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Mr. Howe spoke thus : -Sir, I am always unwilling to oppose any proposal of lenity and forbearance, nor have now any intention of heightening the guilt of this man by cruel exaggerations, or inciting the house to rigour and persecution.
But let us remember, sir, that justice and mercy are equally to be regarded, and while we pity the folly of a misguided, or, perhaps, a thoughtless offender, let us not suffer ourselves to be betrayed, by our compassion, to injure ourselves and our posterity.
This house, sir, has always claimed and exerted the privilege of judging of every offence against itself, a privilege so long established, and so constantly exercised, that I doubt whether the inferiour courts of judicature will take coguizance of an attack upon us ; for how can they venture to decide upon a question of such importance without any form or precedent for their proceedings.
There seems also to be at this time, sir, an uncommon necessity for tenaciousness of our privileges, when, as some whispers, which have been wafted from the other house, inform us, a motion has been made in terms which might imply the subordination of this assembly, an assertion without foundation either in reason or justice, and which I shall always oppose as destructive to our rights, and dangerous to our constitution.
Let us, therefore, sir, retain in our hands the cognizance of this affair, and let the criminal either suffer his punishment from our sentence, or owe bis pardon to our mercy.
[It was agreed that the printer of the daily paper should attend next day, when, being called in, it was proposed that he should be asked, whether he printed the paper complained of. It was objected to, for the same reason as the question about the author's being in the gallery, because the answer might tend to accuse himself; and he being withdrawn, a debate of the same nature ensued, and the question being put whether he should be asked, if he be the person that printed the daily paper shown to him, which paper the house the day before resolved to contain
a malicious and scandalous libel, etc. it was, on a division, carried in the affirmative, by two hundred and twenty-two against one hundred and sixty-three : accordingly he was called in again, and being asked the question, he owned that he printed the said paper from a printed copy which was left for bim with one of his servants; and being asked what he had to allege in his justification or excuse for printing the said libel, he said that as he had before printed several other things which he had received from the said person, which had not given offence, he inserted part of the paper in his news, and which he sbould not have inserted, if he had thought it would have given offence to the house, and that he forbore to print the remainder, having heard that it had given offence. Upon which he withdrew, and the house, after some debate, on a division, one hundred and eighty-eight to one hundred and fortyfive, not only ordered him into the custody of the serjeant, but resolved to present an address to his majesty, that he would be pleased to give directions to his attorney general to prosecute him at law.
The first printer of the libel was also ordered into custody. This was on the 3d of December, but the next day presenting his petition, expressing his sorrow for the offence, whereby he had justly incurred the displeasure of the house, and praying to be discharged, he was brought to the bar on the following day, received a reprimand on his knees, and was ordered to be discharged, paying his fees.]
On the 12th, lord Barrington presented a petition from
the printer of the daily paper, expressing his sorrow, promising all possible care not to offend for the future,
and praying to be discharged. This petition being read, a motion was made, that the
serjeant at arms do carry the petitioner to some court of law, to give security for his appearance to the prosecution to be carried on against him by the attorney general; which done, that he be discharged, paying his fees.
what is unjust in a lower court, would be in us not less unjust, though it may not be punishable.
It was replied that this question had been before sufficiently
discussed. The attorney general not being present, the debate was
adjourned to the next sitting. On the next day of the session, the lord Barrington
proposed, that the adjourned debate might be resumed, and several members interceded for the petitioner, that he might be released ; to which it was objected, that it was not proper to release him, unless an information was lodged against him, without which he could not be held to bail; and the question being put, whether he
should be released, was determined in the negative. At the sixth sitting, the author of the libel, who was com
mitted to the common prison of Middlesex, petitioned the house to permit him to implore pardon on his knees, and promising, by the strongest and most solemn assurances, not to offend again, was ordered to be
discharged the next day, paying his fees. On the forty-seventh sitting, the printer of the daily paper
again petitioned the house, representing, that he most heartily bewailed his offence, that he was miserably reduced by his confinement, having borrowed money of all his friends to support himself, his wife, and children, and praying the mercy of the house. He was then ordered to be discharged, paying his fees, and giving
security for his appearance to answer the prosecution. On the eighty-fifth day, Mr. George Heathcote offered
another petition for the said printer, and represented, that the fees amounting to one hundred and twentyone pounds, he was not able to pay them, that, therefore, he hoped the house would consider his case ; but the petition was not allowed to be brought up. On which he remained in custody fourteen days longer, till the end of the session, and, the authority of the senate ceasing, had his liberty without paying any fees.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, DEC. 4-11, 1740.
ON INCORPORATING THE NEW-RAISED MEN INTO THE
On the 4th of December, sir William Yonge, secretary
at war, having presented to the house of commons an estimate of the expense of raising ten thousand men, the same was taken into consideration in a committee on the supply, and after debate agreed to. At the report of this proceeding, on the 11th, another debate happened on a motion that the new-raised men should
be incorporated into the standing regiments, etc. As in these two debates the arguments were the same,
they are thrown into one, to prevent unnecessary repetitions.
Sir WILLIAM YONGE opened the debate with respect to what he had delivered in the estimate, after the manner following Sir, as this estimate has been drawn up after very accurate calculations and careful inquiries, I hope that no objections will be raised against it, and that the sum necessary for raising the new regiments will be very readily granted by that house, which voted the war necessary for which they are designed.
I hope it will be admitted as some proof of frugality, that this estimate requires less money than one that was laid before the senate in the reign of king William ; for if it be considered, that since that time, the necessaries of life are become dearer, and that, therefore, all expenses are increased, it will appear to be the effect of the exactest economy, that the sum required for the same service is less.
I have heard, indeed, sir, that in conversation, the method of raising troops on this occasion has been censured as improper, and that in the opinion of some, whose judgment cannot be entirely disregarded, it would be more reasonable to add more men to our regiments already