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give. Thefe inhabitants were delivered up to their old implacable enemy, who had, it was true, promifed, that he would not punish or maltreat them for their past friendfhip to Great Britain; a wretched return of gratitude on our part, to a people, that we were bound to fupport by every tie of honour, and every principle of juflice. He added, that minifters would have exhibited a much founder policy, if if they had fent our tranfported convicts to the Mosquito fhore, than by adopting the brilliant and romantic fcheme of fending them to the antipodes, where they could be

of no ufe at all.

The marquis of Carmarthen in reply to lord Rawdon obferved, that he was the minifter moft particularly and perfonally refponfible for the convention, nor would he fhrink from any blame that could justly be imputed to it. He added, that he could easily exhibit a ftrong and fufficient ground of justification, it the difcretion, due from men in high executive offices, did not teach them, rather to risk their own character, and to be contented with a consciousness of their innocence, than to refort to a disclosure of facts, which it was neceffary to the national fafety, and to the continuance of the public tranquillity fhould be kept concealed. Lord Carlile could not agree, that it was right to contend in that house for the value of the trade carried on through the Mofquito fhore, if it were really, what he feared it must be acknowledged to be, nothing more than a fmuggling trade upon the Spaniards and their fettlements. There was alfo fo much to be faid for the difcretion, which minifters were bound to exercife in relation to fome parts of their conduct, that, where that was feriously pleaded,

he thought credit ought to be given them for the having had other, and much stronger reafons for what they had done, than appeared upon the face of the tranfaction. But there was a part of the convention, that by which the inhabitants were deferted, and furrendered without their confent into the hands of their enemy, which he conceived to be a juít ground of cenfure. There could be no fecret reafon for fuch a mortifying, facrifice of the fpirit of this country, and on that ground he fhould vore for the motion.

Lord Thurlow had expected more accuracy of defcription in point of geographical character, in a debate of this nature. The Mosquito

fhore had been talked of as a tract of country, extending between four and five hundred miles; without the leaft mention of the fwamps and moraffes with which it was interfperfed. With regard to fettlement, it had pofleffed neither a regalar government, a formal council, nor eftablifhed laws. A detachment of foldiers had been landed from the island of Jamaica, who erected fortifications, which were afterwards by order of the government at home, given up and abandoned. He inftanced the tranfac tions upon the subject in the peace of Paris of. 1763, when governor Littleton presided at Jamaica, and obferved that we had given a fresh proof in 1777 of our having renounced all claim upon the country, when lord George Germaine fent out Mr. Lawrie to the Mofquito there, to fee that the ftipulations with Spain were fully carried into execution. Lord Thurlow concluded, that the Mosquitos were not our allies, or a people, whom we were bound by treaty to protect; and that the number of Bri tifh fubjects, according to the laft


report, had amounted only to a hundred and twenty men, and fixteen women. The motion was farther fupported by lord Stormont,

and oppofed by the duke of Richmond; and the house having di vided, the numbers appeared, contents 17, not contents 53.


Determinations on the Scottish Peerage. India Affairs. Motion for a Repeal of the Teft. Infolvent Bill. Eftablishment of the Prince of Wales. Inquiry into the Poft-Office.

AVING related in the two preceding chapters thofe tranfactions of the prefent feffion, which originated in the meafures of government, that which remains for us is a view of thofe queftions of policy, whether fuccefsful or otherwife, which were brought under the confideration of parliament by perfons not connected with, or forming a part of administration. The topics, which fall under this defeription, are both numerous and important, which is partly to be aferibed to the uncommon ability, affiduity and spirit of thofe perfons, who took a lead in the prefent oppofition.

On the thirteenth of February a question was fubmitted to the confideration of the houfe of lords by viscount Stormont, originating in the creation of peers during the preceding fummer, when the earl of Abercorn and the duke of Queensberry, peers of the kingdom of Scotland, had been called to the dignity of the English peerage, by the titles of viscount Hamilton and baron Douglas, notwithtanding which they continued to fit as reprefenta tives of the peerage of Scotland. Lord Stormont laid it down as an incontrovertible pofition, that the

right of reprefentation had been given to the Scottish peers, as a confideration for the lofs of an hereditary feat in parliament. Thofe, who no longer fuffered the lofs, could therefore no longer be entitled to a fhare in the compenfation. He read a refolution of the house of lords voted in January 1709, by which it was declared, that a peer of Scotland, fitting in the parliament of Great Britain by virtue of a patent paffed fince the union, had no right to vote in the election of the fixteen peers of Scorland.". The two noblemen in queflion confeffedly ftood in the fituation to which the refolution applied; and he who had not a right to vote, a fortiora, could not be elected. Lord Stormont expa tiated upon this determination, which, he faid, was as folemn and deliberate, as any which stood on the records of parliament. It paff ed at a time, when all that related to the union was frefl in the me mory of every man, and when the true meaning and intention of that great treaty was generally known. It paffed in the prefence of many, who had been commiffioners on both fides, actors in that great. fcene; and the journals fhewed that


there was not a fingle proteft. It had been conftantly acted upon, unqueftioned and unfhaken, for fourfcore years. Such a precedent had all the weight and authority, that could belong to any precedent; and powerful indeed would be its authority upon the mind of every man, who knew the mifchiefs of fluctuation, and the numberlefs benefits which arofe from çertainty of law, and uniformity of decition.

Lord Stormont examined the cafe of the duke of Athol, upon whom an English honour had devolved in 1736, and who had continued to fit in parliament as duke of Athol and baron Strange. He obferved, that there had never been any decision, or even the fmallest difcuffion upon the fubject. It probably was thought a thing of little confequence, as there was very little chance, that a fimilar cafe, that of an old English honour devolving upon a Scottish peer, fhould ever happen again. The peerage of Scotland was then fmarting under the wound, which the rafh and violent hand of party gave in the cafe of the duke of Brandon in 1711. But the cafe was different now; the Scottish peers had lately been reftored to their rights, and the royal favour might flow as freely in that, as in any other channel. He was perfuaded, that the fame fairnes and liberality of fentiment, which had governed upon that occation, would now with equal force plead the justice of the caufe.

Lord Stormont concluded with an appeal to the honour and the feelings of the houfe. He hoped they would keep in conftant remembrance, that, before an event fo beneficial as the union could take place, the peers of Scotland had great difficulties to conquer. For the attainment of that defirable end

they had made as large a facrifice, as ever was made by men. Had they retained their hereditary feat in parliament at the expence of half their property, they had made a happy and a noble exchange. No man deferved an hereditary feat in the great council of a free nation, who did not confider it as the first of all rights, the most valuable of all poffeffions. That right, that ineftimable poffeffion, for reafons of public utility their ancestors had been contented to forego. They did that, which had ever been counted a mark of exalted virtue. They chofe rather to be little in a great ftate, than great in a mall


Deciding on the rights of the defcendants of men fo circumftanced, the houfe would be difpofed, rather to extend, than to diminish them. But they afked no extenfion; all they defired was, that the houfe would not, in contradiction to the clear and obvious meaning of the agreement, abridge their rights, and curtail the flender compenfation allotted them, for the greatest lofs that men who had any dignity could fuftain. Lord Stor mont then moved, "that the earl of Abercorn and the duke of Queensberry, who had been chofen of the number of the fixteen peers, having been created peers of Great Britain, thereby ceafed to fit in that houfe as reprefentatives of the peerage of Scotland."

The bishop of Landaff declared, that, had the question appeared to him to have been of nice legal difcuffion, he would not have prefumed to trouble the house with any fentiments of his upon the fubject; but he was fatislied, that a moderate portion of plain common fenfe was equal to its comprehenfion. The king had been pleased to bestow English honours upon


two Scottish peers. This he conceived to be an infraction of the treaty of union; but then it was an infraction on the part of England, as the honours were Englif. Scotland confequently could not find fault, nor did he mean to complain. On the contrary he thought it extremely right, that the fovereign fhould call up to that houfe peers of Scotland, defcended from old and honourable families, and who could add the luftre of ancestry to their other eminent qualifications. For, whatever might be faid of ancestry, no man defpifed it, but he who had none to value himself upon, and no man made it his pride, but he who had nothing better. Doctor Watfon entirely coincided with the arguments of lord Stormont, and put an extreme cafe, in order to remove the poflibility of a doubt. He afked, if the queen, when the act of union was fic paffed, had chofen to create the whole fixteen peers British dukes, was there one man, who in that cafe would have denied, that the fpirit of the act of union was vifibly fuperfeded?

Lord Thurlow conjured the house to confider, how much their honour and their character depended upon their prefent decition; and called to their recollection the degree of ranknefs and corruption, to which the tribunal of the houfe of commons had arrived, previoufly to the paffing of Mr. Grenville's bill. In his opinion they were not to listen to arguments, grounded on the fuppofed or real inconvenience, that would refult to this or to that fet of men, nor were they entitled to confider, what the act of parliament should have been, but what it was. They were bound to abide by the letter, and religiously to comply with its re

quifitions. Lord Loughborough maintained, that this strict mode of construction was not to be applied but to penal ftatutes: In all other cafes the spirit and the intention of the law were guides to the true interpretation. The motion of lord Stormont was farther oppofed by lord Morton, and fupported by the earls of Hopetoun and Fauconberg. Upon a divifion the num bers were, contents 52, not contents 38.

A fecond debate upon the fubject of the Scottish peerage was occafioned by the election of the ear! of Selkirk and lord Kinnaird to reprefent the peerage of Scotland, in the room of the duke of Queensberry and the earl of Abercorn. Upon this occation the dukes of Queenfberry and Gordon had given their votes as peers of Scotland, which was contrary to the tenour of the refolution of the house of lords of January 1709. The fubject was brought forward as a topic of dif cuflion on the eighteenth of May by the earl of Hopetoun, by whom it was moved, that a copy of that refolution fhould be tranfmitted to the lord register of Scotland, as a rule for his future proceedings in cafes of election.

The motion was opposed by lord Thurlow. He exhorted the house not to proceed precipitately and fuddenly, to decide a question of much greater importance, than at first fight it might appear to be. A refolution of either house of par liament, however unanimoufly car ried, did not conftitute law. No thing was entitled to that defcription, but what had paffed both houfes in the exercife of their legi flative functions, and received the affent of the crown in the form of an act of parliament. The houfe was now called upon in their ju

dicial capacity, to redeliver a judgment they had formerly given. There was no new cafe before them, and it was diametrically contrary to the practice of every, even the lowest court of justice in the kingdom, to repeat a judgment, un-. lefs in confequence of fome circumftance that made it evidently neceffary. Lord Thurlow called the attention of the houfe to the resolution of 1711, which had declared two Scottish dukes, recently created British peers, incapable of fitting in the houfe in their new character. This refolution was undoubtedly a great hardship, and had lately been abolished: but how? Not by a refolution, but by an act of parliament. In like manner, if, upon mature confideration, it fhould be thought right to make the refolution of 1709 effectual, let it be done by due courfe of parliamentary proceeding; but by no means let the house, acting judi. cially, decide a matter that involv-. ed in it the private rights of individuals. In the prefent cafe the duke of Queensberry was prefent, and defired to be heard by coun-, fel; the duke of Gordon was actually out of the kingdom, and totally uninformed of the tranfaction. Lord Thurlow afked, where was a precedent to be found for fuch a proceeding as that which was now recommended? If it were of fo fimple and warrantable a nature as had been reprefented, how happened it, that it had never entered into the head of any member of the houfe of commons, when an election contest was decided, to move to fend down the ground of the de cifion to the returning officer? Lord Thurlow had feen outlines of a bill for the better regulating the election of the peers of Scot land, and he could with that fome. 1787.

fuch bill were brought forward. Whenever the question, refpecting the right of a Scottish peer, who. had been created a British peer by patent, to vote in thefe elections, came to be ultimately decided, there were other important confiderations to be decided at the fame time. Suppofe a Scottish peer to be made a bishop, did that deprive him of his right of voting? When a Scottifh peer was advanced to the Englifh peerage, why ought his fons to be deemed ineligible to fit in the other house? Was the office of lord regifter purely judicial, or purely ministerial? These and a variety of other questions, intimately connect ed with the refolution, convinced him, that it was better to take up the fubject gravely upon a compre henfive fcale, than to decide upon. it in the defultory and uncon nected manner that was now propofed.

Lord Kinnaird agreed with lord Thurlow, that a refolution of that houfe would not conftitute law, but he could not help believing, that a folemn construction of the exifting ftatutes by the only court of judicature, before which the fubject could be agitated, entitled him affert that to be law, refpecting which he might otherwife have entertained a doubt. Much praise was due to the accuracy, with which the ftatute of union had been drawn; yet it was not very extraordinary, that the first election in 1708 fhould have given birth to a great variety of quef tions, refpecting the conftruction of that act, and the regulations of the election. Accordingly a petition was prefented to the houfe complaining of many irregularities; and the lords, anxious to preclude the poffibility of future cavil, adopted a mode, the most fuited to G


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