« PreviousContinue »
William Courtenay, Wiscount Courtenay.
The main question was then put, whether to agree with the Commons in the said address by inserting the words ‘Lords spiritual and temporal.’ This was carried without a division. It should be remembered that a general election had lately taken place, which was favourable to the policy of Lord North.
The following protest was inserted.
1st, Because the violent matter of this dangerous address was highly aggravated by the violent manner in which it was precipitately hurried through the House, Lords were not allowed the interposition of a moment's time for deliberation before they were driven headlong into a declaration of civil war. A conference was held with the Commons; an address of this importance presented; all extraneous information, although offered, positively refused ; all petitions arbitrarily rejected ; and the whole of this most awful business received, debated, and concluded in a single day.
2ndly, Because no legal grounds were laid in argument or in fact to show that a rebellion, properly so called, did exist in Massachusets Bay, when the papers of the latest date, and from whence alone we derive our information, were written. The overt acts to which the species of treason, affirmed in the address, ought to be applied, were not established, nor any offenders marked out. But a general mass of the acts of turbulence, said to be done at various times and places, and of various natures, were all thrown together to make out one general constructive treason. Neither was there any sort of proof of the continuance of any unlawful force from whence we could infer that a rebellion does now exist. And we are the more cautious of pronouncing any part of his Majesty's dominions to be in actual rebellion, because the cases of constructive treason under that branch of the 25th of Edward III, which describes the crime of rebellion, have been already so far extended by the judges, and the distinctions thereupon so nice and subtle, that no prudent man ought to declare any single person in that situation, without the clearest evidence of uncontrovertible overt acts, to warrant such a declaration. Much less ought so
high an authority as both Houses of Parliament, to denounce so
proceeded daily from bad to worse, until we have been brought, step by step, to that state of confusion, and even civil violence, which was the natural result of these desperate measures.
We therefore protest against an address amounting to a declaration of war, which is founded on no proper parliamentary information; which was introduced by refusing to suffer the presentation of petitions against it (although it be the undoubted right of the subject to present the same); which followed the rejection of every mode of conciliation; which holds out no substantial offer of redress of grievances; and which promises support to those ministers who have inflamed America, and grossly misconducted the affairs of Great Britain.
Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond.
A Bill was brought into the House of Commons by Lord North, to restrain the trade of the American colonies. On the question that the Bill with the amendments be engrossed, the affirmative was carried on the 6th of March by 215 to 61. The Bill was passed on the 8th of March, and sent to the Lords. It was debated there on the 15th of March, 16th of March, and passed on the 21st of March, with an amendment, including other plantations than those first stated, by IoA to 29 on the second reading, and by 73 to 21 on the third.
The following protest was inserted against passing the Bill, which Lord Abingdon called “a most diabolic measure,' expressing his amazement that the Bishops voted for it.
1st, Because the attempt to coerce by famine, the whole body of the inhabitants of great and populous provinces, is without example in the history of this, or perhaps of any civilised nation; and is one of those unhappy inventions, to which Parliament is driven by the difficulties which daily multiply upon us, from an obstinate adherence to an unwise plan of government. We do not know exactly the extent of the combination against our commerce in New England, and the other colonies; but we do know the extent of the punishment we inflict upon it, which is universal, and includes all the inhabitants: amongst these, many are admitted to be innocent; and several are alleged by Ministers to be, in their sense, even meritorious. That government which attempts to preserve its authority by destroying the trade of its subjects, and by involving the innocent and guilty in a common ruin, if it acts from a choice of such means, confesses itself unworthy; if from inability to find any other, admits itself wholly incompetent to the ends of its institution. 2ndly, Because the English merchants are punished without any guilt, real or pretended, on their part. The people of the proscribed provinces, though failing in their duty to government, ought to be permitted to discharge their obligations to commerce. Without their fishery this is impossible. The merchants of England entertain no fears for their debts, except from the steps which are said to be taken in their favour. Eight hundred thousand pounds of English property, belonging to London alone, is not to be trifled with, or sacrificed to the projects of those who have constantly failed in every expectation which they have held out to the public, and who are become more bigotted to methods of violence, in proportion to the experience of their inefficacy, and the mischievous consequences which attend them. 3rdly, Because the people of New England, besides the natural claim of mankind to the gifts of Providence on their own coast, are specially entitled to the fishery by their Charters, which have never been declared forfeited. These Charters, we think (notwithstanding the contempt with which the idea of public faith has been treated) to be of material consideration. The Bill therefore not growing out of any judicial process, seems equally a violation of all natural and all civil right. 4thly, Because we conceive that the attempt which has been
William Craven, Lord Craven.
A Bill was brought in to licence a playhouse at Manchester, as previously for one at Liverpool.
The following protest was inserted.
For the reasons entered in the Journal of the 26th of February, 1771, which I conceive, operate with at least equal force against establishing a theatre in the town of Manchester. And because no arguments or local considerations whatever can, in my judgment, justify even the partial repeal of a Law so well calculated to restrain dissipation and licentiousness, and to promote the cause of industry, morality, and religion, as every such repeal directly tends to the increase of those very evils which, in the late address of Convocation to his Majesty, the Prelates themselves (who now with such consistency countenance this Bill) observe with infinite concern, do at this time present a very gloomy prospect to every serious and considerate mind.
William Bouverie, Earl of Radnor.
Lord Radnor's protest was made a subject of complaint (Parliamentary History, vol. xviii, p. 632) on the 12th of May, when the Manchester Play