Imatges de pàgina

Mr. Town

Mr. Rigby.

Mr. Rigby faid, that he should agree to the present motion, not because he conceived the committee pledged to accede to an accusation, urged without proof, against either the Earl of Sandwich or Sir Hugh Palliser, but because he considered strengthening the hands of government as much as possible at this critical moment, a moft important and necessary duty, let government be lodged in what hands it might. He desired not to be considered as undertaking the defence of Sir Hugh Palliser, declaring that he was, from his being unacquainted with the relative facts, as little qualified for that task, as he was desirous of acting the more foolish, more absurd, and rnore wicked part of standing forward the accuser of Lord Sandwich, without being able to make out any charge against him; a fituation in which the late House of Commons hád seen one of its members placed, and a fituation in which, the honourable gentleman, who spoke laft, possibly might be placed after the holidays.

Mr. T. 4 ownshend supported Mr. Fox. fhend. Mr. Court

Mr. Courtnaye recommended vigour and spirit to adminiftranaye. tion, and unanimity and chearfulness to the House. He de

fended the going on with the American war on the plea of its neceffity, taid he could view America in no other light than as the ally of France. Speaking of Lord North's fituation, he said his lecurity in office was owing to the bad opinion the publick entertained of those who wished to get into his place, and that the speech of Charles the Second to his brother James, Duke of York, was perfectly applicable to him. When the Duke of York had told the king, “ he wondered a prince who had rendered himself to unpopular, would venture abroad without his body guard." The king replied, “ Have no fears for my fafety, brother, I am perfectly secure in my perfon, as long as my people know, that if I die or am cut off, you must be my fucceffor."

Lord Mahon said, the American war could not be deemed a Lord Mabom

war of neceflity; and this position his Lordship argued upon this principle, -- that as no rational or feasible proposition for conciliation had been held out to America, it was not fair to say the war was carried on of neceflity. His Lordship in a most animated stile, arraigned and reprobated the propositions made by the commillions, terting them fcandalous, and dif

graceful to the last degree, Mr. Pulte

Mr. Pulteney declared the noble Lord was mistaken in what ney.

he had afferted, of the commissioners having offered to pay the debts of America.


Lord Mahon replied, and read extracts from the public a&ts LordMabon. of the commiffioners in support of what he had before said.

Mr. Fox argued on the fame ground, stating, in compari- Mr. Fox. són to the interpretation put upon the commiffioners offering to affift in arranging the debts of America, by Mr. Pulteney, that if any rich man came to him and offered to settle his debts, he should naturally imagine he meant him a real favour, and designed to lift the load off his shoulders by paying them, but that if it afterwards appeared, that he only ineant to give him his advice, how he should pay his debts out of his own fortune, he should feel himself miserably disappointed.

The question was then put and carried, nem. con. without á division.

After that, a second resolution for voting 41. per man per month, for the seamen and marines already voted, was put and agreed to.

November 14. No debate.

November 15 A conversation took place relative to the day on which a petition concerning the election at Oakhampton should be heard, in consequence of Sir Philip Jennings Clerke having desired that the petition might be heard in its turn.

Mr. Rigby said, he did not understand the expression, and Mr. Rigby. in a plain

manner contended, that in confequence of Mr. Grenville's act, which was so much the favourite of the House, more frivolous petitions, presented without any wish to be heard, and merely with a view that the petitioners might obtain privilege of parliament for the interval of time that elapfed between the delivery of the petition and its being determined upon, were brought to that House than had been usually brought when the election petitions were heard in the old parliamentary way. Mr. Rigby faid, it was neither proper, nor was it his design, to say a syllable as to the particular petition to which the honourable gentleman who spoke laft referred. If he chose to speak of it, perhaps he knew as much of the merits of the Oakhampton election as any gentleman present; but he was aware, that was not the time for going into them, and he declared now, as he before declared in that Houfe, that unlets the House compelled him to it, he never would be a member of an election committee; without adverting therefore in the least to the merits of the petition, the hearing of which was then the subject of altercation, he desired and hoped that the House in general would


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follow the good old custom of making example of those who should hereafter appear to have frivolously petitioned, and who without any serious reaion to justify their conduct, took up the time of the House in investigating allegations, which could not be supported. After a few words from Mr. Dunning, Mr. Townshend, &c. the day of hearing the petition was altered.

The House afterwards resolved itself into a committee of

supply. Lord WA- Lord Westcote moved, that the land tax for the year 1781

be 45. in the pound, with the usual difference for Scotland.

His Lordship also moved, that the duties on malt, mum,
cyder, and perry, be continued the next year at the rate at
which they now ftood.
Both these resolutions were agreed to.

November 16.
Mr.Minchin Mr. Minchin said, the orders given to the military, at the

time of the late riots, to act without waiting for the civil
magistrate, had occasioned great discontent without doors.
The order might perhaps be justified from necessity, or from
the negligence of the magistrates; for they had been shame-
fully inactive; but indeed the detachments of troops had been
so numerous, and so dispersed through London and West-
minster, that, had the magistrates been ever so ready to do
their duty, there was not a sufficient number of thein to
head all the detached parties. To remedy this defect, and
to put it out of the power of a military man, as such, to have
the lives of his fellow subjects at his command any more, as
he himself had had at the late riots, he wished that a new
commission of the peace for the whole kingdom should take
place, and that the names of almost all the respectable gentle-
men in each county should be inserted in it. This, he said,
would furnish us with a fufficient number of magiftrates to
head the military, if we should be ever obliged to resort to
them again : but as he did not expect that all these gentle-
men would qualify themelves to act in general as justices of
the peace, though he did not doubt but they would very
readily do so in cases of emergency, he moved, “ That leave
“ be given to bring in a bill to enable all persons named

in any commiffion of the peace, to act as justices in the “ suppression of riots and tumults, notwithstanding they

“ have not taken out their dedimus poteftatem.Sir George

Sir George Yonge feconded the motion; but expected that l'onge. the honourable gentieman would take care to provide in his

bill, that the military should be resorted to only in the fecond instance; and after the civil power had been first called in.

Mr. Minchin said, that this was the very principle of his bill.

Mr. Alderman Wilkes hoped the honourable gentleman Mr. Alden did not mean to grant powers of magistracy to any man, who man Wilkes. should not previously have taken the oath, of office, to do justice between the King and his subjects.

Mr. Minchin answered in the negative.

Lord Beauchamp was of opinion that this would destroy the Lord Beace very object of the bill. The principle of the bill was to dis-cbamp. pense with certain formalities in cale of emergency; and yet, when the emergency should arrive, the magiftrates must not aet till they have gone through those formalities. The bill was supposed to be a difpenfing bill, and yet dispensed with nothing. There was indeed a bill which países regularly every lession; which, by dispensing with the qualification oath of justices of the peace, naturally opened a door to the low and the indigent, and was the great cause why gentlemen of character were so averle, in Middlesex particularly, to act as magiftrates; they did not like to fit on the same bench with persons so greatly inferior to them in rank and fortune. He wished, however, to see the bill brought in, when the House would have an opportunity to add whatever inight be found wanting in it.

Mr. George Onslow spoke against the magistrates ; accused Mr. George them of shameful neglect of duty, which alone had made it Onflow. necessary to call out the military on the late occasion.

Sir Edward Astley defended the magistrates; and mentioned Sir Edward one in particular [Hyde] who, while he was at the head of tifley. the guards, that were drawn up for the protection of that Houle, had not sweryed from his duty, though at the very same time his own house was demolishing by the mob.

Earl of Surrey complained of the want of magiftrates in two Earl of counties, in which he sometimes resided. In one there were Surrey. very few; in the other, in the west of England, there were scarce any. This arvie, he thought, from the manner in which commissions were made out by the cu;iodes rotulorum, and Lords Lieutenants. He wished that fomething might be done in the bill moved for, to regulate the conmislions of the peace, and supply the country better with magiftrates.

Sir P. 7. Clerke faid, that the complaint of a scarcity of Sir P. 7. magistrates, was general all over the kingdom. The question was put, and leave given to bring in the bill,



The following is a copy of the ABSTRACT of the BILL to

enable all perfons, named in any commission of the peace, to ači in the suppression of the rigts, notwithstanding they have not taken cut their Dedimus Poteftatem ; and for enabling them to take the oath of Qualification.

“ It recites, That in cases of sudden riots, a sufficient number of magiftrates duly qualified, cannot at all times be assembled to quell tuch riots.

" It therefore enacts, That after a certain time to be mentioned in this bill, every person whose names shall be inferted in any commiffion of the peace for any county, riding, or division, shall be fully authorized to act as a justice of the peace within tuch county, riding, or divifion, for suppressing any riots, notwithstanding he shall not have taken the usual oath of office under the writ of Dedimus Poteftatem.

“ It also recites, That divers provisions have been made, for preventing and punishing such offences, especially by an a& of George the First, and therefore enacts, That every person so named, in any commission of the peace, not having taken the oath of office, shall be, to all intenis, a justice of the peace, within the meaning of the statutes aforesaid, and invested with all privileges and authorities, contained in such statutes, as other justices who may have taken the oath relating thereto.

“ It allo enacts, That no such person, shall be capable of acting as a justice, unlels qualified according to the act of the 18th of George SI. “ For the further qualification of justices," and having taken and subscribed an oath to be inTerted in this act, and the oaths of allegiance, supremacy and abjuration.

" It further enacts, That every justice within the famo county, riding, or divifion, is to adminifter such oaths to any perfon before defcribed, requiring to take the same ; fuch oaths to be recorded, and the clerk to have a fee, to be fixed by this act, with a penalty for any person who shall prefumo to act, without being qualified--a clause limiting the time of bringing the action after the fact upon which the same is grounded, Thall be committed, and allowing every defendant the benefit of making out his qualification.

“ And it enacts, That the clerk of the peace of every county, shall cause lifts of the names of all persons in the commissions of the peace, to be printed; and when in like manner, any new commiffion shall be made out, and transinit such printed lists to the church wardens of every parish,


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