Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

was.

to the commons; and, being rejected the difficulty? Not general Ron, in conformity to the usage of that not any member of the long robe ; house, which did not admit the but the inembers of the court mar. the lords to make amendments in a tial themselves. Their knowledge money bill, was again introduced of the culions and usage of their as a new bill, and palied into a own profetlion fuggested the diffilaw.

culty, and upon that the question The subject of the alteration of had come before the judges. As the mutiny bill, which had been one of them, he had delivered his made in the preceding year in or opinion, ihe unanimous opinion of der to include officers by brevet in all; and, after he had delivered it, the operation of military law, was he had heard from an infinite numrevived as a topic of debate in the ber of officers, that they thould present year, and received an ample have been exceedingly surprised, discuition in both houses. It was had the decilion been other than it now acknowleged, that officers on The clavie was opposed by half pay were not intended to be lord Stormont, lord Portchelier, and included, the contrary of which lord Rawdon; and vindicated by was represented by opposition as lord Sydney, lord Hawkelbury, and resulting from the strict construction the duke of Richmond. It was of the clause; and it was argued, carried without a division. that there was no just ground of On the twenty-sixth of March distinction between them and brevet lord Rawdon called the attention . officers. The clause was opposed of the house of lords to the conin the house of commons by colonel vention with Spain of the sixteenth Fitzpatrick, fir James Erskine, of July 1786, and moved, as a re-Mr. Jolliffe, Mr. Francis and Mr. folution, that it did not meet the Fox; and was defended by fir favourable opinion of that house. Charles Gould, fir George Yonge, The article, upon which he ani, and fir George Howard. Upon madverted, was that, by which the a division the numbers appeared, British poffeffions upon the Mosquito ayes 73, noes 2 jo

Thore were surrendered, in exchange It was argued by lord Thurlow for a small tract of land upon the in the house of lords, that the bay of Honduras. He asserted, that cause did not in reality amount to we certainly could have made a an alteration of the muriny bill. better bargain, than to have ceded Previoufly to the opinioni, lately to Spain a tract of land, at least delivered by the judges in the cate large as the whole kingdom of Por: of general Rofs, martial law had tugal, which yielded us cotton, inbeen underitood to extend to officers digo, logwood and sugar, in ex, holding commiflions by brevet. change for a liberty to cut logThe bill therefore did nothing wood, and a scanty settlement of inore, than declare that expressly twelve miles in extent.' Indeed it to be law, which had been under. was not only injurious and degraditood to be the law before. Lord ing to the nation, but it was an act Loughborough controverted this of ingratitude to the British subjects potition. In the case of general there, to whom we had long afford Ross, no man could have down a ed protection, and from whom we Itronger wish to have his conduct had received in return every mark invettigated ; and who had started of respect and alliitance they could

give. These inhabitants were deli- he thought credit ought to be given vered up to their old implacable them for the having had other, and enemy, who had, it was true, pro much itronger reatons for what they mised, that he would not punith or had done, than appeared upon the maltreat them for their pait friend- face of the transaction. But there thip to Great Britain; a wretched was a part of the convention, that return of gratitude on our part, to by which the inhabitants were dea people, that we were bound to ferted, and surrendered without support by every tie of honour, their consent into the hands of their and every principle of justice. He enemy, which he conceived to be added, that ministers would have a juft ground of cenfure. There exbibited a much founder policy, if could be no secret reason for fuch if they had sent our transported a mortifying facrifice of the spirit convicts to the Mosquito fore, than of this country, and on that ground by adopting the brilliant and ro. he should vote for the motion. mauric scheme of sending them to Lord Thurlow had expected mort the antipodes, where they could be accuracy of description in point of of no use at all.

geographical character, in a debate The marquis of Carmarthen in of this nature.

The Mosquito reply to lord Rawdon observed, thore had been talked of as a tract that he was the minister most par- of country, extending between four ticularly and personally respondible and five hundred miles; without for the convention, nor would be the least mention of the swamps fhrink from any blame that could and morasses with which it was in. juftly be imputed to it. He added, terspersed. With regard to settlethat he could easily exhibit a strong ment, it had posleffed neither a re, and fufficient ground of justification, gular governinent, a formal counit the discretion, due from men in cil, nor established laws. A dehigh executive offices, did not teach tachment of soldiers had been landthem, rather to rikk their own cha- ed from the island of Jamaica, who racter, and to be contented with a erected fortifications, which were consciousness of their innocence, afterwards by order of the govern. than to resort to a disclosure of facts, ment at home, given up and aban, which it was necessary to the na-. doned. He instanced the transactional safety, and to the continu- tions upon the subject in the peace ance of the public tranquillity of Paris of 1763, when governor should be kept concealed. Lord Littleton prelided at Jamaica, ard Carlisle could not agree, that it observed that we had given a frella was right to contend in that house proof in 1777. of our baving re-, for the value of the trade carried nounced all claim upon the country, on through the Mosquito fhore, it when lord George Germaine fent it were really, what he feared it out Mr. Lawrie to the Mosquito mult be acknowledged to be, nothing fore, to see that the stipulations more than a smuggling trade upon with Spain were fully carried into the Spaniards and their settlements. execution. Lord Thurlow conThere was also fo much to be said cluded, that the Mosquitos were for the discretion, which ministers not our allies, or 2 people, whom were bound to exercise in relation we were bound by treaty to pro to fome parts of their conduct, that, teệt; and that the number of Bri: where that was seriously pleaded, with subjects, according to the last

report,

report, had amounted only to a and opposed by the duke of Rich. hundred and twenty men, and fix- mond ; and the house having di. teen women. The motion was far- vided, the numbers appeared, conther supported by lord Stormont, tents 17, not contents 53.

CHAPTER VI.

Determinations on the Scottish Peerage. India Affairs. Motion for a Re

peal of the Teft. Infolevnt Bill. Eftablishment of the Prince of Wales. Inquiry into the Post-Office.

AVING related in the two right of representation had been

those Scottish peers, as a transactions of the present session, consideration for the loss of an he. which originated in the measures reditary seat in parliament. Those, of government, that which remains who no longer suffered the loss, for us is a view of those questions could therefore no longer be entiof policy, whether successful or tled to a share in the compensation. otherwise, which were brought un- He read a resolution of the house der the confideration of parliament of lords voted in January 1709, by by persons not connected with, or which it was declared, " that a forming a part of administration. peer of Scoland, fitting in the parThe topics, which fall under this liament of Great Britain by virtue description, are both numerous and of a patent passed since the union, iinportant, which is partly to be had no right to vote in the elecascribed to the uncommon ability, tion of the sixteen peers of Scotassiduity and spirit of those persons, land.” The two noblemen in who took a lead in the present op- quellion confessedly stood in the polition.

situation to which the resolution On the thirteenth of February applied; and he who had not a a question was submitted to the con- right to vote, a fortiora, could not fideration of the house of lords by be elected. Lord Stormont expa. viscount Stormont, originating in the tiated upon this determination, creation of peers during the preced- which, he said, was as folemn and ing summer, when the earl of Aber. deliberate, as any which stood on corn and the duke of Queensberry, the records of parliament. It paff. peers of the kingdom of Scotland, ed at a time, when all that related had been called to the dignity of to the union was fresh in the methe English peerage, by the titles mory of every man, and when the of viscount Hamilton and baron true meaning and intention of that Douglas, notwithstanding which great treaty was generally known. they continued to fit as representa lt palled in the presence of many, tives of the peerage of Scotland. who had been commissioners on Lord Stormont laid it down as an both lides, actors in that great incontrovertible position, that the scene ; and the journals shewed that

there

one.

there was not a single protest. It they had made as large a sacrifice, had been constantly acted upon, as ever was made by men. Had uinqueftioned and unshaken, for they retained their hereditary seat fourscore years. Such a precedent in parliament at the expence of half had all the weight and authoriry, their property, they had made a that could belong to any precedent; happy and a noble exchange. No and powerful indeed would be its man deserved an hereditary seat in authority upon the mind of every the great council of a free nation, man, who knew the mischiefs of who did not consider it as the first fluctuation, and the numberless be- of all rights, the most valuable of all nefits which arose from certainty of poffeffions. That right, that ineslaw, and uniformity of decilion. timable possession, for reasons of

Lord St 'rmont examined the case public utility their ancestors had of the duke of Athol. upon whom been contented to forego. They an English honour had devolved in did that, which had ever been 1736, and who had continued to fit counted a mark of exalted virtue. in parliament as duke of Athol and They chose rather to be little in a baron Strange. He observed, that great ttate, than great in a small there had never been any decision, Deciding on the rights of or even the smallest discullion upon the descendants of men so circumthe subject. It probably was stanced, the house would be disthought a thing of little conse- posed, rather to extend, than to diquence, as there was very little minith them. But they asked no chance, that a similar cafe, that of extenfion; all they desired was, an old English honour devolving that the houte would not, in conupon a Scottish peer, mould ever tradiction to the clear and obvious happen again. The peerage of

The peerage of meaning of the agreement, abridge Scotland was then smarting under their rights, and curtail the fender the wound, which the ralh and compentation allotted them, for the violent hand of party gave in the greatest loss that men who had any case of the duke of Brandon in 1711. dignity could sustain. Lord store But the case was different now; the mont then moved, “ that the earl Scottish peers had lately been ref- of Abercorn and the duke of tored to their rights, and the royal Queensberry, who had been chosen favour might flow as freely in that, of the number of the fixteen peers, as in any other channel. He was having been created peers of Great persuaded, that the same fairness Britain, thereby ceased to fit in and liberality of sentiment, which that house as reprefentatives of the had governed upon that occahon, peerage of Scotland.” would now with equal force plead The bishop of Landaff declared, the justice of the cause.

that, had the question appeared to Lord Stormont concluded with him to have been of nice legal disan appeal to the honour and the cullion, he would not have prefeelings of the house. He hoped sumed to trouble the house with they would keep in constant remem- any sentiments of his upon the subbrance, that, before an event fo be. ject; but he was satisfied, that a neficial as the union could take moderate portion of plain common place, the peers of Scotland had sense was equal to its comprehengreat difficulties to conquer. For fion. The king had been pleased the attainment of that delizable end to bestow English honours upon

two

:

two Scottish peers. This he con- quisitions. Lord Loughborough ceived to be an infraction of the maintained, that this striết mode of treaty of union ; but then it was construction was not to be applied an infraction on the part of Eng- but to penal itatutes. In all other land, as the honours were Eng. cases the spirit and the intention of lith. Scotland consequently could the law were guides to the true innot find fault, nor did he mean to terpretation. The motion of lord complain. . On the contrary he Stormont was farther opposed by thought it extremely right, that lord Morton, and fupported by the the fovereign should call up to that earls of Hopetoun and Fauconhouse peers of Scotland, descended berg. Upon a division the num. from old and honourable families, bers were, contents 52, not cou. and who could add the lustre of tents 38. ancestry to their other eminent qua- A second debate upon the sublifications. For, whatever might ject of the Scottish peerage was oce be said of ancestry, no man des- cafioned by the election of the earl pised it, but he who had none to of Selkirk and lord Kinnaird to revalue kimself upun, and no man present the peerage of Scotland, in made it his pride, but he who had the room of the duke of Queensberry nothing better. Doctor Watfon en- and the earl of Abercorn. Upon tirely coincided with the arguments this occasion the dukes of Queensof lord Stormont, and put an ex. berry and Gordon had given their treme care, in order to remove the votes as peers of Scotland, which pollibility of a doubt. He asked, was contrary to the tenour of the it the queen, when the act of union resolution of the house of lords of was firit paffed, had chosen to cre- January 1709. The subject was are the whole fixteen peers British brought forward as a topic of difdukes, was there one inan, who in cussion on the eighteenth of May that case would have denied, that by the earl of Hopetoun, by whom the spirit of the act of union was it was moved, that a copy of that vilibly superseded ?

resolurion should be transmitted to Lord Thurlow conjured the the lord register of Scotland, as a house to contider, how much their rule for his future proceedings in honour and their character depend- cases of election. ed upon their present decition ; The motion was opposed by lord and called to their recolle-rion the Thurlow. He exhorted the house degree of rankness and corruption, not to proceed precipitately and to which the tribunal of the house suddenly, to decide a question of of commons had arrived, previoully much greater importance, than at to the passing of Mr. Grenville's firit light it might appear to be. biil. In his opinion they were A resolution of either house of parDit to lisien to arguments, grounde liament, however unanimously cared on the suppoled or real incon- ried, did not constitute law. Notenience, that would refult to this thing was entitled to that descrip. or to that set of men, vor were tion, but what had passed both they entitled to contider, what the houses in the exercise of their legi.act of parliament should have be:n, llative functions, and received the but what it was. They were affent of the crown in the forin of bound to abide by the letter, and an act of parliament. The house religioudy to comply with its re. was now called upon in their juo

« AnteriorContinua »