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the noble lord had been more unconstitu- deed was to him a complete proof that tional than the conduct of the late duke of secret influence had not existed in the Portland and a right hon. gent. now out way in which it was supposed to exist ; of office, with respect to the secret advice for otherwise, was it credible that secret given by them, and affecting a noble lord advice should be detected in twenty days who was their colleague. His idea of the after its communication? A danger greater affair was, that lord Chatham had acted than that arising from secret influence apimproperly, not as a cabinet counsellor, peared to him to have threatened the conbut as a general of the army, and he stitution on the coalition of lord North and wished that some resolution should be Mr. Fox-namely, the union of all the adopted to prevent the recurrence in fu- aristocratical families of the country. He ture of such a proceeding. He was not would not vote for the previous question, prepared to agree to the strong resolutions neither would he vote for the bonourable proposed, which would go to disable the gentleman's resolutions; but he wished noble lord from serving his Majesty in that the House would record on their jourfuture-to that length he would not go. nals some resolution, which would effecHe had not the bonour of being much tually prevent any person in the naval or known to lord Chatham.-Were it not military service of his Majesty, from ap. indeed for the peculiar circumstances of proaching his Majesty with a narrative of the case, he should not have boasted of his conduct in any other way.than through being at all known to the noble lord; but the medium of the constituted authorities. he would say, that eyery one who had the Lord Folkestone agreed so far with the honour to be acquainted with him, must hon. gent. who had just sat down, that he be aware that of the various public men thought the cry of secret influence bad in the country no one was more eminent been much exaggerated, that it was in for candour, fairness, and sincerity. In truth little more than a bug-bear; it was the proceeding which he had adopted, not therefore on the ground of secret inthe noble lord must have been led into an fluence that he should vote for the resoerror. He was sure that the hon. mover lutions proposed. It was a principle in the of the resolutions would not believe in his constitution that the King could do no cooler moments that ļord Chatham's Nara | wrong, and it was also a priuciple in the rative was presented to his Majesty, with constitution, that the King's advisers dark, maligvant, and insidious views. He should be responsible to the country for did not deny that the Narrative contained the consequences of their advice. Now imputations on the navy, but he denied he contended, that if advice was allowed that the noble lord was actuated by mo. to be given in the same manner as lord tives such as those ascribed to him by the Chatham had communicated his Narrative, hon. gentleman. It appeared that the and with the same request of secrecy, that noble lord had been sent to execute à ser- it would be impossible to be furnished vice which could not be performed. To with that overt act, which was indespenobviate the effects of public censure he sibly necessary to be possessed of to mahad, too hastily perhaps, prepared his vin- nifest the intention of the individual. A dication, and had presented it to that per- gallant officer who had opened the deson whose estimation he was most solicit- bate, had said much upon the unfairness of ous to preserve.-With regard to the imputing motives to lord Chatham: he secret intluence which it was asserted had seemed to have the advantage of being in existed during the whole of the present possession of that noble lord's motives, but reign, he could not conceive how it could he turned from motive to fact--from inbe going on for fifty years without any tention to mal-conduct. Why, that hon. one pointing his finger and venturing to general could not well dispute that lord say “there is the man.” During the long Chatham had, in the conduct he had puradministrations of lord North and Mr. Pitt, sued, been influenced by certain motives no such discovery was made. He could be those motives what they might. Now not believe it then to exist. The public as for him (lord Folkestone) he had had long imputed to lord Bute that he was no other way of judging of any man's mothe secret adviser of the crown; but it tives than by, his actions; and he conwas now a well known historical fact, that fessed that in the present instance he so far from being the adviser of the crown, thought lord Chatham's conduct of a nalord Buté complained of having been neg. ture to warrant the strongest suspicion of lected by it. The present detection in his motives. What has been in fact the conduct of lord Chatham ? He drew up a that had not the same advantage; and an, secret Narrative of a great public trans- ticipating that judgment which was only action, and presented it to the King, with to be formed upon the fair public sources an annexed condition of secrecy; and this of open investigation. The priuciples of Narrative contained more than insinua- the constitution had no magic in them; tions against the navy. Yet no shadow, they required no extraordinary intellect no trace, no feature could now be recalled to understand, or to apply them; they to the mind of that noble lord, of that part were the plain principles of common which he had written of which he had re- sense. The question respecting the con, pented after it had been left to do its work duct of lord Chatham was not of inconsiupon the royal mind for a month. The derable importance at a time when the gallant officer had asked, was there any standing army was maintained upon so ex thing clandestine in the noble lord's pro- tensive a scale. A standing army had alceedings; He would answer, that he ways in this free country been thought knew of nothing that could be more clan- dangerous to liberty ; therefore the com. destine. The presentation of the paper mon sense of the constitution made the was obviously clandestine ; it contained civil and military duties of the subject charges, or, at least, insinuations, and yet, not merely differing from each other in though avowed to be exculpatory of the precedence, but wholly dissimilar accorparty presenting it, was required to be ding to every form of distinction. It was kept secret. He acknowledged that such most dangerous therefore, to countenance conduet did awaken in his mind strong, that illegal conjunction of them, by nay, the strongest suspicions of bad mo.
was made accessary to the tives.It had been said by an hon. gent. other, and both ruinous to the regulated on the floor (Mr. Bankes,) that it was order of general liberty. We had now in dangerous to visit an act with punishment pay, in addition to that standing army, where the offence was not clearly laid which the pressure of the times induced us down and defined. He agreed with that to tolerate, an immense body of foreigners, hon. gent., but did not think the observa- there were not less than thirty battalions. tion applied to the case before the House. A district of Great Britain had been lately No man could be ignorant of the degree, commanded by a foreign officer, a man nature, and extent of lord Chatham's of..neither a native, nor naturalized in our fence, who was not ignorant of the consti- country. Might not this alien to the tation itself; and he thought that the pro- country use the privilege, of which he position of the hon. gent would have ap- found a precedent in lord Chatham's conplied more fairly, and might have been duct, and by virtue of his office as a genemore justly admitted as a plea in the case ral (for it was admitted that tord of an unfortunate man (we presume Mr. Chatham delivered his Narrative in Gale Jones,) who had lately fallen onder that capacity.) approach the throne, the displeasure of the House, and who was assail the royal ear with his representahow sufferiøg punishment for an alledged tions, poison the royal nrind, offence, which gentlemen might find it while the nation were stupidly gazing on difficult to reduce within the limits of a le- the daring act which their weakness pergitimate definition, or to refer to any one mitted, overturn the constitution ? great principle of the constitution, of Mr. Adum-rose and spoke as follows: which that alledged offence was a viola- Sir; It is my intention to delay the tion ; but upon that topic he would say House but a very short time, and I sinno more, as he understood that it would cerely believe that I shall literally fulfil shortly be distinctly submitted to the con- that intention. But I entertain a most sideration of the House. With respect to anxious desire to state the grounds upon the conduct of lord Chatham, in giving in which I shall support the present questhis Narrative, be thought it highly cen- tion; and my anxiety to do so has resurable, and principally so because it ap- ceived much additional force, indeed, by peared to him that that noble lord had the manner in which the motion has been given in that statement not as a peer, not opposed by my learned friend on the other as a privy counsellor, but as a general of side of the House (Mr. Stephen) and by keer. He had obtruded upon his Majes- the hon. gent. on ihe lower part of the ty a military report--a military report ex. row from which I speak (Mr. Bankes.) clusive in its nature, and yet bearing re- The question is, in its very nature and ferrence in every line of it to that party essence, of vital consequence to the cons stilution; and the manner in which it | by a desire, which is in the nature of has been treated by the two gentlemen, an advice, to keep it secret ; being taken to whom I have referred, has rendered it back-delivered again-and then, by his in that respect, if possible, still more so. Majesty's own act, ordered to be given I have no hesitation in saying, that, if the to the secretary of state. doctrine which they have promulgated is However, Sir, before I enter into the acted upon in this House, there is a com- consideration of the question to which plete and entire end of the constitution of those communications, thus stripped of this free country.
every concomitant incident, give rise ; I I sincerely regret, Sir, that the earl of cannot help expressing my utter surprise Chatham is the person who has fallen into and astonishment, that my learned friend this most unfortunate situation. I regret (Mr. Stephen,) a lawyer of great knowthat the predicament in which he is placed ledge, ability, and experience—that the compels ine to pronounce his conduct to hon. gent. (Mr. Bankes,) an old member have been that which the second resolu- of parliament (whom I have known for tion expresses, in my opinion, with per- 30 years, and whose diligent attention to fect accuracy, and with most becoming his duty in all that time I must in general moderation. I have sometimes had the recognise and praise,) should ask, “Where honour to meet that noble lord in society, is the charter-were is the statute—where where it was impossible not to be gratified is the written decree” which has been with his demeanour: and in the inter- violated by this proceeding of the earl of course of business, in which I have seen Chatham? What! when the great body him two or three times, I have found him of the municipal law of the country, the most accommodating in point of access, common law of England is technically most clear, distinct, and unassuming in characterized as unwritten, does a lawyer discussion. But when called upon as a ask that question ? When the great and member of parliament, conscientiously most valuable part of the law of parliament and uprightly to form an opinion, and give and of the constitution has never been ina vote upon a motion founded on the con- serted in any charter, statute, or written duct which the noble lord has pursued re- decree, does an old and experienced memspecting his Narrative, I have no choice- ber of parliament ask that question ? I must take the fact as it stands, without And are those gentlemen yet to learn that considering who the actor was in the it is from the practice of parliament, from transaction, and divesting myself of all the usage of our ancestors, confirmed and individual bias, pronounce my opinion perfected by the invaluable usage of mo. on the question before us.
dern times, that we are to derive the law In forming the opinion which I am of parliament and of the constitution? The about to deliver, I have made it my busi- practice of the constitution forms the law ness to strip the subject of all extraneous of the constitution. And if it shall apmatter, and of every thing not bearing pear that the proceeding of lord Chatham, directly on the issue. With that view 1 with respect to this Narrative, was a violay out of the question all that has been re- lation of clear established practice, who lied upon on the one side and the other, can pretend to deny, that because the respecting the facts and circumstances principle which has been violated does which lord Chatham has given in evi- not appear in a charter or a statute, or in dence. I put the case (and that is all that a written decree, that therefore it was not is necessary in the view which I take of unconstitutional ? I take upon myself to this, in my conception the most momen- say then, that the delivery of the Narratous constitutional question that has been tive to his Majesty by lord Chatham-the discussed in the long period of my public advice to keep it secret the taking it life) upon the facts that lord Chatham de- back, and delivering it again; in short, livered his Narrative to the king that it is that the whole transaction was an uncon. a public document, containing an account stitutional act. of his conduct as commander of the forces Sir, I assert this not on the authority of on the late unfortunate Expedition to the speculative philosophers or constitutionScheldt—and on his Majesty's most alists, but as resting on matter of recog. gracious answer to the Address of this nised and well ascertained usage ; not to House, stating the circumstances at- be looked for in this or in that written law, tending that delivery-namely, its being but derived from practice of high angiven in the first instance, accompanied tiquity, confirmed and sanctioned by the uniform course of proceeding in the best proceedings turned not upon the act that modern times, and happily affording at followed, but on advice not acted upon; once the most certain protection to the and then let him say whether it is not a person and dignity of the sovereign, and clear and well ascertained principle of the the most perfect security to the liberty of constitution, that to give bad counsel to : the subject. It is this clear right, this un- the king is not in itself and by itself most doubted and most privileged system, which criminal against the state; prosecutable our ancestors contrived, earned, and en and punishable according to the practice joyed; and which is proposed by the and usage of Parliament. If it were othermotion of my hon. friend (Mr. Whitbread) wise, I would ask how should we come at to be maintained; which if not asserted any guilty adviser without coupling an act this night by the vote of this House, may with the advice? Let me ask, how the be lost for ever.
state could be protected against the poison Sir, before I enter upon the question which might be infused into the royal more immediately under the consideration mind, and which might, at an unconnected of the House, I cannot refrain from re- and distant interval, be carried into exepelling the most unprecedented doctrine cution, in a manner and by measures the maintained by the hon. gent. (Mr. Bankes) most ruinous and destructive, and rendered, respecting advice given to the Sovereign; by lapse of time, almost incapable of disdoctrine, I will venture to say, the most covery. extraordinary that ever was delivered in Suppose, for instance, any person were this House. Does the hon. gent, seriously so base as to advise the king, by his own and conscientiously intend to maintain authority, to suspend the Habeas Corpus that a minister, a peer, a privy counsellor, act; but that the king, knowing better, or other person, may approach the King, and revering the constitution more than and instil bad counsel into the royal mind, the adviser, rejected that advice, and, and if that counsel is not followed, that the though accompanied with an injunction of counsellor or adviser is not guilty of a secrecy, that the adviser became known. criminal act; of a gross violation of the Can any one doubt that such advice would constitutional law of the realm : and that be the subject of parliamentary prosecu. he could not be punished for such advice, tion, and, when proved, be followed with though nothing followed upon the advice? condign punishment? The case is toe Let me entreat the hon. gent. to look back clear to admit of a question. to the history of the country, to those pro- But this is not all-judge the doctrine ceedings which characterized even the of the hon. gent, by the analogy of the least settled and most uninformed periods law of high treason-Do the laws of treaof our annals. I will not confine the hon. son require that the intention of the trai. gent to the principles or doctrines to tor should be carried into effect, in order which the revolution gave a more correct to constitute that heinous crime? Does form and substance : look before to the the law wait till the traitor's hand shall reigns of the Stuarts ; nay, look back al. have levelled the Monarch's sacred person most to the conquest itself, to the æras of in the dust ? Does it permit him traitorfavouritism immediately following that ously and rudely to break that link of event. Let him look a little later, to the safety, the royal life, which protects us reigns of Edward 2, and Richard 2; to all ? 'whose sacred person is fenced round those times, when the minions of the crown by extraordinary laws, lo unite' and knit poured poison in the royal ear, * when the together the whole social and political * First Article of Impeachment of the first Majesty advice, by force of arms to com
set of Articles against Lord Strafford, pel his loyal subjects to submit thereto." 16 Car. 1. Cobbett's State Trials, Third Article of the second set of Articles. vol. 3, p. 1385.
Cobbett's State Trials, vol. 3, p. 1388. “ That the said Thomas earl of Strafford hath traitorously endeavoured to subvert « That the realm of Ireland having the fundamental laws and government of been; time out of mind, annexed to the the realms of England and Ireland; and, imperial crown of this his Majesty's realm instead thereof, to introduce an arbitrary of England, and governed by the same and tyrannical government against law; laws; the said eart being lord deputy of which he hath declared by traitorous words, that realm, to bring his Majesty's liege counsels and actions, and by giving his subjects of that kingdom, likewise into dis.
frame of the state ?--the law, thus render- 1 perhaps strictly connected with the main ing the mere intention to kill, the crime, question. But I could not permit such and not the actual murder, as in the case doctrine to go unanswered, especially of private men-thereby securing the when falling from a person whose age and body of the state from danger of sudden experience as a member of parliament change, and from dissolution, the natural might give currency to principles subverand probable effect of it. Shall it be said sive of the constitution, and utterly inconthen, that the intention by secret and evil sistent with the safety of the state and the advice to beget evil acts, which may over- freedom of the country. whelm the sacred fabric of our laws and Sir, I have already said, that all the evisubvert our liberties, shall be less protect. dence which I require to enable me to deed; or that the intention, in that case, cide, that the conduct of lord Chatham, in shall not be equivalent in criminality to the instance in question, has been unconthe act which it is meant to excite? stitutional, is the narrative of that noble
Sir, I believe I ought in some measure lord, giving an account of the manner in to beg pardon of the House for having which he discharged a great public trust, dwelt so long upon a subject which is not coupled with his Majesty's mes! gracious
answer to the Address of this House : an like of his Majesty's government, and in- answer which, I will venture to say (owing tending the subversion of the fundamental laws and settled government of that realm, and the destruction of his Majesty's liege 1680-32 Car. 2.-Cobbett's State 'Trials, people there; did upon the 30th day of vol. 8, p. 163.—Baron Weston's Charge September, in the ninth year of his now to a Grand Jury in the County of Majesty's reign, in the city of Dublin, the Surry.-See Comms. Jour. 1680. chief city of that realm, where his Ma- " And to speak truth, all his disciples jesty's privy council and courts of justice are seasoned with such a sharpness of spirit, do ordinarily reside, and whither the no- that it much concerns magistrates to keep bility and gentry of that realm do usually a strait hand over them; and now they resort for justice, in a public speech before are restless, amusing us with fears, and divers of the nobility and gentry of that nothing will serve them but a parliament. kingdom, and before the mayor, aldermen, For my part, I know no representative of and recorder, and many citizens of Dublin, the nation, but the King: all power cenand other his Majesty's liege people, de ters in him; it is true he does intrust it clare and publish, that Ireland was a con- with his ministers, but he is the sole requered nation, and that the King might do presentative, and i' faith he has wisdom with them what he pleased; and speeking enough to intrust it no more in these men, of the charters of former kings of Eng- who have given us such late examples of land made to that city, 'he further then their wisdom and faithfulness.” And this said, that their charters were nothing committee taking the said matter into their worth, and did bind the King no further consideration, came to this Resolution: than he pleased."
Resolved. That it is the opinion of The first Article of Impeachment against this committee, that the charge given by
the earl of Clarendon, 14th of Nov. : the reformation, in derogation of the rights 1607, 19th Car. 2. Cobbett's State and privileges of parliament, and tending Trials, vol. 6, p. 330.
to raise discord between his Majesty and *** That the earl of Clarendon hath de- ' his subjects.” signed a standing army to be raised, and In the reign of Edw. 2, the proceedings to govern the kingdom thereby, advising against Gaveston are full of illustrations of the King to dissolve the present parlia- this doctrine. ment, to lay aside all thoughts of parlia-il The same is to be found in the various ments for the future, to govern by military proceedings against the favourites and mipuwer, and to maintain the same by free nisters of Richard the second. quarter and contribution."
See Hume's History, vol. ii, p. 346, 1. 'Lord Clarendon puts in a very detailed quarto edition ; Millar's Historical View answer to this charge, denying the truth of the English Government, book ii, chap. of his having given such advice; but v. and the authorities cited by those aumaking no observation against the validity thors. See likewise all the contemporaneof the charge, if it had been true.