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Sir John Newport moved for a variety of letters and papers relative to the returns made by the bishops of the non-residents in their respective dioceses, in answer to a circular letter directed to some, and requiring such returns in the year 1807, Ordered.
Mr. Abercrombie moved, that there be laid before the house, an account of the money paid and owing to the architects in the barrack department for the buildings and repairs made and erected.
Mr. Huskisson would not oppose the motion, but observed, that the plan submitted by the commissioners of military inquiry, for having the architects supported on a permanent establishment by a settled annuity, would have been much more desirable, when many buildings were to be erected, than now when there were so few.
The paymaster general's account bill was read a third time, passed, and ordered to the lords,
FIRST PRUITS IN IRELAND. Sir John Newport rose, pursuant to notice, to move for leave to bring in a bill for the more equal valuation of the first fruits in Ireland, and the better regulation thereof, He observed, that the valuation of the first fruits in Ireland was very unequal : of the 2400 parishes in Ireland 1500 were valued, and the remaining 900 were not ; his object was to produce a more equal valuation. The lower orders of the church of Ireland were very poor, and the higher extremely opulent. He should propose a new valuation, and that, according to that, there should from the first fruits in each, and the fund arising therefrom, be appropriated a certain proportion for the increase of the stipends of the poorer clergy ; from this, however, he thought it but just to exempt the present incumbents, and all whose livings did not exceed 1501. 2 year. He was of opinion, that such a contribution levied according to a new valuation, would be productive of a fund from twenty to thirty thousand pounds, The right- honourable baronet then concluded with moving for leave to bring in a bill for the more equal valuation of the first fruits in Ireland, and the better regulation thereof.
Sir Arthur Wellesley opposed the motion : the better
order of clergy in Ireland were already subject to a variety of expences on their promotion, besides their not rey ceiving any emolument from their benefits for some time after their appointment.
Mr. William Wynne cordially approved of the object of the motion of his right honourable friend. To main tain all orders of the Irish clergy in a decent and respecta, ble state of competence, was the only legal and justifiable mode of discouraging the growth of the catholic religion in that country,
Mr. Foster could not consider it in any other ligbt than that of a tax on the Irish clergy.
Mr. Horner was of an opposite opinion: the object of the bill was not to impose a tax on the clergy, but to render available the means of a fund that had hitherto been useless.
Dr. Duigenan said, it was inerely a plan to take 30,0001. out of the pockets of the Irish clergy, for the purpose of doing them a service. If this was done to the Irish church, why not also to the English ? for, by the act of union, they were one and indivisible. A learned prelate bad onco produced a measure of this kind inanother place, but after a long discussion, the measure was quashed, and the bill rejected ; and if he was not wrongfully informed, that learned prelate had since regretted that he had introduced a measure of the kind, and was glad of the fate that at. tended it.
Mr. Ponsonby denied that it was a tax upon the clergy, but contended that it went merely to make the richer clergy contribute, in a very humble degree, to the wants of the inferior clergy,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed the motion, and spoke of the necessary expences attendant on any high ecclesiastical promotion, and observed that an incumbent seldom derived any advantage from his benefice for four years after he had obtained it.
Mír. M1. Fit-geruld replied to the chancellor of the exchequer, and regretted his ignorance with respect to Ireland, and particularly the church, to which he had de. vated so much service and zeal. The honourable gentle man went into a history of the first fruits, from the 28th of Henry the Eighth, to the 9th of Anne, and concluded with giving his assent to the motion.
Sir J. Newport replied, after which, the house di, Ayes
17 EXPEDITION TO THE DARDANELLES. Colonel Wood moved, pursuant to notice, for the journal or log-book of captain R. Dunn, of the Royal, George, from the 19th to the 22d of February, 1807, both inclusivè; and also for the document transmitted by admiral Duckworth to lord Collingwood, relative to the negociation with the Ottoman porte, Sir John Duckworth, he observed, had said in his letters that the winds blew in such directions as prevented his executing the orders he had received. It was very material to the question respecting the expedition to the Dardanelles, to have this matter clearly ascertained ; and it was on this account that he moved for these papers. He had communicated to the admiralty his observations, upon a comparison of the log with the letters, and he understood that the honourable admiral himself had no objection to the motion.
Admiral Harvey observed, that`sir Jobn Duckworth did not mean to object to the production of these or any other papers. But it ought to be remembered, that bcfore a charge was brought against that officer, who was absent on a very interesting occasion, and could not be supposed to give that attention to what was passing as he might do under other circumstances, some ground ought to be laid for it, that he might know where to defend himself. It was but fair, that he who had so often risked his life in the service of his country, should, if a charge against him was intended, know its nature exactly; and he entreated the honourable gentleman to give some clue on that subject, and state the precise point.
Colonel Wood said, that when he moved for a paper for the purpose of giving additional information on a yeneral subject, no man had a right to call upon him to become the accuser of an individual; and the honourable admiral who spoke last was not much intitled to courtesy, for be had shewn his motion to him and several others, and understood that no objection was to have been made to it. He was not prepared, therefore, to experience this opposition. He would not pledge bimself to accuse any in. dividual; but however, since he had been called upon in this manner, he would read the observations he had sent to the admiralty, on a comparison of the journal and the letters. The honourable member then read the observa. tions froin a paper in his band, the sum of which was, that sir J. Duckworth had stated the adverse winds to have been the cause of his not executing bis orders; that it appeared from the log, that an useless delay bad taken place in stopping the whole fleet in order to destroy some Turkish ships, when a line-of-battle ship and some small vessels would have been sufficient for that ; tbat another unnecessary delay had taken place; that the winds were fair on the 21st and 22d, and that the feet might have anchored under the walls of Constantinople, instead of at a distance of eight miles; and that an unnecessary waste of time had taken place in the negotiation, contrary to the orders of lord Collingwood, &c. He was sorry to have been obliged to state this, but if the motion was agreed to, the honourable admiral would of course be allowed sufficient time to answer.
Admiral Harvey denied that he had stated a shadow of objection to the motion. He had only requested to know the exact point for which the papers were moyed, and as be now understood the matter, it was a direct charge against admiral Duckworth. Time must of course be allowed him to see the accusation, and the papers on which it was grounded, and to prepare for his defence, in which he was persuaded he would find no great difficulty.
Mri Yorke felt great reluctance in acquiescing in this motion. The house, he contended, ought not to be rask in receiving charges of this kind against military officers ; these belonged more properly to other tribunals. If this charge had been suggested by any naval otficer, he ought to have applied to the admiralty for a court-martial. That house was the last resort, and ought never to interfere ex. cept in cases of necessity. A court-martial was much more competent to judge of such a business as this, and therefore, if be stood alone, he would oppose the motion, and take the sense of the house upon it.
Colonel Wood denied that he had consulted any paya! ! officer about the matter, as a ground of charge, nor did
be move for it as such, but only with a view to have information, which would be material on the general question.
Mr. Canning observed, that he had always felt that the motion was not altogether free from objection, but ministers had found themselves obliged to be very cautions in objecting to the production of any paper that might throw light on the general subject, lest it should afterwards be said in argument, that the late ministers had means of justification which their successors withheld. He had thought, therefore, that the paper might be produced, merely with a view to the general subject of the expedition. Now, however, the case was altered, for the hoBourable gentleman had in a manly manner stated that it was a direct charge against an individual. As far as reLated to the general subject, the house now had the information on which they might arguc; but as to the charge against the individual, that, he agreed, belonged inore properly to a court-martial.
Mr. Windham said, that as the right houjourable secretary had not ventured to interpose, lest an argument against bim should be founded on this, so be, and those about him, chose neither to oppose nor call for this motion, lest their motives should be misrepresented, and lest they should be thought to found their defence on any thing like a charge against the honourable admiral. He therefore would not enter at all into the question; thought he felt a desire to follow the reasoning of the honourable secretary, ard' observe upon it. But, as he could not do this without indirectly touching upon the points he wished to avoid, he would refrain from saying any thing farther than, that he was perfectly indifferent as to the issue of this motion.
Mr. Ward, if we heard right, stated, that there did not appear to the admiralty to be any ground of charge against admiral Duckworthi.
Mr. Ponsonby declared his intention to keep clear of the motion altogether. If they voted against it, then it might be said that they wanted to keep back information; if they voted for it, then it might be said that they wanted to defend themselves by accusing the officers charged with the execution, and therefore if the motion was persisted in, he would withdraw from the house.
Colonel Wood agreed to withdraw the motion.