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The hon. gentleman has praised the par- them, they are my uniform, my uninfluliamentary ingenuity of the noble lord at enced opinions, no power shall change the expence of his fairness. For my part, them, no gold shall give them a bias, no I shall think it necessary to take a very ambitious motive shall contaminate them. different line, for I mean to diminish the This, Sir, I say was the parliament, that parliamentary ingenuity of the noble lord ignominiously, despightfully, wickedly, at(and he possesses so much upon other tacked all the great characters of the mioccasions, that he may spare a little upon nisters of the illustrious deliverer of this this). For if ever the noble lord shewed country; who impeached lords Somers, a deficiency of ingenuity, if ever he neg- Halifax, and Portland, without a fact to lected to take up the strong and firm support their charge; who counteracted ground, he has done it to day. The gen- the principles of the Revolution, and entlemen on the other side have quoted pre- deavoured to sully the virtue of the Whigs ; cedents, and the noble lord is supposed to and it is of this parliament, that the bishop have acted like an advocate, and not like a of Sarum says, in his History, and in my member of parliament, in not avowing opinion, he says it truly, that French gold those precedents. Now, Sir, had the no- had found its way into the kingdom. So ble lord availed himself of his usual inge- much for the precedent of 1703. Now nuity, he would have shewed how little for that of the 8th and 17th of January those precedents avail in the present case, 1710. What was the character of this how inapplicable some of them are, and House of Commons ? Was it more pure, how much the authority, and imitation of or more upright than the former? Did the others should be avoided. And he not this House of Commons destroy the would have proved, that giving the list grand alliance, check the conquests of the required, is both unusual and new. duke of Marlborough, displace a Whig

The first precedent I shall take notice of ministry, and establish Harley and St. is, that of the 10th and 18th of Nov. 1707. John in their room? The faction of those This happened just upon the meeting of days did, indeed, for a while impose upon the first parliament of Great Britain, when the people; they made them believe they an act had passed excluding all persons were oppressed, and persuaded them that holding new offices, from sitting in par- the constitution had been violated; temliament, and likewise all persons possessed porary discontents were the consequence of pensions during pleasure. A doubt oc- of that belief, but the people, returning, as curred whether the act had a retrospect they always do after a short time, to their to pensions granted, or looked forward to native good sense, discovered the imposithose that were to be granted. In con- tion, and manifested in their conduct their sequence of a resolution of the House detestation of the party that misled them. therefore to explain that act, not with an | And what was the secret history of the intention of reducing the number of pen vote that brought the pension list before sioners, the account of them was laid be- the House in 1710? Mr. Harley and Mr. fore the House. This precedent, therefore, St. John, whose consequence arose from does not apply. But let us see how the the support of the Tories, who had by precedent of the 18th and 22d of Dec. secret means found their way into her ma1703 applies, and whether it is worthy of jesty's closet, and had always moved this imitation. Do gentlemen recollect the question against the ministers whom they history of that parliament? and are those displaced, became unwilling to touch it on the other side of the House ready to when they were themselves got into power, adopt the character of that parliament, But the Tories, led on by the October and to imitate its conduct? This was the Club, and with a man at their head whom parliament that impeached lord Somers, several, who now hear me, are old enough lord Halifax, and lord Portland, that re- to remember, the father of the late sir viled the character of lord Orford, trą. Simeon Stuart, took the lead in this House. duced the memory of king William [Upon Jealous of the desertion of their friends, this the opposition side called bear ! hear! and anxious to put their virtue to the test, without an intention to ridicule, which they brought on this question: Harley and brought forth a burst of eloquence not to St. John finding they could not stem the be given.]

torrent, were forced to give way to it, and Hear! hear! said he, when upon this they did it with more cheerfulness, betopic I wish to be heard, I glory in my cause, as they had but just come into sentiments, I take delight in delivering power, any blame that could arise must have fallen upon their predecessors; and In this situation of affairs, the friends of in this extraordinary manner was the John Bull tell him, “ You have an imHouse of Commons led by a person without portant law-suit coming on, for the greatest power, and with no very brilliant parts, and part of your estate; but before you think both the old and the new 'ministry were 1 of that, before we retain your counsel, or driven to adopt a resolution which nei- į give you any money to carry it on, you ther of them approved.

must regulate your private affairs. You As to the precedent of 1715, it is short, have great farms in the north of England, ly this: the ministers of the king were not out of repair, and out of lease; you have unwilling to lay before the world, the a considerable interest in the duchy of abuses of the queen's ministers; they Lancaster; go, and let those farms, and therefore brought the pension list before attend to that interest. You have an exthe House, all the pensions upon which pensive barren estate in the mountains of had died with the queen : so that this pre- Wales, go and cultivate that estate, and cedent does not go to the pensions exist. render what is now unproductive and baring, but to pensions that had ceased to ren, fruitful and productive. You have exist. From that period to the present mines in Cornwall, and a jurisdiction there time, though many opportunities have oc- that is ill constituted, relative to those curred to call for and give that list, it mines; go and draw profit from those never has been given. Is it then uncandid? mines, and regulate that jurisdiction. The Is it disingenuous ? Is it like an advocate, ignorance or the manners of your ancestors and unlike a member of parliament, for the have handed down to you a family estanoble lord to call this an unusual motion?blishment, founded upon the antiquated Or is it singular that the hon. gentleman principles of feudality, very unfit for the who made the motion should, after a lapse present times, attended with great waste, of 65 years call it a new motion? It cannot and unnecessary expence : you must retherefore be attributed to the noble lord duce the number of your stewards, you as a crime to have made use of those must adopt a new method of providing for words, but it may fairly be said, if the your table, you must alter the method of House go along with me in the account I keeping and passing your accounts, and have given of the precedents, that the all this you must accomplish before you atpoble lord's ingenuity has failed him upon tend to your law-suit, for then, and not till this occasion, and that the parliamentary then, will we, who have the management cunning and trick, which the hon. gentle of your affairs, furnish you with money to man who spoke last has attributed to him, carry it on.” In the mean time the asis by no means his due upon this occasion. sizes come on, the other party is ready,

But, Sir, that hon. gentleman has been the judge asks for John Bull, he is not to very strenuous in endeavouring to prove, be found, and is consequently nonsuited that the present times are fit for reform, for not appearing in court. Such would and that the objection of being engaged in be the situation of this country, if no supa war is nugatory. This, the hon. gentle- plies are granted till all the regulations reman has endeavoured to illustrate, by the lative to public expenditure are agreed to. trite story of John Bull, and the law-suit. But, Sir, to return to the list of penFor the abstract case of the law-suit, which sions desired to be granted. The sum he endeavoured to put so ingeniously to being so much smaller than was supposed, the House, amounts to no more. John the application of that sum being not at Bull's friends advise him to reform his ex. all for the purposes of influencing the pences, because he lives beyond his in- votes of members of parliament (because come, and John Bull says, “ I am en- no member of parliament can hold a pengaged in an expensive law-suit-stop till sion during pleasure, and above all, the that law-suit is over." Can any thing be sum being much below what it was more absurd, says the hon. gentleman, than thought reasonable for the crown to give for Joht Bull to refuse to reduce his ex. in bounty and charity, without account, pences, because he is harassed by an ex. by those who are most strenuous in favour pensive suit? But the hon. gentleman had of economy, and against influence, it apforgot some of the most material cir- pears, that no reason but curiosity, can be cumstances, and never mentioned that the given for producing the names of pencause was to be tried at the next assizes, sioners. [Mr. T. Townshend said across that a particular day was fixed for its the House, “but there are wives of memComing on, and the other party was ready bers of parliament in the list.” This proto appear.

duced a vein of irony and humour that it is the innocent and meritorious objects of difficult to convey.]

support. Such reformation, or such puA gentleman says, there are wives of nishment, seems to me but a frivolous docmembers of parliament who have pensions : trine, and will make every feeling mind cry If it be so, is this age become on a sudden out with Job: “ If you be wicked, woe 60 virtuous, that what is given to a wife, is unto you; and if you be righteous, yet always given to the husband ? Has the shall ye not lift up your head !" man and wife in these degenerate times, Colonel Barré remarked, that not one but one interest and one purse? But it Englishman had dared to support the mimay be said, that the first, second, third, nister, and severely attacked the Attorney and fourth cousins of members of parlia- General and Mr. Dundas, for the part they ment have pensions. Then one person had taken, one of whom enjoyed sinecure says, “I wish to see the list, because a places in Scotland, and the other was member of parliament has a first cousin in looking up to the first situation in the law it, another, because he has an aunt there.” department of this country, I am sure the hon. gentleman (Mr. Towns- The Attorney General felt himself much hend) who is perfectly a man of honour hurt at what had dropt from the right hon. and feeling, is much above such motives: gentleman, but hoped the good humour of But “ the Irish pension list is given every the House would excuse it, as it was the year, and therefore the English list may constant custom of the right hon. gentlebe given.” And what advantage has ac- man to be personal against him, whenever crued to government from this publication? he found himself disposed to speak. The relations of many respectable families Colonel Barré said it was false. appear in that list, the ladies of some noble The House was instantly thrown into a lords. Is this any comfort to those fami- general ferment, which prevented the Atlies? Does it produce any advantage to torney General from speaking, who rose the public? The nerves of some people with great apparent anger. The Speaker, may be less liable to be affected than those however, interfered, for the purpose of of others, they may be less sensible upon preventing any ill consequences, and the those subjects, and have more firmness to matter terminated by col. Barré's declarabear abuse ; but without an obvious pub- tion, that in what he had said, he had lic benefit, to have the virtuous, the meant nothing personal against the Atnoble, the tender-hearted, though indigent, torney General. pointed at without reason, is an invidious At half an hour past one the House dimeasure.

vided
upon

lord North's Amendment: Invidiam, placare paras virtute relicta?

Tellers.
Contemnere, miser-
To sacrifice virtue at the shrine of malice, Yeas Mr. Jolliffe

188

Mr. Robinson to expose to the licentious obloquy, to the injurious misrepresentation, to the wanton Noes Mr. Thomas Townshend

186 criticism, to the envious sneer, and the

Mr. Byng scandalous defamation of the times, all that The motion in its amended state was is delicate and sensible, all that indigent then agreed to. and modest virtue wishes to hide, is an unnecessary and useless measure.

Debate in the Commons on the Nottingthing but the utmost necessity, nothing but ham Protest against the Petition for an the most obvious public advantage, should Economical Reform.] Mr. Smith, meminduce us to make a discovery of that ber for Nottingham, informed the House, kind.

that a protest had been transmitted to him But it has been said, that among the from some of his constituents against the sumber of persons receiving pensions, petition which the corporation of Nottingthere are, or may be some, who are im- ham had lately presented to parliament, proper objects of the royal bounty, some respecting the extravagant expenditure of whose circumstances are not such as re public money. Greatly as he differed in quire that aid; and though it is allowed opinion from the gentlemen who had signed that in general, the persons are very the protest, he would willingly comply properly chosen, yet in some particulars, with their request to deliver it to the the correcting hand of parliament may be House, if he knew in what manner he was necessary. So that to correct in a few to proceed: he did not know whether the unworthy instances, you are to expose all parchment he held in his hand was admja

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And no

sible or not; but he requested the House | the protest was addressed (the Commons would give him instructions in a matter of Great Britain) could not take cogniwhich his inexperience in parliamentary zance of it; and he held the conduct of forms rendered very difficult to him. the protesters to be the more libellous, as That the House might be informed of the they knew before hand, that the House contents of the protest, he read it as a part could not admit their protest. He desired of his speech : hence it appeared to the that some gentleman would be kind enough House, that the six junior counsel of the to inform him, for what purpose all the corporation of Nottingham had protested different protests through the kingdom against the proceedings of the other had been signed. Was it that they might eighteen; and that they assigned their be laid before parliament? No: for worded reasons for their dissent. Mr. Smith ac- as they were, and having no prayer, they knowledged that the meanest individual were inadmissible: for what other purpose, had a right to speak his sentiments; and then? None that he could see, unless it for that reason he would deliver his with were to endeavour to deceive the public, that freedom that became an independent, and counteract those petitions, which the that sincerity that became an honest man. grievances of the people had extorted from The protestors he could not think had them. The protesters of Nottingham acted properly, in opposing a measure spoke a very suspicious language; for that bad received the sanction of the cor- while they disapproved of the conduct of poration ; but yet he would pay so great a that corporation, as being disrespectful to deference to their request, as to move, if it parliament, they themselves had appealed was not inconsistent with the orders of the from the parliament to the people at large, House, that the protest should be brought by drawing up an instrument, which

parup.

liament could not admit; and which, conColonel Barré wished that the protest sequently, could be known only to the might be admitted, and that the gentlemen people. He then moved, that the protest who had signed it, might be called to the might be brought up, though, at the same bar of the House, to inform them where time, he confessed that he himself would they learned the comfortable news that put a negative upon

it. this country had not lost a great part of The Attorney General was of opinion, its empire. The petition from Notting that the hon. gentleman to whom the ham asserted, that a great member of the junior counsel of Nottingham had adempire had been cut off; the protesters dressed their protest, might have easily declared the assertion not to be founded got rid of the difficulties he professed him. on truth; he would be happy to hear them self to labour under, by letting his consupport their declaration at the bar; and stituents know, that in iis then form their for that purpose would support any motion protest could not be brought before parthat should be made for bringing in the liament, it being an established order, that protest.

nothing could be admitted from the sub. Mr. Fox declared he should be glad if jects, that did not come in the shape of a the forms of parliament would suffer the petition, containing a prayer. For his instrument transmitted to his hon. friend, own part, he could not but admire the to be admitted into the House. If it was doctrine laid down by gentlemen, that it a petition and contained a prayer, it was was legal to petition, but libellous to proadmissible; if it did not contain a prayer, test. No man could admit the right of it was inadmissible: for his part, he did petitioning to a greater extent than he not know by what name to call it, petition, did; but, from the very principle which remonstrance, memorial, manifesto, or established the right, he deduced an equal libel. But he was greatly inclined to give right to protest. The subject having a right it the last name for many reasons.

The express his sentiments, he had an un. protesters knew that from the informality doubted right to declare, that sentiments of their protest, it could not be admitted, of other people attributed to him were not and yet attacked the character of those his sentiments ; and he could not conceive who had signed the petition, when it how gentlemen could reject the right in being impossible to take notice of the pro- one instance, without overturning it in the test in à parliamentary way, the latter other. A petition purporting to be the could not possibly have an opportunity to petition of the freeholders of a county, and defend themselves. This he concluded to yet containing positions which many freebe truly a libel, because the court to which holders in that county denied, ought not in present associa.

justice to be binding on all ; and if those certainly wished to have the contents of whose sentiments it did not convey, should the protests made as public as possible, protest against it, he could not tell on they therefore could not be against the adwhat ground of law, reason, or common mission of that from Nottingham. He did sense, they could be pronounced libellers. not know the contents of the protest, but He had not signed either petition or pro- greatly desired to hear them; he therefore test, and would not, and therefore could would vote that it might be brought up; the more freely deliver his sentiments on and he trusted, that as the other side of both. Some of the protests complained the House concurred so far in opinion of associations ; but that was neither libel with him, they would not put a negative

lous nor wonderful. He, indeed, appre- on the motion. · hended nothing from the

Sir Richard Sutton believed that the nations; but gentlemen might remember, ture of the protest from Nottingham was that avery great judge in the King's-bench, not properly understood. The six junior who had been dead some years, had given counsel who had signed it, did not speak it as his opinion, that associations of every for themselves only, but for the burgesses kind, though for legal purposes, were in of Nottingham. This appeared from the themselves illegal; nay, the association constitution of that corporation. The for carrying into execution the game-laws, common council was composed of 24 perhe had declared illegal, because he would sons: 18 of these were called the senior have the laws executed by their own force, counsel, and filled up all vacancies in their and not by associations. His private opi- body themselves: the six junior, on the nion did not go quite so far as that of the contrary, were elected by the burgesses at learned judge to whom he alluded, on the large; and if the burgesses had elected article of associations ; but he admitted men of their own principles, which was most that they had in general, though he appre- likely, the protest might be called the prohended nothing from them now, a natural test of the burgesses of the town of Nottendency to confusion. Upon the whole, tingham, though it was signed only by six he maintained, that the right of protesting persons. These six were like so many triwas as well established as that of petition. bunes of the people, elected for the pur. ing; and he could not but be surprised pose of watching over the self-elected that gentlemen should wish so far to con- eighteen seniors of the common council. troul others in the exercise of a right

Mr. Burke commended the elegance of which they themselves assumed-to de penmanship that appeared in engrossing clare their opinions. To stand up for it the protest, but inveighed warmly against in one case, and condemn it in another, its contents. That it was libellous, he inwas a monopoly of liberty on one side, and sisted in very strong terms. It ascribed a proscription of freedom on the other. the worst of motives to the petitioners, and Such conduct was unmanly, and uncon- was worded in such a manner, that it could stitutional.

not be brought before that court that was Mr. Fox complimented the Attorney to try the merits of the petition. It gave General on having altered his opinion a the lie direct to the corporation, in deny. little on the subject of libels and petitions. ing the position that the empire had lost

The Attorney General would not receive one of its principal limbs. If they would the compliment, as he did not deserve it come forward, and prove that we had not on the grounds on which the hon. gentle- lost a great part of the empire, he, for one, man was inclined to give it. He assured would move for opening the committee of Mr. Fox that he had the advantage of him, supply, generously to reward them for the as there had been a time when the hon. agreeable news. But the protest did not gentleman as much condemned, as he now libel the petitioners only, it went so far as supported, the right of petitioning. For to libel that very House, the honour of his part, he always uniformly and invaria- which it pretended to be zealous to sup. bly had maintained it.

port. That House was certainly the best Mr. Dunning endeavoured to ward off judge of what was respectfulor disrespectful the blow which had been aimed at his hon. to itself; it had found the petition from friend in the above short reply, by sug- Nottingham so respectful, as to admit it, gesting that he was as vulnerable himself without objection ; and yet the protesters in that quarter as Mr. Fox. He likewise insolently set themselves up as judges of spoke on the subject of the protest. The what was due to the dignity of that House, gentlemen on the other side of the House and pronounced that to be disrespectful,

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