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them, in order to discover their true causes, and to provide an effectual and a legal remedy; for if the law should lose its force, if it mould become necefiary upon all occasions to make use of a military force for preserving the peace of the kingdom, our Constitution would be at an end; we could not then be said to be under a civil, but a military government.
Of all the late tumults, the first I shall take notice of, are those which have happened in the West on account of the turnpikes. Why turnpikes should occasion disturbances in that part of the country more than in any other, is what I shall not, at present, pretend to account for ; but these disturbances were such, it seems, that, for quelling them, it became necefiary to employ a military force, which I am very much surprised at, considering the severe law your Lordfliips passed some time since against those who should be concerned in any such; to me it is amazing to fee that the civil power, armed with such a severe law, should not be able to prevent, as well as to quell any such tumult, without the assistance of the gentlemen os the army ; and therefore I am apt to suspect these tumults proceeded not from any .want of power in the civil magistrate, but from some other cause, perhaps from some real injustice or oppression brought upon poor people by means of these turnpikes. The people seldom assemble in any riotous or tumultuous manner, .unless when they are oppressed, or at least imagine they are oppressed. If the people should be mistaken, and imagine they are oppressed when they are not, it is the duty of the next magistrate to endeavour first to correct their mistake by fair means and just reasoning; in common humanity he is obliged to take this method, before he has recourse to such steps as may bring death and destruction upon a great number of his fellow countrymen; and this method will generally .prevail where they have not met with any real oppression; but when this happens to be tire cafe, it cannot be expected
they they will give ear to their oppressor, nor can the severest laws, nor the most rigorous execution of these laws, always prevent the people's becoming tumultuous ; you may shoot them, you may hang them, but till the oppression is removed or alleviated, they will never be quiet, till the greatest part of them are destroyed. This is the chief reason and the chief end of all parliamentary inquiries, and this ought to be our chief view in the inquiry we are now going upon. If we find any injustice has been done, if we find any of those tumults have proceeded from oppression; the only way to prevent such tumults for the future will be, to remove that oppression, and to punish severely every one ©f those who have been guilty of it. This is the only human method of preventing riots, or tumults; for I hope none of your Lordships are of opinion, that more severe, or any larget powers ought to be granted by law. You have already, by a late law, made it death without benefit of clergy, to be riotously concerned in breaking down any turnpike. You cannot, by ariy maxims of government hitherto pursued id this kingdom, inflict any severer, punishment; and I hope you will not, under pretence that the civil magistrate is not able to execute this law, agree to the erecting a barrack at every turnpike, in order that the civil magistrate may have it in his power to shoot every man who presumes to make his escape from that punishment which is provided for him by law.
As for these tumults that happened at Spitalfields, and that neighbourhood, the government was, I think, as little concerned in them, as ever it can be in any such. They proceeded entirely from an accidental quarrel that had happened between the English and Irish labourers, and they might have been quelled, and the ringleaders punished, even though we had not a regiment of regular troops in the kingdom. Then with respect to that most ridiculous affair in Westminster Hall, it was, it is true, a most daring insult both upon the government and the Courts of Justice; but I J* not think it can be called either a tumult or a riot. There was, I believe, but one person actually concerned in it and but very few privy to it; and as it answered no end, nos could proceed from any sudden passion or resentment, I must think none but madmen could have any hand in it. If we consider the place where, and the person before whom this ridiculous insult was committed, we must conclude* that no man in his right fenses would have been guilty of It, or would have so much as thought of any such impudent and foolish contrivance ; for the noble Lord who presided in that court, has, I am sure, gained the esteem and affection of every man of fense in the kingdom. He is a magistrate of great power; but, my Lords, great as it is,1 his authority is equal to his power. Power and authority we must consider as two things of a very different nature; power the legislature may give, but authority it can give no man ; authority may be acquired by wisdom, by prudence, by good conduct, and a virtuous behaviour, but it can ba granted by no King, by.no potentate on earth; a man's power depends upon the post and station he is in, but his authority can depend upon nothing but the character he ao» quires amongst mankind, and the more power a knave or ft fool is vested with, the more he will be despised, the more generally will he be loaded with hatred and reproach.
The riots and tumults which proceed from smuggling, are,my Lords, of an old standing, and of a very different nature; but they are of late become so frequent, and the smugglers are become so numerous and so audacious, that they deserve our closest attention. I am afraid some extraordinary methods must be made use of for suppressing them; but the only way of contriving an effectual method for that purpose will be, to ifiquire into their causes, and to take such measures as may be proper for removing these causes; for in the body political, as in the body natural, while the cause re- -v* maias^ mains, it is impossible to remove the distemper; severe laws against smuggling, and the most rigorous, the most arbitrary execution of these laws, we know, by the example of a neighbouring kingdom, will never prevail. By such methods we may irritate, we may destroy the subject, and at last, perhaps, bring on a distemper of a much more dangerous natiire; and I am afraid the law pass-d last year for preventing smuggling, will be found to be a remedy of such a nature. If that law had been pasted in that form and stiape, in which it was once put by this House, it would not, in my opinion, have been so extraordinary, nor so dangerous; and I believe it would have been much more effectual. We were told by the best lawyers in England, that by that law, as it was first brought in, and afterwards pasted, no judge in England could know how to direct a jury; and after they had been told so, I must think it was a little odd, to turn it out of that shape we had put it into by their advice, and pass it in that very shape in which they told us it could have no effect.
Upon this occasion, I must observe, my Lords, that even that wicked, that atrocious riot and murder committed at Edinburgh, proceeded originally from smuggling ; for it was the execution of a smuggler that occasioned all that disorder and wickedness that afterwards ensued. That tumult and the murder they committed, was, indeed, one of the most extraordinary that ever happened in any country, and it was, I think, one of the greatest indignities that ever was put upon an established government. For this reason, it highly deserves our attention, and we ought to look upon it as the more dangerous, and the more to be taken notice of, because it was carried on with a sort of decency and order y for as Germanicus observed os a mutiny among the Roman soldiers, it was the more to be dreaded, because it seemed to be attended with no disorder or confusion: I am sorry to: Jiear the government has not. been able to discover, or at least to apprehend, any of the persons guilty of that barbarous murder; for where such persons were concerned, many of their names may surely be discovered; and if they are fled from justice, fly where they will, they ought to be brought back and punished. By our power, we may bring them back from our plantations, and by ouf interest we may be able to bring them back from any foreign country, for no state in Europe would protect such cruel murderers: a foreign state may, perhaps, for political reasons, give shelter to the rebels of a neighbouring country, but I cannot think any state will refuse to give up such criminals, when a proper application is made to them for that purpose. The names of the murderers must be all known in the city of Edinburgh, at least the names of such as have absconded, or fled on that account, and if the citizens refuse to give an account of their names, there may be methods found for compelling them: they may be threatened with removing the Courts of Justice, as was done in the late Queen's time, when the tumult happened there which occasioned the execution of Captain Green. Upon that occasion Her Majesty, by the advice of her Privy Council here, wrote a letter to the Privy Council of Scotland, ordering them to signify to the magistrates of Edinburgh, that in cafe any tumult ever happened again, *the Courts of Justice should all be removed from that city: from whence I would conclude, that the King has a power to remove them ; for if our King had no such power, I am sure no such thing would have been threatened by so wise an Administration as we had then the happiness to have at the head of our affairs.
But, my Lords!, if the citizens of Edinburgh should obstinately protect or conceal those murderers, there are cafes in which a city may forfeit her charter, and become as it were in miserecordia regis, with respect to her whole liberties and franchises. The city of Cambridge was declared by Parliament in the reign of Richard the 114. to have for