« AnteriorContinuar »
out previous investigation. They ask for investigation, prompt and rigid investigation, ana the punishment of guilt wherever it may be found. Mr. S. Dixon insisted, that the Answer ought to be entered separately, and asked the recorder, whether this was not the usual practice The recorder replied, that it was the practice to propose the motion for entering the Answer separately first ; and if any thing was intended to be added, to move it as an amendment.—Mr. Waithman observed, that he would contend against all the lawyers in Westminster Hall, that the court might do as it pleased, as there was no standing order on the point. This was at any rate an extraordinary occasion, and required an extraordinary proceeding. Mr. Quin said, that he offered himself to the notice of the court, divested of all prejudice either for or against ministers. Of many of their great foreign measures he approved ; he was sorry he could not say so much for their domestic proceedings. He appeared simply as a representative of the citizens of London, to guard their honour and protect their privileges as far as lay in his power. The answer to the Address was undoubtedly to be regarded as that of the ministers, since, constitutionally speaking, the king could do no wrong. The sources of the prerogative were so pure, that it was given only for the good of the people. It was then the answer of the ministers, and he believed it might be considered as the answer of the noble lord, by whom it was delivered. That was a melancholy day for the court in one sense, but it was a glorious one in another. They had left their own place of meeting to tell the truth ; they had left the advisers of the answer, not with sorrow, but disdain and contempt. The cause for which they had petitioned was great and noble. They had done their duty in presenting the address: the shame of the answer rested with others. There were three points in that answer, which appeared to him to call particularly for animadversicn. In the first place, he should have thought that it was unnecessary to tell the corporation of London, ‘‘ that it was inconsistent with the principles of the British constitution to Pronounce judgment without previous investigation.” This was a truism with which every one was acquainted ; and if the answer should appear without the address, posterity would be apt to think the common couc. of this day destitute of common
spect to an affair, which was stated in the concluding part of the answer itself, “ to have disappointed the hopes and expectations of the nation ?” The second point was the observation, that, “ recent occurrences might have convinced the city, that his ma
jesty was at all times ready to institute inquiries.” An investigation had indeed taken place in the case of sir Robert Calder, whose old age had been rendered miserable by a sentence severe in any view of the matter;
but most severe when contrasted with the easy escape of many others. Did the noble
lord, who delivered the answer, recollect the
transactions of the last fifteen years 2 Did he recollect the retreat at Dunkirk, and his
own projected march to Paris In looking at these events and their consequences, did is not appear necessary to call for inquiry 2 The royal duke at Dunkirk commanded 40,000 men. It was discovered at length that heavy artillery was wanted; and when
this was sent, it was found that the balls did not suit the calibres. Why was there no inquiry into all this? When Holland was evacuated, the army had in December performed a march of ten weeks to Bremen—a thing in them equal to the retreat of the ten thousand ; and all this while the royal duke was at head-quarters at a considerable distance. On another occasion, when an expedition was sent into Holland, it was found
that the army wanted a commander, the
tense. But perhaps it was thought that the
o, lion of the corporation on the transactoos in Portugal had been too strongly exPressed; but could this be the case with re
royal duke being in London. The command was taken by one who had since gloriously fallen in his country's cause (Abercrombie) and success attended his course. The royal duke at length arrived: he had 50,000 men under his command ; the conclusion was a capitulation, with a stipulation to deliver up 8000 French captives, and these their best seamen ' Why was there no inquiry into this Why was there no inquiry into the causes of the failure of Ferrol Our soldiers were of the same character with our seamen ; but the effects of their exertions were constantly liable to be tarnished by the mischievous system of secret courts of inquiry instead of open courts martial. The third point was, “ that the interposition of the city of London was unnecessary.” What strange crime did the noble lord suppose the city to have committed by this interposition ? Other places, however, in spite of his intended check, had chosen to partake in the goist. Winchester had interposed— so had Westminster, Berkshire, &c. In 1621 the parliament remonstrated with James I.” who had come from Scotland re
* See Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England, Vol. I. p. 1338.
plete with despotic notions, about the system of policy which he pursued. The reply was, “ that the par ament ought not to interpose in any prerogative matter, except the king was pleased to desire it.” This prerogative extended to . Îl points of the king's public duty Shch was the notion of the right of interposition under the Stuarts; and the noble lord who delivered the answer appeared to have taken his ideas on the subject from this source. The city of London, therefore, ought not to interpose unless his majesty was pleased to desire it ! But it ought to be recollected, that these despotic principles drove the Stuarts from the throne. Had Magna Charta—had the Bill of Rights, and the other great documents securing our liberties, been forgotten ? Had the noble lord looked at the first of William, where the right to petition was recognized : In Russia a reguJation had once been made, that no petition was to be presented in the first instance, except to a minister. It was then to be presented to a second ; and lastly, it might be presented to the so ereign himself, but it was at the peril of the life of the petitioner. Were we to be driven to this pass 2 in the reigns of Henry and Elizabeth, even while the constitution was floating between life and death, the answers were less insulting than that now read. Fven Charles the first had treated the Remonstrance of the City of London with more respect To keep the truth irom the ear of the sovereign was the surest way to bring a government into contempt. This had lately been exeroplified in the case of Spain. We ought to learn wisdom from experience. The ninisters received flattery with smoles, but turned up their noses to the truth. It became the court, however, to have a due sense of its own dignity, and to act as be: came the representatives of the city of London, not with a view of pleasing any ministers, but with a single eye to the common weal. This, he hoped, it would do on the present occasion. The whole of the motion of his worthy friend had his hearly concurrence. Mir. Dixon said, that no person could be more anxious than he was to sup. port the dignity of that court, but, at 1 he same time, he was anxious not to detract from the dignity of the crown, and the respect it was entitled to receive from every denomination of the subjects of these
realms. The hon. gentleman who had just
sat down had informed the court, that their Addresses went in general to tell his injesty what he aiready well knew, namely, of the attachment of that court to his crown ard dignity. The toon. gentleman, however, with all his declanation, had only told the court what they already knew, and what a boy at school deserved to be whip; it re did not know The other gentleman bed, as usual, been lavish of his abuse of him. He forgave him for it on this day, of ever; day past, and on every day to conse ; all he begged of that genileman was, that he would never praise him . He contenced, that it had been the invariable practive to that court, on every occasion when an Alwer to an Address was received flor:; ho majesty, to move simply that— the answe be entered on the journals of the court; an if any declaration were meant to accome pany the answer, then to move soth reso. lution, as an addition or airer:dareit to tie original resolution. He ead a co-e in Too to slew that this had been the practice. . was not his intention, at plc, ent, to ento into the mel its of the resolution; wrioot signifying either assent or disappro bation to the terms of that resolutio: he should content himself with now moving. that the whole of the resolution after tie word “ that " be omitted for the purpose & inserting the words “that his majesty's no“ gracious Answer be entered on the joto. loals of the court.” After this resolo should have been agreed to, it would still to in the power of the hon, gettleman to fo low it up with his pre-ent resolution, or so other which he might think propel to prepose.
The Recorder here again read the orig': and amended resolutions. In doing so he a lapsus described his majesty's answer o “ grievous" instead of “gracious,” ar. thereby occasioned considerable laughter the court.
Mr Alderman Birch appealed to the so: lid sense and good understanding of to court, and hoped they would not a!, a themselves, in the heat of the monoeist, pass a resolution which they might are wards look at with a considerable degree o' regret. The resolution bore that it was to privilege of the court, and of the subse." of these kingdoms in general, to appo the throne without obstruction, and wo out reproof.
(To be continued)
Vol. XIV, No. 20.) LONOON, SATURDAY, NOVEM BER 12, 1808. [Price iOD.
t is troe, that some men have been koci ed into courage; and this is no bad hint to give to those who art to orward and liberal in Lestow.ng insults and outrages on their passive companions."
Bu Rike: Letter
SUMIMARY OF POLITICS.
Convext 10 N IN Poistu; GAL. From a • *t or of a mere military nature, en* . . . . . .e roduct, the merits, or the denois, on S ; Arthur Wellesley, Sir Harry Barrard, and Sir Hew Dalrymple, this hos, in cons more of the subsequent conduct of ille ministers, grown into a question of priat political importance. From the first, from the tardy reluctant publication of the Extraordinary Gazette, and especially from he partial manner, in which that publication was made, it became evident, that the mimisters, though they had not the courage to defend the Convention, had determined to screen, if in their power; had determined to endeavour to screen, their colleague, Sir Arthur Wellesley; and, from the moment that the citizens of London received
the rebooking Answer, all men were con
vinced, that the king had been advised to * in conformity with that determination. It then became a clear question, whether to ministry had the power of defeating the ** *-s of tre whole nation, or not. The to on, v, it in voice unanimous ; with an andomity as periect as that of their sorrow for the foot, of i ord Neison ; with soch an unanimity, the nation declared the Convention to be infamous, and with a like unanimity, they called for a speedy, fair, in partial, and open trial of those, who had monoe that Convention, who had done the deed, which they deemed to be intainous. Soch, and no man will attempt to deny it, were the feelings and wishes of the whole nation ; feelings and wishes entirely unconnected with any motives of a party or political nature. Having but too much reason, box;ever, to suspect, that the ministers, kom inciiyes of their own, wished and intended to screen one, at least, of the parties concerned in making the Convention, that
port of the nation, which generally takes
the lead upon such occasions, appealed to the justice of the king himself; iaid before him, in language and manner the most
respectful and humble that could possibly a statement of the nation's wrongs, to which they added a prayer, that
he would take measures to do it justice. To this they received an answer of rebuke
for what was called their unnecessary interposition ; and, they received no positive assurance, that even an inquiry of any sort should take place, much less an assurance,
that such an inquiry, that an inquiry of a
kind calculated to insure them justice, should be instituted. Isere, then, the ministers and the people were at issue. The question now became, whether the ministers were able to do that which the whole nation disapproved of, or not ; which question still remains to be determined. A COURT OF INQUIRY is, ind, e ], said to have been ordered ; that is to say, an inquiry to settle the question, whether there be any grounds for putting the parti's upon their trias. This is something gained by the people and the press from a ministry, who had caused a firing of cannon and an
ilioninating of houses at 'he receipt of the
inteliorence of the Corvention ; this is something gained from those, who, from the ontset, appeared resolved to screen one, if not all, the parties, concer:ed in no skir.; the Convention. Hot, it is not what the nation wished and expected. It is only in cases where there exist slight grano's to presume guit, that Courts of Ie voi y are held ; and the only use of such courts, is, to save unnecessary trouble : to save the trouble of putting upon their trial persons." against whom there appears to exist no evidence of guilt worthy of attento. In the case of SIR Robo RT CA. D* R - who with an inferior force, beat the enemy and took two of their ships, the delicate mode of a previous inquiry was not adopted. In the case of Colos FL Coch R ANP Jo HNsronz, rgainst whom not a particle of evidence tending to coin nate him was produced ; who was not only not proved culty of any, even the slightest offence, but who provel himself to be innocent of every chance that had been hatched and bred on against hio, ; in the case of this gentleman, the 1)ake of York did not ad, use the king to institute a previous our of loquiry. Colonel Cochrane Johnstoue, who proved at and every one of the are a tors against him to be false and no locious, was ent. at once, before a CGUR 1 M A RTIAL, where the members are sworn ad" 2 A.
- where witnesses are examined upon their oaths. The delicate, honour-saving mode of a Court of Inquiry was not, in this gen: tleman's case, thought necessary; and, I should be glad to know what there is to justify this mode of proceeding in the present instance. It was made evident in the sequel, that there was no wish to share Colonel Cochrane Johnstone; it was equally evident, that there was no wish to spare Sir Robert Calder; and, indeed, unless there be a wish to spare, there appears, in cases of importance, no reason whatever for a previous Court of Inquiry. Of such a court the niembers are not sworn ; the witnesses are not sworn; the public are not admitted : all is secret; and, at last, a report, decided on by the majority, without liabrity to public protest, is drawn up and laid before the king, upon which report a Court-martial is order: ed, or the whole proceeding is at an end. I do not know how others may view this matter, but to me it appears, that a man, conscious of innocence, would not be contented with a trial of this sort, being convinced, as he must, that, if an open trial does not follow, the world will always have its suspicions of his guilt. It was said, that Sir Hew Dalrymple would not submit to any thing short of a Court-Martial ; and, if he was misled by the information of the person previously in command; if he be able to prove that, as I am inclined to think he is, there was a very solid reason for his objecting to a mode of proceeding, by which his comparative innocence could not be established, or, at least, by which the knowledge of it would be kept from that public, whose re
sentment has hitherto been directed chiefly
against him...and who, for a considerable
time, were, through the abominable arts and
audacity of the partizans of Sir Arthur Wellesley, induced to regard Sir Hew as the person who alone was guilty. We have before had to remark upon the circumstance of the Armistice, (the only document, relating to the transaction, bearing the name of Sir Arthur Wellesley) being published by the ministers in the French language only ; we have remarked upon the circumstance of Sir Arthur's coming home, upon leave of alsence, while Sir Hew was recalled; we have remarked upon the gracious reception which Sir Arthur Wellesley met with at St. James's, and we have heard nothing of Sir Hew being received there at all ; and, if what has been published, as a copy of the Order, for holding a Court of Inquiry, be correct, the same spirit and motive still acsoate those, who have the assembling of that
Gaurt. “That an Inquiry shall be made
into the conditions of the Armistice and Convention, and into all the causes and circumstances, whether arising from the previous operations of the British army, or otherwise, which led to them; and into the conduct, behaviour, and proceed. ings of Sir Hru, Dalrymple, and of any other cornia, a der or commanders, or ci any other person or persons, as far as th: same were colon eted with the Armistic: and Convention. Wellesley, you see, though he negociated the Armistice; and though he had had the previous command of the army, is not named. His conduct is, doubtless, included, in the description d the subjects of inquiry; but, why not nam: him : Why name Sir Hew Dalrymple, why hold him up to the world, as a perso: accused, any more than Sir Arthur Welles. ley Sir Arthur sought us the famous battk on the 21st of September, he negociated us the famous Armistice on the very next day, and yet he is not named as a person whose conduct is to be inquired into It appear. impossible; to me, at least, it appears im: possible, that Sir Hew Dalrymple can best much to blame as Sir Arthur Wellesley; and yet the name of the former is held up to public notice as that of an accused person, while that of the latter does nowhere appear. The motive for this is too evident to need being pointed out to the reader; and I hope that it will not fail to produce a proper im: pression, and lead to a strict attention, on the part of the public, to every thing, re. lating to this transaction, that is now going" forward. I do hope, that the public will not suffer its attention to be diverted by the numerous stratagems, which will be resorted to for the purpose. All manner of tricks will be played by the partizans of the high Wellesley. The thing will
drawl along like a snail. tions will be made day after day. In the hope that the public will be wearied, its
patience will be assailed in all manner of
ways, while other topics will be pressed upon its attention, new alarms will be raised, and the passion of fear will be pitted against that of resentment. But, if the people have one grain of sense left, they will, in answer to all these attempts at diversion, say: “ stop; for, 'till we have settled the “ affair of the Convention in Portugal; 'till we have clearly ascertained, whether such an use can, with impunity, bemade of the blood and treasure of the nation, it would be folly in us to take an interest in any thing that is liable to happen." This is the answer which every : give ; for, what is it to us that we make
exertions and sacrifices, if they are to be of no avail No : let us have no diversion. Let us have this matter fully and fairly settled; and then we shall know what to wish for and what to hope for and how to act. While this Inquiry is going on, endeavours are not wanting to reconcile us, little by little, to the terms of the Convention. There will be found, in another part of this number, a defence of the Convention, and of Sir Arthur Wellesley, at the same time. The reader will see how pitiful it is ; he will see that all its arguments have been long ago refuted ; but, I beseech him to bear in mind the fact, that Sir Arthur Wellesley's friends, asserted, at first, that he was quite innocent of any, even the smallest, share in the transaction; that he, as an inferior of. ficer, was compelled to sign the Armistice ; that he remonstrated against the order so to do; that he was, at last, induced to do it for fear of exciting a mutiny in the army; but, that he privately protested against it in the strongest terms. ow, however, when these abominable falsehoods can no longer hope to obtain belief; now, when it is evident that he must come in for a large, and even a principal, share of the blame; now, the Armistice and Convention are things to be defended, and are defended, by the very same persons, who swore that he had protested against those acts, and by this very writer, who accused me of barshness, because I asserted, that the story of the Protest was a miserable fabrication. I do beseech the public to bear in mind this fact, than which I remember nothing exhibiting a more complete proof of a want of principle. The opposition, which, at any place, has been made to petitioning the king upon the subject, has been made, not upon the ground of justification of the act. No man has, until now, attempted to set up such justification. In the county of Berks, the Address and Petition was opposed upon the sole ground of their not being necessary; and, even that opposition was confined almost exclusively, to MR. NAREs, who is one of the editors (along with Mr. Beloe of Museum memory) of the British Critic, who has recently received a fat living from the hands of Lord Eldon; and to Mr. Cobh AM, late a purser in the East-India Company's service, and who is closely allied to persons dependant upon the government. In Essex, where the meeting was so abruptly dissolved, and where a second requisition has been rejected, the High Sheriff is also a person, who was, I am informed, very recently in the East India Company's service. Now, though we are not justified in imputing motives to ei
ther of these men, still the knowledge of these facts should be circulated, especially as the partizans of Sir Arthur Wellesley have endeavoured to make the world believe, that the opposition, in the places above-mentioned, arose from motives of pure loyalty. But, at any rate, no justification has, until now, been attempted. Many have been the attempts to shift the blame from the back of Sir Arthur to those of Sir Harry and Sir Hew; but, until now, when the hour of exposure is approaching, no one has attempted to justify the act itself. Such justification, however, we must now expect, in all manner of shapes. The evil conse. quences of the Convention, which daily be. come more and more manifest, will, as in the following paragraph from the Morning Post (he Nabob's news-paper) of the Sth in stant, be imputed, not to those who made the Armistice and Convention, but to those who reprobate them, and who call for the punishment of their authors : “ The French “ writers are naturally delighted at the “ proceedings of the English Addressers, “ which we regret to find, have ercited the jlames of discontent and disorder in Portugal, to a most alarming degree, though in the first instance all was joy and ecstacy at the result of the campaign in that country.—“The Convention of Lisbon,” says the Argus, “ continues to occupy the “ minds of the people in London. It is not only individuals among the lower closses who loudly deprecate that Convention; even the common council of London presented to the king an Ad. dress against the generals who signed it. We are sorry to be unable to give our readers the details of the long debate which took place upon that occasion. It is the finest eulogium of the courage of the French and of the ability of their general.”—The present alarming situation of Portugal offords the best elucidation of the misc/uevous consequences of the recent proceedings in this country ; nor was it difficult to foresee that those ill-judged proceedings, in the very face of his majesty's promise of due investigation, must tend to create dissentions between Great Britain and her ally, to sow the seeds of jealousy and distrust, and give the Portuguese an unfavourable opinion of British honour and integrity.— “ Such, in fact, has been the consequence of the outcry, which, without waiting for the promised inquiry, has been factiously raised annong us. We sincerely regret to find that many highly respectable, and most worthy individuals have by the