tute. *

capacities, and judging it therefore incapable of determining upon controverted elections with impartiality, with justice, and with equity, it deprived it of the means of mischief, and formed a judicature as complete and ample perhaps as human skill can consti.

That I am debarred the benefits of that celebrated bill is clear beyond all doubt, and thrown entirely upon the mercy, or if you please, upon the wisdom of this house. Unless then men are to suppose that human nature is totally altered within a few months-unless we can be so grossly credulous, as to imagine that the present is purged of all the frail. ties of former parliaments-unless I am to surrender my understanding, and blind myself to the extraordinary conduct of this house, in this extraordinary business, for the last fortnight-I may say, and say with truth, “ that I expect no indulgence, nor do I know that I shall meet with bare justice in the house.

There are in this house, sir, many persons, to whom I might upon every principle of equity, fairness, and reason, object as judges to decide upon my cause, not merely from their acknowledged enmity to me, to my friends, and to my politicks, but from their particular conduct upon this particular occasion. To a noble Lord,+ who spoke early in this debate, I might rightly object as a judge to try me, who from the fulness of his prejudice to me and predilection for my opponents, asserts things in direct defiance of the evidence which has been given at your bar. The noble lord repeats again that “ tricks” were used at my side in the election, although he very properly omits the epithet which preceded that term when he used it in a former debate. But does it appear in evidence that any tricks

* Mr. Grenville's bill enacted, that the persons to try disputed elections shall be drawn out of a glass to the number of forty-nine; that the parties in the dispute shall strike from these names alternately without ascribing any reason until they reduce the number to thirteen ; that these thirteen shall be governed by positive law, and sworn upon oath to administer strict justice.

Lord Mulgrave.

A person

were practised on my part? Not a word. Against him therefore who, in the teeth of the depositions on your table, is prompted by his enmity towards me, to maintain what the evidence (the ground this house is supposed to go upon) absolutely denies, I might object with infinite propriety as a judge in this cause.

There is another judge, sir, to whom I might object with greater reason if possible than to the last. A person evidently interested in increasing the numbers of my adversaries upon the poll, but who has relinquished his right as an elector of Westminster, that his voting may not disqualify him from being a judge upon the committee to decide this contest. too, Sir, who in the late election scrupled not to act as an agent, an avowed and indeed an active agent to my

opponents.* Is there any interruption, sir,? I hope not. I am but stating a known fact, that a person who is to pronounce a judgment this night in this cause, avoided to exercise one of the most valuable franchises of a British citizen, only that he might be a nominee for my adversaries; concluding that his industry upon the committee would be of more advantage to their cause, than a solitary vote at the election. This, sir, I conceive would be a sufficient objection to him as a judge to try me.

A third person there is, whom I might in reason challenge upon this occasion.

A person of a sober demeanour, who with great diligence and exertion in a very respectable and learned profession, has raised himself to considerable eminence;t a person who fills one of the first seats of justice in this kingdom, and who has long discharged the functions of a judge in an inferiour but very honourable situation. This person, sir, has upon this day professed and paraded much upon the impartiality with which he should dis

* Lord Mahon started up in much agitation, and exposed himself to the house as the person alluded to. He appeared inclined to call Mr. Fox to order, but his friends prevented him. † Mr. Kenyon, the master of the rolls. VOL. III.


Yet this very

charge his conscience in his judicial capacity as a member of parliament in my cause. person, insensible to the rank he maintains, or should maintain, in this country, abandoning the gravity of his character as a member of the senate, and losing sight of the sanctity of his station both in this house and out of it, even in the very act of delivering a judicial sentence, descends to minute and mean allusions to former politicks--comes here stored with the intrigues of past times, and instead of the venerable language of a good judge and a great lawyer, attempts to entertain the house by quoting, or by misquoting, words, supposed to have been spoken by me in the heat of former debates, and in the violence of contend. ing parties, when my noble friend and I opposed each other. This demure gentleman, sir, this great law. yer, this judge of law, and equity, and constitution, enlightens this subject, instructs and delights his hearers, by reviving this necessary intelligence, that when I had the honour of first sitting in this house for Midhurst, I was not full twenty-one years of age, and all this he does for the honourable purpose of sanctifying the high bailiff of Westminster in defrauding the electors of their representation in this house, and robbing me of the honour of asserting and confirming their right by sitting as their representative. Against him, therefore, sir, and against men like him, I might justly object as a judge or as judges to try my cause; and it is with perfect truth I once more repeat, That I have no reason to expect indulgence, nor do I know that I shall meet with bare justice in this house."

Sir, I understand that the learned gentleman I have just alluded to (I was not in the house during the first part of his speech) has insinuated that I have no right to be present during this discussion and that hearing me is an indulgence. Against the principle of that assertion, sir, and against every syllable of it, I beg leave, in the most express terms, directly to protesto I maintain, that I not only have a right to speak, but a positive and clear right to vote upon this occasion; and I assure the house, that nothing but the declaration I have made in the first stage of this business

should prevent me from doing so. As to myself, if I were the only person to be aggrieved by this proceeding, if the mischief of it extended not beyond me, I should reșt thoroughly and completely satisfied with the great and brilliant display of knowledge and abilities which have been exhibited by the learned gentleman, who appeared for me and for my constituents at your bar.* If I alone was interested in the decision of this matter, their exertions, combined with the acute and ingenious treatment this question has received from many gentlemen on this side of the house, whose arguments are as learned as they are evidently unanswerable, would have contented me. But a sense of duty superiour to all personal advantage calls on me to exert myself at this time. Whatever can best en. courage and animate to diligence and to energy; whatever is most powerful and influencing upon a mind not callous to every sentiment of gratitude and honour, demand at this moment the exercise of every function and faculty that I am master of. This, sir, is not my cause alone; it is the cause of the English constitution; the cause of the electors of this kingdom, and it is in particular, the especial cause of the most independent, the most spirited, the most kind and gene. rous body of men that ever concurred upon a subject of publick policy. It is the cause of the electors of Westminster. The cause of those who upon many trials have supported me against hosts of enemies; of those who upon a recent occasion, when every art of malice, of calumny, and corruption,-every engine of an illiberal and shameless system of governmentwhen the most gross, and monstrous fallacy that ever duped and deceived a credulous country, have been propagated and worked with all imaginable subtlety and diligence for the purpose of rendering me unpopular throughout the empire; have with a steadiness, with a sagacity, with a judgment becoming men of sense and spirit, defeated all the miserable malice of my enemies; vindicated themselves from the charge of caprice, and changeableness, and Auctuation; and

* Mr. Erskine.

with a generosity that binds me to them by every tie of affection, supported me through the late contest and accomplished a victory against all the arts and powers of the basest system of oppression, that ever destined the overthrow of any individual.

If by speaking in this house (where many perhaps may think I speak too much) I have acquired any reputation ; if I have any talents, and that attention to publick business has matured or improved those talents into any capability of solid service; the present subject and the present moment, beyond any other period of my life, challenge and call them into action; when added to the importance of this question upon the English constitution, combined with the immediate interest I feel personally in the fate of it, I am impelled by the nobler, and more forcible incitement of being engaged in the cause of those to whom the devotion of all I have of diligence or ability would be but a slight recompense for their zeal, constancy, firm attachment, and unshaken friendship to me upon all occasions, and under all circumstances.

There are two leading points of view, in which this question should be considered. The first is, whether the high bailiff of Westminster has had sufficient evidence, to warrant his granting a scrutiny, sup. posing that he possessed a legal discretion to grant it. -The second, whether any returning officer can by law grant a scrutiny, even upon the completest evidence of its necessity, which scrutiny cannot commence till after the day on which the writ is return. able.

It is of little consequence in which order the ques. tion is taken up-But first I shall proceed upon the evidence.

The great defence of the high bailiff is built upon the circumstance of sir Cecil Wray and his agents having furnished him with regular lists of bad votes on my part—and to prove that these lists were delivered, they have brought a witness who knows not a syllable of the truth of the contents of the list.—

The witness who drew the affidavit which affirms those bad votes to

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