Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

be put on the clause, and if negatived, then its friends would be just as they were willing to be; they would be at liberty to try their numbers on the third reading:

Mr. T. Townshend denied the conclusions drawn by the learned gentleman. He said, the gentlemen on this side of the House might disapprove of the Bill, the clause, and amendment; and yet wish, if the Bill must pass, to have the rigour of it qualified, and rendered less mischievous. He could easily conceive, that a person might disapprove of a Bill, or think it un: necessary; that a clause might be moved to take the sting out of it; that an amendment might be moved to that clause, which considerably abated its value; and yet, if by the strength of numbers he foresaw the Bill would pass, he might be against the amendment and the Bill, and still wish and vote for retaining the clause, though, on the ultimate question, he was pre-determined to give a negative to the third reading. Such was precisely the predicament he stood in himself, and supposed that many of his friends stood in the same; consequently he could neither adopt the reasoning nor deduction of the learned gentleman.

Sir George Savile expressed the pleasure he enjoyed on what, all circumstances considered, he deemed a victory over some who would wish to establish a species of dominion in this country, more oppressive than what was endured by the subjects of any despotic country in Europe. He assigned his reasons why he thought so, and sat down with declaring, that he should give his negative against the third reading of the Bill.

Noes

The ryder being agreed to, the question was put, on the third reading, and the House divided: Tellers. Mr. D'Oyley - YEAs {{. De Grey - :} 112 Lord Midleton - " .. 33 Mr. Annesley - The Bill was then passed. Debate in the Lords on the Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.] Feb. 20. On the second reading of the Bill “to empower his Majesty to secure and detain persons charged with or suspected of the crime of High Treason committed in any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America, or on the high seas, or the crime of Piracy,”

The Earl of Coventry asked, whether it was intended, that without proof positively made, of a person being out of i. realm, he would be liable to be apprehended on suspicion, and committed to prison during the operation of this Act; or whether the party charged on suspicion may not, before commitment, be at liberty to exhibit proofs before a magistrate of his innocence, or of his being within the realm at the time laid in the information, or grounds of suspicion. The Earl of Suffolk said, it was not the design of the framers of the Bill to punish any innocent person whatever; that it was brought in as a measure of government to punish the guilty; that, however, it would be very impolitic, in his opinion, to permit the friends and abettors of the rebellion in America to be at large, and at liberty to do mischief, without a possibility of preventing it. . If the Bill now read would admit of any such construction, for his part, he would be one of the first for supplying that defect. He supposed the grounds of suspicion necessary to apprehend, were meant to be such, as would apparently and equitably justify such apprehension, and no other. He was certain, such was the intention of administration; and he was also certain, no other power was sought, but what might be supported on necessity, blended and tempered with justice. The Lord Chancellor, to the question put by the noble earl who spoke first, said, to be sure if proper facts were authenticated before the magistrate, to prove the innocence of the person charged or suspected, it would be a good cause not to commit. Law and justice required such an interpretation. It would, in his opinion, be competent to the magistrate, to enquire into, and decide on the proofs, on either hand; and he recollected, he was one among a majority of his brethren, who determined in favour of the power of the magistrate to examine into and determine upon the degree of credibility the charge on ground of suspicion may be entitled to. The Bill was then committed.

Protest against passing the Bill to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act.] Feb. 24. The Bill was read a third time and passed. The following Protest was thereupon entered: “ Dissentient. “Ist, Because I look upon this Bill, not only as a part of that system of colony

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 ofits 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 arti. its 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 6 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 not 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 an. from 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 ar. investment 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 mi. them 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 of 44,000l. issued to col. Fawcit, unaccompanied by any explanation. He spoke of the unwholesome provisions sent from Great Britain and Ireland, and the sickness and mortality they had occasioned among the troops, both in New York and Canada; and of the bad flour which had been first imported from America, and then exported thither at a most exorbitant price. This flour would not bear a second voyage, nor was it of a quality to be used, even on its first importation from America, except in seasons of dearth and necessity; the corn and flour factors in general being of opinion, that the grain was of such a nature as not to bear the sea-carriage without heating, and in some measure spoiling; so that the health of the troops was sacrificed to the emolument of the contractors, who being paid the very best

price, served the army with this species of

flour, that the English bakers would not purchase, and thereby gained a double if not a treble profit. As to the flesh provisions exported from Ireland, he was an eye witness of that himself, when in that kingdom last summer, where, in the very heat of the dog-days, he saw a great number of droves of hogs, going to slaughter, killed, immediately salted, and packed up for the use of the army in America. He was curious enough to enquire of the coopers, if provisions thus prepared would keep 2 He was answered, certainly not; they might keep for the voyage; but if not opened, and consumed immediately on their arrival, they would be good for nothing; and even in that event they would be barely eatable. He said, the transport service was an immense article, and was higher, by nearly one half, than was ever known. The freight had been usually 9s. per ton, and now it was raised to the monstrous price of fourteen or fifteen. Lord North replied, that the article, of which the hon. gentleman so loudly complained, was 44,000l. paid for levy money, which administration |. not, he confessed, expect would be demanded, because it was not mentioned in the treaty. The landgrave of Hesse quoted the treaty of 1755 as a precedent ; that treaty was understood to be the basis of the present; consequently, the good faith subsisting between both parties, compelled administration to accede to the justice of the claim. He said, some of the provisions exported were as good as could be wished for, and

some of them indifferent, as was always the case. They were sent in haste, and inconveniencies of course happened; but every complaint of the latter kind would now be at an end. Administration had contracted to have them of the best kind, and delivered on the spot in the best condition; therefore, if they should turn out damaged, or unmerchantable, the loss would fall on the contractors, not on government. As to the transport service, it was executed well, and the contracts made on the best possible terms. The hon. gentleman was mistaken in the price of freight, for the highest price paid was no more than 12s. 6d. and the current price, before the breaking out of the war, was 10s. per ton. This rise originated from two causes: first, the increased demand; secondly, the great expence the transport contractors were put to, in arming and fitting out their vessels, so as to be in a state of defence against the American privateers. And though the advanced freight might amount to a very great sum, when it was considered, that the events of the war solely depended on the double operation of a safe conveyance, in respect of supplying our army with military stores and provisions of all kinds, and our preventing them from falling into the hands of the rebels, no gentleman would disapprove of any increase of expenditure, which was intended to secure so desirable a purpose. As a proof how well the high freight was laid out, he could inform the committee, that out of 202 transports and victuallers sent to America, only three had fallen into the hands of the rebels; and one of them was thought to have been lost, by the captain permitting himself to be surprised; but that affair would be enquired into. Lord Barrington replied to the article respecting the surgeons’ mates, that an additional number was always allowed to the regiments quartered in the West Indies; and the number was still further increased, in proportion to the manner the troops were quartered; if cantoned in single companies, each company would most undoubtedly require a mate. Colonel Barré, speaking upon the rum contracts, observed, the contracts for rum were at 3s. 6d. and 5s. 3d. per gallon, which was a most unheard of and exorbitant price; when it was well known, that good rums could be delivered at the keys in London from 2s. to 3s. per gallon, independent of the duty. In other places, the sum total was charged, without speci

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 made up.

the treaty of 1775, was an abuse of parliaLord North said, the price of Jamaica mentary trust and ministerial duty, hither. rum on the spot was 45. 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, such a gross malversation the probable risk and profits, that the in office would have been severely animadcontractors engaged to deliver the rum inverted upon by a majority of that House, whatever part of America it might be and that no plea, but incapacity or igno. wanting. 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 Guarda 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 be that 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, 80; 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 circumthe 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 1775, the fair least infraction of any of the laws for car

rying on commerce in the Spanish domimions, can be alleged. I freely confess that the impolitic laws of Spain, respecting the commerce of her colonies, is such, by making the temptation of profit so much greater than the risk of seizure, that the adventurous spirit of our countrymen has been frequently called forth to force a trade upon those coasts, and even encouraged by the officers of our government, below the dignity of a great nation. These adventurers are much diminished of late: they were formerly known by the name of Buccaniers: like most other illegal traders, with great risks and great profits; they were of a very desperate cast, and frequently irregular in their conduct, so that enquiries into their complaints demanded more than ordinary circumspection. But I beg the House will not from thence be induced to believe from private whispers or false insinuation, that there was the least degree of illegal commerce or unbecoming behaviour on the part of captain Blair or Dr. Irving, or any of their people, intermixed with this complaint; they are both men of irreproachable character, and of enlarged understanding, well known to many of the members of this House. The matter is truly and without evasion, an issue joined between Spain and Great Britain, to the right of settling on the Musquito shore, which the Spanish court seem determined to support by overt acts of force and violence, rather than submit to a civilized discussion by the law of nations, of which insulting disposition, in the court of Spain, these worthy gentlemen, the petitioners, are likely to be the unhappy victims. It was with no hostile intentions, Sir; it was with no views of illegal commerce, that these gentlemen embarked themselves and their property, on the project of a settlement on the Musquito shore; it was to cultivate the generous arts of peace, and diffuse their benign influence through that rude and waste part of the world. This project they undertook, not only by the encouragement, but in some measure at the desire of government. In 1775, a more regular form of government having been established on the Musquito shore, by the appointment of a legislative council, Dr. Irving and captain Blair, were induced by this act of authority, together with the encouragement they received from the earl of Dartmouth, to embark between 5 and 6,000l. in the adventure of making a settlement on the Musquito

shore, chiefly with a view of expressing vegetable oils out of the various oleagenous productions of that country, fit for the wool-combing and other purposes in the woollen manufactory here. The next object (the petitioners being both excellent chymists as well as intelligent botanists) was the improvement and cultivation of the different dyes, already known in that country, with a reasonable hope of further discoveries by men so attentive and intelligent on this subject. A third point was the culture of cotton in a climate so favourable, where land is so cheap, and which is besides so well calculated in the process of preparing for the native indolence of the inhabitants, in their first progress towards more active industry. }. were the objects of this expedition, and to show how much they were approved by authority, lord Dartmouth, then first lord commissioner of trade and plantation, and secretary of state for the colonies, actually undertook, in case Mr. Blair and Dr. Irving succeeded in their views, respecting the vegetable oil, that it would be moved in parliament, to make an alteration in the duties in that respect. A project like this may raise ridicule from men born to opulent fortunes,

who have never had occasion to consider,

beyond their own estates, the various incitements which God has established for spreading improvements throughout the world. But to those who are able to trace the efficacy of Providence through different works, and know the numberless discoveries that have been made in the arts and sciences under such enthusiasm, who feel the spirit that sent Columbus to the west, and Gama to the east, will revere men of that turn of mind. It would appear that this arrangement of the legislative council, coupled to the circumstances of men of genius settling under it, had roused the matural jealousy of the court of Spain, and had determined the councils of that nation to counteract the measure by actual force, for after all the trouble of collecting materials for such an establishment, after the fatigues of so long a passage, before half the utensils were landed out of the vessel, she was, in open day, boarded, seized, and carried off, in sight of the King’s house, and all the inhabitants of the place, by the Pacifico of twelve guns, commanded by Don John Castello, and the Recorso of fourteen guns, commanded by Don Antonio Yepe, by whom the unhappy pariners were tied together and made cap

« ElőzőTovább »