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This question was put, and, after some confusion the House divided. Majority against the motion 165.
The question was then put by the LORD CHANCELLOR, that the Counsel and Agents for and against the Bill should be called in,
The question was carried without a division, and it was commu nicated to her Majesty's Counsel, that they were at liberty to urge their objections to the principle of the Bill, either at that time or after the evidence was concluded,
Mr. BROUGHAM then came forward, for the purpose of being heard generally against the principle of the Bill; but as he spoke at great length, and as his introductory remarks were less important than those he had made in the last hour of his address, we shall omit them, with the exception of a charge brought by him against Minis. ters, of instituting a proceeding at this day, which would have been a disgrace to the reign of Henry VIII. After referring to the precedent of Bishop Afterbury, and noticing the inference of law, under the statute of Edward III. he went on to contend, that it was impossible, in this instance, that the succession of the throne could be in the slightest danger from any misconduct of the Queen. He in, sisted, that no case of paramount necessity had been established by Ministers to warrant them introducing a Bill, contrary to all law, precedent, and analogy. It had been said, that the Queen's conduct had tended to disgrace the Crown, and to injure the country; but he begged leave to ask, whether the foundation of the charges in the preamble of the Bill, if it existed at all, had not existed while the Queen was Princess of Wales, and merely the wife of a British subject; why then was not the measure introduced long ago? merely because the Prince of Wales must have sued in the ordinary manner for a divorce, and must have come into this House with clean hands. Especial care had been taken to wait until her Majesty, by her exaltation, was deprived of her private rights and remedies. This brought him to implore their Lordships to pause upon the threshold. He put out of view, at present, all question of recrimination; he had raised it for his present argument only, and he should be most deeply afflicted if, in the further progress of this illumined subject, it would be necessary for him again to recur to it. I should act, continued he, directly in the teeth of the instructions I have received from this illustrious women; I should disobey her so lemn commands if I had even used the word recrimination without being driven to it by absolute overrating necessity. I should also act in opposition to the same command, if I argued in another mode, that levity, indiscretion, or even criminal intercourse do not necessarily injure the honour of the Crown, or the character of the country. Slanders against the Queen have not been proved, but brooded and gossipped about the Continent, and collected with the utmost industry, while no such zealous watch was kept over the conduct of persons in the same illustrious family at home. In the same way I postpone all matters previous to marriage, because they are not absolutely bound in with this dangerous and tremendous question. They are not necessary to the safety of my client; if they were an advo
cate knows but one duty, and cost what it may, whatever principali. ties, powers or dominions he might offend, he is bound to discharge it. When, however, it is said that indiscreet conduct or improper familiarity was fatal to the dignity of the Crown, what answer can be given to the statement that a licentious, disgraceful and adulterous intercourse has been proved against one member of the Royal Family, without its being thought that the favour of the Crown or the peace of the nation were involved in it. Are we arrived at that degree of refinement in society, when things cannot be called by their proper names, and when adultery in the weaker sex is to be passed over, as a venial offence in the stronger. I appeal to the justice of the House, to its holiness, represented by the heads of the Church, whether adultery is to be considered a crime only in a woman.-The exalted individual to whose case I now refer had confessed the commission of the crime, and is the honour of the Crown less connected with the purity of a Prince than a Princess. This allusion is wrung from me by necessity. I acknowledge with gratitude the obligations of this Country, and of Europe, to the Prince to whom I refer, and nothing can influence me to alter my recorded sense of the baseness of the conspiracy by which his failings were dragged before the Public." After further enforcing this point, he proceeded to argue that the good sense of the people of England would look upon the introduction of the honour of the Crown, and the safety of the State into this question, as a ridiculous pretent, and would say in their homely language-" Here is a man who wishes to get rid of his wife; and the peace and dearest interests of the Country, and the feelings of a rational and moral people, are to be sacrificed to the gratifica tion of his wish." The learned Counsel next quoted the opinion of Sir W. Scott on the sanctity of the marriage contract, and observed with much severity on the artful mode in which the Country was represented, as the party prosecuting this Bill, when in fact the Attor ney-General appeared as Counsel for the King. The Attorney-General, with great ingenuity, had this day kept up the practice. The sincerity of men's professions was to be judged of from their con duct, and one little action was better than the longest speech. The conduct of Ministers proved to him that the King was the party prosecuting, and that the assertions of his servants were untrue. Who had encouraged the Queen to go abroad at a time of life when she naturally sought repose from the persecutions to which she had been subject in this Country? Who had persuaded her to resist the advice of those (among whom he was one) who had ventured to stake their heads that she would be safe in England, while abroad she would be surrounded by foreigners, spies, and informers! The King's Minis ters had done their utmost to promote her absence. They had mised her tranquillity, ease and liberty. There was to be no prying, no Spies, no encouragement of slander. Yet reports, daily growing blacker and more malignant, came over, and four years ago they as sumed a certain degree of consistency. Still no hint was given that it would be proper to return, and he (Mr. B.) would venture his existence that any man would have been looked upon as an enemy, and
have had the doors of the Court flung in his face who had recommended that the Queen should be requested to return to this country. When she became Queen did they change their system? Did they then pretend that the honour of the Royal Family was in jeopardy, while she remained abroad, under existence circumstances? Was, in short, any thing done to vindicate the dignity of the Crown, and to avoid an enquiry most distressing to the long suffering people of England? No remonstrance was sent out; no endeavour to claim; she might do as she pleased. While the Queen continued on the Continent, she was to be pensioned to remain there,and to enjoy the rank she was supposed to have degraded, and the privileges she was said to have forfeited: she was even to have an increase of income that she might be wicked on a larger scale, and she might become a spectacle in the eyes of the foreigners, who envied and hated us. It was only when she talked of returning to England that those calumnies became important. The moment she set her foot on shore, then rose those phantoms of degraded character and insulted honour. He would not believe that Ministers themselves gave credit to the fabrications contained in the Green Bag, and he must have a mind capa ble of swallowing the most monstrous improbabilities, who could lend his ears for a moment to one statement in the preamble of the Bill. Mr. Brougham concluded his address in the following terms :-" I close here what I have to urge, not because what I have to urge, not because I have nothing more to urge, but because I know that your Lordships are men of justice-men of principle-men of ordinary sagacity-above all, that you are men of honour, and I am confident that I have not made my appeal to you upon this Bill in vain. True it is that a Committee of the House has reported in its favour-but be is the greatest of all fools who tells us to consult our apparent consistency at the expense of abosolute ruin. The sooner you retrace the step you were induced to take in an unwary moment, the sooner you will promote the peace and real safety of the country, and the more you will consult the true dignity and honour of the Crown. If your Lordships decide that this measure shall proceed no further you will be saviours of the state, and secure the substantial happiness of the whole community."
Adjourned at a quarter past 4 o'clock.
SECOND DAY-AUGUST 18.
Shortly after nine o'clock the attendance of Peers was considerable. At ten minutes before ten o'clock the Lord Chancellor entered the House. The Judges who were in attendance yesterday, were present this day, with the addition of Mr. Justice Richardson. The Counsel and Agents being called in:
Mr. DENMAN commenced by thanking their Lordships for the indulgence they were pleased to grant him yesterday. In adverting to the measure then before their Lordships, he submitted that the principle of the present Bill was fully open to discussion in the
same manner as if it was now for the first time brought before the House. If that were so, and the House should now take a dif ferent view of the question, he submitted he was on the very threshold of the inquiry, and there he should make his first stand. With respect to the present proceedings, he submitted that the Select Committee who had considered certain written evidence, merely reported that it was necessary a solemn inquiry should be entered into. It had not reported that the present Bill should be presented to the House, and therefore he should consider the present Bill merely as the Bill of the Noble Lord who presented it, and a Bill, which any one of their Lordships might have submitted to the House. As such, therefore, he should feel no reserve what◄ ever in examining it and the allegations which it contained.
The Learned Counsel then commenced reading the Bill, com menting upon it as he went on. He begged leave to say, if it were to be considered as a Bill of Indictment, it was like all other indictments, for, on the face of it, a kind of evidence was introduced insidiously and jesuitically to force an unfair and an uncharitable conclusion. The person who framed that Bill had worked himself up as it were into an ebullition of moral zeal, to use expressions, the full support of which it might be hoped those bribes and base schemes which it was known existed in those countries her Majesty had visited, would produce witnesses tor establish.
[At this moment her Majesty entered the House, preceded by the Usher of the Black Rod, bowing as she advanced. She was accompanied by Lady Anne Hamilton. On passing the Bar she curtsied to their Lordships. The Peers rose. The most profound silence prevailed. Those nearest to the Royal Personage bowed, and her Majesty then took a seat in front of the Bar, near her Counsel, and Lady Anne Hamilton sat down behind her. Mr. Denman paused for a few minutes till the Black Rod retired, and then proceeded in his address.]
He would defy any one to tell him on whose opinion her Majesty's conduct had deserved epithets that were conferred on it by the present Bill. Referring to a former investigation, he would call to the attention of the House the letter of Mrs. Lisle, in 1806, where "flirting" was the severest phrase, that those who most intimately watched her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales's conduct could adopt, and yet the framer of the present Bill, had thought fit, without any evidence before the House, to present to them that Bill containing the obnoxious and the extraordinary phrases that had been read. Mrs. Lisle also lamented her Royal Highness's familiarity, but surely in the conduct of royalty, fami liarity was no objection, and of that opinion in earlier days, was an illustrious personage, whom he dare not now name; but wha had actually descended to such familiarity with a waiter, that that person addressed him in a note, "Sam, of the Cocoa Nut Coffeehouse presents his compliments to his R. H. and begs" so and so. With jocularity that illustrious person remarked to two noble
personages present, "this is very well to us, Frank-but it won't do for him to speak so to Norfolk or Arundel !” (Laughter.) The Learned Counsel was unwilling to introduce, on so solemn an occasion, any thing like jocularity; but when he first read this Bill, he really thought that he had been behind the scenes in a theatre, and that he had witnessed the getting up of this grand farce, to which every one present added an ingredient, and he thought he heard Mrs. Candour, with an affected reluctance to scandal, suggest the insertion of the word adultery. The situation of the parties on the present occasion were far different from each other; on the one hand, the accuser must keep his station, but the accused might lose hers. Either the King had or had not been a party to the present accusation.-If he had not, surely their Lordships would not violate one of the first principles of the canon law, namely, to dissolve a marriage without the complaint of a husband. And if he had been a party-if he had put all that machinery in motion which was now in such dreadful operation, with what face would their Lordships ask the third estate, for its consent to a measure, which was adopted at its own instigation and of which its opinion had been so manifestly expressed? This was unquestionably a Bill of Divorce, and the sole object of it was to dissolve the present marriage that subsisted, in order that the King might form a new contract. Before, therefore, their Lordships could sanction such a measure, they would surely see that the accuser came into Court with clean hands. With regard to State necessity, he denied the existence of such a motive on the present occasion, because the safety of the country demanded that this measure should be abandoned. He did not attend to that which passed out of doors, but he looked to the passing of the present Act, as likely to produce the greatest affliction that would befal any country,-he meant a disputed succession to the crown, which might certainly agitate the State, if the King married again and had issue by the second marriage. He would not dispute the power of an Act of Parliament, by which the lineal descent had been regulated in former instances, and he mentioned the circumstance of the issue of Henry the Eighth being declared illegitimate by one Parliament, and fixed on the Throne in subsequent times.
After some further observations, the Learned Counsel protested in the Queen's name against all Bills of Pains and Penalties against all Bills of that sort, especially in a case where impeachment would lie. He begged to apologize to her Majesty for putting even the hypothesis of her guilt, which he never could believe would be established; and whatever might be enacted by means of suborned perjury, or a foul conspiracy, he never would pay to any one who might usurp her situation, that respect which the laws of God and man had entitled her to alone.
At twenty-five minutes to one o'clock the Learned Gentleman concluded. After a short pause the House called upon the Attorney-General.