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· emoluments of an office, or the fore that house in its judicial ca.
profits of a contract, either of pacity. But at any rate, the which must bear a very dimiau. public could never fail of obtaintive proportion to the value of ing juflice against the offenders, cheir private citates, which were without the interposition of parwholly staked in the welfare and liament. They had indeed heard, fecurity of their country. The boih formerly and now,' a great - Bulgar but popular prejudice, deal about Arkinson's rum con. they said, of suppofing every mi.. tracts; and it was endeavoured 10 nitter corrupt, and that every man bring those transactions forward - who has any contract with goo as a sort of evidence in support of vernment, whatever bis former in the present bill. But that house tegrity might have been, becomes , being totally unacquainted with likewise corrupt from that instant, the circumstances of the affair, could not be sufficiently exploded, could form no opinion at all upon or treated with too much con- .it; if any thing improper appear. tempt. Who could be supposed ed in those transactions, the law so base or so foolish, as to sacrifice would cake due cognizance, of it, his reputation, and his perma. ;,and punishment would necessarily nent interests, for a precarious in- follow, conviction. A great law come or office? But if it were authority threw fome light upon
even admitted, that a few fuch this subject, which had been so · wretched and unworthy · charac- , often brought into discussion. But : fers might possibly exist, would the public, he said, could be no
the muliplying of penal laws, losers by the affair ; as the poble
eradicate the vices, or correct the lord at the head of the treasury - enormities of mankind i Had they had stopped the money overcharg
produced that effect with respect to ed, in the first instance; and the : gaming, the most destructive to a matter of the second, was now in a itate of all vices?
due course of investigacion. But admitting, what was very The lords on that fide contendpoffible, that some particular - per.. ed, that there were many other * soos might have been guilty of im- obje&ions of great weight against
position or fraud in their contracts, the bill. Particularly with respect
still there could be no occasion to the proposed new mode of con- for the interference of parliament, tracts, they observed, that the : much less for agreeing to the pre- most improper men, would proba
fent bill. The laws had very bly be the lowest bidders; but < wisely provided proper punish that there was still a matter of - ment for public as well as private greater danger and mischief to be
delinquency; and the courts of apprehended, which was, that the
justice were always open to due enemy might secretly employ • examination, and ready to enforce agents at these public biddings,
the laws. Such matters should merely to thwart and ruin the pub
therefore be left by' parliament lic service. i to their natural courfe. They. They scarcely combaced the 1. might possibly, if there were such, bill leis with respect to its obcome ultimately and properly be- jects, than its principle. These were two, namely, to restore the people of England at large. As independency of parliament, by little could they submit to the po. diminishing the supposed increas. fition held out on the other side, ed influence of the crown, and to that they had no right of interpromote economy in the expen: ference or rejection with respect diture of the public money. The to the present bill, from its being firft object, they contended, did a matter of domestic regulation not exift, and therefore could not which related merely to the combe attained. Could any man mons house. This they combated venture to say, that either house on two grounds. For if the preof parliament was at this day' in mises had been even fairly stated, a state of dependence or favery ? they could by no means admit Or, what proof could be given the inference. The very circumthat the influence of the crown stance, that the bill must of newas increased, or increasing? If cesity go through their house af. all other were wanting, the pal- ter it had pafled the common's, fing of the present. bill through clearly shewed, that they must the other house, and their late- have a right and power of rejecboasted resolutions, would afford tion, as well as of deliberation: the moft inconteftible evidence in and enquiry. But in fact, the both respects to the contrary.- But bill was not merely a matter of fuppofing that influence had real- domestic regulation; it could inly exifted, the present bill was deed answer very little, if any totally inadequate to that, its thing to that purpose. It was on first and principal object. The the contrary a great question of second object indeed, of promot- ftate.' It included in its embrače ing public economy, was a mat the royal prerogative, the confii. ter worthy of the highest consi- tùtion, the private rights of inderation ; but this bill was as de- dividuals, and the public rights fceive in that respect as in the of the people at large; and would other; and thus was, in fact, to- befides establith, or give a fanctally incommensurate to both its tion, to questions of dangerous objects.
import, relative to the supposed But it was advanced on the influence of the crown, and to other side, that those resolutions the honour and independence of patled in the other house, were to parliament. be received as evidence, and even A noble carl in high office ob. in some measure to influence the served, that the time was fast ap. conduct of that. On these points, proaching, if not already arrived, however, they must totally differ. when the weight and importance They could only consider there of that house inust necessarily be. resolutions as the opinions of 233 come appareat to the whole namembers of that house, and per- tion. They were placed as a barhaps of a number of their con- rier by the conftitution, between ftituents; but they could by no the extension of power and preromeans consider them as any abso- gative, or the one hand, and the late proof of the facts they related violence of the people, or the into, nor even as the sense of the porations of the conmons, on the VOL. XXIII.
other. When mistaken notions, ple with the present bill, and had and false representations of vir- not produced effcets exactly cortue and liberty, had either de. respondent to those, which are ceived the people at large, or the now held out as objects of so much members of the other house, it apprehension and horror. Are not was their duty, who had as dear a prodigious majority of the peo. an interest in the constitution as ple of England, and including a either, or both, to step forth as great number of ment of rank, its hereditary guardians, and ef- character, and fortune, rendered fcaually to controul, restrain, incapable, by one law, of having and relift, the delirium of virtue, a vote in the choice of their own the rage of invovation, and the representatives? Are not men of madness of enthusiasm ; until they the greatest abilities and integrity, had brought them back to cool. without qualifications which may .nels, sobriety, and reason. That not depend on either, proscribed ftate of things, he conceived at from a leat in the House of Compresent subfilling ; and the noble mons, however warmly the wishes of Jord threw out some peculiar the electors may be in their favour, phrases, particularly, that the or however highly they may conpeople were liberty mad - that fider it to their advantage to be lo they had run mad about public represented, by another? Do the virtue-and that the times unfor. commissioners of the excise and tunately exhibited nothing but an customs complain of any injustice, innovating spirit of alteration and in receiving their places at the ideal perfection, internal commo- expence of that right by which tion, causeless discontents, turbu- they might otherwile fit in parlia. lence and diffenfion.
ment? Or do they feel any sense The lords in opposition, treated of itigma or difgrace under that with very little respect, and in- exclufion? Thete gentlemen pordeed rather contemptuously, many sess at least as fair characters, and of the arguments brought against, generally as pleasant countenances and objections made on the other as contractors; and yet was it evet fide, particularly with respect to known, that any body or comthe principle and justice of the munity of electors, had becoine fo bill. They asked if it was pofli. enamoured of any of them, as to ble, that those noble lords, wlio complain of injury, because they seemed now to be so strangely could not be returned as their realarmed with refpe&t to the contti- presentatives. It is indeed true, tution, and who felt lo much for that as the contractor may gain supposed public injury, and pri- more money in a single morning vate injustice, could have totally by one job, than the fee-simple forgotten, or could have been ig- of the commillioner's place would norant, that the whole code of fell for, that circumliance may election laws, whether with re- render him a much more welcome gard to the elector, or the elected, visitor to our corrupt and rotten all the qualification, place, re- boroughs ; but that is one of the
Itraining, or exclusion laws, were enormities which the bill is in· not founded upon the same princi- tended to remedy.
All the restri@live, place, pen. tion. Surely a single instance fion, and exclufion laws that ever quoted in which the public were were palled, are so many living said to have been exonerated from records, of the constant jealousy the fraud of a contractor, would with which our ancestors, and not have been advanced, if the former parliaments watched, and learned lord had recollected, that as far as it was in the power of the detection of the fraud was enman, endeavoured to prevent or tirely owing to the activity of a correct, the growth and progress gentleman in the other house'; of undue influence and corrup- and that the minister was com.. tion; particularly the dangerous pelled, sorely against his will, influence of the crown. All these by the bitter and repeated attacks laws were founded upon the same made upon 'him by the opposia principle, and held the same ob- tion, to adopt an apparent meajects with the present bill. They fure of remedy, which was, how. all likewise tend to overthrow ever, probably but a mere delu. that unheard-of position, that the fion. minds of men are not liable to The arguments founded , upon be bialled by honours, places, or the many lupposed mischiefs and valt pecuniary emoluments. Did dangers attributed to open con. not their own records, as well as tracts, were, they said, as futile thole of the other house, furnish and as unworthy of notice, as the initances, of men in high rank, foregoing. The facts themselves wait and office, having in various were totally unfounded, and con
ales been operated upon by base tradicted by established and daily and unworthy motives? Have no experience. The conduct of the luch men been found corrupt and navy in this respect, overthrows, venal? Or have they not fuffered at once, every thing that has been public ignominy and punishment said upon that subject. The navy for their peculation, venality and is the only source, and affords prostitution ? But this doctrine, the only means of enterprize in they said, must have originated, this country. Yet all the vi&tual. either from 1o perfect a puerility ling office contracts are open and of understanding, or such a tho- above board. The very names of rough contempt of that house and the ports, at which ships or fqua. of the nation, as to be worthy drons are intended or likely to only of notice as a subje&t of ani- touch, are specified in the public madversion, but not of answer, news papers. Has any evil been Of the same nature, they said, yet known to refult from this me. was the argument drawn from the thod of supplying the navy? Of lupposed improbability of abuses what consequence would it be to in contracts, because the laws the enemy to know, that the rum have left in the hands of ministers, contractor had palmed currency the means of profecuting in the upon the minister of this country cours of justice, the supporters of for sterling money ? Or that the their own power, and the accom: gold contractor receives a large plices of their fraud and malversa. premium for sending Portugal
gold to America, when in fact he independence. On that ground fends nothing but English gui- the question of right, as well as neas thither.
. of expedience or propriety, was They treated the supposed inva. controverted. They had a very fion of the prerogative as a matter great law authority, they said, of ridicule. It was undoubtedly, in the case of the Middlesex electhey laid, a fatal stroke to the tion, although the learned lord executive power, to be enabled to opposed the present bill, that in supply its fleets and armies better, cases which related to their own to carry on the public business immediate privileges, and the remore advantageously, and the ope- ceiving or exclusion of their own rations of war more successfully, members, there was no appeal than it was before disposed or from the decisions of the House capable of doing in ittelt. They of Commons, nor could any other closed the ground of examination branch of the legislature check or by declaring that they had not alter their resolutions. So that heard an argument again it the right or wrong, according to that bill, which did not appear to be authority, their decifion would be either frivolous, fallacious, or final. Surely, the same rule that dangerous. It had indeed been held in that instance, must equal. urged, that it was neceflary to ly apply in the present. This abate that phrenzy, of virtue, which bill, which related particularly to began to appear in the Houte of their own privileges, had been Commons. As to that new fpe- unanimously passed by the other cies of phrenzy, they could not house. If it was rejected there, but contider it, rather as a cha- the probable consequence would racter of foundneiš, than as a' be, that as it went to the exclu. fynoptom of inianity; and as they fion of a particular description of neceflarily came frequently into men, the other house would shew contact with the other house, they their contempt of the rejection, in could not refrain from fincerely the exercile of what was deemed withing, that that distemper might their own inherent right, and act. become contagious.
ing as they had done in the af. Having thus controverted the fair of the Middlesex ele&ion, objections to the bill, they sup- exclude them by a mere resolution. ported it on the following grounds : Could the lords be blind, in the Its own intrinsic merit. The present critical situation of affairs, magnitude of the evil which it to the danger of a rupture with was designed to remedy, and the the other house? . neceility from which it was deriv. It was curious, they said, to obed. Its being in conformity to serve the continual inconsistency the wishes and petitions of the in the conduct of ministers. When people of England. The impro- a motiou tending to ceconomical priety, it not danger, of their ob- reform had, not long before, been Itructing a measure of domestic made in that house, it was strong. regulation adopted by the House ly objected to by a noble earl in of Commons, and tending mere: office, because, it might give ofly to their own internal purity and fence to the commons, that the