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why did the protestors libel and traduce | nor of the county of York. They were the petitioners ? If they had any dislike to not the petitions of this county, nor of that the matter set forth in the petitions, they county, but only of such a number and might have done it; but after giving the description of persons residing in the petition a tacit approbation, was it right, county, and for him to think of abandonwas it decent in the noble lord to protest ing those who thought it their duty to against it? The hon. gentleman would not protest against them, would be monstrous. say in what manner the protests ought to With respect to the influence of the crown, be treated. He wished from his soul that the noble lord declared it had not increased the protest could be brought before the of late years, and that any attempt at a House; nay, he wished that every county diminution of it ought to be resisted. would protest to its utmost, that numbers Mr. Dunning ably defended the right might be fairly counted. As to the pro- of petitioning, and said the persons who tests already made, there was one way, signed a petition by no means meant to indeed, and but one, to bring them before convey what it contained as the sense of the House, and that was by ordering those the county at large, but of the meeting instruments to be laid before them, as held at that county, to which the freefalse and infamous libels against the people holders had access. of England, for using the right the consti- Lord Mulgrave adverted to the late tution gave them of petitioning parliament. meeting held at York, and said it was true, There was a time, he was very sure, when that there was a property in the room of the representatives of the people would more value than within the walls of parliahave done this. He spoke now as a mem- ment, as had been asserted by an hon. baber of the House, and not a petitioner ; ronet (sir G. Savile): it was a still greater and he thought he stood in a situation to compliment to the county, that great as complain of those protests, as an attack on the property was at that meeting, it was his legislative character, as denying his not half of what the county possessed. Majesty's subjects a privilege of complain. His lordship also denied that the petition ing to him, of any injuries they might sup- was signed by a majority of the freeholders pose they were labouring under. The and landholders, for he understood the hon. gentleman took notice of the asser- county contained very near 30,000 persons tions made in another House, by a noble under those descriptions, and not 1,500 lord (Hillsborough) reflecting on the names appeared to the petition. But the county meetings, and the petitions they noble lord did not think that either the had sent to parliament, and said he was rank or number of the persons signified ; very glad the noble lord in the blue ribbon the right of petitioning was universal and had no such opinion of them, but had free as air. It mattered not who petiabandoned the protestors. The hon. gen- tioned it was the subject of the petition tleman finally declared, that it was neces- that was to be attended to, and a single sary that the influence of the crown person, a beggar, pay a foreigner, petishould be checked for the safety of the tioning alone, had a right to be heard. constitution.
But the noble lord reprobated the present Lord North said, the hon. gentleman mode of petitioning: it was dangerous was a powerful advocate in any cause, and unconstitutional ; for the associations however arduous and difficult. His rapi- had as much as declared, that if parliament dity of speech, his severity of censure, and did not grant the prayer of the petitions, choice of words, made himn an enemy to be other means would be taken than those dreaded; for his part, he feared him as an the petitioners had used. But the noble antagonist-yet notwithstanding this, he lord begged leave to warn men against would rather have the hon. member for an stepping out of the proper path ; for the opponent than a commentator, for nothing constitution had drawn a line for the peobut such extensive talents for commen- ple to go by, and if they transgressed they tating, could possibly have induced the might expect to be punished with justice hon. gentleman to state, that he had ever but without pity. For his part, he loved said any thing that was to be construed the constitution ; he did not wish a better; into an abandoning, or any intention to and as there was still energy enough in abandon the protestors. Good God, was government, he trusted it would be proit possible for him to use any such expres- perly put forth to curb the disaffected, and sion? The petitions presented, were not support itself with the dignity it was bound the petitions of the county of Hampshire, to preserve.
Lord John Cavendish spoke of the le-duced. A proud secretary of state had, in gality of the meeting at York, and the re- the upper House, declared the petitioners spectability of the persons who had signed factious, and the petitions libellous. This the petition. He said he had seen near was, of all other men, the very last who 50,000 of his fellow-creatures wantonly should have uttered such words.
The butchered in an unnatural war, and could first he ever heard of the noble lord, was not but set his face against the ministers his turning out general Amherst from his that had prosecuted it.
He did not en
government, next his conduct at St. Vintirely agree with the noble lord, that as cent's when the wretched Caribs were much attention ought to be paid to a petic treated with every species of brutality, tion signed by an individual, as by a body and soon after he found the noble lord of people; because it was more likely writing letters to America, and piddling in that a body of people should have more to the rebellion that afterwards raged through complain of, and that of a nature more the whole continent. The hon. gentleimportant, than an individual. As to the man attacked the noble lord in the blue meeting at York, for instance, the property ribbon, for his assertion, that the influence of the persons petitioning was supposed to of the crown had not of late
inbe not less than 800,0001. a year; and as creased, and asked, what all the increase rents had fallen one-third in value, they of our military had tended to but an ex. certainly had more right to petition than tension of the influence of the crown. any one person could possibly have. The Lord North entered very fully into a noble lord did not agree that it was the defence of the earl of Hillsborough, and matter of the petition alone that was to be urged the impropriety of taking notice of considered; because if a majority of the words spoken in another House. As to people of England were to desire even a the influence of the crown, he again deworse government than we have at pre- clared, that there were many gentlemen sent, they would have a right to have their who did not think it too great. wishes gratified. He esteemed himself Colonel Barré, as he had started the bumuch obliged to the noble lord, for the siness, would take the liberty of detaining very kind caution he had given him, in the House upon it, until they came to a common with other petitioners, to take right understanding. The noble lord, and care, and not step aside from the constitu- he thanked him for it, had frankly told the tion. He had taken care, and should con- House that any attempt at a diminution of tinue to do so. Every one knew, that he the influence of the crown was to be rehad connections too dear and valuable to sisted; he should therefore be glad to him, to wish for anarchy and confusion, know of the noble lord, if when a commisbut no consideration should warp him from sion of accounts should be chosen, it was exerting himself to the very utmost, in to he an instruction to them, to avoid enforcing a compliance with the prayer of touching upon any thing that might tend the petitions.
to lessening the influence of the crown ? Mr. T. Townshend thanked lord Mul- This he particularly desired to be informed grave for the very friendly hint he had of, as it would be better to die in the cause thrown out, not to step aside from the at once, if no real and substantial service line the constitucion had marked out, for was meant the people of England. that if he did, he would be punished with Lord North declared his readiness to justice, but without pity. He did not coincide and co-operate with a commission want to be informed of this; he knew of account, but did not give an answer to well enough that punishment, without pity, the right hon. gentleman. would follow the friends of the people, if Mr. Onslow exclaimed in the most bitter they should happen to step a little out of terms against the petitions and petitioners; the path, and he believed ministry would he did not like them, they were factious, do it now, if they dared. He adverted to and might do a great deal of mischief. It the associations of Ireland, and reminded had been his fortune to have been eduthe House of the different treatment they cated in constitutional principles, and he had received from what the petitioners of could not bear to see such things. They England had experienced. He wanted to made his heart ache; he vowed to God have a reason given him, why the people they did. He was down in Sussex a little of England could not arm themselves, as while ago, and on a rainy day, taking a well as the people of Ireland. There walk out, what should he see, but two they had been complimented, here tra- men taking the heights of a hill, and when (VOL. XXI.]
he asked them what they were doing it of such patents, or other instruments by for, they told him it was for the duke of which such places are held, the names of Richmond. This alarmed him exceedingly. the persons who hold the same, and the But when he heard of the Sussex meeting, salaries and fees belonging thereto." By and their petition, he could not help feel this account, he said, the House, and of ing for the constitution, for he loved the course his constituents, would be able to constitution, by his soul he did. But this judge of the services done to the state in was not all he kne:v of the duke of Rich- return for the salaries paid by it. The mond. His grace was at the table of the motion was agreed to without any oppoduke d’Aiguillon in France, and the duke sition. Sir George next moved, as part said, I wish, indeed, to see English pride of his plan, and a prime object of the humbled, but I wonder that an English county meetings, for “ an account of all duke should wish it. The hon. gentleman subsisting pensions granted by the crown, was here called to order by col. Barré, during pleasure, or otherwise ; specifying who thought it incumbent on him to ex- the amount of such pensions respectively, plain himself as to the duke of Richmond, and the times when, and the persons to but the hon. gentleman denied he had tra- whom, such pensions were granted.” duced him, and defied the most captious imp Lord Nugent opposed this motion. He of the law to hurt a hair of his head. After said that many deserving persons enjoyed this, he went on a considerable time abusing his Majesty's private bounty, who would the petitioners and their conduct, and ap- not wish their names made public; some pealed to every one that heard him, and reduced gentry stood in the same predito God Almighty, that what he said, was cament, and there were many lady Bridgets, spoken from the feelings of his heart. In lady Marys and Jennys, who would be the course of his speech, he was called to much hurt at having their names entered order seven or eight times.
in the proceedings of that House as penThe character of the duke of Rich- sioners of the state. Pride, in general, mond was warmly defended by general was apt to extend its influence more or Conway, col. Barré, Mr. Townshend, and less every where, but female pride was Mr. Fox, the latter of whom was sur- sanctioned, and partly approved of by prised the hon. gentleman should be custom ; but if lady Jenny and lady Mary, alarmed because one of his Majesty's ge- who passed as persons of consequence in nerals had sent two persons to take the their respective neighbourhoods, were disheight of a hill on the coast of Sussex, the covered to be mere pensioners and depenbetter to enable him to put it in a state of dants on a court, they would soon lose the defence. But it was so rare for any one respect which their rank entitled them to. to do any thing for government for nothing, He knew there were several of those lady that the gentleman was quite alarmed, Marys and lady Jennys from North Briespecially when he heard of the petition. tain; surely it would be cruel to rob them If any foreigner were to hear the language of their rights. There were some of those used by ministers, he would conclude that ladies in Ireland, at least some who had the petitions militated against the consti- pensions on the Irish establishment. At tution, tending to overturn the constitu- all events, as their appointments were but tion, and raise rebellion; and yet, were he small, and the object all taken together but to read them, he would find them to pray trifling, he would be much better pleased for nothing more than æconomy in the that the hon. baronet would give up his public expenditure. Formerly, the mi- motion. nistry accused opposition, every day, of Sir George Savile acknowledged, that so wanting places, pensions, and sinecures; far as the lady Marys and lady Jennys but, now that they prayed for an abolition and Bridgets came within the views of his of those things, they were charged with motion, he felt equally for the inconveendeavouring to overtlirow the consti- niences and disagreeable consequences tution.
arising from the circumstances of declar
ing the means which persons of rank, but Debate on Sir George Savile's Motion small fortune, had to support themselves. for an Account of Pensions granted during To this very painful necessity he had no. pleasure or otherwise.] Teb, 15. Sir thing to oppose, but the important advanGeorge Sarile moved for “ an account of tages which bis constituents expected to all places for life or lives, whether held by reap from such a general disclosure. No patent or otherwise, specifying the dates man felt more for the delicacy and nice
feeling of lady Betty or lady Mary, but his plan for public economy, had thought yet no man, considering the great object proper to be trusted to the management in view, could sacrifice those inferior feel of the crown, under the name of secret ings with more perfect resignation. service money. He thought that the
Mr. Cornwall said, the pension list con- county meetings were very ill informed sisted of two kinds; that paid out of the with regard to many important particulars. privy purse, and that paid at the exche- He was persuaded, if the people of Engquer, of which lord Gage was the pay, land knew, that all they could expect from master. Those paid out of his Majesty's exposing the names of pensioners, was bounty, the noble lord who spoke lately only the savings of a severe economy, had assigned a very sufficient reason for applied to so small a subject as 50,000!. not publishing; and as for that paid at the they would have greater liberality and deexchequer, it was generally understood licacy than to insist upon the present mothat no part of it was given to members tion. The hon. baronet had acknowledged of parliament, consequently it could not that he called for the pension list with rebe supposed to increase the influence of luctance: that the motion which a regard the crown.
to public welfare extorted from him, was Mr. T. Townshend observed, that the grating to him ; and so it must be to every very reason assigned by the hon. gentle humane and honourable man. man was the strongest that could be urged the necessities of ancient and noble famiin behalf of the motion ; that was, that lies to the prying eye of malignant cuthe pensions paid at the Exchequer were riosity; to hold up the man who has a supposed never to be paid to members of pension, to the detraction and envy of him parliament: if so, then no inconvenience who hates him, because he has none; to could possibly ensue, but the ludicrous one prepare a feast for party writers, and furso often alluded to, which he presumed nish materials for magazines and newswould not be seriously urged against so papers, which would magnify and misregreat and so constitutional a motion as present every circumstance in the whole that now in the hands of the chair. detail of the account of the pensions
Lord North said a few words against these were the bad effects, but he knew of the propriety of the motion, though not no good ones that could result from an inagainst the motion itself.
discriminate exposure of all who received Lord George Gordon rose to speak, but pensions from government. He remarked while he was on his legs the Speaker a difference between the money that was seemed to be suddenly taken ill. Colonel granted to government for the express Barré then moved that the debate should purpose of payment of public services and be adjourned. A great confusion now civil list money, which was granted freely, arose, and after a few minutes the House and without restriction or controul to the adjourned.
person of the King. Having again read
his amendment, he proposed, on account Feb. 21. The House resumed the ad- of the Speaker's ill health, to leave the journed debate on sir George Savile's motion, thus amended, on the table till motion.
next day, and to adjourn. Lord North moved an amendment, to The Speaker thanked the House for add after the word,“ otherwise," the their kind attention ; but found himself so words, " and payable at the Exchequer.” much better as to hope, that the business His lordship said, that he believed the of the House should suffer no farther intrue state of pensions were but very im- terruption on his account. perfectly known. All was not properly Mr. Dunning said, that he would will. speaking pension, that appeared on the ingly have heard the sentiments of other pension list. He enumerated a great gentlemen on this great and important ocnumber of salaries that were paid under casion, before he troubled the House with the denomination of pensions: 35,0001. his own; but if I am to speak to-night at of That passed for pension list, was not all, said he, I must speak now, for at a late really so. And after deducting this sum hour I am afraid lest I should not be able and the 4s. in the pound of tax on places to make myself heard. It is not uncomand pensions, the sum remaining under mon for gentlemen impressed with their the denomination of pension, was about subject, to bespeak the attention of the 50,0001., a sum less by 10,0001., than that House, by holding up to their view its which an hon. gentleman (Mr. Burke) in great magnitude and importance. But I think I am not deceived by any warmth of the exigency of the times is a sufficient imagination, when I look upon the motion foundation for this demand ; and the voice now before us as the most momentous that of the people may perhaps be found suffihas been agitated in this House for many cient to enforce. There are precedents years; for upon its fate the expectations on your Journals, so late as the year 1703, of the people of England hang, with regard of an account being demanded and given to the object of their numerous petitions. of the expenditure of secret service If the hon. baronet's motion shall be re- money, and I shall by and by produce ceived as it came pure from his mouth, them to the House. The noble lord does and unmixed with state-craft, then may not refuse to lay before the House an acthe people hope their petitions will have count of about 35,000l. paid by the paythe desired effect. But if it is to be frit- master of the pensioners, and at the public tered down into the Amendment proposed exchequer. That is, he offers to comby the noble lord, there is no room to hope promise matters, by giving us somewhat that any farther application from the we do not want, in lieu of something we people of England, of this kind, will avail desire. What we may know at public them. We are making our last effort. offices, he will tell us; what is a secret We have thrown our last stake. I look among courtiers and placemen, he will with a mixture of fear and hope, and with keep a secret. With such designs, and much impatience, for the eventful issue. observing such a line of conduct, ought he
I entertained some hopes, from the frank to be surprized, that the petitioners in the manner in which the noble lord gave his different counties of England are, on many consent to the introduction of the present political subjects, very ill-informed? He motion, that he would seriously give it his acknowledges their ignorance, and makes countenance and support. Unacquainted that ignorance an argument for not giving with ministerial arts and courtly stratagems, them what they desire—the means of I foolishly thought that a noble lord, in a better information. I will tell you
what department so high and important, would you may know from the public offices, if think it below his dignity to pretend a zeal you will not importune me to tell you what in a cause, which, in bis heart, he ab- you wish to know of our secrets. The horred. He must greatly under-rate the country petitioners are very ill informed, understandings of gentlemen in this therefore it is very impertinent in them to House, and those likewise of the people desire the means of better information. at large, if he thinks that they will be Sir, the absurdity of these arguments duped by his gross artifices so far as to be cannot be palliated by all the eloquence lieve, that the difficulties he holds out, are on this side of the House, by all the art on the real objections which privately influ- that, nor by all the ingenuity that is conence his heart when he opposes the mo- tained in the gallery. tion. The sum of 50,000/. is certainly A noble lord was against the motion on not such as to yield great savings to the Tuesday night, from motives of delicacy nation from the most rigid æconomy. But to some of his old acquaintances, in his the saving of money is but a secondary younger days, certain lady Bettys, and object. The reduction of the influence of Bridgets, and Jennys in the kingdom of the crown, is the first. If by cutting off Ireland. But when his old friends read 40,0001. from the civil list, we could cut what he had said of them in the news. off forty voters from that phalanx, whom papers, they will not much thank him for no considerations of public utility can in- his delicacy. He freely gives up his old fluence, whom no obstacles can deter from female friends, but screens the great poliadhering to the minister of the day, in tical defaulters, against whom and whom whatever predicament he may stand, I only this motion was levelled. Poverty is should think we had attained an important no disgrace where it is not brought on by end; for not only would the saving of that vice or folly: it is no shame for persons 40,0001. prevent a profusion and waste of nobly descended, when reduced to want much greater sums, but consolidate the through the extravagance or vices of me basis of British liberty.
of their ancestors, to receive bounty from The noble lord affirms, that nothing ex. the royal hand. I should be glad to see traordinary has happened, which can be a the list of pensioners made up of persons specific foundation for demanding an ac- of that description. But truly 1 suspect, count of the list of pensioners, and he that it abounds with persons of far less, stiles the motion new and unusual. Sir, even than the negative merit of inoffensive