Imágenes de páginas


viewing the matter in this light, I did not official notice to his majesty of the proceedconceive that I was bound to give the ad- ings of the house. So it was; but why vice which the motion of the hon. gent. is was it thought proper to zive such a calculated to enforce. Since that time, notice? Surely, sir, for the purpose that however, in consequence of the notice of ministers might take such measures, as the hon. gent. to renew his motion, I have they might not be so strictly bound to felt it my duty to ascertain what is the pre- take, if the notice had not been given. vailing feeling of gentlemen on the subject. This, sir, was understood, and strongly I have had occasion to ascertain the senti- urged at the time. But if the right hon. ments of respectable gentlemen on both gent. then understood the sense of the sides of the house, and seeing reason to be house in such a manner that he did not lieve that the step to which the motion of think it his duty to advise the erasing of the hon. gent. is directed, was considered lord Melville's name from the list of privy expedient, I have, however reluctantly from counsellors, how comes it that he has now private feeling, felt it incumbent on me to given that advice? How has he since culpropose the erasure of the noble lord's lected the general opinion of the house in name from the list of privy counsellors. a way to induce him to alter his sentiments I confess, sir, and I am not ashamed to so materially? But he says, that he has confess it, that whatever may be my defer- canvassed the opinions of several individual ence to the house of commons, and how-members. Sir, there seems to be strong ever anxious I may be to accede to their grounds to suppose that this is a comprowishes, I certainly felt a deep and bitter mise adopted in consequence of a ministerial pang in being compelled to be the instru- intrigue, rather than an act implying any ment of rendering still more severe the deference to the opinions of this house. punishment of the noble lord. This is a I do not know that however. I am only in feeling of which I am not ashamed. It is a possession of what the public in" general feeling which I cannot drive from my bo- know on the subject.-Now,sir, one word as

It is a feeling which nothing but my to the time. The right hon, genttakes the conviction of the opinion of parliament, last moment for giving this advice, in order, and

my sense of public duty could possibly as far as possible, to divert the censure of have overcome. After what I have said, this house from lord Melville. Notice was I trust the hon. gent. will see the propriety given of the proposition, the very first day, of withdrawing his motion. Every public I believe, that the business came before the object is now obtained which the motion house. Allusions to it had been made in could accomplish, and I am sure the hon. subsequent proceedings; but it is not till gent. has candour and humanity enough within half an hour of its being brought hot to press a discussion, the only effect of forward, that the right hon. gent. comes which must be to wound the already severe- down and makes this communication, from ly afflicted feelings of an unfortunate indi- the well founded terror, that if le permitted vidual.

the question to go to a division, he would Mr. For-Since the right hon. gent. has be left in a minority. But is it now pretold us that at last he has condescended to cisely the same thing as if it had been done advise his majesty to remove lord Melville long before? Does it not shew clearly, frem his privy council, I would wish to know that every thing within the compass of whether that has been done in consequence possibility is to be done in favour of lord of the resolutions of the house of com- Melville ? First, it was maintained that he mons? At all events, sir, we have reason only acted contrary to the intention of the to rejoice in the triumph which justice has law : then he was permitted to resign his experienced, when we consider that they office of first lord of the admiralty, to were compelled at length to give this advice prevent his being turned out. And now at who were for protecting lord Melville, be- last, when nothing can be done to prevent cause he was old and faithful servant it, he is erased from the privy council. of the crown, and had only acted contrary The difference between its being done now to the intention of the act of parliament and done before is, I acknowledge, as far as Why was this advice not given immediately the public are concerned, not very material ; after the address of the 10th of April, for but it will be recollected, that the right hon. which the right hon. gent. expresses such gent. held out till he could hold out no profound veneration? He comments upon longer without a certainty of being beat. ihis address, and considers it merely as an I trust, however, that things will now


speedily be finished, however tardily they of lord Melville's name from his majesty's may have been begun, that the house will fol- councils, or at all relating to it. low up the public opinion, and that every The Secretary at llar (Mr. W. Dundas) measure will be taken that can afford secu- corroborated the statement of the chanrity to the people, not by inaking legislative cellor of the exchequer, that the resolutions provisions for the future, for these may be referred to contained no expression of an disregarded, as they have been already, but opinion that the name of lord Melville by inflicting proper punishment where it is should be erased from the list of his deserved. This triumph has not been wil- majesty's council. Nor did the hon. genlingly gained, but has been extorted by the tleman who spoke last but one (Mr. Fox) sole consideration that a majority would op- express any wish to that effect. On the pose lord Melville if he was further de contrary, the hon. gent. was heard to glory fended. I can assure the house that there in his own dismissal and that of another is every symptom of the country being se person, from the list of his majesty's counriously agitated, and that it will not readily cil, and to state his hope that that would not place much confidence in those who have by any part of the public be considered a exerted themselves so much to screen a de- disgrace. Was not ihis then pretty clearly linquent, though they have at last been to express an opinion, that it was not his obliged to give him up.

desire to produce that effect which had The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated been communicated to the house, with rethat the resolution he had announced to the gard to lord Melville, whom it was so much house had not the least connection with any the study of the hon. gent. to degrade: transaction out of doors. This he most dis- The house, however, witnessed the hon. tinctly denied. As to the allusions of the gent.'s conduct, and it was for them to hon. gent. who had just sat down, to what judge whether it sprung at all from a love he called a canvas of the members, he saw of public equity, or was influenced by any nothing censurable in his availing himself of feeling of humanity. It had been stated his extensive intercourse with members to that the noble lord was guilty of public ascertain their sentiments upon any public plunder, and therefore incapable of those question. This was a right which belonged feelings which would entitle a man to comto any member of that house, and he believ- passion. But he most positively demed ed it was the general practice with every that any such guilt could be ascribed to him. member who had any proposition to bring That he had connived at the misconduct of forward. When he found that any parti- | Trotter, he was ready to admit

, but that he cular proceeding was wished for by a majo- had participated of any of the emoluments rity of the house, he thought it but right and resulting from that misconduct he ever respectful to take that proceeding at once, should contradict. Nothing had appeared and thus prevent the necessity of debate. before the house to justify the charge of By this course the time of the house was lord Melville's having joined in public robsaved, and its opinion treated with due de- bery, and if any gentleman should assert ference. What he had done in such a way such a thing, he was prepared to meet him. he by no means thought inconsistent with With respect to the hon. gent.'s professed his official duty, or the respect he owed to desire to punish and prevent peculation, the constitution and privileges of that house. and the improper use of the public money,

Mr. For disclaimed having said, that he the house and the country must recollect believed the change in the right. hon. gent's. enough to be enabled to judge of the sinconduct to proceed from the transaction re- cerity of his professions. For need it be ferred to out of doors. Nor did he mean told, that from the year 1965 to the year to impute blame to an endeavour to consult 1782, lord Holland derived, to his own prithe opinion of members upon any public vate profit, an interest of 15,000l. per anquestion. But he expressed his surprize num from the use of the public money, as that if this measure had been taken in com- paymaster of the army, and that not one pliance with the sense of the house, it had farthing of this money had ever since been not been taken earlier--that it had not im- paid [a loud cry of Order, Order! but still mediately followed those resolutions which the right hon. gent, procceded). Was not passed the house so long since.

the hon. gent. aware, when he was inThe Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, dulging himself in what he termed speculathat there was not one word in the resolu- tions, but what was commonly called gamtions alluded to, recommending the removal bling, that he was squandering the property of the public? Did he not know that the public, but that of the public creditors. This peculations of lord Holland furnished him question was repeatedly discussed in this with the means of defraying the extrava- house, under various administrations. I gancies of early life? (Here there were will not mention that of the marquis of Rockstrong marks of disapprobation throughout ingham, because that ministry might be the house.) The right hon. gent. concluded supposed to have some regard for me--but with observing that he might be thought it was very fully canvassed during the adsevere, but if the hon. gent. felt what he ministration of lord North, when, indeed, said, he had himself to thank by provokingit. no such supposition of favour could exist.

Mr. Fox.-As the right hon. gent. has And what was the result ?- why, that a comthought proper to make such a pointed al- mittee appointed to consider the case relusion to the conduct of my father, I hope ported that the practice referred to was refor the indulgence of the house while 1 garded as a privilege belonging to the office submit a few observations. For although a of paymaster of the army, and that it had considerable time has elapsed since the universally prevailed with those who held death of the person to whom the right that office, with the exception of the hon. gent. alludes, I cannot but feel a high father of the gentleman over against interest in any thing that concerns his repu- me (lord Chatham) and perhaps another. tation. What the right hon. gent. could If it were deemed a criminal practice, mean by calling him to my recollection in no doubt some measure of prosecution this instance, unless to create an uneasiness would have been instituted. But the in my breast, I am at a loss to imagine. For feeling was different. Nay, the house how does the case of my father apply to so felt it, and evinced its sentiment afterthat of lord Melville? The case of lord wards by granting an increase of the salary Holland is as clear as light. There was no attached to the office, in lieu of such privilaw to forbid the paymaster of the army to lege. That sentiment was decidedly exapply the balances remaining in his hands to pressed in the resolution of the committee, any purpose of private emolument, in the upon which the salary of lord Melville, as way described at the time lord Holland treasurer of the navy, was augmented in held that office. Taking the fact as it order to compensate for the loss of the stands, if, as the right hon. gent. alleges, it emoluments resulting from the use of the was criminal in a public officer to make use public balances, which from the period of of the public money for his own private that augmentation was entirely to cease. profit, when there was no act of parliament Recollecting, therefore, that the practice of against it, à fortiori, it was still more crimi- which the right hon. gent. has accused my nal after the act had passed. The difference father did prevail among the paymasters of between the case of lord Holland aria lord the army up to the time at which the salary Melville is this, that the conduct of the of these officers was increased at the apformer was not against law, while that of pointment of Mr. Burke and Mr. Barré, the other was in the very teeth of a law I cannot see any analogy between the case proposed by himself. What then does the of lord Holland and lord Melville. With right hon. gent. gain by the reference? respect to the allusion which the right hon. That the practice which obtained in the gent. has made to my conduct in early life, office of the paymaster of the army was I have to be sure, as the right hon. gent. generally right, I am not now going to ar- terms it, gambled a good deal. I also gue. But I do remember, and it must be feel that I continued that practice much too in the recollection of the house, that at the long, and lost a considerable sum of money. time the practice was under discussion, very My father, no doubt, left me a large fordifferent opinions prevailed among the most tune-but how the right hon. gent can ineminent lawyers in the country upon this fer that my manner of spending that forquestion, whether the paymasters were ac- tune can afford any proof of my connicountable to the public for the interest vance, in what he considers my father's arising out of the balances remaining in their improper manner of obtaining itor that hands. I know that the negative of this I was a party to the misappropiation of the proposition was maintained by many per- public money, I leave it to the house to sons of high consideration, but most certain conjecture. That those who are the relaly the weight of eminence and authority tives, or who have had the misfortune of was on the other side. . For it was held that being in any degree connected with lord the balances were not the property of the Melville, should feel affected by the disgrace Vol. IV.

2 R

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(612 into which he has fallen, is, I admit, very to the curate, and set an arbitrary valuation natural; but yet I think that such feelings on the glebes which they were to occupy. should not be suffered to stand in the way with a view, therefore, of giving the inof a great public duty-and certainly it cumbents, and other persons concerned in would be much more delicate not at all to church property, a fair opportunity of conexpress them in this house. I shall now say sidering the principle and application of the no more than to observe, that if it were the bill, he should conclude with moving, that object of the right hon. gent. to wound the second reading be postponed to this day my feelings, he has entirely failed, and to fortnight. repeat, that if he had succeeded in fixing Mr. Crecrey seconded the motion. He the impitation of guilt on the conduct of said, that although this bill professed only to my father, that success would only tend to encourage the residence of curates, the efaggravate the guilt of lord Melville. fect of it would be to transfer to the curates

Mr. Whitbread said in explanation, he above one-fifth of the whole revenue of the had never charged lord Melville with parti- rectories. He particularly objected to that cipating in the plunder of the public, be clause which proposed to empower the bicause that had not appeared. If hereafter shops to let out the glebe to the curates, at it should be made out, he would bring the any rent they pleased. charge. The inference had arisen from The Attorney General defended the prinwhat he had said of lord Melville's conniv- ciple of the bill. The principle was the ance at Mr. Trotter's misuse of the public same with that of several laws on the stamoney. He would not press his motion, tute book. A similar bill lead passed the though he thought the house of commons house of commons twice lately; from which and the majesty of the crown would have the present differed only in as far as it was been more satisfied if the erasure had taken framed to obviate the objections of the upplace in consequence of the address of the per house of parliament. The grants to the house. One question only he wished to curates were in consideration of residence; have answered before he withdrew the mo. and both by the common law and canon law tion. Did lord Melville hold any office un- ihe incumbent was obliged to do the duty der the crown during pleasure?

of the church, or forfeit by non-residence. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he There was nothing in the bill subversive of believed he did not.

the principles of the constitution of the Mr. For said, there was a report abroad, church of England, whose property and that one of the offices held by the noble rights no man living would be more ready lord, was during pleasure. The motion to uphold and assert than himself. Now, as relative to the grants in Scotland, of which there were several clauses in the bill unfilled notice had been given by a noble friend of up, if gentlemen would consent to its going his (lord H. Petty), now absent, from a cir- into a committee, to fill up the clauses, he cumstance (the death of the marquis of should propose that the report should be Lansdowne) which every one regretted, received on Wednesday se'nnight, a period would shew how this was.—Mr. Whitbread of delay which he hoped gentlemen would then withdrew his motion.

allow to be quite sufficient. (STIPENDIARY CURATES' Bill.)-On Sir W. Scott could not bring himself to the second reading of the Stipendiary Cu- think that there was any danger to be apprerates' bill being put,

hended to our church establishment from the Mr. Western rose, and said, that the sub- passing of this bill. When the duty was perject was one of the greatest importance, and formed for the incumbents, they ought not entitled to the fullest investigation. He con- surely to cleal out with a niggard hand the ceived the object of the bill to be no less stipend for that service. than a direct attack on the church establish- Sir J. Wrottesley did not object to the prinment, and an invasion of ecclesiastical pro- ciple of the bill, but he wished the right perty. He could not assent to the power hon. gent. (the Attorney General) to consiproposed to be vested in the bishops, which der the propriety of giving glebes to the cuhe considered sufficiently great already. He rates under the provisions of the bill as it highly disapproved of any measure which now stood; if the glebe ground was in tilsubjected the clergy to the absolute domi- lage, it might be ruined in a short time, or nion of those spiritual lords; and would not if in grass, it might be so much injured in this be the case, if they had the power to a few years, that the loss to the incumbent grant the fifth of the incumbent's property would be irreparable. He had no objection

[ocr errors]



to the curates having the glebe, house, and protests. It would preclude every opporgarden, but he could not give his consent tunity which any but great and powerful that the glebe be disposed of according to debaters could avail themselves of to enthe valuation of the bishop.

gross the whole discussion of any question, Lord Porchester expressed himself against however important, by continually resorting the bill, and observed, that although it was to the expedient of moving for a committee, compulsory on the incumbent as to the pay- under the cover of this Standing Order. ment of the fifth of his income if over 4001. Besides, what a powerful and dangerous enyet that the curate was not obliged by any gine might it not prove in the hands of a clause of the bill to do the duty.

despotic government, or of a turbulent and Mr. Fellowes thought that the bill did not factious opposition, who, by protracting any go far enough.—Mr. Western then with- discussion that might involve the most imdrew his amendment; after which the bill portant affair, must throw almost insuperwas read a second time. - Adjourned, able obstacles and embarrassments in the

way of public business. He should not in.

sist on the slighter inconvenience which an Tuesday, May 7.

enforcement of such an order might fre[MINUTES.)-Lord Holland was sworn, quently produce, but the arguments he had and took his seat.—The consideration of the already advanced against its being longer Appeal Cause, from the court of chancery continued were, in his mind, fully sufficient in Ireland, Rowe r. Powell, which stood to justify him in now moving, that the said over since last session, being resumed, the Order be vacated. In addition to these Solicitor General and Mr. Adam were heard very objectionable considerations, it clashed at considerable length, on the part of the with, and even rendered nugatory, an imrespondent. After which their lordships portant standing order of the house, No. 19, deferred the further hearing of counsel till which prohibits any noble lord from speakMonday.

ing twice in the same debate, It could not [ABROGATION OF A STANDING OR- be called a standing order, for all these reDER. -The order of the day for taking in- quired two days notice, even for their susto consideration the Standing Order, No.30, pension. The present, from its essential being read,

nature and effect, admitted of no such preLord Vulgrave, pursuant to notice, vious proceeding. He could see no adebrought forward his motion for erasing quate reason which could possibly be adfrom the book which purported to contain vanced for continuing such an order on the the Standing Orders of the house, the Or- book. Therefore, with such impressions of der, No. 30, which empowered any indi- it on his mind, he felt it incumbent on him vidual peer to move the house to go into a to propose, “ that the said order be vacated.” committee when he wished to speak upon a - On the question being put; question more than twice, or with a view to The Earl of Carnarvon ruse, and conenlarge the freedom of debate. His lord- tended the noble lord was totally mistaken, ship did not well know whether he should as to the effects of the order. It did not redwell upon the regulation as a standing order fer to the raising a committee for the purof the house, or merely as an admonition or poses mentioned by the noble lord; but remembrance, in which light it seemed to merely to afford a greater latitude to the be considered by the noble lord on the wool- freedom of debate. The objection, with sack. But in whatever point of view it respect to the proxies and protests, did not might be regarded, he could not but look applv, as all questions were ultimately deupon it as a standing order of the house, cided by a house, wherein these could freely and as such he should touch upon the vari- be given. There was never an improper ous reasons which should induce the house use made of the order; and it was incumto discontinue it. He had therefore to re- bent on those who urged propositions, tendpresent the abuse of such an order as preg- ing to cramp the freedom of debate, to nant with the most pernicious consequences. prove that such an order had produced speIt was not only incompatible with the dig. cific inconveniences: deeming of the order nity of the house, and the impartiality and as he did, he should certainly vote for its solemnity of their proceedings, but it also continuance. went to infringe the privileges of the house, The Lord Chancellor was of opinion, that, by rendering nugatory the interposition, in upon the whole, the order in question ad the case of such committees, of proxies or mitted of serious objections; and many of


« AnteriorContinuar »