HC Deb 01 March 1805 vol 3 cc677-93
Mr. Giles,

pursuant to the notice he had given some time since, rose to move for the continuance of the powers granted to the commissioners of naval enquiry. To those who were not in the house at the time when he put some questions to the gentlemen at the other side, whether they had any intention to prolong the commission, it was necessary for him to state, that he had put such questions, and had received no answer; and this was the cause of what might otherwise appear extraordinary, that the motion for the continuance was brought forward by him. Every person must admit, that the object of the commission, which was, to inquire into the irregularities and abuses connected with the navy, must be desirable. The persons appointed had, in the two years they had been in office, pursued the enquiry with an industry and integrity deserving the highest approbation; and their merit was established beyond the necessity of further proof, by the reports they had laid on the table of the house. At this moment they were still actively continuing their investigation, and they had yet much to do. The duration of the act by which the commission held its powers was uncertain. The act of the crown, which was but another term for the will and pleasure of a minister, might put an end to it in a moment, by proroguing parliament only for a day. The duration of the act was fixed, at its passing for two years, from the 29th of Dec. 1S02, and to the end of the next ensuing session of parliament. If parliament had met, as in the usual course, before the 29th Dec. the act would have held in force for another year. It was probably in the contemplation of parliament, at the time of the enactment, to afford an opportunity for the renewal of the act, if it should be thought advisable, by allowing the whole of a session of parliament to make a motion to that effect, in addition to the greater part of the session in which the expiration was likely to take place. He made this motion thus early in the session, because the commission was issued by act of parliament, and if parliament should think it necessary to continue it, it may be on its guard to do so before the act of a minister would deprive it of the power. He was not disposed, in cases of this kindy to place much confidence in men; The change that had taken place in administration, though it had not produced much vigour, had introduced much boldness. Another reason why he put himself forward on this subject so early was, that ministers on the subject of the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland, which they described as. so necessary and impor- tant, had shewn so little vigilance as to render it unavoidably necessary to break through the forms of the other house to hurry the bill through, before the expiration of that which it was to replace, and even then a day or two of adverse wind would have caused it to arrive too late. Here the lion, and learned gent, recited the objects which the commissioners were empowered to inquire into. The official departments of the navy were the principal. Of these the admiralty had not been yet attended to. The navy board was much considered in the sixth report, but not completely examined. The office of the treasurer of the navy was described in the last report laid on the table; the victualling board had not yet been in any way noticed; nor the office for sick and wounded seamen, the department of prisoners at war or the transport office, nor the office of inspector of naval works. Thus a great part of the task imposed on the commissioners of enquiry remained yet unexecuted. It was impossible that in the ordinary duration of the session this remnant of the proposed labour could be gone through before its close. Much inconvenience would result from its non-continuance, which lie proposed to remedy by moving to continue it till the next session, when, if its further continuance was necessary, another motion of the same nature may be made. Those who supported the appointment of the commission were now called upon to vote for its continuance; and even those who opposed it, seeing the advantages that had resulted from the inquiry, were equally bound to give it full effect. The commission lately granted under the great seal to consider what remedies should be adopted for the evils discovered by the commissioners of enquiry, proved that the navy board was not adequate to the inquiry, as it was formerly urged by some, for this late commission stated, that the navy board was too much occupied to undertake even the secondary supervision there specified. He thought it not quite respectful to the house to. appoint, without any communication, those commissioners by royal authority, to act upon the reports of a commission appointed by parliament. The predecessor of the right hon. gent, has said, it was intended to submit to parliament distinct propositions on the. reports. The abandonment of this plan, and. the institution of the new royal So commission, he looked upon as disrepect- ful to parliament. If the motion for the continuation of the act was not assented to, it would be seen, that there was in ministers a determination to resist reform. It was most notorious, that great abuses existed in all departments of the naval service; and those who made notoriety the ground for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, could not deny it as a ground for the continuance of this commission. The hon. and learned gent, concluded with moving, "for leave to bring in a bill to continue the act appointing commissioners for naval Inquiry."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that he by no means meant to propose to the house, not to continue the act, if its continuation should be necessary; but, that he did not think it necessary to vote its continuance before any occasion for that measure should appear. He did not hesitate to say, that the reports of the commissioners had been attended with much benefit, neither had he any difficulty in declaring, that, if there was not sufficient time before the close of the session to terminate the investigation referred to them, their powers should be further continued. But it did not now appear that the remainder of the session would not afford sufficient time. On the review taken by the hon. and learned gent. himself of the subjects proposed for enquiry, only one of any great importance remained uninvestigated, that was the victualling department; the transport department and the others were of inferior importance. He saw no reason, however, to suppose that the commissioners might not be prepared to make their report of the victualling office now, nor that they had not at intervals turned their attention to the other remaining subjects of inquiry, on which no report had yet been made, in such a manner as to leave little to be done to make up what they would submit to the house respecting them. He thought it right, therefore, to wait till a more advanced period of the session, and then if it should be necessary, he should have no objection to the continuance. The hon. and learned gent. had thought proper to allude to another commission, which he considered as disrespectful to the house, though it was not very easy to see on what such an opinion was founded. The object of that commission was to carry into effect every improvement! which the reports of the commission had' suggested. It was rather singular, there- fore, to hear it asserted, that a commission professedly appointed for purposes of reform, was at all to be viewed as disrespectful to the dignity, or discordant with the duties of parliament. Seeing no reason then for pressing the hon. and learned member's motion at present, and conceiving, that if the circumstances of the case required it, there would be full opportunity afforded for renewing the term of the commission, he felt it incumbent on him now to conclude, by moving the other orders of the day,

Mr. Martin (of Tewksbury)

wished every success to the motion of the hon. and learned gentleman. He professed the utmost respect for the late first lord of the admiralty, and declared, that in his opinion, his exertions to reform the abuses in the naval department were highly meritorious. From the time he had first directed any pan of his attention to public affairs, he had seen reason to believe that naval abuses of the most flagrant description existed, and the noble lord deserved the gratitude of his country for his endeavours to extirpate them. The noble lord had fought our battles abroad bravely, successfully, and skilfully, and not satisfied with these exertions, he had set about the reform of abuses which were not only a disgrace to the board of admiralty, but a disgrace to the very character of the country. He thought the commission for promoting this great object an excellent one, and he should certainly vote for the motion.

Sir William Elford

admitted that the commissioners of naval enquiry had done some good, but thought that their enquiries ought not to be carried on as they are at present. They had erected themselves into a kind of criminal tribunal, and heard and condemned on ex parte evidence. The member was proceding, when lie was called to order.

The Chanceller of the Exchequer

said, that if the hon. member wished to arraign the conduct of the commissioners, the regular way would be, to move a day for the consideration of the reports on the table.

Sin William Elford

thought himself perfectly in order. He was only attempting to shew that the commission ought not to be continued as it was at present administered. The reports were such, that if published by any authority but that house, they would be deemed the rankest libels that ever were written. In one of them, there was a charge against a grand jury of Devon, which, oh enquiry, he had heard was levelled at a Mr. White, Sheriff of Exeter, who was accused of having tampered with the jury, because some of his own relations were amongst the persons the commissioners had ordered to be prosecuted.

Mr. Sheridan

conceived the hon. baronet would have been out of order, if he had not come to the point he had just now laid down. Having charged the commissioners with abusing their powers, and having suggested the propriety of restricting them, the hon. baronet was called upon to substatitiate his charge of abuse, and to bring forward a specific motion for curtailing the powers. If the commissioners were to be abridged of their powers to detect and punish the foulest frauds and the most flagrant abuses, in the most important department of the public service, it was fit that the cause of that curtailment should be made out. It was natural to suppose some extraordinary cause for the rejection of a bill supported by direct evidence. A loose imputation should not be suffered to tarnish the credit or diminish the powers of men who had exercised those powers for the benefit of the country. He thought the hon. baronet called upon in the first instance to make good his charge, that the commissioners had abused their power, and then to move that those powers be abridged.

Sir W. Elford

justified himself by stating, that he did no more than cite the case from the 8th report of the commissioners of naval enquiry.

Mr. Grey

argued, that if there was, as the worthy baronet had insinuated, any fair charge against the commissioners for any of their Reports, this was not an evil for which no remedy existed. If any set of men had been injured, they were not without redress. If the commissioners had been guilty of any act of oppression, the house had the means of procuring to individuals improperly attacked full retribution. They could either recall or restrain powers which had been illegally or oppressively exercised. The hon. and learned gent, who had introduced the discussion had alluded to a variety of important subjects which remained for the investigation, of the commissioners, and the right hon. gent. opposite had not denied that these matters were extremely interesting in themselves, and deserving of serious inquiry. He had, however, thrown out a hint that there was reason to hope the investigation might be closed before the close of session. But it was to be kept in view, that the proceedings of the commissioners had already been extremely laborious, that they had furnished many voluminous Reports, and that there was no reason whatever to suppose that in the short time which might intervene, previous to the termination of session, there would be time for bringing their investigations to a satisfactory conclusion. The benefits arising from the inquiry were not denied even by the right hon. gent. and he would appeal to the house, whether he was asking too much when he contended that the full benefit of the act authorising the inquiry should be obtained? There was a strong probability that, unless the bill was renewed, it would fail of producing that effect Which all seemed to have so much at heart; and could any thing therefore, be more reasonable than to put it out of all danger of expiring before it had produced all that reformation which it was calculated to produce? But the motion of his hon. friend stood on still stronger grounds, if the intention of parliament were to be allowed to have any weight. If parliament had met before the 29th of Dec. the bill would have remained in activity, and it was not requiring too much to require that the spirit of the act of parliament should be acted up to, and that the mere accidental circumstance of the delay of the meeting of parliament should not interfere in defeating a great measure of public improvement. There was one hon. baronet in the house (Sir C. Pole) who had been highly instrumental in promoting this important investigation, and who, he was confident, would state to the house that there was no hope of finishing the labours of the commissioners before the termination of the session. He wished to have that hon. member's opinion stated, for it could not fail to make a powerful impression. He was decidedly in favour of the original motion.

Sir Charles Pole

feeling himself called on by an observation of the hon. member, rose purely for the purpose of replying to it. He admitted that many important objects of inquiry remained yet to be examined, which it would be impossible to complete during the present session from the numerous difficulties that would arise in consequence of the war. He could not kelp adding, that when the measure had been first introduced, on the suggestion of the noble lord, then at the head of the Admiralty, it was that noble lord's opinion that it could not be carried into effect during the war. The fact was, that the necessity of the measure had been felt during the last war, but the attempt to put it into execution had been deferred till the peace. As to what had been said with respect to the contents of the eighth report, he should only say, that he was not surprised at any thing which should come from that quarter.

Sir W. Elford

utterly disclaimed the slightest personal knowledge of the individuals to whom he had alluded. Nay, he had no connection whatever with them, and acted wholly on public grounds.

Sir Charles Pole

disclaimed any imputation calculated to make a question of the integrity of the motives of the hon. member for Plymouth. But the abuse of the naval commissioners came naturally from the constituents of the hon. baronet; for he did not believe that those commissioners were ever respectfully spoken of at the docks.

Admiral Markham

felt it impossible to sit still, without saying a few words on this subject. He had himself had the honour to introduce the bill into that house, and he enjoyed the best opportunities of beings acquainted with the intention of the noble lord who then presided over the naval department. That noble lord had undoubtedly not recommended the measure during the war, because he looked forward to a probable termination of it, and it was his intention to have its operations extended to the time that should be necessary for accomplishing its objects when it had been brought forward. He could state, and the Reports on the table would bear out his statement, that one-third of the naval expences of the country would be saved by an honest and upright discharge of the duties of the offices employed in their administration. This he believed in his conscience, and stated not on light grounds, He knew of some of those abuses now under investigation, which would astonish the house when reported to it. His hon. friend had stated, that there were many other branch, as to be investigated, such as the Victualling office, and the Sick and Wounded office which he had no hesitation in stating to be the most corrupt of all. He and every other officer of his majesty's navy had suffered by these abuses. There was also another measure, the prize- agents bill, in which the whole navy was interested. A pledge had been given to bring it forward, but he had not heard any thing of it lately. He, however, hoped that it would be carried into effect, and that it would cure all the complaints that had been made for so many years by the navy. He was decidedly of opinion that the duration of the present measure should be extended till all the departments of the navy should be thoroughly purged. He did not charge upon the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer, any intention to obstruct the investigations of the commissioners, but there certainly appeared in others a great inclination to impede their proceedings. When the bill had been brought forward, it had been said that the Admiralty or the Navy Board was competent to the purpose, but the right hon. gent, had admitted the propriety of continuing the present commission, by having appointed another commission to assist in their inquiries. As to what had been said by an hon. baronet, on the subject of the 8th Report, he thought it would have been more candid and manly to have made it the ground of a direct charge against the commissioners, than to attack them thus by a kind of pistol or side wind.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

observed, that notice had been given in the present session by a learned gent, (sir W. Scott), of his intention to bring in a bill for regulating prize agents.

Mr. Creevey

expressed himself in terms of the strongest approbation of the labours of the commissioners for naval enquiry. From what they had already disclosed of frauds on the public, the house and the country had every reason to augur most favourably of their future exertions. He hoped too, that their reports would not be suffered to lie useless on the table, but would be followed up by corresponding improvement. It was the more necessary to allude to this, for he had formerly seen reports of abuses in the naval department which were suffered to sink into complete oblivion. He could remember 20 years ago such reports, and to this, though improvements had been suggested, they had never been reduced to practice, nor had enquiries, of which there was much promise and strong expectation, produced one important result, except the satisfaction of knowing that the public had been grossly plundered. He was sorry to be under the. necessity to alluding to the royal commission, which in all probability was only instituted for ministerial purposes. There was among these commissioners one name, the insertion of which in a commission appointed for enquiring into the means of reforming abuses in the navy, was to him altogether unaccountable. This name was the name of Mr. Fordyce, who has for several years been supposed to be indebted to the public in no less a sum than the sum of 80,000l. The interest of that sum might be estimated at as much more, all of which was to be made good by tuxes from the pocket of the people. He knew it was said that this loss was attributed to a misfortune, and did not at all reflect on Mr. Fordyce's character. Let this, however, be as it might, he could not help saying that he thought it a most extraordinary circumstance, that a person standing under such circumstances should be on a commission, the very object of which was to destroy public abuses. He could have liked to have the subject brought forward by some other gentleman; but as this was not likely to be the case, he certainly could not, consistently with his duty, refrain from taking an early opportunity of bringing the matter under discussion.

Mr. Fox

was clearly in favour of the original motion, and could not conceive on what grounds the motion for the order of the day could be supported. It was evident that the bill, if allowed to be good at all, could not fulfil its object previous to the expiration of the session. There was no force at all in the observation of the right hon. gent, opposite, that at this period of the session the renewal was unnecessary. The house could have no means of knowing when the session was to terminate. It might terminate exactly when it suited the whim or the interest of a minister. But was the house to be told that an act, on all hands allowed to be beneficial, to be renewed just at the period when it suited the minister, and not when it was called for by the public interest? The idea was monstrous, and not to be endured for a moment. If parliamentary inquiry was to be instituted at all, then let it be instituted in the true spirit of inquiry, and not dependent on a minister's arrangement. But the right hon. gent. had endeavoured to argue, that there probably might be no necessity for renewing the act. Now, what single tittle of evidence had been adduced to countenance such an opinion? It was contrary to every conjecture, and every probability. It was directly in opposition to the declared opinion of two hon. and gallant officers; the best acquainted with the subject. These hon. officers had expressly agreed, that it would be quite impossible for the commissioners to finish their inquiries within the period which might be expected to intervene, previous to the close of the session. One of the hon. officers (Sir C. Pole) had, indeed, expressed some doubt as to the continuance of the commission during the existence of a war; but he had expressed no doubt that much yet remained to be investigated, much yet was to be done be sore the mass of public abuses was laid open to view. He really could not help being astonished at the attempt to get rid of the original motion, by moving the order of the day. This was surely evading the: question in a most unhandsome and indefensible manner. If the right hon. gent, thought the commission unnecessary, or conceived that the commissioners made an undue use of their powers, why did he not, like the worthy baronet opposite (Sir W. Elford), state such an opinion openly and manfully? The worthy baronet had declared himself dissatisfied with the naval commissioners, and had expressed his opinion, that their inquiries should be discontinued. He had stated, that their Reports ought to be examined into, because he conceived they afforded ground for grave accusation. The hon. member had acted now as he did on a former occasion. On that occasion he had brought forward a direct charge, but by some misfortune or other, no member could be found to second his proposition. Though, however, he was in this respect unfortuate, it could not be denied that his proceedings were fair and honourable. If the right hon. gent, entertained similar ideas, why was it that he did not pursue a similar course? Surely it would be a course at once more honourable, as well as more parliamentary. To get rid of the motion by moving the order of the day was far from being a fair or candid proceeding. If gentlemen objected to the continuance of the commission, they would afterwards have a full opportunity of expressing their sentiments. They ought at least to suffer the bill to be introduced, and on the second reading they might then take the sense of the house, whether, it should be allowed to go to any subsequent stage. They had then only to oppose it, and. say directly at explicitly that the commission should be closed. He thought that those who originally supported the act were now bound by every call of consistency to vote for the original motion. If they thought inquiry necessary, they certainly were bound to see that this inquiry was fully and advantageously pursued. If they had thought that gross abuses existed, on what principle was it that they refused their assistance in bringing them to punishment? On every view of public interest he was decidedly in favour, of the original motion, which he trusted the house would not suffer to be got rid of by the unfair and unmanly expedient proposed.

Mr. Canning

spoke in favour of the amendment, but begged it to be understood, that in giving this vote be gave no opinion as to the policy of continuing the commission. Whenever this matter came to be canvassed, he should feel himself as not at all compromised by the vote he should give on the present occasion. A great deal had been said as to the intention of those who brought forward the measure, as to the time of its continuance. One hon. officer (Sir C. Pole) had declared his opinion, that it was not meant to be continued during a period of war. It was true that another hon. officer (Admiral Markham), had expressed his opinion that it was meant to be of unlimited duration, as long as there was any subject of inquiry not thoroughly investigated. Now, he contended, that with such opposite and contradictory opinions, in such a state of ambiguity, the house ought to pause before they came to any certain determination. This was precisely the object with the amendment he had in view. It was designed not to operate as a decision that the commission should be discontinued, but as a means of giving the house time to reflect to what period it should be extended, or whether it might not be possible to derive all the information required) without any renewal of the bill. Even allowing that parliament in the first instance intended that the bill should be extended to a period beyond what it would reach to without a new bill, the house now were not to be bound by such a determination. They were to be guided by dictates of policy and expediency. One hon. officer was of opinion that we ought by all means to preserve the commission in existence. Another hon. officer, equally well qualified to judge on the subject, thought, that during war, that operations of the commission would be attended with many difficulties and embarrassments. When this was the case, what was there more natural than to adopt the amendment, which did not at all injure the commission at present, and presented the consequences of a too precipitate decision. There had been a good deal advanced respecting the propriety of bringing forward charges against the naval commissioners, if they were supposed guilty of any act of oppression. What situation would parliament be reduced to, if not a word were to be uttered in that house against a commission of five persons possessing larger powers than had ever been entrusted to an equal number of men? Was it not competent to any member to call in question the propriety of allowing a body to proceed in their usual way, which had been charged with having published a libel against so admirable a part of our constitution as the grand jury of a county? He did not think it decorous, that an hon. member, when such was his object, should be publicly asked, whether he was prepared to substantiate a criminal charge against the persons composing that commission. After the declaration which had fallen from his right hon. friend, he could see no possible advantage which could result from the measure proposed by the learned member, and he would therefore vote for the order of the day.

Mr. Fox

denied that he had used any taunting, language. If, in what he said, there was an appearance of taunt, it was not applied to the worthy baronet, whom, on the contrary, he praised for his fair and open dealing. If there was any thing of taunt, it applied to those who could hear arguments and approve them secretly, without having the courage openly to support them.

Sir Charles Pole

gave it as his opinion, that there were at present matters of the highest importance before the commissioners, and that, in all probability, their labours could not be ended within the session.

Mr. Bragge Bathurst

rose, not for the purpose of complying with the demand of any gentleman, whom he would not admit to have the right of personally requiring of him an explanation as to any change in his sentiments respecting the continuance of the commission, but to state his reasons for opposing the motion. After the candid manner in which the motion was met, he had been in some expectation that the hon. and learned gent, would not have persisted in his motion. It was not now necessary to discuss; whether the commission should last one or two years. Undoubtedly the intention of parliament was, that such a commission should exist, and it was therefore proper that a reasonable time should be allowed to it for transacting the business with which it was entrusted, consistent with fair expedition. With respect to that part of the learned gentleman's argument, which tended to maintain the necessity of renewing the bill, because it was within possibility that the prerogative might be exerted to destroy the existence of the commission, he thought it the most extravagant he had ever heard. It was not proper for parliament to argue and decide upon such outrageous presumptions. It was not credible, that any minister would be found to advise the exertion of the prerogative for such a paltry purpose as that of getting rid of the present bill. There was no immediate necessity apparent to him for taking the subject into consideration, and he would therefore vote for the previous question, merely upon the declaration of the right hon. gent. under him.

Lord Henry Petty

did not see the necessity that in cases where great powers were confided by Parliament, the persons invested with those powers should be restricted in point of time. The proposal of his learned friend went no further than to give the bill the extent which it was now demonstrated to the satisfaction of the house it was originally intended it should have. He thought that parliament having once adopted the measure, was, in consistency, bound to continue it. There was little apprehension, that the ideas thrown out by some persons, respecting the danger which might result from the existence of such a commission, without any thing to operate upon, should ever be realised. The abuses which it was the object of it to discover and correct were numerous and notorious, and he hoped, that the advocates for passing strong measures, such as the suspension of the habeas corpus act in Ireland, upon the sole grounds of notoriety, would not deem themselves justifiable in opposing a measure founded on their own principles, and from the continuance of which it was universally allowed the public had derived the most extensive and important advantages.

Mr. I. H. Browne

said, that he gave great credit to the barriers of the bill when it was first introduced into the house, and the reports of the commisioners acting under it had confirmed him in the good opinion he had then formed of it. With every deference to the opinion of the hon. baronet who had so worthily acted under it, and every confidence in the promise of the right hon. gent. as to its continuance, he thought the measure so important and necessary that he could not but vote for the present motion.

Mr. Tierney

said, he was surprised, from the trifling, if any difference of opinion, which existed between both sides of the house upon the merits of this bill, that there should be any objection to a motion for its further continuance. It was allowed on all hands that the commissioners acting under this bill had, throughout the whole of their conduct, with the exception of one single instance only, deserved the highest praise. Why, then, should the house hesitate to invest such commissioners with the powers necessary to enable them to discharge their duty with full effect? In order to this, he thought the existence of their power should be stable, and not dependant on the duration of a session. As to the danger apprehended from such a commission during the existence of a war, he thought that the experience we had already had, was sufficient to remove that apprehension. The commission had originated in time of peace, but yet we had been at war during the greater part of its continuance, and yet no inconvenience whatever, appeared to have resulted from it, but quite the contrary; and it was his opinion, and that of many gallant and intelligent officers, that if it were interrupted in its progress before its investigations' should be completed, very great mischiefs would arise. An hon. baronet had stated, that if the object of the commission appeared to be unattainable before the expiration of the sessions, application would and ought to be then made for the continuance of the bill. But he would put it to the candid consideration of the house, whether, thinking as they and the public did, of the exertions of these commissioners, it would be decorous to limit them in point of time, or wait for their application to continue the act? Whether it would not be more becoming to be beforehand with them, and to renew the bill at once? His opinion was decidedly in favour of the latter course, and he saw no good, though he could well suppose much evil, that might fellow from the postponement proposed by the motion of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. To the assurance of that right hon. gent, that he would bring forward a proposition for the continuance of the act under consideration in the course of the session, should necessity appear to call for it, he was ready to give credit. But it might happen that the right hon. gent, however well disposed, would be unable to carry the proposition into effect. Many changes might occur in the course of a session; he did not mean to speak as to ordinary events; but even in the situation of the right hon. gent, a change might occur. Perhaps the right hon. gent. did not feel at all the uncertainty of a situation in power, though he could assure him, that he himself felt that uncertainty; and therefore it was that he could not entirely rely on the right hon. gent.'s promise, or, rather, that he could not rely on his capacity to fulfil it. He would not risk this important bill upon a contingency, and if the situation of the right hon. gent. should be changed* his wishes and eloquence might not possibly have sufficient influence to carry the renewal of this bill. For this reason it was, that he desired to press the motion for its renewal at present; and also, because he thought such immediate renewal necessary to give vigour and efficacy to the operation of the commission. No man could suppose that that commission could proceed with such effect, if they were to calculate upon the expiration of their power within three or four months, as if that power were enlarged in the manner proposed by the motion. It was impossible indeed, that they could accomplish the object of their inquiry within the session. They had, he understood, much information to look for from distant countries, particularly in their enquiry into the victualling department. How then could it be reckoned upon that such enquiry could be completed within a short time; particularly as it was stated by his noble friend, that their business was fast accumulating? With respect to the allusions made to the views of those by whom the motion was proposed, those views he did not know; but he knew the view which induced him originally to support this bill. That view was, because he thought it proper and necessary to investigate the abuses that were generally supposed to ex- ist in the expence of the different departments of the navy. Of this necessity he was now fully convinced. The vast mass of evidence on the table, furnished by the reports of those commissioners, was the best testimony of their merit, and the strongest argument in favour of the motion before the house. Those reports contained such matter as was highly deserving the attention of the house, and such as he trusted would, by becoming the subject of serious consideration, prove that parliament was as anxious to interest itself in the concerns of public economy as in any other subject.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

in explanation stated, that some gentlemen seemed to misunderstand his observations with respect to the reports from the commission to which the motion before the house referred. He had said, that there were many important suggestions in those reports; but he would not be understood at all to pledge himself, to take any particular proceeding in consequence of those suggestions. This was a consideration upon which he held himself free to make up his mind.—The question being called for, a division took place:

For Mr. Giles's motion, 75
For the amendment, 92—
Majority against the motion, 17

List of the Minority.
Adair, R. Giles, D. (Teller)
Adam, Charles Geary, Sir William
Annesley, F. Graham, J.
Barclay, George Grenfell, Pascoe
Barclay, Sir Robert Grey, Hon. Charles
Bampfylde, Sir C. Hamilton, Lord A.
Baker, W. Hartopp, Sir E.
Barham, J. F. Hughes, Wm Lewis
Bouverie, Hon. E. Jekyll, J.
Brooke, C. Jarvis, T.
Browne, J. H. Johnstone, George.
Burton, F. Keane, W.
Butler, Hon. C. Lefevre, C. S.
Calcraft, J. (Teller) Leigh, J. H.
Calvert, N. Lemon, Sir W.
Cavendish, Lord G. Liovd, J. M.
Cavendish, W. Maddocks, W. A.
Chapman, Charles MarKham, J.
Combe, H. C. Martin, J.
Cooke, Bryan Martin, R.
Creevey, Thomas Milner, Sir W.
Dickins, F. Moore, G. P.
Dundas, Hon. C. L. Moore, P.
Dundas, Hon. G. H. L. Morris, Edward
Dundas, Hon. L. North, Dudley
Ebrington, Lord Ord, Wm.
Fane, J. Ossulston, Lord
Fellowes, Robert Petty, Lord Henry
Fitzgerald, Rt. Hon. J. Plumer, William
Fitspatrick, Rt. Hon, R Raine, Jonathan
Folkestone, Visct. Russell, Lord Wm.
Fonblanque, J, St. John, Hon. St. A
Fox, Hon. C. J. Sheridan, R. B.
Francis, P. Smith, C.
Smith, Wm. Tyrrwhitt, Thos.
Somerville, Sir M. Walpole, Hon. G.
Spencer, Lord R. Whitbread, S.
Temple, Earl Young, Sir W.
Tierney, Rt. Hon. G.