On the 6th of April, the day appointed for taking... That it is necessary to declare that

On the 6th of April, the day appointed for taking the petitions into consideration, Mr.
Dunning moved his memorable resolutions—" That it is necessary to declare that THE
DIMINISHED:" "That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is competent to this house to
examine into, and to correct, abuses in the expenditure of the civil list revenues, as well as in
every other branch of the public revenue, whenever it shall seem expedient to the wisdom of
this house so to do." To which was added, on the motion of Mr. Thomas Pitt, the resolution, "
That, in the opinion of this committee, it is the duty of this house to provide, as far as may be,
an immediate and effectual redress of the abuses complained of in the petitions presented to
this house, from the different counties, cities, and towns in this kingdom." The debate of this
day was not interesting and able in proportion to the magnitude of the question discussed.
The speech of Mr. Dunning was a cool demonstration, founded on the events of that session,
particularly those connected with Mr. Burke's bill, of the enormous influence of the crown in
that house,* and a calm appeal to the sentiments of the people, as expressed in their petitions.
A few ministerial members denied the truth of the first resolution, but opposed it principally
on the ground of its being a mere abstract proposition, unaccompanied with proof, and
uncalled for. The speech of Sir Fletcher Norton best deserved attention, from the nature of the
post he occupied. He declared it to be notorious that the influence of the crown had increased
and was increasing; that that influence was seen and felt every where, within and without that
house; that it was not fluctuating and temporary, but fixed, uniform, and determined. The
words " that it is necessary to declare," were prefixed to the first resolution, on the suggestion
of the lord advocate, who hoped thereby to render it more objectionable: but that resolution
was carried by two hundred and thirty-three to two hundred and fifteen votes, being a
majority of eighteen against ministers. The two other resolutions were passed without a
division: after which the house was resumed, the resolutions were reported by the chairman
of the committee, and the report was agreed to. It is worthy of notice, as strongly illustrating
the truth of Mr. Dunning' s resolution concerning the influence of the crown, that more than a
hundred members immediately dependent on ministers voted in the minority on this occasion.
[* Mr. Dunning declared, upon his honour, that he knew and could mention no less than fifty
members of that house, who condemned out of doors those ministerial measures, which they
supported by their votes within].
The decision of this great constitutional question, in a manner accordant with the wishes of
the people and with the true principles of the English government, against the hitherto
irresistible strength of the ministry, caused high exultation among the parliamentary
opposition, and diffused great joy throughout the land. Ministers were proportionably
depressed by a decision, which seemed a prelude to the downfal of their influence and power.
On the next day of business, the 10th, Mr. Dunning followed up his former motions by
submitting resolutions to declare the opinion of the committee, " that, in order to secure the
independence of parliament, and obviate all suspicions of its purity, within seven days after
the meeting of parliament, every session, there be laid before this house, by the proper
officer, an account of all monies paid out of the civil list, or any part of the public revenue, to
or for the use of or in trust for any member of parliament, since the last recess, by every
person who shall have paid the same •" and, " that holding the offices of treasurer of the
chamber, treasurer, cofferer, comptroller, and master, of the household, clerks of the green
cloth, and their deputies, be rendered incompatible with a seat in this house." The first of
these resolutions was carried without a division; the second passed by the small majority of
215 to 213.
The triumph of opposition was, however, of short continuance.
Source: Edward Baines, History of the Reign of George III (1820), ii. 293