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as the hon. member had thought proper to give it.
Mr. Whitbread observed, that in a publication of yesterday, in which the doctrine of assassination was unblushingly avowed, [Goldsmith's Anti-Gallican Monitor,] this paper was quoted as a direct justification of that doctrine; and referring to the promulgation of the same doctrine from the same quarter, at a former period, in which the assassination of the person now possessing the government of France was openly recommended, the hon. gentleman stated, that a noble relative of his (earl Grey) had in another place strongly protested against that doctrine, being seconded in his reprobation of it by the marquis Wellesley, who was then a member of the Cabinet. It would also be recollected that he (Mr. W.) had, in that House, entered his protest against this abominable doctrine; and Mr. Perceval, who was himself, within twelve months afterwards, the victim of assassination, strongly disclaimed (if, indeed, a disclaimer were necessary) any concurrence in such doctrine on the part of his Majesty's Government. Nevertheless, this paper had the tendency and the effect of unsheathing the dagger of the assassin. Of this effect, indeed, there could be no doubt, as had been argued by the writer alluded to, who had even had the hardihood to name the persons who were fit to do the work, calling in to the aid of his recommendation this reported Declaration from Congress, which, if words were to be interpreted according to their natural import, did unquestionably hold out a defence for assassination. Were ministers, then, prepared to abide by and justify such an extraordinary document ?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that ministers had in no degree departed, nor were desirous of departing, from the principles of Mr. Perceval, or the sentiments of lord Wellesley, on the occasion alluded to by the hon. member; but the names annexed to this paper, if it were authentic, afforded an ample pledge that nothing inconsistent with what was loyal, honourable, and proper, could have been intended by it.
Mr. Whitbread asked then, whether the right hon. gentleman meant to express a doubt of the authenticity of this paper; for there seemed something consolatory in his parenthesis, "if it were authentic." Here the hon. gentleman adverted to some muttering on the ministerial benches, observing that the right hon. gentleman
could speak for himself without being influenced by the half articulate sounds of those, who meant, no doubt, to show a great deal of wisdom in their private hints, although, when they addressed the House, they never happened to manifest any wisdom whatever. The hon. member concluded with repeating his question, whether the paper alluded to, was deemed authentic by ministers ?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered, that he would not be understood to say that that paper was disavowed by his Majesty's Government.
The motion for postponing the Committee of Supply was agreed to. Upon the motion for postponing the Committee of Ways and Means to Wednesday,
Mr. Whitbread observed, that the right hon. gentleman appeared, in the course of what he had said, to cast some doubt upon the authenticity of this infamous paper. The right hon. gentleman had urged that the names annexed to this paper, afforded a pledge that nothing inconsistent with what was loyal, honourable, and proper, could have been intended: that was not enough: did the right hon. gentleman mean to contend that the paper itself contained nothing inconsistent with loyalty, honour, and propriety? because, if so, he was at issue with him on that point. He wished to know whether the paper alluded to, was meant to form a part of the promised communication, and also whether the persons whose names were attached to this paper, had any authority to sign such a document ?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his opinion, that this paper contained nothing to sanction the doctrine of assassination, and this was all he thought proper to say upon the subject at present.
Mr. Whitbread again asked, whether it was intended to lay this paper before the House, with the promised communication, and also the authority upon which it was signed by our minister?
No answer was made, and the House adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
ASSIZE OF BREAD.] Mr. Frankland Lewis rose, pursuant to notice, to move for the appointment of a committee, to consider the existing laws with regard to the regulation of the Assize of Bread, and also whether it is expedient or not to have any
established assize. The hon. member | tually brought in upon the petition of the observed, that when the Corn Bill was bakers of London. To this statute the under discussion, it was repeatedly assert- hon. gentleman attributed the greater ed by the representatives for London, part, if not the whole, of the evil comthat if the average price of corn were at plained of in the London assize. The 80s. a quarter, the quartern loaf must be hon. gentleman observed, that this subject at 16d.; and although that assertion was had been investigated by committees of disproved again and again, still it was that House heretofore, without producing confidently repeated by the city members, any material result; but the public attenuntil at length no one took the trouble of tion being now so particularly directed contradicting them. But it was become towards it, it was not too much to say, obviously material to inquire, in order that the public wish should not be disapto set the matter at rest, and that no de- pointed. The hon. gentleman concluded lusion or misunderstanding should prevail with moving, "That a select committee upon a point of such importance. There be appointed to inquire into the state of were, however, other grounds upon which the existing laws which regulate the mathe inquiry he proposed was desirable. nufacture and sale of bread, and whether An opinion prevailed throughout the it is expedient to continue the assize country, that these laws of assize were thereon under any and what regulations; rather productive of mischief than of good. and that they do report the matter thereBut yet these laws had so long existed, of, as it shall appear to them, to the even indeed since the days of King John, House, together with their observations that it would be evidently improper to and opinion thereupon." accede, without previous inquiry, to any such measure as some gentlemen proposed, for doing away with these laws altogether. On this ground, then, he conceived a committee of inquiry ought to be appointed. He could not think it proper to trouble the House with any perplexing statement with respect to the effects of the assize laws generally, nor indeed could he think it necessary, as he did not anticipate any opposition to the motion which he was about to submit; but he must say a few words as to the operation of the assize system, with which operation any member might easily make himself acquainted. It was a fact, that in places where no assize was resorted to -for it was discretionary with the magistrates to act upon the law of assize or not-the public were more favourably circumstanced. For instance, in the town of Birmingham, where the law of assize was not established, and where wheat was at 65s. a quarter, the quartern loaf was sold at 81d. by a company too, which divided 20 per cent. upon their capital. He did not mean to say that this bread was quite so white as that sold in London, but it was of the standard wheaten quality. If, then, the assize laws were really beneficial, how came this difference? According to the old law, the assize of bread was set by the price of wheat, but by a statute, applicable to London only, which was enacted in 1797, the assize was set by the price of flour; and this statute, which passed as a private bill, was ac
Mr. Rose said, that the Act of 1797, to which the hon. gentleman had referred, was not adopted without due inquiry; and that as to the effect of that Act, it was found that the price of bread would have been higher if settled by the average price of wheat, than if settled by that of flour. It was undoubtedly true, that the quartern loaf was usually cheaper in the country than in London, sometimes, indeed, threepence cheaper, and this circumstance called for inquiry.
The motion was agreed to, and a committee appointed.
ESCAPE OF BUONAPARTE FROM ELBA.] Mr. Fremantle asked, whether any and what measures had been taken to prevent the escape of Buonaparté from the island of Elba?
Lord Castlereagh replied, that cruizers had been with that view stationed off the island of Elba.
Mr. Wynn observed, that he understood our naval officers in the Mediterranean stated, that if they even saw Buonaparté at sea, they had no authority to interfere with or interrupt his progress: he, therefore, wished to know whether that statement was correct?
Lord Castlereagh said, that he did not mean to argue the question.
Mr. Wynn added, that he did not ask the noble lord to argue, but to answer his question.
No answer was made.
investigate the accounts respecting the Civil List; and also, whether it was intended to invest such committee with the power of sending for persons, papers, and records, with a view to enable that committee to make a proper and satisfactory report?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that it was his intention in a day or two to move for the appointment of a comnittee, upon the subject alluded to, but he could not admit the propriety of deviating from the usual practice on such
Mr. Tierney then gave notice of his. intention to move on Friday se'nnight, to refer the Civil List accounts to a committee, and to invest such committee with a power to send for persons, papers, and records, with a view to ascertain how the enormous expenses and debts, which these accounts stated, had been accumulated.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, April 6.
PRINCE REGENT'S MESSAGE RELATING TO THE EVENTS IN FRANCE.] The Earl of Liverpool presented a Message from his royal highness the Prince Regent, relative to the proceedings adopted by his Majesty's Government in consequence of the events that have recently taken place in France. [For a copy of the Message, see the proceedings of the Commons of this day.] The Message having been read, it was ordered, on the motion of the earl of Liverpool, to be taken into consideration
Earl Grey asked, what part of the engagements entered into with the allied Powers at Paris had been violated, and were referred to in the Message as having been violated?
The Earl of Liverpool said, that the events which had recently occurred had, as he should explain to-morrow, violated all the engagements concluded at the time alluded to, as well the Treaty concluded at Paris on the 31st of May, as that concluded at Fontainbleau on the 11th of April.
Earl Grey said, that no communication had been made to the House of the Treaty of Fontainbleau. Some articles certainly had been communicated, but they were not such of the articles as could be con
CIVIL LIST.] Mr. Tierney asked, whe-ceived to have been violated by the recent ther it was the intention of the right hon. occurrences. If, therefore, it was comgentleman to move for a committee to plained that any of the articles of the
relating to the Events in France. Treaty of Fontainbleau had been violated, it was necessary that they should be produced before the House could come to any opinion on the subject. No one lamented more sincerely than he did the necessity which had called for a communication from the Crown; and no one, he could assure the House, was more sensible than he was of the danger threatened by the events alluded to in the Message. Those events were most ruinous, and placed the country in a situation in which the greatest precautions were necessary; and looking at the two points contained in the Message simply and by themselves, they would meet with his approbation. As he understood the terms of the Address, in consequence of the recent events in France, the Prince Regent had been advised to augment his forces by sea and land. No one, he thought, could doubt that such a step was most advisable under all the circumstances of the present crisis. It was stated, in the next place, that his Royal Highness had taken measures to produce the most intimate concert with his allies, the object of which was to be the permanent security of Europe. A good object, undoubtedly, and the means, too, were such as could alone produce such an end. Of these two measures mentioned in the Message, very different opinions might be expressed, according to the views taken of them. He approved of them on a defensive principle merely, and as the means of preserving peace, supposing peace might be preserved, consistently with good faith to our Allies. If that good faith could be preserved while we remained at peace; a war, he thought, should not be resorted to. That, however, was not the time to press that opinion upon their lordships: he should leave that point for the discussion of to-morrow, and he would consent to leave it for discussion at some future time, when they might be in possession of all the necessary information, provided the Address did not pledge the House to any opinion, that the two steps which had been taken, (viz. the augmentation of forces, and the taking measures to produce concert in the alliance) were proper, with a view to a declaration of war against the present ruler of France. With this inclination to a pacific policy,tion, wishing to come to an early underhe was most unwilling that the House standing on the subject, and not with any should be pressed to give any opinion as view to premature discussion; and he to the propriety of war or peace. Those earnestly hoped that it would be unnewho might be inclined to an opposite cessary for him to offer any opposition to policy had, he thought, still stronger the Address. .
reasons for avoiding such an expression of opinion on the part of the House; but his Majesty's ministers, of all men, should be the most desirous not to come to any premature declaration, and to avoid provoking discussion, in which conflicting opinions might be expressed, which could not fail to be detrimental to whatever line of policy it might be found expedient to pursue. Before any opinion was given on this subject, it was most material that they should have information, which it was impossible they could now possess. The time had been too short, the accounts too contradictory, the narrators too deeply interested, to enable their lordships to form a correct idea of the internal state of France. Before they expressed an opinion which might place the nation in a state of war, it was most important to be acquainted with the feeling of our Allies on the subject. Now, there had been no opportunity for us to receive accounts from Vienna, of a date subsequent to the time when intelligence was first received of the events which had put the present ruler of France in possession of the supreme authority in the capital of that country. He should not at that time express his feelings respecting the paper which purported to be a Decla ration of the allied Powers, lest he might throw an obstacle, by premature discussion, in the way of any explanation which might hereafter be given of this document. But it was impossible that the feelings of the Allies, under the present circumstances, could have been yet ascer tained; and it was most necessary that they should be ascertained, before a question of such importance as that of peace or war should be decided upon. The measures which were communicated in the Message, left that question entirely open; and if the Address went to approve simply of those measures, and no farther, he should not oppose it. If, however, contrary to his just expectations, and his ardent wishes, the Address which was to be proposed, should commit their lordships to a declaration of hostilities, if the Allies were found willing to consent to such a course, he should feel it his duty to dissent from it. He had thought it right to trespass thus far upon their lordships' atten
Earl Stanhope agreed, that their lordships ought to be very cautious how they proceeded, when the question might at length come to be, peace or war; war which found every thing before it like the garden of Eden, and left every thing behind it a desolate wilderness. It was, therefore, his intention, when the motion before the House was disposed of, to move for the Declaration of the allied Powers at Vienna, of the 13th of March last, because, contrary to his expectation, it had not been laid on the table. This Declaration was important, as an indication of the course the Allies meant to pursue, but still more so from the extraordinary proposition on which they founded their Declaration, viz." that they will be ready to give to the King of France and to the French nation, or to any other Government that shall be attacked, all the assistance requisite to restore public tranquillity, and to make common cause against all those who shall attempt to compromise it." In what sense this was to be understood he knew not; but if it was to be taken according to its natural import in the English language, it was most horrible. The very family on our throne, was seated there by the constitutional power of Parliament, which had deposed the late king James 2. By the constitution of this country, no foreign troops could land in it without the consent of Parliament; yet the Allies engaged, that when the Government of any country was attacked, they would, if called upon, send their troops thither. This Declaration was, therefore, an attack upon the liberties and constitution of the people of this country. Not to mention the case of France-there was existing at present in Spain a government which conducted itself on most extraordinary principles, civil, political, and religious. Were the English troops, under the Declaration in question, to be poured into Spain in the event of any disturbances there, to support the King against the Cortes, the Parliament of Spain, and the people of that country? What had made Ferdinand king of Spain, but the power of the Cortes? His father, who had been king of Spain, was still living; so that unless the supreme power of the people and Cortes was acknowledged, Ferdinand could not be a lawful Sovereign. He was anxious to know, as well as the noble earl, whether the Address would merely express satisfaction at the measures taken by the Prince Regent, or whether it would pledge the
House to support a war? For his own part, he had rather die in the most horrid torture, than agree to the declaration of war on such principles.
The Marquis of Lansdowne said, that a report having gone abroad that there was a secret article in the Treaty of Paris, by which this country became bound to support Louis 18, in case of insurrection, he wished the noble earl opposite to state, whether there was any such article. He put the question, not as believing that there was any such secret article without the knowledge of Parliament, but merely for the purpose of having the rumour contradicted.
The Earl of Liverpool had no objection to say, that the rumour of any such secret article was entirely without foundation. He said, he should agree to produce both the Treaty of Fontainbleau and the Declaration of the Allies of the 13th ult. He said, that to-morrow he should explain more fully the sentiments of his Majesty's Government; but he should observe that it was intended to echo the Message in the opinion that the recent events were in violation of the Treaty of Paris. The rest of the Address would merely be an appro. bation of the measures of armament and those taken for producing concert among the Allies for the purpose of general security. He believed he could not more fully explain the nature of it, unless he communicated to the noble earl (Grey) a copy of the proposed Address.
Lord Grenville said, he should reserve the full expression of his opinions till the night of discussion arrived; but he should even then state his entire approbation of the two measures mentioned in the communication from the Throne. The situation in which this country was placed, was most arduous, and one in which active and vigorous measures were necessary. But whatever might by the course which might be taken, the best hope of Europe was in the intimate concert between the members of the great alliance. These two sentiments were the only sentiments which the Message conveyed-the only sentiments which the Address should express, because the present was not the time for a decision on the ulterior question of peace or war. Neither should he prematurely state his own opinion as to the course which this country should pursue, but await the time when that great and dreadful alternative might be presented for their consideration,