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to the presenting of others still more of- easily submitted io any other tribunal fensive. The House must make a stand than that of Parliament itself. In propor* against such a practice at some time or lion, then, as the subjects of the realm other, and it was better to do so now than found the means of its legal discussion at any after period. It had been said to narrowed, in that proportion should Parbe a respectable meeting, but gentlemen liament open the doors to any appeal saw enough of what was to be expected made to itself upon the subject, and not from such meetings in the neighbourhood too scrupulously weigh the terms in which of populous townis, and the spirit of this such an appeal was made. For these meeting might be judged of from their re- reasons he should vote for receiving the fusing to hear a gentleman of the highest petition. respectability, a member of that Ilouse Mr. Burham wished, as the present was (Mr. Mellish), on his attempting to deliver a question of very great importance, that his sentiments on the subject. This cir- time should be given for consideration, cumstance did not add much to the argue and that there should be a fuller attenda ment derived from the unanimity of the auce of the House than there was at that meeting.
moment. If such a discussion had been Mr. Hawkins Browne thought the words expected, he was satisfied the attendance of the petition shewed that it was not the would have been fuller. He should thereobject of the petition to procure the libe- fore move that the debate be adjourned ration of sir F. Burdett, a reform in par till to-morrow. If pressed for an immes, liament, or any other specific object. The diate opinion, he must say that he was petition was only made the vehicle of against receiving the petition. conveying a gross insult to the House, Mr. Grenfelt seconded the motion of adand a dogmatical denial of its privileges. journient. The petition from Westminster was capa.
Mr. H. Sumner conceived the paper ble of receiving a more favourable inter- now under consideration had nothing in it pretation. The present was not. It was of a petition but the name. Such a prac. becoming in that House to be moderate ; tice ought to be checked in limine; and but when moderation produced only in he saw no occasion for delaying till tosult, then it became the House to assert morrow what they ought to do to-day. A its dignity. He thought the House might worthy alderinan was afraid of the conseby a former occasion have adopted the quences of refusing such petition. For more moderate course ; but now it was his own part he had no fear of the kind. necessary for them to support their pro- Mr. Lambe was of opinion, the House ceedings.
had already gone too far to talk of stopping Mr. Hibbert said, that the petitioners in limine. They had already received å were not, like the majority of that House, petition, which was at least sufficiently convinced of the constitutional authority strong. He could not in his own mind of its privileges. They, on the contrary, conceive any thing stronger than the pedenied that authority, and more particu- tition by the inhabitants of Westminster, larly questioned the legality of those acts who had told the House that they had in which it had recently been asserted. offered a gross indignity to them. He Allowance was to be made for men warm thought the House had better agree to with such a subject; but he should be the proposition of his honourable friend, sorry if the warmth which might have that they might deliberately consider found its way into some expressions of how far they would allow that power their petition, should be cauglit by the to be stretched, which certain persons House in commenting upon those expres- had instiiled it into the minds of the missions. The passage which had been so guided people they had a right to carry much objected to, would be found at last to any length, by filling them with wild to be no more than the most brief, abrupt, and absurd ideas of their rights. Though and somewbat coarse declaration of the he was a friend to petitioning, this was a opinion of the petitioners, which they petition which he was inclined to think must either have indulged, or have no ought to be viewed with more than usual ground for petitioning at all. There was strictness. There was a disposition to another consideration, and he begged to deny that the House, as it was at present address it to the feelings of the House. constituted, afforded a legal representaThis question of privilege of Parliament tion of the people. Against such a docwas, it seemed, one, which could not be trine he protested, and contended that it VOL, XVI.
was equal to the discharge of those duties England to come forward and complain which it owed to the country in the con- of in the most determined, though becomsideration of its affairs both abroad and at ing language. Great authorities had their home.' He felt infinitely more disposed, doubts on this subject, though he conon a question of this kind, to coalesce with fessed he had none. He was for receiving those who entertain this opinion, than with the present petition, however, because he those who thought the representative sys. thought it was not so offensive as the petem entirely corrupt, and that it should tition from the inhabitants of Westminbe destroyed. He agreed that the terms ster, which had been received. in which the Petition was conceived were Mr. Stephen thought the words of the extremely offensive; but they might be petition conveyed a studied insult to the found, at the same time, to be only a re- House. It would be strange if this House, petition of what had found its way into so the majesty of the people, was the only many other petitions. He thought it bet- body in the kingdom which could be liter, therefore, to assent to the proposition belled with impunity; nay, which reof his hon. friend, that the debate should ceiving petitions insulting to themselves, be adjourned.
must be compelled to become the servile Mr. Wardle could not agree that any instruments of their own degradation and insult was meant to be offered to the disgrace. If the House were insulted by House by the present petition. The pe- Resolutions, as an hon. gent. had supposed, "tition which had been received from West- even those who denied their right to be minster contained no prayer; the present judges in their own case, must admit that contained not only a prayer, but an they might go into a court of law, and earnest request that the House would there obtain justice; but if they once recomply with the object of the petition. ceived on their own table a petition, in He had used the freedom in that House which they were insulted, no such redress to go to the full length the petitioners could be obtained. He agreed, however, now did, in expressing their opinion. with his learned friend who spoke last, in These sentiments he still, with submission thinking that the right of petitioning to the House, entertained. He had pre- should not be broken in upon till every sumed to deny that parliament had the gentleman had an opportunity of reading right which it had assumed and exercised over the petition and comparing the ob He had been allowed to express that opi- jectionable paragraphs with the context. nion; and he submitted that the free- He recommended to the House therefore holders of Middiesex had the same right to accede to the motion for adjourning to express their opinion on the subject. the debate till to-morrow. It was quite possible by strong resolutions The Chancellor of the Exchequer, seeing to insult the House in the grossest man- those who agreed with him- in principle ner, while, at the same time, the petition thought, a delay necessary, though he to be presented to them should be con himself was not a convert to that opinion, ceived in a way which might escape could have no objection to acceding to it. notice. The petitioners here bad only Now he was on his legs, he begged to excandidly declared their opinions, as sub-plain the difference between the two pejects of this country were entitled to do. titions, and shew that the hon. gent. (Mr. To his (Mr. Wardle's) mind, these senti- Lambe) was not correct in the deduction ments were true throughout. He trusted, he had made. The ground on which the therefore, that the petition would be re- former petition was received was received.
peatedly stated in the debate, and was Mr. Abercromhy was of opinion the pe. precisely this; that as the sentence contition ought to be received, because he did taining the accusation of a gross insult benot think the words were such a departure ing offered, might apply to the officer exefrom the respect to the House as should cuting the Speaker's warrant, it was but warrant them in rejecting it. If the peti- fair to put the most favourable constructioners were of opinion that the House tion upon a petition from the subject. had acted illegally, he did not see in what He agreed that they must receive petiother terms they could have expressed tions against their acts, but, at the same themselves, than by declaring that such time, they would take care in what lan. was their opinion. If the House had acted guage they were couched. They would thus illegally, it would be a grievance take care that they were petitions, and which it was the duty of the people of not apers to dictate to the House what
HOUSE OF LORDS.
they ought to do. They might ask a re- not deserve il, for it had been assumed by vision of the judgment of the legislature; the House, and acknowledged by hon. but they were not, as in the present case, gentlemen in their places. to set up a petitioner's authority against The question for adjourning the debate the authority of the House, and call ima was then put and agreed to. periously for a change, not for a re-consideration. While he, therefore, acceded to the adjournment, he would be ready either now, or at any other time, to con
Thursday, May 3. tend that this petition, from its language, (King's MESSAGE RELATIVE TO THE scope, and design, was such, as they DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.] His Majesty's neither could, nor ought to admit to lie on Message having been read, recommendtheir table, as a perpetual insult.
ing a provision to be made for his serene Sir John Newport said, he was of opi- highness the duke of Brunswick, nion that the debate should be adjourned. The Earl of Liverpool rose to move an He thought the prayer of the petition ob- Address to his Majesty, assuring his Maviated any objection to the first clauses of jesty of the cheerful concurrence of that it. He only stated this that all parts of House, in promoting the object of his it should be taken into consideration toge- most gracious Message. He could not ther. He would not contend, but that there imagine it to be in any degree necessary were strong and wrong expressions in the to resort to argument upon which to outset of this petition, but when all parts ground the propriety of the Address were compared together, he could not see
which he intended to move.
The House an objection to its being laid on the table. would feel the strength and the number
Mr. Byng stated, that he was at a loss of the claims which the illustrious person to know how his constituents could express to whom the Message referred must be actheir opinions better than they had done. knowledged to have on the feelings of afThey conceived the House had assumed a fection, gratitude, and respect of this power which they thought was not vested country. These claims he might reduce in them. His constituents were to three heads: the near relationship of strongly urged to this idea, from the con- the duke of Brunswick to bis Majesty ; the duct of it, in the case of Mr. Wilkes, misfortunes that had befallen him in comwhere they expunged their former Reso- mon with many other of the sovereigns of lutions, knowing them to be illegal, from Europe; and above all, that gallant strugtheir Journals.
gle, and the brilliant atchievements which Mr. Hutchinson said, he would vote for his serene highness had displayed in the the adjournment. He thought this was a defence of his dominions, and in furtherquestion that formed part of a measure, ance of the common cause. He was sene which had not been yet decided on, and sensible it would not require any further must remain for a decision, until a jury of considerations than those he had just enu, the country had formed an opinion. It merated, to induce their lordships to give was not his wish to enter into the merits their hearty concurrence to the Address of the point, as it would, in another place, he should now propose. The noble earl undergo a more able discussion. He hoped concluded with moving an Address to the it was the intention of the House to meet effect we have already mentioned. the question fairly. He could not see the Lord Holland did not rise to oppose the objection to a petition which went to the motion. On the contrary, he was ready purpose of bringing forward a most jus- to admit the three claims which the noble tifiable regulation. If he thought it was secretary had set forth as belonging to his the intention of the people to enforce it serene highness the duke of Brunswick. by violence, he would be one of the first His object in rising was to advert to the ' to oppose them; but when they legally fund from which the proposed provision petitioned, he would be the first to support was to be taken. During the course of . them. He wished to know in what sta- the last 12 or 15 years, it had too much tute it was held out to petitioners, how been the custom to bring down Messages they should word their petition. He knew of that nature; all of which went to imthere was a certain mode of heading and pose additional burthens on the civil list. ending it, and with this the present appli- In his opinion, as the misfortunes of the cants had complied. The paragraph which duke of Brunswick bad arisen from the the outcry of the night bore against, did extraordinary events of the present war,
and the present state of Europe, so ought | driven to a vote in the first instance, before the relief to be applied to them to be de his feelings had time to cool, and his rived from funds which increase in propor- judgment to act. After the lapse of such tion to the extraordinary events of the time, and the advantage of the reflection war. Such were the Droits of Admiralty; which it permitted, he was sorry to say, and that, in his opinion, would be the that he felt himself constrained to vote proper fund from which to take the pro. against the petition. He did not wish to vision proposed to be made for his serene throw any obstacle in the way of petitionbighness. It was not only the proper ing, or to limit that right which he consifund from which such provisions should dered so essential to the liberties of the be furnished; but here he was certain that people. On the contrary, he was desithe deriving of it from such a fond would rous of throwing open the doors of the be more acceptable to the feelings of his House as wide as possible, to their comserene highness, than if it should be taken plaints and applications; there was no from the civil list, to which so many aids allegation in such petitions into which he had of late been granted; but that more would refuse to enquire; no argument attention should be paid to the compact to which he would not listen, and there and agreement entered into at his Majes- was scarcely any request which he would ty's accession on this head. He should not be disposed to attend to; but this not press these observations on the present which was now before them, he felt it bis occasion, but merely throw them out as duty to refuse; because it was not a pehints to guide the future conduct of the tition, but a protest against the authority House respecting messages of this nature. of the Blouse ; it was not an application,
The Earl of Liverpool would not enter but a menace. He could not conceive into any discussion of the general topics what the object of it was, unless that the dwelt upon y the noble lord, and the petitioners wished to try how far they more so, as they did not touch on the per- could go in abusing and insulting the sonal question before their lordships, or to House of Commons. If the real object the claims of the duke of Brunswick to the had been to induce the House to revise its provision recommended in his Majesty's procecdings in the cases of Gale Jones message. He should be ready on any and sir F. Burdelt, and to recommend an other occasion to meet the discussion of early attention 10 parliamentary reformthe points to which the noble lord had they would have carefully expressed thought proper to refer.
themselves in a language not likely to The motion for the Address was then be rejectest, but he perceived it was the agreed to.
purpose, continually apparent, to trench upon the privileges, and depreciate the
authority of the House of Commons. HOUSE OF COMMONS,
There was no assertion more grossly unThursday, May 3.
true, or more dangerous, than to say that [Middlesex PetitION FOR THE RELEASE the House of Conimons maintained privi of Sir F. Burdett, &c.—ADJOURNED DE- leges contrary to law, and subversive Bate.) Mr. Barham moved the order of of the rights of the people. What, he the day for resuming the adjourned de- would ask, were the privileges of that bate upon the Middlesex Petition : which House, but the privileges of the people ?having been agreed to, he again rose privileges which, he declared individually He said, that though the attendance of the for himself, he would chearfully resign; members was not such as he could wish, but he considered them the privileges of considering the importance of the subject the people, and, therefore, he could not before them; yet it was satisfactory to consent that those privileges, as they now reflect, that any decision to which they existed in that House, should be abandoned. would now come, must carry with it He could not consent that the dignity of greater weight, than if it had been come to the people should be lessened, and, thereon the former night; it could not now be fore, he would support the dignity of that imputed to precipitancy or heat, nor at- House. He lamented extremely that tacked as a proceeding, adopted without there were members who lent themselves consideration, and a mature acquaintance to the clamours of popular faction, and with the subject. Every man must feel joined in this species of insult to the himself more happy in voling under the House of Commons, and in the endeavour present circumstances, than if he had been to compel the House lo abandon ito privileges; but those men seemed little task of framing such a Resolution, to aware of the consequences to which their which he should be happy in giving his conduct directly tended; for if once support; but still he thought that a mere those factions, io which they had lent rejection of this petition, without a full themselves as the tools, should be suc- discussion of the subject, would not be cessful in their real object, which was enough. The House had a right to dethe com ete subversion of all existing mand of all its members a bold avowal of authorities, those very men would be the their sentiments, in order to strengthen its very first victims of ihe storm they aided hands for the maintenance of its privito raise, and would be swept away like leges. He felt that this was not a time chaff before the wind. Those parties, for a mere negative performance of duty: with whom such men unfortunately com- but that it was a time to speak openly and bined themselves, knew much better than act decisively. He had therefore thought they did the true purpose they had in it his duty to state his reasons for opposview. They knew that, when the privi- | ing the reception of this petition. But leges of that House were dissolved in while he felt himself justified in attaching effect, the power of the crown, and the blame to the framers and supporters of monarchy itself, which the privileges of the petition, he did not think that all the that House equally limited and protected, blame was theirs ; much was also 'to be would speedily be dissolved also. The ascribed to another quarter, to ministers infalible consequence of destroying the themselves. They had often been warnauthority of the House of Commons, would ed that they went too much against the be either to substitute in the place of sense and feeling of the
people; but the our happy constitution, an absolute mo- warning was in vain. They had resorted narchy, or else a republic. But a repub- to similar expedients, for the purpose of lic in this country, would, as all other re- exciting a popular cry, when that popular publics, ancient and modern, had done, end cry made in favour of themselves, or of in a military despotism. Such was the con- the narrow and bigotted principle upon sequence, in all ages; it was inevitable. which they wished to stand. No wonder The French revolution had taught no new that it was now turned against them. lessons; it was but a recent illustration of Their conduct, in every part of it, was what had often been illustrated before, calculated to produce the dissatisfaction and it was impossible to contemplate it, which unhappily prevailed; they had without feeling, in its full force, the ab- disregarded the voice of the people, they surdity of any attempt at republican go had mocked them with sham inquiries up vernment, and the horror of any revolu- to this very day. They had resisted every tionary speculation. He could not help proposition for inquiry, in order to the thinking, that those who supported such reform of public abuses; and where they doctrines as had been of late avowed, were were found to concede inquiry, delineither wilful deceivers, or voluntary dupes. quency, when discovered, was protected It was his wish, however, that the House, rather than punished. Even upon a reeven on the rejection of this petition, cent occasion, when a member of that should not adopt any precipitate measure House, either deservedly or undeservedly, likely to excite in the public mind a spi- rendered himself obnoxious to the popular rit of irritation, or afford a handle to those feeling, how did his Majesty's ministers who wished to represent that House as mark their regard to public sentiment hostile to the rights of the people, or in- Why; by instantly covering that memclined to reject their petitions when offered her with honours and rewards! (The hon: in decorous language. He could wish member alluded to Mr. Yorke). He dethe House to adopt, on this occasion, some sired to be understood as not speaking resolution expressive of this sentiment, from any animosity to that gentleman: that the House of Commons was never but he thought the present not a fit time unwilling to receive the petitions of the for such a conduct on the part of minispeople, nor to attend to the prayers of ters. Not content, however, with incur, those petitions ; but that the House could ring for themselves the popular odium, not record upon its Journals, under the they had also endeavoured by their lanname of a petition, that which was in guage to transfer that odium to those who fact, a protest against its own authority. had constantly opposed their obnoxious He could wish that some gentleman, more measures, and never ceased to cry out competent than himself, would assume the against the ruinous tendency of such mer