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House be vested with this negative, the equal size ; and the same pieces of paper petition may concern Blackacre, and the shall be then rolled up, and put by the petitioner be John a Stiles; and both the clerk into a glass, or box, and then pubtown and petitioner may chance to be ex- licly drawn by the clerk; and the said setremely disagreeable to those who govern veral petitions shall be read in the order in and lead the majority of this House, no which the said names shall be drawn rematter who they are or may be. What, spectively.” then, is to be done? The Committee can- After a short debate, this Resolution was not pass over the justice of the cause, to carried. The petitions, ready to be prestigmatize the petitioner for his turpitude, sented, were immediately delivered, and nor punish the town for its delinquency; the Clerk proceeded according to the new on the contrary, they will be under a ne- regulation. cessity of judging rigidly, according to the true merits of the question. That Debate in the Commons on the Exclue there have been many decisions within sion of Strangers.] Dec. 12. Mr. T. these walls, answerable to this description, Townshend rose and said, he did not wish I believe few will controvert ; nay, indeed, to make a motion, but he had often laI might add, as iniquitous and unjust as mented that the gallery doors of that ever came to my knowledge without House were shut against the Peers ; for them; and they have been sufficiently by that means several young lords, who corrupt and numerous. I therefore call wished to hear and be instructed, were on the former friends of the Bill, who I deprived of the privilege; that he by no trust have not so soon changed their means meant to open the gallery for the minds, to stand forth and assist me in de admission of peers, with a view that it fending it; for which purpose, Sir, I beg would influence them to open their doors ; to move, “ That, according to the true but as both Houses had acted absurdly, construction of the said Act, whenever a in his opinion the first that corrected the petition, complaining of an undue election, absurdity would stand on the highest or return of a member to serve in parlia- ground. ment, shall be offered to be presented to Mr. Rice said he had no objections to the House, within the time limited by the the doors being opened; but as the beorder of the House for questioning the haviour of the Lords had been so outreturns of members to serve in parliament, rageous, he should be against allowing the said petition shall be delivered in at them any admittance, lest it should be conthe table and read, without a question strued as a concession ; that the question, being put thereupon."
whether the doors of the House of Lords Mr. Burke, Mr. Wedderburn, and Mr. should be open had lately been discussed, Hartley, spoke in favour of the motion; and they had absolutely refused to let them. and Mr. Rigby, Mr. Thurlow, and Mr. Mr. Hans Stanley gave it as his opinion, Fox against it. However, it was agreed that all strangers, whenever it was conve. to, and made a Resolution of the House. nient with respect to room, should be adSeveral gentlemen having petitions to mitted into the gallery; and said, he present, and each being desirous of an thought it hard that gentlemen who had early day being appointed for hearing been waiting for hours to gain admittance, them, the Speaker was embarrassed how should be turned out as soon as a debate to decide, or to which he ought to give on a question which they thought curious the preference, and therefore desired the and interesting, came on. assistance and direction of the House. Sir Gilbert Elliot was not only for adThis produced a conversation ; at length mitting peers and their sons, but the sons
Mr. Rose Fuller proposed, “ That, of members also. Since the Lords had whenever more than one petition, com- behaved improperly, the Commons should plaining of an undue election of return for set them the example of good manners. the same, or for different, places, shall, at Colonel Barré said, he had been told, the same time, be offered to be presented that in the latter end of the reign of to the House, Mr. Speaker shall direct George the first, or the beginning of such petitions to be all of them delivered George the second, a like affair happened; in at the table; and the names of the both Houses Shut the doors against each counties, cities, boroughs, or places, to other. Upon which John duke of Argyle which such petitions shall relate, shall be gave it as his opinion, that the peers of written on several pieces of paper, of an the land, by their birth and education,
ought to be more polite and have better county towns, the freeholders cannot, but manners than the Commons; and that at their great expence, fatigue, and loss therefore it was expedient in them to set of time, be convened together at any one the Commons an example and open their place, to make elections for knights of the doors.
shire; and that provision should be made, Mr. T. Townshend said, he perfectly that, in such counties, the poll, if de agreed with an hon. gentleman that the manded, at the proclamation of the writ, outrageous behaviour of the Lords ought may be taken at certain different places, not to be forgotten, and that he should for certain different districts within such have wished to have resented the insult counties." personally to those who were daring Mr. Rose Fuller then observed, that it enough to offer it. Several of the peers appeared at that time to the House, that had expressed to him that they were there were several large counties, where it ashamed of the proceedings of their was extremely inconvenient for the freebrethren, and meant to have voted against holders to attend at an election for mem
bers to serve in parliament; he beg ed Mr. Edmund Burke said he by no therefore, to acquaint them with woat means agreed with the duke of Argyle, came within his own knowledge. He said, that the peers of the realm had more he resided in a county (Sussex) where he manners than the Commons. He touched was eighty miles from the place of election, upon the pride of the peers, and said he and that there were several freeholders apprehended more true politeness was to who lived above a hundred miles off, and be found among the country gentlemen : were obliged to go to give their suffrages he then argued in favour of opening the at the expence of 47. each, which he looked doors of both Houses on the principle of upon no less troublesome than expensive. duty, declaring that if he could do his He therefore moved, “ That leave be duty completely without, he would never given to bring in a Bill, for further predesire to enter the doors of the House of venting the expences attending elections Peers; but he was very well convinced, of knights of shires, and for the more easy that upon certain occasions it was abso- attendance of freeholders at such eleclutely necessary the members should have tions;" which was agreed to. free access to their respective Houses ; that a great commercial Bill, the importa- Debate in the Commons on the Navy tion of provisions from Ireland, would | Estimates.] Dec. 12. The House having probably have been lost, if he had not had resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, access to the House of Peers, to explain Mr. Buller moved, That 16,000 men be the principles on which that Bill went; employed for the Sea Service, for the year and that if the doors of that House had 1775, including 4,284 marines. He prenot been shut against the Lords last ses faced his motion with setting forth, that sion, the Bill for the security of Literary Admiral Harland was daily expected from Property would never have been rejected the East Indies, with three sail of the with such contempt, after it had passed line, and by that means 16,000 would be the House of Commons; for if the young sufficient, which was 4,000 less than last peers had come down and heard the ar- year. guments on it, it would have met with a Mr. T. Tornshend desired to know different fate.
why 20,000 were necessary last year, and Here the matter dropped.
16,000 would do this ; and what quantity
were necessary to be sent to America, and Bill for preventing Expences attending what proportion left to guard us at home. Elections.] Dec. 12. Mr. Rose Fuller Mr. Buller attempted to solve these moved, that the last of the Resolutions, questions, but could not; he therefore which, upon the 5th of May last, were re- read an extract of a letter from admiral ported from the committee, who were ap- Amherst, commander at Plymouth, inpointed to consider of the laws in being, forming, that they had several supernurelative to the election or returns of mem- merary seamen, and that their guard-ships bers to serve in parliament, might be were full; that the number of ships in read. And the same was read as follows: America were three third-rates, one fourth
* Resolved, That, in some counties in rate, six sixth-rates, seven schooners, and this kingdom, by reason of their great ex- two armed vessels ; the number of seamen Hent, or the particular situation cá their 2,835.
Mr. Luttrell said he was much surprized sent year less than the preceding on to hear the hon. gentleman mention the notwithstanding the speech from th state of our seamen in such a manner; throne announced the very critical an that, had he been apprized of the business alarming situation of affairs in Americ coming on that day, he would have pre- This was a conduct he could by no mean pared himself to have answered him more reconcile; for taking the speech to hav fully; yet he was so much a judge of ma- been framed upon right information, a ritime affairs as to know it was impossible calling for measures of a spirited and de that the ships or seamen the hon. gentle- cisive nature, what sort of correspondenc man had mentioned to be in America there was between the contents of th could be there for some months, for ships speech and the naval establishment, wa that went out at this season were prevented more than he could possibly discover by winds and weather, so that they were But were he to declare his sentiments, h obliged to go to the West Indies or put feared it would be found to be a mere mi back, and could not arrive in America till nisterial trick: a forming of estimates, i the spring: that he should be glad to be the first instance, that were never intende informed whether or not the seamen sent to be adhered to, or rather designed a in the fleet to America were taken out of mere waste paper, and afterwards surpriz the guard-ships here, which consequently and drive the House into grants of a ver weakened our strength at home, and left improper and burdensome nature. Suc us almost defenceless; and whether the being his suspicions, he could not face hi admiral's account of the full complement constituents without previously knowing of men did not include those draughted what he must tell them, both in relatioi off to other ships, and sent to America, to further burdens, and what was involved which might be set down as lent, but were in such an enquiry, if compulsive mea absolutely lost, as a defence to this coun- sures were really intended to be pursue try, until they returned.
towards the Americans ; for to talk o Col. Barré said, he had been informed, enforcing the acts upon a reduced esta that unless admiral Harland arrived in ter blishment, either naval or military, was ? days, it would be impossible for him to sort of language fit to be held only to arrive in less than four months, therefore children. the number of seamen expected from his Lord Beauchamp said, that the noble coming home was very precarious and not lord had communicated to him, that mornto be depended on.
ing, his intentions of moving something on Mr. Hartley desired to know the num- the subject matter of the present converber of ships that were on the American sation ; that he had accordingly apprised station before the present disturbance. the noble lord who presided at the Trea
Mr. Buller answered, one fourth-rate, sury therewith ; and that his lordship had six sixth-rates, seven schooners, two armed authorised him to acquaint the House, that vessels, and about 1,900 men.
he had no information whatever to lay be Col. Barré desired to know what force fore it; nor measures to propose respectwe had at home to defend us against any ing America. He was therefore of opi attack of an enemy:
nion, that as the noble lord was indisposed Mr. Buller replied, 5,900 men in the and absent, it would be better, particularly guard-ships, and 1,168 men in the other as there was a very thin House, to susships on the British and Irish coasts. pend all further solicitude, till his lordship
Mr. Luttrell said, he was much afraid should have an opportunity of fully exas we would not take the Spaniards' words, plaining the motives of his conduct in that they would not take ours, but take person. advantage of our weakness, and repay Mr. Cornwall endeavoured to apologize themselves for the piracies we committed for the minister's conduct. He insisted, prior to the last war.
that the present was not a proper time to The Resolution was then agreed to. enter into any discussion relative to Ame
rican affairs; that the naval reduction, he Dec. 13. Lord John Cavendish begged presumed, was founded on good and subleave to state to the House the conduct of stantial reasons, however the motives administration in one or two points, parti- which gave birth to them might vary with cularly respecting the naval establishment the circumstances; and, that when the for the ensuing year. He observed, that question concerning Great Britain and the there was 4,000 seamen voted for the pre-colonies came in a parliamentary way
fore the House, every member would then the proposed amendment, had he imagined be fully at liberty to deliver his sentiments they meant to refuse the necessary exand maintain his opinions.
planations, on which the speech was supMr. Burke answered, and was extremely posed to be founded. severe on the conduct of administration. Mr. Hartley rising to speak was interAmong a variety of other things, he com- rupted, and informed from the chair, that pared the House of Commons to a dead as there was no question before the House senseless mass, which had neither sense, to debate on, gentlemen could not be persoul, or activity, but as it derived them mitted to proceed in such a disorderly from the minister. If his lordship chuses manner. However, being desired to proto tell them one day, that America is in a ceed, he quoted several instances, since state little short of actual rebellion, it is the year 1765, both by petition and otherall very well; if in a few days after, he wise, wherein the Americans offered to acquaints them, at second hand, that he contribute towards the public support, by had no information whatever to authorize way of requisition. He therefore submitsuch an assertion, who can doubt his can- ted it to the consideration of the House, dour and his veracity? Both assertions whether it would not be proper to suspend still remain uncontradicted, and all must the operation of the late Acts relative to be silence. A few days since it was in. Boston, pro tempore, in order to see if the decent to call for papers, because they colonists still continued to be of the same could be had; to look for them now would way of thinking; and if they did, then to be improper, because they cannot be had. have requisitory letters under the great That however absurd it might seem, such seal issued, and directed to the several a conduct was nevertheless founded on provinces, requiring them to contribute system; for if matters turned out well, in certain proportions towards the public the merit would be imputed to the mi. expence. nister; whereas, if they should be attended Lord Beauchamp observed, that the prewith miscarriage or misfortune, it is no sent was no more than a desultory convermore than applying to parliament, and sation ; that he perceived the hon. gentleevery thing will be set to rights; that is, man mistook entirely the design of the
We despise the parliament, who are our late Acts, for they were not directed to the only proper and constitutional counsel- question of taxation, but were meant to lors; but when we have blundered and apply, as a particular punishment for cerTuined our affairs, perhaps beyond a pos- tain outrages and acts of disobedience sibility of redress, then we will come to committed by the inhabitants of Boston parliament”- to do what ?-to remedy alone. what is incurable, and to recover what can Lord John Cavendish replied, that the never be regained ! It is an old device, present conversation, as originating with though methinks not a very wise one, to him, was not immediately connected with trust to the chapter of accidents. The the propriety of the conduct of Great book in which it is contained, has the be- Britain, or America, but was simply inginning and the end torn out. This va- tended to prevent a deceit being put or luable chapter counsels you to trust to ac- practised on the House by framing ideal cidents, because accidents are sometimes estimates, which were afterwards, at a very productive of good fortune. He con- improper season, perhaps, meant to be included his observations with remarking, creased. that ignorance and folly are nearly allied ; Lord Beauchamp reminded the House that to effect the latter, we must be held how very irregular it was to continue to in ignorance, and that by both, we would debate in this manner ; and said, that as be the fitter to receive vigilance, activity, the army estimates were to be taken into information and knowledge, whenever the consideration on the 16th, when probably minister thought proper to communicate the House would be full, and the noble one or inspire the other.
lord, who could give satisfaction in this Sir William Mayne condemned the business, would be present, begged that very extraordinary conduct of those in any further consideration of it might be power, in withholding from the House deferred till that day. the necessary information, or at least the Captain Luttrell replied, That this
was a best they had ; and, laying his hand on very uncommon way of satisfying the his breast, solemnly protested he would House; for, by this mode of reasoning, never have voted for the address without if the noble lord should not, or could not
attend, they must submit, and go to the him, (Mr. Fuller) as to propose to appoint country without any information what- a committee for taking the affairs of Ame
rica into consideration. Mr. Rose Fuller said, a motion ought to Mr. T. Townshend declined entering be made before the holidays, for a com- into any consideration of the present state mittee on the present state of America. of America ; but desired to know from the
noble lord, whether the present estimates Debate in the Commons on the Army were meant to be real ones, or whether inEstimates.] Dec. 16. The House having tended to be held out to the House and resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, the public, as very moderate; while they
Lord Barrington moved, that a number were to be led, unawares, into a heavy exof land forces, including 1,522 invalids, pence, under the heads of an encreased amounting to 17,547 effective men, com- navy debt, services incurred, and not promission and non-commission officers in- vided for, and perhaps a vote of credit? cluded, be employed for the year 1775. Lord North replied, the forces now de
Mr. Rose Fuller desired to know in manded were sufficient, unless from the what manner the troops serving in Ame- conduct of the other colonies it should be rica were stationed ; and what number | judged necessary to extend the line with were now on service at Boston, or were respect to them. intended for it?
Governor Johnstone said : I think a true Lord Barrington answered, that the determination upon this question can only force now on duty there, consisted of be made after knowing the plan which the seven battalions and five companies of ar- gentlemen in administration are resolved tillery; and he knew officially, there were to pursue, with respect to American af. three battalions more ordered to join those fairs. It is now clear, that the people of at Boston.
America, actuated with the same firm and Mr. Fulier said, that he had no motion resolute spirit, and tinctured with the same to make, but should be glad to know from enthusiasm which enabled our ancestors to the noble lord at the head of the Treasury, withstand the unjust claims of the crown, if he had any information to lay before the in the days of Charles the 1st, are deterHouse, or any measures to propose re- mined to resist the high doctrines of parspecting America ; because, if he had not, liamentary supremacy, held forth by this he thought it the duty of parliament to in- country, which must, in its consequences, terpose and call for papers, and proceed reduce their liberties to a level with the on such information, however defective, as colonies of France and Spain. If we are well as they could. He added, that he resolved to adhere to those incomprehenlooked upon the measures adopted by the sible tenets, echoed with so much applause last parliament, impolitic and impracti- in the last parliament, and on the first day cable; and that they could never be pru- of the present sessions, nothing but the dently or effectually put in execution. sword can now decide the contest. In that
Lord North confessed the very great | event it is in vain to suppose that the peace importance of the subject now mentioned. establishment of the army now proposed He said, it would require the utmost dili- will be sufficient; for every wise man must gence and attention, as a matter of the foresee, that our rivals in Europe cannot greatest magnitude ever debated within be idle spectators in such a scene. Supthose walls. He could not, he said, en- posing then, a sufficient force is employed tirely acquiesce in the condemnation of to subdue the Americans, this country measures hastily, which had been taken up must be left destitute of the necessary deand adopted upon such weighty motives ; fence. No man is less desirous of aug. that at the time, it was impossible to fore- menting a military establishment than mytel precisely how they might answer; but self. I foresee that the liberties of this the shortness of the time and other cir- country must, in the end, fall a sacrifice cumstances considered, they ought to have to that power which has annihilated the a fair trial before they were reprobated; rights of mankind in other states. Beand that the wisdom and policy of them tween the danger from abroad, and the could be only finally known in the event. danger from those who are to defend us, He concluded by assuring the House, that according to the present establishments of he had information to lay before it, short. Europe, the situation is very nice. For ly after the holidays; and that he would so my own part, however wisely the military far adopt his hon. friend's ideas behind system is interwoven into our constitution