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HOUSE OF LORDS.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22.
The Houfe refolved into a Committee of Privileges, and Lord Walfingham having taken the chair, counfel and evidence were again heard in fupport of the claim of Lady (Henry) Fitzgerald to the barony of Rofs. The further confideration of the cafe was adjourned till Tuesday next.
The Houfe then refumed, when the fugar warehousing bil, and the rape feed oil importation bill were brought up froin the Commons.
The order of the day being read, for the Houfe going into a Committee on the Irish priests' and deacons' bill,
Lord Ellenborough made a variety of obfervations upon the fubject. He referred to the animadverfions which had been made by certain reverend prelates upon the bill in its present fhape, when it was laft in a Committee before their Lordships, and adverted to the circumstances which gave rife to the prefent measure. The fubject was certainly one of no light importance, and he thought the public confiderably indebted to the learned Gentleman who introduced the bill into the other Houfe of Parliament. Since the period of the union, he observed, the national churches of England and Ireland were to all intents and purposes united; it was therefore effential that the law, as it regarded the points in queftion in both countries, fhould be identified. He thought it proper that the law fhould be clearly expreffed, as it flood upon the points which were the fubject matter of the bill before the Houfe. No perfons could be admitted into decon's orders until they were 23 years of age, nor into priest's till the age of 24. After alluding to what the practice had hitherto been in thefe refpects, in the refpective parts of the united kingdom, he expreffed his opinion that it should be affimilated to what the law required in other cafes, which was the full completion of the age fpecified. His Lordship defcribed the practice of the law upon thefe points; which, instead of the full abfolute year, or to the very hour of its expiration, allowed one day in practice as an interval. This he illuftrated by a familiar inftance: fuppofe he were born any hour on the first of February, the law would confider the period of the year as elapfed on the earliest moment of the 31st of January. The noble and learned Lord obferved, that he should propofe a bill to explain and enforce the law
law clearly in these refpects, and with a view to its confideration, he moved that the Committee upon the bill in queftion be deferred until that day month, which was ordered accordingly.
His Lordship then presented the bill to which he had alluded in the courfe of his fpeech, which was intituled "An act to enforce the due obfervance of the facred canons and rubric, refpecting the ages at which perfons are to be admitted into the orders of deacon and priest."
This was read a first time and ordered to be printed.
The bills upon the table were then forwarded in their respective stages, and thofe brought up from the Commons feverally read a first time. Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
THURDAY, MARCH 22.
General Tarleton prefented a bill for the further improvement of the port of Liverpool. Read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time.
Mr. Dickens prefented at the bar certain papers from the office of the chief fecretary of Ireland, pursuant to a former order of the House. Ordered to lie on the table.
The Irish militia families' bill was paffed through a Committee of the whole Houfe, and the report ordered to be received he next day.
The fugar warehousing bill and the expiring laws bill were read a third time and paffed.
The report of the Committee of Ways and Means of the preceding day was brought up. Upon the question being put, that this report be now received,
Lord Folkeflone apologised to the House for again making a few obfervations upon this fubject. He felt it his duty, however, to remind the Houfe that the estimate which was given to the Houfe of the produce of the war taxes up to the 5th of January laft amounted to 4,500,cool. instead of which they had not actually produced within that period above. 1,900,000l. There was therefore under the head of war taxes an actual deficit of 2,600,cool. as would appear by a comparison of the former eftimate and the ftatement in the prefent account. The report which the Houfe was now called upon to receive and proceed upon, purported to state that a furplus of 1,300,000l. arifing from the grants of 1803, VOL. II. 1803-4Ff
fhould be applied towards the expences of the prefent year Of ten millions which the House had been led to believe would have been raised within the year, there therefore remained nearly eight millions to be raised in the last three months. At all events, without going into an examination of the merits or propriety of the general eftimate, there was a fallacy upon the face of the prefent account, from which it appeared to him that, instead of a furplus of 1,300,000l. there was an actual deficit to the fame amount.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer begged leave to correct an error into which the noble Lord had, no doubt accidentally, fallen, from the circumftance of his not having been accustomed to look much into accounts of this nature. The manner in which the former eftimate had been given, and the usual mode of drawing up all statements of that nature, was by giving in a return of the fuppofed produce up to the 5th of April. The whole of the arrears of that quarter were frequently not collected till the July quarter; and, from the daily payments which were making to the revenue, he had every reason to hope that the whole amount of their former hopes would be realized. As to the general eftimate of ten millions, when Gentlemen confidered the alterations which had been made in the property tax, and in other taxes, he thought that they would be fatisfied as to the cause of any apparent diminution in the general produce.
Mr. Gregor fupported the pofition which had been laid down by the noble Lord; and Mr. Vanfittart explained the manner of making up the public accounts, in nearly the fame manner as had been already done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The question was again put, and carried without a divifion. Mr. Calcraft faid, he had fome time fince given notice of his intention to move a refolution, in a Committee of the whole House, on the fubject of additional pay, and allowance for cloathing and equipment, to certain non-commiffioned officers in the volunteer corps. He fhould defer it until after the Eafter recefs, and should bring it on afterwards as early as poffible.
MEDIATION OF RUSSIA.
Mr. Fox-I take this opportunity of putting a question to the right hon. Gentleman oppofite to me, upon the fubject of an answer which he gave to me, refpecting the mediation of Ruffia. I understood at that time there would be no general objection to giving this Houfe information on that
fubject; that I understood to be faid most clearly and distinctly; but that then circumftances which were not likely to be of long duration prevented Minifters from making any communication upon that fubject to the Houfe: fince which time four months have elapfed. What I now wish to know of the right hon. Gentleman is, whether thofe circumstances ftill ftand in the way of fuch communication.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer-On the 22d of November laft, there were circumftances which, in the opinion of his Majefty's Minifters, precluded any communication to this House upon the fubject to which the hon. Gentleman has adverted. But it was then intimated that there might be other circumstances which, in the opinion of his Majesty's Minifters, might render a communication improper, even although thofe circumstances which precluded any communication did not exist: and now other circumstances do exist, and they fo far operate on the minds of his Majefty's Minifters as to convince them they ought not to advise his Majesty to direct any communication to be made upon that subject at the prefent moment.
Mr. Fox-I am often unfortunate in my recollection of the statement of facts as they ufually come from the bench oppofite to me, and never was more fo than in the present instance, for I have not the smallest trace in my mind, nor any ground for conceiving any thing of what was faid against this communication, but the circumftances which the right hon. Gentleman alluded to in the first part of his fpeech tonight, viz. thofe circumftances which then precluded his Majefty's Minifters from making any communication to the House upon that fubject, and which were not expected to be of long duration; and what I certainly understood was, that afterwards Ministers would be happy to give information on that interesting fubject. Not a word do I recollect as having ftruck my ear of thofe other circumftances which the right hon. Gentleman ftates as reafons for not making any communication whatever upon the fubject. I dare fay I miflake the matter, but it is a curious coincidence, that every record of the fact, as published at the time upon this fubject, has precifely the fame imperfection as my memory. We must, however, of courfe, be all inaccurate, for I muft give credit to the right hon. Gentleman's explanation of what was faid upon that fubject, and I must now understand, what until now I never did, that other circumftances be fides
those that immediately precluded Minifters from making a communication might have been looked for.
Here the conversation dropped
Sir George Cornewall called the attention of the Houfe to the fubject of the Aylesbury election. He faid it was his intention, by way of prevention of the evils which had been felt by tha: election, to move for leave to bring in a bill to extend the right of election for that borough to a given district in the furrounding parts of the country. He then moved that the order of the day on this fubject be now read, which was read accordingly, and which was for taking the report of the Committee upon this election into confideration.
He then moved that the report be taken into confideration the next day. Ordered.
Lord Archibald Hamilton alluded to the mode in which the civil officers of Government of Ireland received their pay, and obferved, that he fhould bring this fubject forward for difcuffion on fome future opportunity. He withed to know whether military officers who were in this country were to be paid in like manner.
Mr. Corry referred the noble Lord to the explanation he had given upon this fubject already, and alfo to the order that had been made upon it, which certainly related to the cafes of civil officers only. If, however, the noble Lord withed to extend the order to the cafe of military officers, he was not aware of any objection to fuch a propofition; but he apprehended it must be made the fubject of a diftin&t motion. He profeffed his readiness to afford the noble Lord all possible facility in obtaining ample information upon the subject, and he was glad the noble Lord had determined to bring it forward for difcuffion.
Mr. Sheridan called the attention of the Houfe to the very harth and ftrong words which had been used by an hon. Gentleman oppofite him (Mr. W. Dundas) respecting the conduct of the under theriff of the borough of Liskeard. He really thought that poor Mr. Damon (rather an unfortunate name to be fure), but who, for ought he knew, might be a very refpectable Gentleman, was handled very roughly by that hon. Member. He had indeed been fpoken of in very favourable terms by Mr. Child of Lifkeard, and indeed,