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tions to the Bill, the duke declared he had of his services; but independent of those spoken merely as his conscience dictated ; talents and services, he looked upon him that he was as independent as any one to be liable to infirmities in common with member of either House, and had no other the rest of his species. With regard to bias than his loyalty, and his personal at the low state of the public finances, he little tachment to his sovereign, and his firm expected to have heard any thing urged persuasion, that the King's servants were on that head by the supporters of adminismen of sound judgment and unimpeached tration. Besides, the objection might be integrity.
done away with the greatest facility, and · The Earl of Shelburne declared he had without furnishing a single pretence for never accused the noble duke of want of complaint. Let the 4,0001. a year to be ability to determine on law points, be had | granted by the present Bill, be taken out only talked of his weight and influence of the.wardenship of the Cinque Ports, a with their lordships in opposition to the sinecure of 5,000l. per annum, formerly duke's own declaration of his in-ignifi-worth no more than 1,5001. a year, but cancy. The noble duke had censured him sweiled to that enormous sum to oblige for citing the Congress; much as he ad- the old duke of Dorset, and continued so mired the conduct of that assembly, on ever since. Or if the minister's merit for most occasions, he protested he then cited losing America was such that he ought the example no otherwise than as the not have a less sinecure place than this, example of an enemy; but if the noble let the proposed annuity be deducted from duke wanted instances of the spirit of na- the enormous perquisites of the auditor of tional reward, and national gratitude, the exchequer, a sinecure of 20,000l. per nearer home, there was not a part of Eu- annum, for doing nothing, or next to norope which did not afford many. Let the thing, for signing his name barely about six noble duke cast bis eye upon France ; the | times a year. great system of which government turned The Earl of Shelburne agreed with the upon national rewards. They had not yet noble duke that this was no time for men done paying honours to marshal Richelieu: who had any regard for their characters or and it was but the last year, that a monu- peace of mind, to trust themselves into ment had been finished to the memory of difficult situations ; as besides the natural marshal Saxe. In a word, there did not difficulties to be encountered or surexist a wise nation on the face of the globe mounted, many were to be feared, and that did not see the justice and the policy few or none to be trusted. With regard of such conduct.
to the late earl's having been duped or The Duke of Richmond replied to the deceived, the charge was true; but he last noble lord; he said, that the deceased begged the noble duke to consider, that earl was possessed of great virtues and the earl had made the best atonement, abilities ; but he was not infallible. He a full and frank confession of his having was in office for several years, had received | been so duped and deceived; his lordgreat emoluments; and, if he quitted office ship added, that few meu, if any, were so poor, it was a proof of a blameable inat- truly careful and so successfully cautious tention to his private concerns; or a very as not to have been once duped in their imprudent extravagance. The noble eari | life time. He would, for the noble duke, said, he might have come into office when. | as well as for himself, express an earnest ever be pleased. It might be so; but his wish, that neither of them might hereafter refusal might be easily accounted for ; he have occasion to confess, that they had might fear that his own terms, though been duped and deceived into office; and seemingly granted, might afterwards be that when they should be no more, there departed from, broken, or explained away. | might be as good ground for praise, and as The deceased earl confessed in his place, little scope for censure, as there was in the in that House, that he had been once be- case of the late earl of Chatham. fore duped; perhaps the deceased earl! The question was put, and the House dreaded, although he might seem to have divided : Contents 42; Non Contents 11. the prescribing his own terms, that he should again run the risk of being duped Protest against passing the Chatham and deceived. He looked upon the Annuity Bill.] The following Protest was deceased earl to be a man of great abili- entered : ties; and that his family were intitled to “ Dissentient a provision from the public, on account “1. Because we cannot agree to such
an unwarrantable lavishing away of the public money, at a time when the nation groans under a heavy load of debts, and is engaged in a dangerous and expensive war.
“2. Because we fear that this Act may in after times be made use of as a precedent for factious purposes, and to the enriching of private families at the public expence.—f Signed)—Bathurst, Chandos,
Ab. York, Paget.”
Debate on the Earl of Derby's Motion jor an Address relative to the Convention of ići, The Earl of Derby then resumed the business relative to the convention at Saratoga. He acknowledged it was now too late in the session to go into the question at large, nevertheless he thought it extremely proper, that ministers should acquaint the House and the nation with the difficulties which obstructed the faithful performance of the convention; because both a regard for the gallant men now prisoners in America, as well as public faith, made it necessary. That, as ministers had declined to do any thing in it, parliament should be acquainted with the nature and extent of the imo in order that it might be enaled to point out the speediest and most effectual means of removing them. His lordship moved, “ That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to order to be laid before that House, previous to their prorogation, all Information that has been received, relating to the Detention of the Army now in America, subject to the conditions of the Convention signed at Saratoga.” Viscount Weymouth said, there was no blame imputed to any person respecting that affair; the only objection he had to the motion was, because it appeared extremely ill timed, just at the eve of a prorogation. As to the papers, if moved for in time, he would not have had the least objection to comply with the motion; nor could he give a specific answer, upon bare recollection, as to their contents. On the whole, therefore, considering that he could neither carry the substance of them in his mind, and that were they produced, they would break-in upon the prorogation tomorrow, he would recommend to his lordship to withdraw his motion; otherwise he should find himself obliged to move the previous question, which he rather wished to avoid.
The Earl of Derby told his lordship,
that he ought to balance the necessity of the motion against the inconveniency of sitting a few days longer: that even in point of good policy, as well as humanity, ministers should consider what material service so brave and well disciplined a corps of veterans might, if released, be able to render their country at this important crisis. The Earl of Effingham supported the motion, on the ground last mentioned by the noble earl. He agreed with the noble viscount that there was no compelling the Congress to perform the convention on their part, as we had proved by fatal experience, that we were not able to compel them to do any thing: nevertheless, it was necessary that parliament should be informed what was the matter of difference, when it arose, and how best it might be remedied. Parliament were called upon to interfere, since ministers had declined any steps on their part; they owed it to the nation, as an act of duty, and they particularly owed it to the brave but unfortunate men who were suffering the most mortifying and painful chagrin, by being rendered unserviceable to the state, and left neglected in the hands of an enemy, who for several reasons could not be supposed to have any other feeling of regard for them but what the mere rules of war prescribed. The Duke of Richmond remarked, it was somewhat extraordinary, that the noble viscount had paid so little attention to an affair of so great consequence, as not to be able to recollect any part of the contents of the papers, which, if he performed his duty, he must have perused, nor of course give the least tittle of information to their lordships on the subject. Such a conduct merited censure. The noble viscount perused the papers, or he did not. If he did, and withheld information from the House, it was an act of great disrespect; if he had not perused them, which he could hardly think, his lordship was guilty of a very inexcusable o of neglect. As to the prorogation, e hoped ministers would consider how dangerous it might be to prorogue parliament at so critical a season, when it was not only possible, but probable, their advice might be wanting, which could not be obtained until the end of forty days after issuing the proclamation for calling it together. The previous question being put, was agreed to without a division.
Debate on the Duke of Bolton's Motion that their lordships would not suffer it to for an Address to defer the Prorogation ring in vain. No instance, he contended, of Parliament.] The Duke of Bolton was known, when an embargo was laid, rose and observed, that although the noble such as that of Saturday last, but on the viscount's reasons against the preceding dreaded approach of an immediate inya. motion carried the appearance of an ob. sion; and besides the general reasons for jection to one he intended to submit to the propriety of such an apprehension, he their lordships' consideration, it should had no doubt, but the King's servants had not prevent him from proceeding; be- good private and particular reasons to fear cause, give the objection its full weight, it that an invasion was at hand. If so, he amounted only to an argument of conveni- submitted how extremely necessary it ence, and could never stand in competi- would be to have parliament sitting, in tion with the welfare and safety of the case of so, momentous an event. Supstate. The noble viscount spoke of a posing parliament should be dispersed, at clause in an act of parliament, which em- | the time a foreign enemy should land, who powered his Majesty to summon the par. could the people look to for assistance liament in 14 days. He would not con- and protection ? Not surely to a set of tend about the real powers vested in the men, who in every instance in which they crown by that Act; but at a period of so had been trusted, had misled both parliamuch danger and difficulty, he was ready ment and nation, and betrayed a total into prove that it would be extremely im. capacity, in every measure they attempted proper to trust to any summons, however to carry into execution. short, when the assistance of parliament, As he had mentioned the naval prepara. upon any emergency, be it ever so sud. tions going forward in the ports of France den, could be insured by continuing the and Spain, he thought it necessary to say a session by short adjournments.
few words on that part of his subject; as His grace affirmed, that an invasion of well to point out what had been done this country by France was meditating; by those powers as to remind their that the formidable armaments going on lordships what had been omitted on at that instant in their ports, docks, and our part. As soon as France had finally naval arsenals, portended nothing less ; | determined to interfere in the dispute that Spain was equally busy in warlike between this country and her colonies, preparation; and, that powerful armies which was several months before she and encampments were stationed on the entered into any direct treaty with them, coasts of the channel, opposite England. she wisely turned her whole attention to These were unequivocal proofs of what we her marine ; and he was warranted in afhad reason to expect, at least what it was firming, put it in such a condition, as the necessary we should provide against ; they present ministers were totally ignorant of, were not appearances of a defensive, but and very few people aware of. Yet, even an offensive war. Indeed, ministers them- active as France and Spain were, if our selves, by their conduct, within a few navy had been properly attended to; if days, had amply confirmed what he had the enormous sums voted by parliament now thrown out; the alarum-bell was rung had been judiciously applied ; if the noble by them ; its sound had already reached earl who presides at the Admiralty, had the most distant part of the three king- performed either his promises or his duty, doms; it was still tinkling in his ears. À no cause of the present national panic, on general embargo had been laid by the account of an expected invasion, would joint advice of those very ministers, who, have ever existed. The most ample supby the language of the noble viscount, plies, in the course of seven years, had seemed determined to proceed in the same been granted ; the most loud and frequent ruinous career, which had produced all | boastings had been made by the noble earl our former misfortunes, and present cala- in consequence of those supplies; of the mities; and by a prorogation of parlia. | flourishing invincible state of our navy; ment, to despise its assistance or advice. of its superiority over the united fleets of
His grace exhorted their lordships to France and Spain; but the very first inpay this alarum-bell a due attention, as stant an occasion calls for the exertion of they might depend upon it, from the uni. this fictitious naval force, not even for of. form conduct of ministers, they would never fensive war, but 'mere protection, for safety have sounded it, if not urged by motives and security in our dwellings and possesof dire necessity. He hoped, therefore, sions, for the enjoyments of our altars and
firesides, we are given to understand, that then, Spain should become a party in the the navy is no longer the great national quarrel, what has this country to depend bulwark; that we must have recourse to a on? Nothing but mere chance remains to land force to defend us: and as for Gi- protect her. We are, my lords, brought braltar and our distant dependencies, they into this melancholy predicament by the are at once abandoned ; even the noble misconduct of ministers: if we do not delord now stationed in America with his tach, our dependencies are at the mercy squadron, is devoted; for the same noble of our enemies ; if we shonld, our coasts earl, who has boasted so frequently of his ( must lie open to the attacks of the first inhaving a force superior, or able at all times vader. His grace then moved, “ That an to cope with the united force of the whole | humble Address be presented to his MaHouse of Bourbon, has adopted a very jesty, humibly to represent to his Majesty different language; he has acknowledged, the very alarming state of these kingdoms, that it was not prudent to detach, in order which we fear will be much increased by to watch the motions of D'Estaing, whe- a prorogation of parliament at so critical ther meant to be directed against our for- a time, whereby his Majesty would be detresses in the Mediterranean, or our fleets prived of that natural and constitutional in America. His grace next pointed in advice he might find necessary on any particular to the want of frigates, which emergency to require from his parliament, he said were the great soul of maritime when the whole legislative authority, and war ; both in cruises against the enemy, the united wisdom of the kingdom, is, in for the protection of commerce, and in our apprehension, absolutely necessary to facilitating the operations of large squa- secure us from impending dangers, most drons. He contrasted the distribution of humbly to implore his Majesty, that he our fleet at present, with what it was in the would be graciously pleased to defer the years 1743, 5, 6; at which several pe prorogation, of the parliament until the riods, invasions from France were threaten present very dangerous crisis may be haped in favour of the Pretender. The at. | pily terminated." tempt in 1743, was when the Pretender į Viscount Weymouth opposed the moand marshal Saxe were at-Dunkirk. He tion. He was of opinion, that the said, then the wisest precautions were two motions stood pretty nearly on the taken ; the shores were lined with frigates, same ground; and in giving his rea. in order to give notice of the enemy's ap- sons of dissent to the present, should reproach ; and were so judiciously stationed cur chiefly to his former arguments ; across the channel, that it was impossible which were, that parliament, after so for any fleet to come up the channel, long and arduous an attendance, required without sir John Norris being apprised of a recess; and if the necessity for the adit; who, stationed in the Downs to watch vice of parliament were such as had been the intended debarkation at Dunkirk, had stated by the noble duke, the clause init in his power to prevent it; or upon the serted in the Militia Bill, of 1775, proappearance of the grand French fleet, to ! vided a remedy, without putting parliaattack it, before it could join the force in ment to the disagreeable inconvenience of Dunkirk road. Such was the distribution attending in town during the whole sumof the force in 1745 and 6, when admiral mer; not to transact business ; not to ful. Vernon commanded in the channel, which fil a duty required of them; but merely compelled the enemy to a choice of for- to wait in anxious suspence, to see if any bearing to invade, or of coming to a gene matter of parliamentary concern might ral engagement. What, said his grace, is arise. The purport of the clause was your line of battle now? You have none. what he had before mentioned, which emYour line of battle ships, at the end of al. ) powers his Majesty, in the instances theremost two months, are not yet ready to put in provided for, to convene the parliament to sea; and if they were, have you any in 14 days. This clause would answer all frigates? Even on paper, the grand fleet, the intended purposes of an 'adjournment; as it is called, under admiral Keppel, and would be free from all the inconamounts to no more than 21 ships of the veniencies which an adjournment, must be · line, besides the squadron of 12 more | productive of. He took notice, that a under admiral Byron. Is this a force noble duke in the last debate had observ. equal to that which France alone is able at ed, that the writs of summons to parliatbis instant to meet you in the ocean or ment, running in the ancient form, and re.channel with? I contend it is .not. If, quiring forty days between the writ and
return, the clause now alluded to, could not operate. This he was free to controvert; and believed the contrary might be easily shewn, because that was no positive law, but merely founded in custom; and though it were, he did not think he should hear it asserted, that it was not in the power of the legislature to alter, and of course to give a legal operation to their own intentions, expressed in the clearest and least ambiguous terms. Lord Camden replied to the argument of the noble viscount, in answer to what he had offered to the objection made in the preceding debate, respecting the writs of summons to parliament being always returnable in forty days, when called together for the dispatch of business. The noble viscount does not deny the existence of the law; nor does he pretend to point out a single instance in which it has been departed from ; but the noble viscount says, there is a law for one as well as the other. My lords, one is the law of parliament, founded in the constitution; a law, give me leave to say, that is of the very essence of parliament itself; and more binding and obligatory than any act of the legislature can be ; because it is the very basis and ground-work of their assembling for any purpose. But taking the noble lord’s argument simply, as his lordship has stated it, let us try it by the established rules of legal construction. Is the law or usage of forty days notice repealed by the clause alluded to, or by any other clause contained in the Act 2 No such thing is pretended. Does the clause make any provision for altering the writ of summons from forty to fourteen days? Not that neither. All the clause says, is, that in such and such cases the King may convene the parliament in fourteen days. Will any noble lord present undertake to say, that there is at present a rebellion subsisting in America, or in any of the dependencies of the British crown; or suppose he should hazard the assertion, will he say, that the ancient mode of assembling parliaments; a mode, I am ready to contend, coeval with the constitution, shall be at once annihilated by a passing clause in an act of the legislature, not at all directed to the regulating the mode and manner of holding of parliaments, or connected with any of its special powers or privileges 2 Should such a doctrine prevail, there is not any other power or privilege of parliament which might not be undermined or taken away in the same way. The doc
trine was dangerous, was unconstitutional, and could not be fairly maintained in argument, upon any principle of sound policy, or legal construction. The fact did not maintain the explanation; and if it did, would the clause uphold the interpretation put upon it: His lordship next proceeded to shew the great danger of assembling parliament under the clause, and the folly of wantonly doing so, when the present motion would answer all the ends proposed to be effected by the clause; after which he entered into an investigation of the real state of public affairs. His lordship reminded the House, that the events which were happening every day, had been literally foretold from that side of the House, and had been day after day repeated, and almost dinned into the ears of administration. The designs of France were delineated in detail; their interests were stated, as the ground of those designs. Ministers were told, that it was the most fortunate circumstance that could possibly happen to France, that misunderstandings should take place between this country and her American colonies; that those misunderstandings should produce a civil war; that a civil war should produce a separation; and that in the very instant, when Britain had lost one third of her dominions, and should be exhausted of men and money, that then would be the time for France to take advantage of our weakness, and wreak her vengeance on this devoted country. Was there a syllable, which had been urged on this subject, which did not turn out literally true : Did not France, by the most seeming friendly assurances, encourage ministers to carry their plans of despotism and unconditional submission into execution ? Did they not, as soon as . found ministers engaged in the improvident, impracticable, and unconstitutional scheme of subduing our colonies by force of arms, give secret assistance to America? Did they not still continue the same friendly assurances to encourage us to send our whole naval and military force beyond the Atlantic, so as to render ourselves in a manner totally defenceless at home 2 and as soon as we had fatally done so, at once cease to dissemble, and openly league themselves with our own subjects? And do they not now, in conjunction with Spain, meditate our destruction ? His lordship lamented the same fatal credulity, which now subsists in respect of Spain, which caused all our present cala