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The question being put on the Lord shares ; and that those shares had been Chancellor's motion, it passed in the af- sold. Not intending to reflect upon the firmative, without one dissenting voice. noble lord (Dunmore) who must have had
the principal hand in that business, or Debate in the Commons on bringing in upon any other person in particular, be the Bill for restraining the Trade of the wished for information whether the facts Southern Colonies of America.] March 9. thus confidently reported, were true. The House having resolved itself into a Lord North gave no answer, but de. Committee on the Papers relative to the fended the propriety of the Bill now moved Disturbances in America,
for. The former Bill was only against a Lord North moved, that the Chairman part of America ; this against the rebe directed to move the House, “ That mainder. He did not recollect that he leave be given to bring in a Bill to restrain had ever said he would wait to know the the trade and commerce of the colonies of event of the first Bill, before he proposed New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, another. As the colonies had come to an Virginia, and South Carolina, to Great agreement to carry on no trade whatever Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in with Great Britain, Ireland, or the West the West Indies, under certain conditions Indies, he was clearly of opinion, that it and limitations." He said, as the southern became indispensably necessary to restrain provinces had acceded to the non-impor- their commerce, and prevent them from tation and exportation agreement, it would trading with any other country.- Leave be manifest partiality not to make their was given to bring in the Bill, punishment the same as the northern provinces.
Debate on a Motion
for a Bill to enable Lord John Cavendish little expected to Members of Parliament to vacate their see another Bill of the same tendency with Seats.] March 15. Mr. George Grenthe last so soon make its appearance : but ville said: It has been frequently urged, he should endeavour to frame his mind so Sir, and indeed with some justice, that no as that nothing should surprise him. parliainent ever made the provisions equal
Sir W. Mayne was no less astonished, to those agreed to by the last, for a sysas he understood from the noble lord, that tem of parliamentary independence in this he meant to proceed no further, till it House. At least, Sir, I am not the man should be known what effect the former to reprobate it, or to endeavour to take Bill would have. He thought the present from them any part of the merit which an irritating measure, from which no sa- they, on that head, are so justly entitled Jutary consequence could be expected. to. If, however, there should be any part
Mr. Hartley, after lamenting the fluc of that plan imperfect; if, from the exituating state of our public councils, ob- gency of the time, or indeed from any served, that a few days ago, nothing was other reason, they were not enabled to echoed from the other side of the House pursue that system to the utmost, we, their but plans of conciliation, of moderation, successors, must feel it incumbent on us and concession. In all probability, said to give it due consideration, and, in the those gentlemen, though all the colonies discussion of it, we should adopt it as a should not consent to tax themselves, or legacy entrusted to us; and we are well break the non-importation and non-expor- justified in assenting to any feasible systation agreement, some of them certainly tem, however weakly the great arguments will, and destroy the confederacy, the re- for it may be urged,
however unequal may fractory with very little struggle, must be the abilities of him who moves it, how. submit. Now, what is the language? ever light his authority, however great his Drive the whole continent of America into inexperience. The evil of which we now despair ; hold out no temptation to the complain lies within a very short compass : moderate and less offending, and that is I will not, therefore, detain you long in the sure way to restore peace and har- stating it. It will not be denied me, that mony, to recover our commerce, just on there are many situations, in which a
of destruction, and to reconcile member of this House may wish to rethem cordially to our government. He sign his trust into the hands of those from said, he had been informed that lands on whom he held it. I know that here I the confines of Virginia had been ceded tread on the most tender ground, when! at the conclusion of the late Indian
war, attempt to define the relative duties of which cession had been divided into 22 constituent and representative,
or when I
state a situation in which we can be justi-dependence in this Housė, by giving to fied, in refusing to lend our services to the the electors the power of rejecting those public, and to this House : the position, who might appear to them to have achowever, which I lay down, and which I cepted employment, on dependent prinmust prove to the satisfaction of the ciples. By the abuse of the times, this House, is, that there are situations in has been long since perverted to very difwhich, so far from acting dishonourably ferent and unconstitutional purposes; for or unworthily, a member would justly de- it is under this Bill, that members, wishserve both these imputations, did he not ing to vacate their seats, solicit the favour avail himself of every legal means of di- of the minister. As this is the first time vesting himself of his trust. Need I, Sir, that I have named the minister, I owe it remind this House, of the instances we to myself to declare, that in this motion I daily see, of the old members, to whose disclaim all personal aitack ; it is founded services and attentions we have been so on a great constitutional line, without conmuch obliged, exhausted in their attend- veying any reproach to the noble lord at ance on this House ; they may feel them the head of the Treasury ; should I, thereselves unequal to their eager wishes, in fore, have occasion (which I am persuaded performing the duties incumbent on their I shall not) to quote cases, in which this station ; the vigour of their mind impaired, courtesy of the minister has been refused, the strength of their constitution sacrificed I shall confine myself to instances in a more to their services, what must be their wish? remote period. To remedy this evil, it Ripe in years, and ripe in honours, they is proposed, with the greatest deference wish but for a few tranquil moments, pre- to the opinions of this House, to enable paratory for the grave. A second situa- the members to vacate their seats, by sig. tion may occur, in which a member may nifying their wish to the Speaker, under wish for any honourable means of vacating certain regulations. Nor, Sir, is this idea his seat; when called upon by motives of entirely new ; it is a part of the ancient interest, conveniency, or perhaps nobler constitution of this House, which, I hope, motives, he may employ the power of his the following precedents, extracted from life in active foreign service, of a nature your Journals, will sufficiently prove. which may not vacate his seat under the [He here quoted a multitude of precepresent system. Will it not, Sir, embitter devts to prove, that, from the year 1575 those moments, perhaps otherwise happy, to 1609, it had been the invariable pracwhen he reflects, that the only return tice of parliament, to issue new writs in which he can make to the kind partiality the room of such as were sick, or on of his constituents, which placed him here, actual service.] is to deprive them, by his absence, of their I should entreat the pardon of the share in the representation ? Allow me, House, for detaining them so long on the Sir, to name a 'third, which is, indeed, of subject of precedents, were they not nea much more serious nature : let us sup- cessary to shew, that this motion, if it pose a member possessed of the qualifica- succeeds, will only bring our parliamen. tions requisite for the seat he takes ; by tary constitution to its former system. I accident, or indeed for provision for a have not quoted many instances where helpless family, or for any other motive at seats have been vacated by foreign serhis option, he may be reduced to part with vice; the reason is not from want of prethat qualification ; scruples of a con- cedents, but from the too great abunscientious heart may suggest to him
the dance of them, which, to say truth, almost necessity of surrendering a seat, to which, universally contradict each other on the in
my construction of the Act, from that face of your Journals. 1 stand, however, moment he can have no claim.' I confess in the judgment of the House, who will, the case is not likely to happen ; but as I doubt not, agree with me, that in these long as it is possible, I have a right to use two situations
the practice of ancient times it to my argument. Having, Sir, stated has been invariable. I shall only trespass these three, out of a great variety of situa- further on the indulgence of the House, tions, where it is expedient and proper for to consider shortly what may be the oba member to wish to divest himself of his jections. The first will probably be, that trust
, I shall, in a few words, state the only it retrenches the prerogative of the crown. method which at present can be taken for 1 will answer it in one word, that I know of these purposes. The Place Bill was ori- no prerogative which can dispose so arbiginally meant as the great security to in- trarily of a seat in this House. A second
may, indeed, be of a more serious nature :/ an entire difference in the constitution of it may be urged, that we fail in our duty the House of Commons. That when the to our constituents, by dissolving the great members received wages from their conreciprocal tie between us; that from the stituents, and the service of parliament moment of our return to parliament we was a burden people did not wish to bear, are the indentured servants of the public. it might have been very improper to have In answer to this objection, which is in- given them such power of quitting their deed on very delicate and tender ground, station; but that at present the case was let me ask any hon. gentleman who uses altered, and so far from being a burden it in argument, whether this consideration it was an honour every person wished for, ever weighed one moment with any man, and no sooner was a vacancy declared who wished to vacate, under the present for any place, but fifty candidates were system. The only difference then will be ready to start. that we shall be constitutionally autho. Mr. Welbore Ellis observed, that he alrized to adopt a measure, which at pre- ways had a dislike to doing any thing sent we are forced to conceal under a false which altered the constitution; that it was pretence, and by a mean evasion; and opening a door which would perhaps let even this, Sir, is dealt out to us as in fresh innovations; that in the present courtesy of government; and I appeal to instance no one had said in defence of the the independent feelings of many who motion, that the present time called for hear me, whether this consideration is not such a measure, as the minister had been alone a sufficient reason for the present complimented on the readiness with which motion. It may be urged, that it is ill. he granted the Chiltern Hundreds ; and timed. Allow me to say, that no time as that was the case, he could see no precould be ever so opportune; and this ar- sent necessity on speculative opinions to gument I ground on the candor of the no. adopt a measure our forefathers had never ble lord opposite to me. He has, as I am thought of. He should agree to the moinformed, (for I am but young in parlia- tion if it could be shewn there was any ment) declared his resolution of never re- necessity for such a Bill at this time. fusing this courtesy to any member, of Mr. Bayly said, he knew not whether any party. I will do him justice in sup- he should be able to convince that right posing that he took that determination hon. gentleman who held so lucrative an from the consciousness of the possible office under government, but if the House misuse of the power lodged in his hands. would indulge him with leave to lay before Whatever were his reasons, they will all them a few plain facts in which he himself operate strongly to determine him, to give was particularly concerned, he made no that support to this motion, which I am doubt but many other gentlemen would sure he will, from knowing how much see the indispensible necessity of such a some future minister may misapply this regulation as was intended by the present power. I move, Sir, « That leave be motion. He then informed the House, given to bring in a Bill to enable the that though he had now the honour Speaker of the House of Commons to being representative for Westbury, the issue his warrants, to make out new writs, place of bis nativity, yet he had first offera for the choice of members to serve in par- ed himself a candidate for Abingdon, liament, in the room of such members as where being opposed by a gentleman who shall signify to him their desire of vacating was sheriff for the county, he petitioned their seats in this House, under certain re- | the House against his return, as being gulations.”
from his office ineligible; that the select Lord Bulkeley seconded the motion, on committee, in conformity to the great the same principles.
trust reposed in them, declared the elec Mr. De Grey opposed the motion; said tion to be null and void ; that the moment he did not approve of it, and that the the determination of the committee power should remain where it now is, of known, he resolved upon offering himself granting leave to vacate the seat.
again, as he was well assured that his inLord Folkestone observed, that the pre- terest in the borough was considerably sent constitution of vacating seats was not strengthened since the last election; but interwoven in it, but had crept into it of before he set out, he consulted many, late years, by a strange perversion of an his friends in the House, to know whether act of parliament; but that if even it had he was likely to meet with any difficulty been of older date, yet the time had mrade in vacating the seat he now possessed, and
was assured by them all, that he need Lord North owned that he had written be under no apprehensions on that score, that letter, that if there was any blame in as the noble lord at the head of the Trea- it, it ought to be thrown on him, and he sury had declared to the whole House, on was censurable for it ; that the power being other occasions, and particularly in the vested in him, he was certainly answerable case of colonel Luttrell, that he never did for the abuse of it. He then severely DOG ever would refuse any of the vacating censured the noble lord to whom he had places to any gentleman who should apply written that letter, and Mr. Bayly for profor them, whatever side of the House he ducing and reading it in the House, as a should happen to be on, and that this breach of common decency and confiwas his constant role in such cases. In dence; however as there was nothing full reliance, therefore, on so ample a de- blameable in it he had no objection to the claration, especially from a minister who producing it. That he had made it a rule was so frequently boasting of his word in never to grant an opportunity of this nathat House, he posted away directly for ture to any person to oppose his friends. that borough, as no time was then to be That especially in the present case he was lost, his opponent having gone before, more averse to it, as at the general election and as soon as he got there, he applied to Mr. Mayor had the majority of votes, and the minister, through a noble friend of his was only rejected as being sheriff at the in town, for one of the vacating places ; time. That there was all the reason to but to his inexpressible astonishment, an think that if he had set Mr. Bayly at lianswer was returned by the minister to his berty, it would only have been a vexatious noble friend, directly contrary to the above opposition. That he was not personally declaration ; and as the letter containing known to Mr. Mayor, but then that genthat answer was not to be considered in a tleman had intitled himself to his friendprivate, but of a public and very interest- ship by shewing himself a strenuous suping nature, he begged leave to lay it be- porter of the honour and dignity of this fore the House. [Mr. Bayly then read country, in concurring with the present the letter, in which was contained the fol- | American measures. He denied that he lowing paragraph; “ I have made it my had ever made a promise to grant the constant rule to resist every application of Chiltern Hundreds to any member who that kind, where any gentleman entitled should ask for them. to my friendship would have been preju- Mr. For said, he had doubts how to diced by my compliance. Mr. Mayor vote on the present question. That he did would, therefore, have just occasion to not approve much of opening a door to complain of my conduct towards him, if I innovations in the constitution ; but on the abould make his case an exception to my other hand, as the minister bad shewn so general rule.”] Mr. Bayly, after having declared a partiality for those who voted read this letter, made no comment upon with him for American measures, if any it , as thinking none necessary; but only thing he was inclined rather to bring in applied it to the subject in debate, by sub- the Bill. He was severe en lord North’s mitting it to the House, whether such an example from such a minister did not
“ Downing.street, March 9, 1775. clearly demonstrate the necessity for the
“My lord; regulation proposed.*
“ It gives me great concern that I am not
able to comply with Mr. Bayly's request. Shortly after this debate, the following which I have excused myself from graniing
The cases have certainly been very few, in Letters were laid before the public : "My lord ;
vacated offices to members of parliament; but Hill-street, Thursday. Haring this moment received a letter
I have made it my constant rule to resist every from Mr. Bayly, desiring me to present his application of that kind, where any gentleman respectful compliments to your lordship, and 10 entitled to my friendship would have been prerequest you'll permit him to vacate bis seat for judiced by my compliance. Mr: Mayor would, the borough of Westbury, by immediately therefore, have just reason to complain of my Franting him the Chiltern Hundred; I Aatter conduct towards him, if I should make bis myself your lordship will excuse my giving case an exception to my general rule. I trust you tbis trouble. I am, my lord, &c.
in your lordship's equity, and in Mr. Bayly's, “ ABINGDON." that you will think me well justified in declin
ing to obey your commanils upon this orcasion, "Mr. Bayly is now contesting afresh the which I assure you I shall do with great pleaElection at Abingdon, with his late opponent sure, whenever it is in my power. I am, &c.
« Nortu.” (VOL. XVIII.]
friendship, which he observed he had the public. He was as severe upon, and eluded in the present letter, by calling it as strongly reprobated the American mea“ persons entitled to his friendship." sures as lord North had applauded them;
Mr. Rigby urged how inconvenient it and insisted that lord North in holding that might be for members to have a power language had held this out as one more whenever they pleased, to desert the ser- douceur for those who would support him vice of the House. He instanced the fa. in that ruinous and mad career of violence mous secession in sir R. Walpole's time, that tended to alienate the colonies. and observed, that if it had been in their Sir George Savile said, that in his opipower to have vacated their seats altoge- nion it would have been almost criminal ther, it might have been attended with the in Mr. Bayly to have kept the letter seinconvenience of an almost general elec- cret. He had no knowledge of Mr. tion; that if on any popular question the Bayly, but should hereafter greatly esteem members of London and Middlesex were his conduct in bringing the letter forward. to vacate at once, even that might be at- It was not of a private but a public nature. tended with great commotion.
He turned the arguments used by lord Mr. Burke ridiculed the notion of the North and Mr. Ellis against themselves
. danger that might accrue at a moment of Lord John Cavendish, on the same side discontent, if a whole party should re- and nearly to the same purpose, thought solve all at once to surrender their seats, Mr. Bayly could not dispense with secretand create a sort of general election; at ing the letter. the instant that men's minds were inflamed Mr. Bayly had thought it his duty to and agitated, it would, he said, be a strange mention to the House these facts: if lord and unheard of revenge upon a minister, North had granted the Chiltern Hundreds, for his enemies to put themselves to the there would have been another member expence, trouble and risk of new elec- for Abingdon. tions, and very different from the conduct Sir J. G. Griffin observed, that many of those who made the secession in sir R. arguments had been used by the hon. Walpole’s time, whose standing aloof might gentleman (Mr. Rigby), not very fairly he have drawn the public attention, and con- thought, to shew the improprieties of a sequently have raised an alarm in the mi- Bill not yet existing; and which, if herenister. He did not however run the after found in the Bill itself, might be very whole line of the proposition, and seemed good reasons to urge for not passing it, to own the inconveniences of leaving it to but would be none in the present case
. every man's own discretion to vacate his He should therefore be for introducing seat when he pleased: but thought it the Bill, to see if it could not be so framed enough to leave a member at liberty con- as to remove the present inconveniences, currently with the possession of his seat, without incurring greater. to offer himself at any other place, and Mr. Acland was for the question, but then be permitted to make his choice for observed that the arguments of Mr. Rigby that place if he succeeded, just as was now were so forcible, that unless obviated, he done, and was done by himself in this par should perhaps vote against the Bill. liament, being chosen for two places; Colonel Barré, in a jocular manner, which mode was, he seemed to think, closed the debate. He observed, that liable to none of the inconveniences of though the noble lord had refused Mr. every man's vacating at his own discre- Bayly on his late application, yet he durst tion; but as the progress of the Bill would say that if he would now apply a second admit every man to offer such plan as he time, the noble lord would immediately chose, in order to obviate the present mis- give him the Chiltern Hundreds ; he would chief of a power in the minister to give un- not have the minority think this favour due preferences to his own friends and fa- would be always granted to the friends of vourites, he declared strongly for bringing administration and denied to them; he in the Bill, on the principle that lord remembered when it had been granted to North had laid down, as meaning to give the gentleman who sat next the noble lord it as a reward to those only who voted (Mr. Wedderburn) and yet if that geno with him in the American measures. He tleman was now to apply for it, he had no said the House would not have borne at doubt it would be denied him; that as the any time, and ought not to bear, that every noble lord had declared the supporters of minister would dignify his own measures the present American measures to be with the honourable epithets of serving those who were intitled to the