Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

tish Constitution, a monument of glory to called on to investigate the conduct of the the latest posterity:-(Loud cheering.) Magistrates in their official capacity, and ,

Mr. Bootle Wilbraham defended the con- that in so doing they would be obliged to duct of the Grand Jury, of which he had examine men—not on oath at the barbeen a member.

men too, it should be observed, who proLord Milton adverted to a proposal that fessed the new system of morality, who had been made to him and his friends, to defied the laws of God and man; perhaps incorporate certain Resolutions with those they would pause before they determined originally proposed to the Meeting at to exercise those functions, by agreeing York, but which had been rejected, as to the Amendment. / Hear.) He admitied not in unison with them.

that there was considerable distress in the Mr. S. Wortley observed, that the No- country, and if, in our present situation, ble Lord had rejected the support of him it could be done without detriment to the and his friends. For himself he was not State, he would be willing to take off some an enemy 10 public Meetings, and was of those taxes that bore on the lower only hostile to the plans of the Radical classes. But gentlemen should recollect Reformers.

that the exigencies of the Government Sir J. Mackintosh and Mr. Scarlett spoke must be provided for, and that it was in behalf of the Amendment; Mr. Plunkett much easier to remove a tax than to proin a masterly speech opposed it.

pose a substitute. The Allorney General defended the con- It was ultimately agreed that the de. duct of the Magistrates, on the ground bate should be postponed.--Adjourned at that the Manchester Meeting was an il. half past 3 o'clock. legal one. Sir W. De Crespigny, on account of the

Nuu. 94. lateness of the hour, moved to adjourn Lord Castlereagh presented certain pathe debate.

pers relating to the Internal State of ihe The House divided.--Por the adjourn-· Country, in pursuance of the promise ment 65-Against it 453.

held out in the Regent's Speech *. He Mr. Wilberforce insisted that the great then moved the order of the day, for rebody of the Nation, at least the great suming the debate on the Address. body of the thinking part of it, was sa- Mr. Hume said, that the contents of the tisfied with the steps the Magistrates of letters laid this day before the House, Manchester had taken, and would be dis-, contradicted, in many particulars, his satisfied if inquiry at the bar was justi. Lordship's statement. From passages in tuted. He koew that the House of Com. the letter of Mr. Norris, it appeared, that mons acted, in many instances, as the the meeting had dispersed before the mili. grand inquest of the nation ; yet when tary charged the populace. gentlemen considered that they would be Lord Castlereagh, in explanation, ob

* These Papers are very voluminous, containing various communications from Lords Lieutenant and Magistrates in what are called the " disturbed districts,” and furnishing evidence respecting the nocturnal training of numerous parties of men, and the endeavours made to obtain clandestinely supplies of arms. The writers of these communications declare their firm conviction that the objects of those who are now su generally employed in 'misleading the lower classes are “no other than to reverse the orders of society which have so long been established, and to wrest by force from the present possessors, and to divide among themselves, the landed property of the country.” It is further stated, that the Radicals do not affect to disguise their diabolical io. tentions: the fact of their being regularly drilled in military exercises, and of the ma. vufacture and use of pikes by them, is duly substantiated by numerous affidavits; and the result of the information of the several journeys lately made by General Byng is a full conviction, that, notwithstanding the schism among the leaders, any relaxation of the means of suppressing sedition would be attended with fatal consequences. The last Letter of this Officer (who is brother to Mr. Byng, the Member for Middlesex) is dated so late as November 18th, and concludes with the following important statement: -“ A plan has been adopted to circulate more generally seditious and blasphemous tracts, which is, to send gratis such publications weekly, directed to the servants in large families; which I think worthy of mention, not merely to show how indefatigable the authors and leaders of sedition are in effecting their purpose, but that it may be thought expedient to put the heads of families upon their guard. Six different at. tempts have come to my knowledge to seduce the soldiers, but without the least effect: some of them are under legal investigation. I have only further to add, that whatever disunion may prevail among the leaders of sedition and radical reform, they still unite in the endeavour (though I hope with less success) to excite irritation and discontent among their followers, and to intimidate the loyal and well-affected. With a firm belief in the accuracy of the foregoing statement, 1 consider it my duty to make this report.”

served,

[ocr errors]

If any

1819.] Proceedings in the present Session of Parliament. 549 served, he had never said this was an field bad been supk in the superior imillegal meeting originally; he had said, its portance of those at Manchester. illegality arose out of the subsequent con- Sir F. Burdett, in a long and warm duct of the meeting. Certainly the force speech, said, that all tbe arguments of the of 40 Yeomanry were sent in to aid the learned Gent, had shewn the oecessity for Civil Power in executing the warrant of inquiry, instead of stifling it. the Magistrates ; and after having done man could identify a soldier who had so, this small force was surrounded by the wounded him, it was very well for bim to mob, assailed by them, and he might say, apply to a Court of Law for redress; but overpowered. This was observed by the what was that to them? What was that Magistrates, and Col. L'Estrange, who to the People of England, who believed that was with them; by their advice the 15th the Constitution had been violated ? The Dragoons and Cheshire Yeomanry were people were perfectly loyal, but the Noble called in to their aid.

Lord bad threatened new infringements The Hon. Grey Bennet had been at on the Constitution. They would no doubt Manchester, and had made particular be invited to a new Property Tax; but the inquiry into the most minute circum. People were deceived if they thought it stances. He had ascertained, that there would be easing them to lay heavy taxes on were at least 8 persons killed, and 58 were the rich, who were their bankers, and on taken to the Infirmary, and that between whom they might draw for the reward of 300 and 400 persons had been cut down, their industry and talent.--He asked where, rode over, and trampled on by the horses. was the proof of mischief among the ReIt now appeared that the Riot Act had formers ? The training, he admitted not beeu read till after the attack on the (hear!! but how long had they borne people commenced; for he, when the time their grievances! A rational Reform of inquiry arrived, should be able to prove would satisfy all; and calling hard names that ihree persons were killed in the ap- instead of granting it, only proved ignoproach of the Yeomanry.

rance and error. There was no ground Sir W. De Crespigny stated some facts for the accusation in bulk tbat the Reof aggravation on the part of the Yeo- formers were hostile to Religion, though manry.

no doubt some might be found who were so. Lord Nugent could prove at the bar of Mr. Wynn observed, that it had been the House, that wine and brandy had said, that meetings of people marching been served out to the troops before they

with banners, inscribed « Liberty or advanced to the charge, and many of the Death,” &c. were perfectly legal, and Cor tables were so indignant

the duty

conducted with the greatest order and rein which they had been employed, that gularity. But whatever the Hon. Baronet they broke and burnt their staves, and might assert, he (Mr. Wynn) would asdeclared they would never act again. sert that such practices were treasonable.

Mr. Warren said, a few days before the If such meetings were allowed, others Meeting at Manchester, a letter had been might be held to consider the propriety of sent from Coventry by Hunt, stating the changing the succession to the Throne. necessity of making a demonstration by Sir J. Sebright said he should vote physical force. Many thousands had against the Amendment, because he marched to Manchester in military move- thought inquiry would be carried on with ment, with Hunt at their head.

more effect in a Court of Law. He would Mr. Phillips said, that much difficulty gladly vote for Parliamentary Reform, beexisted as to the facts, and that iu his opi- cause he believed it would satisfy nineteen nion called for inquiry.

out of twenty persons in the pation. The Solicitor General said, there existed Mr. Littleton said he would vote against nothing to warrant the charge that the the Amendment, because the question Legal Advisers of the Crown had recom. proposed for Parliamentary inquiry ought mended to stifle inquiry. The principles to be discussed in another place. of the Reformers were, Annual Parlia- Mr. Canning rose amidst cheers of ments, Election by Ballot, and Uuiversal hear, hear! and delivered a brilliant Suffrage, or, in other words, the overthrow speech. There were two grounds, he said, of the Constitution (hear, hear!); and their on which the Manchester question was language was, that the fate of Charles and pressed as a fit subject of investigation : James awaited the present Ruler of the first, as being an attack upon the Constikingdom. Hunt had presided at a Meet- tution; secondly, because inquiry was deing at Smithfield, at which he had asserte manded by the resolutions of various ed, that the Acts of Parliament since 1800 Meetings. As to the first ground, he were not binding on the country, and that considered that already disposed of; and the national debt ought not to be paid. for the resolutions it was curious to obOrders had been given to prosecute him serve, that all the Meetings in which they criminally till the proceedings at Smith- were passed, set out with the admission

that

rous measures

It pro

that the Meeting was a legal one. There all cases of Misdemeanor. The Noble was every reason to believe, that if the Lord declared, that this Bill had no referMeetings at which such resolutions were ence whatever to the present state of the passed were to be held again, they would, country. Its object is to prevent the de. after what had passed in the present de- fendants from postponing trial in indictbate, be disposed to alter their determina- ments for misdemeanor; but a discre: tion. The House should not bend to any tionary power is to be vested in Courts of popular will, or be led away by temporary Justice, of postponing trials, upon good popularity. There were quiet and loyal and sufficient cause being shown. millions who looked up to Government Viscount Sidmouth then called the atfor protection, and they should be pro- tention of their Lordships to the measures tected. There were seditious persons who which Ministers deemed it necessary to should be put down; and if they and their propose in the present perturbed state of abettors could only be put down by vigo- the country. The first was a Bill to curb

those measures should the licentiousness of the Press. and would be resorted to without delay.- posed no increased punishment for the Loud cheers.)

first offence, but it provided that on a Mr. Brougham · agreed with that Hon. second conviction for publishing a blasGeot. (Mr. Canning) in all the eulogiums phemous or seditious libel, the offender which he bestowed on a voluntary and re- should be liable, at the discretion of the spectable Magistracy. Their labours were Judges, to the punishment of fine, iinpriuseful, and hence were they particularly sonment, banishment, or transportation, fenced round by the sanction of the Le- It was also proposed that, in such cases gislature. If, however, the conduct of of second conviction, a power should be any part of the Magistracy deserved re- given to seize the copies of the libel in probation, they should be the more se. the possession of the publisher; the coverely punished ; inasmuch as they were pies so seized to be preserved until it armed with an authority for the purpose should be seen whether an arrest of judgof protecting, and not invading the rights ment was moved, and then to be returned and liberties of the people.

to the publisher, if the judgment of the The House then proceeded to a divi- Court should be in his favour. In anosion, when there appeared-For the ther place it was intended to propose that Amendment, 150—Against it, 381--Ma. all publications, consisting of less than a jority, 231.—The Address was then car. given number of sheets, should be subried without a division, and the House ject to a duty equal to that paid by news. adjourned at a quarter to five o'clock.

papers, and that the publishers should

enter into recognizance, or give securiiy, Nov. 25.

to a certain amount, so as to ensure the Mr. S. Cocks brought up the Report on payment of any fine ipficted on them in the Address. On the question that it be case of delinquency. In another place agreed to, the Address was supported by also, a Bill will be brought in for reguMr. B. Wilbraham, Mr. Shepherd, Mr. lating meetings for the discussion of grier, Wilberforce, Mr. Martin (of Galway), Lord ances, and petitioning the King and ParCastlereagh, Mr. Bathurst, and Lord Comp- Jiament, which, in its provisions, would be ton. On the other side, Sir R. Wilson, found not to trench on the right of petiMr. G. Lamb, Mr. Denman, Mr. J. P. tion. Another measure which he should Grant, and Mr. Baring, spoke in favour of have to submit to the consideration of an inquiry. Lord Stanley was also for their Lordships, was a Bill 10 prohibit an inquiry, but regretted that much mis military training, except under the authorepresentation had prevailed as to the rity of the Lord Lieutenants or Magis. conduct both of the Magistrates and Yeo. tracy. A very large portion of the dismanry.- The Report was ultimately agreed affected were possessed of arms; and to without a division, and ordered to be therefore it was intended to give to the presented by the whole House to-morrow. Magistrates a power of seizing and de

taining arms in the disaffected districts, Nov. 26.

upon a well-grounded suspicion that they The Speaker took the Chair at two are to be used against the peace of the o'clock; and at half past two, the House country. These were the measures in. adjourned; when the Speaker (in his new tended to be proposed to Parliament, for state carriage), attended by several Mem- the welfare of the people, and the safety bers, proceeded to Carlton House, with of the State. Ministers wished to act the Address of Thanks to the Prince Re- with conciliation, but with firmueșs. They gent.

would be inost happy if they had any

means to propose, which might alleviate House of Lords, Nov. 29. the distresses of the people. They called The Lord Chancellor introduced a Bill on those who had differed with them, both for taking away the right of traverse in on exteroal and internal policy, to join

them

1 1

1819.) Proceedings in the present Session of Parliament, 551 them in preventing anarchy and the de. objects would be gained : the meeting struction of property. His Lordship then would be really deliberative ; and numepresented the Bills for regulating the rous meetings would be prevented. Those Press, and Preventing Military Training, men, also, who make a trade of travelling and moved that they be read the first about the country, and proclaiming grieytime.

ances, would be stopped in their career. Earl Grey protested warmly against the At present a number of simultaneous proposed measures, particularly that meetings were frequently assembled. In which relates to the Press, which he order to counteract such a practice, it thought the severest blow that had for was his intention to propose to the House a long course of time been inflicted upon that a notice of six days, previous to any the liberty of the Press.

meeting, should be given to a Magistratey The Earl of Liverpool said, the peace- who, within two days from the notice, able and industrious part of the popula- might alter the time and place of the meettion were endangered and intimidated by ing, provided the time did not exceed the the acts of the seditious, and they called period originally fixed by more than four upon Parliament for security. He de- days. It was also intended to strip these nied that any of the proposed measures, meetings of their warlike appearance, and with the exception of the Bill empowering that none should be allowed to go in miliMagistrates to search for arms, invaded tary array, so as to intimidate the peaceany of the rights and privileges of Eng- ful subjects of the King. This provision lishmen.

would be applicable to county as well as

other meetings. It was also proposed to In the Commons, the same day, Lord introduce a clause against the appearance Castlereugh addressed the House on the of females at those meetings, a practice dangers which threatened the internal unheard of till the French Revolution, peace of the country, and explained the when they were poured in from the marseries of new measures by which Ministers kets and the brothels. All who should proposed to avert them. The first would come armed to any such meeting would relate to tumultuous meetings. The se- be liable to a misdemeanor, by the Bill cond related to training and exercising proposed to be brought in; and power The third measure was to give extraor- would be given to the Magistrates 10 apdinary powers of seizing arms. The prehend those who should so offend. In fourth was to give speedy means of pro- the case of strangers crowding to the secuting Misdemeanors; and the fifth ineeting, the Magistrate might be allowed would relate to the Press, to restrain, as to order them to withdraw; and in the far as possible, the publication of trea. event of the order not being obeyed, he sonable and blasphemous writings. As to might proclaim the meeting illegal. Such the first measure, it was clear that no go- disobedience, however, was not to be vernment could long exist if the present made a capital but a clergyable selony. system of popular meetings were to go A quarter of an hour was to be allowed for on all over the coantry, keeping up an strangers to withdraw, and half an hour incessant state of alarm, occasioving con- for the meeting to disperse. On the subuinual suspensions of business, and per- ject of training in the night, sucb a prac. petually barassing the Magistracy, wili. tice was obviously contrary to all the tary, and all the loyal part of the com- principles of the Constitution. But it munity. He denied that such meetings was proposed to make a distinction beas those held at Manchester, and in other twixt the party drilling and the party places, were legal; but if they were, it drilled ; the former it was proposed to was high time that they should be pre mnake a transportable offence, and the vented from being so any longer. The latier to be subject to fine and imprisonBill which he had to propose on this sube ment. Such an enactment was to be conject would not affect any county or cor- fined, in the first instance, to the disturbporation ineeting, or generally any called ed districts, and to be extended to the by the Magistrates, but it was intended others, if necessary. The Noble Lord that all others should be held only on a then explained the alterations proposed notice signed by seven inhabitant house- to be made with regard to prosecutions holders of the parish or township where for Misdemeanors, and the new regulait was called. It would be made a mis- tions with regard to the Press, which will demeanor for an individual, not within be found stated in our report of the pro-, the parish, to call a meeting of the inha. ceedings of the Upper House. It was in. bitants. lu 30 parishes the population lended that the full Newspaper_Stamp exceeded the number of 20,000, and it Duty should attach to Political Pamphwas intended, in such cases, to divide the lets under two sheets. It was proposed population, so that no meeting should that the new enactinents relative to the take place where the population exceeded press should be permanent ; some of the 10,000 persons. By such regulation two other measures might be temporary. He

hoped

hoped that these measures, with the ac- tended that the country was by no means tive and zealous co-operation of the sound in so alarming a state as at the time of part of the community, would be fully the State Trials in 1794. Wher the Bills adequate to meet and repel the existing proposed to remedy the existing evils danger. He concluded with moving for came to be discussed, he trusted he could leave to bring in a Bill for more effectu- show their Lordships the existing laws ally preventing seditious meetings.

were sufficient to remove the things comMr. Tierney denied that the papers be- plained of, and to punish the guilty. The fore the House authorised such measures event of Carlile's trials shewed, that the as those submitted to them, and had no present laws were amply sufficient for doubt that the present laws, if duly exe- the punishment of offences. ' But since cuted, were strong enough to meet the that man's trial, he (Lord E.) had seen present dangers ; he condemued Minis. in many shops, “ Infamous conduct of ters for not adopting a conciliating line of the Judge; Mock Trial of Carlile,"—He conduct to the people instead of resorting wished to know if such atrocious libels to force upon every occasion. Mr. T. had been punished ; for when an indivi. however, seemed to be doubtful whether dual entered into a contest with the law, public meetings of the kind recently held he ought to be shown that the law was should not be put under some regulation. too strong for him. To shew a 'neglect

Lords Folkestone and Rancliffe, and of the people, and not to inquire into Messrs. Brougham and Lamb, warmly op- violence committed on them, was doing posed the measures, as subversive of the the greatest service to those persons whose Liberty of the Press, and the rights of wish was to corrupt the people. He thankpublic meetings.

ed God that he bad yet strength enough Hon. G. Bennet presented a petition from to stand up in defence of the people; and Manchester, praying for an enquiry into he would do so while be was able. the proceediugs of the 16th August.

Lord Grenville said, every man in the A Petition was also presented from country must consider that the progress Henry Hunt, denying the truth of the of our evils had brought us into a most allegations, contained in the papers laid dangerous crisis, which he had watched upou the tables of both Houses, relative so long, and for which he was so often to the internal state of the country, and treated as an alarmist. At no period of offering to disprove them by evidence at his life did he ever anticipate the amount the bar of the House.

of peril, which required a firm and manly

effort to meet it. He was indeed auxious HOUSE OF LORDS, Nov. 30.

that Parliament should do everything The Marquis of Lansdown, in a long possible to alleviate those distresses, which and eloquent speech, moved for a Select They all must deeply lament; but he did Commiliee to enquire inio the State of not agree that Parliament must be blamed the Country; and more especially to the if it was found impossible to do so. He executing of the laws relating to public considered the conduct of the Manchester meetings.

Magistrates not only as free from all The Marquis Wellesley contemplated blame, but as highly meritorious. Courts the quietness and peaceable separa. of law were open to receive well-founded tion of the late Meetings with alarm, complaints against the Magistrates for so though they were praised by some Noble doing; and, thank God, they were also Lords of stronger nerves than he pos- open to receive the triumphant answer of sessed. They peaceably met to over- those Magistrates. If there be any inthrow the Constitution, and most loyally dividuals who have contributed to inparted to meet again for the same pur. crease the distress of the people, those were pose. It was to degrade the people of they who seduced the people from habits England to say, that these Meetings were of industry. He earnestly conjured them by them. They were snares for the leo- to maintain that Constitution which they ple of England. He had been accustomed ought never to sacrifice to any fanciful or to consider British liberty, as described pre-conceived ideas. [This speech was in the phrase “ Liberty of the Subject," followed by great applause.] which he considered to imply subjectiou Earl Grey said, it was with pain that he to the Laws and Religion of the State. found himself opposed to one whom he He, therefore, thought they should pro- had been accustomed to consider as his ceed to the discussiou of the Bill now be. Guide and Counsellor. But, notwithstandfore the House instead of any other in- ing this, added to an infirm state of health, quiry.

he would yield to no Noble Lord iu love Lord Erskine considered, that if such for the Constitution, and he therefore doctrine as that held by the Noble Mar. rose to support the motion of his Noble quis were received, it would depend on Friend, for anxious and instant inquiry. that House how long he continued to be We had sufficient law to suppress sediwhat he was born-a freeman. He con- tion and blasphemy; but he had yet to

learn,

« ÖncekiDevam »