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speak twice; I only finish what I designedly lest tutional rights. That was reserved to mark the imperfect. But if the House is of a different era of the late administration. Not that there opinion, far be it from me to indulge a wish of were wanting some, when I had the honor to transgression against order. I am content, if it serve his Majesty, to propose to me to burn my be your pleasure, to be silent. (Here he paused. fingers with an American stamp act. With the The House resounding with Go on! go on! he enemy at their back, with our bayonets at their proceeded :)
breasts, in the day of their distress, perhaps the Gentlemen, sir, have been charged with giv- Americans would have submitted to the impcsi. ing birth to sedition in America. They have tion; but it would have been taking an ungen. spoken their sentiments with freedom against erous, an unjust advantage. The gentlenian this unhappy act, and that freedom has become boasts of his bounties to America! Are not their crime. Sorry I am to hear the liberty of these bounties intended finally for the benefit of speech in this House imputed as a crime. But this kingdom? If they are not, he has misapthe imputation shall not discourage me. It is plied the national treasures ! a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman I am no courtier of America. I stand up for ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty this kingdom. I maintain that the Parliament by which the gentleman who calumniates it has a right to bind, to restrain America. Our might have profited. He ought to have desist- legislative power over the colonies is sovereign ed from his project. The gentleman tells us, and supreme. When it ceases to be sovereign America is obstinate ; America is almost in open and supreme, I would advise every gentleman rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. to sell his lands, if he can, and embark for that Three millions of people, so dead to all the feel. country. When two countries are connected toings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be gether like England and her colonies, without slaves, would have been fit instruments to make being incorporated, the one must necessarily slaves of the rest. I come not here armed at govern. The greater must rule the less. But all points, with law cases and acts of Parlia- she must so rule it as not to contradict the fun. ment, with the statute book doubled down in damental principles that are common to both. dog's ears, to defend the cause of liberty. If I If the gentleman does not understand the difhad, I mysell would have cited the two cases ofference between external and internal taxes, I Chester and Durham. I would have cited them can not help it. There is a plain distinction beto show that, even under former arbitrary reigns, tween taxes levied for the purposes of raising a Parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people revenue, and duties imposed for the regulation without their consent, and allowed them repre- of trade, for the accommodation of the subject; sentatives. Why did the gentleman confine him- although, in the consequences, some revenue self to Chester and Durham ? He might have may incidentally arise from the latter. taken a higher example in Wales-Wales, that The gentleman asks, When were the colonies never was taxed by Parliament till it was incor- emancipated ? I desire to know, when were porated. I would not debate a particular point they made slaves ? But I dwell not upon words of law with the gentleman. I know his abili- When I had the honor of serving his Majesty, 1 ties. I have been obliged to his diligent re- availed myself of the means of information which searches. But, for the defense of liberty, upon I derived from my office. I speak, therefore, a general principle, upon a constitutional prin- from knowledge. My materials were good. I ciple, it is a ground on which I stand firm-on was at pains to collect, to digest, to consider which I dare meet any man. The gentleman them; and I will be bold to affirm, that the prof. tells us of many who are taxed, and are not rep- its to Great Britain from the trade of the coloresented-lhe India Company, merchants, stock. nies, through all its branches, is two millions a holders, manufacturers. Surely many of these year. This is the fund that carried you triumphare represented in other capacities, as owners of antly through the last war. The estates that 'and, or as freemen of boroughs. It is a mis- were rented at two thousand pounds a year, ortune that more are not equally represented. threescore years ago, are at three thousand at But they are all inhabitants, and, as such, are present. Those estates sold then from fifteen to they not virtually represented ? Many have it eighteen years purchase; the same may now bo in their option to be actually represented. They sold for thirty. You owe this to America. This have connections with those that elect, and they is the price America pays you for her protec have influence over them. The gentleman men- tion. And shall a miserable financier come with tioned the stockholders. I hope he does not a boast, that he can bring "a pepper-corn" into reckon the debts of the nation as a part of the the exchequer by the loss of millions to the nanational estate.
tion ?? I dare not say how much higher these Since the accession of King William, many profits may be augmented. Omitting (i. e., not mninisters, some of great, others of more moder- taking into account) the immense increase of ate abilities, have taken the lead of government. people, by natural population, in the northern (Here M:. Pitt went through the list of them, colonies, and the emigration from every part of bringing it down till he came to himself, giving
? Alluding to Mr. Nugent, who had said that “ a short sketch of the characters of each, and
pepp corn in acknowledgment of the right to tax then proceeded :) None of these thought, or even | America, was of more value than millions without dreamed of robbing the colonies of their consti- it.”
Europe, I am convinced (09 other grounds) that gentleman only excepted, since removed lo the the commercial system of America may be al- Upper House by succession to an ancient bar. tered to advantage. You have prohibited where ony (Lord Le Despencer, formerly Sir Francis you ought to have encouraged. You have en- Dashwood). He told me he did not like a Gercouraged where you ought to have prohibited. man war. I honored the man for it, and was Improper restraints have been laid on the conti- sorry when he was turned out of his post. neni in favor of the islands. You have but two A great deal has been said without doors of nations to trade with in America. Would you the power, of the strength of America. It is a had twenty! Let acts of Parliament in conse- topic that ought to be cautiously meddled with. quence of treaties remain; but let not an En- In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force glish minister become a custom-house officer of this country can crush America to atoms. I for Spain, or for any foreign power. Much is know the valor of your troops. I know the skill wrong! Much may be amended for the gen- of your officers. There is not a company of foot eral good of the whole !
that has served in America, out of which you Does the gentleman complain he has been may not pick a man of sufficient knowledge and misrepresented in the public prints ? It is a experience to make a governor of a colony there. common misfortune. In the Spanish affair of But on this ground, on the Stamp Act, which so the last war, I was abused in all newspapers many here will think a crying injustice, I am for having advised his Majesty to violate the laws one who will lift up my hands against it. of nations with regard to Spain. The abuse was In such a cause, your success would be hazindustriously circulated even in handbills. If ardous. America, if she fell, would fall like tho administration did not propagate the abuse, ad- strong man; she would embrace the pillars of ministration never contradicted it. I will not the state, and pull down the Constitution along say what advice I did give the King. My ad. with her. Is this your boasted peace-not to vice is in writing, signed by myself, in the pos- sheathe the sword in its scabbard, but to sheathe session of the Crown. But I will say what ad- it in the bowels of your countrymen? Will you vice I did not give to the King. I did not ad- quarrel with yourselves, now the whole house of vise him to violate any of the laws of nations. Bourbon is united against you; while France
As to the report of the gentleman's prevent- disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, embaring in some way the trade for bullion with the rasses your slave trade to Africa, and withholds Spaniards, it was spoken of so confidently that I from your subjects in Canada their property own I am one of those who did believe it to be stipulated by treaty; while the ransom for the true.
Manillas is denied by Spain, and its gallant conThe gentleman must not wonder he was not queror basely traduced into a mean plunderer! contradicted when, as minister, he asserted the a gentleman (Colonel Draper) whose noble and right of Parliament to tax America. I know generous spirit would do honor to the proudest not how it is, but there is a modesty in this grandee of the country ? The Americans have House which does not choose to contradict a not acted in all things with prudence and temminister. Even your chair, sir, looks too often per: they have been wronged; they have been toward St. James's. I wish gentlemen would driven to madness by injustice. Will you punget the better of this modesty. If they do not, ish them for the madness you have occasioned ? perhaps the collective body may begin to abate Rather let prudence and temper come first from of its respect for the representative. Lord Ba- this side. I will undertake for America that con has told me, that a great question would not she will follow the example. There are two fail of being agitated at one time or another. I lines in a ballad of Prior's, of a man's behavior was willing to agitate such a question at the to his wife, so applicable to you and your coloproper season, viz., that of the German war-nies, that I can not help repeating them: my German war, they called it! Every session “Be to her faults a little blind; I called out, Has any body any objection to the Be to her virtues very kind.” German war ? Nobody would object to it, one Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the
: This speech is so much condensed by the report. House what is my opinion. It is, that the Stamp er as sometimes to make the connection obscure. Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immedi. Mr. Pitt is answering Mr. Grenville's complaints by a reference to bis own experience when minister. resisted the disposition of George II. to engage in Had Mr. Grenville been misrepresented in the pubwars on the Continent. But when things had whol. lic prints? So was Mr. Pitt in respect to the Span. ly changed, when England had united with Prussia ish affair of the last war.” Had the Stamp Act beer to repress the ambition of Austria sustained by drawn into discussion, though originally passed with France and Russia, he did carry on "a German out contradiction ? Mr. Grenville might easily un- war," though not one of his own commencing. And derstand that there was a reluctance to contradict he was always ready to meet the question. He the minister; and he might learn from Lord Bacon challenged discussion. He called out, “ Has any that a great question like this could not be avoided; body objections to ine German war ?" Probably it could be “ agitated at one time or another." Mr. Mr. Pitt here alludes to an incident already refer. Pitt, when minister, had a great question of this red to, page 61, when, putting himself in an attitude kind, viz., the “German war," and he did not shrink of defiance, he exclaimed, " Is there au Anstrinn from meeting it, or complain of the misrepresenta among you ? Let him come forwarıl aud reveal tion to which he was subjected. He had originally I himself!'
ately. That the reason for the repeal be assign- | whatsoever !" Lord Camden, when the Declar. ed, viz., because it was founded on an erroneous atory Act came into the House of Lords, took principle. At the same time, let the sovereign the same ground with Mr. Pitt in the House of authority of this country over the colonies be as- Commons. · My position," said he, “is this serted in as strong terms as can be devised, and I repeat it, I will maintain it to the last hour : be made to extend to every point of legislation Taxation and representation are inseparable. whatsoever; that we may bind their trade, con- This position is founded on the laws of nature. fine their manufactures, and exercise every power It is more; it is in itself an eternal law of na. whatsoever, except that of taking their money ture. For whatever is a man's own is abso. out of their pockets without their consent. lutely his own. No man has a right to take it
from him without his consent, either expressed
by himself or his representative. Whoever at. The motion for the address received the ap- teinpts to do this, attempts an injury. Whoever probation of all. About a month after, February does it, commits a robbery. He throws down 26th, 1766, a bill was introduced repealing the and destroys the distinction between liberty and Stamp Act; but, instead of following Mr. Pitt's slavery.' Other counsels, however, prevailed. advice, and abandoning all claim to the right of The Stamp Act was repealed, but the Declarataxing the colonies, a Declaratory Act was in tory Act was passed; its principles were carried troduced, asserting the authority of the King and out by Charles Townsend the very next year, by Parliament to make laws which should "bind imposing new taxes; and the consequences are the colonies and people of America in all cases before the world.
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM IN REPLY TO LORD MANSFIELD, IN RELATION TO THE CASE OF JOHN
WILKES, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, JANUARY 9, 1770.
INTRODUCTION. This was the first appearance of Lord Chatham in the House of Lords after his illness in 1767. The Duke of Grafton, his former friend and ally, was now minister, and had come out a virtual Tory. "The case of John Wilkes agitated the whole kingdom. He had been expelled from the House of Commons for a "seditious libel,” in February, 1769, and a new writ was issued for the election of a member from Middlesex. Wilkes was almost unanimously re-elected, and the House of Commons resolved, on the day after his election, that he was incapable of being chosen to that Parliament. Another election was there. fore held; he was again chosen, and his election again declared void. A third was ordered, and the min. istry now determined to contest it to the utmost. They prevailed upon Colonel Luttrell, son of Lord Irn. ham, to vacate his seat in the House, and become their candidate ; but, with all their influence and bribery, they could obtain only 296 votes, while Wilkes numbered 1143. The latter, of conrse, was again retuined as a member; but the House passed a resolution directing the clerk of the Crown to amend the return, by erasing the name of Mr. Wilkes and inserting that of Colonel Luttrell, who accordingly took his seat, in April, 1769.
There is, at the present day, no difference of opinion as to these proceedings. “All mankind are agreed," says Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chancellors, “ that the House of Commons acted illegally and on. constitutionally in expelling Mr. Wilkes for a supposed offense, committed before his re-election, and in seating Mr. Luttrell as representative for Middlesex." With Mr. Wilkes as an individual, Lord Chatham had no connection, either personal or political. He had, on the contrary, expressed his detestation of his character and principles, some years before, in the presence of Parliament. But he felt that one of the greatest questions had now arisen which was ever agitated in England, and that the House of Lords ought to enter their protest against this flagrant breach of the Constitution. He, perhaps, considered him. self the more bound to come forward, because in his late ministry he had given the Duke of Grafton the place which he now held of First Lord of the Treasury, and had thus opened the way for the advance. ment of his grace to the station of Prime Minister. At all events, he determined, on the first day of his appearance in Parliament after his late ministry, to express his disapprobation of two measures which had been adopted by his former colleagues, viz., the taxation of America, and the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes. When, therefore, an address to the Throne was moved, January 9th, 1770, he came forward on both these subjects in one of his most celebrated speeches, but which, unfortunately, is very imperfectly preserved.
He commenced with great impressiveness of manner: “At my advanced period of life, my Lords, bow ing under the weight of iny infirmities, I might, perhaps, bave stood excused if I had continued in my retirement, and never taken part again in public affairs. But the alarming state of the country calls upor me to execute the daty which I owe to my God, my sovereign, and my country.” He then took a rapid view of the external and internal state of the country. He lamented the measures which had alienated the colonies, and driver them t- such excesses. Bat he still insisted that :hey should be treated with ten. derness. “These excesses,' le said, “ are the mere eruptions of liberty, which break out upon the skin, and are a sign, if not of perfect health, at least of a vigoroas constitution, and must not be repelled too suddenly, lest they should strike to the heart."
He then passed to the case of Mr. Wilkes, and the prevailing discontent throughout the kingdom, in consequence of his expulsion from the House of Commons. The privileges of the House of Peers, he said, however transcendent, stood on the same broad bottom as the rights of the people. It was, therefore, their highest interest, as well as their duty, to watch over and protect the people; for when the people had lost their rights, the peerage would soon become insiguificant. He referred, as an illustration, to the caso of Spain, where the grandees, from neglecting and slighting the rights of the people, bad been enslaved themselves. He concluded with the following remarkable passage: "My Lords let this example be a lesson to us all. Let us be cautious how we admit an idea, that our rights stand on a footing different from those of the people. Let as be cautions how we invade the liberties of our fellow-subjects, however mean, however remote. For be assured, my Lords, in whatever part of the empire you suffer slavery to be es. tablished, whether it be in America, or in Ireland, or here at home, you will find it a disease which spreads by contact, and soon reaches from the extremities to the heart. The man who has lost bis own freedom, becom.es, from that moment, an instrument in the hands of an ambitious prince to destroy the freedom of others. These reflections, my Lords, are bat too applicable to our present situation. The liberty of the subject is invaded, not only in the provinces, but here at home! The English people are loud in their com. plaints; they demand redress; and, depend upon it, my Lords, that, one way or another, they will have redress. They will never return to a state of tranquillity till they are redressed. Nor ought they. For in my judgment, my Lords, and I speak it boldly, it were better for them to perish in a glorious contention for their rights, than to purchase a slavish tranquillity at the expense of a single iota of the Constitution. Let me entreat your Lordships, then, by all the duties which you owe to your sovereign, to the country, and to yourselves, to perform the office to which you are called by the Constitution, by informing his Majesty truly of the condition of his subjects, and the real cause of their dissatisfaction."
With this view, Lord Chatham concluded his speech by moving an amendment to the address, “That we will, with all convenient speed, take into our most serious consideration the causes of the discontents which prevail in so many parts of your Majesty's dominions, and particularly the late proceedings of the House of Commons touching the incapacity of John Wilkes, Esq., expelled by that House, to be re-elected a member to serve in the present Parliament, thereby refusing, by a resolution of one branch of the Leg. islature only, to the subject his common right, and depriving the electors of Middlesex of their free choice of a representative."
This amendment was powerfully resisted by Lord Mansfield. Nothing remains, however, of his speech, except a meager account of the general course of his argument. He contended “that the amendment vio. lated every form and usage of Parliament, and was a gross attack on the privileges of the House of Com. mons. That there never was an instance of the Lords inquiring into the proceedings of that House with respect to their own members, much less of their taking upon themselves to censure such proceedings, or of their advising the Crown to take notice of them. “If, indeed, it be the purpose of the amendment to provoke a quarrel with the House of Commons, I confess,' said his Lordship,ʻit will have that effect cer. tainly and immediately. The Lower House will andoubtedly assert their privileges, and give you vote for vote. I leave it, therefore, to your Lordships, to consider the fatal effects which, in such a conjuncture as the present, may arise from an open breach between the two bouses of Parliament." Lord Chatham immediately arose and delivered the following speech in reply.
S,PEECH, &c.' My Lords,—There is one plain maxim, to so small a number of men, were sufficient to diwhich I have invariably adhered through life : rect our judgment and our conduct. But Provthat in every question in which my liberty or my idence has taken better care of our happiness, property were concerned, I should consult and and given us, in the simplicity of common sense, be determined by the dictates of common sense. a rule for our direction, by which we can never I confess, my Lords, that I am apt to distrust be misled. I confess, my Lords, I had no other the refinements of learning, because I have seen guide in drawing up the amendment which I the ablest and the most learned men equally lia- submitted to your consideration; and, before I ble to deceive themselves and to mislead others. heard the opinion of the noble Lord who spoko The condition of human nature would be lam- last, I did not conceive that it was even within entable indeed, if nothing less than the greatest the limits of possibility for the greatest human learning and talents, which fall to the share of genius, the most subtle understanding, or the · This is the best reported and most eloquent meaning, and to give it an interpretation so en.
acutest wit, so strangely to misrepresent my speech of Lord Chatham, except that of November 18th, 1777. It was published at the time from man
tirely foreign from what I intended to express, uscript notes taken by an unknown individual, who and from that sense which the very terms of the is now ascertained with almost absolute certainty amendment plainly and distinctly carry with to have been the celebrated Sir Philip Francis, con- them. If there be the smallest foundation for sidered by so many as the author of Jupius's Letters. I the censure thrown upon me by that roble Lord, if, either expressly, or by the most distant im- ing in that Parliainent ? And is it not their res plication, I have said or insinuated any part of olution alone which resuses to the subject his what the noble Lord has charged me with, dis- common right? The amendment says farther, card my opinions forever, discard the motion that the electors of Middlesex are deprived of with concempt.
their free choice of a representative. Is this a My Lords, I must beg the indulgence of the false fact, my Lords? Or have I given an unHouse. Neither will my health permit me, nor fair representation of it? Will any man predo I pretend to be qualified to follow that learn- sume to affirm that Colonel Luttrell is the free ed Lord minutely through the whole of his argu- choice of the electors of Middlesex ? We all ment. No man is better acquainted with his know the contrary. We all know that Mr. abilities and learning, nor has a greater respect Wilkes (whom I mention without either praise for them than I have. I have had the pleasure or censure) was the favorite of the county, and of sitting with him in the other House, and al. chosen by a very great and acknowledged maways listened to him with attention. I have not jority to represent them in Parliament. If the now lost a word of what he said, nor dN I ever. noble Lord dislikes the manner in which these Upon the present question I meet him without facts are stated, I shall think myself happy ir fear. The evidence which truth carries with it being advised by him how to alter it. I am very is superior to all argument; it neither wants the little anxious about terms, provided the subsupport, nor dreads the opposition of the great stance be preserved; and these are facts, my est abilities. If there be a single word in the Lords, which I am sure will always retain their amendment to justify the interpretation which weight and importance, in whatever form of lan. the noble Lord has been pleased to give it, I am guage they are described. ready to renounce the whole. Let it be read, Now, my Lords, since I have been forced to my Lords ; let it speak for itself. [It was read.] enter into the explanation of an amendment, in In what instance does it interfere with the priv- which nothing less than the genius of penetraileges of the House of Commons ? In what rc- tion could have discovered an obscurity, and havspect does it question their jurisdiction, or sup- ing, as I hope, redeemed myself in the opinion pose an authority in this House to arraign the of the House, having redeemed my motion from justice of their sentence? I am sure that every the severe representation given of it by the noble Lord who hears me will bear me witness, that Lord, I must a little longer entreat your LordI said not one word touching the merits of the ships' indulgence. The Constitution of this counMiddlesex election. So far from conveying any try has been openly invaded in fact; and I have opinion upon that matter in the amendment, I heard, with horror and astonishment, that very did not even in discourse deliver my own senti- invasion defended upon principle. What is this nents upon it. I did not say that the House of mysterious power, undefined by law, unknown Commons had done either right or wrong; but, to the subject, which we must not approach when his Majesty was pleased to recommend it without awe, nor speak of without reverenceto us to cultivate unanimity among ourselves, I which no man may question, and to which all thought it the duty of this House, as the great men must submit? My Lords, I thought the hereditary council of the Crown, to state to his slavish doctrine of passive obedience had long Majesty the distracted condition of his dominions, since been exploded; and, when our Kings were ogether with the events which had destroyed obliged to confess that their title to the Crown, ananimity among his subjects. But, my Lords, and the rule of their government, had no other I stated events merely as facts, without the foundation than the known laws of the land, I smallest addition either of censure or of opinion. never expected to hear a divine right, or a diThey are facts, my Lords, which I am not only vine infallibility, attributed to any other branch convinced are true, but which I know are indis- of the Legislature. My Lords, I beg to be unputably true. For example, my Lords : will any derstood. No man respects the House of Comman deny that discontents prevail in many parts mons more than I do, or would contend more of his Majesty's dominions ? or that those dis- strenuously than I would to preserve to them contents arise from the proceedings of the House their just and legal authority. Within the bounds of Commons touching the declared incapacity of prescribed by the Constitution, that authority is Mr. Wilkes? It is impossible. No man can necessary to the well-being of the people. Be. deny a truth so notorious. Or will any man yond that line, every exertion of power is arbideny that those proceedings refused, by a reso- trary, is illegal; it threatens tyranny to the peo. lution of one branch of the Legislature only, to ple, and destruction to the state. Power with the subject his common right? Is it not indis- out right is the most odious and detestable object putably true, my Lords, that Mr. Wilkes had a that can be offered to the human imagination. common right, and that he lost it no other way It is not only pernicious to those who are sub but by a resolution of the House of Commons ?ject to it, but tends to its own destruction. 1: My Lords, I have been tender of misrepresent is what my noble friend (Lord Lyttleton) bas ing the House of Commons. I have consulted truly described it, “Res detestabilis et caduca.'' their journals, and have taken the very words of My Lords, I acknowledge the just power, and their own resolution. Do they not tell us in so reverence the constitution of the House of Com many words, that Mr. Wilkes having been expelled, was ibereby rendered incapable of serv- thing hateful, and destined to destruction.