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in which the rankest Tory principles were countenanced more than in any period of our history prior to 1760. The cafe has been so partially quoted, even by a person (Jeremiah Dyson, Esq.) whose sole merit here was an assumed accuracy, which he never possessed, that I shall desire it may be read to ths House from our journals, when it will appear to be resolved, 5' That Robert Walpole, Esq. haying been this session of Parliament committed a prisoner to the Tower of London, and expelled this House, for an high breach of trust in the execu-. tion of his office, and notorious corruption when Secretary at War, was and is incapable of being elected a member to serve in the present Parliament." Now, Sir, I must observe, that eren, that Parliament, at an æra so hostile to the liberties not only of England, but of Europe, did nQt venture to adjudge him incapable of being elected a member to serve in that Parliament only because he was expelled; but in the body of the resolution itself they add another reason, which would be trisling, if one was sufficient and adequate to the point, the high breach of trust in the Execution of his office, notorious corruption, when Secretary at War. As trustees for the public, they assigned a cause which must interest every member of the community. In the case of Mr. Wilkes, the late majority declared, "That John Wilkes, Esq. having been in this session of Parliament expelled this House, was and is incapable of being elected a member to serve in this present Parliament." The having being expelled, whether justly or unjustly, is ths only reason they gave to the public. I shall not yet, Sir, dismiss the case of Mr. Walpole. It will prove another proposition I have maintained, the injustice of the late majority.in seating Mr- Luttrell in this House. The fact is, that the House of Commons having expelled Mr. Walpole, ordered a new writ to issue. At the subsequent election Mr. Walpole was again restored. A Mr. Taylor, who had a minority of votes, petitioned, but the election was vacated. Had the doctrine propagated by tha late majority, and by the noble Lord in the blue ribband, been.
Just, just, Mr. Taylor ought to have been seated; the House should have resolved, he ought to have been returned, and the grossest injustice was actually done to him. But even that Parliament, whose memory the nation execrates, dared not to proceed to such enormous wickedness. It was reserved for the present æra, when shame has lost its blush. Mr. Luttrell was for some years declared to represent the county of Middlesex, although a great majority of the freeholders abhorred and reprobated the idea, and on every public occasion declared it.
Sir, when the strong reasons on which any doctrine is founded bear me out, I care little about precedents. I recollect, however, another instance of Mr. Woollaston, which directly meets an objection which has been much relied on, "That expulsion necessarily implies incapacity." It is the last I shall desire the clerk to read. I wish him to turn to the journals of February 20, 1698, where he will find it resolved, "That Richard Woollaston, Esq. being a member of the House of Commons, and having since been concerned and acted as a receiver of the duties, &c. contrary to the act made in the 5th and 6th of His Majesty's reign, &c. be expelled this House." Now, Sir, I defy all the subtilety of the most expert Court lawyer amongst us, all sophistry of the bar, to reconcile this cafe with the most favourite Court tenet, "That expulsion implies incapacity, because the fact is entertained, that a new writ did issue for the borough of Whitchurch, and that Mr. Woollaston was re-elected, and fat in the fame Parliament." Incapacity therefore does not necessarily follow expulsion.
I am ready to admit, that where a clear legal incapacity exists, all votes given to a person incapacitated are thrown away, if they are knowingly given to them. But, Sir, .1 beg leave to assert, that this was not the cafe in the Middlesex election. Mr. Wilkes was qualified by the law of the land, and the freeholders, who perfectly understood the clear point of law as well as their own rights, expressly declared in the petition presented on the 29th of April to the House, "Your petitioners tioners beg leave to represent to this honourable House, that the said Henry Lawes LuttreTl had not the majority of legal votes at the said election; nor did the majority of the freeholders, when they voted fop John Wilkes, Esq. mean thereby to throw away their votes, or to wave their right of representation; nor would they by any means have chosen to be represented by the said Henry Lawes Luttrell, Esq. Your petitioners therefore apprehend he cannot sit as the representative of the said county in Parliament, without a manifest infringement of the rights and privileges of the freeholders thereof."
This House, Sir, is created by the People, as the other is by the King. What right can the majority have to fay to any county, city, or borough, you shall not have a particular person your representative, only because he is obnoxious to us, when he is qualified by law? Every county, city, or borough, has an equal right with all other counties, cities, aud boroughs, to its particular deputy in the great Council of the nation. Each is distinct, free, and independent. I do not mean, Sir, now to enter into the argument, whether it inay not be fit to give this House the power of expulsion in the first instance for very flagrant and infamous crimes, either committed, or of which the member may be convicted, subsequent to his election. That might seem an appeal to the People, the sending the member back to his constituents. If, however, they differ in opinion from the House, and re-elect him, he ought to fit, because he claims his feat under the fame authority each member holds his, a delegation from the People. The first appeal to the constituents may seem just. The appeal certainly lies to them, and it is by their representation only you are a House of Parliament. They have the right of chusing for themselves, not you for them.
Sir, I will venture to assert, that the law of the laud, by which all Courts of Judicature are equally hound, is overturned by the powers lately exercised by a majority of the House«. The right of election is placed not in you, hut in
ether hands, in those of your constituents. Your predecessor* not only robbed -a particular county of its noblest privileges, but they changed the constitution of a House of Commons. The freeholders of this county and the nation abhorred the: .action, and poured their execrations on the authors. But, Sir, if you can expel whom you please, and reject those dis-> agreeable to you, the House will be self-created and self-existing. The original idea of your representing the People will be lost. The consequences of such a principle are to th* highest degree alarming. A more forcible engine of despotism cannot be put into the hands of any Minister. I wish gentlemen would attend to the plain consequences of such proceedings, and consider how they may be brought home to themselves. A member hated or dreaded by the Minister is accused of any crime; for instance, of having written a pretended libel: I mention this instance as the crime least likely to be committed by most of the members of this House. No proof whatever is given on oath before you, because you cannot administer an oath. The Minister invades immediately theright of Juries. Before any trial, he gets the paper voted a libel, and the member whom he wishes to have expelled, is deemed to be the author; which fact you are not competent to try. Expulsion means, as it is pretended, incapacity. Themember is adjudged incapable; he cannot be re-elected; and thus is he excluded from Parliament. A Minister by such manœuvers may garble a House of Commons till not a single enemy of his own, or friend of his country, is left here, and the representation of the People is in a great degree lost. Corruption had not lent despotism wings to fly Ib high in the times of Charles I., or the Minister of that day would have been contented with expelling Hampden and the four other heroes, because they had immediately been adjudged incapable, and he thereby incapaciated them from thwarting in Parliament the arbitrary measures of a wi«ked Court.
Upon all these considerations, in order to quiet the minds of the people, to restore our violated constitution to its original purity, to vindicate the injured rights of this county in particular, and of all the electors of this kingdom, and that not the least trace of the violence and injustice of the last Parliament may disgrace our records, I humbly move, "That the resolution of this House, of the 17th of February, 1769, 'That John Wilkes, Esq. having been in this feffion of Parliament "expelled this House, was and is incapable of sitting in the present Parliament,' be expunged from the journals of this House, as being subversive-of the rights of the whole body of electors of 'hi* kingdom." - .
Mr. Wilkes, February 21, 1775*
The urgency of the matter I am going to move, induces mt to take this early notice of it, as it is interesting to our constitution, and the rights and liberties of a free people. I need hardly, I presume, mention, that what I allude to is the Westminster election; the result of which is a novelty in the bws of this country and in the laws of Parliament. I could not imagine that any Returning Officer would be bold enough to commit an infraction of those laws which have cost our ancestors so much trouble I was therefore surprised that the High Bailiff of Westminster mould, contrary to the common practice at elections, refuse to make a return, notwithstanding a scrutiny had been demanded by the unsuccessful candidate* It *was an attempt to alter the estahlished laws of the land; which expressly declared, that the officer should make a return within the time limited by Act of Parliament, according to the voice or sense of a legal majority of Voters. [Hear! Hear! Hear! now resounded from the opposite side of the House.] I am sensible of the partiality of some gentlemen os a certain description, and therefore I am not surprised at their exclamations of Hear! Hear! Hear! But I cannot conceive why the phrase legal majority should be so particularly noticed by them. - . I confess