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you may profit by the lesson it contains, I'most respectfully subscribe iyself,
J. GRIFFIN. THE EFFECTS LIKELY TO ARISE FROM THE
* SEARCH FOR ARMS BILL."
" Now comes the tug-of-war." SORRY, extremely sorry, are we to inform our Readers that the Bill authorizing search for arms at midnight, has passed through the House of Commons a third time, and will, consequently, in a short time, become an Act of Parbiament, though it never can be law! Every Act of the Legislature which is in direct violation of the Constitution, and in opposition to the sentiments of the People, is illegal, and we are not bound to obey it longer than we can help it. We cannot too often press this truth upon the minds of our readers, some of whom, perhaps, may be too apt to imagine that the Parliament is supreme, and that what it enacts as law must be se considered. The idea is, on the very face of it fallacious and absurd. What! shall the de puted servants of the People usurp the Rights which it was their duty to protect inviolate, and hold in bondage those very People from whom they acknowledge their authority is derived ? Shall they turn round and tell us that we deputed them to govern as they think proper, without paying any attention to the desires of those hy whom they are elected ? It is, alas! too true that they act thus; but it surely does not follow that we are to believe or suffer them with impunity to plunder us of every thing we hold dear. No!--the spirit of our forefathers forbids it, and the hearts of freemen revolt at the base idea of unconditional submission.
The present Bill is absolutely revolting to humanity, and we have no doubt, but, in many cases, it will be openly and fearlessly resisted. For our own parts, we déclaré, that we would not, for an instant, hesitate to sh- the first man that dared, under any pretence, to force an entrance to our houses at the dead and lonely hour of mignight. What Jury of common sense could, in such a case, convict a man of murder ? What proof can the invaded Englishman have that his visitors are not robbers well skilled to act the Magistrate, the Constable, and the Watchman ?; ațd, that such will take advantage of this infernal Aet of Parliament, (we will never call it lav) we have not ever the shadow of a
doubt. What security, then, can we have for our lives or properties, unless by firmly resisting their entrance at every. hazard ? Resistance in this particular, we conceive to be a public duty; and we are confident that Englisbmen are too well acquainted with their rights, to suffer them to be trambled on with impunity.
There is yet another cireumstance which renders this Act of Parliament still more insultingly atrocious beds are the most likely places to be chosen, above all other places, for the concealment of arms, and, therefore, at any hour of the pight, BRITISH FEMALES-ENGLISHWOMEN,--the pride and glory of their country--are to be subjected to the insults of the minions of despotic authority. We can see (in fancy) at this moment, heartfelt indignation vividly. lashing from the eye of the father, the brother, or the husband; we can see (in fancy) the uplified sabre and the presented pistol, and feel but one regreto-that they are Jevelled at the executors rather than at the authors of such
We conceive that those weasures are in open. violation of the privileges of a British subject, and, conse-. quently, those who are instrumental in passing them, are traitors to the rights which they have previously sworn to protect; and should be, the first-opportunity, arraigned before the tribunals of their country, for High TRPASON against the souereigo people: we say the first opportunity,” because, every individual gifted with common sagacity, must be aware that such an attempt, however concordant with the sentiments and feelings of the people, would almost instantaneously be quashed by the unjustly acquired, yet preponderating power of the Boroughmongers.
TO THE ELECTORS OF WESTMINSTER, Assembled at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, on Thursday, December 16, 1819.
Nerogate, Dec. 17. GENTLEMEN, The LETTER addressed to me by the ELECTORS". OF WESTMINSTER, assembled at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, and which Sir Francis Burdett, with the deputation from your meeting, has done me the honour lo present to me in, this prison, will more than compensate for any personal inconvenience which I may sustain in consequence of the late vote of the House of Commons. In times like these, every man is called upou fearlessly. to do his duty to the public; and if my conduct has met the approbation of so enlightened a body as the Electors of Westminster, it is not to be wondered at, that I should have incurred the displeasure of the upholders of a corrupt and despotic system.
The same assembly that dooms all their fellow countrymen to perpetual servitude, can have little compunction in sentencing an individual to temporary restraint; and since those who have sent me to this place look for the justification of their conduct, not to the old English Laws, nor to the principles of common justice, but in certain extravagant pretensions of their predecessors, which they please to term prececents, I should perhaps praise their forbearance, which has contented itself with simple imprisonment, instead of following the more atrocious examples that are to be found in the records of Parliament.
In one respect, indeed, I am given to understand, that the Honourable House has been pleased to dispense with even its own usages. Ju the last case of alleged libel--that of Mr. Jones in 1810, Mr. Speaker Abbott asked the accused, (6 what he had to say in his behalf,” and upon his reply; again said, “ have you any thing more to say in your behalf.”
In the House of Lords, which certainly must be allowed to sit sometimes in a judicial capacity, but whose power to commit has been repeatedly questioned, a hearing has, I believe, been invariably granted, for, in the case of Flower in 1799, Lord Chief Justice Kenyon refused the application for a Habeas Corpus, partly on the plea, that Flower was * heard in his defence, and had the same opportunity of calling witnesses that every other defendant has in a Court of Justice.”
The case most similar to the present practice appears to be that of Sir John Mortimer, in the reign of Henry VI. who being brought into the Parliament, without arraignment or answer, was adjudged “to be committed to the Tower of London, to be drawn through the city of Tyburn, and there hanged, drawn, and quartered ; his head set upon London Bridge, and his four quarters on the four gates of London.” But even here Sir John was “ brought in, and his judgment was pronounced by both Houses, yet Lord Coke, whose authority the defenders of Privelege” are so eager to quote, declares that the proceeding was evil, for (he adds) by the Statute of Magna Charta, cap. 29, and the 28th Edward III. cap. 5. no man ought to be condemned without ANSWER.” For the accounts I beg to direct you to Çobbett's State Trials,. Vol. I. p. 267, and the 4th bustitute, 38.
What-breach of priivlege is, no man can tell; and even
for thus stating my opinion, that the Honourable House has overstepped its own precedents, it is possible that I may be removed from this prison to the dungeon of " Little Ease,?? in the Tower, as was the case with the Warden of the Fleet in 1,603, for contumacy after commitment. Some persons offending the Honourable House have been fined, others forced to kneel at the Bar-others paraded on horseback with their faces to the tail. But a debated precedent never can establish a posilive right, and, privilege of Pațliament in the sense now resorted to, has been questioned from time to time, by the best and ablest of our ancestors, as well as by our cotemporaries.
Arbitrary proceedings may make martyrs, buc cannot make converts. If it is was always my opinion that the House of Commons has no right to commit to prison for constructive libel, I am not likely to change that opinion now. I will not, however, indulge in any impotent complaint, but endeavour to content myself as becomes the man who has been distinguished by your approbation ; and no aet of mine either on this or any other occasion, shall tend to compromise the rights and liberties of
JOHN CAM HOBHOUSE.
APOSTACY AND TERGIVERSATION OF MR.
We have this week a duty to perform, which we conscientiously think is owing to the memory of the immortak Paine-to the arduous services of almost the only patriot in-the House of Commons, (Sir F. Burdett, whom it is almost superfluous to name to many of our readers,)-and also to the Republican principles which we have supported, and which consequently we will defend even against the gigantic Cobbett, who has wantonly attacked them with barefaced assertions, devoid of argument, devoid of reason, and devoid of proof. It is well known to the Public that Mr. Cobbett has written as virulently at one period of his life against every principle of Liberty, as he has since done against those of Despotism. It is not impossible that a man should change his opinion in the course of years, and therefore we will not atack him upon the score of tergiversation ; but we will, in as concise a manner as possible, prove to
our readers that he is as dishonest to the character of Paine -knowingly dishonest—as he was ungrateful for the generosity of Sir Francis Bardett, For this purpose we will quote the following paragraph from his Review of the Life of Thomas Paine.
« From the furnished lodgings in which Paine had hitherto "lived, the young couple soon removed to a house, for which they with some difficulty obtained furniture upon credit. But he having contracted debts which he was unable te discharge, our adventurer, with his wife, found themselves obliged to take what is called in Scotland a moonlight flitting; and on the night between the seventh and eighth of April, 1760, they set out from Sandwich to Margate, Thomas carrying with him the furniture which he had purchased on credit, a stove belonging to his house, and the stays of a customer. The stays were recovered from him by a timely claim; he sold the furniture by auction at Margate. The sale of goods obtained upon credit on a false pretext, is a crime that was formerly punished by exposure on the pillory; which has since been changed for transportation.”
All this may be true or it may be false, and false we believe it to be; but without stopping to canvass that question, we will proceed to expose the wilful dishonesty of Mr. Cobbett's concluding remark, and if a writer attempts to deceive his readers by deceptive reasoning, what faith can be placed in his political honesty. In his remark he introduces the words @6
on a false pretext,” which even his own villainous and calumnious tale never was made use of. He attempts to imply that Paine was guilty of swindling, though upon the
very face of his own account, he was guilty of no worse conduct towards his creditors than Mr. Cobbett is given credit for by the world, in his own pécuniary transactions with the unfortunate tradesmen who trusted to his principles of honesty ; nor can Mr. Cobbett plead the same excuse which he allows to be valid in the case of Paine-absolute poverty and want.
Whatever side of a "question a person advocatesy truth should be invariably their guide; but here we perceive that to support his arguments he wilfolly draws a conclusion obviously dishonest, to blacker the character of a man whose political hopesty is less durable than that of Mr. Cobbett, and who refused to withhold his writings from the world for the sake of private pecaniary profit. Mr. Cobbett's writings have often been quoted to prove his apostacy: this we conceive to be unnecessary, and in quoting passages from his Life of Paine, which we shall do in some