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insult in a thousand forms, but is equally a fruitful fountain of effrontery, of falsehood and folly. Unprincipled and shallow blockheads tells us, that a man elected by particular men, is the representative of all men, but subject to instructions from no men:1 he must forsooth be governed only by his own judgment and his own conscience. Yes! men shall break loose from all restraints of the constitution, of common sense, and common honesty, and yet prate about conscience!
Look back to the 8th of April last; leave the speaker in his chair, and you have then exactly one half of a very full house of commons, no less than two HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN MEMBERS, voting, to be sure, according to conscience! But have we not heard of a conscience “ seared with a hot iron ?" Now although the vote alluded to was in direct opposition to the indig. nant sense and strong feelings of the nation, what is that to the two HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN ? Although representing, as they say, all the nation, they owe not their seats, as they know, to THE PEOPLE. Although as the nation thinks, this vote was for the obvious defeat of justice, what is that to the Two HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN ? It is not public justice, but private interest, which is to govern them. They are to take care of the common cause, of the borough proprietors and patrons ; and in so doing must exercise their own judgment.--Although, in the opinion of the nation, that, yote was in direct breach of honesty, against conscience, and in defiance of decency, still what is that to the TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN ? They and the nation have consciences cast in different moulds. Is this, my lord, to be endured ? The despicable subterfuge for hiding the dishonesty of this vote, namely, that at once voting a censure on Lord Melville, upon the documents on their table, was not so proper as voting for a select committee, to ascertain that which was already ascertained and in proof , before them, the public I believe alike know and despise. No: collected under their Demetrius, the craftsmen afraid for their craft, came forward in a body to brave the danger of public
1 See Appeal civil and military, on the constitution, p. 273.
infamy, and to bully the nation : their vote was the audacious vote of an unprincipled faction, whose enjoyments are the nation's misery, and whose prosperity its perpetual plunder ; a vote given from fellowship with corruption, and a lively sympathy with guilt. All the subsequent efforts and the painful writhings of the faction, have added their testimony to the internal proof of the vote itself. Have we not since had by almost the whole of the very same men, with some addition of numbers, and on one and the same evening, one vote against an impeachment, and another against a criminal prosecution ? Then again, when the latter question, in consequence of a slight schism in the faction, was, to the minister's surprize, carried by a trifling majority against bim, the faction suddenly turn round, and the very men who voted against impeachment, against prosecution, against even censure, and who had uniformly argued, some of them, against Lord Melville's having committed any crime, and the rest that if he had, his punishment had already exceeded his offence :-these very men, I say, by as gross a trick as ever disgraced a sharper, come again by surprize upon the vindicators of the national honour, and before they can possibly get together, and make head against their sudden onset, vote away again that criminal prosecution,which had been the act of one of the fullest houses of commons, that has assembled within the memory of man, and THEMSELVES, in whose eyes Lord Melville, is an innocent or persecuted man, THEMSELVES, I say, move and vote his impeaehment !-Have, indeed, the faction so acted ?-Am I correct? or, has astonishment disturbed my intellects? Has the faction, with Mr. Pitt at its head, dared to do an act of three-fold enors mity ; being calculated at once, to bring an English house of commons into detestation, to libel trial by jury, and to libel likewise trial by the house of lords? These were once three boasted characteristics of the Englis. constitution : how one of them has already suffered at the hands of the faction, to our grievous wrong and affliction, we but too well know : but, in respect of the other two, how stands the question ? For a premeditated proceeding of such contradiction, and such violence, strong indeed must have been the motive, whatever that motive was. It must have been a motive felt at their very hearts. Nothing short of a fellow-feeling the most active, and a complete communion of interests, with the accused could impel them to such an act.
When it had been settled, after a debate of two days continuance, and when the house was uncommonly full, that the question of guilty, or not guilty, should be decided in a trial by jury, did the faction, by a reversal of that decision, mean to proclaim it to the nation, that, in their opinion, twelve men upon their oaths would have perjured themselves, in order to do injustice against an innocent man? If so, they grossly libelled trial by jury : or, influenced by the opinion of the attorney general, that, in a court of law, a conviction was inevitable,-an opinion certainly not, the child of his wishes-did they snatch the cause out of the court of king's bench, and remove it into the house of Lords, from a persuasion that they could there obtain a decision, the contrary of that which in a court of law, was inevitable ? Did they indeed, mean to tell a nation, anxiously attentive to their proceedings, that a decision they despaired of from twelve men upon their oath, they trusted to obtain from two hundred and fifty men, upon their honour! If this be the true construction of their vote, can there be a stronger libel on the house of lords? And the farther you carry the comparison, stronger and stronger becomes the libel. After a long life of ministerial patronage, and the scattering of obligations in every direction, if personal enemies to Lord Melville in the mass of society could be supposed, three parts in four of the pannel would be still open to his lordship’s challenge, on a trial by jury, for removing all possibility of a reasonable objection, to that mode of trial : whereas, in the mode now resorted to, although the whole bench of twenty six bishops, as I believe, and above one hundred of the other lords,i owe their seats in the house, or elevations in rank, to Lord Melville's accomplice, colleague, sworn friend, and patron, Mr. Pitt, and very many of them are under high personal obligations to the noble defendant himself, yet the plaintiffs in the cause, cannot now challenge a single person of those who are to try the issue between them. If, therefore, by the act of the faction, the nation have been made to believe, that the cause was snatched from a trial by jury and transferred to the Lords, from a persuasion that such favours must influence their decision, is not the house as a tribunal, scandalously libelled :
1 Mr. Fox, on the 27th May 1797, said, “ I have looked to the “ machmations of the present minister in that way, and I find that, “ including the number of additional titles, the Right Honourable “ gentleman has made no fewer than one hundred and fifteen peers, " in the course of his administration."
When the cause, after a long argument and a solemn vote, had been put into a regular and constitutional course, for a fair and unobjectionable trial, why a proceeding so unnecessary to justice? Why such a tricking and suspicious manœuvre ? Why bring under suspicion the highest tribunal in the country? Why insinuate that the parliamentary judicature of England is no better than the parliamentary judicature of France had been under the monarchy, in which it was notorious, that the judges considered not who was right and who was wrong, but which of the parties had put in the strongest claim to their gratitude ; always selling public justice for private gain, and paying their own personal debts, at the expence of those who were so unfortunate as to become suitors of their courts against the great and powerful.
But there is another view of the subject, tending to the same point of implied libel. We are, you know, familiar with statements, and with long lists of Peers, shewing that a very considerable proportion of them actually appoint to their seats in the house of commons a very large proportion of the Borough faction ;2 and Mr. Fox tells us,3 that if the members so appointed do not implicitly obey the instructions of those who so appoint them, they are not considered as gentlemen. In this view of the case, then, is not the nation taught to consider a great body of the peerage, as real authors and prompters of the measure, as, in effect thus instructing their representatives :- Lord ' Melville is our friend; and as nothing else can save • him, you must at all events, remove his cause into • our court, where we shall do what we can to favour • his escape. Those, I say, who either by words or actions, cause such things to be suspected, do in effect slander and libel in a very unseemly manner, the house of lords, in the persons of a large proportion of its members. But whatever may be the political er. rors, or human infirmities, hanging about any of the members of that house of parliament, it is, my Lord, my decided opinion, and I solemnly declare it upon my honour as a gentleman, that on trying the impeachment of lord Melville, their judgment, whatever it may be, will sustain to the full the high reputation of their tribunal, and prove completely satisfactory to the nation : and I moreover believe that that judg-, ment, whenever it comes, will not raise the reputation of the faction in the house of commons, who have acted as we have seen.
1 See p. 34. 2 See the ji urnals of the commons, for 6th. May, 1793.
3 See a future paye near at hand.
But, my Lord, such ever have been, and ever must be, the proceedings of parliaments raised upon the ruins of the nation's liberty. Even so early as in the reign of king William, in consequence of parliament having obtained only a three years continuance, and of the success of the court in preventing an exclusion of placemen, we find it said of such corruption, “ 'Tis this “ that has changed the very natures of Englishmen, “ and of valliant made them cowards; of eloquent, “ dumb; and of honest men, villains : it is this can “ make a whole house of commons eat their own words, “ and counteroote what they had just before resolved “ on: it is this could summon the mercenary members 6 from all quarters of the town in an instant 10 vote “ their fellow criminals innocent:" - By these
means they made their numbers and interest in the “ house so great, that no miscarriages in the govern“ment could ever be redressed, nor the meanest tool “ belonging to them punished: some of which they “ did indeed take into their own hands, which raised in “ the people a high expectation that some extraordi“ nary penalties would be inflicted upon them; when “ their design at the same time was nothing else than “ to protect and screen them from the ordinary course of