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* I have,

ing officer, who tells you he proceeded to an election, carried on a poll for a sufficient time, and that he then closed that poll of his own authority, to make a return, has happened again and again. We do not desire him to exercise any jurisdiction under that writ now, we only desire him to acquaint us with the fruits of the jurisdiction which he has exercised under it. I have done so and so, says the high bailiff. -Tell us what you mean, is all we say. on such a day, proceeded to an election,” says he, “ I have carried on a poll for forty days; I have, on the day before the return of the writ, closed that poll of my own authority.-All this we understand ; in all this you did your duty; only tell us who are the candidates chosen upon this long poll? We do not mean to say you have at present any authority to do any thing under that writ; all we want to know is, what you have done when you had authority under it? Let the house reflect upon this fair and reasonable distinction, and they will see the paltriness of those quibbles, the misery of those low subterfuges, which imply that we would bring “ a dead man to life,” and which imply an inconsistency between the motion and the arguments advanced in support of it.

What, I beg leave to ask, has appeared to the house extraordinary or uncommon in the election for Westminster, that justifies this matchless violence ? In all the variety of evidence they have heard at the bar, has there been a proof of one single bad vote of my side ? Not one. But there was much hearsay that I had bad, votes. Sir Cecil Wray, and his agents, told the high bailiff they heard I had. Good God, sir, am I addressing men of common sense? Did any of you ever yet hear of an election, wherein the losing candidate did not charge bad votes and bad practices upon the fortunate candidate? Peevishness upon miscarriage is perhaps an errour, but it is the habit of human nature; and, was the high bailiff of Westminster so unhacknied in the ways of men, as to be unapprized of this frailty; or, are the discontents of sir Cecil Wray, and the loose accusations

of his agents, the extraordinary things which the house sees in the Westminster election to justify this proceeding? Is the length of the election one of these uncommon incidents ? By no means. The same thing happened at Bristol, where, without doubt, a scrutiny had been granted if the returning officer thought the law would bear him out in it. The same thing happened at Lancaster, where a scrutiny was demanded and refused; and where, when the connexions of one* of the candidates are considered, no doubt can be entertained that every stratagem to procrastinate, every scheme to perplex, every expedient to harass, all that a disposition, not the mildest when victorious, nor the most patient when vanquished, all that wealth, all that the wantonness of wealth could do, would have been exerted; and where a plan so admirably calculated for litigation, for vexation, for expense, for oppression, as a scrutiny, would not have been admitted, were it found legal or practicable.

Let the house reflect for a moment upon the facility of a collusion in a case of this sort, to keep a candidate from his seat, whose right to it is clear, unquestioned, and unquestionable. Suppose that not one single bad vote had been given for lord Hood in the late election, and that the noble lord were not (he best knows why) resigned and easy under this proceeding; what could be more hard and cruel than his situation? Does not the house see that ministers will be enabled by this precedent to exclude an ob. noxious candidate for an indefinite space of time, even though his majority be the most undoubted possible, and his election the fairest in the world ? It is only for the losing candidate to demand, and for the returning officer to grant a scrutiny. These are some of the evils that present themselves upon the recognition of this practice as right and legal.--For my part, I see nothing in the late election for Westminster peculiar and distinct from many other elections, but this, singly--that I was one of the candidates. In that light it is already seen by every cool, dispassionate, and sensible man; and that the whole nation will contemplate and construe the business of this night as an act of personal oppression, I am thoroughly convinced: nor can they think otherwise, when they learn, that in all the law books of this country, in all your journals, in all the histories of parliament, in all the annals of elections, in this great land of elections, where from time to time all that power, all that ingenuity, all that opulence could devise or execute, has been tried in elections—where, in the vast mass of cases that have happened, in all the multiplied variety of singular and curious contests we read and hear of, nothing is found that assimilates with, or authorizes this scrutiny, under these circumstances-not even by the worst of men, in the worst of times.

* Mr. Lowther the nephew of Sir James Lowther. VOL. III.

Sir, I will acquit the horourable gentleman over against me* of being the author, or being a voluntary instrument in this vile affair; and in that concession, sir, I do not give him much—it is but crediting him for a little common sense indeed, when I suppose that, from a regard to that government of which he is the nominal leader, from a regard to his own character with the world at this time, and his reputation with posterity, he acts his part in this business not without concern. That he may be accusable of too servile a compliance is probable enough; but of a free agency in it I believe he is guiltless. Not to him, sir, but to its true cause, do I attribute this shameful attack; to that black, that obstinate, that stupid spirit, which by some strange infatuation pervades, and has pervaded the councils of this country, throughout the whole course of this unfortunate and calamitous reign-to that weak, that fatal, that damnable system, which has been the cause of all our disgraces, and all our miseries to those secret advisers, who hate with rancour, and revenge with cruelty—to those malignant men, whose character it is to harass the object of their enmity with a relent

Mr. Pitt.

less and insatiate spirit of revenge ; to those, sir, and not to the honourable gentleman, do I impute this unexampled persecution.

Having said so much as to the real authors of this measure, there remains another consideration with which I am desirous to impress the house; it is a consideration, however, which in policy I ought to conceal, because it will be an additional incitement to my enemies to proceed in their career with vi. gour; but it will nevertheless show the extreme oppression and glaring impolicy of this scrutiny-I mean, the consideration of expense.

I have had a variety of calculations made upon the subject of this scrutiny, and the lowest of all the estimates is 18,0001. This, sir, is a serious and an alarming consideration. But I know it may be said (and with a pitiful triumph it perhaps will be said) that this is no injury to me, in as much as I shall bear but a small portion of the burthen.-But this, sir, to me, is the bitterest of all reflections !

AMuence is, on many accounts, an enviable state : but if ever my mind languished for, and sought that situation, it is upon this occasion; it is to find that, when I can bear but a small part of this enormous load of wanton expenditure, the misfortune of my being obnoxious to bad men in high authority should extend beyond myself; it is when I find that those friends whom I respect for their generosity, whom I value for their virtues, whom I love for their attachment to me, and those spirited constituents to whom I am bound by every tie of obligation, by every feeling of gratitude, should, besides the great and important injury they receive in having no representation in the popular legislature of this country, be forced into a wicked waste of idle and fruitless costs, only because they are too kind, too partial to me. This, sir, is their crime, and for their adherence to their political principles, and their personal predilection for me, they are to be punished with these complicated hardships.

These, sir, are sad and severe reflections; and although I am convinced they will infuse fresh cou.

into my

rage

enemies, and animate them the more to carry every enmity to the most vexatious and vindictive extremity, still it shows the wickedness of this scrutiny, and the fatality of its effects as an example for future ministers.

Little remains for me now to say upon this subject; and I am sure I am unwilling to trespass more upon the house than is barely necessary. I cannot, however, omit to make an observation upon an argument of two learned gentlemen,* who concluded two very singular speeches with this very singular position - That the house had only to choose between

issuing a new writ, or ordering the scrutiny; that in its lenity it might adopt the latter method—but that their opinion was, for issuing a new writ. Now, sir, if I, who think the old writ totally annihilated; who think that its powers and authorities have been completely extinct since the 18th of May, had delivered such an opinion, there would have been nothing in it incon. sistent; and I should certainly be for issuing a new writ in preference to a scrutiny, if the law, the reason of the thing, and the practice of parliament did not convince me, that the high bailiff having finished the election on the 17th, might make a return as of that day. But for the learned gentlemen who contend that the old writ is still in full vigour and force; who think that the high baliff has acted constitutionally and legally, and that a scrutiny may go on after the return of the writ--for those gentlemen to assert, that issuing a new one would be the fitter measure, is indeed extraordinary. But, sir, against that position, that the house might order the scrutiny to proceed, as a measure of lenity, I beg leave directly to oppose myself! I beg leave to deprecate such lenity, such oppressive, such cruel lenity!

To issue a new writ is a severe injustice, and a great hardship; but if I am forced to the alternative, if I am driven to the necessity of choosing between two evils, I do implore the house rather to issue a

# The Lord Advocate and Mr. Hardinge.

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