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of this fund to its destined object :-he proposed, he said, to vest in a certain number of commissioners the full power of disposing of it in the purchase of stock for the public, in their own names. These commissioners should receive the annual million by quarterly payments of £250,000, to be issued out of the exchequer before any other money, except the interest the national debt itself: by these provisions the fund would be secured; and no deficiencies in the national revenues could affect it; but such must be separately provided for by parliament. The accumulated compound interest on a million yearly, together with the annuities that would fall into that fund, would, he said, in twenty-eight years amount to such a sum as would leave a surplus of four millions annually to be applied, if necessary, to the exigencies of the state. In appointing the commissioners he should, he said, endeavor to choose persons of such weight and character as corresponded with the importance of the commission they were to execute. The Speaker of the house of commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Master of the Rolls, the Governor and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, and the AccountantGeneral of the High Court of Chancery, were persons who, from their several situations, he should think highly proper to be of the number. Mr. Pitt concluded by moving, "That the sum of one million be annually granted to certain commissioners, to be by them applied to the purchase of stock, towards discharging the public debt of this country; which money shall arise out of the surplus, excess, and overplus monies, composing the fund commonly called the Sinking Fund."
Mr. SHERIDAN observed, that there was, in point of fact, no surplus whatever in the present year; a circumstance evinced not only by the report itself, but by the whole of the right honorable gentleman's speech that day. The day had commenced very inauspiciously; and when he used that phrase he meant no disrespect to His Majesty; but merely to hint at the royal message relative to the civil list, which was an extraordinary introduction surely to a business, the event of which the public had been taught to look forward to with the pleasing expectation of finding a surplus in their favour. He was a little surprised, that the right honorable gentleman, who, when he two years ago asked for £60,000 to clear the debt then due on the civil list, had in a manner pledged himself to the house that no farther debts should arise, and that the house
should not again be applied to for farther grants on the subject, should come again so soon for so large a sum of the public money.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt said, across the house, Oh no, I never said any such thing.
Mr. Sheridan replied, the right honorable gentleman must excuse him; words said at so remote a period might be forgotten; but he was clear in his recollection of the circumstances; and indeed it was evident he must have used some such argument, or else why should the right honorable gentleman have asked for £60,0000 two years ago, and come down again then, and claim grants for an arrear of so large an amount as £210,000.
To this Mr. Pitt replied, that he considered it “ as the most extraordinary attack that was ever made upon him. Mr. Sheridan had said, words might be forgotten after they had been said: it was undoubtedly true; but it was also true, that words might be misrepı esented; and if ever he had heard a gross misrepresentation of his words, it had been the charge stated by the honorable gentleman," &c.
Mr. Sheridan replied, that the right honorable gentleman might indulge himself as much as he pleased in throwing out charges of misrepresentation; but he had spoken what, in his opinion, as well as in the opinion of several gentlemen in that house, was a true statement of the right honorable gentleman's own words. If 60,000l. was asked for as the debt two years ago, how came it that 210,0007. was now wanted? As to the idea of redeeming a mortgage of 50,000l. a year on the civil list, why had not that been regularly paid, since government were answerable for it?
The question was then put, and agreed to.
MR. MARSHAM'S BILL FOR DISFRANCHISING ALL VOTERS EMPLOYED BY THE NAVY AND
Mr. SHERIDAN declared, that the right honorable and learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) had truly said, that he never made an assertion without being ready to shew his face at the same time; for he believed the house would agree with him, that the right honorable and learned gentleman had never advanced an argument, however irreconcileable with reason or logic, upon which he had not been perfectly ready to put a good countenance. With regard to the right honorable and learned gentleman's dish of disfranchisements; he, of all men, should not have set it before the house; who doubtless must well remember that the right honorable and learned gentleman had not only, first, been induced to nibble a little at a plate or side dish filled with the same ingredients, but had afterwards been brought to sit down to a whole course of dishes of that sort; when the right honorable and learned gentleman's right honorable friend near him had served up his grand entertainment of parliamentary reform. The object of that reform had been, not to disfranchise a single description of men merely, but a large number of voters from many different boroughs.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt denied this assertion.
Mr. Sheridan thanked the right honorable gentleman for his correction; and said, he recollected the people were to be paid for giving up their franchises; which suited his argument better ;because every body knew where money was in the case, the right honorable and learned gentleman would be better pleased. But, how unconstitutional was the idea of purchasing with a bribe, that which
it had ever been contended no Englishman could sell or part with for money-his unalienable right of voting at an election! He next alluded to what Lord Mulgrave had said, respecting that man's deserving to lose his head, who used the influence of the crown improperly.
His lordship rose to set Mr. Sheridan right; and repeated his words, declaring he had said, that man ought to lose his head, who exercised the powers of government in the manner alluded to.
Mr. Sheridan resumed his argument; and was glad to find the expression was ought to lose his head; because if it had been would have lost his head, the right honorable and learned gentleman would not, in all probability, that day had a face to have shewn in that house. Mr. Sheridan animadverted upon part of Sir Charles Middleton's speech; declaring that there must be something exceedingly pure and patriotic indeed in the blood of those shipwrights, who condescended to work in the King's yards for 2s. 4d. per day, when the honorable baronet had stated they could get 5s. per day in the merchants' yards.
EAST INDIA AFFAIRS.
The order of the day having been read for the house to resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, the Speaker left the chair, having previously put the question on the motion "That the several reports which since the year 1772, have been made from the committees of secrecy appointed to inquire into the causes of the war in the Carnatic; and of the condition of the British possessions in those parts; and from the select committees appointed to take into consideration the state of the administration of justice in the provinces of Bengal, Buhar, and Orissa, be referred to the said committee."
Mr. SHERIDAN contended that the house were not then sitting as judges; nor did Mr. Hastings want an advocate; neither was the loss of thirteen provinces, nor of a whole army, at all in point to the subject under consideration. But he owned he
was a good deal surprised at hearing the learned Lord Advocate so severe on the noble earl (Cornwallis); for when he talked of the loss of an army, he presumed the learned lord must have meant him; and surely the noble earl was, at this time, a favorite with administration! Their granting to him the post of governor-general, proved clearly that his sins were forgiven him, and his pardon signed. If the committee were rightly to adhere to forms, they had it not in their power to receive any charge, notwithstanding the charge had been called for so often. He desired that the order of the day might be minutely and distinctly read; which being done, he contended that the order clearly confined them to the examination of the written, and to the receipt of the parole evidence ; and that the natural duty of the committee would be to make a report; out of which report the house would have to draw and extract the charge. If therefore the arguments of the gentlemen on the other side of the house were to prevail, the report must certainly be to this effect: "Your committee have not examined the evidence, which you referred to us, and directed us to investigate; but we report the charge, which you did not direct us to receive."
SUPPLY TO BE GRANTED TO HIS MAJESTY.
Mr. SHERIDAN begged leave to remind the right honorable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) that he had misunderstood him on a former day, when he had talked of the right honorable gentleman's having pledged himself that there should be no future debt accrue from the civil list. He then drew an inference from what the right honorable gentleman had that day said, that if His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales should find his income too small, and application should be made to that house, that the right