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The next impeachment of the Commons, a degradation - The

hunting down a Lustring Company-Disputes between the
two Houses on points of ceremonial respecting the trial—'
The loftier flight of the Cominons in their next assault,
that of Lord Chancellor Somers-His impeachment taught
a great constitutional lesson, the responsibility of Minis-
ters of the Crown-Futile in its immediate consequences
and disgraced by faction—A still more important national
question discussed on the impeachment of Dr. Henry
Sacheverell-The subject's duty of passive obedience-
The Crown's hereditary right tried in this feigned issue-
Complete analysis of this important trial-Of the articles
and speeches of the managers-Palm of eloquence awarded
to Serjeant Parker- Able defence of Harcourt and Phipps
-Dramatic

power

of the Doctor himself— Arrayed in per-
sonal advantages--Specimen of his pathetic peroration-
Its effect-Rejoinder of the indignant managers—The
sentence a mockery of punishment-Memoir of this lucky

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CHAPTER XI.

Impeachment of Lord Chancellor Macclesfield for corrupt prac-

tices—Amusing but degrading interviews between the

Masters in Chancery and the Chancellor's private Secretary

--Douceurs freely asked and freely given, say £2,000,

sometimes 3, or £5000—Defence of the Chancellor rather in

extenuation than denial-Unanimously convicted-Justice

of his condemnation and sentence questioned by Bishop

Pierce-Memoir of the unfortunate Earl-Parliament

breathed awhile—In 1746 impeached Lord Lovat of High

Treason—The Speaker went up for the last time in the

annals of Parliament, to demand judgment against that

double traitor-Subsequent fruitless impeachments glanced

at—That of Warren Hastings—The first which ended in an

absolute acquittal-His acquittal just-Also that of Lord

Melville, an excellent Public Minister—The power of im-

peaching in abeyance, like the royal veto, or privilege of

refusing the Supplies

· 318

CHAPTER XII.

Internal economy of the House reviewed – Number of Men-

bers formerly in constant fluctuation—Their attendance
irregular, but strictly enforced-Excuse for absence during

Multiplication of orators checked by fear of failure and modern

fastidiousness—Instances, Mr. Ward and Gibbon-Also by
two useful Statutes, that of William III., annulling the
elections of all under twenty-one years of age, and that of
Queen Anne requiring a qualification in land from all
Members, excepting a few classes—The House formerly
crowded with minors—Quaint remonstrance of Recorder
Martin against the growing evil at its zenith in the reign
of Charles II.-Senators of fourteen--Prynne's pamphlet
-Indignant at being thrust aside to make way for grand-
children- Persons of quality smuggled into the House
after the Statute before the statutable age-Examples in
Lord Chesterfield and Fox— The great orators, with the
exception of Burke, all entered Parliament young-Happy
results to oratory from the blending together of young
speakers with the Fathers of the House The limits set
upon age more felicitous than those of ancient or conti-
nental senates—The Statute of Anne an excellent correc-
tive against the influx of too many young and handsome
adventurers-Importance of a wealthy aristocracy in Par-
liament-Undue importance attached by our ancestors to
the possession of large landed property-Examples—Con-
tempt for mere delegates illustrated in the composition of
the States General— Paradox of Soame Jenyns—Disap-
pointment of a stranger at the carelessness of Members'
dress and demeanour-Anecdotes of former strictness-

MEMOIRS

OF

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

CHAPTER I.

In the long gallery of Parliamentary Portraits, in that department at least appropriate to the eminent lawyers of the House, there are none of greater in. terest than the two chancellors, who illustrated the reigns of Queen Anne and George I, with their eloquence-Harcourt, and Cowper. Descended alike from ancestors of rare antiquity, rivals in Westminster Hall, antagonists in St. Stephen's Chapel, the leading champions of their party, still more renowned in the senate than the forum, and elevated by their oratory to the height of legal ambition, they might be compared together after the manner of Plutarch, though their political character affords rather a subject of marked contrast than comparison. Unscrupulous as a public man, unprincipled, unstable, at the suggestion of selfinterest versatile, a renegade on calculation, Lord Harcourt has left a name, which it required a century of merit in his descendants to redeem from ignominy, The mild, disinterested, course of Cowper, beaming with public virtue to the close, and never shadowed

VOL. II.

B

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