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symbolically expressed by his holding his own India bill in his hand. After diverting the house excessively with these and other laughable ideas, Mr. Sheridan returned to seriousness, and read a passage from the journals in the reign of Charles II. to shew that secret influence then prevailed; and what was not a little remarkable, he said, was, the agent's name was Temple; but he happened to be only in progress to nobility; and was a simple baronet, not a peer. He went at considerable length into the question at issue between the prerogative of the crown and the privileges of the commons; and illustrated by several very apt and beautiful examples, the new idea of Mr. Fox, that the practice of our constitution was more perfect than the theory.
The majority, who were now persuaded that the new administration were only to be withheld by their fears, from putting an end to the session, resolved to render such a step highly dan gerous at least, if not impossible. With this view, as soon as the question for reading the order of the day was carried, on a division of 232 to 193, and the speaker had left the chair, the two following resolutions were moved in the committee, and passed without a division.-1st. That it is the opinion of this committee, that for any person or persons in His Majesty's Treasury or in the Exchequer, or in the Bank of England, employed in the payment of the public money, to puy, or direct or cause to be paid, any sum or sums of money, for or towards the support of the services voted in this present session of parliament, after the parliament shall have prorogued or dissolved, if it be prorogued or dissolved before any act of parliament shall have passed appropriating the supplies to such services, will be a high crime and misdemeanor, a daring breach of the public trust, derogatory to the fundamental privileges of parliament, and subversive of the constitution of this country."-2nd." That it is the opinion of this committee, that the chairman of the com mittee be directed to move the house, that the bill for punishing mutiny and desertion, and for the better payment of the army and their quarters, be read a second time on Thursday the 23d of February next.”.
The immediate dissolution of parliament being thus far rendered iæpracticable, two resolutions of a more direct and hostile nature were moved by the Earl of Surrey. The first," That in the present situation of His Majesty's dominions, it was peculiarly necessary that there should be an administration which
had the confidence of that house and the public." It was objected to this resolution that the name of His Majesty had been perhaps accidentally and certainly very improperly omitted; and it was proposed by Mr. Dundas to amend the motion by inserting instead of the words, "this house and the public," the following, "the crown, the parliament, and the people.” As this amend ment was merely proposed for the purpose of pointing out the factious spirit of the resolution, it was rejected without a divi. sion. The second resolution" That the late changes in His Majesty's councils had been immediately preceded by danger. ous and universal reports, that the sacred name of the king had been unconstitutionally used to affect the deliberations of parliament; and that the appointments made were accompanied by circumstances new and extraordinary, and such as did not conciliate or engage the confidence of that house." The fact principally insisted upon as the ground of this resolution was, the rumor respecting the communication from the king to several peers, touching the India bill, through Earl Temple. In answer to those who required some further proof of this transaction, it was remarked, that the fact would only be known to three parties, to the peers to whom the communication was made, -to the great personage from whom it came and to the noble earl who conveyed it. That it was not to be supposed the first should come voluntarily forward to divulge what might be con sidered as a confidential conversation with the certainty of incur ring the severest displeasure of the court. That if it were false, it might reasonably have been expected that the ministers then in office would have received authority from His Majesty to contradict a report so injurious to the honor of the crown; but at all events, that the noble earl was bound, when he heard that the house was proceeding upon those reports to come forward and clear himself. Another fact was related to the Committee by General Ross, which though denied by a near relation of the party in the house, and never substantiated so fully as to ground any further proceedings thereon, yet appeared to have great weight in the determinations of the members. The matter was, that a few days before, one of the lords of His Majesty's bed-chamber, whom he afterwards named to be the Earl of Galloway, had desired to see him at his house, where he told him that if he voted against the new administration that day, he would be considered as an enemy to the king.
Mr. SHERIDAN said he thought it right to inform the honorable general that he ought not to mention the name of the noble lord in a committee; he could only do it in the house. Mr. Sheridan declared, he by no means approved of those who had been adverse to every thing fair and reasonable,
all of a sudden turning short, and affecting great earnestness to promote inquiry. With regard to the motion, he said it was absolutely necessary. Why did not the noble earl, who had been so often alluded to of late, come fairly within the bar, as other noble lords had done at different periods of our history before him, and fulfil the promise given to that house by an honorable gentleman, (his relation) a few weeks since; when it had been declared, that he had given back the seals he had received, into His Majesty's hands, and returned to a private station, in order to make himself completely amenable to any inquiries into his conduct that house might think proper to institute? The noble earl might in that situation have an opportunity of fully clearing his character, by answering to such questions as should be put to him on the veracity of a gentleman; he would not say on the honour of a nobleman, because he might then be suspected of meaning to utter a satire on the peerage.
After a warm debate on the latter motion in which the most pointed personalities were cast and retorted from both sides of the house, at seven in the morning the committee divided.-For the motion 196; against it 54.
COMMITTEE ON THE STATE OF THE NATION.
The resolution which passed on the 12th of January, would proba bly at any other period, have operated directly against the ministry; but the stake was too deep to be hastily thrown away; and an attempt was therefore made to evade the consequences of that vote, by considering it as too generally worded, to convey any direct censure on the members of the present administration. In order therefore to bring this point to a more direct issue, the following resolution was moved by Lord Charles Spencer in the Committee on the state of the nation. "That it having been declared to be the opinion of this house, that in the present situation of His Majesty's dominions, it is peculiarly necessary there should be an administration that has the confidence of this house, and of the public; and that the appointments of His Majesty's present mininsters were accompanied by ciraumstances new and extraordinary; and such as do not conciliate or
engage the confidence of this house; the continuance of the present ministers in trusts of the highest importance and responsibility, is contrary to constitutional principles, and injurious to the interests of His Majesty and his people.
Mr. SHERIDAN very ably supported the motion; and reminded Mr. Powys of his having used this quotation from Shakespeare, the day or two before Lord North retired two years ago:
the times have been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die
Mr. Sheridan said, the souls of the present ministry were departed; but their bodies, like empty forms, still kept their places: to them he might say
-the times have been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
threatening the house with fifty deaths or dissolutions.
The chairman having put the question, and the committee divided; ayes (for the resolution) 205; noes 184; majority 21.
The rejection of Mr. Pitt's India bill, which took place this day, was generally considered as the concluding act of the present house of commons. As soon as the division was over, the minister was desired to give the house some satisfaction respecting a measure in which they were so nearly concerned; and, on his remaining silent, a loud and general call was repeated from every part of the house. At length some harsh expressions used by General Conway, relative to his conduct, obliged him to rise; but, after some warm remonstrances on the treatment he had received, he concluded with a flat refusal to answer to the interrogataries that were put to him. Several of the members who usually voted with him, now joined in the general request, but in vain.
Mr. SHERIDAN observed, that since the minister appeared to persist in a sort of obstinate and
sullen silence, it became the house to advert to one very material consideration; and that was, that the deputy clerk of the crown should be restricted from showing any degree of partiality to those who were with or against the treasury, in issuing the writs which would be necessary in case of a dissolution of parliament. He would therefore move, that Harry Howard, Esq. deputy clerk of the crown, or his substitute, appear at the bar of the house this day. He said this, because in fact he knew not what other day to mention,
Mr. Sheridan's motion was put and carried.
Mr. Eden was now preparing to move a resolution, the purport of which was, that the conduct of Mr. Pitt was disrespectful to His Majesty and to the house; when Mr. Fox rose and observed that perhaps Mr. Pitt imagined, because he had insulted the house so far, he might insult it still farther. He was, however, averse from taking any rash or improper advantage of him. He would therefore allow him to think of his situation for some time; and it being two o'clock, would move to adjourn to this day at twelve, at which time he hoped measures might be taken to irradiate the honor and assert the privilege of the house.-Adjourned.
CENSURE ON MINISTERS.
Mr. Sheridan had moved for the attendance (on this day) of some of the officers belonging to the signet office, in order that some resolutions might be taken for the better preventing the issuing of writs in such a manner as would give some candidates a preference over others. This motion was agreed to; and the temper of the house seemed to be such, that any resolution tending to throw a difficulty in the way of a dissolution would have been carried by a great majority.
On the 2d of February a resolution had been moved by Mr. Coke, which had for its object the reprehension of Mr. Pitt's refusal to resign, declaring "that the continuance of the present ministers in office was an obstacle to the forming a firm, efficient, extended, and united administration." This was carried by a majority of 19; and on the following day Mr. Coke moved that the resolution should be laid before His Majesty. Lord Mulgrave warmly opposed the