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17592

9 The History of the last Session of Parliament, &c. The Hijory of the Seffion of Parliament, which began Nov. 24, 1767, being the seventh

Setion of tbe Twelfth Parliament of Great Britain ; with an Account of all tbe mat. rial Questions therein determined, and of the political Disputest bereby occafioned witb. cut Doors. Continued from one lasi vol. p.

HEcommittee ways and means 'This corporation, it seems, was in which were mentioned in the last con- expended for its own public purposes, tinuation of the parliamentary history the interest of which made a very dif-Mr. Paterson, the Lord North, agreeable diminution in its revenues, Mr. Onslow, Mr. Jenkinson; Mr. which were no way in a condition to Pryse Campbell, Mr. Attorney Gene. pay the principal of. Thus situated; ral, Mr. Cowper, and Mr. Bradshaw, several of the magistrates wrote a joint were ordered to prepare and bring in letter to their members, acquainting a bill for carrying these resolutions im. them with the state of their attairs, Dediately into an act: They were at and offering to rechoose them at the the same time instructed to make a approaching generalelection, provided provision for the better security of thev advanced such a fum as would be the excise laws upon foreign liquors sufficient to extricate the city from its imported; to provide for repealing difficulties. the probibition on the sale of con It is generally affirmed, and as genedemned tea for home consumption, rally believed, that the gentlemen which had been enacted in the pre. who figned this letter to Sir Thomas ceding feffion; and to provide allo Stapleton and Mr. Lee were wholly for the amendment of other acts which unactuated by any motives of self inrelated to the depositing contraband terest, and that tbey only meant to be wrought silks, velvets, cambricks, nefit the corporation in general hy and French lawns in the custom house their request --be this as it may; warehouses.

their letter was certainly imprudent to The same day, February 23, the the last degree, if it merits no barsher house took into consideration the pe- an appellation.--. Their members were tition of William Le Merchant, Esq; either worthy of confidence, or they agent for the island of Guernsey, ftat- were not; and they either deserved to ing the hardships which the inhabi- be rechosen on account of their intants of that place laboured under by tegrity, or to be discarded if they bore an act pasied in the fourth year of his a contrary character.--- In either cale present majesty, discontinuing the al- the letter writers were wholly without lowance of 121. per cent. for leakage excuse. For in the first place, if the upon wines, theretofore imported in conduct of their representatives was to this kingdom, (Madeira from tlie praise worthy, they conferred a real British colonies or from the East In- obligation on the conitituents, and dies only excepted) unless such wine's thould have been dittinguished with were directly imported from the honours; instead of being loaded with places of their respective growth, or impositions. On the other hand, if from the usual port of their being their behaviour in parliament was such first thipped; and resolved, that to as gave the electors a juít cause to be much of the abovementioned act, disfatisfied, they were utterly improas far as either Guernsey or Jersey was per for future confidence, and no affected, should be repealed. One of thinking well wither to the happiness the most remarkable occurrences how- of his country would, on any confiever of the leffion, whicb we are now deration, favour them with his voice. recording, was the affair that related But unfortunately for the people of to a sum of money, which a weltern Great-Britain, though they have the corporation demanded of Sir Thomas love of their countiy very much in Stapleton and the Hon. Mr. Robert their mouths, they feldom have bad Lee, who represented it, for their re it, of late years at least, very inuch in election in the ensuingrew parliament. their hearts. --The body of the naJan. 1769.

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10 The History of the last Session of Parliament. Jan.
tiou expect a just, a 'faithful discharge to expect, if he should facrifice us at the
of the parliamentary duties from the altar of the same avarice, where we
representative, and they expect that he have sacrificed our duty as citizens,
muit pay them into the bargain., and our probity as men-but to return.
They think their delegate in the The house on the 26th of January
avgust council of the kingdom must being informed of the letter, addresled
devote his whole tine and attention to Sır Thomas Stapleton and Mr.
to the advancement of their welfare, Lee, was very justly filled with in.
and instead of rewarding him for his dignation, and a bill was immedi.
labours, they imagine he ought to re- ately ordered to be prepared, by
ward them for the honour of being Mr. Alderinan Beckford, Mr. Cooke,
employed in their service. By this Mr. Cornwall, Mr. Blackstone, Mr.
means they keep men of real probity Onslow, Mr. Wilbraham, Colonel
out of the fenate, or reduce their Onslow, Mr. Wilbraham Bootle, Mr.
members frequently to the disagreea Nicholson Calvert, Mr. Cholmondeley,
ble necessity of facrificing the public Lord Brownlow Bertie, Mr. Goddard,
welfare to the views of an arbitrary Mr. Gilbert, Sir William B. Proctor,
minister-a man of true principle, Mr. Prescott, Mr. Bouverie, Mr.
if he has any prudence, will not Shiffner, Mr. Darker, and Mr. Bar-
give a large sum of money for an row, for the more effectual prevention
opportunity of conferring benefits.--- of bribery and corruption...Sir Tho.
He will senlibly consider that those are nas Stapleton and Mr. Lee were at the
unworthy of his regard, who must be same time ordered to attend in their
bribed into the fupport of their own places on the first of February follow-
happiness, and who, instead of thank- ing, which they accordingly did, and
ing the hand which generously toils acknowledged the receipt of the letter.
for their prosperity, ungratefully In consequence of which the magi-
wishes to plunge it into diftress.--- The ftrates who signed it were commanded
consequence therefore is, that we are to appear before the house on Friday
often represented by men who make a the fifth, when they were all com-
traffic of their seats, and who go into mitted to Newgate, and thawks were
the house on purpose to fell us at an unanimoully returned to Sir Thomas
advantageous price to a ministry; or and Mr. Lee for their very honoura,
by men whose fortunes we have so ble conduct in this memorable tran-
distressed by our fcandalous demands, faction.
that unable to relift the shock of po On the oth of February the magi.
verty, they readily swallow the earliest itrates petitioned the house, expressing
baits of government, and in the same a sincere contration for their behavi-
manner that they have beggar'd their orir, and begging to be released from
families to promote the emolument of their confinement. In consequence of
their country, they beggar their coun. this petition they were ordered to be
try to re-establish ene opulence of their brought the next day to the bar of the
families.

house, and on their knees received a
In fact, universally as we exclaim reprimand from the speaker, who after
against any occafional perfidy in our addressing each severally by name, ob.
representatives, the fault thould be en served that the offence of which they had
tirely attributed to ourselves... if we been guilty, had justly brought them
were honeft in our choice, the repre. under the levere displeasure of the
fentative would be honest in his con. house; and that they could not well
duct---but if we basely prostitute our commit a more enormous crime, snice
principles and require a price from the the constitution itself could not receive
man we elect, he surely has a right to a deeper wound, than by the open and
dispose of his commodity.--If he buys, dangerous attempt which they had
it is natural he could sell us, and it made to subvert the freedom and in-
is a presumption in any body to mur. dependence of parliament.
mur at the proceeding.--we have set The freedon of the liouse of com-
him the example -- we have Mewn him mons, Mr. Speaker very properly re-
that we are wholly regardless of the marked, was the freedom of the coun.
public prosperity.--and we have no. try, which could continue no longer
thing but the contempt of the world than while the voices of the electors

were

11

1769. The HISTORY of the last Session of Parliament. were uninfluenced by any base or ve scious by their petition of the enor. nal motive ; for if abilities and inte. mous offence they had committed, the grity were of no recomınendation to house, in the terror of its judgments, the electors; if those who bid highest always thought upon mercy; nor did for voices were to obtain them from it ever inflict punishment but for the fuch detettable confiderations; the sake of example, and to prevent House of Commons would not be the others from becoming the objects of representatives of the people of Great its resentment--- The censure passed Britain. Instead of being the guar. upon them Mr. Speaker hoped would dians and protectors of their liberties, have a proper affect--- he wilhed that instead of redressing the grievances of they might be penetrated with the jurthie subject, the house itself would be tice and lenity of the house, and athe author of the worst grievances : tone for their past offence by a conAnd would become the venal instru- ftant endeavour to make a right use of ments of power to reduce this happy the invaluable privilege which they nation, the envy and admiration of enjoyed as electors; he then added a the world, to the lowest state of misery defire that they would consider these and servitude.

privileges as a sacred trust reposed in Many circumstances, Mr. Speaker them, and concluded with saying, that obferved, concurred to aggravate the before they rose from their knees he offence of the prisoners - The place reprimanded them in the name of the of their relidence was a singular advan- house, and that they were then diftage... They had at all times the ex- charged upon the payment of their ample of one of the most respectable fees. bodies in Europe before their eyes, Tho'this was the most capital, it was whole conduæ in every instance, but not the only circumitance of corrupespecially in the choice of reprelenta- tion which engaged the attention of tives was highly worthy of imitation... the house during the feffion of whicha The offenders also, the speaker took we are here speaking; the venality of notice, were magistrates of a great the times was fo daring, that even leats city; in such a lituation it was a duty in parliament were publicly advertited incumbent upon them, to watch over for, through the channels of our news tae morals of their fellow citizens ; to papers ; but proceedings of so flagrant keep themselves pure from venality, a nature could by no means pass unand to prevent those under their go- noticed ; the house therefore made a vernment from being tainted with itrict inquiry into theie transactions, that growing and peitilential vice.--- and ordered the persons principally This trult, he added, they had abused, culpable to Newgate, where they reby setting an infamous example of pro- mained till they had by their petitions fitution in the most public and daring exprefled the deepeit contrition for manner.

their offences, given a folemn proMr. Speaker proceeded to observe, mise of future good behaviour, and that they must surely have felt some re- received the Speaker's reprimand in the morse for the generous disdain with name of the anguit allembly whole which their corrupt offer was rejected displeasure they had incurred, in the by their representatives.---Thele gen. fame humiliating manner as the corpotlemen thought, je said, and juftly ration of (..-.d. thought, that a seat in the House of It is ruch to the honour of parliaCommons, obtained by the free and ment that we have at present several independent choice of their conftitu. levere itatutes again bribery and corents, was the highest honour to which ruption, and that our laws are very a subject could aspire, and that dif- explicit in regard to the qualiâcation charging their duty as such represen- of members...

But it is at the same time tatives was the noblest of services.--- highiy to be lamented, that theie saSorry was be, declared Mr. Speaker, Jutary regulations are so frequentiy that these considerations did not ap- eluded, and that men who either have pear to have had the least weight with no attachment whatever to the public the persons he was reprimanding... good, or no property whatever to beHowever, as they had at last acknow. nefit by promoting it, itill find ine. ledged their guilt, and seemed con, thods to defeat the wildum of the legi

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