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Debate on Mr. Baker' s Motion

Mr. Baker' s Motion


Mr˙ Baker moved, "That General Murray be examined as a witness."

Notice being given, that the General was not in the House, the Sergeant was sent out for him, but he was gone home.

The Committee then reported progress, and asked leave to sit again.

Resolved, That this House will, upon Monday morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of the said Bill.

Mr˙ Baker then moved, "That Lieutenant General Murray, late Governor of Canada, and present Governor of the town of Quebec, do attend the said Committee, on Monday next."


Mr. T. Townshend

The motion was seconded by Mr˙ T˙ Townshend, who set forth the necessity of his attendance; and said, he could assign no other reason for his evidence being denied, unless it was that he himself had been imprudent enough to declare to the House, that General Murray coincided with Mr˙ Maseres; and said, he believed when the noble Lord gave his consent to hear him, and sent the Sergeant to look for him, he well knew he was not in the House.

Lord North

Lord North rose in a terrible passion, and said, he cared not what the honorable gentleman thought of him; that he never paid any respect to what a passionate and prejudiced person said; that he knew the honorable gentleman had an ill opinion of him, and he was welcome to think so still. He said, had General Murray been in the House he would have heard him, but as he was not, summoning him for another day would greatly delay the business, and he should therefore oppose the motion.

Mr. T. Townshend

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend rose, and in a spirited manner answered, that he would submit to the House which seemed most passionate; that he was certain General Murray' s evidence was material; and as to prejudice, he desired nothing but that it might be remarked, he was prejudiced to hear General Murray, the noble Lord was prejudiced against hearing him. He then set forth, that, by this law, the fishery on the Labrador coast would be altered, which would affect the Newfoundland fishery; that as it was an affair of great consequence, Admiral Palliser would, be necessary to be examined; but as the noble Lord objected as to time, he would not move for his attendance, but only wish to refer the noble Lord to him for information.

Colonel Barré

Colonel Barré set forth how material it was to have General Murray' s evidence, as he was at the taking of Quebec, was Governor of the Colony the first after it was taken, and remained Governor several years after, and therefore, consequently, knew the manners and customs of the Canadians; that, as he had been resident there at so critical a juncture, he must have seen how they liked the French laws, and how they liked the English laws.

Captain Phipps

Captain Phipps was likewise much for the General being heard, saying, that the evidence produced had been deficient in many points of information which he could have wished to have heard.

Mr. Charles Fox

Mr˙ Charles Fox rose, and in the most sarcastic manner attacked Lord North, as to passion and prejudice. He said, the noble Lord always had two opinions; that most people' s second opinion was best, but the noble Lord' s second thought was generally the worst; that he was always very uniform in his conduct; for about half an hour before he gave leave for General Murray to be heard, but now he was against it. He said there had been no other objection started against the motion except want of time; that that was ridiculous, for the persons who brought in the Bill now, might have brought it in at the beginning of the session, or even last session; that they could not make an excuse, and say it was a case of such urgent necessity, that if the Bill did not pass in a day or two, the place would be entirely ruined, therefore the Bill must pass.

Lord North

Lord North rose to explain himself, and said he had often been accused of having panegyrists in pay to write in favour of him in the newspapers; that he then would solemnly protest that he never had employed, or knew any person that ever did write in favour of him; that he did not wish for newspaper applause, as it was generally meant to serve some end; and as to panegyrics on him, he believed, if they only looked into the opposite scale, that which held abuse, they would find the account had been more than balanced.

Motion Rejected

Mr˙ Dempster, Governor Johnstone, Mr˙ Burke, Mr˙ Baker, Mr˙ Turner, &c˙, spoke in favour of the motion, and none but Lord North against it.

When the question was put, the House divided: Yeas, 36; Nays, 90.

So it passed in the Negative.