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objections to votes that he could not sustain. And he must say of Lord Hood, that he had been rather patient and submissive, if not negligent of the interests of the city which had so handsomely honoured him with their choice, in not striving to do them justice in so far at least as his own seat was concerned. His election was unquestioned by all sides, and yet, under the same ridiculous and unwarrantable measure, he. also was kept out of his seat, and Westminster continued totally unrepresented.
He concluded with declaring that if, to his astonishment, the House should be so far infatuated by party as to forget this night what was due to the rights of election, and the purity of representation, the question should not sleep. He assured them it should be brought on in one shape or another again and again; and he had no doubt ultimately of seeing them come to a determination favourable to the cause of the people.
The question being put on the motion first moved by Mr. Wel bore Ellis, the House divided : Tellers.
SLord Mulgrave ?
So it passed in the negative. The amendment moved by Lord Mulgrave was put and carried ; after which the high bailiff was called in and made acquainted with the said resolution.
It appeared from this last division, that the prosecution of the scrutiny was not defended by any thing like so numerous a majority as during the preceding session. The novelty of the case, the fear of its being drawn into a precedent, the difficulties and delays attending it, and the appearance, whether well or ill founded, that it exhibited of a personal persecution, began to have their effect in the House. It was not therefore to be expected, that a contest, which was commenced by the opposition under the most discouraging circumstances, should be abandoned at the moment when it began to take a turn in their favour. Accordingly another petition, on the 18th of February, was presented by Colonel Fitzpatrick from the electors, praying to be heard by counsel at the bar, in defence of their just rights and privileges, and to state new facts, which they were not apprized of at the time of presenting their former petition. The new facts, mentioned in the petition, related to an offer which was made by Mr. Fox's counsel, whilst in the parish of St. Anne, to go next into the parishes of Saint Margaret and Saint John (wherein Mr. Fox was stated to be most vulnerable), but this proposition was refused by the counsel for Sir Cecil Wray.
On the motion made by Colonel Fitzpatrick for calling in the counsel to be heard, an amendment was moved by Lord Frederick Campbell, “ that the counsel be restrained from going into any other matter than such as may prove the evidence offered at this bar on Wednesday, the gth of February, defective and incomplete; or into such other matters as may have arisen subsequent to the order of the House on the said day.” This amendment his lordship proposed, he said, to check the counsel from arguing against the legality of the scrutiny, which ought not now to be impeached, as the House had already given judgment on that head. Lord Muncaster concurred very much with those who wished to see an end of the scrutiny, and of the expences with which the parties concerned were borne down; and he believed it was then in his power to point out a mode by which these desirable objects might be attained. It had been said within these few days, that Mr. Fox had proposed that the scrutiny should be carried into the parish of St. Margaret and St.John :" if this was true, it would greatly facilitate what he had so much at heart; for he had then in his power to make a proposal on the part of Sir Cecil Wray, to the right honourable gentleman, which he would read as part of his speech. It was in substance, that Sir Cecil wished the scrutiny should immediately be adjourned to the parishes of St. Margaret and St. John; that Sir Cecil would then object to four hundred votes, given to the right honourable gentleman by persons, stating themselves to be resident householders of this united parish, that he would object to them, not as paupers, or persons not rated in the parish books, but merely as not resident housekeepers, as non-entities; that if he should disqualify so many as that he should obtain a majority on the poll, he should then be returned, and the right honourable gentleman would have the liberty to petition the House ; that if Sir Cecil should not disqualify these votes, he would then give up both the scrutiny and the right of petitioning afterwards.
· Mr. Fox observed, that as the noble lord had so personally pointed to him, he presumed it would be expected he should immediately say something in reply to so singular a proposition. It appeared to him very singular indeed, that though Sir Cecil Wray. and himself were frequently together, he had not thought proper to communicate to him in private, or in the vestry room, the extraordinary proposal that had been just read by the noble lord: it was also very singular, that he should have thought proper to have it communicated to him publicly in the House of Commons. Such a proceeding he conceived to be very disrespectful; and were he inclined to make a compromise on the occasion, he would not treat the House with so much indignity as to make it a party to it. As to the proposal itself, he must say he was astonished at the impudence of it, and was really at a: loss how to treat it. Sir Cecil proposed that the scrutiny should be immediately adjourned to St. Margaret's and St. John's. Amazing good nature! After his opponent had disqualified as many votes in St. Martin's as he could, and finding it was likely there would be, after all, a majority against him there, he was anxious to have the scrutiny stopped in St. Martin's, and transferred to St. Margaret's ! Here, again, he seemed to make a candid offer, by confining his objections to those voters only whom he should be able to disqualify, as not being residenthouseholders: but there was more the appearance than the reality of good nature and candour in this proceeding; for it was very well known that the principal objections on both sides were to votes given, not by paupers, or non-entities, but by those who were not such resident householders as to be entitled to a vote. But what was transcendently candid and good-natured in Sir Cecil was, that, beginning the scrutiny himself in St. Margaret's, he should be returned, if he should disqualify such a number in that parish as would give him a majority over Mr. Fox in the numbers as they stood at the close of the poll; and this, too, without waiting for Mr. Fox to disqualify in return the objectionable votes that Sir Cecil should have in the same parish. But, come what would, he would never consent to so base a compromise: he would never give up the right he had to have determined, by a Committee under Mr. Grenville's bill, the question of the return on the day on which the writ, from which the high bailiff's precept derived its authority, was returnable; and until he should be convinced to the contrary by a resolution, he would not believe that fifteen gentlemen could be found in that House, wbo, upon their oaths, would not determine that the power of the precept expired the moment the writ for Middlesex was returned, and consequently that the high bailiff ought to have returned him to that House on the 18th of May last.
Mr. Bankes approved of the right honourable gentleman's conduct, in not listening to any compromise in the House, whatever · he might do out of it. He wished with all his heart that there was an end of the scrutiny, in which, unfortunately, the House had engaged, and out of which he wished his right honourable friend the chancellor of the exchequer fairly extricated. As to himself, he had opposed the scrutiny both in the last and the present ses. sion; he condemned it still, and he would always maintain it as his opinion, however he might differ from those whom he most esteemed, that the return ought to have been made for Westminster, together with the writ for Middlesex. However, as the House had ordered the high bailiff to proceed in the scrutiny, as the end of such a proceeding was most desirable, and as gentlemen seemed to wish only for evidence that would justify them in
ordering a return, he would wish the amendment carried, in hopes that proofs would be brought to shew, that the evidence on which the scrutiny had been continued, by order of the House, was defective and incomplete. These new proofs would, perhaps, have the desired effects; and then the business of the nation would no. longer be interrupted and impeded by debates on the scrutiny.
Mr. Fox declared it was very far from his inclination, to impede the public business of the nation; and assured gentlemen they had misunderstood him, when they imagined he had said, that there should be applications made to parliament every week on the subject of the Westminster election. He had never said any such thing; but this he had said, that at every turn ministers would meet this scrutiny; they would find it standing in the way of a parliamentary reform, and defeating all its purposes; they would feel that it had raised suspicions of the minister's sincerity, in declaring himself the friend and patron of reform. It had been remarked by a learned gentleman, that there were only a few names to the Westminster petition: he did not expect to have heard such a remark; for though he might have procured thousands of signatures, if he had invited the electors to public meeting, he thought it would be better to present a petition with a few names, than to disturb the quiet of the city by a meeting in Westminster Hall. But should such remarks be repeated again, such a meeting might possibly be thought necessary. He was not at all surprised that ministers should wish to be fairly rid of the scrutiny; it was high time for them to blush at it, when they found themselves deserted on that question by the most respectable of their friends, and by none more respectable than the honourable gentleman who spoke last. A learned gentleman had said, “ that the House was to be haunted day and night by the ghost of the Westminster serútiny." The learned gentleman had, probably, assisted at some splendid representations of late in which the ghost of a guilty conscience haunted the misdoer; he might well catch the idea, and tremble for his House of Commons that had murdered the electors of Westminster, and left them aërial forms and spiritual essences, without representatives; well might he fear to be haunted by the ghost of the scrutiny; well might he fear it would push him and his friend froin their stool! Where could he find a man who would not tell him he was sick of his , scrutiny ? Were not all the minister's friends tired of it? Did not their stomachs turn at it, not because it was nauseous from excessive sweetness, but from its extreme bitterness? Was there a learned man connected with the minister, who, out of that House, did not condemn, in the most pointed terms, the beginning and prosecution of the scrutiny? He himself had heard a few days ago, in another place, (the court of king's bench) a learned gentleman, who knew how to treat with invective in the House the declared enemies of the scrutiny, speak of that proceeding with greater disapprobation than he could well have conceived; for he there heard him say, that all law and sense were confounded in the scrutiny: in this the learned gentleman was right; he could wish only that he would endeavour to be right always and uniformly, and not find one doctrine for the bar and another for the senate. There was no doubt that the majority of the House most heartily wished for the end of a proceeding that disgraced it; but how was that to he accomplished? Was it by rejecting both law and reason? By refusing to hear arguments that would make the absurdity of the proceeding appear in glaring colours? The poor expedient of the amendment proposed by the noble lord, would be found truly futile, if the learned gentlemen who were to appear at the bar, had a mind to evade it; and they would be able so to connect the evidence they had now to adduce with that which had been already given, as to introduce the one whilst they were seemingly urging only the other. For his part, he did not see any expedient short of rescinding the resolutions already passed, to cure the wound that had been given to the constitution; for if the scrutiny was to be continued to the same length that the principles would go on which it was ordered, it would last for ever. In discussing this point, two great general propositions would be found to create insurmountable difficulties. One was the universal affirmative, that in every possible case whatever the House was justifiable in granting and carrying on a scrutiny, when the returning officer's conscience required it. The other was the universal negative, that in no case whatever had the House a power to order a returning officer to make a return until his conscience should be satisfied. If the latter should be denied, what would be the consequence? Why, that the former must stand impeached; for if the House must order a scrutiny whenever the conscience of a returning officer called for it, it would follow, that the House could not, consistently with this delicate regard for conscience, compel the man to return the members as long as his conscience was undetermined ; and therefore a scrutiny might last as long as a parliament. From this he hoped gentlemen would perceive the absurdity of the past proceedings of the House, and the necessity of providing a remedy for the wounded constitution of the country; and none could be effectual but the expunging the past resolutions, and entering another upon the journals, passing upon the doctrines contained in them the most unreserved censure. As to the motion of amendment made by the noble lord, he hoped