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A third claufe was then moved for compelling officers in the militia to sWEAR to the qualifications they deliver in; but re. jected on the principle, that men whom HONOUR Would not bind, could not be bound by an oath; and fuch ought not to be admitted into an honourable fervice.
An altercation afterwards took place between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Sheridan, concerning the mode adopted in the enforcing of the law; when, after proceeding through various other claufes, Mr. Pitt, from a perfuafion that the bufinefs could not be finally adjusted that evening, moved, that it be poftponed till Tuefday next, and that the Chairman report progrefs, and afk leave to fit again, which was agreed to.
Mr. Jolliffe moved, That a Committee might be appointed for the purpose of enquiring into the neceflity and expediency of purchafing the house lately belonging to Sir Robert Barker, for the purpose of converting it into offices for the Admiralty.
Lord Surrey feconded the motion. Lord Newhaven thought the motion was exceedingly neceffary. He had examined the ground, and he was affured the whole expence of erecting the intended offices would not amount to more than five thoufand pounds. Two thousand pounds, he faid, was the purchase of the ground and dwelling, and three thousand pounds would be the whole expence of converting it into the intended offices. He therefore thought it extremely neceffary that a Committee fhould be appointed, in order to enquire into the reafon of fuch an estimate being made as had been laid before the House, viz. 13,000l. for the purpofc.
Mr. Brett urged the neceflity, from the fituation of the now exifting offices.
After a further thort conversation between Mr. Brett, Lord Newhaven, and Mr. Jolliffe, the queftion was put, and the Houfe divided. The numbers were,
Against the motion For it
Captain Macbride then rofe to make a motion refpecting the Captains of the Navy. He faid they were in a fituation in which no other public defcription of men could be
found. He flated a circumftance, that when they were put afide by junior officers being raifed above them, they were not admitted to that pay to which their fituation justly intitled them. For as fuch Captains were never known to ferve, they should be put upon the fuperannuated lift of Admirals; but instead of this they had only their half-pay. This was ill-treating a defcription of men that deferved better treatment from their country. And for what? he afked. For fighting our battles, and preferving the existence of the nation. To them they were indebted for the places they (the Members) then possessed. Ile then read a memorial from a Capt. Brodie, who had been at the taking of several places in the wars before laft; had taken himself feveral ueffels, and fome of fuperior force; had loft an arm in the fervice; and yet he was not thought a proper object to be put on the fuperannuated lift. After reading this memorial, he made two motions to the following purport:
That an humble Addrefs might be prefented to his Majesty, praying to admit that fuch Captains as were then put afide, might be placed on the faid lift. The other motion was to raise the half-pay of the other Captains from eight to ten fhillings per day.
Captain Luttrell obferved there were great objects to be done for the improvement of the navy, which, he faid, fhould be fubmitted to the confideration of the noble Lord (Lord Howe) who had the controul of this department; and he trusted, from his being himself an officer, and his great abilities and experience in the profeffion, that he would fee great and effential regulations adopted.
Captain Bowyer had no objection against the admitting of fo gallant and deferving an officer as Captain Brodie to be put upon the fuperannuated lift; all his objection was, that it might be a precedent for a very impolitic innovation.
Mr. Pitt agreed with what the Right Hon. Gentleman had obferved, and upon this principle moved the order of the day.
Sir John Jarvis and Mr. Sheridan spoke in favour of the motion, and Mr. Pitt replied.
After a further debate between Admiral Hood, Mr. Sheridan, Captain Macbride, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the queftion was put, and the House divided, For the motion Against it
The order of the day for the attendance of Mr. Haftings being read, he was called in. and delivered in minutes of his aufwer to the charge delivered in on Monday laft by Mr. Burke.-Minutes read, and ordered to be printed.
Capt. Jacques was then called to the bar and examined. His examination continued
until near nine o'clock, in the courfe of
which objections and replies were made to aimoft every question, and the witness was continually obliged to withdraw. The Captain's evidence being clofed, Mr. Burke declared he should not trouble the Houfe at prefent with any further examinations. A confiderable time was then employed by Mr. Burke and the clerks at the table in feletting pallages from India papers.
After which Major Scott informed the House, that as feveral witnelles were directed to attend the Houfe, by the defire of Mr. Burke, and that gentleman had not thought proper to call them to the bar, he apprehended any Member might call fuch witneffes to any point that might appear neceffary to fatisty the House as to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Haftings. Mr. Burke gave his affent, and Major Balfour was called to the bar.
As this evidence feemed to give rather a new turn to the conduct of Mr. Haftings, we fhall, with ftri&t impartiality, give the fubftance of the leading part of his evidence as follows:
That he had refided in India upwards of 20 years, and was in the country of the Rohillas at the time of the war; that he did not know of any wanton cruelties in the conduct of that war; that when the army first arrived feveral villages were deferted, and fome outrages might have been committed, but that he did not know of any town or village that was deftroyed; that at the first alarin the husbandmen and manufacturers flew on all hides from their dwellings, but after the defeat of the Rohillas and the death of their General, the Nabob Vizier iffued general orders to protect the natives, and accordingly they returned to their habitations; that by the treaty of peace which followed that war, it was ftipulated that the Rohillas fhould leave the country and crois the Ganges, which was accordingly done ay about >,000 of them, including women and children; that they were not moleited in their retreat; and that the country of Rohilcund, when he marched back, was in as good a ftate of cultivation as when they entered it. These are the friking features of Major Balfour's evidence.
A motion was made, and the queftion propofed, that the Seamen's bill be now read a fecond time. An amendment was propofed to leave out now, and infert this day three months. The question was put, that now fland part of the motion. The House divided, Ayes, 23; Noes, 89. The main queftion was put, and agreed to.
In a Committee on ways and means, refolved that 1.500,000l. be raised by Exchequer bills, to be charged on the firit aids in the next feflion.
That 1,000,000l. be raised in the fame
In a Committee of Supply, refolved that
25,000l. be granted for carrying on the building at Somerset Houfe.
That 13,000l. be granted for fupporting the African fettlements.
That 16811. 183. 4d. be granted for defraying the extra-expences of profecuting offenders against the laws relating to coin.
That 14.9391. be granted for defraying the extra-expences of the Mint in 1785.
That 41061. be granted as a compenfation to Jofeph Lodin Maevoir for his lofs by the feizure of his ship in 1776, by Governor Macnamara.
That 127.1381. be granted to his Majesty to make good the deficiency on grants of last
The Houfe h ving proceed d to take into confideration the report on the Sinking Fund bill,
Mr. Pulteney faid, he had a clause to propofe, which would render it very difficult for future Parliaments to defeat the operation of the bill; for it would make it neceffary that they should give thofe occafional directions to the Commiflioners, relative to the redemption of capital flock above par, without which they could not under the laws now in exiftence redeem any fuch stock. The claufe was, that in cafe Parliament should neglect for a certain time to give thofe dis rections, the Commiffioners thould be empowered to redeem itock above par, without any directions. As the redemption must take place in fuch a cafe, at a great lofs to the public, it was reasonable to prefume that this claufe would compel Minifters to propole, as occafion fhould require, that the proper directions should from time to time be given to the Commiflioners. He then moved for leave to bring up the claufe, which was granted; and, after having been twice read, it was admitted into the bill.
Mr. Fox then propofed another claufe. which was, that the Commiffioners might be permitted to fubscribe such money as should be in their hands to any future loan. This he thought would be one way of preventing any future Minifters from diverting this finking fund in time of war from the purpofes for which it was now going to be initituted, as they would have the full benefit of this money in the loan: and the public would be equally benefited, inasmuch as this mode would keep down pro tanto the accumulation of the national debt. By borTowing from ourselves we could always borrow on better terms than from others; and we should be able to make a better bargain, inafmuch as the loan would be lefs by fo much, than if the Commiflioners were precluded from fubfcribing. If a bonus was given upon a loan, then the public would fave as much upon it as would be due on the fum fubfcribed by the Commiffioners. But it was always to be understood, that though the public fhould be the lender on thofe oc
cafions, a fund fhould be established to pay the intereft of what should be thus advanced.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, he felt very great pleasure in having it in his power to concur with the right honourable Gentleman; it was not often he could enjoy it; but the pleasure was the greater on that account. The clause met his entire approbation, and he hoped that the unanimity which animated all parties, however differing on other points, in approving the principle of the bill, would be a kind of pledge, that it would be held as facred by pofterity as it was by the prefent generation, when there appeared no other emulation among the most difcordant parties than who should be most forward to fupport the public credit. The claufe was then brought up and agreed to.
Mr. Dempster moved several clauses, which were rejected: one of them was for enacting a declaration, that the new Sinking Fund was of right the property of the public creditors, and ought to ftand pledged as an additional fecurity to them for the payment of the principal and interest on their debt. The object of this claufe was to put it out of the power of future Parliaments to divert this fund from the purpose of its eftablishment without a violation of public faith, which would be thus pledged to the creditors.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that the claufe would amount at most to a declaration of the opinion of the prefent Parliament, and could not be binding on its fucceffors. The question was then put on the motion for bringing up this clause, which was negatived by a majority of 104.
Noes 109. The Houfe then ordered the bill with its amendments to be engrossed.
Several orders of the day were deferred. The order for a ballot on the Kirkwall Election petition, which food for the 23d init. was, on the motion of Sir John Sinclair, difcharged, and a new order made for a ballot on the fame petition, on the 25th inft. The order for the Carlisle ballot was alo discharged, and a new one made for the 23d inft. on the motion of Lord Surrey.
The order for bringing in the bill in favour of the captors of St. Euftatius, was difcharged; and another was paffed in its ftead, enlarging the grounds on which the bill is to be framed, and taking in the dependencies of St. Euftatius, which were not included in the former order, and to which the framers of the bill could not extend it under the former order.
The order of the day for the third reading of the Sinking Fund bill having been moved, Sir Grey Cooper faid, he wished to take notice of an expreffion that had fallen from a Right Hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. Grenville), before the Houfe had refolved itfelf into a Committee on that bill. The Right Hon.
Gentleman had faid, that in the last year the land and malt taxes had produced 2,850,000l. now he wished to know upon what authority he had made fuch an affertion. It was well known that the affeffment of the land tax amounted to no more, including Scotland, than two millions thirty-feven thousand pounds; the fixpenny duty being dedu&ted out of that fum, there remained only 1,982,000l. net money paid into the Exchequer; the deficiencies on the malt-tax were proportionably greater; and therefore he was furprifed how the two taxes together could have produced 2,850,000l. If fo large a fum was actually paid within the year, he was con vinced that part of it must have been an arrear of a former year.
Mr. Grenville replied, that when he stated that the land and malt taxes had produced 2,850,000l. he did not mean to be understood to hold out an opinion, that fuch would probably be in future the annual produce of the tax on land and malt; on the contrary, the report of the Committee of Accounts, on which the bill was founded, stated the average produce of land and malt at 2,600,000l. a year and his only reafen for faying that thefe two objects had produced in one year 2,850,000l. was, that an honourable Mem ber (Mr. Sheridan) had in a speech on the report of that Commitice, allerted, that whenever the actual produce of one year was unfavourable to the idea of a Sinking Fund, then the Committee took the average produce; and that on the other hand, when the actual produce was more favourable, then the average produce was overlooked, and the inferences of the Committee were built on the former. In reply to that charge of the Hon. Gentleman, he had taken the liberty to ftate, that if it had been well founded, the Committee would have taken the land and malt taxes at 2 850,000l. which they had actually produced in one year; but instead of that, the Committee taking the average, though unfavourable to the object which the Hon. Gentleman fuppofed them to have had in view, eltimated the annual produce at 2,600,000l. only. The Hon. Baronet, he faid, was not wrong in his opinion, that when the receipt amounted to 2,850,000l. there must have been paid in fome arrear of a former year: tat certainly was the cafe in laft year's at the fame time he begged it might be understood, that this fum was the grofs produce of the land and malt taxes, and not the net produce over and above all deductions for fixpenny duties, fecs. &c.
Sir Grey Cooper observed, that the Right Hon. Gentleman had not adhered to the old mode of making up accounts in the Treafury Office.
Mr. Grenville replied, that whether he had adhered to or deviated from the old mode, was not in this cafe of the leaft confequence, as it could not aker a matter of fad; and be
fill stated it as a fact, that the grofs produce of the Land and Malt taxes had amounted in the last year to 2,850,000l.
Sir James Erfkine faid he had a claufe to add, by way of rider to the bill, to which he prefumed there could be no objection. The object of it was to enable the Commiffioners to buy up Navy bills or Ordnance debentures. This, he obferved, would be a great faving to the publick, and keep up the national credit, by preventing the extraordinary discount on those bills and debentures in Lime of war.
Sir James was proceeding, when the Speaker interrupted him, to tell him that, in his opinion, the claufe was not admiffible; for the Commiffioners under this bill could not buy up any debt, for which the Sinking Fund was not pledged or mortgaged as an additional fecurity; which was not the cafe with respect to Navy or Ordnance debts.
Mr. Sheridan obferved, that the fame reafon might have been urged with equal propriety against the claufe propofed lait Friday by his Right Hon. Friend (Mr. Fox) for empowering the Commiffioners to fubfcribe to future loans, for the re-payment of which the Sinking Fund was not now pledged or mortgaged.
The Speaker replied, that under that claufe the Commiffioners could not fubfcribe to any new loan, for the re-payment of which the Sinking Fund should not have been pledged, as one of the previous conditions of the loan. Sir James Erfkine faid he would acquiefce in the opinion of the chair, and therefore would not prefs his clause.
The bill was then read a third time, and palled nem, con.
Mr. Wilberforce moved, That the Houfe refolve itself into a Committee on the County Election bill brought in by Lord Mahon, now Earl Stanhope, for the better regulation of elections of members to ferve in Parliament for Counties.
Mr. Grenville opposed it.
of the Houfe any plan, the adoption of which
A fhort converfation then took place, in which Sir Jofeph Mawbey, Mr. Powys, and feveral others, bore a part: the question was £129,140 9 10 at length carried by a majority of 76; after The total for new at ditto 139,270 13 11
which the Speaker left the chair, and the Houfe refolving itself into a Committee, the bill was read, and several amendments made in it. The House then refumed, and afterwards adjourned.
£ 8.522 6 5
The bill for repealing feveral of the re- Total for new at ditto, at 119,588 5 5
ftrictive claufes in the Hawkers and Pedlers bill, was, after fome debate, on a motion made by Mr. Popham, and feconded by Sir Edward Aftley, rejected, the numbers being against the bill 99, for it 49.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not rife with an intention to prefs on the notice
£ 128,110 11 101
The total therefore for old and
new works would be £. 396,521 45 8 To carry into execution this object, it was propofed that this year the fum for old and new works at Portfmouth of 48,558. 195. ad. should be expended; and that for old
and new works at Plymouth, the fum of 4,773. 158. 5d. fhould be employed; fo that the whole of the annual expenditure of 1786, on the fortifications proposed, exclufive of the purchase of land, amounting to 25,6931. 48. 1d. would not exceed 63,3321. 148. 7 d. Some parts of the plan contained in the estimate had been formerly proposed as matter of urgency. Other parts had not, and it would remain with the Houfe whether they should be adopted. On the whole, he begged leave to fubmit the motion he had made to the confideration of the House ; which being feconded,
Mr. Baflard contended, that the House ought not to countenance a measure which it had reprobated. The Right Hon. Genaleman oppofite (Mr. Pitt) had been used with moderation when the question was formerly agitated; but that moderation he had abufed. The foldier who had brought the treasure he found to the Roman Emperor, had been defired by him to use it; but the treasure of moderation which the Right Hon. Gentleman had carried to the MalterGeneral of the Ordnance, he had been advifed by him to abufe. He confidered the motion as a fecret attack on the declared Intiments of the Houfe. The pill which had been formerly pretented was too hard to be swallowed, and was now pounded, that it might go down with the greater cafe. The fpint of the Mailer-General of the Ordnance had migrated into that Houfe, and could not too foon be expelled from it.
Mr. Fax oppofed the motion on the following grounds, viz. that it would lead the Committee into difcuffions, which, as they related to profeffional objects, and the de #ence of the nation, belonged more efpecially to a fecret cabinet; that the prefent eftimate was founded on the DATA of the Board of Officers, which DATA the Houfe had reprobated; and that on this account the revival of a queftion to grounded, and which had been negatived, was an affront to the Houfe. He hoped that the Right Hon. Gentleman would in future pay more respect to the opimen of the Houle, and not attempt to force an obnoxious measure on the country. He likewife hoped every gentleman would conceive, that the plan was totally reprobated, confequently that it could never again be propoled to Parliament.
Mr. Dundas obferved, that the approbation of the Board of Officers was furely no difparagement to the estimate. He would advile the Houfe to think of doing fomething in the time of peace; for if they were called to fortify in iine of war, they would act fr in panic, and would do things more expensively than in cooler moments.
It was agreed that the motion should be withdrawn.
Mr. Rolle then moved, That an humble Addrefs be prefented to his Majelty, praying that his Majefly would be gracioufly
pleafed to order an efimate to be laid before the Houfe of the repairs neceflary for the old works at Portsmouth and Plymouth. The motion was agreed to. MAY 18.
The order of the day was read for going into the confideration of the report of the Committee concerning the alteration of the names of a Lift of Commiffioners for the Land-tax in the Engroffing-Office.
Mr. Mortlock being then called, was afked what he had to fay in his own defence. He bowed, but made no reply. He was then defired to withdraw.
A fhort converfation immediately took place on the form of procedure.
Mr. Dempster, Mr. Alderman Sawbridge, and others, treated the matter as altogether trivial and unimportant, and that it was an improper ufe of the time of the House to. take any further notice of the matter.
Lord Mulgrave then moved that the matter be recommitted, which occafioned a very long uninterefting difcuffion of the question, whether the report of the Cemmittge was a fufficient ground on which for the House to proceed.
The question being then put for the recommitment, there appeared
Mr. Drake, the moment after this divifion, moved, That the fubje&t should be refened to a Committee of the whole Houfe. This, like the former, produced much cosverfation. But on the question being put in the words moved by Mr. Drake, there were Ayes 97 Noes 78
Lord Surrey then rofe to make his promifed motion for an equal representation of the people. He ftated the importance of this great queftion in a conflitutional point of view. It was the only mecium through which the people of England had any direct fhare in the government. He owned bringing on the queftion was liable to this objec tion, that the fenfe of the Houfe had already decided against him. He mentioned several circumftances, however, which in his opiion was a fufficient anfwer to this objection. He called the attention of the Houfe to leveral points, which he thought of much confequence on the fubject, and moved that a Committee be appointed for inquiring into the prefent ftate of the reprefentation of the Commons of Great-Britain.
Mr. Sheridan feconded the motion.
Mr. Martin and Mr. Sheridan then faid each of them a few words in fupport of the motion, when the gallery was ordered to be cleared, and the queiflon put. For Lord Surrey's motion,
Noes 95 In a Committee a converfation took place concerning the further proceeding in the proficution of Mr. Haftings.
Mr. Burke agreed that the further discus fion of the question relative to the manner