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cumstances seemed to be a dispen- ficers, who had acted under the fing with an act of parliament. proclamation, yet it passed by the Though the laying of the embargo council who advised it ; and had on wheat was an expedient, and not a preamble fully expresive of probably at that time a necessary the illegality of the measure. In measure, than which nothing could these reipects the bill was amended be more highly popular, yet the and made perfect. But this promode of that transaction was looked duced much altercation and deupon by the more discerning in a bate, especially in the house of . very dangerous light, as by it the lords. Some of the ministry and crown seemed to assume and exer-, their friends, who had been noc cise a power of dispensing with the only the warmelt advocates for lilaws. This was one of the griev. berty, but who set up as the paances which had been the most trons and defenders of it, were effeétually provided against at the charged with such a changein their revolution; at which time it was minds and opinions, that they vindeclared to be utterly and directly dicated the present exertion of contrary to the known laws, fta. prerogative, not only from the petues, and freedom of the king- culiar circumstances that seemed to dom. To prevent therefore the influence it, but they also supporta establishment of so dangerous a ed it as a matter of right; and precedent, and to perpetuate a aflerted, that a difpenfing power, knowledge to posterity, that no. in cases of state neceffity, was one thing less than a law could protect of the prerogatives inherent to the from due punishment the framers crown. This seeming desertion, or executors of an illegal act; and from the side of liberty, to princi. at the same time to do justice to ples so directly oppofite, as it had che rectitude of a proceeding, some severe strictures made upon it which, though not authorized by within doors, so it was the occasion law, was done for public good, of many pointed sarcasms without,
a bill was brought in on the beaten subject of occasional Nov. 30. to indemnify all per. patriotism.
fons who had acted in In the course of the debates oc. obedience to the late act of council cafioned by these high prerogative for the embargo,
. tenets, the real causes of the neThose who conducted the mini. celiity for the late exertion of fterial bufiness in thc house of com- power were first inquired into ; mons, gave but little opposition to and then the doctrine of a dispensa this bill when it was suggested to · ing power, in fuch cases, was ably them: a principal servant of the and powerfully attacked. It was crown brought it in ; and there urged, that the ininistry had reappeared on this occasion, for the ceived such information in the befirst time, plain marks of some dis. ginning of August, of the state of agreement of opinion, and aliena. the harvest, the quaniity of corn sion of affection, among the mini. in the kingdom, and of the great ftry. However, it was remarked, increase of its price, that they be. that, though this bill provided for came then as thoroughly masters the indemnity of the interior of. of the subject, and as fully fenfible
of all the probable consequênces, of providing for the public safety as they had been at any time after in cases of emergency. That this chat period. That, from this in- power muft in ali itates be lodged formation, they should at that time. somewhere ; and that in ours it have issued a proclamation for the was lodged in the king. They parliament to meet on the 16th of maintained that this doctrine was September, the day to which it not contrary to the security of the was prorogued, to take that im. conftitution, or to the spirit of liportant matter into consideration, berty, since they admitted that it which would have given the mem- could be legally exerted only in bers above, thirty days notice, and cases of great necessity, during the would have prevented every ap- recess of parliament, and when parpearance of necessity for the minif. liament cannot be conveniently as. ters to commit an illegal action. sembled; that in those cases the evil
That, on the contrary, when the cannot be very great, since it is but distresses of the poor were risen to forty days tyranny at worft. the highest pitch, they issued, on To this it was answered, that the roth of September, an ineffec. this doctrine of necessity was the tual proclamation against forestal. very principle by which all the evil ling, which could not give them practices in the reigns of the Stuthe smalleft relief; and on the same arts had been defended. That the day prorogued the parliament from advocates for the crown in the reign the i6th of last month to the uth of Charles the First, would have of November following. That by added this exception of necessity to this long, unseasonable, and extra- the petition of right ; the house ordinary prorogation, all advice of lords had even come into it, of parliament was precluded ; all but, upon conference with the legal restrictions of the export, as commons, were convinced that this well as effectual provisions to in- exception would have enervated crease the stock of grain, were en- the whole law; and it was accord. tirely put out of the queition; and ingly rejected. As to the plea of in case of riots, tumults, or even necessity, this answer is ready in a rebellion, it was put out of the the mouth of every one ; that if the king's power to receive their affift. crown is the judge of that.necef. ance. That the proclamation for fity, the power is unlimited, bean embargo was issued in fixteen cause the discretion of the prince days after that for so long a pro- and his council may apply it to rogation; though the reasons giv. any instance whatever; and so difen in it, for so extraordinary anex. cretion degenerates into despotism. ertion of authority, was, that his Therefore the wisdom of the con. majesty had not an opportunity ftitution has excluded every discre. of iaking the advice of his parlia. tion in the crown over pofitive ment.
laws, and emancipated acts of parOn the other hand, the advocates liament from the royal preroga. for the dispenfing prerogative, cit. tive, leaving the power of suspening the opinion of Mr. Locke, af. fion, which is but another word serted, that it was ridiculous to for a temporary repeal, to reside suppose any state without a power where the legislature is lodged, to which only it can belong, that is, the king; and the crown, as well. in king, lords, and commons, as the subject, is bound by it, as who together constitute the only much during the recels, as in the supreme sovereign authority of this feffions of parliament ; because no government. Nor did parliament point of time, nor emergent cirever allow of the dispensing pow. cumftance, can alter the conftitu. er, or any thing of the kind, be. tion, or create a right not antece. cause it was exercised under the dently inherent; these only draw fpecious presence of the safety of forth into action the power that the nation being concerned, and before existed, but was quiescent. the whole kingdom in danger, There is no such prerogative in any which was the usual jargon, and, hour or moment of time, as verts if true, implied the moit urgent the semblance of a legislative power neceffity.
in the crown. That the recess of parliament, If the crown had a legal right or its not being convenient to as to suspend or break through any femble it, are distinctions not one law, it must have an equal known by the constitution. That, right to break through them all. · as it is now modelled, the parlia. That no true distinction can be ment must always be in being, made between the luspending power ready to be called, and that in so and the crown's raising money great a degree, that even an ex. without the consent of parliament. pired parliament revives when ne. That they are precisely alike, and cesary to be assembled, and an- stand upon the very same ground. other is not chosen. That as to They were born twins, lived togeche laws, there are no days in ther, and together, it was hoped, which acts of parliament sleep. were buried at the revolution, part They are not like jurisdictions, all power of resurrection. That if that may be evaded by going into any difference was to be made, bea fanctuary. They are of equal tween railing money and the fufa force while in being at all times, pending and dispensing power, the in all places, and over all perfons; latter is the moft dangerous, as though made in a short time, they that which might do the most unihave a constant and lasting force. versal mischief, and with the greatActs of the executive power are eft speed, as it includes the whole. incident, temporary, and instanta- But that, as neither of them ever neous; but acts of parliament are did belong to the crown, no doc. permanent, made as the general trine is admissible that maintains rule by which the subject is to live either the one or the other. That and be governed,
the present distinctions are only an Unless therefore it can be faid, alleviation of the dispensing power that the moment parliament breaks to sweeten it so as to go down, it up, the king stands in its place, being too nauseous in the fullstink. and the continuance of acts is re. ing potion. That the safety of the figned into his hands, he cannot crown, as well as the security of of right suspend any more than he the subject, requires us to shut up can make laws, both requiring the every avenue that leads to tyranny: same power. The law is above and that the fupereminent prero.
gative of the kings of England hy bly of New York had, in direct which they excel in glory all the opposition to the act of last session, foyereigns upon earth, is this, that for the providing of the troops they rule over free men, not over with necessaries in their quarters,
• passed an act of afferably, by which Upon the whole, it was. Taid, these provisions were regulated and that if the doctrine of suspension, settled in a mode of their own, on the plea of state necessity, was without any regard to that preadmitted as constitutional, the re. fcribed by parliament, '. volution could be called nothing This affair, being brought be. but a successful rebellion, and a fore the house, occafioned many delawless and wicked invasion of the bates ; and some rigorous measures rights of the crown; the bill of were proposed. The general opi rights, a false and scandalous libel, nion, however, was rather to bring and an infamous imposition both them to temper, and a sense of on prince and people; and that their duty, by acts of moderation, James the Second neither abdicated which should, at the saine time, nor forfeited, but was robbed of, sufficiently support the dignity of his crown.
the legillature, than by rigorous • In the course of these debates, measures to inflame ftill farther
the necessity of the embargo was that fpirit of discontent which was universally allowed, and the ille- already too prevalent among them. gality of the authority was only Upon these principles, objected to. It was much to the a bill was passed, by June !
June 15th. satisfaction of the pub. which the governor, council, and DCC. 9. lic, that this bill was assembly of New York, were propassed.; and many were surprised, hibited from paffing or afsenting that the gentlemen who, without to any act of assembly, for any regularly agreeing in principles, purpose whatsoever, till they had opposed it, would hazard their in every respect complied with all popularity upon an occasion, that the terms of the act of parliament. did not seem attended with any ap. This restriction, though limited co parent advantages equal to the one calony, was a lesson to them Tilk.
all, and thewed iheir comparative The factious, turbulent spirit inferiority, when brought in quel which seemed to have taken pol- tion with the supreme legislative session of the minds of some of our powere North American colonies, on oc-' An event which happened this casion of the stamp-act, was far session, as it thewed a want of from being mollified by the lenient strength in the ministry, so it also concessions in their favour, and made many think that it forc. the great consideration hown to boded a diffolution to their extheir circumstances by the legisla irtence in that character. The ture. Not content with the pri- taxes, with which all the necefvate acts of outrage that were 100 faries of life were loaded, in copleoften repeated, and marks of dif- quence of the expences of the last respect to government which were war, lay so heavy upon the labo: too frequcully thewn i the afscm, rious and manufacturing part of
the nation that it was thought more mons feemed from the beginning
NOV. to add to the distreffes of the peo. in the session, to look into the state ple, by increasing those upon ne- and condition of the Company. It cessaries, This was a new measure; was some time after ordered, after any addition to the land-tax, that several warm debates, that copies was formerly granted to carry on a of the company's charters, their war, was always taken off at the treaties with, and grants from the return of peace ; but as that custom country powers; together with had been now for some years bro. their letters and correspondence to ken through, the whole land.tax and from their servants in India ; began to be considered as a part of the ftate of their revenues in Ben. the settled revenue, that was ap. gal, Bahar, Orixa, and other pointed to answer the current fer. places, should all be laid before vices of the year. It was then, to the house : also an account of all the great surprise and disappoint. expences incurred by government ment of the minifters, that a reso on the company's account; whe. lution passed the house, supported ther in the naval, military, or by a considerable majority, which whatever other departments. Great reduced the land.tax for the pre. part of the sesion was consumed sent year to three shillings in the in fruitless discussions. Violent pound. This was said to have been animosities arose ; and all the tothe firft money bill, in which any pics were bandied about, which minister had been disappointed since can agitate the minds of a people, the revolution ; and it was now on one hand jealous of their li. looked upon as a fatal symptom of berties, and on the other, eager weakness. In this the public was by every means to relieve the however mistaken, though appear. burthened ftate of their finan. ances seemed strongly to counte. ces. nance the opinion.
In the course of this rigorous The great baliness of the sellion scrutiny, an order was made for was that of the East - India com. printing the Eait India papers. pany, from whence great expecta. The court of directors upon this tions had been conceived, and on presented a petition, setting forth which violent debates arose in both the great injury it would be to the houses; as this matter involved company, and the many ill conse. conftitutional points of the highest quences that would probably at. nature, and indeed was in all re- tend the printing of ihe private fpects of great importance, It was correspondence between them and remarked, that though it seemed their servants. Upon this, a mo. che capital minifterial measure ; tion being made to discharge the yet, whether from disapprobation former order, a debate ensued; but of the mode and principles of it was at laft agreed that the pri. the enquiry, or from some discon- vare correspondence should noi be tent among themselves, is uncer. printed. tain; but the principal officers of Great questions, though not forthe crown in the house of com- mally put, arose and were discussed Vol. X.