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177

1769.

The History of the last Session of Parliament, &c. The Hiflory of the Session of Parliament, which began May 11, 1768, being the forfi Sef

for of ibe Thirteenth Parliament of Great-Britain ; with an Account of all the materiat queflions therein determined, and of the political Disputestbereby occafioned with. out Doors. Continued from p. 68. I N the last continuation of our patch certain parliamentary proceed

parliamentary history we men ings, which his majelty's defire of tioned the vigorous contests which providing at all events for the welfare were entered into, in various places, and security of his good fubjects, for a feat in the House of Cominons, made hin wish to see compleated and we threw out some reflections to as soon as possible ; his majesty ac prove the great utility of contracting the same time commanded the comthe duration of parliaments from their missioners to express the perfect conpresent extent of seven, to their for- filence he placed in his parliament, mer lalutary limit of three years. and to assure both houses that he had The more we proceed in this depart. the strongest reasons to expect every ment of our work, the more we are thing froin their advice and affistance, confirmed in this opinion, and the that loyalıy, wisdom, and zeal for the more earnestly we wish for the re-esta. service of their country could dictate bli liment of triennial elections-be or suggest. cause the temptation which venal On the 14th both houses addreftet candidates have to ‘ftruggle for the the king in terms of the most a:fec.' poffeffion of a seven years power, not. tionate warmthi, and respectful hwnia only induces bad men to bribe immo. lity, returning him their fincereft derarely, and Ipreads a general spirit thanks for the gracious and paterof corruption among the people, but nal attention his majesty manifested even after a new representation of for the prosperity of his people, which the kingdom is actually assembled, had induced him to interpose his own that time is unavoidably taken up in more immediate authority for putting the determination of petitions for un an end to that dargerous disturbance due returns, which ought to em- of the public peice, and those outrapoyed upon bufiness of the utmost geous acts of violence upon the proimportance, and dedicated wholly to perty of his majetty's lubjects, as well the welfare of the public—the rea

as the audacious defiance of the au. fon of this remark will be speedily thority of the civil magistrates, which evident.

had of late prevailed to so alarming a The parliament of which we are degree, in and near the metropolis. now going to speak, met for the first The parliament at the same time lio. time on the 11th of May, when the red, ihac a royal proclamation for the Speaker of the House of Commons, Itrict execution of the laws for the Sir John Cuft, who had filed the chair fuppreffing and punishing all riots, in the preceding parliament, accord tumults, and uplawiul assemblies, ing to the ufual form, took the neces. would effectually prevent the continusary oaths, and subscribed the declara. ance, or repetition of such ditorders tion alone, after which such of the for the future,

were present qualified Buth boules however declared, that themselves properly; his majity did fould any of his majesty's subjects not open the lesions personally, but continue to lost to all lente of their granted a commission for that purpose own true interest, as well as duty, as to to several of the lords--the comorire go on in interrupting by their lawle's foners declared hy the Lord Chancels and desperate practices, that quiet and lor, that in pursuance of the authority peaceable enjoyment of every right given them by the king under the and privilege allotted to each indivia great feal, they were among other dual among us, by our excellent connings to set forth the cause of meet. ftitution, which had been ever his maing at that unculto mary season, which jetty's chief glory to secure and per

upon any matters petuate to all, they would chearof general busineis, but merely to dif. frilly give their concurrence in eve. April, 1769.

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178

vernment.

The HISTORY of the last Session of Parliament, April ry measure, that might enable his there were so many contests for leats in majesty, most effectually, to main the House of Commons as at the late tain the public authority, and carry general election. The parliament was the laws into due execution — and they scarcely asembled when petitions came concluded with expreifing the most vi from a variety of quarters, complaingorous resolution to support his ma- ing of undue returns; in fact, the jesty against every attempt to create number was so great, that had the difficuity, or disturbance to the go House of Comnions entered into a

confideration of their several merits, The king received this loyal, duti. they might have continued the feflion ful, and jcasonable address, as he was to a most unreasonable length, withpleased to term it, with his usual out undertaking any one step for the goodness. He declared, that it was beneht of the kingdom ; it was therewith the utmost concern he saw the fore prudently determined by that Ipirit of outrage and violence prevail. august assembly not to proceed upon ing among the different clasles of his the matter of these petitions till their subjects- but said, he was however next neeting, when they thould be crivinced, that the vigorous exertion more at leisure to attend such disaof lawful authority, which he would greeable altercations: of all the con

continue to enforce, joined to the telts lowever during the general elec. hot fupport and asistance of parliament, tion, that for Middlesex was the most

would have the desired eflect of resto- remarkable. - This county had been ring quiet and good order among his represented for many years by Sir people.

William Beauchamp.Psoctor and Mr. To elucidate the meaning of the George Cooke, who thought themspeech, address, and reply, which we selves so certain of being rechosen that have just mentioned, it will be necel. they never once dreamt of an oppofi. sary to inform our readers, that the tion, till the very moment in which it principal reason for convening the took place. Mr. John Wilkes, who feffion, which we are now recording in the late parliament had been expelat such a period, was to continue the led the House of Commons, in which act then expiring, which allowed the be fat for the borough of A lesbury, importation of oats and oatmeal, rye, and who, in consequence of an outand rye flour, and at the same time lawry, had relided for a considerable not only prohibited the exportation of time out of the kingdom, unexpectedcorn, grain, meal, malt, flour, bread, ly returned a very few days before the biscuit, and Itarch, but prohibited al. election for London, and offered him. so the extraction of low wines and 1pi- self to the liverymen of that city as a rits from wheat, and wheat flour; candidate to represent them in the there measures were an equal proof great council of the nation.--Mr. of his majesty's wifiom and humanity, Wilkes's conduct on this occafion fillas the price of provisions still conii. ed every body with aftonihment, as nued exorbitantly high, and as the na he was known to be ruined in his for. tion, without the falutary regulations tune, and at that very moment labourin question, would have been reduced ed under fome judicial sentences for to the utmost diftress. A committee the publication of the North Briton, a was therefore appointed to report political paper, and the Ejay on Woupon the matter, and the house con. man, a performance written in imitacurring with the report, the royal al-. tion of Mr. Pope's celebrated Ejay ca fent was given by commission co the Man, and in which the principal mylbills brougit in upon the occafion, lo teries of thechristian religion were very the universal satisfaction of the public. wantonly, though very feebly, ridi

Having thus hewn the chief cause culed. Norwithltanding these discouof assembling the parliament, it is ragements, however, and not withitandnow neceffary to explain what the ing numberless irregularities in private disorders and outrages were which lite, with which Mr. Wilkes was pubwere ipoken of in the address from lickly accused, the voice of the people hotb houses, and in his majesty's an.. ran highly in his favour. He had fwer.-We have already observed, that been a luiferer by his opposition to there never was a period in which government, and that was merit e

nough

1769. The History of the last Session of Parliament. 179 nough to counterbalance every objec: of that gentleman. The consequence tion which could poffibly be urged was, that Mr. Wilkes having a large against his character; besides fome le- body of the freeholders atiached to gal decisions had been obtained in him from inclination, and Sir William the course of various fuits which he Beauchamp-Proctor and Mr. Cooke had cominenced againft administra- having many of those intimidated tion, that were thought infinitely ad. from their cause, who came from home santageons to the cause of liberty; with a determination to support it, Geseral Warrants were in consequence Mr. Wilkes was elected by a consideof these suits declared wholly unlaw: rable majority, with Mr. Cooke, to fol ; and the seizure of papers, by which the unspeakable joy of his nuinerous the subject was actually made an evi- admirers. dence against himself, was also solemn The exultation of his friends upon ly condemned; what Mr. Wilkes this occasion exceeded all imagination: therefore had suffered, being thus in. they looked upon it as the triumph of tirely attributed to his love of free freedom over ininisterial tyranny and dom, and his regard for his country; determined to signalize the event by numbers openly declared themselves the most extraordinary appearances of not only his advocates but his strenu. universal satisfaction. With this view cas admirers, and at the common. they obliged every housekeeper, from hall which is a general meeting of the the highest to the lowest rank, both citizens, but which however thould be in London and Weltminiter, to hang a general meeting of the livery only, as uplights, patrolling the streets in pro. fuch alone have a right of voting, Mr. digious numbers, breaking the winWilkes was returned by an amazing dows of any who were hardy enough majority of hands. But on the poll to dispute their commands, and grofs. this majority was soon found to con. ly inlulting such as were supposed to filt of the populace and not of the be prejudiced in the least against Mr. conftituents, for though his friends Wilkes--nay, the houses of the royal were indefatigable in canvassing for family, and the seats of mazistracy, him, and though applauding crouds felt the effects of their indignation frequently carried his chair to the for refusing to express a joy at the house at which his principal suppor

success of their favourite ; and not ters assembled, after every day's ad content with exercising lo despotic an journment of the poll, nevertheless, authority for one night, they compe!when the books were finally cast up, led the whole metropolis to renew the numbers for him appeared very their illuminations on a second; what, much inferior to the numbers for any however, is bardly credible, they preother candidate, without even observ. pared to repeat these excelles again, ing, that there were two others who, and we should pollibly have fallen the besides himself, were disappointed in llaves of that many headed monster, their expectation of success.

the multitude, a third time, bad' not Yet not in the least intimidated, orders been given for a body of troops Mr. Wilkes, like another Antæus, to suppreis the first appearance of reiseemed to recover new strength from teraced disturbances. his fall, and on the very bustings,

It is a sensible observation of a cewbere he had lost the election for the lebrated writer, that if a mob is even city of London, he declared his in- wrong, it is seldom intertionally wrong, tention of offering his services to the and that it means to act upon princifreeholders of Middlesex. The choice ples of the strictest justice in the midst of members for this county was to of its irregularities. This we believe come on in a few days; and on the to have been the case of the innumemorning of election, an absolute rable inconfiderates, to mention them madnets seemed to prevail among the as mildly as we can, who, on the oclower orders of the people; the road calion we have been describing, out from London to Brentford was actual of a real regard for the preservation ly covered with tbe mob, who shouted of the laws, committed a hundred il. Wilkes inceflantly, and even attacked legalities.-They were told that gothe persons and carriages of those who vernment was despotic, and they be-' did not declare the mielves in favour lieved what they were told; causes and

effects

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