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house, that the lords of the treasury ought not to consent that the directors of the East India Company do accept any more bills, unless they shall be able to prove to parliament that they have sufficient means to provide for the payment of them, after they shall have paid their dividend, and discharged the debt due to government.’ It was next resolved, on a motion of lord Surrey, that an address be presented to the king, to desire that his majesty would not grant the office of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster to any person, otherwise than during leasure, before the 20th of January, 1784. hese motions met with but a feeble opposition. The latter motion was founded on the enquiry that had been instituted, into the establishments of the duchy of Lancaster, for the |. of determining whether these might trot e reduced or abolished. These motions being }. the house adjourned to the 12th of anuary, 1784. The expectation of the public was now fixed with great anxiety on the meeting of parliament after the recess. A contest between the executive government and the house of commons was a spectacle that had not been exhibited in Great Britain since the accession of the house of

Hanover: and many circumstances concurred to

render it peculiarly important and interesting. The matter in dispute concerned the very essence of the constitution, and could not be decided without considerably affecting its bias. In the pretended defence v. the authority of the house of commons were arranged the united abilities of two powerful parties, long exercised by mutual contests in all the arts of political warfare. The champion of prerogative was a person not less distinguished by his splendid talents, and the consequent unexampled rapidity of his rise to power, than by the courage and perseverance he had already demonstrated in the cause he now stood forward to support. By the usual effect of ministerial influence upon the house of commons, as well as by the increasing abhorrence of the designs of the coalition, a sufficient number of members joined the new administration to make their votes nearly equal to those of opposition. In this state of affairs, both houses met on the 12th of January, 1784. As soon as the speaker had taken the chair, Mr. Fox attempted to introduce, previous to any other business, the discussion of certain resolutions drawn up by the opposition; but was interrupted by the swearing in of new members; after . Mr. Pitt declaring he had a message to deliver from the king, and wishing to supersede the measures of opposition by the important consideration of the East India Company's affairs, rose up at the same instant with Mr. Fox. A tumult ensued as to who had the prior right to speak, but it was settled by the speaker in favor of Mr. Fox. He called upon the minister, if he wished to put a stop to such measures as the committee might think necessary to adopt for their own security, to give the house some satisfactory assurance, that no dissolution would take place. With this requisition, Mr. Pitt positively refused to comply, and declared, that “he would

never compromise, nor bargain away, the royal prerogative in the house of commons." e majority, who were now persuaded that the new ministers were only to be withheld by their fears from putting an end to the session, resolved to render such a step highly dangerous, at least, of not impossible. With this view, as soon as the question for the order of the day was carried, on a division of 232 against 193, and the speaker had left the chair, the two following resolutions were moved by Mr. Fox, passed without a division, and, being reported, wore agreed to by the house: 1. ‘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 pay, or direct, or cause to be paid, any sum or sums of money, for, or towards, the . of the services voted in this present session of parliament, afte: the parliament shall have been prorogued or dissolved, if it be dissolved or prorogued 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.' 2. ‘That it is the opinion of this committee, that the chairman of the committee 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 Monday the 23d of February next.” The immediate dissolution of parliament being thus far rendered inpracticable, two other resolutions were moved by the earl of Surrey, viz. 1. ‘That, in the present situation of his majesty's dominions, it is peculiarly necessary that there should be an administration which has the confidence of this house and the public.' 2. ‘That the late changes in his majesty's councils had been immediately preceded by dangerous and universal reports, that the sacred name of the king had been unconstitutionally used to affect the deliberations of parliament; and that the appointinents made were accompanied by circumstances new and extraordinary, and such as do not conciliate or engage the confidence of this house.’ Mr. Dundas objected to the first resolution, that the name of the king had been, perhaps, accidentally, but certainly very improperly omitted ; and proposed an amendment by inserting, instead of the words “this house and the public, the following, viz. “the crown, the parliament, and the people.' This amendment, being merely proposed to point out the factious spirit of the resolution, was rejected without a division. In the debates which now took place upon these resolutions, the most pointed and sarcastic personalities were thrown out and retorted from both sides of the house. The coalition was branded as a corrupt confederacy of two desperate factions, to seize upon the government; the India bill was said to have been an experiment made by the late secretary, to raise himself to a degree of power superior to that of the sovereign. On the other hand, the new administration were described as a coalition, not indeed of parties, but of the shreds and remnants, the dregs and outcasts, of all parties; as a body collected for the purpose of fighting the battles of secret and unconstitutional influence; of trampling on the power and dignity of the house of commons; of establishing a government of cabal, intrigue, and favoritism; and of destroying the very principles of laudable ambition and honorable service in the state. At last, about seven o'clock in the morning of the 13th of January, the committee divided, when the motion was carried by a majority of 142, there being for it 196, against it fifty-four. On Wednesday, the 14th of January, Mr. Pitt moved for leave to bring in ‘a bill for the better government and management of the affairs of the East India Company.’ By this bill commissioners were to be appointed by his majesty, from the members of his privy council, who were “authorised and empowered from time to time, to check, superintend, and control, all acts, operations, and concerns, which in any wise relate to the civil or military government, or revenues of the territories and possessions of the said united company in the East Indies.' It proposed to enact, ‘ that the said board shall have access to all papers and muniments of the said united company, and shall be furnished with copies thereof, and of all the proceedings of all general and special courts of proprietors, and of the court of directors; and also copies of all despatches which the directors shall receive from any of their servants in the East Indies, immediately after the arrival thereof; and also of all letters, orders, and instructions, whatsoever, relating to the civil or military government or revenues of the British territorial possessions of the East Indies, proposed to be sent to any of the servants of his majesty, or of the said company in the East Indies: and that the court of directors shall, and are required to, pay due obedience to, and shall be governed and bound by, such orders and directions as they shall, from time to time, receive from the said board, touching the civil or military government and revenue of the territories and possession of the company. And it further proposed to enact, that the said board shall return the copies of the said despatches to the court of directors, with their approbation thereof, or their reasons at large for disapproving the same, together with instructions in respect thereto; and the court shall thereupon despatch and send the letters, orders, and instructions, so approved or amended, to their servants in India, without farther delay; and that no letters, orders, or instructions, until after such previous communication thereof to the said .. shall, at any time, be sent or despatched by the said directors, to the East Indies, on any account or pretence whatever. That in case the said board shall send any orders, which, in the opinion of the said court of directors, shall relate to points not connected with the civil or military government and revenues of the said terr tories and possessions in India, it shall be lawful for them to apply by petition to his majesty in council, touching such orders; and the decision of the council thereon shall be final and couclusive. That the nomination of the

the same.

commanders in chief shall be vested in his majesty, and that the said commanders in chief shall always be second in council. It also vested in his majesty the power to remove any governor general, presidents, and members of the councils of any British settlements in India; and proposed to enact, that all vacancies in the offices aforesaid shall be supplied by the court of directors, subject to the approbation of his majesty. Lastly, that no order or resolution of any general court of proprietors shall be available to revoke or rescind, or in any respect to affect, any proceeding of the court of directors, aster his majesty's pleasure shall have been signified upon The debates on this bill turned chiefly on its merits and demerits, as compared with Mr. Fox's India bill, rejected by the house of lords. Mr. Pitt said that, in his bill, all the rights enjoyed by the company under their charter were preserved inviolate, as far as was compatible with the public safety. When, in answer to this, it was shown, that nothing but the shadow of power was preserved to the company, and that, by the negative reserved to the crown in all matters whatsoever, the substance was in effect vested there; he replied that, whatever might be its effect, yet having previously obtained the consent both of the court of proprietors and directors, to all the regulations contained in it, no violation of privileges could be charged, where the surrender was voluntary. Various other arguments were adduced by both sides; but at a second reading of the bill, on the 23rd of January, the motion for its commitment was rejected by a majority of eight; the votes being for it 214, against it 222. On the 16th of January, lord Charles Spenser moved, in the committee on the state of the nation, ‘That it has been declared to be the opinion of this house (referring to the resolutions formerly moved by lord Surrey), that 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 the people." In o to this motion it was argued, that the premises, admitting them to be true, did not warrant the conclusion; that the ministry had been constitutionally appointed by the king, whose sole right it was to appoint them, &c. After a warm debate, the resolution was adopted, by a majority of 205 to 184. On the rejection of the India bill, Mr. Pitt was requested to satisfy the house respecting the measure of a dissolution; and a loud and general call was repeated from every side of the house. At length some harsh personalities obliged him to rise and complain of such treatment, but he concluded with a flat refusal to give any answer on the subject. The house became unusually warm, and Mr. Eden was preparing a resolution, when Mr. Fox moved to adjourn till next day in order. to give Mr. Pitt time to consider, whether he had treated the house with that respect which a minister in his peculiar circumstances ought to do. Next day, Saturday, January 24th, the house met again, but the only answer given by the minister was, ‘that he had no intention to advise his majesty to prevent that house from meeting on Monday:

whereupon the house, upon Mr. Powis's motion, adjourned to that day, ‘in the hopes, that before next meeting, some means might be inverted of healing the divisions that threatened the country with anarchy and confusion.' These hopes, however, were disappointed; notwithstanding a respectable meeting was held on the 26th at the St. Alban's tavern, of about seventy members, who joined in an address to Mr. Pitt and the duke of Portland, recommending such a measure by a coalition of parties; “being persuaded,’ they said, “that the united efforts of those, in whose integrity, abilities, and constitutional principles they had reason to confide, could alone rescue the country from its present distracted state.' Further, to promote such a union of parties, a motion was made by Mr. Grosvenor, on the 2d February, in the house of commons, “That the present critical situation of public affairs required the exertions of a firm, efficient, extended, and united administration, entitled to the confidence of the people, and such as might tend to put an end to the divisions and distractions of this country.' A second resolution, of a less mild tenor, was moved by Mr. Coke, ‘That the continuance of the present ministers in office was an obstacle to the forming a firm, efficient, extended, and united administration.’ This motion occasioned a warm debate, but was at last carried by 223 against 204. Next day, these resolutions, after another long and warm debate, were ordered, by a majority of 211 to 187, to be laid before his majesty. On the 4th of February, the earl of Effingham called the attention of the house of lords to the resolutions passed by the commons, which he considered as of the utmost importance to the constitution, and therefore moved as follows:– I. “That it is unconstitutional for one branch of the legislature to assume a right of resolving to impede the exercise of a power vested in any body of men by act of parliament.' And, II. ‘That it is unconstitutional for either house of parliament to pass any resolution to deprive the crown of its just prerogative.' The first of these motions occasioned a very warm debate. It was supported by earl Fitzwilliam, earl Fauconberg, duke of Richmond, lord chancellor, lord Sydney, and lord Gower, and opposed by lord Loughborough, earl of Mansfield, and lord Stormont, who vindicated the resolutions of the house of commons. Upon a division there appeared for it 100, against it fifty-three; majority forty-seven. Lord Effingham's second resolution, and motion for an address to his majesty on the subject, were then agreed to without a division. Next day, Lord Beauchamp rose in the house of commons, and mentioned a rumor, that another house of parliament had gone so far as to censure the proceedings of that house : whereupon he i.s. a committee to inspect the journals of the house of lords; which being agreed to, the report of the committee was brought forward on the 9th, and a committee appointed to search for precedents. In the mean time, the members of the St. Alban's meeting, to promote the wishedfor coalition, came to the following resolution, which was read in the house of commons on the 11th February, by Mr. Marsham:—‘That an

administration formed on the total exclusion of the members of either the last or present administration, would be inadequate to the exigencies of the public affairs.' This occasioned the leading men on both sides to express their wishes for a union of parties, though such difficulties were thrown in the way by each, as effectually prevented it. Mr. Fox insisted on the actual, or at least virtual resignation, of Mr. Pitt, as an indispensable preliminary step; and avowed his opinion, that the house had, and ought to have, a negative in the nomination of a minister. Mr. Pitt allowed, that no minister could continue long in office without the confidence of the house, but denied that there were any constitutional means to force him to resign, except by an address to the crown; and added that there were persons with whom he could not bring himself to act without forfeiting all character of consistency. This called up lord North, who said, that though he was not disposed to gratify the caprice of an individual, yet he would willingly do anything for his country, and withdraw his pretensions, if they were an obstacle to a union. This candid declaration of lord North, and a similar one from Mr. Fox, pro

, cured them the applauses of both parties; and a

measure was soon after suggested and acceded to which promised a speedy union. This was that his majesty should invite the duke of Portland to a conference with Mr. Pitt, for the purpose of forming a new administration, on fair and equal terms. But, after this message had been actually sent, the negociation was broke off upon the duke's insisting on a previous explanation of the word equal, which M1. Pitt refused to give till they should meet in conference. About this time ministry were much encouraged to perseverance by the interest which the public at large took in this extraordinary contest: an address to his majesty was voted by the common council of London, thanking him for the removal of his late ministers; approving the resolutions passed by the house of lords; and declaring their determination steadily to support the constitutional exercise of prerogative. Similar addresses immediately followed from the merchants and trades of the city of London, and from the city of Norwich : in short, from every corner of the kingdom. The efforts of the coalition, indeed, made some appearance in the county of Middlesex, in Westminster, and in the great county of York, but they proved fruitless. Still

however, they maintained the struggle within doors: on the 16th, the report from the committee of privileges being called for, lord Beauchamp stated, that the lords could not constitutionally interfere with the resolutions of that house; that by custom and usage, whenever they disapproved of a resolution, and vice versă, a conference of both houses was called; whereby the house complained of, could satisfy the house complaining; and this was necessary to preserve mutual confidence between the two houses. After quoting the journals, and censuring the resolution of the lords as rash, he moved six resolutions, viz. 1. ‘That this house has not assumed any right to suspend the execution of any law. 2. That it is constitutional for it to declare its sense of the exercise of any discretionary power vested in any body of men by act of parliament. 3. That it is its duty, as entrusted with the sole grant of money, to prevent the rash exercise of any power, that may be attended with danger to the public credit. 4. That the resolutions of the 24th December last were constitutional, founded on a sense of duty towards the people, and a becoming anxiety for the preservation of the revenue, and the support of public credit. 5. That if the house had neglected to pass the said resolutions, they would have been highly responsible for the increase of those evils already too severely felt. And, 6, That the house .# with moderation, but with decided firmness, maintain inviolably the principles of the constitution; equally solicitous to preserve their own privileges, and to avoid any encroachments on those of the other two branches of the legislature.' These resolutions, after a warm debate, were carried by 186 against 157. On the 18th February Mr. Pitt being asked, previous to the consideration of the supply for the ordnance, if he had any thing to communicate relative to the Resolutions, informed the house, “That his majesty, after a consideration of all the circumstances of the country, had not thought proper to dismiss his ministers, and that his ministers had not resigned.' This brought on a long and violent debate. Mr. Fox said it was the first instance, since the revolution, of a direct denial on the part of the crown to comply with the wishes of the house of commons; that it was the first time the house had not received a gracious answer from a prince of the house of Brunswick: that an event so new and alarming required on their part a firm but moderate, a prudent, but effectual, assertion of their privileges: that the power of granting or refusing the supplies, was their constitutional and legal weapon, which he did not wish to see wielded: that to this, if necessary, they were bound to resort; but to avoid all imputation of rashness, and give ministers time for recollection, he would only move to defer the report of the estimates till Friday next. The motion was seconded by lord Surrey: but the mention of refusing the supplies was received by the friends of ministry as a threat which even the utmost madness of faction, they said, could not seriously design to execute. The very right of such a refusal was questioned. The exercise of this privilege in former times, it was said, was founded on principles which did not now exist. The settled revenues were then sufficient for the ordinary purposes of government; and it was only in cases of extraordinary demands, for the prosecution of wars disapproved by parliament, that the right of refusal was exercised; whereas, in our present state, to deny the ordinary annual supplies would be in fact to dissolve the whole fabric of government. Mr. Pitt did not deny the right of the house to refuse the supplies in times of danger from the crown, but the answer he had delivered from his majesty was not a formal answer as to an address; and he appealed to the judgment of the house whether it afforded a justifiable ground for exercising that right. Mr. Fox's motion was carried, however, by a majority of twelve; ayes 208,

noes 196. Though the supplies were thus postponed, it was by no means the intention of the majority to carry matters to extremities by refusing them; and the ordnance supply was agreed to on Friday the 20th February. On the same day, Mr. Powys moved an address to the king, expressing “the reliance of the house on his royal wisdom, that he would take such measures as might tend to give effect to the wishes of his faithful commons, already presented to his majesty.’ Mr. Eden proposed an amendment by inserting after “measures, as'—the words “by removing such obstacles as this house had declared to stand in the way of forming a firm, extended, efficient, and united administration, such as this house had described to be requisite in the present critical and arduous state of public affairs.' The motion, thus amended, aster a long debate, was carried by 197 against 177; and the address ordered to be presented by the whole house. This was done on the 25th, and on the 27th the speaker reported his majesty's answer; wherein, after “assuring them of his earnest desire to put an end to the divisions and distractions of the country, he declared, that he could not see that this would be advanced by the dismission of his ministers; that no charge was suggested against them, nor any one of them specifically objected to ; and that numbers of his subjects had expressed their satisfaction on the change of his councils."—The consideration of his majesty's answer was deferred to the 1st of March, when a second address was ordered to be prepared. In this, the house humbly claimed it as their right duty, to advise his majesty touching the exercise of his prerogative; and, after stating the substance of their former resolutions, concluded with a repetition of their request, “that he would be pleased to lay the foundation of a stable government, by the previous removal of his ministers.' After a long and warm debate, this address was agreed to by a majority of 201 to 189. On the 4th of March it was presented to the king by the speaker and a numerous body of the members; when his majesty returned an auswer similar to the former; with the additional remarks that, “If there were any grounds for the removal of his ministers, it ought to be equally a reason for not admitting them as part of the extended and inited administration: that he had never called in question the right of the commons to offer him their advice on every proper occasion touch: ing the exercise of his prerogative; and thathewill be ready at all times to receive it, and give it the most attentive consideration.'. Mr. Fox moved that his majesty's answer be taken into consideration on Monday next, which was agreed to. Next day, March 5th, he moved to postpone the mutiny bill, till after the consideration of the king's answer, on the 8th. The secretary at war was surprised at the proposal of delaying what concerned the public safety; but the motion was carried by 171 against 162. On the 8th Mr. Fox, after a long speech,wherein he recapitu lated every step taken since his dismission, moved. ‘That an humble representation be presented to his majesty, to testify the surprise and affliction of this house on receiving the answer which his majesty's ministers have advised to the dutiful and seasonable address of this house, concerning one of the most important acts of his majesty's government.’ This representation was the last successful effort of the coalition, and was carried only by 191 to 190. On this occasion, it would seem, they felt their strength failing them, and that the must ultimately yield; for on the 10th of Marc they allowed the mutiny bill to pass without a division. On the 12th Mr. Sawbridge brought forward a proposition for a parliamentary reform. The state of the representation in England, he said, was very inadequate, and infinitely more so in Scotland, where not above one man in 100 had a vote for a member. He therefore moved for a committee of enquiry on the representation of the people. Mr. alderman Newnham seconded the motion. Sir R. Clayton supported it, and declared himself ready to sacrifice his borough interest. Mr. Dempster avowed himself a friend to it, and said that “the people of Scotland would be very grateful if one in 100 were allowed to vote; but in fact not one in 1000 had that privilege. Previous to the reign of Charles II. every 40s. freeholder had a vote, in Scotland, as well as in England; but in that arbitrary reign the right of voting was confined to those who held their lands from the crown, which has been continued ever since.’ The motion, though supported by the abilities of both Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, was, after a long debate, rejected by 141 to ninety-three. On the 22d the American trade bill was passed; and on the 23d Mr Pitt was repeatedly asked; by different members, if parliament was to be dissolved, but gave no answer. All the supplies had now been voted, to the amount of £10,000,000; but except the land and malt tax bills, no money had been raised or appropriated to specific services. It was insisted, however, that the voting of the supplies would be a sufficient justification of ministry in issuing money. On the other side it was urged that the house having resolved that such issuing of the public money would be ‘subversive of the constitution, no plea of necessity could avail, as the emergency would be wilfully created by those who should advise a dissolution. Next day, however, the parliament was prorogued, and on the 25th dissolved by proclamation. This measure, by terminating a contest in which the principles of the constitution had been much agitated, ultimately established them; and many of the most distinguished characters in the house of commons and in the kingdom now wished it had been resorted to at the first forming of the coalition. The advantages which ministers generally possess over their opponents upon the dissolution of parliament, received very considerable additions at this time. The East India Company and their servants were exceedingly industrious; and the dissenters, a powerful and active body in England, were zealous to show that they considered the members of the late coalition as men who paid no regard to principle. In short, the counties, cities, manufacturing towns, and corporations, who had so recently given the court pledges of their support, now evidenced the contemptuous light in which they viewed the

adherents to the late turbulent party. Thus upwards of 160 members of the late house of commons lost their seats; and of these the far greater part were supporters of the late administration. But the consequence, however fatal to them, was perhaps on some accounts a misfortune to their country. It was well they gained not the ascendancy: yet few will think of the coalition without regretting its formation. It for a long time ruined the fortunes and destroyed the influence of Mr. Fox. See our memoir of that statesman. On the 18th of May, both houses being assembled, the commons re-elected Mr. Cornwall, the former speaker. Next day his majesty, in his speech from the throne, “assured them of his satisfaction in meeting them, after recurring in so important a moment to the sense of his people; and of his reliance, that they were animated by the same sentiments of loyalty and attachment to the constitution which had been so fully manifested throughout the kingdom.' He directed “their attention to the maintenance of the public credit, to the support of the revenue, and to the affairs of the East India Company: and, after warning them against adopting any new measure for the regulation of these last, which might affect the constitution, and our dearest interests at home, concluded with expressing his inclination to support and maintain, in their just balance, the rights and privileges of every branch of the legislature.” Before the motion was made for an address, Mr. Lee stated to the house, that the high bailiff of Westminster had neglected to make a return to the writ of election, on pretence of not having finished the scrutiny into the legality of the votes, and therefore moved a resolution declaring it to be “his duty to return two citizens to serve for the said city.’ This motion was seconded by Mr. Sheridan, but, after a long debate, was negatived by a majority of 283 to 136. The address was then moved and read, but the strong expressions it contained, of satisfaction and gratitude to his majesty for having dissolved the late parliament, occasioned a warm debate. As to the sense of the people, it was asked of Mr. Pitt, on what grounds he could pretend, that it had been collected in the new election, when he himself had enforced the necessity of a reform, on the very supposition that the people, as the law then stood, had little or nothing to do with them An amendment was proposed, by the earl of Surrey, which was seconded by colonel North, but it was rejected by 285 to 114. On the 25th of May Mr. Fox presented a petition from himself, complaining of an undue return for Westminster; which was objected to by lord Mulgrave; who moved it to be the opinion of the house, that it did not come under the description in Grenville's act, no members having been returned, which after a short debate was agreed to without a division. Another petition from Mr. Fox was presented by colonel Fitzpatrick, conplaining of the high bailiff of Westminster, in making no return, and requesting to be heard by council, which was granted. On the 28th a counter petition from the high bailiff was presented by lord Mahon, praying to be heard in answer to Mr. Fox which was also granted.

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