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other bill was made in conféquence of the emergency of the cafe, and to fupply the deficiencies that, upon a calculation, might arise by evafions or otherwife of the fum expected to be raised. The fame circumstances did not now exift; and it would be unreasonable to fuppofe, that because fome gentlemen had paid a fifth when others paid none at all, they fhould therefore continue the fame payments when an equal to ten per cent. was levied. Still, however, they were at liberty on this point to follow their own inclinations.
The queftion of adjournment paffed.
Mr. SPEAKER gave notice, that he fhould take the chair precifely at three o'clock on the following day, when he hoped there would be a fufficient attendance to enable him to proceed to bufinefs.
Tuesday, January 1, 1799.
On petition for the enclosure of fome open land,
Sir W. DOLBEN took occafion to obferve, that the growth of timber was an object of great national importance as it regarded the navy. He was forry to obferve, that timber was not planted in the grounds which had been enclofed of late years by the authority of Parliament, and that, in that particular, the public interest had been neglected. He wished to fee an order made in the House, that when fifty acres and upwards fhould be allowed to be inclofed by Parliament, a proportionable quantity of fuch land should be allotted for the growth of timber for the navy.
Honourable Mr. PIERREPOINT approved highly of the fentiments just uttered by the honourable Baronet, and hoped to fee them adopted by the Houfe.
Mr. Chancellor PITT moved the order of the day, to take into farther confideration the Income Bill.
A number of verbal amendments were propofed by Mr. Chancellor PITT, and adopted by the House.
Sir G. P. TURNER propofed an amendment to one of the claufes, for the purpose of providing that of the income of any widow or fpinster, up to the fum of 300l. a year, no more than one-twentieth be taken by this bill.
The amendment was rejected.
Sir J. PULTENEY, after taking a general view of the bill as it affected landed proprietors and commercial men, maintained the propriety of allowing to the landed intereft the fame advantage of fecrecy from the affetfor with regard to the difclofure of income as
was allowed to commercial perfons, and for that purpose he moved an amendment in the clause which includes the oath, &c.
This amendment was fupported by Sir W. Pulteney and Mr. Jones; and oppofed by Mr. Chancellor Pitt, who retained the objections he had formerly urged against it; and also by Mr. Simeon, who, although he once approved of the general principle of the amendment, was now convinced of its danger, if not impracticability.
The amendment was put and negatived.
A number of other verbal amendments were then proposed by Mr. Chancellor Pitt, and adopted by the House.
Wednesday, January 2.
Mr. Chancellor PITT faid, that having obferved a notice was given that a motion would be made after the holidays to take into confideration the ftatements made refpecting the prifon of Cold-bath Fields, it would be neceffary to lay before the Houfe fuch documents as would give it information upon that fubject, and prepare it for difcuffion. He therefore moved, that an humble addrefs be prefented to His Majefty, praying he will be gracioufly pleased to give directions for laying before the Houfe a copy of an affidavit of the keeper of the prifon in Cold-bath Fields, taken before Richard Ford, Efq. on the 31st of December laft, and also the letter written by his Grace the Duke of Portland by His Majesty's command, in confequence thereof; which was ordered.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt moved the order of the day to take into farther confideration the Income Bill, which being read, feveral verbal amendments were agreed to; and there being not a fingle claufe offered as a rider to the engroffment; the question was put that this bill do pafs.-Ordered,
And that Mr. John Smith do carry it to the Lords, and defire their concurrence.
Thursday, January 3.
Mr. SPEAKER counted the Houfe at four o'clock, and there being prefent only feventeen Members, an adjournment took place of. courfe.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Friday, January 4.
Lord GRENVILLE moved the order of the day for the third reeding of the bill for fufpending the Habeas-Corpus Act; which being read,
The Earl of SUFFOLK faid, it appeared to him neceffary that Ministers should have affigned fome reafon for this bill before they proposed it to the Houfe; he wanted to know what they had to alledge in that particular? To bring forward a measure, at all times grievous, without any neceffity for it, was highly unjust ; and of the neceffity of it, there was no proof given by His Majesty's Minifters. At the fame time he acknowledged, that if the State was in danger, the prefent measure ought to be adopted; his opinion of the neceffity of it was to be guided by the evidence that might be adduced, or arguments urged in its favour: but he rofe chiefly to obferve, that if Minifters were to be entrusted with fuch a power as this bill would confer upon them, they ought, at all events, and in all cafes, to use it with lenity and moderation; and here his Lord hip faid, he was led to reflect on the cafe of a gentleman who he had not seen for seventeen years; a man, he would venture to say, of as amiable manners and worthy difpofition as any he ever knew. The gentleman to whom he alluded was Colonel Despard. He knew that gentleman, and another officer of great merit, whom the noble Earl mentioned, but whofe name we did not diftinctly hear; he knew them in the fervice abroad, when his Lordship had a command of brigade. He had frequent occafions to converse with Colonel Defpard, and he was convinced, from all he faw of him, that he was a man of an amiable and excellent difpofition, equal to any he ever knew in his life. Indeed, the noble Earl faid, it was not until very lately that he knew that Colonel Defpard was in the fituation which he is, and he only happened to learn it a few days ago in converfation; and he now really knew very little of the fituation of that gentleman, and that little he derived from the information of others; and therefore, if he should happen to state any thing that was not correct, he hoped he should be excused; and, indeed, he hoped that fome of the information he had received was not The information was, that Colonel Defpard was very feverely treated in the prifon in which he is now confined; that he was kept in a cell of feven feet fquare, without fire, without light,
and without any thing to reft upon but a truckle bed. He did not, however, know this to be true; he only stated it upon the information of others. If true, it was a very hard cafe—a gentleman of fuch rank and character to be thus treated, was that which could not be juftified. There was no fpecific charge against him; and it was faid, that he was thus confined, and had been fo for fix months. He would appeal to the humanity of the noble Secretary of State; and he would alfo appeal to the humanity of all their Lordfhips, and afk, whether this was a fituation in which a gentleman of the rank and character of Colonel Defpard fhould be placed? He wished to know, whether this was a fpecies of confinement fit for a gentleman of fuch a character, and against whom there was no crime alledged. His Lordship faid, he understood that the brother of Colonel Defpard was fome time ago taken up and kept in confinement for about fix weeks. He infifted that he had not been guilty of any crime, and that he was entitled to be fet at liberty; after which he was told there was no charge against him, for that it was his brother Government wanted. These points the noble Earl mentioned only on the information of others, and he hoped they were not true to the extent they had been related to him: and if they were, he hoped that care would be taken to moderate them in future, as well as to make a mild use of the power which Government poffeffed in thefe particulars.
Having faid this, he would venture to introduce another matter before their Lordships, not indeed immediately connected with the fubject before the House, but of such a nature as to come naturally into view when any measure was confidered that had any reference to confpiracy for treafon. Perhaps he might again be abused for what he was about to do, as he had been for what he did, in fome of the newspapers; he alluded to the evidence he gave on the trial of O'Connor at Maidstone. He wished to clear himself from any imputation that had been caft upon him upon that fubject. He had indeed been wantonly and cruelly abused for the evidence he gave upon that occafion. He was in Scotland three or four months ago; and there he faw a character of the Earl of Suffolk as one of the witneffes for O'Connor, in which he was moft wantonly and most grofsly libelled, and in which it was made to appear as if he had been the intimate acquaintance of O'Connor. Now he did upon his honour most folemnly declare that he never had any converfation with O'Connor, except that about cleven years ago, and he said then what he faid now, that from that converfation he was of opinion that he never met with a more gentlemanlike man in his life, and he never heard from him a fentiment that would not do honour to
any man in England. At that time he was not above twenty-one years of age. He believed alfo that he ftated he faw him two or three times in company with the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Moira, and another gentleman, for whofe name and character he had not loft his respect on account of the difference that of late subfifted between them upon political points-he meant the late Mr. Serjeant Adair; and there he faw nothing that induced him to change his opinion refpecting O'Connor. His evidence was afterwards tortured and mifreprefented in fome of the papers devoted to the intereft of Government, and he was treated in a manner of which His Majefty's Minifters, he hoped, were afhamed. So much was he from having any defire to overftate any thing on that trial, that when the prifoner's attorney came to afk him what was the fubftance of his evidence, he infifted on feeing the brief that was to contain the questions that were to be put to him by the prifoner's counsel, and he directed every thing to be left out of the brief except that to which he could depofe as far as it regarded himself. He really stated these things because he thought it neceffary to contradict fo many libels which had gone abroad against him on account of the evidence which he gave at Maidstone. He ftated to Lord Hopeton what he had now ftated to their Lordships; and that noble Lord had faid he was much obliged to him, for that the libels which had gone abroad upon this fubject had made a very unfavourable impression. He should not trouble the Houfe any farther upon the fubject: what he had faid he conceived to be neceffary for the vindication of his own honour. He begged only to make one more obfervation on the cafe of Colonel Defpard: it was not to the confinement only of Colonel Defpard that he objected (although that was hard, if there was no specific charge against him), but also to the manner of his confinement: fuch a measure was grievous to the fubject: it might be the cafe of any other man in the kingdom. If thefe things were to be done without any reason for them, no man can be fafe.
Lord GRENVILLE faid, that all, or at least the greater number of the reasons, upon which their Lordships had thought it neceffary to fufpend the Habeas-Corpus Act laft feffion, ftill exifted, and would doubtless induce them to continue the fufpenfion. He therefore should not fay any thing more upon that fubject at prefent. With regard to the newspaper mifreprefentation of which the noble Lord had complained, he could affure him that no one abhorred more than he did thofe libels with which private and public characters of every defcription were daily affailed. Nothing was more injurious in this country than the licence now taken by the