« ElőzőTovább »
year, even under the greatest public bur- | of that powerful republic. The Parthethens.
non only, or Temple of Minerva, acknowA remarkable opportunity, Sir, of im- ledged to be the most beautiful piece of proving the national taste in painting, antiquity now remaining in the world, which was lately lost, I hope may now be which is of the purest white marble, cost, recovered. The incomparable sir Joshua with its statues and sculptures, above a Reynolds, and some other great painters, thousand talents, near 200,0001. who do honour to our country, generously One observation here, Sir, naturally offered the late bishop of London, [Dr. occurs, which justice to the Trustees of the Richard Terrick] to adorn the cathedral British Museum demands. No public of St. Paul's, that glorious monument of money has ever been more faithfully, more the magnificence of our ancestors, with frugally applied to the purposes for which some of their most valuable works ; but it has been given, than what they have rethe proposition had to encounter the ab- ceived. Perhaps the Trustees of the Bri. surd, gothic prejudices of a tasteless and tish Museum are the only body of men, ignorant prelate, which were found to be who have never been suspected of want insuperable. We have the satisfaction at either of fidelity or economy. I think, present of having in the see of London a therefore, we may safely trust them fargentleman [Dr. Robert Lowth] not only ther, not penuriously, but largely, on a of solid piety, but of the soundest learning, great national concern, especially when and of exquisite classical taste. I hope at their accounts are so frequently submitted such a favourable moment the proposition to the examination of parliament. will be renewed and accepted.
Learning, Sir, and the polite arts, have As almost all arts and sciences, as well scarcely more than three enemies, ignoas some of the most useful manufactures, rance and stupidity always, superstition have a connection with each other, they often. The noble lord with the blue ribwill likewise give each other a mutual as bon, who is at the head of the finances of sistance. The beautiful art of engraving, this country, possesses wit, genius, a great which is now carried among us to an asto- deal of true taste, and a very cultivated nishing degree of perfection, will come understanding. The most important esto the aid of her sister painting. We have tablishment of this kingdom in taste and shewn our attention to that art this very literature, now supplicates his assistance session. I hope hereafter, even in this and protection, and I trust the arts will cold, raw climate, to be warmed with the find 'in him a generous benefactor and a glowing colours of our own gobelins ta powerful protector. pestry, and I wish encouragement was The House then went into the committee. given by parliament to that noble manu- Sir Grey Cooper moved, “ that 3,0001. be facture, which in France almost rivals the granted towards enabling the Trustees of powers of painting. The important ad- the British Museum to carry on the exevantages of such a commerce too we may cution of the trusts reposed in them by learn from our neighbours.
parliament." I am not alarmed, Sir, at the great ex- Mr. Burke observed, that the House pence, which some gentlemen seem to had of late shewn a most generous and dread as the inevitable consequence of giving disposition, both of their own, and what I have mentioned. The treasures of the public money; probably they remained a state are well employed in works of na- still in the same good temper. To make tional magnificence. The power and a trial of that, he begged leave to amend wealth of ancient Greece were most seen the hon. gentleman's motion, and instead and admired in the splendor of the tem of 3,0001. ipsert 5,000l. Parliament had ples, and other sublime structures of Peri. been liberal of late, not of single thousands, cles. He boasted, that every art would or hundreds of thousands, but millions, be exerted, every citizen in the pay of the granted for slaying their brethren and state, and the city, not only beautified, fellow-subjects in America; and surely but maintained by itself. The sums he they would not be more backward to enexpended on the public buildings of letter- courage and protect the liberal and polite ed Athens, in the most high and palmy arts, than to forward the destruction of state of Greece, after the brilliant 'victo their species, and effect all those horrid ries over the Persians, diffused riches and mischiefs which are the inevitable conseplenty among the people at that time, and quences of civil war. will be an eternal monument of the glory The motion was seconded by Mr.
Wilkes; but the question being put on felons, but honest laborious printers, Whesir Grey Cooper's motion, the committee ble and Thompson, in 1771. Yet I have divided : Ayes 74, Noes 60.
heard this day, and frequently of late, that
very House of Commons, notwithstanding Mr. Wilkes's Motion for expunging the this and many other violations of freedom, Resolution respecting his Expulsion.] April spoken of here with great applause. Gen29. Mr. Wilkes rose and said : Sir; the tlemen, Sir, look much displeased. There important rights of election in the people is not, however, Sir, I am satisfied, one are so deeply interested in the question gentleman of the law, who will now get which I think it my duty to move again to up in his place, and justify the illegal this House, that no apology can be neces- proclamation, which was protested against sary for my embracing this, and every in this House by some of the ablesť lawopportunity, which the forms of parliament yers among us before it issued, and has permit, of bringing this business again to since been universally condemned. It was our consideration. Every elector in the by me 'set aside judicially, and a man kingdom, Sir, was injured by the Resolu- apprehended under that royal proclation of the last parliament in the case of mation discharged. the Middlesex elections. A fatal prece. I observe, Sir, on all occasions, a tenderdent is thereby created of making an in- ness for the proceedings of that parliament capacity by a vote of this House, where which it in no respect merited. If, how. the law of the land, and common right, ever, they had been guilty of no other rendered the party eligible. The words outrage against the freedom of the subof the Resolution of the 17th Feb. 1769, ject, this alone respecting the Middlesex are, “ That John Wilkes, esq. having been election, by which the constitution is overin this session of parliament, expelled this turned, was sufficient for their full disHouse, was, and is, incapable of being grace in the annals of our country. The elected a member to serve in this present present question has been fully debated parliament." By this arbitrary and capri- twice in this parliament, many times in cious vote the House established an inca- the last House of Commons, and I believe pacity unknown to the laws of the land. every precedent quoted, which could be It is a direct assuming of the whole legis- produced, from times the most favourable, lative power, for it gives to the Resolution as well as the most hostile, to liberty, of one House the virtue of an act of the from the remarkable case of Wollaston, entire legislature to bind the whole. The in the reign of king William, to that no King, the Lords, the Commons of the less celebrated one of Walpole, in the realm, suffer alike from this usurpation. latter end of queen Anne. An archangel It effectually destroys both the form and descended among us would scarcely give essence of this free constitution. The a new, original idea on this subject. I right of representation is taken away by shall therefore reserve myself, Sir, for the this vote. It is difficult, Sir, to decide, reply, if I hear any material objection to whether the despotic body of men, which the motion, which I shall have the honour composed the last rotten parliament, in- of submitting to this House. I can foresee tended by the whole of their conduct in the only one objection, which I shall endeavour Middlesex elections to cut up by the roots to obviate, and I hope the House will our most invaluable franchises and privi- think that delicacy ought to yield to justice. leges, or only to sacrifice to the rage of an Gentlemen, I observe, have scruples of incensed court one obnoxious individual. rescinding former resolutions, not knowing, In either case the rights of the nation they say, where such a practice may stop. were betrayed by that parliament, and it is a scruple, in my opinion, very illbasely surrendered into the hands of the founded. The first great object is truth, minister, that is, of the crown.
and we ought to follow where that leads. We are, Sir, the guardians of the laws. If the last parliament have acted wrong, It is our duty to oppose all usurped power let us reform their errors. If they have in the King or the Lords. We are criminal, established a wicked precedent, we ought when we consent to the exercise of any to reverse it. If we have ourselves comillegal power, much more, when we either mitted injustice, let us afford all the repaexercise, or solicit it ourselves. This the ration in our power. We have given the late House of Commons did in the Address world a remarkable instance of our reto his Majesty to dispense with the laws pentance this very session, in the case of for the apprehending of two persons, not Mr. Rumbold and Mr. Sykes. The 22d, [VOL. XIX. ]
of November last the order to the At- As little delicacy, Şir, has been shewn torney General to prosecute Thomas Rum- | by us to the acts of former parliaments, as bold, esq. and Francis Sykes, esq. as to our own resolutions, Have we mani, principal promoters and suborners of cor, fested any tenderness to the memory of rupt and wilful perjury at the election for the first parliament which was called in his Shaftesbury, was discharged, on the mo- present Majesty's reign? That parliament tion of as respectable a gentleman (Sir G. declared, and declared truly, in the Civil Savile) as ever sat in parliament, That List Act, thạt 800,0001, was " & compeorder, however, was made by ourselves in tent revenue for defraying the expences the very last session, on the 14th of Fe- of his Majesty's civil government, and bruary preceding the reversal.
supporting the dignity of the crown of I have not yet, Şir, an inclination to Great Britain." Within these few days quit the company of Messrs. Sykes and we declared that 800,0001. was not a com, Rumbold, Their case will serve me petent sum, and “That for the better farther in my reasonings. It is a strong support of his Majesty's household, and argument against expulsion necessarily in of the honour and dignity of the crown, cluding incapacitation. I will suppose, there be granted to his Majesty, during his Sir, that instead of the House having de- life, out of the aggregate fund, the clear termined, in April 1775, in the first session yearly sum of 100,0001. to commence from of the present parliament, that neither of the 5th of January 1777, over and above those two gentlemen, on account of their the yearly sum of 800,000l. granted by an notorious bribery and corruption at Act made in the first year of his Majesty's Shaftesbury, were duly elected, it had then reign.” If the sum of 800,0001. was com, been voted that they were guilty of being petent to these great purposes, we had no the principal promoters and suborners of right to vote more of the people's money. wilful and corrupt perjury, a resolution We were improvident, and prodigal trusthe House did actually come to in Fe. tees for the nation, not to use a more bruary 1776, and in consequence of so harsh expression. We likewise voted the black' a crime they had been expelled. last week above 600,0001, as the last par, Subornation of wilful and corrupt perliament had above 500,0001. much above a jury is surely a more atrocious sin, and million in all, on the same pretext of pay: more merits expulsion, than the writing a ing the debts of the King, when his Ma. libel. Afterwards let me likewise suppose jesty had enjoyed a competent revenue of the House change their opinion, and find 800,000l. clear of all deductions and conthey proceeded without sufficient evidence, tingencies, and those debts were of the a resolution the House did actually come most suspicious nature even as to the in, to in November 1776. By the courtly, dependency of this House.
Let us not but unparliamentary, doctrine now pre- therefore, Sir, affect more tenderness for tended to be established, that expulsion the last parliament in so flagrant an in. means incapacitation, you would not have stance of injustice, as the case of the Mid, it in your power to restore them to their dlesex election, than we have shewn to seats, although you were perfectly con- them, and to ourselves too, in other revinced of their innocence. Justice would spects. We ought, if we are men of ho. call aloud upon you to do it, because it nour and principle, to do justice to all the appeared that no legal proof, no sufficient electors of this kingdom, and by a formal evidence was given, on which
had repeal to make satisfaction to those zealous founded so rash, so unjustifiable a judg- defenders of liberty, the spirited free. ment; but the cries of justice would little holders of this injured and insulted avail with a venal senate against ministe- country. I desire, Sir, to recall to the rial despotism, or a royal edict in the form memory of many gentlemen, what passed of a parliamentary resolution. My first in this House the last parliament, on one expulsion, Sir, in January 1764, was for of the great debates respecting the Midbeing the author of the North Briton, No. dlesex elections. A noble lord, the darl45. Where is to this hour the legal proofing of his country, as well as the favourite by the oaths of twelve of my countrymen of our army, whose memory is dear to to be found of that charge? I have never every Englishman, for he joined to the even been tried on that accusation, A bravery of Cæsar all the mild and gentlo court of law determined on the charge of qualities of our English hero, Edward the republication, a charge which might have Black Prince; that noble lord, Sir, stood been brought against 500 other persons. up in his place here, and solemnly asked pardon of his country for having, as he Debate in the Commons on the Bill för said, wounded the constitution, and vio- licensing a Play-house in Birmingham.] lated the rights and privileges of this king- On the motion for the second reading a dom, by voting as he had done in this Bill for enabling his Majesty to license'a House in the business of the Middlesex Play-house in the town of Birmingham, elections. He did not stop there. He Sir William Bagot said he opposed was anxious to make public reparation for the motion, because he disliked licensed á mistaken opinion, but of such moment; theatres in manufacturing towns, and the and he afterwards joined the opposition in fatal tendency of having theatres indiscrian important question respecting the dis- minately established throughout the king. contents of the people on this very sub- dom. He drew a picture of a variety of ject. We may all, Sir, imitate the love of mischiefs which might ensue in such a justice and candour, if we cannot reach town as Birmingham, from Mr. Yates's the high courage, of that illustrious, im- having a power to act there, and defy the mortal character, the late marquis of power of magistracy, urging, that forcing Granby.
of tickets upon the working manufacturers, While the resolution which I have men in lieu of wages, had already been practioned is suffered to continue on our Jour- tised to such a shameful degree, that a nals, I shall believe, Sir, that the elective magistrate, since dead, (Mr. Worley rights of the nation lie at the mercy of the Birch) who was himself systematically a minister, that is in fact of the crown; that man of pleasure, admired plays, and was the dignity and independency of parlia- fond of actors and actresses, had at one ment are in danger of being entirely de- time found it necessary to interfere, and stroyed. It is evident, that no gentleman inform the actors, even though they were now holds bis seat by the choice of his his favourites, that if he heard any
of constituents, but only by the good-will, such pernicious practices, he would not and at the pleasure, of the minister, or suffer them to play there again. Sir Wm. by the royal permission. The tenure is further said, that once they were sent out equally precarious and unjust, for the con- of town, and that they were not permitted stitution has clearly lodged in the people to act in Birmingham again for three suc. the power of being represented in this cessive years. He observed, that the anHouse by the man who is the object of swer to him would be, “that it was im. their choice. A committee can never proper to trust the case in the hands of have but that single question to determine, magistracy; when it was notorious that provided the party is by law eligible, and there had been two unlicensed theatres has pursued only those methods which are suffered to be open at once for the two warranted by law. I will seize every op- last summers." "In reply to this he had portunity of importuning, of conjuring the to state the fact: there was no magistrate House, if they have any reverence for the then near Birmingham ; Mr. Worley Birch laws, utterly to rescind this unconstitu- was too much indisposeil to attend busitional and iniquitous resolution. We owe
We owe ness for some time previous to his death, it to the present, and to every future age, and, since that event, no new commission and therefore I move, “ That the Resolu. had been sent down till the spring of 1776, tion of this House of the 17th of February, when the King-street company of players, 1769, that John Wilkes, esq. having who were preparing to act, were prevented * been, in this session of parliament, ex- from so doing by the new magistrate. pelled this House, was, and is, incapable Sir William dwelt on the bad consequences of being elected a member to serve in of forcing tickets on the poor mechanics, this present parliament,' be expunged and declared it was not only owing to from the Journals of this House, as being their immediate masters, but also to the subversive of the rights of the whole body employers of those masters, the factors for of electors of this kingdom."
foreign countries, who obliged the masters There was no replý. The question was to put off what number they thought proimmediately called for, and the House per: in order still more to enforce his araivided. Tellers.
guments on this head, he drew a melanYEAS SMr. Ald. Hayley
choly picture of the distresses of the poor Mr. Baker.
people after they had received the tickets, NOES Sir Grey Cooper
shewing the difficulties they labour under,
140 Mr. St. John
even to re-obtain half-price for them, and So it passed in the negative.
asserting, that they were frequently ob
liged to send their children to the avenues Mr. James Luttrell agreed, that the of the theatre to sell them for what they Bill ought to be thrown out. He said that could get, and that the gentlemen who the practice of forcing tickets upon the could pass through such a range of unfor- workmen, instead of money to support tunate beings, in their way to the theatre, their families, was very iniquitous, and unwithout feeling for their distress, must love less the players could be turned out of the tragedies better than he did. By way of town, it would be impossible to prevent proving the fatal tendency of establishing those crimes; that many complaints retheatres indiscriminately in any kingdom, quired redress, which could not be obtainsir William adverted to the times of the ed if the theatre was licensed, and it would Romans, when he declared the giving be very dangerous for parliament to point theatres was the cause of the decline of out, and for his Majesty to countenance the state ; he declared, that to add to the any description of talents and merit, which dissipation of the people was always the did not contribute to benefit the manumaxim adopted by those who meant to factories. He spoke warmly against Mr. enslave them, and that the common means Yates, the petitioner; said the petition was of fixing slavery on any people was by impudence, and the application ingratigiving theatres." He bid the House re- tude; therefore, if discretionary powers collect the ancient medals, on the reverse ought to be given to any man, Mr. Yates of which was a theatre, with the words was the last person Birmingham could apLudi instituti. These were melancholy prove of, or that the House could with instances of the truth of what he had as- decency admit of. serted, as it appeared from the words Mr. For objected to the asperity of the round the edges of such medals, that the terms used by the hon. gentleman who Romans were also obliged to establish spoke last, as improper for the place, the granaries of corn, and to give the people subject, and the person to whom they were bread, at the same time; this latter, he applied. He had always retained a gratefeared, wonld be the next step with Bir- ful sense of the entertainment he had remingham, if the House gave them a theatre. ceived from actors of Mr. Yates's acknowHere sir William introduced a kind of ledged merit; and he could perceive noapostrophe on the subject of the Roman thing in his conduct, on the present occamedals, appealing to the House how much sion, to justify such epithets. If the party, more glorious it was to cast medals on any to whom they were applied, had been in conquest, and how much better the in- a higher rank, it would, to say no worse, scriptions of De Germanis, or De Britannis, have been extremely indecent to have so appeared, than that of Ludi instituti. treated him; and it must be very unFrom this digression he returned to his pleasant and mortifying to any man. He main subject, and remarked, that Birming- therefore thought it extremely wrong, and ham was a village; that it had, from the could not be a silent auditor of such seve. industry and abilities of its inhabitants, rities against a person who had only exergrown into a large town; its glory, how- cised that right which every other man ever, was in its village situation, and he had of applying to parliament. He dewished it to retain it; he wanted not to clared himself for the second reading of see it ornamented with any royal trinkets, the Bill, and sending it to a committee, no royal charter, no royal incorporation, when the true sense of the inhabitants no royal theatres. And why, when the might probably be collected. If any thing sense of the inhabitants was clearly against could be decided, one way or the other, a limited theatre, should the House force he thought the probability was, that the one upon them? Why also give it to Mr. majority of the inhabitants were in favour Yates, who had professedly broken the of the Bill, from the open and continued law for five and twenty years ? There encouragement they had given to thea. was, indeed, one reason: Mr. Yates had trical entertainments for such a number of sent a card to every member, with his years back. In his opinion, dramatic excompliments, and begged their support of hibitions had their use every where, and the Bill. Mr. Yates's compliments! The often drew the attention of the common Speaker, he doubted not, had received people, and prevented them from wasting one; he hoped he would attend to it pro- their time and money in employments of perly. Sir William ended with intreating, a much more dangerous and pernicious that every gentleman would remember nature. In general, they tended to civi. Mr. Yates's compliments !
lize and polish the manners of nations ;