Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

speak out, and tell me, that they have a of resentment. He said, let the Bill make plan to lay before us, and I will give them its way where it might, he was ready to an example of candour they are by no abide the consequences; that he did not means deserving of, by instantly withdraw. doubt but sufficient industry would be ing the present Bill. The indecent at- exerted to circulate its contents; and that tempt to stifle this measure in embryo may however zealous some persons might be to promise consequences the very reverse of inflame the people both here and in Amewhat I am certain will be the case if the rica, it should not have the least effect on Bill is admitted. The friends of the pre- his conduct. He was determined to adsent amendment may flatter themselves, here to the true interests of his country that the contents of the Bill will sink into and the dignity of parliament; and to silence and be forgotten, but I believe stand with them to the last, or perish in they will find the contrary. This Bill, the ruins; nor should the terrors of the though rejected here, will make its way to block itself oblige him to change his purthe public, to the nation, to the remotest pose. As to the general charges thrown wilds of America; it will, in such a course, out against administration by the noble undergo a deal of cool observation and in- earl, it was time enough to answer them, vestigation; and whatever its merits or when he pointed them in such a manner as demerits may be, it will stand or fall by to call for defence or explanation ; that them alone; it will, I trust, remain a mo- till then they were unworthy of reply, as nument of my poor endeavours to serve the persons included in such a censure my country; and, however faulty or de- only shared the fate of all other adminisfective, will at least manifest how zealous trations he ever remembered, since his I have been to avert those impending first knowledge of public business, his lordstorms which seem ready to burst on it, ship having uniformly condemned them, and for ever overwhelm it in ruin. Yet, though he afterwards thought proper to when I consider the whole case as it lies act with their authors; and if the noble before me, I am not much astonished; I earl's age did not stand in the way, he had am not surprised, that men who hate li- no doubt but that, on the

present occasion, berty should detest those that prize it; or his lordship would give one more proof of that those who want virtue themselves, his change of sentiment, by warmly should endeavour to prosecute those who espousing the very measures he now so possess it. Were I disposed to pursue loudly condemned. this theme to the extent that truth would The Earl of Hillsborough was severe on fully bear me out in, I could demonstrate, the noble framer of the Bill. He spoke that the whole of your political conduct fully on legislation, as involving in it every has been one continued series of weakness, possible power and exercise of civil gotemerity, despotism, ignorance, futility, vernment. He contended, that his lordnegligence, blundering, and the most no- ship's computation of the numbers in torious servility, incapacity, and corrup- America, who were ready to dispute the

On reconsideration, I must allow supremacy of parliament, was extremely you one merit, a strict attention to your erroneous; that if that country contained own interests: in that view, you appear three millions of people, he would be bold sound statesmen and able politicians. to say, from his own certain knowledge of You well know, if the present measure their temper and disposition, that one should prevail, that you must instantly re-third at least were willing to submit to the linquish your places. I doubt much, whe- parliament of Great Britain ; that out of ther you will be able to keep them on any the remainder, the women, children, and terms : but sure I am, that such is your old men, could not be deemed fit to bear well-known characters and abilities, any arms; so that the noble earl's facts were plan of reconciliation, however moderate, no less erroneous than his arguments, wise, and feasible, must fail in your hands. when he said, that three millions of men, Such, then, being your precarious situa- with arms in their hands, would never contions, who can wonder that you should put sent to be taxed by the legislature of this a negative on any measure which must country. He next endeavoured to cor. annihilate your power, deprive you of rect a mistake of the same noble earl

, your emoluments, and at once reduce you where he asserted, that French America to that state of insignificance, for which took 40,000 men to reduce it; being saGod and nature designed you?

tisfied, he said, that at no one time were Earl Gower answered with strong marks there above 12,000 regular troops ema

ployed on that service. He next defended in the letter was not broken. His grace the Declaratory law, but insisted, that it contended it was, and said he would appeal conferred no new right, for if it had never to the letter itself, which he desired might passed, the legislative supremacy of par- be read. It was not however read.] His liament would have remained the same: grace proceeded to recount the particulars and concluded with holding out the fa- relative to that transaction, how the duvourable disposition of administration to- ties on paper, painters' colours, and glass wards the colonies, when they manifested were repealed, in a pretended performance a suitable temper on their part, which of that promise, while that on tea, the could never be till they submitted to the cause of all the present confusions, was great constitutional claims of the British continued. He then turned to the avowlegislature.

ed firmness of a noble earl, high in office, The Duke of Richmond took a compre- (earl Gower) who seemed so willing to hensive view of the question. He exa- court danger, to face the block, and fall mined the Bills mentioned in the claim of with the ruins of the constitution, or trirights

, one by one, and shewed with great umph in its constitutional maintenance. ability the foundations on which they rest. He comforted the noble earl with the ed. He dwelt particularly on the Acts for strongest assurances of his being in no danestablishing courts of Admiralty, and for ger; for it was easily avoided, by only at a altering the charter of the Massachuset's convenient time altering his opinion; to Bay. He said, the former erected a juris- prove which, he would take the liberty of diction, the judges of which were inte. adverting to a particular fact, which came rested in the decision; and the latter, within his own knowledge. And then he under the colour of constituting juries, on jocularly observed, that however small the the plan of those in England, lodged the minority might appear on the present quespower of selecting persons fit to serve, in tion, he had seen as sinall hourly increase an officer called a sheriff

, it was true, but till it became the majority; and then told an officer, at the same time, as little known the following anecdote, which happened in our constitution as any Turkish or Rus- when lord Bute was at the head of the sian magistrate : an English sheriff being Treasury, to prove it : " I remember, said irremoveable by any power under heaven, his grace, at that period, a Bill was brought but for malversation in his office, while a into this House to prevent the members sheriff in the province of Massachuset's from being screened from their debts ;-) Bay is to be removable by his Majesty, heartily acceded to this Bill upon princi

governor, or deputy governor: by ple, and had the honour of being joined by which means the executive power has vir- the noble lord then at the head of the Treatoally the appointing of juries, and conse- sury. On the division the Noes as usual quently the lives, fortunes, and personal went below the bar ; when, missing their liberty of the subjects of that province to leader, they turned short, and were much tally at their disposal and mercy; a state surprised to see him on the other side. of subjugation, he hoped, no Englishman The late Charles Townshend remarked would ever be so mean, slavish, or servile upon this circumstance, that he would to subnyit to. He then insisted that the hold two to one, in less than a year those administration had uniformly, for a num- very members who divided against him, ber of years back, endeavoured to deceive would creep under the table to join him. the colonies ; that they had so repeatedly Had he been taken up he would have won violated their most solemn

promises, that his wager.” He next reminded the noall confidence was at an end: that out of ble earl (Gower) of an instance of his donumberless instances he should only select cility, which came more directly home to one, which was the letter written by the him, as being personally concerned. It very noble earl himself, (earl of Hillsbo- was in the year 1766, before Christmas, rough) accompanying the Revenue Act, when a noble friend of his (the

late duke wherein he pledged himself, by the most of Bedford) made a motion for taking into solemn assurances, that they were mere consideration the state of the nation. He matter of form, and were meant to be

im- doubted not but the noble earl was to the mediately repealed, being intended as a full as ready to face the block then as now, nominal assertion of the Declaratory law in support of what he deemed his duty; who insisted, that the promise contained having in the interim met him at Bath, de to order by the earl of Hillsborough, ble earl, the author of the present Bill,

and having had some conversation with

List of the Minority. him, the parliament was adjourned to the

Dukes. day after the state of the nation was to be

Fitzwilliam

Cumberland taken into consideration; all enquiry was

Temple
Richmond

Radnor at an end, and the nation left to shift for

Devonshire

Spencer itself.

Portland

Chatham. The Duke of Manchester lamented, in Manchester

LORDS. a very sensible manner, the present situa- Northumberland. Abergavenny tion of affairs, and the dangerous conse- MARQUISs.

Ferrers quences of a civil war, which he feared Rockingham.

Craven would terminate as the social war among

Romney

Earls. the Romans did, in the inevitable destruc

King
Stamford

Fortescue tion of the whole empire. He was mode

Abingdon

Ponsonby rate, pathetic, and drew the attention of Scarborough

Lyttelton every side of the House. He did not Cholmondeley Wycombe (Earl of pretend to determine on the contents of Stafford

Shelburne) the present Bill, nor adopt it throughout; Tankerville

Sondes all he wished was, that one sober view Stanbope

Milton should be taken of the great question, be- Effingbam

Camden. fore perhaps we blindly rushed into a scene of confusion and civil strife, the

Debate on Mr. Alderman Sawbridge's event of which it was impossible to foresee. Motion for a Bill for shortening the Dr.

Earl Temple said, that he had never ration of Parliaments.] Feb. 1. Mr. Algiven, in public or private, a decided opi- derman Sawbridge moved for leave to nion, whether it was wise or not to pass bring in a Bill for shortening the Duration the Stamp Act; but that he was abun- of Parliaments. He said he declined en. dantly convinced that all the evils and tering into a detailed view of the question, distractions now complained of, were de- or minutely taking it in the several strik

. rived from the fatal repeal of it; that the ing lights in which it presented itself. He bills of last year were more exceptionable adverted to the leading characteristics of as to the mode than as to the matter. He some formerparliaments; the tyrant Henry said nothing with regard to the contents the eighth’s were servile; that of 1641 a of the Bill which had been read, and violent assembly; the long one of Charles finished with expressing his disapprobation the second was aptly distinguished by the of rejecting in so harsh and unprecedented name of the Pensioned Parliament; but all a manner, a Bill designed for the most sa- those several qualities of servility, violence, lutary purposes, and presented to their and prostitution, were at once united in lordships, by a hand so truly respectable the last. He could not, he said, as yet as that of his noble friend and relation : venture to pronounce on the complexion this reason alone deciding upon his vote.

of the present, but he was afraid it would The debate lasted till almost ten o'clock, prove itself the true offspring. of its when the question being put, there apo impụted political father, the minister; if peared for the earl of Sandwich's Amend. so, he had very little good to expect ment, Contents 61, Non-contents 32; so

from it. that the Bill was rejected.*

Mr. Alderman Oliver seconded the mo

tion, with a short speech on the evil ten* On the 10th of February, the Corporation dency of long parliaments. of the City of London came to the following Resolution :

Town Clerk to offer

my "That the thanks of this court be given to men, and commons, in common council as

: the right hon. the earl of Chathar having

sembled, his most respectful and grateful acoffered to the Hoyse of Lords a plan for con knowledgments for the signal bonour they ciliating the differences which unfortunately

have been pleased to confer on the mere dissubsist between the administration in this coun charge of his duty, in a moment of impending try and its American colonies; and to all those calamity. Under deep impressions of former who supported that noble lord in so bumane

a ducts during the

evil hour of a dangerous foe measure.”

The Town Clerk having waited on lord Chat- to find his efforts for preventing the ruin and ham with the above Resolution, his lordship horrors of a civil war approved, honoured, and returned the following Answer:

strengthened by the first corporate body in the “ Lord Chatham desires the favour of Mr. kingdom."

lord mayor,

the alder

The Lord Mayor, Mr. Wilkes :

A new argument, Sir, in favour of the

motion in your hand seems at this time to Sir; the question now before the arise from the nature of most of the Peti. House has been so frequently and so ably titions complaining of undue elections, spoken to by the hon. gentleman who which have been presented to us in this made the motion, and is in general so per- first session of the parliament. The gefectly understood, that I shall trouble you neral complaint is that of bribery and corn with little more on this occasion than to ruption. Short parliaments, Sir, if they return him my hearty thanks for his truly did not totally eradicate this most pernici. patriotic endeavours and noble perseve. ous practice, must necessarily diminish rance in a business of this importance. the evil in no small degree. By the freFrequent parliaments, Sir, are the ancient quent return of appeals to the people, the constitution of England, and the right of public money in the minister's hands the people to them arises from the nature would not be found always adequate to of all delegated power, and the necessity the crooked counsels of an insidious court, of a controul. if a representative in the nor to a determined purpose of regularly first session of a parliament acts contrary counteracting the wishes of a nation. The to the duty of the trust reposed in him, is foodgates of the treasury, however widely it fit that his constituents should be com- opened, would on such repeated occasions pelled to wait till the end of a tedious scarcely afford torrents copious and impe. period of seven years before they can tuous enough to.carry away all sense of have an opportunity of depriving him of duty to the constitution, all regard to the a power, which he so early abused? I laws and liberties of the country. If this think the case now mentioned actually House were elected for a short term only, exists in the very dawn of this new parlia- a commerce of corruption between the ment. Several gentlemen have talked of minister and the representative could not the last parliament in the terms of reproach grow up to acquire the strength and conand indignation which that profligate as- sistency which is given by a period of sembly most justly merited." I fear, Sir, seven years security, and independency the present parliament are treading in the on the power by which we were created. same steps, which conducted their imme. I beg the indulgence of the House, Sir, diate predecessors to the utter hatred of for only one more short observation. the nation. They seem to advance with This motion strikes me as a kind of pargiant strides to a like detestation from this liamentary test, which brings every thing age, and from all posterity. The people home to our consciences. It cannot fail without doors, especially in the capital, of meeting in this House the support of make no scruple to affirm that the ma- all the true friends of the ancient constijority of this House have even thus early, tution of England, of all who mean to act in one great instance, acted contrary to honestly, for they run no risk. They are the plain duty, which they owe to their sure of the applause, and free choice of country, and to the sacred trust reposed their constituents, on every fresh appeal. in them. I allude, Sir, to the contempt The venal and interested, all who think shewn of the Petition of so respectable lightly of their ties and obligations to their a body as the merchants of the city of masters, and do not hold themselves bound London trading to North America. This to hear and redress the injuries of the nathe majority have done in defiance of all tion which they represent, but are regarddecency, and of the great principles of less of the feelings of the people, intent the constitution. I am sorry to observe, only on the public plunder ; all these have that the alarm is already become general, their terrors, and certainly not ill.groundthat from this early abuse of their trust, ed, on the first suggestion of an appeal to the delegated powers, which the same men their constituents. From such men only, have so lately received for the security an opposition to this motion is to be exand preservation of the rights of their con- pected. The representative who is constituents, will be employed through a scious of having merited well of his concourse of the next seven years for our stituents, will always rejoice at the oppordestruction, and that of our fellow-sub- tunity of applying for frequent proofs of jects in America, unless the excellent mo- their regard and trust; will desire, will tion of the hon. gentleman should arrest earnestly solicit, this appeal; while the

man who has acted contrary to the clear

dictates of his duty, and betrayed his * See p. 168, of the present volume,

them in their career.

trust, will naturally dread every such oc- they would not import into British Ame. casion, will tremble even at the distant rica any melasses, syrups, paneles, coffee, view of the spirited indignation, with or piemento, from the British plantations; which he would be rejected. A guilty and that after the 10th of Sept. 1775, if mind, Sir, frequently braves the silent re- the Acts and the parts of the Acts of the proaches of a wounded conscience, but British parliament therein mentioned, are can seldom bear up against that public not repealed, they would not directly, or contempt and infamy which I trust will indirectly, export any merchandize or always pursue parliamentary prostitution. commodity whatsoever to the West Indies;

Mr. Moysey entered into a clear and and representing to the House that the substantial investigation of the question, British property in the West India islands took notice of the efforts made by the amounts to upwards of 30 millions sterlgreat constitutional Whigs immediately ing; and that a further property of many after the Revolution, to obtain the trien- millions is employed in the commerce nial law; of the great benefits derived created by the said islands, a commerce from that law, during a course of upwards comprehending Africa, the East Indies of 20 years, and the great political motives and Europe; and that the whole profits which produced its repeal in the first year and produce of those capitals ultimately of George the first. He said those mo- center in Great Britain, and add to the tives originated in temporary expediency; national wealth, while the navigation ne. that the measure was consented to on the cessary to all its branches, establishes a principle of immediate preservation and strength which wealth can neither purstate necessity; and as those causes no chase nor balance; and that the sugar longer subsisted, every colour of reason plantations in the West Indies are subject and argument for retaining septennial par- to a greater variety of contingencies than liaments must fall with the motives which many other species of property, from gave birth to them.

their necessary dependence on external Mr. Serjeant Glynn contended that the support ; and that therefore, should any present mode of convening parliaments interruption happen in the general system was repugnant to the great principles of of their commerce, the great national the constitution, and would in the end, he stock thus vested and employed must be predicted, be destructive of the constitu- come unprofitable and precarious; and tion itself.

that the profits arising from the present The House divided. The Yeas went state of the said islands, and that are forth.

likely to arise from their future improveTellers.

ment, in a great measure depend on a ŞMr. Ald. Sawbridge :} 100

free and reciprocal intercourse between Yeas Mr. Ald. Oliver

them and the several provinces of North

America, from whence they are furnished Noes {Colonel Egerton

195 Mr. Cooper

with provisions and other supplies abso

lutely necessary for their support and the So it passed in the negative.

maintenance of their plantations; and that

the scarcity and high price, in Great BriPetition of the West India Planters to tain and other parts of Europe, of those the Commons respecting the American articles of indispensible necessity, which Non-Importation Agreement.] Feb. 2. A they now derive from the middle colonies Petition of the planters of his Majesty's of America, and the inadequate populasugar colonies residing in Great Britain; tion in some parts of that continent, with and of the merchants of London trading the distance, danger, and uncertainty

, of to the said colonies, was presented to the the navigation from others, forbid the peHouse, and read; setting forth,

titioners to hope for a supply in any degree “ That the petitioners are exceedingly proportionate to their wants; and that, if alarmed at an Agreement and Association the first part of the said Agreement and entered into, by the congress held at Phila- Association for a non-importation hath delphia, in North America, on the 5th of taken place, and shall be continued, the Sept. 1774, whereby the members thereof same will be highly detrimental to the agreed and associated, for themselves and sugar colonies ; and that, if the second the inhabitants of the several provinces part

of the

said Agreement and Association lying between Nova Scotia and Georgia, for a non-exportation shall be carried inta that from and after the 1st of Sept. 1774, execution, which the petitioners do firmly

« ZurückWeiter »