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and firmness of mind. He did sincerely the House. -Nay, the right hon. gent. lament that the subject had been taken up (Mr. Ponsonby) withheld advice, and de. with so much party spirit, as he at least clared his opinion should not be extracted expected neutrality in the consideration from him. The hon. gent. (Mr. Whitof putting the House of Commons into the bread) accused him of not having foreseen right way of acting. Instead of that, the resistance which was opposed to the however, the hon. and right hon. gentle | House. It was not however from any esmen had seized, with avidity, the oppor.perience of past events, to be supposed tunity of reviling those against whom they that this would be the case; but even on were opposed in politics. It was an op- the hon. gentleman's own grounds, it portunity too tempting for them to let might have ensued in a case of actual obslip.-His Majesty's ministers were charg-struction, and the question then came to ed with improper delay, in not making this: whether an individual would quietly some proposition on this subject at an ear- submit to, or, as a strenuous patriot, would lier period.
Such a charge, however, he resist the law. Did the hon. gent. mean presumed to think, was equally imputable to say, that they were only to exert their to the right hon. gent. (Mr. Ponsonby) privileges against those who would not reas to him. Gentlemen on the other side sist. If this was his way of preserving the of the House looked up to him; it was, dignity of the House, he could only say therefore, but natural that he should have there was a very great difference beiween been ready to advise the House in a ques. their opinions. He was also accused of tion in which they were all interested, as ignorance; and if he was inclined to retort, well as any gentlemen on the ministerial he would say, that in describing him, the side. He had given no advice on the sub- gentlemen opposite had only given their ject, however; nay he had declared that own character. It would seem as if they he would not do so that he was resolved were ignorant of all precedents and inforthat nothing that feil from him should mation on the subject. Did they not throw any light on the question. Was it know that a Committee was appointed in not equally incumbent on that right hon. 1771, on the matter of a breach of privigent. as on any other nfember of the lege, and that they were instructed to exaHouse, to give his advice on the subject? mine into facts and circumstances; to conYet he chose to wait all the period which sider what further proceeeding might be had elapsed, and then to tell ministers that necessary to enforce these privileges and they should have taken some step in the to give their opinions thereon ? Here was business on the very first day. When the a precedent in point; and he trusted, notSpeaker acquainted them that the Notice withstanding the asperity which had unforwas served, the view he (the Chancellor tunately been introduced into this night's, of the Exchequer) took at that time was, discussion, that when the committee came that it was only necessary to preserve it to be appointed, the unanimity which on their Journals. The gentlemen oppo- was so much desired would prevail. site were not backward on other occasions Mr. Ponsonby rose, with considerable in giving advice, and suggesting amend animation, and said that the right hon. ments. Why did they not do so then, if gent, seemed to him to have lost his temthey considered the course pursued as re- per. The cause of that loss of temper was prehensible, as they would now represent obviously, that he could not find any
hon. it to be? Perhaps they were taken by member to instruct him what course to surprise-but they had time to recover pursue. The right hon. gent. was ignorant themselves, for, owing to an inaccuracy, what course to adopt, and was mortified a second Notice was necessary some days that his ignorance should be so manifest after the first, with which the same course to the House. What right bad that right had, without a word of censure, or the in-hon. gent. to console himself for this mortimation of a contrary opinion from any tification by attacks on the gentlemen on one, been adopted. No! The enlighia his side of the House? What right had ened minds, comprehensive understand that hon. gent. to expect that he should ings, and extraordinary talents, of the give him any advice on this occasion? gentlemen opposite, were not employed He had given that right hon. gent. and to enlighten their darkness, and guide the House already all the advice he could them from the ill counsels to which they suggest relative to the proceedings which were attending. Even now, though they led to the present circumstances, and it would condemn, they would not enlighten had been rejected. When the rejection
of that advice had involved them in a dif- haps be misled by vanity to give such an ficulty they knew not how to obviate, it opinion, if his judgment did not prevent was not for them to apply to him and his him from giving it prematurely. What friends to extricate him from it. By ground had he to expect, that if he were blindly persevering in their own course, to give it, the majority of the House would they had brought about the present em- agree to it? Could he have any security barrassment. It was inculcaied from the that he should not be outvoted? Or that, highest authority, “ that when the blind upon his advice being so rejected, he lead the blind, both must fall into the should not be twitted by the right hon. ditch." If the right hon. gentlemen op- gentwith having given it prematurely ? posite, therefore, found themselves involv- An opinion he most certainly had opon ed in a difficulty, themselves alone they the subject; but the right hon. gent. was had to blame.. Upon whom but them- wrong if he supposed he could be taunted selves could they charge the commitment into a preinature declaration of it. His of sir F. Burdett, and the manufacture of Majesty's ministers, if they did their duty, tbat
paper, which charged them with hav. should be prepared to propose some mea. ing usurped the power to imprison the sure to the House on the subject. Whilst King's subjects? In that wild and foolish supported by the majority, they must be production, as with all respecı for sir F. taken to possess the confidence of that Burdett he must call it, the power of the House; and if they had not that confiHouse to commit was denied, and it might dence, they should not continue in office. from that be inferred that the exercise of Besides, they were in possession of all the that power would have been resisted. facts, which the House could not be; and The right hon. gent, had imputed to his consequently it was more particularly inhon. friend (Mr. Whitbread) the having cumbent upon them to offer advice to the said, that the right ought not to be en- House on that occasion. If they abstained forced but where there was no resistance, from offering such advice, the House might and had then asked with the same triumph, rest assured that it was not from any feelwhether that was to be considered a proof ing of modesty or moderation, but from a of their magnanimity, of their consistency, pitiful pusillanimity which restrained ibem of their desire to maintain the dignity of from taking any responsibility upon themthe House! Now, he could readily be- selves for the advice they might give. He lieve that there was not less magnanimity should vote for the amendment. on his side of the House than amongst the
Mr. Whitbread had an ohservation or hon. gentlemen on the opposite side ; and two to make upon the answer given by he trusted that that would appear from the right hon. gent. to what had fallen the whole of their conduct relative to this from him in the course of the debate. business. Bui the right hon. gent. when When he had asked a question of that pressing a right which he had reason to right hon. gent. in the course of the know would be resisted, ought to have night, respecting a letter now before the been prepared to show how in such a case world, and that right hon. gent. declined it could be executed. If the gentlemen to answer, he took it for granted that the on his side had recommended the com- document was authentic. When he put mitment, and become thereby the cause a question to the right hon. geni. near him of the subsequent difficulties, would not (Mr. Secretary Ryder), and that member the right hon. gent, have loudly called on declined to answer it, he believed it was him to point out how they should be re- because the right hon. member could medied? Would he not have attributed all not answer the question. But when the to the workings of party spleen and cap- right hon. gent. last addressed himself cious hostility? The right hon. gent. had to answer what had fallen from him, in the made a furious attack upon bim, because debate, he invented a speech for him, and he was not disposed to give any opinion in replying to that, gave any thing but an upon the subject till the House should be answer to what he had actually said. He brought into a situation when some decla- could not help admiring the manner in ration would be necessary. It was also which the right hon. gent. had then lasted added, i hat in consequence of the confi- himself into a fever of debility in buffeting deace reposed in him (10 a greater extent the shadows of his own imagination. Ali than he merited) by his friends round he should say, however, was, that the senhim, he was particularly bound to give an timents imputed to him by the right hon. opinion upon the subject. He might per- gent, did not belong to him, and the pare
ticular expression he quoted he had never had voted against any opinion being uttered.
given at all. Mr. C. W. Wynn observed, that the pre- The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not cedent referred to by the right hon. gent. expect, in a question of such moment, that had taken place in the time of an extreme- any gentleman would be above lending ly weak and contemptible administration, his assistance. which encountered a resistance that had Mr. Tierney said, that those in that situanever been expected by them. A Com- tion who were present, declined the nomimittee had, no doubt, been appointed in nation. If the right hon. gent. wanted to that case, and sat for 17 days without grace his Coinmittee from their side of having made one step of progress. When the House, he was mistaken. they had made a report, it came out that The Chancellor of the Exchequer in reply all they recommended was, that Miller said, that he certainly did not wish to disshould be retaken. But how he was to be grace the Committee from any side of the retaken they had not pointed out. This was House. the Committee which Mr. Burke had com- Mr. Jekyll said, this was a question pared to the committee of rats, appointed which he did hope would never have come to enquire by what means they could before the House; but the Speaker had of guard against the cats, which committee necessity come before them for advice and reported, to put a bell about their necks; assistance. God only knew how the matThe committee of rats however did not go ter might end. He frankly declared he so far as to point out how the rats were to could not conjecture how the business was fasten those bells. The House was placed to be got rid of, or, which he wished had in a situation of great difficulty, and he been sooner attended to, how the House therefore, wished gentlemen to consider was to retrace its steps. The dilemma in whether it would be desirable to establish which they were involved was one of a this proceeding as a precedent, to guide most serious and dangerous kind. [Marks their future practice. He was of opinion of dissent.) He repeated it was a very that it was much better to have all the facts serious dilemma. (A laugh.] He again before them previous to a decision. It was repeated, that in his mind, it was a dilem. material to consider whether the House ma of the most serious nature, and though ought not to issue a prohibition against the gentlemen laughed at it now, they might interference of a court of law. They were in a very short time, see cause to regret all aware that in the case of Rice, lord they had ever got into it. A Committee Kenyon had declared, that in a common had now been resolved on after two votes cause, the court of King's bench would not of the House. Gentlemen who were of pay any attention to an injunction from opinion that there should be no Committee, the House of Commons. The present or at least that the Committee should not was, however, by no means a
report any opinion, had been nominated cause, and did not fall within the principle members of this Committee. Those who laid down by lord Kenyon. There were were of this opinion, and who were prealso many other questions of the utmost sent, had declined sitting upon it. Others magnitude involved in the question ; too who were absent, he was convinced, great, in his opinion, to be delegated by entertained similar opinions. He really the House to a Committee.
put it to the right hon. gent. if, in point of The House then divided on the Amend. candour, the names of such persons ought ment, which was negatived. For the not to be omitted. Amendment, 58-Against it, 115-Ma- The Resolution, trowever, was agreed to, jority, 57.
five were declared to be a quorum, and A second division then took place on the Committee had power to report from the main question.--For the Committee, time to time. 116-Against it, 46-Majority, 70.
[MOTION RESPECTING THE ADDRESS or On our re-admission we found the The City of London.] Mr. Alderman Speaker reading over the names proposed Combe, in rising to make the motion of for the Committee.
which he had given notice, in support of Mr. Tierney objected to the nomination the constitutional rights of his fellow of those who had opposed the motion, on citizens, felt satisfaction that it would not the ground that the Committee ought to be necessary for him to trouble the House deliver no opinion. It was rather strange at any great length. As the House of to appoint men to give an opinion, who Commons was now so anxiously engaged
in asserting its own rights, he trusted it, levee. In the year 1770, an address was would not be too much to expect that voted, and the sheriffs were instructed to House to afford protection to the rights of enquire when his Majesty would be the citizens of London. It was not his in- pleased to receive it upon his throne. The tention to dwell upon the right of the sub- sherifis made the inquiry, but not having ject to present petitions to his Majesty, received any answer, another common nor to descant upon the value of that right | hall came to a resolution that their ad, which was the foundation of our civil inde- dress should not be presented to the King pendence, and the principal bulwark of but upon his throne. When his Majesty British liberty. These were considerations was acquainted with this new case, he that must be familiar to every gentleman stated that he would consider of it; he who heard him. The right of peritioning did consider of it, and the result was, that the sovereign was exercised in three ways, he received the address upon his throne. one was, by transmitting the petition to The right was then understood to be finally the secretary of state, in which case there settled. In 1771, another address was was not the smallest chance that it would voted, and a resolution entered into, that ever meet the
of his Majesty. The the mayor and sheriffs should be accomnext was, when persons having access to panied by a great body of the citizens of his Majesty at his levees, put their peti- London. This intention was frustrated tions into his own hands : but the third and by an intimation from lord Hertford, commost valuable mode was, that of present-municated by letter to the lord mayor, ing a petition to his Majesty upon the that it was his Majesty's pleasure that no throne, in which case an answer was al more should attend than the act of parliaways received. This mode of petitioning ment allowed. The consequence was was confined to the Universities and the that in order to conform to the act of parCity of London. By the constitution of liament, a Committee of ten was deputed the City of London, it was divided into to attend the lord mayor and sheriffs; and four branches. The first was the court of this address was also received by his Ma. aldermen; but on diligent inquiry, he jesty upon the throne. In 1773, another could not find any precedent of any peti-l address was received on the throne, withtion of that court to his Majesty. The out any question respecting the privilege, next was the court of common council, and an answer was returned to it. In 1775 which enjoyed the privilege of presenting iwo addresses had been voted; one in its petitions to the sovereign upon the April
, which had been received by his throne. The third was a court which Majesty on bis throne; another in June, very seldom met, but also enjoyed the which never was presented. In this latter right, called the Court of Lieutenancy; case the chamberlain was informed by and the last and greatest, was the livery, letter from lord Hertford, that it was his consisting of the Tord mayor, aldermen, Majesty's pleasure not to receive any adcommon council-men, and the whole body dress upon his throne from the city of of electors, who assemble in what is called London but in its corporate character. the common ball. This body claimed the This communication was then submitted same privilege, and it had been conceded to a common hall, at which certain reto and exercised by them on a consider- solutions were voled, declaratory of the able number of occasions, but for the last right of the city of London to present their few years it had been denied them. As petitions, or addresses, to the king on the much difference of opinion had existed ihrone, and to have an answer to them, for a long time respecting the claim made Another resolution was also passed, conby the livery of London to present their taining an express injunction to petitions to the King on the throne, he sheriffs not to present the address but to should brietly put the House in possession the King on his throne. The sheriffs of the real state of that question : and for having waited upon his Majesty on a that purpose refer to the different ad- / levée day, were informed that the Address dresses and petitions which had been would be received at a levee; but on agreed to by the livery of London, in stating their instructions, bis Majesty incommon hall, during the present reign. formed them that he would be at all times In the year 1709, an address was voted to ready to receive the petitions of his people, his Majesty, but as no particular instruc- and that he was the best judge where. tion accompanied it on that occasion, that No Address was, therefore, presented on address was presented to the King at his that occasion, The same fate attended an address voted in 1781, and the next , in consequence of the state of his Majesty's subsequent address in 1797. In the year health. On the 14th of December, they 1800 another address was voted to be applied to the secretary of state, and were presented to the King on the throne, and informed by him that they would not be in consequence of an instruction to that allowed to present it at a levee ; and the effect, the sheriffs waited on his Majesty 20th of the same month, when waiting on at Weymouth, to know wheu he would be his Majesty with another Address, they graciously pleased to receive it on his were refused permission to present this throne. The sheriffs obtained his Mac Address at the same time. The consejesty's permission for the chamberlain to quence was, that the livery had come to read to him their instructions; but re- resolutions similar to those voted in 1775. ceived the same answer as in 1775—that What he complained of was, not that the his Majesty, ever ready to receive the ad- Address of the livery had not been received dresses of his subjects, was the best judge on the throne; because, as his fellow ci, where. His Majesty, upon all those occa- tizens had waved their right on that head, sions, intimated his wish to receive those he was not bound there to insist upon that addresses at the levee and not upon his for them which they did not instruct bim throne. Upon the representation of these to contend for ; what he had to complain circumstances by the sheriffs to the com- of was the obstruction given to presenting mon hall, certain resolutions were agreed the petition to his Majesty at his levee. to, which were communicated to the Having stated the case, he should conKing at Windsor by the sheriffs. These clude by moving-" That the obstruction were all the cases that had occurred during made by his Majesty's, ministers to the the present reign until the latter end of Address of the lord mayor, aldermen, and last year, when the citizens of London had livery of London, of 14th December last, to complain of the calamities of the times, being presented to his Majesty in person and the livery of London was assembled by the lord mayor and sheriffs, is an into address his Majesty on the grievances fringement upon the right of the subject with which the nation was oppressed to petition the sovereiga upon all lawful
This was done at a time when the public occasions." and the citizens of London in particular, Sir W. Curtis rose to second the resolu. were borne down by the burthen of taxes, tion of his hon. colleague. Whatever he but more especially one grinding tax, might have thought of the terms in which rendered doubly oppressive by the mea- the address had been couched, as it had sures resorted to for rendering it produc- been passed at the Common-Hall, it ought tive. It was the more necessary for them to have been presented. He should ever to carry up their complaints of grievances stand up for the rights of the city. The to the throne, because they saw the mea- obstruction to the Address was, in his sures recommended in that House for their mind, unjust, impolitic, and unwise, and redress unavailing. Disgusted, therefore, therefore he felt pleasure in seconding the with the losses, that had been sustained ; motion. provoked by the expences incurred, whilst Sir C. Price likewise said, that the petino means were taken to bring public de- tion had been agreed to at a Commonfaulters to justice ; mortified at the rebuke Hall legally convened. What would have which his Majesty had been advised un- been its fate if a fair hearing had been seasonably to give to the City of London, allowed to all, be would not pretend to on the occasion of the Convention of Cintra, say; but it had been carried through, and having no confidence in their rulers; and therefore ought to have gone to the throne highly disgusted at the failures in Spain with the usual facility. While he agreed and at Walcheren, and with all the afflict. with his hon. colleague so far, he could ing circumstances of national calamity and not concur in the censure which he had disgrace, the livery of London required passed on the conduct of ministers. He: the lord mayor to call a common hall. I thought they deserved a great deal of That hall was called, and a more nume- praise for the manner in which they had rous and respectable meeting never assem- conducted their expedition. They also. bled in London. An Address, was voted deserved a great deal of praise for the to his Majesty, and the lord mayor manner in which they bad preserved the. and sheriff's directed to present it to peace of the metropolis cn a late occasion.' his Majesty, at a levee, waving their He remembered the riots in 1780, and right to have it presented on the throne, hoped he should never again see any such