HC Deb 25 May 1809 vol 14 cc696-711
Major Palmer

rose to make his promised motion and observed, that as the circumstances of Mr. Palmer's case must be so well known to the house, he should not take up their time by entering into a detail upon that subject; in consequence of being disappointed in the expectations he had formed from the votes of the house last session, as to the final decisions of his claims before parliament, Mr. Palmer had now resorted to what appeared to be the only method of obtaining that justice, to which, in common with every other subject of this kingdom, he conceived himself entitled. Previous to submitting the present motion, his first object had been to ascertain that it was regular in point of form, and then how far it was liable to objections, to which every question was more or less open; with respect to the one, sanctioned by authority from the chair, he could have no doubt there; and upon the other point, as far as he could flatter himself, from the general sentiments he had heard expressed, even by those whose opinions were unfavourable to the claims, he had little to apprehend; he confessed he had heard some objections, or rather what had been suggested to him as likely to be stated as such. It might be argued that there was no precedent for adopting such a motion.—The mere argument of there being no precedent could not, he thought, be dwelt on; for by the same rule, no precedent would ever have been established in the house, in the first instance, for want of a precedent to authorise it; but there were many precedents, where government had not availed themselves of their exemption from a legal process, but had allowed individuals, with whom they were at issue, to bring their cause into a court of law, and had abided by the decision. The only difference between these cases and Mr. Palmer's was, that the latter had already been taken into consideration by parliament: had it decided against the claims, it might have been objected to allow the cause to be tried again in an inferior court, but one or two assertions must be admitted, either that the cause has been decided upon in Mr. Palmer's favour, or that it has not been decided upon at all. If in his favour, it was for parliament to carry such decision into effect; if not decided upon, Mr. Palmer's case was in the same situation as others, with the additional plea, that he had absolutely no other appeal left. Yet it might be contended, that these cases were not in point, in as much as government had there, used their own discretion, and the reference to a court of law had been optional on their part; but that in Mr. Palmer's case, they had not consented, and the motion would compel them to that, which, by law, they were not bound to. This he admitted; but surely if in some instances government dispensed with their privilege, and allowed actions to be brought against them, it was competent for the house to recommend it in others. But he contended, that government were not justified in refusing it in any instance; the intention of the law was simply to protect public officers from being personally responsible for public contracts; it never meant that the individuals with whom they contracted should be oppressed; and was it not contrary to every principle of justice, that the reference to a court of law, should be at the option of one party, whose only motive in refusal must be the fear of being compelled to do justice to the other? Not only was it an injustice to the individual, but an injury to the country. In the case of Wilkinson against the Commissioners of the Navy, when the defendants pleaded their exemption from legal process, lord Mansfield declared that nothing could be more dangerous to the public interests than such a plea; for if once the precedent was to be established, no persons would be found to make contracts with government, with so little security for their fulfilment. Perhaps it might be urged, as it was to Mr. Palmer, by his counsel, that though no action could be brought against public officers, the complainant might appeal to parliament. Had Mr. Palmer brought forward such a motion as the present one, in the first instance, such an objection would probably have been raised; but Mr. Palmer had appealed to parliament; and it was because he could obtain no verdict, there, that he now appealed to the law. Had parliament decided against him, it would have been a hard case, considering the influence of that party with whom he was at issue; but without dwelling upon circumstances, which he wished to forget, and admitting that the claims had been alike fairly discussed in both houses, and that they differed in opinion, was not the plan to be pursued that which would have been adopted in any other case, where two judges disagree in the adjustment of a dispute, to call in a third to decide betwixt them? It had been suggested by some who voted in the last session against the withdrawing from the appropriation act the sum voted by this house to Mr. Palmer, that the most proper mode, and the one best suited to the dignity and privileges of that house, would be, to move an address to his majesty to pay the money, and that the house would make good the same; but, however proper such a motion, it might probably create that difference betwixt the two houses, which the present one was calculated to prevent. At all events it must be less objectionable than former motions, which the house had acceded to. In the session before last, on the Bill for preventing the granting of reversions being rejected by the lords, this house moved an address, not to grant them for a certain time; which address was a direct contradiction to the sentiments of the other branch of the legislature. But the present motion could not, he thought, be so interpreted; and he only hoped it might not be objected to, on the ground of being too conciliatory. He had anticipated all the arguments he was aware of against the motion; but whatever inconveniences might be suggested, as the onus of bringing it forward, rested not with Mr. Palmer, but those who might obviate its necessity by granting the object it professed, he trusted the house would not suffer such objection to prevent their coming to a resolution, which the peculiar circumstances of the case demanded; at any rate, he presumed, that no evil, anticipated from the motion, could be so great as the injury that would be done to the honour of the house, by refusing to an individual, whose public services stood acknowledged, and who complained of an injustice, that appeal to the laws of his country, which had ever been considered as the birthright of a subject of these realms.—Lastly, he had to observe, that it was a maxim of the constitution, that there could be no wrong without its remedy, and that one of the greatest benefits of parliament was the power of enacting new laws, as the existing ones were found inefficient; here was a wrong, and he appealed with confidence to the justice and the liberality of the house to grant the remedy. What line of conduct would be adopted by the right hon. gent. (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) he was unable to state; he could only say, that he had brought forward that motion, which he conceived most likely to meet his approbation, and he sincerely hoped his acquiescence would spare him the regret of saying one word more to the house on the subject; wherein he trusted they would at least acquit him of having so often intentionally troubled diem. The hon. gent. concluded with moving.—"That an humble Address be presented to his majesty, praying, that he will be pleased to allow the Agreements entered into by John Palmer, esq. relative to Improvements in the Post office, to be investigated before a Jury, and that the Receiver-General of the Post-Office should be instructed to defend the same."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was of opinion, that it would be impossible to frame such an Address upon the present subject as would accomplish the object of the honourable mover; in the first place, no legal agreement had been entered into with Mr. Palmer, and how could the law take cognizance of that which could not be substantiated in the first instance? It was proposed by the honourable mover to bring the action against the Receiver General of the Post office; that gentleman he submitted, had nothing whatever to do with the alledged Agreement, and who could prevent his disclaiming all concern with it? It was impossible that any court of law could proceed in a cause which was wanting in the proper and usual forms; and under these circumstances if Mr. Palmer were permitted to bring his action, he must of course be nonsuited.—He objected against the Address for two reasons; in the first place, it would go to establish a very dangerous precedent, and in the next place, the Address itself could answer no purpose; it appeared that Mr. Palmer was appointed to an office, embracing such and such advantages to be held during pleasure: from this situation Mr. Palmer was dismissed for misconduct; now, he contended that even though the office held by Mr. Palmer, had been granted him for life, a scire facias could have been moved upon the same ground as that which was the cause of his dismissal; and, surely, under those circumstances it would be very unadviseable to press the present measure. At any rate, he recommended the honourable mover not to take the house by surprise. Such an Address as the one proposed, required mature consideration, inasmuch as it was wholly unprecedented, and time should be given, that gentlemen might be thoroughly aware as to what they decided upon.

Mr. W. Adam

said, that the motion did not go to direct an issue; it only went to the removal of an impediment; this was a contract entered into with his majesty's government, and his majesty was addressed to prevent the person against whom the action was to be brought, from pleading the nonliability of the public officer, unless this was done, Mr. Palmer would be nonsuited, without the merits of the case being at all entered into.—With regard to the proceedings of a court of law, that had nothing to do with the question; if the motion was agreed to, and Mr. Pal- mer did not get redress, at least he would have had his request complied with; which appeared to him to be founded in equity. He conceived the motion was not exactly worded as it should have been, and he proposed as an Amendment, that there should be substituted for the words "investigated before a jury," "inquired into by an action at law, or by a suit in equity."

Mr. Stephen

was of opinion, that it would be unbecoming the dignity of the house if they were to address his majesty upon the subject, unless the affair could be regularly entered into in a court of law; it appeared that this could not be done, even if the impediments complained of were removed. Mr. Palmer, it was supposed, had forfeited all pretence to a claim of right, by his own misfeasence; taking the case as such, the address itself if agreed to, would become a mere nullity.—He conceived Mr. Palmer's best claim would be upon the liberality of the house; however he professed if it could be made out that the case was capable of being received, and decided upon in the courts, he should be ready to give it all the support it should teem to deserve.

Sir T. Turton

observed, that the simple question was, whether an agreement entered into between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Palmer should be abided by? It was monstrous to suppose, that a bargain which would bind an individual, should not be held equally sacred in respect to the government of the country. It was true that the agreement was only a verbal one with the ministers, but if that would not hold good, he for his part would much sooner take the note of a common swindler in the street. 'A tangible shape' had lately become a fashionable phrase, and all that was asked upon the present occasion was to put this agreement into one.—It was argued, that the Receiver General was an improper person to bring the action against, because he was not a party in the agreement; the fact was, Mr. Pitt, who absolutely made the agreement, being deceased, the Receiver General was selected as the person to whom the revenue was paid, and consequently the fittest person to sue on the occasion. The action was in fact, against the public purse, and against that particular branch of the revenue which Mr. Palmer had created, and out of which he had been faithfully promised his hard-earned reward. He should certainly support the motion, although he should have preferred one, addressing his majesty to direct his ministers to pay the money, which had been voted by the house as due to Mr. Palmer. The hon. gent. who spoke last had mentioned, liberality; what was asked for by Mr. Palmer was simply justice; and he trusted the house would take care to dispense it.

Mr. Rose

professed himself willing to allow the general merits of Mr. Palmer at to the invention and execution of his plan, and the benefits he had rendered the country; but in respect to the agreements, it was to be remembered that the advantages enjoyed by Mr. Palmer in right of the situation he held, supposed a strict and faithful discharge of the duties attached to it; so far, however, from these promises being complied with by Mr. Palmer, it appeared he had acted in the most improper manner by his superiors in office; that he had endeavoured to throw the different arrangements into confusion, by encouraging the subordinate clerks to quarrel with each other; and that he had connived at frauds in the department he presided over. Under these circumstances, he conceived Mr. Palmer had partly forfeited the advantages he held. Of this he was certain from eighteen years experience, that Mr. Pitt in settling the 3,000l. per ann. on Mr. Palmer conceived he had gone to the extent of what Mr. Palmer was entitled to. He had however no objection to the affair being investigated in a court of law, if it could be brought about; but he did not perceive how it was to be received, and decided upon in that way.

Mr. Fuller

was of opinion, that nothing could be more fair than the modes of proceedure proposed by the hon. gent. who brought forward the motion. The question as to Mr. Palmer's claim had been frequently discussed in that house, and decided upon by large majorities, and as he could not avail himself of these decisions he was willing to remove his cause into another court. In respect to the impossibility of bringing it before a Jury in a tangible shape, that would be proved when it was brought into court; at any rate, after all that had past, it would be only consistent in the house to remove all impediments as far as in them lay.

The Solicitor General

conceived, that as there appeared to be a difference of opinion as to the wording the address between those who supported it, this circumstance should induce them to lay the proposition on the table for further consideration, in order to prevent risking the adoption of a precedent, which might be dangerous in its consequences, and excited others who were discontented with bargains entered into with government, to try what perseverance for years, and solicitation of friends could effect in that house, [here the learned gent. was called to order.] It was proposed that the Receiver General should be directed to defend the action, without availing himself of the strength his situation furnished him with. Was the learned gent. (Mr. Adam) prepared to say, that this expedient would answer the ends proposed? He thought that although it might be adopted, still a court of justice could not but perceive how the fact really was, and the consequence would be that a non-suit would necessarily follow. He for one would never consent to the prosecuting any claim against the crown except in a legitimate way, be the individual merits what they might. If there was any remedy in law, resort to it; if, on the other hand, the redress lay in equity, use it; but if relief were not to be found in either, the case ought to be left as it was, for no infringement should take place in established usages.

Mr. Windham

thought the house bound to enforce by agreeing to the motion, that justice they had already admitted by their former votes upon the subject. The crown was not called on to abandon its prerogative, but merely to forbear in this instance; a forbearance neither unusual or unfrequent, and this was all that was asked, namely, that if that house would not enforce its own decisions, to let the cause go before another tribunal. He could see no danger to the prerogative by agreeing to the motion, but much to the dignity of that house by refusing it.

Sir S. Romilly

said, that all Mr. Palmer wished for was, that the Receiver General should be desired to defend the action, which he intended to bring against government, for the breach of contract entered into; and all the house was asked to do, was to admit the case to be brought forward fairly in a court of law, or equity. How, he would ask, was the dignity, the character, or the honour of that house to be compromised by its directing such a cause to be tried, even although the claimant did not succeed? It had been said by a right hon. gent. opposite, that the courts were open to every one, and that there was a legal remedy for every thing of this nature; but he had always under- stood that any person entering into a contract with any of the public boards, such as the Navy board, Transport, or Victualling boards, and being afterwards dissatisfied with the fulfilment of it, found himself absolutely without a remedy, owing to the nonliability of the public officer; which could never happen if a contract was agreed upon by two persons, neither of whom were connected with government. The only question therefore, was, to remove the technical difficulties that existed and stood in the way of a legal prosecution of Mr. Palmer's claim.

Major Palmer

rose again, and apologized to the house for what might appear to be unnecessarily taking up their time; but as gentlemen on the other side had not confined themselves to the expediency of the present motion, and still denied the justice of those claims which had been repeatedly acknowledged by the house; he hoped to be excused in once more replying to the various misrepresentations which had been made since he first had the honour of addressing them upon the subject. He could not help complaining, that so many gentlemen should have formed their opinions without really understanding the case. They seemed to consider Mr. Palmer in the light of any other subordinate officer in a public department, and as such to have justly incurred his dismissal. If they would be content with this, and not insist that the forfeiture of his office included his agreement for the percentage in the encreased revenue, which in justice and common sense must be considered as distinct; having on his part upon a former occasion, in order to conciliate as much as possible the general feeling of the house, given up the salary, to which the whole of the committee with the exception of only one hon. member, a strenuous advocate for the rest of the claim, had declared Mr. Palmer to be entitled to; he should not now say a word on the subject, but as the forfeiture of both had been insisted on, it became necessary to defend both. Considering Mr. Palmer as a mere subordinate officer, whatever opinion he might have had of his own merits or the demerits of the Postmaster general, having the authority they were justified in dismissing him. But the hon. member hoped to place Mr. Palmer's conduct and situation in a very different point of view, and from the sentiments he had lately heard expressed on all sides the house, he trusted the attempt would not be in vain. He begged the house to consider that when Mr. Palmer first made his proposals to government, he was not a needy adventurer, but in those circumstances wherein a moderate degree of attention to his own affairs, might have insured that ample fortune to his family which so many others had acquired. Under such circumstances then, it was not, to be supposed that he would have abandoned a certainty for an uncertainly, or have made an agreement with the government, of which he could entertain the slightest doubt of the performance on their part when he had completed his own. What then was the agreement in the first instance? why that Mr. Palmer was to have two and a-half per cent, on the future encreased revenue of the post office, in consequence of his plan, if it succeeded, but not a shilling if it failed. When it was found necessary, from the opposition to his plan by the post office, that he should superintend its execution, this agreement was new modelled into the form of an appointment for life, giving Mr. Palmer the uncontrouled management of his plan, and commuting part of his percentage on the encreased revenue, for a salary attached to his appointment. Nor can it be imagined for a moment, that he would have accepted an appointment with less power, for how could he have expected to succeed in his undertaking, if liable to be impeded and thwarted by those who had professed to be his enemies, and who had declared him to be a madman and his plan impracticable. The appointment being so drawn up and settled, Mr. Palmer proceeded; in the mean time the attorney general discovered that this appointment was not legal, as it interfered with an existing act of parliament, constituting the postmaster general the head of their department. This might easily have been remedied by altering the act of parliament, in extending the commission of post master general, and including Mr. Palmer in the appointment. But whether Mr. Pitt wished first to ascertain, more fully the merits of the plan, or was influenced by the suggestions of others, who, now Mr. Palmer's wheels were once set in motion, thought they had no further occasion for his assistance; be that as it may, the matter was delayed, and Mr. Palmer was induced to proceed in the execution of his plan, under the assurance of the minister that he should not be interfered with, and that when he had compleated his own engagements, the public should perform theirs. Under these assurances Mr. Palmer proceeded to his satisfaction, until the appointment of my lord Walsingham, an event as unfortunate for the public as for Mr. Palmer. The hon. gent. admitted what he had before stated, that from certain parts of the evidence which had been laid before the house, wherein, lord Walsingham speaking of the merits of Mr. Palmer's plan, had declared that government was pledged for the fulfilment of the agreement, and wherein both their lordships had staled their conviction of Mr. Palmer's personal integrity, he was convinced their lordships had no intention to injure Mr. Palmer in character or fortune. But however convinced he might be that lord Walsingham had been misled by the intrigues of others, necessity compelled him to add that such was his lordship's opposition to Mr. Palmer's plan, that whoever ought to have been dismissed it was impossible they could act together. The hon. member then proceeded to observe upon the conduct of a right hon. gent. (Mr. Rose) who had been upon that night, as upon all former occasions, the most bitter in his hostility to Mr. Palmer, and who of all others should have been the last to oppose his claims. At the time the committee sat, on whose report the hon. member had founded his motion in the last session, the right hon. gent. did not think proper to attend either as a member or witness, though the same right hon. gent. had been very regular in his attendance at a subsequent Committee, where having no apprehensions of being called upon, he spared no pains in his endeavours to perplex and reduce that amount, which in the first instance was far below the calculation that was fairly due to Mr. Palmer. However as he had declined attending the former Committee, Mr. Palmer having no object but to obtain justice for himself and family, and conceiving that the right hon. gent. for his own sake would be content to remain quiet, had no wish to disturb him. But had the Committee examined the right hon. gent., instead of another right hon. gent. whom they called upon, the hon. member believed that they might have obtained much more information than the latter was able to afford them; and here the hon. member begged leave to say a few words upon the conduct of the right hon. gent. alluded to (Mr. Long.) That right hon. gent. considering his natural partiality to Mr. Pitt, had given a very candid evidence before the Committee, in which the little he said, expressed a favourable, and coming from him, a flattering testimony of Mr. Palmer's merits, and which evidence he closed, by stating in answer to a question put to him that he had no further information whatever to give, the Committee. Was it then quite consistent after such a declaration to state subsequently in the house that he could have given the Committee much further information had he been allowed the opportunity, as if, independent of his own previous assertion to the contrary, he had not been too long a member of that house to be ignorant that it was in his own power to have given any information he had thought proper. In consequence of this the right hon. gent. was again examined in a Committee of the lords, which Committee after about an hour's examination of the voluminous evidence laid before them, made no Report, and wherein the additional evidence of the right hon. gent. was in fact no addition, and so far to his own credit, for had it contradicted his former testimony declaring he had nothing more to say, such contradictions might have been the subject of a similar discussion to that which had lately taken place. The whole the right hon. gent. had stated was his own opinion of an agreement to which he had been no party, as he was not in office at the time; as for his opinion of Mr. Pitt's opinion it could not be necessary when the latter had stated it for himself in the evidence. Why, the noble lords preferred a second examination of Mr. Long, who, from the first knew nothing of the matter, to the examination of lord Camdenand the bishop of Lincoln, and whose testimony the whole of the case rested, the hon. member was at a loss to guess; but as the Committee had declined examining their lordships, he concluded their testimony was undisputed.—The hon. member again returned to the right hon. gent. (Mr. Rose) who he believed might have given more information to the Committee, from having been Secretary to the Treasury at the period of the original agreement, and as such, principally concerned in the transactions which took place.—If any gent. would read the whole of the evidence and other documents which Mr. Palmer, however expensive to himself, found necessary to publish, he might there be convinced that the great difficulties Mr. Palmer had to encounter, were not in the arrangement of the plan itself, but in consequence of the encouragement given by the right hon. gent. to all that opposition and intrigue which it was his duty to have suppressed; it might there be seen that on no occasion were the remonstrances of Mr. Palmer against the Post Office and Post-master General attended to, or that in any instance was their misconduct reproved, or their mismanagement enquired into. This was sufficiently proved by the evidence. He would not detain the house by entering into a detail, but it appeared that in one instance only the Postmaster General had incurred an expence to the country of 16,000l. a year in effecting a single improvement, which Mr. Palmer undertook to accomplish for 4,000l.; it appeared that after Mr. Palmer had in vain applied for a small increase of salary to deserving officers, the Postmaster-General immediately after his suspension advanced them to an enormous amount; in the instance of one salary only which at Mr. Palmer's recommendation they had refused to augment from 100l. to 150l. a year, after his suspension they raised to 700l. a year, thus bribing these officers with the public money to desert their principal; he should mention but one more instance wherein the Report stated, that during the short period of only four years after Mr. Palmer's suspension, there had been an excess in the expenditure of above 187,000l.; from that period to the present the excess had amounted to two millions; and the average annual expenditure which at the time Mr. Palmer left the office, he had reduced below the amount at which he found it, was now more than double. When Mr. Palmer entered the office, the average annual expenditure exceeded 200,000l., on leaving the office after nearly ten years management, notwithstanding the vast additional expence in consequence of the extension of the Posts by his plan, he had absolutely reduced this expenditure; and from the period of his suspension up to the present time it had gradually increased to 400,000l. a year. The hon. member said that it was not for him to presume to dictate to the house, but he could not forbear giving his own opinion as a member, that if broad assertions like those made by such a man as Mr. Palmer, who was never known to fail in any expectation that he had held out to the public, were not worth enquiring into, he did not know what was. With respect to the gross accusation of fraud made by the right hon. gent. against Mr. Palmer, he would only refer the house to the report of the Committee and the testimony of the Postmaster-General themselves. He wished he had as little reason to complain of the many misrepresentations of the right hon. gent. Amongst others he had told the house on a former occasion, that Mr. Palmer had deceived them, and the public by his assertion of his having saved government 20,000l. a year in the conveyance of the Mails, such saving being solely owing to their exemption from Turnpike tolls. But in fact the deception was on the part of the right hon. gent. as be could scarcely forget what he certainly knew at the time, that Mr. Palmer reduced the original contract made by government for the conveyance of the Mails at 3d. per mile to 1d. being a saving of two thirds of the expence, amounting to 24,000l. a year. The turnpike tolls had nothing to do with this saving, as the Mails had been equally exempt from them before. The hon. member said that he should have replied to the mis-statements of the right hon. gent. in the last session, but flattering himself from the repeated and decided majorities in favour of Mr. Palmer's claims, it was impossible that justice could be withheld, he had determined not to trespass upon the patience of the house; however, he hoped that all that had since passed would acquit him in having again troubled them. He should make no further observations upon the conduct of the right hon. gent. but could not drop the subject without making one appeal to his feelings. The right hon. gent. like Mr. Palmer, was now arrived at that period of life when reflections upon the vanities of this world must occasionally intrude, and when in spite of all our prejudices or partial affections, moments occurred when truth would present itself; it was in such a moment that he intreated the right hon. gent. to draw a fair comparison betwixt Mr. Palmer and himself, to compare his own progress in life with Mr. Palmer's, the fortune he had acquired with Mr. Palmer's, the anxiety he had suffered with Mr. Palmer's, the great services he had rendered to his country with Mr. Palmer's; and then to put it fairly to himself, if Mr. Palmer and his family were not as well entitled to the hard-earned profits he had acquired, as the right hon. gent. to the wealth he had amassed, the places and the pensions which he still enjoyed, and his family their reversion. The hon. mem- ber concluded with expressing his hopes that the little which was asked for by the motion, or had been stated against it, would ensure its adoption by the house, but if it failed he should not regret the having brought it forward, as it must serve as a further proof of the conviction Mr. Palmer felt of the justice of his cause, to forego the verdict of the house in its favour and submit it to the uncertain issue of the law; and it would also afford an opportunity to those who had been adverse to the claim to avoid all imputations upon the motives of their own decision in the case, by leaving it to that of a jury.

Mr. Rose

hoped that the strong personal allusions which had been made to him, would sufficiently apologise for his again rising. He denied that he had been influenced by any other motive in the parts he took in this business, than a wish to defend him who could not now defend himself, and who had been charged with gross injustice in this transaction towards Mr. Palmer. Mr. Pitt had an high opinion of Mr. Palmer's talents and services; but nothing, he was concerned to state, but Mr. Palmer's own misconduct, was the cause of his removal. At the same time he admitted, that certainly Mr. Palmer had in the beginning many difficulties to encounter, and had to contend against a teazing opposition on the part of those who did not think as highly, nor (as the event proved) as justly of the plan as Mr. Palmer did. As to the origins of Mr. Palmer and himself, he asked, if he ever had made any allusion to Mr. Palmer's origin? Never. He was incapable of such indelicacy.

Mr. Long

defended the evidence he had given before the committees of the house, and affirmed that he had never varied from, any evidence or opinion delivered by him on this subject. There never was an agreement with Mr. Palmer, which did not include the discharge of his official duties. Mr. Palmer had misconducted himself in his office, and had therefore violated the agreement. At the same time he acknowledged the merits of Mr. Palmer.

Mr. Ponsonby

suggested that the officers of the crown should not take advantage of the Statute of Limitations, nor of the non-liability of the public officer. This was the purport of the address; to place Mr. Palmer in a situation to try the merits of his case. He stated that he meant to propose an Amendment pursuant to this suggestion.

The Gallery was then cleared, but an interval of an hour and a half elapsed before the division took place. When the house divided there appeared:

For the Resolution 127
Against it 123
Majority for Mr. Palmer -4