be put on the clause, and if negatived, The Earl of Coventry asked, whether it then its friends would be just as they were was intended, that without proof positively willing to be; they would be at liberty to made, of a person being out of the realm, try their numbers on the third reading. he would be liable to be apprehended on

Mr. T. Townshend denied the conclu- suspicion, and committed to prison during sions drawn by the learned gentleman. the operation of this Act; or whether the He said, the gentlemen on this side of the party charged on suspicion may not, beHouse might disapprove of the Bill, the fore commitment, be at liberty to exhibit clause, and amendment; and yet wish, if proofs before a magistrate of his innocence, the Bill must pass, to have the rigour of or of his being within the realm at the it qualified, and rendered less mischievous. time laid in the information, or grounds of He could easily conceive, that a person suspicion. might disapprove of a Bill, or think'it un. The Earl of Suffolk said, it was not the necessary ; that a clause miglit be moved design of the framers of the Bill to punish to take the sting out of it ; that an amend any innocent person whatever; that it was ment might be moved to that clause, which brought in as a measure of government to considerably abated its value; and yet, if punish the guilty ; that, however, it would by the strength of numbers he foresaw the be very impolitic, in his opinion, to perBill would pass, he might be against the mit the friends and abettors of the rebel. amendment and the Bill, and still wish lion in America to be at large, and at and vote for retaining the clause, though, liberty to do mischief, without a possibility on the ultimate question, he was pre-de- of preventing it. If the Bill now read termined to give a negative to the third would admit of any such construction, for reading. Such was precisely the predica his part, he would be one of the first for ment he stood in himself, and supposed supplying that defect. He supposed the that many of his friends stood in the same; grounds of suspicion necessary to appreconsequently he could neither adopt the hend, were meant to be such, as would reasoning nor deduction of the learned apparently and equitably justify such apgentleman.

prehension, and no other. He was cerSir George Savile expressed the plea- tain, such was the intention of administrasure he enjoyed on what, all circumstances tion; and he was also certain, no other considered, he deemed a victory over some power was sought, but what might be supwho would wish to establish a species of ported on necessity, blended and tempered dominion in this country, more oppressive with justice. than what was endured by the subjects of The Lord Chancellor, to the question any despotic country in Europe. He as- put by the noble earl who spoke first, said, signed his reasons why he thought so, and to be sure if proper facts were authentisat down with declaring, that he should cated before the magistrate, to prove the give his negative against the third reading innocence of the person charged or susof the Bill.

pected, it would be a good cause not to The ryder being agreed to, the question commit. Law and justice required such was put, on the third reading, and the an interpretation. It would, in his opiHouse divided :

nion, be competent to the magistrate, to Tellers.

enquire into, and decide on the proofs, on

either hand, and he recollected, he was S

112 Mr. De Grey

one among a majority of his brethren, who

determined in favour of the power of the NOES Lord Midleton


magistrate to examine into and determine Mr. Annesley

upon the degree of credibility the charge The Bill was then passed.

on ground of suspicion may be entitled to.

The Bill was then committed. Debate in the Lords on the Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.] Feb. 20. Protest against passing the Bill to susOn the second reading of the Bill “to pend the Habeas Corpus Act.] Feb. 24. empower his Majesty to secure and detain The Bill was read a third time and passed. persons charged with or suspected of the The following Protest was thereupon encrime of High Treason committed in any tered: of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in 66 Dissentient. America, or on the high seas, or the crime “ Ist, Because I look upon this Bill, of Piracy,”

not only as a part of that system of colony

Yeas Mr. D’Oyley

:} :}

government, so inimical to civil liberty, so | fore, of parliament to examine into the repugnant to the first and fundamental nature of them, and to see that neither the principles of the constitution, so ruinous in nation nor the treasury, nor any other of its measures, so shocking to humanity, and ficial boards, were imposed upon. On this so averse from that now exploded virtue ground he could not help entertaining of universal benevolence; but, because I doubts, there being many items in the acsee herein that system coming home to count he did not comprehend. His lordourselves, and with hasty steps pointing ship then enumerated several of the artiits dangers even towards the heart of the cles which created his doubts, and the kingdom.

nature and extent of several of the charges, « 2dly, Because the Bill itself is at- of which he professed his ignorance: those tended with powers subversive of and un- related to the purchase of baggage-horses, known to the laws of the land, by appre- remittances, the expenditure of the monies hending persons, it may be, on groundless disbursed by virtue of the vote of credit ; suspicion; by imprisoning, perhaps, the and the general uncertainty which overinnocent without the usual and necessary spread the face of the estimates, taken toform of a single oath, and not too in the gether, on account of the committee not common gaol of the country, but in what being able to distinguish and ascertain ever part of the realm, be it ever so dis- what had been issued under the authority tant, that persecution shall think fit to of the vote of credit, from the several speadopt.

cies of expenditure particularized in the « 3dly, Because, although the ryder items now under consideration. which has been added by the other House Lord North said, the Treasury had made does in some degree abate the rigour of their contracts with the utmost frugality; this harsh and alarming Bill, yet it does that the charge for horses happened quite dot sufficiently provide for the security of in the common course of business, and his Majesty's loyal subjects, the inhabitants was adopted from motives of economy; of the West India islands falling under its they were collected from the several regibaneful operation ; nay, even any indivi- ments of cavalry on the British establishdual of this country who shall venture on ment, and were regularly valued : the the high seas, if only to make the tour of valuation was 161. per horse, which was the Hebrides, may become the object of the price for which they were recruited; suspicion, and the victim of vengeance. and they came cheaper considerably than

Lastly, Because the hour is come, if any others that could be procured to anfrom motives of policy only, that coercion swer the end of baggage horses. to lenity should give way. ABINGDON." Lord Barrington said, he had been in

the War-office for 17 years, and never Debate in the Commons on the Army heard a single complaint of any improExtraordinaries.] Feb. 21. On the order priety in the conduct of that board; that of the day, to go into a Committee of he presumed the horses were wanted im. Supply, it was moved, “That the extra- mediately, and he was satisfied they could ordinary services, incurred and paid by not be procured in any other manner, on Mr. Rigby; also that an account of the so low terms and so expeditiously. distribution of 970,0001. and likewise the Col. Barré said, there were many arinvestment of 799,9731. 18s. 5d. in the ticles in the account which he wished to purchase of Spanish and Portugal coin, for have explained, as the sums were imthe use of his Majesty's forces in America, mense. They were the representatives of be referred to the said committee.” the people, or they had no right to sit in

Lord Newhaven said, he had examined that House. They were sent there by several items in the account with all pos- their constituents, to be a controul on the sible attention ; yet there were some of executive power, and a check upon mithem that, in his opinion, called for ex- | nisters. It was their peculiar province to planation. He had no doubt that the enquire into the expenditure of the public money had been faithfully and properly money. Ministers were responsible; their applied, and that the Treasury board made duty required that they should give the their contracts on the best terms in their House every satisfaction in their power. power. He was satisfied, on the other | He then pointed to a number of articles, hand, that contractors were equally indus- which he said were shameful; the very trious, to make as ample profits as they charge of surgeons' mates was increased possibly could. It was the business, there from three to nine for each regiment.


He dwelt a considerable time on the sum some of them indifferent, as was always the of 44,0001, issued to col. Fawcit, unac

They were sent in haste, and incompanied by any explanation. He spoke conveniencies of course happened; but of the unwholesome provisions sent from every complaint of the latter kind would Great Britain and Ireland, and the sick now be at an end. Administration had conness and mortality they had occasioned tracted to have them of the best kind, and among the troops, both in New York and delivered on the spot in the best condition ; Canada; and of the bad flour which had therefore, if they should turn out damaged, been first imported from America, and or unmerchantable, the loss would fall on then exported thither at a most exorbitant the contractors, not on government. As price. This flour would not bear a second to the transport service, it was executed voyage, nor was it of a quality to be used, well, and the contracts made on the best even on its first importation from America, possible terms. The hon. gentleman was except in seasons of dearth and necessity; mistaken in the price of freight, for the the corn and flour factors in general being highest price paid was no more than 12s. of opinion, that the grain was of such a 6d. and the current price, before the breaknature as not to bear the sea-carriage ing out of the war, was 1Os. per ton. This without heating, and in some measurespoil- rise originated from two causes: first, the ing; so that the health of the troops was increased demand; secondly, the great sacrificed to the emolument of the con- expence the transport contractors were put tractors, who being paid the very best to, in arming and fitting out their vessels, price, served the army with this species of so as to be in a state of defence against the flour, that the English bakers would not American privateers. And though the purchase, and thereby gained a double if advanced freight might amount to a very not a treble profit. As to the flesh provi- great sum, when it was considered, that sions exported from Ireland, he was an the events of the war solely depended on eye witness of that himself, when in the double operation of a safe conveyance, that kingdom last summer, where, in the in respect of supplying our army with very heat of the dog-days, he saw a great military stores and provisions of all kinds, pumber of droves of hogs, going to and our preventing them from falling into slaughter, killed, immediately salted, and the hands of the rebels, no gentleman packed up for the use of the army in would disapprove of any increase of exAmerica. He was curious enough to en- penditure, wbich was intended to secure so quire of the coopers, if provisions thus desirable a purpose. As a proof how well prepared would keep? He was answered, the high freight was laid out, he could incertainly not; they might keep for the form the committee, that out of 202 tranvoyage; but if not opened, and consumed sports and victuallers sent to America, only immediately on their arrival, they would three had fallen into the hands of the rebe good for nothing; and even in that bels; and one of them was thought to event they would be barely eatable. He have been lost, by the captain permitting said, the transport service was an immense himself to be surprised; but that affair article, and was higher, by nearly one would be enquired into. half, than was ever known. The freight Lord Barrington replied to the article had been usually 9s. per ton, and now it respecting the surgeons' mates, that an adwas raised to the monstrous price of four- ditional number was always allowed to the teen or fifteen.

regiments quartered in the West Indies ; Lord North replied, that the article, of and the number was still further increased, which the hon. gentleman so loudly com- in proportion to the manner the troops plained, was 44,000l. paid for levy money, were quartered; if cantoned in single which administration did not, he confessed, companies, each company would most unexpect would be demanded, because it doubtedly require a mate. was not mentioned in the treaty. The Colonel Barré, speaking upon the rum landgrave of Hesse quoted the treaty of contracts, observed, the contracts for rum 1755 as a precedent ; that treaty was were at 3s. 6d. and 5s. 3d. per gallon, understood to be the basis of the present; which was a most unheard of and exorbiconsequently, the good faith subsisting be- tant price; when it was well known, that tween both parties, compelled administra- good rums could be delivered at the keys tion to accede to the justice of the claim. in London from 2s. to 3s. per gallon, inHe said, some of the provisions exported dependent of the duty. In other places, were as good as could be wished for, and the sum total was charged, without speci.

[ocr errors]

made up:

fying the number of gallons, which left equitable construction, flowing from these the price at large; it might be 10s. instead premises, was, that the Landgrave of of Ss. or 5s. per gallon. Contracting was Hesse had a double subsidy, and other a special good trade now-a-days. It was advantages by the latter, that he had not a rich manure, and daily gaining ground. by the former; he was bound therefore to Contractors were known to be animals of abide by either one or the other. Take a greedy nature, always craving and never the treaty of 1755, with all its benefits; satisfied; their appetites for dishonest lucre or relinquish every claim under it. Let and foul gain, were as insatiable as their his serene highness have, in God's name, consciences were easily satisfied, and their his option of the levy-money, or the double minds in all points respecting their mer subsidy; but to give him both, so directly cantile or parliamentary conduct, readily contrary to the letter as well as spirit of

the treaty of 1775, was an abuse of parliaLord North said, the price of Jamaica mentary trust and ministerial duty, hitherrum on the spot was 4s. 4d. per gallon, to unprecedented, in the annals of miniswhich with freight, insurance, and ullage, terial temerity and peculation. The colonel left little or no profit for the contractor; sat down, with observing, that even within it ought to be taken into the estimate of his own memory,

a gross

malversation the probable risk and profits, that the in office would have been severely animadcontractors engaged to deliver the rum in verted upon by a majority of that House, whatever part of America it might be and that no plea, but incapacity or ignowanting. As to the spread-manure of con- rance, would be sufficient to deprecate its tracts his lordship observed, that con- just resentments, against so daring and tracts were not confined to the members wanton a breach of public trust. of that House. A gentleman had said, The motions were agreed to. the other day, that giving a contract to any person, but a member of that House, Debate in the Commons on Captain Blair's was a breach of privilege. He supposed the Petition respecting the Capture of a Vessel hon. gentleman meant a display of wit, ra. by the Spanish Guurda Costas.] Feb. 25. ther than any thing serious. if, however, Governor Johnstone said: I have in my it was intended, as a general insinuation, hand a petition from captain Blair, in bethat none but members had contracts, he half of himself and Dr. Charles Irving, begged leave to set the gentleman right, complaining of a violent outrage comand to inform him, that the contrary was mitted by two Spanish guarda-costas, holdthe fact. He did not know any custom, ing commissions from the king of Spain, usage, or law of parliament that made it in the capture of the ship Morning Star, so; and he was certain, that contracts were the property of the petitioners, as she lay given indiscriminately to such as were most at anchor, with English colours displayed, likely to execute them well, without any in the road before Black River, the princonsideration, whether they had or had cipal British settlement on the Musquito not a seat in parliament. Some bread, he shore. As I believe from something I allowed, proved bad; but those were acci- have heard since a noble lord (North) has dents it was impossible to provide against. entered the House, whose fiat generally

Colonel Barré said, when the treaty was determines the vote, that I shall not be made with Hesse, why was it not known permitted to bring this petition up, I shall that levy-money must be paid, and why therefore take the liberty of stating the was it not accordingly mentioned in the contents and the circumstances more at treaty ? It had every appearance of the large than I should otherwise have done grossest imposition. He observed on the in this stage of the business, that the general justification now set up, that if the world may judge between the conduct of treasury board consisted of the vilest and those who offer this petition, and of such most profligate characters that ever dis- representatives of the people as refuse graced mankind, they would in their own even to hear the complaints of injured defence plead, that they had disposed of subjects, or to enquire into the circum. the public money in the most frugal and stances of national insult and disgrace. faithful manner. Besides, if the treaty of Before I state the particulars of this 1755 was to govern the present, it ought transaction, it is necessary for me to into prevail as a rule throughout. If not, form the House, that they are not now but that many advantageous terms were called on to enquire into a case where the introduced into the treaty of 1776, the fair least infraction of any of the laws for carrying on commerce in the Spanish domi- shore, chiefly with a view of expressing nions, can be alleged. I freely confess vegetable oils out of the various oleagethat the impolitic laws of Spain, respecting nous productions of that country, fit for the commerce of her colonies, is such, by the wool-combing and other purposes in making the temptation of profit so much the woollen manufactory here. greater than the risk of seizure, that The next object (the petitioners being the adventurous spirit of our countrymen both excellent chymists as well as intellihas been frequently called forth to force gent botanists) was the improvement and a trade upon those coasts, and even en- cultivation of the different dyes, already couraged by the officers of our govern- known in that country, with a reasonable ment, below the dignity of a great nation. hope of further discoveries by men so atThese adventurers are much diminished tentive and intelligent on this subject. A of late: they were formerly known by the third point was the culture of cotton in a name of Buccaniers: like most other il. climate so favourable, where land is so legal traders, with great risks and great cheap, and which is besides so well calcu. profits; they were of a very desperate lated in the process of preparing for the cast, and frequently irregular in their con- native indolence of the inhabitants, in duct, so that enquiries into their com- their first progress towards more active inplaints demanded more than ordinary cir. dustry. These were the objects of this cumspection. But I beg the House will expedition, and to show how much they not from thence be induced to believe from were approved by authority, lord Dartprivate whispers or false insinuation, that mouth, then first lord commissioner of there was the least degree of illegal com- trade and plantation, and secretary of state merce or unbecoming behaviour on the for the colonies, actually undertook, in part of captain Blair or Dr. Irving, or any case Mr. Blair and Dr. Irving succeeded of their people, intermixed with this com- in their views, respecting the vegetable oil, plaint; they are both men of irreproach that it would be moved in parliament, to able character, and of enlarged under- make an alteration in the duties in that standing, well known to many of the mem- respect. A project like this may raise ridi. bers of this House. The matter is truly .cule from men born to opulent fortunes, and without evasion, an issue joined be who have never had occasion to consider, tween Spain and Great Britain, to the beyond their own estates, the various inright of settling on the Musquito shore, citements which God has established for which the Spanish court seem determined spreading improvements throughout the to support by overt acts of force and vio. world. But to those who are able to trace lence, rather than submit to a civilized the efficacy of Providence through different discussion by the law of nations, of which works, and know the numberless discoinsulting disposition, in the court of Spain, veries that have been made in the arts and these worthy gentlemen, the petitioners, sciences under such enthusiasm, who feel are likely to be the unhappy victims. the spirit that sent Columbus to the west,

It was with no hostile intentions, Sir; it and Gama to the east, will revere men of was with no views of illegal commerce, that turn of mind. It would appear that that these gentlemen embarked themselves this arrangement of the legislative council, and their property, on the project of a set- coupled to the circumstances of men of tlement on the Musquito shore; it was to gepius settling under it, had roused the cultivate the generous arts of peace, and natural jealousy of the court of Spain, and diffuse their benign influence through that had determined the councils of that nation rude and waste part of the world. This to counteract the measure by actual force, project they undertook, not only by the for after all the trouble of collecting maencouragement, but in some measure at terials for such an establishment, after the the desire of government. In 1775, a fatigues of so long a passage, before half more regular form of government having the utensils were landed out of the vessel, been established on the Musquito shore, she was, in open day, boarded, seized, and by the appointment of a legislative coun- carried off, in sight of the King's house, cil

, Dr. Irving and captain Blair, were in and all the inhabitants of the place, by the duced by this act of authority, together Pacifico of twelve guns, commanded by with the encouragement they received Don John Castello, and the Recorso of from the earl of Dartmouth, to embark fourteen guns, commanded by Don Anbetween 5 and 6,000l. in the adventure of tonio Yepe, by whom the unhappy pamaking a settlement on the Musquito riners were tied together and made čap

« ElőzőTovább »