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"ing the debt of the nation, although aided by all the new taxes, " and an increase of produce in the revenues; and although a
very great proportion of the army were not upon their esta"blishment, did in that session apply for 300,000l. to supply “ the deficiency of the revenues, so that his majesty's faithful is commons could not even then see any end to the ruinous ac. “ cumulation of their debt.
“ That such a practice, if suffered to continue, must exhaust
the resources, and check the trade of that country, and must “ end in the impoverishment and ruin of the nation, and ulti“mately disable his majesty's faithful commons from those ex“ ertions, which might become necessary thereafter, and which
they should ever be most willing and desirous to make in support of his majesty's government. “. That they had long confided in the repeated assurances of
economy given them from time to time, by his majesty's mi. “nisters; but at length finding it in vain any longer to wait for “ redress from that quarter, they thought it inconsistent with “ their duty to his majesty, and those, whom they represented, “ any longer to refrain from applying for redress at the foot of “ the throne, and imploring his majesty's protection against his ministers.”
Mr. Parsons seconded the motion. It was violently opposed by the attorney-general. It was, said he, a question, upon which the sense of the house had been already taken three times that session; it looked extraordinary, to have it introduced at that time, after a committee had been appointed to take into consideration, the only plan practicable, which was a plan for the reduction of the civil establishment; and after the house had passed a resolution for all practicable retrenchments. He was as much an enemy as any man to the accumulation of debt, session after session ; but the increase of the revenue afforded a prospect of their being soon able to put an end to it, by its reaching the amount of their expences. It consequently followed, that an address of that nature was never less necessary than at that time.
Mr. Corry replied to the attorney-general in a most animated speech. After having taken a view of the country from the arrival of the Duke of Portland into it, he lamented that those flattering prospects had proved all delusion, and there was the most decided reason, in reviewing the conduct that had been holden for withdrawing their confidence from the present admi. nistration, and agreeing in an address, which contained in itself an undeniable train of facts; and concluded with stating, that they could not confide in the promises of his majesty's minis. ters, and therefore implored his majesty's assistance against them, upon the subject of economy; the truth of that must ap
pear, whether the eyes of the nation were turned to their military establishment, to their commercial system, or to their internal economy. At a late hour the question was disposed of, by the secretary's moving the order of the day, without a division.
In consequence of the commons having tacked some clauses to the money bills sent up to the lords, the House of Peers, on the 4th of December, 1783, came to two strong and pointed resolutions, which on the next day they ordered to be added to. the standing orders of their house.
*1. Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in parlia“ liament assembled, nemine dissentiente, that all grants for the “ encouragement of particular manufactures, arts, and inven« tions, or for the construction or carrying on of any public or “ other works, ought to be made in separate acts; and that . the practice of annexing such grants to bills of aid or supply, “ for the support of his majesty's government, is unparliamentary, and tends to the destruction of the constitution. II.“ Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in par. liament assembled, nemine dissentiente, that this house will "reject any bill of aid or supply, to which any clause or clauses, “ the matter of which is foreign to, and different from the
matter of the said bill of aid or supply; or any clause or clauses « for the granting of any sum or sums of money for the encour“ agement of particular manufactures, arts, or inventions, or for s the construction or carrying on of any public or other works, « shall be annexed.”
Mr. Curran took up this matter as an insult and injury offered to the dignity and rights of the House of Commons; and notice, that on the 16th of that month he should bring it before them; and on that day, there being a very thin house, he entered upon the subject, by observing, that while he reflected, that the motion he was going to make was of the utmost importance to the honour, and even existence of that house; and that he had given full notice of his intention, he was much surprised at the little regard that seemed intended to be paid to it, as was manis fested from the emptiness of those benches. It was a question of party; he was of no party; he despised the principle: he never did, nor never would attach himself to party: the ques. tion went to assert the privileges of the people of Ireland represented in the House of Commons, and every description of men in that house was equally concerned in supporting it. It was the sole and exclusive right of the commons of Ireland to originate and frame money bills in such manner, as they should think proper, and the resolution he intended to propose, was
5 Lords Journal, p. 409.
only to vindicate that privilege from the encroachments of a neighbouring assembly, which had lately, by certain resolutions, invaded that right, that palladium of the constitution, which he trusted every man in the house would think himself bounden to defend.
He was sorry to say, that the constitution of Ireland was so young, that he needed not go back to a very remote period, to prove that the exclusive right of originating and framing money bills had always resided in their house ; but for thirty years back, it certainly had, and in England, from whence they derived their constitution, it always had been the practice. The peers and the crown possessed an undoubted right of rejecting such bills in toto, but, in the commons alone resided the power: of originating or framing them; the very mode of giving the: royal assent to such bills, demonstrated that the commons alone was the source from whence they flowed. His majesty thanks his faithful commons, accepts their benevolence, and wills it to be so, and this mode obtained both in Britain and Ireland. To whom should the people of Ireland look for the redress of grievances, for the encouragement of arts, for the promotion of commerce, but to their representatives in that house? What powerful engine had that house, by which it could obtain the redress of grievances, the encouragement of arts, for the promotion of commerce, but by including those objects in the bill of supply? And if the right be once given up, or wrested from the commons, they ceased to be the patrons and representatives of the people; another assembly would assume that power, and the people would learn to look for that encouragement and support from the aristocratic, which they received from the democratic branch of the state, and that house would become a very cypher, and its members instead of possessing the power of encouraging arts, rewarding merit, or in a word, of serving the country, would become the humble solicitors of another assembly.
From the reign of Henry III. the power of annexing the redress of grievances to money bills, had been the constitutional privilege of the commons of England; the practice of inserting such clauses as the commons deemed proper, had obtained in Ireland for more than thirty years, and to any person acquainted with their constitution, must at the slightest view appear to be their inherent right: he could not therefore suppose that house would be silent, when that privilege was invaded by another assembly; no man entertained an higher opinion of that assembly than he did, and he was persuaded, that so great was their lordships' wisdom, that when that matter should be duly considered by them, they would see the impropriety of the two resolutions, which appeared upon their journals. It remained
for the commons, to vindicate their own privileges by a mild and temperate resolution, whịch he should propose to the house; for even admitting, that sometimes a House of Commons had erred in making improper grants, they should rather reform themselves, and determine not to err again, than submit to have a monitor over them.
Were he addressing a House of Commons, the most virtuous or the most corrupt, he should expect to be supported in the measure ; he would say to a virtuous house, the privilege of originating and framing money bills is the palladium of your liberty, the great engine to restrain oppression, to redress grievances, or to encourage merit. He would say to a corrupt house, it is the palladium of your corruption, the security of the wages of your venality, the means, by which you may obtain the
reward of your prostitution. But to the house before which he stood, the arguments of virtue and of honour would be sufficient. He then entered into a personal apology for the discontinuance of his intimacy with Mr. Flood, who if present he had no doubt would support the motion; he spoke very handsomely of Mr. Flood, notwithstanding the late difference on some political opinions. He then moved,
" That it is the sole and undoubted privilege of the commons “ of Ireland to originate all bills of supply and grants of public
money, in such manner and with such clauses as they shall " think proper."
Mr. Parsons seconded the motion, which was only supported by 11 against 58.
Under the late rapid changes in the British cabinet, and the still fluctuating state of the administrations of both countries, it was no wonder, that the Irish House of Commons should not have settled into a regular system of opposition: the subdivisions of that general patriotism, in which Messrs. Flood and Grattan had formerly agreed, had been productive of the only opposition, which then existed : Mr. Flood having long acted in opposition to the Whig or Rockingham party, appeared less disposed to coalesce with them than Mr. Grattan who had ever adhered to their principles. Mr. Grattan gave them full credit for every measure and every profession : Mr. Flood diffided in their promises, and arraigned their conduct.
It appears to have been the system of the Rockingham administration to leave almost unlimited discretion to the Irish government to settle their political ferment in their own way. The generality even of the more thinking people confidently looked up to the new ministry for some efficient steps towards the attainment of *protecting duties, a reduction in the army estab
• i. e. For protecting their own manufactures, and enforcing the consumption of them at home by laying heavy duties on similar manufactures imported from other countries.
lishment, economy in the civil department, and a reform in the popular representation in parliament. The last of these objects in particular had not unreasonably raised the expectations of the friends of reform to the highest pitch of confidence: they expected that the weight of government would have been thrown into their scale, as the first minister in each country, Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Rutland, had so recently been amongst the most eager and loud in support of that measure in Great Britain.
On the 20th of December, 1782, his majesty's answer to the joint address of both houses, presented on the 1st instant, was communicated to both houses of parliament, and was to the following effect:
“ His majesty returns his hearty thanks to the lords spiritual “and temporal, and commons, in parliament assembled, for “ their dutiful and loyal address. His majesty receives with “the highest satisfaction, the sentiments expressed by his
parliament respecting his majesty's government; and his “ majesty's faithful parliament may rest assured of his majesty's " determined resolution to concur with them at all times in the “ maintenance and preservation of that free and excellent con
stitution, on which the happiness and interests of his people “ of Ireland so essentially depend.”
*The extraordinary movements in the cabinet and the senate
• A more important moment to the fate of the British empire certainly never existed than that under our present consideration. For to the changes in the administration of that day are to be attributed the wonderful effects that have distinguished the eventful period of nearly twenty years, which will close the subject of these sheets. The advantages or disadvantages result. ing from that extraordinary revolution in the British cabinet will be estimated by every man reflecting on the effects of it by the political bias, interest, or judgment of the individual. Political differences are at all times, and particularly in the present, of too sensitive a quality for the annalist to touch.
(A. R. 69.) 'On the 8th of December, 1783, Mr. Fox's India Bill had passed the House of Commons on a division of 208 to 202, and the next day was carried up to the House of Lords. Hitherto no symptoms had appeared, at least to the public eye, that indicated the approaching fate both of the bill and its authors. Great pains indeed were taken, and with considerable success, by an almost incredible circulation of pamphlets and political engravings, to inflame the nation against the measures and the persons of adminise tration; and it was also remarked, that in the House of Commons, several of that description of members, well known by the name of king's friends, gave their votes on the side of opposition. But it was generally imagined, that the coalition ministry was then too strong to be shaken by the breath of popular clamour, and wholly improbable, that they should have adopted a measure of such infinite importance, either without knowing, or contrary to the wishes of the king. It went up to the lords on the first reading on the i1th of December. Lord Temple, Lord Thurlow, and the Duke of Richmond, expressed their abhorrence of the measure in the strongest and most unqualified terms. After a short debate, the second reading was fixed for Moriday, December 15.