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Chap, ported them and deserted them—which had sup* XXVL ported Lord Bute, and deserted him also—was 1763. now the instrument of the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Grenville: such measures as they found necessary for the establishment of their situations; v this parliament readily supported. This parlia-*
their own ment voted away its own privilege, in the cafe privilege. 0f a iinei at tile requisition of the minister, to gratify the King, in accelerating the punishment of Mr. Wilkes*'; thereby facrisicing not their own privileges only, but those of their constituents, and posterity. The Lords, adopting a vote of this fort, could affect only themselves. But the privileges of the Commons are connected with the rights of the people. One cannot be sacrisiced without injuring the other.. As the matter now stands, any obnoxious member or members may be easily got rid of. The King or his minister has only to charge him or them with being the author or publisher of a libel; or if neither the King nor minister chuses to
* Mr. Wllhet was discharged from close imprisonment in the Tower on account of his privilege. The warrant of commitment was not held to be illegal. A member of parliament may therefore be committed for a libel besore trial. And whether a paper be a libel or not, isa matter of discretion in the judgment of the King, his minister, or his attorney general. And as to witnesses, they are always to be had. Algernon Sidney't words, upon the last point, are "False "witnesses are sent out to circumvent the most eminent men. "The tribunals are filled with court parasites, of profligate "consciences, fortunes, and reputation, that no man may "escape who is brought besore them. If crimes are wanting "the diligence of Well chosen ofsicers and prosecutors, with "the savour of the judges, supply all desects. The law is "made a/nare.".—Quarto edit. p. 214. . ..
be seen in it, they can order the Attorney Ge- Chapneral to do it by his information ex officio.— XXIV. When Charles the First wanted to seize the five ,7<53, members, he was too precipitate. Had he taken the modern mode, he would have succeeded. It is related as one of the royal apothegms, that Royal his Majesty, speaking of Charles the First, said, apothegm. He was a good King, but did not know how to govern by a parliament.
Mr. Grenville having delivered the King's message, stating that his Majesty had caused Mr. iVilkes to be apprehended and secured for writing a libel, and that he had been released on his privilege, &c. the House took this matter instantly into consideration, and voted an address of thanks for his Majesty's gracious communication. The usual address, in reply to the speech on opening the session, was not mentioned this day. And Mr. Wilkesys complaint of a breach of privilege, by the imprisonment of his person, plundering his house, and seizing his papers, was put off to the twenty-third.
The House immediately voted the North Briton tforth a libel, although it was one of their own essen- Briton a tial privileges always to treat the King's speech 1 as the speech of the minister.
The right of either, or both Houses of parliament to declare any paper a libel which is to be tried by another jurisdiction, may, in some future day, become a question. Such a declaration is, undoubtedly a prejudgment of the paper, and cannot sail obtaining an influence on the minds of the jurv who are to try the cause.
Chaj. On the twenty-third of November; Mr. Wilkes's comXXVI. plaint of a breach of privilege was taken into consideraV-'-y-*—' tion; when it was resolved, that privilege of parliament I7^3- did not extend to the case of writing or publishing a libel. On this day Mr. Pitt attended, although so severe-* Mr. ritt jy afjiicted with the gout, that he was obliged to be supon pnvi- p0rtecj t0 his seat. He spoke strongly against this sur1 lsf th rent^er °f the privileges of parliament, as highly dangerBriton ous t0 t^ie free^om ^ parliament, and an insringement j^j o on the rights of the people. No man, he said, could condemn the paper or libel more than he did: But he would come at the author sairly, not by an open breach of the constitution, and a contempt os all restraint. This proposed sacrisice of privilege, was putting every member of parliament, who did not vote with the minister,, under a perpetual terror of imprisonments To talk of an abuse of privilege, was to talk against the constitution, against the very being and lise of parliament. It was an arraignment of the justice and honour of parliament to suppose, that they would protect any criminal whatever. Whenever a complaint was made against any member, the House could give him up. This privilege had never been abused; it had been reposed in parliament for ages. But take away this privilege,, and the whole parliament is laid at the mercy of the crown. • This privilege having never been abused, why then is it to be voted away? Parliament, he said, had no right to vote away its privileges. They were the inherent right of the succeeding members of that House, as well as of the present. And he doubted whether the sacrisice by that House was valid, and conclusive against the claim of a suture parliament. With respect to the paper itself, or the libel which had given pretence for this request to surrender the privileges of parliament, the House had already voted it a libel—he joined in that vote. He condemned the whole series of North Britons; he called them illiberal, unmanly, and detestable. He abhorred all national reflections. The King's subjects were one people. Whoever divided them, was guilty of sedition. His Majesty's complaint was well sounded, it was just, it was necessary. The author did not deserve to be ranked among the human species— he was the blasphemer of his God, and the libeller of
his King. He had no connection with him. He had no connection with any such writer. He neither associated nor communicated with any such. It was true, he had friendships, and warm ones; he had obligations, and'great ones; but no friendships, no obligations could induce him to approve what he firmly condemned. It might be supposed that he alluded to his noWe relation (Lord Temple). He was proud to call him his relation; he was his friend, his bosom friend; whose fidelity was as unshaken as his virtue. They went into ossice together, arid they came out together—they had lived together, and would die together. He knew nothing of any connection with the writer of the libel. If there subsisted any, he was totally unacquainted with it. The dignity, the honour of parliament, had been called upon to support and protect the purity of his Majesty's character; and this they had done by a strong and decisive condemnation of the libel, which his Majesty had submitted to the consideration of the House. But having done this, it was neither consistent with the honour and sasety as parliament, nor with the rights and interests of the people, to go one step sarther. The rest belonged to the courts below.
When he had finished speaking, he left the. House, not being able to stay for the division.
Prince of Brunswick visits Mr. Pitt at Hayes—
c IN the month of Januray 1764, the Prince
XXVII. of Brunswick carrfe to England to espouse the
S-^V^/ Princess Augusta, the King's sister. When the
ceremonies ,were ended, he paid a visit to Mr.
Prince ot Pitt, who was consined to his chamber by a se
. ,ns".>. vere sit of the eout, at his seat ax Hayes in
wick visits °
Mr. Pitt. Kent. This visit was very far from being agreeable at St. James's. The Prince was just come from Berlin; and whether the conjecture was well sounded or not, that he carried a complimentary message from the King of Pruffia to Mr. Pitt, the visit at least (hewed the high estimation in which Mr. Pitt was held by the Prince, the King of Prussia and his allies, who at this time were Russia and Poland: while we were without any ally, and the great minister of this country, who had conducted the war with so. much honour to himself and advantage to the nation, was proscribed at court and deserted in parliament. He was retired to Hayes—to his ability, glory and integrity—where this young Prince distinguished him by the most gracious marks of esteem and affection, silled with sentiments,