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the House Wothe acts to which it might have
Sure, and would not suffer any observations which might be made by noble Lords opposite, respecting the acts which had passed during the time in which he formed a part of ihe Administration, to prevent him from giving his decided opposi. tion to a measure, which he considered as one of the most weak, piriable, and puerile measures which have disgraced the present Ministry. Whatever might have been the con. struction of the acts to which the allusion had been made, the House would recollect the difference of situation in which the country is placed at the present period, and at the line 10 which the noble Lord had alluded. If Ministers could not discriminate, the House and the country would; and nothing fhould deter him from delivering his sentiments openly and fairly as an honest Member of Parliament. He trusted the proper notice would be given of the next stages of the bill, as many noble Lords not present wished to discuss it.
The Loid Chancellor acknowledged, that he was never more surprised, than at the declaration of the noble Baron that he would not debate the principle of the bill at present. When that noble Lord on the preceding evening, with all the gravity that belonged to him, declared, on its being proposed to read the bill a second time, that he had more objections to make to it than to the bill which they had then debaied, he really thought that ihe House had a right to expect that he would come down prepared to stare those objections. His Majesty's Ministers were fully prepared to enter upon the discussion: they felt within them all the strength and spirit of giants refreshed; and they challenged the noble Lord to the conieft. He, for one, was prepared to defend the present measure, which, in common with all the other measures of the present Ministers, were branded by his noble Friend (he hoped he would allow him to call him so now, he hoped he Tould call himn so when all the nonsense of politics was over) with the epithets of puerile, inconsiderate, and he knew dot what. He saw no reason why che discussion should be delayed, unless the noble Lord did not feel himself so confident at that moment as he appeared to be the preceding night.
Lord Grenville did not wish to disconcert the good humour of the noble and learned Lord. If, as he had declared, the Ministers felt like “ giants refreshed," he could afTure the noble Lord, that those on the same side of the House with hin, did not feel, from any thing which had lately occurred in thai House, that they had any reason to suppose that they
had been discomfited. But really the cause why he wished to poltpone the discussion was, that many noble Lords, who found it impossible to attend that evening, were anxious to be present when the principle should be debated, and it was his wish to accommodate them. As that might as well be done on the consideration of the report, or on ihe third read. ing, he saw no absolute necessity for pressing it in the present stage of the bill.
Lord Hawkesbury delivered a few words in reply, and pro. posed that the biil should be committed for Monday; and if nu amendment took place, it might be reported on the same evening, and the debate take place on the next day, on the third reading.
The bill was then read a second time, and committed for Monday.
The House next resolved itself into a Committee on the Irish militia transfer bill, in which
The Bishop of St. Afaph drew the attention of noble Lords to an inconvenience to which, in his opinion, the officers and privates of the Irish militia, who should come over under the authority of this act, would be subject. The laws of Ireland, and particularly the 31st of the King, allowed persons profefling the catholic religion to become members of the army and militia in that country. But that was not the case here. By the 1st of George I. all persons entering into the army were obliged to take the test, the oaths of supremacy and abjuration, and in case they should not, would be fubject to various civil incapacities, besides a fine of sool. He wished the militia of Ireland, who in consequence of the present bill should come over here, to be protected against the operation of that penal law.
This brought on a conversation, in which the Lord Chan. cellor, Lords Hawkesbury, Grenville, Carnarvon, and Ellen.' borough, took part. The latter noble and learned Lord was of opinion, that the Irish militia coming here, would come over with all the privileges and immunities that they were entiiled to under the militia laws of their own country. He thought it would be very hard indeed, if when they came over here from principles of the purest patriotism and loyal. ty, they should be covered with penalties and disabilities. It was his opinion thai they would not be subject io the ope. ration of the mutiny law of this country; however, if there was no other objection to it, he thought it would not be improper to introduce a special provision to protect them
against the possible application of the provifions of the English muriny act. · The Lord Chancellor did not see the absolute necessity of any such proviso; however, whether or not, he thought it would be right to defer the consideration of it to some other stage of the bill. It might be as well done on receiving the report, or on the third reading of the bill. . . The remaining provisions of the bill were then read, and the further discuilion of the proviso, proposed by Lord Ellenborough, reserved till Monday, to which day the House adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20. The House proceeded to ballot for a Committee to try the merits of the petitions complaining of an undue election and return for the borough of Ilchester.
Mr. Rose stated, as a ground for a motion he intended to make, that the accounts already on the table relarive to the state of the public revenue, were neither saiisfactory, nor sufficient to enable gentlemen 10 form any just opinion on this molt imporiant subject. The hon. Gentleman therefore moved, that there be laid before the House an account of the produce of all the permanent taxes in the years ending ihe
5th January 1803, and the 5th January 1804, diftinguithing rhole which had been imposed previous to the year 1993,
and those laid en fince; also distinguishing the amount of the · duties which had been postponed previbus to the 5th of Ja
nuary 1803, and were received in the course of 1803; alfo 'the amount of the duties postponed previous to the 5th of
January 1804, wh ch had been received in the course of the presenı year ; likewise shewiog the diminution of the revenue in payment of corn bounties.
Mr. Vanlitari assenting to the motion, the accounts were ordered.
On the motion of Mr. Secretary Yorke, the Lords' amendinen's to the volunteer bill were ordered to be taken into consideration on Mondav next.
The Commisrce on the militia officers bill was put off to Monday. 3.... GOVERNMENT DISPATCHES TO INDIA. . Mr. Kinnaird rose to make a miction for papers, to which,
. . i 'from
from what had taken place the preceding day in ano her branch of the Legislature, he did not fuppose there would be any objection. The ground on which he rested his motivo was the notoriety of certain facts, and the right the House had 10 expect official information on a subject of such importance. The object of his motion was to have laid before the House copies of the dispatches which had been leni by his Majesty's Government to the different presidencies in India, and the commanding oiñcers there, as well as to the governor of the island of St. Helena, on his Majesty's messages of March and May last. The message of the 8th of March had been known at Calcutta so early as the 24th of June, though no official account had reached it till the 5th of July. On the 5th of June a French frigate arrived with, and landed troops at Pondicherry; on the 13th, Linois arrived there, but on the 14th a corvette reached him with dispatches, in consequence of wiich he cut his cables in the night and escaped. The hon. Member the adverted to the different periods at which the different presidencies had been made acquainted with the rupture, and contended, that if the facts he stated could not be controverted, they were a proof of gross and criminal neglect on the part of his Majesty's Ministers. As to St. Helena, no dispatches whatever had been sent by Government to that illand, and the first intimation of ihe rupture was received there in the month of October, from an Englith frigate which carried a prize thither. He hoped his Majesty's Ministers could prove that every necessary precaution had been taken to secure our poffeffions in that quarter, and that if any misfortune were to be the consequence of the escape of Linois, it would not be attributable to their neglect. The hon. Gentleinan then moved, that an humble address be presented to his Mujefty, requesting, that he would be graciously pleased to give directions, that there be laid before the House copies of all the dispatches sent to the different presidencies in India, and the officers coinmanding by land and sea there, cominunicating his Majesty's message of the 8th of March. Also, of ihe dispatches to the laine, communicating the rupture with France. Allo, an account of the dates of the receipts of faid dispatches respectively. Also, copies of the dispatches to the Governor of the Island of St. Helena, communicating the message of the 8th of March, and the rupture, with an account of the dates of their receipt.
Lord Cafilereagh had no objection to the production of the papers; if he could feel any, it was only that they did not go far enough. As to the circumstance alluded to by the hon. VOL. II. 1803-4.
Member, which had taken place in another House, he could aflure him that there would have been no objection in that quarter, if the motion had been brought forward after regular notice. The noble Lord then stated ilut dilindi and potitive dispatches liad been sent cui by inis Mujeity's Ministers, and by the Secret Committee at the India House, to the different prelidencies, and to.the officers commanding in India, bora on his Majesty's ineffage in March and in May. The inotions were then agreed to.
ARMY OF RESERVE SUSPENSION BILL., Mr. Secretary Yorke having moved that the order of the day, for a Committee of the whole House on the ariny of relerve act suspension bill, be read, ituted, that when he had proposed the Committee on the bill for that day, he had hopes that all. the clauses which he meant to propose in the Committee, would have been prepared before that time. This, however, had been found impracticable, and he therefore trusted the House would consent to have the order postponrd to Wednesday next.
On the question that the order be postponed,
Mr. Piti felt himself involved in some difficulty by the motion of his right hon. Friend. He had given notice, or rather an hon. Friend had given notice for him, of his intention to state his opinions at large on the subject, in the present Atage of the measure. His intention was to oppose the motion for the Speaker's leaving the chair, for the purpose of stopping the further progress of the bill, in order that instead of a bill for suspending the arıny of reserve act, another merfure might be introduced more likely to be effe&ual for the public service. Of this measure he had given notice previous to the recess, and had been induced to postpone it in compliance with the wishes of his Majesty's Ministers. Whether the right hon. Gentleman was prepared or not with the clauses which he meant to propose in the Committee, was indifa ferent with respect to a discuffion, in which he trusted to convince the House that the bill ought not to be committed at all. The reason he assigned for putting off the order for go. ing into the Committee, was undoubtedly good against the Committee, but could not apply to a discussion which Gentlemen had been led to expect on that day, and the object of which was, to prevent the further progress of the bill, if he could convince the House that it ougiit not to be proceeded with at all. It was his intention, if the motion were to have becni perfifted in for going into the Committee, to have oppgfed the Speaker's leaving the chair, and after explaining the