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his lordship was censurable or not; he was however either blameable or misinformed. The rum contract had been referred to three merchants of the first emimence and reputation; they gave their opinion against it; and it was of little consequence to the nation, whether the money went into his lordship's own pocket, or into that of his secretaries, his friends, or his mistress. His grace replied to the general charges made against the propriety of parliamentary enquiries. He contended, that the committee on the state of the nation had been already productive of the most salutary effects, having rouzed the people to a proper sense of their calamitous situation, and given a check to ministers in the midst of their mad and ruinous career. His grace ended with declaring that the motions ought to pass, and that although reasons of weight existed against agreeing to them, the noble lord at the head of the Admiralty, whose conduct was supposed to be, in a great measure, involved in the event of them, should have been one of the last to oppose them. The question was then put on the first motion, when the numbers were; For it 20; Against it 50. The second motion was agreed to. As soon as the Lord Chancellor had read the motion for “ An account of the number of ships broke up and sold, together with an account of what they sold for; and also an account of the quantity of old stores, and the prices at which they were sold,” The Earl of Sandwich hoped the noble mover would consent to omit the first part of it, as it might prove detrimental to the interests of the country, by shewing France in what proportion our navy was decreased. The earl declared he had not the smallest objection to the House having a full account of the quantity of old stores sold, that he drew but a very small sum from the scale of them, he heartily wished it was a larger; but he was exceedingly willing to let their lordships know what it was. As however the nation was probably on the eve of a war with France, he thought it exceedingly imprudent to o: at this time, any matters which could not, upon being investigated, serve this country, but might be advantageous to its enemies. His lordship concluded with saying, he believed the noble earl would gratify him in his reuest, and new-model his motion. The Earl of Effingham said, he could not, by any means, consent to forego thatpart of L VOL. XIX.]
his motion; that it was in fact the most material part, and as it was a fair object of parliamentary enquiry, he trusted their lordships would support him in urging it. He added, that he hoped the noble earl would not wantonly divide the House, merely to shew his own influence in it; that there was the greatest reason to suspect that the public money had not been expended with ceconomy; that it was the duty of their lordships to examine how far that suspicion was well founded, that by so doing ministers might be rendered more careful, and the sums voted by parliament be laid out more providently in future. The Duke of Bolton observed in a jocular manner that the noble earl who opposed the motion had let the cat out of the bag; and ironically congratulated those lords who had voted for an address to his Majesty, in answer to his message, upon what mustnecessarily be their feelings when they heard one of the ministry, who had been loudest in justifying the address, confess that he heartily wished we could avoid a war. His grace expressed his astonishment at the first lord of the Admiralty's conduct. Was the noble lord determined that the House should have no papers before them which threw a light upon his conduct in office? Did he mean hi, to say, their lordships should not be enabled to draw any conclusions, either as to the proper application, or the scandalous waste of the public money which had been voted for the navy service? The motion was exactly similar to motions formerly made on like occasions. . The ships broke up were in fact part of the old stores, as much so as the old stores themselves, and it was ridiculous to say, that giving the House an account of them would furnish France with any information, but what she could with ease procure elsewhere. The Duke of Richmond arraigned administration in general, and the first lord of the Admiralty in particular, for treating parliament with such repeated disrespect. His grace advised, soothed, and threatened, urging those in office on the treble score of policy, civility, and safety, to relax of their wonted obstimacy in denying to furnish the House with all such papers as were likely to throw some light on their own conduct. He gave them this advice for their own sake, to prevent the dreadful consequences which he saw impending. Woe be to them if the public, who had so long trusted administration, and placed such implicit confidence in their wisdom.
and integrity, found themselves at length betrayed Administration would feel the weight of popular vengeance. The noble lord at the head of the Admiralty, who now refused to accede to a motion not only founded on strong necessity, but consonant to parliamentary usage, would be dragged from his place. There would be insurrections of the people, who would W. him to death. [Here his grace was called to order, but he persisted in his argument, declaring, he had a right to say what he did, and he would not be interrupted.] The populace would rise, and serve the noble lord as the Dutch served the De Witts, they would tear him limb from limb. Lord Dudley said, it was true, as the noble duke had mentioned, that the people were ready to rise; it was not however to destroy the members of administration, nor to punish those who deserved the thanks of their country, but to oppose the natural enemies of Great Britain, to fight the French, if they should think proper to invade the kingdom. The Earl of Effingham declared, that if the proofs of the extravagant and wasteful conduct of administration in the expenditure of the public money were denied him there, he would take care to produce them elsewhere. The public had a right to know in what manner their money was spent, and he would furnish them with information. It was in vain, he saw plainly, to attempt in that House to move for any thing which the ministers were not disposed to accede to. In the present instance, the first lord of the Admiralty knew his strength in a division. He would go below the bar, and take with him his — he had like to have said—servile majority; he should not therefore rest satisfied, but would use proper means to come at the truth, which he would certainly communicate to the public. The Lord Chancellor left the woolsack in great warmth, declaring, that he felt himself called on to support the honour of the House. If such insinuations, and such language were suffered to pass unnoticed, the House would no longer be looked up to as the moderator between the King and the people. The noble earl had talked of a servile majority; were their lordships to be so grossly insulted without a rebuke He had sat in that House seven years, and never before heard so indecent a charge. A servile majority The insinuation was not warrantable. He had for one voted in favour of the mea
sures of government; but would any lord venture to say he was under influence? The ministers knew his place was no tie upon him; they knew he always gave his vote freely, and according to his real opinion. He was born the heir of a seat in that assembly; he enjoyed a peerage as his hereditary right. He could not therefore sit silent and hear the earl talk of a servile majority; and he was amazed that government had so long suffered themselves to be abused; he hoped, however, they would no longer be patient under such a continued strain of invective, but would take the proper means to prevent it in future. His lordship said, that the ministry would always have a majority, for the moment that opposition divided as a majority, the present ministry would be no more. The Duke of Manchester said, he conceived, by what had dropped from the noble lord on the woolsack, that some strange means were about to be taken in order to stop the mouths of those lords who did not think it right to coincide with every measure of administration; but in spite of the threat thrown out by the learned lord, he would persist in arraigning the King's servants, as long as they continued to act in so injurious a manner as they lately had done; and it was a matter of perfect indifference to him, whether they bore it patiently or not. It was sufficient for him to be conscious that he discharged his duty to the public. The question was then negatived without a division. The fourth motion shared the same fate. The fifth was agreed to.
Debate on Mr. Wilkes's Motion relative to Private Aids or Loans to the Crown.] April 2. Mr. Wilkes rose and said:
Sir ; in this free country, where the |. have so considerable a share in the egislature, I hold it to be the duty of every man to watch over the constitution. The members of this House are more particularly delegated to a charge of this moment and importance. Any wilful negligence or inattention in us would be a breach of trust, and highly criminal. In this thorough conviction, I shall take the liberty of submitting to your consideration some late proceedings, because I am convinced they are, although countenanced by the highest authority, directly repugnant to the genius of our laws and government. The late encroachments on the constitution by the executive power of the state have neither been gradual nor inconsiderable. Among the great outlines of this welloized constitution, I believe it will be acnowledged, that one of the most striking is, the power assumed and regularly exercised by this House, of granting the money of the people, which creates the dependence of the crown on parliament for supplies. The Fo of the nation has been subject only to the controul of this branch of the legislature. So great a jealousy has prevailed on this occasion, that the other House have never been suffered to make the least alteration in a Bill, which could in any way be construed to be a Money Bill, even by a fine or penalty in an enacting clause. This, Sir, is the plastic power of our creation. It gives us a certain, not a precarious existence. It is the single circumstance, which, under every change of ministers, ensures our meeting annually within these walls. Were the land and malt taxes made permanent, could a revenue adequate to the whole annual public expence, and probable contingencies, with the necessary ways and means, be voted by parliament for a term of years, I suspect the present set of ministers would advise as long an intermission of parliaments as took place under some of the Stuarts. I do not mean, Sir, that they have now any thing to dread from the tame representatives of an injured people, whom former ministers, who held the same principles and conduct, used to approach with fear and trembling. Ministers have now drawn the sting of this great popular assembly. We have seen this very session such a servile complaisance, such an extreme of contradiction to themselves, that it shocks common faith, and must disgrace the majority here in the eyes of all Europe. No cameleon ever shifted more suddenly to the opposite colour than they have done from insolence, intemperate rage, and war, to meekness, peace, and almost humiliation to the Americans. Can anything, Sir, be more alarming to the acknowledged right and privilege of this House, than the doctrine lately propagated, and the practice begun, of giving private aids, benevolences, and subscriptions, for public purposes, to the crown, without the sanction of parliament? The constitution has wisely placed in the crown the right of raising forces on a very pressing and dangerous emergency.
It is a power necessary for the safety of the state, for the defence of the people. The strongest check is however at the same time given to any improper exercise of this power. It is controlled by the necessity of an application to parliament for the maintenance of such forces. If troops could be raised, kept up, and paid, without the concurrence of this House, the liberties of this country must be at the mercy of the military, and their commander in chief, perhaps an ambitious prince. Our statute law, Sir, is not silent on this occasion. Every year in the Mutiny Act it is expressly declared, that “the raising or keeping a standing army within this kingdom, in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of parliament, is against law.” But, Sir, if the crown can by a prerogative, which is not disputed, raise a standing army, and by private loans, benevolences, or subscriptions, keep this standing army on foot, no application whatever need be made to parliament. Our government would then not be that of the law, but of the sword, to which all appeals must be trifling and inefficacious. Parliaments are now convened to vote the necessary supplies, which are regularly asked of the Commons on the first day of the session. If government could receive them in any other mode than by the grants of this House, the legislature itself would not only lose its most important function, but become unnecessary, and very soon obnoxious. The executive power must be trusted with the raising of forces; but it is likewise the duty of this House to their constituents to take care that the number of those forces be so proportioned to the defence of the state, that the security of the subject may be provided for, and yet no alarm given to a nation very justly jealous of the least danger to its liberties. While the military receive their pay from the grants of this House, the maintenance of the army must depend on the approbation of parliament; but if an artful, or enterprizing prince can find other resources, the soldier will then look up to the prince, and not to the representatives of the people. The executive and legislative ower must now concur in the measure of o on foot any number of regular troops, both in its first adoption, and continuance, or it cannot be the act of all the constituent parts of this government. If a designing prince, hostile, like most princes, to the cause of liberty,
should be able to raise an army, and by pay to the exigencies of the state is one of foreign gold, the mad zeal, or interested the most important objects of every legisviews, of a party among us, could contrive lature. It becomes then the wisdom of to keep it on foot, without the aid of par. parliament to put a stop to all abuses of Jiament, what security have we for the this nature by an express statute. preservation of our civil rights and pri. I have heard, Sir, the Act of the 13th vileges ? The refusal of supplies in this of Charles 2,* mentioned as an enacting House to force the disbanding an army / law on this occasion; but, Sir, it by no could have no valid effect, for parliamen- means reaches the present case. That tary grants would not be solicited. Future Act only provides, that no commissions princes might govern, like the Stuarts, or aids of this nature can be issued out, without parliaments, by the exertion of or levied, but by authority of parliament, an over-stretched prerogative, and even and that this Act, and the supply hereby juries be under the controul of a crown granted, shall not be drawn into example officer, when the grand inquest of the na- 1 for the time to come. The nature of tion was superseded.
those aids and commissions was by authoThe constitution of this country, Sir, rity under the great seal of England, to would be wounded in another branch of empower certain persons to receive “ such the legislature, in the House of Lords, by subscriptions as his Majesty's good subany grants of money, but through the me- | jects should voluntarily offer, no person, dium of parliament. The peers have un- not being a peer of this realm, in such offer doubtedly the right to reject a money Bill. or present, to exceed the sum of 2001. nor They may now by their negative force the any peer of this realm the sum of 4001." disbanding any number of troops, which Reference is always had in this Act to comthey think unnecessary, or dangerous to missions issued under the great seal. The the safety of the nation. This important necessity, however, of such an Act, at a privilege would be taken from them, if such very particular period, plainly shews the a body of troops were to be maintained by sentiments of that parliament, as to the any private loans, benevolences, or sub- general doctrine of loans and subscriptions, scriptions. The whole authority of the without the concurrence of the legislature. state would thus be absorbed in the crown, There was, Sir, something peculiarly and the two other branches of the legisla- offensive to this House in the manner and ture become a mere phantom, supposing time, which the zealous partizans of a deseven their forms to be preserved. o perate administration chose, for the late
I expect, Sir, that it will be asked, are unconstitutional mode of levying money we not then at liberty voluntarily to give without the consent of parliament. The our money to the crown ? Are free gifts minister had dictated to the majority an from the subject to the King illegal? | adjournment of a very unusual length. There is, Sir, scarcely a country in Eu. Immediately after, their agents were busily rope, which has not groaned under the op- employed in getting subscriptions and raispression of what are called free gifts. The ing troops. There had not been the least very term is become ridiculous. Many a previous intimation of the new plan to this peasant has perished in a loathsome dun- | House, nor the usual message from the geon, because he would not be compelled crown.' No alarming state-symptom had to a don gratuit. The English history recently appeared, even according to the supplies innumerable instances of the cruel apprehension of ministers. The noble lord exaction of what have been termed volun- with the blue ribbon assured us, that “he tary loans and benevolences to the king. knew nothing of a treaty between America Many families have been ruined under the and France, nor did he believe its exis
Tudors and Stuarts, because they would tence," so judiciously had the immense not be forced to free-will offerings to the sums we had voted for secret services sovereign against their consent. The in- been applied. The House adjourned on discreet ardour of a few begins a subscrip- the 10th of December, and we have on our tion, or loan; and then the rest of a table a letter from the War Office of the nation are compelled, under pain of our 16th, in which the secretary at war tells a utmost royal displeasure, to the same 'exér- gentleman very near me (sir Thomas tion, sometimes to their utter destruction. Egerton) that he was commanded by the Neither can equality be observed in such · King to acquaint him that his Majesty contributions; whereas the fair and equal | proportion of what every subject should
* See .p. 691.
• approves of the very handsome offers. The secretary of state, Sir, for the nor
made by the town of Manchester, through thern department, ventured to assert, in • him, for raising a regiment of foot at their the King's name, that these private sub
own expence, the regiment to consist of scriptions were constitutional.' In a letter • eight battalion companies, one com- from that learned lord, the earl of Suffolk,
pany of grenadiers, and one of light in- to sir John Wodehouse of February 17, it « fantry. The eagerness of the inhabi- is said, “ I have had the honour of laying tants of that loyal town to subscribe could before the King a copy of the Resolutions only find a parallel in their efforts during delivered to me, and am now to inform the years 1745 and 1746, and in the you, that his Majesty is fully sensible of the splendid zeal of another equally well-constitutional zeal and loyalty which dicaffected town in the same county, I mean tated these Resolutions." The most imLiverpool. It appears from the same portant of these Resolutions, which were letter, that the Manchester regiment was agreed to at Norwich, is the raising money to consist of no less than 1,000 private by a private subscription for several avowed men, besides a colonel, lieutenant colonel, public purposes respecting the army. The major, captains, lieutenants, ensigns, ser- subscribers not only gave liberally from jeants, corporals, drummers, and fifers. their own purses, but promised « to use The same establishment was to take place their best endeavours, and to exert their for Liverpool. Lord Barrington promises, utmost influence in that county and city in the King's name, that « the officers towards carrying those Resolutions into shall be entitled to half pay, in case the execution,” contrary to what has been deregiment shall be reduced after it has been monstrated to be the established doctrine once established.” This was to be con- of the constitution, that the crown cannot sidered as an engagement from the public, receive the money of the subject, for publice although without the least communication 1 purposes, but through the medium of parto parliament, or consent of this House. liament. It ought surely, Sir, to be the The same promises were made to all the consent of the whole people by their redifferent corps, which were to be raised presentatives, not the partial benevolence during the late adjournment in another of a few interested individuals. A few part of this island, where the Protestant private disinterested men may imagine a succession in the illustrious House of favourite measure of their own to be a. Hanover is now declared to be the idol of common concern of the state, while others the people. All the new-raised Scottish make it a lucrative job for themselves and regiments were to be entitled to half-pay. their dependants, by the gift or traffic of These absolute engagements for public commissions, with the reversion of half-pay money to be afterwards voted by parlia- for life entailed on the nation. ment, were made in direct violation of the I confess, Sir, that there is one circumrights of the representatives of the people, stance with respect to the Manchester, and are contrary to both the spirit and Liverpool, and some Scottish regiments, letter of this murdered constitution. On which gives me pleasure. I rejoice that such terms the secretary at war's letters they are to be sent to Gibraltar and Port on our table state, that colonels Gordon's, Mahon, to replace the Hanoverians ; for Mackenzie's, Murray's, Maclean's, lieut- | I think not only the spirit of the constitu. colonel Campbell's, lieut-col. M.Donnell's, tion grossly violated, while the electoral the Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Liverpool | troops of Hanover remain in possession of regiments were to be raised. Private sub those fortresses, but the statute law of the scriptions for the raising of these corps realm may be evaded. In the “ Act for were at the same time warmly solicited the further limitation of the crown, and by the agents of administration, and car- better securing the rights and privileges of ried on with an uncommon spirit, imme- / the subject,” it is declared, “ that all and diately after the adjournment for the holi- every person and persons, who shall or days. Some great men had the additional may take and inherit the said crown, by douceur of “ the list of the other gentle virtue of the limitation of this present Act, men recommended through them for com- and is, are, or shall be, reconciled to, or missions being honoured with the royal ap- shall hold communion with, the see or probation, and the secretary's assurance in church of Rome, or shall profess the the King's name, that they should have Romish religion, or shall marry a Papist, commissions as soon as the regiment was shall be subject to such incapacities, as in raised,” besides the bribe of the half-pay. such case or cases are by the said recited