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the Address was then put, and agreed to justify or excuse, the excess; and the only by a majority of 90 to 20.
reason given to us for paying that debt is,
to be applied to our private emolument. Protest against rejecting an Amendment It is our duty to attend to the reputation to the Address on the Arrears of the Civil of parliament. And we beg leave to reList.] The following Protest was entered : present to your Majesty, that a further in6 Diesentient'
crease of the present overgrown influence " For the reasons contained in the of the crown, would be a treacherous gift Amendment proposed and rejected, viz. from parliament, even to the crown itself; in lieu of the above Address, to substitute as it will enable the ministers to carry on the following:
those delusive systems which have been “ To assure lis Majesty of the inviola- fatally adopted ; and which, if pursued, ble affection and loyalty of this House, must lead to the utter ruin, as they have and that it is with the sincerest affliction already produced the distraction, of this we find our duty to his Majesty, and to once great empire. Signed) our country, entirely incompatible with | Abingdon, Abergavenny, Archer, our compliance with the request made to King, Thanet, Torrington, Stamus in his Majesty's name.
ford, Effingham, Portland, Rich" That at a time when the increase of mond, Rockingham, Fitzwilliam, public debt, attended with a decrease of Devonshire, Manchester." the British empire, manifestly required the utmost economy in the management of British Museum.] April 28. Sir Grey the revenues of the crown, we cannot be- Cooper moved, that the Petition of the hold, without astonishment and indigna. Trustees of the British Museum, together tion, a profusion in your Majesty's minis- with the General State of Accounts of ters, which the greatest prosperity of our the British Museum, to Dec. 31, 1776, affairs could scarcely excuse.
be referred to the Committee of Supply. " That this House, with the most zealous Upon which, devotion to your Majesty's true interests, ! Mr W:ller coid. begs leave to represent to your Majesty, that we humbly apprehend the clear reve. Before the Petition of the Trustees nue of 800,0001. a year, which supported of the British Museum is referred to the the government and court of your Majesty's committee of supply, I beg the indulgence grandfather, of happy memory, in great of the House to submit a few general ideas authority and magnificence, is fully suffi- on that subject, entirely independent of cient, (if managed by your Majesty's ser- party or politics. The encouragement of vants with the same integrity and eco- all useful knowledge, and the protection of nomy), to maintain also the honour and the arts and sciences, appear to me, Sir, dignity of your Majesty's crown, in that just objects of public regard, and highly reverence, in which we wish, as much at deserving parliamentary attention, espe. least as those who have squandered away cially in this great commercial country. your revenues, to see it always supported. Among the many proofs of the improveParliament has already, in consideration ment of our national taste, and love of po(we suppose) of some expences at the be lite literature, the establishment of the ginning of your Majesty's reigo, disc British Museum claims the pre-eminence. charged the debts and incumbrances on It rose under the favourable auspices of the Civil List, to a very great amount. this House, has been carefully watched Again to exceed the revenue granted by over by us, and I hope will still continue parliament, without its authority, and to to receive our friendly protection and supabuse its indulgence in paying one debt, port. Various branches of learning have by contracting, in so short a time, another already derived singular advantages from and a greater, is, on the first view, a crimi- that rich repository, and I think it may be nal act. Your Majesty's ministers ought made yet more extensively useful to this to have laid some matter before this House, kingdom. This, Sir, can only be done by tending to shew that your Majesty's go- this House, by parliamentary assistance. vernment could not be reputably supported | I shall at present confine myself to gene. on the provision made by parliament; ral ideas, and only throw out some hints whereas they have only laid before us the for a future day's consideration. heads on which they have exceeded, with. It seems to me, Sir, highly expedient out any thing wbich can tend either to that the Trustees of the British Museum
should not only be enabled adequately to expect to rival the Italian, the Flemish, or fulfil the objects of their public trust, by even the French school, our artists must making what is already collected as useful have before their eyes the finished works as possible to the nation, but still farther of the greatest masters. Such an opporto extend the laudable purposes of their tunity, if I am rightly informed, will soon institution. Their present funds, we find present itself. I understand that an apby their Petition, are incompetent even to plication is intended to parliament, that the contracted plan now pursued. It is a one of the first collections in Europe, that general complaint, that the British Mu- at Houghton, made by sir Robert Walseum is not sufficiently accessible to the pole, of acknowledged superiority to most public. This must necessarily happen in Italy, and scarcely inferior even to the from the deficiency of their revenues. The duke of Orleans's in the Palais Royal at Trustees cannot pay a proper number of Paris, may be sold by the family. I hope officers and attendants. This will to-day it will not be dispersed, but purchased by be in part the consideration of the com- parliament, and added to the British Mumittee, into which the House will soon re- seum. I wish, Sir, the eye of painting as solve itself. But, Sir, I wish their plan fully gratified, as the ear of music is in much enlarged, especially on two important this island, which at last bids fair to beobjects, Books and Paintings. This capi.come a favourite abode' of the polite arts. tal, after so many ages, remains without A noble gallery ought to be built in the any considerable public library. Rome spacious garden of the British Museum has the immense collection of the Vatican, for the reception of that invaluable treaand Paris scarcely yields to the mistress of sure. Such an important acquisition as the world by the greatness of the King's the Houghton collection, would in some Library. They are both open at stated degree alleviate the concern, which every times, with every proper accommodation, man of taste now feels at being deprived to all strangers. "London has no large of viewing those prodigies of art, the Care public library. The best here is the Royal tons of the divine Raphael. King WilSociety's; but even that is inconsider- liam, although a Dutchman, really loved able, neither is it open to the public, nor and understood the polite arts. He had are the necessary conveniences afforded the fine feelings of a man of taste, as well strangers for reading or transcribing. The as the sentiments of a hero. He built the British Museum, Sir, is rich in manuscripts, princely suite of apartments at Hamptonthe Harleian Collection, the Cottonian court, on purpose for the reception of Library, the Collection of Charles 1, and those heavenly guests. The English namany others, especially on our own his. tion were then admitted to the rapturous tory ; but it is wretchedly poor in printed enjoyment of their beauties. They have books. I wish, Sir, a sum was allowed by remained there till this reign. At present parliament for the purchase of the most they are perishing in a late baronet's valuable editions of the best authors, and smoky house at the end of a great smoky an act passed to oblige every printer, under town. [Sir Charles Sheffield's house in a certain penalty, to send a copy bound of St. James's Park, now called the Queen's every publication he made to the British Palace. They are entirely secreted from Museum. Our posterity, by this and the public eye; yet, Sir, they were pure other acquisitions, might perhaps possess chased with public money, before the aca more valuable treasure than even the cession of the Brunswick line, not brought celebrated Alexandrian Collection; for, from Herrenhausen. Can there be, Sir, notwithstanding that selfishness, which a greater mortification to any English marks the present age, we have not quite gentleman of taste, than to be thus delost sight of every beneficial prospect for prived of feasting his delighted view.with futurity. Considerable donations might what he most desired, and had always conlikewise, after such a sanction of parlia- sidered as the pride of our island, as an inmentary approbation, be expected from valuable national treasure, as a common private persons, who in England, more blessing, not as private property? The than in any country of the world, have en- kings of France and Spain permit their larged views for the general good and subjects and strangers the view of all the glory of the state.
pictures in their collections: and sure, · The British Museum, Sir, possesses few Sir, an equal compliment is due to a gevaluable paintings, yet we are anxious to nerous and free nation, who give their have an English school of painters. If we prince an income of above a million a
year, even under the greatest public burthens. A remarkable opportunity, Sir, of improving the national taste in painting, which was lately lost, I hope may now be recovered. The incomparable sir Joshua Reynolds, and some other great painters, who do honour to our country, generously offered the late bishop of London, [Dr. Richard Terrick] to adorn the cathedral of St. Paul’s, that glorious monument of the magnificence of our ancestors, with some of their most valuable works; but the proposition had to encounter the absurd, gothic prejudices of a tasteless and ignorant prelate, which were found to be insuperable. We have the satisfaction at present of having in the see of London a gentleman [Dr. Robert Lowth] not only of solid piety, but of the soundest learning, and of exquisite classical taste. I hope at such a favourable moment the proposition will be renewed and accepted. * As almost all arts and sciences, as well as some of the most useful manufactures, have a connection with each other, they will likewise give each other a mutual assistance. The beautiful art of engraving, which is now carried among us to an astonishing degree of perfection, will come to the aid of her sister painting. We have shewn our attention to that art this very session. I hope hereafter, even in this cold, raw climate, to be warmed with the glowing colours of our own gobelins tapestry, and I wish encouragement was given by parliament to that noble manufacture, which in France almost rivals the powers of painting. The important advantages of such a commerce too we may learn from our neighbours. I am not alarmed, Sir, at the great expence, which some gentlemen seem to dread as the inevitable consequence of what I have mentioned. The treasures of a state are well employed in works of national magnificence. The power and wealth of ancient Greece were most seen and admired in the splendor of the temples, and other sublime structures of Pericles. He boasted, that every art would be exerted, every citizen in the pay of the state, and the city, not only beautified, but maintained by itself. The sums he expended on the public buildings of lettered Athens, in the most high and palmy state of Greece, after the brilliant victories over the Persians, diffused riches and plenty among the people at that time, and will be an eternal monument of the glory
of that powerful republic. The Parthenon only, or Temple of Minerva, acknowledged to be the most beautiful piece of antiquity now remaining in the world, which is of the purest white marble, cost, with its statues and sculptures, above a thousand talents, near 200,000l. One observation here, Sir, naturally occurs, which justice to the Trustees of the British Museum demands. . . No public money has ever been more faithfully, more frugally applied to the purposes for which it has been given, than what they have received. Perhaps the Trustees of the British Museum are the only body of men, who have never been suspected of want either of fidelity or opconomy. I think, therefore, we may safely trust them farther, not penuriously, but largely, on a great national concern, especially when their accounts are so frequently submitted to the examination of parliament. Learning, Sir, and the polite arts, have scarcely more than three enemies, ignorance and stupidity always, superstition often. The noble lord with the blue ribbon, who is at the head of the finances of this country, possesses wit, genius, a great deal of true taste, and a very cultivated understanding. The most important establishment of this kingdom in taste and literature, now supplicates his assistance and protection, and I trust the arts will find in him a generous benefactor and a powerful protector. The House then went into the committee. Sir Grey Cooper moved, “that 3,000l. be granted towards enabling the Trustees of the British Museum to carry on the execution of the trusts reposed in them by parliament.” Mr. Burke observed, that the House had of late shewn a most generous and giving disposition, both of their own, and the public money; probably they remained still in the same good temper. To make a trial of that, he begged leave to amend the hon. gentleman’s motion, and instead of 3,000l. insert 5,000l. Parliament had been liberal of late, not of single thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but millions, granted for slaying their brethren and fellow-subjects in America; and surely they would not be more backward to encourage and protect the liberal and polite arts, than to forward the destruction of their species, and effect all those horrid mischiefs which are the inevitable consequences of civil war. 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 ablest 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, howthe 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, 1 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 22dy . [VOL. XIX.]
of November last the order to the Attorney General to prosecute Thomas Rumbold, esq. and Francis Sykes, esq. as rincipal promoters and suborners of corrupt and wilful *}. at the election for Shaftesbury, was discharged, on the motion of as respectable agentleman (Sir G. Savile) as ever sat in parliament. That order, however, was made by ourselves in the very last session, on the 14th of February preceding the reversal. I have not yet, Sir, an inclination to quit the company of Messrs. Sykes and Rumbold. Their case will serve me farther in my reasonings. It is a strong argument against expulsion necessarily including incapacitation. I will suppose, Sir, that instead of the House having determined, in April 1775, in the first session of the present parliament, that neither of those two gentlemen, on account of their notorious bribery and corruption at Shaftesbury, were duly elected, it had then been voted that they were guilty of being the principal promoters and suborners of wilful .# corrupt perjury, a resolution the House did actually come to in February 1776, and in consequence of so black a crime they had been expelled. Subornation of wilful and corrupt perjury is surely a more atrocious sin, and more merits expulsion, than the writing a libel. Afterwards let me likewise suppose the House change their opinion, and find they proceeded without sufficient evidence, a resolution the House did actually come to in November 1776. By the courtly, but unparliamentary, doctrine now pretended to be established, that expulsion means incapacitation, you would not have it in your power to restore them to their seats, although you were perfectly convinced of their innocence. Justice would call aloud upon you to do it, because it appeared that no legal proof, no sufficient evidence was given, on which you had founded so rash, so unjustifiable a judgment; but the cries of justice would little avail with a venal senate against ministerial despotism, or a royal edict in the form of a parliamentary resolution. My first expulsion, Sir, in January 1764, was for being the author of the North Briton, No. 45. Where is to this hour the legal proof by the oaths of twelve of my countrymen to be found of that charge? I have never even been tried on that accusation. A court of law determined on the charge of republication, a charge which might have been brought against 500 other persons.
As little delicacy, Sir, has been shewn by us to the acts of former parliaments, as to our own resolutions. ave we manifested any tenderness to the memory of the first parliament which was called in his present Majesty’s reign : That parliament declared, and declared truly, in the Civil List Act, that 800,000l. was “a competent revenue for defraying the expences of his Majesty’s civil government, and supporting the dignity of the crown of Great Britain.” Within these few days we declared that 800,000l. was not a com” petent sum, and “That for the better support of his Majesty's household, and of the honour and dignity of the crown, there be granted to his Majesty, during his life, out of the aggregate fund, the clear yearly sum of 100,000l. to commence from the 5th of January 1777, over and above the yearly sum of 800,000l. granted by an Act made in the first year of his Majesty's reign.” If the sum of 800,000l. was competent to these great purposes, we had no right to vote more of the people's money. We were improvident, and prodigal trustees for the nation, not to use a more harsh expression. We likewise voted the last week above 600,000l. as the last parliament had above 500,000l. much above a
million in all, on the same pretext of pay
ing the debts of the King, when his Majesty had enjoyed a competent revenue of 800,000l. clear of all deductions and contingencies, and those debts were of the most suspicious nature even as to the independency of this House. Let us not therefore, Sir, affect more tenderness for the last parliament in so flagrant an instance of injustice, as the case of the Middlesex election, than we have shewn to them, and to ourselves too, in other respects. We ought, if we are men of honour and principle, to do justice to all the electors of this o and by a formal repeal to make satisfaction to those zealous defenders of liberty, the spirited freeholders of this injured and insulted country. I desire, Sir, to recall to the memory of many gentlemen, what passed in this House the last parliament, on one of the great debates respecting the Middlesex elections. A noble lord, the darling of his country, as well as the favourite of our army, whose memory is dear to every Englishman, for he joined to the bravery of Caesar all the mild and gentle qualities of our English hero, Edward the Black Prince ; that noble lord, Sir, stood up in his place here, and solemnly asked