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attornies. He complained of the scrutiny on a variety of different grounds; and said the paying of the witnesses influenced their testimony. The noble lord had compared it to the payment of witnesses in courts of justice, whereas no two things could be more wide and distinct. In the one case, that of the scrutiny, there was no power to punish false testimony; in the courts of justice the witnesses gave evidence upon their oath, in the face of a court competent to punish them, and liable to indictment for perjury. In like manner, was the Westminster election to go before a committee of that house; it would go before a competent tribunal, before a tribunal armed with the proper powers to enforce attendance, and insure dispatch; whereas the high bailiff's court, as it was called, could do neither; it was the greatest burlesque of a court that ever was heard of, and a downright mockery of justice. Mr. Sheridan said, if they were to go on, and that house was to be persuaded to authorise a continuance of the scrutiny, new delusions must be found out to induce the house to come into a measure, that all the world would consider as a measure of ministerial tyranny. He trusted, however, that the house would see the matter in a very different light from that in which they saw it last year. They had then but just come from their elections; and their minds were agitated and inflamed with the clamor that had been artfully raised against the India bill. The case was now somewhat different; men's minds were cooler; they no longer looked at his honorable friend's conduct through the optics of prejudice. They had revived the recollection of his steady adherence to the cause of the people, and the cause of liberty. They admired his constant exertion in support of the constitution; and they wished he should be rescued from a persecution, as disgraceful to those who instituted it, as it was vexatious and oppressive to him. Before he sat down, Mr. Sheridan said, he
would address a few words to the right honorable gentleman opposite to him, not as a minister, but as a member of parliament, a friend to parliamentary reform, a point of view in which he was happy to consider him; he therefore wished to recommend to him something like a consistency of conduct. When the right honorable gentleman first declared his intention of putting himself at the head of the friends to reform, Mr. Sheridan said, he felt great pleasure, considering it as a most valuable acquisition of weight, authority, and strength. He entertained the same opinion of him in regard to reform, as ever; he had never doubted his sincerity; and he declared he spoke most seriously, when he assured him, he gave him his entire confidence in that respect; a gift, perhaps, which the right honorable gentleman might hold cheap, but he must permit him to tell him, that the honest confidence of one sincere and anxious friend of reform, though as humble and insignificant an individual as himself, was worth all the rotten support of a whole herd of flatterers and followers, attached only by their present interests, and ready to change with the first change of circumstances. Let him recommend it, therefore, to the right honorable gentleman, to preserve a consistency of conduct; and not while he was talking of purifying the representation of that house in general, to suffer so large a city as Westminster to stand disfranchised, and deprived of its right to representation, without having committed any one offence that merited, or in any sort justified so severe a punishment. How would the right hon. gentleman have liked, as he drove through the streets of that disfranchised city, a few days hence, in his way to the house, to hear the people cry out "There goes the Minister, who in his liberality is this day to give one hundred additional members to counties, and denies this city its legal and constitutional privilege of two representatives!" Let the right honorable gentleman
avoid this, by joining him that day in support of the original question, and let not the electors of Westminster again undergo what they underwent last year, the unconstitutional violence of being taxed while they were deprived of their representatives; and of having the money taken out of their pockets without their consent, which he could not consider otherwise than as monstrous an infringement of the principles of the constitution, as could possibly be committed. He hoped, therefore, the right honorable gentleman would be one of the foremost in support of the question first moved; and when he urged his anxiety to prevail upon him to lend the question his support, he really spoke not as a party man. (A loud laugh.) Mr. Sheridan repeated what he had said, and declared he was actuated by no feelings of political party in his conduct that day. As a party-man, he should be ready to exclaim, "Long live the scrutiny!" Every friend to his connections, actuated solely by views of party, must wish the scrutiny to go on. The right honorable gentleman would find he was right in what he said, if that house could be persuaded, which he trusted would not be possible, to do so absurd, and so unjust a thing, as not to order the High Bailiff to make an immediate return of the writ. In that case, the right honorable gentleman would find the scrutiny would entangle him in every step he took; it would be perpetually in his way, and would sooner or later throw him down. The scrape he had got into, his friends were sorry to see; and, to his knowledge, heartily wished him out of. Let the right honorable gentleman recollect, the path of recantation was not a new one to him; he had trod that path more than once. (Mr. Pitt said, across the house, in what, or when?) Mr. Sheridan answered, last year; when the coal-tax was given up; when the price at which the navy bills were to be paid off by the subscribers was altered; the right honorable gentleman having at the same time declared,
that he gave up that to clamour which he had before obstinately refused to reason and justice. He had conceded, in that instance, and upon a wretched plea; he might also be said to have retracted in regard to his India bill; for there certainly could not be a bill more unlike the one he had opened, than the right honorable gentleman's East India bill of the last year was, when it passed. Having said this, Mr. Sheridan once more pressed the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accompany him in leading the house out of its error; let them all tread back the mistaken road they had taken; and if the right hon. gentleman would put out his power as a Minister, and lend them the strength of his argu ments as a man, he said, he would answer for it, they would honestly meet him, and be sure to carry their point.
The motion was negatived by a majority of 39; and the following amendment, proposed by Lord Mulgrave, carried, "That the Speaker do acquaint the High Bailiff, first, that he is not precluded by the resolution of this house, communicated to him on the 8th of June last, from making a return whenever he shall be satisfied in his own judgment that he can so do. And, secondly, that this house is not satisfied that the scrutiny has been proceeded in as expeditiously as it might have been. That it is his duty to adopt and enforce such just and reasonable regulations, as shall appear to him most likely to prevent unnecessary delay in future ;-that he is not precluded from so doing by want of consent in either party; and that he may be assured of the support of this house in the discharge of his duty."
Mr. Pitt moved for leave to bring in a bill, for better examining and auditing the public accounts of the kingdom.
Mr. SHERIDAN rose to state to the right honorable gentleman that he was mistaken in a particular fact. The book he had alluded to was not an authentie voucher, prepared at the instance of the Treasury; but the private memorandum-book of an
individual. Mr. Sheridan reminded Mr. Pitt of what had at the time passed in debate on the subject of that book, and of the amendment that had been moved, changing the words of the original motion in two places; in one, the words, "It appears to this house," were changed to "This house having reason to believe;" and in the other, the words" amounting in the whole to forty-seven millions," were changed to "large sums of money."
Mr. Pitt admitted Mr. Sheridan was correct, and that he, Mr. Pitt, had erred in what he before said.
Colonel Fitzpatrick acquainted the house, that he had in his hand a petition from the electors of Westminster, praying to be heard by counsel at the bar, in defence of their just rights and privileges, and to state new facts which they were not apprised of at the time of presenting their former petition. He stated the variety of difficulties and disadvantages they labored under; and that they conceived one great reason of the scrutiny being continued, was owing to the evidence which was adduced at the bar some days since being incompetent and defective. He desired the house to call to its recollection, that particular stress was laid, in a former debate, on Mr. Fox being shy of going into the parishes of St. Margaret and St. John. Since that debate, a fact had came out, which very much ngaged the attention of the public, and which he conceived would surprise the house, when he came to relate, that the High Bailiff, the next day of meeting, after he received his new orders, in the presence of some hundreds of electors, and before several members of parliament, openly declared, and authorised them to state," that an offer was made by the counsel for Mr. Fox, whilst in the parish of St. Anne, to go next into the parishes of St. Margaret and St. John; which proposition was refused by the counsel of Sir Cecil Wray." Therefore, whenever evidence of that fact was produced at their bar, he trusted they would put an end to so destructive a measure as the scrutiny; which was carrying on contrary to law or justice. In order to shew that he had not stated the petition falsely, he begged leave to read it; which he did as follows:
"TO THE HONORABLE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
"The humble petition of the persons, whose names are subscribed, in behalf of themselves, and several thousand electors.
"That your petitioners, understanding that a motion had been made in this honorable house, relative to the election for Westminster,