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question he considered to be of extreme by the communication of another, and the importance, and it was of such a nature, duties of an office must be discharged by that when he heard of the fact, he could the last patentee, even after his resignascarcely believe it to be possible. He had tion, till such time as his successor was apheard, that notwithstanding the tender of pointed. his resignation by lord Chatham, and its Mr. Whitbread rose to speak, when he acceptance by his Majesty, of which they was called to order by a member, who had been assured by the right hon. gent. stated, that there was no question on this opposite, that noble lord.still continued to subject before the House. fulfil the duties of master-general of the Mr. Whitbread then said, he would raise ordnance, and to draw the salary, and ex. a question in a moment. He wished to be ercise the patronage appertaining thereto. informed whether in point of fact, lord He wished to be informed by the right Chatham still received the salary of his hon. gent., if this was true or not? office ? The Chancellor of the Erchequer said, that,
The Chancellor of the Erchequer thought in point of fact and of law, lord Chatham that whilst he performed the duties he was continued to transact the business of master- entitled to receive it, but did not know general of the ordnance, from day to day, whether he actually did so or not. till his successor should be appointed. Mr. A. Cooper, in answer to the question, This was necessarily done in all patent stated, that lord Chatham had received the places. But he had merely fulfilled the salary as master-general of the ordnance, duties of his office, and had abstained from till the end of the last quarter. advising in the cabinet, carrying in the re- Mr. Whitbread expressed a hope, that he ports, &c. to bis Majesty, or doing any would do so no more, to prevent the disa. other official act connected with his situa- greeable necessity of his bringing a question, which had devolved, in the interim, tion on any subject affecting the noble lord, on the lieutenant-general of the ordnance. under the discussion of the House.
Mr. Whitbread conceived this to be a gross and scandalous delusion, practised
HOUSE OF COMMONS. on the House and the country by his Majesty's ministers. They had informed
Wednesday, April 18. the House that the noble lord's resigna- (DISPUTE WITH AMERICA.) Mr. Cantion had been tendered and accepted, but ning, seeing an hon. member in his place, he could not understand how that was rose to put a question to that hon. gent. done, if he still continued to fulfil the du- (Mr. Whitbread) respecting our transac. ties of the office. He had of late given the tions with America. It would be recol. right hon. gent. several opportunities of lected that observations had been made explaining this matter, by urging the in. tending to intimate that he (Mr. Canning) expediency of having so important an of- had actually told a lie before that House, fice as master-general of the ordnance va- and in the face of the world, with regard cant, and had once directly asked him if to the instructions which he, when in office, it was filled up ? But still the delusion had had given to Mr. Erskine. The papers been carried on. They were now met by which served fully to elucidate this subthe form of patents ; but how would that ject had been now nearly two months behave been, had the noble lord been de-fore the House, and no proceeding was prived of his office in consequence of a vote taken in pursuance of the object, with a of the House ? Would he then still have view to which the hon. gent. called for been allowed to do the duties of that im- those papers. He therefore thought it neportant office, and manage those military cessary to ask, after such a public imputaaffairs, for which they thought him so un- tion as he had alluded to, had been east fit? The right hon. gent., he fancied, was upon his character, whether the hon. gent. aware that a motion to this effect was only meant to bring forward any motion upon not made, because the noble lord resigned this question, and at what time he would his situation. It was not whether he ato feel it convenient to do so. tended cabinet councils, advised ministers, Mr. Whitbread stated, that in conseor performed other acts, but whether he quence of the pressure of public business actually remained in office, after the House for some time back, he had not yet been and country understood he had retired ? able to read the papers alluded to by the
The Chancellor of the Exchequer explained. right hon. gent. "But he would take care By law, one patent could only be revoked to examine them in the course of the re
cess, and if they did not serve to dislodge, the prisoner was conveyed to the Tower. the impression he had been induced to Such was the result of the inquiry which entertain upon this subject, he should cer his Majesty's ministers had instituted. As tainly feel it his duty to submit a motion to the particular event adverted to, he was to the House respecting it.
assured ibat no shot was fired by a soldier, Mr. Canning expressed a hope that the until several shots were fired at the troops hon. gent would either bring the matter from the same place to which the fatal under discussion, or state his reasons for de- shot was directed. Under these circumclining it, so that the intimation, of which stances it could not be expected that gohe had reason to complain, should not re- vernment should issue a proclamation such main uncontradicted.
as that required by the noble lord; nor did Mr. Whitbread replied, “ undoubtedly" he think, unless a different result should wand adding, that he felt hiniself bound appear from farther inquiry, it would be to apologize to the right hon. gent. for the consistent with its duty to issue any prodelay which had already taken place. clamation whatever.
[The Late DISTURBANCES IN THE ME- Mr. Whitbread agreed with the right TROPOLIS.] Lord Ossulston rose to put a hon. gent., that the conduct of the soldiery question to the secretary of state for the throughout had been very exemplary ; home department, (Mr. Ryder) with re- but did that right hon gent., mean to say, spect to a subject which considerably standing in that House as a ministeragitated the public mind. He saw in the The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to newspapers a proclamation, offering a re-order, observing, that as there was no ward for the discovery and apprehension question before the House, the hon. memof persons alleged to have fired at some of ber was not warranted in proceeding farthe military in the course of the late Dis- ther. He had no objection whatever to a turbances; and he saw also the report of discussion of the case referred to, but be a coroner's inquest upon the body of a man felt the impropriety of allowing a speech who had been unfortunately killed in to be made under the present circuma Piccadilly on the 7th instant, who had stances upon the subject, and to go forth found a verdict of “ wilful murder against without any answer. a life-guardsman unknown.” Now he The Speaker remarked upon the point of wished to know whether it was intend-order, that it was deemed generally in: ed by his Majesty's ministers to issue a convenient to the House to extend a conproclamation, and whether it was in the versation of this nature ; beyond the contemplation of government to take any mere answer to the question proposed. JE steps towards discovering the offender, it were desired to carry the subject farther, whom he understood, it could not be diffi- the practice was according to the custom cult to find out, as he was one of a rear of tle House to give notice of a motion. guard, consisting of only six persons. He begged pardon for interrupting the
Mr. Secretary Ryder admiited, that if | hon. member, but being appealed to on the concluding statement of the noble lord the score of order, he felt it his duty to were correct, there could of course be state his opinion, little difficulty in discovering the offender Mr. Whitbread expressed his resolution alluded to, if osteoder there were. His to avail bimself of his right to make a moMajesty's ministers had undoubtedly in- tion, without giving any notice; and stituted an inquiry, into all the circum- that motion would be, That the verdict of stances connected with the conduct of the the coroner's inquest should be laid before soldiery and the populace during the late the House. He was really much astounhappy tumults, and he was enabled to nished at the very extraordinary doctrine state as the result of that inquiry, that laid down by the right hon. gent. What! there was no instance in our history where did the right hon. gent. mean to assert it was found necessary to collect and em- that the verdict of a coroner's inquest was ploy the troops, in which the forbearance not deserving of any investigation that it and moderation of the soldiery were so re- formed no ground for additional inquiry markable, while they were not ovly pelted that no step should be taken in conseby the populace with stones and mud, but quence of it? Was it not due to the cause actually fired upon. This moderation was, of justice, to the feelings of the public, to indeed, not only manifested during the pe- the character of the soldiery, one of whom riod in which the army were engaged in was accused of murder by this verdict, Piccadilly, but upon the Monday when that an inquiry should take place ? Such YOL, XYI.
an inquiry, indeed, seemed peculiarly due session, made a motion in that House, at a to the vindication of the troops; for until late bour of the night, without any pre. the guilty individual was discovered, the vious notice, at which he would himself whole body was liable to be implicated in have attended, if he had been aware of the imputation that verdict conveyed; and the intention to bring it forward. why should not a proclamation be issued in Mr. Canning, as the hon. gent. had alorder to facilitate that discovery? But it luded to the motion which he (Mr. Can. appeared from the statement of his noble ning) had conceived it necessary to make friend, that there was an obvious facility during the last session, in justification of towards that discovery, within the reach the Speaker's conduct ; felt it incumbent of ministers, without any proclamation upon him to explain that that motion arose whatever? Why should not such a facility out of events which had taken place in the then be immediately resorted to ? Surely course of the same evening ; and which no minister would pretend to disregard the had created in him a reluctance to suffer verdict of a coroner's inquest, to assume the separation of the House without bring. the right of a grand jury, or to prevent ing the subject distinctly before them for that case which a coroner's inquest pro- their opinion. That was a case, therefore, nounced to be wilful murder, from being of so particular a nature, that it could referred to a jury for trial. It was clearly scarcely be adduced as a precedent, and pecessary that the inquiry should be fol. had no analogy to the manner in which the lowed up on this business, for the satisfac- hon. gent. had brought forward the motion tion of the public and in vindication of under discussion. At the same time, he the soldiery. If it turned out, from that readily admitted that the hon. gent. had inquiry, that the statement of the right exercised an undoubted right; he should, hon. secretary was well founded, that the however, vote against him, on the single conduct of the troops was in all instances ground that the House were taken by sur: marked by forbearance and moderation, prise. and that several shots were fired from the Mr. W. Smith, while he cheerfully admitplace where this murder was alledged to ted that the Speaker exercised the discretion have occurred, then the inquiry would be reposed in bim by the House in a manner most satisfactory; but yet it could not be that must afford general satisfaction, yet argued, that because the soldiery in ge contended, that the doetrino maintained neral behaved well, the murder of an in- by the right hon. secretary of state was of nocent man by one of those soldiers, ought such a nature, that the country at large to be overlooked. Such an inference alone would be much dissatisfied were it to pass could warrant the disposition betrayed by without immediate animadversion. Wilthe doctrine of the right hon. Secretary, ling, as he was, from his own personal and therefore he felt himself irresistibly observation, and from the reports of others, impelled at once to oppose it. Therefore to bear testimony to the general good indeed he was urged to the assertion of conduct of the soldiery, yet when a cohis right to make a motion without notice, roner's inquest had brought in a verdict which he should be otherwise indisposed of wilful murder, it was most extraor. so do, if he was not so pressed. The hon. dinary to hear a secretary of state say that gent. concluded by moving that a copy of he was making such and such inquiries ; the verdict of the coroner's inquest be laid thus putting himself in the place of a jury before the House.
of the country. He did ihope that the The Speaker hoped the House would right hon. gent. had made this declaration feel that he had done no more than his duty rashly, and without being aware of its in stating the usual order of the House upon tendency and extent. As had been well a case of this nature; and on any future oc- argued by his hon friend, if ten thousand casion he should content himself with mere- men behaved well, it did not follow that ly a similar statement, leaving any hon. one might not be guilty of murder. When member to use his own discretion after- a coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of wards, and to the judgment of the House. “ wilfulmurder against a person unknown"
Mr. Whitbread disclaimed the slightest it was only by a jury that the case could intention of finding fault with the conduct be tried. The secretary of state was a of the chair. Bat he hoped it would be justice of peace; did he, in making the remembered that his conduct was not inquiry which he had described, take the without precedent; for a right hon. gent. depositions on oath? On such a trial as (Mr. Canning) had in the course of last bis, the right and wrong of the case could never be permitted to stand. He repeated would have acted erroneously, had they, his persuasion, that the right hon. gent. on the evidence before them, advised bis would have been more guarded had he Majesty to issue his royal proclamation. been aware of the tendency and extent Lord Ossulston' admitted the general of his observations.
good conduct of the soldiery, but he Mr. Secretary Ryder was grateful for begged the House to recollect, that one the opportunity affordod him of explaining inoftending individual had been murderhimself. He was perfectly ready to re-ed'; and the good conduct of thousands assert, that in his view of the case the line was no atonement for that crime. taken by his Majesty's government was Mr. Alderman Combe stated, that there the only line which, coosistently with was an inquiry in the city to-day, in contheir duty, it was possible for them to sequence of an unhappy event similar to adopt. The hon. gent. opposite must that under consideration. The firing of have strangely misunderstood him when the soldiery had been productive of very he represented that no inquiry had taken unfortunate results in that quarter; but. place. He (Mr. R.) bad distinctly stated in stating this he wished it to be underto the House in the course of his former stood; that something must be allowed for observations, that as soon as the facts provocatiɔns. There were undoubtedly were known to his Majesty's government, some attacks made upon the soldiery they instituted a strict inquiry into the in the city, but neither those attacks, nor conduct of the populace on one hand, and their general moderation, could plead for of the troops on the other; and the result such a crime as that to which the motion was, that they had resolved to advise his before the House referred; and therefore Majesty not to issue any proclamation on he would support it. the subject. Another hon. gent. had The Chancellor of the Exchequer thought asked whether the inquiry had taken place this motion ought to be resisted, from the on oath ? It was necessary that the nature irregular manner in which it was brought of the evidence to be given before the forward ; and particularly because there privy council should be previously ex- was no urgency in the case that called for amined. Some witnesses had been exámin. any departure from the usual forms of the ed before the privycouncilon oath : others House. There was in fact no object in had been examined by other persons, in view which could not be answered, withorder to ascertain whether or not their out resorting to the irregularity comevidence ought to be given before the plained of, to which irregularity the hon. privy council on one side of the question mover seemed to have been prompted or on the other.—He said on one side or solely from a desire to make a speech. on the other, although it did not appear But, if the conduct of the hon. member that in any case the troops had acted in a were sanctioned,
other member might manner which could call for disapprobao take the same course, and the House must tion. The ivquiry was still proceeding. be aware of the inconvenience to which Hitherto, certainly, he for one had not such a practice would lead. He would thought it expedient to advise his Majesty submit it therefore to the good sense of to issue his proclamation upon this subject. the House, whether, if they had any reThe hon. gent. opposite seemed to think gard to their established course of prothat it was indispensible to issue a royal ceeding they could countenance the irreproclamation whenever a coroner's inquest gularity of the hon. gent. who, in the first brought in a verdict of wilful' murder. place, had made a motion without having This was to him a new principle. When given any notice, and, in the second place, ever this question came to be agitated— had made that motion although there were which he trusted it would not to night, several notices on the paper which were although the hon. gent. had thought entitled to priority. But, he would ask, proper to make his motion without any what was the urgency of the case which notice, in contradiction to the uninter demanded that the motion should be made rupted usage of the House, for which alone on that day? Was, then, any thing to be he should oppose it--but whenever the immediately proposed in consequence of hon. gent. might choose to bring it for it? What was the hon. gent.'s object? ward, according to the recognized prac. He had only made the motion because he * tice of the House, he had no doubt of had been interrupted in irregularity. He being fully able to vindicate the conduct had not risen to make the motion, but he of government, and to prove that they had made the motion to protect himself.
He had taken the House by surprise, and tary force. He lamented that he had to unprepared. On that ground alone, there rise on such a serious and melancholy ocfore, the motion ought to be negatived; casion, but he begged leave to state the for there was no excuse for departing circumstances which he had witnessed, as from the established usage. But, inde- from his own situation on the spot (near pendently of that consideration, were the St. James's Church), from his own knowHouse to take into their own hands the ledge, and from the knowledge of others administration of justice while in its pro- (he having as an officer particularly ingress? Were they to be the inspectors of vestigated the transaction), he was perverdicts of coroners' inquests and indicta suaded that he could give information which ments for murder? Were they to stand in it was out of the power of any other hon. the situation of grand jurors ? 'If any abuse member to afford or procure. He would had occurred, that certainly would be a take upon himself positively to assert, that sufficient ground for a parliamentary pro- before any firing on the part of the troops, ceeding. But what answer had his right the populace fired upon the soldiers. One hon. friend made to the question, whether man near him was shot with a ball through or not his Majesty had been advised to the jaw. (Hear, hear, hear!) Even afier issue a proclamation offering a reward for this occurrence, the soldiers were not al. the apprehension of the offender? His lowed to load their pistols, but the magisright hon. friend had replied in the nega- trates exerted their authority to repress tive, and had added, that, as far as he further outrage. Both the civil and milicould judge from the inquiry which had tary power were, however, pelted by the been instituted into the circumstances of populace, and from ten to twenty shots the case, he did not think he should be were fired by the people before he heard disposed to recommend such a proceed- one fired by the soldiers. (Hear, hear, ing; the inquiry, however, still pending, hear!) He did not state this as bearsay, the result of which might alter his opinion. but as matter of fact, he being on duty at If the House had instituted the same in the place where there was a considerable quiry as his Majesty's government, they detachment of from 60 to 100 men, and would have arrived at the same conclusion. not merely a rear guard, as a noble lord It evidently appeared that the soldiers had mistakenly conceived. Should this bad behaved with marked abstinence ge- subject be discussed at any future period nerally; but that on the particular spot he would go into greater lengths upon it, which was the scene of the unfortunate but at that time he did not think it was event in which the discussion originated, necessary to add any thing to that, which the people assembled in an alley, which he had already stated. prevented the horses from approaching Mr. Lascelles did not approve of this them, and assailed the soldiers with brick- sort of discussion, as it might send an inbats and even fired at them with ball. He dividual before a jury to be tried for bis saw an hon. officer in his place, who hav- life under circumstances very partial and ing been on duty in that part of the town, oppressive. on that occasion, could, if he were so dis. Mr. Whitbread rose, but scarcely begun posed, afford every satisfactory informa. to speak when tion on the subject. If the House enter- Mr. Croker spoke to order; if the hon. tained the motion before them, they would gent. had a right to make a motion without depart from the practice which had been observing the usual forms of the House he found convenient for such a length of time, had no right to speak a second time. and would soon have cause to repent that The Speaker decided, that it was perdeparture.
fectly in order for the member, who oriCaptain Agar felt himself called upon, ginated any question, to deliver his sentiin consequence of what had fallen from
ments a second time in his reply after the right hon. the secretary of state, and other gentlemen had offered their obserfrom the right hon. the chancellor of the vations upon his notioo. exchequer, to state to the House what he Mr. Whitbread then rose again and said. knew upon the subject, having on Satur- that if it was the object of the hon. gent. day the 7th inst. been on duty in that part to impede his speaking, the means resort: of Piccadilly where the unfortunate event ed to would not have answered that end, which was now under discussion had oc. as it would be in the power of any gencurred-an event deeply painful to the tleman to move the previous question, feelings both of the civil and of the mili- which would open the debate to him and