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A motion was made in the house ficient reason for the conduct they of commons on the ninth of March had adopted. A short time before by Mr. Marsham, and seconded by they had come to a resolution, that Mr. Honeywood, members for the the influence of the crown had incounty of Kent, for leave to bring creased, was increasing, and ought in a bill for securing the freedom of to be diminished. The truth of election, by excluding perfons hold. this position was abundantly appaing places in the navy and the ord- rent from the history of the times ; nance from voting as electors. This and the people had been convinced bill underwent considerable discus. that it was under the operation of fion on its second reading, which this intluence, that the house of took place on the thirtieth of commons were induced to lend their March. Mr. Marsham endeavoured affittauce towards the carrying on a to recommend it to the house, by ob. moit ruinous and disgraceful war, serving that its object was merely after it had long ceased to be, what to extend the provisions of an act, he much feared ir once had been, introduced by Mr. Crewe in the a favourite with the nation. The year 1782 for setting aside the object of Mr. Crewe's bill had votes of the officers of the customs been to give life and effect to the and excise, and which had always principle of that resolution, which received the loudest applause of the otherwise must have remained a friends of liberty and the constitue dead letter upon the journals. Notion. He replied to the common thing could certainly have been objection, that to deprive men of better calculated to reduce that intheir franchises was to infli&t on Huence of the crown which had them a punishment, and to fix a been complained of as a grievance, stigma on their characters, by ob- than the restrictions thus imposed ferving, that a franchise was in re- upon the officers of the revenue. lity of no value, when the per• But did it follow, that, because it son by whom it was held was not was neceffary to reduce the influ. permitted to exercise it according ence of the crown to a certain to his discretion, and that in reality level, it would of course be an act he was conferring a benefit, not of inconfiftency to refuse to reduce committing an injury upon the per. it still farther? Had the object of fons in question. He asked what Mr. Crewe's bill been accomplishright had any one to conceive that ed? If not, why extend to a greater the bill would be deemed a hardhip compass an invidious distinction, by the objects of it, and where which, having nothing to support were the petitions against it? it but its supposed beneficial opera
Mr. Pitt rendered himself con. tion, must lose all shadow of pro. fpicuous by his opposition to the priery if that operation should apbill of Mr. Marsham. He reprobated pear to have failed ? But if the bill the idea that had been suggested, had proved successful, then the that the house would be guilty of object for which it was adopted was any inconlistency, in having for- obtained, and all further proceed. merly received the bill of Mr. ings were rendered unneceffary. Crewe, and new rejecting the bill It was not however so much upon of Mr. Marsham. At the period these grounds, that Mr. Pitt thought in which the former had been in- it became him to oppose Mr. Mar. troduced, the house had very fuf. fam's bill; tince he was willing
to admit, that any influence remain- of the persons belonging to this ing in the crown, in matters of class, for submitting to take their election, ought to completely de- orders from government at elecfroyed.
tions? The house would be pleased The farther arguments of Mr. 10 consider who were the repreien-, Pitt were derived from the conti- tatives for those counties, Kent, deration of the description of people Hampshire, Devonshire and Cornwho were the objects of the opera- wal, to which this supposed inflution of the proposed bill. The enc. was wholly confined. From persons excluded by Mr. Crewe's their independence, as well in fors act, were fuch, as were concerned tune as in principles, they were the in the collection of the public re. very men, whom of all others a venue, and to whose interests an corrupt government would with to extention of the public burthens, keep out of those walls. multni cessarily be conducive. How Mr. Fox replied to the reasonings d fferent was the situation of the of Mr. Pitt. Mr. Pitt had at tirit officers of the navy and ordnance feemed to imagine that there was The one fattened on the dittreffes foine degree of influence proper to of their country, the other earned remain in the crown; but he had a livelihood by contributing to its afterwards recanted, and acknow, defence. A second point of dif- ledged that no fuch influence ought crimination between them lay ia to exist. But, if this were the case, this circumstance, that the officers the whole of his argument on the of the excise and cultoms were dif- subject of conlistency, went for nos persed over every part of the island; thing, and the charge of self-conthat they formed a phalanx which tradiction was completely brought pervaded the kingdom, whereas the home to him, if he perdited in his workmer belonging to the navy and oppofition. He had pritended to the ordnance were entirely confined make a distinction between the perto a few particular (pots. But fons concerned in the former and ancther diliinétion more striking in the prefent bill. Mr. Fox should than all the rest was, that the re- not take upon himself to lay which venue others were completely un- of the two codies of men were the der the influence of government, molt dangerous; but he would alwhich could in a moment reduce fert, that the reasoning of Mr. Pitt them to beggary. But on the con. upon this head did not reach the trary, the perions employed in the principle of the measure, but only departments now under contider tended to prove, that, though it was ation, liad no reafon even to thank necesidy and proper, it was not so their employers. by going into indispendible as the former regulathe service of the merchant, they tion. It was difficult to avoid might earn as comfortable a liveli- fimiling at the idea, that the arti. hood as they could in the service fans, ir deprived of their voics in of the public; and should they elections, would go to foreign counbe exasperated by any ill treat- tries in retentment.
What were nient to leave the kingdom, there they to do abroad? Were they to
a maritime nation in have voices in the appointment of the w rld that would not be ready members of parliament in France to receive them. Hal there, Mr. were they to influence the elections Pilt demanded, ever happened any of Spain or were they to look top al calo complaint against any a fare in the aristocracy of Hol.
jand? Mr. Pitt had ventured to say, amufc thc public by serving up a that no bad effets were fcit from difh of disfranchisements. the interference of these men in Mr. Sheridan replied to lord elections. Mr. Fox however in- Mulgrave and Mr. Dundas. Il'ith Ianced in a late violent contest for regard to the dith of disfranchisethe county of Southampton, and ment, Mr. Dundas, of all men, arerred, that no person, who remem- Thould not have set it before the bered the circumliances of that house, who muit undoubtedly rea election, would pretend to say, that member, that he had not only first the influence of government had been induced to niblle a little at a not been employed upon the people plate or fide dish filled with the in the dock yards. The idea of Tame ingredients, but had afterarguing, that, because the exercise wards been brought to sit down to of influence had been unsuccessful, a whole course of dishes of that the influence itself could not exist, fort, when Mr. Pitt had served up wastoo ridiculous for animadversion, his grand entertainment of parliaThat infuence had not in any de mentary reforn. The object of gree been diminished, since the ce- that reform had been, not to disfranlebrated resolution of the house of chise a single description of men commons to which Mr. Pitt had merely, but a large number of referred. The circumilances of the votes from many different boroughs. late changes on the contrary prov: Mr. Sheridan acknowledged, that ed, that it had continued most ra. Mr. Dundas had never made an pidly to increase, so as to fill every assertion without being ready to true friend to the constitution with how his face at the same time, and álarming apprehensions.
he believed that the house would The arguments of Mr. Pitt were agree with him, that there was no further pursued by lord Mulgrave argument, however irreconcilable and Mr. Dundas. By the former with reason or logic, upon wrich of these it was enguired, who there he had not been perfectly ready to was, that had ever dared to grant a put a good countenance. He added , workman preferment, merely on however, that, if lord Mulgrave's account of bis election interest ? observation icre admitted, and if The man that did so deserved to every man who ufed the influence llie upon a scaffold. Mr. Dundas of the crown i.n;roperly were to opposed the bill upon the broadeit lose his head, he was apprehenlive principles. He declared, that it was that Mr. Dundas would not at this highly indecent to fix a ftigma upon day have had a face to have any set of ren, merely because thówn. they were employed in the king's The subject of the borough of , service. He reprobated Mr.Crewci Qucenborough was revived in this act, and cefired any one to tand up dcoste. Mr. Courtenay fiated, that and show his face manfully in de. the econocrical reform, which had fence of it. He maintained that becn propafed in that quarter, had the idea of ail reform biils of that been originally undertaken upon a fort, deferved a high degree of con- fuggetion of thecuke of Richmond, tempt and ridicule. The real fact tiough the dute had afterwards Was fimply this, that, whenever been the fitt to counteract it. In persons of a particular defcription the year 1782 the present mater, were out of place, they found it general, glowing with all the zeal uccessary every now and then to öt patriotic returm and the hopes
of coming into office, had in one parliament early in the seffion of of his declamatory invectives point- 1786; and its author, in the speech ed out Queenborough, as a striking he made upon the question for leave instance of the corrupt practices of to bring it in, was particularly fe. adıniniftration, and of the lavish vere upon its dignified opposer in expenditure of the public money the other house. He said, that it in the department of the
ordnance, had been treated on that occasion On that ground lord Townshend on the part of one perfon with all had ordered an enquiry, had re. the candour, with all the decency ceived the report of the superin- and decorum, and with all the rel. tendant, and had given express or- pect to the house of commons who ders for the execution of the plan had adopted it, which that assembly in the close of the year 1783. The unquestionably deserved; and he duke of Richmond however, eager as stigmatized the conduct of that he always was to serve his country, person, as containing in it fomeand to proceed immediately to buii- what more, than one would have ness, had after kissing hands, gone thought quite sufficient to gratify immediately down tothe board room, the most bitter tory spleen. and entered a minute upon his own
The bill was opposed upon its authority, to check the officious zeal second reading on the twelfth of of the fuperintendant, and save the May, by Mr. William Grenville. loyal freemen of Queenborough He stated it to the house as a system from deftru&tion. Mr. Courtenay of impracticability and Eutopianifm. declared his resolution to vote for A bill similar to the present had the bill. Mr. Martin followed him been passed in the parliament of Ire. upon the same fide, and expressed land in ttc course of the last feffion, nota little astonishment to think how and such had appeared likely to any gentleman, who supported Mr. have been its operation and effect, Crewe's act, could reconcile it to that, had any vacancy for a county his mind not to vote for the present inember happened, there would not bill. The bill was supported by have been a single freeman qualified Mr. Clerk Jerroise, and Mr Saw. to vote for the candidate who of. bridge. It was opposed by Mr. fered to fill up the vacancy. He Grenville, Mr. Pye, Mr. Drake, understood therefore, that the very Mr. Gascoyne, fir Edward Deer- first act of the Irish parliament in ing, and fir Charles Middle. the present session had been to pass ton. Upon a division the numbers a bill
, to suspend the operation of appeared, ayes for the second read their act of the preceding feffion. ing 41, nots 117.
The bill was farther opposed by We have given some account in Mr. William Young, Mr. Powys, our volupe of the two bills of lord and Mr. Bastard. It received the Mahon, now carl Stanhope, for support of fir Joseph Mawbey, fir tire regulations of elections. The William Dolben, the earl of Sur- . former of thcfe, which was the most rey, and Mr. Pitt. Upon the ques. important, received the fanction of tion for sending it to a committee, the house of commons in the pre- the house divided, ayes 98, noes 22. ceding feflion, and was rejected in The bill having passed the comthe lords at the particular instiga- mons, at length came under the tion of lord Thurlow. It was ac. discuslion of the house of lords. It cordingly introduced anew into was a circumstance favourable to its
fuccefs, that lord Thurlow was at this objection it succeeded. Another time confined to his house by indif- great object of the bill was to fupe pofition. Lord Stanhope, in a speech port Mr. Grenville's bill. The which he delivered on the twenty- Gloucestershire committee of the ninth of June upon the motion for house of commons had fat for three the second reading, endeavoured to or four months, and the Bedford. explain and recommend to the fhire committee, though Bedfordhouse the measure of which he was fhire was a small county, between the author. He observed that the two and three months. Upon the bill had been called a bill of dir. Buckinghamshire petition it had been franchisement. Every measure for almost impotlible to obtain a ballot, regulating and reducing with me- fo averse were the members of the thod and order a business like that house of commons to submit to the of election, mutt neceffarily be ca- confequent drudgery. If at a gepable of that operation. His bill neral election there should be ten however had greatly the prefer- or fifteen petitions from large couna ence over that of Mr. Powys, ties, there would be an end to the which had been passed in the year molt excellent act of Mr. Grena 1780, and which had directed, that ville, unless some plau, such as the mode in which county voters that propoled by the bill, to shorten should be ascertained, should be by the proceedings before Mr. Grenthe books of the land-tax assessors. ville's committees, were adopted. By that bill any mistake, whether The speech of earl Stanhope was involuntary or by delign, of omit- replied to by lord Sydney. He urting or even mispelling a name, ged strongly the thortness of the disqualified the person to whom the period that remained for discussion ; error related. By the present bill, and, remarking that the bill had no man could be disfranchised but · been many months in the other by his own fault. Such was the house, afferced, that it would be absurdity of the existing law, that indecent not to allow their lordships at the last general election it was as many days for its consideration. discovered, that more than one half Earl Stanhope had furnished one of the freeholders of the kingdom exceedingly Itrong argument in fupwere under disfranchisement. The port of the inotion which lord Syda duplicates of the land-tax, which ney intended to make. That no. ought to be signed and sealed by bleman, who profeffed himself to three commissioners, had some of be conversant with the laws relative them been signed only by two, to elections, had afferted, that all some by one, and others noi at all. the laws on the subject were defecIn a particular election an express tive and replete with error and conbad been sent poft haste to town tradiction. Surely the truth of an to an eminent counsel, to know assertion of fo important and comwhat was to be done. The counsel prehensive a nature, required invery ingeniously advised his client vestigation. It was not bis custom, to proceed direaly in the teeth of added lord Sydney, to address his the act of parliament, in order to arguments to any speech delivered get over the difficulty, and to give at another time in another assemtu those votes the prima facie ap- bly; but, as lord Stanhope had pearance of good votes. This was himself been in the house of cond done, and no person making an mons when the bill was introduced