Page images
PDF
EPUB

breach of the practice of parliament; but that to do this with a knowledge that the part so facked was disagreeable to the other branch of the legislature, was highly dangers ons and unconstitutional.' He admit:ed that this doce trine had been applied by Mr. Hatsel to the tacking to money bills, measures unconnected with the supply, but contended, that the principle exten:led to preclude the house from any course that would reduce the other house to the alternative he had stated. If, therefore, the house should see no reason, founded upon parliamentary usige, for declining the course he bad to propose, why insert the grant in the appropriation act: why cloy the supplies of the year with a measure that would endanger their passing the other house? The proposition upon which the grant rested, was one on which not only the present house of commons entertained a difference of opinion, but a foriner house of commons had rejceted. And there was as much reason to think, that any other assembly would differ froin the present house of coinmons, as that the former house of commons had differed from it. If ever there had been a case in which the grant should be carried into effect by a separate act, it was the present. He should ask any honourable member to shew any case in which two votes fouuded upon the same principle, had been carried into effect, one by a separate bill, the other by insertion in the appropriation act. If there was no similar case, then this: was a new case, and it was competent to the house to exercise its discretion upon it. The house would therefore decide, whether under all the circumstances of the case it" would prefer the separate or the general appropriation act.; He should move that a bill be brought in pursuant to the resolution of the committee of supply,

The resolution was entered as read, and on the question

being put,

Mr. Palmer observed, that the late chancellor of the exchequer had coresented to have the claims of bis relative referred to a committee, though in consequence of the change of adininistration no such committee liad been appointed. It had therefore been a disappointa ment to his father to find that his claiins had been resisted by the present chancellor of the excheqner. When he was returned to parliament he had waited on the present chancellor of the exchequer to ascertain what course he VOL. III.--1809.

4 B

[ocr errors]

tvas to take, and thaí right honourable ge tleman had candidly informed him of hisinten ion to oppose the chims. On his complaining of the hardships of his father's ca e,i being denied a frir hearinr, before the only tribunal to which he could appeal, the chancellor of the exchequer had ase sured him, that the case should be fairly heard, though he would not flyter bin, ibat the weight of his opinion would not be exercised against him in the house. . He thinked the right honourab!c re: tleman for his candour, lamenting, that the weight of an opinion, high as it must be with the house, should be thrown into the scale against him, and on applying to bim for advice respecting the course he was to lake, he had been referred to the s eaker. In consequence of the press of public business, he had been induced to put off his motion so long as be had done, especially as he was assured tha: he could not accomplish his objiet till a Inte sage of the session. The right bo. pourable gentleman had given the consent of the crown for referring the business to a committee, wbich commitiee had sanctioard une claim by iis report. He had been blamed for bringing this bill forward, but in that he had only followed the course pointert out by the house. When so large a majority of that house had decided for the claim, he had every expectation the bill would pass quietly through the lords. He thought the arrears at least would not be opposed. As soon as he understood that an oppo. sition was intenderl in another place, he had abandoned the bill by omiting to move the third reading. The right honourable gentleman had taken it then up, and sent it to the lords. With respect to the present bill proposed to be brought in, he was not concerned in it, and he would leave to the house to act upon the subject as it should think proper.. He only begged to be spared the expence of a measure which could not succeed in the other house, though he should have no apprehension upon the subject if he was sure of a fair Ircaring in the lords." Here

The Speaker reminded the honourable member that it was not in order, to advert to the proceedings of the other house in such a mauncr.

A short conversation ensued on the point of order; afier which

Mr. Palmer concluded by deprecating the bill, and the unecessary and ineffectual expence that would attend it.

Mr. Irindham bore testiinony to the candid and manly

manner in which the honourable member had conducted this business throughout. But it was neither that, nor the effect the present proceeding would have upon the interests of his relative, that made him rise, but to remind the house of the situ nion in wbich it was to be placed. The right honourable gentleman, in the pains he had taken to search for cases, resembled the man who built a costly edifice upon another man's ground. He had shewn what course the house might take if the matter was now intire, viz. that it may cirry its vote into effect either by a separate bill, or a clause in the appropriation act. That would be correct in point of form, but would it be so in point of justice? The house had already decided upon the course it was to take. It had been agreed after a division in the commit ce, that the vote should be carried into effect by a clatise in the appropriation act.

What had since happened to change that course? A number of the members who had yoted for that course, had left town, upon a supposition that no alteration would take place. The house was precluded from resorting to any other course. The effect of all the right honourable gentleman's labour was to produce five cases which did not apply, being grants upon condition; several other of his cases were irrelevant, being grants for public works, and the only case that did apply, that of captain Rach, the house knew nothing of. All the right honourable gentlemın stated was, that the house might adopt either of two courses, but he contended that they were in justice bound not to take the business out of the course that the house had decided upon, and particularly as the case was no longer before the same judges. As to what had been said, respecting the impropriety of not giving the lords an opportunity of exercising tlreir judgment upon this as upon the other part of the case, he would a-k, was there any grant on which a difference of opinion may not prevail ? There was no grant in which the lords ought so readily to concur as a grant of money for public services. The sense of the house had in no instance been more strongly or deliberately expressed. The case rested upon the truth, the argument, and the evidence.! It had been carried by no undue influence, and could not be called a puty question, unless the right honourable gentleman should call that a party question on which be had been beaten. He then proceede to cola demn this system of reconsideration at the end of a session as a dangerous practice. It was not an appeal from Philip

case.

drunk to Philip sober, not from a thin house to a full bouse, but from a full house to a less full house : he con: cluded by expressing his dissent to the motion.

Mr. Il. Browne observed, that this appeared to him a question wholly independant of the merits of Mr. Palıner's

Ac's of appropriation, he thought, ought not be loaded with any extraneous votes. If the resolution had passed unanimously after discussion in this house, there would be reason to suppose, that it would be viewed in the same light by any of the other enlightened assembly. But great difference of opinion had not only prevailed upon the subject of this vote in that house, bat out of doors; and it was his opinion, that the other branch of the legislature should not be derived of the opportunity of unres'rained judgment upon the measure. The honourable gentleman then entered into a justification of the grant to the duke of Athol, and concluded by expressing a wish that the busi, ness should undergo every proper discussion.

Sir Thomas Turton agreed, that in the present case, the house was not to decide upon the merits of Mr. Pal mer's claim, but upon the conduct of his majesty's mi. nis'ers. The chancellor of the exchequer had referred to the authority of Mr. Flatsel, but tha' honourable gentleman had given the assent of the crown to the proposition, and, upon the same authority, he would siate, that to give such assent when he meant to oppose the proposition, was unparliamen'ary. He should at least have remained neuler, and not have requested the support of his friends. The cases produerd by the right honourable gentleman did not apply, any one, to this case. lle defied any man to shewy any case of a debt que from the public to an individual, that was not included in the appropriation act. He had not been long in parliamcuit, but, though he may not be thoroughly acqnainted with its usages, he knew enough of parliamentary courtesy to say, that it was not proper, in a parliamentary view, when any individual brought forward a bill, which was read a first and second time, to take that out of his hands without any communication with hin.

Mr. G. Johnstone defended his right honourable friend (the chancellor of the exchequer) from the imputations of the honourable barone!, who, he thought, it confirmed in the opinions he expressed of his right honourable friend, ought not to h.vc addressed hiin as he had done. For hins

[ocr errors]

self he should never feel amity towards any person of whom he could entertain such opinions. When his right honourable friend had given the consent of the crown to this proposition, he had distinctly stated, that he gave that consent only that the question should be investigated, and at the same time declined any pledge upon the subject. All the cases quoted by his right honourable friend, appeared to him to be perfectly in point. He then contended, that the measure should be sent up to ihe lords in a shape in which that house should have an opportunity of exercising their unfettered discretion and judgment.

Mr. Tierney thought that so far as the sense of parliament could go, Mr. Palmer had a claim upon the public for 51,0001. This was the first time that a private bill was brought in against the will of the individual who was concerned. Where were the officers to go for their fees? Mr. Palmer disclaimed the bill. What was the reason of all this? the mortified pride of the right honourable gentlema. He had heard that no chancellor of the exchequer had ever been in five minorities on a question of finance. The reason was, that other chancellors of the exchequer had sense enough to see when there was danger in the wind, and wit enough to avoid it, by not pressing against the marked sense of the house, a measure upon which the þouse had repeatedly decided. The right honourable gentleman then proceeded to show, that none of the cases cited by the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer, would conclude this case. The right honour. able gentleman had not come down lower than 1787 in the cases which he had quoted. It remained for him to quote instances since. There appeared a case of a Dr. Carmi. chael Smith, to whom, for his discovery of fumigation by nitrous acid, a sum of 5,0001. had been granted by address to his majesty. The lords knew nothing of this grant, which was inserted in the appropriation act of the following year, to make good a like sum issued pursuant to an address of the house. The grant to Mr. Martin, an American loyalist, of 20,0001. as compensation, the grant to Messrs. Chaliners and Cowey, and the grant to Maynooth college in the present year, had been inserted in the ap. propriation act, without the lords having any opportunity of discussing the merits of the grants. The right honourable gentleman had challenged any gentleman to produce a case, in which an arrear and a prospective annuity were granted, and either was included in the appro

« PreviousContinue »