Imágenes de página

Mr. Canning said, that the general prac-| tary character. He could not see, how. tice of the House precluded the possibility ever, on what ground the House was to of admitting the present motion. It get the better of its general and establishcould be proved from many instances, ed rule in such cases, or how it could dethat the splendour of the service was not part from it usual course. The services enough, unless it came within a certain alluded to were not of that description for description of service. The eivinent ser- which the House had been accustomed to vices of the cavalry preceding the battle vote its thanks. There was, however, of Corunna, were not thought worthy of another reason why, be conceived, the that distinction, because they could not House could not agree to the motion; he be recognized as having been engaged in was not an officer in our service, but in that the battle itself. The passing of the of the Portuguese government at the time, Douro was another very brilliant achieve- and he was not aware that a British parment, which, however, did not come liament had ever thought itself entitled to within the precise description of service vote thanks to a subject of this country that called for the thanks of parliament, who was en ployed in the service of a and a gallant officer still bore the painful foreign state. There could, he confessed, but honourable marks of his personal bra- be but one opinion as to the services of very in that action. He need scarcely sir R. Wilson, and the zeal displayed by add that he meant general Paget. There him on the occasion referred to." He had had been an out-of-doors notion, as if there also the additional merit of forming a had been in any quarter a wish to under- corps, which in the particular circum. value the services of sir R. Wilson-this stances of Portugal, might greatly contriwas altogether a mistaken notion; the bute to the service of the country. He words of lord Wellington in his dispatches, was convinced, however, that the gallant where he calls that officer "an able par- office would be the last person to feel tizan," had been complained of; but gratified by the House departing, where the word partizan had not been made use he was concerned, from its usual practice. of as a term of reproof, it was merely in He trusted the hon. member would witha co-operatire sense. He trusted the mo- draw his motion, satisfied, as he must be, tion would be withdrawn.

that on the merits of sir K. Wilson there General Tarleton agreed that the ser- could be but one feeling in the House. vices of sir R. Wilson were highly meri- Sir Jumes Hall said, to his mind the torious, and had been extremely useful 10 circumstance touched on by the noble the country. They had been more instru- lord, as an additional reason for not conmental, he was satisfied, in producing the curring in the present motion, arising retreat of the enemy than any other ser- from sir R. Wilson's not being actually vices which had been rendered. There in the service of this country at the time, were reasons, however, that made it diffi- operated the other way. It might be an cult to pass a vote of thanks of that House apology for a departure from the usual for services of the description now alluded forms of the House. Such a proceeding to, and withdrawing the motion, he might have the effect of rousing the spirits thought, would be the handsomest mode of men from whom much might be ex. of proceeding, after the declaration which pected. If the hon. mover chose to per- · had come from all sides, as to the merits severe, he should, at least, not stand sinof the gallant officer. The term partizan, gle. he contended, was not one of disrespect. Mr. Hutchinson felt gratified at the de It implied a general in miniature, who, clarations made on all hands, as to the from being at the head of all his own ser- merits of his gallant friend. A's, there. vices, was most likely to acquire a general fore, he could not get the House to go knowledge. He agreed with sir W. Er with him all the length he wished, he skine that this was the best field in wbich yas content to take what he could get, to train a general. He was satisfied that and should, therefore, agree to withdraw sir R. Wilson would not be long in render- his motion. ing additional services to the country, [TREASURER OF THE POST OFFICE IN and that he would be one of the first to IRELAND.] Sir John Newport brought for receive the thanks of the House.

ward a motion founded on the 9th Report Lord Castlereagh was of opinion', the ser- of the commissioners for inquiry into tices of sir R. Wilson in Spain and Portu- offices in Ireland, as to the superannuationt gal, had proved corroborations of his milic of the late treasurer of the post office in

Ireland on his full salary, after having should take place among those gentlemen. held the office for eight years, during no Mr. Sheridun was surprized at the total part of which time hard he discharged any opposition of the right hon. member's of the duties of it. This the report stated conduct, to even his own ideas of order. to be a violation of the rule laid down by Nothing could be more disorderly than 19 the Irish House of Commons, Tiniting the enter into an argument, 10 prove the value services of persons superannuated with of the standing order, at the moment their full salaries to those who had served 1 when he professed that no argument was 25 years; and the hon. baronet concluded | necessary. by moving, That the late treasurer of the The Speaker was of opinion that there post office in Ireland, had no fair claiin to should be no interruption of the right hon. such superannuation ; that the allowing gent. who commenced the debate, unless him to retire on his full salary, was a de- there was a fair proof of disorder, on a moparture from the salutary rules laid down tion'to be made. by parliament, and a dereliction of the Mr. Windlum. Sir, I have a motion to principles of economy to which they were make. pledged.

Mr. Sheridan. Sir, I have also a motion Mr. W. Pole argued that this office had to make, and the right hon. gent.'s motion been a sinecure, and was abolished, as will probably come with more advantage was usual in such cases, with the -full after mine has been disposed of. I am in salary, an ethicient oflice being substituted possession of the Chair; I have interrupted in its stead. This therefore was not in

no order of the House ; it is the interrupthe nature of a superannuation. He tion that is disorderly. concluded by moving the previous ques. The Speaker. I apprehend that no intertion.

ruption can be allowed, except on occasion The motion of sir J. Newport was sup- of a breach of order, or to move one of the ported by Mr. Whitbread, sir S. Romilly, standing orders of the House. On that to Mr. Grattan, Mr. P. Moore, Mr. Giles, wbich the allusion has been made there Mr. M. Fitzgerald, Mr. Barham, &c. can be no debate. And the previous question by the Chan

Mr. Windham then moved that strangers cellor of the Exchequer, Mr. R. Dundas, should be excluded, and the gallery was and the Solicitor General, &c.

cleared. On a division the numbers were :

We have however been favoured, with For the previous question ... 52 the following sketch of the debate which For the original motion ....31 ensued.

Majority-21 Mr. Sheridan said, of all the people in

that House he least expected the enforcement of the standing order, for the exclu

sion of the public, from the right hon. Friday, March 23.

gent. who had come forward on this occa[Lincoln's Inn BenchEKS - Mr. Far- sion. He expected he would have eagerQUHARSON's. Petition.] Mr. Sheridan ly seized this opportunity to recant the rose to address the House upon a subject false doctrines which he had formerly so which he felt to be of essential importance unguardedly uttered, and become a conto the community. He had deferred it vert to the true faith of the freedom of the until he had been enabled to come forward press. He expected this candid and con, with materials so strong that

ciliatory proceeding, particularly as the Mr. Windhum interrupted the right hon. right bon. gent. had been so very zealous gent. There was an order of that House, in the correction of his speeches, so very which could not be enforced at any time anxious as to the stress of bis emphasis, and with more propriety than the present. the modulation of his voice, and so stuThe motion of the right hon. member diously inquisitive as to the happiest attihad, he understood, for its objects some tudes for giving his sentiments a pantoconsiderations connected with persons mimic effect. He was led, indeed, sull present, though not in the lower part of more strongly into this expectation, which that House. He probably intended to had been so fatally disappointed, from the compliment them; but as it was not the information that he had made amicable custom to drink the chairman's health advances to Mr. Cobbett, and entered inuntil he had withdrawn, he would to a fair treaty of conciliation. These recommend that a similar movement hints he merely threw out for the con


sideration of the right hon. gent. Mr. | idolized, Dr. Johnson, as one who had Sheridan then professed his intention of written for periodical publications for . not troubling the House at any length, hire, and had even written parliamentary which indeed could hardly be necessary, debates, though without coming into the after the observations he had made res gallery to hear them. Here Mr. Sheridan pecting the subject of his present motion related a well-known anecdote of Dr. on a former night. He could assure his Johnson, which had occurred at the lite. right hon. friend, (Mr. Windhain,) that he rary club. Two speeches of the late lord should not indulge himself, in any decla- Chatham, or, to avoid the turn of a certain matory invectives against the honourable waggery that had been used, he would say, benchers of Lincoln's Inn, or any glowing the great lord Chathain, had been companegyrics on the gentlemen who had just pared to the orations of Cicero and Den left the gallery. The case that he wished mosthenes; but the question was, which to bring before the House was one which of them resembled the Greek, and which seemed to him well to deserve the inter- the Roman orator; and this was referred position of parliament; yet he should to Dr. Johnson. The answer was, I do have been better pleased to have obtained not know; but this I well remember, that his object, as he expected to have done, I wrote them both. He might also, wittsby the voluntary act of the honourable out offence, mention another departed benchers, of whose bye-law he complain character, lately high in the esteem of the ed. He understood that the law was House, and of his right hon. friend in parmade unadvisedly, on a sudden applica. ticular, the late Dr. Laurence, who also tion to them after dinner, when but a would have fallen within the present profew benchers were present, and he be- scription, if it had formerly existed. He

lieved that even those who made it were did not know whether the authors of this 'well disposed to repeal it, on further con- bye law confined their dislike to daily sideration of the subject. He knew that newspapers.

Did it extend to weekly out of term they could not, in the regular ones also ? If so, why not to monthly macourse of their proceedings, meet for the gazines and quarterly reviews ? If it reachpurpose, but the matter in his opinion was ed so far as Annual Registers, their princiweighty and urgent enough to call for an ple would stigmatize eren Mr. Burke, extraordinary meeting. At all events, who had written for a periodical publicaa he could not reconcile himself to any fur- tion of that kind, and been remunerated ther delay in submitting it to the con- for his trouble. Of about 23 gentlemen sideration of the House. The bye-law, who were now employed in reporting parwhich had been placarded by the order of liamentary debates for the newspapers, the benchers in the common hall of the so- no less than 18 were men regularly edu. ciety, where the court of chancery sits, pro- cated at the Universities of Oxford or scribed a whole class of men, and fixed a Cambridge, Edinburgh or Dublin, most of stigma upon them, by declaring them to them graduates at those universities, and be unworthy of being admitted into an several of them had gained prizes and honourable profession. It was declared, other distinctions there, by their literary that no 'man who had ever written in a attainments. He again repeated, that he newspaper for hire, should be allowed to could mention a long list of public and perform his preparatory exercises, in order professional characters of great respectato his admission to the bar. If such a rule bility, to whom this illiberal proscription had formerly prevailed, it would have ex- would strictly apply, but that he abstained cluded from the bar many men who had from it for the reasons already assigned. been ornaments to their profession, and After several other forcible remarks, Mr. distinguished members of that House. He Sheridan concluded by moving, That the had a long list of such characters in his Petition of Mr. Farquharson should be rehand, but would not read it, lest it should ferred to the standing committee of courts seem indelicate or invidious; since the of judicature. benchers of Lincoln's Inn, it seems, thought The Attorney General opposed the mothe cause disreputable, though in his own tion, not on the merits of the case, from eyes it was the reverse. He might, how the consideration of which he professedly ever, without any danger of exciting any abstained, but because there was a legal contemptuous feelings in the mind of his reinedy by application to the twelve right hon. friend, (Mr. Windham) men- judges; to prove which he read a case tion a man whom he rather more than from Douglas's Reports, and, therefore,

the interposition of parliament would, in 1 before he could perform his exercises, his judgment, be premature and improper. or, if he remembered right, before he

Mr. Windham rose to use the short no- even entered into commons, must pronosyllable "No!” to every assertion made duce a certificate from a practising barrisabout him, except as to the correction of ter of the society, that he was qualified in his speeches. Above all, he never had point of character for the profession of the descended to any advance, or the slightest bar; and prior to his being actually calconciliation with Mr. Cobbett. He would | led, be must have a like testimonial from now leave the subject to those who came one of the benchers themselves. If these for the purpose of discussing it.--[The precausions were not sufficient, further rigłıt hon. gent. shortly afier left the and stricter ones might be framed, so as House.]

to scrutinize effectually into the moral Mr. Stephen said, that his connexion and intellectual character of every indiwith the society of Lincoln's Inn, of vidual candidate for admission, without which he had had the honour of being branding the class of fellow subjects to a member for 35 years, might alone have which he had belonged. There was not led him to take a part in the debate; but in this case, therefore, such an apology, a particular consideration, known to ma. as necessity or strong reasons oi public ny gentlemen around him, and of which convenience might alford, for a general he should probably put the House in pos- rule of exclusion. Was it then the prinsession before he sat down, called on him ciple of this regulation that persons who more strongly to express his sentiments had any time written for a periodical press on this occasion. He hoped nothing that and not written gratuitously, were, as might fall from him would be construed such, universally unworthy of admission into any disrespect towards the benchers into an honourable profession? a reproach of Lincoln's Inn; he felt for them col. | in which Johnson and Hawkesworth, Jectively, and as far as their characters Steele and Addison, would have been inwere known to him, individually too, cluded, was surely more likely to reflect the most unfeigned respect. Among disgrace on its authors than its objects. them he could reckon some of his earliest He was at a loss for the distinct views on and most intimate professional friends; which such a prejudice against persons and he believed that men of more liber writing for newspapers could be founded ality of sentiment could not easily be Was it supposed that persons of that desfound. But he must nevertheless freely cription were always destitute of educaavow his concurrence in the views of the tion and liberal sentiments, or wert, right hon. gent. who made this motion, in point of origin and connections in life, and declare, that he thought the regula- if those were material circumstances, unfit tion in question highly illiberal and un- for the society of gentlemen ? Without just. He doubted not it must have pro- admitting that writing for the periodical ceeded from some hasty feelings, and press, though a man's original occupation, would on due consideration be revoked. and however long persevered in, would To fix a stigma upon a whole class of men, constitute any disparagement, cases might by shutting against them indiscriminately be put, in which, from accidental circumthe door of a liberal and honourable pro- stances, a gentleman, originally destined fession, open to all the rest of their fellow to the profession of the law, might have subjects, was, in his judgment, quite been driven to engage in such an employunjustifiable, unless there were something ment as a resource for his immediate subin the common description which belong. sistence, and continued in it, perhaps, but ed to them, that implied of necessity an for a brief period, without much interrupuniversal unfitness for that profession; or tion of his professional studies, and yet by unless their exclusion by any other and this barsb rule, his return to his professional fairer criterion could not be attained. path would be for ever cut off. I will, Now it could not be alledged, in the case for instance (said Mr. Stephen) suppose a of admission to the bar by the law soci- young man by family and education a eties, that there was no power of ascer gentleman, and from his earliest years detaining the qualifications of students ap- signed for the legal profession, to be a plying to be called, and inquiring, if it member of Lincoln's Inn, regularly prosewere thought_fit, into their past charac- cuting his studies as a lawyer, and to have ter and conduct. Already the standing arrived at within a year and a half of the regulations required that every gentleman, proper standing to entitle him to be called to the bar, when, by the death of his pa- have described, on such an occasion. But rents, and previous family misfortunes, he I may be thought, perhaps, to have stated finds himself totally deprived of all present an imaginary and highly improbable case. means of support. The resource which be No, Sir, it is not so. The case that I might have found in the aid of near rela- have described, is nou imaginary; it really tions, is pre-occupied by fellow orphans, did exist; 'all but the rejection, which who from their sex and tender years, are did not take place, because no such rule as more helpless, than himself, or perhaps he that in question had then been made. In finds his heart too delicate or 100.proud other respects the case is real. Thirty for dependency. He has confidence years ago, it was the case of the indivienough in himself to think that when the dual who has now the honour to address time comes that he can put on the gown, you. (Repeated cries of hear, hear.) When he shall find in it an ample resource. But the cheers of the House had subsided, Mr. what expedient can be possibly explore Stephen proceeded to say, I feel, Sir, not in the mean time for his subsistence? In at all abashed at this avowal. It is an inthis emergency, a literary friend, a man of cident of my life, which I am much more character and honour, connected with one disposed to be proud of, or let me rather of the periodical prints, proposes to our say, to be grateful for, to a kind disposing young law student that he should under- providence, than to blush for. I should iake, as a temporary expedient, to conduct, indeed blush to be supposed to be ashamed for a liberal remuneration, one of the de- of it. I do not believe, that any gentle. partments of his newspaper in which there man in this House, or in my profession, happens to be a vacancy. He proposes, will think meanly of me on this account; for instance, that of reporting the debates but should there be such, a man, I hope I of this House ; can it be doubted, Sir, that shall never hear of it, for I sbould be if the rule now in question had not ex- tempted to hold him in more contempt, isted, such an offer would be joyfully ac- than it is allowable for us frail beings to cepted? Let us suppose it, then, to be so. feel for any of our fellow mortals. Mr. SteDuring one session, our young student phen went on to state, that his own case reports the debates of this House, and was by no means too favourable a speciperforms what he finds an arduous duty, men of the class of persons who were his with satisfaction to his own heart, re- contemporaries in the same employment. cording honestly and impartially the de- He could recollect about eight or nine of liberations of parliament, for the infor- them, and of these he did not know one, mation of his country. At the end of a whose subsequent conduct in life reflected single year, he finds himself enabled by any discredit on his former occupation. the death of a relation, and its conse. He believed only one of them still contiquences, to resign this employment, and nued connected with any periodical press, resume his professional path, and he is and that was a gentleman to whose chagrateful to Heaven for an intermediate racter his testimony was not wanted, as occupation, which had not only rescued he was well known and esteemed by him from dependence and want, but im- many members of that House; and reck. proved his qualifications for future suc- oned among his friends one of the first cess at the bar. But when he petitions characters of the country. He meant the the bench of this society to be called, editor and proprietor of The Morning how sad would be his disappointment, Chronicle. Of the rest, five or six had how cruel would be his humiliation and been called to the bar; and he never distress, to find that this inexorable rule heard that any of them had been supposed of the society has given a death.blow to at all to discredit his profession. One had, his new-born hopes! How would his been since very eminent in the courts of mind be stung when told that the expe- our sister island; another had made a fora dient which he had regarded with self- tune in the colonies, and had since held a complacency as his honest refuge from situation of honour and confidence under dependency and distress, had covered him the crown; a third had retired from the with indelible disgrace, and for ever English bar on the acquisition of a private barred against him the door of an honour- fortune, before his very eminent talents, able profession? Sir, (said Mr. Stephen) natural and acquired, had time to be I can conceive better than I can express known in his profession. He was now, what would be the anguish, and whiat alas! no more; but this be would say of the indignant feelings of such a man as I him, that no man he ever knew in his very VOL. XVI,


« AnteriorContinuar »