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that on found principles of revenue they ought to be permanent, in order to give to the public creditor better fecurity than could attend the paffing of them to the public ufe annually. He believed that his right hon. Friend would be able to fatisfy the jealousy of the Houfe, that there was nothing in this bill to affect the intereft of the Crown unfavourably, at least nothing that could not be altered to the fatisfaction of the House in a Committee.
Mr. Rofe wifhed to know whether there was in this bill any specific provision to fhew that the hereditary revenues of the Crown fhall revert to the Crown, when that period fhould occur when there was a demife of the Crown; for it there was no fuch provifion in the bill, he doubted very much. whether it fhould have come into the Houfe at all; and he was fure that if not, the Houfe ought not to go into a Committee upon it, at least until a meffage came to the Houfe, from the Crown, defiring them to proceed upon fuch a measure. As to the malt duty in Ireland, which was ftill an annual vote, he did not know the amount of it so as to be able to judge of the check which Parliament retained in that refpect upon the executive Government, by way of power to withhold the fupplies from year to year. If the right hon. Gentleman could fatisfy the Houfe upon these two points he should be glad to hear him.
Mr. Corry faid, that accounts had been kept of the hereditary revenues diftinét from the others, and he was informed that the law officers in Ireland prepared a claufe for the purpose of faving the rights of the Crown from every thing except the operation of the agreement between the Crown and the Parliament of Ireland, in the 33d of the King. Whether the mcde which had been adopted for that purpofe was such, was not for him to state; he knew that that prin-ciple had always been preferved, and had understood that the provisions were adequate to that purpose. That provifion had always been inferted in every revenue bill fince the agreement had been entered into between the Crown and the Parliament of Ireland, and he took it for granted that every thing would be adopted by the Houfe that was neceffary for perfect clearnefs. This bill was clearly of the form of the former bills, which contained a provision for saving the rights of the Crown. Here he read the provision out of the statute book in a former act of Parliament.
Mr. Fofler asked if that provifion was in the present bill? Mr. Corry faid, he had no doubt of it: the House would confide,
confider how it was prepared. He had no doubt it was correct, though he had not had an opportunity of reading it; it was sent to him in the ufual manner after it was drawn up by the law officers of the Crown. As to the amount of the duties propofed to be voted permanently, and thofe which were to be annual, the annual was above one-tenth of the whole,
Mr. Canning faid that the first question now was not whether there was fuch a claufe as that which was alluded to by the right hon. Gehtleman, but whether, in fact, the Houfe could do any thing further without further explanation, or whether indeed the right hon. Gentleman ought not to have been ready with his explanation before he came forward with his bill? The next queftion was, if there was not such a claufe, what the Houfe thould allow to be done upon fuch a grofs violation of form, and fuch a fubftantial objection in principle, fo effential to the conftitutional practice of the Houfe, as occurred in this bill? He put it to the hon. GenAlemen who fupported this defective bill, whether they should not think it more decorous in them to afk leave to withdraw this bill, and afk leave to prefent another lefs imperfect, as the best manner in which they could atone for the unconftitutional principle on which they had attempted to proceed in the Houfe? It was now allowed, he faid, on all hands, that this was a grofs overfight at leaft; and he thought that going into a Committee to endeavour to cure the defect there would not be proper, becaufe it would not fufficiently mark the fenfe of the House upon a proceeding fo glaringly repugnant to its rules, and to one of the most important principles of the conftitution.
Mr. Fox faid, that if there was any foundation in point of fact in the objection, the House would not cure it in a Committee, because it could not, according to any rule of practice or principle of the conftitution, go into a Committee at all upon the bill. It was not in the legal power of the Houfe to proceed at all upon a bill of this kind without confent; here there was no pretence that any fuch confent was given. There could be no doubt whatever, that the House must negative the question that the Speaker do now leave the chair, for the House ought to wait at least until the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who brought in the bill, knew what it contained, before they proceeded to difcufs it: the right hon. Gentleman would hardly ask the Houfe until he himself had had an opportunity of reading it.
Lord Caftlereagh was going to reply, when he was called to order by Mr. Grey.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer then rofe, and was called to order by Mr. Fofter.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid he rofe for the purpofe of making a motion, and he was at liberty to introduce that which he was about to say. He was defirous there fhould be no difficulty whatever in going upon this bill, and that no one should be called upon to proceed in the difcuffion of it, in a Committee, without knowing what its contents were; for that reafon he should move that the Houfe should refolve itself into a Commitree of the whole House upon this bill the next day. If the bill was withdrawn altogether, there would of course be an end of it; otherwise he should negative the queftion of the Speaker leaving the chair, with a view to move afterwards that this bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House the next day.
Mr. Fox faid, the right hon. Gentleman had claimed his right to be heard, on the ground that he was going to make a motion, the only ground on which he had any right to speak a second time in the debate: thus his claim was allowed in point of order, and yet after all, in point of fact, he did not make any motion, but only gave notice of a motion which he intended to make; and this was attended with additional irregulariry; that he now negatived the question for the Speaker leaving the chair, after having once spoke for the Speaker leaving the chair. But he believed it would be of great use to some of his Majesty's Minifters, and particularly to the right hon. Gentleman, if they could change the rules of the House so that they might not only change their minds, but be allowed to deliver two oppofite opinions in one night, upon one question in a debate.
Mr. Ora by faid, that he believed this bill was precisely on the fame principle and condition as bills which had formerly paffed upon the fubject of thefe duties. He did not feel himself warranted to speak on this bill, not having read it fince it was introduced into the Houfe; all he knew was, that the fubject to which it referred, was under difcuffion in Ireland, among the law officers of the Crown, of whom he had the honour to be one. He knew the difcuffion had been on the fubject of the King's hereditary revenue; perhaps he might be out of order in ftating what he was about to state, but he withed to draw the attention of the House to it. He then read the clause which had been inferted in other bills
upon this subject, to fhew that the rights of the Crown had always been faved in them all, as far as related to the hereditary revenues of the Crown reverting after the termination of the agreement between the Crown and the Public in the 33d year of the prefent reign. It was for the Houfe to confider whether the words in this claufe were fufficient to save the rights of the Crown; he apprehended they were, and it had been fo thought by the Crown lawyers in Ireland. But whether that claufe was to be found in the present bill he would not undertake to fay. The bill was in the hand-writing of two or three perfons, and he took fhame to himself that he had not read it fince it was laid on the table of that Houfe. All he could fay was that the bill which was confidered and perufed by the Crown lawyers in Ireland, of which he prefumed this to be a copy, had been by them deemed fufficient to preferve entire the rights of the Crown.
Mr. William Ponfonby faid, he believed this bill contained no fuch clause as that which had been read by the learned Gentleman out of another act of Parliament. In a word, he knew of no way to proceed upon this business, but that of withdrawing the present bill to make way for a better.
The question was then put, that the Speaker do now leave the chair, and negatived.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer then moved, that the Houfe fhould the next day resolve itself into a Committee of the whole Houfe upon the bill.
Mr. Pitt faid, he was extremely glad that an opportunity had been given to examine into this question; but it was matter of regret that the attention of the Houfe had not been called to this important circumftance before any progress whatever had been made in the bill, for nothing could be more important for that House to attend to than the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and that the more especially, when the measure brought forward was without the confent of the Crown, and without an opportunity of difcuffing the contents of the bill. He was very far from pledging himself as to the opinion he fhould have on this occafion; but after what he had heard from the honourable Gentleman below him, he had great doubts indeed whether, if the claufes in this bill were, as he had stated them to be, out of another bill, the objection to this measure would be removed, for they only related to a part of his Majesty's revenue, instead of the whole: if fo, the defect was radical; for it was a clause by
which a stated sum was to be perpetual, and set off against a perpetual revenue of a given value fome years ago, but capable of increase with the increafing profperity of the general revenue of the empire; for during the happy period of his Majesty's reign, from that time to the prefent, that reveaue had increased to several hundred thousand pounds, and that revenue now was much higher than the civil lift for which it had been exchanged. By this enactment therefore, to appropriate in perpetuity the hereditary revenues of the Crown, Parliament would be doing neither more nor less than this to abolish his Majesty's inherent claim to a permanent improveable revenue, and giving for it a fixed unimproveable fum, and that too, without any confent or intimation on the part of the Crown. If this was the case, and nothing had been said to induce him to doubt it, he could not help faying, it was very unfortunate that the attention of the House had not been called to it before any progrefs was made in the bill; for it was matter of great importance, upon the conftitutional principle, that the hereditary revenues of the Crown thould not be taken away by Parliament without the confent of the Crown: that was a principle which it was impoffible to be the wifh of any of the King's Minifters to neglect, and quite as little could it be the wifh of any Member of that House.
The question was then put and carried that the House fhould the next day refolve itself into the faid Committee.
MILITIA OF IRELAND.
Mr. Fofter faid, that fome days ago he mentioned a matter of serious moment to Ireland, which was, an apparent breach of faith of Parliament with the militia of Ireland. In November the militia were embodied in Ireland by order of the Lord Lieutenant; they were embodied by the existing law; by that law each militiaman who provided for his relatives was to have 25. per week for his wife, and is. for his father, mother, or child, if they were maintained by him. In Auguft following, this law was repealed, by which these 2s. were reduced to Is. The militia had been embodied under the faith of the firft, and no compenfation was given to them for the reduction. This was a breach of faith, at which the militia murmured very much; he had letters informing him of much discontent upon this occafion, nor would he be anfwerable for the confequences, if fome measure was not taken; and if taken at all, it must be taken before the affizes, which are now approaching, otherwife it would be too late.