« AnteriorContinuar »
which it was in the power of the consumer (of a motion for Mouday next.
His to lessen his consumption of those arti-object in presenting the petition bad cles, or leave them off altogether; and been to have witnesses called and exthus the payment of these taxes was volun- amined at the bar,' touching the allega.. tary, as depending upon the consumption tions contained in it. As no order bad. of the articles. He admitted, with respect yet been inade on it, he proposed to move to the property tax, that it did not reach then, that the petition be taken into consievery description of income, but an ap-deration on Monday, with a view to more proximation was continually making to its afterwards that certain witnesses should be more effectual operation upon those classes ordered to attend at the bar of that house, whom it was its object to include. The at ihe time when the petition was to be object of the noble lord appeared to be to laken into consideration. He had mensimplify taxation, but he thought the effect tioned the course he proposed to pursue of that simplification, as stated in the noble to a right bon. gent. (Str. Sheridan), lord's plan, would be much more oppres- whom he did not theu see in his place, and sive than the system it was proposed to he was authorized to state to the house supercede, particularly as, according to the that neither that right hon. gent., nor any plan of the noble lord, the proposed tasa- of bis frievis, bad any objection to his motion would fall heavily upon the poorer tion. The petition was then ordered to be classes of the people, whilst the surplus taken into consideration on Monday, and property would escape its operation. W. Drake, W. Drake jun., Am Drake,
The Earl of Warwick said, his object was T. Weatherhead, John Richards, aod se. not to lax the poorer classes, the enployed, veral other persons, were ordered to attend but the employers.
the house at the same time. Mr, SberiThe Earl of Selkirk observed, that in the dan, if he had been in his place at the amount of population stated by the noble time, would have seconded the motions of lord, a great number of children must be the noble lord. Neither these, nor any reckoned, where expenditureofcourse could other motion that could be brought fornot be takeu at the proposed rate, but their ward by that noble lord, which would bare maintenance must be included in the ex- the effect of expediting the decision of the penditure of the family.
charges contained in the petition, would The Earl of IWarwick said, that that was meet with any opposition from him, or provided for in his plan, and if the house from any of his friends. As he was on his would allow it to go to a committee, he legs, be thought it not amiss to give notice, was convinced that he could prore su!isfac. that he should ou Monday next present a torily, by calculations in detail, all that he petition from certain e lectors of Westminhad statet. After a short conversation, Ister, charging upon the petitioner in this the motion was withdrawn, us informal, case, and upon bis agents, subornasion of and another substituted by the earl of War perjury:- Nr. Sheridan presented a petiwick for the appointment of a committee tioù trom certain landholders in the city of to consider of the best mode of raising the Westminster, praying for leave to bring in revenue ; which was put and negatived. a bill for the erection of a bridge over the
river Thames, between Westminster and
Blackfriars bridges. The right hon. gent. Friday, February 27.
stated, that the plan for the bridge was in [MINUTES.] The following members considerable forwardness, and that the part were chosen a committee to try the merits of the river over which it was proposed to of the petition complaining of an undue erect the bridge, was that which was nearly election and return for Wick, Dornock, in the line of Southamptod-street; and &c.: J. Shaw, T. Brooke, H. Thornton, B.Ithat a bigh road was to be constructed to Hobbouse, R. E. D. Grosveror, sir w. the Obelisk, St. George's-fields, Surrey. Middleton, H. Fane, R. Sharp, R. Wigram, The petition was then brought up, and reT. Baring, W. Jones, R. H. Bradshaw, lord ferred to a committee composed of the Beruard. Nominees, Peter Moore, right members of the cities of London and Westhon. H. Erskine.-Lord Folkestone begged minster.-Mr. Hibbert presented a petition leave to call the attention of the house from certain West-lydia merchants, planto the Petition of Mr. Paull, which ters, &c stating the losses which they be had presented the preceding day, should sustain by the abolition of the slase
upon which he had given notice trade, and praying for compensation for sbe
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
1033) PARL. DEB. Feb. 27, 1807.-Petition respecting the Westminster Election. (1094 same. Ordered to lie on the table. Mr | allegation, that, contrary to the standing Hibbert gave notice, that on the gih of order of that house, and to all law and deMarch, he should move to refer this peri- corum, the said right hon. R. B. Sheridan, tion to the consideration of a select com- bad, both by himself and by his agents, tammiltee (see March 12.)- Mr. Hibbert then pered with the witnesses, and by bribes rose, in pursuance of his motion of the and threats endeavoured to induce them to preceding day, on the subject of cornpen- withhold their testimony, the truth of all sation. No case was more deserving of which the petitioners were prepared to consideration, than that of the planters prove at the bar of the house. That such who had been induced to settle by grants a transaction was contrary to a standing of land. There were many precedents of order of the house, which declared it to similar compensations. He now, therefore, be a bigh crime and misdeineanour. The begged leave to ask his majesty's ministers, petitioners therefore demanded and inwhether they were authorized to give the sisted that the house should proceed with royal assent to the proposition for compen- the utmost severity to the punishment of sation, which he should in that case bring the offender; and the petitioners prayed forward. Lord Howick replied, that' his that an early day might be appointed to majesty's ministers were not authorized so prosecute the investigation of this business, to do. This was all which it was his duty which involved in it not only the rigbts of to state upon the subject, for it would be the city of Westminster, but the character highly improper for him to go into the and privileges of the house of commons.". grounds on which the refusal was founded. The hon. gent. said, be hoped he should not This alone he would say, that any claims be considered as personally responsible for for compensation might be brought forward the allegations in the petition. It bad been at some future period, but not at the present. put into his bands by some electors of
[PETITION RESPECTING THE WEST- Westininster, and being an elector of MINSTER ELECTIon.) Mr. Biddulph pre-Westuninster himself, he could not refuse to sented a petition from certain electors of present it. He moved that the petition be Westminster, inhabitants of the parish of referred to a committee of privileges.-Mr. St. Martin's-le-Grand, complaining of a Sheridau seconded the motion. breach of privilege, and praying for the in- Lord Howick, while he allowed that a terference of the house. The petitiou was member who presented a petition was not read by the clerk, and stated in substance : responsible for the truth of the matter which " That the petitioners have learnt with it contained, was yet clearly of opinion, that aların and regret, that on Thursday the it was his duty to take care that such peti19th of February last, the house had, on tion was not couched in improper and disthe motion of the right hon. R. B. Sheridan, respectful terms. He was not disposed to postponed the day for taking into conside-quarrel with any inadvertency of expresiation the petition from J. Paull, esq. sion; but if there appeared on the face of complaining of an undue return for the a peution a studied intention to use insultcity of Westminster. That by that postpone ing language, the house would ill consult meni, the petitioners were disfranchised its own dignity in not severely animadvertduring its continuunce, and remained an ing on such an attempt. The present perepresented in parliament, for one of their tition set out, in a most unusual manner, representatives, sir S. llood, was abroad by cousplaining of a vote of that bouse, in the execution of his professional duty, which, aucording to the statement of the and the right bon. R. B. Sheridan, being petitioners, had disfranchised them, and charged with having prueured a colourable which had deprived their legal represenmajority by means of bribery and corrup- tative of his seat. He believed a petition tion, James Paull, esq. tbeir other legal re- containing such a complaint could not be presentative, was by she proceeding of entertained. He would remark, by the way, which they complained, prevented from tbat the first example of postponement taking his sent in the house. The pe- wus given by the noble lord who presented titioners were convinced that the mo- the original petition to the house against tion of the right hon. R. B. Sheridan, the return of his right hon. friend. But if esg. was intended and was calculated not the petition set out in an unusual tone, to further, but delay the ends of public jus- the subsequent parts of it were still more tice, for they were certain, and could pro extraordinary. He perfectly understood it duce evidence to prove the truth of their to be the right of the people to petition
that house, and to be the duty of that|inclined to pass over this if there had been house to listen to their petitions. But nothing else to object to. But the petiwhen petitioners insisted and demanded tion insisted that the house should proceed that the house should proceed with severi- with severity, with regard to one against ty against one whom they terined an offen-wbom nothing had been proved: If the der, before the investigation of the subject petition could not, in point of form, be had commenced, they conducted them- withdrawn, then, supposing it to be rejecie selves in the most disrespectful manner, ed, the petitioners had full tìme to present and deserved severe reprehension. It was a fresh petition on Monday. This they not bis intention, however, to propose any would do if they were really in earnest
, proceeding to the house on the present sub- and only wished for justice. If they did ject, although he certainly thought it right not do this, then it would be clear that they not to let it pass unnoticed. With regard were not in pursuit of justice, but outy ito the case stated in the petition, he trust- tended to insult the house. ed that it would undergo the most minute The Speaker said there was nothing in investigation, and that on whichever side point of form which would prevent the the delinquency should be found to exist, withdrawing of the petition. the punishment should fall.
Mr. Biddulph stated, that the petition bad Mr. C. Wynne, with all bis deference for been put into his hands, and that he bad his noble friend, thought that there would promised to present it, without having be considerable danger in establishing the looked at it immediately. He had some precedent of allowing a petition couched in doubts after reading it, but having shewn such terms to be received. To the matter it to some friends of his, members of the no man could object, but the manner was house, he had been told by them that it such, that in his opinion the house would would not be improper to present it. As compromise its own dignity in permitting to that part which related to the proceeding such a petition to be referred to a commit- of the house, it was rather a narrative than tee of privileges.
an accusation. The words insist and deLord Temple concurred in the opinion mand had been caught at in rather an extrathat the door of the house ought to be ordinary way. All that the petitioners inthrown wide open to petitions ; but it had sisted upon and demanded was, that the a right to demand, that they should be bouse should 'act upon its own orders. couched in decent and decorous language. This was the way in which he uuderstood He did not, therefore, think that the house them. The evidence he knew polbing of; was bound in duty to receive a petition but he was not prepared to view the peti. conveyed in such terms as these.
tion in that offensive light in wbich it apo Mr. Fuller agreed with the noble lord peared to some; and therefore did not feel who spoke last. The words were, demand satisfied that he ought to withdraw it, or and insist, and the house could not receive confess that he was liable to the imputaa petition conveyed in such terms as were tion of carelessness thrown out against bin. contained in this-[here the hon. gent. Mr. Montague put it earnestly to the bon. threw the petition on the ground). The gent. whether it would not be adviseable house would always feel it a duty to attend to withdraw the petition, as by such a pruto and redress grievances, but it was not dent proceeding, extremes upon either side bound to receive petitions couched in lan-would be avoided, the dignity of the bouse guage that shewed a manifest intention to would not be compromised, and the right insult the house. This be maintained, of petition would not be intrenched upon. and cared not a farthing who heard him. He could not agree with the bon. morer,
Mr. Whitbread suggested to his hon. that the words demand and insist, were friend the propriety of withdrawing the pe- merely used as urging the necessary conselition, as the general sense of the house ap- quences in a clear deduction; for what peared to be against it, and presenting man, for instance, ever similarly applied another, couched in more proper and mo- such words as to insist and demand that derate tèrms. It was not the custom to two and- two made four? Did Euclid, he present petitions against the proceedings asked, ever insist and demand that the of the house in affairs of this nature, and three angles of a triangle were equal to two the words insist and demand, were certainly right ones?' He besought the bon. member ebjectionable. Bụt that was not the most to relieve the embarrassment of the bouse objectionable part of it, and he should be by withdrawing the petition.
General Vyse did not think that the peti-sonally involved. He was still more at a tion, being once presented, could be well loss to account for this omission, when he withdrawn. He thought the words object- recollected that a noble lord (Folkestone) ed to were not of such moment, and be had done so upon a siniilar occasion. As lieved that they were to be imputed to ig- to the petition now before the house, he. norance or inadvertence.
believed he had given the strongest proof Mr. Lyttleton was for rejecting the peti- in his power of his earnest anxiety, that the tion. No man was more a friend to the prayer of that petition should be promptly subject's undoubted right of petition than acceded to, and that all practicable dispatch he was; but he was also a friend to the should be resorted to, in order to facilitate cause of that liouse's diguity and honour. enquiry the most strict and extensive into the In rejecting the petition, he thought he not grounds of all allegations complaining of a only consulted the respect of that house, breach of the privileges of that house, or but the dignity of the great body that relating to any conduct of his, toucbing created it. The people suffered from any the late election of Westminster. As to insult cast upon its representative body, the wording of the petition, he had two and no portion of constituents should be reasons for not wishing to reject it on that allowed to violate the common forms of head ; his parliamentary conduct was evidecency and decorum due from all constidence that he had been uniformly a zealous tuents to the commons house of parliament. advocate for the subject's right of petition,
Mr. Lamb did not think it quite fair and would now be the last man in that that an opinion hazarded by him in private, house to reject a petition for having indisupon a casual glance of the petition, creetly made use of hot and hasty words ; should be adduced as an authority in that but he had another and a paramount reahouse; he should not, however, shrink in son for not rejecting the petition, and that public from any opinion he had maintained was, that he believed in his soul, that if in private; he did not think the words of that petition went to a committee of privithe petition so objectionable : the words leges, it would be to the chagrin and utter alarm and regret, in its commencement, were disappointment of the petitioners themby no means unparliamentary terms, to selves. Heargued against the inconsistency. express the sensations of petitioners produ- of coaxing an hon. member to withdraw bis ced by any antecedent act of that house; the petition, in order not to compromise the other words so much complained of, insist dignity of the house, as such solicitation or demand, seemed to be misunderstood, went effectually to compromise it; and they were addressed to the house as in its denied that the house could ever feel a diffijudicial capacity
culty in a question that involved the asserMr. Sheridan fully concurred with an hon. tion of its honour. gent. as to the necessity of dismissing from Mr. Robinson, though in a very small miTheir minds every consideration that tended nority upon a former night, against the to irritate or influence. He was aware right hon.gent., felt it now equally incumthat it was necessary to hear with temper, bent upon him to resist the motion that in order to decide with firmness. He had gentleman had seconded; he thought the gone through the election contest without language of the petition extremely indecobeat, intemperance, or animosity upon his rous. The petitioners complained of their · part, and he should not now be hurried to being disfranchised, and the two reasons abandon that moderation to which he had upon which they grounded that opinion, been recently so much indebted. He flat- were truly extraordinary. The first was, tered bimself that he had the good fortune that one of their representatives was enga, to have the best wishes of the bon, member ged in the service of his king and country, who presented the petition; be had been and could not attend to his duties as a sebenefited by his intercourse, aud bad occa- nator. This circumstance, if it constituted sionally been honoured with the enjoyment either disqualification or disfranchisement, of his hospitality; he did therefore think was well known to them at the time they that the hon. gent. would have done more elected him for Westminster. The other justice to his well-known candour, if he had reason was, that in consequence of the des in his application to different friends upon cision of this bouse, their legal representathe subject, had some previous communi- tive was prevented from immediately ta. cation with him (Mr. S.), before he had king his place in this house. If this could be presented a charge in which he was so per considered as a cause of disfranchisement, it most certainly existed, previous to the without any view of insulting the dignity of decision of the house, which enlarged the that bouse, or trenching on its privileges. period for taking that return into conside- To such a class of men, be conceived it his ration. Under the impression be had, duty to give every facility of laying the be should conceive it his duty to vote for statement of their grievances before the the rejection of the petition, unless it was legislature. He should now move to withio withdrawn.
draw it, if the right bon. gent, who secouMr. Adum submitted to the judgement ded the former inotion, was inclined to of the bouse, whether the present petition coincide: did not require alteration : It was univer- Mr Sheridan said, he was forced to yield sally admitted, that the right of petitioning his consent, more to comply with the wish was certainly inherent in the constitution; of the house, than any inclination of his own. but it was equally a matter of fact, and The petition was accordingly withdrawn. generally understood, that the member (SLAVE-TRADE A DOLITION BILL.) On should attentively consider, and be re the order of the day being read for the sponsible for the allegations of the petitions house resolving itseli into a committee on wbich he should think it his duty to present. ibe slave-trade abolition bill, The first question was, whether the present Sir Charles Pule declared hiirself so impetition should be referred 10 a committee pressed with the impolicy of the abolition, of privileges ? In the mean time, another that he was iuduceil, in every stage, to question had arisen, with respect to certain thwart a bill, ruivous to the colonies and indecorous terms inserted in it. The opposi- to the commerce of the country; a meation was not to the substance or mode, with sure which would put into the hands of an intention of refusing its prayer, but was the enemy, those objects on which be had solely directed against the lauguage which it so steadfastly fixed his attention, and the breathed, as being inconsistent with the dig- waut of which, in a great degree, restrained mily and forms of the house. If the object the progress of his arms, and prevented was to obtain full and substantial justice, he the accomplishment of those menaces, recomnievded to the hon.geot. to withdraw witli which lie had so long threatened it for the purpose of alteration, pledying this enipire. It was a great sacrifice to himself to bring it forward on a future risk one-third of the British exports, beoccasion. By such conduct the dignity of sides imports to a large amount, indepen. the house, the right of petition, aud the dent of ine employment giren to such a privileges of the people would each: be re- number of seatrien, as were aimually engaged spectively preserved.
in the trade with Africa. He wislied not Mr. Biddulph declared limself unwilling to delay the house, but be strenuously reto trespass on the time of the house, but he commended a prolongation of ibe time found biniself called upon to reply to some when the bill should begin to operate, and observations which had fallen from hoo. a total change of the preamble of the bill. gentlemen on the other side. He could Mr. Hughan, ori rising for the first time assuie ove bon. Member (Mr. Lamb), that to address the bouse, sòlicited the indul. he had not liie reniotestidea of an improper gence usually extended to young members, allusion w lim, vor did lie make any in- and declared, that a consciousness of his correct use of ehe authority of his name. own inexperience in debate would have The right bon. gent. (Mri Sheridan) had deterred bim from delivering his senticharged him, in a way more or less gentle- ments on the present occasion, did not au inanly, of a want of frankness, in noi com. imperious sense of duty, an irresistible municating his intention with respect to this impression of the niaguitude and insportpetition. On this poiut he could only say, ance of the question to the best interests that the necessity never occurred to bim. of the state, rise paramount to all other Was it a new case, and had it not been considerations, and induce him to apprad previously brought before the house, he to the soberand deliberate jüdgement of the certainly would have apprised the riththon. house, against that strain of eluquent decla gent. With respect to the petition itself, he mation wiricii
, on a former evening, hrad been should consider himself a very bad advocate, so zealously and successfully employed to were lie to persevere in pressing it, contrary rouse the passions, 10 overponerand n islead to the general feeling of utre bouse; but he the reason. He trusted that an humble might be allowed to state his opiniony, that it individual might be perniitted to raise bis was the strongexpression of unlettered men, voice in defence of that'system of our ane