Imágenes de página


ployed ; and that, if any important facts to the immediate question now before the were to be ascertained, the witness would be house, he very much concurred with bis heard at their lordships' bar. Was it right, noble and learned friend (lord Eldov), that because there a change of men, no witnesses need at present be called. and of public measures in consequence, Whether in a future stage it would be right that the interests of these petitioners should to have recourse to such assistance, it was be disregarded ; and what was before de- not now necessary to enquire; he should termined to be fit matter of enquiry, should on this subject reserve his opinion for the now be rejected, as immaterial and inap- proper occasion when it should be expeplicable? If these interests had any ex- dient to declare il. lle was not disposed, istence, redress ought to be given, compen- however, to be equally silent on the consations ought to be assigned ; and the ex- cluding sentiment delivered by the noble tent of these could only be ascertained by earl who had just sat down, which, if testimony. He would repeat, that he did adopted, would defeat the purposes of all not contend that evidence should now be parliamentary deliberation. He said, that beard; but he thought it extremely pro- because the house in the last session thought bable that, on further progress, it would it expedient to give its opinion on the be discovered that witnesses ought to be subject of the slave trade, it would be now examined.

inconsistent with its dignity to examine Earl Grosvenor was very anxious to do witnesses on the subject matter of this justice to all parties, but thouglit that to bill. This was to assert that their lordhear evidence in this stage of the enquiry ships were to be so bound by their would be useless, and would be a depar- former determination, that they were to be ture from the propriety of their lordships' precluded from hearing testimony as to proceedings. There were many occasions matters, however strongly urged by counsel, on which it was extremely desirable to hear and however important to the decision on evidence, especially where the subject was the merits of the present bill. Were the novel : but this was not a case of that resolutions passed during the last session sort; much testimony had already been to be considered in a more serious light supplied, which was still in the recollec- than a bill which had gone through the tion of their lordships. Indeed, so com- progressive steps, until it was finally transpletely had the question been examined, initted to the commons ? Such a bill might that resolutions had been entered into, co- be rejected, and could, in such case, be inciding with those passed in another cited as no authority by which the opinion place, that a termination should be put to of their lordships should be governed. It this nefarious trade. If the learned coun- was obvious that such resolutions were not sel wished to prove that the great lord to prevent the exercise of their delibera. Somers was auxiliary in passing certain tive functions, and thus much be thought bills favourable to the trade, or that char- it necessary to say, that these functions ters, at various times, had been granted to might remain entire and unimpaired. favour it, no depositions in the form now Lord Holland perfectly agreed with his proposed were at all necessary. If he noble friend (earl Grosvenor), and thought were desirous of shewing, that after the bill that the commentary of the noble lord who should have passed into a law, the merchants had just sat down, originated in a inisapwould be ruined, and they must throw prehension of the terins employed. The themselves upon the liberality of parlia- noble earl did not say that the previous ment, neither did this require any immedi- opinion declared, however solemnly, should ate coufirmation; the proper time to ad- preclude all examination of any future cuce such proof would be when the mea- measure connected with the same subject ; sure, productive of such effects, bad be- but he said that when such a determination come the law of the land. The same might was made, that the trade was contrary to be said as to any evidence applicable to mere the broad principles of justice and bumaspeculative propositions. After the reso- nity, it would not become the dignity of the julions their lordships had come to last house to enter into minute enquiries into year, it would not be consistent with their the precise profits, of which the adventue dignity to enter into such a mode of exa- rers would be deprived. Tbis was the senmining the fitness of their own deliberate timent expressed by the noble earl, and determinations.

supported by the general tenour of his Lord Hawkesbury said, that with regard speech ; and, on his mind, they were neither subversive of the constitutional pri- | 3dly, the catastrophe which had befallen vileges of their lordships, nor destructive the island of Dominico. How were the of their deliberative functions in any par-| lives' which had been lost tbere to be supticular.

plied ? The Duke of Clarence was of opinion Lord Holland observed, that, accord. that the counsel ought not to be allowed to ing to the speech of the learned counsel, call evidence in the present case.

His theorists
were thos

that had stated reason was, that all the evidence necessary facts as they were, and then the learned to illustrate the interests of the petitioners counsel proposed to call men of expewas before the house. Their lordships had rience to prophesy to the house the efmaterials enough before them to form their fect which this measure would produce in judgment. His royal highness, however, future. reserved to himself the right of considering The Bishop of London declared, that whether it would not be necessary to hear after the ample evidence which had been evidence on other points.

produced, particularly in the examinations Mr. Clarke was then heard as counsel before the privy council, and the discussions for the corporation of Liverpool. He which had already taken place on this asked leave to examine Mr. Foster, to subject, he much doubted whether all the shew the interest which the corporation of evidence which counsel could produce, Liverpool had in the wet docks of that port. would be sufficient to invalidate the proofs -Lord Grenville moved, that the next of the cruelty of this trade. The persons counsel be heard. Ordered.-Mr. Plumer who then gave evidence, were men of high was called in, and addressed their lordships distinction, and unquestionable veracity. as counsel for the planters, &c. of the He deprecated any delay, which might island of Jamaica. He concluded by re- prove fatal. Every moment was precious; questing the permission of the house to ex- numbers of poor Africans were now perishamine the earl of Balcarras.

ing in the holds of slave ships, and sufferThe Lord Chancellor asked what facts ing incredible hardships in the seasoning, the counsel expected lord Balcarras to which would be increased if this measure prove

were unnecessarily delayed. The motion Mr. Plumer observed, that from the was then put and carried. After Mr. long period his lordship had been governor Scarlet had been heard, of the island of Jamaica, he would be able Lord Eldon moved, “ that an humble to point out the consequence of the aboli- address be presented to his majesty, that tion of the West-India colonies.

there might be laid on the table of the Lord Grenville remarked, that it was ir- house copies of the correspondence between regular to examine witnesses at their lord- the then secretary of state and the governships' bar, who had no facts to state, but ment of Trinidad, in 1799, respecting were merely called to explain their views grants of lands to be made to any persons and opinions. Facts might be sworn to, settled in that island.” but prophecies could not. That kind of Lord Grenville said, he should not object evidence was not fit for their lordships to to this motion, but believed that no such bear, nor for others to give. He moved, permission would be found to liave been that the next counsel be called in. granted to the government of Trinidad ; as

The Duke of Clarence did not oppose the it was in the contemplation of government, motion, but he observed, that since the at that period, that if the island should reevidence was last heard on this subject by main after peace to this country, no encoutheir lordships, alterations had occurred in ragement should be given to any new and the state of the West Indies, wbich might large importation of negroes into that setrender it necessary to hear further evidence. tlement, and that no steps should be taken There were three principal points of which with respect to that island, which should bis royal highness thought it necessary to obstruct any ulterior measures respecting remind their lordships : 1st, The evacua- the abolition of the slave trade.-He then tion of the island of St. Domingo by the moved, that the order for the second British troops, which left it to be conside. reading of the bill be discharged, and that red what effect the state of that island the bill be read a second tiine to-morrow, might have on Jamaica. 2dly, the posses- clearly wishing it to be understood, that sion of the island of 'Trinidad, which was, as the debate on the main question would then to cultivation, almost in a virgin state. come on.-Agreed to.


ceedings of the said committee be laid be, Wednesday, February 4.

fore the house.--Mr. Parnell moved, that [MINUTES.) Mr. J. Fane, chairman of the order for taking the Mayo election pethe committee appointed to try the merits tition into consideration on the 24th of of the petition complaining of an undue February, be discharged, with a view to election for the borough of Thetford, re- postpone it to some early day in April

. ported that the committee had decided The precedents of the conduct adopted by that Thomas Creevey, esq. was duly elected, the house in the cases of the Aberdeen, and ought to have been returned ; and Dublin, and Londonderry election petithat James Mingay, esq. was not duly elections, he urged as the grounds upon which ted, and ought not to have been returned, the party founded his motion. The absence and that the petition was not frivolous nor of a material witness, the circumstance of vexatious.--Sir G. Heathcote, chairman of an eminent barrister, who was engaged to the Maldon election committee, reported, support the petition, being absent on other that it had determined that B. Gaskill, esq. professional avocations, and a matter of was not duly elected, and that Charles general consideration in such cases, the Western, esq. was duly elected, and ought distance of the place, he conceived to be 10 have been returned, and that the oppo- additional grounds for inducing the bouse sition to the petition was not frivolous por to comply with the object of his motion. vexatious. Mr. Atkyns Wright, from the Mr. Corry opposed the motion, as be select committee appointed to try and de- could not possibly see that there was any termine the merits of the Petition com- analogy between the cases, wbich the bon. plaining of an undue election and return member had cited as precedents, and that for the borough of Penryn, informed the which was the subject of the present mo. house, that the said committee have deter- lion. lo the county of Mayo there were mined, that sir Christopher Hawkins, bart. is nearly 8000 freeholders, and about three not duly elected; that Henry Swann, t-sq. fourths of those who voted had polled in is duly elected ; that John Trevanjon, esq., favour of the sitting member. It was also the petitioner, ought to have been returned; to be recollected, that the witnesses might that the said John Trevanjon, esq. is duly be examined by cominission in the county elected; that the said petitions did not of Down, and adjoining county. The galeither of them appear to the said commit-lery was then cleared, but the house did tee to be frivolous or vexatious; and also not divide, and the motion was begatived. that the opposition of sir C. Hawkins to [ORDER IN COUNCIL RESPECTING NEU. the said petitions did not appear to be fri- TRAL VESSELS.) Mr. Perceral rose purvolous or vexatious. The deputy clerk of suant to the notice he bad given above a forithe crown was ordered to attend the house night since, for the purpose of moving for to-morrow to amend the said returns. the production of the Order of Council of Mr. Atkyns Wright also acquainted the the 7th of January last, relative to vessels house, that the said select committee had sailing from port to port, such ports recome to several Resolutions, which they spectively being in the possession of France had directed him to report to the house; or of her allies ;-a paper which, when and he read the report in his place, and af- produced, the house, he had no doubt, terwards delivered it in at the table, where would think deserving of their inost serious the same was read, and is as followeth, viz. attention. But, bowever important the "Resolved, that it appears to this committee, subject, and bowever serious the considera. that sir Christopher Hawkins, bart, has, by tion which the paper deserved, yet he aphimselfand agents,been guilty of bribery and prebended that he might appear to want corrupt practices, to intluence the last elec- an apology for himself, for having given to tion for the borough of Penryn. That John the motion which he was about to submit Stona the elder, James Edgcombe, the rev. to the bouse, so much pomp and solemais, Rubert Dillon, and otber persons, being by a notice so extended. Because, when electors for the said borough of Penryn, it was understood that this motion was were engaged in, aud parties to, the said merely for the prodaction of a paper which bribery and corrupt practices," Ordered, was already before the public, and known that the said report be taken into further to all; which must have been in the pos. consideration on the 23d instant; that the session of every one accustomed to enter & said report be printed for the members of coffee-house, or read a newspaper for more tbe bouse; and that the minutes of the pro- than a month, which, in order to give it every possible publicity, authenticity, andsion involving so many extraordinary con authority, bad been inserted in the Loudon siderations, and charged with doctrines Gazette; and which, from its reference to and principles so entirely new. The abia the law of nations, and the regulation of lities of the noble lord opposite, the eloneatral trade, was in its nature calculated quence with which he always enforced to excite attention; he was apprehensive his sentiments, and the influence which that those who were not in the house on the justly and naturally belonged to the staother night when this matter was under tion he held, rendered it unwise to opconsideration, might suppose that he was pose bim without having first made that acting an idle and injudicious part, in preparation which was essential to the giving a distant notice of a motion for the discussion which was to result from agiproduction of a document which every one cating so important a question under such would consider, at the first view, as a thing extraordinary circumstances. But, it to be granted of course. In this situation he would be obvious to every one who was felt it due to himself to state the real cir. acquainted with the principles of parliacumstances of the case.-When he first in- mentary proceedings, and more strikingly tended to make this motion, he naturally so to those who were acquainted with the concluded that there could be no objection principles inaintained by the noble lord to it, and that it would of course be com- and his friends, while they sat on the side plied with, and therefore he gave notice of the house from which he (Mr. P.) that he would move for the paper on the now addressed the chair, what a novel following day. On his coming to the house and extraordinary, what an unparliamenfor that purpose, the noble lord opposite tary and unconstitutional doctrine it was, (Howick) very openly and candidly stated that no motion for papers should be ofthat it was his intention to oppose it. He fered to the house unless it should, at the conceived that the ground of objection same time, be shewn, that no proceeding must be that the paper was already before was to be founded on those papers but the public, and that therefore the produce such as government would countenance. tion of it was useless and unnecessary. He hoped the house would not counteBut it was adınitted that when any subse- nance a precedent as different from its quent motion was intended to be founded former practice as the noble lord's docupou any great public document, the re-trine was from the tenets he and his friends gular and ordinary mode of proceeding was had forinerly maintained. He had been to bring that document formally before the disposed to think the noble lord would bouse. lle therefore found that this was have anticipated this motion by some prenot the ground of objection. He was desi- vious statement, either to defend his printous, however, that the house should be in ciple or to withdraw his opposition. The possession of the real ground, whatever it paper itself was a measure of government, might be, and therefore requested the published with great care and anxiety, noble lord to state openly, whether that and intended to be acted upon. Ministers was his objection, or whether he had a dif- admitted, that the ground of objection ferent one. The noble lord accordingly was not, that the paper would be made stated that this was not the ground on which known by this motion, but that it would be he meant to object to his motion. He ad- rendered 100 public. The paper was al- . mitted that the regular and proper mode ready known over this country, it was open

of proceeding, with a view to a subse to the inspection of all men; it was known [quent motion, was to move, in the first over all Europe ; and yet after all, the

instance, for the production of the do- only persons, who were not to be allowed cuinent on which it was to be founded. to see the paper, were those who were But the noble lord stated, that he would called upon particularly to discuss it. The oppose it, because lie could not antici- representatives of the people, who were pate any measure that could be founded to approve, or to disapprove what was on it, to which he should not feel it his done in the interests of their constituents, duty to object; and therefore, he would were refused the means by which to dia not even go so far as to countenance rect their judgement. He was persuaded that subsequent measure, by acceding to the house would feel that this relusal the production of the paper. Under was no less unprecedented than it was unthese circumstances, he was unwilling to principled; and if the trouse should at se bring the house prematurely to a uisti. don their right to call for paper: wf ...

nature, they would abandon the means of plete circle. The magnitude of the mea. prosecuting any enquiry into measures of sure was a sufficient ground for the proadministration, and establish a principle duction of the paper : and, even if the nowhich would be in the highest degree dis- ble lord could satisfy the house that it was advan:ageous, and would be attended not probable, that upon discussion, any with the most deplorable and ruinous con- fault could be found with the measures sequences. The ordinary grounds of ob- which had been adopted, still that would jection were not stated in this case; not be a proper ground for refusing to acthere was no mention of any inconveni- cede to this motion. But here nyinisters ence that would attend the production of were so confident, that they would not this paper ; no mention of the length of even allow the house to deliberate upon the time which would be required to prepare case, to point out any errors, or to shew it; no mentiou of the trouble and labour wbere improvements and useful alterations to which the public offices would be ex- might be introduced. They would not posed. It was not stated that it was from even allow them to consider whether any any idle curiosity that it was called for, such alterations were required. He could and, what was the most serious objection, not conceive how, for the credit of the it was not stated that any mischief could measure itself, they could resist discusarise from that publicity wbich would be sion. If the ineasure was a wise one, it the consequence of discussion; for the pa- would well bear discussion, and it would per was already as publicly known as it be advantageous to government, that it could be. Uuder these circumstances, should be seen and shewn), for then the could the house refuse to accede to his government itself would rise in credit and motion? The subject was acknowledged estimation, and the wbole measure would to be of a magnitude to require the atten- be much more complete and satisfactory. tion of parliament, and the production of But, if there was any other opinion respectthe papers was resisted inerely upon the ing the measure ; if there were doubts as ground that no motion was to be founded to its wisdom or its policy, then ivdeed, on it to which government was disposed he could conceive, that there might be obto give its approbation. Then suppose, for jections to the production of this paper, the sake of argument, that it was admitted and that the subsequent motion would not that the noble lord would be able to sa- be such as would be agreeable to the noble tisfy the house that there were no grounds lord. If there was a little consciousness for any subsequent motion; suppose it that the measure could not be defended on atould be admitted that after discussion principle, and that there was a defect in the the house ought to be perfectly satisfied execution ; if, where there ought to be viwith what had been already done by mi- gour, there was languor; if, where there nisters, and should be of opinion that they ought to be strength, there was weakness ; acted wisely and properly in doing no more then the noble lord might be disposed to though this should be conceded, did it oppose the motion. This led him to say therefore follow that the necessity for dis- that the house might reasonably doubt cussion was superseded, or that the house whether the alleged ground of opposition ought to rest on the authority of any mi-constituted the real one. ' If the reason of nister who should take it upon himself to his opposition was that which he alleged, dictate to the house, and say, that enough namely, an unwillingness, so far to counhad been done, and that there was no need tenance any future motion that might be of discussion? He never beard reasoning founded on this paper, as to agree to its more completely irregular than that upon production, he might say tbat he would not which the noble lord seemed disposed to pledge himself to agree to any subsequent rest his case. It was admitted ihat the motion, and he might even disavow the document ought to be on the table, in or- implication which his assent might possibly der to lay the foundation for discussiou. occasion. This would put him exactly in The document therefore was necessary to the situation in which he said he desired lay the ground of dicussion; but we could to be placed. But really it was scarcely Rot get the paper without first entering possible for him to conceive any rational upon the discussion; therefore the discussion ground of objection to this motion. There was necessary in order to procure the paper, were iwo objections only which could posand yet there could be no discussion till the sibly enter into his imagination. First, paper was produced. This was a com- it might be desirable for the noble lord to

« AnteriorContinuar »