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immediately at their privileges, not only pe-mons only fulfilled their former engagetitioned against this bill, but offered, in case ments; but to three annuities of eight thouit was withdrawn, to bind themselves from sand pounds each, which were settled on his any farther increase of dividend during the brothers the dukes of York, Gloucester, and temporary agreement. Their petition and Cumberland, in addition to what they before their proposal were equally ineffectual. The received out of the civil list. It is remarkbill was carried through, in spite of a pow- able that, on the second reading of the bill erful opposition, one of the secretaries of for this purpose, in the house of lords, a prostate and the chancellor of the exchequer test was entered against it, signed by lord being in the minority in the lower house, Temple only. and a strong protest signed by nineteen lords The duke of York did not live long to enbeing entered against it in the upper house. joy the liberality of parliament: he expired ACT TO RESTRAIN THE ASSEMBLY OF
on the seventeenth of September; and on NEW-YORK.
the second of November, her majesty was AMONG the different expedients for rais- safely delivered of her fourth son, prince ing the necessary supplies this year, which Edward. amounted to about eight millions and a half, DEATH OF THE CHANCELLOR OF EX. some duties were laid upon glass, tea, paper,
CHEQUER and painters' colors imported from Great DURING the recess of parlianient, another Britain into America. These duties were death prematurely and unexpectedly hapequally impolitic and unproductive; but the pened on the fourth of September, which, it conduct of the legislature towards one of was supposed, would have proved fatal to the colonial assemblies, in another respect, a weak and disunited ministry. Charles was much more defensible. The factious, Townshend, then chancellor of the excheturbulent spirit, which the stamp-act had ex- quer, who seemed likely by his eloquence cited there, was far from being mollified by and abilities to supply the earl of Chatham's the repeal. Not content with many private place in the house of commons, was cut off acts of outrage, and repeated marks of dis- by a putrid fever, at the very moment that respect to government, the assembly of the increase of his influence and the critical New-York came to a resolution of paying posture of affairs began to allow the fullest no regard to an act of last session for pro scope for the perfect development of his viding the troops with necessaries in their talents and character. Burke, in one of his quarters; but regulated the provisions ac- speeches, made a beautiful allusion to the cording to their own fancy. This was a clear rising effulgence of Townshend's genius and proof, that they meaned to persist in disa- power, while those of the earl of Chatham vowing the jurisdiction of the mother coun- appeared to be rapidly declining. Before try. When the matter was laid before par- this splendid orb," said the orator, “ was enliament, it occasioned warm debates; and tirely set, and while the western horizon some rigorous measures were proposed. The was in a blaze with his descending glory, on general opinion, however, was to bring them the opposite quarter of the heavens arose to temper and to a sense of their duty, by a another luminary, and, for his hour, became firm, yet moderate procedure. On this prin- lord of the ascendant.” ciple a bill was passed, by which the gov- At the meeting of parliament on the ernor, council
, and assembly of New-York twenty-fourth of November, when the prinwere prohibited from passing any act till cipal point recommended to their attention they had in every respect complied with the from the throne, was the relief of the peorequisition of parliament: a step, which, ple from the distresses occasioned by the though confined to one colony, was a lesson high price of provisions, Conway, one of the to them all, and showed their comparative secretaries of state, concluded his speech in inferiority when brought in question with support of the usual motion for an address the supreme legislative power. As soon as of thanks, with a very high panegyric on this bill and some others of less importance the late Mr. Townshend's abilities, on the received the royal assent on the second of fertility of his resources, and the soundness July, the parliament was prorogued. of his judgment. He said that his much
In the speech, with which his majesty lamented friend had engaged to prepare a closed the session, besides thanking the com- plan for the effectual relief of the poor in mons for the supplies they had so cheerfully the article of provisions; and he had no granted for the public service, he said, that doubt, if that great man had lived, he would his particular acknowledgments were due to have been able to perform his promise: unthem for the provision they had enabled him fortunately for the public, his plan was lost to make for the more honorable support of with him: it was easy to find a successor to his family. He did not here particularly al- his place, but impossible to find a successor lude to the marriage portion of the queen of to his abilities, or one equal to the execuDenmark, because, in granting this, the com- tion of his designs.
Besides expedients for lowering the high of the crown, against which it was held to price of provisions, very little business of be a maxim of law, that no prescription any particular importance was transacted by could be pleaded. The bill originated in a parliament before the holidays. The land- litigation between the Bentinck and the tax bill, the bill for continuing the former Lowther families, in which the revival of duties on malt, mum, cider, and perry, the the dormant prerogative of resumption by mutiny-bill, and some others of a private as the crown appeared so alarming, because a well as public nature, received the royal vast number of estates might, from the loss assent on the twenty-first of December. The of authentic deeds, be liable to similar claims, house of lords adjourned to the twentieth, that it was with great difficulty, and by a and the commons to the fourteenth of Jan- majority of twenty voices only, that the Dary.
ministry could obtain a postponement of the CHANGES IN THE CABINET. bill till the ensuing session. This recess afforded leisure for complet- MAGISTRATES OF OXFORD SENT TO ing several changes that were already be
NEWGATE. gun, or resolved upon, in the great offices ANOTHER circumstance occurs in the proof state, without any general disarrange- ceedings of the house of commons at this ment of the ministry, which seemed likely period, which may be thought worthy of noto increase their stability and influence. The tice, as it affords an instance of plain dealBedford party, to whom some overtures had ing on the part of a venal body of electors, been made by lord Chatham, but without which has been seldom paralleled. The any decisive effect, were at length gained mayor, bailiffs, and principal members of the over ; in consequence of which lord Gower corporation of Oxford had written to their was induced to accept the president's chair, representatives, proposing to return them at now cheerfully resigned by the earl of the next election, upon condition that they Northington, whose age, infirmities, and long should advance a certain sum, for paying off services gave him just claims to retirement. an encumbrance which lay heavy on the Lord North had been promoted, some days city. The letter, containing this extraordibefore, to the late Charles Townshend's nary and barefaced offer of prostitution, havplace as chancellor of the exchequer; and ing been laid before the house, the magisThomas Townshend, junior, succeeded lord trates, who signed it, were ordered to apNorth in the office of joint paymaster of the pear at the bar, and then committed to Newforces. Lord Weymouth was soon after gate. But, a few days after, a petition was nominated secretary of state for the north- presented from the offending parties, acern department, in the room of general Con- knowledging their guilt, expressing the way, who was raised to a higher rank in the sincerest sorrow for it, and begging to be military line; and the earl of Hilsborough released from confinement. In consequence was appointed to the new office of secretary of this petition, they were again brought to of state for the colonies. Of the other pro- the bar of the house, and discharged, after motions none was sufficiently important to receiving on their knees a proper reprimand deserve particular notice, except that of from the speaker. Charles Jenkinson, who was made a lord of PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED. the treasury in the room of Thomas Towns- As the time limited by law for the expihend, and who has since been so eminently ration of parliament drew near, and all the distinguished not only by his wisdom ir coun- public business was satisfactorily dispatched, cil, and his eloquence in debate, but by his the king, on the tenth of March, having having exerted his uncommon talents on ob- given his assent to some private bills then jects of the most lasting benefit to his coun- ready, informed both houses of his intention try,—the improvement, extension, and se- forthwith to dissolve the parliament, and to curity of its commerce.
call a new one. As soon as his majesty had RESTRICTION ON EAST INDIA DIVIDENDS ended, the chancellor, by his command, proCONTINUED-NULLUM TEMPUS ACT. rogued the parliament; and, in two days
The act restraining the dividends of the after, it was dissolved by proclamation, and East India company being now expired, a writs were issued for electing a new one, bül was brought in to continue the same re-returnable the tenth of May. striction for the ensuing year; and though IRISH PARLIAMENTS MADE OCTENNIAL. it was violently opposed in both houses, it A VERY popular bill was passed in Ireland was carried the second time by a very great this winter, and received the sanction of the majority. But the ministry were more closely crown, for confining to eight years the dupushed on another point, which was intro- ration of parliaments in that kingdom, which duced into the commona, under the title of before were determined only by the king's nullum tempus bill (1), for quieting the pos- death. Nothing could have given higher sessions of the subject, and securing them pleasure to the great body of electors than from all obsolete claims, particularly those this assurance of a more regular and fre
quent exercise of one of their most inesti-gation, at our approaching dissolution, to exmable privileges. Lord Townshend, who press the warmest acknowledgments to a was then lord-lieutenant, and who had very chief governor, in whose administration, and much endeared himself to the people by the with whose assistance, we have been graticonciliating manners that adorned his pri- fied with the noble opportunity of distinvate character, became, in consequence of guishing ourselves from our predecessors, by the octennial act, almost the idol of the na- leaving to posterity a monument of our distion. The language of the commons of Ire- interested love for the people we have the land was glowing and emphatical. “ Happy," honor to represent; and an example, that said they, “ in having devoted our own ex- the happiness of our constituents has in our istence to the liberties of our country, we own breasts taken place of every other confind ourselves under an indispensable obli- sideration."
NOTE TO CHAPTER JX.
1 The object of the bill was to make sixty years' possession of any estate an effectual bar against all dor. mant c.aims and pretences whatsoever.
General Election- View of Wilkes's Conduct and Adventures since his flight from Jus
tice- Violent Opposition to the Port-duties in America—Acts of the ConventionDebate-Wilkes's Petition to the Commons; and his Appeal to the Lords on a Writ of Error-Institution of the Royal Academy -Debate on the American Affairs, Civil List Debt-Hearing of Wilkes's alleged grievances—Successive Expulsions of Mr. Wilkes-War with Hyder Ally in the East Indies—Non-importation Agreement and other Proceedings in America—Desertions from Ministry--Changes that followed— Endeavors of the Opposition to aggravate Discontent-London Remonstrance, and his Majesty's Answer-Grenville's Bill for regulating the Proceedings on controverted Elections— Partial Repeal of the American Port-duties–Affray between the Townsmen of Boston and the Troops.
As soon as the British parliament was triumph over one of the old members. The dissolved, the thoughts and business of the rabble, who had been very tumultuous during whole nation appeared to be confined to one the contest, broke out into the most extravaobject, the choice of representatives; and gant and lawless expressions of joy at the never, perhaps, was any general election event. carried on with greater heat and violence in The conduct of the ministry during these most parts of the kingdom. But one of the transactions was unaccountably remiss and elections was attended with such extraordi- impolitic. They had in fact no alternative nary circumstances as to deserve particular left them as a plea for indecision or susnotice.
pense. After Wilkes's return to England, WILKES ELECTED MEMBER FOR MID.
in open defiance of the laws and of governDLESEX
ment, a pardon from the crown would have It may here be necessary to remind the been considered rather as an act of weakreader of what has been related in a formerness than of benignity. It was therefore part of this work concerning Wilkes, who the attorney-general's duty to have him imby his flight from public justice had pro-mediately taken up as an outlaw; a step voked the severest sentence of the house of that could neither have excited murmur nor commons, and had suffered the indictments surprise, as being strictly conformable to the laid against him in the court of king's-bench ordinary course of justice. When confined, to run to an outlawry. In this situation, an he could have no chance for succeeding in exile from his country, distressed in his cir- his election ; nor is it likely that he would cumstances, and abandoned by his party, he have made the attempt. The popularity, seemed not only totally ruined, but nearly which he acquired or revived by appearing forgotten. He determined to make a bold in public, would have been prevented; and attempt, sensible that if it failed of success, he might have probably continued as ignothe consequences could not place him in a rant of his influence with the people, as worse state than that in which he was alrea- they would in general of the strength of dy. In pursuance of this resolution, he their attachment to him. By neglecting at suddenly appeared in London on the eve of first so easy and rational a mode of proceedthe general election; and though he stilling, the ministry were afterwards unavoidalay under the sentence of outlawry, declared bly driven into the dangerous extremes of hiinself a candidate to represent the city in harshness and violence. An alarm unhapparliament. He was received by the mob pily went forth, that the constitution was with loud acclamations, and a great majori- wounded by the blows struck at one of the ty of hands appeared in his favor; but on most worthless members of society: and the poll he was contemptuously rejected. many, who would otherwise have shrunk He had no reason, however, to abandon him- from the disgrace of espousing his cause as self to despair in consequence of this first an individual, were glad of a specious predefeat. He was fully consoled for his fail-tence for making it the cause of the public. ure in the city by a subscription which had On the first day of Easter term, Wilkes been opened for the payment of his debts, appeared in the court of king's-bench, to and by the earnest he had received of the submit himself, as he pretended, to the laws attachment of the populace. He set up im- of his country; but, in reality, to make an mediately for Middlesex; and the electors in inflammatory speech against the “cruelties that county consisting chiefly of freeholders of ministerial vengeance," and to charge of the lowest class, he obtained a signal the chief-justice with having caused the re
cords to be materially altered, without which, and personal injury, to read the riot-act; on he said, neither of the two verdicts, found which, the mob, highly exasperated, interagainst him, could have been obtained. As rupted them with showers of stones and he was not brought legally before the court, brickbats. The tumult increased : the seno proceedings could then be had upon his rious warnings of the law made no impres case; but lord Mansfield took that opportu- sion: the magistrates, and the soldiers on nity of justifying his own conduct in having guard were not only set at defiance, but asgranted an order for an amendment in the saulted; till, being at length driven to the information, by which the word tenor was sub- last extremity, self-defence, as well as public stituted for purport,—an amendment, which duty, compelled the troops to fire. Four or his lordship declared he thought himself five persons were killed, and more than bound in duty to grant, and which he could twice as many were wounded. not have refused consistently with the uni
PARLIAMENT MEETS. form practice of all the judges. Wilkes, on The first session of the new parliament leaving the court, was received by the sur- was opened by commissioners, who informed rounding multitude with loud huzzas; but both houses that his majesty had not called such effectual steps had been taken by the them together at that unusual season to enmagistrates in Westminster and in the city ter upon any matter of general business, but to intimidate the disorderly, that no farther merely to dispatch certain parliamentary disturbance happened.
proceedings, which were necessary for the DISTURBANCES ON ACCOUNT OF WILKES. welfare and security of his subjects. The
A few days after, Wilkes having been matters here alluded to, were the renewal introduced into court in a legal manner, his of several of the provision-bills, which were counsel moved that he might be adınitted to near expiring; which, having received the bail. The judges were of opinion, that nei- royal assent on the twenty-first of May, an ther he nor any person was bailable after end was put to the session, first by adjourconviction; and therefore ordered him to be ments, from a proper regard to the temper taken into custody and committed to prison. of the times, and then by prorogation. But as he was going thither, attended by The only notice taken of the imprisoned two tipstaffs, the mob stopped the coach on member, during this short session, was a Westminster-bridge, and taking out the motion made on the eighteenth, that the horses, drew it along the Strand and through proper officer of the crown should inform the city to Spital-square, where they dis- the house, why the laws were not immedimissed the tipstaffs, and carried their favor- ately put in force against John Wilkes, Esq. ite in triumph to a tavern. He took an op- an outlaw, when he returned to the kingportunity, at a late hour, to withdraw in a dom in February. But the house not apprivate manner; and surrendered himself to pearing disposed to take cognizance of the the marshal of the king's-bench.
matter, the question to adjourn was put, and Wilkes was not inactive, though in a carried without a division. The attorneyprison. He took care to feed the flame he general thereby escaped just censure for his had kindled with fresh supplies of combusti- remissness; but he was not equally success. ble matter. His address to the freeholders til at the second hearing, on the errors of of Middlesex, a week after his commitment, Wilkes's outlawry, in the court of king'sis a curious specimen of the incendiary bench, about three weeks after. All the style. It was published on the fifth of May, judges, though they differed as to their reajust two days before a hearing was to come sons, concurred in the reversal of the outon at Westminster-hall, respecting the er- lawry, and the irregularity of the proceedrors of Wilkes's outlawry, and five days be- ings. The verdicts, however, which had fore the meeting of the new parliament. been given against Wilkes on the former The populace behaved with tolerable de- trials, for publishing the North Briton, and cency at the trial, as their hopes were flat- the Essay on Woman, were affirmed, the tered by the appointment of a farther hear- court being of opinion that the arguments ing the beginning of the next term ; but urged by the prisoner and his counsel, in artheir infatuation and violence on the other rest of judgment, were inconclusive and occasion, were attended with melancholy frivolous. Wilkes was therefore sentenced consequences. They assembled in vast mul- to pay a fine of five hundred pounds, and to titudes round the king's-bench, in the fore- be imprisoned ten calendar months, for the noon of the tenth of May, under the idea republication of the North Briton; and for of seeing Wilkes go to the house of com- publishing the Essay on Woman, to pay likemons. Having waited a long time in vain, wise a fine of five hundred pounds, and be they demanded him at the prison with loud imprisoned twelve calendar months, to be clamors, and grew very insolent and tumult- computed from the expiration of the forner uous. Some justices of the peace thought term. He was afterwards to find security it necessary, after enduring much outrage) for his good behavior during the space of