91*]

every thing had been done by par- liament, as it would be obvious to the meanefl: capacity, that from their total want of information, they neither did nor could do any thing but as they were directed.

After long and warm debates, the qneltion was carried by a great majority, the numbers being 104., to :9 who oppofed the bill.

On the 21R of March, upon the third reading of the bill, a motion was made for an amendment, that the colonies of New-jerfey, Pen- fylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, lhould be included in the fame refiriétions with the New-England provinces. In Pup- port of this amendment, it was urged, that by the late accounts which arrived, and letters which were upon their table, it appeared, that the {everal provinces fpecified in it, had rendered themfelves equallykculpable with thofe of New- Exigland; and that of courfe they ought to fufiiei- under one comnzon punilhment; that at the time the bill originated in the Houfe of Commons, this information was not received; but that now they were in poflefliozi of evidence fully fuliicient to authorize this amend- ment; and that without it, the bill would be imperfeft, and the pu- nilhment partial. i

On the other lide it was (aid, that the letters and informations alluded to. were no more in the contemplation of the Houfe, either in its legillative or deliberative capacity, than if they Md never exiiieti; they had not even been read in the Houle ; they had never been confidered; nor had the ac- cufed parties been heard in their own defence; f0 that one half of the continent of North-J-‘sznerica

T

tnsronv OFEUROPE'

was to be punifbed, without any trial, proof, or enquiry whatever. That fueh a mode of proceeding was totally un-parliamentary and unprecedented ; that it was no leis repugnant to the eflablilhed rules of equity and judicial decifion,

which always and in every infiance i

fuppofed the party aceufed had been heard, before judgment was pro- nounced; and, that iffuch a mode- of executive fpeedy jufiice were to obtain in that houfe, it would be productive of the mofi: dangerous and alarming confequences.

The queftion being put upon the amendment it was carried by 52 to 2t ; and the prohibitions of the bill confequently extended to the five new provinces. The que- flion was then put upon the bill, and carried by a majority of73 to 21; and it was accordingly re- turned to the Commons with the amendment“ a t

This bill was productive of a proteft ligned by fixteen lords. A- mong other fevere iirictiires, they reprefent it as one of thofe unhap-

py inventions, to which parliament"

1s driven by the difliculties that daily multiynly upon them, from an obftinare adnerence to an unwife fyfiem of government; They fay, that government which attempts to preferve its authority by deftroying the trade ofits fubjefis, and by in- volving the innocent and guilty in a common ruin, if it afits from a. choice of fuch means, confefles it- felf unworthy; if from inability to find any other, admits itfelf wholly incompetent to the end of its intlitution. They feverely cen- furc the attempt made to bribe the nation into an acquiefcence in this arbitrary afil, by holding out to them a-s a temptation for that pur, ' pole,