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LONDON MAGAZINE, ENLARGED AND IMPROVED,
FOR J UL Y, '1784.
PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY. N the other hand, it was argued was done to protract the election to
by Lord Mulgrave, the Lord fach a time, that no enquiry could Advocate of Scotland, Mr. Hardinge, take place into the illegality of the the Attorney and Solicitor-General, votes. In justice, therefore, to the the Master of the Rolls, and Mr. candidates who had the majority of Dundas, that if there was any incon- legal votes, in justice to the electors, venience, absurdity, or injustice in the who ought not to have forced upon election laws, it was fit that they them a member who was not the object should be amended; but that the pre- of their choice, the scrutiny ought to fent question must be determined by be carried on. It had been urged by the laws as they now stand, and not one of the counsel, that the electors by laws to be hereafter enacted. That of Westminster would have cause to the propofition before the House was complain if they should remain unin itself a complete refutation of the represented, but the electors were too doctrine which' those who supported wife, not to recognize the constituit attempted to chablish; for it called tional doctrine, that members thougli upon the high-bailiff to do a mi- chosen locally represented generally; niiterial act, after his authority, ac- and they would have the satisfaction cording to their opinion, had actually to know, that if taxes Mould be laid expired. That the high-bailiff was upon them, they would have to pay bound by his oath to return the can- them in common with the constituents didates who should appear to have the of the members by whom these taxes majority of legal votes; and surely, in should be imposed. order to comply with his duty, he Mr. Fox role as the Speaker was must make enquiries, and not make a going to put the question, and claimed return merely from the apparent ma a right, as a party, to be heard lait in jority; more especially as he had suf- the debate. He observed, however, fcient reason to believe that a great that the Westminiter election was not number of fpurious rotes, had been his cause, but the cause of the electors obtruded on the poll. In the first of Great-Britain in general, and of his place, he knew that 4000 had voted constituents in particular. He took a on this occasion more than had ever comprehensive and accurate review of voted at any foriner election. He the case as originally stated to the knew that the poll had been crammed House, of the evidence that had been with thousands during the first ten adduced, the pleadings of the counsel, days, and afterwards meagerly and and the arguments that had been ein. flenderly fed with individuals. He ployed on both sides of the question, knew that men had been kept in readi- in this and every preceding discusion ness to feed the poll one by one, as of the business; and fewed by a vaoccasion should reqnire, that the books riety of clear and cogent reafoning, might not be closed; and that all this that nothing had been adduced in Loxd. Mac. July, 1734
evidence to juftify the high-bailiff racteristic it was to hate with rancour, in granting a ferutiny; but that his and to pursue the means of revenge having appointed one to commence with the most remorseless pertinacity. ten days after the expiration of his But let those who were in possession of power as returning officer, was neither power bear their triumph more modewarranted by statute, by the practice rately: their unmanly efforts to crush and usage of parliament, nor by any an individual would open the eyes of one precedent whatever. He ought, the public, and shew the fallacy of therefore, to be directed to make his those clamours which had been so art. return in like manner as he was bound fully excited, and so industriously proto have made it on the 18th of May. pagated against an individual, whom If the House thought otherwise, they they now attempted to perfecute to ought to direct a new writ to be issued, destruction, in a manner so shameful buť by no means to order the high-bailiff and unprecedented. to enter on the scrutiny, which would Mr. Pitt replied to Mr. Fox, who, be a direct subversion of the rights of he observed, far from having a right to election, inasınuch as it would take be heard as the laft speaker upon a away those rights from the people, and cause in which he himself was a party, rest them in the House, making according to the standing order of the the House the electors instead of the House had no right to be heard at all. elected. Should the House, in the He challenged Mr. Fox to substantiate present inftance, determine that a a his assertions. If he had felt the Atrong fcrutiny ought to go on, and, to pre- hand of government, let the charge vent the repetition of a similar injury, be brought and the fact established. immediately proceed to enact a new He trufied the hand of government law for the purpose of regulating the would never be so strong as to avert an Westminster elections in future, as had accusation founded in truth, but that, been hinted at, they would be guilty when its criminality was proved, the of the most gross and unexampled in- merited odium and disgrace would juftice. He complained of the violent fall on its head: on the other hand, he prejudices of the House against him, hoped government would never be fo of the undissembled rancour of some, weak, as to be shaken by affertions and the contemptuous levity of others, without proof, and charges unsustained and painted in strong and odious co- by evidence. Ministers knew too well lours the extraordinary transactions of that the only way to weaken and debase the election, the means adopted to de- their own characters, and to strengthen feat his success, and the scandalous and exalt that of the right honourable attempts to blacken his character, and gentleman, was to make him the object that of his friends. From these cir- of their perfecution. It was well worth crimstances it was evident that the his while to appear as that object: he strong hand of government had been might eren content to suffer martyrdom stretched out against him; and that all itself, to be restored to that rank in the the difficulties he had met with, all public esteem which he had forfeited that remained for him to encounter, by his detestable conduct in politics. were occafioned !) the unrelenting He ridiculed the idea of any danger disposition of ministers, who were evi- arising from the precedent that would dently determined to push the spirit of be established, if the high-bailiff should resentment and revenge to the most be directed to proceed with the forurigorous extent, and to stop at nothing tiny. Whenever a returning officer that was likely to effect his political did not comply with the exigency of annihilation. He did not believe that the writ, the House of Commons the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a would call upon him for his reasons willing instrument in so base a cause. and unless they were found good and He imputed the share he took in the substantial, he would be severely puperfecution to too fervile a compliance nished for his neglect. From a care with the will of those, whole cha- which he put hypothetically, but whicha
was indeed so personal that none could Mr. Dundas said that nothing would miss its meaning, he contended that a oblige Mr. Fox to take part in the new law was necessary to regulate the scrutiny, or hinder him from protesting poll for Westminster, and to limit its against it; but if in that protest he duration; and denied that a bill for should insert a libel on the proceedings that purpose, on the spur of the pre- of the House, he could not say how sent occafion, would be any injustice far the House might think itself bound to the electors. When were new laws to take notice of it. to be made, but when the necessity Lord George Cavendish protested of them was evinced by recent cir- against the proceedings of the House, cumstances of inconvenience? The mo as diametrically opposite to what he tion was negatived by a majority of 78. himself had seen practiced, during the
Lord Mulgrave then moved, " That course of a long parliamentary life, the high-bailiff of the city of Weft- and to what he had been informed minster do proceed in the scrutiny for when young, by the old men of those the faid city with all practicable days, had ever been the practice of dispatch."
the Houfe of Commons. The motion To this Mr. Fox objected, as being passed in the affirmative, and the highin its nature mandatory, and such as bailiff was called in, and received dia
would prevent the high-bailiff from rections accordingly. 1 making a return, if he should be in June 11. Mr. Sawbridge deferred
duced to think that he ought to do so, his motion for a parliamentary reform without entering on the scrutiny. It till Wednesday next. would also reduce Mr. Fox to this The Surveyor-General of the Ord. dilemma, either to plead before a tri- nance moved the supply for the service bunal, againft the legality of which he of the present year, amounting to protetted, or by refusing to take any 810,6691. He lamented that the heavy part in the scrutiny, to expose himself 'debt on the Ordnance occafioned every to the resentment of the House, as year a considerable loss to the public, contumacious, and regardless of its di- because it created a discount of 28 per rections.
cent. on the bills with which the officers Mr. Dundas replied, that if the of the board were obliged to go to bailiff should be inclined to make a market. return without a scrutiny, there was Mr. Huffey condemned the expensive nothing in the motion would prevent and pernicious system of fortifying the him, as it went no farther than to dock-yards, the natural defence of reake him review his conduct, either by which, he said, were ships of war. a scrutiny, or by any other means by Mr. Pitt confessed that he had which he could satisfy his conscience, changed his opinion on that subject, and form a judgement on which side and that he now believed the fortificathe majority of legal votes lay. tions to be necessary; for in a future
Mr. Sheridan then desired to be in- war, our dock-yards being secure, we formed, if Mr. Fox should senda formal should be enabled to undertake offensive. proteft to the high-bailiff, figned by operations with more spirit and effect. himself and other electors, declaring Several members spoke on both sides of that being of opinion that he acted the question, and the money was voted, buder an usurped authority they would June 14. Mr. Gilbert reported the not give themselves any trouble about resolutions come to in the committee a scrutiny, which they were deter- of Supply on Friday. mined not to carry on, whether such a The Secretary at War moved the proteft could be deemed a libel on the army estimates. proceedings of the House, and whether Mr. Rose, of the Treasury, moved for Mr. Fox would be bound by those several sums to replace like fums taken proceedings to take any part in the from the finking 'fund to make up the scrutiny, under pain of being deemed deficiencies of taxes, amounting in contumacious,
the whole to 933,6571.
Mr. Burke made his promised mo- and constituent bodies, as parties contion on the King's speechi, which he tending for credit and influence at the claimed exclusively to himself, and throne, facrifices will be made by both, fail there would be no cause for tri- and the whole end in nothing else but umph if it should be rejected, since it the destruction of the deareft rights and was the measure of an inconsiderable liberties of the nation. If there must individual. The motion was for a be another mode of conveying the colrepresentation to his Majesty, com lective sense of the people to the throne plaining of new and unusual ex than that by the House of Commons, pressions in the speech from the it ought to be fixed and defined, and throne, such as tended to excite im- its authority ought to be fettled: it proper discussions, and to lead to mis- ought not to exist in fo precarious and chierous innovations in the constitu- dependent a state, as that ministers tion. It contained an animated vin- should have it in their power, at their dication of the rights and privileges of own mere pleasure, to acknowiedge it the House of Commons, and an able with respect, or to reject it with scorn. and elaborate justification of their con " With his Majesty is the gift of dućt during the laft session of the late all the rewards, the honours, distincparliament, particularly with regard to tions, favours, and graces of the state; the India bill, and their oppolition to with his Majetty is the initigation of the present ministry. As it took up all the rigours of the law; and we rea more than an hour in reading, our joice to sec the crown pofleffed of trusts limits will not permit us to enter into calculated to obtain good-will, and a more minute detail, which is the less charged with duties which are popular necessary, as it is already published, and pleasing, Our trusts are of a difbut we cannot help selecting the fol- ferent kind: our duties are harth and lowing striking paragraphs, which'invidious in their nature, and justice rerit the serious attention of all and safety is all we can expeét in the who, attached to no party, and de- exercise of them: we are to offer favoted to no fyftem, wish to judge of lutars, which is not always pleasing, public mcasures and opinions on ra- council: we are to enquire and to actional and solid principles : “ It is a cuse, and the objects of our enquiry crooked and a desperate design, leading and charge will be for the most part to mischief, the extent of which no perfons of wealth, power, and extenhuman wisdom can foresee, to attempt five connexions: we are to make rigid to form a prerogative party in the na- laws for the preservation of revenue, tion, to be resorted to as occasion thall which of neceility more or less confine require, in derogation from the autho. fome action, or reftrain some function, rity of the Commons of Great-Britain which before was free: what is the in parliament asemhled: it is a con most critical and invidious of all, the trivance full of danger, for minifters whole body of the public impofitions to set up the representative and contti- originate from us, and the hand of the tüent bodies of the Commons of this House of Commons is feen and felt in kingdom as two separate and distinct every hurthen that prenes on the peopowers, formed to counterpoite each ple: whilt, ultimately, we are serving other, leaving the preference in the them, and in the first instance whiti hands of secret advisery of the crown: we are ferring his Majesty, it will in fuch a situation of things, these ad- jard, indeed, if we should see a Houf visers, taking advantage of the dif- of Commons the vietiin of its zeal an ferences which may accidentally arifs, fideitt, facrificed by his ministerst or may purposely be tomented between those very popular discontents whic them, will have it in their choice to shall be rxcited by our dutiful encie: rcfort to the one or the cther, as muy vours for the security and greatner's but fuit the purposes of their finiter his threac: no other consequence c ambition: by exciting an emulation result from toch an example, but tha ani contest between the representative in future, the House of Coinngan
consulting its safety at the expence of he was at present? Would his friends its duties, and suffering the whole be more numerous or more confident? energy of the state to be relaxed, will For his own part, he doubted whether shrink from every fervice, which, how any reform, of this or any other deever necessary, is of a great and ardu- fcription, could reasonably be expected ous nature, or that, willing to provide from a ministry who stood on ground for the public necessities, and, at the fo hoftile to the constitution, and who same time, to secure the means of per- had as yet given no very striking fpeciforming that tak, they will exchange men of their predilection for any thing independence for protection, and will connected with the representation of court a fubfervient existence through the people. the favour of those minifters of ftate, Mr. Sawbridge was of the fame or those fecret advisers, who ought opinion, and therefore, moved that a themselves to stand in awe of the Com- committee be appointed to enquire mons of this realm."
into the state of the reprefentation of It was feconded by Mr. Wyndham, the Commons of Great Britain in parand of course entered on the journals, liament. It was seconded by Alderman which seems to have been all that Mr. Newnham, and opposed by Mr. GrosBurke expected from moving it, as he venor and Sir Richard Hill, the latter did not divide the House upon it. of whom, in the course of an eccentric
June 15. Agreed to the resolutions and defultory speech, attacked Lord on the army estimates, the ordinaries North as the author of the American being 1,761,2681. and the extraordi- war, the source of all our calamities. naries 2,043,9151. and to the grants Lord North contended against the to replace the fums taken from the necessity or expedience of a reform tinking fund.
with his wonted ability. He opposed June 16. Previous to the debate on the fallacy of the observation, that to Mr. Sawbridge's motion, Mr. Francis alter the fate of the representation is moved for some papers relative to the not an innovation but a renovation, revenue of Bengal, and as it has lately and observed, that the farther we look been the fate of India affairs never to into the annals of British history, the be mentioned in the House without more we perceive the extent of moaltercation, a conversation took place, narchy or aristocracy, till we can difin which Mr. Francis was persuaded cover not a vestige of the democratical to withdraw his motion.
power, which is of more modern inMr. Dempiter gave notice of his in- troduction. He stated the qualification tention to bring forward a motion re of an elector, as fettled in the reign of specting the finances of Great-Britain. Henry the Sixth; at that period it was
Several members then requested Mr. restricted to forty shillings, a sum equal Sawbridge to postpone his motion on a in weight to fix pounds of our money, parliamentary reform till the next and allowing for the decrease in the fefiion, when fome specific and decisive value of gold and silver, equal to thirty propofition migbe certainly be expect- pounds at present; so that by admitting ed from the minister, as early as pofli- the same nominal qualification, the bie. Mr. Sawbridge detired to hear number of electors had become almost the minister's intentions from his own ten fold what they then were. It had mouth. Mr. Pitt professed his fincere been very improperly maintained by attachment to the measure, promising many, as essential to liberty, that all to bring it forward the very firit
of por men should have an equal share in the tunity, and urged the inexpediency of conftituent body, because, say they, attempting at present what was much true liberty confifts in no man's being more likely to succeed on some future bound by a law to which he has not o cafion. Mr. Foxcommented on the allented, either in person or by his frocraftinating fpirit of the ininifter, representative; but, continued his lordand asked if he would be more able to inip, if this alone be freedom, no counsummand a majority next fe 200 than try under the fun was ever yet free.