HL Deb 21 June 1808 vol 11 cc959-73

The Order of the day being moved for the second reading of Mr. Palmer's per-centage bill,

Lord Eliot

rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of their lordships to the bill now before them. He had bestowed much attention on the nature of Mr. Palmer's Claims, and on the evidence which had been adduced for and against them After due consideration of these points, it was his opinion that the bill ought to be rejected, and he should conclude with a motion to that, effect. The noble lord then went into an examination of Mr. Palmer's contract with Mr. Pitt, which he contended had in view future as well as past services. He also asserted, that Mr. Palmer's appointment was during pleasure, and only to continue as long as his conduct deserved approbation, and his exertions were beneficial to the public. There was nothing, therefore, in the terms of the contract on which to rest the claims which Mr. Palmer now advanced. Besides, the conduct of Mr. Palmer, in several transactions, was of a complexion to merit the severest reprobation, and the forfeiture of any conditions that might have been entered into in his favour. On this head, he would refer their lordships to the evidence on the table, more particularly to that of Mr. Long, who was, from his situation at the time, best enabled to be informed of every particular connected with Mr. Palmer's contract. That evidence was far from speaking very strongly in Mr. Palmer's favour. On these grounds it was, he had thought proper to bring forward his present motion, and not from any private motive of ill-will towards Mr. Palmer. His lordship concluded with moving that the bill be rejected.

The Earl of Moira.

—My lords; Nothing excited by any speech to which I may on former occasions have listened in this house, comes near to the degree of surprize with which I have heard the motion now offered for your adoption. It is not that my mind was unprepared for some extraordinary procedure. In a manner wholly unprecedented in parliamentary transactions, your attention was called to this subject before you could, consistently with the established principle of your own order, or without infringing your accustomed respect towards the other house, avow any knowledge that the matter was in agitation. Nay, a body of testimony received by a Committee of the Commons was requested from that house at a time when it had not come to any conclusion on the question; and a Committee of your lordships was named to open proceedings on that evidence. This seemed not merely strange; but, could one have permitted oneself to give way to the conception, might have been thought to indicate a fixed resolution of crushing the Claim of Mr. Palmer, howsoever it should be circumstanced. One resisted the suspicion, because it must have appeared to every body that this case, though not in form a judicial question, was in essence strictly so; and the nice regard of your lordships to equity forbad the indulgence of a doubt. What follows? Your Committee give to you the evidence just as they received it from the house of commons (in which state, as you well know, it is not evidence for this house), with the sole addition of a few questions put to Mr. Long; and, upon this foundation, the noble lord who took the lead in your committee recommends to you a conclusion from that evidence, diametrically opposite to that which was deduced from it by the commons; and without a hearing given to Mr. Palmer, you were moved to declare against the justice of his pretension to a stipulated participation in great advantages acknowledged to have been received and to be now enjoyed by the public through his plan. You know that, previous to the adoption of Mr. Palmer's plan, the revenue of the Post-office amounted to but about 150,000l. and you equally know that, in consequence of his system, it was swelled to the enormous sum of 1,200,000l. It is idle to attempt saying, that a part of this arises from an increased rate of postage. The noble lords, who have filled the office of Post-master General, will not contradict me when I assert, that the additional tax on letters (which was a part of Mr. Palmer's proposal to the minister) could not have been borne had it not been counterbalanced by some signal benefit to the correspondence of the country. I appeal to the official knowledge of those noble lords, whether the tardiness and insecurity of the post, on its original footing, had not induced numbers of mercantile people to send their letters in parcels by the stage coaches, in diminution of the Post-office revenue, and whether it was not a growing evil? An additional tax on letters would have been only an additional motive for this practice, had not the safety and the dispatch provided by Mr. Palmer's plan for the transmission of letters made it worth the while of the merchants (and indeed of all other descriptions) to submit to the augmented impost.—Do I say too much when I assert, that this whole transaction bears a most unfavourable colour of a concert which ought not to have taken place for such a purpose? The procedure elsewhere will explain my meaning. The honourable mover (Major Palmer), who brought forward the Claim in another place, justly alarmed by the steps which he saw taken here, naturally inferring that there was a determination to crush this Bill, and wisely measuring his own inability to struggle against such a combination, dropped his notice for the third reading of the bill, and determined not to urge the matter further at present in the house of commons. Then the chancellor of the exchequer starts up; and, without having given the least hint of what he was about to do, urges forward that bill which he had opposed in every previous stage with professed hostility; performs the function which only appertained to a supporter of the bill; passes it, and sends it up to us as sanctioned by the deliberate judgment of the house of commons. Wherefore? Because, to those who had determined to trample on the Claim, it was more desirable that sentence should be passed upon it, than that it should remain to strengthen itself by its intrinsic merit in public opinion; so it was to be expedited to us, to receive that doom which it was thought would be secured for it in this place. Flattering indeed to this house to imagine that such a question, a question of private property and personal justice, would be prejudged here! No other construction, unfortunately, can be given to these steps. How ought we to look upon those who have co-operated in such a plan? That is a point which I leave to your feelings respectively; for it is too painful for me to press.—So much, my lords, for the preliminaries. Now see upon what sort of argument the motion itself is recommended. The noble lord does not pretend to deny the original specific contract entered into by Mr. Pitt, nor does he dispute the fact, that the advantage reaped by the public from Mr. Palmer's plan has gone far beyond what had been contemplated; but he gives you a choice of two solutions to do away the inference from his admission. In the first place, he tells you that though it was Mr. Pitt's intention to grant those conditions, they were found irreconcileable to the Post-office Act; therefore, Mr. Palmer accepted a lower per-centage and a place, both to be held at the pleasure of the minister. Mr. Palmer's invariable assertion to the contrary, and his loud reclamation against Mr. Pitt's subsequent conversion of the terms into an annuity of 3,000l. is intitled to at least as much weight, as the loose supposition now offered to you. Must it not, however, strike every one as the grossest of absurdities in Mr. Palmer, that he should gratuitously waive a benefit assured to him for life, in order, without any additional or compensatory boon, to rest upon the will of whosoever might be minister? This, too, when he knew the irritation of all the old servants of the Post-office against him, for his pretension of managing a branch of their duty better than they had devised means of doing. The point, however, is clear from that very evidence on which the noble lord thinks he can be borne out to another conclusion. That Mr. Palmer might be entitled to interfere at the Post-office, it was necessary he should have a place under the Post-master General; a place, we will allow, on the tenure of good behaviour; and a calculated portion equal to the salary of the place was to be deducted from the per-centage. Now, who does not see that in reason and justice this deduction could only be understood for as long as he should hold the place? Remove him, and you return to the original contract. That contract, it is now said, was not admitted by Mr. Pitt. The contract, my lords, cannot be denied. It stands in clear written proof before you. Nothing but assumptions, assumptions of the most extravagant nature, appear against it; and that Mr. Pitt should have thought himself at liberty to impose arbitrarily upon Mr. Palmer a substitute for the conditions (having secured, on the other hand, all the increase to the revenue and all the convenience to the public) is a matter which I lament, but upon which I shall not expatiate. I will only say, it seems as if, when the stipulated gains of Mr. Palmer came to an amount far beyond what had been expected, an apprehension arose that an improvident bargain might appear to have been made for the public; to get rid of which imputation, it was expedient to annul the bargain by the hand of power. Provident or improvident, it was a bargain; and as to the magnitude of the profit to Mr. Palmer, it could only be proportional to the augmented convenience of the public. But the noble lord then resorts to his other ground; and he tells you, that whatsoever the conditions might have been, they were forfeited by Mr. Palmer's misconduct in the office; of which misconduct the noble lord has been pleased to indicate particulars. I have already resisted the position that any alteration in the engagement could be affected by Mr. Palmer's behaviour in office, other than that if he misconducted himself, he was no longer to have the superintendence of that concern on the good or on the bad management of which his gains were ma-materially to depend. It was scourge enough over Mr. Palmer, that the business might be left to persons, who, having asserted that the scheme never could succeed, were piqued in vanity to defeat his hopes as well as those of the public; and in this circumstance lies the explanation of the necessity for Mr. Palmer's being in the Post-office at all. But see what is urged against this gentleman. Letters written in the carelessness of confidence to his deputy are produced to prove the insolence of Mr. Palmer towards the Post-master General, and Mr. Palmer's connivance at frauds. With respect to the first, it is never to be forgotten, that Mr. Palmer conceived himself, though ostensibly under the Post-master General, to be substantially independent of any one but Mr. Pitt; but, as this seems not to have been explained by the Treasury to the Post-master General, there were constant jealousies of intrusion on the one hand, and of contumacy on the other. I am not palliating the tone of Mr. Palmer's letters, because I have no doubt but that he would be the first now to condemn their stile, though they were addressed to one on whom he had such reliance that the sentiments seemed not to go beyond his own breast; but I positively deny that the shadow of an impeachment against Mr. Palmer's integrity can be drawn from those letters or from the transactions to which they refer. The noble lord, without sufficient consideration of the nature of the evidence, directly charges Mr. Palmer with having been privy to the fabrication of false vouchers. How does the case really stand? In the outset of the business, before any thing had got into its regular course, Mr. Bonnor, the deputy, advances a sum of money to one of the persons employed in travelling to establish the line for the mail coaches. That man loses his accounts of the expenditure. Mr. Bonnor cannot recover the sum from the office without detailing the articles of charge. He applies, in a letter now before you (see p. 199), to Mr. Palmer, stating the hardship of not being repaid money bonâ fide laid out in the public service. Mr. Palmer directs Mr. Hasker, another gentleman of the Post-office, to sit down with Mr. Bonnor and calculate what might equitably be supposed the expences of the man measured by those journies which there was proof he had performed, and by the disbursements which the establishments effected by him must have required. The account so made out Mr. Palmer passed. Was this done in secret? Why, then, should Mr. Hasker, a clerk in the office, have been called in? Was there turpitude in the transaction? With whom then did it originate? the deputy. Who was to be the loser if the account should not be made up? the deputy. Who furnished the whole statement of facts? the deputy. Yet an accusation made a long time after to the Postmaster General by that deputy, in consequence of his having quarrelled with his principal, of an account's having been so incorrectly made up, is received from that person who did reap advantage from the business, as decisive testimony against the probity of Mr. Palmer, who could not draw a possible benefit from the transaction! But, says the noble lord, the consciousness of impropriety is evident from Mr. Palmer's own expression in one of the letters, that this was the most aukward account he had laid before the board. Who, upon a moment's reflection, (which I. am sorry the noble lord did not give to it), but must perceive, that this phrase was a just reprehension, though gently conveyed, to the inattention of his deputy. And did the Post-master General, prejudiced avowedly against Mr. Palmer, ever put such a construction upon that letter? I say he could not have done it. If he had, he must have regarded the whole transaction as fraudulent. Did he so? There is direct proof against the fact: for lord Walsingham in the evidence acquits Mr. Palmer of having any private interest of his own in making up this account Had the transaction been fraudulent, all the parties concerned in it must have been subjected to the deserved reprobation of the Post Master General. Yet Mr. Hasker, one of those who made up the account, was so far from being censured, that he has since been promoted to a situation of much greater trust and emolument, he has been, I doubt not, becomingly so promoted; for, I repeat, there was not any thing in the business to excite even a transient suspicion of malversation. Then it is said, that Mr. Palmer desires his deputy to pass an account which he at the same time describes as a shameful imposition. Good heaven! would not one suppose that the noble lord reckoned upon our never having read the documents from which he reasons; or, what is more probable, that he never read them himself. What is it that Mr. Palmer consents shall be paid? A debt intailed by the Post Master General through an unfitting interference with Mr. Palmer's contracts; a debt which could not attach on Mr. Palmer; a debt which Mr. Palmer had but to refuse sanctioning, if he wanted to expose and distress the Post Master General whom he is represented as treating with such hostility. When I speak of the Post Master General (lord Walsingham), it is with the sentiment which every man who knows him must entertain of him; with the truest respect for his private virtues, and with the obligation which I must feel in common with every other of your lordships, for the indefatigable exertions of that noble lord in the committees of this house; exertions so important for the security of the rights and properties of individuals as to entitle the noble lord to the' gratitude of the country for the manner in which he discharges his functions. That noble lord I am confident, naturally incensed as he has been at the language held by Mr. Palmer, never for a moment thought of putting on this matter a construction different from what I have given to it, or would have wished a hesitation about the payment. The truth was, that, although the contractor overreached the Post Master-General as to the quantum of compensation, there had been a regular bargain; and the good faith of government was pledged to the punctual performance of its part. Is it too much to ask, that in another bargain evidently as clear and precise, the same principle should be observed? I speak of Mr. Palmer's contract. If it, no more than the other, was not reduced to a strict written agreement, does it become the British government to quibble like Shylock, and say "it cannot find the condition in the Bond?" Does any body question the original terms? Does any body, unless upon assumptions which violate common sense, urge that there was a subsequent alteration of these conditions? Mr. Long, indeed, is called before the committee to give his opinion of what was Mr. Pitt's conception of the engagement. What a strange sort of evidence! But, independent of the inadmissibility of any thing so loose as an opinion upon what was another man's opinion, I would object to Mr. Long on this occasion, as a person who could not be impartial. He stands professedly interested to vindicate the character of Mr. Pitt from having made an improvident bargain. I do not admit it to have been an improvident bargain; but had it been ever so much so, I say the testimony of Mr. Long cannot counteract the intrinsic evidence of the case. Mr. Long is a man of the highest honour, and would not say that which he did not most strictly think. He gives you, however, nothing but his suppositions; and I have stated that his anxiety for the reputation of his deceased friend must biass them. He does not state himself to have been privy to the transaction; and how should he, when he was not in office at the time of the contract, and therefore, could at best but speak to the after-thought of Mr. Pitt? Why did not you examine the reverend Prelate (the bishop of Lincoln) who was then Mr. Pitt's secretary, or the president of the council (earl Camden), whose non-attendance on this question I cannot but remark and most pointedly regret? You knew that the business passed through their hands; did you fear that their answers would not be favourable? Why did you not demand of Mr. Palmer himself explanations where any were wanting? You will say, that he was a party and inadmissible. Then so was Mr. Pitt, equally no less interested by his pride than Mr. Palmer was in his profit, similarly to be rejected as a witness if you go upon that principle, but most of all to be rejected if his testimony is to be given through Mr. Long. I repeat, then, that Mr. Long's evidence is nothing. Yet, and I intreat you to observe this, the gaining this opinion from him was thought of so much importance as to make it for that alone necessary to call him before the Committee of this house. Why was not the evidence which he gave before the Committee of the house of commons deemed sufficient, as well as the rest of the documents? Why? because this opinion was not contained in it; and it was necessary to seek it by a leading question in the committee of this house; and that is the single new light attempted to be acquired by the personal examination of Mr. Long. In short, a colour, howsoever slight, was thought quite sufficient for what was to be managed here.—My lords; in the whole of this business there is the most unfavourable appearance of combination. Ministers appear to have been galled by a defeat in the other house. They have even acknowledged their vexation, and have extravagantly taxed the decision as the result of party management against them. What of party is there in such a question; what of management? The question was not carried by surprize. Never, perhaps, was a subject so thoroughly debated before. If I am not misinformed, there were nine discussions, and five divisions on this matter in the house of commons, in all of which Mr. Palmer's Claim was declared by unprecedented majorities. It was the triumph of honest feeling and a clear sense of justice over the most powerful influence. I do not bid you seek examples elsewhere. This house has been honoured, and justly honoured, by the public, for the equity with which it has always protected the interests of individuals. The appearances on this occasion are quite novel, and they are also quite intelligible. I will only say upon them that, if for the calamity of the country a means were to be devised for lowering the house of lords in general estimation, nothing could be more effectual than that there should be on a question of justice such a display of preparation as has now taken place, and that the management should prove successful.—For my own part, totally unconnected with Mr. Palmer, my support is influenced by no other motive than the merits of his Claims: for I declare to noble lords, that I never in my life stood forward in defence of a measure in which I was so strongly convinced of the justice of its basis, or felt a greater desire to see that justice done. If the noble baron had studied the evidence with the same attention that I have done, I am satisfied he must, of necessity, have come to the same conclusion. Great injustice has been done to Mr. Palmer, in the manner in which the bill has been brought forward. Your lordships have not the whole of the case before you, and consequently have not the means of coming to an impartial decision upon it. To afford you that opportunity, I shall move that your lordships do now adjourn. By adopting this motion, you will avoid coming to a decision upon the question, and leave the principle of the bill open to future discussion.

Lord Harrowby

felt himself perfectly willing to allow, that a positive bargain had been made in the first instance between government and Mr. Palmer, and he thought that no imputation of unfairness ought to rest upon ministers for not calling upon lord Camden and the bishop of Lincoln for their evidence, since all they could possibly relate would only confirm what there was no intention of disputing, namely, the actual existence of the contract; but though he fully admitted that this bargain had been originally concluded, still he must express himself decidedly of opinion, that the subsequent conduct of Mr. Palmer in office, and his acceptance of 3,000l. per annum, must be considered as a forfeiture of his claims upon government, and an implied acknowledgment upon his part, that such forfeiture had been justly incurred, and that he assented to the measures afterwards adopted. Indeed, the noble lord said he must consider Mr. Palmer in the present instance to have submitted too hastily to the undigested advice of his friends when he consented to the revision of these claims. It would have been more politic, in all respects, to have suffered them to rest quietly in the state to which former arrangements had reduced them. There were many objections to the further progress of this bill; but, did there exist no other than respect for the memory of that illustrious statesman (Mr. Pitt) by whom this question had been previously disposed of, the noble lord said, he should feel himself bound to oppose this bill.—The noble lord then proceeded to comment very largely upon the printed evidence, and contended that Mr. Palmer had forfeited all pretension to the original bargain, and that, by his acceptance of the 3,000l. a year, he had yielded up his Claim. Upon a mature consideration of the case, therefore, he could not, consistently with his duty, or the respect he owed the character of Mr. Pitt, act otherwise than oppose any further entertainment of this bill.

Lord Erskine.

—I shall not attempt to say that all the minutiæ of the Evidence of this elaborate case are now fresh in my memory, but, my lords, here is the Opinion given by me in my professional capacity some years since; and thus far I will say, that this Opinion was formed and delivered upon the most strict investigation, and the most serious and patient consideration; and I will pledge my honour as a peer, and my character as a lawyer, on the soundness of its basis and the correctness of its doctrine. And I am the more convinced of its justice when I see subscribed to it the names of such great men, that I hardly dare name myself in comparison. My lords, here is the opinion of my lord Mansfield, one of the judges. And I most solemnly declare that I wish Mr. Palmer might stand or fall by the opinion of the other eleven. I am confident that very few of the noble lords, who oppose this bill, know any of the facts relating to its merits, and I almost fear that they have been prejudiced and are determined to act according to the dictates of that prejudice: I do, therefore, conjure the noble lords not to treat a measure of such consequence as this is, with so much injustice, as to declare their opinion without knowing what the materials are on which it should be built. For though it looks very well to see noble lords coming to the house with blue books [the Evidence printed was bound in blue] under their arms, yet it is not the having the books under their arms that will convey the contents to their heads. How should their lordships be conversant with a mass of papers which they have scarcely had time to open? For myself, I have not yet received it, and the only notice that has been given me, has been by a Circular Letter from the honourable mover of this Claim in the other house, entreating me, in common with the rest of your lordships, not to decide upon this case, without understanding its merits and reading the whole of the Evidence laid before me. Can any noble lord reconcile it to his conscience to turn a deaf ear to such an appeal to his justice and liberality? I shall therefore certainly support the motion of adjournment. Mr. Palmer is accused of misconduct in his official situation. Now, where is the evidence to support such a charge? There is not one tittle to justify even a supposition of such a nature: on the contrary, the whole of the Evidence proves Mr. Palmer's conduct throughout, to have been that of an honest man.— Some of the noble lords say that Mr. Palmer, by accepting the 3,000l. per annum, gave up his claim to the original stipulations. Now, that Mr. Palmer never considered it in that light is indisputably proved by the Evidence and his letter written at the time to a noble lord (earl Camden.) And from Mr. Pitt's own. conduct, it is evident he never considered the Claim to the benefits of the Contract as waved by the acceptance of the 3,000l. a year, Mr. Palmer was obliged to accept this allowance in the year 1793; and in 1797 he applied to Mr. Pitt to have a committee appointed to investigate his case. Why, then, if Mr. Pitt had considered the original agreement as cancelled by Mr. Palmer's acceptance in 1793, would he not have said, upon this application in 1797, "Why, good God, sir! what do you mean? You gave up all your pretensions to my bargain, by your acceptance of 3,000l. a year in 1793."—Did Mr. Pitt say so? No, he granted the request: then, it is evident, that he considered the case as Mr. Palmer and every one else did. Although by the law laid down in the case of "Wilkinson against the Commissioners of the Navy" it was decided, that those who acted merely as the servants of the executive government were not personally bound by their engagements, but that the performance depended entirely upon their own honour and good faith, yet for the honour of our government those contracts have ever been held sacred and inviolate; whenever it was necessary to decide upon a bargain of such a nature, when disputed, the circumstances were not stifled, as in this case, but it is the constant practice of all Public Boards to come to issue upon the facts, and thereby give cognizance to courts of justice. Why, then, do not the noble lords send Mr. Palmer's Claims to a similar tribunal, and let him have justice done him by a jury of his countrymen? This is all he desires, but this he is refused! And for what reason? Why, the whole world must see that his majesty's ministers know the weakness of their defence, and therefore take upon themselves the disposal of it, lest they should be exposed if they were sent elsewhere?—The bargain has, upon Mr. Palmer's part, been most honourably fulfilled: the government alone has failed, and if the noble lords thus attempt to get rid of a measure which they are afraid to investigate, they commit an act as unjust as it is impolitic.

Lord Walsingham

observed, that he held the situation of Post-master General at the time of Mr. Palmer's suspension from the Post-office, and that the cause of such suspension was the contumacy and insubordination of Mr. Palmer. He was of opinion, that Mr. Palmer's conduct while in office was extremely reprehensible, and that the pension he at present enjoyed was fully adequate to the services he had rendered.

The Lord Chancellor

entered into a detail of the circumstances of Mr. Palmer's appointment and dismissal from office, and contended, that while he continued to be the servant of the public it could not be contended but that he was entitled to remuneration for his services; but having been dismissed from that service, in his judgment, he was no longer entitled to claim that remuneration under the agreement in question. With respect to the Opinions of the chief justice of the Common Pleas, and of the attorney general and others, which had been handed about, and stated as favourable to Mr. Palmer's claim, he considered that these were no- thing more than assumed opinions upon unascertained facts. Upon the whole, therefore, his lordship thought the bill was of a nature totally new in parliamentary history, and such as that house could not consistently maintain.

Lord Stanhope

having called the attention of the house to the real question before them, said, he should agree to the adjournment of the debate, because he wanted more information upon it. The noble and learned lord on the woolsack had attacked the opinions of the lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, the attorney general, and other learned persons of great weight in this country, with more virulence and asperity than even he himself had ever done when he was accused of libelling the Judges, and charged with calling one a great blockhead. He was, however, as happy in being forced to defend the Judges as he should be in defending the Bishops on some future occasion. His decided wish was to submit a question or two to the Judges for their opinion, before the matter should be finally decided. Without, therefore, giving any opinion of his own at present upon this case, he could not see how justice could be done to the individual on the one hand, or to the public on the other, without first having the Opinion of the Judges upon the subject; for these reasons he supported the motion of adjournment.

The Earl of Radnor

observed, that as the merits of Mr. Palmer's plan had been so clearly pointed out by noble lords who spoke early in the debate, he would not detain the house by insisting further upon that which appeared to be universally admitted. With respect to the bill under discussion, he had to observe, that the sum claimed by Mr. Palmer did not amount to a fortieth part of those emoluments which had accrued to the country confessedly through the medium of his genius and ability: and, really, in the face of a fact like this, he could not comprehend how the Claim of Mr. Palmer could be resisted upon the ground of his unworthiness. Much had been said respecting the misconduct of Mr. Palmer, but he would ask, to what did it amount? Did it in the smallest degree throw any impeachment upon his honesty? So far from it, that the noble lords who suspended him, declare in their evidence before us, that they never had the slightest reason to doubt his personal integrity. If the noble lords conceived that Mr. Palmer had acted with contumacy and disobedience towards them, they were certainly justified in discharging him; but that dismission had nothing whatever to do with the Agreement before the house, which related simply to the price which the government had stipulated to pay Mr. Palmer for his Plan. This Agreement was admitted; and whatever quarrel had afterwards arisen could not possibly justify the government in retaining the plan, and paying the projector any price they might find convenient to set upon it. No misconduct of his could bear them out in a breach of contract such as this; and he was decidedly of opinion that Mr. Palmer held his right by so incontestable a tenure, that had he even been convicted of felony, the government would still have been bound either to have paid the price they had originally agreed for, or, on failure of that, to have relinquished the benefits of the plan

Lord Redesdale

opposed the motion, and after going over many of the circumstances of the case to prove that Mr. Palmer had no just ground of claim, declared that it concerned the dignity of the house that the bill should be got rid of as speedily as possible.

The house then divided on lord Moira's amendment.—Contents, 10; Non-Contents, 34.—The original question, That the bill be rejected, was then put, and agreed to without a division.