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- The King's Answer.] His Majesty re- | ticularly pressed it at this time, as a point turned this Answer:
I to be desired even by ministers, that the « Gentlemen,
public might be informed of the grounds " I return you my particular thanks, for on which they proceeded in regard to the this very loyal and dutiful Address. I re measures to be pursued respecting Ameceive with the highest satisfaction and ap- rica, whose interests were so interwoven probation your assurances of assistance | with those of Great Britain, that the atand support, in maintaining the supreme tention of the people of this country could authority of the legislature over all the do- not be too much awakened at this truly minions of my crown. It shall be my care important crisis.' to justify, by my conduct, the confidence The Lord Chancellor acquainted the you so affectionately express, and to shew Lords, that he always looked upon himthat I have no interests separate from those self as a servant of the House, whose duty of my people.”
it was to see their orders enforced; but
that as it seemed to be the desire of many Motion for the Admission of Members of to relax their standing order in this point, the House of Commons into the House of he thought the civility due from one lord Lords. 7 December 6. The Lords having to another should induce the House to thought proper, on the 10th of December come into the proposal. 1770,* to clear their House of all strangers, The proposition was accordingly acand not to admit even members of the ceded without further debate. House of Commons since that time, except to deliver Bills, and upon those occa Debate in the Commons on the Mode of sions ordered them to withdraw imme- Proceeding with Election Petitions.] Dediately, the Commons in return excluded | cember 6. Mr. Speaker said : It is usual the Peers from their House. Many incon that the double returns be heard first, veniences having occurred in consequence next the undue elections, and lastly com. of this harsh treatment,
plaints concerning undue elections; but * Lord Lyttelton moved, “ That the Lords what I have to acquaint the House with, is be summoned to attend this House to- of much higher consequence. By the morrow, in order to take into consideration standing order, it is ordered, that all pera motion for dispensing with the Standing sons who shall question any returns of memOrder of the 5th of April 1707, so far as bers to serve in parliament, do question to admit the Representatives of the Com- the same within 14 days next; and by the mons of Great Britain into this House, late Act for determining controverted during the sitting thereof.” His lordship elections, it is enacted, “ that whenever a gave many reasons for dispensing with the petition, complaining of an undue elecorder, and for admitting the other House tion, &c. is presented, it shall be received, to hear their debates.
be read by the clerk, and a day fixed for Lord Suffolk, the duke of Manchester, appointing a committee to determine and lord Sandwich, lord Weymouth, lord try the same.” Such being the state of Gower, and several other lords, spoke the matter, I should be glad to have the upon the occasion; and upon the question direction of the House in what manner to being put, 28 were for the motion, and 36 | act. against it.
Mr. Cornwall. I rise, with all imagina
ble diffidence, to impart my doubts on · December 15. Lord Lyttelton made a what has now fallen from the chair, besecond proposition to the House, and re-cause I conceive it to be involved in great commended that the doors should be difficulty. By the standing order, if a opened to the members of the House of petition be presented the 15th day, it will Commons, the sons and brothers of peers, I come too late, and must, contrary to the peers of Ireland and Scotland, and to so general sense of the House, be rejected, many of the public at large as should be unless we break through the ancient and introduced by English peers, each peer to established usage of this House. On the have the privilege of introducing one per other hand, if we do not receive it, we reson.
sist the positive words of an act of parliaThe Duke of Manchester joined in the ment; for by them we are obliged to enrecommendation. His grace said, he par tertain a petition, and send it to a com
mittee whenever it is presented, though * See Vol. 16, pp. 1317, 1322. the cause of complaint, ex. grat. rose in
this session, and redress should not be , tion in several respects, than I do. I am sought till seven sessions hence. I would not surprised, therefore, if the learned gentherefore submit it to the good sense of tleman thinks such a power as I have the House, whether, considering the na- mentioned would lead to defeat the Act, ture of the standing order, and the relation that he should be desirous to prevent its it should have to the Act, and the Act supposed ill consequences; but I suspect with it, it would not be proper and conve- | he has equally mistaken my meaning and pient, that we might have, in the first in- | intentions. All I wish for is, that the stance, a power to enlarge the time to House, if a petition on a true ground were more than 14 days, as well as reject peti- presented, might be deemed competent tions, if frivolous or ill.grounded; and whe- to entertain it, though the 14 days prether in fact, that would not be the rational scribed by the standing order, should be and substantial construction of the Act in expired. As to the learned gentleman's question.
fears, that such a power might be abused, Mr. Dunning. My hon. and learned the Journals of parliament do not furnish friend over the way has started an objec- an instance of a petition being rejected, tion, which, were it to prevail in the complaining of an undue election, without manner he seems desirous it should, would being sent to a committee. * in reality defeat the Act, which some short Mr. Dunning. How the fact now time since appeared to be so justly the fa- stated by the hon. gentleman may be, I vourite with a majority of this House. I will not pretend to say ; but this I am contrust there are many friends to that Act fident of, that if it were strictly true, now present; and I have a learned and it would still be a stronger motive with me honourable one now in my eye (Mr. to resist the vesting any such power in Wedderburn) who I make no doubt, will this House ; because, if in former times exert himself in its support, and do all in the House did not reject in the first in. his power to resist such an attempt, how- stance, the reason was obvious, as those ever ingeniously urged, or covertly and who led it could effect with certainty and plausibly conceived. The evil which the facility, under the appearance and sanction Act was designed to remove and guard | of a judicial decision, what, if they had against, was partial decisions in this House done in the first instance, would carry with on controverted elections. I believe no it the strongest marks of the most mani. man here will deny, that too many in fest partiality. But being by the Act now stances of that kind have happened ; in- under consideration, totally precluded deed, its several provisions are the clearest from exerting that shameful influence, proof, that that was the sole intention of should the reasons now offered by the its framer and friends. What, then, will learned gentleman prevail, they will, in a be the probable consequence were my summary way, be enabled to do that which learned friend's ideas to prevail ? It would is denied them in any other. Should the be this, that a majority of this House, no matter whether of this or that party, (for The hon. gentleman was mistaken : as we cannot be ignorant of what party is appears from the following extract froin the capable of doing) without enquiry, and Journals of the 4th of March 1716 : perhaps only knowing the name of the “A petition of divers of the inbabitants of town, or the petitioner, or chusing to usurp
the borough of Leominster, in the county of a jurisdiction to determine the merits in
Hereford, was presented to the House, and the first instance, could at once take upon
read; setting forth, That the right hon. Tho.
mas lord Coningsby has endeavoured, by himitself to reject a petition, without any
self and agents, by bribes, threats, and other other hearing or trial whatever.
er. In hne,
illegal practices, not only procured bimself to if this be the method the hon, and learned | be elected a member of this present parliament; mover, and his friends, have devised to but also, by the same indirect practices, prodefeat every true and salutary purpose of cured Henry Gorges, esq. to be elected for the the Act, both in point of sense, construc said borough : and praying relief'therein. And tion, and letter, I would wish them sin
a motion being made, and the question being Cerely to speak out, and attack it directly,
put, That the said petition be referred to the rather than thus side-ways endeavour to
committee of privileges and elections; and
that they do examine the matter thereof; and defeat it, by forcing an interpretation it
report the same, with their opinion thereupon, will by no means admit of.
to the House ; the House divided. Yeas 69 Mr. Cornwall. No man in this House Noes 79. So it passed in the negative. more highly approves of the Act in ques. " Resolved, that the said Petition be rejected." (VOL. XVIII.)
House be vested with this negative, the equal size; and the same pieces of paper petition may concern Blackacre, and the shall be then rolled up, and put by the petitioner be John a Stiles; and both the clerk into a glass, or box, and then pub. town and petitioner may chance to be ex- licly drawn by the clerk; and the said setremely disagreeable to those who govern veral petitions shall be read in the order in and lead the majority of this House, no which the said names shall be drawn re. matter who they are or may be. What, spectively." then, is to be done? The Committee can. After a short debate, this Resolution was not pass over the justice of the cause, to carried. The petitions, ready to be prestigmatize the petitioner for his turpitude, sented, were immediately delivered, and nor punish the town for its delinquency; the Clerk proceeded according to the new on the contrary, they will be under a ne regulation. cessity of judging rigidly, according to the true merits of the question. That Debate in the Commons on the E.cclue there have been many decisions within sion of Strangers.] Dec. 12. Mr. T. these walls, answerable to this description, Townshend rose and said, he did not wish I believe few will controvert; nay, indeed, to make a motion, but he had often laI might add, as iniquitous and unjust as mented that the gallery doors of that ever came to my knowledge without House were shut against the Peers ; for them; and they have been sufficiently by that means several young lords, who corrupt and numerous. I therefore call | wished to hear and be instructed, were on the former friends of the Bill, who I deprived of the privilege; that he by no trust have not so soon changed their means meant to open the gallery for the minds, to stand forth and assist me in de admission of peers, with a view that it fending it; for which purpose, Sir, I beg would influence them to open their doors; to move, “ That, according to the true but as both Houses had acted absurdly, construction of the said Act, whenever a in his opinion the first that corrected the petition, complaining of an undue election, absurdity would stand on the highest or return of a member to serve in parlial ground. ment, shall be offered to be presented to Mr. Rice said he had no objections to the House, within the time limited by the the doors being opened ; but as the beorder of the House for questioning the haviour of the Lords had been so outreturns of members to serve in parliament, rageous, he should be against allowing the said petition shall be delivered in at them any admittance, lest it should be conthe table and read, without a question strued as a concession; that the question, being put thereupon.”
whether the doors of the House of Lords Mr. Burke, Mr. Wedderburn, and Mr. should be open had lately been discussed, Hartley, spoke in favour of the motion; and they had absolutely refused to let them. and Mr. Rigby, Mr. Thurlow, and Mr. Mr. Hans Stanley gave it as his opinion, Fox against it. However, it was agreed that all strangers, whenever it was conveto, and made a Resolution of the House. nient with respect to room, should be adSeveral gentlemen having petitions to mitted into the gallery; and said, he present, and each being desirous of an thought it hard that gentlemen who had early day being appointed for hearing been waiting for hours to gain admittance, them, the Speaker was embarrassed how should be turned out as soon as a debate to decide, or to which he ought to give on a question which they thought curious the preference, and therefore desired the and interesting, came on. assistance and direction of the House. Sir Gilbert Elliot was not only for adThis produced a conversation ; at length mitting peers and their sons, but the sons
Mr. Rose Fuller proposed, “That, of members also. Since the Lords had whenever more than one petition, com- behaved improperly, the Commons should plaining of an undue election of return for -set them the example of good manners. the same, or for different, places, shall, at Colopel Barré said, he had been told, the same time, be offered to be presented that in the latter end of the reign of to the House, Mr. Speaker shall direct George the first, or the beginning of such petitions to be all of them delivered George the second, a like affair happened ; in at the table; and the names of the both Houses what the doors against each counties, cities, boroughs, or places, to other. Upon which John duke of Argyle which such petitions shall relate, shall be gave it as his opinion, that the peers of written on several pieces of paper, of an the land, by their birth and education, ought to be more polite and have better | county towns, the freeholders cannot, but manners than the Commons; and that at their great expence, fatigue, and loss therefore it was expedient in them to set of time, be convened together at any one the Commons an example and open their place, to make elections for knights of the doors.
shire ; and that provision should be made, Mr. T. Townshend said, he perfectly that, in such counties, the poll, if deagreed with an hon. gentleman that the manded, at the proclamation of the writ, outrageous behaviour of the Lords ought may be taken at certain different places, not to be forgotten, and that he should for certain different districts within such have wished to have resented the insult | counties.” personally to those who were daring Mr. Rose Fuller then observed, that it enough to offer it. Several of the peers appeared at that time to the House, that had expressed to him that they were there were several large counties, where it ashamed of the proceedings of their was extremely inconvenient for the freebrethren, and meant to have voted against holders to attend at an election for memthem.
bers to serve in parliament; he begad Mr. Edmund Burke said he by no therefore, to acquaint them with woat means agreed with the duke of Argyle, came within his own knowledge. He said, that the peers of the realm had more he resided in a county (Sussex) where he manners than the Commons. He touched was eighty miles from the place of election, upon the pride of the peers, and said he and that there were several freeholders apprehended more true politeness was to who lived above a hundred miles off, and be found among the country gentlemen : were obliged to go to give their suffrages he then argued in favour of opening the at the expence of 44. each, which he looked doors of both Houses on the principle of upon no less troublesome than expensive. duty, declaring that if he could do his He therefore moved, “ That leave be duty completely without, he would never given to bring in a Bill, for further predesire to enter the doors of the House of venting the expences attending elections Peers; but he was very well convinced, of knights of shires, and for the more easy that upon certain occasions it was abso- attendance of freeholders at such eleclutely necessary the members should have tions;" which was agreed to. free access to their respective Houses; that a great commercial Bill, the importa- Debate in the Commons on the Navy tion of provisions from Ireland, would Estimates.] Dec. 12. The House liaving probably have been lost, if he had not had resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, access to the House of Peers, to explain Mr. Buller moved, That 16,000 men be the principles on which that Bill went; employed for the Sea Service, for the year and that if the doors of that House had | 1775, including 4,284 marines. He prenot been shut agaipst the Lords last ses faced his motion with setting forth, that sion, the Bill for the security of Literary Admiral Harland was daily expected from Property would never have been rejected the East Indies, with three sail of the with such contempt, after it had passed line, and by that means 16,000 would be the House of Commons; for if the young sufficient, which was 4,000 less than last peers had come down and heard the ar- year. guments on it, it would have met with a Mr. T. Torunshend desired to know different fate.
why 20,000 were necessary last year, and Here the matter dropped.
16,000 would do this ; and what quantity
were necessary to be sent to America, and Bil for preventing Expences attending what proportion left to guard us at home. Elections. ] Dec. 12. Mr. Rose Fuller Mr. Buller attempted to solve these moved, that the last of the Resolutions, questions, but could not; he therefore which, upon the 5th of May last, were re- read an extract of a letter from admiral ported from the committee, who were ap- | Amherst, commander at Plymouth, inpointed to consider of the laws in being, forming, that they had several supernurelative to the election or returns of mem- merary seamen, and that their guard-ships bers to serve in parliament, might be were full ; that the number of ships in read. And the same was read as follows: America were three third-rates, one tourth
" Resolved, That, in some counties in rate, six sixth-rates, seven schooners, and this kingdom, by reason of their great ex- two armed vessels ; the number of seamen vent, or the particular situation en their 2,835.
Mr. Luttrell said he was much surprized sent year less than the preceding one, to hear the hon. gentleman mention the notwithstanding the speech from the state of our seamen in such a manner; throne announced the very critical and that, had he been apprized of the business alarming situation of affairs in America. coming on that day, he would have pre- | This was a conduct he could by no means pared himself to have answered him more reconcile ; for taking the speech to have fully; yet he was so much a judge of ma been framed upon right information, as ritime affairs as to know it was impossible calling for measures of a spirited and dethat the ships or seamen the hon. gentle- cisive nature, what sort of correspondence man had mentioned to be in America there was between the contents of the could be there for some months, for ships speech and the naval establishment, was that went out at this season were prevented more than he could possibly discover. by winds and weather, so that they were But were he to declare his sentiments, he obliged to go to the West Indies or put feared it would be found to be a mere miback, and could not arrive in America till nisterial trick: a forming of estimates, in the spring: that he should be glad to be the first instance, that were never intended informed whether or not the seamen sent to be adhered to, or rather designed as in the fleet to America were taken out of mere waste paper, and afterwards surprize the guard-ships here, which consequently and drive the House into grants of a very weakened our strength at home, and left improper and burdensome pature. Such us almost defenceless; and whether the being his suspicions, he could not face his admiral's account of the full complement constituents without previously knowing of men did not include those draughted what he must tell them, both in relation off to other ships, and sent to America, to further burdens, and what was involved which might be set down as lent, but were in such an enquiry, if compulsive meaabsolutely lost, as a defence to this coun- sures were really intended to be pursued try, until they returned.
towards the Americans ; for to talk of Col. Barré said, he had been informed, enforcing the acts upon a reduced estathat unless admiral Harland arrived in ten blishment, either naval or military, was a days, it would be impossible for him to sort of language fit to be held only to arrive in less than four months, therefore children. the number of seamen expected from his | Lord Beauchamp said, that the noble coming home was very precarious and not lord had communicated to him, that mornto be depended on.
ing, his intentions of moving something on Mr. Hartley desired to know the num- the subject matter of the present converber of ships that were on the American sation ; that he had accordingly apprised station before the present disturbance. I the noble lord who presided at the Trea
Mr. Buller answered, one fourth-rate, sury therewith ; and that his lordship had six sixth-rates, seven schooners, two armed authorised him to acquaint the House, that vessels, and about 1,900 men.
he had no information whatever to lay beCol. Barré desired to know what force fore it; nor measures to propose respectwe had at home to defend us against any ing America. He was therefore of opiattack of an enemy.
nion, that as the noble lord was indisposed Mr. Buller replied, 5,900 men in the and absent, it would be better, particularly guard-ships, and 1,168 men in the other as there was a very thin House, to susships on the British and Irish coasts. pend all further solicitude, till his lordship
Mr. Luttrell said, he was much afraid should have an opportunity of fully exas we would not take the Spaniards' words, plaining the motives of his conduct in that they would not take ours, but take person. advantage of our weakness, and repay Mr. Cornwall endeavoured to apologize themselves for the piracies we committed for the minister's conduct. He insisted, prior to the last war.
that the present was not a proper time to The Resolution was then agreed to. enter into any discussion relative to Ame
rican affairs; that the naval reduction, he Dec. 13. Lord John Cavendish begged presumed, was founded on good and subleave to state to the House the conduct of stantial reasons, however the motives administration in one or two points, parti- which gave birth to them might vary with cularly respecting the naval establishment the circumstances; and, that when the for the ensuing year. He observed, that question concerning Great Britain and the there was 4,000 seamen voted for the pre-colonies came in a parliamentary way be