§ Mr. Grey rose for the purpose of putting a question to the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer on a subject of great public interest. On the first clay of the session it had been announced to the house in the speech from the throne, that a pacific overture had been received from France, to which his majesty had declined giving any direct answer till he should consult certain powers on the continent, and particularly Russia, with which he maintained relations 13 of amity and confidential intercourse. Since that, the right hon. gent. had stated to the house, on the day on which he brought forward the ways and means of the year, the probability of important co-operation on the continent, for which he then made a provision. A considerable interval had since elapsed, yet no communication had been made to parliament on the subject. Be had abstained hitherto from calling for any information, for the purpose of giving his majesty's ministers sufficient time to decide upon the nature of the communication they might deem expedient to make. He did not then press for an answer, nor wish to embarrass his majesty's ministers, but considering the very advanced period of the session, and the satisfaction some certain information on the subject would afford the house, he trusted some communication would be made before the close of the session.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the house, that, whenever his majesty's government should be enabled to advise his majesty to make such communication, they Would avail themselves of the earliest opportunity of doing so But certainly the communications between his majesty and these powers, were not at present such as to enable him to state any thing with precision, and he was sure the hon. gent. Would not expect from him, under such circumstances, to make any direct reply as matter of opinion or conjecture.
§ Mr. Fox thought the right hon. gent. might at least have stated, whether there was any reasonable hope, that a communication would be made during the present session.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer bad stated to the house, that the present state of the communications between his majesty's government and the continent, was not such as to enable him to make any communication on the subject with certainty; and that it could not be expected from him to advance any thing upon conjecture.
§ Mr. Foxobserved, that the right hon. gent. seemed to lay much stress on the word "certainty." Though he might not at present be able to make any precise communication, lie might in some time. What that communication might be, he did not take upon him to say. His hon. friend had adverted to the advanced period of the session, and the importance of having some information on this subject previous to their separation. Though the 14 right hon. gent. might not, in the present instance, be able to state any thing with certainty, he might at least inform the house, whether they might entertain a reasonable hope of such a communication during the session?—To this no reply was given.