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"That your petitioners are advifed, and have heard with great fatisfaction, that efficacious measures are likely to be propofed early in the prefent feffion of parliament, under the aufpices of one of the most confidential fervants of the crown, to meliorate the prefent defective ftate of the reprefentation of the united kingdom. But your petitioners humbly prefume to fuggeft, that it will appear but little confiftent with profeffions of future purity and reform in the reprefentation of the Commons, to fuffer the actual and fubfifting reprefentation to remain curtailed and imperfect, even according to its prefent form, and to permit with filence and impunity a deep and dangerous wound to be given to thofe firft principles of the conftitution, upon which alone a free and independent parliament can be founded; and your petitioners cannot but deem it an unfortunate cafualty, that at a time when other bodies of men are entertaining the moft tanguine expectations of the extenfion and fecurity of their inhe rent and deareft rights, the city of Weftminster fhould, without any act of delinquency even alledged, be fuffering the penalties of actual disfranchifement. And your petitioners are more forcibly led to this confideration, by reflecting that the reprefentation of Westminster is not merely nominal and unfubftantial, like that of boroughs, where there are few electors, or where, under the appearance of an election, an hereditary right to a feat is preferved in a family, or affigned at pleafure (an evil which your petitioners humbly prefume will be a main object of attention in the propofed reform) but involves in it the deareft interefts, and most important concerns of many thousand citizens, inhabitants of this extenfive, populous, and flourishing city.
"That the ferutiny, which is ftill carrying on in the city of Weftminster, hath laited for a period of nearly eight months; and that, judging by the progrefs already made, it appears extremely probable, that should it proceed with the fame pace (and your petitioners do not understand that any complaint hath been made of undue delay) the prefent
parliament may be advanced to its laft feffion by the time the high bailiff has decided on his poll.
"That your petitioners are well informed, that every prediction of the futility, infignificance, expence, and injuftice, which muft attend the proceedings of fuch a court hath been abundantly verified by the event. But your petitioners forbear any detail of the progrefs or confequences of a measure, the origin and principle of which they folemnly protest against, as CONTRARY TO
THE SPIRIT AND PRACTICE OF THE CONSTITUTION, TO THE PLAINEST PROVISIONS BOTH OF COMMON AND STATUTE LAW, AND TO THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF THE ELECTORS OF GREAT-BRITAIN.
"For the fame reafon your petitioners forbear to meddle with the motives, reafons, or imaginations alledged by the high bailiff of Weftminster, in defence of his conduct, or with the claims and pretenfions of the refpective. candidates. But your petitioners do humbly pray that this honourable Houfe will immediately take fuch meafures as fhall reftore the city of Westminster to its undoubted right of having its reprefentatives in parliament, there being no further or other relief fuited to the nature of the injury complained of in the premiffes, or which can be fatisfactory to your petitioners."
The petition was ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. Burke moved that the claufe relative to India, of the 18th of June, 1782, be now read from the journal.
Mr. Pitt reminded the right honourable gentleman, that the order of the day ftood for a committee of fupply, and that the introduction of any new motion was perfectly irregular and improper; therefore, in his opinion, the order of the day fhould precede all others, as entering on any motion previoufly would moft undoubtedly not. only interfere with, but totally derange the whole of the bufinefs of the prefent feffion; however, if the right honourable gentleman would explain his motion for having the claufe alluded to read, he fhould then be enabled either to give his affent, or ad
vance his pofitive objections. If it was to be grounds for a new motion, he confeffed he felt himself completely justified in oppofing it; but that if it was merely for the purpose of giving notice of a motion, which could be done without even the delay of reading this particular claufe, it certainly would have his concurrence. He begged of the right honourable gentleman, if it was for the latter purpose, he would avoid prolixity as much as poffible, as any impediment to the progreffion of public bufinefs at this period would be productive of material inconvenience before the termination of the feffion.
Mr. Burke objected to the firft pofition laid down by the right honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the bufinefs of fupply fhould precede all others:" he was, from his experience in parliament, enabled to inform him, that matters of grievance should ever precede the queftion of fupply; that the right honourable gentleman feemed very forward in predetermining against his motions, but that, notwithstanding the very marked expreffions of irregularity and impropriety, he was convinced he was perfectly juftified in fupporting his prefent motion, as that claufe which he alluded to tended to explain a matter of grievance, in the explanation of which he had no doubt but the right honourable gentleman would think him prolix; it was rather extraordinary, he confeffed, that he should not be permitted to explain his motives previous to a condemnation; and as to the epithet prolixity, which the right honourable gentleman thought proper to affix to him, he could not understand it. His intention for making the prefent motion was, in order to prove to the Houfe the grounds for his prefent notice of a motion, that the right honourable chancellor would perhaps find great reafon to condemn for prolixity. Mr. Fox declared he understood that it had been the ufage of former parliaments to make the matter of fupply take place of all other: but that with in his parliamentary experience, the custom had been different, which difference he highly approved of, as mat
ters of grievance fhould undoubtedly precede all others. That as to the ideal objections which the right honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer thought proper to start to his honourable friend's motion, they appeared to him nugatory; the intention of his friend appeared to him merely calculated to apprife the Houfe of the fubject of his intended motion in the ufual form. That as to the word prolixity, he confeffed he could not fee how it could poffibly apply in the prefent inftance; the motion bore an appearance the direct oppofite to prolixity, as the claufe alluded to would be perfectly expreffive of the fubject his right honourable friend wished to fubmit to the confideration of the House; he confeffed, in his opinion, had the motion received no interruption from the right honourable Chancellor, it would have long fince been difpofed of to the fatisfaction of the House; and that feeling a conviction of its neceffity, it fhould have his utmost fupport.
Mr. Burke declared, his intention was to give notice of his motion in the ufual parliamentary form; he faw an urgent neceffity for fuch a motion, as he was very credibly informed that Sir Elijah Impey was at this time preparing for his return to India, with the approbation of government, in open violation and contempt of the refolution of that House, as would appear from the claufe alluded to being read. The claufe was accordingly read, fetting forth Sir Elijah Impey's recall from his judicial capacity in India. Mr. Burke appealed to the House, to know if this did not convey clearly his intention in bringing forward the motion. tion. He gloried in the opportunity of laying open to the Houfe, and the nation in general, that vaft fcene of rapine, violence, and corruption that pervaded the whole of the tranfactions in India; fo much corruption for so short a time, he ventured to affirm, was unparalleled in the annals of all ancient and modern hiftory whatfoever; there were, he faid, agents in this town, who carried on correfpondence with India (with Mr. Haftings) the fubject of which the court of directors were unacquainted
unacquainted with; there were meafures purfued in India totally without the knowledge of the court of directors; and there were orders given to thofe agents to fupprefs even an intimation of the lamentable and piteous fituation of that moft unfortunate of all countries: that the double war which was now unavoidable, from the improper conduct of men who were at the head of affairs there, was a fubject not yet broached to the court of directors; he pledged himfelf to produce clear and unequivocal proof of the truth of every one of those affertions; he would even venture to appeal to the candour of any one of the direstors prefent, and fimply afk them if they were acquainted with any of thofe particulars; he challenged them to an anfwer of that question: no; he was zoo well convinced they felt the truth of what he faid. On a former day, when he apprifed the Houfe of the defolate ftate of that country, occafioned by famine, a right honourable gentleman in his eye (Major Scott) read part of a letter, which threw a delufive ray of hope on the defponding minds of the Houfe. All was well again, all was funfhine; there was truly afhower of rain, which totally effaced every veftige of former ravages," this was a fatal delufion, a mere Robinfon Crufoe ftory, and he thanked God for enabling him at this day to prove it incontrovertibly; he gave notice of his motion appearing thortly in a moft ample manner before the Houfe, and he felt a fecret fatisfaction in having a perfect reliance on his right honourable friend's completing perfectly the object for which it is intended, if Providence fhould not fpare him life to accomplish his defign; the information he intended to convey to the Houfe may then perhaps appear prolix, however, his determination is, that it fhall be ample.
The Attorney-General apprehended, that the right honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right honourable mover mifunderstood each other; he looked upon the prefent motion exactly as the right honourable
gentleman had explained, merely as grounds for a notice.
Mr. Burke nodded affent to the At torney-General's obfervation.
Mr. Fox obferved, he was impelled to rife on this fubject before, merely to prevent the bufinefs of the day being retarded by unneceffary debate; that he now wished to fuggeft to the right honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer one propofition, which would, he prefumed, not only give univerfal fatisfaction to the Houfe, but in all probability terminate the prefent difpute, which was to inform the House whether or not it was the intention of government to fend out Sir Elijah Impey to India; he confeffed he could not fee how the right honourable gentleman could, with the leaft degree of propriety, refufe fuch information, and fuch an explanation he deemed at prefent neceffary.
Mr. Pitt begged leave to decline entering fo diffufely into a fubject which was not before the Houfe as the former gentleman had done; but as to the queftion relative to Sir Elijah Impey, it was totally out of his power at prefent to give any decided answer to it; but that when the right honourable gentleman fhould think proper to bring his motion on that fubject properly before the Houfe, he would have no kind of objection to its meeting ample difcuffion.
Mr. Alderman Sawbridge gave notice of his intention of bringing in a bill for appointing commiffioners to revalue the landed property of this country, in order to form a complete judgement of the equality of the land-tax.
The Houfe having refolved itself into a committee on the fupply, Mr. Gilbert in the chair,
Mr. Brett then moved, that 18,000 feamen, including 3,620 marines be employed for the fervice of the year 1785, and that the fum of 41. per man per month be granted for their fupport.
Lord Surrey could not poffibly fee any effential reafon for fo confiderable a diminution in the number of feamen; though he avowed himself a friend to economy, a faving attended with fuch
alarming confequences could not meet his approbation.
Major Scott wifhed to make a few obfervations on what had fallen from the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) with regard to India, particularly as the question of fupply involved in it a confideration of India; if those wars which had been mentioned were to be commenced, as the right honourable member had not only now mentioned, but on a former day entered into very minutely, it undoubtedly fhould weigh very materially with regard to the prefent fupply; but he fancied it was rumour the right honourable gentleman trufted to, and he felt fingular fatisfaction in affuring him it was a very groundless rumour, which he could prove by a letter, dated fo late as 13th May, 1784; he had received it from a particular friend of his (Mr. Davis) which he read, and did not mention any thing relative to the state of the country; he declared that he did not think it poffible fuch great devastation, famine, and defolation could take place, without his knowledge; he was convinced to the contrary, and would be happy to quiet the perturbed mind of the right honourable gentleman on that topic; he was convinced the affairs of the Company had been mifreprefented; they were to his knowledge the very reverfe; that every account he had received latterly from that part of the world tended to corroborate this affertion; he had received accounts fo late as May, 1784, and the Bengal year does not commence till April; that, therefore, the fituation of laft year's accounts were known by this time, and found to be diametrically oppofite to the right honourable gentleman's state
Mr. Francis expreffed great aftonifhment at hearing thefe affertions from the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Scott) who had fo often and fo ably acquitted himself on feveral queftions relative to India. He felt extremely concerned at finding him fo confident of the authenticity of his information, as it is on that he proves it is found; this extraordinary mifre
prefentation, which he has this moment heard, for he could by no means entertain a doubt of the right honourable gentleman's candour on the occafion; however he had fuch informa tion on the subject of India, as would too clearly fubftantiate every obfervation of the right honourable gentle man's, who commenced this converfa¬ tion; he could adduce evidence at the proper time, to prove that the demands on the Company in India exceeded 115,000 lacks of rupees, and that they had not a fingle rupee, in comparison to the demand; he could alfo clearly demonftrate, even to the right honourable gentleman's fatisfaction, that the Company's bonds were at 30 per cent. in Bengal, and that there were Perfian agents here that received certain papers and property; and that the court of directors were utter frangers to all thofe circumitances Mr. Francis had convincing proof of.
Mr. Burke faid it did not answer any purpose to take up the time of the Houfe with a mere bufinefs of affirmation and negation; the fubject of his motion would be confined to fix or feven propofitions on this bufinefs; that on their appearance he would join iffue, and go to trial with the honourable gentleman, Major Scott; that then and there he would produce evidence of the truth of his affertions, till then gentlemen must fufpend their judgement.
Major Scott requested to fay a few words, by way of explanation of a matter, which had been very much mifreprefented; the matter he meant, was relative to the boxes of diamonds, which were alluded to by the honourable gentleman (Mr. Francis); fuch a matter as that happened but once, and only by accident. His friend, he faid, was fent with dif patches for the directors here on board the packet, in company with another veffel, and at the time of his depar ture from Bengal, it was not expected he could live the paffage home; being. aware of his fate on board, he wrote him a letter, with fome boxes of diamonds, part the property of the Company, and part containing property of
his own; his own share amounting to about 4000l. with directions to appropriate; and that this letter had been difpatched, together with the boxes, to him. This was the only ground for the two right honourable gentlemen's ingenious obfervations; but that as to the proof of the other allegations, he was ready to meet them whenever the right honourable gentlemen were prepared to bring them forward. The motion for granting the fupply was then put, and carried.
Friday, February 4.
In a committee on Ways and Means, refolved, That the duties on malt, mum, cyder, and perry, be continued for 1785.-To be reported on Monday. Lord Courtown reported that his Majefty had been waited on with their addrefs of yesterday, and would give directions as defired.
Received and read a petition from Mr. Southcote, complaining of an undue election for Dartmouth. To be heard on the 3d of May.
Alfo a petition from Colonel Erfkine, and complaint of an undue election for Queensferry. To be heard on the 5th of May.
This day Robert Vyner, Efq. took the oaths and his feat for the borough of Thirfke.
UNDUE ELECTIONS. Sir Francis Baffett prefented a petition from Lord Lewisham, complaining of an undue election for the borough of Tregony, in the county of Cornwall; and on his motion an order was made that it be taken into confideration on Tuesday, the 26th of April next. Sir Lloyd Kenyon, mafter of the Rolls, is one of the fitting members, of whofe return Lord Lewifham complains. Several other election petitions were laid upon the table by other members, and days were fixed for the ballots that muft follow fuch petitions.
WESTMINSTER SCRUTINY. As this was the day on which the high-bailiff and his two affeffors, Meff. Hargrave and Murphy, were by order to attend, the concourfe of perfons who wished to be prefent at their examinations, and the debate that it was
expected would be produced by a motion in confequence of them, was very great; the Speaker, who had foreseen it, had given the moft ftrict orders, that no ftranger fhould be admitted into the Houfe, unless introduced by a member: the eagerness that the ftrangers felt to obtain admiffion was encreafed by the difficulty which those orders produced; and those who were fo fortunate as to find members to in
troduce them already began to enjoy by anticipation the pleafure of feeing the ableft men in Britain exercise their powers of eloquence in debating a queftion of fo much moment to the conftitution, as is that of the Weftminfter election. But human happiness is nothing lefs than permanent or complete; the profpect of the moft rational entertainment, fo fanguinely expected by the ftrangers, was not of long duration; it foon terminated in difappointment.
Mr. Ellis indeed moved that the order of the day for the attendance of the high-bailiff, &c. might be read; but he said, at the fame time, that contrary to his former intention, he did not mean to enter into an examination of the returning officer this day; or inftitute any proceeding relative to the Westminster election before Tuefday next. In thus poftponing the confideration of a moft important bufiness to a future day, he hoped no one would imagine that he intended to abandon it; his reafon for propofing the delay was, that the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Fox) who was moft nearly affected by, or interefted in the decifion on the Westminster election, and the want of whofe abilities in the difcuffion of fuch a queftion would be a lofs to the Houfe, had met with an unfortunate accident, which kept him at prefent confined to his apartment; he had fprained the tendon Achilles, and was not now able to ftir abroad. He understood, however, that his furgeon was of opinion, that the right honourable gentleman would not fuffer a long confinement from this accident; that three or four days reft would probably fo far reduce the fwelling, and remove the pain, as to enable