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Mr. Fox considered the two General Walpole seconded the questions of the measures to be ad motion, and expressed it as his opiopted, and the cause of the pre- nion, that the best way to restore fent fituation, as infeparable. Till public credit was to give confi. the house were apprised of what dence to the people, which could produced the order, they could only be done by a reinoval of those not poffi' ly know how to apply ministers whose ruinous and illthe remedy.
concerted schemes had been the The chancellor of the exchequer, cause of the present embarrassments. in reply, said, that he con Gdered The order of council was said to the motion and amendment as have been issued upon the exigencomprising three distinct inquiries, cies created by an unfounded a. though they were all retained in larm. He contended that the a. the ainended motion; yet Mr. larm had been created by minifters Sheridun had objected to that part themselves. When the chancellor of the motion which pressed the in- of the exchequer came to the house quiry into the state of the bank, demanding additional aid to the emwhich the honourable gentleman peror, he founded the alarm by al(Mr. Fox) said he was convinced serting that he had positive infarwas folid.
When gentlemen ex. mation that the French meditated tolled the folidity of the bank; and, an invasion of some part of his manext, imputed bankruptcy to it, an jesty's dominions. What was still inquiry was rendered neceffary to more strange, the proclamation eft:blish its reputation.
issued upon an occasion 'to which Bír. Fox explained. He had not alarm had given rise, was signed by made use of the word bankruptcy the greatest alarmists in the kingapplicable to the state of the bank, dom —the lord chancellor, the lebut to government, to which he cretary of state, and the first lord faid, that word had been long ap. of the admiralty; but was not signplicable. On the division, the ed by lord Fitzwilliam, who alone votes were,
had acted consistently with his Aves, for the amendinent, 86 principles. There was one arguNoes, against it,
244 ment for the motion which appear.
ed to be unanswerable; it was that Majority, 158 in the transaction there were two After tlie division, Mr. Fox parties, the bank and administramoved the following resolution, tion. It was agreed on all havds, which was agreed to, " That it is that 110 blame attacbed to the bank; the duty of this house to inquire it followed of course, therefore, into all the causes that have pro that it must be with the ministers. duced this exiraordinary measure.” It was upon this ground that he He then gave notice, that he should secouded the motion. move the next day for the appoint Mr. Pitt opposed the appoints ment of a committee to that oftcatment of a separate committee, up.
Accordingly, on the next day, on the ground that the committee March the int, Mr. Fox moved, already appointed was competent * That a coinmittee be appointed to every purpose of inquiry. to inquire into the causes which Mr. Sheridan, on the contrary, have produced the order of coun: spoke in favour of the motion, and cil."
adverted to what had fallen from
Mr. Piet, who had treated the pro- the committee already appointed position of naming a committee at were not yet koown, and therefore that time, as preposterous. But no person could yet say how far a gentlemen would recolle&t, that trult ought,orought not, to be repof there was a time, when, in confe- ed. Was the righi honourable gentiequence of the unfortunate fituation man surethe names were not known? of affairs (alluding to the time of What would he say if the name of introducing the regency-bill), the every person fhould be read before right honourable gentieman himself the report was made? So notoriproposed a committee of inquiry, ous was the fact that government by nomination; for which he pro had previoufly chofen every memposed that one member thould be ber, that treasury litts had been named by himself, and another mem- liewn in the lobby, and people had ber by another on the oppofte fide of turned away with difguit froin the the house, alternately, until the whole proceedings. If the practice were committee should be nominated ; fuch, the publicity of it ought to and in confequence of a difference induce the house, not only to “reof opinion upon that mode of pro- form itfelf altogether," but to adopt ceeding, a division took place, some other mode of proceediag, which, to the best of his recollec- which might at least assume the tion, was either 76 or 98 in the appearance of impartiality. Support of it. Why, faid Mr. She- next proceeded to support what he ridan, did the minister adopt this had stated, by reading the list of mode of proceeding at that time, names appointed for this commit. and refuse it now The reason tee by ballot; and if the report for the change was nice in the ex- mould eventually thew, that all, or treme, because it was convenient the greater part, of the persons to prejudice and party feeling. therein named, were actually apThe appointment of a committee pointed, he hoped the house would by ballot had grown into difrepute, give him some credit for afTerting on account of the known fact that the necessity of another mode. The the minifter named all the mem names which Mr. Sheridan read bers, and the notoriety of this juga' were as follows:gle at that awful crifis rendered it Şir John Scott-a very refpectaexpedient to accommodate the
ble name. pearance of affairs to public preju Isaac Hawkins Browne, esq. dice. On a great question of re very proper person. venue, when a committee by ballot C. Bragge, esq.-- He will enterwas appointed, he (Mr. Sheridan) tain the committee with critical reproduced a list of names influenced marks. by government; and it afterwards John W. Anderson, efq. appeared that the fifteen names John Fane, efq. which he produced were actually Thomas Grenville, efq. chosen. After fuch a notorious Williamp Wilberforce Bird, efq. demonstration of collusion, he sub William Wilberforce, efq. mitted to the house, whether any Charles Grey, esq-very proper, person there, or out of doors, could indeed. for a moment believe the appoint Sir John Mitford. ment of a committee by bailot e William Husey, efq. quitable and impartial > But the William Plumer, eiq. minister had said, that the names of Thomas Powis, elą.
John Blackburne, esq.
he ever attempt to deviate from Thonias Berney Bramfton, esq. his principles, " that with the preAll very respectable gentlemen. sent ministry he would hold no
Upon this list Mr. Sheridan ob- communion, and if he thought his ferved, that ministers in framing it honourable friend (Mr. Fox) in had not preserved the rules of pro- office capable of maintaining the portion ; for his-lide of the house abuses at present prevailing, he were entitled to have five and a would lose his support.” There fraction.
was no falvation for the country, The secretary at war rose upon but by a complete investigation this occasion, and commented at of the causes by which it had been considerable length upon what had reduced to its present situation. been asserted by Mr. Sheridan. The There could be no renovation of cant of superior purity, and the public credit, without a removal charge of corruption, was the man- of the causes which had effected ner in which the minority had gene
its destruction. To accomplis rally thought proper to avenge these objects, the moft exact themselves on the majority. This æcono
noiny and the most extensive was the mods by which they endea- retrenchments were required. The voured to impose upon the public. influence of the crown ought to be The fmaller number had no right diminished, places which were not to arrogate to themselves the most essential to the purposes of govern. perfect rectitude, and charge the ment tould be abolished; and majority with the very worst in. above all, and without which notentions. The charge of corrup- thing could be effected, a reform tion against such a body as the in the representation must be inhouse of commons, was in itself troduced. absurd and ridiculous. The num Mr. Wilberforce vindicated the ber who could be supposed to act dignity and consistency of the ma.. merely from their interest must be jority of the house, from the aspervery feru. The house of commons lions thrown out against them by did not differ from the country at gentlemen who were in favour of large in this respect.
the motion. The opinion of the Mr. Grey said, his honourable public was held out as against the friend had been accused by the sense of the majority of the house, secretary at war of vilifying the though the fact was directly oppo house of commons, and degrading site. He recollected that such arit in the public estimation; but it guments were applied to him in Thould be recollected that the ho- 1783, and 84, in go, and 96; yet nourable secretary himself had when he returned to his constitusome time before been the fore- ents, instead of finding the senti. most to arraign corruption, but was ments of the people against him, now become its abettor and de- the absolute reverse was manifeft. fender. He had once strenuously From the beginning of the war opposed the measures of the pre- much of the public calamity was fent minister, and had spurned his owing to the conduct of opposi“ dirty filth and dowlafs ;" but had tion, and to the conduct of those Gnce contracted an intimate alli- who had proceeded to lengths ance with him. Mr. Grey said, which the opposition would not with regard to himself, he wished avow, his words to be remembered, should The master of the rolls was for
deferring the committee now pro- tions which had been made to his posed, till the report of the com- motion, in a forcible speech of conimittee which was already appoint- fiderable length. “ The minister," ed bad been received; it would be said he, “ has seised the cash of the then for the house to consider bank, and therefore it is that the whether the report was satisfacto- public mind is agitated. This renTy; it would be absurd that two ders an inquiry into the condu& committees Mhould fit at the same of the minister as necessary as aa time and on the same business. inquiry into the affairs of the bank., It would be equally useless and My banker may be a man of hoabsurd to appoint a committe nour, and a solvent man from that was to investigate and review whom I want no further security; all the measures lince the present · but I want to be secured againt ministers entered into adminiftra- robbers who have entered liis tion. This only could be the ob- house, laid hold of all his calli, and ject of the present motion.
then declared themselves his partMr. Curwen faid, that if any list ners. I wish to know whether any whatever had been offered to him, man breathing had a doubt of the he should have considered it as the folidity of the bank before the migreatest of insults. It was the ob- nister laid his rapacious hands upon ject of the ballot that all Mould ex. the cash there." —He acknowledgercise their own judgm.ents withouted that there had lately been a influence. He expressed his want great run upon the bank for cash; of confidence in the ability of Mr. but contended that it was the conPitt to guide public affairs at the duct of the minister which caused present momentous crisis. He had it. He, together with his associates, no hopes of energy while he govern- ftruck terror into the public mind ed. The country could only be by the rumours of invasion; and Laved by a man who had the mag- the order of council on Sunday, naniinity to destroy the whole sys- and the proclamation on Monday tem of ministers, and by a par- (Feb. 26th and 2 7+h), finished whit liament that would receive no lists. had been begun upon that matter.
Dr. Laurence spoke at consider. All this was the natural effe&t of able length in favour of the mo- the system which the minister had tion.
pursued in the course of the preMr. Banks discussed the subject sent war. Men were naturally terwith great impartiality; but was a- rified when these artifices were emgainst the motion, because he was ployed to work upon their imaginot sure that the matter to be in- nations. The effect of that terror, vestigated by such a committee as was the giving up to the minister was then asked for, would not the management of all the interest branch out into a length that of the stock of the public creditor. would defeat the object that was Mr. Fox then observed, that no now in view, and in which di- man had less apprehension of an (patch was so effential. He feared invasion from the French than he that the investigation by such a had; he was fanguine as to the committee would require so much favourable result, ihould fo despetime as to be injurious, perhaps rate a measure be attempted. An fatal, to the object which the house invasion would certainly be a great had in view,
evil to us; but he maintained, that, , Mr. Fox replied to the objec, if the French should land in this
country as great a force as it was the minister, then the people would practicable for them to land, he have the consolation to reflect, that ihould think that the mischiefs their affairs might yet be in some they could do to the permanent in- degree retrieved: but if it should terests of this nation comparatively turn 0:1t, as lie trusted to God it small, when put in the scale op- would not, that the national affairs posite to the mischief which the had been as well conducted as huproceedings of the last two or man prudence could conduct them, three days would occasion. He the people could expect nothing said, he had heard of negative sui- but inevitable, ruin. The only celles in this war; he did not with to means of ascertaining this was to be an egotist, but thought he could relinquish all confidence in the fay without vanity that he had some minister, and institute an inquinegative nerit. He had not had the ry into that conduct which had misfortune to counsel this odious, brought on so much calamity, Mr. this ruinous war! He had not had Fox faid, he had seen by the mathe misfortune to lend aslistance to nagement of these two debates that the destruction of hundreds of the minister's object was to put off thousands of his fellow creatures! the inquiry into, his conduct as -he had not had the misfortune long as he could, and also to fecure to load his country with hundreds to himself a committee of his own of millions of debt! he had not friends, by whom he would be tried. had the misfortune to set his pame The house divided; for the motion to a proclamation manifesting to 67; against it 141. the world the bankruptcy of his Mr. Sheridan then moved, “ that country! These were his negative Mr. Fox be added to the commitmerits; he claimed them as his tee on the affairs of the bank, &c." due, apd the minister was welcome on which the house divided : to defpife, while he enjoyed the Aves
53 comfortable reflections which arose Noes
144 out of thein.-- What would have Immediately after the bank stopt been the feelings of this house payment by the order of council, (continued Mr. Fox), if ten years the minister introduced a bill into ago any man had said, you think the house of commons, to suspend your finances very prosperous; yet the law for preventing the bank ilin the beginning of the year 1797 suing notes under five pounds. the chancellor of the exchequer This bill was read a second time will issue a proclamation to prohis on the first of March. It stated bit the bank of England from pay- that these small notes were to be ing any one man in money for a made payable to bearer on debank-note! Would you bot have mand. Mr. Grey, Mr. Fox, and considered such a man as a luna. Mr. Sheridan strongly contended tic?" An inquiry, he ailerted, ought that the proceedings of the house, immediately to be entered into, by sanctioning the order of counto determine the causes which cil, and pafling this bill nearly at have brought the nation into its the same time, would appear to be present deplorable fate. If it louid abfurdly contradictory. For by the appear, which was greatly to be bill then before the house, these wified, that this condition was notes were to be payable on debrought on by the misconduct of mand; whereas the other regula