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being the case, and the people being thus | House, on the grounds of its being a proshut out, as it were, from petitioning the test, and not a petition. In the present King, it became more peculiarly the duty petition there were many phrases which of that House to open wider their doors to were considered objectionable by some the admission of their petitions, and as he members of the House ; he could not condaw nothing in the present petition which sider them by any means in that light. deserved to be rejected, he should cer- He could not think that the petition's now tainly vote that it do lie on the table. asking, “ Where is your justice? Where
Mr. Wilberforce said, he had not read your moderation?” was to be reprobated; the petition till he came into the House, because he thought the House had for and as he had so little time to consider it, feited, by its own acts, its justice and its and to see how far it resembled that which character. If the petition was now rehad been rejected or that which had been jected, he could not think it would be bereceived, on the same subject, he was at a cause it was offensive to the House, but loss how to make up his mind on the sub- because it was offensive to his Majesty's ject. He had voted for the reception of ministers. He was sure he did not mean the Westminster petition, and for the re- to derogate from the dignity of that House jection of the Middlesex, for reasons when he voted for the reception of the which, in both cases, well satisfied his petition. mind; but from the shortness of the time, Lord A. Hamilton was ready to vote for and the cursory and interrupted reading the adjournment, in the hope that it might which could only be had at the table, he procure another vote in favour of the rewas not sufficiently qualified to decide, ception of the petition. He was sure there how far this petition was analogous to was no language in the petition so alarming either of the others; and especially after
as the idea that ministers were able to the opinion expressed by the hon. gent. drag and dispose the House of Commons who had just sat down, that this petition to reject such petitions on such occasions. was the most moderate of the three, and If the petitioners had learned any disrein its terms adapted to the mode in some speciful lar.guage, where had they learned measure prescribed by the House. He it. He had no hesitation in saying they thought the House could not suffer any had learned it from the votes of that House. inconvenience by adjourning this debaie They had quoted it from their own jour, till to-morrow. "They would then have nals. Why then should the House now time to consider the petition with more stand upon the punctilio of nicety and jusattention and deliberation, and would tice, when they had by their own deeds come to the decision with their minds forfeited their claim to them? In his indige made up on the question; and he was sure nation against the offensive language of the they would thereby shew their respect for present petition, the right hon. secretary of the first city of the empire. He would state totally forgot the motions which had therefore move, that the further debate on been rejected last year, and which had the question be adjourned till to-morrow. given rise to this language. He totally
Mr. W. Smith said, that after the respect forgot whether ministers did that in fact paid to the last petition, of adjourning the which they now considered even the mendebate, he should not object to do the tion of offensive. It was too true, howsame in the present case; but having ever, they had done so; and it was their voted for receiving one of the former, and conduct which had incurred the present rejecting the other, he had no objection calamitous consequences. A secretary of to delivering his opinion that moment. state, whom he now saw in his place (Mr. He did not object to the Westminster Canning), had last year proposed certain petition, because it was worded in such a resolutions respecting lord Castlereagh, in manner as to convey the sentiments of the contradiction to a motion of bis, wbich petitioners by way of opinion. He did were adopted, and which, he observed, object to the Middlesex, because the things were the chief cause of the indignation of complained of were not stated as matters the public, and were noticed in every peof opinion, but as matters of fact that actition. He now thought it right to give tually existed ; as ihis petition was drawn notice, that at no very distant day be in a manner contrary to the Middlesex, meant to move for the erasure of those rebe should vote that it be received.
solutions. He was sorry to see the country Mr. Barham had otjected to the last at large generally ranged in opposition to petition which had been rejected by that the House. When he said this, however, he by no means meant to deny the righting to its object; 'yet it was a fair inferof the House to commit: on the contrary, ence, that the number was not so great as on a former occasion he had maintained was attempted to be represented. The they had such a right. The House, how distinct ground on which he should vote ever, could not expect that any right of for the rejection of the petition, however, their's should be tamely acknowledged, was, that it was wholly introduced to inwhile they suffered resolutions so contrary sult the House. If any one could make it to their dignity as those to which he had appear that such was not the evident oballuded, to remain upon their journals. ject of the petitioners, he would concur in He would ask the former secretary of the motion for its reception. In his view state, and the chancellor of the exchequer, of the subject, it was impossible to unwith what feelings they had heard the derstand it in any other manner. He Speaker and the petitions say, that they trusted, that the House would not confine bad committed acts at which their ances- their examination of this Petition to one tors would have startled with indignation? or two of the introductory passages, and Why should not they, though at an hum- that they would not be inclined, because ble distance, emulate the purity of their the petitioners " affected humbly to conancestors ? He did not wish to speak ceive,” to give admission to a petition of a against the privileges, or to lessen the dig- nature so offensive. It was true, that in nity of that House; but while such prac- the petition rejected the other day, the tices obtained, he must say, such petitions most gross and unshielded declarationis were justly presented. The House itself were contained; but if other petitions, gave the provocation, and it must take having the same purpose in view, and the consequences. He was ready now comprising the same matter, with the sinnot only to vote for an adjournment, gle exception of being somewhat more but to give notice of a motion for expungo guarded, were admitted, how idle would ing those obnoxious Resolutions from the the proceedings of the House appear, Journals.
and how completely would they hold Mr. C. Adams said he opposed the Mid- themselves up to public contempt. An dlesex petition because it was a mandale ; honourable gentleman opposite (Mr. such objection did not attach to the pre- / Whitbread) seemed to think that petitions sent petition, and therefore he should vote of any sort whatever ought to be received. for its reception.
The argument of that honourable genThe Chancellor of the Exchequer had not tleman was, that the House of Commons heard any reason to convince him that the had already lost its dignity and its House ought not to deal with the petition sense of justice, and that the confidence of just presented as they had dealt with the the people in it was shaken. Not only last petition presented to them on the same did the hon. gent. declare that such were subject. The objection made by his right his sentiments, but he added, that the hon. friend to the reception of the petition House must not expect the people of Engwas not grounded on the assumption that and to approach them in their petitions it did not speak the sentiments of the ma- with deference and respect. If that were jority of the livery. That was a question indeed the opinion of the hon. gent., he the consideration of which would on no might well argue for the reception of any occasion influence the House to receive petition, however offensive and insulting. or to reject a petition. His right hon. If that hon. gent. were prepared to receive friend had been completely misunderstood, the insults of any petitioners; if, he even and had only argued against the reception led the way in insulting the House; if he of the petition, on the ground that it con- contended that the declaration that the tained matter and expressions which ren- House had lost its dignity was the landered it impossible for the liouse, con- guage of truth and justice-then indeed sistently with their duty to themselves and it was no longer surprising that he should to their constituents, to entertain it; and support such a petition as that which it that therefore it was some consolation to was proposed to lay on the table.
He him to reflect, that it did not proceed from could not, however, conceive, that the ob. a majority of the body whose petition it servations of the hon. gent. grounded on professed to be. Indeed, when the small such arguments, would have any weight number of signatures to the petition was with the House, however violently they considered, although it did not follow that might be urged. The hon. gent. asserted there were not many individuals consent- that his Majesty's present ministers were VOL. XVI.
men calculated to bring the country into | he had acquiesced, mentioned him in a a difficult situation, but that they were
milar manner. He had consented to not men calculated to fight the battles of the reception of that petition, because it tlie House of Commons against the people. came in the first instance from the constiIf įhat battle must be fought, it seemed tuents of the person who had just then that the House would not have the assis- been committed by the House to the Towtance of the hon. gent. On the contrary, er; because the petitioners had hardly it seemed that he was one of those with bad time to deliberate on the strict prowhom the House would have to contend. priety of their expressions, and because Whatever might be the success of that he was anxious that no captiousness should battle, he trusted that the appearance of be shewn by the House on such a subject such insulting documents as that just pre- as the receiving of the petitions of the sented would inspirit the House to resist people. But did it follow that from day the attack that was making upon them, to day and from week to week the House and to shew that they were not to be inti- were bound to entertain fresh and inmidated, although their assailants might be creasing insults? It was too obvious tha; headed even by the hon. gent. himself
. there was a disposition existing in many As to the proposition for deferring the individuals without those walls to degrade decision of the present question, he really and vilify the two Houses of parliament, was at a loss to conceive what doubt could and he was sorry to add that there seemed exist in the mind of his honourable to be a person in that House disposed to friend, with respect to the course lend his assistance to such an effort, and which it became the House to pursue.- to set the example of using the strongest Having, however, yielded to a similar language of offence. He trusted that after wish expressed on a former occasion, he a mature consideration, the House on reshould not object to his hon. friend's pro- suming the discussion, would treat this position. He trusted that his hon. friend petition as it deserved—that they would and the House would in the mean time consider that the character of a petition consider the petition, and determine whe- ought to be decent and respectful to the ther or not it was proper that the dignity body to whom it was addressed—that they and justice of the House should be ques- would determine that although they tioned by petitioners, who " humbly con- would nof captiously lay hold of any acceived" not only that their proceedings cidental impropriety of language in a pehad been contrary to law, but that no tition, yet when there could be no hesita united effort of the legislature could make tion in believing that a petition was prethem legal—who stated, that they were sented for the express purpose of insult, it pot at all surprised at those proceedings would be weakness to consent' to its being when they reflected on the manner in laid on their table. which the House was constructed—who, Mr. Whitbread availed himself of the opalluding to a vote of the House, declared portunity afforded him by the new question that they could not contemplate it with of adjournment, to reply to some of the out indignation and disgust--and who as- observations of the right hon. gent. The serted, that the House of Commons had right hon. gent. had supposed that he lost the remaining confidence of the people. (Mr. W.) was one of those who thoaght
Were not these expressions insults ! that every petition ought to be received Could any rational man doubt that it was by the House let it be couched in what the distinct object of the petitioners, under language it might. This was not the fact the mask of humble conception, to insult As a member of Parliament he had althe House of Commons more grossly than ways conceived himself bound to present they had been insulted even on former to the House any petition communicated occasions? It had been said by some one to him by any individual for that purpose, in the course of the debate that he (the unless that petition contained Offensive Chancellor of the Exchequer) objected matter or language; and with this sentito the reception of the petition, because ment he had frequently suggested their of the manner in which his own name was correction by the petitioners of petitions mentioned in it. He had however given so given to him for presentation. But manifold evidence that such did not form the petition under consideration was the with him a ground for the rejection of a petition of a constituted and deliberative petition. The first petition presented on body--of a body who had a right to ad this subject, and in the reception of which dress his Majesty on the throne ; and the
had exercised that right until obstructed murder. He would vote for its rejection. by the present administration. He con- As he was on his legs he would observe, tended, in opposition to the right hon. that he conceived it to be a very unfair gent., that the object of the petitioners thing to bring the Teller of the Exchequer was not decidedly to insult the House, on the carpet on every discussion, whatand condemned the mode in which the lever it might be. He understood that House seemed to seek for insult. The that right honourable gentleman would right hon. gent. had accused him of unquestionably have gained his election expressing himself in strong language for Cambridgeshire had he chosen to perwith respect to the want of dignity and justice in the House of Commons. To this Mr. Alderman Coinbe could not consent accusation, he would only reply, that to postpone the decision of the House strong as his expressions had been, lan- moment upon, the petition before guage itself was deficient in terms of ade-them. Adverting to the observation made quate strength to express the sense wbich by the right hon. the Chancellor of the he entertained of the want of dignity in Exchequer with respect to the paucity the House of Commons, as considering of signatures, he explained that that was their conduct with reference to themselves, owing to a resolution of the common-hall and of want of justice as considering their by which the number of those who were conduct with reference to others. To to sign the petition was limited. the day of his death, he would fight the Secretary Ryder, in consequence of battles of the people with the House of the statement made by an hon. gentleman, Commons when the House of Commons that to him (Mr. R.) was attributable were unjust, and he did not know how 'he the refusal of his Majesty to receive could better acquit himself as a citizen. in person the petition, observed, that he Whoever might lead the battles ofthe hon. had done no more than the hon. gent.'s gentlemen opposite, of this he was con- own friends.
He had acted precisely vinced, that even had the House justice on in the same way as his predecessors had their side, the right hon. gent. was inca- done ever since lord Grenville held the pable of being that leader; but he ap- situation which he had then the honour peared doubly incapable when he took' a to fill. ground upon which there was not a co- Mr. Whitbread said, that it was little to lour of justice, and when he betrayed the the purpose to state what others had done. House into steps which they must ulti- | The question was, whether he had acted mately be compelled to retread. The properly-and in his opinion he had actright hon. gent. had originally deluded ed with very great impropriety. the present House of Commons by the It was then agreed that the discussion grossest bigotry. It was probable, that should be adjourned till to-morrow. unless they were found sufficiently pliable (EXPEDITION AGAINST THE ISLAND OF he would be obliged to advise their termi- | Macoa.) Mr. Prendergast rose, in purnation by a sudden dissolution. For his suance of a notice which he formerly gave, part he had no hesitation in distinctly de- announcing his intention to move for the claring it was his opinion, that let the ex- production of all papers, connected with istence of the present parliament termi- an Expedition, which was sent, under the nate when it might, it would terminate in command of rear admiral Drury, against disgrace.
the island of Macoa, in the Chinese seas. Captain Parker declared, that while he -He remarked, that when he gave
ibat had a seat in that House, he would never notice, he did also intimate his intention 10 agree to the reception of any petition move for the production of some other which directly or indirectly insulted the very interesting documents connected House. The present was of the latter de- with China, and our possessions in India; scription. It was not a petition, but an but that when he came to consider the artful snare to entrap the House. The variety and importance of the questions petitioners set up their opinion against the likely to arise out of the fatal and ill-adopinion of the House; but it was the duty vised expedition to which he had adverted, of the House to shew the petitioners that he deemed it to be more prudent, and less they did not regard their opinion, and likely to embarrass the House, to bring that they consider their own much better. the question of the expedition singly, and The petition contained nothing less than unmixed with any other subject to its an accusation of the House of Commons of consideration. He proposed, cherefore, to postpone his motion relative to the other private purposes, or to screen the guilty papers to a future day. But before he conduct of those concerned in the planning submitted the motion to which he then and execution of il, unjustifiable measures meant to confine himself, he felt it to be must have been taken to keep the whole necessary for him to offer some brief ex. subject from the public view. Extensively planation, not only of the points to which and remotely scattered, however, as are the his motion referred, but also of the grounds, British possessions all over the habitable on which he felt himself called upon to globe, it may be deemed one of the mani.
solicit the indulgent attention of the House fold advantages arising out of the nature of , on the present occasion. When he ad our happy and mixed constiution, that verted to the nature and to the very remote there are to be found, amongst the memsituation of our Indian possessions; when bers of the House of Commons, gentlehe contemplated the strange and anomalous men, who from local knowledge, or some system on which the government of that particular chain of connexion or intervast empire is administered; when he be- course, possess the means of obtaining acheld the extensive, and he might add, the curate information on all subjects, (howunlimited powers with which the governor- ever remote the scene of action) in which general is necessarily armed, and heard of the honor and the interests of this country wars constantly commenced, and often- are concerned. And he conceived it to be times terminated without the possibility of the bounden duty of every gentleman who referring to the constituted authorities in had the honor of a seat in Parliament, 20 this country, either as to the expediency, call to its special notice, all such transor to the justice of them; in such a state of actions, as may, from their importance, apthings, and under such extraordinary cir- pear fit subjects for deliberation; being cumstances, it was natural that this country convinced that the circumstances wbich should feel an anxiety to possess some he should immediately have the honour to effectual check and restraint over their submit to the House, would be found to rulers in India, which could only be at- come strictly and distinctly within this tained by holding 'hem bound by an awful description, and to demand most impermeasure of responsibility for their conduct atively of the House, that an enquiry whilst in oilice. If public men, acting should be instituted, and some immediate upon their responsibility in the remotest measures be adopted, with a view to repair parts of the universe, were at a certainty, the injuries which had been sustained, to that their measures would be brought preclude the recurrence of similar scenes under discussion in the House of Com- of disgrace and disaster, and, above all, to mons, as speedily as the distance would convince the world, and in particolar the admit of, he had not any doubt, but that government, and subjects of China, that such a feeling would produce a two-fold the constituted authorities in this country beneficial operation--it would serve on the were no party (as he sincerely hoped it one hand to deter men from the adoption would appear they were not) to a proceedof doubtful, impolitic, or mischievous mea ing, which in his apprehension was, in its sures; and excite and stimulate them, on plan and progress, as gross a violation of the other, to an active, honourable, and justice and good faith, as it proved, in its distinguished discharge of their duty. - issue, a monument of disgrace, obloquy, But, no advantage of this nature could be and disaster. Influenced by these motives obtained, no adequate responsibility could arising out of the foregoing considerations, be made to attach, if it be permitied that and encouraged by the indulgence which transactions involving the dearest interests, he had uniformly observed it to be the the character, the honour, and the blood of disposition of the House to exercise tothe country, should be suppressed or with wards persons unaccustomed to address it, held from the knowledge of the House, he should proceed, with all possible respect and of the country. And this he main and deference, to state a few outlines of tained to have been the case in regard to the case to which he had adverted, in the the expedition in question, of which he anxious hope, that the House would conhad never heard the slightest mention cur with him, as to the propriety of instimade by genılemen in office, nor had he tuting an enquiry into those transactions, been able to trace in the public prints of and the consequent necessity of ordering the day any report, or the remotest allusion the papers to be laid before Parliament, to it; from all which circumstances he in- for which he should have the honor to ferred, that, either with a view to serve move.--In the actual stage of the business,