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without a degree of deliberation adequate to the importance of the object. Having afforded ourselves due time for that deliberation, we do now most humbly beg leave to represent to his majesty, that, in the speech from the throne, his ministers have thought proper to use a language of a very alarming import, unauthorized by the practice of good times, and irreconcileable to the principles of this govern
Humbly to express to his majesty, that it is the privilege and duty of this House to guard the constitution from all infringement on the part of ministers; and whenever the occasion requires it, to warn them against any abuse of the authorities committed to them: but it is very lately that in a manner not more unseemly than irregular and preposterous, ministers have thought proper, by admonition from the throne, implying distrust and reproach, to convey the expectations of the people to us, their sole representatives +; and have presumed to caution us, the natural guardians of the constitution, against any infringement of it on our parts. This dangerous innovation we, his faithful Commons, think it our duty to mark; and as these admonitions from the throne, by their frequent repetition, seem intended to lead gradually to the establishment of an usage, we hold ourselves bound thus solemnly to protest against them.
"This House will be, as it ever ought to be, anxiously attentive to the inclinations and interests of its constituents: nor do we desire to straiten any of the avenues to the throne, or to either House of parliament. But the ancient order, in which the rights of the people have been
See King's Speech, Dec. 5. 1782, and May 19. 1784.
"I will never subunit to the doctrines I have heard this day from the woolsack, that the other House" [House of Commons] " are the only representatives and guardians of the people's rights. I boldly maintain the contrary. I say, this House" [House of Lords] "are equally the representatives of the people." The Earl of Shelburne's Speech, April 8. 1778. See New Parliamentary History, vol. xix. p. 1048. ̧
exercised, is not a restriction of these rights. It is a method providently framed in favour of those privileges, which it preserves and enforces by keeping in that course which has been found the most effectual for answering their ends. His majesty may receive the opinions and wishes of inindividuals under their signatures, and of bodies corporate under their seals, as expressing their own particular sense; and he may grant such redress as the legal powers of the crown enable the crown to afford. This, and the other House of Parliament, may also receive the wishes of such corporations and individuals by petition. The collective sense of his people his majesty is to receive from his Commons in parliament assembled. It would destroy the whole spirit of the constitution, if his Commons were to receive that sense from the ministers of the crown, or to admit them to be a proper or a regular channel for conveying it. "That the ministers in the said speech declare,‹ his majesty has a just and confident reliance, that we (his faithful Commons) are animated with the same sentiments of loyalty, and the same attachment to our excellent constitution, which he had the happiness to see so fully manifested in every part of the kingdom.'
"To represent that his faithful Commons have never failed in loyalty to his majesty. It is new to them to be reminded of it. It is unnecessary and invidious to press it upon them by any example. This recommendation of loyalty, after his majesty has sat for so many years, with the full support of all descriptions of his subjects, on the throne of this kingdom, at a time of profound peace, and without any pretence of the existence or apprehension of war or conspiracy, becomes in itself a source of no small jealousy to his faithful Commons; as many circumstances lead us to apprehend that therein the ministers have reference to some other measures and principles of loyalty, and to some other ideas of the constitution, than the laws require, or the practice of parliament will admit.
"No regular communication of the proofs of loyalty and attachment to the constitution, alluded to in the speech
from the throne, have been laid before this House, in order to enable us to judge of the nature, tendency, or occasion of them, or in what particular acts they were displayed; but if we are to suppose the manifestations of loyalty (which are held out to us as an example for imitation) consist in certain addresses delivered to his majesty, promising support to his majesty in the exercise of his prerogative, and thanking his majesty for removing certain of his ministers, on account of the votes they have given upon bills depending in parliament, if this be the example of loyalty alluded to in the speech from the throne, then we must beg leave to express our serious concern for the impression which has been made on any of our fellowsubjects by misrepresentations, which have seduced them into a seeming approbation of proceeding subversive of their own freedom. We conceive, that the opinions delivered in these papers were not well considered; nor were the parties duly informed of the nature of the matters on which they were called to determine, nor of those proceedings of parliament which they were led to censure.
"We shall act more advisedly. The loyalty we shall manifest will not be the same with theirs; but, we trust, it will be equally sincere, and more enlightened. It is no slight authority which shall persuade us (by receiving as proofs of loyalty the mistaken principles lightly taken up in these addresses) obliquely to criminate, with the heavy and ungrounded charge of disloyalty and disaffection, an uncorrupt, independent, and reforming parliament *. Above
* In that parliament the House of Commons by two several resolu tions put an end to the American war. Immediately on the change of ministry which ensued, in order to secure their own independence and to prevent the accumulation of new burthens on the people, by the growth of a civil-list debt, they passed the establishment bill. By that bill, thirty-six offices tenable by members of parliament were suppressed; and an order of payment was framed, by which the growth of Buy fresh debt was rendered impracticable. The debt on the civil list the beginning of the present reign had amounted to one million
all, we shall take care that none of the rights and privileges, always claimed, and since the accession of his majesty's illustrious family constantly exercised by this House, (and which we hold and exercise in trust for the Commons of Great Britain, and for their benefit,) shall be constructively surrendered, or even weakened and impaired under ambiguous phrases, and implications of censure on the late parliamentary proceedings, If these claims are not well-founded, they ought to be honestly abandoned; if they are just, they ought to be steadily and resolutely maintained.
"Of his majesty's own gracious disposition towards the true principles of our free constitution, his faithful Com
three hundred thousand pounds and upwards. Another act was passed
mons never did or could entertain a doubt: but we humbly beg leave to express to his majesty our uneasiness concerning other new and unusual expressions of his ministers, declaratory of a resolution to support in their just balance, the rights and privileges of every branch of the legislature.'
"It were desirable that all hazardous theories concerning a balance of rights and privileges (a mode of expression wholly foreign to parliamentary usage) might have been forborne. His majesty's faithful Commons are well instructed in their own rights and privileges, which they are determined to maintain on the footing upon which they were handed down from their ancestors; they are not unacquainted with the rights and privileges of the House of Peers, and they know and respect the lawful prerogatives of the crown; but they do not think it safe to admit any thing concerning the existence of a balance of those rights, privileges, and prerogatives; nor are they able to discern to what objects ministers would apply their fiction of balance, nor what they would consider as a just one. These unauthorized doctrines have a tendency to stir improper discussions, and to lead to mischievous innovations in the constitution. *
* If these speculations are let loose, the House of Lords may quarrel with their share of the legislature, as being limited with regard to the origination of grants to the crown and the origination of money bills. The advisers of the crown may think proper to bring its negative into ordinary use; and even to dispute whether a mere negative, compared with the deliberative power exercised in the other Houses, be such a share in the legislature as to produce a due balance in favour of that branch; and thus justify the previous interference of the crown in the manner lately used. The following will serve to shew how much foundation there is for great caution concerning these novel speculations. Lord Shelburne, in his celebrated speech, April 8th, 1778, expresses himself as follows:
"The noble and learned lord on the woolsack, in the debate which opened the business of this day, asserted that your lordships were incompetent to make any alteration in a money-bill, or a bill of supply. I should be glad to see the matter fully and fairly discussed, and the