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der an obligation to vindicate her memory, and the measures she pursued with my dying breath.
My lords, if ministers of state, acting by the imme. diate commands of their sovereign, are afterwards to be made accountable for their proceedings, it may, one day or other, be the case of all the members of this august assembly; I don't doubt, therefore, that out of regard to yourselves, your lordships will give me an equitable hearing; and I hope that, in the prosecution of this inquiry, it will appear that I have merited not only the indulgence, but likewise the favour of the government.
My lords, I am now to take my leave of your lordships, and of this honourable house, perhaps for ever. I shall lay down my life with pleasure, in a cause favoured by my late dear royal mistress : and when I consider that I am to be judged by the justice, honour, and virtue of my peers, I shall acquiesce, and retire with great content. And, my lords, God's will be done.
SIR THOMAS HANMER,
(Member for Suffolk,)
Was born in 1676; he was chosen speaker of the house of commons . in 1713, and died in 1746. He published an edition of Shakes
peare. He was a very respectable speaker. The following address contains a sort of summary of the politics of the day, and gathers up the “ threads of shrewd and politic design” that were snapped short at the end of the preceding reign.
The Speaker's Address to the Throne.
Your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the knights, citizens, and burgesses, in parliament assembled, have now finished the supplies granted to your majesty for the service of this present year. : Your commons had much sooner offered these supplies to your majesty, bad not their zeal for your majesty's service, and the duty they owe to their country, led them into inquiries which have drawn this session to an unusual length,
But your commons could not see without the utmost indignation, the glories of her late majesty's reign tarnished by a treacherous cessation of arms, the faith of treaties violated, that ancient probity for which the Eng. lish nation had been justly renowned throughout all ages, exposed to scorn and contempt, and the trade of the kingdom given up by insidious and precarious treaties of commerce ; whilst the people, amused with new worlds explored, were contented to see the most advantageous branches of their commerce in Europe lost or betrayed.
Such was the condition of this kingdom, when it pleased the divine providence to call your majesty to the throne of your ancestors ; under whose auspicious reign your commons with pleasure behold the glories of the Plantagenets (your majesty's royal ancestors) revive, and have an unbounded prospect of the continuance of this happiness, eve! to the latest posterity, in a race of princes lineally descended from your majesty. And that nothing might be wanting on the part
of your commons to establish your majesty's throne on solid and lasting foundations, they have applied them. selves with unwearied diligence to vindicate the honour of the British nation, and to restore a mutual confidence between this kingdom and its ancient and faithful allies, by detecting the authors of these pernicious councils, and the actors in these treacherous designs, in order to bring them to justice by the judgment of their peers, according to the law of the land and the usage of parlia. ment.
It was not to be expected but that the enemies to the nation's peace would use their utmost endeavours to obstruct your commons in these inquiries; but despairing of any success in the representative body of the kingdom, they fomented tumults among the dregs of the people at home, and spirited up the pretender to an invesion from abroad. This gave your faithful commons fresh opportunities of shewing their affection to your majesty's person, and their fidelity to your government, by their unanimous concurrence in granting such supplies as were sufficient to disappoint the one, and by their passing such laws as were necessary to suppress the other; and in every respect to express their abhorrence of a popish pretender, concerning whom nothing remains unsuspected, but his bigotry to superstition and his hatred to our holy religion ; for the advancement of which your majesty has expressed your pious care, by recommending to your commons the providing maintenance for the ministers who are to officiate in the new churches. This your commons readily complied with, trusting that the prayers there offered to the Almighty will bring
down a blessing on all your majesty's undertakings; and not doubting but that the doctrines there taught will be a means to secure the quiet of your kingdoms and the obedience of your people.
The revenue set apart for the uses of the civil govern. ment your commons found so much entangled with mortgages and anticipations, that what remained was far from being sufficient to support the honour and dignity of the crown. This, your commons took into serious consideration; and being truly sensible that on your majes. ty's greatness the happiness of your subjects entirely depends, they have put the civil revenues into the same state in which they were granted to your majesty's glorious predecessor king William, of immortal memory, and thereby enabled your majesty to make an ample provision for the prince of Wales, whose heroic virtues are the best security of your majesty's throne, as his other personal endowments are the joy of all your faithful subjects.
I should but ill discharge the trust reposed in me by Vol. 1.
the commons, did I not lay before your majesty with what cheerfulness they received your majesty's gracious intentions for her royal highness the princess, and with how much readiness and unanimity they enabled your majesty to settle a revenue suitable to the dignity of a princess, whose piety and steady adherence to the
protestant religion is the glory of the present age, and will be the admiration of all future generations,
SIR RICHARD STEELE,
Vas born at Dublin, though the year in which he was born is not
known), and died in 1729. 'He was member for Boroughbridge in Yorkshire. I have made the following extract less for the sake of the speech than the speaker ; for I could not pass by the name of an author to whom we owe two of the most delightful books that ever were written, the Spectator and Tatler, As a party man, he was a most furious whig.
Ir is evident that new chosen annual parliaments were never the custom or right of this kingdom ; it remains therefore only to consider now that there is a law which makes parliaments meet, as of course, at such a stated time, whether the period of three years has answered the purposes intended by it? The preamble to the triennial act expresses that it was introduced into the constitution for the better union and agreement of the king and his people; but it has had a quite contrary effect : and experience has verified what a great man (meaning the late carl of Sunderland) said of it when it was enacted: “That it had made a triennial king, a tricnnial ministry, a tricnnial alliance." We.'feel this in all occurrences of state ; and they who look upon us from abroad, behold the struggle in which we are necessarily engaged from time to time-under this law : ever since it has been enacted
the nation has been in a series of contentions. The first year of a triennial parliament has been spent in vindictive decisions, and animosities about the late elections; the second session has entered into business, but rather with a spirit of contradiction to what the prevailing set of men in former parliaments had brought to pass, than of a disinterested zeal for the common good. The third session languished in the pursuit of what little was intended to be done in the second, and the approach of an ensuing election terrified the members into a servile management, according as their respective principals were disposed towards the question before them in the house.
Thus the state of England has been like that of a vessel in distress at sea; the pilot and mariners have been wholly employed in keeping the ship from sinking; the art of navigation was useless, and they never pretended to make sail. It is objected, That the alteration proposed is a breach of trust: The trust, sir, reposed in us is that of the public good, the king, lords, and commons, are the parties who exercise this trust; and when the king, lords, and commons exercise this trust by the measure of the common good, they discharge themselves as well in the altering and repealing, as in the making or confirming laws. The period of time in this case is a subordinate consideration, and those gentlemen who are against the alteration, speak in too pompous a style when they tell us we are breaking into the constitution. It has been farther objected, that all this is only giving great power to the ministers, who may make an arbitrary use of it.
The ministers are indeed like other men, from the infirmity of human nature, liable to be made worse by power and authority ; but this act gives no addition to that authority itself, though it may possibly prolong the exercise of it in them. They are nevertheless responsible for their actions to a parliameni, and the mode of enjoying their offices is exactly the same. Now when the thing is thus, and that the period of three years is found, from infallible experience, itself a period that can afford us no good, where shall we rest? The ills that