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lic question.* Without abilities, resolution, or in- for a minister to offer a grosser outrage to a nation terest, you have done more than lord Bute could ac- which has so very lately cleared away the beggary complish, with all Scotland at his heels.
of the civil list, at the expense of more than half a Your grace, little anxious, perhaps, either for pres- | million ? ent or future reputation, will not desire to be handed 10. Is there any one mode of thinking or acting down in these colors to posterity. You have reason with respect to America, which the duke of Grafton to flatter yourself, that the memory of your adminis- has not successively adopted and abandoned? tration will survive, even the forms of a constitution 11. Is there not a singular mark of shame si which our ancestors vainly hoped would be immor- upon this man, who has so little delicacy and feeling tal; and, as for your personal character, I will not, as to submit to the opprobrium of marrying a near for the honor of human nature, suppose that you can relation of one who had debauched his wife? In the wish to have it remembered. The condition of the name of decency, how are these amiable cousins to present times is desperate indeed; but there is a meet at their uncle's table? It will be a scene in debt due to those who come after us; and it is the Edipus, without the distress. Is it wealth, or wit. historian's office to punish, though he cannot cor- or beauty? Or is the amorous youth in love? rect. I do not give you to posterity as a pattern to The rest is notorious. That Corsica has been sacrimitate, but as an example to deter; and as your ficed to the French; that, in some instances, the laws conduct comprehends everything that a wise or have been scandalously relaxed, and, in others, darhonest minister should avoid, I mean to make you a ingly violated; and that the king's subjects have negative instruction to your successors forever. been called upon to assure him of their fidelity, in
spite of the measures of his servants. JUNIUS.
A writer, who builds his arguments upon facts
such as these, is not easily to be confuted. He is not LETTER XIII.
to be answered by general assertions or general reADDRESSED TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVER
proaches. He may want eloquence to amuse and TISER.
persuade; but, speaking truth, he must always conSIR,
June 12, 1769.
PHILO JUSIUS The duke of Grafton's friends, not finding it convenient to enter into a contest with Junius, are
LETTER XIV. now reduced to the last melancholy resource of defeated argument, the flat general charge of scurrility ADDRESSED TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERand falsehood. As for his style, I shall leave it to
June 22, 1700. the critics. The truth of his facts is of more im
The name of Old Noll is destined to be the ruin portance to the public. They are of such a nature,
of the house of Stuart. There is an ominous fatality that I think a bare contradiction will have no weight with any man who judges for himself. Let us take
in it, which even the spurious descendants of the them in the order in which they appear in his last
family cannot escape. Oliver Cromwell bad the letter.
merit of conducting Charles the First to the block. 1. Have not the first rights of the people, and the
Your correspondent, Old Noll, appears to have the first principles of the constitution, been openly in
same design upon the duke of Grafton. His arguvaded, and the very name of an election made ridicu
ments consist better with the title he has assumed, lous, by the arbitrary appointment of Mr. Luttrell ?
than with the principles he professes : for though he 2. Did not the duke of Grafton frequently lead
pretends to be an advocate for the duke, he takes his mistress into public, and even place her at the
care to give us the best reason why this patron should head of his table, as if he had pulled down an an
regularly follow the fate of his presumptive ancestor. cient temple of Venus, and could bury all decency
| Through the whole course of the duke of Grafton's and shame under the ruins ? Is this the man who
life, I see a strange endeavor to unite contradictions dares to talk of Mr. Wilkes's morals ?
which cannot be reconciled. He marries, to be di3. Is not the character of his presumptive ances
vorced; he keeps a mistress, to remind him of contors as strongly marked in him, as if he had de-14
jugal endearments; and he chooses such friends as it scended from them in a direct legitimate line? The
h is a virtue in him to desert. If it were possible for idea of his death is only prophetic; and what is
the genius of that accomplished president, who pro
nounced sentence upon Charles the First, to be reprophecy but a narrative preceding the fact ? 4. Was not lord Chatham the first who raised
vived in some modern sycophant,* his grace, I donbi him to the rank and post of a minister, and the first
not, would by sympathy discover him among the whom he abandoned ?
dregs of mankind, and take him for a guide in those 5. Did he not join with lord Rockingham, and
paths which naturally conduct a minister to the scal
fold. betray him ? 6. Was he not the bosom friend of Mr. Wilkes,
The assertion that two-thirds of the nation approve whom he now pursues to destruction ?
of the acceptance of Mr. Luttrell (for even Old Noll i 7. Did he not take his degrees with credit at |
| he not take his degrees with credit ot | too modest to call it an election) can neither be maint Newmarket, White's, and the opposition ?
tained nor confuted by argument. It is a point of 8. After deserting lord Chatham's principles, and
fact, on which every English gentleman will deter sacrificing his friendship, is he not now closely united
mine for himself. As to lawyers, their profession is with a set of men, who, though they have occasion
supported by the indiscriminate defense of right and ally joined with all parties, have, in every different )
| wrong; and I confess I have not that opinion or situation, and at all times, been equally and con
their knowledge or integrity, to think it necessary stantly detested by this country?
that they should decide for me upon a plain constitu, 9. Has not sir John Moore a pension of five hun
tional question. With respect to the appointment of dred pounds a year? This may probably be an ac
Mr. Luttrell, the chancellor has never yet given any quittance of favors upon the turf: but is it possible
authentic opinion. Sir Fletcher Norton is, indeerle
an honest, a very honest man; and the attorney* The wise duke, about this time, exerted all the influence of the government to procure addresses to satisfy
general is ex officio the guardian of liberty; to take the king of the fidelity of his subjects. They came in very care, I presume, that it shall never break out into a thick from Scotland; but, after the appearance of this * It is hardly necessary to remind the reader of letter, we heard no more of them.
' name of Bradshaw.
criminal excess. Doctor Blackstone is solicitor to Chatham. Charles Townshend took care of his eduthe queen. The doctor recollected that he had a cation at that ambiguous age, which lies between the place to preserve, though he forgot that he had a follies of political childhood and the vices of puberty. reputation to lose. We have now the good fortune The empire of the passions soon succeeded. His to understand the doctor's principles as well as earliest principles and connections were of course forwritings. For the defense of truth, of law, and gotten or despised. The company he has lately kept reason, the doctor's book may be safely consulted ; / has been of no service to his morals; and, in the but whoever wishes to cheat a neighbor of his es- conduct of public affairs, we see the character of his tate, or to rob a country of its rights, need make no time of life strongly distinguished. An obstinate, scruple of consulting the doctor himself.
ungovernable self-sufficiency plainly points out to The example of the English nobility may, for us that state of imperfect maturity at which the aught I know, sufficiently justify the duke of Graf- graceful levity of youth is lost, and the solidity of ton, when he indulges his genius in all the fashion-experience not yet acquired. It is possible the able excesses of the age : yet, considering his rank young man may, in time, grow wiser, and reform ; and station, I think it would do him more honor to but if I understand his disposition, it is not of such be able to deny the fact, than to defend it by such corrigible stuff that we should hope for any amendauthority. But if vice itself could be excused, there is ment in him, before he has accomplished the deyet a certain display of it, a certain outrage to destruction of his country. Like other rakes, he may, cency, and violation of public decorum, which, for the perhaps, live to see his error, but not until he has benefit of society, should never be forgiven. It is not ruined his estate. that he kepta mistress at home, but that he constantly
PHILO JUNIUS. attended her abroad. It is not the private indulgence, but the public insult, of which I complain. The name of Miss Parsons would hardly have been known, if the
LETTER XV. first lord of the treasury had not led her in triumph through the opera-house, even in the presence of the
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF GRAFTON queen. When we see a man act in this manner, we MY LORD,
July 8, 1769. may admit the shameless deprurity of his heart; but If nature had given you an understanding qualiwhat are we to think of his understanding?
fied to keep pace with the wishes and principles of His grace, it seems, is now to be a regular, domestic your heart, she would have made you, perhaps, the man; and, as an omen of the future delicacy and most formidable minister that ever was employed, correctness of his conduct, he marries a first cousin under a limited monarch, to accomplish the ruin of a of the man who had fixed that mark and title of in- free people. When neither the feelings of shame, the famy upon him, which, at the same moment, makes reproaches of conscience, nor the dread of punisha husband unhappy and ridiculous. The ties of ment, form any bar to the designs of a minister, the consanguinity may possibly preserve him from the people would have too much reason to lament their same fate a second time; and as to the distress of condition, if they did not find some resource in the meeting, I take for granted, the venerable uncle of weakness of his understanding. We owe it to the these common cousins has settled the etiquette in | bounty of Providence, that the completest depravity such a manner, that, if a mistake should happen, it of the heart is sometimes strangely united with a may reach no further than from madame ma femme to confusion of the mind, which counteracts the most madame ma cousine.
favorite principles, and makes the same man treachThe duke of Grafton has always some excellent erous without art, and a hypocrite without deceiving. reasons for deserting his friends: the age and incapa- The measures, for instance, in which your grace's city of lord Chatham, the debility of lord Rocking- activity has been chiefly exerted, as they were bam, or the infamy of Mr. Wilkes. There was a adopted without skill, should have been conducted time, indeed, when he did not appear to be quite as with more than common dexterity. But truly, my well acquainted, or so violently offended, with the lord, the execution has been as gross as the design. infirmities of his friends : but now I confess they are By one decisive step you have defeated all the arts of not ill exchanged for the youthful, vigorous virtue writing. You have fairly confounded the intrigues of the duke of Bedford ; the firmness of general Con- of opposition, and silenced the clamors of faction. A way; the blunt, or, if I may call it, the awkward in- dark, ambiguous system might require and furnish tegrity of Mr. Rigby; and the spotless morality of the materials of ingenious illustration; and, in lord Sandwich.
doubtful measures, the virulent exaggeration of party If a late pension to a broken gambler* be an act must be employed to rouse and engage the passions worthy of commendation, the duke of Grafton's con
of the people. You have now brought the merits of sections will furnish him with many opportunities of
your administration to an issue, on which every loing praiseworthy actions; and as he himself bears
US Englishman, of the narrowest capacity, may deter10 part of the expense, the generosity of distributing mine for himself: it is not an alarm to the passion, he public money for the support of virtuous fami-1;
but a calm appeal to the judgment of the people, ies in distress, will be an unquestionable proof of
upon their own most essential interests. A more is grace's humanity.
experienced minister would not have hazarded a As to public affairs, Old Noll is a little tender of direct
der of direct invasion of the first principles of the constitulescending to particulars. He does not deny that tion before he had made some progress in subduing Porsica has been sacrificed to France; and he con- the spirit of the people. With such a cause as yours, esses that, with regard to America, his patron's
my lord, it is not sufficient that you have the court neasures have been subject to some variation : but
at your devotion, unless you can find means to corhen he promises wonders of stability and firmness
rupt or intimidate the jury. The collective body of or the future. These are mysteries, of which we
the people form that jury, and from their decision nust not pretend to judge by experience; and, truly, there is but one appeal. fear we shall perish in the desert, before we arrive
Whether you have talents to support you at a crisis it the land of promise. In the regular course of of pch difficulty and dancer
of of such difficulty and danger, should long since have hings, the period of the duke of Grafton's minis
been considered. Judging truly of your disposition, erial manhood should now be approaching. The
you have, perhaps, mistaken the extent of your cambecility of his infant state was committed to lord | pacity. Good faith and folly have so long been re
*Sir John Moore.
ceived as synonymous terms, that the reverse of the no part of sir Robert Walpole's system, except his proposition has grown into credit, and every villian abilities. In this humble, imitative line, you might fancies himself a man of abilities. It is the appre- long have proceeded safe and contemptible. Vaa hension of your friends, my lord, that you have drawn might probably never have risen to the dignity of some hasty conclusion of this sort, and that a partial being hated, and even have been despised with mode reliance upon your moral character has betrayed you eration. But it seems you meant to be distinguished; beyond the depth of your understanding. You have and, to a mind like yours, there was no other man ta now carried things too far to retreat. You have fame but by the destruction of a noble fabric, which plainly declared to the people what they are to expect you thought had been too long the admiration de from the continuance of your administration. It is mankind. The use you have made of the military time for your grace to consider what you also may force, introduced an alarming change in the mode of expect in return from their spirit and their resent- executing the laws. The arbitary appointment of ment.
Mr. Luttrell invades the fountain of the laws them Since the accession of our most gracious sovereign selves, as it manifestly transfers the right of legislato the throne, we have seen a system of government tion from those whom the people have chosen, to which may well be called a reign of experiments. those whom they have rejected. With a succession Parties of all denominations have been employed and of such appointments, we may soon see a house of dismissed. The advice of the ablest men in this commons collected, in the choice of which the other country has been repeatedly called for, and rejected; towns and counties of England will have as little and when the royal displeasure has been signified to share as the devoted county of Middlesex. a minister, the marks of it have usually been pro- Yet I trust your grace will find that the people of portioned to his abilities and integrity. The spirit of this country are neither to be intimidated by violent the favorite had some apparent influence upon every measures, nor deceived by refinements. When they administration : and every set of ministers preserved see Mr. Luttrell seated in the house of commons, bp an appearance of duration as long as they submitted mere dint of power, and in direct opposition to the to that influence. But there were certain services to choice of a whole county, they will not listen to he performed for the favorite's security, or to gratify those subtleties by which every a litrary exertion of his resentments, which your predecessors in office had authority is explained into the law and privilege of the wisilom or the virtue not to undertake. The mo-parliament. It requires no persuasion of argument, ment this refractory spirit was discovered, their dis- but simply the evidence of the senses, to convince grace was determined. Lord Chatham, Mr. Gren- them, that, to transfer the right of election from the ville, and lord Rockingham, have successively had collective to the representative body of the people, the honor to be dismissed for preferring their duty as contradicts all those ideas of a house of commons servants of the public to those compliances which which they have received from their forefathers, aod were expected from their station. A submissive ad- which they had already, though vainly, perhaps, de ininistration was at last gradually collected from the livered to their children. The principles on which deserters of all parties, interests, and connections; this violent measure has been defended have added and nothing remained but to find a leader for these scorn to injury, and forced us to feel that we are not gallant, well-disciplined troops. Stand forth, my only oppressed, but insulted. lord ; for thou art the man. Lord Bute found no re- With what force, my lord, with what protection, source of dependence or security in the proud, impos- are you prepared to meet the united detestation of ing superiority of lord Chatham's abilities; the the people of England ? The city of London has shrewd, inflexible judgment of Mr. Grenville; nor given a generous example to the kingdom, in what in the mild but determined integrity of lord Rock-manner a king of this country ought to be addressed: ingham. His views and situation required a creature and I fancy, my lord, it is not yet in your courage void of all these properties ; and he was forced to go to stand between your sovereign and the addresses of through every division, resolution, composition, and his subjects. The injuries you have done this courirefinement of political chemistry, before he happily try are such as demand not only redress, but rearrived at the canut mortuum of vitriol in your grace.geance. In vain shall you look for protection to Flat and insipid in your retired state; but, brought that venal vote which you have already paid for: into action, you become vitriol again. Such are the another must be purchased ; and, to save a minister, extremes of alternate indolence or fury, which have the house of commons must declare thereselves no governed your whole administration. Your circum- only independent of their constituents, but the de stances, with regard to the people, soon becoming termined enemies of the constitution. Consider, nj desperate, like other honest servants, you determined lord, whether this be an extremity to which their to involve the best of masters in the same difficulties fears will permit them to advance: or, if their pro with yourself. We owe it to your grace's well-tection should fail you, how far you are authorized directed labors, that your sovereign has been per- to rely upon the sincerity of those smiles, which s suaded to doubt of the affections of his subjects, and pious court lavishes withont reluctance upon a liberthe people to suspect the virtues of their sover: tine by profession. It is not, indeed, the least of the eign, at a time when both were unquestionable. You thousand contradictions which attend you, that a have degraded the royal dignity into a base and dis-man, marked to the world by the grossest violation honorable competition with Mr. Wilkes: nor had you of all ceremony and decorum, should be the fin abilities to carry even the last contemptible triumph / servant of a court, in which prayers are morality, over a private man, without the grossest violation of and kneeling is religion.. the fundamental laws of the constitution and rights! Trust not too far to appearances, by which you of the people. But these are rights, my lord, which predecessors have been deceived, though they bave you can no more annihilate, than you can the soil to not been injured. Even the best of princes may a5 which they are annexed. The question no longer last discover, that this is a contention in which turns upon points of national honor and security every thing may be lost, but nothing can be gained: abroad, or on the degrees of expedience and propriety and, as you became minister by accident, were, of measures at home. It was not inconsistent that adopted without choice, trusted without confidence you should abandon the cause of liberty in another and continued without favor, be assured, that wbedcountry, which you had persecuted in your own: and, ever an occasion presses, you will be discarded with in the common arts of domestic corruption, we miss out even the forms of regret. You will then bare SIR,
reason to be thankfui, if you are permitted to retire / imagine there is no gentleman in this country who
that seat of learning, which, in contemplation of will not be capable of forming a judicious and true he system of your life, the comparative purity of opinion upon it. I take the question to be strictly your manners with those of their high steward, and this; “Whether or no it be the known, established
thousand other recommending circumstances, has law of parliament, that the expulsion of a member of thosen you to encourage the growing virtue of their the house of commons, of itself creates in him such an youth, and to preside over their education. When- / incapacity to be re-elected, that, at a subsequent ver the spirit of distributing prebends and bishoprics election, any votes given to him are null and void; hall have departed from you, you will find that and that any other candidate, who, except the person earned seminary perfectly recovered from the expelled, has the greatest number of votes, ought to lelirium of an installation, and, what in truth it be the sitting member.” jught to be, once more a peaceful scene of slumber To prove that the affirmative is the law of parlia-ind thoughtless meditation. The venerable tutors ment, I apprehend it is not sufficient for the present of the university will no longer distress your house of commons to declare it to be so. We may nodesty, by proposing you for a pattern to their shut our eyes, indeed, to the dangerous consequences pupils. The learned dullness of declamation will be of suffering one branch of the legislature to declare ilent; and even the venal muse, though happiest in new laws without argument or example; and it may, iction, will forget your virtues. Yet, for the benefit perhaps, be prudent enough to submit to authority ; of the succeeding age, I could wish that your retreat but a mere assertion will never convince, much less night be deferred until your morals shall happily be will it be thought reasonable to prove the right by ipened to that maturity of corruption, at which the the fact itself. The ministry have not yet pretended Forst examples cease to be contagious.
to such a tyranny over our minds. To support the JUNIUS.
affirmative fairly, it will either be necessary to produce some statute, in which that positive provision
shall have been made, that specific disability clearly LETTER XVI.
created, and the consequences of it declared ; or, if
there be no such statute, the custom of parliament TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER. must then be referred to; and some case or cases,*
July 19, 1769. strictly in point, must be produced, with the decision A great deal of useless argument might have of the court upon them ; for I readily admit, that the been saved in the political contest which has arisen custom of parliament, once clearly proved, is equally rom the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes, and the subse-binding with the common and statute law. uent appointment of Mr. Luttrell. if the question The consideration of what may be reasonable or iad been once stated with precision, to the satisfac- unreasonable, makes no part of this question. We ion of each party, and clearly understood by them are inquiring what the law is, not what it ought to voth. But in this, as in almost every other dispute, be. Reason may be applied to show the impropriety t usually happens that much time is lost in referring or expediency of a law; but we must have either o a multitude of cases and precedents, which prove statute or precedent to prove the existence of it. At lothing to the purpose; or in maintaining proposi- the same time, I do not mean to admit that the late ions, which are either not disputed, or, whether resolution of the house of commons is defensible on hey be admitted or denied, are entirelyindifferentas general principles of reason, any more than in law. o the matter in debate ; until at last, the mind, This is not the hinge on which the debate turns. verplexed and confounded with the endless subtleties Supposing, therefore, that I have laid down an acof controversy, loses sight of the main question, and curate state of the question, I will venture to affirm, lever arrives at truth. Both parties in the dispute 1st, That there is no statute existing, by which that Ire apt enough to practise these dishonest artifices. specific disability which we speak of is created. If The man who is conscious of the weakness of his there be, let it be produced. The argument will then ause is interested in concealing it: and, on the be at an end. ther side, it is not uncommon to see a good cause 2dly, That there is no precedent, in all the proceednangled by advocates, who do not know the real ings of the house of commons, which comes entirely trength of it.
home to the present case, viz.: “Where an expelled I should be glad to know, for instance, to what member has been returned again, and another candiyurpose, in the present case, so many precedents date, with an inferior number of votes, has been lave been produced, to prove that the house of com- declared the sitting member.” If there be such a nons have a right to expel one of their own mem- precedent, let it be given to us plainly; and I am sure vers; that it belongs to them to judge of the validity it will have more weight than all the cunning arguof elections; or that the law of parliament is part of ments which have been drawn from inferences and he law of the land ?* After all these propositions probabilities. ire admitted, Mr. Luttrell's right to his seat will. The ministry, in that laborious pamphlet, which, I ontinue to be just as disputable as it was before. presume, contains the whole strength of the party, Not one of them is at present in agitation. Let it be have declared, “That Mr. Walpole's was the first and admitted that the house of commons were authorized only instance in which the electors of any county or o expel Mr. Wilkes, that they are the proper courthorough had returned a person expelled to serve in o judge of elections, and that the law of parliament the same parliament.” It is not possible to conceive y binding upon the people; still it remains to be in a case more exactly in point. Mr. Walpole was exquired, whether the house, by their resolution in pelled; and, having a majority of votes at the next avor of Mr. Luttrell, have, or have not, truly de-election, was returned again. The friends of Mr. lared that law. To facilitate this inquiry, I would Taylor, a candidate set up by the ministry, petitioned jave the question cleared of all foreign or indifferent the house that he might be the sitting member. Thus natter. The following state of it will probably be far the circumstances tally exactly, except that our thought a fair. one by both parties; and then I house of commons saved Mr. Luttrell the trouble of same. It came regularly before the house, and it was Junius's state of the question, he should have show their business to determine upon it. They did de- the fallacy of it, or given us a more exact one; sc termine upon it; for they declared Mr. Taylor not ondly, that, considering the many hours and day duly elected. If it be said, that they meant this reso-which the ministry and their advocates have wasted lution as matter of favor and indulgence to the in public debate, in compiling large quartos, and borough, which had retorted Mr. Walpole upon them, collecting innumerable precedents, expressly to in order that the burgesses, knowing what the law prove that the late proceedings of the house of com was, might correct their error, I answer,
petitioning. The point of law, however, was the * The reader will observe, that these admissions are macle not as of truths unquestionable, but for the sake of * Precedente, in opposition to principles, have little argument, and in order to bring the real question to weigbt with Juntus; bu
ion to weight with Junius; but he thought it necessary to meet Isste.
the ministry upon their own ground.
mons are warranted by the law, custom, and practice I. That it is a strange way of arguing, to oppose a of parliament, it is rather an extraordinary supposisupposition, which no man can prove, to a fact which tion to be made by one of their own party, even for proves itself.
the sake of argument, that no such statute, no cả II. That if this were the intention of the house of custom of parliament, no such case in point, can be procommons, it must have defeated itself. The bur-duced. G. A. may, however, make the supposition gesses of Lynn could never have known their error, with safety. It contains nothing but literally the much less could they have corrected it by any instruc- fact; except that there is a case exactly in point. tion they received from the proceedings of the house with a decision of the house diametrically opposite of commons. They might, perhaps, have foreseen, to that which the present house of commons came to that if they returned Mr. Walpole again, he would in favor of Mr. Luttrell. again be rejected; but they never could infer, from a The ministry now begin to be ashamed of the resolution by which the candidate with the fewest weakness of their cause; and, as it usually happens votes was declared not duly elected, that, at a future with falsehood, are driven to the necessity of shifelection, and in similar circumstances, the house of ing their ground, and changing their whole defense commons would reverse their resolution, and receive | At first we were told, that nothing could be clearet the same candidate as duly elected, whom they had than that the proceedings of the house of commons before rejected.
were justified by the known law and uniform custoa This, indeed, would have been a most extraordinary of parliament. But now, it seems, if there be no law, way of declaring the law of parliament, and what, I the house of commons have a right to make one: and presume, no man, whose understanding is not at if there be no precedent, they have a right to create cross purposes with itself, could possibly understand. the first: for this, I presume, is the amount of the
If, in a case of this importance, I thought myself | question proposed to Junius. If your correspondent at liberty to argue from suppositions rather than had been at all versed in the law of parliament, or from facts, I think the probability, in this instance, is generally in the laws of this country, he would have directly the reverse of what the ministry affirm; and seen that this defense is as weak and false as the that it is inuch more likely that the house of com- former. mons, at that time, would rather have strained a point! The privileges of either house of parliament, it is in favor of Mr. Taylor, than that they would have true, are indefinite: that is, they have not been de violated the law of parliament, and robbed Mr. Tay- scribed or laid down in any one code or declaration lor of a right legally vested in him, to gratify a re- whatsoever; but, whenever a question of privilege fractory borough, which, in defiance of them, had has arisen, it has invariably been disputed or mainreturned a person branded with the strongest mark | tained upon the footing of precedents alone. In of the displeasure of the house.
the course of the proceedings upon the Aylesbury But really, sir, this way of talking (for I cannot election, the house of lords resolved, “That neither call it argument) is a mockery of the common un-house of parliament had any power, by any vote or derstanding of the nation, too gross to be endured. declaration, to create to themselves any new privi Our dearest interests are at stake. An attempt has lege, that was not warranted by the known laws and been made, not merely to rob a single country of its customs of parliament." And to this rule, the house rights, but, by inevitable consequence, to alter the of commons, though otherwise they had acted in a constitution of the house of commons. This fatal | very arbitrary manner, gave their assent; for thes attempt has succeeded, and stands as a precedent re- affirmed that they had guided themselves by it in corded for ever. If the ministry are unable to de- asserting their privileges. Now, sir, if this be tree fend their cause by fair argument, founded on facts, with respect to matters of privilege, in which the let them spare us, at least, the mortification of being house of commons, individually, and as a body, are amused and deluded, like children. I believe there principally concerned, how much more strongly will is yet a spirit of resistance in this country, which it hold against any pretended power in that house to will not submit to be oppressed; but I am sure there create or declare a new law, by which not only the is a fund of good sense in this country, which cannot rights of the house over their own member and those be deceived.
of the member himself, are included, but also those JUNIUS. of a third and separate party; I mean the free
holders of the kingdom! To do justice to the mir
istry, they have not yet pretended that any one, at LETTER XVII.
auy two, of the three estates, bave power to make a TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER.
new law, without the concurrence of the third. The SIR,
| know, that a man who maintains such a doctrine, is August 1, 1769.
| liable, by statute, to the heaviest penalties. It will not be necessary for Junius to take the not acknowledge that the house of commons have
They do trouble of answering your correspondent G. A. or the assumed a new privilege, or declared a new law. On quotation from a speech without doors, published in the contrary, they affirm that their proceedings have your paper of the 28th of last month. The speech been strictly conformable to, and founded upon, the appeared before Junius's letter; and, as the author ancient law and custom of parliament. Thos there seems to consider the great proposition on which all fore, the question returns to the point at which his argumert depends, viz., that Mr. Wilkes was under Junius had fixed it, viz. Whether or no this be the that known legal incapacity of which Junius speaks, as law of parliament? If it be not, the house of cotea point granted, his speech is in no shape an answer
This is still meeting the ministry upon their own to Junius, for this is the very question in debate.
ground; for, in truth, no precedents will support eltber As to G. A. I observe, first that if he did not admit natural injustice, or violation of positive rights.