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such an union. Indeed, he should ra- not inadequate to the offence which had ther apprehend the contrary.
been committed. He allowed that he felt cording to the old adage, if new wine great repugnance in agitating the subject were put into old bottles it would spoil, on that particular occasion. He could but if new wine were put into new bottles wish that it had been postponed at least it would be preserved.
for forty-eight hours. When, however, it Mr. Windham, considering what was to was considered, that the agitation of the take place to-morrow (the Meeting of the question was not the act of the party imWestminster Electors), deprecated the idea mediately concerned, but of another, it of agreeing to the motion for liberating would appear that that was no ground for Jones. For that would be, on the vigil of refusing to concur in the proposed motheir saint, giving up Barabbas to the peo- tion. If he thought that the hon. and ple, who would not be imposed upon by learned gent. had brought forward this ihe gift; who would not ascribe it to question in consequence of a communicamoderation or justice, but to fear. Was tion with the individual immediately conthe House, then, disposed to shew that cerned, he would be ready to agree with fear, or should they not rather, to repeat those who contended, that the choice of words already used in the course of the time ought to be conclusive against the debate, be afraid to betray any such fear. motion; but any such communication he Recurring to the cause from which this understood the hon. and learned gent, disdiscussion originally sprung, the right tinctly to disclaim. There was in this hon. gent. expressed his unqualified ap- case an alternative wlich called for the probation of the conduct of Mr. Yorke, exercise of the soundest discretion of the notwithstanding all the consequences House, ought the House to exhaust on the which followed, and his resolution to re- offence of Mr. Gale Jones the whole of the sist any such concession as this motion punishment which they were capable of had in view, particularly at the present inflicting on the most aggravated offence, moment.
or could that be considered a very severe Mr. Canning observed, that he was not punishment which must necessarily soon the master of the time, at which the pend- arrive at a termination. The distinction ing discussion had taken place; he had which he had iaken the liberty of marknot sought for the agitation of it at the ing between the mode in which this mopresent moment; but as it had been tion was brought forward, and the mode brought forward, it was his duty to give in which it might have been brought forhis vote according to the best of his judg- ward-in the one case, with the concur. ment. He was not one of those, who en- rence of the prisoner, and in other without tertained the smallest doubt of the vali- it, applied to another part of the argudity of the privileges of the House of ment, namely, the question of contumacy. Commons, or of the right and the power If the application to the House were made of exercising them. Those questions had without the concurrence of the prisoner, already been deliberately and solemnly it could not, by any means, be contumacy decided by the House; and, in that des in him not to have presented a petition, escision, his own individual opinion con- pecially as he had immediately after the curred. But the House were not by the commission of his offence desired mercy, motion under consideration asked to re- and as it might appear to him that the procant, either individually or in a body; fessions which were used in vain, to prethey were not asked to give up the pri- vent the infliction of punishment, might be vileges themselves, or to call in doubt the used in vain to shorten its duration. The propriety of their exercise in the present question, however, having been brought instance. The simple question before forward, the House had to consider wbich them was, whether the punishment which was the most advantageous way of dishad been already dealt out to the indivi- posing of it. He was not one of those who dual who had incurred their displeasure, thought it a matter of great congratulation was adequate to his offence.
that all these questions of privilege were being prepared to say that there was any brought to issue at the present time. He precise or specific duration of punishment stated this as his sincere opinion, without proportionate to the offence, and all being imputing blame or even indiscretion to left to judge for themselves upon that any man. The course of circumstances question, he could not but think that the had produced what he did not conceire punishment which had been inflicted was to be a very desirable conjuncture. That conjuncture had however arrived, and release; feeling that by so doing he should must be met. He should not be suis not in the smallest degree impugn a single pected of wishing to shrink from the con- privilege of the House. sideration of any circumstance, either from The Solicitor General contended against any apprehension of a direct sort, or from the release of Mr. Jones, without his prethe fear so well described by his hon. and senting a petition in the usual form. He learned friend near him, the fear of being could not perceive any reason for exsupposed afraid. He confessed that al- cepting this case from the general rule. though he thought it would be unfair to He did not see on what particular grounds allow any extrinsic consideration to ope- it could be contended that Mr. Jones was rate on the manner in which the House entitled to more favour from the House might deal with the individual' whose case than other persons who had been comwas under discussion, yet, that he should mitted to prison by the House. He could part with that individual with more re- not therefore agree with the hon. gent. luctance, if he conceived that it would that there was any necessity for Mr. Jones be imagined by any one that the ques. or any other petitioner, or that they were tion of privilege was thereby set at rest, or required to recant any particular opinion; supposed to be done away. But, on the it was only necessary that he should state discussion relative to the conduct of the generally his sorrow for having violated great offender who had since been justly the privileges and incurred the displeasure and rightfully imprisoned under the war- of that House. Now he could not con‘rant of the Speaker, it had been well ceive what objection Mr. Jones could argued that it was on the great offender, have, in point of conscience, to state that and not on the small alone that the House in writing, which he had already stated ought to feel disposed to assert its autho- at the bar of the House. He believed that rity. In coincidence with that argument no 'man could deny that Mr. Jones had he was at liberty, without the hazard of been guilty of a violation of the priviany induction injurious to his sense, or the leges of the House; and if it were imposhonour and dignity of the House, to con- sible for him to doubt, that he had been tend, that the House might shew lenity to guilty of that offence, what reasonable obthe minor offender, without the imputation jection could he have to comply with of fear, because the question remained what was required by the forms of the alive in the way which was thought the House, and say so in a petition? Such a most formidable. For his part, he saw no confession would have nothing to do with more to fear in the agitation of the ques- the abstract question of the right of the tion than to wish ; but it would still re- House to commit, or the other questions main to be agitated, if the minor though which had recently been agitated. There original offender were set at liberty. It were it appeared two remarkable cases was no more necessary for the House to which were directly in point. In the last 'proceed to the discussion of their privi- session, the House had committed captain
leges with Mr. Gale Jones, in their power, Sandon and general Clavering. The forthan it was necessary for sir Francis Bur-mer had evidently been guilty of the dett to try the question which he dis- grossest prevarication, which he confessputed, by pushing his resistance to an ex-ed; and the latter had positively detent, by which he forfeited not only the clared, and the declaration was believed good opinion of those who best knew him, by his friends and many members of the but also the favourable sentiments of many House, that he never did intend to prevain that House, who were not of the number ricate. Of this, however, every body was of his friends. Of the latter class he agreed, that the guilt of capt. Sandon, in (Mr. Canning) was one ; he had express concealing the note, and the many falseed his favourable sentiments of that indi. hoods he told respecting it, was greater vidual, but the subsequent conduct of the than the offence of gen. Clavering. Nehon. bart. induced him to recant them al- vertheless, capt. Sandon was liberated together. Under all the circumstances of after a month's imprisonment, because he the case, not thinking that the absence of presented a petition; and gen. Clavering, a petition was a proof of contumacy on because he presented no petition, was sufthe part of the prisoner, and conceiving fered to remain in prison till the end of that the punishment “which he had al- the session, which was three months from ready sustained was commensurate to his the date of his imprisonment. These reoffence, he was inclined to vote for his cent instances would shew that the House was accustomed to shew lenity to those, the people were, and must necessarily be who asked it by petition in the usual in a state of suspence about the legality of forms.
the execution of the warrant, until the Mr. W. Smith could not see that the trial shall have taken place. All such dignity of the House absolutely required considerations, however, were extraneous. some petition, but that any petition of any The true question was, if the party offendkind would be sufficient to satisfy that. ing had suffered a punishment adequate to dignity. He thought nothing could be the offence. Conceiving that to be the more contrary to the real dignity of the case, he should vote for the motion. House than to 'confine a person longer Sir James Hall said, that if the House than the justice of the case required, declined doing that which was just in itnerely on a point of form. He thought self, because such an individual as Mr. too that the bon. and learned gent. who Jones thought proper to act as he had had just sat down had chosen strange acted, it was in fact putting themselves cases to support his argument. As to the under the controul of that individual. He imprisonment of general Clavering for had heard that he gained his bread by three months, he believed there were very speech-making. He was, it seemed, a sort few who recollected the evidence he gave, of trading orator; to a person of that dethat considered an imprisonment of three scription the notoriety of his sufferings inonths as a punishment too great for his would more than compensate for the offence; and therefore it was not at all length of them.' He, therefore, perhaps surprising that no member should have might not be at all anxious for enlargemoved for his being discharged without a ment, and continuing him in prison would petition. The fact was, that it was the be confining him not at the pleasure of the opinion and the advice of the friends of. House, but at the pleasure of Mr. Gale general Clavering, that it was more advisa- Jones. He should, therefore, vote for his ble for him to remain in prison during the enlargement. session, than receive that sort of repri- Mr. Wilberforce spoke in support of the mand which he would have been liable to, motion. He did not think the cases of if he had been discharged upon his peti- Clavering and Sandon in point. With tion. Captain Sandon had presented a respect to the latter, his acknowledgment petition, and was discharged after a month's was not so much an appeal to the justice imprisoninent, upon receiving a repri- as to the lenity of the House, and the apmand. It could not however be said that peal having been made, it succeeded in he received more lenity than general Cla: prevailing on the House to remit much of vering, as the friends of the general that punishment which otherwise it would thought it better that he should be some have been justified in inflicting. But in time longer in prison than be subject to the present case the punishment was unisuch a reprimand. There was, however, versally allowed to be adequate to the ofa prodigious deal of difference between fence, they ought not, therefore, thus to the guilt of general Clavering and that of prolong that punishment beyond just Mr. Gale Jones. He believed that every limits. one must allow that the offence of the latter Mr. Wardle said, that as at no distant by no means merited so severe a punish- day there would be an opportunity of as. ment as was due to that of general Cla- certaining whether or not such a power vering. He thought it would be an un- did exist in that House, and as he still reworthy and disgraceful reason for continu- mained satisfied that no such power did ing Mr. Jones in custody, that to-morrow belong of right to that House (Order!) as he a great meeting was expected in West. still remained of that opinion, it was unminster. Why should he be imprisoned necessary for him to go at all into the in consideration of the probability of some merits of the question now before them. other persons doing some other thing en- He should, therefore, reserve himself for tirely unconnected with his offence? As that opportunity, which he believed not to the question which would then probably to be very distant, of stating fully the reabe discussed, he must say, that he very sons which had satisfied him, that no such much wished that the House had agreed power existed in that House. to the reprimand instead of committing Mr. Croker objected to the motion, on sir F. Burdett. If they had done so many the sole ground that it was in opposition disagreeable consequences might have to a long train of uninterrupted precedents been avoided. At present, the minds of founded on a principle never heretofore questioned. If any deviation from such | tually continuing to the House to release an established usage could be admitted, him at their pleasure, Thinking the he was ready to allow, that the present punishment that Mr. Gale Jones had unwas a fit case; but when he recollected, dergone sufficient, he should vote for his that in the whole history of Parliament release. there was not a single instance of such a Mr. Owen contended, that justice re. deviation, he could not think that this was quired that the House should regard their the particular case, or this the particular own privileges, and that Mr. Gale Jones time which should induce the House to ought to present a petition before they depart from their long established customs. could agree to his release. It was not im
Mr. Bankes observed, that the House probable that former parliaments consiwere called upon to do no less than to dered the presenting a petition as a part depart from an uninterrupted line of pre- of the punishment of the offender. çedents. At what time too were they so Mr. C. W. Wynn was the last man who called upon ? At a time when those privi- would weaken the privileges or authority leges were questioned, which were essential of the House, but the adoption of the to the constitution of the House of Com. present motion would not, in his opinion, mons, without which it could not exist; endanger either. With respect to the without which it could not resist the en- case of gen. Clavering, which had been croachments of the crown, or protect the alluded to, he had abstained from moving privileges of the people. He had no dis- the release of gen. Clavering, before the position to press for a too severe punish- end of the session, because he conceived ment upon the offender; but what great that it would be a lighter punishment to thing was it that he was required to do? remain in prison a month longer than he He was required merely to approach the might bave done, tban be brought to the House with that due humility which was bar of the House and receive a reprimand proper for a person in his situation from the chair. He regretted the day What then was the peculiar merit of Mr. that had been selected for this motion, but Gale Jones that the House should do that when he considered that if it were not in bis case which they had never done adopted to-day, it could not in all proba. before ? He could not conceive that under bility be brought forward again for a fortsuch circumstances it was unjust to refuse night; when he also considered that the to liberate any one. The fault was the punishment of Jones had been sufficient individual's own. Above all, he depre- for his offence (which was one that he had cated the success of the motion at such a no hesitation in declaring deserved punishmoment as the present, and conjured the ment), he could not withhold his consent House not to accede to it.
from it. Mr. H. Addington adverting to the able Mr. Adam said, that notwithstanding statement of the right hon. the Speaker, what had fallen from an hon. geni. on the observed, that the generality of the cases floor (Mr. Bankes) he was yet inclined to adduced by that high authority, might doubt whether the rule requiring petition probably differ from the case of Mr. Gale previous to enlargement was a rule invariaJones. The individuals to whom these bly observed. He apprehended that cases referred, had perhaps been com- there had been instances of liberations mitled to Newgate without having ex- without petition, but this he would not pressed any contrition for their offences. take upon himself to assert positively. Now, as he understood (for he was not He said, he believed that what had been present) Mr. Gale Jones expressed his stated by the Speaker was as nearly corcontrition at the bar in a most decent and rect as such a negative assertion, to be de becoming manner. It was not common rived from such a mass of matter, could to commit after the expression of such be; especially if it referred to the period contrition. At the same time he would from the restoration. But he believed that say, that had he been present he should before the usurpation there might be inhave voted for the committal of Mr. Gale stances of proceeding without petition or Jones, not as a punishment, but as an ex- personal apology. There was no doubt, ample to deter others from the commis- | however, that such had been the usage, sion of similar offences. Mr. Jones's viva and then the question was, whether it was doce contrition was a sort of petition that an usage amounting to a law? If it was an he might not be sent to Newgate at all, usage amounting to a law, then it brought and might be considered as a petition vir- down the right of commitment to a right
of committing for contempt in the nar- the popular meeting to be held on Tues sowest sense; contempt in the narrowest day in Westminster-Ilall. sense was mere obstruction : the security Sir S. Romilly readily acceded to the against the recurrence of which required suggestion of his learned friend (Mr. that the person committed was bound to Adam) and varied the wording of his Reacknowledge bis offence as a security solution accordingly. He could not as against the repetition of it. To this mode easily accede to the suggestion of a right of considering it he could not assent, be hon. gent. respecting the inserting in the cause it was a limitation of the privilege Resolution a requisition of that submission totally, inconsistent with his views of it; from Mr. Jones, which he (sir S.) had which, as he had formerly maintained, he frankly declared, the House, in bis humble considered to extend to contempts and judgment had not any right to exact. He breaches of privilege destroying the effi- thought it necessary, however, to read cacy of their proceedings, by degrading from the Journals what was there recorded their character and vilifying their conduct. respecting that submission. It there ap. Privilege then extending to libel on the peared, that Mr. Jones had, when called House and its members, for their conduct to the bar, expressed his sorrow for baring therein, it followed that this large, and, as érred therein." He did not rise to add any he contended, just view of the subject, thing to the strong arguments brought forshould be accompanied with the power of ward in support of his motion, but to obmitigation by the voluntary and unsolicited serte upon one or two indirect insinuations discretion of the House. The exercise of which had been thrown out against his that discretion must of course vary accord- motives in bringing forward this motion, ing to the circumstances of different cases, It had been said, in allusion to the Weste and did not question the right of the privi- minster meeting, that was to take place tolege itself, nor at all weaken it by such a morrow, that the opportunity of bringing variation, since the discussion was not forward his motion had been anxiously upon the existence of the privilege, but wished for or eagerly caught at by bim. If upon the extent and degree to which it any man thought that he could be so inhad been violated; and he thought that fluenced in that or any other proceeding, their not being tied down to a strict ob- to that man he would not coudescend to servance of the same uniform proceedings justily himself. He could not have forein all cases, rather strengthened than seen, when he had early given notice of weakened their privileges, by confining this motion, that it would not have come the breach to the narrow ground of a mere on till then. Neither could he, with procontempt-reducing it to physical ob priety, have consented to postpone it till structions merely. If the case now before after tbe recess, as that would be delaying them was not one of these cases of new ob for three weeks from the time first fixed struction, then the question was reduced upon for the enlargement of the person; to one of distributive justice, not tied up in case the House should then agree in by a strict rule, but resting on discretion. his motion. This was no trifting consiLooking at it, therefore, in the light of a deration 10 a man, in such ill health, as he question of distributive jastice, he had no understood Mr. Jones to be. Another hesitation to say, that the arguments of his consideration in favour of bringing on right hon. and learned friend (the Master this discussion rather before than after the of the Kolls) were unanswerable. If then meeting at Westminster was, that he could it did appear that justice was in favour of not be certain that there might not be the motion, what was to deter that House resolutions of a strong character, proposed fron acting justly? He thought, for his at that meeting, to which he (Mr. Jones). part, that it would shew more courage to was not at all instrumental. He might do their duty openly and in defiance of yet suffer in consequence of the navälgat observation, than to be deterred | iure of such resolutions, making it rafrom it by the fear of being thought to be ther a delicate matter to submit that proafraid. They should therefore exercise position to the House.--Sir Samuel then their discretion, by shewing that they proceeded 10 argue briefly that there was were not afraid to liberate Mr. Jones. He no invariable rule requiring a petition on should suggest, however, to his learned the part of the prisoner, since the warrant friend, (sir Samuel Romilly) the propriety stated simply " during pleasure ;" whereof substituting Wednesday in his resolu- as, was that the rule, it ought to contain ction in place of Tuesday, on account of also the words cr and until the said prie