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house a proposition which would limit the Bank restrictions to a definitive period; and as the noble lord's arguments were founded on a supposition that the restrictions would be continued to an indefinite period, it was scarcely necessary to enter at length into a refutation of them. He, however, proceeded to show that the information arising from the questions to be submitted to the committee would, more than any thing else, defeat the resumption fif ca=h payments, and place the Bank at the mercy of every speculator in bullion in the country. After considering some of the particulars of the proposed inquiries, andendcavouring to prove that there was no necessity for the committee which had been moved, he stated the grounds upon which he thought it probable that cashpayments would be resumed in July, 1S1G.
Inthe debate which ensued, contrary opinions were,as usual,maintained upon the intricate subject of the circulating medium and public credit; and some of the opposition members expressed great doubts respecting the probability of a resumption of cashpayments at the period assigned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In conclusion, the House divided, when there appeared, for the motion 38, against it 134.
Immediately after this was disposed of, the House went into a committee for continuing the act of the 44th of his Majesty, for rebtricting the cash-payments of the Bank of England. The Chancellor of the Exchequer having moved that the said restrictions should continue till July 5, 181o', Mr.
Grenfell proposed the amendment of adding the words "and no longer." This was opposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as seeming to limit the discretion of the house; and from his opposition and the total silence of the Governor of the Bank, an unfavourable augury was drawn of the resumption of cash-payment* at that period. The amendment was rejected by 92 to 35. At the third reading of the bill, Mr. Horner proposed as an amendment, the insertion of a clause purporting, "That whereas it is highly desirable that the Bank should, as soon as possible, resume its payment in cash, immediately after the passing of this act, measures should be taken by the Bank, to enable them to resume such payments." The latter part of the clause being objected to, the mover consented to withdraw it, and the first part was admitted. The bill soon after passed into a law.
The attention of the House of Commons was called on March 2lst to a singular circumstance connected with parliamentary privilege. Lord Cochrane, who was a prisoner in the King's Bench, in consequence of a sentence pronounced upon him, for his concern in a conspiracy to defraud the public, and during his confinement had been re-elected representative for Wcstniinter, having contrived to escape from prison, after remaining for a time concealed, went on the day abovementioned to the clerk's room in the House of Commons, where members are usually sworn previously to taking the oaths at the table of the House. Being informed
formed that it was necessary that he s-hould have with him the certificate of his return, he sent for it from the crown-office, and then went into the House, where he seated himself on the bench at the right hand of the chair, no member being at that time present, and prayers not having been read. The marshal of the King's Bench, who had been apprized where his lordship was to be foxmd, now entered with two or three of his officers, and carried hini back to prison, notwithstanding his remonstritnee that they had no right to lay hands upon him in that place. After the House was assembled, the Speaker informed them that he had received a letter from William Jones, esq. marshal of the King's-bench prison, which he read. Its purpose tras to acquaint the House with what he had done, and that he -»as in waiting to receive their commands on the occasion, humbly hoping that he had not committed any breach of privilege by the steps he had taken.
In the conversation which followed, it was agreed that the
marshal had not intended any violation of the privileges of the House; but the Speaker confessing it to be a new case, and giving his opinion for referring it to a committee of privileges, a motion was made to that effect by lord Castlereagh, which was agreed to. On the 23d the committee gave in their report, in which, after stating all the facts of the case as above related, they gave the following result of their consideration of the subject. "In deliberating on a matter of such high importance, your committee have to regret that they could find nothing in the Journals of this House to guide them: the case is entirely of a novel nature; they can therefore only report it as their opinion—That under the particular circumstances given in evidence, it does r.ot appear to your committee that the privileges of parliament have been violated, so as to call for the interposition of the House by any proceedings against the marshal of the King'sbench." This report was ordered to be laid on the table, and the whole affair thus terminated.
CHAPTER PARLIAMENT had hitherto been chiefly occupied with matters of internal policy, when the extraordinary event of Buonapart's landing in Fiance, the particulars of which will be found in the chapter relating to the concerns of that country, called its attention to different objects, and in fact gave a new turn to the public history of the year. On April 6, a message from the Prince Regent was delivered to each house, communicating the information that " the events which had recently occurred in France, in direct contravention of the engagement concluded with the allied powers at Paris in the course of the last year, and which threatened consequences higldy dangerous to the tranquillity and independence of Europe, had induced his Royal Highness to give directions for the augmentation of his Majesty's land and sea forces; and that he had deemed it incumbent upon him to lose no time in entering into communications with his Majesty's allies for the purpose of forming such a concert as might most effectually
Prirtcc Regent's Message on the landing of Buonaparte in France: Address and Debates.—Lord tVellesley's Motion respecting the Escape of Buona
■ parte from Elba, and Debates on the subject.—Discussion of the Treaty •with America.—Motions and Debates respecting the Transfer nf Genoa to the King of Sardinia.—Mr. IVhitbread's Motion for an Address against a War icith France.
provide for the general and permanent security of Europe."
The consideration of this message was entered upon in the House of Lords on the 7th, when the Earl of Liverpool rose to move a corresponding address. In his introductory speech, he began with observations on the treaty of Fontainbleau, concluded in the last year by the sovereigns then at Paris, with Napoleon Buonaparte. He affirmed, that Lord Castlereagh, when informed of its contents, had expressed a strong disapprobation of it; but that the representations of the allied sovereigns having at length convinced him of its necessity, he had consented to accede to it in part, namely, as far as concerned the possession of the isle of Elba by Buonaparte, and the sovereignty of the Italian duchies conferred on his wife. He then denied that any breach of this treaty had been committed by the King of France, as the first payment of the annual sum stipulated for Buonaparte had not become due, nor had he made any representations to the allied powers on
that that head; and his own proclamations proved that he had meant to violate the treaty on the first opportunity, and to resume his power. This resumption was therefore a positive and undeniable violation of the treaties of Pontainbleau and Paris, and gave this country a just cause of war against Buonaparte wielding the power of Fiance. His Lordship, however, did not mean to say, that because a war was just, it should therefore be entered upon. The policy of it was another part of the question. It was impossible to conceal the dangers with which this event threatened the country, but he did not wish that the House should Be pledged to any inconsiderate declaration. Between the two alternatives of armed and defensive preparation, and actual war, he requested that there might be no immediate decision, since it was not merely a British, but an European question; and nothing more was at present called for than what the message required. Ke then moved the address.
The following speakers, who were lords Grenville, Wellesley, and Grey, all approved of the address, but made various remarks on the circumstances which had brought on this awful crisis. The address was then agreed to nem. diss.
On the same day the message was taken into consideration by the House of Commons, where the subject was introduced by Lord Castlereagh. He took in general the same ground with his colleague, but more at length, as having been personally engaged jn many of the previous transac
tions. With respect to the situation of Buonaparte in Elba, and the imputed neglect of a precautionary secvirity against his future enterprises, he said that the powers who had concurred in the treaty of Fontainbleau had never intended to exercise a system of police or espoinage with regard to him. He was invested withthe sovereignty of the island, and had a sort of naval equipment under his flag, which the British officer on that station had no power of visiting. Col. Campbell, who had been one of bis conductors to Elba acccording to treaty, had indeed been suffered to remain between that island and Leghorn, for the purpose of conveying occasional intelligence to government, but his visits had latterly been discouraged by Buonaparte; and a sort of English vice-consul who resided on the island, was placed under the inspection of two gendarmes at tljt time he was making his preparations. With respect to the pension allotted to Buonaparte and his family, his Lordship said, that having heard, whilst at Vienna, of some complaints on that head, he had inquired concerning the circumstance, of the French minister, who had addressed his government on the subject. The reply was, that Buonaparte had manifested a spirit of infraction of the treaty on his part, by recruiting for his guards in Corsica and other places. Lord C. afterwards being told that he was under certain pecuniary embarrassments, he spoke to Louis XVIII. on the subject, who caused a person to be dispatched to Elba for the purpose of affording him
some present aid, but not to pay his entire stipend, until a satisfactory explanation were given of some suspicious points of his conduct. If, however, he had any ground of complaint in this matter, it should have been made to the allies, who were parties in the treaty. After some remarks on the precautionary measures now proper to be pursued, he concluded wilh moving- an address corresponding to the Regent's message.
Sir Fr. Burdett then rose to declare his reasons for refusing to concur in the proposed address, which turned upon his conviction that Buonaparte was the choice of the French nation, and that any attempt to re-establish the Bourbons by force would be equally unjust, and hopeless, lie regarded the address as the first step towards a war of which no man could foresee the termination.
Mr. Ponsonby said he should support the address, not considering it in the same light as the lion, baronet, since it did not bind the House by a single expression on the question of peace or war. With respect to what was said of the contravention of the peace of Paris, he interpreted it (as Lord Grey did in the House of Lords) as referring to the circumstance, that more favourable terms having by that treaty been granted to Fiance on the ground that she was to return to what was called her legitimate government, that condition no longer subsisting now that the government had reverted to Buonaparte, the allied powers stood in the same relation to France that they
did before the treaty. He said he should never give a vote on the principle of imposing a specific government on any nation; and that he would to the last moment cherish the hope that peace might be continued, especially when he recollected that the noble lord himself had been engaged in the negociations at Chatillon, when France was not under the government of the Bourbons, but of Buonaparte.
Mr. Whitbread began a long and warm speech with saying, that they who should vote? for the address unamended, would fall into the trap into which the ministers were desirous of betraying the country; and that he could not let the occasion pass without contending with all his force against any of the grounds hypothetically stated by the noble lord for commencing a new crusade for the purpose of determining who should fill the throne of France. He would maintain that it was the clear interest of this country, and its allies, to fulfil the treaty which they had made with France when under the Bourbons. Alter a variety of observations on this point, among which he introduced some very severe animadversions on the unauthorised concurrence of the British minister at Vienna in the declaration of the allies on the landing of Buonaparte in France, (see State Papers), he concluded with moving the following amendment to the address: " And that at the same time we earnestly implore his Royal Highness the Prince Regent that he would be graciously pleased to exert his most strenuous endeavours to secure