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provision, for the security and pro- as the sense of the island, but tedion of fo inestimable a possef- merely as containing the sentifon-And, the a&ual and imminent ments of those perfons by whom it internal and external dangers, to was subicribed. He contended, that which the idand has at several dif- the protestors, though not so muferent times been subjected, through merous, poflefled property equal, if that neglect.
not fuperior, to the petitioners; from On the last ground, he particu- whence he argued that their opi. larly infifted, and endeavoured to nions were of equal weight and imdemonstrate, as well by a letter portance. from Governor Dalling, as · by This affertion drew up the Mar. other authorities, that scarcely a quis of Rockingham, who having hope could have been formed of moved that the names of the petisaving the idland, if D'Estaing had tioners fhould be read, observed, bent his force thither, at the time that he believed most of them were that, so fortunately to this country, known to their lordinips; it was he directed his course to Georgia. now in the noble lord's power who So that the preservation of one of had read the proteft, to bring the the mott valuable appendages to the matter to an immediate itsue; he crown of Great Britain, retied upon had only to pass the names of the the error, blindness, or folly of the protestors in counterview before enemy. He farther urged, that them, and the business would be this conduct could not even be settled; it would be at once seen so far palliated, as to attribute it on which fide the questions of proto mere negligence or forgetfulness; perty and respectability lay. fuppofing that either could be ad. The noble lord, however, declin. mitted as any palliation. For that ed to read the names of the proterlo early as the year 1773, and re. tors; but insisted on his general popeatedly fince, ministers had been fitions, that the petitioners, al. warned, by petitions and appli. though many of them were respect. cations from the island, of the dan- able, did not possess half the progers, both within and from without, perty of the island, that one third to which it was exposed ; and of of the merchants and planters had which no other notice was taken not figned either the petition or proq in the first instance, than the draw. test; and it was fairly to be.coning away, for the unhappy purposes cluded, that those who had not Ignof the American war, one half of ed the former, did not approve of its the very weak military force, contents. (amounting to 300 men) wbich had The Marquis rejoined, that the been before afligned for its defence, motives for declining to read the Mor had any thing effectual been names of the protestors were easily fince done.
understood. The noble lord was On the other side, the protest tender of fume names; and did not (of which we have before taken with to bring certain characters notice) was brought forward, and forward, which had figured in that read by Lord Onslow as part of his transaction. After some observa. fpeech, in order to thew, that the tions on these, and drawing a petition lhould not be considered strong contrast between the state of
character, property, and respecta. Mr. Thomas Town thend, warmly bility on both sides, he comment- supported by the opposition, and ed upon what he called rather a unanimously agreed to by the house. Judicrous paflage in the proteft; by A similar motion was made on the which it is held out as a motive for following day in the House of Lords their objeđing to a petition for by the Earl of Sandwich, secondprotection to parlianient, that it ed by the Marquis of Rockingwas the interest of the merchants ham, and agreed to in the same and planters to stand well with go. inanner. vernment.
But the opposition withed for : The first lord of the admiralty some more substantial return, than acknowledged, that the merchants a mere vote of thanks, for the el. and planters who figned the peti- sential services performed by that tion, were, in every instance, as brave commander; and accordworthy and as respectable a body of ingly warmly contended in both men, as any in this, or in any houses, that while the impreflion other kingdom; but that there was of service was recent and warm, not a single fa& stated in the peti. they should proceed a step further ; tion, nor alledged in its support, and apply for foine mark of royal which he would not be ready and favour, which, in case of any [1. prepared, one by one, at a proper nister accident, or future misfor. time, to disprove. This brought tune, might afford to him forne out some altercation between him security, against his being again and the noble marquis; in which, neglected, and his services for besides a difference of opinion with gotten. respect to circumstances of danger This, they said, was the more and protection, several assertions necessary, as that admiral bad in and contradi&tions took place as to the laft war received the thanks of facts and dates. The petition was both houses for the important ferordered to lie on the table for the vices which he then performed; perusal and consideration of the and yet he was afterwards most lords; under the avowed intention shamefully laid by and neglected, of the Marquis of Rockingham, without any provision being made to make it the foundation of a fu- for hiin suitable to his rank and ture motion, for the protection high character; so that honour was and security of the island of Ja- almost the only harvest which he maica; an intention which the reaped. It was likewise, they measures adopted by government, said, the more necessary, as it was about this time, rendered unnecer- understood that he was defined fary.
with an inferior force to the proOn the last day of February, the te&tion of our West India islands ; minifier of the House of Commons and that nobody was ignorant, in moved that the tbanks of that care of misfortune or loss, with house should be given to Admiral what dexterity tbe present ministers Sir George Rodney, for the late could shift the blame from them. lignal and important services he felves, however culpable, upon had rendered his king and coun- the thoulders of their commander. try. The motion was seconded by In such a case Sir George Rod:
hey must expect the same fate, establith a precedent which they which, they said, every other of would hereafter have cause to reficer, who ventured to act under pent. He therefore wished the their direction, had already expe- motion was withdrawn, as it would rienced.
be exceedingly irksome to him to The post of Lieutenant General oppose it; which yet he must otherof the Marines, which had been wise be under a necessity of doing, instituted as a reward for extraor- merely for the sake of parliamen. dinary merit and service, and which tary precedent. had unusually continued vacant As the minister likewise assured erer since the refignation of Sir the house, that he was far from Hugh Palliser, was the immediate thinking the place of lieutenantobject which the opposition had in general of the marines, by any view, in favour of Sir George means more than equal to the adRodney; but this was mentioned miral's high dererts, the justness only as a matter of conversation, or of his reasoning, and the clearners proposal to the ministers, as they of his declarations, afforded such would not seem to prescribe to the conviction and satisfaction on the crown by any specification. Nor other side, that the motion was did they wilh to push the business withdrawn; but under the deto an address in the House of Com- clared presumption, that somemons, (where only, consistently thing was intended, and would be with forms, it could be done) if effectually done, in favour of the they could obtain a satisfactory admiral. It may be difficult to de. promise from the minister on the termine whether the two great nafubject. This, however, not ap. val commanders in the House of pearing to them to be immediately Commons, (Admiral Keppel, and done, Mr. Martham framed a mo. Lord Howe) did greater honour to tion for an address, that his ma- themselves, or to Sir George Rod. jesty would be graciously pleased to ney, by the liberal, clear, and unbeslow fome high post of honour reserved approbation and applause, on Admiral Sir George Brydges which they bestowed upon his con. Rodney, for his late signal fer- duct and services.
The ground taken by the MarThe minister declared the great quis of Rockingham, and other eft personal regard for the absent lords on that side, was, an endeacommander, as well as the fullest vour to obtain from the marine sense of bis great merits, services, minister, by stating the propriety and high naval character; nor was and expediency of the measure, any gentleman in the house more some assurance, that either the va. willing that be thould be most amply cant place, or some equivalent rewarded. But he observed, that mark of royal favour and reward, it would not only be unprecedented was intended to be bestowed on the to follow a vote of thanks with an absent admiral; the disarranged immediate address for a reward ; fiate of whose private affairs, af. but that lo coupling the two mat. forded motives which were strongly ters would in future subject the urged in both houses, for its not bouse to very great difficulty, and being merely honorary.
But this, the noble lord at the head count for the enormity of the cx of the admiralty absolutely refused. pence. He said, it was the peculiar province He wilhed, however, as hear. of the crown to dittinguith and re- tily as any one gentleman in that ward those who had served it ably house, to give the public the fullest and faithfully; that it would be fatistaction, that the money was presumption in him to undertake duly applied to their service ; and or say, what his majeliy might or he equails withed that fone memight not, or oright to do that thod could be devised for ttatiug it would be a direct invasion of liis and settling the public accounts ia prerogative to prescribe to him on such a manner, tbat the numerous such an occation; that graces and balances upon each bead of exfavours, such as thore described, pence might be brought forward were the proper gift of the fove. inore speedily, and in consequence reign; that he never withed that be the sooner applied to the public house to intrench on this exclusive service. Various inethods had been sight; and it was well known to hinted at for effecting this purpose; be one of the leading chara&er- the method he fould propose, istics of his majesty's reign, to would be to bring in a bill for apseward such of his subjects as pointing a conimillion of accounts. Teemed worthy of his favour and He thought a commission would protection.
• have many advantages over a comMoondand On the following mittee of accounts; as it might
che day, the minister sur. be strengebened with powers, with prized at least one side of the which the house was not capable of house, by opening his scheme for investing the latter; particularly the appointment of a Commission of the calling for papers of all sorts, Accounts. He observed, that the and the examining witnesses upon amount, the increase, and the oath. That former commissions of manner of conduding the public this nature had proved nugatory, expenditure, had of late afforded he said, was easily to be accounted continual topics of debate, con- for, and as easily to be remedied. versation, and complaint; and The fault lay partly in the cause, that it had even been propoted to and partly in the form and extent withhold the supplies for those of their jurisdiion. They had parts of the public service, for merely been authorized with a re. wbich estimates were not previ. trospective view ; he meant to carously produced. With respect to ry the present idea much farther. that matter, he must repeat what He intended that the bill should he had often said before, that while expressly authorize the commifliwe were engaged in a widely ex. oners, not only to enquire into the tended and expensive war, it would accounts of the past expenditure, be impoffible in many inftances, but into the current accounts; and from the very nature of the ser- farther direct them to consult, vices, to lay previous estimates be prepare, and report to the house, fore the houie. The extent, pe. what ihould, upon due examination culiar nature, and circumttances and consultation, appear to them to of the war, were likewise to ac- be a more easy and ipeedy mode of
keeping the public accounts, and that the commissioners be refpec Tettling them 10, that their true table, intelligent, and independftate might from time to time, as ent gentlemen, who were not near as poflible, be laid before the members of either house of parHouse when called for, and the liament. various balances in hand be imme. Colonel Barre, who had first diately brought forward, and ap. introduced or proposed the busi. plied to the service of the enfuing ners, complained of this unex
peaed, and, as he understood The minifter observed that it, extraordinary procedure. The when he had readily promised his history of parliament, he said, affifiance upon this subject tome could not atford an instance of a time before, to an honourable fimilar transaction. His scheme member on the other fide, who was founded on a wish to serve bad called upon him for it; not the public; on a wish to check withstanding fome ironical com- the profufion of those who mapliments, he could easily per- naged the public expenditure; ceive that liis fincerity was called the strong arm of the minister had io quesiion, and tbat his promise wrested it out of his hands, and or concurrence was only consider had put an end to his labours. ed as a parliamentary trick. The He had called upon the noble only return be then determined lord to know whether he would to make, was to seize the earliest aflift him or not, for two reasons ; opportunity of affording indispo- the one, that he knew nothing table proof to the house, that his effectual could be done in oppo. offer of aflistance included his real fition to his power; the other, sentiments, and that no man that he knew it would be impofwilhed more than he did himselt, fible, without the aid of his aufor fome effectual means of expe. thority, to penetrate into the diting the public accounts. An arcana of many matters which honourable gentleman had like. loudly demanded invettigation. wife at that time thrown out, that This was the affiftance, which he it would appear from the fort of required from the minister; and committee that was appointed, he was not without hope, that he whether he was sincere, or whe- would have interested him in the ther the whole enquiry was to be enquiry, by making him a party a farce and a mockery. He should in the business. But the noble not consider how far this iofinua lord, infiead of giving aslistance, tion affected the honour of that makes himself at once the princihouse, which was to appoint the pal; and without once, he laid, committee; but he would now consuluing or advising with him; convince them of his own fincerity. without any comparison of scheme, To put the matter therefore totally or communication of defign, comes out of doubt, and to obviate the out now with a plan of bis varions objections which would be own, at the very initant that he made, whatever side of the house bad brought bis to the point aimthe members of the committee ed at. were drawn from, he bould make this complaint, he said, was it a provision in his intended bill, not the effect of disappointment.