Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

tion, he only said that unconstitutional inter on the merits of his majesty's ministers, and ference could not have come through the on the general principle which governed Treasury without his knowledge ; for other them during the late election. departments he had distinctly stated others Mr. Tierney observed, that the opener would be responsible.

and seconder of the motion had, at least, Mr. Charles Jenkir:son rose, and in a the merit of baving been candid and explicit maiden speech, addressed the house as fols in their statement of facts, and these being lows:- 1 rise, Sir, with feelings of pride and completely in the possession of the house, satisfaction, to acknowledge myself as one there was no occasion to go into a committee of those who have lent their names to the for the purpose of further investigation. petition which at present engages the atten- What further had the house to learn? The tion of the house. I subscribed it from the hon. baronet had read the papers once, strong conviction I felt of the truth of its and some of them even twice, and had allegations, and with an ardent hope that made his observations upon them. What, the house of commons would interpose its tben, could be gained by going into a coinconstitutional protection between the privi- mittee ? And he would ask, whether such a leges of the elective body, and the destruc- breach of privilege had been proved, as tive strides of ministerial encroachment. rendered the matter worthy of investigatior: These feelings origiuated in my mind, not by a committee of privileges ? It had been from the solitary case of the county of stated, that he had said that the petitiou Southampton; they were justified by the had been too long delayed. He had said conduct and hostility which I myself ex- so, and avowed it. It was signed, he obperienced, as one of those individuals served, by several members of parliament, against whom the shaits of ministerial in- and these might have brought forward the fluence were strongly, but unsuccessfully business without any petition, and ouglit directed. At Dover, for which port I have to liave done it the tirst momeut it was the honour of being a representative, there are possible. Such was the anxiety of the two parties; the one immediately under the house to consider questions of privilege, influence of the Victualling Board, the other that they had the pecedence of every controuled by the Ordnance Department. other business, and this question might From such causes, a nuuber of the electors have been discussed even before his mahad determined to give ove voie at the re- jesty's speech. The inference he drew from quest of the principais in these respective this was, that they did not think this breach branches, reserving to then selves the right of privilege as one of much consequence, of supporting me with the second. This and had accordingly allowed it to sleep for determination was not in unison will the a time for some purpose or other. It had inclinations of his majesty's government, been said, he did not know with what truth, and a communication was absolutely made that it was in order to find the right petito all persons in the various gradations of tion; which su hon. menber bad signed, employment under the boards I have men- supposing it to be anottier petition, and he tionell, that whoever voted for ny return, was sorry he was not present, for if he had would be dispossessed of the situation he beld been in the house, be thought it possible he and be actually deprived of his livelihood. would have confessed that he did not know To the honour of some of my constituents, wliat he had signed. llis hon. friend (Mr. they waited on me, and apprised me of Fremantle) bad observed, that he had no their intention to adhere to their promises, previous notice of the charge which it was even at the hazard of their personal inte ineant to bring against him. But what could rests. The house will do me the justice to be said of an hon. geut. (Mr. Jeffery,) who believe, that, under such circumstances, I had brought a most serious charge against inmediately released them from their pre- an hon. member, not only without notice, vious engagements to me; whilst the fear but even in his absence? A more indecoof ministerial persecution operated so much rous, a more unprecedented proceeding, and with others, as to force them, at the altar of a conduct more improper from one gentletheir God, to disregard the sacred pledge man to another never was witnessed.-(A they had given; the place of election being loud cry of order, order.) there held in the Church, by a peculiar Mr. Spencer Stanhope rose and said, custom. From this plain statement, the that during the long time that he had sat in kouse and the country will be able to decide parliament, he never beard more improper and more unparliamentary language from there was no order, but merely a request one gentleman to another. He called upon that general Hewitt should assist one who the Chair to say whether that was proper was the writer's particular friend. He language to use in that house.

would ask whether the house ought to The Speaker said, that certainly in the waste one moment by going into such a sense in which the hon. gent. understood committee as was proposed? If general them, the words might as well have been Hewitt was here, and if the question should spared.

be put lo lim, whether he had received the Mr. Torney in continuation asked, wlie-letter, he would answer that he had ; that ther it could be thought that it was his ob- he had sent it to major Davies, and that ject to make two gentlemen quarrel ? If his major Davies wrote that he would not go words could be supposed to have that ten- without the consent of bis commanding of dency, the hon. gent. had to be sure very ticer; and that he, general Hewitt, had much mended the matter. He would not, told major Davies, that if he went it however, be led away by the broad lint would not -be at the public expence. All which the hon. gent. had thrown out. A this was perfectly well known, and there right hon. gent. over the way (Mr. Rose) was therefore no occasion for going into a had said on a former niglit, that this was commiltee. The hon. baronet knew the unprecedented conduct on the part of voters, and yet he could specify none that government. Such a petition as this might, had been procured by corrupt practices. indeed, be called unprecedented, and yet None were given or withheld in conseafter all the search of the right hon. quence of threats. He could collect yo gent. he could find nothing but thus charge, precedents, because no opposition ever prewhich in truth amounted to nothing. If sented such a petition. He detied them to it had been brought in as an illustration of shew one instavce in which a threat had something else, as other illustrations had been employed by government to influence been made use af, then it might have been a vote. If any such instance could be good for something, but as it stood now it shewn, it certainly sliould not have his was nothing. What was the letter? It was countenance. To ask a inan for bis vote one by which his hon. friend begged a fa- was no offence whatever, but to threaten to vour of another person. To be sure; if turn bim out of office unless he voted for he had been an older practitioner lie might a particular person was certainly a breach have dated his letter from Stanhope-street, of privilege. But nothing of this sort was where he lived, and sent it by bis servant. charged. Gentlemen might say what they That was the whole of the argument with pleased in their speeches, but all that they fespect to the date from the Treasury proved was, that a letter had been sent from Chambers. But the gentlemen on the the treasury chambers, wbich au old praeother side were all aghast at the Treasury titioner would have dated from a different Chambers. But general Hewitt would place. This was the whole of the proof, know very well who Mr. Fremantle was, and, he would ask whether, after all the without the mention of the Treasury Cham- abuse which had been heaped upon governbers, and could no doubt tell, at any rate, ment, they did not rise in credit when it what part government would wish him to was perceived on wbat frivolous grounds all take. If the letter had been sent to general this abuse was founded? The hon. barovet Hewitt to be handed about, to be sure that might wish to go into a committee; and if would have been another matter. But there was any thing new to be proved, then, it was a private letter entirely. Then, when it was known what it was, it would be what effects had it been attended with proper to consider whether the motion What advantage had it produced? It was not should be agreed to. . But really this petipretended that it had' produced any. The tion was the most extraordinary, and on the fact was known. His hon. friend had sent part of the members of parliament who a letter to general Hewitt, general Hewitt bad signed it, one of the most foolish that applied to major Davies, and major Davies he had ever witnessed. Out of 12 votes, refused to comply with the request, except there were 6 or 7 members of parliament he had permission to go from his comman- who thus presented a petition to themselves. der in chief. 'Did this look like a deep laid No county meeting had been called. A plan? The resolution of the house against certain number of gentlemen in opposition interference meant the exercise of improper had, after 9 weeks consideratior, at last influence; it supposed an order. But here framed this petition, and got son.e of their tenants and dependants to sign it. He knew gent. and those about him. It was f. :1.tnone of these voters except the members of nate for the country that those geo!'esed parliament. However, said the right hon. were now placed in a situation in it's gent. you view this measure, or in whatever their infiuence upon the councils of te way the house may please to consider it, it vereign, and the share they had in dire: will be found a mere partything, manufactur- the measures of parliament, gave them : ed for party purposes, and which certainly re-opportunity of carrying into effect their in flects no credit on the manufacturer. But, upon this subject. The public woulli? sir, the hoř. gentlemen are young in op- know what were the hon. gent.'s impa.es position, and as all trades must have a be- and correct ideas with respect to the list ginning, we may fairly infer, that that great for which they clamoured so loudly brin... reformer, the right hon. gent. on the other The whole of the parliamentary refor... side (Mr. Rose), may, in the course of meant to carry into efiect was, the unila's... some few years, arrive at considerable emi- and barefaced interposition of that g? 0:!?; nence on the opposite bench—a laugh) ment influence, the exertion of which, ?e? Again, I do insist that no case has been without foundation, imputed to othe: made out to warrant a proceeding, never vernments as the worst of crimes. liri instituted but against an actual infringe- argued by the hon. gent. that becaii : ..: ment of the privileges of this house, or a and his friends had thought proper ('. violation of the liberties of the people. mer occasions to prefer groundless For the extravagant length to which party plaints of this nature, they might roi :( views may drive hon. gentleinen, I can ality retort the evil, tenfold, and live in make some allowance; but there are limits the way the hon. gent. and his frien', si'. to party feelings, which should not be over- deemed their pledges of parliament's leaped; and, indeed, I must declare my form. The hon. gent, told the hout, conviction, that a question of this kind and it ought to see no ground of suspicio.. description, coming from such a quarter, letter written by the secretary of the can provoke no other sensation than that sury to the head of a principal der of disgust (Hear! hear!) That a Secretary of the public service, a department 1.1 of the Treasury, for the last 16 years, un- greater influence in Hampshire than i. ;,'Y der all the well known and admitiéd circum- other county, to use his influence in tim!.. stances of those 16 years, should accuse a of a particular candidate. He nuii present Secretary of unjust interference in hiinself say, that such a letter was a g4..! the rights of election, and of an unconstitu- for pronouncing the writer and h: tional system of inenace, in promoting that cipals guilty. But he thought the 1.1: influence, is one of those extreme examples would hardly be of opinion that there ng of human audacity, which the history of an not in it strong ground for suspicit. ...] irritated faction can only display.

for inquiry. He professed the higen;" Sir H. Mildmay in explanation said, he pect for the hon. gent. whose han ". bad stateci only the written evidence. coupled with the charge preferred in There was much other evidence ready to petition. He had never heard the in be produced before the committee, not gent.'s name mentioned otherwise thinh only with respect to the interference of the respect, except in the petition. lie io il treasury, but also of other departments of never witnessed a more honourable, ... government, and particularly involving the candid, or a more affecting appear is the conduct of the comptroller of the pavy. sense of the !:ouse, than the hon. geit. lir

Mr. Canning hoped that the right hon. made. There was no part of that I gent. who' spoke last on the other side, which was not creditable to the hora : !1 would perinit him to qualify his observation, as an individual. Any complaint ile bis that nothing was so extraordinary as a mo- interposition in the election might be.. tion of this kind proceeding from the quar- to, could attach only to his official care ter in which it originated, by telling him, Nothing was more true than ibat ile ; that it was equally extraordinary that such sons composing a government were 174.: a motion should meet with such a recep- qualified from exerting their rights os i tion in the quarter in which it was opposed.viduals

, in common with every other In the earlier part of his parliamentary life, ject; but they should cxert them vii. a he remembered motions of parliamentary tion, so that it should always appert :.. reform, strongly urged by the right hon. the individual right they exerted, it's VOL. VIII.

3D

the power and influence of the government. a principle more unjust and more outraThe hon. gent. might have written to bis geous than any he had ever heard mainprivate connections and dependants, with tained. The petitiou which had been alluall possible zeal and ardour to exert them-ded to by the hon. gent. and in which the selves to promote the election of his friends. mover and seconder of the present motion But the ground of complaint was, that the were complainants, was exactly similar to letter was addressed, not by Mr. Fremantle, the present; tie only difference was, that a gentleman of property and a freeholder sonie of those who then complained of the of Hampshire, to general llewitt, a person invasion, argued vow, that it would be of private_connection in that county, but foolish to listen to a complaint of similar from Mr. Fremantle, secretary of the trea- invasion. The complaint was then backed sury, to general Hewitt, head of the bar- by lord Carnarvon, and now lord Carnarvon rack department, claiming the exertions of was on the other side. That was the only his influence through all the rawitications, difference between the cases. The general connections, and dependancies of that de principle of the hon. gent. was, that wepartment. It could not justly be assumed, cause llampshire was used to being wrong. that this was the only instance of the undue ed, its wrongs should never be redressed; interposition of government in this election for when injuries of the brighest magnitude The expression of his hon. friend “ Es uno were stated, it was thought quite sufficient disce omnes,” was in itself an assurance in bar of redress to turn round short, and that there were many similar instances; and state, that others had been guilty of similar the petition stated this one, only as a spe. invasious. There was another peculiarity cimen of a multitude of other facts which with respect to Hampshire, that the case on were to be brought forward, and which the which the house came to the resolution, petitioners were ready to prove. It was not condemning the duke of Chandos, arose in for him to say, how far the allegations of that county. The resolution of the house the petition would be made out; but as a upon that case declared it to be highly crimember of parliament, he would say, that minal, and a breach of the privileges of the petitioners having stated such facts, and the honse, to be visited by severe anihaving declared themselves ready to prove madversions, that an officer of the governthem, it would require much stronger rea- ment should interfere directly or indirectly sons than he bad heard, to justify the dis- in the election of members to serve in the missal of the petition without proper alten- commous house of parliament. If the intion and respect. The hon. gent. towards terference in that instance were compared the close of his speech, cited a former in- with the interference in the present instance, stance of a friend of his (Mr. Jervoise), 10 man would hesitate to say, that the inwho had been turned out of the represen- terference in the present instauce was more tation of the county of Hants, by the inter- direct and immediate. It was argued, that position of the power of governinent; and the duke of Chandios was as a peer probibitthe hon. gent. argued from this, that the ed from interfering by law; but it was his interposition of government to turn out the interference as an oflicer of government old representative in the present instance, that the resolution stigmatized. Another was but a fair reprisal. But what excuse complaint was, that the facts contained in the was it to the freeholders of the county of complaints of the petitioners had not been Ilants, that their independence was to be brought forward as soon as the bon, gent. continually invaded, because the reprisal opposite wished, that they were not prepared was allowable on the part of those who as the hon. gent. wished, that they were not inight happen to be at the time in pouer, the same facts lie wished; other modes of and whose friend might have formerly re- bringing the matter forward ought to have ceived a wrong, which they thought proper been resorted to, according to the opinions to retaliate? But, was it to be argued or of the hon. gent. and individuals ought not suffered, that from this assumed right of to have been feasted and pampered up for party reprisal, the county of Hants should the purpose of sacrificing them on the occabe eternally disfranchised? If such repri- sion a laugh). It was very likely that the sals were suffered, it could be only on entertainment, as it was served up at prethe principle, that as Hampshire was accus- sent, was not to the taste of the hon. genti; tomed to such invasions of its rights, it could but was it to be argued, that when goverzsuffer no pain from any fresh instance of it; meut had invaded the rights and iudepeo. dence of a county, and pleaded custoin as silent, had not the arguments offered ou the a ground for denying redress, the house of opposite called for these observations. He coinmons should refuse to inquire into the had hoped that such a petition, moved and grounds of a petition complaining of the seconded by such persons, would have met injury, and invade another right of the sub- with universal concurrence. He was ready to ject, merely because the form of the petition allow, that if the petitioners could not prove in question might be disagreeable to those their allegations, the strength of the lan wbose crime was its substance? Was the guage in which they expressed their com house to call for and compare all rough plaints ought to subject them to some cendrafts, and amendınents of the several peti- sure. But that the strength of the language tions that had been skeiched previous to should be made a ground for rejecting the the one finally presented? Was the house, petision, when those who signed it proin assuming a right which it did not pos- fessed themselves ready to prove their alsess, to lose sight of the due exercise of a legations, was what appeared to him most duty which was incumbent upon it? He extraordinary and most unjustifiable, and had heard it was maintained in another therefore he would give one vote at least to place, that the influence of government was preserve the house from the censure that a sort of paternal influence, which might must fill upon it, if the petition should be as properly be exercised over the people as dismissed without proper consideration. that of a laullord over the tenant. He Mr. William Adam considered this as had not heard that sentiment uttered liere a question of general parliamentary law, so broadly. But when so important a per- which ought to be discussed upon general son as the secretary of the treasury stated principles. He thought the coucluding any thing bordering upon it, it became the doctrines of the right hon. gent.'s speech house to guard against it in the outset, par- were not fit to be delivered in that house. ticularly when that secretary of the trea- He thought, besides, that it was not candid sury stated that he had come into office or fair for those gentlemen who were long at a critical period, and that the whole in the habit of speaking in that house, who business of the elections was in his hands. had learned the perfect management of He was glad to find the hon. gent. had their ideas in the delivery of them, and who, estates in Hampshire ; but lie could not in the midst of their speech, could exercise have estates in every county, or bonses in their judgment and deliberation on every every borough. He must think, upon the sentence they uttered, to lay hold so eagerwhole of the circumstances, that the letter ly of an expression that fell from a memto general Hewitt was written, not as a let- ber who was ulterly inexperienced in pubter from one private treetokler to another, Ilic speaking, and who immediately exbut in the character of Mr. Fremantle, plained that expression which at first sight secretary to the treasury, liaving the charge appeared so objectionable. He did not of managing the general election, to the think it was fair or candid to take such person at the head of the barrack depart. :D advantage of a mere slip of the tonguement, claiming the exertion of bis extensive a lapsus linguæ of a member inexperienced influence. But it was argued the house in debaix. This was a question which cerought to have po jealousy of a petition tainly was not to be determined by the pecomplaining of this interference, and an culiar circumstances of Hampshire, but hon. gent. who represented the county of upon the general constitutional law. In Hants, recommended that the petition should the first place, it could uot be said that be dismissed, and thrown back with dis- there was any act of parliament which pregrace upon the heads of those who had vented a Secretary of the Treasury from preferred it. This would bardly be of canvassing, as well as any other man, for service to the bon. gent. in another similar those persons whose interest he espoused. erisis of difficulty, whether he might or There was a positive law which disfraumight not happen to have a friend in the chised certain revenue officers, but that situation of secretary to the treasury, and did not at all apply to the case of the secrehaving a freehold in Hampshire. He had tary of the treasury. If there was no act trusted that it would not have been neces- which bore upon the present case, neither sary for him to speak upon this question ; was there any resolution of that house, and though he had a high respect for some The resolution of 1779 was on very differof the petitioners, he would have remained ent grounds. It had been resolved, tha

« AnteriorContinuar »