Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

cost at least half the blood and fubftance of Great-Britain. The most haughty and powerful Monarch of his time, Lewis the XIVth, when there was a formidable commotion in the Geo vennes, condescended to depute two Marshals of France to enter into a treaty with the male-contents. Peace was accord. ingly made, and the terms of it were afterwards faithfully fulfilled.

Look, Sir, into the history of the proudest, as well as moft re. nowned people that ever existed, the Romans; observe the conclusion of their Social War, and you will see they were not above negociating a peace with these very insurgents, whom they had before, individually by name, proscribed as rebels. Rome found herself at that day reduced to the fame critical predicament which, I apprehend, we now stand in; there was no other possible means of restoring concord, or saving the commonwealth from ruin. But, Sir, above all, I would with the House to give due weight to a conclusive remark of the excellent author of the Commentaries on the Laws of England, where he is descanting on the Revolution of 1688, which placed the sceptre in the hands of King William, and eventually brought in the illustrious House of Hanover to be guardians of the Proteftant religion, and affertors of the antient constitutional rights of all the subjects throughout the British monarchy. “ No practical system of law (says he) are so perfect, as to point out before-hand those eccentric remedies, which national energency will dietate and will justify.”

Honourable Temple Luttrell, Nov. 7,1775.

When news was brought to Agelfilaus, King of Sparta, during a war in Greece, that a bloody fight had happened near the city of Corinth, but that the Spartans were victorious, and the number of their troops killed was but inconsiderable, compared with the loss of the enemy; instead of exultations of joy, that wife and humane Monarch, with a deep figh, cried out, « Oh, unhappy Greece! to have sain so many warriors witha

thine own hand, who, had they lived, might have proved a match for all the barbarians in the world !”

Honourable Temple Luttrell, 08. 31, 1776.

[ocr errors]

BEFORE the Revolution there were but few disqualifications affecting the elected. I know but of two Acts of Parliament, one in the first year of Henry the Vth, confining their residence to the counties, cities, and boroughs, for which they served; the other, the twenty-third of Henry the VIth, respecting Knights of shires. There were, indeed, certain disqualifications, by the lex et consuetudo Parliamenti, as that neither aliens nor minors should be elected; that the Clergy thould not be chosen, because they fit in Convocation ; persons attainted of treason or felony could not fit, because they are unfit to fit any where: the Judges, my Lord Coke says, cannot fit, because of their attendance in the House of Lords. In my poor opinion there may be another, and as good a reason assigned; and that is, that it is highly improper to blend the legislative and judicial capacities together.

Here let me remark, by the way, that at a time when the Judges of England are prevented, by the law and custom of Parliament, (which is the law of the land) from sitting in the House of Commons, and the Judges of Scotland are declared incapable of being elected by the Act of 7 Geo. the Ild, the very great impropriety of the Judges for the principality of Wales fitting in this Houfe.

I beg leave to recommend this matter to the confideration of the Honourable Gentleman who has this day moved to augment the Welch Judges salaries,

The Act, Sir, of the 5th and 6th of William and Mary, which laid a duty on salt, beer, ale, and other liquors, expressly declared, that no person concerned in farming, managing, or collecting the faid duties, shall be capable of fitting in Parliament, It also disqualifies the managers of all other aids that shall hereafter be granted. The aith and 12th of King William ex

cluded cluded the Commissioners of the Customs. It went farther, and even forbids them from using any influence with voters under certain penalties. The Act of the 4th of Queen Anne went still farther, and excluded various descriptions of men, all of whom are declared incapable of being elected by the Act of the 6th of Queen Anne.

The ist of Geo. I. Section II. cap. 56. disables any person from fitting in the House of Commons, who shall have any penfion from the Crown, for any term or number of years, and Subjects such persons as should fo sit to the penalty of 201. per day. - The 17th of Geo. II, regulates the elections of Members to serve for Scotland, and incapacitates the Judges of the Court of Seffions, Court of Justiciary, and Barons of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland, from being elected Members of Parliament. · During the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, various attempts were made to restrain the influence of the Crown over this branch of the legislature; Place and Pension Bills were fre. quently brought in, and two or three times actually passed the House of Commons, but were as often lost in the other House of Parliament. On the retreat or removal of Sir Robert Walpole, an Act of Parliament was however passed in 1742, 15 Geo. II, which disabled the Commiffioners of Revenue in Irea

land, the Commissioners of the Navy and Victualling Offices, - Clerks in various departments, and many other descriptions of men, who, froin their situation, were supposed, natural enough, to be under influence, from fitting in Parliament; and subjecting

such as should, notwithstanding, presume to fit and vote, to a * penalty of 201. a day.

In the 33d of George II. an Ad passed to oblige Members to deliver in a schedule of their qualifications, and take and subscribe an oath of the fame. These, Sir, are all the disqualifications on the persons to be elected to Parliament, excepting that there are three Acts in the reign of Queen Anne, and one in the reign of George the IId, disabling the Registers, or their Deputies, for the three Ridings in Yorkshire, and the county of Middlesex, from fitting in Parliament.

Sir Joseph Mawbey, March 11, 1775.

That the office of Secretary of State is of very ancient esta. blishment in this kingdom, I am ready to allow, though they were not always considered of equal importance as now. I have endeavoured to acquire all the knowledge I could of that office; I think, therefore, I am warranted in saying, that there never was more than one Secretary of State till towards the end of Henry the Eighth. .

Two Secretaries of State only were appointed at the fame time in King Henry's reign. In the time of his successor, Edward the Sixth, there were only two Secretaries of State, till towards the close of his reign; a third Secretary was then appointed in the person of Sir John Cheek. Of this appointment, as I expect to hear much from the opposite side of the House, I will presently speak more fully.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth there were but two Secretaries of State ; there were no more in the reign of King James. In the reign of Charles the First there were but two, they were Secretary Windebank, at one time, and Coke, and afterwards the elder Sir Henry Vane succeeded. At the Restoration, Sir Edward Nicholas and Sir William Morris were the Secretaries. On or about the year 1670, Henry Lord Arlington succeeded Sir Edward Nicholas, and Sir John Trevor Sir William Morrice. There continued to be only two Secretaries of State during the remainder of King Charles, the Second's reign. There were but two in the reign of King James the Second. There were no more than two in that of King William, nor, I believe, in that of Queen Anne; at least, in that part of it which preceded the year 1705. · Having thus shewn that originally, and till the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, there was but one Secretary of

State,

State, and afterwards but two, (except' in the single case of Sir John Cheek's, in Edward the Sixth's time) I now proceed to take more particular notice of that appointment.

I contend, Sir, that the precedent is not such as should have attention paid to it. It was established in a time of faction, and existed but a moment. Gentlemen know that the Duke of Northumberland plotted to bring the Crown into his own family, in consequence of the marriage of his son, the Lord Guildford Dudley, with the Lady Jane Grey, who, after the King's fifters, Mary and Elizabeth, was presumptive heir to the Crown. He prepared himself accordingly; some of his creatures were put into old offices; for others, new offices were created. · Sir John Cheek had been the King's Preceptor; he had, it may be reasonably presumed, in confequencé, an influence over the Royal Mind. Mr. Secretary Cecil had besides married Sir John Cheek's fifter, and Cecil had at first objected to the settlement of the Crown in favour of the Lady Jane, though he afterwards became a witness to it: it was of the ute most importance to Northumberland's views toʻgain Sir John

Cheek a new office; a new appointment was therefore created • for him, that of third Secretary of Stare; he had befides douceurs

given him. Sir William Petre' was the other Secretary; a man, I may safely fay, without principle, who served four Crowned Heads in that capacity, as different in intellect and turn of mind as principle; namely, Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. Strype, in his Ecclefiaftic Memorials, in 1553, fays of Sir John Cheek: ; - In the next month, viz. June, a third Secretary was apa pointed, (a thing not known before,) viz. Sir John Cheek, whose love and zeal for religion made him fafe to the interest of Lady Jane; and a gift was added to himn and his heirs, of Clare, in Suffolk, with other lands, to the yearly value of one hundred pounds.” : · That the appointment in his favour was merely the result of political arrangement, to forward the Duke of Northumber

land's

« AnteriorContinuar »