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for a perseverance in those mea. with the following circumstances, fures, which have already plunged In the first place, it must be the empire in civil war, distraction, general, including the whole mi. and ruin. That in such a state of nority against the measure that affairs, and during the prevalence provoked the secession; and in of such dispositions, all Atruggles the next, that it should not be a to oppose would rather infiame filent act; but that the motives than lessen the distemper of the for the feceflion should be propublic counsels. That as it was claimed, either by a remonftrance not the part of a wise man to on the journals, or a public adfrive with imi pollibilities, lo rei- dress to the people. Under these ther was ic conlistent for those, circumstances, they said, that fewho regarded their honest fame cession was not only jo tifiable beyond all other things, except. but laudable, and in cases of ing their principles and honour, imminent danger to the constito draw upon themselves the odium tution, might operate as a call of their fellow - citizens, by in- to the nation, and awaken the effe&ual efforts to serve them. people to a sense of their ftuaThat they would therefore, pre- tion. serving their principles still un. The other and greater part of shaken, reserve their. activity for the minority denied, that any rational endeavours, when the pre- rule, but every man's prudence sent delirium might be so far al- and opinion of his duty, could layed, either with the people or be prescribed on such an occawith their minifters, as to afford fion. That though minority was some room for its operating with a term used in ordinary speech; advantage.
minorities were not corporate boThis example was not, how- dies, nor bound to act as fuch; ever, followed, nor the condu&t nor could any precedents be of approved of, by several members avail in matiers of that nature. of the opposition. They even They had no way of compelliog loudly blamed this proceeding. unanimity; and nothing but unaThey questioned, whether any nimity could make them act in the member could, confiftently with manner prescribed. The greater his duty, withdraw himself indi- number could not decide. If a vidually from the business of par- difference of opinion appeared, liament, merely from an opinion men muft stand on their characthat he would be outvoted, and ter, and their reasons for their conthat his attendance would there. duct. fore be useless. They acknow- On this, as on many former ledged, that a secession, collec. occasions, the opposition discovertively in a body, had not only ed great disunion, and much perthe sanction of precedent, but fonal and party dislike to each might be practised with great ad other, to the great strengthening vantage, and be productive of of miritry; who, though divided much benefit in such cases as the allo amongst themselves, yet bepresent. But for this purpose, ing involved in one official fyfthey said, is must be attended tem, and supported by the crown,
did not suffer so much by their dif- tended, that, exclusive of the inde. cord. In this fituation, a few of cency and personality of the attack, the minority rather increased their nothing could be more disorderly efforts.
or unparliamentary than the intro Upon the motion and grant in duction of the subject in such a Nov. 8.
the committee of supply, manner, without any accusation be
of 45,000 seamen for the ing formally before them, which service of the ensuing year, a gen- could at all bring it within their tleman in opposition, who has long cognizance. been a severe censor upon the con. Mr. Luttrell, who made the daat of our naval affairs, took that charge, insisted upon his right, opportunity of making some very as one of the representatives of pointed and direct charges against the people, to make such observa. the noble Peer at the head of that tions upon the conduct of Ministers department. Of these, the most or public officers, however high material was, a wilful and dange- in rank or station, as it appeared roas imposition both on parliament to him to merit ; that it was no and the public, tending to lull the less his right than his duty, when nation, at this critical season, into a the malversation, or inability, of fatal security, by a false repre- those entrusted with the managesentation of the state of the navy, ment of public afairs became inboth with respect to the number of compatible with its safety, to use seamen, and the condition of the all the means in his power to bring hips.
the offenders to justice. As to the This conduct was much cenfur. objection of a want of formal accued on the other side, as not only fation being before them, he would being an attack upon an absenic cure that, as soon as the House person, bot upon a person, who, was resumed; for if they would from his particular situation as a allow him the necessary official Peer, could not at any time be pre- documents, which he would then fept in that House có any charge, move for, he would support his nor competent to any defence. At charges in such a the same time, his conduct and give perfect satisfaction to the character were vindicated with House. great warmth, both by the Mi- He accordingly moved, when nister, and those Lords of the Ad- the House was resumed, that sundry miralty who belonged to that returns of the navy, which had House, who afferted, that nothing been received at the Admiralty could afford greater satisfaction, or within certain fpec. fed periods. redound more to the honour of the should be laid before them. There noble Peer in question; than a frict documents, he said, besides affordparliamentary enquiry into every ing the proofs which he wanted thing relative to the department to establish his charges, and to in which he presided, when all the support his fucceeding motion, charges brought againft him would would answer another purpose of appear founded in error or false. ftill greater importance, that of hood, and proceeding from igno- letting the House into the true fance or malice. But they con- ftate of our national defence and 6
security. That the plea for with which the hidden arcana of its poe holding those papers, from a dread licy are upon every trilling occaof exposing our weakness to fo- fion to be exposed to the knowledge reigners, was ridiculous, unless it of the world. The gentlemen in would be contended, that our office asserted, that the navy was watchful and clear-fighted enemies never in a more respectable situahad no other means of acquiring a tion, nor that department more ably knowledge of our real strength, than conducted than at present. They from the false representation of it vindicated the conduct of the abwhich was laid before parliament, fent Lord with great warmth; and with the avowed design of imposio indeed the whole debate, both in tion. But even, if that were swal. the Committee and the House, was lowed, it could not avail in the pre- carried on with unusual heat and sent instance, as the weakness ac. asperity. knowledged by refusing the means The expences of the navy this of enquiry, must produce every ill year, inclăding the ordinary at consequence that could possibly at- 400,005 l. and the building and tend the most perfect disclosure. repairing of thips, which was voted
The papers were, however, abc at 465,500l. amounted to no less solutely refused, and the motion re
than 3,205,5051. - Exclufive of jected without a division. The im- 4,000 1. which was afterwards voted propriety of such an enquiry in a to Greenwich hofpical, and without critical situation like the present was taking any notice of a million, still ftrongly insisted on. That whe, which was granted, towards the ther we were prepared, or unpre- close of the session, to be applied pared, such a disclosure of our na- towards the discharge of the debt val strength or weakness, would be of the navy. extremely impolitic and unseason- If the naval expences were thus able. That if we were superior in large, the supplies for the land ferforce to our enemies, such a know- vice, which were voted a few days ledge might prevent their speaking after without a debate,
Nov. 16. out, and, of course, keep us in the were not less so, falling dark as to their latent designs, and little short of three millions, al. their disposition towards us. If we though the extraordinaries of the were otherwise, the impropriety land service for the preceding year, must be still greater, as it must en- which exceeded the amount of courage them to take an advantage 1,200,000l. with some new contracts of our defenceless situation. But for additional German forces, and in any case, they said, that the busi. the heavy expences of half pay and ness of government could not be Chelsea, were not yet provided for. carried on, if such peevith enquiries The supplies being so far granted, were encouraged. Either change and no public business of any moyour Ministers, or repose a proper ment in the way, an early and long degree of confidence in them. Let recess took place, the House adjoursnobody be vain enough to imagine, ing on the day of the pubthat the affairs of that state can be lic fait, to the cost of the well and successfully conducted, in following January,
c H A P.
Bill for granting letters of marque and reprisal, pased, with a small ezendment in the title, by the Lords. Bill for securing persons charged with bigh treason, brought in by the Minister. Great debates upon the fecond reading. Question of commitment carried by a great majority. Abendment passed in the committee. Second amendment reje&ted. Debates renewed on receiving the report. Petition from the city of London against the bill. Amendment moved and agreed to. Second proposed clause of amendment rejected. Great debates on the third reading Claufe proposed by way of rider, is received with an amendment. Question upon the ihird reading (arried upon a division. The bill pases the Lords without any amendment
Bill for enabling the Admi. fent war in America, many pri
ralty to grant commissions, soners had been made; who were or letters of marque and reprisal, in the actual commission of the as they are usually called, to the crime of high treason; that there owners or captains of private mere were others guilty of that crime, chant thips, authorizing them to who might be taken, but who for take and make prize of all vessels, want of fufficient evidence, could with their effects, belonging to any not at present be securely conof the inhabitants of the thirteen fined. That it had been cuftoFeb. 6.
specified revolted Ameri- mary in cases of rebellion, or
can colonies, was passed, danger of invasion from without, 1777.
without debate or oppo- to enable the crown to seize susfition, in the House of Commons, pected persons. That be would foon after the recess. It did not not, however, be thought to hinc Colt much more trouble to the at any present neceflity of enLords, with whom it only under trufting ministers with such a went the trifling alteration, of in. power in general ; the times were ferting the words letters of permif- happily different from those which fren, in the place of letters of called for such exertions in their marque, the latter being thought utmost extent ; neither rebellion only applicable to reprisals on a to. at home, nor foreign war, were at
present to be apprehended. For On the same day, the Minister these reasons, it was not meant to moved in the House of Commons, ask the full power, usually obtained for leave to bring in a bill, to en. in former cases of rebellion. But able his Majesty to secure and de- as the law ftood at present, it tain persons charged with, or fuf- was not possible for government, pected of, the crime of high trea. officially, to apprehend the most Son committed in America, or on fufpected person. Another cirthe high seas, or the crime of pi- cumstance which required an imracy. He prefaced the motion by mediate remedy was, that the observing, thay during the pre. crown had at present no means of
confining rebel prisoners, or those the second law office under the taken in the crime of piracy on crown with the greatest reputathe high seas, but in the common tion, expressed the utmost astonish. gaols; a measure not only incon- ment, that a matter of such magvenient but impracticable. In the nitude and importance, a bill that present ftate of affairs it was ab- ftruck directly at that great pallasolutely necessary that the crown dium of the British constitution, Thould' be enabled to confine pri- and only security to the rights and soners under those descriptions, liberties of the people, the habeas and to provide for their security, corpus law, should be brought in in the same manner that was without proper notice, at a season practised with respect to other pri- when the House was so badly atToners of war, until circumstances tended, and an attempt made to might make it adviseable to pro. precipitate its passage in so exceed criminally against them. traordinary a
them. traordinary a manner, as to proSuch, he said, were the purposes of pose the second reading within the bill.
three or four days of its being frit The bill was accordingly brought heard of. He said, besides the in and read on the entuing day, defect in point of notice, it had and a motion made, that it should been brought in unfairly; as it be read the second time on the was totally different from what the joth, which was the following Minister had announced it to be Monday. It now appeared, that on the preceding day. Nor was the enacting clause rendered all it less discordant in its own parts, persons taken in the act of high neither the title nor the preamble treason, committed in any of the affording any idea of the extraorcolonies, or on the high seas, ordinary matter contained in the in the act of piracy, or who are enacting clauses. That he was or shall be charged with or fur- equally Mocked and alarmed, to pected of any of those crimes, fee a bill which was to suspend liable to be committed to any all the functions of the constitucommon gaol, or to any other tion brought in under such cir1pecial place of confinement, ap- cumftances, and attempted to be pointed for that purpose under his smuggled through a thin house Majesty's fign manual, within any under false colours, before the part of his dominions, there to be nation could be apprized of its detained in safe custody, without danger, or their conftituents have bail, mainprize, or trial, during the smallest notice, that they were the continuance of the law, with going to surrender the foundation á provision, however, enabling of all their other rights, and the a certain number of the Privy peculiar characteristic of the BriCouncil to grant an order for ad- tih liberty and government, mitting fuch persons to bail or Mr. Dunning, who made these trial.
exceptions, seeing the House then Of the few minority members going to divide upon the question who were present, a gentleman of tor the second reading, which he the first eminence in his profeffion, knew would be carried, moved to and who, a few years since, illed have the bill printed, which,