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he (Mr. Lethbridge) had lent himself as to proceed, therefore, in this instance, it an instrument in this business to his ma- was his intention, nay, he had no alternajesty's ministers. If he had so lent him- tive, he must be compelled to vote against self, he should never cease to regret it as the motion. If time, however, should be long as he lived. He had not, however, allowed to gentlemen to make themselves lent himself to any man, nor to any set of fully acquainted with the whole of the men. The-motion he brought forward case, he was persuaded that in such a case had originated in bis own mind, and he there could exist but one opinion upon had been induced to engage in the pro- the subject, and that the decision of the ceeding upon considerations of his own. House would be unanimous. As to the
Mr. Curwen was ready to avow that he right of the House to commit them for should have deprecated the discussion of contempt, that was a privilege which it such a question as that under considera- necessarily must have ; but it was also a tion and at such a moment. It was im- privilege which should seldom be exerpossible that, at a time when the House cised, never except in cases where it was was so wholly occupied with the conside- actually necessary to assert the dignity ration of another grave and momentous and to maintain the authority of the House. subject, that they could be in a state to All he asked of the House, therefore, was, pronounce a cool and deliberate decision that he should not be pressed to a decision upon this question. On a motion such in the unprepared state in which he felt as that, which the House was then dis. himself to decide justly. It would have cussing, it was highly desirable that been much better that this paper had never neither individual feelings of partiality, been noticed, as in that case, he conceive nor party considerations should influed that it would have soon sunk into obence their judgment. That was not a mo- livion; but as it had been brought under ment to bring such feelings into a discus. the cognizance of the House, the honour of sion upon a subject like that before the the House required that some step should House ; and he should call upon the right be taken respecting it. With this opinion hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer to strongly impressed upon his mind, it was pause, and to consider the consequences his wish not to be forced to a crude and that might result from adopting any pre- premature decision. And if many other cipitate course on the present occasion. gentlemen were, like himself, ready to It was impossible for that right hon. gent. avow that they were not prepared to come not to see the consequences that must in- to a vote upon the question, he would put evitably flow from any basty proceeding it to the House whether it was consistent upon a question arising out of a breach with justice or decency to force them to of privilege, which might alarmingly it? Never had any question been discussagitate the public mind from one end ed in that House which called for more of the country to the other. For him- temper, more consideration, or was more self, he could most conscientiously state intimately and essentially connected with that he had not yet made up his mind upon the honour and character of the House. the question ; and if he should be com- He should again, therefore, conjure the pelled to vote on that occasion, he must right hon. gent. not to burry on the queso say, that it was absolutely impossible for tion to a decision. A little time would hini to vote for the motion. Were he to clear away the difficulties with which it vote for that motion, he should be bound was at present enveloped, and lead to an to vote also for the strong reprehension opening to measures which might, perhaps, of the House being expressed respecting substitute conciliation for severity. In the author of the paper upon which the his own opinion, the hon. baronet was in motion was founded. But the matter some degree deserving of the reprehension would not rest there. The House would of the House, but that might be so manag. be obliged to resort to some strong ulterior ed as neither to compromise the dignity of measures; and before they should be the House, nor transgress the bounds of driven to that awful necessity, it behoved justice and moderation. He would ask the them well and seriously to consider whe-right hon. gent. how he could answer, at ther the paper complained of really con- a period when unanimity was more than tained matter calling for the adoption of ever desirable, for the irritation and heatmeasures, from which might arise such a ed feelings which any other course would feeling in the country, as he, for one, be likely to produce in the country? If, would most sincerely deprecate. If forced notwithstanding, the right hon, gent, should persist in pushing on the decision, who, since he had the honour of a seat in on him alone should rest all the responsi- it, had never been influenced by any teelbility for the consequences. He was well ings of private attachment, or party inteaware of the sound mind and good sense of rests—who had uniformly, on all occathe people of this country; and though he sions, and under all circumstances, given would allow they might be led astray by his vote to the best of his judgment, and deception or passion, he was yet convinc- according to the dictates of his conscience, ed that, if that House would shew that it with a view to the common interests of the was actuated only by a sense of its own country--who felt himself unprepared at dignity, without any regard to more par- present to give any vote satisfactory to his tial and confined considerations, the na. own mind, but who was anxious to protion would cheerfully acquiesce in its deci- nounce judgment on the real merits of the' sion. But in order to produce this effect, it case, he called upon the House of Comwas necessary to prove to the public that, in mons to allow a small portion of time for the exercise of its power or privileges, that the more mature consideration of this House was not influenced by any feeling most serious and important question. against an individual, but really and sincere. Mr. Owen hoped that the House would ly consulting its own dignity and character. decide, and that without further delay, On every ground, therefore, it was his opi- upon the question under discussion. The nion that they ought to proceed calmly, de- real question now was, whether the liberately, and dispassionately on this ques- House was to suffer itself to be intimida. tion. The House could not but recollect, ted, whether any man should henceforth that, in consequence of being led away be at liberty to reflect most grossly upon by a contrary feeling, its Journals had its rights and privileges? He trusted, been disgraced by proceedings which, therefore, that the House would have the though subsequently expunged by a suc- courage to assert its unquestionable rights, ceeding House, would ever reflect discre- and not compromise its character by dedit upon that which had sanctioned them. ferring the decision of the question before He alluded to the proceedings against Mr. them. He felt astonishment at the Wilkes, in which, by giving way to the amendment which had been moved: but influence of feelings of hostility towards he had been still more astonished at hearthe individual, the House had been carried ing the right hon. gent. (Mr. Sheridan), into a course of proceeding subversive of whom he had been accustomed to listen the fundamental principles of its constitu- to with respect upon all constitutional tion. Though parliament had afterwards subjects, represent the present as a quesexpunged from its journals the record of tion of no urgent nature or importance. these oppressive and unconstitutional mea-|(Hear, hear.) He could assure gentlemen sures, still the remembrance of what then that he was not to be intimidated from passed survived, and should be a warning doing his duty. The right hon. gent. to all future parliaments, not to give way had certainly said that the question was to such feelings, or precipitately to decide not of any urgency. The hon. gentleupon questions of a similar description. man who followed, bad however on He had been one of those, who voted the contrary stated, that in his opinion against all the arbitrary measures which this question was of much more mohad been resorted to on that occasion; ment than the discussion of the meand, on the same principle, now besought rits of the Expedition to Walcheren. the right hon. gent. not to press precipi- The question, in his mind, whether his tately forward the ultimate decision upon Majesty's ministers were culpable or not a question of so much importance to the in the conduct of that Expedition, was reputation and honour of that House. He not to be put in competition with a ques. trusted the example to which he had al- tion, whether the House of Commons was
to House were to come to a decision upon to preserve its privileges and authority, this question it should be such a decision or to be beat down by personal intimias would be consistent with justice to the dation. Whether such attempts were to individual and a proper regard to the dig. proceed from members of that House, or niiy of the llouse. No such decision how- persons out of it, he trusted the House ever, could, in the present instance, be had courage enough to repress them. He impartially or dispassionately pronounced. agreed that this question was of ten times As a ineinber of that House, therefore, the importance of the discussion respect
ing the Expedition. But the argument right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchewhich had been urged for delay appeared quer, who was mainly interested in the to him extraordinary; as if indeed the question already under discussion, a quesdelay of a few hours, before they should tion, which the hon. gent. who had just come to a decision on the discussion res- sat down, considered comparatively light, pecting the Expedition, would let the was to be ascribed the precipitancy with evidence out of the minds of gentlemen. which the discussion was pushed forward. The statement in the paper, which was The question which had so long occupied the foundation of the charge, that the Bill the whole attention of that House, so far of Rights was made a bill of wrongs, was suf- from considering light, he regarded as one ficient to justify the House in proceeding of the greatest moment, as well to his maBut that was not all; the paper stated that jesty's ministers as to himself. (Hear, hear, the exercise of the privileges of the House from the ministerial benches.) He despised of Commons was subversive of the laws such feelings as appeared to give rise to and constitution of the country.
Was the cheer, and would repeat that the questhat a proposition to be passed over with tion was of moment to him, because it impunity ; was that a question, which was desirable to every honest man to' they should not seize the earliest opportu- be allowed time to be in full possession of nity of deciding upon. It would have a every thing that could enable him to form very injurious effect upon the minds of the an impartial judgment. The House would people, if the House of Commons should give him credit, he was sure, when he imprison a person not a member, for a said that the question before it was molibel, and not dare to notice one of its mentous though not pressing. He saw no own members for the same offence. The reason why the same time should not be decision upon this question would, he was allowed now, as when the Chancellor of confident, increase those sentiments of at- the Exchequer and the lord viscount Case' tachment to the constitution, which hetlereagh were last session charged with a knew to exist in the different parts of the breach of the privileges of that House. country with which he was acquainted. The right hon. gent. would recollect, that He thought the passage in which it was when that charge had been first brought asserted, “ that that House lorded it over forward, he rose in his place, and after the king and the people," was a gross stating that he was taken by surprize, libel upon the House of Communs. He made his bow, and retired; after which a trusted, therefore, that the House would delay of five days was allowed before he do its duty, and neither be intimidated by made his defence. He had voted in the a fear of the people, nor influenced by feel- minority on that occasion; and to the deings of respect for any individual, to defer cision of the House in that instance, the consideration of 'so important a ques- and the conduct of his Majesty's mition.
nisters, they were to look for the degraMr. Whitbread begged pardon of the tion of the House of Commons in the hon. gent. who had just spoken, if he opinion of the people. The House would could not, in the outset of what he bad to also recollect the case when viscount say, express himself with the same clear- Castlereagh was charged with bartering ness in his own words, as by adopting the for a seat in that House, and was sheltered language of his right hon. friend (Mr.She- by the amendment of a right hon. gent. ridan) and saying, that he had never risen (Mr. Canning) not then in his place. to speak on a subject of greater import- That proceeding, coupled with the resoluance. Such were the words of his right tion of 1779, which made such a practice hon. friend, which that hon. gent. had a breach of the privileges of that House, greatly mis-stated, when he said that his had mainly contributed to the lamentable right hon. friend had represented the ques. degradation of parliament. He begged tion as one of a light nature. It was be- also to remind the House of the threat recause the subject was not light but mo- specting the dissolution of parliament, mementous that he rose then to ask, as he thrown out by the same right hon. gent. had done last night, for some delay shortly after he came into office, and of before he should be called upon for his the realising of that threat soon after by vote. In justice to the bon. member the actual dissolution of parliament; and who originated the motion, he must say then to ask, to whom was the degradation that it was not his wish at first to proceed of parliament to be attributed ? On the preprecipitately with the question. But to the sent question then, of so much importance to the independence of that House, and man in the course he had taken; but he the interests of the nation, he asked for time must be allowed to add, that the hon. to consider it sufficiently. The same ap- member had allowed himself to be in. plication he had madé 24 hours before, fluenced by the Chancellor of the Excheand in the period that had since inter- quer, who had taken advantage of his favened, he had not had time to consider cility. The hon. member was willing the subject. In this respect the hon. gent. to allow time, but the right hon. gent. had opposite, and his hon. friend, had the ad availed himself of this question as a Godvantage of him. He had marked the pas- send, in the same manner as a drowning sages specified by the hon, mover, but had man would catch at a straw, in the desperate not yet been able to look into thein. In hope that it would afford him a short re. this situation, he could not think of decid spite from the impending decision upon ing upon extracts made by any gentleman his conduct. It was an old saying, that however honourable, without being able many things happened between the cup to refer at the same time to the context. and the lip, so also did many things hapThe House would recollect the nature pen between the halter and the gallows. of the speech of the gallant general (Crau. (Hear, hear!) He did not mean to say, furd) last night, who had produced a cam- if he was to go to the extremity, that the paign of his own instead of the imaginary right hon. gent. was entitled to be becampaign of the noble lord, and concluded headed, neither had he meant to apply with an amendment expressive of the ap- the allusion to him. Gentlemen might probation of the conduct of his Majesty's recollect the case of a soldier, who, on the ministers, without any one document or retreat in Spain, had been tried by a argument produced in their justification.court martial for some heinous offence, Whilst the honourable and gallant general and sentenced to be shot. The detachwas proceeding through the details of his ment of cavalry was drawn up for this campaign, he could not but think that execution; but, fortunately, the enemy every hon. officer who had served on the came in sight; the cavalry escaped, the Expedition would have wished for moun- culprit was put on a horse, and fled with tains to cover, or seas to overwhelm bim, in the rest, and so the whole ended. As he order to escape the indignation of the pub- trusted the House of Commons would lic. When charged with a wish to delay never shew any fear, so also he hoped that the discussion on the conduct of the Ex- it would not manifest either favour or pedition, the right hon. gent. (the Chan- partiality to any person. He thought cellor of the Exchequer) opposite had re- the House, by acquitting the right hon. ferred to his conduct during the whole gentleman last session, had shewn such of the investigation to prove the contrary, partiality, and thereby contributed to that He was ready to admit, that the noble degradation into which some persons suplord, not then in his place, (lord Castle- posed the public to consider it as fallen.
gh) had conducted himself with great The right hon. gent. had certainly not propriety throughout the whole of these been charged with a breach of the priviproceedings. But when the right hon. leges of that House. Lord Castlereagh, gent. referred to the papers not yet de. however, had, and if not for the gentlelivered from the printer's as furnishing, if manly terms in which he made his excuse he were so disposed, a cause of delay, he which disarmed the resentment of the must observe that whatever might be the House, and the amendment of a right hon. abilities of that right hon. gent., he could gent. (Mr. Canning) which gave rise to do but one thing at a time. It was the a coinage of a new word, in the language opinion of a great man, that that was the of the right hon. gent. “ lest a mistakeable manner in which all things were done. As record should appear upon the journals," they were not pressed for time as to the he must have been convicted.' But the present question, there was no ground for right hon. gent. desired that the House interrupting that in which the House had should not suffer itself to be intimidated. been previously engaged. When the For himself, he could say, that he had notice of the motion had been given by never at any time been afraid to avoir the hon. gent., it was suffered to lie over his sentiments. Yet at the same time that for twenty-four hours. Why; then, not lie he would not be intimidated' from exover for a longer period? He gave the hon. pressing his sentiments, he would not be gent. (Mr. Lethbridge) credit, when he intimidated to act with a false courage, or said, that he had not lent himself to any to do a thing in order to shew that he durst do it; nor to do any thing, which, in / whom he saw before him whether such bis best conviction, he should not think a practice would be allowed in any coure right. If he were the only one who was of justice ; whether, on a trial for one not, and had not an opportunity to be, offence, it would be tolerated to give in acquainted with the paper, then he might be evidence a previous act which had never the only one who should vote for adjourn. been questioned ? He was bold enough ment, and on a ground which to him ap- to differ from the honourable baronet, peared unanswerable; but he had another though he must admit that he had not ground, arising out of the good feelings of read his statement. He had heard the the hon. mover and seconder. When he speech of that bon. baronet with attenheard these hon. gentlemen, in stating tion, but without being convinced. That their sentiments, allude to combinations in speech appeared to him an able one, but that House, and the spirit of jacobinism the great fault he found with it was, that out of it, he could scarcely believe that he his proposition would not, if agreed 10, was not listening to the organs of the late advance the object of the hon. baronet, Mr. Yorke; (he begged pardon) of the one step. He also found fault with his late member for Cambridgeshire. This having published in his Argument any was the legacy bequeathed to that House thing which he had not stated in his
the Teller of the Exchequer. (Hear, speech, when he brought forward prohear!) That right hon. gentleman had position. made a complaint against John Gale Jones Another complaint he had to make who made a respectful apology at the bar. against the hon. baronet was, that when (No, no!) As he was informed that per- he published his Letter and Argument, he son had conducted himself with becommg professed to publish the substance of his propriety and decorum at the bar, and on speech. He liad read the Letter, and that ground it was his opinion at the time thought that there was nothing in it which that he should be discharged. Every any county member might not have adthing that had since been done on the sub- dressed to his constituents. Having read ject tended, step by step, to make Jones a the Letter, he put the Argument in bis greater personage than he could other pocket, supposing it to be the same as wise have hoped to become.--It was not the speech which he had heard. On his intention then to give any opinion as coming down to the House, however, he to the right of the House to commit for was informed that a notice had been given contempt; that opinion he had before of the motion by the hon. member. stated, and it was not necessary for him to When he heard this, he thought that the repeat it. He begged bere however to matter would soon be over, as he did not return to what he had been drawn off think there was any thing exceptionable from longer than he had intended; the in the speech. But he was, afterwards allusions of the hon. gent. (Mr. Leth- informed that there were many things in bridge) to combinations in that House. the Argument which were not in the The hon. member had said that on hearing speech; and it was upon the ground that certain statements in that House, he was he was not prepared to give an opinion so affected that his hair stood on end. (A upon any one of these new passages, that Laugb.) Now that the House knew that he he wished for the adjournment of the dishad the gift of language (though indeed cussion. It was impossible to to say that he had heard that hon. gent. before make any one passage was a libel, without cona motion respecting double-basrelled guns) sidering the whole, and ascertaining how he trusted that he would not hereafter re. each might be explained or modified by main silent; but when he became sensible the context or other passages in the paper. of this visible effect, suffer his moral to over- That he should do, if allowed time to come his physical impressions, and move consider the paper; but if not, he should that the terrifying words be taken down. not be driven to vote for the Resolutions of It would certainly be on every account the hon gent. As a juryman, and he desirable that he should not suffer the looked upon the House as in that instanco agitating words to remain in oblivion for called upon to perform the functions of three weeks, and then inake the unfortu- jurymen, he should, in case of any doubt, nate utterer of them become the object of feel himself bound to pronounce the party another charge, by bringing them in judg- innocent. Others were no doubt in the ment against him. (Hear! hear!) He same situation with him; and he had no should appeal to that bench of lawyers hesitation in saying, that any hon. memVOL. XVI.