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The friends of the Amendment argued, that though no particular measures were at this instant under consideration, yet, the Address being drawn up in such very general terms, it implied, and even contained, a general approbation of all the late measures taken with America; that this general judgment could not, nor ought not, to be given without the fullest information; and that a delay in forming such judgment, while the most important concerns of England and America were dependent upon it, might be fatal.

Some gentlemen, who declared themselves not attached to either side, said, they would vote for the Address as moved by lord Beauchamp; not because they would be thought to approve of the late measures against America, on the contrary, they did not consider this vote as making any engagement to approve of any measures; for they should consider themselves, notwithstanding this vote, entirely at liberty upon all future questions; but they would vote for the Address, because an Address was become a business of


Lord North said, this was not a proper time to enter upon any discussion of the affairs of America; that however necessary and agreeable a reconciliation with America might be, yet, as no terms had been offered by America, England would not submit first; and as matters, therefore, were in a state of suspense, he hoped the noble lord would withdraw his motion. He made some apologies for the late parliament, which passed the Acts against America, and called it a good parliament. Mr. F. Montagu in general disapproved of the Address, and seconded the motion for the Amendment very strenuously.

Governor Johnstone thought America not tenable upon the terms and principles laid down in the proposed Address. He was very glad to hear some apology made for the late parliament; for, in his opinion, no parliament ever stood in greater need of an apology.

Mr. Charles Fox was very pointed in his observations on the manner the Gallery was cleared. He said it was a mere ministerial trick to stifle enquiry and shorten debate; for if the gallery had been open, administration must have been obliged to break that silence and unconcern they now affected to hold. It was extremely unfair, he said, that persons should be shut out from being present at the discussion of a question, in the event of which

they were so highly interested; and concluded by a succession of very pointed and severe animadversions.

Mr. Hartley (a new member) entered fully into the contents of the Speech and Address, and urged strongly the necessity of the proposed Amendment.

Colonel Barré was very able on the same side. He said that America had offered terms. He read a passage in Mr. Dickinson's pamphlet, entitled "A New Essay, &c." which in his opinion contained a very sufficient ground to accept and to negociate upon. He said the scheme of reducing the colonies by force was wild, incoherent, and impracticable; and even though it were not, that a dominion supported by force would answer no end whatever. He said, a report prevailed, that general Gage was shortly to be recalled, but that would signify nothing; for send whom we might, send a second, recall him, and send a third, it would all be to no effectual or substantial purpose.

Sir George Macartney answered the colonel, and spoke with facility and precision. He was against the amendment, and in general for spirited measures.

Lord Carmarthen entered fully into the contents of the proposed amendment, and dwelt much on the spirit of sedition, turbulence, and rebellion, which had manifested itself from one end to the other of the American continent.

Sir William Mayne declared himself unconnected with either side of the House. He said, his mind was unbiassed, and his conduct should be unfettered; that on the present occasion he was against the amendment, but reserved his opinion till the question, and the information necessary to discuss and determine on it, came properly before the House. He was heard with great attention, and general approbation.

General Smith was of the same opinion, observing, that the present was no proper time to take so great and important a question into consideration; and that his being now against the amendment, would not hereafter preclude him from giving his thoughts freely, when the matter came before the House in another form.

Mr. T. Townshend was for the amendment, and was very severe on the general conduct of administration.

Mr. Edmund Burke compared the language now artfully held to the new mem

bers, of the Address being only a compli- | that province, and that it has broke forth ment, to the insinuations of a designing in fresh violences of a most criminal nalover, who, under the pretence of honour- ture: and we cannot but lament that such able addresses, first squeezes the hand of proceedings should have been countehis mistress, then asks her to take a turn nanced and encouraged in any other of in the park, next into the country, and so your Majesty's colonies; and that any of on, step by step, till at length he disho- your subjects should have been so far denours her. In the last parliament, he luded and misled, as to make rash and unsaid, it was the minister's language, that warrantable attempts to obstruct the comthe late Acts would humble America, that merce of your Majesty's kingdoms by unby punishing Boston all America would lawful combinations. be struck with a panic: Boston would be abandoned, all would be afraid to give any relief to Boston, lest they should share the same fate. The very contrary is the case. The cause of Boston is become the cause of all America. Every part of America is united in support of Boston. By these acts of oppression, said he, you have made Boston the lord mayor of America. The present situation of America he compared to a funeral; trade and commerce were pall-bearers, the merchants and traders chief mourners, the West Indian and African merchants closed the procession, and the army and navy, at a distance, looked on in gloomy silence at so melancholy a spectacle.

Mr. Van spoke strongly for the most firm and decisive measures.

Mr. Solicitor General Wedderburn spoke fully and ably, and endeavoured to answer every thing offered against the Address. The House then divided upon the Amendment. The Yeas went forth. Tellers.

YEAS {Mr. Frederick Montagu


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The Commons Address of Thanks.] The following Address was then agreed to: "Most Gracious Sovereign,

We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, return your Majesty our humble thanks, for your most gracious Speech from the throne.

"Permit us to assure your Majesty, that we receive with the highest sense of your Majesty's goodness, the early information which you have been pleased to give us of the state of the province of the Massachuset's Bay.

"We feel the most sincere concern, that a spirit of disobedience and resistance to the law should still unhappily prevail in

"We beg leave to present our most du tiful thanks to your Majesty, for having taken such measures as your Majesty judged most proper and effectual, for carrying into execution the laws, which were passed in the last session of the late parliament, for the protection and security of the commerce of your Majesty's subjects, and for restoring and preserving peace, order, and good government, in the province of the Massachuset's Bay.

"Your faithful Commons, animated by your Majesty's gracious assurances, will use every means in their power to assist your Majesty in maintaining entire and inviolate the supreme authority of this legislature over all the dominions of your crown; being truly sensible that we should betray the trust reposed in us, and be wanting in every duty which we owe to your Majesty and to our fellow subjects, if we failed to give our most zealous support to those great constitutional principles, which govern your Majesty's conduct in this important business, and which are so essential to the dignity, safety, and welfare, of the British empire.

"We learn with great satisfaction, that a treaty of peace is concluded between Russia and the Porte; and that, by this happy event, the general tranquillity is rendered complete: and we entertain a well-grounded hope, that your Majesty's constant endeavours to prevent the breaking out of fresh disturbances will be attended with success; as your Majesty continues to receive the strongest assurances from other powers, of their being equally disposed to preserve the peace.

"We assure your Majesty, that we will, with the utmost cheerfulness, grant to your Majesty every necessary supply; and that we consider ourselves bound by gratitude, as well as duty, to give every proof of our most affectionate attachment to a prince, who, during the whole course of his reign, has made the happiness of his people the object of all his views, and the rule of all his actions."

The King's Answer.] His Majesty re- | ticularly pressed it at this time, as a point turned this Answer:


"I return you my particular thanks, for this very loyal and dutiful Address. I receive with the highest satisfaction and approbation your assurances of assistance and support, in maintaining the supreme authority of the legislature over all the dominions of my crown. It shall be my care to justify, by my conduct, the confidence you so affectionately express, and to shew that I have no interests separate from those of my people."

Motion for the Admission of Members of the House of Commons into the House of Lords.] December 6. The Lords having thought proper, on the 10th of December 1770,* to clear their House of all strangers, and not to admit even members of the House of Commons since that time, except to deliver Bills, and upon those occasions ordered them to withdraw immediately, the Commons in return excluded the Peers from their House. Many inconveniences having occurred in consequence of this harsh treatment,


Lord Lyttelton moved, "That the Lords be summoned to attend this House tomorrow, in order to take into consideration a motion for dispensing with the Standing Order of the 5th of April 1707, so far as to admit the Representatives of the Commons of Great Britain into this House, during the sitting thereof." His lordship gave many reasons for dispensing with the order, and for admitting the other House to hear their debates.

Lord Suffolk, the duke of Manchester, lord Sandwich, lord Weymouth, lord Gower, and several other lords, spoke upon the occasion; and upon the question being put, 28 were for the motion, and 36 against it.

December 15. Lord Lyttelton made a second proposition to the House, and recommended that the doors should be opened to the members of the House of Commons, the sons and brothers of peers, peers of Ireland and Scotland, and to so many of the public at large as should be introduced by English peers, each peer to have the privilege of introducing one per


The Duke of Manchester joined in the recommendation. His grace said, he par

See Vol. 16, pp. 1317, 1322.

to be desired even by ministers, that the public might be informed of the grounds on which they proceeded in regard to the measures to be pursued respecting America, whose interests were so interwoven with those of Great Britain, that the attention of the people of this country could not be too much awakened at this truly important crisis.

The Lord Chancellor acquainted the Lords, that he always looked upon himself as a servant of the House, whose duty it was to see their orders enforced; but that as it seemed to be the desire of many to relax their standing order in this point, he thought the civility due from one lord to another should induce the House to come into the proposal.

The proposition was accordingly acceded without further debate.

Debate in the Commons on the Mode of Proceeding with Election Petitions.] December 6. Mr. Speaker said: It is usual that the double returns be heard first, next the undue elections, and lastly complaints concerning undue elections; but what I have to acquaint the House with, is of much higher consequence. By the standing order, it is ordered, that all persons who shall question any returns of members to serve in parliament, do question the same within 14 days next; and by the late Act for determining controverted elections, it is enacted, "that whenever a petition, complaining of an undue election, &c. is presented, it shall be received, be read by the clerk, and a day fixed for appointing a committee to determine and try the same." Such being the state of the matter, I should be glad to have the direction of the House in what manner to


Mr. Cornwall. I rise, with all imaginable diffidence, to impart my doubts on what has now fallen from the chair, because I conceive it to be involved in great difficulty. By the standing order, if a petition be presented the 15th day, it will come too late, and must, contrary to the general sense of the House, be rejected, unless we break through the ancient and established usage of this House. On the other hand, if we do not receive it, we resist the positive words of an act of parliament; for by them we are obliged to entertain a petition, and send it to a committee whenever it is presented, though the cause of complaint, ex. grat. rose in

! this session, and redress should not be | tion in several respects, than I do. I am sought till seven sessions hence. I would not surprised, therefore, if the learned gentherefore submit it to the good sense of tleman thinks such a power as I have the House, whether, considering the na- mentioned would lead to defeat the Act, ture of the standing order, and the relation that he should be desirous to prevent its it should have to the Act, and the Act supposed ill consequences; but I suspect with it, it would not be proper and conve- he has equally mistaken my meaning and nient, that we might have, in the first in intentions. All I wish for is, that the stance, a power to enlarge the time to House, if a petition on a true ground were mote than 14 days, as well as reject peti- presented, might be deemed competent tions, if frivolous or ill-grounded; and whe- to entertain it, though the 14 days prether in fact, that would not be the rational scribed by the standing order, should be and substantial construction of the Act in expired. As to the learned gentleman's question. fears, that such a power might be abused, the Journals of parliament do not furnish an instance of a petition being rejected, complaining of an undue election, without being sent to a committee.*

Mr. Dunning. My hon. and learned friend over the way has started an objection, which, were it to prevail in the manner he seems desirous it should, would in reality defeat the Act, which some short time since appeared to be so justly the favourite with a majority of this House. I trust there are many friends to that Act now present; and I have a learned and honourable one now in my eye (Mr. Wedderburn) who I make no doubt, will exert himself in its support, and do all in his power to resist such an attempt, however ingeniously urged, or covertly and plausibly conceived. The evil which the Act was designed to remove and guard against, was partial decisions in this House on controverted elections. I believe no man here will deny, that too many instances of that kind have happened; indeed, its several provisions are the clearest proof, that that was the sole intention of its framer and friends. What, then, will be the probable consequence were my learned friend's ideas to prevail? It would be this, that a majority of this House, no matter whether of this or that party, (for we cannot be ignorant of what party is capable of doing) without enquiry, and perhaps only knowing the name of the town, or the petitioner, or chusing to usurp a jurisdiction to determine the merits in the first instance, could at once take upon itself to reject a petition, without any other hearing or trial whatever. In fine, if this be the method the hon. and learned mover, and his friends, have devised to defeat every true and salutary purpose of the Act, both in point of sense, construction, and letter, I would wish them sincerely to speak out, and attack it directly, rather than thus side-ways endeavour to defeat it, by forcing an interpretation it will by no means admit of.

Mr. Cornwall. No man in this House more highly approves of the Act in ques[VOL. XVIII.]

Mr. Dunning. How the fact now stated by the hon. gentleman may be, I will not pretend to say; but this I am confident of, that if it were strictly true, it would still be a stronger motive with me to resist the vesting any such power in this House; because, if in former times the House did not reject in the first instance, the reason was obvious, as those who led it could effect with certainty and facility, under the appearance and sanction of a judicial decision, what, if they had done in the first instance, would carry with it the strongest marks of the most manifest partiality. But being by the Act now under consideration, totally precluded from exerting that shameful influence, should the reasons now offered by the learned gentleman prevail, they will, in a summary way, be enabled to do that which is denied them in any other. Should the


* The hon. gentleman was mistaken appears from the following extract from the Journals of the 4th of March 1716:

"A petition of divers of the inhabitants of the borough of Leominster, in the county of Hereford, was presented to the House, and read; setting forth, That the right hon. Tho self and agents, by bribes, threats, and other mas lord Coningsby has endeavoured, by himillegal practices, not only procured himself to be elected a member of this present parliament; but also, by the same indirect practices, procured Henry Gorges, esq. to be elected for the said borough : and praying relief therein. And a motion being made, and the question being put, That the said petition be referred to the that they do examine the matter thereof; and committee of privileges and elections; and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House; the House divided. Yeas 69Noes 79. So it passed in the negative. "Resolved, That the said Petition be rejected."


House be vested with this negative, the petition may concern Blackacre, and the petitioner be John a Stiles; and both the town and petitioner may chance to be extremely disagreeable to those who govern and lead the majority of this House, no matter who they are or may be. What, then, is to be done? The Committee cannot pass over the justice of the cause, to stigmatize the petitioner for his turpitude, nor punish the town for its delinquency; on the contrary, they will be under a necessity of judging rigidly, according to the true merits of the question. That there have been many decisions within these walls, answerable to this description, I believe few will controvert; nay, indeed, I might add, as iniquitous and unjust as ever came to my knowledge without them; and they have been sufficiently corrupt and numerous. I therefore call on the former friends of the Bill, who I trust have not so soon changed their minds, to stand forth and assist me in defending it; for which purpose, Sir, I beg to move, "That, according to the true construction of the said Act, whenever a petition, complaining of an undue election, or return of a member to serve in parliament, shall be offered to be presented to the House, within the time limited by the order of the House for questioning the returns of members to serve in parliament, the said petition shall be delivered in at the table and read, without a question being put thereupon."

Mr. Burke, Mr. Wedderburn, and Mr. Hartley, spoke in favour of the motion; and Mr. Rigby, Mr. Thurlow, and Mr. Fox against it. However, it was agreed to, and made a Resolution of the House. Several gentlemen having petitions to present, and each being desirous of an early day being appointed for hearing them, the Speaker was embarrassed how to decide, or to which he ought to give the preference, and therefore desired the assistance and direction of the House. This produced a conversation; at length Mr. Rose Fuller proposed, "That, whenever more than one petition, complaining of an undue election of return for the same, or for different, places, shall, at the same time, be offered to be presented to the House, Mr. Speaker shall direct such petitions to be all of them delivered in at the table; and the names of the counties, cities, boroughs, or places, to which such petitions shall relate, shall be written on several pieces of paper, of an

equal size; and the same pieces of paper shall be then rolled up, and put by the clerk into a glass, or box, and then publicly drawn by the clerk; and the said several petitions shall be read in the order in which the said names shall be drawn respectively."

After a short debate, this Resolution was carried. The petitions, ready to be presented, were immediately delivered, and the Clerk proceeded according to the new regulation.

Debate in the Commons on the Exclusion of Strangers.] Dec. 12. Mr. T. Townshend rose and said, he did not wish to make a motion, but he had offen lamented that the gallery doors of that House were shut against the Peers; for by that means several young lords, who wished to hear and be instructed, were deprived of the privilege; that he by no means meant to open the gallery for the admission of peers, with a view that it would influence them to open their doors; but as both Houses had acted absurdly, in his opinion the first that corrected the absurdity would stand on the highest ground.

Mr. Rice said he had no objections to the doors being opened; but as the behaviour of the Lords had been so outrageous, he should be against allowing them any admittance, lest it should be construed as a concession; that the question, whether the doors of the House of Lords should be open had lately been discussed, and they had absolutely refused to let them.

Mr. Hans Stanley gave it as his opinion, that all strangers, whenever it was convenient with respect to room, should be admitted into the gallery; and said, he thought it hard that gentlemen who had been waiting for hours to gain admittance, should be turned out as soon as a debate on a question which they thought curious and interesting, came on.

Sir Gilbert Elliot was not only for admitting peers and their sons, but the sons of members also. Since the Lords had behaved improperly, the Commons should set them the example of good manners.

Colonel Barré said, he had been told, that in the latter end of the reign of George the first, or the beginning of George the second, a like affair happened; both Houses bhut the doors against each other. Upon which John duke of Argyle gave it as his opinion, that the peers of the land, by their birth and education,

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