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the same; the necessity in which they cute that function with dignity and originate, and the purposes for which independence. There have been many they are exercised, are materially dif- instances, and many more will probaferent. Both houses of parliament bly occur, when the publication of a possess a complete and exclusive ju. libel on an individual member may dicature upon all subjects concerning subject him to popular insult, or when their respective privileges; the viola. that apprehension will deter him from tion of which has ever been consider the discharge of his duty. The ated as a distinct offence, cognizable tainder of Lord Stafford, the most only in the respective houses of par- unjust and disgraceful act that ever liament, and punishable by their sene received the sanction of the legislatence; and this was demonstrated by ture, was carried simply by the ter80 many precedents, that the difficulty ror which resulted from posting up was in selecting authorities, not in the names of its principal opponents discovering them. - These positions as enemies of their country. By these Mr W. Wynn established by facts means even the bold spirit of Lord drawn from the history of parliament, Capel was intimidated into what, in and by the doctrines which the ablest the last moments of his life, he reconstitutional lawyers have laid down. pented, as a coward consent to what “ The question," he then continued, his conscience disapproved. In all « is simply, whether the House of such instances, speedy and summary Commons does at this hour possess the punishment is requisite, or, before an power of imprisoning those who either example can be made, the mischief insult its members for their parliamen. which it is wished to prevent will tary conduct, or degrade and vilify the have attained its utmost degree, It character and proceedings of the house is indeed only under the existence of itself; and whether that power, if it such a privilege that the practice of be known to the laws, shall be en- publishing the debates could subsist, forced by such methods as are neces. Were this controul removed, the lansary for its legal exercise ? Until the guage of all public men would be conwhole foundations of our law be sub. tinually misrepresented, not, as now verted, there is but one issue on which too frequently happens, by error or such a question can be tried. If such inadvertency, but by wilful perver. a power be now first claimed and ex. sion, according to the violence of ercised, its origin must be shewn in party, or malevolence of personal hos. some legislative act, expressly intro- tility. This must lead of necessity ducing the innovation; if, on the to a great public evil, to the closing contrary, its exercise has been unin- the gallery of the house, and debar. terrupted for centuries, and the in- ring the people from all means of stances of exertion are coeval with learning, through the press, the conthe records of parliament itself, it is duct of their representatives, and of for those who contend against it to correcting any misconceived opinions shew by what act it has been abro- of public affairs, by the superior ingated. As well might a man be ad- formation and judgement of those mitted to dispute the power of par- by whom they are discussed in parliament to make laws, as the privilege liament.” by which alone it is enabled to exe. Consistently with this view of the subject, Mr W. Wynn mo- ture, would be destroyed for ever, June 8. ved some resolutions, that and the commons would retain no

whoever presumed to com- privileges but what the lords should, mence or prosecute any action against by their judgements on different ocany person for acts done in obedience casions, think proper to admit them to the orders of the house, any such to. He did not propose that the persons, and all attornies, solicitors, house should immediately proceed to counsellors, and serjeants at law, so commit the solicitor, after the origiliciting, prosecuting, or pleading in nal offence had been overlooked; but any such cases, were guilty of a high if, after the resolutions for which he breach of the privileges of the house; moved, these actions should be prothat the actions commenced by Sir ceeded in, then it would undoubtedly Francis Burdett, were for acts done be necessary to commit every person in obedience to the orders of the concerned in carrying them on. house; and that the proper officer of “This,” Mr Wynn continued, “ is the Court of King's Bench should the latest moment for the assertion of be ordered to attend the house on the Qur privileges. What then is now to morrow with all records and proceed. be done? Recur to that principle ings on the said actions. “ Were which governed the practice of your ministers,” he asked, “ prepared for ancestors,—the principle that the prothe consequences to which the meaceedings of the House of Commons, sures they had adopted might lead? in matters of privilege, shall not be and did they intend that the com- questioned by any other tribunal. For mons should carry the question by the preservation of this vital princi. writ of error before the other house ple new measures must be taken, if of parliament, and that they should new measures are necessary; and who, humbly sue for their privileges at in such a case, would hesitate to make the bar of the House of Lords ? for a precedent, if it were true that none before the lords the question would could be found? But there are preultimately be brought, either by the cedents in our journals ; in three ca. house, or by those who resisted its ses * the house has ordered the reprivileges. Perhaps it might be said, cords of the inferior courts to be laid that the lords would be as carefulof the on the table, and has directed the ob. privileges of the commons as of their noxious proceedings to be then taken own. On the contrary it appeared, off the file and destroyed. Many perthat it was from the other house of sons, however, there are, who think parliament that the privileges of the that these measures are indeed the procommons had experienced the most per course, but not the most prudent; severe and frequent attacks; and if it that they are too strong for the preshould once be established that the sent moment, and that we should now commitments of the House of Com- conciliate. But the opportunity for mons could, by appeal, be brought attending to such considerations is under the judicature of the lords, the gone by. Many instances there un. equality which has hitherto subsisted doubtedly were, where common pru. between those branches of the legisla- dence and good sense would induce

* Those of Lord Newburgh, 1669 ; the Middlesex Justices, 1726; and the Com: mitment of the Messenger by the Lord Mayor, in 1771.

the members of the house to pass over lect,” he said, “the great man whose offences altogether. Of such a na- loss we all have so lately deplored ; ture, perhaps, in the opinion of many, who pursued his course firm and unwas the paper of Mr Gale Jones, deviating, frequently in direct oppo. when it was originally complained of; sition to the prevailing clamour; who, but when it had been once regularly when the spirit of the nation was noticed, and by a formal complaint sunk to the lowest ebb of degradaforced on the attention of the house, tion, when the populace had actually no member could doubt any longer as drawn in triumph a French general to the course to be pursued, or could through the streets of London, stood hesitate to concur in the vote which forward, almost alone, and raised their the house finally passed upon that spirits by his own. To the stand occasion, however he might have been then made by that illustrious person, disinclined to the original agitation and the small phalanx which rallied of the question.

round him, it was to be attributed, “ As soon as that complaint was that the ancient fortitude of the counmade, and unavoidably adopted, the try was restored; that during seven country could not be deceived by any years of war which had since occur. pretences to conciliation ; nor would red, we had heard of no petitions for they have attributed such a conduct peace, no unmanly complaints of the to any other motives, but those of un- heavy and unparalleled burthens which worthy cowardice. Was it likely, it had been necessary to impose. that those persons could be concilia. Were my lamented friend now here, ted, who had directed their attacks it would have been unnccessary for against the House of Commons, sim- any other person to have brought for. ply because they thought that, at the ward this question. To imitate the present moment, this was more vul- strain of eloquence with which he nerable than either of the other bran- would have enforced it, the felicity ches of the legislature? They would of illustration with which he would laugh to see the house affect mode. have adorned it, was impossible ; but ration, by abandoning what for ages to emulate his determination and inhad been its only guard and defence. trepidity, is in the power of every It was much the same sort of pledge one. For myself,” Mr Wynn conclu. of conciliation and peace, which a ded, “ whatever may be the determigreat country was formerly called nation of the house, I am desirous to upon to give to its enemies, by sur. be able to state to my constituents that rendering the whole of its fleet. The I have endeavoured to my utmost to moment of conflict was not that for preserve, uninjured and unimpaired, concession, even if concession were, those privileges which they have inon other grounds, adviseable, instead trusted to my hands, and which I feel of being ruinous and destructive. to be the privileges, not of this house These were times, when it was ne. only, but of all the commons of Eng. cessary to rise above the dread of tem. land.” porary unpopularity.”

Mr Perceval replied to this able Mr Wynn then adverted to the re- and manly speech, “ that Mr Wynn cent loss which that house and the argued upon the assumption that the country had sustained in the death of tribunals would act contrary to the Mr Windham. “ We should recol- law of the land, an assumption which

the house ought not to make. Nei- tives of his conduct, he would have ther ought the house, after having rested the question upon the case of agreed to plead, to commit the incon Gale Jones,—a case which all parties sistency of resolving to punish the thought hard; for though, when it persons concerned in prosecuting the had been brought before the house, actions. The present resolutionsought the house could not proceed other. not, therefore, to be passed, because wise than it did, most persons agreed they tended to overturn all that had in wishing that his conduct had never been done. Earl Temple and Mr been made the subject of complaint. Adam supported Mr Wynn's motion, But it neither suited with the vanity which was, however, negatived by 74 nor the views of Sir Francis, that Jones members against 14. And here those should be the object of popular at. proceedings of the session terminated tention ; he put himself forward, and to which Sir Francis Burdett had thrust Jonesoutof sight, and throughgiven rise. His conduct, from the out the whole of the subsequent pro, commencement of the session, had been ceedings, acted not like a man who in the highest degree reprehensible; loved and respected the laws and in. it had been a series of direct, pre- stitutions of his country, but like a meditated, and systematic insults to demagogue performing an insurrec. the House of Commons. If a regard tion, as soldiers fight mock-battles in for the liberty of the subject, and the a review, for the purpose of trying law of the land, had been the real mo. his strength against the government:

CHAP. IV.

Budget. Army, Ordnance, and Naval Estimates. Affair of Captain Lake.

Lord Melville's Motion respecting Troop-Ships.

The supplies voted for the year ports of foreign goods was nearly four were 52,185,0001., of which the Irish millions less than at that time, but proportion was 6,106,0001., leaving the average proved that the country for England 46,079,0001. The ways was greatly progressive in prosperity; and means which were provided left and this was seen in our external a surplus of 141,2021. These inclu. means and strength, as well as in our ded a loan of 8,000,0001., at 41. 48. internal resources, as had happily been and 3 d. per cent., terms even more shewn to the conviction of the enefavourable than those of the preced. my. It was but a few years since ing year. The annual charge to be that enemy declared that all he wantprovided for was 970,8331. ' It was ed was ships, colonies, and comproposed to meet this from the sur- merce ;-he had lost all his complus of the consolidated fund, which, merce, all his colonies, and his few owing to the additions and regula- remaining ships were pent up in their tions made in the stamp duties in ports. This, too, was the enemy 1808, was unexpectedly great. whose measures were represented as

“ There was no rea- founded in wisdom, and executed May 16. son,” Mr Perceval said, with ability; while the government of

" to apprehend any thing this country had been uniformly charlike decay in our finances; the more ged with weakness, ignorance, folly we looked at them, the more reason and imbecillity. But the orders in we had to be satisfied with their grow. council, the vilified measure of this ing prosperity. In that very year, vilified ministry, had reduced the rewhen men of great authority antici, ceipts of the customs in France froin pated a failure, there had actually been two millions and a half to half a mila very considerable increase. The lion, a diminution of four-fifths of the official value of the imports was whole amount." 36,255,2091., nearly five millions Mr Huskisson was little satisfied more than in the most prosperous with this statement. “ Was it possiyear of peace. The exports of our ma. ble," he asked, “ to go on adding nufactures amounted to 35,107,0001., from a million to 1,200,000!. every between eight and nine millions more year to the public burthens, and could than they were in 1802. The ex. we hope to continue the war in this

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