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Proceedings at a Meeting of the Livery of London, at Guildhall



Pursuant to advertisements in the publick papers for that purpose, there appeared at Guildhall, on Monday afternoon, October 3, a very numerous and respectable part of the Livery, to nominate four gentlemen to represent this great city in the ensuing Parliament.

Mr˙ Stavely being voted into the chair, he opened the business of the meeting in a very spirited speech, wherein he set forth the vast importance of the business about which they were met; that the eyes of the whole Nation were upon them; and this being the first city in the world, it was expected they would set a glorious example, and not elect any persons but such as were known friends to liberty, not only by professions, but experience. He begged the Livery to consider that such another opportunity would not offer itself for seven years, a time, in his opinion, much too long; that they ought to consider and proceed on their business with coolness, candour, and deliberation; that were we only to cast our eyes to America, we should see to what a dreadful situation those brave people were reduced, through the iniquitous conduct of the late corrupt Houses of Parliament, and the unanimity the Americans have shewn to resist all such arbitrary acts; and the noble struggle they make to preserve their liberties, ought to be an example to us; that we might depend upon it the persons who wished to enslave America, would, if it lay in their power, shackle us.

After Mr˙ Stavely had concluded, Mr˙ Compton moved, that a paper of Instructions, which had been drawn up by a very respectable Committee, for the candidates to sign before they were put in nomination, might be read; which was accordingly read, and is as follows:

"We do most solemnly promise and engage ourselves to our constituents, if we have the honour of being chosen to represent this city in Parliament, that we will endeavour, to the utmost of our power, to restore and defend the excellent form of Government modelled and established at the Revolution; and promote and procure, and having procured, to maintain and continue Acts of the Legislature for shortening the duration of Parliaments; for excluding pensioners and placemen from sitting in the House of Commons; for subjecting each candidate for a seat in Parliament to an oath against his having used bribery, or any other illegal or unconstitutional means of gaining his election; for establishing a more fair and equal representation of the people in Parliament; for vindicating the injured rights of the freeholders of Middlesex, and through them, of the whole body of electors in this United Kingdom; for restoring to our fellow-subjects the essential right of taxation by Representatives of their own free election, and for repealing the universal excise which has lately been substituted in the Colonies instead of the laws of Customs; for repealing the four late iniquitous Acts respecting America, viz: the Quebec Act, establishing Popery, and the arbitrary system of French Canadian laws in that extensive Province; the Boston Port Act; the Act for altering the Charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay; and the Act for the trial in Europe of persons accused of criminal offences in America; being fully persuaded that the passing such Acts will be of the utmost importance for the security of our excellent Constitution, and the restoration of the rights and liberties of our fellow-subjects in America. We do also solemnly promise never to accept from the


Crown, or its Ministers, place, pension, contract, title, gratuity, or emolument of any kind whatsoever; and we do farther promise to follow, on all occasions, such instructions as our constituents, in Common Hall assembled, shall think proper to give us."

Mr˙ Wilkes then came forward, and addressed the Livery to the following purport:

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: Last year, on the vacancy of a person to represent you in Parliament, I had the honour to nominate our present excellent Chief Magistrate, knowing him to be a person of an upright, honest, and fair character. I so far succeeded, gentlemen, in my wishes, as to see him elected; and I trust that his conduct, through a long and interesting session of Parliament, has been such as will merit your future favours: therefore, gentlemen, if he has no objection to sign the articles proposed, I will, with your permission, nominate him again for the same important trust."

After Mr˙ Wilkes had concluded, the Chairman acquainted the Livery, that the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen Crosby, Sawbridge, and Hayley, had subscribed to the articles proposed.

On this declaration of the Chairman, W˙ Baker, Esquire, came forward, and informed the Livery that it might appear rather extraordinary that he should offer himself a candidate, and at the same time refuse to sign their articles, He commented upon each article separately, and objected to that one which obliges the candidate to vote for the expulsion of all placemen and pensioners; observing, that some men in office were necessary for the carrying on business, therefore, in his opinion, the number ought to be limited; that as to repealing the Quebec Act, the Boston Port Bill, the Bill for regulating the Government of Massachusetts Bay, and the Bills for trials of persons in England accused of crimes in America, he thought they ought to be repealed; that he had given his vote against those Acts, yet he did not choose to be tied down in articles, as it was his firm opinion that a Member should approach the doors of the House of Commons free as the open air. He was proceeding, but the Livery became very clamorous, crying out sign or decline. He attempted several times after to speak, but was not suffered; upon which William Lee, Esquire, one of the late Sheriffs came forward, and addressed the Livery to the following effect:

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: I beg your attention; I promise you, on my word, I will not detain you three minutes. I think there is something so extraordinary in the behaviour of the gentleman who spoke last as to merit notice. He solicits your favour, and in the same breath refuses to sign your requisition. When a person becomes your Representative he is your servant, and consequently ought to do as his masters direct."

Mr˙ Baker attempted to answer him, but the Livery would not allow him to speak; upon which the Chairman put up the Lord Mayor, Aldermen Crosby, Sawbridge, and Hayley, separately. Each had a very great show of hands and many loud claps, huzzas, &c˙, after which W˙ Baker, Esquire, was nominated, when there appeared for him a few hands, but many hisses. The Chairman then called aloud several times to know if any gentleman had any other person to nominate, when Mr˙ Townsend nominated Richard Oliver, Esquire; but on his name being put up, there was groaning and hissing for near five minutes, and but few hands held up.

The Chairman then declared the choice to have fallen on Messrs˙ Bull, Crosby, Sawbridge, and Hayley; upon which the Lord Mayor came forward and addressed the Livery as follows:

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: I return you my sheerest thanks for the honour you have conferred on me by again nominating me to represent you in Parliament. Should I be the happy object of your choice, depend upon my serving you to the utmost of my abilities."

Mr˙ Crosby next came forward, and addressed the Livery to the following purport:

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: I return you my sincerest thanks for the honour you have conferred on me and I assure you that I will live and die in the cause of


liberty. Should I be so fortunate as to be elected, I will do the utmost in my power to protect your rights and franchises."

Mr˙ Sawbridge next came forward, saying,

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: I return you my most cordial thanks for the high opinion you have expressed of my past, and the great confidence you put in my future conduct. I have been bred up in the principles of liberty, and I assure you I will remain in the same until the latest hour of my life."

Mr˙ Hayley next addressed the Livery, as follows:

"GENTLEMEN OF THE LIVERY: It is now my turn to express my duty to you for the generous support I have met with to-day. Should I gain the honour I now solicit, depend upon my exerting the utmost of my abilities to do you justice."

The above speeches were received with loud shouts of applause, after which a motion was made that the Resolutions and Nominations should be published; which being agreed to, Mr˙ Baker came forward and acquainted the Livery, that although he had not been fortunate enough to meet with so cordial a reception as he imagined, owing to his not having signed the articles, for reasons which he had mentioned; yet at the same time informed the Livery, that he would stand the poll to the last, and doubted not but between this and the poll, his character, both in publick and private life, would be well known, and be of such a cast as to gain him many friends.

Mr˙ Lee then moved, that the thanks of the Hall be given to Mr˙ Stavely for his impartial and spirited conduct as Chairman of that meeting, which was unanimously consented to, and thus ended the business of the day.