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right honorable gentleman, that such a young member, was as little pardonable for any error, as the oldest member of the house. On the present occasion, however, he must contend that his honorable friend had not merited the reproof, which the right honorable gentleman, the veteran statesman of four years experience-the Nestor of twenty-five, had been pleased to bestow on him. Mr. Sheridan now proceeded to the main question; and reminded the house, he had opposed the bill, called the office-fee-reform bill, when originally brought in, as a bill of ostentation and parade; rather than a bill likely to prove of solid advantage and utility; and he was now convinced it had been what he then described it to be; since it appeared, from what the honorable gentleman near him, (Mr. Baring) he said, the commissioners had begun at the wrong end, and gone in search of abuses, where no abuses could have existed. The honorable gentleman had said, the commissioners went first into the office of the Old Board of Trade; a curious beginning-to search what abuses had been formerly practised in an office which no longer existed!-They had next gone into the Secretary of State's offices; the offices of all others least likely to be pregnant with abuses. If any abuse was there, it was, that the deputy Secretary of State, whose duty was arduous and important, were by no means sufficiently paid. But it was in vain to say what the commissioners had done, since the honorable gentleman confessed himself unfit to be a commissioner; for, he had expressly told the house, it had cost him more trouble to write a single line of a report, than it would take him to pen an entire report of the commissioners of accounts. The right honorable gentleman's bill (Mr. Sheridan said) he had never considered as an exclusion of all future inquiry and yet, from the right honorable gentleman's argument of that day, he seemed so to regard it;
for, notwithstanding that the, facts stated in the opening of the present subject, by his honorable friend, had all of them been substantiated and established by evidence; yet, the right honorable gentleman was for leaving them for the correction of the commissioners, when they should have leisure to attend tot hem. It appeared, indeed, the right honorable gentleman had surrendered his understanding when he brought in the bill; and was determined to hear only with Mr. Baring's ears, and to see with the eyes of Sir John Dick; and, therefore, he could not pay the least attention to the representations of the noble Earl of Tankerville. But as he did not accuse the commissioners of celerity for they had hitherto moved as slowly as the old mails-he wished they would step to the Post-office, where probably they might be benefitted by Mr. Palmer's accelerating plan. Mr. Sheridan read a clause from the bill, to shew that the transactions relative to the 3501. and the 2001. as well as the affair of the agency to the Helvoetfluys packets, came directly within the meaning of the clause; declaring, any person or persons guilty of such practices, should be incapable of serving His Majesty in any civil capacity in future. The right honorable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) appeared to plume himself upon his political connections with a noble Lord (Hawkesbury) and sacrificing to these, he had dismissed from office the noble Earl of Tankerville, and retained the noble Lord (Carteret,) although by the office-fee bill, if it had passed into a law, the latter, on the present charge being proved, must have been disqualified from holding any office under government. But this was done to reward Mr. Jenkinson's public services,-secret services, and services in that house. Indeed, his many eminent services could not be forgotten by the right honorable gentleman, as on a very recent occasion, he overturned his own favorite measure, by destroy
ing the Irish propositions. This was one of the secret services for which he had so meritoriously received a recompence.
Lord Maitland, who undertook the defence of the Post-office, had early in the debate moved the previous question; which being carried, his lordship made a motion, "that the farther consideration of the report be adjourned to that day three months. This was likewise carried.
REFORM OF THE ROYAL BOROUGHS IN
Mr. Sheridan now begged leave to call the attention of the house to the motion, which he had several days before promised, concerning the internal reform of the royal boroughs of Scotland. He would not, at this late period of the session, enter deeply into the subject; as the gentlemen entrusted with the direction of the new system for the better government of the boroughs, had no idea of its being fully canvassed previously to the next session of parliament. All that he, therefore, meant to propose was, for leave to present to the house the various petitions in favour of the measure. That which he held in his hand, was from the inhabitants of the city of Glasgow; containing nearly 1,500 signatures of men, in every view, of the highest respectability and independence. He, however, was sorry to observe, that he had been informed, from authority, that the prayer of the petitioners could not, according to the regulations of the house, be considered, this session of parliament; the time of receiving private petitions having expired, and this being supposed to come under that description. Although he very much respected the source of intelligence from whence this opinion was derived; yet, he was free to say, that a petition, containing the signatures of such a numerous class of men, certainly could not, strictly speaking, be considered as a private petition; but was, in every sense of the word, a public petition; and, consequently demanded the
attention of parliament. He read an extract from it, which stated the great hardships which the petitioners, and the people of Scotland, suffered, from the present corrupt government of the royal boroughs; particularly so far as related to the ma-. nagement of the revenue;-that acts of enormity and peculation existed; and that the petitioners prayed that the house would take the subject into consideration, and enact such a salutary reform, as to them, in their wisdom, should seem necessary. Mr. Sheridan concluded, by moving for leave to present the petition.
The Speaker, considering it in the light of a private petition, gave his opinion against the motion. Mr. Fox supported it; and said he considered the petition of as public and universal a nature, as any which had ever been presented. Mr. Dundas moved, "that the house should now adjourn." Mr. Anstruther was surprised, that the matter had not sooner been brought forward; he being informed that many of the gentlemen had been several months in town.
Mr. Sheridan defended the conduct of the gentlemen who officiated as delegates from Scotland. He declared, that their attention to the trust reposed in them by their countrymen, deserved the highest panegyric; as he never saw any description of men more sincerely, or more warmly, bent upon the particular object of their pursuit. Previous to their residence in London, they had shown the most active attachment to the laudable plan which had been brought forward; and, although they had been several weeks in town, their time was strictly occupied in the duties incumbent upon them. They had visited, and solicited, all the representatives from their own country; who had, to a man, rejected their proffers; refusing to countenance a reform, which militated so essentially against the interest of their constituents. The gentlemen alluded to were not, however, discouraged; but proceeded with that manly perseverance and fortitude, which should always command success. If the question of adjournment was now carried, he pro
mised that the business should be resumed, as early
Mr. Dundas's question of adjournment was carried.
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
*On the 19th of April, Mr. Francis opened the charge relative to the revenues of Bengal. He took this occasion of vindicating his character against certain malicious insinuations, which had been industriously circulated both within and without the house; and to the effects of which he attributed the rejection of his name, in the appointment of the committee. Mr. Francis was answered by Major Scott. After other members had spoken, the question was put, and the committee divided—ayes 71; noes 55. On the 25th of April, Mr. Burke brought up from the secret committee the articles of impeachment; which being read a first time, were ordered to be printed, and to be taken into consideration on the 9th of May. Upon the latter day, after much discussion, the house divided on the question, whether the report "should be now read a second time?" which was carried in the affirmative, by 175 to 89. After which, the first article of impeachment was read, and agreed to without a division; and the rest deferred till the morrow, when they were read, amended, and agreed to. Mr. Burke then rose, and moved, “That Warren Hastings, esq. be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors upon the said articles." The question was put, and carried. Mr. Frederick Montagu next rose, and moved, "That Mr. Burke, in the name of the house of commons, and of all the commons of Great Britain, do go to the bar of the house of lords, and impeach Warren Hastings, esquire, late governor-general of Bengal, of high crimes and misdemeanors; and do acquaint the lords, that the commons will, with all convenient speed, exhibit articles against him, and make good the same." The motion being agreed to, the majority of the house immediately attended Mr. Burke to the bar of the house of peers; where Mr. Burke solemnly impeached Mr. Hastings in the form above-recited. On the 11th, Mr. Burke reported to the house, that he had been at the bar of the house of lords, and had impeached Mr. Hastings, in obedience to their commands. He then moved, that the message from the lords, appointing a day for the trial of Mr. Hastings, be read; which was done accordingly. He next moved, "that managers be appointed to make good the articles of impeachment against Warren Hastings, esquire; and that the committee, to whom it was referred to consider the defence of Warren Hastings, be the said managers.
* Abstract of proceedings continued from that under the head of April 3.