HC Deb 16 June 1815 vol 31 cc858-60
Lord Castlereagh

presented the following Message from the Prince Regent: GEORGE, P. R. The Prince Regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty, thinks proper to acquaint the House of Commons, that, in pursuance of an Act passed in this session of Parliament, to authorize, under present circumstances, the drawing out and embodying the British and Irish Militias, or any part thereof, it is the intention of his Royal Highness, at this important conjuncture, to cause the said British and Irish Militias, or such parts thereof as he shall think necessary, to be drawn out and embodied, and to march as occasion shall require. GEORGE, P. R.

Lord Castlereagh

then moved, "That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to return his Royal Highness the Thanks of this House for his most gracious Message, and to express the satisfaction afforded us by the information that it was the intention of his Royal Highness to cause the British and Irish Militias, or such parts thereof as his Royal Highness shall think necessary, to be called out and embodied at this important conjuncture."

Sir John Newport

doubted, whether it was usual for the House to vote an Address, and express their approbation of the Message at the same time. It was proper that an opportunity should be afforded of examining into and deliberating on the subject of the Message, and as many hon. gentlemen were absent who might wish to deliver their opinions on the power to be exercised by the Crown, he hoped the noble lord would not call upon the House at present to express their approbation of the measure.

Lord Castlereagh

would have no hesitation in deferring the consideration of the subject, if there were really any point for deliberation. He thought it perfectly consistent, in communications of this nature to move an Address to the Crown, and to express the satisfaction of the House. The measure which the Crown was about to pursue was sanctioned by an Act of the House in the present session.

The Speaker

said, that cases of this description must be governed by their own particular circumstances. There was no rigid rule on such subjects, and they must be regulated just as honourable members might form their opinions.

Sir John Newport

would not have objected to a mere Address, but did not think it correct for the House, without any de- liberation, to express their approbation of the manner in which a power given by Parliament was to be exercised by the Crown.

Mr. W. Smith

thought it very improper to take the House by surprise. It was extremely possible that some other minister might come down with an address in much stronger terms; and therefore the House ought not to consent to an immediate expression of their approbation. Many hon. members who generally delivered their opinion on this subject, might think it unnecessary to call out and embody any militia at this time.

Mr. Baring

was of opinion, that an answer to the Message ought not to be given instanter, because it came upon the House by surprise. If the precedent were now to be made, any minister might bring down a communication to a thin House, when it would be very improper to give an immediate answer.

Lord Castlereagh

contended, that it had been frequently the practice to return immediate addresses to communications from the Crown; and, considering the pressing exigency of the present moment, and that the power to be exercised was in pursuance of a Bill passed in the present session, he did not see any advantage to be gained by delay.

The Address was then agreed to.

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