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Of all the amendments that could possibly be offered, the present amendment for making the measure temporary was the one to which he was least disposed to accede. There was or there was not ground for passing this measure. If it was proved to be necessary, there could be no reason to believe that it would in a short time cease to be necessary. On the contrary, the venom accumulating till the expiration of this law should arrive, would then be diffused with increased activity and effect. The general character of the press ought to be rescued permanently from the blots which tarnished its beauty and its force. Then would it proceed as it before had proceeded, rendering most essential services to the country, to the cause of freedom, to the happiness of the world. His honourable and learned friend had not mixed up much of his argument with the consideration of the other bill on the table (the Libel Bill), but as he had not been able altogether to separate two questions so closely connected, it perhaps would be for the convenience of the House if the little he (Mr. Canning) had to say (for though the bill was important, the provisions were but few, and would not require many observations), be said on the present occasion.

The honourable gentlemen opposite had somewhat lowered, and justly lowered the tone of their opposition to that bill —and he knew it would be stated, and truly, that the change in tone proceeded from the concession which had been made by commuting the punishment of transportation for that of banishment. With respect to that commutation, it was the more gratifying to his personal feelings, that it had been conceded to the request of that very respectable body of men, the booksellers of the metropolis. Another petition had since been presented from them, but he hoped that having received this concession to their first application, they would not think it hard if their second application was


not received with equal favour. The grievances stated so ably and with so much distinctness and discrimination in the first application, no longer existed as an objection to the measure in question. If Parliament were now legislating for the first time against a crime destructive of the institutions of the country; if they were now to select the punishment which would deter others from following the criminal example, and warn the offender from the repetition of his offence, that punishment was the one which removed from the country and the society which he disturbed, him, who after having offended and received punishment, showed a disposition so rooted in his nature, as to return to the same

What punishment so appropriate, as to oblige him to abjure the realm whose peace and happiness he had repeatedly invaded and endangered ? If this punishment had been so unknown in our history as it was asserted, but not proved to be: if it had been as new as this act; if it had never existed before; if they were called upon for the first time to assign a punishment for this indefinite, and if he might not be mistaken he would use the expression more noble offence (for all political offences were of a higher and nobler order than mere larceny); if they were to enact some punishment which would save the country from the perils occasioned by the offences, and remove the offender from the sphere of offending—the punishment of banishment, if not already invented, ought to be found out for the purpose.

His honourable and learned friend, as well as many other honourable members, had said, that this measure would leave the press in a worse state than at any period since the revolution. But it was not considered that the state of the press had since that time been greatly improved and elevated. It was not above three or four years since the punishment of the pillory was abolished. Up to that very late period a power was in the breast of the judge to apply that punishment to the crime of libel. Did he regret the alteration thus made in the law ? No. He would not refer to his vote upon that subject, for that was nothing; the punishment having been abolished by acclamation. But if it had been then proposed to substitute banishment on a second conviction for the pillory, in all cases, would any rational man have denied that the law would be made better by the change? If this had been the only alternative, would the House have hesitated to adopt it? The pillory was at all times in the discretion of the judge ; banishment would be in his discretion only on a second offence. The pillory had been most bappily abolished, as it was a most degrading and infamous punishment—a punishment holding up men of letters and education to the gaze and insults of the populace. Be it recollected, too, that this punishment had been applied in modern times. The press had therefore gained a higher rank than it held before. He would go as far as any man in separating the respectable part of the press from those who were hostile, not only to the present Government, but to all government. But it was one of the necessary evils of the aggregation of society, that justice could not strike its victim, without in some degree alarming or dispersing the herd among which that victim sheltered itself. It was no disgrace to the more noble animals, that those who associated with them but to degrade them were singled from amongst them; but the House could not have shown itself equal to meet actual danger, and suppress menaced rebellion, unless it put down the principles which agitated the country, and which wanted only courage in the advocates of them to display themselves in open rebellion.

An honourable and learned gentleman had said that the Government had already done enough, that the measures already passed were sufficient, and that Parliament should beware of driving the people to despair. Good


God! drive the people to despair ! of all—not fallacies, for fallacies implied a use, though a perverted use, of the reasoning faculties-but of all the vulgarisms that could disgrace discussion, of all the abuses of terms which could be committed, the misuse of the word “ people” was the worst. What was the meaning of the word “people ?" The people, as synonymous to a nation, meant a great community, congregated under a head, united in the same system of civil polity for mutual aid and mutual protection, respecting and maintaining various orders and ranks, and not only allowing the fair and just gradations of society, but absolutely built upon them.

That was people.” But in a mass of persons, first stript of the government, then stript of the aristocracy, then stript of the clergy, then stript of the magistracy, then stript of its landed proprietors, then stript of its lawyers, then stript of its learning, then stript of everything which ornamented and dignified human nature-in such a mass he could no more recognize the people than he could recognize in the tub of Diogenes the man of Plato. A mere populace, deprived of every thing essential to what by common consent was called a nation. But when the term “ people” was applied to a portion of a community arrayed against the interests of the nation ; not only distinct from, but hostile to the nation ; when the term was applied to such as these, it tended directly to encourage insurrection and rebellion.

He was sorry, therefore, to hear an honourable and learned gentleman of so much eminence, give into the use of so vulgar an application of language, and insinuate that these were two hostile parties—the Government, endeavouring to appropriate a certain portion of the Constitution, and the people praying to be allowed to retain their rights. The honourable and learned gentleman had expatiated on the claims of a portion of the people, while he had left out of view that part of the people, without the security of which there could be no order, no safety, no happiness. On their behalf, who were last in the fair arrangement of society, the honourable and learned gentleman had been more solicitous than on that of all the other orders of the state. But in behalf of all the other orders of the state, and on behalf of the last order too, he (Mr. Canning) implored the House to quench, not as a temporary experiment, but with eternal and lasting indignation, the accursed torch of discord which was blazing or smothering throughout the country. He earnestly deprecated the notion of treating this evil as lightly as an excise bill' or a custom-house regulation ; and he trusted that Parliament would not give the authors of the tremendous metaphysics so unfortunately prevalent, the hope that any hesitation existed on the subject; but that, on the contrary, they would at once enact a measure that would save what was respectable, annihilate what threatened destruction to all order and security, and thus prevent at the same time the present continuance and the future repetition of the evil which called for their interposition.

The bill was read a third time and passed.

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DECEMBER 23d, 1819.

The House having resolved itself into a Committee on this Bill, Sir J. Mackintosh proposed an amendment in that part of the clause which set forth, “ That from and after

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