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only could derive maintenance and effect by the intervention of arms. It was for this purpose that the legislature of Great Britain prudently and wisely established a military power only for the duration of one year; or rather, they suspended the illegality of the military power for a year. It was for this that they would intrust no permanent and durable military force in the hands of the crown, but preserved to themselves the security of escape, whenever that force should be misapplied to objects for which it was not designed. As to the police of Westminster, its wretched state was too well known to require any particular description. Its weakness and inefficacy were too severely felt, at a late dreadful period, to be depended on in future. To that we were to ascribe the riots and the outrages that had broken forth in the preceding June, and which had raged without control for many days. To that we were to ascribe the order which had been issued to the military, to act without waiting for orders from the civil power. To Το that we were to ascribe the establishment of military power in this country for four months, and its being extended to every part of the country. It was the police of Westminster that had given rise to all these calamities and alarms; and yet not one measure had been taken, nor one attempt made, to correct the police, or to prevent a repetition of the same dangers. He was aware that it might be said, that if the negligence and incapacity of the civil power of Westminster had contributed so much to these evils, the same imputation ought to be thrown upon the magistracy of the city of London; since the tumults had reigned with equal impunity in that city, and with equal consequences. To this he could only say, that he could not forget, for a moment, that the tumults began in the city of Westminster; that there they had their small beginnings, and that there they might have been checked with less exertion, than in the subsequent progress of their accumulating force. But the success of the riots in the city of London had
been ascribed to the want of conduct and courage in the chief magistrate. It was to him, and not to the civil power in general of the city, that the blame was given. But however censurable might have been the behaviour of the lord-mayor of London, the lord-lieutenant of the county of Middlesex must have been at least equally criminal. He was invested with the important trust of appointing and regulating the civil power of the county, and it was his duty to see that the magistrates and the officers, whom he had put into the commission, did their duty to their country; and if they did not, he ought to have collected them together, to have appointed them their stations, and to have put them into active employment. But without further investigating that matter, it was proper to inquire, why, after the melancholy experience that we had had of the wretched state of the police, no measures had been adopted to put it on a more respectable footing? Had no attempt been made to establish some more effectual system of police, in order that we might still depend on the remedy of the bayonet; and that the military power might be called in to the aid of contrived weakness, and deliberate inattention? It might perhaps be the wish of some, that the subject might be familiarized to the employment of the military in the suppression of riots; and that upon occasions less alarming than the last, they might resort again to the same remedy.
It might be urged, he further observed, in justification of government for the orders which they had lately issued, that they believed the substitution of the military to be a safe, easy, and constitutional measure in all cases of tumult and riot. He would not attempt to go into any serious investigation of this argument, but only assert, that if it were true that in cases of extreme danger, such a remedy might be safe, easy, and constitutional, still it would be improper to be acknowledged by parliament; for what might be legally done, would be done oftener. He wished to see a bill of indemnity pass, by which the question would be establish
ed on its proper basis, and the people would have the confidence of knowing, that though the late interference was salutary, it was unconstitutional. If he wanted any
additional reason to convince him of the danger of leav ing such a power in the hands of the crown, a circumstance which occured in the other house, at the opening of the session, would give him the most convincing proof of the necessity of deciding on the doctrine. This was, that his majesty was praised and exalted for not having acted, in that hour of horror and confusion, like the king of Sweden, in directing his arms against the liberties of the country. This was an expression so alarming in its nature, so threatening, and so formidable, that he could not help thinking it incumbent on the house to rescue the country from a suspicion so dreadful. What! was it in his majesty's power, at that moment, to have trampled on the liberties of the country, and to have introduced military government in the place of the present constitution? Was that the crisis, when this might have been established, when the minds of the people were lost in terror and confusion? No; that was not the moment of danger; the crisis was, when, after the interference of the military power, the chief justice of England said that it was legal, and asserted, that the military acted not as soldiers but as citizens; and when this declaration was not objected to by a specific resolution of parliament, but bore the testimony of general acquiescence. That was the moment when the liberties of the people were in danger; and if it did give the opportunity to the crown, the opportunity still existed. The power claimed, of employing the military without the concurrence of the civil power, had been asserted, in some instances at least, without a cause. The danger was confined to the metropolis; why then was the order extended to every part of the kingdom? Or granting that it was necessary to extend it, why continue it for four months? If this doctrine were to be laid down, that the crown could give orders to the military to interfere, where, when, and for what
length of time it pleased, then we might bid farewell to freedom. If this were the law, we should then be reduc ed to a military government of the very worst species, in which we should have all the evils of a despotic state, without its discipline, or security. But we were given to understand, that we had the best protection against this evil, in the virtue, the moderation, and the constitutional principles of the sovereign. However highly he might think of the virtues and moderation of the king, he trusted that this was a species of liberty which would never disgrace an English soil. The liberty that rested on the virtuous inclinations of any one man, was but suspended despotism; the sword was not indeed upon their necks, but it hung by the small brittle thread of hu. man will.
THERE was no disgrace, he said, in participating in the honours, rewards, and emoluments of government, or in supporting the measures of government, after those rewards were received, so long as those measures appeared to be calculated to serve the country. The fair and honourable emoluments of government were no improper seducers of the human mind. Before gentlemen talked so loudly of members of parliament having been bribed, by the profitable terms of the loan, to agree to it when proposed in the house, it became them to recollect that those terms were not made by members of parliament, but by the monied men of the city, the directors of the bank, the India house, and other great companies. In judging of the terms of the bargain, whether they were profitable or whether they were disad vantageous, it was necessary to look back to the time, VOL. II. 39
to the circumstances, and to the prospect of affairs when that bargain was made. He averred, that the minister had made the best terms he could, in the situation in which he stood. The price of the stocks at the time when the loan was in agitation, their price since, the state of affairs, all contributed to prove, that the minister had it not in his power to make better terms for the public. As to the partiality with which the minister was accused, in the distribution of the shares of the loan, it might produce very pernicious consequences to call upon the noble lord to assign his reasons for having given more to one house than to another; and the credit of many houses would be shaken, if, in his own vindication, the minister should say, that he had given to every banker who had applied just as much as he thought the house would be able to pay. This might be the ruin of several families; and as the committees that the honourable baronet had moved for, might give a deadly blow to national credit, he should give his negative to the motion with more satisfaction than he ever felt before. This he should do for many reasons, but principally, because to inquire into private characters would be an inquisitorial tyranny; and oppression to individuals was injurious to the public.
MR, THOMAS TOWNSHEND
RIDICULED the complaint made by Mr. Adam, that illiberal aspersions were thrown out against the members of that house who supported the measures of government. It was, it seemed, an illiberal aspersion upon character, to say, that places or pensions, douceurs or contracts, were among the corrupt seducers of the human heart. To be sure, it would be highly illiberal to