« AnteriorContinuar »
feited all her liberties, on account of an insult committed by the citizens upon the University; in consequence of which, many of their privileges were taken from them, and granted to the University; from hence, we may fee, that a city may forfeit her privileges, and I do not know but the city of Edinburgh has already done so ; for if it should appear, that the citizens had been generally concerned in that riot and murder, if they mould protect or conceal the murderers, or if the magistrates of that city had, either through fear or design, connived at the murder, they might be justly deemed to have forfeited their charter; and in such a case, I do not know but it may be thought proper to divest them of some of their privileges, by way of punishment, and as an example for other cities in time to come.
For this reason, I think, my Lords, we ought to make a particular inquiry into that affair, and into the conduct of the magistrates upon that occasion; and this inquiry is the more necessary, because it does not seem that any full discovery has yet been made of the authors of that riot. This I hope may be obtained by virtue of the power and authority of Parliament; and when we have discovered the authors, we may take such measures as may be thought most proper for bringing them to condign punishment. As this tumult at Edinburgh was of the most heinous nature, and as a very high indignity was by those rioters put upon the crown itself, we ought, in my opinion, to begin with it; but let us begin where we will, it is incumbent upon us to make some inquiry into that and other riots which have lately happened; for after His Majesty has in his speech expressly mentioned and complained of these riots and tumults, it would look very odd in this House to take no notice of them, nor make any attempt to punish the authors of those that are past, as well as endeavouring to prevent any such for the future. Such a neglect would shew a very great disrespect and disregard for the honour and interest of our Sovereign, which I
am am sure every one of your Lordships will endeavour to avoid,as much as you can. I shall not at present take upon me to make any motidn, because I think it will come better from those who have the honour to be employed in Administration; and I hope some of them will stand up and move for some sort of inquiry in that affair, or make some motion tending to that purpose.
For my own part, my Lords, in taking notice of the affair in the manner I have already done, I have done my duty as a Lord of this-Housc r and if nothing farther should be done, I shall, from what I have said, have at least this advantage, that if I should find myself obliged to oppose any method i that may hereafter be proposed for preventing such riots in time to come, which may very probably be the cafe I hope it will not be thrown in my teeth, that I am a favourer and an encourager of such riots; for, from what I have now said, the contrary will appear. It appears, I believe, that I am as great an enemy to riots as any man: ,1 am sorry to see them so frequent as they are; but I shall never be for sacrificing the liberties of the people, in order to prevent their engaging in any riotous proceedings; because I am sure it" may be done by a much more gentle, and much less expensive, method. A wife and a prudent conduct, and a constant pursuit of upright and just measures, will establish the authority as well as the power of the Government; and where authority is joined with prudence, the People will never be tumultuous j but I must observe, and I do it without a design of offending any person, that ever since I came into the world, t never saw an Administration that had, in my opinion, so much power, or so little authority. I hope some methods will be taken, for restoring to the laws of this kingdom their ancient authority; for if.that is not done, if the Lord Chief Justice's.: warrant is not of itself of so much authority, as that it may be. executed by his Tipstaff in any county of England, without any other assistance than what is provided by law, it cannot
beT be said, that we are governed by law, or by the civil magistrate: if regular troops should once become necessary for executing the laws upon every occasion, it could not then be said that we were governed by the civil power, but by the military sword, which is a sort of government I am sure none of your Lordships would ever desire to fee established in this country.
Lord Carter-et, Feb. 10, 1737*
X AM old enough to remember the first great war against France, and I remember that as soon as the Dutch applied to us for assistance, King William immediately laid- the cafe before Parliament, and took their advice, as to what was proper to be done upon that emergency, before he came to any resolution. Upon the breaking out of the second war, the late Queen did the same; and I must say, that I think every King of this nation ought to follow that example; if they expect the assistance of Parliament, they, ought to take the advice of Parliament; and our histories will inform us, that where they have done so, they have generally done well; and where they have done otherwise, they have had but little success.
Mr. Cockburn, Jan. 25, 17 34.
With respect to the question now before us, I hope no gentleman expects, that.for his satisfaction His Majesty should be obliged to disclose to thus ,H°ufe all the secrets of his government, all the negotiations he is now carrying on with
Vol. II. Y foreign
foreign powers, and all the private informations he may have received, in relation to the views and designs of the several powers now engaged in war; ftor can it be expected that His Majesty should now declare positively to us what he is resolved to do, in relation to his engaging or not engaging in the present war; if any such thing could be done, I believe it would very soon put an end to the question; but no such thing has ever yet been practised, nor has this House ever thought such a practice necessary, for inducing them to agree to any demand made by the Crown, and I hope it never will: for if ever this should come to be thought necessary, it would lay this nation under a very great disadvantage, because it cannot be expected that what is once disclosed in such a numerous assembly should continue long a secret; from whence this inconvenience would necessarily ensue, that foreign powers might at all times proceed with great secrecy in their measures, for the destruction or disturbance of this nation, while we could have nothing to annoy our enemies, nor even be provided for own defence, but in the most open and public manner: nay, If our King should at any time get information of the designs of our enemies, he would be obliged to discover to this House, that is to fay, he would be obliged to tell our enemies, from whom he had that Information, and on such a supposition, 'tis certain no information would ever be given to us; we could never know any thing of the secret designs of our enemies till the very moment of their execution; and therefore we must conclude, that such a maxim established in this House would be absolutely inconsistent with the safety of our country. For this reason we must, in the present case, and in all such cases, take the argument entirely from what appears in His Majesty's speech, and from those public accounts which are known to eyery gentleman in the House. Upon this footing, Sir, and upon none other, shall I presume to give my reasons for agreeing to the augmentation proposed; and, indeed, upon this footing the reasons are, in my opinion, so evident and so strong, that there - * - is is no occasion for inquiring into any secrets, in order to find other reasons for our agreeing to this augmentation. From what has as yet appeared, we are not, 'tis true, obliged to engage in the present war; for as the motives, or at least the pretended motives for the war, relate entirely to the affairs of Poland; and as that is an affair in which the interest of this nation is no way concerned, we are not obliged to engage in the war upon that account; the Emperor has indeed called upon us for the succours, which he pretends are stipulated by the treaties subsisting between us; but as we are not by any treaty engaged to support either one party or the other in Poland, or to support His Imperial Majesty in his views relating to that kingdom, therefore we do not think ourselves obliged, by any treaty snbsisting between us, to furnish him with succours in a war which has been occasioned, as is pretended at least, merely by the present dispute about the election of a King of Poland. If we were absolutely certain that the motives assigned were the real and the only motives for the present war; if we had a full assurance that the parties engaged would carry their views no farther, I should readily grant that there would have been no occasion for our putting ourselves to any expence, nor would there be now any necessity for the augmentation proposed; but this is what we neither could at the beginning, nor can yet depend on; foreign Courts may have lec ret views which cannot be immediately discovered; but His Majesty, by offering to interpose his good offices, has taken the most effectual method of discovering the secret views of all the parties concerned; and it by the interposition of his good offices he should diicover, that either of die parties engaged in war will accept of no reasonable terras, we may from thence conclude, that the affair of Poland was not the only and real motive for the war, but to join with all our force against that party who we found had formed such a design.