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The speeches of Mr. Wilkes in the House of commons online

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iniblence, and that, with many other royal debts, is ftill unpaid. A'. Tbtmpfon, the
rtber perfon defcribed in His Majefty's Proclamation, was afterwards apprehended,
iiml carried before Mr. Alderman Oliver, whodifcharged him.

The circumftances of the whole bufinefs of Miller, and the tontmitment of Mr. Wil-
liam Whitham, one of the meffengers attending the Houfe of Commons, are given
in the " Report from the Committee appointed to examine into the feveral facts
"' and circumftances relative to the Lite obftrudlions to the execution of the orders
' of this Houfe," publifhed by order of the Houfe of Commons. 1 mall however"
add fome other particulars not given at large in the Journals.
of>v of the Warrant for apprehending J. Miller, the Printer of the London F.veniirg Pojt.

WHEREAS the Houfe of Commons did, on Thurfday the i4th of this inftant
March, adjudge and order, that J. Miller (for whom the news-paper intituled Ths
London Evening Poft, from Thurfday March 7, to Saturday March 9, 1771, pur-
ports to" be printed, and of which paper a complaint was made in the Houfe of
Commons on the faid fourteenth day of March) be, for his contempt in not obeying
the order of the faid Houfe upon Thurfday the fourteenth day of this inftant
March, taken into the cuftody of the Serjeant at Arms, or his Deputy, attending the
fsid Houfe.

Thefe are therefore to requite you forthwith to Jake into your cuftody the body o
the faid J. Miller, anil him fafely keep during tbt pleafure of tie faid H-ntfe and all
Mayors, Bailiffs, Sheriffs, Under Sheriffs, Coiiftables, and Headborowghs, and
every other perfon are hereby required to be aiding and afiifting to you or your
Deputy in the execution thereof. For which this fhall be your fufficient war-
ran'. Given under my hand, the fifteenth day of March one thoufand feven
hundred and feventy-oue. FLr. NORTON, Sp:aker.

To Nicholas Bonfoy, Efq; Serjeant at Arms, attending the Houfe of Commons,
or John Clementfon, Efq; his Deputy, or to William Whitham, ona of the
meffengers attending the Houfe of Commons.

To all and every the Conftables and other Officers of the Peace for the City of Lonr
don, and the Libeitie? thereof, Whom thefe may concern, and to the Keeper J
Wood-Street Compter.

London to wit^

Thefe are in his Majefty's name, to command you, and every of you, forthwith
Jafely to convey and deliver into the cuftody of the faid Keeper, the body of Wil-
liaiji Whitham, being charged before w, three of his Majefty!s Juftices of the Peace
in and for the faid City and Liberties, by the oath of John Miller, Henry Page, John
Topping, VM! Robert Pag*, for aflauUiaj and unlawfully imprifoninj; liim the faud


( 1 63 )

ter end of Queen Anne. An Archangel defcending
among us would fcarcely give a new, original idea on


John Miller, in breach of his faid Majefly's peace ; whom you, the faid Keeper, are
hereby required to receive, and him in your cuftody fafely keep, for want of lureties,
until he fhall be discharged by due courfe of law ; and for your fo doing this lhall be
to you, and to each of you, a fufficient warrant. Given under our hands and fe*ls
this J5th day of March, 1771.




Journals, March 20, 1771, vol. XXXIII. p. 275.

The Order of the day being read, for the attendance of Morgan, Clerk to the
Lord Mayor of the City of London, with the Minutes, taken before the Lord
Mayor, relative to the meffenger of this Houfe giving fecurity for his appearance at
the next General Quarter Selfions of the Peace for the City of London to anf\ver to
futh indictments as may be preferred againft him, for the fuppofed afiault and falfe
unprifonment of J. Miller.

Apd Jr.mes Morgan, Clerk to the Lord Mayor, attending accordingly, hs was
called in ; and the Book, containing the faid Minutes, being produced by the faid
James Morgan, was brought up to the Table ; and the Eiitiy of the faid Minuses
therein contained, was rend ;

Ordered, That James Morgan, Clerk to the Lord Mayor, do at the Table txpungt
the faid Entry.

And the faid James Morgan expunged the faid Entry at the Table accordingly.

Junius obferves, By mere violence, and without the jhadvw of right, they have EX-
PUNGED tht record of a judicial preceding. Nit Ling remained but to attribute to tbiir
vain l r fte a fewer tffcpfixg tie ivMe dijlrib-.ttion if criminal and civil jujlict. Lird.
Cbatlat very properly called tbit the ACT OF A MOB, net of a Senate.

Junius, vol II. p. i6c.

Journals, March 20, 1771, vol. XXXIII, p. 276.

Ordered, " That no other profecution, fuit, or proceeding, be commenced, or
,oarried on, for or on account of the faid pretended aflault, or falfe imprifon

Notwithftanding this Order, Mr. Wdkti on the 8th of April 17-1 delivered in at
the Court of Qu-irter Seffions of the Peace at Gwildhall the two following R-corni'
Kr:.-ts, together with thofe (jijobn Wbtblc 2nd E divard Tvi'au Carpenter, and another
for a felony committed fay Sarah Ferrand.

London to w't,

Jikn Miller, of Pater-noiler Row, London, Printer, rcL

I'pon condition, that if the above bounden Job n Miller fhall perfonally appear .Jt
the next Seflions of the Peace to be'holdcn for the City of London, and then and there
profecuto the law with effect, and give evidence on his Maiefty's b-.hatf, upon a bill


C '.64 )

this fubjech I fhall therefore referve myfelf, Sir,
for the reply, if I hear any material objections to the


of incli<5lment to be exhibited to the Grand Jury againft. WiniamWbitbam, for af
faulting and falfely imprifoning him the faid J-bn Militr, in breach of his fakl
Majefty's peace: and in cafe the feme ftiall'be found and returned by the faid
Jury to be a true Bill ; then if the faid Jtt Millo- fhall perfonally appear befoi*
the Jurors that fhall pafs on the trial of the faid W.lixm WLiiba., to be holder
for the faid city at the Guildhall- of the fame city, then and there to profecute and
give evidence upon the faid indictment,, and not depart tke Court without leaver
Then this Recognizance to be void, or elfc to remain in full force.

Acknowledged at the Manfiou Honle, London, the 15:!! day of March 1771*
before us

London to wit,

WilRam irblthawfof College-Street in the siry of \Veftminfter, Gentleman, 40!.
William Hurford, of the City of London, Coal Merchant, 20!.
Robert Withy, of Ifling-ton- hi the County of Middlefex, Gentleman, 20 1.
Upon condition, that if the above bounder* William Wb;tb\.m do personally appear
at the next Seffions -of the Peace to be holden for the City of London, then ami
there to anfwer fuch matters and things as fhall be objected againft him on his Ma-
jefty's behalf, and in particular fen' aflaulting and falfely imprifoning Jobn Miller,
;md in the mean time to k.ef tbi feact of our Sovereign Lord the King, and to be
cf good btba-viour. and not depart the Court without licence ; that then this Recog-
nizance to be void and of none effect, or otherwifc to be and remain in full forc
and virtue.

Taken and acknowledged at the Manfion Houfe, Loilon, this i^th Day c?
March, 1771, before us




the Grand Jsir/ at Guildhall found the Bills of Indictment' again ft MU'xm
D'bttkam and hdvfeni Tl*?i*t Carpenter.

All the proceeding?: were afterwards moved by Cotkrar', into the Kitig's Bencai.
The fccae of tlic Houfe of Commons and the Printers was finally doled by the
Attorney-General's, 'J/.</rA,w'.c, grant of th<8 Noli frujtqul.

Mr.iy t kn recehed the following OrJer to attend the Houfe of Commons on
Ihe zcth of March' 1771.

Hoojt if Commons, Martii 19* die Mjrtl'i, 177^
(C O P Y)

The Houi'cot Commons having yefterday received 'information that one of the
Mcifcngers of this Houfe, after he had arrefted J. Miller, by virtue of the warrant
tfc'fl Speaker of the Houfe of Cymmoris, to u>cr for n coaten:pt of the Lid

( '65 )

motion which I fliall have the honour of fubmitting to
the Houfe. I can forefee only one objection, which I
fhall endeavour to obviate, and I hope the Houfe will
think that delicacy ought to yield to juftice.

Houfe, was carried by n conftahle upon a charge made againft the faid Meflenger
by the faid J. Miller", for an alliuilt aiul fulfe imprisonment made upon the J.
Miller in the laid arreft, before Brafs Crofby, Efq. Lord Mayor of the City of
-London, where y </.> a H^ik't, E;'q. Alderman, and Ricliard Oliver, Efq. were
prefent ; when the Deputy Serjeant at Arms, attending this Houfe, acquainted the
ud M&giftrates that the faid arreft of the faid J. Millar was made hy the faid Mef-
.fenger under a warrant the Speaker of the Houfe of Commons; which
. warrant was then produced aud fhewa to the (aid Magiftrates, and demanded of
them that the faid Meffenger fhould be difcharged, and the fa : d J. Miller delivered
up to the aiftody of the faid meifcnger ; and that the fttd Lord Mayor, Jtibn Wilkesj
F.J<j. and Richard Oliver, Efq. after .fuch information and demand as aforefaid,
figned a warrant for the commitment of the faid mefienger to the Compter for
the faid Atppofed afi'ault and falfe 'imprifonment of the faid J. Millsr, and obliged
the faid meifenger to enter into a Recognizance for his appearance at the nexC
quarter feffions of the peace to be held for the city of London, to anfwer to fuch
indictments as fhould then be .found againfl him for the laid fuppofed afiault and
falfe imprifonment.

Ordered, that John K't'kcs, Efj. do attend this Houfe to-morrow morning.

J. HATSMLL, Cl. Dom. Coin.

L-jr.dMf March 20, 1771.
S I R,

" I this morning received an order commanding my attendance this day in the
Houfe of Commons. I obferve that no notice is taken of me in your order as a
Meipber of the Houfe, and that I am not required to attend in my placed Both
Ihefe circximftances, according to the fettled form, ought to have been mentioned
in my cafe, and 1 hold them abfolutely indifpenfable. In the raie of the Freeholders
of Middlesex, I again dim -.nd my feat in Parliament, having the honour of being
freely chofen, hy a very great majority, one of the reprefentatives for the f.ii.d
county. I am ready to take the oaths prefcribed by law, and to give in my qua-
lincation as Knight of the Shire. When 1 have been admitted to my feat, I will
immediately give the Houfe the moft exact detail, \\ hich will neceliari'y comjn e-
J-iend a full juftincation, of my condudt relative to the late illegal ftnclaman r,
equally injurious to the honour of the Crown, and the r ghts of the fubject, and
like\\'ife the whole bufmefs of the priatei's. I have acted entirely from a fenfe of
duty to this great City, whofe franchifes I am fworn to maintain ; and to my
country, whole noble conflitution 1 reverence, and whofe liberties at the price of
piy b.ood, to the laft moment of my life, I will defend and fupport.

" I am, Sir, your humble fervant, JOHN WILKES."
Rt. Hon. Sir Fletcher Mortar,

Sfcattr of the Houfe of Cztni/ioni.

M 3 Gen-

( 166 J

Gentlemen, I obferve, have fcruples of refcinding
former Refclutions, not knowing, they fay, where
fuch a pradtice may rtop. It is a fcruple in my opi-
nion very ill founded. The firft great object is truth,
and we ought to follow where that leads. It is a duty,
Sir, which we owe in this caie more particularly to
the pioplc ; but, alas! their happinefs, their fecurity,
their very lives are no longer the objects of confidera-
tion with our inhuman rulers, nor, as we have ex-
perienced, even of attention with the Majority in this
Houfe *. If the laft parliament have acted wrong, let


Journals, March 20, 1771, vol. XXXIII. p. 275.

Ordered, That Jobn Witta, Efquire, do attend this Houfe upon Monday morn-
ing next.

Journals, March 25, 1771, vol. XXXIII. p. 186.

Ordered, That John Wilkts, Efquire, do attend this Houfe upon this day fort-
night, the 8// day of Jlprll next.

Journals, March 30, 1771, vol. XXXIII. p. 197.

And then the Houfe adjourned till Tuefday fevennight, the yb day cf <tyrilncxt.

Juniui fays, rt upon then' own principles, they fhould have committed Mr.
Wti'kcs, who had been guilty of a greater offence than even the Lord Mayor or
*' Alderman Oliver. But after repeatedly ordering him to attend, they at lall ad-
" journed bcjsnd the Jay appointed for his attendance, and by this mean, pitiful eva*
i'fon, gave up the feint, Svjch is the force of confcious guilt."

Junius, vol. II. p. 163,

* The laft SelTion gave a moft indecent proof of the truth of this obfervation,
as to the conduct of the prefent ^%'er/fy. The honourable Temple Lultrell, Mem-
ber for Milbourn Port, ftated in a moft mafterly manner to the Houfe the illega-
lity of the Pteft Warrants then in force againft the fuhject, and painted in all the
colours of horror and defpair, the cruelties and murders of the Prtf.-Gan^t let
Joofe uppn the people. He fpoke with a perfect knowledge of the fuhjec>, with
warmth and energy, but he fpoke to an audience grown callous to all feelings
for the public, to a fet of men dead to every fentiment of humanity and love of
their country, alert only to feize its plunder. He convinced the judgement by the
cleared proofs and ftrongeft arguments before he made an appeal to the paflions.
Among the variety of fnfts, by which h fupported his motion, one only was
futncient to unite all the hardened fharers of the national fpoil againft the humans
Bill, wliVh hi- j-ropofed on principles ftriclly juft and conftitutional. The fingle
article ot percjuifitcs, extorted from a deferring part of the public, to the Board
if Admiralty, uid th;ir 4ijini:rtfi:d firft Lord, for fraufihr.t during an lvprcf<,

us reform their errors. If they have eftablifhed a wicked
precedent, we ought to reverfe it. If we have our-
ielves committed injuftice, let us afford all the repara-

was ftated to amount to above 14,000 1. a year. The intended Bill would have
been highly beneficial to the failor, by augmenting bis wages, limiting bit time of
fir-vice, and providing for him undtr the ittfirmitiet of age, and the fubjects of tho
Hate would have enjoyed that fecurity, to which they are entitled under every go-
vernment ; but the Board of Admiralty and Lord Sandwich would have loft an-
nually 14,000!. Mr. Temple Luttrell was ably fnpported by Governor Johnftone,
an officer of diftinguilhed merit in the Royal Navy, a wife and fpirited Senator,
as weJT as a friend to the liberty of the fubject. Sir George Savile, Sir Edward
Aftley, the right honourable Thomas Townfhend, Sir George Yonge, and feveral
ether gentlemen fpoke in favour of the motion ; but the majority refufed even to
receive 'the Bill, and to give it zfirjl reading. The generous hopes of Mr. Luttrell
to ferve the caufe of this free conftitution and the Royal Navy were at that time
blaftcd by the peftilential breath of corruption. The public, however, look up
to his firm virtue, and the Englifh failor hopes merited rexvards and protection,
from his future efforts at a favourable moment, when the people may have it in
their power to vindicate all their rights.

Votes of March n, 17.77.

A motion was made^ and the queftion being put, " That leave be given to
bring in a Bill, for the more eafy and effectual Manning of the Royal Navy, in
" times of war* and for giving encouragement to feamen and fea-furing perfons t
<l enter voluntarily into His Majefty's fervice."

// pajjld in tbe negative.

The lale Pen/toner David Hume obferves, " 'Tis a maxim in politics, which we
readily admit as undifputed and univerfal, That a toioer, however gnat, nvbift
granted by law to an eminent magiftrate, is not fo dangerous to liberty, at an atttbtrity t
i>owev(r inconfiderable, which be acquirei from violence aud itfurfativn. The exeTcife
of an illegal power is in the prtjjing of feamtn tacitly permitted in the crown ; and
though k has frequently been under deliberation, how that power might be ren-
dered icgal, and granted under proper restrictions to the fovereign, no fafe ex-
pedient could ever be propofed for that purpofe, and the danger to liberty always
appeared greater from law than from ufurpation. [Mr. Hume did not live to fee Mr.
Luttrell't pla.i~\. A continued and open ufurpation of the crown is permitted, amid
the greateft jealoufy and \vatcbfuloefs in the people ; nay proceeding from thofe
Tery principles. Liberty, in a country of the higheft liberty, is left entirely to its
own defence, without any countenance or protection. The wild ftate of nature is
renewed in one of the rnoft civilized focieties of mankind ; and great violences
and disorders among tbe peofle, the me/ft humane and tbe bejt natured, are committed
with impunity ; while the one party pleads obedience to the fupreme magiftrate,
he other the fanfiion of fundamental laws.

Jiflay and Treatifes on feveral Subjects. By David Hwme, Efq. vol. I. p. 408.

M 4 tion

tion in our power. We have given the world a re-
markable inftance of our repentance this very feffiori
in the cafe of Mr. Rumbold and Mr. Sykes. "On the
22d of November laft the Order to the Attorney-Ge-
neral to profecute Thomas Rumbold, Efq. and Francis
Sykes, Efq. as principal promoters and foborners of cor-
rupt and wilful perjury at the election for Shaftefbury,
was difcharged, on the motion of as refpeclable a Gen-
tleman * as ever fat in parliament. The Order, how-
ever, was made by ourfelves in the very Jaft feffion,
on the 1 4th of February preceding the reverfal.

I have not yet, Sir, an inclination to quit the com-
pany of Meffieurs Sykes and Rumbold. Their cafe
will ferve me farther in my reafoninp-s. It is a ftronor

J O t>

argument againft Expulfion neceffarily including hca-
facitation. I will fuppofe, Sir, that, inftead of the
Houfe haying determined, in April 1775, in the firit
feffion of the prefent parliament, that neither of thofe
two gentlemen, on account of their notorious bribery
and corruption at Shaftefbury, were duly elected, it
had been voted that they were guilty of being the prin-
cipal promoters and fuborners of wilful and corrupt Per-
jury, a Refolution the Houfe did aftuajly come to
in Feb. 1776, and in confequence of fo black a crime
they had been expelled. Subornation of wiful and cor-
rupt Perjury is furely a moft atrocious fin, and more

, j i .. .

merits expulfion, than the writing a Libel. After-
wards let me likewife fuppofe the Houfe change their
opinion, and find 'that they proceeded without fuffi-
cient evidence, a Refolution the Houfe did actually
cpme to in November 1776. By the courtly, but un-

'* Sir George Savile, Baronet.


parliamentary, doftrine now pretended to be eftab-
lifhed, that Expulfion means Incapac'itation, you would
not have it in your power to re (tore them to their
feats, although you were perfectly convinced of their
innocence. Juftice would call aloud upon you to do
it, becaufe it appeared that no Itgal proof, no fufficient
evidence, was given, en which, you had founded fb
ralli, fo unjufbifiable a judgement. The cries of juf-
tice, however, would little avail with a venal fenate
againft minifterial defpotifm, or a royal edift in the
form of a parliamentary refolution. My firft expulfion,
Sir, in January 1764, was for being the A uthor of the
North Briton, No. 45. Where is to this hour the legal
proof, by the oaths of twelve of my countrymen, to be found
of that charge ? I have never even been tried upon
that accufation. A court of law determined on a dif-
ferent charge, that of the republication, a charge, which
might have been brought againft five hundred other

As little delicacy, Sir, has been Ihewn by us to the
flfls of former parliaments, as to our own rcfohttions.
Have we manifefted any tendernefs to the memory of
the firft parliament, which was called in his prefent
Majefty's reign ? That parliament declared, and de-
clared truly, in the Civil Lift Act, that 800,000 1.
was " a competent revenue for defraying the expences of
" his Majefty's Civil government, and fupporting the
" dignity of the crown of Great-Britain.'* Within
thefe few days we. declared that 800,000 1. was not a
competent fum, and " that for the better fupport of
(( his Majefty's houfehold, and of the honour and dig-
(( nity of the crown, there ,be granted to his Majefty,
* l during his life, out of the Aggregate Fund, the

" clear

** clear yearly fum of 1 00,000 1. to commence frora
" the 5th of January 1777, over and above the yearly
" fum of 8oo,oool. granted by an act made in the
* firft year of his Majefty's reign." If the fum of
00,000 1. was competent to thefe great purpofes, we
had no right to vote more of the peopled money. We
were improvident, and prodigal Truftees for the nation,
not to ufc a more harm expreffion. Let us hear no
more of the amazing depth in finance of any modern
Sttlfy *, or of a pretended oeconony in the management
of the public, or the royal, revenues. We likewife
voted the laft week above 600,000 1. as the laft parlia-
ment had above 500,000!., much above a million in
all, on the fame pretext; of paying the debts of the
King, when his Majefty had enjoyed a competent re-
venue of 800,000 1. clear of all deductions and con-
tingencies, and thofe debts were of the moft fufpicious
nature, even as to the independency of this Houfe.
Let us not, therefore, Sir, affect more tendernefs for
the laft parliament info flagrant an inftance of injuftice,
as the cafe of the Middlefex Elections, than we have
fhewn to them, and to ourfelves too, in other refpects.
We ought, if we are men of honour and principle, to
do juftice to all the electors of this kingdom, and by
a formal repeal, to make fat isf action to thofe zealous

* Henry IV. and S,,I>j, his great Miniflcr of finance, were facrifked by all the
mercenary writers of the court in 1763 to George III and the Enrl of Butt, bis
ferit Lord of the Treafury, with his incomparable croupier, Sancb,, the Chancellor
of the Exchequer, then Sir Francis Daft-wood, now Lord Lt Defrwer. The
*roonfhine beams of the two laft falellites only foured our exdfed Cyder and Perry,
and then they funk to all appearance beneath our horizon at the fame moment,
n the lamented i6th of April 1763. But the glorious luminary round which
tbey moved, con'iimes to warm us en this fide the Atlantic with his refulgent rays,
perhaps, he fcorchcs our American brethren with his fierce beams.


C 171 )

defenders of liberty, the fpirited freeholders of this
injured and infuked county.

I defire, Sir, to recall to the memory of many gen-
tlemen, what patted in this Houfe in the laft parlia-
ment on one of the great debates refpecting the Mid-
dlefex Elections. A noble Lord, the darling of his
country, as well as the favourite of our army, whofe
memory is dear to every Englimman, for he joined to
the bravery of Casfar all the mild and gentle qualities
of our Englifh hero, Edward the Black Prince, that no-
ble Lord, Sir, Hood up in his place here, and folemnly
alked pardon of his country for having, as he faid,
wounded the conftitution, and violated the rights and
privileges of thisr kingdom by voting as he had done in
this Houfe in the bufinefs of the Middlefex Elections.
He did not Hop there. He was anxious to make pub-
lic * reparation for a mi (taken opinion but of fuch
moment and he afterwards joined the Oppojition in an
important queftion reflecting the difcontents of the
people on this very fubject. We may all, Sir, imitate
the love of juftice and candour, if we cannot reach the
high courage of that illuftrious, immortal character, the
late Marquis ofGranby.

While the Refolution, which I have mentioned, is
fufFered to continue on our Journals, I ihall believe.
Sir, that the elective rights of the nation lie at the
mercy of the Minifter, that is in fact of the Crown, and
that the dignity and independency of parliament are in
danger of being entirely deftroyed. It is evident, that

* L^d Granby himfelf thought proper to condemn, retract, and difavow, by a
rnofl folemn declaration in the Houfe of Commons, that very fyftem of political con-
<ii:ft, which Jvttm had held forth, to .the difapprobatioa of the public.

Junius, vol. I. p. 51.


( 17* )

no gentleman now holds his feat by the choice of his
constituents, but only by the good- will, and at the
pleafure of the Minifter, or by the Royal permiffion.
The tenure is equally precarious, and unjuft, for the
conftitution has clearly lodged in the people the right
of being reprefented in this Houfe, by the man, who is

Online LibraryJohn WilkesThe speeches of Mr. Wilkes in the House of commons → online text (page 15 of 36)