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"Sir John Lowther.] I have heard foreign Ministers fay, That it is better for their affairs in England than any where else, because once a year the Parliament fits; and without the charge of intelligence, they know all affairs.' If you act by measures of no country, nor your own, what will enfue?"
"Mr. Goodwin Wharton.]
As for private councils,
all Kings have their Favourites; and I with the King had fuch a Secretary as Mazarine, to fecure the intereft of the nation, and not himself. The method is this; things are concerted in the cabinet, and then brought to the council; fuch a thing refolved in the cabinet, and brought and put upon them, for their affent, without fhewing any of the reafons. That has not been the method of England. I am credibly informed, that it has been much complained of in council, and not much backed there. If this method be, you will never know who gives advice. If you think it convenient, I fhall be of your mind; but I think this method is not for the service of the nation."
"Mr. Foley.] I would have every Counsellor fet his hand to his affent, or diffent, to be diftinguished."
These reflections on cabinet councils are certainly juft; and whatever specious pretence may be urged to induce a belief of their neceffity, they can never convince intelligent and unprejudiced minds, that the weighty concerns of a great and free kingdom fhould be tranfacted by a private Junto, and that the conflitutional Counsellors of the flate fhould be treated as cyphers; much lefs can any man of common fenfe be perfuaded, that public bufinefs fhould be managed by a council, within a cabinet council and leaft of all, that it fhould be directed by the fole will of any infolent, intruding, arbitrary subject, under the title of Prime-Minifter.
Among the remarkable tranfactions of this reign, fcarce any raised a greater ferment, or occafioned warmer debates in Parliament, than an ingroffed bill from the Lords, For the frequent calling and meeting of Parliaments,' fetting forth, that a • Parliament fhall be holden once every year: next, that a new one fhall be called every three years, after the diffolution of the former Parliament: and laffly, that a period fhall be put to the present Parliament in January next.' The bill, in the opinion of the moft judicious perfons, was not weil drawn, to anfwer the general feeming intentions of the bill.
Mr. Harley arraigned the Lords for fending down this bill; touched on their extravagant affuming of judicatory power; and then faid,
"The bill is a plaufible panegyric on this Parliament, for its funeral oration; yet notwithstanding I am for the bill. Such remedies, to obtain good things, must be obtained in good Princes reigns. Annual Parliaments have been enacted by feveral ftatutes. When one is grown a little old, another hath been made. It is no entrenching on the prerogative, but is for the honour of the King. He hath faid in his declarations, That he will put us in fuch a way, that we need not fear being under arbitrary power, by yielding any thing to make us eafy and happy." Our honour is concerned for this bill; confidering what we have done, we should let others come in, that they may find, that money is not here to be gotten. A ftanding Parliament can never be a true Reprefentative; men are much altered after being fometime here, and are not the fame men as fent up. The Lords fent you a bill in Henry the eighth's time, for fettling their precedency; and you have fent bills to them concerning your privileges."
On the last reading of this bill, it was objected, "That this was a good Houfe, and that the nation would not be grieved with its continuance." To which, it was answered by
"Colonel Titus.] Manna when it fell, was as fweet as honey; but, if kept, bred worms. It is objected, We have good laws for frequent Parliaments already :' I answer, the Ten Commandments were made almost four thousand years ago, but were never kept."
When it was objected, That this bill did not only retrench the King's prerogative, but might be reasonably ill taken by the King, who had done fo great things for us;'
Mr. Harley, in reply, pulled out of his pocket the Prince of Crange's declaration, and read it to the House.
After much controverfy, the bill paffed, 200 to 161 and the King let it lie on the table for fome time, fo that men's eyes and expectations were much fixed on the iffue of it. But in the end he refuted to pafs it, fo that the feflions concluded in an ill humour.
The rejecting of this bill occafioned furious difcontents, and produced the following warm debate.
"Mr. Brewer.] All agree, that the King hath a negative voice to bills: nobody hath a greater reverence to Parliaments than myself; but the bill rejected was liable to exceptions. I gave my vote to make the Prince of Orange King; but will never give my vote to unking him. I think it proper, in this for the King to exercife his negative_voice.'
"Sir John Thompson.] When I gave my voice to make the Prince of Orange King, I thought to have feen better times than thefe. If this matter go, and nothing be done, I expect nothing but that we fhall be Underlings to Courtiers. It is fit to confider the state of the nation in all parts of it; as in your
quotas; fo if you confider your fleet, your convoys: look upon all mifcarriages, and you may hunt them to the cabinet; but there we must leave it, for we cannot find the hand that does the mifchief. King Charles the Ift, was the first that set up the cabinet; but he was taken down for it; fo was King James, his fon, and made a vagabond. All debates fhould be in council; now all things are huddled up. Our affairs are fecret, but our miscarriages open."
"Mr. Bromley.] The preamble of the bill declared. former corruptions, and fufpicion of the like now: the bill offers remedy, but we are denied it; which speaks this language, The King will have us ftill corrupt." At length it was
"Refolved, That whoever advised the King not to give the royal affent to the act touching free and impartial proceedings in Parliament, which was to redrefs a grievance, and take off a fcandal upon the proceedings of the Commons in Parliament, is an Enemy to their Majefties and the kingdom."
In confequence of this, a reprefentation was made to his Majefty, fetting forth how few the inftances have been in former. reigns, of denying the royal affent to bills for redrefs of grievances; and the great grief of the Commons for his not having given the royal affent to feveral public bills; and particularly to the bill touching free and impartial proceedings in Parliament, which tended fo much to clear the reputation of the House.
To this, the King, as might well be fuppofed, gave an evafive answer: and no other, it is to be feared, will ever be obtained, to representations of this nature. We can only lament, that the bill rejected at this time, is likely to remain for ever among the defiderata of our conftitution: though it is evident, that it would more effectually fecure the freedom and independence of Parliaments, than all the laws now fubfifting for that purpose.
We are concerned that our limits will not allow us to gratify our Readers with extracts of many other curious and valuable paffages in these volumes: which, with all their defects, may be confidered as a very valuable acceffion to the stock of political knowlege. Though the abrupt, inelegant, obfcure manner in which they are, for the most part, expreffed, renders them dry
and unentertaining to a hafty Reader, yet they who pay due attention to matter, will find their time well beftowed in the perufal of thefe Debates.
The Police of France: Or, an Account of the Laws and Regulations eftablished in that Kingdom, for the Prefervation of Peace, and the preventing of Robberies. To which is added, a particu lar Defeription of the Police and Government of the City of Paris. 4to. 3s. 6d. fewed. Owen and Harrison.
T may feem ftrange to affert, that Liberty is, in fome degree, an enemy to improvement. Nevertheless, we may
venture to fay, that, in a free country, it is more particularly difficult to establish new regulations, however certain we may be, that the propofed innovation would prove of general benefit to the community.
The multitude being governed by precedents and habits, rather than by reafon and reflection, conceive violent prejudices against all new expedients. Not being able to forefee the prohable confequences attending their execution, they are alarmed by a thoufand ideal dangers, which their fears and their ignorance fuggeft: and where every one has the privilege of being clamorous, though a projector had Lingua centum, Oraque centum, Ferrca Vox, yet it would be in vain to contend against them.
Add to this, that as free kingdoms are generally divided into political parties, the moft falutary fchemes will not fail to be condemned by thofe in oppofition, who will practife on the public weakness and credulity, and perfuade them, that their liberties and properties are endangered, by the very measures which are calculated to fecure both.
Thus, fhould any attempt be made to regulate the Police of this nation, by borrowing improvements from our neighbours, our pretended Patriots would rejoice in an opportunity of rendering themselves important among the rabble, whom they would induftriously tutor in the leflon of fedition.-No French government! No wooden shoes! would refound throughout every part of the kingdom.
Nevertheless, every one is fenfible of the fhameful defects of our Police, which daily expofe us to the affaults of lawless and defperate ruffians; who are only to be discovered and apprehended by mifcreants as abandoned as themselves. Thus the remedy is as bad as the difeafe, which will ever remain incurable, while
juftice is made a trade: a trade too, of which the profits accrue from the multitude of malefactors.
For us, who, as Reviewers, are, of no party, and of no country, we do not fcruple to declare, that in the account of the French Police now before us, there are many laws and regulations which might be fafely and profitably adopted for the better government of this country.
This very ingenious, and, we truft, juft account, first exhibits a general view of the feveral jurifdictions eftablished in France for the administration of justice. In the next place, it gives a defcription of the particular eftablishment of the Marechaufeé in each province, for the preservation of the peace, and the preventing of robberies on the highway: and thirdly, defcribes the regulations in force at Paris, for the like prefervation of the peace, and the preventing of ftreet robberies.
To thefe heads are added, a farther account of the French Police with regard to the maintainance of their poor; the fupport of their hofpitals; the duty of their magiftrates in fupplying wood and water, and other neceffary provifions; the preventing fires; the regulating of public companies; and the paving, cleaning, and lighting the ftreets. Likewife fome remarks on the extent and circumference of London and Paris, the number of their inhabitants, and the neceffity of circumfcribing the boundaries of each; concluding with an eftimate of the expence of the Police.
Should we attempt to give the Reader a general idea of the feveral contents of fuch various articles, we should be led far beyond our destined limits: we fhall therefore confine ourselves to the fecond and third articles, which defcribe the eftablishment of the Marechaufée for preventing robberies on the highway; and the regulations likewife for the preventing of ftreet rob
The Writer gives a very curious and accurate account of the rife and jurifdiction of the Marechaufée, which is now compofed of feveral companies, diftributed throughout the kingdom, one in every Generalité, of which there being thirty, confe quently there must be as many companies; over each of which there is a Prevot General, who conftantly refides in one of the principal towns of his department, under whom are two or more Lieutenants, refiding in fome of the other districts: thefe command the Exempts, and thefe again command the several
* A Generalité, in fome parts, comprehends one province'; in others
two or more.
REV. June, 1763.