This was of all situations the most to be avoided.
It was derogatory to that sacred faith which should be pre-
served, and that respect which they should entertain in all
concerns either of addresses or promises to the sovereign.
As to the plea that no necessity existed for adhering to the
accustomed parliamentary forms in the present transaction,
he could not see any principle in the commercial treaty which
could authorise parliament to let it pass with less inquiry and
circumspection than even the most ordinary concerns. On
the contrary, it was a subject, which, of all others, required
the most deliberate investigation. Besides, being a com-
mercial question, it became such a subject that the parliament
had thought it expedient even to add two more stages to the
investigation than what were adopted on ordinary concerns.
The committee of the whole House and the report were added
by a resolution of parliament in the year 1772. Thus, not only
the invariable custom of ancient times evinced the necessity of
giving every possible opportunity for the House to consider most
maturely the tendency of any bill in its different stages; but the
opinion of modern times had been, that it was necessary to in-
crease the stages of inquiry on a subject of such importance.
With regard to himself; he had been censured for repeatedly
recurring to one subject. But this was a species of censure


-87.] PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESSES TO THE KING. 3.0


which he should treat with contempt. This was the case in.
the present instance. He had, during the progress of this
business, frequently mentioned the treaty of Utrecht. He
should now beg leave to mention that subject again, as it
tended to illustrate what he had to propose to the House.I-lad the ministry of that day voted an address to Queen Anne,
and in it induced parliament to pledge themselves to carry the
said treaty into effect at the time of its progress through the
House, , as they had on the present occasion, the consequence
must have been the passing of the commercial part of the
treaty into a law ; for it was only by not doing it that this evil
had been avoided. During the first stages of the considera-
tion of that treaty in parliament, there was no material oppo-
sition. On the contrary, it passed through the Committee,
and was reported by very considerable majorities. But, in
the subsequent stages, information was obtained, objections
were made, and the majority of parliament very wisely re-
jected it, as a measure that threatened the whole com-
mercial interest of the country almost with annihilation.
Happy, therefore, it was, that the ministry of that day did.
not bring a motion for an address to his majesty before par
liament, when the majorities of the House were so much in
favour of the treaty. If they had, the address would cer-
tainly have passed, and the country would have been ruined.
To this he attributed all the subsequent prosperity and glory
we had acquired. To the rejection of the commercial part of
the treaty that great queen owed her highest honours, if not
her regal dignities.


Mr. Eox now adverted to the manner in which the bill for
carrying the treaty into effect had been connected with that for
the consolidation of the customs. This, he observed, bad.
likewise a close relation to the subject on which he had been
troubling the House. By this vote of address, the Lords in
the other House would not have an opportunity of exercising
their judgments in the passing of the bill to which he alluded.
Besides, as it was connected with the consolidation of the
Customs, they were even precluded, by this means, of exer-
cising die only right they had — with respect to a money bill
--of adopting or rejecting it. If they were disposed to reject
the consolidation bill, they could not, as it was connected
with a subject they had pledged themselves to carry into effect.
And if they were disposed to alter any parts of the commercial
treaty, with regard to any matter in their power, they could
not,. as it formed part of a money bill; and thus was the ex-
ercise of their lordships' rights fettered by the address, and by
uniting these two subjects. This address, too, would entirely
Prevent the House frcrn adopting any system that might here-




302 MR. Pci)it•MOTION RESPECTING
[March


after be settled with respect to Portugal, if such system de,
viated from that established in the treaty with France. We
had, therefore, not only deprived ourselves of the privilege of
exercising our opinions and discretion, with regard to the
treaty itself; but we had likewise deprived ourselves of the
privilege of exercising any opinion or decision on pending
treaties with foreign powers, if they did not happen perfectly
to coincide with the one negotiated with France.


Mr. Fox now made some observations on the manner in
which the court of France had depended on the ratification of
this treaty. They had stated in the convention—" as soon as
it had received the sanction of the law." But to receive this
Sanction of the law, it must be submitted to all those forms'
and investigations which constituted our laws. And as the
address prevented this possibility, the treaty could not be said
to have the sanction of the law. How, then, could the
French court expect it to be ratified ? He consequently
thought that the address had absolutely destroyed the legal
possibility of the treaty being so carried into effect as to ad-
mit of a ratification. To have the sanction of our laws, as he
before observed, it was necessary that it should pass every
form of parliament. But if that House was precluded from
giving opinions, whatever forms or stages it might passo
through, they could be of no effect with regard to legal effi-
ciency. In this point of view, he thought . the . address abso-
lutely destructive of the intention for which it was professedly
Moved — that of carrying the subject as immediately into ef-
fect as possible. For nothing could have the efficiency of law
that was not properly submitted to those forms which the con-
stitution prescribed for the making of such laws.


Mr. Fox next adverted to the nature of addresses to his
majesty. There were two modes •in which such addresses
were necessary and serviceable. These were with regard to
negotiation and the prosecution of war. In both these in-
stances, addresses strengthened the effort of Government.
But then, they contained no particular pledges. They con-
tained, in general terms, an offer of their lives and proper-
ties in support of the measures then prosecuting. But how
did such addresses differ from the present? Instead of con-
taining a general disposition or approbation of a treaty being
formed with France, it contained a specific assurance that the
particulars of the treaty should be carried into effect. What
was this but interfering, in the most unconstitutional manner,
with the rights of the legislature? What had the House done
in agreeing to such an address ? They had even given a se-.
cred promise to majesty which it was not in their pOwer to
give. No opinion, at least no assurance could be given, that


6




1787.7 PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESSES TO THE RING. 303


any measure should be carried into effect while it was depend-
ing in parliament. For there was no stage of any bill passing
through that House, in which parliament could assure any
one that it should pass, until the last stage. Then a decided
assurance might be given, and not before.


Thus had parliament, by this address, given his majesty
an assurance, which they could not give, consistently with
the principles of the constitution. They were likewise so
situated, that all future proceedings in this business would be
nugatory. They had dispensed with their own privileges ;
and however inimical they might find it hereafter, they must
carry the treaty into effect. They had pledged themselves to
their sovereign; and if they did not mean to couch a faithless
promise under a solemn assurance to his majesty, they could
not recede from their vote. This was the predicament to
which they were reduced by this premature proceeding. And
in what manner to rescue themselves from either of these al-
ternatives he knew not. But in order to relieve them as far as
it was possible from their embarrassing situation, he would
offer a protest, or motion, whereby the House would declare
they were not bound by any address to the throne from
berating and acting in its legislative capacity ; nor that the
subject was in any degree prevented from petitioning the
House in-consequence of such address. This, he said, would
be a declaration of right; and would tend to do away the un-
constitutional effects of the address. 'He accordingly moved,
" That no address from this House, to the throne, can in any
degree bind or pledge this House, in its legislative capacity,
or bar the subjects' right of petitioning this House, upon any-
bill depending in parliament, although such bill be founded
upon, and conformable to such address, previously agreed.to
by the House."


Mr. Pitt opposed the motion, and moved, in order to negative
the whole, to prefix the follow.inc, words by way of amendment,
" That it is necessary to declare that, &c." This amendment being
carried, the House divided on the main question so amended :


Tellers. Tellers.
Mr. North _ Mr. N


.r"s /Mr. Jaffe I3. N"5' 1 Mr. Steele
eville


I I"'
So it passed hi OR negative.




w


304
CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. [Feb. 7, 1787.] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS. 305


ARTICLES Or CHARGE AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.


February 7.


ON the first day of the session Mr. Burke gave notice that heshould renew the proceedings against Mr. Hastings on the 1st
of February. That and the following day were spent in examin-
ing Mr. Middleton and Sir Elijah Impey ; and on Wednesday, the
7th, Mr. Sheridan opened the third charge against Mr. Hastings,
viz, the resumption of the jaghires, and the confiscation of the
treasures of the princesses of Oude, the mother and grandmother of
the reigning nabob. The subject of this charge was peculiarly fitted for
displaying all the pathetic powers of eloquence ; and never were
they displayed with greater skill, force, and elegance, than upon
this occasion. For five hours and a half Mr. Sheridan kept the
attention of the house (which from the expectation of the day was
uncommonly crowded) fascinated by his eloquence; and when he
sat down, the whole house, the members, peers, and strangers,
involuntarily joined in a tumult of applause, and adopted a mode of
expressing their approbation, new and irregular in that house, by
loudly and repeatedly clapping with their hands. Mr. Burke de-
clared it to be the most astonishing effort of eloquence, argument,
and wit united, of which there is any record or tradition. Sir
William Dolben said, that the speech of Mr. Sheridan had stated
in so able a manner such a variety of facts and arguments, as en-
tirely to have exhausted the spirits as well as the attention of the
Committee ; he therefore thought it would be most proper to ad-
journ the debate. This would give gentlemen time to recruit
their spirits, and to collect their exhausted attention. It was now
a very late hour. It would be impossible, should they prosecute
the business, to come to any vote without adjourning. And in-
deed, he confessed, that in the present state of his mind it would
be impossible for him to give a determinate opinion. Mr. Stan-
hope said, that when he entered the House, he was not ashamed
to acknowledge that his opinion inclined rather to the side of Mr.
Hastings ; but such had been the wonderful effect of the honoura-
ble gentleman's convincing statement of facts, and irresistible
eloquence, that he now with as much freedom acknowledged, that
he could not say but his sentiments were materially changed. No-
thing, indeed, but information almost equal to a miracle, could, he
thought, determine him not to vote against the accused : but,
however, as he found such had been the effect of what he had heard,
he could not by any means then determine to give his vote. He
wished to collect his reason, and calmly to consider the truth and
justice of what had been stated with such apparent aid of truth, as
to render it beyond the power of contradiction.


II


Mr. Fox said, he could by no means consent to an ad-
journment, standing as the question in debate then stood. As


*to the lateness of the night, it was but twelve o'clock ; and
surely no gentleman would contend, that without any other
reason being assigned, merely the lateness of the hour was a
sufficient . reason. At present the committee had heard a very
brilliant speech front his honourable friend; a speech, every
word of which carried conviction to his mind ; and, it was
pretty obvious, it had made no small impression on the
minds of the House in general. He flattered himself, there-
tore, that there was likely to be very little difference of opi-
nion in the House; and, in that case, he saw no reason why
they could not proceed, and come to the question. If any of
the friends of Mr. Hastings wished to rise, and offer any thing,
that they might think likely to effitee or lessen the impres-
sion made by what had fallen from his honourable friend,
that was


said
fit•moment for offering it : but as nothing had yet


been s id that was likely to have that effect, unless gentlemen
had any doubts to state, and would be so good as to open
them, he must oppose the motion for adjourning under such
circumstances, as improper and unprecedented.


Mr. Pitt said, that on a question of so complicated a nature, it was
scarcely to be supposed that there would not be some difference of
opinion; possibly therefore, although the hour was not so far ad-
vanced as it sometimes had been on former occasions, it might be
advisable to adjourn then. For his part, he would not then de-.
dare in which way he had made up his mind to vote ; yet he meant
to deliver his sentiments at large on the motion, and should un-
avoidably be obliged to take up a good deal of the time of th e com-
mittee. With regard to the honourable gentleman, all the im-
pression that genius and talents could command, his speech cer-
tainly would make , : but surely the honourable gentleman's friends
paid him an ill compliment in supposing, that four and twenty
hours would obliterate the effect, or blunt the pressure of his ar-
guments, An abler speech had, perhaps, never been delivered ;
but though he was willing to pay that tribute to the honourable
gentleman which his abilities deserved, he by no means could agree,
that because one dazzling speech had been delivered, other gen-
tlemen ought not to be permitted to deliver their sentiments,


Mr. Fox said that so alarming a precedent as that of ad-journing merely because one fine speech had been delivered,
Was what he never could consent to; and he was sure the right
honourable gentleman was not aware of the badness of the
precedent such a proceeding would establish when he proposed


It.NV:uLld


the right honourable gentleman, for instance, on
days when he had a motion to make, and there was occasion,


OL.




3 o 6 CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
[Feb 7




as there often had been, for him to introduce it-with aver
,


long speech, choose, that, as soon as he had done speakin:
the House should adjourn, in order to afford gentlemen tiTe.
to consider of that speech, and to find cut in what manner
they could best answer it ? He was sure that was a mode of
doing business that the right honourable gentleman by no
means wished to grow into custom. With regard to the cool,
pliment paid to his honourable friend, he knew his honoura


-


ble friend too well, to think he wished for that sort of com-
pliment conveyed by delay. His honourable friend had the
cause and the justice of it, ill which he had pleaded so power,
fully as to flash conviction on almost every man's mind, too
much at heart, to desire to postpone the decision that ought
to follow his argument. His honourable friend had spoken
ably, and indeed almost miraculously, as an honourable gen-
tleman had expressed it ; but why had he done so ? Not
merely because he had the gift of singular and superior ta-
lents, but because he had spoken in a right cause—because
he had a heart susceptible of feeling, and capable of
sympathising with the woes of those who claimed protec-
tion on account of their innocence and their defenceless
condition, and on account of the unparalleled oppressions
they had endured. His honourable friend's speech had been
called, and justly called, an eloquent one. Eloquent, indeed,
it. was so much so, that all he had ever heard, all he had
ever read, when compared with it dwindled into nothing, and
vanished like vapour before the sun. Having paid this debt
of justice to his honourable friend, Mr. Fox again urged his
argument against adjourning, unless some better reason was
assigned than the mere lateness of the hour. If any gentle-
man thought he could answer the strong_ argument that had
been that day delivered, or if gentlemhad'any doubts upon
their mind, let them state those doubts, or let them give the
answer they meant to offer ; but why adjourn without so do-
ing, unless it was from a sense that what had been that day
said was unanswerable, and from a wish to gain time, and by
negociation and manoeuvre accomplish that, which could not
be done by fair argument. He said, he hoped to God, for
the sake of the right honourable gentleman's character, and
for the sake of what was still more important, the character
of that House, the right honourable gentleman did not mean
to vote against the question : if he did, he would doubtles5
support his vote by arguments, that, in the right honourable
gentleman's mind at least, appeared likely to have some
weight with the House : if so, why not deliver those argu-
ments then, and oppose their impression, whatever it might
be, to the impression which had been made by his honoura"


CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
1-,6"2.]307
hie friend's speech? What could be the object of delay, but
oerely an opportunity of preventing the operation which the
truth and eloquence of his honourable friend's speech would
otherwise have in convicting the delinquent, and redeeming the
injured character of the nation ? With respect to the pretence
of adjourning for the sake of deliberation, he could not admit
i ts propriety. If gentlemen had not come with party pre-
possessions and personal partialities, they would not hesitate
to vote when their minds were most alive to the cause of indi-
vidual justice and national honour. The delay, he conceived,
to be unexampled ; for he never knew of any debate being ad-journed, without some strong reason of necessity abein given;ing
'bat in the present instance nothing of this nature had been
stated as an excuse.


The motion of adjournment was then carried.


April 2.


The report from the committee appointed to consider of the se-
veral articles of charge against Mr. Hastings was brought up by
their chairman, Mr. St. John ; and upon the question that it be
now read a first time, Mr. Pitt observed, that in a business of
such consequence as that in which they were engaged, he felt
every successive stage become more and more important, and
could not therefore repress his anxiety to preserve thatdegrleeemo,ef
formality and regularity in the proceeding, which should
him and other members at full liberty to deliver their votes, without
hesitation, singly and exclusively, on the merits of the grand de-
cisive question of impeachment, and free from any objections that
might be made to the firm in which that question should come
bi-ward. He therefore wished to know how Mr. Burke intended


proceed. For his part, having in some of the articles gone
only a certain length in his assent, and by no means admitted a
degree of guilt equal to that imputed in the charges, he could
not think himself justified in joining in a general vote of impeach-
ment, which might seem to countenance the whole of each several
charge, those parts which he thought really criminal, as well as
those which were of an exculpatory nature. The method which
it was most adviseable, in his opinion, to pursue, was to refer the
charges to :a committee, in order .to select out of them the crimi-
nal matter, and frame it into articles of impeachment; and then,
0,1 those articles, when reported to the House, to move the ques-
tion of impeachment. if, on the contrary, the mode adopted was,
to move the impeachment immediately, he should find himself
under a necessity of moving, on the report from the committee,
which had already sat on the charges, several amendments, con-
fining the effects of each charge to that degree of real guilt, which
ne thought appeared in it.


X 2




308
CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.


[April 2.
Mr. Fox observed, that when lie had the pleasure of seeing


those gentlemen whose principles so .
often militated against


his own, seriously adopting . the sentiments which he enter_
tained upon a great and important question, no man was more
willing to bend to their wishes as to the mode of best carrying




those sentiments into effect. It was therefore with great con..
cern that he felt it impossible for him to agree with the right
honourable gentleman in the proposition which he had just
stated : but he really could not do so without betraying, as he
conceived, the great business in hand, and weakening even to
the dangerous risk of losing it ultimately, the great question
naturally consequent on all the investigations of the committee
they had just come out bf, namely, That Warren Hastings,
esq. be impeached. That question was, he thought, the next
and immediate step to be taken by the House, after agreeing
(if they should agree) to the report then on the table, and
they would in that case follow it up by sending word to the
House of Lords, that the House of Commons had resolved
to impeach Mr. Hastings, and declaring that they were pre-
paring articles, and would present them with all convenient
dispatch, reserving to themselves the constitutional right of
supplying more articles, after they had gone through the
whole, whether they should have occasion at all to exercise
that right or not. Mr. Fox enlarged on the necessity of this
mode of proceeding, comparing it with the other mode pro-
posed by the chancellor of the exchequer, and contending
that it was the true constitutional mode, and the best, of car-
rying the views of the great majority of the House into com-
plete execution. If the House proceeded in the manner
which he conceived to be the proper, and, indeed, the only
proper mode of proceeding, they would, by coming imme-
diately to the great question, afford those gentlemen who
meant to urge the argument of a set-off, a full opportunity of
putting their favourite reasoning to the test ; they would give
every gentleman an equal degree of indulgence, and the mat-
ter, as to the question of impeachment, would rest on its true
merits, the sense of the majority, grounded on the votes of
the committee, and then the House would decide upon the
great question fairly; and, having once decided upon it, they
would run no risk of losing it in any subsequent stage, by en-
tertaining altered opinions under the influence of reasoning
on the particular form and shape of different articles of the
impeachment, or, what was still more to be dreaded, and
guarded against in a proceeding of that kind, by the influence
of improper interference, to which the other mode of pro-
ceeding was particularly obnoxious. That mode was also
liable to other objections. If the House went into a com-


1787•] CHARGES AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
;op


eaittee in order to draw the articles of impeachment before
they had resolved to impeach, they would set their committee
an idle, and, possibly in the end, a fruitless task ; for, having
ultimately to look at the question in a new light, and to de-
cide upon the impressions of all the criticisms and sentiments
of different gentlemen, the great question would prove very
inuch weakened, and would be decided upon under circum-
stances much more unfavourable to it than at present. Per-
haps there might be precedents for the mode of proceeding
recommended by the right honourable gentleman. Indeed,
so many were on the journals, and those so various and con-
tradictory, that there was scarcely any mode of proceeding,
however absurd and however unconstitutional, for which a
precedent might not be quoted; but he much doubted whe-
ther any precedent would bear out the proposition just made.
He had examined a great variety, and the nearest which lie
could find was that of Lord Denby, but it did not exactly
meet the present case. Mr. Fox recited at large the particu-
lars of the case of Lord Danby's impeachment; and after
stating them circumstantially, pointed out the different modes
of proceeding which had prevailed afterwards, as well as those,
in times more modern,. mentioning the impeachments of Lord
Bolingbroke, Lord Orford, &c. &c. and afterwards Lord Ox-
ford and Sir Robert Walpole, coming at length to the case
of Lord Macclesfield, where the whole had originated in a
message from the crown, upon examining the papers laid on
the table, by which the House had immediately resolved to
impeach, and had sent a message to the Lords to that effect:.
After enlarging upon these particulars, Mr. Fox returned to
his former argument; and observed, that the mode which he.
had taken the liberty to recommend, he was convinced was
the shortest, the best, the most likely to secure the end, and
that which lie could not conceive any gentleman, who meant
to act fairly and sincerely in this business, or any other of the
same kind which might occur in future, and who did not
mean some fallacy, or by some trick to abandon it, could ob-
ject to. In saying this, he begged not to be understood as
designing to insinuate that any such fallacy was intended in
the present instance, much less that the right honourable gen-
tleman was not himself as sincerely desirous of sending the
matter to the House of Lords as he was. He had not the
smallest doubt but that he was equally serious on the occa-
sion; but lie wished to guard against establishing a precedent
which might by bad men be abused in future times. He
could not, therefore, but express his; surprise that the right
honourable gentleman should wish to pursue a different
mode, and the more especially as lie saw no reason why the


x3




310 MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF [March 28 ,
amendments at which he hinted need be at all supposed an
argument against the general question. Exceptiner only inExcepting
the charge against contracts, had the right honourable gen-
tleman made any distinction so strong as to prevent his gene-
rally voting with the resolution moved upon each of the charges
carried. If, therefore, he had not objected, notwithstanding
the various distinctions and differences which he had taken
upon several of the charges, to vote that most of them cork
tained matter of impeachment, why could he not consent to
impeach, and in framing the specific articles, take the sense
of the committee upon each of his wished-for amendments?
Mr. Fox added, that if he appeared to deliver his sentiments
with some emotion upon the present occasion, he could de-
clare that it was a natural warmth rather arising from his con-
sciousness of the importance of the business, and his sense of
the deep degree in which the honour, the dignity, and the
character of the House and of the nation, were involved,
than from any spark of passion or intemperance of feeling.
He had merely delivered his individual sentiments, indepen-
dent of party or connection. They might possibly not be
supported ; but as he really thought he could not, without
betraying the cause, countenance any other mode of proceed-
ing, so lie could not lend himself to its support; and if a ques-
tion were put on the mode proposed by the right honourable
gentleman, he should be obliged to vote against it.


The report was ordered to be taken into further consideration
on the following day ; when the resolutions of the committee were
agreed to, and Mr. Burke moved that they should be referred to a
committee to prepare articles of impeachment upon the same, and
that the committee consist of the following persons : Mr. Burke,
Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Sir James Erskine, Mr. Thomas Pelham,
Mr. Windham, Mr. Francis, Mr. St. John, Mr. Anstruther, Mr.
Adam, Mr. M. A. Taylor, Mr. Welbore Ellis,. Mr. Frederick Mon-
tague, Sir Grey Cooper, Sir Gilbert Eliot, Mr. Dudley Long,
Lord Maitland, Mr. North, General Burgoyne, and • Mr. Grey.


BEAUFOY'S MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE TEST
AND CORPORATION ACTS.


March 28.


-


%1JRING this session a subject was introduced into the House
If of Commons, which became repeatedly the object of its con-
sideration in succeeding sessions ; this was a proposition for the


1787.] THE TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS. 3 1 1


repeal of the corporation and test acts, as far as related to the pro-
testant dissenters, who flattered themselves that their recent sup-
port of the minister of the crown would induce him to lend a
favourable car to their application. Delegates were appointed to
arrange and conduct their plans, who did not directly petition par-
liament, but first published and dispersed the following paper,
which they called " The Case of the Protestant Dissenters, with
reference to the Test and Corporation Acts :


" In the year 167z, the zgth of the reign of King Charles IL
an act was passed, entitled, An act for preventing dangers which
may happen from popish recusants :' by which it is enacted, That
all and every person or persons, that shall be admitted, entered,
placed, or taken into, any office or offices, civil or military, or shall
receive any pay, salary, fee, or wages, by reason of any patent or
grant of his majesty, or shall have command or place of trust from
or under his majesty, his heirs or successors, or by his or their
authority, or by authority derived from him or them, within this
realm of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick-upon-
Tweed or in his majesty's navy, or in the several islands of Jersey
and Guernsey, or that shall be admitted into any service or em-
ployment in his majesty's household or family,—shall receive the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the usage of the
church of England, within three months after his or their admit-
tance in, or receiving their said authority and employment, in
sonic public church, upon some Lord's day, commonly called Sun-
day, immediately after divine service.


" The circumstances of the time, when this bill passed, were
very remarkable. Papists were indulged in their religion, and
many of them were employed in the great offices of state. The
king himself was suspected of popery, and the Duke of York, his
presumptive heir, had openly declared himself of that religion.
This bill was introduced in direct opposition to the court ; the pe-
nal laws having been suspended, contrary to acts of parliament,
by the royal proclamation, chiefly in favour of papists, at the very
time when a war was begun to destroy the only protestant state
by which England could expect to be supported in the defence of
her religion and liberties. On these accounts, the minds of all
zealous protestants were in the utmost fear and consternation ;
and, accordingly, the design of the act was, as the preamble de-
clares, ' to quiet the minds of his majesty's good subjects, by pre-
venting dangers which might happen from popish recusants.'


" The protestant dissenters apprehend, therefore, that this act,
as the title sets forth, was made wholly against papists, and not to
prevent any danger which could happen to the nation or church
from the dissenters. Indeed, so far were the protestant noncon-
formists from being aimed at in this act, that, in their zeal to rescue
the nation from the dangers which were at that time apprehended
from popish recusants, they contributed to the passing of the bill ;
Willingly subjecting themselves to the disabilities created by it
rather than obstruct what was deemed so necessary to the com-
mon welfare. Alderman Love, a member of the House of Com-
mons, and a known dissenter, publicly desired, that nothing with


1 4




MOTION VOR THE REPEAL OF
[March 2$.


telatien to them might intervene to stop the security which the
nation and protestant religion might derive from the test act, and
declared that in this he was seconded by the greater part of the
nonconformists. This conduct was so acceptable to parliament,
that, in the very session in which the test act passed, and while
that act was depending, a bill was brought into the House of Con.
moos, entitled, A bill for the ease of protestant dissenters.'
This bill, having passed through the different stages of that House,
was carried up to the House of Lords, where likewise it passed,
with some amendments. These amendments having given occa-
sion to a conference between the two Houses, King Charles IL,from an apprehension that the measure would prove injurious to
the popish interest, on the 29th of March, 1673, adjourned the
parliament to the zoth of October following. In the next session,
an attempt was made, in the House of Commons, to discriminate
the dissenters from the papists, with regard to their qualifications
for public offices, by bringing in a bill for a general test, to distin-
guish protestants from papists ; which bill, having been read a
second time, and referred to a committee, was laid aside without
being reported.


" The late reverend and learned Dr. Burnet, Bishop of Salis-
bury, in a speech in the House of Lords, in the year 1703, took
particular notice of the conduct of the dissenters, with regard to
the test-act ; and justly concluded, that, as the act was obtained
in some measure by their concurrence, it would be hard to turn it
against them.


" Though King William III., of glorious memory, had refused,
when Prince of Orange, to give his approbation to the repeal of
the test-act and other penal laws against papists, knowing that the
measure was countenanced by King James II. with the sole view
of introducing Roman Catholics into public offices, and that it
would have been at that time dangerous to the protestant religion
and the liberties of the people; yet, when he was raised to the
throne of these kingdoms, and no danger could be justly appre-
hended, he told his first parliament, in one of his speeches, that
he hoped they would leave room for the admission of all protes-
tants who were willing and able to serve him ; and that such a
conjunction in his service would tend to the better uniting them
among themselves, and strengthening them against their common
adversaries.' Accordingly, when the bill. was brought in for abro-
gating the oaths of allegiance, &c. to King James II. a clause was
ordered to be added for taking away the necessity of receiving the
sacrament as a qualification for civil offices. This clause the
House of Lords rejected, contrary to the sentiments of many noble
peers, the stedfast friends of their country, and distinguished
promoters of the revolution ; who declared, in their protest, That
a greater caution ought not to be required, from such as are ad-
mitted into offices, than from the members of the two Houses of
parliament, who are not obliged to receive the sacrament to enable
them to Sit in either House.'


" The test-act is not the only statute by,whieh the civil rights
of the dissenters are abridged. In the year 1661, the 13th of


1181'i THE TEST AND. CORPORATIOH ACTS.
3Is




Charles II., the year after the Restoration, an act was passed ; en-
titled, An act for the well-governing and regulating of corpora=
tiOns by which it is provided, That no person or persons, shall
for ever hereafter be placed, elected, or chosen in, or to, any cor-
poration-offices, that shall not have, within one year before such
election or choice, taken the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ac-
cording to the rites of the church of England.' This act, which
was passed in a period of great heat and violence, was probably
designed against some of the protestant dissenters : For,' as a
noble lord expresses himself, in those times, when a spirit of in-
tolerance prevailed, and severe measures were pursued, the dis-
senters were reputed and treated as persons ill-affected and dan-
gerous to government.' But both Houses of parliament in a short
time entertained different sentiments of there ; and, before the end
of that reign, discovered an inclination to relieve them from the
disabilities created both by the corporation and test-acts.


" On the 24th of December, in the year 168o, a bill was ordered
into the House of Commons, for repealing the corporation-act.
On the 6th of January following, this bill was read a second time,
and referred to a committee. While this bill was depending in
the House of Commons, a bill came down from the Lords, enti-
tled, An act for distinguishing protestant dissenters from popish
recusants.' It cloth not appear that there was any division on
either of these bills, but they were defeated by the sudden proro-
gation of the parliament on the loth of January. The Commons,
being apprized of the king's intention, had only time to pass some
votes on the state of the nation, one of which is in these words ;
"That it is the opinion of this House, that the prosecution of pro-
testant dissenters, upon the penal laws, is, at this time, grievous
to the subject, a weakening of the protestant interest, an encou-
ragement to popery, and dangerous to the peace of the kingdom.'


" Such public testimonies, in parliament, in favour of the pro-
testant dissenters, they cannot but consider as affording a full
evidence of their zeal andi.concern for the protestant religion and
the liberties of' these kingdoms, and of their being hearty and sin-
cere friends to the public peace, both in church and state. They
therefore humbly hope for the repeal of the said acts for the fol-
lowing reasons :


" Every man, as it is now universally acknowledged, has an
undoubted right to judge for himself in matters of religion ; nor
ought his exercise of thus right to be branded with a mark of
infamy.


a."The holy sacrament of the Lord's supper, being a matter
purely of a religious nature, and being appointed by our blessed
Saviour only for the remembrance of his death, ought not to be
applied to the secular ends of civil societies.


3. " As dissenters are universally acknowledged to be well-
affected to his majesty and the established government, and are
ready to take the oaths required by law, and to give the fullest
proof of their loyalty, they think it hard that their scruple to re-


Sec Lord Mansfield's speech in the House of Lords, February 4, 1767.
New Parl. Hist. vol. xvi. p. 316.




3 14 MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF
[March 28,


ceive the sacrament after the manner of the church of England,
or after the manner of any church, as a qualification for an office,
should render them incapable of holding public employments, civil
or military.


4. " The occasional receiving of the Lord's supper, as a qua-
lification for a place, cannot, in the nature of things, imply, that
those who thus receive it mean to declare their full and entire
approbation of the whole constitution and frame of the established
church ; since men may be compelled by their necessities, or al-
lured by secular advantages, to do what they would not .do, were
they left to their free choice. As, from these motives, persons
may be induced to conform to the established church in this par-
ticular instance, though they do not approve of its forms and ce-
remonies in general; so, from the same motives, others may corn-
ply with the sacramental test who are not even christians, and
who therefore cannot be supposed to wish well to christianity itself,
or to any national establishment of it whatsoever. Hence it is
apparent, that such a test can be no real or effectual security to
the church of England. It is also apprehended, that, independently
of any remarks upon the doctrine of papal dispensations, the sa-
cramental test complained of may be received by many papists,
because many of them hold the church of England to be no
church, her ministers no ministers, and her sacraments no sacraments.


5. " The oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and the declaration
against transubstantiation, have, without the sacramental test,
been found effectual, for more than a century, to exclude papists
from both Houses of parliament.


6. " The repeal of the test and corporation-acts, while it would
be a relief to many of his majesty's faithful subjects, would lay no
difficulty or hardship on any others of them. It would no way
affect the established church. Religion, and the national church,
were established before these acts were passed, and would conti-
nue to be established were they repealed. The doctrine, the disci-
pline, and privileges of the church, would remain exactly the same
as they are at present. Its constitution and its form of govern-
ment are not secured by these acts ; nor would they be injured by
the total repeal of them. On the contrary, every serious clergy-
man would find, in such repeal, ease to his conscience, and safety
from vexatious prosecutions ; for the service of the church of
England, in its notice respecting the celebration of the commu-
nion, forbids blasphemers .


of God, slanderers of his word, adul-
terers, &c. to come to the holy table ; and yet the minister, as the
law now stands, must admit all such persons to the sacrament when.
they demand it as a qualification for an office, or subject himself
to a prosecution.


7. " No other instance can be produced, among all the reformed
churches, in which the sacrament is ever applied as a qualification
for civil employments and advantages.


8. " The episcopalians in North Britain, who are the dissenters
from the church established in that part of the united kingdom,
are not liable to any incapacities in consequence of their ,tiot qua-
lifying themselves by receiving the sacrament according to the
usage of the church of Scotland; but are capable of all the ad-


087.1 THE TEST AND CORPOTtATION ACTS.
315


vantages of the civil government by taking. the oaths, &c. as ap-pointed by law. Whence it follows, that it is not reasonable or
'list, that such of the members of the established church of North
Britain as are resident in England, should be subject to the un-
aracious alternative, of acting inconsistently with their principles,
or of incurring the penalty of disqualification for the service of


itheir sovereign, n any office, civil or military.
9. " In the year 1779, the 19th of his present majesty, an act


was passed, in Ireland, For the relief of his majesty's faithful sub-
jects, the protestant dissenters of that kingdom ;' whereby it is
enacted, That all and every person and persons, being protes-
tants, shall and may have, hold. and enjoy, any office or place, civil
or military, and receive any pay, salary, fee, or wages, belong-
ing to, or by reason of, such office or place, notwithstanding he
shall not receive or have received the sacrament of the Lord's sup-
per, —without incurring any penalties —for or in respect of his
neglect of receiving the same.' The protestant dissenters of
England, therefore, humbly hope, from the moderation and equity
of the legislature, for the same just restitution of their civil rights,
to which alone their application is confined.


" For these reasons the dissenters are induced to make an appli-
cation to parliament for relief, humbly apprehending that their re-
quest will appear to be founded in justice, and that a compliance with
it will redound to the honour of religion, will tend to the security
and strength of the protestant interest, be conducive to the welfare
of the nation, honourable to the king as the common father of his
people, and no way injurious to any one subject in his majesty's
dominions. Arguments, so weighty and cogent as those which
have been represented, cannot, they trust, fail, in conjunction with
the enlarged and liberal spirit of the times, to procure from the
legislature the repeal of statutes, which can in no degree be
considered as grounded on public necessity or public advantage."


On the 28th of March, Mil. Beaufoy opened the business to the
House in a long and able speech, and concluded, " That this
House will immediately resolve itself into a committee of the whole
House, to consider of so much of the acts of the 13th and 25th of
Charles the second, as requires persons, before they are admitted
into any office or place in corporations, or having accepted any
office, civil or military, or any place of trust under the crown, to re-
ceive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, according to the rites
of the church of England." Mr. Beaufoy was answered by Lord
North, who had lately had the misfortune of losing his eyesight,
and came down upon this occasion, for the first time in the session.
Mr. Pitt followed Lord North, and took the same side of the
question.


Mr. Fox, in a long and able speech, supported the motion
for a committee. He observed, that however he might of late
have been charged with the odium of coalition, that odium
was not imputable to him that night; yet, if he had heard
only one part of the argument of the right honourable the




31 6 MOTION FOR TUE REPEAL OF
[March


-121.
chancellor


upon


of the


the


exchequer,


grounds of


of unexplained by, namely,
.othe


alitionw
of his argument, he should have found himself in a


was right to oppose the repeal of a test, which shut out dist
senters who would not allow that any establishment was nes
cessary; but the right honourable gentleman had afterwards
carried his arguments against all those who had applied indis.
criminately. Mr. Fox then asserted, that the general eon,
duct of the dissenters was praise-worthy, and that in all for-
mer times they had been actuated by principles of liberty


notinconsistent with the well-being of the state. He then ad.
verted to the argument of the right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer respecting the test, and endeavoured to shew,
that religion was not a proper test for a political institution.
With regard to the argument used by the right honourable
gentleman to prove that those acts operated to exclude per-
sons from corporations, though not from sitting in that House,
he should contend that they had not that effect ; that there
were corporations which were entirely filled by dissenters, and
that he knew of two such corporations. The mischiefs in
Charles the second's reign arose not from the dissenters, but
from the governing part of the church of England. He said,
he was supported in this assertion by the authority of a great
writer, Mr. Locke. The opinions of the heads of the church
of England were not to be a rule for the political conduct of
that House; for they were as decidedly against passing the
bills which that House passed six or seven years ago in favour
of the dissenters, as they were upon the present occasion. In
.deciding upon questions of that nature the electors of the re-
presentatives of the universities were likely to be warped more
strongly than the electors of other representatives of that
House: this was to be lamented; but he did not mean to cast


-any reflections upon the motives of their conduct. The church
of Scotland had not found a test necessary there for the epis-
copalians. The right honourable gentleman had stated, that
by this repeal the dissenters would not be obliged to contribute
to the provision of the members of the church of England; it
was absurd to argue that as a consequence; it did not follow:
this motion went only to take off the seclusion of offices. Mr.
Fox dwelt some time upon this point. He then asserted, that
the argument that there must be one establishment was absurd;
two establishments might exist in one government; they ac-
tually did exist, and he instanced the church of England 00
the kirk of Scotland. He confessed that the test-act did not
operate directly as a stigma upon the dissenters; but at least
it carried, and it was a fair argument to say, that the dissenters


Ij


17877
THE TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS. 317


hurcbech.
glad to be excused paying to the maintenance of


theMr. Fox then said, What are you doing to secure the es-


ta
blishment of this constitution? You are taking religion as


r._
.6irrion tor a test in politics. He then combated the pro-
Ipriety of such a measure. With respect to clergymen giving
Or refusing the sacrament, he observed, that if the clergyman
of the parish refused, he subjected himself to an action ; and
supposing that he found means to get through the inconvcni-
oleos of the litigation, what was the consequen W




ce? hy, that
having refused the man the sacrament, he had disabled
him from being qualified to hold the office; for the man could
not take the sacrament from another clergyman, and thus
there was vested in the minister of a parish a power superior
to that of any ecclesiastical court.


Mr. Fox then spoke of the principles which had governed
the dissenters in this kingdom, and said, they were persevering
and active in their application for redress of their injuries in
former times; and if they used the same perseverance now,
they could not fail of success ; that he would advise them to
repeat their applications till the legislature gave them that spe-
cimen they desired. .He had considered himself honoured in
acting with them upon many occasions; and if he thought
there was any time in which they had departed from those
principles which were inconsistent with the constitution of this
country, he should refer that period to a very recent date in-
deed : on recollection of what had been their conduct upon
that occasion, the House would at least do him the justice to
say, that in supporting them that day he was not influenced by
any very obvious motives of private partiality or attachment.
Yet he was determined to let them know, that though they
could uponn some occasions lose sight of their principles of li-
b he would not upon any occasion lose sight of his princi-
ples of toleration; he should therefore give his vote for the
motion; but at the same time observe, that if there could be
any modification of the penalties without repealing much of
the act,..it might be matter of instruction to the committee,
and perhaps would prove more palatable to the House ; yet,


o fdisclaimingtili p


as the matter stood at present, the right honourable the chan-
ce
tteuigi


llor
t h
of the exchequer by opposing the motion might be said,


t l.incippele.rsecution in words, to admit the whole
extent


The House divided on Mr. Beaufoy's motion:
Tellers.


Y EAS S Mr. Bcaufoy


Tellers.
W. Dolben 6.1


Mr. Plumer
Sir l. 7


— NOE S mr, young;
So it passed in the negative.




3 l 8


MR. Fox's MOTION FOR THE
[April 24,


MR. Fox's MOTION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE Silo? TAX.


April 24.
THE tax imposed upon retail shopkeepers in the year 174 5, was


strongly opposed at the time by the inhabitants of London and
Westminster, as partial and unjust in its principle, and peculiarly
oppressive in its operation upon those two cities. The following
year their members were instructed to move for its repeal ; and
though the motion was rejected by a great majority, they con.
tinned, with unremitted perseverance, to take the future


active and
vigorous measures for securing success upon some future occasion.
Meetings were held, associations formed, committees appointed,
and a correspondence carried on with all the considerable towns
and corporations of the kingdom ; many of which, being propor.
tionably sufferers, readily joined the capital in another application
to parliament for relief. The business was this year committed to
Mr. Fox. Accordingly, this day in pursuance of the notice he
had given previous to the recess,


Mr. Fox rose, in order to make his motion for the repeal
of the shop tax. He began a most ingenious and striking ar-
gument against the tax, by statina


.
that he had never beenb3


forward in opposing taxes, because he thought it the duty in
general of members of parliament to support government in
the arduous and invidious measures of finance; but at the same
time that he entertained the opinion, he thought it equally im-
politic to adhere to it in the extreme degree, and on no occa-
sion whatever, even though a tax should appear, after experi-
ment and fair trial, partial and oppressive, to consent to its
repeal. Under this impression it was, and upon a full convic-
tion that the shop tax was a personal tax, unjustly levied from
a particular description of men, that lie should move for its
repeal. The shop tax he had ever heard stated by those who
defended it, to be a tax not upon the shopkeeper, but the
consumer of goods sold by the shopkeeper. That he had
ever peremptorily denied, and experience had proved beyond
all possibility of doubt, that he was right in the denial.


Mr. Fox proceeded to urge all the arguments which he
had formerly brought forward, to prove that the tax was not
in fact, what it was called, but an additional tax upon house-
keepers whose houses had shops annexed to them. He mani-
fested the particularly unjust way in which the tax pressed
upon the metropolis and its environs, by stating, that ,the
whole sum assessed for the shop tax amounted to 59,0001