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law officers of the crown an account of duty. He appealed to the Chair, whether what passed at the council at which he it was not irregular to put questions to was required to attend. It must be recol. members similar to that which was now lected that this was not a grave enquiry put to the Atlorney-General. respecting the conduct of his Majesty's The Speaker said, that it certainly was ministers; but the examination of the At- not regular to examine members, unless torney General was only incidental to an when the House were on an enquiry. examination of the Serjeant at Arms, who The Chancellor of the Exchequer afterwas giving an account at the bar of his wards withdrew his objection, and the manner of executing a duty imposed upon question was suffered to be put; viz. him. He was so convinced that secrecy was necessary for confidence, that he did Were you consulted upon the subject of not like to establish such a precedent as the Speaker's Warrant, as directed against this, although he did not think the ques- sir Francis Burdett, at any timne previously tion asked was subject to any other mate to the case being submitted to you upon rial objection.
the part of the serjeant at arms?-1 was Mr. Whitbread conceived it of very great never consulted upon the legality of the importance that the House should have warrant, but I was consulted upon the an answer to the question which he asked, question, whether it could be executed by and which appeared to him to affect very breaking the outer door of sir Francis seriously his Majesty's ministers. Every Burdett's house. body knew and greatly lamented that When, and by whom?-On the Saturfrom Friday morning to the present day day morning I was desired to attend the this great metropolis had been a scene of council, and I did attend it; I cannot the utmost tumult and confusion, and that charge my recollection with the time, I the most calamitous events had taken place. can recollect, from the effects of having Many persons (he did not know how many) | sat up so late the preceding night, it was had been slain. The argument which he extremely late; I should think it was wished to submit to the House was this: about one or two o'clock, but I will not until Friday morning there was no question pretend to speak to the time. I was asked at all about the value of the Speaker's war- at the council what I thought of the lerant, and yet the House were now in- gality of so executing the warrant, I mean, formed, that although that warrant had hy breaking the outer door of the house; been signed on Friday morning, the it was a new question ; it arose upon the Serjeant at Arms was advised by minis- execution of a warrant, with the mode of ters on Saturday evening to lay a case executing which I was in practice unacbefore the Atlorney General, who return- quainted. No instance could be stated to ed his opinion on the case on Sunday me in which such a warrant had been exeevening. It was, therefore, necessary cuted by breaking the outer door of the that the House and the country should house; I could therefore only reason from know how it happened, that it should be analogy to other cases in the law, which I necessary to take the Attorney-General's had in my recollection. The tendency of opinion on the Saturday, upon a subject my opinion certainly then was, that it that there was no question of on Friday. might be so executed; that is, that the
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that Serjeant had a right, having demanded'en. there never had been any doubt or ques trance, and being refused, and having stated tion about the validity of the Speaker's, the ground upon which he demanded en. warrant. The only question was, whether' trance, namely, to execute such a warrant, in the execution of this warrant the Ser- that he would be justified in breaking the jeant had any right to break an outer-door.' outer door of the house. I stated at the
Mr. Whitbread said, that he had not used same time that it was a question new, for the word validity. He had said the value the reasons I have stated, and that I could of it, which, in common language, implied not give a decided opinion; but that as the extent of its operation.
far as my opinion went, which was the reMr. R. Dundus said, that it appeared sult of reasoning and not of any authority to him a novel and extraordinary doctrine upon the particular point, I thought it for gentlemen on the other side of the night be so executed. House to maintain, that it was the business Was that all that passed at that Council of government to controul and direct the upon the subject of the Speaker's warrant? Serjeant at Arms in the execution of his - That was the substance of what passed ; I think I also stated the consequence that | Romilly) this night, whom the newspapers might arise to the Serjeant in so executing set down among the advisers of sir this warrant, if he were not justified in Bardett, justified this disbelief. But still law; that if any conflict should take place, he must say, if it appeared that there were and a death should ensue (pretty much in among the members of that House any the terms 1 afterwards used in my opinion) secret advisers of the hon. baronet, he saw he would or would not be justified, as that nothing inconsistent or inappropriale to mode of executing the warrant might be the purposes of this inquiry, to call upon deemed legal or illegal; and I think I such gentlemen for an explanation of their stated likewise, that if any thing fatal were advice and motives. to happen to himself, and it should be held Mr. Whitbread begged to submit a few that his mode of executing the warrant was observations upon the insinuation of live illegal, no person resisting such an execu- hon. gent, which was certainly by no tion of the warrant would be criminally means dark or difficult to be understood. answerable for that circumstance.
The bon. gent. concluded, he must say, Sir Mark Wood moved, that the mes- not very liberally, that any private advice senger who accompanied the Serjeant at given to sir F. Burdett, on his late proArms to sir F. Burdeti's house on Friday ceedings, was hid. Now he happened to night, should be called in and examined. bave his own name set down in the news
Mr. Jacob, in rising to second this mo- papers, not as among the advisers, bat as tion, took occasion to observe, that the among the visitors of sir F. Burdett; and inquiry should take a wider range than he hoped it would not be deemed less gentlemen appeared to have in contem- | honourable in him to avow, that he was plation. The object of all the interroga- one of the visitors of the hon. baronet, tories seemed to be to criminate the Ser than it was in his learned friend near him jeant at Arms, the ministers, or the pri- (sir S. Romilly), to correct the erroneous soners, and for this purpose only one with mention of his name.
He had certainly ness was examined. Nothing had as yet never visited sir F. Burdett before, nor been
gone into to affect the criminality of ever dined at his house, but once some the prisoner, or to expose any of his secret years ago. But on Saturday evening last advisers, whether members of that House he was induced to visit the hon. baronet, or not. (A loud cry of name, name!) He in company with another member of that only meant to suggest the propriety of House, who was better acquainted with extending inquiry upon this subject, in the hon. baronet, and he did state such conorder to ascertain whether any member of derations to the hon. baronet as he thought that House, or who had recently advised would have had an influence upon his mind. sir F. Burdett to resist the authority of the He mentioned hypothetically what he himSpeaker's warrant. it appeared to himself would have done under similar circumthat the House had at least as much right stances. In order to avert the conseto call upon any member to violate his quence likely to follow to the king's subconfidential counsels with sir F. Burdert, jects, he discussed the line of conduct as it had to call upon the law officer of the which he himself would have thought it crown to violate his consultations with the advisable to pursue, even acting upon the king's cabinet.
hon. baronet's own principles, and he must Lord John ('avendish rose to order. He say, that he was received with the utmost conceived the hon. member to be quite possible attention; that the hon. baronet wandering froin the question properly be very politely attended to every observation fore the house.
he made. The advice which he offered Mr. Ponsonby also rose to order; but to the hon. baronet was not secret, but in
The Speaker interposed and expressed | the open day; and he would appeal to the his opinion, that the hon, member was not candour of the House, whether, if even out of order; as he was only adducing ar- secret, it was therefore to be deemed bad. guments to fortify the proposition before He telt that he had done his duty in callthe House for further inquiry.
ing upon the hon. baronet, and offering Mr. Jacob resumed and observed, that he the advice he did. In making that call was not disposed to believe that there he was acting in compliance with the were any of the secret advisers of sir F. earnest solicitations of a friend, and he Burdett's conduct among the members certainly felt that far from doing evil, he of that House. The declaration indeed, was likely to promote what he conceived of one hon. and learned member (sir S. a very desirable good.
Mr. Jacob disclaimed any personal allu- | Much had been said of what the governsion. His observation being confined to ment had omittted to do ; but he would an if, relative to any members of that contend for it, that had the government House being among the secret advisers of not done what it had done, the missir F. Burdett. - A general cry on the op- chief might have been incalculably greater. posite benches of name ! name !]
But ministers had been asked why they Mr. Ponsonby said, that whatever were did not do on Friday what had been at the professions of the hon. gent., there length done on the Monday following ? could be little doubt that the manner and In answer to that question he would say, deportment of that hon. gent. in the course that it was not the part of the executive of his speech was most unfortunate, it'they government to take from the House of were meant to second the construction Commons the right of enforcing its own which that gentleman wished to have put order. As far as the executive power was upon his words. He (Mr. Ponsonby) would concerned in assisting in carrying into efconfidently appeal io the House, and ask, fect a legal warrant, so far the aid of the if there was one more within its walls, who executive power was not wanting. The would take upon him to declare upon his civil and military power had been called honour that he did not believe that the hon. forth, and where, he would ask, was the gent, meant to affix a charge of giving se object in visiting upon ministers undefined cret and bad advice to sir F. Burdert, upon and ill supported accusations of not mainsome member of that House. And what taining the public peace? What effect had could have been meant by such an impu- such charges ? Had not some of the tation? He did not hesitate to say, that speeches they had heard a tendency to it was an imputation that could not be too excite popular irritation, and give rise to speedily retracted. By what privilege dissatisfaction. did that gentleman assume to himself the Mr. Tierney rose to order, and complainright of throwing out at random grounded of charges having been made against less aspersions against the motives of other the motives of certain members who had members, in what they believed to be the spoken, by complaining of the tendency conscientious discharge of their duty of their speeches, which he presumed to When the hon. gent. made the charge he be disorderly. did, he was called upon to name the ob- The Speaker said, that he conceived it to jects of his charge. He did not do so, and be within the prescribed limits of debate in not doing so, the hon. gent. involved for any hon. member to speak to the tenhimself in the embarrassment, either of dency in his judgment) of any speech he making charges which he could not, or had heard, and in that sense he concluded would not, support. He would advise that the honourable member to be in order. hon. gent. to be more cautions for the Mr. Secretary Ryder then proceeded to future, and not to deal out conjectural restate his assertion, and concluded by invective against men as undeserving of expressing his wish that all the proceedsuch attacks as any that could make them. ings of government on this momentous
Mr. Secretary Ryder stated, that the business were in detail before the House. least part of the motives which then influ- Sir John Anstruther stated that a right enced bin to rise, was that of vindicating hon. friend of his had been charged with his Majesty's ministers from the attack great warmth upon this subject. He conthat had been made upon them. His fessed that it was not one npon which be principal object was, raiher to vindicate could speak very coolly, when he recolthe privileges of that House, which had lected that, owing to a remissness in some been so grossly trampled upon. The quarter or another, the lives of his wife Serjeant at Arms had been described as and children had been for a long time enthe agent of ministers. How did that ap- dangered. He asked if there was a man pear? Not surely in the obedience of that who doubted that this business had been cfficer to the suggestions of the ministers. brought upon the House by ministers, and He (Mr. Ryder) admitted, that his situa- if their official influence had not been the ation, for, the last four days at least, was means of procuring the decision that had a most responsible situation ; responsible been ultimately determined on. (Oriler!) as that situation was, and humbly calcu- He was not out of order; he spoke of their lated as he was to fulfil its duties, still he influence in that House as men of talents would contend for it that there was no de- and responsibility. He then adverted to ficiency on the part of the ministers. the evidence of the Serjeant, and appealed to the House, if it did appear from that was then withdrawn.-Mr. Whitbread evidence that ministers had not taken any moved that the papers and evidence besteps whatever to provide against conse- fore the House be printed.-The Solicitor quences, which might have been so easily General for Scotland wished that a lelter foreseen. The opinion of the Attorney- from the Serjeant to sir F. Burdett, and his general was not taken until late on Satur- answer thereto, not at present before the day; why was not that opinion taken on House, should be presented, and printed Friday morning, and forthwith acted upon. along with the evidence now adduced. If it had been taken and acted upon, what Ordered. might it not have saved- the confusion of two days, the lives of some of the King's
HOUSE OF COMNONS, subjects ; he censured the sort of advice given to the Serjeant by the ministers, it
Tuesday, April 10. amounted to this" Go and execute your [PROCEEDINGS RESPECTING SIR F. BURwarrant, you shall have all possible aid dett's LETTER TO THE SPEAKER.) On both civil and military—but then we can't the Order of the day for resuming the adsay how far you may lawfully go-never journed debate upon the motion made mind, however, do your duty, and 'tis no yesterday, That the Letter received by matter whether in the event you are hang- Mr. Speaker from Sir Francis Burdett do ed or not for the attempt.”
upon the table, being read: Mr. R. Dundas expresed his sincere re- Mr. Curwen rose and observed, that if gret for the violence done to sir John An- he had thought the bon. bart. had intendstruther's house, but contended for it, that ed altogether to have denied the autho. if the executive had gone farther, they rity of that House to imprison, he would would have been as loudly censured as they not have voted on a former occasion as now were for what they had omitted to he had done. The language of the Letter, do. He denied that ministers had any before complained of in that House, he reason to anticipate, and to provide against had imagined, might have proceeded the unexpected and unprecedented re- from a warmth of feeling without any dissistance on the part of sir F. Burdett. respect being intended; but after what
Mr. C. W. Wynn contended that mi. had passed since, he could hardly doubt nisters were bound to provide against all what the principles of the hon. bart. were. consequences resulting from a measure No man felt more strongly than he had which they had taken such pains to pre- done, the propriety of a moderate reform vail upon the House to adopt.
of that House, in order to secure that conThe Attorney-General vindicated the confidence from the people upon which its duct of ministers against the charge of re- strength and its utility so materially demissness. The Serjeant at arms, to whom, pended. But he could not agree that this however, he wished to impute nothing would be best effected by the endeavour which the facts of the case did not substan- to bring the whole House of Commons tiate, had twice through himself, and once into contempt. Whatever might be his by means of his deputy, the opportunity opinion of ministers, however much be of taking sir Francis into custody, if he might think they had erred in the course had availed himself of those advantages of the events that had taken place within In either case, any resistance afterwards these four days, he must, in justice to made by sir Francis or his adherents, must them, say, that the circumstances were have been construed into a rescue, which unlooked for, and that here, at least, they would have fully warranted the breaking had some excuse for their conduct. He into his house.
was now compelled to think, that the Let. Mr. C. W. Wynn argued that ministers ter which had been the subject of the late should have been aware of the validity of discussions in that House, was part of a the warrant, and of the mode of executing system determined on by the hon. bart.; it, before they proposed that such a mea- and if the House had not taken notice of sure should be adopted by the house. it in the manner it had done by commit
Mr. Sharp, from the observations which ting him, that it would have been dragged he himself had been enabled to make, was into something else, and have had to meet of opinion that all the consequences result- other and further attacks. Under such ing from the measure which had been circumstances, it was the duty of the adopted, were imputable to ministers. country to endeavour to strengthen his
The motion for calling in the nessenger Majesty's government, and such, he trust. ed, would be the feeling of the House. notice. He therefore seconded the moWith regard to the immediate question, if tion, or rather the amendment of the last the hon. bart. had not intended any thing speaker. wrong in the late proceedings, the course Mr. Adam, on this occasion, said the of his conduct proved how little depen. motion respecting the letter was not the dance was to be placed upon his judg- cause of his rising; but the consideration ment; but he hoped the House would be which induced him to present himself so unanimous in consigning the present let- early to the notice of the House was, that ter to the oblivion which it deserved. If he might state in the most unqualified any proceeding should be had upon it, manner, that he could not agree with his the consequence would be the expulsion hon. friend behind him (Mr. Curwen) that of the hon. bart. by which a licence for the events which had lately occurred were tumult would be given during the fourteen such as could not have been foreseen, or days of a new election, the military must that the ministers were not highly culbe withdrawn, and the consequences might pable for the part which they had acted. prove still more serious. He thought this By their negligence a state of things had letter a trap for the House. He even de- been produced which greatly alarmed this precated for the present any violent dis- metropolis; which must reflect great cussion on the conduct of ministers. blame upon those, who by vigilance and Whatever might be his opinion of the ad- wisdom might have prevented it. The ministration, he must support the govern- question had been in the contemplation of ment. The times were altered, and till ministers a full fortnight. They had every these changed again, he would not moot opportunity of knowing the law and the any thing that had a tendency to diminish precedents on the subject. The adjournthe authority of government in general. ment which had taken place had given When the effects of ferment were gone them full opportunity for deliberation, be by, he should then think himself at liber- fore they came to the consideration of ty to blame any part of the conduct of what ought to be done in consequence of the administration in this business that ap- the decision, to which they themselves, as peared to him to deserve censure—though members of parliament of weight and inhe must, for the present, upon the para- fluence, had 'so mainly contributed. He mount ground support it. Thinking asked, who were the guardians of the therefore, that the course most becoming public peace? Was not the secretary of the dignity of the House would be to take state to be considered in that light? Was no further notice of this letter, he moved, he not bound to know the situation of that the further consideration of it be ad- things; the transactions that were passjourned to this day six months.
ing; the state of public feeling; the transMr. Davies Giddy having voted against actions of public men--and to be prethe motion for the commitment of sir F. pared accordingly? As members of parBurdett to the Tower, thought himself | liament, too, the ministers were bound to called
upon in this instance to say a few look after the privileges of the House. words. He voted on the former occasion, Not only as the servants of the King, but not as questioning the offence, but as as magistrates, &c. they were bound to thinking it better not to have recourse to take care that means should be provided, this severity in the first instance, being they were bound to enforce the warrant, satisfied, that, if the offence was the result to call the civil power to its assistance, and of bad intention, a future occasion would as members of parliament, to know how most probably be given for the exercise it was to be enforced before they voted it. of the ultimate power of the House. Con. In the earliest stage of the business, it was scious of rectitude of intention in his own their duty to have taken steps to increase mind, he was slow in escribing improper the civil power ; to add to the posse comimotives to others. But he was sorry that tutus, so as to have secured against resist. he could not now give sir F. Burdett cre- ance or rescue-either of which it was na. dit even for rectitude of intention. As to tural to apprehend. On that apprehenthe letter under consideration, he did not sion, in wisdom they should have acted, well know what epithet to apply to it, and secured the object of the warrant, by that scurrilous letter, if he might be al- the mere effort of the civil power alone. lowed to apply one epithet to it, he -Mr. Adam next stated the delay which thought it would be most becoming the they had occasioned by their negligence, dignity of the House to pass over without and want of foresight-tbat delay which