Imágenes de página

exhibition. He hoped the ministers would of doing in common with the rest of his act with the same energy on other occa- Majesty's subjects. As to the right of sions. He felt himself bound to support presenting a petition to the king upon the the present motion.

throne, this was confined to the univerSir James Shaw had but a few words to sities and the corporation of London. As trouble the House with. After the very to what had been said of the case of 1775, able manner in which his hon. colleague he would appeal to that to show that even had opened the question, it would be a the persons who then claimed the right proof of bad taste in bim to attempt to go could not have thought they possessed it. over the same ground. He agreed with The times were then somewhat similar to his hon. colleague in all he had said as to the present; there was much popular ferthe general right of the subject to petition. ment abroad. Mr. Wilkes was then in The Common Hall was legally convened; the height of his popularity, and not, wbat it was presided over by the lord mayor, he afterwards described himself, a volcano the assembly was most numerous and reso extinct, but a volcano in the fall blaze of pectable, and he contended that the livery explosion and eruption. What had been had a right to present their petitions to the conduct of Wilkes on that occasion ? the king

on the throne. On this account Lord Hertford's letter was dated the 11tb he conceived it to have been the duty of of April; and one would suppose, that if his Majesty's ministers to have advised Mr. Wilkes was convinced of the right, he his Majesty to receive it on the throne, would have applied to Parliament, as the and upon these grounds he should vote for hon. alderman now did, or have called a the Resolution.

Common Hall to vote resolutions respecto Mr. Secretary Ryder considered the ing it. But no-he did not answer lord worthy aldermen as led astray by their Hertford's letter till the 2d of May. He sympathy for the rights of the city. If did not take any notice of the subject in he understood the motion, it was intended Parliament, though the prorogation did as a direct charge against bis Majesty's not take place till the 26th of May; and ministers, for having infringed the right of it was not till the 24th of June that the the subject to petition. But if that was common-Hall was called, and passed resothe object of the hon. alderman, his mo. lutions nearly similar to those voted in the tion did not go far enough; because, if his first week of January in the present year. Majesty's ministers had actually violated and was this precedent to be relied on, the rights of the subject to petition, they when not one of the boute feu's of the ought to meet not an implied censure, but day, until after the lapse of so long a a direct animadversion. He was con- period, ever thought of any step to be vinced, however, that in a very few words taken on the subject? A resolution bad he could satisfy the House, that there was even been moved in Parliament by Mr.' no ground for the motion. The question Sawbridge, which omitted all allusions to was, whether the livery of London bad the case of the petition. His Majesty's rights in this respect which did not belong ministers, in the advice they gave his Mato other classes of the community; for it jesty, had no idea of disrespect to the city was not pretended that ministers had re- of London; all they desired was, to place fused to them what they granted to others. the livery in the same situation with other He acknowledged that ministers did ad-classes of his Majesty's subjects. In this vise his Majesty not to grant the livery they had done no more than that House more than was allowed to his other sub. usually did. Parliament would not suffer jects. The hon. alderman had correctly any class to petition against a tax bill, stated, that there were three modes of pre- with the exception of the corporation of senting petitions, Ist, To the king upon London. Because the corporation of Lonthe throne, when alone an answer was re

don had the privilege of presenting its turned ; 2d, At the levee, when the peti- petitions by its sheriffs, at the bar, the tion was given to his Majesty, who imme- House received them as not knowing their diately handed it to the lord in waiting ; contenis ; but the petitions from all other the public levees however having been for descriptions of subjects were required to some years discontinued, owing to the de- be opened by some member in his place. fect of his Majesty's sight, the 3d mode (The right hon. gent. bere read a passage was that of transmitting petitions through from Mr. Hatsell's book, shewing that on the office of the secretary of state. This one occasion the petition of the corpora. the citizens of London had an opportunity tion had been received on a particular oe.

casion, when sir Watkin Lewes was re- ditions, &c. ? He had seen a letter from quired to state the matter of the petition the right hon. secretary himself, denying from the livery on the same subject.) As that he was under any obligation to read to the observation of the hon. alderman, such petitions to his Majesty; and thus that petitions given in to the secretary of were the people debarred from that access state never were seen by his Majesty, he to the Sovereign which the law called could only assure the House, that since he their inherent right. The hon. secretary had been in office, he had received no pe- had compared the present times with those tition which had not reached his Majesty of 1775. He (lord F.) had no doubt that The right hon. gent. then adverted to the posterity would regard the claims of the contents of his own letter to the lord mayor, present day against the exercise of undue to shew that he had no wish to treat the power by the House, in the same light as city with contempt, and concluded by the claims of those days were regarded by saying that he should oppose the motion. the people of the present day. The re

Lord Folkestone said, that the honourable sistance then made to the undue exercise alderman had not contended for the right of power has been sanctioned by the apof petioning his Majesty on the throne, to probation of the present day, and so would which the whole of the secretary's obser- the present resistance be sanctioned by vations applied, but complained that the the approbation of posterity. livery had been denied ihat access to his Mr. R. Dundas said that the objection Majesty's person, which the law held to to the mode of transmitting petitions be the inherent right of English subjects. through the office of the secretary of state This, he contended, was a general subject seemed to be that the secretary was under of complaint, and he adverted to a meet- no obligation to read them to the King. ing of the county of Berks, where this ob- But supposing they were presented at the struction was seriously complained of. levee, what greater security could there Any subject had even at the commence be that they would be read? They were ment of the present reign the right to give in both cases given to his Majesty with a petition into his Majesty's hand. In other public papers to be perused at the consequence of the unfortunate case of tiine most convenient for him. The letter Margaret Nicholson, a regulation was to which the noble lord alluded was adadopted, that petitions should only be pre dressed to Major Cartwright, who had sented at the levee. Now this was done requested an audience of his Majesty to away, and nothing remained but trans- state his opinions on public affairs and mission through the office of the secretary this being refused, he required some seof state. This was rather unsatisfactory, curity of the secretary of state that he considering that the grievance most seri- would read his address to the King. This ously complained of would often be the was impossible--the secretary could only retaining of the person in office who was send them with uther papers. It never to transmit the petition. The right hon had been the custom to publish all adsecretary said, he believed that the peti- dresses and petitions in the Gazette. Notions sent to his office had been transmit- thing was established against ministers, ted. This belief of his was a comfortable except it could be shewn that they had assurance to those whose rights to petition deviated from the usual practice. He bis Majesty in person were considered as could not believe that the people of this inherent. This mode afforded them an country were discontented with the preadmirable security for the transmission of sent mode of presenting petitions through their grievances to the royal ear! There the medium of the secretary of state, were, however, stories afloat about peti- when they considered the causes to which tions having been found in the pigeon- this was owing. holes of the secretary of state's office, un- Mr. Horner did not know whether it opened and unpresented. Another suspi- was that the ministers did not understand cious circumstance was, that all petitions the question, or purposely avoided it, from to the King were not published in the being unable to answer. The speech of Gazette, though the complimentary ad- the first speaker from the treasury referdresses in praise of ministers, &c. were red solely to the claim of petitioning on sure to be there, with a comment, that the throne, which bis hon. friend had exa they had been most graciously received. pressly waved. The hon, secretary had But who saw there any petitions, con- wandered from the real question to talk plaining of fruitless and ridiculous expe. of his volcanos, and had even resorted to a foreign language for invective. This Mr. Tierney had no objection to the question was of the most vital importance making of an ample provision in this in itself, and still more important from the case ; but thought that any grant deemed manner in which it had been received. necessary should rather be charged apon He then dwelt upon the highly inde- the droits of the admiralty ; but before corous, indelicate, and improper manner this grant was acceded to, he wished to in which the ministers endeavoured to know what were the circumstances of the defend themselves by drawing the veil duke of Brunswick. It was understood from the infirmities of their Sovereign. that a new military establishment bad It was impossible for the House to believe been created, from which that prince de. that his Majesty was not in a state per- rived an emolument of from 3 to 5,000l. feetly competent to the discharge of that a year. Now if that were the case, be most important of duties, the giving a must think, with every disposition to be proper attention to the complaints of his liberal to this prince, that from justice subjects. If it were otherwise, it would to the country the proposed grant was be the duty of the House to order an in. excessive. vestigation. But they knew that this was The Chancellor of the Erchequer said mot vecessary, and must therefore repro- that the emolument derived by the duke bate the mode of defence to which minis- from the military establishment alluded ters resorted. The claim of the livery to, did not exceed 15 or 16001. a year; was founded upon what for a century and and to the droits of the admiralty, that he a half had been considered as the most in- could not, from its nature, consider it as a valuable rights of Englishmen, which resource upon which to fix a permanent would be nugatory without access to his charge. Majesty's person. Even in the worst Mr. Tierney wished to know what was times-in those of Charles the IId, &c. the amount of the sum on hand as droits this access had not been refused. The of admiralty ? This information he remost corrupt ministers had no idea that it quired in order to ascertain whether it could be refused. How complete would would be sufficient, by a transfer into the have been their triumph if they had dis- consolidated fund, to purchase the procovered the practices which had of late posed annuity of the Duke of Brunswick. prevailed! It was the right of the livery Mr. Ponsonby, considering that the of London, as it was of all other British duchess of Brunswick had an allowance subjects, to have access to the royal per- of 10,000l. a year, felt himself obliged, son, and it was the refusal which was however reluctantly, to observe, that complained of. Petitions ought certainly 5,000l. a year would be quite a sufficient always to be respectful and decorous-whé- grant to the son. ther to the crown or parliament. (Hear ! The Report of the Committee was then hear!) He understood that cheer, and in agreed to, and leave given to bring in answer to it said, that he thought some the bill. late petitions were exactly the reverse of what the idea of a petition implied. There was in the , tenor and even in the expres

HOUSE OF LORDS, sion something that warranted the belief

Tuesday, May 8. that other objects were in the contempla- (CRUELTY TO ANIMALS' Bill.] Upon tion of the framers than a mere complaint the motion of lord Erskine, the House of grievances. But, on the other hand, went into a Committee on this bill. the obstruction of petitions, properly so

Lord Ellenborough objected to the called, was a subversion of the fundawords “ or otherwise abuse,” as too large mental law of the land.

and general in their comprehension, and Upon a division the numbers were- which might, in his opinion, produce a For the motion, 52-Against it 138— number of evil effects. "He would recomMajority, 86.

mend the omission of these words en. [King's MessagE RELATING The tirely, and from reconsideration he was also Duke of Brunswick.) On our re-admis- inclined to object to the other words, “ cut, sion into the gallery we found Mr. Whit- wound ;" for when the law came to be bread speaking against the reception of applied, he was not sure but the term cut the Report of the Committee upon the might be extended to the cutting of a King's Message relative to the grant of whip, which would be a consequence not a provision to the Duke of Brunswick. desired by his noble and learned friend


The same kind of objection would apply that in no country under the sun was there to the term "wound," but as to the word any system of legislation for the protec" maim," there could be no doubt of its tion of animals, except so far as related to legal definition. He would, therefore, the interests of man. He was not there. first propose this amendment, “ That the fore prepared to approve altogether of the words, cut, wound,' be left out, for the principle of the bill; but at any rate it purpose of inserting, · kill, stab;" which was incumbent upon the House to render would be less dangerous in their applica- its enactments so definite and certain, that tion.

it might not be rendered an instrument of Lord Erskine conceived that the words vexation and oppression. It was with this which preceded those objected to by his view he had moved his amendment; and noble and learned friend, would have pre- he must also object to the bill being ex, vented their misinterpretation, because tended, as it was at present, to sheep and it must have been evident to a jury, that swine. Those were animals very apt to the cutting, wounding, or otherwise abusing trespass; and the provisions of the bill, if had been committed maliciously, and applied with respect to them, might lead with wanton cruelty. He bad thought it to great oppressions. A pig might get into expedient to address their lordships again a cottage, and be eating the cottager's poon the bill, and its principle ; but he had tatoes; the cottager might strike the pig received more letters than would fill three with a shovel, and for thus wounding ihe Buch trunks as that on their lordship’s ta- pig might under the bill be imprisoned for ble, from all parts of the country ; detail- a month. There were other cases of oping the most horrid acts of cruelty. He pression which might arise out of such a had received one, only yesterday, from a bill, and it was therefore necessary that respectable gentleman in the country, it should be very cautiously and dewherein was detailed the cruel act of a finitely worded. With respect to acts man, who had destroyed two mares, by of cruelly committed publicly upon anithrusting the handle of his whip into their mals, these were contra bonos mores, and bodies. He had shewn this letter to his the parties committing them were liable to noble and learned friend, and it appeared, indictment. that although the offence were tried at the The Lord Chancellor, in not opposing assizes, it was not punishable under the the progress of the bill in its present stage, statute, because no malice could be proved wished it to be understood, that he might against the owner. When be first brought not thereby be considered as precluded this subject under their consideration, he from saying content, or not content, to the had suggested that the laws which existed passing of the bill, according to the shape only regarded the treatment of animals, so in which it came out of the Committee. In far as it was connected with the owner- looking at this bill for the protection of ship and dominion of man. But the at- animals, he could not help asking, why as tending to the feeling of the animal itself, the ox was mentioned the bull was not and preventing cruelly from a considera- also included ? tion of its suffering, was certainly new, The Earl of Lauderdale was decidedly and deserved to be considered as an æra hostile to the bill, conceiving that the in legislation. Still his noble and learned moral sense of mankind was aroply suffifriend had thought it expedient to propose cient for the protection of animals, and the alteration he mentioned, and he was that nothing could be more dangerous than sure that such was his knowledge of that attempting to enforce principles of mon noble and learned lord, that he had done rality or humanity by legislation. 80 from mature consideration, and a sense Lord Redesdale objected altogether to of duty, that he was willing 10 agree with legislating upon the principle now him, rather than dissent from authority be sumed., The bill, however, was deficient so much respected.

in the very object which it sought, as it Lord Ellenborough could not help dif- did not extend its protection to animals, fering in some degree with his noble and which it might have been supposed would learned friend. He had strong objections have naturally come under its provisions. to making a new æra in legislation upon Thus, for instance, the bull was not menthis point.He was of opinion that the tioned, although it was well known that moral sense of mankind was sufficient, bulls were cruelly used by being baited, as it hitherto bad been, for the protection whilst, at the same time, bull-baits were a of animals (; and it was to be observed great terror and annoyance to the neigh



3 L

bourhood in which they took place. As I thought proper to oppose the second read. to the other objects, embraced in the bill, ing. they were not fit for the interference of Lord Holland was sure, that his noble the legislature, as they did not concern and learned friend need not have justified the advantage or the injury of man. He his conduct; for whatever might be the was ready to allow the purest motives to difference of sentiment on the bill, there the noble and learned lord, but perhaps must be attributed to that noble and learnhe had so long contemplated this subject, ed lord every good and honourable mothat his mind had become so heated, as to live. It was with diffidence and great prevent the exercise of his cool discre- pain to his feelings, that he differed in tion.

opinion from him on the present question ; Lord Erskine said, if his mind had been not only from his personal respect for him, too much heated, he thought the minds of but from the esteem he entertained for bis other nobile lords had been too long cold talents and good qualities, and for his past in the expression of their opposition to services in maintaining the law of this the principles of this bill. He thought country; for which, in his humble judg. there was considerable inconsistency,when ment, without invidious distinction, the he recollected the unanimous support the country were more indebted to him, than bill had received the last session, when any lawyer, for a number of years. Every there were present 110 peers. No one one must acknowledge, that if all acts of had intimated his objection, except the cruelty could be prevented, it would be a noble and learned lord who had last ad- most desirable object on the part of budressed them. In the House of Com- manity. But it was, in his mind, quesmons, though opposition was made, it was tionable, how far the interference of leread the second time with the consent of gislation would accomplish the desired a large majority, and would have passed, ends of the best motives. Many attempts if it had not been at the end of the session, had been made, at different times, to enwhen there were scarcely members to force the laws of God and morality, but form a House. He was surprised to hear they were generally productive of effects what had fallen, and the revolution which opposite to the wishes of humanity. It had been effected in their lordships' minds; was on the same ground that intolerance and he was more surprised that his noble I was the usual result of religious laws. He friend (Lauderdale) 'should intimate his should be the last man to permit cruel dividing the House, at the present time, acis; he viewed them with detestation; when he was in the Ilouse, yesterday, and but he doubled of the benefit of legislative gave no opposition to the second reading. interference. He should rather recomHis noble friend had not been present last mend the reverend prelates to impress the session ; but if he had left his own bobby people with a sense of their moral dety, horse at that time, and attended to his and an aversion to all acts of cruelty. duty in that House, it would have been His noble and learned friend was entitled better for his health, and of greater service to thanks for his exertions in this cause, to the country. They had been suffici- and the speech which he delivered, last ently told of Spain, and his noble friend session, but which he had not the pleasure had introduced the Spanislı mode of per- of hearing, though he had the satisfaction forating the spine ; but in the arguinents of reading it, had done honour to his abiused, he was sure his noble friend could lities and feelings, and must have been not be serious. No such acts of butchers, productive of beneficial effects upon the could fall under the construction of this minds of the people. bill. If their lordships should now alter The Lord Chancellor said a few words in their mind, it was not his fault that he explanation of his conduct ; and conhad brought the subject under their con- cluded by recommending his noble and sideration ; for they had extended to him learned friend to move for the re-conmitevery encouragement to believe they con- ment of the bill on a certain day, and that "curred with him in the propriety of the the lords be summoned for that purpose. measure. For himself he had not altered He would move, "That lord Walsingham his mind in the smallest degree on the do leave the chair."--Agreed to. principle and necessity of the bill, and he Lord Erskine then moved, That the Trusted their lordships would not take this bill be recommitted this day se'nnight, opportunity of dividing the House, when and that the lords be summoned."-Orit was not summoned, and they had not dered.

« AnteriorContinuar »