« AnteriorContinua »
of his officers, and other assistants, and out of those events. The right hon. gencarried his lordship away to the prison tleman had had the second reading of the from which he had escaped; notwith Assessed Taxes Bill postponed to Monday standing a remonstrance from him, that next, but he had not told the House whethey had no right to lay their bands upon ther he then meant to move its second him there :
reading, or whether he proposed to move « That by a Return in the Crown-office a farther postponement; nor had the right of the 16th day of July, 1814, it appears hon. gentleman stated whether, as rumour tbat lord Cochrane was returned to serve represented, it was his intention to abanas a citizen for the city of Westminster on don this Bill altogether, and lo resort the 16th day of July 1814.
again to the property tax. In such cir. “ Having ascertained these facts, it be- cumstances some explanation was obcame the duty of your committee to con viously necessary; but having stated thus sider whether the Marshal of the King's much, he would abstain from saying more Bench, in the execution of what he con. than merely to express a wish that miceived to be his duty, has been guilty of nisters would spontaneously come forward a breach of the privilege of this House. at this interesting crisis, and make such a
“ In deliberating on a matter of such communication as was due to that House bigh importance, your Committee bave to and to the country. regret that they could find nothing in the The Chancellor of the Exchequer appreJournals of this House to guide them : the hended that if the House should continue case is entirely of a novel nature; they to sit for a short time, his noble friend the can therefore only report it as their opi. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs might nion,
be expected; but lest he should not appear “That, under the particular circum- in bis place, before the House adjourned, stances given in evidence, it does not ap- he thought it proper to state, in order to pear to your committee that the privi- prevent any misapprehensions, that it was jeges of parliament have been violated, so intended very shortly to make a commuas to call for the interposition of the nication to that House, from the Prince House by any proceedings against the Regent, of the steps which ministers were Marshal of the King's-bench.”
taking, and meant to take, at the present The Report was ordered to lie on the crisis, together with a statement of the table.
motives which had determined their conOn the motion of the Chancellor of duct. the Exchequer, the House then adjourned Mr. Whitbread disclaimed any wish to till Monday se'nnight, the 3rd of April. hurry ministers, or to exact from them any
premature communication, but he could
not forbear to express his confident hope, HOUSE OF COMMONS.
that a certain declaration, purporting to Monday, April 3.
emanate from the Congress at Vienna, was
an infamous forgery, inasmuch as it went CONGRESS AT VIENNA-DECLARATION OF to sanction the doctrine of assassination. Tue Allies.] The House met pursuant to He trusted, therefore, for the honour and adjournment. The Chancellor of the character of this country, that some of Exchequer, in moving the postponement the names annexed to that paper were of the Committee of Supply until Wednes- never authorized to sign any such docuday, took occasion to state, that on that ment. While the noble Secretary for day an important communication would Foreign Affairs was at the Congress, he be made to the House, upon the subject of was understood to combine in himself all existing circumstances.
the powers of the executive government; Mr. Whitbread said, he should be glad but it was quite impossible to suppose that to know whether any other minister was such powers were extended to lords Welexpected in the House in the course of lington, Clancarty, Cathcart, and Stewart, the evening, and whether the Secretary that they were authorized to put their for Foreign Affairs was likely to attend? names to such an infamous paper, or that An expectation very naturally prevailed they were invested with a power to dethat some communication would be made clare war against any state. to the House respecting certain extraor- The Chancellor of the Exchequer maindinary events, and the prospects, as far tained that the paper alluded to, did not in as ministers could ascertain, likely to arise any point autborize such an interpretation (VOL. XXX.)
as the hon. member had thought proper to could speak for himself without being in
fluenced by the balf articulate sounds of Mr. Whitbread observed, that in a pubo those, who meant, no doubt, to show a lication of yesterday, in which the docirine great deal of wisdom in their private hints, of assassination was unblushingly avowed, although, when they addressed the House, [Goldsmith's Anti-Gallican Monitor,] this they never happened to manifest any paper was quoted as a direct justification wisdom whatever. The hon. member of that doctrine; and referring to the pro- concluded with repeating his question, mulgation of the same doctrine from the whether the paper alluded to, was deemed same quarter, at a former period, in which authentic by ministers ? the assassination of the person now pos
The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered, sessing the government of France was that he would not be understood to say openly recommended, the hon. gentleman that that paper was disavowed by his siąted, that a noble relative of his (earl Majesty's Government. Grey) had in another place strongly pro- The motion for postponing the Com tested against that doctrine, being seconded mittee of Supply was agreed to. Upon in his reprobation of it by the marquis the motion for postponing the Committee Wellesley, who was then a member of the of Ways and Means to Wednesday, Cabinet. It would also be recollected that Mr. Whitbread observed, that the right he (Mr. W.) had, in that House, entered hon. gentleman appeared, in the course of his protest against this abominable doc. what he had said, to cast some doubt upon trine; and Mr. Perceval, who was himself, the authenticity of this infamous paper. within twelve months afterwards, the The right hon. gentleman had urged that victim of assassination, strongly disclaimed the names annexed to this paper, afforded (if, indeed, a disclaimer were necessary) a pledge that nothing inconsistent with any concurrence in such doctrine on the what was loyal, honourable, and proper, part of his Majesty's Government. Never could have been intended : that was not theless, this paper had the tendency and enough : did the right hon. gentleman the effect of unsheathing the dagger of the mean to contend that the paper itself conassassin. of this effect, indeed, there tained nothing inconsistent with loyalty, could be no doubt, as had been argued by honour, and propriety? because, if so, he the writer alluded to, who had even had was at issue with him on that point. He the hardihood to name the persons who wished to know whether the paper
alluded were fit to do the work, calling in to the to, was meant to form a part of the proaid of his recommendation this reported mised communication, and also whether Declaration from Congress, which, if words the persons whose names were attached to were to be interpreted according to their this paper, had any authority to sign such natural import, did unquestionably hold a document? out a defence for assassination. Were The Chancellor of the Exchequer expresso ministers, then, prepared to abide by and ed his opinion, that this paper contained justify such an extraordinary document? nothing to sanction the doctrine of assas
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, sination, and this was all he thought prothat ministers had in no degree departed, per to say upon the subject at present. nor were desirous of departing, from the Mr. Whitbread again asked, whether it principles of Mr. Perceval, or the senti- was intended to lay this paper before the ments of lord Wellesley, on the occasion House, with the promised communication, alluded to by the hon. member; but the and also the authority upon which it was names annexed to this paper, if it were signed by our minister ? authentic, afforded an ample pledge that No answer was made, and the House nothing inconsistent with what was loyal, adjourned. honourable, and proper, could have been intended by it.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. Mr. Whitbread asked then, whether the right bon, gentleman meant to express a
Tuesday, April 4. doubt of the authenticity of this paper; Assize of Bread.) Mr. Frankland Lewis for there seemed something consolatory in rose, pursuant to notice, to move for the his parenthesis, “ if it were authentic.' appointment of a committee, to consider Here the hon. gentleman adverted to some the existing laws with regard to the regu. muttering on the ministerial benches, oblation of the Assize of Bread, and also serving that the right hon. gentleman whether it is expedient or not to have any
established assize. The hon. member | tually brought in upon the petition of the observed, that when the Corn Bill was bakers of London. To this statute the under discussion, it was repeatedly assert- hon. gentleman attributed the greater ed by the representatives for London, part, if not the whole, of the evil comthat if the average price of corn were at plained of in the London assize. The 80s. a quarter, the quartern loaf must be hon. gentleman observed, that this subject at 16d.; and although that assertion was had been investigated by committees of disproved again and again, still it was that House heretofore, without producing confidently repeated by the city members, any material result; but the public atten. until at length no one took the trouble of tion being now so particularly directed contradicting them. But it was become towards it, it was not too much to say, obviously material to inquire, in order that the public wish should not be disapto set the matter at rest, and that no de pointed. The hon. gentleman concluded lusion or misunderstanding should prevail with moving, “ That a select committee opon a point of such importance. There be appointed to inquire into the state of were, however, other grounds upon whicb the existing laws which regulate the mathe inquiry he proposed was desirable. nufacture and sale of bread, and whether An opinion prevailed throughout the it is expedient to continue the assize country, that these laws of assize were thereon under any and what regulations ; rather productive of mischief than of good. and that they do report the matter there, But yet these laws had so long existed, of, as it shall appear to them, to the even indeed since the days of King John, House, together with their observations that it would be evidently improper to and opinion thereupon." accede, without previous inquiry, to any Mr. Rose said, that the Act of 1797, to such measure as some gentlemen pro- which the hon. gentleman had referred, posed, for doing away with these laws was not adopted without due inquiry; and altogether. On this ground, then, he con- that as to the effect of that Act, it was, ceived a committee of inquiry ought to found that the price of bread would iave be appointed. He could not think it been higher if settled by the average price proper to trouble the House with any per- of wheat, than if settled by that of fiour, plexing statement with respect to the ef- | It was undoubtedly true, that the quartern feots of the assize laws generally, nor loaf was usually cheaper in the country indeed could he think it necessary, as he than in London, sometimes, indeed, threedid not anticipate any opposition to the pence cheaper, and this circumstance motion which he was about to submit; called for inquiry. but he must say a few words as to the The motion was agreed to, and a com. operation of the assize system, with which mittee appointed. operation any member might easily make himself acquainted. It was a fact, that Escape of BUONAPARTE FROM ELBA.] in places where no assize was resorted to Mr. Fremanile asked, whether any and -for it was discretionary with the ma- what measures had been taken to prevent gistrates to act upon the law of assize or the escape of Buonaparte from the island not-the public were more favourably cir- of Elba? cumstanced. For instance, in the town Lord Castlereagh replied, that cruizers of Birmingham, where the law of assize had been with that view stationed off the was not established, and where wheat was island of Elba. at 658. a quarter, the quartern loaf was Mr. Wynn observed, that he understood' sold at 8 d. by a company too, which di- our naval officers in the Mediterranean vided 20 per cent. upon their capital. He stated, that if they even saw Buonaparte did not mean to say that this bread was at sea, they had no authority to interfere quite so white as that sold in London, but with or interrupt his progress : he, thereit was of the standard wheaten quality. fore, wished to know whether that stateIf, then, the assize laws were really be- ment was correct ? neficial, how came this difference?' Ac. Lord Castlereagh said, that he did not cording to the old law, the assize of bread mean to argue the question. was set by the price of wheat, but by a Mr. Wynn added, that he did not ask statute, applicable to London only, which the noble lord to argue, but to answer his was enacted in 1797, the assize was set question. by the price of flour; and this statute, No-answer was made. which passed as a private bill, was ac
investigate the accounts respecting the HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Civil List; and also, whether it was inWednesday, April 5.
tended to invest such committee with the ESCAPE OF BUONAPARTE PROM ELBA.) power of sending for persons, papers, and Mr. Fremantle repeated the question which records, with a view to enable that comhe had put yesterday, whether any and mittee to make a proper and satisfactory what instructions had been given to our report? officers in the Mediterranean, to prevent 'The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, the departure of Buonaparte from the that it was bis intention in a day or two island of Elba:
to move for the appointment of a comLord Castlereagh replied, that no other mittee, upon the subject alluded to, but instructions had been given than to make he could not admit the propriety of desuch a distribution of our force as might viating from the usual practice on such serve to confine Napoleon at Elba. There occasions. was certainly an understanding with our Mr. Tierney then gave notice of his inofficer stationed al Elba, that Napoleon tention to move on Friday se’nnight, to was to be confined within certain limits, refer the Civil List accounts to a commitand that he should not be allowed to ex- tee, and to invest such committee with a ceed those limits.
power to send for persons, papers, and reMr. Fremantle asked, whether there had cords, with a view to ascertain how the been any instructions sent to our naval enormous expenses and debts, which these officers upon this subject, and whether the accounts stated, had been accumulated. noble lord had any objection to produce a copy of those instructions :
HOUSE OF LORDS. Lord Castlereagh said, there was no positive instruction, but an understanding.
Thursday, April 6. Mr. Tierney inquired, whether it was to PRINCE REGENT'S MESSAGE RELATING be understood, that no precautionary mea- TO The Events in FrancE.] The Earl sures had been issued to our officers to of Liverpool presented a Message from his prevent Buonaparte from going to any royal bighness the Prince Regent, relative part of the world he thought proper ? to the proceedings adopted by his Ma
Lord Castlereagh declined to say any jesty's Government in consequence of the thing farther upon this subject at present, events that have recently taken place in as there would be ample opportunity of France. (For a copy of the Message, see discussing it—and from that discussion he the proceedings of the Commons of this would not be found to shrink.
day.) The Message having been read, it Mr. Wynn observed, that upon examio- was ordered, on the motion of the earl of ing the papers laid on the table, he did Liverpool, to be taken into consideration not find any copy of that signed by the to-morrow. noble lord, with regard to the stipulations Earl Grey asked, what part of the engageupon Buonaparte's abdication, and he ments entered into with the allied Powers wished to know whether the noble lord at Paris had been violated, and were had any objection to have this paper laid referred to in the Message as having been before ihe House, as it was desirable to violated ? have it officially?
The Earl of Liverpool said, that the Lord Castlereagh said, that he had no events which had recently occurred had, objection whatever to the production of as he should explain to-morrow, violated the paper alluded to, and therefore the all the engagements concluded at the time hon. gentleman might move for it. alluded to, as well the Treaty concluded
Mr. Wynn soon afterwards moved for a at Paris on the 31st of May, as that con. copy of the Treaty concluded at Paris, on cluded at Fontainbleau on the ilth of the i1th of April, 1814, between the Allied April., Powers and the emperor Napoleon, to- Earl Grey said, that no communication getber with the accession of the British had been made to the House of the Treaty Government thereto. Ordered accord- of Fontainbleau. Some articles certainly ingly:
had been communicated, but they were
not such of the articles as could be con. Civil List.) Mr. Tierney asked, whe- ceived to bave been violated by the recent ther it was the intention of the right hon. occurrences. If, therefore, it was com. gentleman to move for a committee to plained that any of the articles of the
Treaty of Fontainbleau had been violated, reasons for avoiding such an expression of it was necessary that they should be pro- opinion on the part of the House ; but his duced before the House could come 10 Majesty's ministers, of all men, should be any opinion on the subject. No one la- the most desirous not to come to any preniented more sincerely than he did the mature declaration, and to avoid provoking necessity which bad called for a commu• discussion, in which conflicting opinions nication from the Crown; and no one, he might be expressed, wbich could not fail could assure the House, was more sensible to be detrimental to whatever line of policy than he was of the danger threatened by it might be found expedient to pursue. the events alluded to in the Message. Before any opinion was given on this subThose events were most ruinous, and ject, it was most material that they should placed the country in a situation in which have information, which it was impossible the greatest precautions were necessary; they could now possess. The time had and looking at ibe iwo points contained in been too short, the accounts too contradicthe Message simply and by themselves, tory, the narrators too deeply interested, they would meet with his approbation. to enable their lordships to form a correct As he understood the terms of the Address, idea of the internal state of France. in consequence of the recent events in Before they expressed an opinion which France, the Prince Regent had been ad- might place the nation in a state of war, it vised 10 augment 'bis forces by sea and was most important to be acquainted with land. No one, he thought, could doubt the feeling of our Allies on the subject. that such a step was most advisable under Now, there had been no opportunity for all the circumstances of the present crisis. us to receive accounts from Vienna, of a It was stated, in ihe next place, that his date subsequent to the time when intelliRoyal Highness had taken measures to gence was first received of the events which produce the most intimate concert with his had put the present ruler of France in allies, the object of wbich was to be the possession of the supreme authority in the permanent security of Europe. A good capital of that country. He should not at object, undoubtedly, and the means, too, that time express his feelings respecting were such as could alone produce such an the paper which purported to be a Declaend. Of these two measures mentioned in ration of the allied Powers, lest he might the Message, very different opinions might throw an obstacle, by premature discusbe expressed, according io the views sion, in the way of any explanation which taken of them. He approved of them on might hereafter be given of this docua defensive principle merely, and as the ment. But it was impossible that the means of preserving peace, supposing feelings of the Allies, onder the present peace might be preserved, consistently circumstances, could have been yet ascerwith good faith to our Allies. If that good tained; and it was most necessary that faith could be preserved wbile we remained they should be ascertained, before a at peace; a war, be thought, should not be question of such importance as that of resorted to. That, however, was not the peace or war should be decided upon. time to press that opinion upon their lord. The measures which were communicated ships: he should leave that point for the in the Message, left that question entirely discussion of to-morrow, and he would open; and if the Address went to approve consent to leave it for discussion at some simply of those measures, and no farther, future time, when they might be in pos. he should not oppose it. If, however, session of all the necessary information, contrary to his just expectations, and his provided the Address did not pledge the ardent wishes, the Address wbich was to House to any opinion, that the two steps be proposed, should commit their lordships which had been taken, (viz. the augmen- to a declaration of hostilities, if the Allies tation of forces, and the taking measures were found willing to consent to such a to produce concert in the alliance) were course, he should feel it his duty to Jissent proper, with a view to a declaration of from it. He had thought it right to tres. war against the present ruler of France. pass thus far upon their lordships' attenWith this inclination to a pacific policy, tion, wishing to come to an early underhe was most unwilling that the House standing on the subject, and not with any should be pressed to give any opinion as view to premature discussion; and he to the propriety of war or peace. Those earnestly boped that it would be onnewho might be inclined to an opposite cessary for him to offer any opposition to policy had, he thought, still stronger the Address.