Imatges de pàgina

defcribing the hardthips and cruelties sustained by her husband; it also comes out that this letter was written, not by Madame Despard, but by a friend. He would not say that it was written by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Courtenay), for he had seen some of his writings, and he might assure the hon. Gentleman that the letter in question was as far fuperior to his literary productions, as it was above the former epistolary specimens of Mrs. Despard. The whole of the contents of that letter has now been completely contradicted, and those who so confidently brought it forward, were so completely confuted, brought to shame and ridicule, that he was sure they would not venture to restate it again. He had, however, still to hope from the prudent caution of the hon. Gentleman, that whatever his private creed might be, he would not expose it to the examination of his hon. Friend (Mr. Wilberforce), on such subjects as were better to remain silent here, and he would advise the hon. Gentleinan to keep his humanity for Smith and Binns, his religion for Newgate, and his jokes for the hackney coachmen.

The House then proceeded to resolve itself into a coinmittee on the bill, when on the motion that the speaker do leave the chair,

Mr. Courtenay rose again, and contended, that not one fact adduced by him had been disproved; it evidently appeared that the prisoners had been confined in cells such as had been described, and that they were immured in a prison which was only intended for convicted felons, and not for state prisoners.

The Attorney General said, that when he first heard the pro. position, that two negatives made an affirmative, his mind was greatly puzzled indeed; but he was as much astonished when he heard the hon. Gentleman assert that, though every body denied what he advanced, still nobody contradied it; but he must only suppose that the hon. Gentleman wilhed to say something that might enable him to join in the laugh at himself.

Mr. Courtenay and Mr. Wilberforee severally explained, after which the House went into the committee on the bill, in which it was agreed that the bill should remain in- force till the 21st of May, 1799.

The report was then ordered to be received the next day.

The Secretary at War brought up accounts relative to the supplementary militia and several voluntary corps, as far as the same can be brought up. The bill for enlarging the time for the merchants of St.


Vincent's and Grenada making instalments on money advanced to them, was reported with amendments, and ordered to be read a third time the next day, if engrossed.

MILITIA EXEMPTION BILL: The House afterwards resolved itself into a committee on the bill for exempting persons ferving in volunteer corps from being ballotted into the supplementary militia. A short converfation arose in the committee between Mr. Yorke, Mr. Burdon, and Mr. Dundas.

Mr. Yörke was fearful that several persons might take improper means in order to obtain this exemption, which would tend much to injare the militia fervice

.. Mr. Burdon highly commended the activity of Mr. Dun- . das in putting the country in fuch an excellent state of defence, but in his opinion our attention to the defensive force of the country should not prevent us from training up an offensive force which might as effectually contribute to our defensive strength.

Mr. Dundas said that he had provided some new clauses that would do away all the apprehensions of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Yorke): he was likewise happy to hear the observation thrown out by another hon. Member (Mr. Burdon) respecting the propriety of providing an offensive force ; and it was his

fincere wish that Gentlemen would turn that observation seriously in their minds, as it might be proper, hereafter, to come to some resolution upon it. He would now only remark upon one advantage that would evidently arise out of it. The French, from their plans of agrandizement, had got poffeffion of an immenfe tract of coast, which must necellarily be very vulnerable in many points, with an offensive force of 15 or 20,000 men, we might be enabled so to harrafs and annoy them, that to counteract this force they would be under the neceffity of keeping no less than 100,000 men to protect their coast. Thus an offensive force would essentially encrease our defensive strength and internal security--but this fubject would soon, he hoped, be more fully and materially considered.

The new clauses were then read and agreed to; the report was received and ordered to be printed, and to be taken into further consideration the next day,

The other orders of the day were then disposed of, and the House adjourned.



On the Motion of Mr. Manning the second reading of the
Merchants Wet Dock Bill, which stood for this day, was
poftponed to Tuesday the 5th of February,

On the Motion of Alderman Sir Il'. Anderson, the second reading of the bill brought in by the Corporation of London, for making Wet Docks, which food for the next day, was poftponed to Thursday the 7th of February.

Mr. Shaw Lefevre gave notice, that after the holidays it was his intention to move for the repeal of the Acts of Par. liament, both as they related to England and Scotland, which restrained the shooting of partridges from the 1st of September to the 14th ; and likewise to extend the period of Thooting partridges from the ist of February to the 12th.

Mr. Dent gave notice of his intention to move for leave to bring in a bill to remove certain doubts respecting the place of holding the quarter sellions in the county of Lancaster.

BREACH OF PRIVILEGE. Mr. Tierney faid, he now rose to complain to the House of a breach of privilege. No man could with more than he did that the utmost publicity should be given to the proceed ings of the House. He was ready to make every allowance for the inadvertencies and inaccuracies which appeared in the reports which were published in the newspapers of the proceedings of the House, defects neceffarily arising from the hafte with which they were made up. He was convinced that in these reports there was no design studiously to mila tepresent what was said, as it was the interest of the editors that their accounts thould be as correct and perfect as possible; and, as far as he could find, there was an endeavour in all the papers to give as fair a statement, and as near the fruth, as the memory of the persons concerned enabled them to do. There was a material diftin&ion to be made, however, between the case when errors crepe into a report haftily drawn up, and another which appears several days after, and professes to be a more accurate account. In the committee on the Income Bill last Saturday. an expression had dropped from him refpecting what had been reported to have been done by a certain person to avoid the payment of the assessed taxes, and was taken up with more warmth by some persons than he imagined it deserved. To the right hon. Vol. I. 1798.




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Gentleman opposite, however, it did not seem to have given
that offence which others had taken, for in what he had ob-
ferved upon the subject, the right hon. Gentleman had con-
ducted himself with a temper, a candour, and propriety, the
kindness of which he deeply felt. Some Gentlemen called
for the name of the person alluded to in such
duced himn (Mr. Tierney) to say that nobody had a right to
call upon him to name the perfon. In the course of the ob-
Yervations he had happened to mention a ruinour which was
in generalcirculation, that a certain person, an. acquaintance
of the right hon: Gentleman, had avoidied ihe payment of his
afejfed taxes. The right hon. Gentleman, with an anxiety
to justify his friend, which did him the highest honour, after-
wards faid, that the ailution must have been to the person
lately appointed to the office of Portmaler General; and if
the allufion was to that person, stated that nothing could be
more destitute of foundation. To this he (Mr. Ticrney) had
said, that after what the right hon. Genileman had stated,
ihould the House hear nothing farther from him on the sub-
ject he certainiy was wrong; and he understood that, in this
way, nothing more was neceffary to be faid of the matter.

This conversation was differently reported in the different newspapers ; four days after the debate had taken place, and after a previous one had been given, appeared another, account, profelling to correct the other reports which had been published. To this account was peixed the name of the right hon. Gentleman, to attract more attention. After which followed what pretended to be a correct fatement of what had palled, in which no less injiiftice was clone to what the right hon. Gentleman had faid, than to what he himself had said, interspersed with political remarks, calculated io injure individuals, and to infine animofities. Of these remaks he was not disposed to take any notice, for to such things he was too much accustomed ; but the account of what passed was inaccurately ilated. This reporter had not fairly stated either the right hon. Gentleman or hinself. Io. did not state that the right hon. Gentleman had said, that if allulion was made to the perfon who lately was appointed Post Master General, he could inform the House that it was uiterly unfounded, and shat he (Mr. Tierney) had said, that if the House heard nothing more from himn on the subject, they would take it for granted that he was wrong, and that the matter was at an end. There was another ihing which was fingular in the appearance of his corrected report. The


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Times was not only a paper in great circulation, but likewife had a number of adveriisements; and therefore three columns of that Paper would juftly be considered to be worth a confiderable sum of money. He thought it highly pro'bable, therefore, ihat the Editor of the Times would not have facrificed so much of his paper, unless fome persons had thought it worth while to pay him well for the insertion of the account. So far as regarded himself, he was not affeed by the statement. He thought it was a thing which more concerned the House itself, than any individual. Cons fidering that four days had elapsed between the time when the debate took place and the insertion of this article, and the manner in which it was given, when it was evidently a deliberate attempt to call the attention of the public to what might have been forgotten, he thought that it became the House itself to take notice of it.

The Speaker observed, that if the hon. Gentleman intended to draw the attention of the House regularly to the subject, there were several modes of proceeding. He might complain of the breach of privilege committed by the printer of the paper in question, in publishing any account of the proceedings of the House at all, and the aggravation of having misrepresented what a member had said. There was an order on the journals in the year 1771, in which this mode of proceeding had been followed.

Mr. Tierney faid, he thought it concerned the honour of the House itself more than any individual, and to them he thought it rather belonged to act upon it. He thought he ought to have their asistance, rather than to be checked in bringing it under consideration. There certainly was 2 misrepresentation of what had passed, both in the statement given of what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman, and what had been said by himself.

The Speaker fail, that as there was an express order of the House prohibiting the publication of these precedings, it would be necessary to mark both the breach of privilege in publishing the report at all, and next the aggravation in misrepresenting what had been said by a member, if that was coniplained of. The latter part could not be taken


without the former. If a complaint was made, the form of proceeding in the year 1771 probably would be followed,

Mr. Tierney said, that he did complain of the misrepresentation. The Speaker then said, the form would be to complain, that X x 2


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