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the appointment of writers and cadets by would have increased it, when these comthe directors, (supposing that court to be missioners should choose to act in union under the guidance of ministers) was with the crown; and it would have deplaced at so great a distance, that it gave creased it, when they might chuse to act no new or unconstitutional patronage to independently of the crown; that is, the the crown. Upon the influence from the right hon. gentleman's bill created an appointment of governors and commanders immense patronage, which was to be conin chief
, which the right hon. gentleman centrated in a political party, formidable had asserted to be indirectly in the crown, to the crown when in opposition, and though directly in the company, he would adding to its influence when in power, only say, that no new influence was here Upon this subject, however, the public grasped at, since the existing system was opinion was made up at the time, and had only to be continued. This system, how- continued unaltered. Had that bill passed ever, had been reprobated as vicious and into a law, our happy constitution would disgraceful; and these heavy censures, have been subverted. The right hon. supported by a reference to the 11th gentleman, indeed, had limited the power clause of he bill of 1784, though that to be given to his commissioners to the clause was not in the least applicable to period of four years ; that was during the the subject. That clause, as the right hon. period of the existing parliament; and, gentleman had said, went only to estab- very probably, that might be his reason lish the power of the commissioners for for the period to which he was now willing the affairs of India, to require the most to extend the term of the company's full information from the directors; but charter, without reflecting, that limiting the sixth clause, upon which the declara- the exclusive privilege to four years, would tory bill rested, was over looked by him, necessarily cripple the company, preclude because it would not answer his purpose; them from extending their commerce, and for it establishes, “ that the board shall be prevent them from contributing, in the fully authorized and empowered, from manner the present bill proposes, to the time to time, to superintend, direct, and resources of the nation. control all acts, operations, and concerns, The House divided on Mr. Fox's which in any wise relate to the civil or Amendment: Yeas, 26 : Noes, 132: The military government or revenues of the Bill was then passed. British territorial possessions in the East Indies," so that the declaratory bill, in Debate in the Commons on the Abolition fact, was only a fuller explanation of the of the Slave Trade.] May 14. Mr. Wilbill of 1784. Mr. Pitt next begged the berforce moved, “ That leavę be given attention of the House to a subject, which to bring in a bill for abolishing the Trade the right hon. gentleman himself had in- carried on for supplying foreign territories troduced, viz. the influence which his own with Slaves.” The question being put, bill was to give, compared with that at " that the said motion be referred to a present under consideration. By the one, committee of the whole House,” not only the appointments at home, but Mr. Fox, after taking notice of what all the appointments abroad, were to be the House had done last year, and what in his commissioners ; by the other, the the Lords were doing in this, upon this whole appointments were to be left with subject, warned the House not to trust the directors, reserving the power of recall too much to the good temper of the peoto the king. However unwilling I am ple, by trifling with their requests, pas(said Mr. Pitt) to enter farther into this sing resolutions in one session in one comparison, I must be forgiven for point- / year, by which the public were taught to ing out, that by the right hon. gentleman's expect that this infamous traffic should in bill, from writers and cadets to the highest time be abolished, and then abandoning offices in India, not less than four hundred the whole in another session, by having offices were to be in the nomination of his recourse to the shift of saying, that the commissioners. I willadmit that this bill did subject was before the other House ; that not apparently tend to increase the influence it was a dangerous time to meddle with of the crown; but a very slight attention our commerce ; or by any such quibbles. to its provisions will discover, that it ei- This trade was no more like real, fair ther might be used to increase the influence commerce, than it was like justice or huof the crown, or to diminish it, and in a manity; commerce was disgraced by bemanner subversive of the constitution. It ing compared to it. It was an odious, monstrous, inhuman traffic, and a foul | a board of agriculture, composed of restain upon the British character. Such spectable gentlemen, perfectly conversant the majority of the House thought it last in and acquainted with the subject, as well year;such the mass of the people thought as considerably interested in the success it then ; such they thought it now; and of the scheme, and who, he would proif they had not renewed their petitions to pose, should act without any reward or the House, it was because they had con- emolument. Various advantages would, fidence in its justice, its humanity, its as he conceived, be derived from such a honour, and its regard for the consistency plan, and the expense would not exceed of its own proceedings; and gentlemen 3,0001. in salaries to clerks, &c. This would do well, if they wished the public being a public board, would, no doubt, to have any esteem for that House, not have the privilege of franking; and one to teach them that their confidence was very material benefit of it would be, the misplaced, when they thought that House establishing a free communication of the would perform its duty. He trusted the different improvements in agriculture, House would agree to the motion; or from one part of the country to another. that if they thought the House too thin He concluded with moving, to decide upon a point so important, they « That an humble Address be presented would adjourn the debate for a day or to his Majesty, entreating, that his matwo, and go into a committee, and dis- jesty would be graciously pleased to take cuss the subject fairly, if any farther dis- into his royal consideration the advantacussion was necessary.
ges which might be derived, by the pubMr. Pitt maintained, that the House lic, from the establishment of a Board of ought, in justice to its own character, and Agriculture and internal improvement : in support of its own honour, to adopt Humbly representing to his majesty, that, the motion now before them.
though in some particular districts, imThe House divided : Yeas, 41; Noes, proved methods of cultivating the soil are 34. Mr. Wilberforce then moved, “ That practised, yet that, in the greatest part leave be given to bring in a bill to limit of these kingdoms, the principles of agri. and regulate the importation of slaves to culture, are not yet sufficiently under: the British colonies, for a time to be li. stood, nor are the implements of husmited.” After a short conversation, the bandry, or the stock of the farmer, House divided : Yeas, 25 ; Noes, 35; so brought to that perfection of which they it passed in the negative.
are capable :- That his faithful Commons
are persuaded, if such an institution May 22. Mr. Wilberforce moved the were to take place, that such inquiries order of the day for the House to resolve might be made into the internal state of itself into a committee of the whole the country, and a spirit of improveHouse, to consider of a motion for pre- ment so effectually encouraged, as must venting the supply of foreign powers naturally tend to produce many important with Slaves ; which being carried, a bill national benefits, the attainment of which was ordered to be brought in for that pur- his majesty has ever shown a most grapose, which was negatived on the third cious disposition to promote ; and, in parreading, June 12, by a majority of 31 ticular, that such a measure might be the against 29.
means of uniting a judicious system of
husbandry to the advantages of domestic Debate in the Commons on the Institu- manufacturing industry, and the benefits, tion of a Board of Agriculture.] May 15. of foreign commerce, and consequently, Sir John Sinclair rose to submit to the of establishing, on the surest and best House the motion of which he had given foundations, the prosperity of his kingnotice, with respect to the state of the doms :- And if his majesty shall be graAgriculture of this country. The mea- ciously pleased to direct the institution sure he proposed was to be only an experi. of such a board, for a limited time, to mental one for five years. He then pro- assure his majesty, that his faithful Comceeded to state, how much room there mons will cheerfully defray any expense was in this country for improvement in attending the same, to the amount of a agriculture, and the great advantages to sum not exceeding 3,000l. per annum." be derived from it. Nothing, in his opi- Lord Sheffield seconded the motion. nion, seemed so likely to effectuate this Mr. Hussey said, that no member could desirable purpose, as the appointment of be more anxious than himself, with re
spect to the objects proposed to be at- | pondence, and private societies would be taired; but he wished for more time to left to pay the reward, not upon their investigate the means proposed for that own discretion, but upon that of the new purpose, and the probability of their suc- board. cess; and to consider better, whether, Mr. Sheridan said, it was the first time by agreeing to the motion, they might he had heard of its being a circumstance not be holding out false hopes to the of degradation to pay rewards: the two country. It was, besides, a subject which following lines, as applied to this country, ought to be discussed in a much fuller expressed a very different sentiment House, and he would therefore propose For let people do, or let people say, to adjourn the debate. Sir W. Dolben, Nir . Wilberforce, Mr. He always looks great, to have something to
pay. Dundas, and Mr. Pitt, &c. spoke in fa- In his opinion it was impossible to give vour of the motion ; which, as a matter a good reason why the public should pay of experiment, promised as well as any the expense proposed. It was said the that had ever been proposed, at a small commissioners were to act without any expense, in comparison with the benefits reward; but he was always extremely jealikely to arise from it. It was, however, lous when he found gentlemen too foragreed that the debate should be ad- | ward and zealous to do good to the public journed to the 17th,
for nothing; upon that footing the Board
of Control had been instituted. He had May 17. The debate being resumed, no objection to the principles of the
Mr. Hussey opposed the motion. He motion, independent of the one he had said there was a society established for mentioned, and would therefore conclude the same purpose in the Adelphi, sup- with moving, as an amendment to the adported by voluntary contributions, which dress, to leave out the latter part of it, had subsisted for forty years. The sum and to insert the following words: “ procontributed amounted to 1,2001. year, vided the same shall not be attended with and they distributed 8001. annually in any expense to the public, premiums. Similar societies existed in Mr. Fox objected to the original modifferent parts of the country. He had tion, because the measure was in itself made many inquiries of those whom he objectionable, it being in his opinion a considered most capable of forming an mere job and likely to be converted into opinion as to the probable good to be an instrument of influence; and because expected from the present plan, and he if the measure was a good one, the mode had found none who thought it a proper proposed for carrying it into execution plan. He was convinced the motives of was bad. It was to be done by address, the hon. baronet were pure, but he and consequently the ministers of the could not agree to take 3,0001. a year crown would have the nomination of the out of the pockets of the people for members of the board, and the means of the purpose of trying projects.
extending patronage. The crown also Mir, Duncombe conceived the improve might annex what conditions it pleased to ment of agriculture to be of the highest the qualification of members, and exclude importance, and, as his expectations from many able men, by requiring that they the proposed plan were pretty considera- should subscribe religious tests. If such ble, he would certainly give it his sup- a board ought to be instituted at all, it port.
ought to be done by act of parliament, Mir. D. Scott thought it the duty of the and not by an address ; for if done by an House to protect agriculture as much as act, both Houses would have an opportu: they had done commerce, and expressed nity of examining the regulations of the his approbation of the motion.
board, and everything belonging to it. Mr. Pulteney supported the motion. Mr. Pitt said it was impossible that the The expense was trifting, in proportion board should be fairly styled an instruto the benefits to be expected from it. ment of influence, or the means of ex
Sir W. Dolben was of opinion, that tending patronage. The expense was to unless the sum proposed should be be 3,0001. a year, but this money was not doubled, and one half of it distributed in to be for salaries to the members, but premiums, no practical advantage would merely for defraying the expense of arise from the present plan. This board clerks for doing the ordinary business of would assume to itself the whole corres. the board; and the rest of the sum was to be laid out in procuring useful infor- such as ought to be followed. The formation respecting agriculture, and disse- mer was the case of a lion, who made minating it through the kingdom. such a division of the stag, among his
Mr. Hussey disapproved highly of vot. companions of the chase, as was better ing money in that sudden way, instead of suited to his strength, than to justice. originating the matter in a committee of The latter was that of the late partition supply, by which means it would be of Poland, which proved what the parties liable to investigation in the different concerned in it dared, rather than what stages of its progress.
they ought to do. Who would be the Mr. Martin was prejudiced in favour Frederic and the Catharine of the little of the address, but he could not agree to hemisphere borough of Stockbridge, he vote money in that summary manner. could not presume to say; but he was of
Mr. Grey said, he would vote for the opinion that it must strike every one that amendment, though he would rather have the two cases were similar ; Poland was wished it had gone the length of giving a dismembered because some of its people direct negative to the motion. It was entertained notions disagreeable to the impossible for him to agree to vote a neighbouring powers; and the majority shilling from the pockets of his consti- of the electors of Stockbridge were to be tuents for erecting boards and creating punished, because some of their fellow expense, at a time when we ought rather inhabitants were said to have abused their to look for every possible reduction of trust; and lest they (the majority) should expense.
ever do the like.—Upon this principle, he Mr. Sheridan's amendment was nega- contended parliament might take from tived. The House then divided on the any man his money, because he might original motion : Yeas, 101; Noes, 26. idly spend it in the ale-house.
Mr. Eliot said, the hon. baronet was Stockbridge Election Bribery Bill.]— mistaken, if he imagined the bill was to May 27. Mr. Eliot moved the order of punish the majority for the guilt of the the day, for receiving the report of the minority ; on the contrary, it was framed Committee on the Bill for preventing on the presumption that the majority of Bribery and Corruption in the Election of the electors had been guilty of bribery Members for the Borough of Stockbridge. and corruption.
Sir Richard Hill opposed the motion. Mr. Ellis said, that by whatever gentle He said, that the bill went to punish the name the bill might be called, it would be majority, for the imputed guilt of the mi- in point of effect, a bill of pains and penority. The laws of man required that nalties; and as an ex post facto law, it guilt should not only be alleged, but would punish individuals for acts done proved before punishment could be justly before the passing of that law. The bill inflicted; and next, that punishment appeared to him objectionable in another should fall solely upon the guilty; but, in point of view ; for it could not fail to lesthe present case, the innocent were the sen the value of the property of men, persons who were to feel the penalties of who were not only not guilty of any the bill. Such a proceeding was no less crime, but not so much as accused. The opposite to the merciful conduct of God right of voting at Stockbridge was resitowards his creatures, than it was to the dent in householders; the property of rules of justice and equity; for when the the houses and of the ground on which wrath of the Almighty was kindled they stood, was not in the tenants; and against the wicked city on account of its yet for the misconduct of these, the abominations, the Lord said he would owners were to have their estates deprepardon all the inhabitants, if so many as ciated in value ; for no doubt the value ten innocent persons could be found must be lowered, if a man to whose estate among them. The true ground on which was annexed a 150th share of the power the bill rested was that of power; and the of returning two members to serve in House was called upon to do an act, not parliament, was to have so many new because it was just or equitable, but be- electors poured in upon him as to reduce cause parliament was able to do it. He it to a 1,500th share. admitted that such a proceeding was not Mr. Buxton considered the bill as a dewithout precedents; for he recollected sirable and practical mode of reforming two, one of which was ancient, the other parliament. It did not come recommenda modern: but he did not think they were ed to him by wild theory or speculation, but by experience; the bills of the same weight, because the parliamentary frannature, which had passed for regulating chise was a trust to be exercised, not for elections at Shoreham and Cricklade, had the benefit of the individual who possessed been productive of much good; and but for the general good of the whole therefore a similar system with respect to community; and when it appeared that Stockbridge, it might well be expected, this trust had been abused, it was the duty would be attended with the desired effect of parliament to guard against a future of preventing bribery and corruption in abuse of it, by passing such a bill, as that that borough for the future.
which was then under consideration. Mr. Barham said, it was by no means The House divided : For receiving the the case that the majority of the electors Report 33 ; Against it 41. The bill, of of Stockbridge had been guilty of bribery, course, was lost. for though the total amount exceeded 180, the bill for disfranchising such as had ap- Sir C. Bunbury's Resolutions respecting peared to the committee to have sold their Convicts for Transportation]. May 31. votes, contained the names of no more Sir C. Bunbury said, that in prefacing his than 63.
motion it was his wish to imitate what The Attorney General condemned the was deemed that art of oratory amongst system of proceeding by a bill of pains and the ancients, namely, the saying much in penalties against men, on account of a a few words, rather than the modern business before a select committee, in practice of saying little in a great many. which the parties accused of having sold But, exclusive of such claim on the atten. their votes, could not, by any process or
tion of the House, he believed it would be colour of law, make their innocence ap- a sufficient apology if he assured it, that pear, however innocent they might be. his object was to lessen the sum of human The decision of that committee, with res- misery, and to prevent an unnecessary pect to the right of the petitioners to a seat expenditure of the public treasure. He in that House was by law final and conclu- conceived that not only humanity, but posive; but there was no other question be- licy ought to induce ministers to turn fore them, on which they could finally de- their thoughts towards the unhappy Concide ; and consequently, the parties which victs destined for Transportation. He cal. might be collaterally implicated in the led the attention of the House to their siconsequences of their determination, could tuation after sentence. They were asnot before their tribunal defend their sembled in our common yard in Newgate, cause, and guard against those conse- and other unimproved prisons, where they quences. To bills of pains and penalties, remained many months in rags, filth, and to ex post facto laws, he was a determined idleness, and afterwards they were sent on enemy: a man ought not to be punished by board the hulks, where they frequently any law which was not in existence when staid a long time; by which those whose the act to be punished was done. If gen- morals were not totally depraved, were tlemen were friends to such bills as the rendered completely so by this mischiepresent, merely because they were steps vous and impolitic association, He estitowards a parliamentary reform, he thought mated, that of the seven years transportait would be much more manly, and much tion, which was the sentence of the court, more consonant to the general principles two years were mis-spent in indolence and of justice and equity, for them to move bad company; reckoning one year conat once for a bill for reforming the repre- sumed in gaol and on board the hulks, the sentation of the people in parliament, than average passage to New South Wales six to attempt to attain that by means re- months, and six months for their return, each pugnant to the laws of England, and to of which voyages cost 201. per man, so that every idea of sound jurisprudence. the system was as expensive as it was bane
Mr. Hardinge said, he was a friend to ful; and if they were not brought back it the bill; because, in the first place, bri- was still worse, as it was a flagrant breach bery ought to be suppressed, and in the of justice ; nearly one-third of their term, next because bills of this nature had in and sometimes more, was thus wasted in a two instances produced all the salutary manner not only adverse to reformation, consequencesthat had been expected from but calculated to augment their depravity them. The objection that the bill would and make them thieves during their lives. lessen the value of property in Stock- “ Associate and reform,” exclaims the bridge, he would not allow to have any patriot. This maxim might be just res