Imatges de pÓgina
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Mr. Townshend, laughing, said, he did not expect to have Mr. Townbeen called upon for such an explanation by his honourable fhend. friend, but that he was not ashamed to acknowledge the fact. That he wished the thanks of the House should be voted unaniinously, to the late speaker, and therefore he had endeavoured to make it palatable to the treasury bench, being too old a member of Parliament, not to know the weight of that

a bench in that House. That it was to satisfy them, and make the motion acceptable to their taste, that he had dressed and redressed it as he had described. Having stated this, Mr. Townshend, took notice of the objections made to it, and said, he was perfectly content if the motion was to be loft, that the loss of it should go out to the world on these two points. The one, that the speech of Sir Fletcher Norton at the bar of the House of Lords during the existence of the last Parliament, was deemed an unpardonable offence by minię sters. The other, that as a punishment for Sir Fletcher's conduct, ministers were determined to oust him, and had oufted him accordingly, on the first day of the session of the present Parliament.

Mr. Rigby said, that he made no scruple to declare, that Mr. Rigby. he difliked the services of Sir Fletcher Norton. Sir Fletcher Norton he thought, had acted wisely and well, during the former part of the time in which he had filled the chair of the House; perhaps a day would come, when Sir Fletcher Norton would repent his not having uniformly pursued that conduct ta this day. Mr. Rigby contended that the motion was without all example, that Mr. Onslow had been thanked by a living Parliament as a prelude to another motion, for an address to his Majesty to reward bim. Was that meant to be the example to be copied ? If it were not, the present moțion was nonsense.

Mr. Fox replied to Mr. Rigby and Mr. Courtenaye, asking Mr. Fex. if these gentlemen meant to state it, the one as an historical fact, that Sir Fletcher Norton had flown in the King's face; the other, as a recital of a well known transaction, that he had insulted the King? He ridiculed, in poignant terms, Mr. Rigby's expression of a doubt, whether a day might not arrive, when Sir Fletcher Norton would repent of having changed his conduct, and taken

a decisive part in support of the people against the influence of the crown. Mr. Fox also feconded Lord Mahon's idea of the civil list of the King being as much subject to the controul of Parliament, as any other part of the public revenue. He said, the public had a right to have

the justice of the country supported out of the civil lift ; to
have the great offices of state provided for from that branch of
the royal revenue—and they had a right to look for a proper
and a becoming establishment for the Prince of Wales. He
paid the Prince's undertanding the highest compliments, and,
as it were, pinned the noble Lord in the blue ribbon down to his
promise of last year, that the houshold of the Prince of Wales
should be provided for without any further call upon the
public. Mr. Fox was profuse in ironical compliments to
Lord North, and pressed the noble Lord not to trust himself
alone with opposition upon the present question, but as he
had a right to be suspicious of their having fome design or other
to attempt to change his principles and take away his fenses,
(which the weakness left upon his mind as well as body, by
his late illness, might possibly enable them to do,) to bring a
good company of his old friends and acquaintance with him

into the lobby. Earl of Earl of Surrey said he must vote for the motion, which was Sung.

no more than justice to the man, who had worn out his conftitution in the service of his country. His Lordship wonder ed, he said, that justice had not been infifted upon by the speakers in favour of the motion.

The question was put, and the House divided. Ayes, 136. Noes, 96.

Went into a Committee on the Land and Maltbills, No debate,

November 21. niel Parker

Mr. Daniel Parker Coke gave notice that he intended to move

on the 27th, that the thanks of that House be given to Earl Lord Norib. Cornwallis for his services in America,

Lord North said, that he apprehended there would be but a thin attendance of Members till after the holidays; therefore he moved, that all orders for hearing petitions on controverted eledions before the holidays, be discharged. "Agreed to, and new days, in January, February, &c. appointed.

Lord Bcauchamp rose, he said, to make a motion of which Lord Beaso Damp.

he had given notice yesterday, that a writ be now issued for a new election of members of Parliarnent for the city of Coventry; a motion which he would have made in the usual course of business, without saying any thing in support of it, if he had not been led, from what passed in the House yelterday, to expect that it would receive much opposition. There was not any complaint brought against the burgesses of Coventry, they were innocent, why then thould they be punished by a temporary disfranchisement? It had been said that 1


Mr. Dan


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the burgesies of Hindon had been disfranchised for a time.
True, Sir, but they deserved that punishment. It was the great
object of Mr. Grenville's bill to reduce trials of contested elec-
tions to certain, fixed, and regular laws, that nothing might
depend on faction, and for that end, as little as possible might
rest in the discretion of the House. But if we should now re.
fuse to send a writ for the election of members for Coventry ;
if we should violate the law in one instance, we would soon
do it in another, and that bill, with all its good effects, would
fall to the ground. That very discretionary power of issuing
or not issuing writs of election, for which an hon. gentleman
had contended last night, was in the reign of King James, in
times of less liberty than the present, looked upon with
jealousy, and exclaimed against as an infringement of freedom.
Sir Francis Goodwin refused to submit to that discretionary
power which was then ufurped by the crown; and is the ulusa
pation on the liberties of the people less, though it is made by
a number of men instead of one? And if the people have a
right to be represented, they have a right to be represented al-
ways, and all delays of giving them an opportunity of chusing
their representatives, is injustice. The following is a maxim
in Magna Charta, nulli negabitur juftitia, nulli deferetur.
Why should the House depart from a fixed order? What has
happened? Riots and tumults. Riots and tumults happen-
ed in an election at Brentford. The officers, whose duty it
was to keep order, represented to the House of Commons, that
they were not able to keep peace, and they asked the advice
and asistance of the House. The House advised them to get
a sufficient number of conftables, and to preserve the peace by
all possible means. This was a case exactly in point.
said that the election could not go on at Coveniry without the
aid of the House; but what aid could the use give to the
officers who were to preside at the ensuing election at Coven-
try, that they were not already in possession of? Besides, the
officers to preside at the future were not the same who presided
at the last election. His Lord'hip considered the petition
from Sir Thomas Halifax and Mr. Rogers, as mere allega-
tions, until the facts they alledged, thould be proved. Head.
verted to the inconveniences that would flow from giving
credit to mere affirmation of this kind. He was yet at liberty
to consider the petition in the light of the effects of the smart
of disappointment. The delay proposed was an injury to the
inhabitants of that great trading city, the inhabitants of which
would be in a ferment until the election should be over; and



It was

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the loss arising from their diffipation and idleness was a loss to

the public. His Lordship concluded with reading his motion. Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox gave the noble Lord credit for the ingenuity and

industry with which he had supported so bad a cause. These qualities evidently exerted, betray, however, oftentimes the weakness of the cause chat needs their aid. The noble Lord, practifing an usual art, endeavours to drown an unpopular and unjuft propofition, by shading and confounding it with ideas jutt and popular. He talks of Magna Charta, of jealousy, o difcretionary power, of the resistance made to discretionary power in former reigns. Good God, Sir, who would ima. gine that the noble Lord was defending an intention to iffue out a writ for the immediate election of menibers for Coventry! Who would not imagine that he was supporting a motion to defer that election until it could be made with freedom? The freedom of election, the independency and privileges of the House of Commons could not be any where lodged fo safely as in their own hands, in their own discretion. Are the facts alledged by the petitioners mere allegations? Is the noble Lord willing to bring that matter to a trial? Mr. Fox made a di. stinction between mere report, vague rumour, and random af. firmations, and allegations contained in a petition to the House of Commons. The petition from Coventry was before the House, and the House must decide upon it. The question then is, whether they ought not to decide upon it, before ifluing out a writ for a new election. Oh! but, fay the noble Lord, a delay would be injustice to the electors of Coventry, who ought not to be unrepresented, not for a week. But it is better to be unrepresented for a fortnight, than to be unrepresented for a whole parliament: for at present, a free election at Coventry cannot take place. He concluded with saying, that the merits of the petition might soon be deter

. mined; that it would be unjust to issue out the writ propole

! before that should be done. He contended farther, that should à new election be ordered in the present circumstances, for Coventry, that would be an encouragement of riots and tu. mults; for then it would be said, let us try the effects of violence if it succeeds it is well; if not, we have an equal

chance with our competitors afterwards. Mi. Mac,

Mr. Macdonald faid, that for the last reason which the honourable gentleman bad adduced for his being against the mo tion, he would be for it. Without mentioning names or corjeélures, he thought it very probable that some one of the parties in Coventry withed for a delay, and their wishes would be gratified, by refusing at the present time to issue out the



B A T E S. writ now moved for. The rioters, or tham-rioters, might have been employed on purpose to occasion a delay, and he would not forward the intentions of their abertors If to find out the causes of the riots, and their aiders and abettors were so easy a matter, if the cause could be so easily decided as the hon. gentleman imagined, then it was a bad argument in his mouth, that the attendance of the petitioners and their witnesses at the bar of the House of Commons, would materially injure their election, For a few witneffes only it should seem would be necessary; but for his part he thought the trial might be a long one, and might not be over during this session of parliament. However these things might be on the ground of adherence to parliamentary order and form, he would support the motion.

Lord Mahon was for giving the same latitude to the electors Lord Maof Coventry, in respect of time, that is given in the case of bor. double returns.

Mr. Winchcombe Hartley suspected that there were still riots in Coventry.

Sir G. Tonge faid, that what had fallen from the last speaker, Sir G. led him to apprehend, that the writ of the House of Commons Yongen for a new election at Coventry might meet with the same treatment thewn to the last, if the causes and instruments, aiders and abbettors of the riots, were not inquired into firft and nished; and that in this manner the authority of the House would be brought into contempt.

Major Egerton said, he was at Coventry at the time of the Major Ego election. That there had been little if any rioting at Co-crion. ventry. No violence had been used, and no other opposition or force but what arises from shouting, and the pressure of a multitude. If there was any violence offered, he did not believe it was of such a kind as to prevent the electors from voting, if they had had a mind to do so.

On a division of the House, there appeared for Lord Beauchamp's motion 114; Againft it 54.

Tellers for the Ayes, Lord Lisburne, Right Hon. Welbore Ellis. For the Noes, General Burgoyne, Mr. Sheridan.

November 22. No debate.

November 23 Mr. Speaker acquainted the House, that he had received Mr. Spesie from the right honourable Sir Fletcher Norton, late speaker er. of this House, the following letter, received by him from Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney, baronet, in return to the thanks of the House of Commons, transmitted to the faid admiral by the said Sir Fletcher Norton, in obedience

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