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his Majesty, it will be hard indeed, if we should see a House of Commons the victim of its zeal and fidelity, sacrificed by his ministers to those very popular discontents which shall be excited by our dutiful endeavors for the security and greatness of his throne. No other consequence can result from such an example, but that, in future, the House of Commons, consulting its safety at the expense of its duties, and suffering the whole energy of the state to be relaxed, will shrink from every service which, however necessary, is of a great and arduous nature, - or that, willing to provide for the public necessities, and at the same time to secure the means of performing that task, they will exchange independence for protection, and will court a subservient existence through the favor of those ministers of state or those secret advisers who ought themselves to stand in awe of the Commons of this realm.
A House of Commons respected by his ministers is essential to his Majesty's service: it is fit that they should yield to Parliament, and not that Parliament should be new-modelled until it is fitted to their purposes. If our authority is only to be held up when we coincide in opinion with his Majesty's advisers, but is to be set at nought the moment it differs from them, the House of Commons will sink into a mere appendage of administration, and will lose that independent character which, inseparably connecting the honor and reputation with the acts of this House, enables us to afford a real, effective, and substantial support to his government. It is the deference shown to our opinion, when we dissent from the servants of the crown, which alone can give authority to the proceedings of this House, when it concurs with their
That authority once lost, the credit of his Majesty's crown will be impaired in the eyes of all nations. Foreign powers, who may yet wish to revive a friendly intercourse with this nation, will look in vain for that hold which gave a connection with Great Britain the preference to an alliance with any other state. A House of Commons .of which ministers were known to stand in awe, where everything was necessarily discussed on principles fit to be openly and publicly avowed, and which could not be retracted or varied without danger, furnished a ground of confidence in the public faith which the engagement of no state dependent on the fluctuation of personal favor and private advice can ever pretend to. If faith with the House of Commons, the grand security for the national faith itself, can be broken with impunity; a wound is given to the political importance of Great Britain which will not easily be healed.
That there was a great variance between the late House of Commons and certain persons, whom his Majesty has been advised to make and continue as ministers, in defiance of the advice of that House, is notorious to the world. That House did not confide in those ministers; and they withheld their confidence from them for reasons for which posterity will honor and respect the names of those who composed that House of Commons, distinguished for its independence. They could not confide in persons who have shown a disposition to dark and dangerous intrigues. By these intrigues they have weakened, if not destroyed, the clear assurance which his Majesty's people, and which all nations, ought to have of what are and what are not the real acts of his gove ernment.
If it should be seen that his ministers may continue in their offices without any signification to them of his Majesty's displeasure at any of their measures, whilst persons considerable for their rank, and known to have had access to his Majesty's sacred person, can with impunity abuse that advantage, and employ his Majesty's name to disavow and counteract the proceedings of his official servants, nothing but distrust, discord, debility, contempt of all authority, and general confusion, can prevail in his government.
This we lay before his Majesty, with humility and concern, as the inevitable effect of a spirit of intrigue in his executive government: an evil which we have but too much reason to be persuaded exists and increases. During the course of the last session it broke out in a manner the most alarming. This evil was infinitely aggravated by the unauthorized, but not disavowed, use which has been made of his Majesty's name, for the purpose of the most unconstitutional, corrupt, and dishonorable influence on the minds of the members of Parliament that ever was practised in this kingdom. No attention even to exterior decorum, in the practice of corruption and intimidation employed on peers, was observed : several peers were obliged under menaces to retract their declarations and to recall their proxies.
The Commons have the deepest interest in the purity and integrity of the Peerage. The Peers dispose of all the property in the kingdom, in the last resort; and they dispose of it on their honor, and not on their oaths, as all the members of every other tribunal in the kingdom must do,—though in them the proceeding is not conclusive. We have, there
fore, a right to demand that no application shall be made to peers of such a nature as may give room to call in question, much less to attaint, our sole security for all that we possess. This corrupt proceeding appeared to the House of Commons, who are the natural guardians of the purity of Parliament, and of the purity of every branch of judicature, a most reprehensible and dangerous practice, tending to shake the very foundation of the authority of the House of Peers; and they branded it as such by their resolution.
The House had not sufficient evidence to enable them legally to punish this practice, but they had enough to caution them against all confidence in the authors and abettors of it. They performed their duty in humbly advising his Majesty against the employment of such ministers; but his Majesty was advised to keep those ministers, and to dissolve that Parliament. The House, aware of the importance and urgency of its duty with regard to the British interests in India, which were and are in the utmost disorder, and in the utmost peril, most humbly requested his Majesty not to dissolve the Parliament during the course of their very critical proceedings on that subject. His Majesty's gracious condescension to that request was conveyed in the royal faith, pledged to a House of Parliament, and solemnly delivered from the throne. It was but a very few days after a committee had been, with the consent and concurrence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, appointed for an inquiry into certain accounts delivered to the House by the Court of Directors, and then actually engaged in that inquiry, that the ministers, regardless of the assurance given from the
crown to a House of Commons, did dissolve that Parliament. We most humbly submit to his Majesty's consideration the consequences of this their breach of public faith.
Whilst the members of the House of Commons, under that security, were engaged in his Majesty's and the national business, endeavors were industriously used to calumniate those whom it was found impracticable to corrupt. The reputation of the members, and the reputation of the House itself, was undermined in every part of the kingdom.
In the speech from the throne relative to India, we are cautioned by the ministers “not to lose sight of the effect any measure may have on the Constitution of our country.” We are apprehensive that a calumnious report, spread abroad, of an attack upon his Majesty's prerogative by the late House of Commons, may have made an impression on his royal mind, and have given occasion to this unusual admonition to the present. This attack is charged to have been made in the late Parliament by a bill which passed the House of Commons, in the late session of that Parliament, for the regulation of the affairs, for the preservation of the commerce, and for the amendment of the government of this nation, in the East Indies.
That his Majesty and his people may have an opportunity of entering into the ground of this injurious charge, we beg leave humbly to acquaint his Majesty, that, far from having made any infringement whatsoever on any part of his royal prerogative, that bill did, for a limited time, give to his Majesty certain powers never before possessed by the crown; and for this his present ministers (who, rather than fall short in the number of their calumnies, employ