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or five years, the exchanges with this country had remained remarkably steady. He might also advert with satisfaction to the rapid increase of tillage in Ireland. That country never exported so much corn as it did in the last two years, and the exportation was constantly on the increase. The linen trade, the great staple of Ireland, had indeed fallen off a few thousand pounds in the last year, but it was hardly worth speaking of. The beef and provision trade had also fallen off a little, but then it was to be considered that all the provisions which were supplied for his majesty's service were not entered in the custom-house books. He had also to add, that an unusual quantity of live cattle had been exported to England, and that in the number of hogs exported the increase had been prodigious; within a few years not less than from five thousand to thirty thousand head. This trade was not indeed so profitable as that in provisions, but it still shewed that the productive powers of the country were rapidly on the increase. He then moved his first resolution.
After some observations from Sir John Newport, and other Irish members, the resolutions were agreed to.
When a motion was made on the 22d, for going into a committee on a bill for the proposed cottonwool duty, Sir Robert Peel made some observations on the impolicy of taxing a raw material, especially at a time when the manufacturers lay under circumstances of peculiar difficulty. Colonel Stanley and Mr. Baring also spoke
on the subject, and wished that further time might be given for consideration; it was in consequence agreed that the committee should be postponed, and the bill in the mean time be printed. On the 24th the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that as he found the bill had occasioned a great, though, as he thought, an unfounded alarm, he did not intend to press it; and at the same time he informed the House that there would be no occasion to propose any other tax in its stead.
On June 5th, the House of Commons being in a committee of supply, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved a vote of credit of three millions to enable his majesty to meet the designs of his enemies, and to provide for any exigencies that might arise. The sum being the same with that of the last year, he did not suppose any objection would be made to its extent. This motion gave occasion for Mr. Whitbread to rise and make a number of severe remarks on the plans pursued by ministers, the result of which had been the general distress of our manufacturers, and the loss of most of our foreign commerce. He particularly arraigned the policy of the orders in council, and the conduct of our negotiations with the United States of America. He was replied to by Mr. Perceval and Mr. Rose; and was supported in his attack on the orders in council by Mr. A. Baring. The question, on the vote of credit, was however carried without a division; and thus terminated the financial business of the session.
Debate on the Duke of York's Restoration to Office-Motion respecting the Administration of Justice in the Island of Trinidad.-Motion concerning an Exchange of Prisoners with France.-Doctrine of As
HE first act of the Prince the recollection of the House the
Regent on the assumption of
his office which could be termed spontaneous, was the restoration of his brother, the Duke of York, to the post of commander in chief of the army. As the nation had seemed more generally to concur in the propriety of the royal duke's resignation of this post, after the proofs given of the disgraceful inAuence under which he laboured while he held it, than in almost any other public measures a considerable sensation was excited by this unexpected event, and it was natural that some of those member in the House of Commons who had taken the lead in urging the charges against the duke which had compelled him to resign, should feel the act of his restoration as an exertion of power conveying an imputation on their conduct on that occasion, as well as a stigma on the House itself. Under this impression, Lord Milton, one of the members for Yorkshire, gave notice of an intended motion on the subject of the re-appointment of the Duke of York.
On June 6th, his lordship rose to submit his motion to the House. After expressing his wish that the matter had been taken up by some member of greater weight and experience, he proceeded to call to
discussions to which it had given
occasion. From the result of those, although the Duke of York had been absolved from the charge of personal corruption and connivance, he himself thought that his Highness appeared to have been guilty of that criminal negligence bordering upon connivance which rendered it impossible for him to continue in office. The majority of the house perhaps did not concur in this opinion, but there was every reason to believe that it was then prepared to have come to a resolution which must have led to the resignation of his Royal Highness. A motion had been made which would have had the effect of excluding him from office, but it was set aside by an amendment stating that as the Duke of York had resigned his situation, it was unnecessary to proceed any further in the business. This might fairly be understood as an admission that if he had not resigned, the House would have found it necessary to adopt some other course of proceeding, and it was upon this ground that he founded the motion which he was about to submit to their consideration. His object was to maintain the dignity of that House, which appeared to him not slightly questioned in the reap
pointment of his Royal Highness. It might be objected, that though the House did at that period wish for his resignation, it did not intend to exclude him from all chance of return to office, and that the punishment he had already undergone might be considered as fully commensurate to his offence; but in the first place, deprivation ought not of itself to be considered as a punishment; and, if it were, that did not affect the fact, that his Royal Highness had been declared by that House unfit for the office in question. Now, if he were unfit for the situation of commander in chief in the year 1809, it did not appear how he could be fit for it in 1811. Certain transactions had come to light since the inquiry which, it ́ ́whether they would have recommight be contended, had a tendency materially to change the general opinion on the question. But though his Royal Highness had been the victim of a foul conspiracy, [here a general cry of hear! bear! from all parts of the House,] yet did the gentlemen who cried hear! recollect that the truth of that discovery rested solely upon the testimony of that very person who had been the chief and material witness against his Royal Highness himself. Some persons seemed to think that the character of the duke did not stand upon the same principle as that of another man, and that instead of judging of it from the evidence of his own actions, we were to determine according to the comparative testimony of them with that of others, and that his character was to rise in proportion as that of another fell. He had voted in the inquiry not upon authority, but
upon evidence. If nothing had been done to subvert that evidence, with what face did the present ministers come to justify their recommendation of the Duke of York to an office the administration of which he had disgraced? Would it be contended that the opinion of that House had not caused his Royal Highness's resignation? If that had not, he should be glad to know what had; and if it had caused it, let the ministers state upon what ground they had advised his restoration. He should not enter into the question, whether persons of his exalted rank were the fittest to be selected for. offices of such great importance and high responsibility, but he challenged the ministers to say
mended a person in all respects circumstanced as the Duke of Yorkwas, his rank excepted. After various other observations to the same purpose, the noble lord concluded with moving the following resolution: "That upon a deliberate consideration of the recent circumstances under which his Royal Highness the Duke of York retired from the command of the army in March in 1809, it appears to this House that it has been highly improper and indecorous in the advisers of the Prince Regent to have recommended to his Royal Highness the re-appointment of the Duke of York to the office of commander in chief.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer began his speech by acknow-. ledging in the fullest manner the responsibility of his Majesty's servants for recommending the mea. sure in question. He then stated the circumstances which led to the
re-appointment. The gallant officer, he said, who had lately filled the situation of commander in chief, after spending near half a century in the service of his country, had contracted an illness which obliged him to apply for liberty to retire from the arduous duties of his office; and there was not the slightest hesitation in his mind and that of his colleagues whom they should recommend for supplying the vacancy. The eminent services rendered to the army by the Duke of York, which were universally acknowledged, left them no choice. But the noble lord argued as if his Majesty's ministers could not constitutionally recommend his Royal Highness to that appointment: was, how ever, the resolution of the House on which he laid so much stress meant to be eternal in its operation? The right hononrable member then went into an examination of the resolutions; and he contended that the amendment proposed by Mr. Bathurst, which had been alluded to, was not intended to have had the effect of removing the duke from office. [To this Mr. B. assented]. He denied that the words of the resolution, stating that the duke's resignation rendered further proceedings unnecessary, implied that it was unnecessary to vote a censure upon him, or his incapacitation, but merely that it was unnecessary to go further into the consideration of the minutes of evidence. The House therefore had pledged itself to nothing subsequent; and there was not the most distant idea of lessening its dignity by the advice given to the Prince Regent for the nomination of the Duke of York
as the fittest person to fill the vacancy which had occurred.
It would be of little use in a historical view to give a sketch of the arguments used in the remainder of this debate, which, in general, were only recapitulations of those above stated. The supporters of the motion chiefly insisted upon the sense of the House respecting his Royal Highnes's conduct, as implied by the resolution entered on its journals, consequent upon his resignation. They also laboured to do away the im pression which the later proofs of the infamy of the principal witnesses against him had made in his favour, by shewing that there was still a mass of undeniable evidence sufficient to establish such instances of misconduct as ought to have precluded his restoration to office. The opposers, on the other hand, dwelt upon the services he had rendered by improving the military discipline, upon the general wish of the army for his re-appointment, upon the severity of the punishment he had undergone, and upon the unworthy me. thods that had been employed to inflame the public mind to his prejudice. Among the latter speakers were some who had formerly taken part against him, and who did not hesitate to avow either that they had formerly been carried away with the current of public opinion, or that they considered the case as it now stood in a different point of view. It is unnecessary here to inquire into the various processes of conviction that might have operated on different minds. That a great change had been wrought in the sentiments of this assembly was apparent on the
division, when the votes for the motion were 47, against it 296: majority 249. The nation at large seemed to have been affected with a similar change of opinion; and the duke resumed his post with the facility of one who had quitted it only for reasons of temporary convenience.
A matter which involved some important considerations relative to the jurisprudence of the West India islands was discussed in the House of Commons on June 13th. On that day Mr. Marryat rose to make his promised motion with respect to the administration of justice in the island of Trinidad. He stated that when that island came into the possession of Great Britain the Spanish law was in force there, but in consequence of the representations of the British subjects, an English commission was sent out in the person of a Mr. Smith, who, at the time of his departure, was entirely ignorant of the Spanish laws and customs. That gentleman now acted in one court as a lawyer, and in another as a judge, and in consequence of the simultaneous adoption of the British and Spanish systems, the grossest abuses and inconsistencies prevailed. Of the evils resulting from this confusion, the honourable member gave various instances, and he inferred the impossibility of carrying on these contradictory systems together with effect. He proceeded to compare what had been done by government in other cases of a similar kind; and expressed his wonder, that the ministers should persist in retaining in this island all the oppressive regulations of the Spanish law, which were the principal causes of complaint in
those very Spanish colonies which had declared their independence on the mother country. He concluded with moving the following resolution:" That it appears to this House to be expedient, for the better security of the liberty and property of his Majesty's subjects in the island of Trinidad, that the administration of justice, according to the laws of Spain, be abolished, and that the laws of Great Britain be introduced in lieu thereof."
Mr. Brougham then rose, and said, that it had been his intention to withhold his sentiments on the present motion till he had heard the opinions of some honourable gentlemen in its support, whose judgment, from their intimate knowledge of the West-India islands, he might regard as superior to his own; but from the statement of his bonourable friend he found it so totally defective and unfounded, that on that alone he could not hesitate to reject the claim. After speaking some time in defence of the character and conduct of Mr. Smith, and in refutation of the alleged inconsistency of his different offices, he read some extracts from the Spanish schedula, or ordinance for the government of negroes and other slaves, by which it appeared how much more humane its regulations were than those of our colonial code. "Gentlemen (said he) talk of the trial by jury, viewing it as carried on in England; but if transplanted to Trinidad, it would go into the hands of men who have left every humane principle of Englishmen behind them. In fact, the trial by jury in our WestIndia islands is a mocking of jus