Page images
PDF
EPUB

exertion of the laws, a continuance of all the unexampled bleffings which they now enjoy. It is the greatest fatisfaction to me to reflect, that in thefe endeavours I fhall receive the firm and united afliftance of my parliament; and I feel the fame conviction and confidence which is expreffed by you, that all our exertions for this purpose will be feconded by the zeal and public fpirit of my people, whofe happinefs forms the first object of all my withes.

Proteft against the Addrefs of the Houfe of Lords to his Majefty, on the Proclamation, May 31:

DISSENTIENT,

Because I think the honour and dignity of parliament trifled with, by a folemn call, without any ade quate caufe, and upon flight pretences, to make unnecefiary profeffions of attachment to the con ftitution, and of zeal for his majefty's government, and to concur in applauding his majesty's minifters for advifing this extraordinary meafure of a Royal Proclamation, and a recurrence to the authority of parliament; a measure not called tor, and which appears to me much more calculated to awake caufeleis apprehenfions, and excite unnec ffary alarm among a people affectionate to the king, and obedient to the laws, than to answer any of thofe falutary purposes for which alone minifters fhould prefume to ufe the royal name and authority.

Because those writings which his majefty's minifters now confider as likely to difturb the public peace, and excite dangerous tumults, and of which the profecution is, on a udden, deemed by them indifpenfable to the prefervation of order, and the fecurity of government,

have been permitted for a confiderable time paft to be openly, and, as is afferted, induftriously diffeminated through every part of the kingdom; and, therefore, if the principles thus propagated be fo fubverfive of all order, and destructive of all government, and are at the fame time fo unfortunately calculated to make a rapid, alarming, and fatal progrefs in the minds of a peaceable and enlightened people, as minifters have, in debate, maintained, it would well become the care and wisdom of parliament, inftead of committing its authority in the measures of executive government, and taking part in the ordinary execution of the laws, to. enquire why fo important a difcovery was not made at an earlier period, and why the minifters have fo long permitted the falutary terrors of the law to fleep over offences, the profecution of which fo highly imported the public fafety.

Becaufe, if it be expedient to punish the authors and publishers of feditious writings, I think it the province of the executive government to determine upon that expediency, and to put the law in motion; and I cannot but confider as pernicious in its example, and unconftitutional in its principle, the prefent attempt made by the minifers to fhelter themfelves, juftify their conduct, and cover what, according to their argument, has been their criminal negligence, by a meafure of parliament. I believe the laws to be fufficiently efficacious for the punithment of fuch offenders as are defcribed in the royal procla-1 mation, and I fee no reafon why parliament should take from his majesty's minifters any part of the refponfibility which appertains to their ftations, of advifing the crown, and directing its law officers as to (D 4)

the

the fit feasons and proper occafions on which any of the laws for preferving the public peace fhould be enforced; nor can I obferve, without expreffing my marked difapprobation, that the confidence which the public ftill place in the wifdom and integrity of parliament, notwithstanding all atteinpts made by the prefent minifters to deftroy it, is infidiously laid hold of by them to create public prejudice, and excite public indignation againft those who are reprefented as obnoxious to the laws, and objects of profecution. A fenfe of justice might have taught the minifters, that to fair and impartial trials, uninfluenced by any previous declaration, unprejudiced by any previous interference of parliament, even the authors and publishers of those writings that have at last awakened the attention of minifters, are entitled: and a fenfe of decorum fhould have reftrained them from leffening the dignity, and committing the honour of parliament, by making it, indirectly indeed, but, to the common fenfe of mankind obviously, a party in public profecutions, which parliament is thus made to fanction and direct, and on which this houfe, in the highest and last refort may have to fit, in the impartial and uninterefted, but awful character of judges.

Becaufe, in this meafure, by which minifters in effect confefs and record their paft inattention to the dangers which they now deprecate, and their prefent inability to difcharge the ordinary duties of their station without the extraordinary aid of parliament, the public cannot fail to perceive that weaknefs and ineficiency in his majefty's councils, which are more hurtful to the true interefts, and more deogatory from the juft authority of

government, than any imaginary progrefs which, with great injuftice to a loyal people, minifters attri bute to the principles afferted in the writings of which they complain.

Because, when I confider how long the minifters have viewed with unconcern the circulation of thofe opinions, at the confequence of which they now affect to be alarmed; and when I recollect that of all thofe focieties for the purpofe of obtaining a reform in the reprefentation of the people, and mentioned in the debate, one only is of recent origin; I have but too much reafon to believe, that under whatever form they have disguised their defign, the real object of minifters has been to fubject to fufpicion and diftruft the principles, mifreprefent the views, and calumniate the intentions of that affocia.

tion of refpectable perfons lately formed for purposes the most virtuous and conftitutional, upon principles the moft pure and difinterefted, to be purfued by means the moft legal and peaceful; wielding no weapons but thofe of truth and reafon; ufing no efforts but thofe of argument, unfupported by party; appealing only to the fenfe and judgment of a public deeply interested in the objects of their purfuit; and not prefuming to demand any perfonal credit but what may be derived from their steadinefs, confiftency, and integrity. This fociety appears to be the only one which has excited the jealoufy of thofe minifters from whom juftice has extorted an admiflion in debate, that nothing offensive, or even improper, has proceeded from it. Of those minifters, fome of whom have themselves engaged, but to a much greater extent, and upon much broader principles in the profecution of the fame general

objects,

objects, the attainment of which they declared not only indifpenfable, but alone capable of preferving the liberties of the people, and perpetuating the bleflings of the conftitution; but which objects, with the peaceful poffeffion of power and emolument, they have long neglected and loft fight of, and now, at laft, in the face of the public, in defiance of the most folemn engagements, unblushingly abandon. Such are the minifters who have prefumed to use the royal name and authority to a proclamation by which, infinuating the existence of dangers, of which even fome of their most confidential friends have declared their disbelief, they vainly hope to divert the attention of a difcerning public from their apoftacy from principles, and their dereliction of opinions which paved their way to power, and for which they stood deliberately and repeatedly pledged to a generous, confiding, and, at laft, deluded people.

Becaufe, if the objects of that affociation, thus particularly aimed at by his majefty's minifters, were not exprefsly juftified by their former principles and profeffions, as the act itself of affociating to purfue thofe objects is fanctioned by their former conduct and example, I fhould ftill fee nothing in it to difcommend but much to applaud. A moderate and temperate reform of the abufes of the conftitution is due to the people, who being, on their part, juft to the monarchical and ariftocratical branches of the conftitution; who commit no invafion of the rights, and feek no abridgement of the powers of either, are entitled to have their own fhare in the legiflation of their country, freed from the unjuft ufurpation of others, and to poffefs

7

uninvaded, and to exercife uncontrouled, by the other branches of the government, thofe rights, which this happy conftitution, in the matchlefs excellence of its principles, has folely and exclufively allotted to the people. A reform of fuch a character and defcription may leffen the means and diminifl the opportunities of corrupting the legiflation, both in its fource and in its progrefs; it may reduce the influence by which unconftitutional minifters preferve their power, but it will fave the nation from their profufion, and perpetuate that conftitution which all equally profess to venerate. Such a reform, I be. lieve, cannot with perfect fafety be long delayed. The more readily and chearfully thofe rights, which belong only to the people, are reftored by thofe who at prefent in too many inftances poffefs and exercife them, the more firm and eftablifhed will be the prefent happy form of our government, the more fafe from rifque and danger will be the just prerogatives of the crown, and the peculiar acknowledged hereditary privileges of this houfe.

LAUDERDALE.

[blocks in formation]

these came to be confounded, it would prove the confufion and deftruction of the law of England.

2dly, Becaufe juries can in no cafe decide whether a matter of record be fufficient upon which to found judgment. The bill admits the criminality of the writing fet forth in the indictment, or information, to be matter of law, whereupon judgment may be arrested, notwithstanding the jury had found the defendant guilty. This fhows that the question is upon the record, and diftinctly feparated from the province of the jury, which is only to try facts.

3dly, Because by confining the rule to an indictment, or information, for a libel, it is admitted, that it does not apply to the trial of a general ilue, in an action for the fame libel, or any fort of action, or any other fort of indictment or information; but as the fame prin. ciple, and the fame rule, muft apply to all general iffues, or to none, the rule, as declared by the bill, is abfolutely erroneous.

THURLOW, C.
BATHURST.
KENYON.

ABINGDON.
WALSINGHAM.
JOHN BANGOR.

His Majefty's Speech to both Horfes of Parliament, June 15. My lords and gentlemen, I cannot clofe the prefent feffion of parliament, without returning you my particular thanks for the attention and diligence with which you have applied yourfelves to the difpatch of public bufinefs, and efpecially to the important objects which I recomended to your conLderation.

Gentlemen of the houfe of

commons,

The readiness with which you have granted the neceffary supplies, and the fresh proof which you have. given of your conftant affection for my perfon and family, in enabling me to provide for the establifhment of my fon the duke of York, call for my warmeft acknowledgments. I have alfo obferved with the utmost fatisfaction the meafures which you have adopted for the diminution of the public burthens, while you have, at the fame time, made additional provifion for the reduction of the prefent national, debt, and established a permanent fyftem for preventing the dangerous accumulation of debt future.

in

My lords and gentlemen,

I have feen with great concern the commencement of hoftilities in different parts of Europe. In the prefent fituation of affairs, it will be my principal care to maintain that harmony and good underftanding which fubfifts between me and the feveral belligerent powers, and to preferve to my people the uninterrupted bleffings of peace. And the affurances which I receive from all quarters of a friendly dif pofition towards this country, afford me, the pleafing hope of fucceeding in thefe endeavours.

The recent expreflions of your uniform and zealous attachment to the eftablished government and conftitution, leave me no room to doubt, that you will, in your feveral counties, be active and vigilant to maintain those fentiments in the minds of my faithful people; and I have the happiness of receiving continued and additional proofs of their juft fenfe of the numerous and increasing advantages which

they

[blocks in formation]

By the KING, A PROCLAMATION. GEORGE R.

Whereas by an act, paffed in the 26th year of our reign, intituled, "An Act for amending and reducing into one Act of Parliament the Laws relating to the Militia in that Part of Great Britain called England," it is enacted, That it fhall be lawful for us, in the cafes and in manner therein mentioned, the occafion being first declared in council and notified by proclamation, if no parliament fhall be then fitting, to order and direct the drawing-out and embodying of our militia forces, or any part thereof: And whereas we have received information, that in breach of our laws, and notwithstanding our royal proclamation of the 21ft day of May laft, the utmost induftry is ftill employed by evil-difpofed perfons within this kingdom, acting in concert with perfons in foreign parts, with a view to fubvert the laws and established conftitution of this realm, and to deftroy all order and government therein; and that a fpirit of tumult and diforder, thereby excited, has lately fhown itfelf in acts of riot and infurrection: And whereas, under the prefent circumftances, it is more particularly neceflary, that, for the immediate fuppreffion of fuch attempts, fome addition fhould be made, as the exigency of the cafe may require, to the force which may be in readinefs to act for the fupport of the civil magiftrate; we therefore, being determined to exert the powers

vefted in us by law for the protection of the perfons, liberties, and properties of our faithful fubjects, and fully relying on their zeal and attachment to our perfon and government, and to the happy conftitution established in thefe kingdoms, have thought fit to declare in our council, our royal intention, for the causes and on the occasion aforefaid, to draw out and embody fuch part of our militia forces as may more immediately enable us to provide for the faid important objects. And we do hereby, in purfuance of the faid recited act, notify to all our loving fubjects our faid intention, and the caufes and occafion thereof.

Given at our court at Windfor, the ft day of December, 1792, and in the 33d year of our reign.

GOD fave the KING.'

Proclamation for the Meeting of Parliament, Dec. 1.

By the KING. A PROCLAMATION. GEORGE R.

Whereas by an act, paffed in the 26th year of our reign, intituled, "An act for amending and reducing into one Act of Parliament the Laws relating to the Militia in that Part of Great Britain called England," it is enacted, That whenever we shall cause the militia to be drawn out and embodied, on the occafion and in the manner therein mentioned, if the parliament fhall then be separated by fuch adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within 14 days, we may and fhall iffue our prociamation for the meeting of the parliament within 14 days; and the parliament fhall accordingly meet

and

« EelmineJätka »