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because it was held that the British par. never called, nor meant to call it so ; liament had no legal right to tax America, for, in truth, it was nothing less—it was that the project of taxing her was op: the war of the court. By the court the posed. The Americans, indeed, did project of taxing America was conceived, maintain that the British parliament had and the people were taught to believe that no such right; but he, and many others their money would be saved, and their who opposed the measure, admitted the burthens eased by a revenue drawn from right, and he was still of the same opi- another country. nion. What, then, was the ground of the Thus were they first deluded, and then opposition? It was not any actual suf- bribed by an appeal to their pockets, into fering on the part of the Americans: they an approbation of the scheme of the themselves allowed that the taxes attempt. court. This was no assumption of his, for ed to be imposed were of the most easy it was perfectly well known, that when a and unoppressive kind. But although considerable addition to the standing army these taxes were so, they had no security was proposed, the country gentlemen were that heavy and oppressive taxes might induced to agree to it, by hints that the not, at some future period, be imposed expense would be defrayed from another upon them by a legislative body, in which quarter, instead of falling upon them. In they had no representation, with which compliance with the wishes of the court, they had no very close connexion of com- the House passed the memorable stamp mon interest, and over which they had no act. The stamp act was resisted and remeans of control. He, therefore, and pealed; and the repeal was as popular as those with whom he had the honour to act, the passing of it had been. Was this a thought this want of security, for what presumption, that the war was the war of they were not then ashamed to call the the people? Was it not, on the contrary, rights of man, a sufficient cause of resis- a clear proof that the people had no defitance. They justified the Americans in nite idea of the object of the war? When, that glorious resistance, for which they by subsequent acts of the same nature, were then called the advocates of Ame- and similar resistance on the part of American rebels, as some of them, though rica, the war was brought on, then, indeed too familiar with such charges much to the indignation of the people was excited heed them, were now called the advo- by the supposed ingratitude of the colonies cates of the French. That glorious to the mother country; their passions inresistance was ultimately successful, famed; the love of military glory, natural and to that success would yet be owing to the minds of a great and brave nation; the liberties of mankind, if in this coun- roused; and the war became popular. try they should unhappily be suffer. But the war itself was the act of the court, ed to perish. Jealousy, too, was a deluding the people by the subserviency good cause of change, or even of resis- of the House of Commons. The House tance-not jealousy captious or malig passed the stamp act; the nant, but jealousy founded on well-ex- the other measures that led to the war, amined and rational grounds of suspicion. and voted that it should be supported, not Men were not bound to wait till their li- as the organ of the people, but as the berties were actually invaded: prudence obedient servant of the court. What was called for means of prevention and de- a successful war, he was somewhat at a fence; and to justify these, it was suffi- loss to know. The American war from cient that they saw a clear possibility of the beginning he had always called unsuc. danger.
cessful; but he was, year after year, told Now, in order to shew that the House in that he was quite mistaken, and that the its present state was unfit for the functions success was fully adequate to every reawhich it ought to discharge, he would sonable expectation. At length came refer to the history of the American war. the final blow, the capture of lord CornIt was dangerous to make a concession in wallis and his army-the war was acknowargument; for on that concession was ledged to be unsuccessful. and the House generally built some assertion very diffe- put an end to it, but not till several years rent from what had been conceded. He after the people had begun to send up pehad once admitted, that the American war titions and remonstrances against it. was popular in the beginning; and on In some of the petitions on the table that had been built the assertion, that he the accumulation of the public debt was had called it the war of the people. He imputed to the defect of the representa
tion, and he was sorry to see such an ab- 1 day, and meditate on it by night; let surdity in them. The accumulation of them peruse it again and again, study it, the public debt was the necessary conse- imprint it on their minds, impress it on quence of the wars which we had been their hearts: they would there learn, that obliged to maintain in defence of our con- representation was the sovereign remedy stitution and our national independence; for every disorder, the infallible security and he, for one, had no scruple in declaring, against popular discontent ; let them learn that every war in which we had been en- this, and give to the people, not the gaged, from the revolution to the American “ unreal mockery," but the efficient subwar, was both just and necessary. He stance of representation. would, therefore, acquit the House of all He came next to consider the conduct the debt contracted, except for the Ame- of the House since the American war. rican war, and as much as might fairly be When the India bill, which he had the imputed to too remiss a superintendence honour to propose, was lost, was it beof the expenditure of public money : for cause the bill was unpopular? By no all the debt contracted to support the means. Whatever odium had been afterAmerican war, after that war became un- wards excited against it, the people had popular, the House of Commons was un. then expressed no disapprobation. The doubtedly answerable. It was not enough chancellor of the exchequer had no hand for preventing wars that we were disposed in its defeat ; for, ready and able as he to cultivate peace, if our neighbours were was to speak against it, it passed the not as peaceably disposed as ourselves. House of Commons by a great majority. When, therefore, the petitioners talked of By whom, then, was it thrown out? Let preventing wars by reforming the House the merit be given to those to whom it of Commons, they forgot that the work belonged it was thrown out by certain would be but half done, unless they could bedchamber lords, acting under the digive as good a constitution to France as rection of those who had access to advise England would then be possessed of. But the king. The dismission of the ministry when he mentioned this, he raised no ar- followed the rejection of the bill, and the gument from it against the general prayer House of Commons adhered to the disfor a reform in the representation. His carded ministers. The right hon. gentleright hon. friend (Mr. Burke), on present- man would surely allow, that the House, ing his plan of reconciliation with Ame- in order to execute its functions, ought rica in 1775, made a speech, in which the to command respect. Did it command virtues and the efficacy of representation respect on that occasion ? Was it rewere displayed with a force and clearness spected by the crown, by the peers, or unparalleled. Were the people of Ireland by the people? The advisers of the uncivilised and unsubdued after a forcible crown disregarded its remonstrances; the possession of their
country for ages, what peers came to resolutions censuring its was the remedy? Representation. Were proceedings; and the people treated it, the Welsh in perpetual contention among not as their organ in the constitution, and themselves, and hostility to Englishmen, the guardian of their rights, but as a facwhat was the remedy? Representation. tion leagued to oppress them, and with Were the counties of Chester and Durham whom they had no common interest or full of discontent and disorder, what was
Since that period the the remedy? Representation. Repre. House had not only commanded respect, sentation was the universal panacea, the but praise, from those who were permit. cure for every evil. When the day-star of ted to advise the crown, not by opposithe English constitution had arisen in their tion, but by prompt obedience; not by a hearts, all was harmony within and with watchful and jealous guardianship of the out
interests of the people, but by implicit Simul alba nautis
confidence in ministers, and pliant acqui. Stella refulsit,
escence in the measures of the court. Defluit saxis agitatus humor;
Thrice had that House of Commons of Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes, which he had spoken, and which he should Et minax (quod sic voluere) ponto never mention but with honour, resisted Unda recumbit.
the influence of the crown, and nothing Let gentlemen read that speech * by then was talked of but a reform of par
liament. The House of Commons had • See Vol. 18, p. 513,
been now for nine years a complaisant and
confiding body, and the cry of reform | nion, and the House acquiesced. He from those who were formerly the loudest would neither allow the House of Comand most active was heard no more. Re- mons to judge in the first instance, nor, form was then the only thing that could through him, look for the opinion of the save the constitution: the very sound of people in the second. He was to collect reform was now pregnant with the most the opinion of the people, and tell those imminent danger. When that House of who ought to be their representatives, Commons resisted the influence of the and the organs of their sentiments, what court, they were told that they were not that opinion was. The lesson thus held the representatives of the people, and out to every man in the House was this: that they were not so chosen as they _“ If you look for honour or for power, ought to be. The people felt that the you must take care to conciliate the ada charge was true in part, and were easily visers of the crown by a ready subserviinduced to give credit to the whole. Had ency to whatever they require. If you that House of Commons been chosen in presume to counteract them, you may ena less objectionable manner; had the joy the consciousness of serving the pubpeople considered them as their represen- lic without hope or reward ; but from tatives, could they have been so con- power and situation, from all the fair obtemptuously treated and so ignominiously jects of honourable ambition, you are for dismissed as they had been? No; the ever excluded.” people would have seen that the cause Having thus shown that the House of of their representatives was the same with Commons, as now constituted, was neitheir own: they would have given them ther adequate to the due discharge of its their confidence and their support. duties at present, nor afforded any secu
But, it was said, a House of Com- rity that it would be so in future, what remons so chosen as to be a complete re- mained for him to answer but generaltopics presentative of the people, would be too of declamation ? He had sufficient confipowerful for the House of Lords, and dence in the maxims he had early learned, even for the king: they would abolish / and sufficient reverence for the authors the one and dismiss the other. If the from whom he learned them, to brave the king and the House of Lords were unne- ridicule now attempted to be thrown upon cessary and useless branches of the con- all who avowed opinions that, till very stitution, let them be dismissed and abo- lately, had been received as the fundamenlished; for the people were not made for tal principles of liberty. He was ready to them, but they for the people. If, on say with Locke, that government originated the contrary, the king and the House of not only for, but from the people, and Lords were felt and believed by the peo- that the people were the legitimate soveple, as he was confident they were, to be reign in every community. If such writ. not only useful but essential parts of the ings as were now branded as subversive constitution, a House of Commons, freely of all government had not been read and chosen by, and speaking the sentiments studied, would the parliament of 1640 of, the people, would cherish and protect have done those great and glorious things, both, within the bounds which the consti- but for which we might be now receiving tution had assigned them. In the case the mandates of a despot, like Germans, of the Russian armament, what had been or any other slaves. A noble lord (Mornthe mode of proceeding? The minister ington) had discovered that Rousseau, in thought proper to arm against Russia, his Social Contract, had said a very exand the House of Commons was called travagant thing. He was not very well upon to vote the supplies. Were they qualified to judge, for he had found the allowed to inquire into the necessity | beginning of the Social Contract so extraof that armament, or to judge of its vagant, that he could not read it through, propriety ? No; they were told that but he believed it was one of the most to ministers it belonged to judge, and extravagant of that author's works. He to them to confide ; and on this implicit did not mean to say that the noble lord confidence they voted the sums demanded had produced an extravagant saying from of them. In the mean time, the people Rousseau as a novelty; but it was someshowed their disapprobation of a war with what remarkable, that an extravagant Russia ; the minister adopted their senti- thing, from the most extravagant work ments; called on the House of Commons of an extravagant foreign author, should to agree with him in this change of opi- be produced as an argument against
a reform in the representation of the sacred shrine, and tell each admiring people of Great Britain.
Reverence stranger, “ Look not for the causes of for antiquity was then appealed to, and our envied condition in the system of our gentlemen were asked, if they would con-government and laws; here resides the sent to alter that which in former times hallowed deposit of all the happiness we had been productive of such important enjoy; but if you move one of these acquisitions to liberty. With equal pro- rugged stones from another, the British priety our ancestors might have been constitution is thrown from its basis and asked, if they would alter that constitu- levelled with the dust."--An hon. friend tion under which so great an acquisition of his (Mr. Windham, who was chairman to liberty as Magna Charta had been ob- of the Downton committee), had been tained; and yet after the acquisition of lately employed for many weary days in Magna Charta, the condition of this examining the divisions of burgage tecountry had been such as was rather to be nures, to be found in a trench at Downexecrated and detested, than cherished ton. Had it occurred to his right hon. and admired.
friend, that in this trench he was searchWhen gentlemen talked of the danger ing for the most essential principles of of rash innovation, and the great advan- the constitution, the investigation would tages of temperate and slow reform, they have been somewhat less irksome, the lamight find all they had to say anticipated bour somewhat less fastidious. in a much more pleasant treatise than any The petition presented facts into which of their speeches, viz. the Tale of a Tub, the House was bound to inquire, both in where brother Jack's tearing off the lace, its legislative and its inquisitorial capacity. points and embroidery from his coat, at In the petition it was affirmed, that peers the hazard of reducing the coat itself to nominated members to seats in the House; tatters, and brother Martin's cautiously and they had a standing order that no picking up stitch by stitch, exhibited an peer should interfere in elections. In the abstract of all their arguments on the petition it was asserted, that bribery subject. The septennial act, in the opi. and corruption were openly practised at nion of many, had been the means of elections; and they had a standing order preserving the House of Brunswick on the against bribery and corruption. Let the throne. But had such a House of Com- facts be inquired into, or these idle demons as the present been then in being, nunciations be expunged from their Jourwhat would have become of the House nals. A select committee had reported of Brunswick and the protestant succes- bribery against certain electors of Stocksion? “What!, they would have said, bridge ; and a bill of pains and penalties, " adopt so violent an innovation as sep- which had been founded on that report had tennial instead of triennial parliaments; been rejected. He was not sorry for it : do you mean to subvert the whole fabric he wished not to see a poor man punished of the constitution ? Triennial parlia- for selling his vote, while the sale of seats ments were sanctioned at the glorious was connived at. The corruption of an epoch of the revolution ; to triennial par- individual voter was undoubtedly an evil, liaments we owed all the prosperity, all but small in comparison of the mischievo the glory of the reigns of king William ous effects which the sale of seats must and queen Mary ; to triennial parliaments produce on the minds of the sellers and were we indebted for the victory of Blen- the buyers, while both of them knew that heim." As rationally might they have it was contrary to law. Let the House said, that to triennial parliaments they inquire and put a stop to such practices, were indebted for the victory of Blenheim, or avow their expediency and repeal the as it might be now said, that to the right laws that made them criminal. of Old Sarum to send members to par- The lateness of the hour, the clearness liament we were indebted for our annual of the cause, and the danger of rejecting exports being increased seven millions. the motion, rendered it unnecessary for If to such sources as these, national pros- him to insist farther upon it. One word perity was to be traced ; if for the es- only with respect to the time. It was sence of our constitution we were to re- triumphantly said, by gentlemen on the pair to a cottage on Salisbury Plain; or, for other side, that ninety-nine out of every the sake of antiquity more reverend, let hundred of the people of England were us take Stonehenge for Old Sarum; then well affected to the constitution, and he might we undertake pilgrimages to the believed that they were right. Where
then was the danger of inquiring into the he held in his hand a petition of appeal to defects of the constitution with a view of their lordships, from a judgment of the correcting them ? Could they hope for court of justiciary in Scotland. He adsome golden period, in which the propor- mitted, that in several instances since the tion of the ill-affected would be less than Union, where petitions of appeal had been as one to ninety-nine? The objection presented to that House, from judgments to the time was therefore a fallacy, a of the court of justiciary, in capital cases, mere pretext for putting off what the particularly in the case of Mungo CampHouse could not help seeing to be neces- bell and in that of Murdieson and Miller, sary, but felt unwilling to begin. This these petitions had been referred to commanner of postponing, on the most frivo- mittees; and, upon the report of the comlous pretences, what could not be denied mittees, the House had found that they to be fit, was more properly the object of were not properly brought. He thought ridicule than of argument: the time must it proper, however, to state, that, supcome when the House would be unable posing the matter were now to be taken to disguise, even from themselves, the up, as it stood at the time of the Union, it necessity of inquiring into the state of secmed clear that such appeal did lay; the representation; and then too, per. and that appeals from the court of justihaps, they might give room for a new ap. ciary rested almost exactly on the same plication of the poet's raillery on an indi- footing with appeals from the court of vidual
session, which had been uniformly enter"Let that be wrought which Mat doth say: tained by that House; even with respect Yea, quoth the Erle, but not to-day.” to appeals in capital cases, he should be
The question being put, that the said apt to doubt, whether it ought to be conpetition be referred to the consideration sidered as finally decided that no appeal of a committee; the House divided :
lay, so as to put the matter perfectly at
rest; in a case, indeed, which came beTELLERS.
fore that House in 1781, viz. the case of YEAS S
James Bywater, convicted of a capital of
fence, and sentenced by the court of jusNoes Mr. Powys
ticiary to be executed, it had undoubtMr. Aldworth Neville
edly been solemnly determined that no So it passed in the negative.
appeal lay; and a very able and learned
speech was delivered on that occasion, by List of the Minority.
lord Mansfield; but though every thing Right hon. C. J. Fox Joseph Jekyll
which had come from that quarter must Charles Grey Sir W. Lemon, bart.
justly be considered of great weight, yet M. A. Taylor
St. A. St. John the noble lord seemed, in that case, to have P. Francis
W. Lee Antoine proceeded in a great measure, on a misapJ. Wharton W. C. Shawe
prehension, in supposing it to have been Hon. T. Erskine Edward Bouverie clear, established law, that an appeal lay Lord R. Spencer George Byng from the court of session to the parliament R. h. col. Fitzpatrick Lord J. Russell Thomas Thompsor:
of Scotland prior to the Union, and to Clement Taylor W. Baker Sir J. Jervis, K. B.
have been equally clear, that no such apJ.C. Curwen Colonel Macleod
peal lay from the court of justiciary; and D. North
Thomas Whitmore he was confident he could satisfy their J. Courtenay W. Plumer
lordships, from acts of parliament and law Lord Weycombe John Harrison books in Scotland, that, were the matter Benjamin Vaughan Sir H. Fetherston- to be taken up now upon the footing on J. R. Birch
which it stood immediately after the R. Milbank
J.G.Phillips W. Colhoun
Union, there could hardly be a doubt that F. Honeywood Charles Sturt
an appeal would lie to that House, even Thomas C. Western
in a capital case; and it was certainly of J. B. Church
much importance to the country that it James Martin
R. B. Sheridan should do so. But, whatever weight their W. Smith S. Whitbread
lordships might have been inclined to al. W.H. Lambton
low to the judgments which had been re
peatedly given in capital cases, he would Appeals from the Court of Justiciary]. submit that the present being only the · May 1. The Earl of Lauderdale said, that case of a misdemeanor, it stood upon a