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kind, or upon society, ought to be punished in the se verest manner, ut unius pæna metus sit multorum, and ut pæne genere deterreri cateri possint. Rebellion, or treason, is, of all others, the crime which brings the hea, viest mischiefs upon society, especially when a civil war is thereby kindled in a country; therefore, in all ages and all nations, this crime has had the severest punishments inflicted upon it, and, generally speaking, in all countries as well as this, the posterity of traitors have been reduced to the lowest state of any subject; nay, in most countries, have been rendered incapable of honours or preferments; in order that they might be lasting examples of terror to others, for preventing their being guilty of a crime that might reduce their posterity to the same wretched state.
This is the end of forfeitures and corruption of blood; and though they are punishments inflicted upon treason, they are not punishments upon the innocent children, no more than it is a punishment upon a child to be born of indigent parents, or of parents that are slaves. In both cases they are misfortunes only; and the misfortunes which the children labour under, are, in both cases, of great service to society. When we see the misfortunes that children born of slaves labour under, it inflames us with a love of liberty; when we see the misfortunes that children born of indigent parents labour under, it promotes our industry and fru. gality ; and when we see the misfortunes that children born of traitors labour under, it makes us the more cau. tious of being guilty of the like crimes. The execution of a traitor is a fleeting example, which is soon forgot; but the misfortunes of his posterity are a permanent ex. ample, which many have continually before their eyes; and as this permament example certainly contributes to the preventing of civil wars, it must, in my opinion, contribute to the security of the happy constitution we now live under.
Whether we should ever allow the punishments which produce these permanent examples to be abo,
lished, is a question, sir, that I shall not take upon me to determine, nor is there any necessity for my giving my opinion upon it at present ; but this I am very sure of, that we should not allow these punishments to be abolished during the life of either of the pretender's sons ; because while they live, there will always be too many amongst us infected with an itch of rebellion ; and all politicians, as well as lawyers, agree, that the greater likelihood there is that a crime of any particular sort will be committed, the more severe ought the punishment to be ; for the terror of the punishment ought, if possible, to be made superior to the itch of committing the crime; and as that itch of inclination will be stronger and more general during the lives of the pretender's two sons than we can suppose it will be afterwards, therefore we must have, during that period, more severe punishments upon treason, than may be afterwards necessary to be continued.
I hope, sir, I have now fully explained, and shewn not only the justice, but the necessity of the amendments made by the lords to this bill ; and therefore shall conclude with moving, that this house do agree to the amendments made by the lords to this bill.
WILLIAM PITT, ESQ.
His Speech on the Address. Sir, Tue amendment proposed upon this occasion, is so very unseasonable, and has such a dangerous tendency, that I need not take up much of your time with arguments against it. I should not, indeed, have given you any trouble upon the occasion, but that I am afraid of being supposed to have had a concern in drawing it up, and having it at this time offered to your considera. tion. As I have always appeared to be a friend to every thing that could be reasonably offered for securing
the independency of parliament, and as this amendment seems to have a tendency that way, I think it incum. bent upon me to declare, that if my advice had been previously asked, I should have made use of all the little rhetoric I am master of, to persuade the hon. gentlemen not to offer such an amendment at such a dangerous conjuncture.
Sir, I shall always be a real friend to any regulation which may appear to me to be effectual for preventing the fatal effects of corruption; and therefore, I shall never be for introducing any such regulation into this house, nor shall I ever make or advise making any motion for that purpose, but at a proper season, and when, I think, there is at least a chance for its being agreed to. We know well enough, sir, that all such motions are, and I hope will ever be, the favourites of the people ; and therefore, we may expect, that they will sometimes be made by gentlemen, who have no other design but to cast a slur upon the administration, by obliging them to endeavour to get a negative upon a popular motion; but I shall never make any motion with such a view; and I cannot allow myself to suspect, that the hon. gen. tleman had any such view in offering this amendment. At a time of so much danger, at a time when our all is at stake, whatever opinion we may have of our adminis. tration, or of our ministers for the time being, surely it is unseasonable, at such a time, to attempt any thing that may raise discontents among the people, or lessen their confidence in those who are placed in authority
Whilst the nation is engaged in a most dangerous and expensive foreign war, a rebellion breaks out at home. Those rebels have already gained a victory over the king's troops, which has made them almost wholly masters of one part of the united kingdom. We are under daily apprehensions, both of an irrup. tion, and a foreign invasion's being made upon the other; and that invasion would, certainly, be attended
with an insurrection. In such circumstances, shall we amuse ourselves with contriving methods to prevent the effects of corruption? Shall we spend our time in projects for guarding our liberties against corruption, when they are in such immediate danger of being trampled under foot by force of arms? Would not this be like a man's sitting down to think of ways and means for preventing his being cheated by his servants, at the very time that thieves were breaking into his house?
No gentleman, sir, who has a due sense o! the danger we are in, will, or can, think of any thing else, till we are entirely delivered from that danger. Much less will any such gentleman think, till then, of introducing bills, that must raise great altercations amongst us, and may, if defeated, occasion discontents and heartburnings among the people. I hope, the rebellion will be extinguished, long before this session is at an end; and the moment it is, I believe, I shall be for our resuming the consi. deration of what may be necessary to be done for preventing a corrupt dependency in parliament. At present, I can think of no reason for suspending that consideration any longer; and therefore, I hope, we may be able to frame some such bills as are hinted at in this amendment, before the present session expires; but suppose nothing of the kind should be attempted in this session, we shall, I hope, have many sessions after this, and sessions, I hope, undisturbed by a foreign war, or domestic insurrection. Such a session would be the most proper for our undertaking to new.model our constitution. Corruption is not, I hope, got to such a height, as to be able to defend itself against all the attempts we can make to demolish it. If this were the case, our at. tempts in this session would be as vain as it can be supposed they will be in any future session; therefore, our resolving to frame bills in this session must be vain, as it may be delayed till some future session, when we may enter into the affair with safety, and without our being in danger of thereby making ourselves a prey to our enemies, Vol. I,
But suppose, sir, we were resolved, at all adventures, to undertake the framing and passing of some such bills during this session, what occasion is there, what pretence have we for thus bringing the affair by head and shoulders into our address ? The people without doors, we see, are so sensible of the danger they are exposed to by means of the rebellion, that they have entirely for. got the danger they think themselves exposed to by means of corruption. We have lately heard of no letters, instructions, or remonstrances from any county or corporation in the kingdom to its representatives, in favour of any bill against corruption. They are so wise as to think of nothing, at present, but subscriptions and associations, for defending their sovereign and them. selves against those who have wickedly and traitorously conspired to rob him of his crown, and them of their liberties, properties, and religion. Do gentlemen intend to give a turn to the spirit of the people, and to set them a contending against secret corruption, that their liberties may the more easily become a prey to open force ? Sir, if I were not well acquainted with the hon. gentlemen, who made and seconded this motion, I should really suspect their having some such design ; and how. ever much I may from my personal knowledge be convinced that they have no such design, they may depend upon it, that if they do not withdraw their motion, the suspiçion will be strong against them, amongst all those who are not intimately acquainted with them.
Such a suspicion, I cannot think, sir, any gentleman would choose to labour under; therefore, I hope, they will withdraw their motion. I hope, that for their own sakes, and for the sake of their king and country, they will not insist upon its appearing in our votes. If they do, the whole world will say, they have contribut. cd, as much as they safely could, towards rendering the rebellion successful. The hon gentlemen may already plainly perceive, that a negative will be put upon their motion. Why then should they insist upon the question? If they do, it will be impossible to suggest