Imágenes de página


the fact just stated might have had on the Mr. Whitbread thought it impossible for House, but it had none on him. Allowing the House, after the Resolution they had that there had been a neglect on the part come to, not to follow it up with cenof the hon. gent. near him, it could not The right hon. the Chancellor of excuse the negligence of others. Recri- the Exchequer had at first endeavoured to mination was not justification ; this agent throw the blame on Mr. Crewe, and had Rid was appointed by the master-ge- no objection to his being censured, proneral, and no minutes of his appointment, vided he could skreen his headless Board, or his security, were laid on the board which he could get no person to take off table. Millions, or at least many 100,000 his hands. The blame, however, being pounds in the year passed through Mr. now declared to belong to the unfortunate Hunt's hands, while Mr. Ridge was in- Board, he presumed to think that a centrusted with a far inferior charge of the sure must follow. Supposing a bill to be public money.

introduced in the terms proposed, and that The question was then put on the se- the board did not chuse to inquire for one veral Resolutions. The first five were or two years whether the treasurer had adopted. The previous question was moved lodged his securities, but on finding that on the sixth, with a view to the adoption he bad not, should then dismiss him, what of the following Resolution.

security was this that he might not then “ That it is the opinion of this House, retire, owing a balance equal to that due the master-general and board of ordnance by Mr. Hunt ? He could not conceive have been guilty of an omission of duty, in that even in a House like the present neglecting to take security from Joseph (there being very few members in the Hunt, esq., a member of this House, and House) they could come to a vote that that late treasurer of the ordnance, in con- board was not to be censured. formity to the instructions under which The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not they act.”

deny that in point of strictness the heads Mr. Calcraft thanked the Chancellor of of the board were responsible. The the Exchequer for the vote he had at greatest degree of responsibility, however, length given, by which he admitted that he thought, attached to the secretary. the blame did not attach to the Secretary, He should not move to negative the Reas he originally contended, but to the solution, but should move the previous Board. He now thought it his duty to question. defy his hon. friend opposite to bring for- Mr. H. Thornton thought the Resoluward the charge alluded to against him. tion rather superfluous. It appeared to He should not call him his friend only, be doing over again what had been already but his thrice honoured friend, if he would done. As it was agreed that praise should do so, and afford him an opportunity of not be too freely bestowed, the same rule, meeting it. He thought it impossible, he thought, should extend to censure also. after the Resolution last adopted by the He suspected that much was owing to House, that they should now fail in declar- something amiss in the constitution of the ing the conduct of the board to be censu- Board. He could not, however, negative rable. If they did not do so, away at once

the motion, neither did he altogether apwith all ideas of votes of censure proceed- prove of the previous question, but was ing from that House. He should there- anxious that the Resolution should be fore move, « That for such omission of withdrawn. duty, the said Board is deemed censurable After strangers were excluded, and be. by this House."

fore the division, a conversation arose, to Mr. Johnstone certainly thought it his the following effect : duty to vote against this Resolution. The Mr. Babington said, that he could not House had already censured the conduct agree to the previous question. He was of the board of ordnance in this particu- satisfied there was blame, and he thought lar. To prevent the possibility of the re- it sufficiently expressed in the preceding currence of such an evil was now the pre- Resolution, therefore he might think the ferable mode of proceeding; This, he additional censure now proposed superthought, could be only done by a fluous; but the previous question was in. bill; but, he hoped it would provide that consistent with the censure already exa the securities should be in a greater pro- pressed, and he could not vote what was portion to the sums passing through the inconsistent with that. [Hear! hear!] Treasurer's hands, than they at present He wished the Resolution to be withdrawn, bore.

but if not he must support ito


Mr. Wilberforce differed with his hon. | it. As for the censure already passed, the friend, and conceived the previous ques- Chancellor of the Exchequer bad denied tion only meant that the House thought it that the board was to blame, and had had sufficiently censured the conduct of thrown all on the secretary; and the cen. the Ordnance in the former Resolutions. | sure said to have passed did not touch the He thought that conduct well deserving secretary at all. Other members threw of censure, and therefore he had sup- all on the board, and he, for one member, ported the Resolution to that effect. Hav- voted on this ground, and one on that, ing done so, he was against going farther. and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had

Mr. Brougham preferred the view taken his own view and his own rote." It was of this question by his hon. friend (Mr. necessary to be more precise, and as all Babington), to thai adopted by his hon. agreed (at least no one said the contrary, friend behind (Mr. Wilberforce), and for and the Chancellor of the Exchequer did this reasuņ—that by voting for the pre- not venture to divide) that the board was vious question, the House in fact said, highly censurable, it was more manly and whereas the board is censurable, therefore consistent to say so in plain terms. He we will not censure them. Let gentlemen therefore should support the motion of his reflect well before they told the country hon. friend. that the consequence of a public board On the division which then took place, being almost unanimously found to have the numbers were, been guilty of great neglect of duty, was,

For the additional Resolution of that no notice whatever should be taken Censure of it. [Hear, hear!) This was, in a few For the previous question ...... 54 words, the meaning of the vote for the previous question.

Majority for the previous question 36 Mr. G. Wilson could not agree with his hon. friend (Mr. Brougham). He thought

HOUSE OF COMMONS. he refined too mucb on the matter. All had agreed in voting a certain measure of

Friday, April 13. censure, and he was not for voting any (ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT. Mr. Cal

craft observed, that in consequence of an Mr. Bankes denied that there was any accusation made in the progress of the necessity for those who voted for the for last night's discussion by the hon. gent. mer voting for the present Resolution. He opposite (Mr. A. Cooper) supported by heartily approved of the former vote, be- the Chancellor of the Exchequer, against cause it inflicted a censure on the board him, whilst he had the honour to hold the of Ordnance, which they appeared to him office of secretary to the board of Ordto have deserved. It was highly neces- nance, he then felt it his duty to give now sary to express the opinion of the House tice, that on this night he would move for on this point for the sake of the public ser- certain papers in his own vindication. vice and of justice. But he thought the The charge then advanced against him present motion superfluous. The Resolu- was, that he had not required from Mr. lion last passed was a censure on the Ridge, who was appointed by the earl of board, and had been passed almost unani- Moira, agent to a part of the corps of royal mously, at least without a division. He artillery, such securities, as by virtue of therefore was against this new and addi- bis instructions he was bound to do. He tional censure, which was only adding had first to observe, that in the perusal one opinion to another of the same sort. which he had since given these instruc. He was for the previous question on this tions, he found in no part of them such a ground, that a censure had already been duty pointed out. He had not certainly passed by the House on the board. read every line of them, and to meet that

Mr. Tierney was against the previous part of the question it was his intention to question, for the reasons given by his hon. move, that an extract of the instructions friends (Messrs

. Babington and Broug- applicable to the exercise of such a duty ham). It was saying to the country, should be laid upon the table. He there have been abuses, therefore we won't had then to ask the hon. gent. who made reprobate them. There had been neg. the charge, and the Chancellor of the Exlect, therefore we won't censure it. Nay, chequer, by whom it was supported, whewe have found by our vote, that the board they yet persevered in their accusation? is blameable, therefore we refuse to blame whether they still were ready to assert


that Mr. Ridge, at the period referred to, the bond in the case of Mr. Ridge had had not entered into the necessary secu. been made out, but was not executed by rities? If, as he believed, they found that that gentleman. the result of their further inquiry proved Mr. Calcraft asked across the table whe. that such securities were given by Mr. ther it was executed by his sureties? Ridge, it would then be his duty to move Mr. Cooper. Yes; it was executed by for a return of their date. There was also his sureties. With respect to the other another question which he was anxious to question, he must say, that he did not acput to them. He wished to be informed quiesce in the conclusion, that securities #hether, when lord Chatham succeeded were not available if not renewed in case lord Moira at the head of the Ordnance of a change in the department. The se. department, the securitics given by Mr. curity was given not to the person at the Ridge were renewed? Because it was head of the board, but to the King. There well understood that as they were given was one other topic introduced by the hon. directly to the individual at the time at gent. to which he felt it incumbent upon the head of the department, they were

him to advert. He had been charged not binding on Mr. Ridge when a change with bringing forward against that gentleof administration had placed another per-man, an accusation for his conduct in the son at the head of that board. There were case of Mr. Ridge. He had done no such some other observations which he felt ne- thing, but when his own character was cessary to make, but which he by no implicated by the hon. gent. in censure means brought forward to screen himself on account of Mr. Hunt's defalcation, in any part of his official conduct from surely it was natural for him to turn upon the fullest responsibility. Although he his accuser and say, even in your own admust say, that, even if there had been ministration, you yourself have been culpability in the case of Mr. Ridge, he guilty of the very omission, for which

you could only be exposed to a proportion of now so loudly proclaim that I am culpait, for at the same board there sat then ble. As a further proof of that omission in two officers nearer to him, and who still his administration he would beg to recal continued in the same situations, and who, the attention of the hon. gent. to the case of course, must, if blame was deserved, of Mr. Hopkinson, who also was an agent, take their share of the criminality. He and by whom no security whatever had had also to impress upon the House that been given, though his appointment took there was a very great distinction be place during the administration of that hotween the case of Mr. Ridge, even if what nourable gentleman. was alleged against him (Mr. C.) was Mr. Calcraft. This is altogether a new true in every particular, and the case of charge, but I have no doubt it stands upon Mr. Hunt, upon the discussion of which equally strong grounds as the case of Mr. it was introduced as parallel. It was this, Ridge, which the confession of the hon. that all agents appointed as paymasters to gent. has confuted almost as quickly as the corps of ariillery, indeed to all regi- he uttered it. Let those gentlemen be ments, were responsible to the command brought to the bar. Let the House be ing officer of such corps, and the com- put in possession of the fullest evidence mander of course, responsible to the coun- upon the subject, and I feel confident that try for the conduct of his agent. In the such accusations must recoil upon those place of secretary of ordnance, the situa. who have so indirectly advanced them. tion held by Mr. Hunt, there was no reci- But allowing we were guilty, can that be procal responsibility, and the consequence an excuse for the offences of those who was, that the country became the loser by perpetuate the abuse, until the country is his defalcation.

made to feel the actual loss and evil? Will Mr. A. Cooper stated, that although the country think it receives a just perthere was no insertion in the instructions formance of duty from those for whose specifically injoining the duty of requir. services large salaries are paid to them, ing securities, still it was the universal prac- merely, because when charged with a detice to demand security from all agents, reliction of their trust, they think they through whose hands any portion of the have the power or the opportunity to republic money went. Independent of all criminate. Recrimination is no defence. provision or enactment, the principle was if their charges are well founded, let them itself conclusive. In answer to the queso bring them directly before the House in tions of the hon. gent. he had to state, that a parliamentary shape, and if we are guilty let us be subjected to that merited situation, as he appeared to entertain censure under which the present board so yesterday, from ibe view he had of very justly suffers. It is quite ridiculous his duty, he was in a greater degree to make a parallel between the cases of culpable than had been supposed. PerMr. Ridge and Mr. Hunt, even if the ac- sons coming into office had a right, findcusation against me in respect to the former ing places of that description filled up, to was true; but, as it is most unfounded, as suppose that the proper securities had clearly appears even by the admission of been given. But it had been said that he, him who has made it, I must say it is in the Chancellor of the Exchequer), in sulting the public, which has been robbed particular, was always finding out some to a large amount, to distract the course of subject of recrimination. If he did alpublic justice by the introduction of ir- ways recriminate when gentlemen came relevant and unconnected subjects.

forward with their charges against go Mr. Long admitted, that recrimination vernment, did it not follow that he alwas not a good set off, and constituted a ways had an opportunity of so doing! miserable defence; but when the hon. Thus it appeared that in ihirteen months gent. in the pomp of official superiority their administration had contrived to make denounced his successors, it was natural up a little sample of all that had been for them to retort the charge if they could, complained of for the last twenty of and try him by his own acts. if omis- thirty years. He could not but own, that sions of a similar nature could be laid to they had been very adroit in such a short his charge, it was impossible in the over- space of time to act so as to furnish out of bearing triumph that he was inflicting, their abundance a counterpart to erery that flesh and blood could rest silent, and thing of which they complained. This with the knowledge they had of some of was the consequence of that concentration bis own omissions, not illustrate them. of talent of which they had vaunted so

Sir J. Newport stated, as the charac- much. The charges made against them teristic distinction of the present ministers, bad not been intended to reduce them beparticularly of the Chancellor of the Ex: low the ordinary standard of men in point chequer, that for every grievance com- of talent, but to bring them down from plained of, for every act of misgovern their vaunted elevation to the level of fal. ient and mistake-for every measure of lible beings. Yet to think that an hon. policy which had bequeathed calamity and gent. should come there and plume him. ruin to the country, the only justification self so much on what he had done, when was the power and capacity to recriminate. such an omission could be proved, was too What had the country to do with their bick- much to be borne in silence. It really erings and recriminations? If any charge or was but just to give him a hint on the subaccusation could be brought against their ject. If the hon. gent. wished for informopponents, why not bring them? To in- ation on the subject he had no objection sinuate them, and not venture to arraign to granting it; he would only state, that those whom the ministers were anxious to on the preceding day, when he entered depreciate, was, in his opinion, instead of that House, he had no more intention of a defence for their own misdeeds, an age speaking of the case of Mr. Ridge than he gravation of their offence, insomuch as had of discussing the concerns of the emthey kept such charges secreted merely as peror of Morocco. That case would not an apology for their own derelictions. have been brought forward but for the ex

The Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed ultation of the hon. gent. with gentlemen opposite, that nothing Mr. Ponsonby. The right hon. gent. has could be less a justification of the conduct assumed, that the merits of his adminisof ministers than finding fault with others. tration are so transcendant as neither to Nothing could be farther from his inten- require foil nor contrast. He has pretions than a wish to build his character, sumed that the results of his government or the character of his friends, on the fail- and the interests of the country, every ings of others, and really he did not think day give an additional value to his serthe House, or the country, would think vices, and a splendor to his ministry; that highly of him, or of his friends, because the higher he lifts himself in office, the they stood a little higher than the hon. more dignified he becomes in reputation, gentlemen opposite. If the hon. gent and that the country accords with the had the same ideas of the duties of the panegyric which he has so modestly prooffice he had held, while he filled that nounced upon himself. But it is not te his talents that his praises are restricted. cogency of his argument, together with No! his charity for the misdeeds of his the independent circle by which he was opponents—his compassion for their de- surrounded he did manage to quash such fects form no inconsiderable share of his inquiries as were disagreeable to him. own eulogium. He, forsooth, will never The motion was then carried ; after build bis reputation upon any recriminat- which Mr. A. Cooper moved for the papers ing attack upon his political opponents. relative to the case of Mr. Hopkinson, coIndeed, one is at a loss which to admire pies of his sureties, &c. which was also most, the modesty with which he speaks agreed to. of his own exploits, or the compassion [The PetitioN OF THE EAST INDIA COMwhich he kindly extends to our demerits. PANY FOR Relief.] A Petition of the United Let him allow me to protest against his Company of Merchants of England trading generous condescension. Let me hope to to the East Indies was presented and read; impress upon him, that we seek no such selling forth ; “ That the Petitioners, in irresponsibility for our public conduct the month of April 1808, presented a PeIf we have acted improperly—if the coun- tition to the House, setting forth, amongst try has suffered in its interests by our of other things, that, upon a review of the fences-if we have afforded illustrations state of their home finances from the 1st of dereliction of duty and breaches of of March 1808 to the 1st of March 1809, trust, in God's name let the Chancellor of the payments estimated to be made by the Exchequer recollect the paramount the Petitioners would exceed the probable duty he owes the country, and bring us to amount of their receipts by the sum of trial for our misdeeds. For such attacks 2,433,1851., and also the impossibility of we are prepared; and when unequivo- the Petitioners being able to raise the cally brought forward, we must be grate- whole of that sum from their own resources, ful. The acrimony, the violence, the po- therefore praying such relief as the House litical asperity of the right hon. gent. we might in its wisdom deem their case to reare not inclined to fear, but I do beg leave quire ; and that the causes which produced to protest against, and deprecate as the most the embarrassments at that time experidisheartening of all visitations, namely, enced by the petitioners were amply detheir commendation and compassion.

tailed in their said petition, which petition Mr. Calcraft said, he held in his hand a being referred by the House to a Comcopy of the sureties of Mr. Ridge. If | mittee of its members then sitting upon there was only one name to the bond, the East India affairs, the House, upon the republic would be secure ; but he would be commendation of their said Committee, able to shew that the sureties were com- were pleased to vote to the petitioners the pleted. The right hon. gent. had said sum of 1,500,0001., upon account of the that he had accused him of recrimina claims of the Petitioners upor his Majestion. It was not of recrimination he y's government, which sum, together had accused him, but of attempting to with the aid derived from sales, more farecriminate when there were no grounds vourable than had been estimated, of the for it. He had also taken merit to him company's goods in the year 1808-9, enself for granting the papers necessary to a abled the petitioners to provide for the member's defence; he had talked as if wants of that year without requiring further he had the House of Commons in his poc assistance; and, in the year 1809-10, their ket; but he (Mr. Calcraft) did not ask it receipts were nearly equal to their payfrom him as a favour, he asked it from the ments; and that the causes which led to House of Commons as a right, and not their financial embarrassments in the year from him, who seemed to carry the majo- | 1808-9 have not yet totally ceased to operrity in his pocket.

ate, and they are subjected to new difficulMr. R. Wurd conceived that such lan- ties, arising chiefly from the following guage was disorderly and unconstitutional; causes : 1st. From the excessive and unno member had a right to say that any exampled drafts made in the two last years person carried a majority of that House in upon the Petitioners from India, amount. his pocket.

ing to 4,707,9461., part of the Indian debt, Mr. Calcraft said, that though, perhaps, incurred in the course of several wars and the language was disorderly, it was not un expeditions carried on there against Indian constitutional. The right hon. gent. did and European powers; and as the condinot carry a majority in his pocket, but, tion under which the greater part of that from the force of his eloquence, and the debt was contracted allowed an option to

« AnteriorContinuar »