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I leave you to judge of; the Form is this : That inftead of speaking, as we ordinary Men do that have no Art, that Mr. Skinner lost a Ship in the East-Indies ; to bring this into their Courts, they must say, Mr. Skinner loft a Ship in the East-Indies, in the Parish of Illington, in the County of Middlesex.
Now some of us Lords, that did not understand the Refined: ness of this Stile, began to examine what the reason of this should be, and so we found, that since they ought not by right to try such Causes, they are resolved to make bold not only with our Privileges, but the very Sence and Language of the whole Nation. This I thought fit to mention, only to let you see, that this whole Cause, as well as many others, cou'd not be try'd properly in any place but at our Bar; except Mr. Skinner should take a fancy, to try the Right of Jurisdiction between Westminster-Hall and the Court of Admiralty, instead of seeking relief for the Injuries he had received in the place only where it was to be given him. One thing I hear is much infifted upon, which is, the Tryal without Juries, to which I could answer, That fuch Tryals are allowed of in the Chancery and other Courts, and that when there is occasion for them, we make use of Juries too, both by directing them in the King's-Bench, and having them brought up to our Bar. But I shall only crave leave to put you in mind, That if you do not allow us in some cases, to try Men without Juries, you
will then absolutely take away the use of Impeachments, which I humbly conceive you will not think proper to have done at this time.
The Duke's Speech in the House
of Lords, to prove the Parliament Disolved.
my Discourse in this House; but I confess I never did it with more trouble to my self, than I do at this time, for I scarce kulow where I should begin, or what I have to say to your Lordships : On the one side, I am a fraid of being thought an Unquiet and Pragmatical Man, for in this Age, every Man that cannot bear every thing, is call’d unquiet; and he that does ask Questions, for which we ought to be concern'd, is look'd upon as Pragmatical. On the other side, I am more afraid of being thought a Dishonest Man; and of all Men, Tam most afraid of being thought so by myself; for every one is the best Judge of the Integrity of his own Intentions; and tho' it does not always follow, that he is Pragmatical whom others take to be so; yet this never fails to be true, that he is most certainly a Knave, who takes himself to be so. No body is answerable for more Understanding than God Almighty has given him; and therefore, tho' I should be in the wrong, if I tell your Lordships truly and plainly what I am really convinced of, I shall behave iyself like an honest Man: For it is my Duty, as long as I have the Honour to fit in this House, to hide nothing from your Lordships, which I think may concern His Majesty's Service, your Lordship’s Interest, or the good and quiet of the People of England.
The Question, in my Opinion, which now lies before your Lordships, is not what we are to do, but whether at this time we can do any thing as a Parliament, it being very clear to me, that the Parliament is Dissolved: And if in this Opinion I have the misfortune to be mistaken, I have another Misfortune joind tơ it, for I desire to maintain the Argument withi all the Judges and Lawyers in England, and leave it afterwards to your Lordships to decide, whether I am in the right or no. This, my Lords, I speak not out of Arrogance, but in my own Justification, because if I were not throughly convinc'd, that what I have now to urge, is grounded upon the Fundamental Laws of England, and that the not pressing it at this time, might prove to be of a most dangerous consequence, both to His Majesty and the whole Nation, I should have been loth to start a Notion, which perhaps may not be very
agreeable to some People. And yet, my Lords, when I consider where I am, who I now speak to, and what was spoken in this Plaæ about the time of the last Prorogation, I can hardly believe what I have to say will be distaftful to your Lordships.
I remember very well, how your Lordships were then displeased with the House of Commons, and I remember too as well, what Reafons they gave you to be fo. It is not so long fince, but that I suppose your Lordships may call to mind, that after feyeral odd Passages between us, your Lordships were so incensed, that a Motion was made here for an Address to His Majesty, about the Diffolution of this Parliament, and tho'it faild of being carried in the Affirmative by two or three Voices, yet this in the Debate was remarkable, That it prevail'd much with the major part of your Lordships that were here present, and was only overpower'd by the Proxies of those Lords who never heard the Arguments. What change there has been fince, either in their Behaviour, or in the state of our Affairs, that should make your Lordships change your Opinion, I have not yet heard. And therefore if I can make it appear (as I presume I shall) that by Law the Parliament is Dissolved, I presume your Lordships ought not to be offended at ine for it.
I have often wonder'd how it should come to pass, that this House of Commons, in which there are so many honest, and so many worthy Gentlemen, should yet be less respectful to your Lordships, as certainly they have been, than any House of Commons that were ever chosen in England ; and yet if the Matter be a little enquired into, the reason of it will plainly appear. For, my Lords, the very nature of the House of Commons is changed; they do not think now that they are an Assembly that are to return to their own Homes, and become private Men again, (as by the Laws of the Land, and the Ancient Constitution of Parliaments they ought to be) but they look upon themselves as a standing Senate, and as a number of Men pick'd out to be Legislators for the rest of their Lives. And if that be the Cause, my Lords, they have reason to believe themselves our Equals. But, my Lords, it is a dangerous thing to try new Experiments in a Government : Men do not foresee the ill Consequences that must happen when they go about to alter those essential Parts of it, upon which the whole Frame depends, as now in our Cafe, the Customs and Constitutions of Parliament: For all Governments are artificial. Things, and every part of them has a dependance one upon another. And is with them as with Clocks and Watches, if you should put great Wheels in the place of little ones, and little ones in the place of great ones, all the Movement would stand still: So that we cannot alter any one part of a Govern