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diate application to your grace; in which, I am confirmed by Mr. Howel's applying again yesterday to purchase a resignation of the patentee, who is my friend. ' · The inclosed affidavit will thew the proposal, which will be increased, if necessary; and would your grace indulge me by perufing the case, I trust it would appear, that I have a pretension in preference to any other. Co I will take an opportunity of waiting upon your grace, hoping the honour of a conference, otherwise, to receive back the affidavit, in order to destroy the fame. I am, • Your grace's most obedient and most humble servant, Mincing Lane, June 10, 1769. Samuel Vaughan.'
Our appellant, after this, received a message, the latter end of July, from the duke of Grafton, by Mr. Sharp, to acquaint him that the affair had been taken up in a serious view ; that he considered it in a very odious criminal light, and intended to conumence a prosecution upon it. Mr. Vaughan desired to have a copy of what he had sent to the duke, and procured it. Soon after appeared in the public papers, two fpurious letters im puted to Mr. Vaughan, and accompanied with severe reflections upon him, as if he had proposed to abandon his party." From that time for the space of two months, the matter was worked up with every poffible aggravation againit him. A process was also instituted against him in the court of king's bench, in consequence of which he was ferved with a copy of the rule of court the zorh of November ; and the 27th of the fame month, the follicitor general moved the court to make the rule against him abfolute. Mr. Vaughan's counsel shewed cause for its being dismissed, and the arguments on both sides are stated at length in the apology now before us. But as the pleadings of lawyers are ge. nerally very verbose, we Ihrall not tire the reader with an exact repetition of them, but only lay before the publie the subfance of what has been advanced on both sides by the learned council. i
The question is, “ whether it be an offence to attempt to corrupt a minister, in the disposition of places of trust in the colonies.” Bribery is understood to be the buying and selling of places by people not able to execute them, but who are molt able to pay for thein. Nothing can be a greater dir. couragement to industry and virtue, than to see placés conferred upon those who have no other qualification, than that of being the higheit bidder ; nor can any thing be a greater temptation to officers to abuse their power by bribery and extortion, in order to make their bargain answer their expecta
tions. Mr. Vaughan applies to the duke of Grafton, at the head of the treasury, and a privy counsellor, to dispose of a public office in Jamaica, offering him at the same time a bribe of 5000l. If his grace had accepted this money, with a view to serve Mr. Vaughan in the manner proposed, it would have been a criminal act, and a subject matter for impeachment. It is criminal in every man, accepting or holding any office of trust in the state, to exercise the power of that oifice, under a sordid and corrupt motive. If it be an offence to accept a bribe, must it not be equal guilt to follicit another to take it? If it is a crime to take money, it must surely be a crime to give it, because that corruption is reciprocal. It is said Mr. Vaughan did not give the money, for the duke refused it. But in all cases of corruption by bribery, the crime has its full completion, whether the other refuses to take the money or not. If you offer a bribe to a judge, though he refuses it, the bribe is complete with him that offers it. In case of an offer to bribe at election of members of parliament, or of a magistrate at a borough, though the person does not vote, yet against the offerer the crime is complete. There can. therefore be no doubt but to attempt to obtain an office by bribery is an offence, and especially an office of great trust and profit. , ;
Mr. Vaughan in his defence observed, that this was not a judicial office, but merely an office of record, and to any man of common understanding should seem most likely to be a saleable employment. That it had been granted to people who never were to do the duty ; had been fold by a decree of chancery, demised for years, palled by demise, and suffered every change incident to alienable property. Mr. Vaughan thus looked upon the affair in no other light, than merely as the giving one consideration for another : and deeming bribery and corruption to be the offering money for doing something immoral, he judged the present care clear of all such objections, and made his proposal with the less scruple. He likewise knew that it was customary to accept of a fine or perquisite for patents for lucrative places in the plantations, not judicial, of the same nature as his own; and that in England, places fimilar to his were the constant perquisite of the lord chief justice for the time being. These reasons, with the persuasion, that the public, as well as himself, would be benefited by his being continued in that office, influenced his conduct. He had given demonstrable proof of discharging the duties of it with ability and fidelity ; and yet he perceived an avowed design to invade his property, and give the place to one Mr. Howell, who had by no means an equal, if the R3
least pretension. As to the affidavit, it was in order to fet Mr. Vaughan merely in the light of an indifferent person; but had he been conscious that he was acting an unjustifiable part, is it likely that he would have attempted to engage a person of Mr. Newcome's character to lend him his assistance ? And had he considered the offer in the light of a corrupt bribe, is it probable he would have made it in a manner so un. guarded? If he had thought the action to be criminal, he must have been fensible, that he put himself, as a delinquent, into the power of a person, from whom he could expect no favour on account of his political connexions. In short, he looked upon the money offered as a fine or perquisite, to recure a preference to a lucrative office, and in the tender of which no injustice was fufpected ; but not at all as a bribe from an obnoxious man, who was desirous of gaining an of, fice in an unwarrantable way.
But supposing through ignorance, or mistake, he had committed an action, for which the duke of Grafton thought pro, per to prosecute liim; it is to be considered upon what ground in law this prosecution can be supported. The offence imputed to Mr. Vaughan, is an offer to the duke of Grafton to tempt his grace by money to procure an office in the colonies. Before we inquire whether this offer be a crime, we should first examine whether the action if done, would be the subject of a profecution. If it is an offence punishable in England, it muft either be by statute or common law; but there is na statute that has the least relation to this subject, except the 5th and 6th of Edward VI. and that is only a local regulation of the police of this country with respect to the offices enu. merated in it, and not at all relative to other countries. Besides, it is expressly held that this act does not extend to the colonies, in the case of Blanchard and Goldy, z Salkeld 4. And Jamaica particularly, being a conquered country, retains its own laws so far as they are not altered by the conqueror. Is it then an' offence at common law ? --There is nothing in common law, that is not established either by usage or pofi. tive authority; now there is no instance, no authority to prove that the buying and selling of offices is unlawful. That it may be made so by positive law, is undoubted; and statutes have been enacted with regard to particular offices. But in general it was never understood that the sale of offices was unlawful, even though they concerned the administration of justice. Are not all the offices of the rolls saleable? The of fices in the court of requests, in the six clerks office, though they concern the administration, are all saleable, and sold every day.
Thus far Mr. Vaughan proceeds in his defence; and his ar. guments, together with those of his antagonists, are submitted to the impartial reader. But though perhaps he may acquit himself of the crime of intentional bribery, yet he cannot help acknowledging that he has been guilty of very great indiscretion. The error of his conduct, he says, was owing not to dishonesty, but to imprudence; because when he made the offer to the duke, it appeared to him justifiable, froin an opinion that he was not deviating from the principles of integrity, when he submitted to a custom of the times, in offering money for a place not judicial. He admits that self-interest might be, and was a stimulus to his pursuit ; and though the evil of offering money to a minister was apparent, yet being apprehenfive that Mr. Howel had offered money, he could not but think that his own offer of two evils would have been the least : perfons whose views are truly patriotic, when they endeavour to obtain a seat in parliament, are obliged to submit to the evil custom of the times, by treating, &c. However, he is now fully fatisfied of the truth of that maxim, tbas evil is not to be done that good may come, ; Upon the whole, Mr. Vaughan having reconsidered the matter, is thoroughly convinced that it is highly criminal in a minister to sell to the highest bidder, that high trust which the constitution vests in the crown, the disposal of public offices; and consequently that it is wrong to tempt a minister to fell his interest in the direction or dispofal of them. And as there is no statute law, ; by which the offering money for a place can be found penal, , nor yet a single instance in common law, where it hath been , judged a misdemeanor, he trusts that his indiscretion will produce a parliamentary inquiry into this source of corrup-in tion; and that in consequence, a law may be passed to make it penal, not only in the minister who receives, but in the person who offers to purchase a place. If this should ever happen, Mr. Vaughan would consider his indiscretion and sufferings as the happiest incident of his life. is
This apology of Mr. Vaughan concludes with vouchers to the ability of Mr. Vaughan's deputies in the office of clerk of the supreme court in Jamaica, a state of the public offices in that island, and a correspondence 'relative to the fainous ge.. neral Paoli. With regard to the latter it may be observed, that the Corsican chief, foon after his arrival in London, sent his compliments to Mr. Vaughan, expressing his desire to testify in person his gratitude to that gentleman, for the generous pains he had taken to support the liberty of Corsica, Mr. Vaughan, apprehending that the general had been brought over by the ministry, and deserted the cause of li
berty, which he had so long supported against the French, de clined the interview. This is the substance of the correspondence abovementioned, in which Mr. Vaughan expresses himself in very lofty terms, and passes too severe a censure on the. much admired Corsican hero.
MONTHLY CATALOGU E. 12. The Middlesex Elections considered on the Principles of the Con..
ftitution, by a Country Gentleman. 8vo. Pr. 6d. Bladon. THIS writer talks of the principles of the constitution in the
Middlesex election, without understanding a single one of them. Witness the following paragraph :
On every fresh election, a judgment; in effect, is past on the former representatives. From which it is plain, the people kecp still in themselves their share of the legislative power, only entrusting the execution of it for limited times.
As to the people having a share of the legislative power, if this writer means the people in their collective capacity, the sup.. position is rank nonsense. The people, without the sheriff's writ to call them together, is a rope of sand ; nor can the theriff call them together tor the purposes of an election, without leave from the commons of England, in whom all their legirlative powers are centered, That instant the member is re.
turned, all legislative power in the constituents is at an end. :. They do not entrust the elected with their rights of election,
but actually surrender them to him, together with all their public concerns as electors, during that parliament. .
The not attending to this fundamental in the Englim con" Ritution, has most lameniably bewildered all the Wilkesian writers on this subject. 13. Å Letter to the Righe Hon. Lord North, forf Lord of the Trea
Jury; recormending a new Mode of Taxation. 8vo. Prils
The proje& contained in this letter is, to remove the taxes
tuts of Stocks of every Kind. 410. Pr. 6d. Noteman.
Though this author may probably mean very well, in ex. horting the people to lay aside their animofities, and to fop