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an explanation; to support as a minister, could literally but mean, as a servant of the king; nor could it be tortured into any other sense, unless it applied to the exertion of an undue influence, which the constitution did not acknowledge, and which, therefore, he hoped the right honourable gentleman would disavow. He then alluded to the Westminster scru-, tiny, of which, he said, he would not at present anticipate a future discussion; but surely every pretension to reform was in itself a mockery, when such a power was permitted in a returning officer, as to delay the return, for years perhaps, according to his pleasure.
He then took notice of the reduction of the army, and said, that if, notwithstanding the pacific assurances his majesty received from all foreign powers of their good disposition towards Great Britain, administration had reason to suspect that something would, or only imagined that something might arise upon the continent, likely to affect the interests of this country, they would do wisely not to reduce the army any lower. He reminded ministers of the necessity for their keeping a wary eye over the conduct of the house of Bourbon, and bid them look to the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, which had ever been thought material to the preservation of the interests of this country. The management of the military force, he observed, was no part of the privilege of that House, but rested in the king and his prerogative. In fact, the army was altogether in the hands of the executive government, and in the nature of things, the conduct must be entrusted to the executive government. His majesty came to that House to ask a supply for the pay and clothing of the army, and that House
tions to the utmost of his strength, and that he will exert his whole power and credit, as a man, and as a minister, honestly and boldly, to carry such a meliorated system of representation as may place the constitution on a footing of permanent security. I am happy to communicate this intelligence, which, I trust, will give pleasure to you, Sir, and to every firm and unquestionable friend to the rights of the people. And from recent communication in Yorkshire, I can venture to assure you, that it is highly probable, if the borough of , and other respectable bodies, should be heartily disposed, on this occasion, to testify their sentiments in favour of political reformation, a vigorous effort would be made in Yorkshire, in concurrence with them, to give effectual support to the necessary measure - the improvement of our representation. “ I am, with great respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
« C. Wyvill.” " As the appearance of this intelligence in the newspapers, for some time, would do infinite disservice to the cause, I would request you to avoid that with caution; though, short of publication, I think it cannot be too generally known."
had it then in its power to check any abuse the executive government might commit in that respect: but if it were possible that a king of Great Britain could be imprudent enough to keep up too small a military force, in a moment. of alarm (which certainly was not very probable, as kings were generally, inclined to maintain as large an armay as their subjects would pay for), he for one should think it expedient that the House should address the crown, and advise the having a larger army; he hoped, therefore, that administration would not, if they saw occasion to the contrary, think of making a further reduction of the army. Mr. Fox said, he hoped also, that administration would have the firmness, if additional burdens were necessary for funding the remainder of the national debt, and for providing an annual surplus of the nature of a sinking fund, for the purpose of diminishing that debt, to propose such measures as were necessary. Let administration be composed of what men it might, however opposite their political opinions, they might rest assured of his hearty support. The objects were great national objects, and in all such he was ready to agree.
Mr. Fox commended that part of the speech, which advised the consideration of the matters suggested in the reports of the commissioners of accounts, and said, he hoped the consolidating the duties of the customs would be among the matters so taken under consideration. He commended also Mr. Pitt's intention of moving for a call of the House, in order to procure a full attendance, when the subject of parliamentary reform should be brought under discussion, and said, he had it in his intention to propose various motions relative to India and other topics, which deserved the maturest consideration. He therefore should take advantage of the proposed call of the House, although the business of the session was likely to be so extremely important, that, in his opinion, every gentleman who had any regard for the public interests, any sense of what he owed to his country, ought to need no greater stimulative to attend constantly, than the reflection of the magnitude and multitude of the objects that must necessarily be submitted to parliamentary debate and deliberation. He reprobated the issuing attachments from the court of king's bench in Ireland. If, said he, the pillars of the constitution are to be sapped, and the sacred rights of juries are to be invaded, our expected reform is frivolous and futile. I will not say that the measure may not be necessary here, which in Ireland circumstances may render inexpedient; but I must insist, that in both cases, the meetings are precisely the same. There cannot possibly be guilt in one, and innocence in the other; and from this truth,
what alarming inferences are not to be drawn! We know the minister not to be hostile to the measure; we can therefore only argue, that in the violence of this procedure, he seeks to establish a procedent which he may find useful. He concluded with saying, that to the address he gave a qualified consent. He had interpreted it according to his own ideas; but when it was mentioned, that the “ true principles of the constitution were to be secured," no person, in his opinion, could vote as he did, unless convinced with him, that causes of danger did then exist.
The amendment moved by Mr. Burke was rejected without a division; after which, the original address was agreed to.
AGREEABLY to the resolution come to by the House on the A 8th of June last, the high bailiff of Westminster proceeded with the scrutiny during the remainder of the session, and also during the recess. Not quite two parishes out of the seven, into which Westminster is divided, were finished, when the parliament met the second time, and yet the scrutiny had then continued for eight months. It was calculated (taking into consideration that óne of the parishes already scrutinized was comparatively small ) that the business already gone through was not more than an eighth of the whole. Of the votes on the side of Mr. Fox, seventy one had been objected to in the first parish, and the objections made good only against twenty-five: in the same parish, out of thirtytwo of the votes for Sir Cecil Wray, which were objected to, twenty seven were declared illegal.
In the second parish, out of two hundred objected to, Mr. Fox lost eighty: Sir Cecil Wray, out of seventy five, at that time objected to (for the examination was not closed), had sixty struck off.
In this state did the Westminster scrutiny again come before the House, upon a petition from several of the electors, the 8th of February, when the high bailiff, and his counsel, Mr. Hargrave and Mr. Murphy, underwent a long examination at the bar of the House, touching the practicability of carrying on the scrutiny, and the difficulties and delays attending the same. The high bailiff gave in evidence, that, calculating from what had been already done, it would take certainly not less, but probably a much longer time, than two years, to finish the scrutiny. The day fol
lowing Mr. Welbore Ellis moved, “ That it appearing to this House that Thomas Corbett, esquire, high bailiff of Westminster, having received a precept from the sheriff of Middlesex, for electing two citizens to serve in parliament for the said city, and having taken and finally closed the poll on the 17th day of May last, being the day next before the day of the return of the said writ, he be now directed forthwith to make return of his precept of members chosen in pursuance thereof." ' To this motion Lord Mulgrave moved an amendment, by leaving out from the word " That,” to the end of the question, and inserting, 6 The speaker do acquaint the high bailiff, first, that he is not precluded by the resolution of this House, communicated to him on the Sth of June last, from making a return, whenever he shall be satisfied, in his own judgment, that he can so do: and secondly, that this House is not satisfied that the scrutiny has been proceeded in as expeditiously as it might have been: that it is his duty to adopt and enforce such just and reasonable regulations as shall appear to him most likely to prevent unnecessary delay in future; that he is not precluded from so doing by the want of consent of either party, and that he may be assured of the support of this House in the discharge of his duty." The amendment was supported by the Master of the Rolls, Mr. Bearcroft, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Dundas : the original motion by Mr. Thomas Pelham, Mr. Montague, Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor, Mr. Lee, Lord North, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Fox, and Mr. William Windham, who upon this occasion addressed the House for the first time.
Mr. Fox followed Mr. Windham. He began a speech of considerable length, with congratulating the House on the accession of abilities they had found in the honourable gentleman who had spoken before him. He then adverted to the various speakers against the motion, and answered their several arguments. He reprobated the doctrine of Lord Mulgrave, that the Westminster scrutiny had nothing to do with a reform in parliament. It had to do, he said, with the reform of parliament, and was a subject which every real lover of reform must countenance, since it amounted in reality to the disfranchisement of the city of Westminster, and with that of every other popular place in the kingdom. He observed, that the chancellor of the exchequer had very dogmatically declared, that every one who went before him had spoken to every thing but to the question really before the House; he would not dispute the right honourable gentleman's splendid abilities; he never did it, he never would do it; indeed, it would be absurd in him to dispute what he himself had always acknowledged, what the whole House admitted; indeed it would be no less absurd than to dispute the right honourable gentleman's confidence in those abilities. The right honourable gentleman sat out with saying, that he was too much upon his guard to suffer himself to be betrayed
by any that the right bn other men hao had heard
by any temptation, to use personal asperity to any one: he
wished that the right honourable gentleman's protestations - and his observations upon other men had been a little less at
variance; for he was sure every one who had heard the right honourable gentleman's remarks upon Mr. Hargrave, would think that he absolutely forgot his resolution not to use asperity towards any man. For his own part, he would say, that he had never heard a more unmerited attack upon any one: that gentleman had been praised, as being one of the most learned, the most able, the most indefatigable and laborious persons of his profession; but it would seem as if ability, learning, and diligence, were not the requisites for an assessor; for the House had been told that other persons would be found much better qualified for the office. Their qualifications not being founded on equality of professional knowledge, learning, and industry with Mr. Hargrave, people would be apt to inquire in what those qualifications might consist. In his opinion, integrity was one of the most necessary in a judge, and he was sure that Mr. Hargrave possessed it in an eminent degree; he believed, also, that Mr. Murphy was a man of integrity ; but who could tell that he would long continue in his present office? And what à lesson would the minister's speech of that day be to his successor in advising the high bailiff? Would it not say to him in plain terms, that one assessor of inflexible integrity had been removed; his situation had been previously rendered so disagreeable to him, that he could not, consistently with his own dignity, remain any longer in his office, and to crown all, having resigned, he was held up in an odious or ridiculous light, by the minister ? Was not this as much as to say, if an assessor shall presume to think for himself, he shall be publicly ridiculed, reviled, and reprimanded; whilst, on the other hand, the courtly, the complaisant assessor, who may come hereafter, may learn the way to gain the favour, the countenance, and the smiles of the minister - no trifling considerations with men who must look up to government for advancement or promotion in their profession. Mr. Hargrave was charged by the right honourable gentleman with having been himself very instrumental in causing the delay of which there had been such complaint. He would ask, if since Mr. Murphy had taken his place, the scrutiny had been conducted with greater dispatch ? The contrary was notoriously the truth. The right honourable gentleman could free the high bailiff from the supposed necessity by which he thought himself bound to make no new regulation that should not meet with the approbation and concurrence of both parties. Now he would be bound to say, that the most effectual way to pro