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given ; and that the question having been decided by a former house of commons, should be considered as having been set finally at rest.
Sir Francis Burdett was not shaken but confirmed in his conviction of the justice of Mr. Palmer's claim, by the debate of this evening. He confessed, that he would be happy if he came to be considered by the public as the profligate spender of their money, and the honourable gentlemen opposite as the vigilant guardians of their purse. The original bargain he did not think unwise on the part of the public, nor did he see that it ever had been cancelled.
Mr. Rolford spoke against the resolution.
Mr. Marryat contended that the agreement between Mr. Palmer and the public had been cancelled, by the very improper conduct of Mr. Palmer in office. He admitted, however, that his conduct in endeavouring to introduce confusion into an ollice which he was no longer permitted to preside over might appear not only not censurable, but even laudable, to the gentlemen on the other side of the house.
Mr. Sumner dwelt upon the imperfect evidence of the report, and moved that the debate be adjourned till tomorrow se'nnight, with a view to refer it back to the committee, with an instruction to the committee to take, further evidence. The house divided :
For the adjournment
50 A long conversation then took place on the subject of the course which it would be most proper for the house to adopt, after the determination of this night.
The Speaker informed the house that it appeared to him that the regular mode of proceeding would be, for the accounts of the, net proceeds of the post-office revenue up to the present period, to be laid before the house ; the amount of money which was to be paid to Mr. Palmer, as a remuneration for the time past, could then be ascertained from those documents, and voted in a committee of supply. The consideration of the annual sum which the house might think fit to order to be paid in future, must also, he believed, originate in a committee of sup
ply. When a resolution was agreed to on that subject, a bill night afterwards be brought into the liouse, pointing out the fund from which it was to be taken, and legalizing a particular course of distribution or appropriation, as usual is similar cases.
The accounts were then, on motion, ordered to be laid before the house. After which the report was agreed to, and Mr. Palmer proposed, that on Friday next the subject be referred to a committee of supply.
A desultory conversation then took place bet vecn the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Tierney, Mr. Sumner, Mr. Ponsonby, &c. from which it appeared that the Carnatic question will be likely to occupy the attention of the house to-morrow, the local militia bill, and the sugar distillation bill, the two following days, and that from the general press of business before tbe house, it was uncertain whether the report as agreed to by the house could be referred to a cominittee of supply this week ; but, if possible, it should be on Friday next.
The assessed taxes bill was read a third time, and passed.
The committee on the land tax commissioners bill was fixed for this day se'nnight.
The other orders were then arranged as to time, and the house adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
TUESDAY, MAY 17. Mr. Wharton and several other members of the house of commons brought up the paymaster's account bill and the assessed taxes bill, which were read a first time, as were also a great number of private bills, brought mp by Mr. Shaw Lefevre, Mr. Eyre, Mr. Pym, Mr. Baiky, sir Martin Foulkes, Mr. Lygon, Mr. Pelham, and other members.
Lord llawkesbury moved the second reading for Tues. day next, and that the lords be summoned. Ordered.
The Earl of Lauderdale wished the bill to be printed.
Lord Hawkesbury observed, that the usual course was not to print bills of tbis nature.
The Earl of Lauderdale urged the complicated nature of the bill as a reason for its being printed, in order that it inight be better understood by the house.
The Lord Chancellor said it rested with the house to decide whether a bill of this nature should be printed.
Lord Ilolland quoted an instance, that of the triple assessment bill, which was ordered to be printed.
After some further conversation it secmed to be agreed, that the bill should be printed, but it was found that anı order of that nature could not be made after the second reading was fixel, and the latter order could not be rescinded the same day it was made. It was therefore understood, that the order should be moved to be discharged to-morrow, when the Earl of Lauderdale gave notice he should move the printing, with an understanding however, as stated by Lord Thawkesbury, that the bill should be read a second time on Tuesday.
INDICTMENT BILL. Lord Holland mentioned, that Thursday would be more convenient than to-porrow for the discussion of this bill, and requested his noble friend to postpone the second reading till that day.
Earl Stanhope was ready to agree to the postponement, though he would rather have agreed to deter the second reading for six months.
The order tor suinmoning their lordships for to-morrow was discharged and renewed for Thursday.
DEBTORS BILL. Lord Ellenborough moved the order of the day on this bill, and the house resolved itself into a committee.
Lord Holland observed, that the bill did not go so far as he could have wished, but so far as it went, he thongbt it a gooil bill.
The Earl of Moira repeated his objection to the bill as sanctioning the principle of imprisonnent for debt.
Some verbal amendinents were made in the bill on thic motion of Lord Ellenborougti, and the house having resumed, the report was ordered to be received on Thurs, day.
DANISH TESSELS. Viscount Sidmouth rose, in pursuance of notice, to call their lordships' attention to the subject of the Danish yesşels detained previous to hostilities. His lordship restated some of the points which he mentioned when he first allude ed to the subject, respecting the different situations of the detained vessels, many of which had come to our ports to trade, in the full confidence of security, having no reason to believe that hostilities were about to commence; and several had been, after previous detention, ordered to be restored, but had been subsequently seized, under the general order of seizure. It was, he contended, a principle of natural jus tice, acknowledged by the law of nations, that vessels carrying on trade in the ports of any country, should receive protection, until spine cause of hostiliiy had arisen; and it had always hitherto been the rule of our conduct, that no orders should be issued for the seizure and detention of such vessels until some cause or supposed cause of hostility had arisen. It was in this particular that the case of the Danish vessels differed from all others, they having been seized without any cause of hostility having previously arisen. The injustice was increased by the conduct of some of our privateers, who had detained and brought in Danish vessels, upon the speculation that hos, tilities would take place, or that orders of reprisal would be issued. These vessels were adjudged by the court of admi. ralty to be restored, and the captors offered to the Danish consul to give them up, upon his paying from 2 to 4001. on each vessel. This compromise the Danish consul re, fused, stating, that be conceived that there would be no hostilities between this country and Denmark. These vessels were now detained in our ports, and the seamen on board them were prisoners of war. He had stated on a former occasion, that the proceeds of the whole of these vessels amounted to near 2,000,0001. He merely now wished to observe, that be did not make that statement upon light grounds. The proceeds of 53 of these vessels had averaged 5,0001. each; the whole number of vessels there. fore, 320, taken at this rale, would produce 1,600,0001. There were, however, 40 vessels ordered to be restored ; but of these, in some cases the cargo only, in others the vessels, and in others the freight, were only ordered to be ressored : 100,0001. might therefore be deducted from the 200,0001. which these vessels, at the average, would produce. Thus, therefore, the sum left would be 1,500,0001. and when it was considered that one third should be added for the difference betwecn the real value and produce of
the sales by auction, the whole sum would amount to what he had stated. The amount of the sum, however, made no difference with respect to the principle upon: which bis motion was founded. His lordship quoted the opinion given in 1752 by sir George Lec, then judge of the admiralty court, sir Dudley Ryder, then attorneygeneral, and Mr. Murray, afterwards lord Mansfield, then solicitor-general, to prove that according to the ancient practice of the court of admiralty, vessels detained previous to hostilities were not rendered legal captures by the subsequent commencement of hostilities; and an opinion given by sir William Wynne in 1781 lo a similar effect. Applying these opinions, and the principle he had previously laid down, to the case of the Davish vessels, he contended that considerable injustice had been committed with respect to these vesscle; and he thought it would not be unbecoming that house to express an opinion upon this subject, submitting to his majesty the expediency of not disposing of the proceeds of these vessels, so as to form any obstacle to making a compensation to the owners. He was aware that British property, to a considerable extent, had been sequestrated in Denmark, after hostilities liad been commenced by this country; and he thought it fair that the proceeds of the Danish vessels should be answerable, in the first instance, for the amount of this property. His first resolution, therefore, would state the facts respecting the detention of the vessels; his second would express an opinion with respect to the justice of reserving the pro. ceeds, subject, as he had just stated, for the purpose of · making compensation to the owners; and his third, that the persons taken on board, and now detained as prisoners of war, ought to be liberated. His two next motions related to vessels brought in by privateers, and ordered to be restor. ed by the court of admiralty. These, he thought, ought to be restored to their owners, under certain circumstances, and the persons taken on board be no longer considered as prisoners of war. This last motion would extend the former to all courts of admiralty. He lamented that a dis. position had lately been shewn to depart from those prina ciples of justice which had hitherto characterised the conduct of this country, in order, as it had been alleged, to meet the injustice of the enemy. His wish was, that those principles, although driven out of every part of the cog. tinent, should find an asylum in Great Britain, and be VOL. III.-1803.