Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

He was very

to agree with many of the propositions of Instead of doing any good, it would defeat the hon. bart., he could not assume with the very object of the motion, to order a him that there w48 evidence of a murder trial without sufficient evidence. This being committed; and he therefore did would be the way to secure an acquittal, not see what mode of trial the Committee in which case, supposing the carcase of which was proposed could recommend to this man to be afterwards found, or his be had against capt. Lake.

death to be proved in any other way, capt. ready to admit, that he conceived it was Lake could never be tried again. He no sort of excuse for capt. Lake to alledge, therefore thought, that it would not only that he did not know that this island of do no good, but that it might be produce Sombrero was uninhabited. It appeared tive of injury, to order a trial for murder to him that there was but little shade of on the evidence now before the House. difference between the guilt of sending a He was of opinion that the House should, man on an island, that he knew to be un- therefore, not allow itself on the present inhabited, and sending bim to one, that he occasion to be hurried away by feelings, had no reason to suppose was inhabited, which were very naturally excited on the a circumstance which it was his duty to bare statement of the case. He thought it have ascertained. If there was any proof would be better to wait for some time, to that the man was dead, he did not con- see whether, by additional enquiries, any ceive that the sentence of the court-martial further information could be obtained; could prevent his being now tried for mur- and then, if any such evidence should be der. As the case however now stood, there obtained as would prove the man to have was no evidence at all against capt. Lakė, died in consequence of his being left on except the evidence bearing upon the the island, a trial might be ordered. He point for which he was tried by a court really believed that, when the hon. bart. martial, and punished. The charge for was first struck with the statement of the which he had been already tried by the case, he had supposed, that there had been court martial was similar to a most ag

inquiry into it at all. He also gravated misdemeanor at common law, was disposed to believe, that, although the namely, an assault with intent to murder. hon. bart. had then thought the evidence On this point capt. Lake had been already sufficient to amount to a proof of murder, tried, and had received the sentence of the he did not think so at present. If the man court martial; and it therefore appeared was, however, still living, a further puto him that consistently with any princi- nisbment might be inflicted on capt. Lake, ples of justice, he could not be iried a for the sailor would have a civil action for second time for the same offence. It was damages, in which case a jury would have not in the power of the court martial to to declare what damages ought to be pronounce a severer sentence than it did; given in a case of such extreme cruelty but whether a court of law would or would and atrocity. As to a passage in Mr. not have inflicted a severer punishment Thomas's letter respecting frauds in the was doubtful. It was, however, no slight West Indies, he could assure the hon. bart. punishment to a man, who had arrived to that this subject was now under investiga. so high a rank in the navy, to be broke by tion by order of the admiralty. On the a court martial. If it could not be in the whole therefore, as he did not see what power of the Committee to direct any fur- good could be done by the appointment ther proceedings, he saw no practical good of a Committee, or what form of trial they that could result from the appointment of could order if appointed, he must, if he the Committee. The hon. bart. seemed were obliged to come to a vote, give his to think that the man had lost his life, but vote against the Committee. He however it appeared to him that there was no man- wished, that the hon. bart. would consent ner of evidence before the House conclu- to withdraw his motion for the present; sive as to this fact. The idea that the and he also wished, most particularly, that man was safe was grounded on other evi- it should not be supposed that the House dence, besides the paragraph in the Ame- thought lightly of the case that had been rican paper. If the House was to order stated to them, or that they dissented from an indictment for murder, capt. Lake could the motion, for any other reason, except not be convicted, unless there was proof that there was not evidence before them that the man was dead; and in a case sufficient to induce them to order a prosewhere there was no probability of a con- cution for murder. viction, there was no use in indicting. Mr. Whitbrcad said, that the right hon.

no trial

gent. appeared to have forgotten, that the He did not think it had been proved that motion of the hon. baronet went further capt. Lake knew the island to be uninhathan the mere case of captain Lake, and bited : for if he had, there would be no that a part of it was, that those papers use in marking the word "thief” on the should be laid before the Committee to re. back of the man. It appeared, however, port upon them. He should wish very to him, that the search made subsequently much to know whether the admiralty had upon the island was not satisfactory. It taken any step with respect to sir Alex- was extraordinary that on the first search ander Cochrane, whose case appeared 10 nothing was found ; and it was on the sehim to be fully as important as that of cond, when they brought guns with them captain Lake. The 'hon. baronet had to shoot birds, that they did find something. stated the case as respecting captain Lake They found the handle of a tomahawk, or with the greatest temperance and modera- batchet, and part of a pair of trowsers, tion, and had not sought in any manner such as were given out for the navy. to aggravate it. This simple statement of | Others of the witnesses had said, that it the case had made a considerable impression was not a part of a hatchet that ever beon the House ; and, if they thought the longed to the ship that was found nor cruelty of captain Lake to be so great in even of trowsers used in the British navy, sending a man on shore on an island, which If so, it would appear that the island had he did not know whether it was inhabited some other inhabitant. There was no dia or not, what would the House think of the rect evidence, however, of its having been conduct of sir A. Cochrane, who, knowing at any time inhabited : and the proof that the island was uninhabited, still con- of its being inhabited was merely a received, that a simple admonition to cap- port, which stated that the French sometain Lake was punishment enough for such times came there when they were emextreme cruelty? The responsibility he ployed in the turtle fishery. On this evimust contend extended throughout the dence he thought no prosecution could whole line of the service; and conse- be ordered; but still he thought, that quently the admiral, who conceived that other witnesses ought to be examined, and such a crime ought to pass unpunished, particularly lieut. Maule and Mr. Winsor, was himself deeply accountable. TheThe right hon. gent. appeared to conadmiral appeared to him to have entirely sider that the conduct of sir A. Cochrane deserted his duty, whien, knowing this was extenuated by his believing that the transaction, he allowed captain Lake to be man had got to America. He ought not promoted to a ship of a higher rank than however to have been satisfied with this he had commanded before. He, therefore, account, which was only a hearsay of a thought that the admiralty would not do hearsay. It appeared to him, that even its duty unless they were to order some now it was the duty of the Admiralty to proceedings against sir A. Cochrane. The order a more strict and diligent search of right hon. gent. (the Chancellor of the the island to be made for the body of this Exchequer) had spoken with every pro- sailor. It had been stated by the hon. per feeling upon the present question, but baronet, and deserved to be stated over he still doubted much whether a man and over again, that this search was in the tried once before a court-martial, could be first instance ordered to be made by captried again at law for the same offence. tain Lake himself, and those officers who

The sentence was certainly very le had assisted in carrying into execution nient; and he must say, that there were his most inhuman orders. The right hon. often acquittals and sentences, the very gent. (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) slightness of which was shocking to hu- had stated it as a dreadful case, supposing manity. The question was now, how- a trial was ordered, and an acquittal obever, whether captain Lake could be tained on the imperfect evidence which still tried upon the evidence before the was at present possessed, and afterwards House for the crime of murder. If he proofs should appear of the murder havwere upon a grand jury, and were to de- ing been completed, and the man being termine upon his oath on the evidence dead. He should put another case, and now before the House to support an in- ask, how much more shocking would it dictment of murder, he must upon his be, if, upon such evidence, captain Lake

no true bill.” If he were on should be convicted, and that it should a petty jury, and such evidence was laid afterwards turn out that the man, supbefore him, he must say " not guilty.” | posed to be murdered, was still alive!

oath say,

He thought it better according to the martial of the officers whose conduct humane maxim of British law, that ten was then under their consideration. He guilty should escape, than one inno- had only to state to the House a fact cent man suffer. The House should, how which it could not be supposed to be so ever, steer clear of the probability of either well acquainted with, as he was from peof those cases occurring. If, upon more culiar circumstances; he meant the geoaccurate search, the remains of ibis man graphical situation of the island of Som. should be found on the island of Sombrero, brero. He had sailed close to it, and then as a grand juror he would find a true from the glance he had of it, he could bill. He saw no reason, why the House take upon himself to assure the House should not address the King to direct the that it was uninhabited, and that it was officers on those stations to make the most impossible that any individual, cast upon accurate search for bis remains, and also it, could there find the means of subsistto use all means to ascertain whether he tence. With the knowledge that he had be alive or not. This inquiry would be of its desolate situation, he declared, that most interesting to the family of captain he could have no hesitation, were he a Lake, to the country, and to the cause of grand juror, in finding a true bill against humanity. If he should be found to be the person who would wantonly devote alive, the House would be relieved from a fellow being to such a fate, as must that horror, which they must now feel almost eventually follow, from being whenever the subject was mentioned. He thrown upon such desolation; and he would beg leave to suggest to the hon. would go further, that, if some strong baronet whether an address to his Majesty evidence was not adduced in the defence, would not, for the reasons he had stated, he would not hesitate, were he a petty be preferable to a Committee of the House, juror upon the trial of such an offender, to who could not at present recommend any bring in a verdict of murder than if a other trial. He believed it would be man were to be let down into an unfreagreed, on all sides of the House, that a quented coal pit and left there to perish. case of more horrible cruelty could hardly He could assimilate such an oftence to be conceived. He had heard, that sailors nothing more calculated to afford a just often found the approach of night dreadful, view of the case than to throw unobserved when their ship was sailing alone through an individual into one of the deepest coalunknown seas, but what must have been pits in Yorkshire. Sombrero was a bleak, the feelings of this unfortunate man, when, sandy island, not perhaps more than on the approach of night, he found himself twice or thrice a year trodden upon by without provisions or without cloaths, human feet. He had heard that it had alone and on a desolate island ? What | no fresh water, and he thought it was · must have been his emotions, when he saw impossible that it could have any. He the boat, which had put him upon the was therefore sufficiently convinced in shore, push back again, without him, to his own mind that the man must have the ship, and when he saw the ship sailing perished; but if any proposition was away, and leaving him a prey to whatever made which could lead to a further inves. terrors imagination could conceive most tigation of this case, it should have his dehorrible? It required no colouring to cided support. make such a case as this most impressive. Lord Folkestone agreed with the suggesWhoever could conceive what must tion of Mr. Whitbread, for an address to have been the feelings of the sailor, who his Majesty, to order a more accurate was so deserted and exposed, must justly search. He was glad to find, that the appreciate the extent of that cruelty, Admiralty had done its duty in ordering in which those savage orders originated. the court-martial; but with respect to

Mr. Stephen declared, that until he sir A. Cochrane, he thought that his conhad that night taken his place in the duct at least demanded an enquiry: House, he was wholly ignorant of the There was another circumstance which particular merits of this transaction. The should also be attended to. There must papers had been upon his table, but from be an arrear of wages due to this man, ihe multiplicity of professional avoca- if he was living, (as he did not desert the tions he was unable to peruse them, It ship), and in that case care should be was therefore to be understood that he taken that he should have it: if not, it did not give any decided opinion upon should be given to his relatives. the evidence produced upon the court Mr. Lytileton considered, that, although

it was a great aggravation of the offence Lake's orders to leave him there. He to turn a sailor on an island which was was glad to hear the right hon. the Chanuninhabited, yet he conceived it would cellor of the Exchequer say, “ this charge be an enormous offence.to have turned a should not be lightly passed over;" it sailor out on a strange island, even if it had certainly ought not to be passed over been inhabited. He thought that some bill lightly, and every means should be used might be brought in to make such an to ascertain the truth as to the fact of the offence in future a capital offence cogni- man's having been taken to America. zable by a naval court martial.

He knew, that every possible exertion had Mr. C. Adams spoke in favour of the been made, and was making, by the af. address suggested.

flicted and respectable family of captain Mr. Croker said, lieut. Maule could not | Lake, to ascertain whether he had been be examined, as he had gone to the East taken off by an American vessel, and if Indies, and the Admiralty did not think it he was still living; and he doubted not advisable to delay the court martial till his but intelligence would by one means or return, which could not be expected in other, be, at no distant period, obtained less than a year. Mr. Winsor had not to clear up these facts. He did not mean come to the ship until a year after this to utter a word, that might convey the transaction.

most distant idea, that he meant to justify Mr. Sheridan said, he meant not to ex- or excuse the leaving a Britisha seaman on cuse or to endeavour to palliate the con- any island: but though he had the highduct of captain Lake ; yet he was not est respect for the officers of the British afraid to say a few words by way of ex. navy, he believed it was not without a tenuation out of regard to an afflicted and precedent, that where there had been a respectable family, who had been deeply refractory subject on board some of his wounded by whai had already taken place Majesty's ships, there have been captains on the subject. He thought the House who have put such a man on

an island ought to ask themselves the question, Do that was inhabited. He was, however, of we in our consciences believe that captain opinion that further inquiry should be Lake knew the island was uninhabited ? made into the business, and thought the As for his own part, he verily believed report of the committee would be the he did not, and he was astonished at the best way; he thought they should at the declaration of an hon. and learned gent. same time examine into and report on the (Mr. Stephen) for whose sentiments he conduct of admiral Cochrane, who cerhad generally felt a respect, and parti- tainly could never have imagined capt. cularly for some which he had lately de- Lake capable of setting a man on shore, livered. He had assured the House, thal and leaving him in a desolate island. he had sailed very near to the island, and This must have been the admiral's opinion, from the mere look of it, if he were on a or he would have brought captain Lake to grand jury, he would find a bill, and, if an immediate court martial in the West on a petty jury, would give 'a verdict of Indies. He thought the investigation by guilty against captain Lake, on an indict- a Committee would be more satisfactory meat for murder. Such a doctrine was to an afflicted and respectable family, to almost as bad as any thing captain Lake the officers and ship's crew, more for the had done, and was what he could not credit of captain Lake himself, more for have supposed would have falled from that the credit and character of the House of learned gentleman. The House ought, Commons, and more satisfactory to the however, seriously to consider whether public at large than any other course of captain Lake knew it to be desolate. Did proceeding, and should, therefore, suphe think him capable of such an action, port the motion of the worthy baronet. he should shrink with horror from saying Admiral Harvey said he could not but a word in his behalf; but he had some reprobate the conduct of captain Lake. information in his hand which had been At the same time justice and humanity recollected by the friends of captain Lake, quired him to state to the House, that the which induced him to believe that he did island of Sombrero was a rock, and that not know it was uninhabited. It appeared water must lodge and be found in many of by this, that many of the officers of the the cavities; also that the eggs of birds ship did not think it uninbabited; if they were to be had in such abundance, thạt had, he verily believed neither they nor no man need to perish for want of food the seamen would have obeyed captain and water.

Captain Beresford disclaimed all idea of and situation of the island; but if he was excusing the conduct of capt. Lake, whom a juryman, he should on the evidence he he did not even know; but he thought it had read, as given at the court-martial, be his duty to state to the House that he had apt to find captain Lake guilty of murder. been stationed off the island of Sombrero It was no excuse that he thought the three years, and had been near it for seven island inhabited; he ought to have known years, and he thought it hardly possible it. for a man to remain there 24 hours. If Lord Cochrane argued, that sir A. Cochhe waved his hat every morning, he must rane, in not bringing captain Lake to a be observed. He did not know whether court-martial in the West Indies, had been the island was actually inhabited, but it guided by a too great leniency of temper, was daily resorted to by fishermen. which was his known character: but that

Sir J. Sebright had heard a report, to he had sent him home to be tried, where which he did not give credit, but thought he was sure justice would be done. He it fair to state to the House, in order to had no doubt but when the matter came afford an opportunity for its being distinct- to be inquired into by a committee, the ly, contradicted. He had heard that, after character of sir A. Cochrane would apthe report of admiral Cochrane in this pear in the fairest light, and the whole case had been received at the admiralty, world would be convinced by the report captain Lake had been appointed to a that he had conducted himself as became ship.

an admiral of the British navy. Sir R. Bickerton gave this a positive de- Mr. Canning said he always had undernial. In answer to what had been said stood that when a man was tried for an respecting the man's property, it was in. offence by a court competent to try him, possible, from the rules of the navy, that and had received the sentence of that court, any man could be cheated of what be- the business was done with; and there longed to him. He also defended admiral was no right to inquire further; but in this Cochrane’s conduct, which proceeded on instance the whole matter had not been the supposition that Jeffery had got safe to before the court, and they were unacAmerica, as he was informed.

quainted with the unascertained fact of Mr. R. Ward spoke highly in praise of the life or death of the individual. He admiral Cochrane, who was one of the best preferred an Address to a Committee, as he officers in the British service. The ad. could not see what the latter could do but miralty at home were satisfied with his come to that conclusion at last, which the conduct, after the explanation they had House might as well do at first of their received; and, he thought, there was no own accord.

After what they had heard, occasion for further inquiry into it. no man could leave the House with his

The Attorney-General, when this question mind perfectly made up, either as to the was originally agitated, thought further risk run by Jeffery, or the knowledge inquiry necessary. He could not agree captain Lake possessed relative to the si. with the learned gent. (Mr. Stephen,) that tuation of the island. Among the variety there would be sufficient grounds of a ver- of conjectures on these points, the proper dict of murder against captain Lake. On course appeared to him to be to ascertain, the contrary, from the statement of the as early as possible, the true state of the gallant officer, (captain Beresford,) the ag- fact to which these probabilities were digravation of his offence was much directed. If Jeffery was saved, then be con. minished. He could not think captain ceived no further proceeding was necesLake even liable to be tried for murder, sary; and it was no small matter, that as there was neither proof of the design their discussions evinced the opinion of the on his part, nor of the murder itself actu. House of Commons, on the moral proflially being the consequence, both of which gacy of the act. If, on the other hand, were necessary in such cases. He then Jeffery was dead, then it would be to be entered into a defence of admiral Coch- lamented, if no further steps were taken rane's conduct, and could see no ground for the sake of justice. On these grounds for inquiry into it.

he recommended the Address, and hoped Mr. Curwen could not agree with the there would be no division occasioned by hon. and learned gent. who had just sat pressing the original motion. down. He professed the greatest respect

Sir Ě. Burdelt was ready to adopt any for the opinions of the two hon. officers mode that would best promote the object who had so lately spoken, as to the nature they all had in view; but, before sitting

« AnteriorContinuar »