« ForrigeFortsett »
I therefore infift that you do forth- what an Englishman has a right to, with return them to
his property taken from him, and Your humble servant,
said to be in your lördhips por
J. Wilkes. feflion, that I should have received, In a day or two the following in answer, from persons in your answer appeared in the public pa- decent and fcurrilous applied to my
high station, the expressions of in
legal demand. The respect I bear Sir,
to his majesty, whose servants, it « In answer to your letter of seems, you ftill are, though you yesterday, in which you took upon stand legally convicted of having you to make use of the indecent in me violated, in the higheft and and fcurrilous expresions of your moft offensive manner, the liberhaving found your house had ties of all the commons of Engbeen robb’d, and that the stolen land, prevents my returning you goods are in our possession ; we ac an answer in the same Billingsgate quaint you that your papers were language. If I considered you onleized in consequence of the heavy ly in your private capacities, I charge brought against you, for should treat you both according to being the author of an infamous your deserts ; but where is the and feditious libel, tending to wonder that men, who have atinflame the minds, and alienate tacked the sacred liberty of the subthe affections of the people from ject, and have issued an illegal warhis majesty, and excite them to
rant to seize his property, should traiterous insurrections against the proceed to such libellous expressions? government; for which libel, not You say, that such of my paper's shall withitanding your discharge from be restored to me as do not lead to a your commitment to the tower, his proof of my guilt. I owe this to majesty has ordered you to be pro- your apprehension of an action, fecuted by his attorney-general. not to your love of justice ; and in
We are at a loss to guess what that light, if I can believe your you mean by stolen goods; but such lord ships assurances, the whole will of your papers as do not lead to a be returned to me. I fear neither proof of your guilt, shall be restor- your prosecution nor your perfecued to you : such as are necessary tion, and I will affert the security for that purpose, it was our duty of my own house, the liberty of to deliver over to those whose of- my person, and every right of the fice it is to collect the evidence, people, not so much for my own and manage the prosecution against fake, as for the sake of every one you.
of my English fellow subjects. We are your humble servants,
I am, my lords, &c.
Soon after this, Mr. Wilkes following reply :
be set up, under his own direction, My Lords,
at his house in Great George“ Little did I expect, when I ftreet, Wellminster, advertised the was requiring from your lordfhips proceedings of the administra
tion, with all the original papers, But Samuel Martin, Elg; memat the price of a quinea; and the ber for Camelford, and late secreNorth Briton again made its ap- tary of the treasury, having been pearance.
grossly affronted in the North BriBut this shaft seemed to make ton, and presuming, by what had little impression on those it was aim- parfed, and other informations reedat ; for an information was filed ceived, that Mr. Wilkes was the against him in the court of King's author of that abuse, took an opBench, at his majesty's suit, as portunity of demanding satisfaction; author of the aforesaid North Bri- on which a duel ensued, and Mr. ton, No. XLV.
And, as usual in Wilkes received a dangerous wound such cases, on the meeting of par- in the belly with a piftol-bullet. liament a message was sent to ac This occafioned various speculaquaint the lower house with the tions, and men of moderate princi. informations his majesty had re- ples were willing to hope, that the ceived, that John Wilkes, Esq; a divifiors, by which the nation in gemember of that house, was the au neral was agitated, would immethor of a most seditious and danger- diately subside by his death, which ous libel ; and with the measures they looked upon as certain, and that had been taken thereupon ; that all parties and disputes would and the examinations and proofs of cease, within doors and without, said libel were likewise laid before when that event happened. Howthe house, and the North Briton, ever, hisindispofition made noother No. XLV, was adjudged " a false, alteration in the course of proscandalous, and feditious libel, ceedings, than to disable him, if it containing expreffions of the most had been so determined, to answer unexampled insolence and con to a complaint exhibited against tumely towards his majesty, the him in the upper house for afixing grosseft aspersions upon both the name of a member of that house houses of parliament, and the most coa moftinfamous, wicked, and blafaudacious defiance of the authority phemous book, intituled "An Essay of the whole legislature, and most on Woman'; which book waspute manifestly tending to alienate the licly produced, to the eternal dilaffections of the people from his grace of every person concerned in majesty, to withdraw them from writing and printing it. As to pubtheir obedience to the laws of the lifhing this extraordinary performrealm, and to excite them to ance, it did not appear that chere was traiterous insurrections against his, any intention to expose it to sale. But majesty's government; and or-i abou a dozen copies of it were printa. dered to be burnt by the hands of ed for the use, it was said, of a felett the common hangman."
club, IQ which Mr. Wilkes had the On the same day Mr. Wilkes honour to belong; and this, too, with complained of breach of privilege, fo maychefe crecy, that it was by mere by the imprisonment of his perfon, chance fome scraps of it got our of the plandering of his house, there the priter's Rule, and with the feizing of his papers, and the greatelt difficulty a compleat copy ferving him with a subpena upon of it was precured. an information in the court of But to returns In the course of King's Bench, &c.
bulineis, his majesty's meilage cor. 3
tinued to be considered, and the im- by the furious resistance they had portant question, whether privilege made, mixed among the crowd, of parliament extends to the writing and marched off without further and publishing seditious libels, or opposition. However, one of the ought to be allowed to obstruct the rioters was taken, and the North ordinary course of the laws in the Briton was partly consumed by speedy and effectual prosecution of means of a lighted link on which it so heinous and dangerous an of- was placed, by the zeal of the profence, was finally determined in the per officers. The scraps of it negative; by which the authority rescued from the flames by the vioof warrants from his majesty's prin- lence of the assailants, were, it is faid, cipal fecretaries of state, and the carried off in triumph, and in the commitments thereupon, feem, on evening displayed at Temple Bar, all similar occafions, to be efta- where a bonfire was made, and a blished.
large jack boot committed to the So solemn a decision concerning fames in the room of them, amidst privilege will, it is hoped, be at the acclamations of a vast concourse tended with this good effect, that of people. the ordinary employers of the press The house of commons having will be more cautious in their pub- taken cognizance of this riot, thanklications, when they perceive that ed the sheriffs of London for their even the great senators of the realm fpirited behaviour on the occasion, are not permitted to patronize sedi- and addressed his majesty that he tious writings.
might order the offenders to be When the sentence, passed on the brought to justice. North Briton, came to be executed In consequence of this address, a at the Royal Exchange, a great mob warrant was sent from the secretary assembled there, who not only pelted of Itate's office to the lord mayor, the executioner, the conftables, and directing diligent search to be made the inferior officers, with filth and after the rioters ; but it does not ap. dirt, but insulted the chief officers pear that any have yet been disco present in the groffest manner; the vered in consequence of this warrant. fore-glass of the chariot of Mr. The city of London did not apHarley, one of the high sheriffs, and pear to consider the affront thus ofa member of parliament for the city fered to their officers in as heinous a of London, was broken by a billet light, as the house of commons did thrown at his perfon, which was that offered to their order; for when, taken from the fire that was kindled some days after, at a court of comto consume the North Briton. Mr. mon council, a motion was made, Harley being slightly wounded, and “ That the thanks of this court be observing the spirit of licentiousness given to the hon. Thomas Harley, that prevailed among the multitude, and Richard Blunt, Esq; sheriffs of haftened to the mansion house to this city, for their spirited conduct apprile the lord mayor of the in executing the order of both danger. The bangman thinking it houses of parliament, and vindicat his duty to follow the high sheriff, ing the honour and authority of the made his retreat too as soon after magiftracy of this city, in the late as he could; and the confiables, dangerous riot in Cornhill on Sa. moit of their itaves being broken curday last; and that Mr. William
Haffey, the city's follicicor, do pro- but in express terms condemn them. secute John Franklin, now a prisoner Upon the matureft consideration in Newgate, for the infolent assault I am bold to fay, that this warrant committed by him upon the said is illegal ; but I am far from wilhTheriffs in the execution of their ing a matter of this consequence duty ; it passed in the negative. should rest folely on my opinion ;
Mr. Wilkes, not content with the I am only one of twelve, whose complaint, which he had made to the opinions I am defirous should be houfe of commons,ofa breach of their taken in this matter, and I am very privilege in his person, commenced willing to allow myself the meaneit an action in the court of Common of the twelve. There is also a still Pleas against Robert Wood, Efq; the higher court, before which this matunder secretary of state, for seizing ter may be canvaffed, and whose dehis papers ; and, on the 6th of Dea termination is final; and here I cember, this cause was tried before cannot help observing the happiness lord chief justice Pratt,' and a spe- of our constitution in admitting these cial jury at the defendant's desire,' appeals, in consequence of which when, after a hearing of near 15 material points are determined on hours, a verdict was given for Mr. the most mature confideration, and Wilkes with 1000, 1. damages ; and with the greatest folemnity. To full costs of suit. The counsel for this admirable delay of the law (for Mr. Wilkes were Mr. Serjeant
in this case the law's delay may be Glynn, the recorder of London, Mr. filed admirable) I believe it is chiefStow, Mr. Dunning, Mr. Wallace, ly owing that we postess the best and Mr. Gardiner. For Mr. Wood, digested and most excellent body of Sir Fletcher Norton, Mr. Serjeant laws which any nation on the face Nares, Mr. Serjeant Davy, and Mr. of the globe, whether ancient or Yates.
modern, could ever boast of. If It is said the following words these higher jurisdictions should closed the charge to the jury on this
declare my opinion erroneous, important occasion :
I fubmit as will become me, and "This warrant is unconftitutional, kiss the rod; but I must say, I illegal, and absolutely void : it is 'fhall always consider it as a rod of a general warrant, directed to four' iron for the chastisement of the peo. messengers, to take up any persons, ple of Great Britain." without naming or describing them
Soon after this verdi&t was with any certainty, and to bring given for Mr. Wilkes, a man them, together with their papers. knocked at his door, deliring If it be good, a secretary of state to speak with him on particular
can delegate and depute any one, business.; but it appearing by his of the messengers, or any even ficm dialect, that he was a Scoichman, the lowest of the people, to take and being befides an entire ft:anger, examinations, to commit or release, he was resuí-d admittance; on which and, in fine, to do every act which he went away to a coffee house, the highest judical officers the law near Parliament ftreet, where a perknows can do or order. There is no fon made an affidavit tha: he overauthority in our law books that heard him deciare, that himself and mention these kinds of wariants, ten more men were determined to VOL. VI.
cut Mr. Wilkes off, let the event be them, on the 16th of December, what it would, and next morning they ordered Dr. Heberden and Mr. gave information of it by letter to Hawkins to attend him, in order to to Mr. Wilkes, defiring him to be observe the progress of his cure, on his guard. Accordingly on and to report the same to the house. Thursday morning, the perfon In confequence this order, Dr. sworn against, as is supposed, bring. Heberden next day sert the following a letter to Mr. Wilkes's house, ing letter to Dr. Brocklesby, Mr. figned Alexander Dun, the purport Wilkes's physician : of which was to beg an interview " Dear Sir, Cecil-street, Dec, 17. with him on an'affair of the most in An order of the house of comtersting nature, he was desired to mons is come to Mr. Hawkins and call again at one o'clock, which me, to attend Mr. Wilkes from time he did accordingly; and seven to time, in order to observe the proo'clock being then appointed, as he gress of the cure, and to make a was going out at the parlour door, report to the house together with into Mr. Wilkes's bedchamber, two you and Mr. Graves. You will gentlemen, who had placed them- oblige us by acquainting Mr. Wilkes felves behind it, feised him by each with this; and if you will let us arm and fung, bim on his back. know at what time you intend to On searching him a new penknife see Mr. Wilkes on Monday, we will was found in his pocket, which he be ready to meet you there. Mr. pretended he had purchased about Hawkins desires that the appointnine months ago; on being farther ment may be for fome hour after questioned, he said six months; and twelve. at last owned he bought it at Cha I am yours, W. Heberden.” tham about a fortnight since. Upon And Dr. Brocklesby inclosed the this, he was taken immediately into above lette-, with the order of the custody by a tiptaff then present house, to Mr. Wilkes in the followfor that purpose; was carried next ing letter : morning before one of the judges;
« Dear Sir, and a complaint likewise exhibited Late last night I received the inagainst him in the house of commons, closed letter from my most ingenious who thereupon ordered the tip- and worthy friend Dr. Heberden, staff, in whose custody he was, to and also the inclosed copy of an bring him to the bar; but when he order of the house of commons, to was there, the house received such report upon your case on the igih proofs of his being insane, as of January. I am therefore to engaged them to discharge hinn from treat you to fix the hour for our any further appearancesc
attendance at your house on MonWhen Mr. Wilkes had been day, and I will take care to appoint wounded, as we have already relat- Dr. Heberden and Mr. Hawkins. ed, he gave notice of it to the boufe.
Yours, &c. R. Brocklesby.” of commons, who thereupon gave In answer to thefe letters, Mr. him time for his appearance, and Wilkes sent the following cards to afterwards enlarged it on
enlarged it on the Dr. Heberden and Mr. Hawkins. report of his physician and fur
The card to Dr. Heberden' was geon; but beginning at lait, to fuf as follows: pect some collusion between him and