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MOTION

RELATIVE TO THE

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE.

Luna, 14° Die Junij, 1784.

A MOTION was made, That a representa

tion be presented to his majesty, most humbly to offer to his royal consideration, that the address of this house, upon his majesty's speech from the throne, was dictated solely by our conviction of his majesty's own most gracious intentions towards his people, which, as we feel with gratitude, so we are ever ready to acknowledge with chearfulness and satisfaction.

Impressed with these sentiments, we were willing to separate from our general expressions of duty, respect, and veneration to his majesty's royal person and his princely virtues, all discussion whatever, with relation to several of the matters suggested, and several of the expressions employed in that speech.

That it was not fit or becoming, that any decided opinion should be formed by his faithful commons, on that speech, without a degree of deliberation adequate to the importance of the object. Having afforded ourselves due time for that deliberation, we do now most humbly beg leave to represent to his majesty, that, in the speech from the throne, his ministers have thought proper to use a language of a very alarming import, unauthorized by the practice of good times, and irreconcileable to the principles of this government.

Humbly to express to his majesty, that it is the privilege and duty of this house to guard the constitution from all infringement on the part of ministers; and whenever the occasion requires it, to warn them against any abuse of the au

thorities committed to them: but it is very lately,* that in a manner not more unseemly than irregular and preposterous, ministers have thought proper, by admonition from the throne, implying distrust and reproach, to convey the expectations of the people to us, their sole representatives ;† and have presumed to caution us, the natural guardians of the constitution, against any infringement of it on our parts.

This dangerous innovation we, his faithful commons, think it our duty to mark; and as these admonitions from the throne, by their frequent repetition, seem intended to lead gradually to the establishment of an usage, we hold ourselves bound thus solemnly to protest against them.

This house will be, as it ever ought to be, anxiously attentive to the inclinations and interests of its constituents: nor do we desire to straiten any of the avenues to the throne, or to either house of parliament. But the ancient order, in which the rights of the people have been exercised, is not a restriction of these rights. It is a method providently framed in favour of those privileges, which it preserves and enforces by keeping in that course which has been found the most effectual for answering their ends. His majesty may receive the opinions and wishes of individuals under their signatures, and of bodies corporate under their seals, as expressing their own particular sense and he may grant such redress as the legal powers of the crown enable the crown to afford. This, and the other house of parliament, may also receive the wishes of such corporations and individuals by petition. The collective sense of his people his majesty is to receive from his commons in parliament assembled. It would destroy the whole spirit of the constitution, if his commons were to receive that sense from the ministers of the crown, or to admit them to be a proper or a regular channel for conveying it.

That the ministers in the said speech declare, "His majesty has a just and confident reliance, that we (his faithful

* See King's Speech, Dec. 5, 1782, and May 19, 1784.

+ "I will never submit to the doctrines I have heard this day from the wool ack, that the other house [house of commons] are the only representa tives and guardians of the people's rights; I boldly maintain the contrary— I say this house [house of lords] is equally the representatives of the people." Lord Shelburne's speech, April 8, 1778. Vide Parliamentary Register, vol. 10, page 392.

commons) are animated with the same sentiments of loyalty, and the same attachment to our excellent coustitution, which he had the happiness to see so fully manifested in every part of the kingdom."

Το represent, that his faithful commons have never failed in loyalty to his majesty. It is new to them to be reminded of it. It is unnecessary and invidious to press it upon them by any example. This recommendation of loyalty, after his majesty has sat for so many years, with the full support of all descriptions of his subjects, on the throne of this kingdom, at a time of profound peace, and without any pretence of the existence or apprehension of war or conspiracy, becomes in itself a source of no small jealousy to his faithful commons; as many circumstances lead us to apprehend that therein the ministers have reference to some other measures and principles of loyalty, and to some other ideas of the constitution, than the laws require, or the practice of parliament will admit.

No regular communication of the proofs of loyalty and attachment to the constitution, alluded to in the speech from the throne, have been laid before this house, in order to enable us to judge of the nature, tendency, or occasion of them; or in what particular acts they were displayed; but if we are to suppose the manifestations of loyalty (which are held out to us as an example for imitation) consist in certain addresses delivered to his majesty, promising support to his majesty in the exercise of his prerogative, and thanking his majesty for removing certain of his ministers, on account of the votes they have given upon bills depending in parliament,—if this be the example of loyalty alluded to in the speech from the throne, then we must beg leave to express our serious concern for the impression which has been made on any of our fellow-subjects by misrepresentations, which have seduced them into a seeming approbation of proceedings subversive of their own freedom. We conceive, that the opinions delivered in these papers were not well considered; nor were the parties duly informed of the nature of the matters on which they were called to determine, nor of those proceedings of parliament which they were led to censure.

We shall act more advisedly.-The loyalty we shall manifest will not be the same with theirs; but, we trust, it will

be equally sincere, and more enlightened. It is no slight authority which shall persuade us (by receiving as proofs of loyalty the mistaken principles lightly taken up in these addresses) obliquely to criminate, with the heavy and ungrounded charge of disloyalty and disaffection, an uncorrupt, independent, and reforming parliament. Above all, we shall take care that none of the rights and privileges, always claimed, and since the accession of his majesty's illustrious family constantly exercised by this house (and which we hold and exercise in trust for the commons of Great Britain, and for their benefit) shall be constructively surrendered, or even

In that parliament the house of commons by two several resolutions put an end to the American war. Immediately on the change of ministry, which ensued, in order to secure their own independence, and to prevent the accumulation of new burthens on the people by the growth of a civil list debt, they passed the establishment bill. By that bill thirty-six offices tenable by members of parliament were suppressed; and an order of payment was framed, by which the growth of any fresh debt was rendered impracticable. The debt on the civil list from the beginning of the present reign had amounted to one million three hundred thousand pounds and upwards. Another act was passed for regulating the office of the paymaster general, and the offices subordinate to it. A million of publick money had sometimes been in the hands of the paymasters: this act prevented the possibility of any money whatsoever being accumulated in that office in future. The offices of the exchequer, whose emoluments in time of war were excessive, and grew in exact proportion to the publick burthens, were regulated; some of them suppressed, and the rest reduced to fixed salaries. To secure the freedom of election against the crown, a bill was passed to disqualify all officers concerned in the collection of the revenue in any of its branches from voting in elections; a most important act, not only with regard to its primary object, the freedom of election, but as materially forwarding the due collection of revenue. For the same end, (the preserving the freedom of election) the house rescinded the famous judgment relative to the Middlesex election, and expunged it from the journals. On the principle of reformation of their own house, connected with a principle of publick economy, an act passed for rendering contractors with government incapable of a seat in parliament. The India Bill, (unfortunately lost in the house of lords) pursued the same idea to its completion; and disabled all servants of the East India company from a seat in that house for a certain time, and until their conduct was examined into and cleared. The remedy of infinite corruptions and of infinite disorders and oppressions, as well as the security of the most important objects of publick economy, perished with that bill and that parliament. That parliament also instituted a committee to inquire into the collection of the revenue in all its branches, which prosecuted its duty with great vigour; and suggested several matęrial improvements

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