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upon the same grounds as had been done in the House of Commons. As it was not made properly a ministerial question, the superior influence of the landed interest in the House of Lords proved fatal to the bill, and the motion for the second reading was lost by a majority of 20, the contents being 36, and the non-contents 56.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, did not renounce his purpose of making the distillery productive of some relief to the colonial planters; and on May the 9th he obtained leave to bring in a bill for exonerating the distillers of spirits from sugar from the excess of duties to which they were liable, in consequence of the expiration of the act of the 48th of Geo. III., above the duties imposed by the said act. This bill was brought in, and read for the first time, and ordered to be read again on the following day. The minister then gave notice, that on the morrow he should move for a bill to lay a duty on the distillation on grain, in the same manner as if this bill had passed. It was also his intention, in correspondence with these duties, to propose a remission of duty on spirits made at home, in order to put them on a level with foreign spirits; and also, an alteration in the spirit intercourse between this country and Ireland, and a countervailing duty on the spirits of the latter country. These proposals he introduced on the 10th, the house being in a committee of ways and means, and after some conversation on the subject, his resolutions were agreed to. Bills were at length passed by both houses re tez sob o 5% asi tak ta. 40

lative to these objects, the heads of which appear among the public acts of the


A message from the Prince Regent on the subject of granting additional relief to Portugal having been sent to parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on March 18th, the house of commons being in a committee of supply, rose to introduce it to the attention of the members. He said, that although the proposition which he had brought forward last year on the same subject had incurred some opposition, and though the grant he now meant to submit to the committee amounted to a considerable increase beyond the sum then voted, he conceived, that under the prẹsent circumstances it was net like-' ly that his motion should be objected to. He then proceeded to advert to the happy effects which had ensued from the employment of Portuguese troops in British pay, and under British officers and discipline, and to shew, that it had not relaxed the exertions of the Portuguese government. He dwelt at large on the advantages which had accrued from carrying on the campaign in Portugal; on the frustration of the enemy's confident expectations of expelling the British army from that country; and on the hopes for the future that might be entertained from a vigorous persistence in the same plan; and concluded with moving, "That a sum not exceeding two millions be granted to the Prince Regent, 10, enable him to take a certain number of Portuguese troops into British pay, and to afford such further assistance to the Por {D 2]


tuguese nation as the circumstances of the campaign may render necessary."

Mr. Ponsonby said, that when he coupled this increased grant with the formal stipulation in which we had entered, never to acknowledge any King of Portutugal except an heir to the house of Braganza, he could see no end to our experiments and extravagance. We were to assist Portugal because its people were deprived of their usual resources by the occupation of the greatest part of their territories by the French. Was this then the boasted success? Was our selected theatre of war only the distance between Lisbon and Cartaxo? The honourable gentleman proceeded in a similar strain of observation, and dwelt on the very disadvantageous terms on which we transmitted money to Portugal, and on the little hope presented, while we were thus weakening ourselves, of ultimate success in our attempts to defend the peninsula.

After some other members had spoken on each side, the motion was carried without a division.

In the House of Lords, on March the 21st, a similar motion was made by the Marquis Wellesley, introduced by an eloquent speech. Its topics were in general the same with those dwelt on by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, consistng of displays of the benefit already derived from the measure of disciplining Portuguese troops under British officers, and of the spirit manifested by that nation in its own defence. He concluded with adverting to the declared wish of the Regent to deliver back into the hands of his royal father the

whole state of the public affairs unimpaired; and he asked their lordships if they could consent to deprive his royal highness of the means of restoring entire that branch of the public service which was of such high importance to the glory and substantial interests of the country!

Lord Grenville, who rose next, began with remarking on the singular argument last employed by the noble marquis for persisting in the same system, as if not only the functions of the crown, but those of the parliament, were to be suspended till his Majesty's recovery, and that the Prince Regent, instead of administering affairs to the greatest advantage of his country, should act only upon the cold and narrow principle of leaving them in the same state, and conducted upon the same plan, in which he had found them. He then proceeded to state his objections to the wholse system a dopted by ministers, and the little hope there was that the utmost exertions of this country could produce the effects expected from them. He thought that before grants were made for the service of foreign troops, it should be ascertained what resources the country possessed for home service and for its own defence; and he adverted to those commercial dise tresses, for the relief of which aid had been demanded from parliament; to the deficiency of the Irish revenue; and other financial difficulties.

He was replied to by the Earl of Liverpool, who founded his argument upon the benefit that had already been experienced from taking the Portuguese troops into pay


and the great exertions that were making by that nation. He refuted the erroneous opinion which had gone forth, that the subsidy to Portugal was to be remitted in bills or specie, affirming that a great part of it was to be sent out in articles of clothing, ammunition, &c. to enable the Portuguese army to keep the field; and he also corrected the assertion that that kingdom was almost entirely in the possession of the French, whereas in four of its provinces there was not a French soldier. He maintained that the war in the peninsula was generally popular in the nation; and gave it as his opinion, that the longer the contest lasted, the better for us, since it removed hostilities from our own doors.

After some further debate, the motion was here also carried with out a division.

The relief afforded to this old ally did not terminate with a public subsidy. In consequence of a message to parliament from the Regent, on April the 8th, relative to the private distresses brought on the Portuguese by the French invasion, an eleemosynary aid to the sufferers, of 100,000l. was agreed to by both houses, without opposition. The idea, however, of having engaged in the task not only of defending Portugal from an invader, but of maintaining a great proportion of its population, seemed to make a serious impression upon some of the members; though it was not denied to be a measure of justice to relieve individuals from the calamities into which they had fallen through a plan of policy which had rendered their country the seat of war.

The benevolence of the English nation was not limited to a par

liamentary grant. Meetings were held both in London and Westminster for promoting voluntary subscriptions for a more extensive relief of the distressed Portuguese, and considerable sums were raised for that purpose.

Among the various measures by which, during the progress of the French revolution, the dissemination of principles considered as dangerous to the British constitution and the public welfare had been repressed, one was an act of parliament obliging all printers to put their name and place of abode at the beginning, and if more than one leaf, at the end, of every pa per or book, of whatever kind, that they should print. On failure, they were subjected to a penalty of twenty pounds for every single copy of such paper or book. That this bill was passed in the haste and precipitation of alarm, was manifest from the enormity of the penalty iniposed upon defaulters, which might arise to a sum absolutely ruinous even to a considerable property, and that, when the crime might be nothing more than mere negligence. The body of printers had submitted in silence to this hardship, thinking themselves secure in the intention of not offending; till some instances had occurred of prosecutions instituted by informers on the most trifling deviations from the provisions of the act, and where traps had been purposely laid for producing those negligencies. A petition was therefore at length agreed upon from the printers, booksellers, and publishers of the united kingdoms, which was presented by Mr. Henry Martin to the house of commons, on March the 4th. It stated, in strong but


respectful terms, the grievances to which the important business of printing and publishing was exposed by the injunctions of the bill, and prayed for such relief as the house might think expedient. The penalties which might be possibly incurred by a printer, through the carelessness or malice of a servant, were calculated at 100,0001.; and the remarkable circumstance was mentioned that, in every instance of prosecution that had hitherto occurred, the publication was of an innocent, or even useful nature. The petition was ordered to be laid upon the table, and Mr. Martin gave notice of his intention to move for leave to bring in a bill to explain and amend the act of the 39th of the king relative to this subject.

On March 19th, Mr. Martin made his promised motion. In his introductory speech he enumerated all the provisions of the act, and dwelt upon the evils which might result, and had actually resulted from it. Some of the cases stated were curious exemplifications of the detestable artifices practised in that trade of informing, which is too much encouraged by the imposition of heavy penalties, of which a moiety goes to the informer. In one instance, persons had gone about to different printers to procure an impression of title pages to an Elzevir edition of Cicero's Work, many copies of which were defective in that particular; and as the printer could not consist ently put his own naine instead of Elzevir's, penalties were incurred to a vast amount. In another, a printer who was employed to print proposals for a military work had, in specifying his place of abode,

inadvertently omitted the word London, after that of Paternosterrow; and he was summoned to Guildhall to show cause why he should not be fined 20,0001. for this omission. In these, and other cases, the magistrates had indeed ventured to dispense with the injunctions of the act; but it would be obviously better to give them a discretionary power by law, or grant to the parties aggrieved a right to appeal to the quarter sessions. He concluded with moving to bring in the announced bill, in which he was seconded by Lord Folkstone.

After a few further observations on the subject, leave was granted.

The committal of the bill was moved for on April 5th, when the attorney-general objected to a clause in it, by which the magistrate was confined to the levying of one penalty only for every publication, however numerous the copiesz asserting that if this were to pass, the end of the law would be entirely defeated, since no man wishing to circulate a mischievous paper would be deterred by such a consideration.

Mr. Martin, in reply, observed that all the penalties to which printers had been liable before the passing of the act in question would be still in force after this proposed amendment. He recalled to the recollection of the house the circumstance under which the act had been originally framed, which was that of the existence of seditious societies who circulated a vast number of papers, of which it was scarcely possible to discover the printers. Such societies no longer existed; the exigence therefore be ing at an end, it was reasonable that


the bill should be repealed, or at least modified. The attorney-general himself, he believed, had found it necessary to bring in a bill to indemnify those who had violated it; and was it fitting that such a bill should be left standing on the sta tute books in terrorem? His wish was not to innovate, but to restore the law to that it was before, with the exception of the small penalty of 201. for a whole impression, if without the printer's name.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer contended that this penalty would be entirely useless with respect to those offenders on whom the law was intended to operate; and he proposed that a discretion should be left with the magistrate to raise the number of penalties in cases where it should appear just and proper.

Lord Folkestone objected to this proposal, as lodging an enormous power in the hands of the magis trate. His real opinion was, that it would be best to repeal the act altogether.

Sir S. Romilly also thought the proposed provision extremely objectionable, if it went to allow the magistrate to impose at his pleasure the full penalty for every copy. Was it to be the law of this country that a magistrate might, in a sum mary manner, levy, penalties on a subject to the amount of 20,0001., a sum which no court would think of imposing even after conviction for a libel? He then made some remarks against subjecting the business of printing to new and severe restraints, and declared that, if the mover had proposed repeal ing the act, he should have de cidedly supported him.

After some furtherdiscussion, the

attorney-general," in order to show how willing he was to go along with his honourable and learned friend as far as he could," proposed that the magistrate should in no case have the power of imposing more than twenty-five penalties of 201., or 5001. It was next agreed, that the magistrate should be allowed to mitigate the fine to 51.; that an appeal to the quarter sessions might be entered within twenty days from the time of conviction; and that six days notice should be given to the pro


The bill thus modified was reported, and afterwards passed into à law.

On March 21, Lord A.Hamilton introduced a motion in the House of Commons, relative to the state of the press in India. He began with saying, that his object was not to find fault with any of the regulations to which his motion referred, but merely that an opportunity might be afforded of knowing what were the laws in existence upon this subject, and also upon what authority they bad been established. It might be urged, that though there might be no positive law, yet long practice might be sufficient to establish an usage, and give it the efficacy of law; he could not, however, admit that any such usage could jus tify such regulations of the press as appeared now to exist in India,' and had never received the sanction of that house. By those, as he understood, no newspaper could be published in India which had not previously received the sanction of government, on the penalty of immediate embarkation for Europe, They also contained

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