« AnteriorContinuar »
down, he wished to offer a few observa- | which there was neither food nor water; tions on some points which had fallen and since he sat down, two honourable from hon. gentlemen on this occasion. In officers, well acquainted with it, had menthe opinion of the ship's crew, Jeffery was tioned it as a rock, in which there were left to starve and die on the island, and many cavities that were filled with water they did not, as an hon. gentleman sup. when the rain fell; and that there were posed, think that he was merely put on
birds' eggs. shore where there was no risk. With re- Mr. Stephen repeated that he had seen gard to the man's property, it was certain the island, and that it appeared to him to ly illegally taken by captain Lake, and if be low and sandy. He had not made the they could not prosecute him for the unqualified statement attributed to him by murder, he hoped they would punish him the hon. gent. He had merely spoken of in another way, by bringing an action for the weight of strong presumptions amountthe clothes, as was often done in cases of ing to irresistible evidence in certain extrachild-stealing, where the greater offence ordinary cases. He put the case of a sailor escaped punishment. It was a most atro- being let down from his ship when at sea, cious act to leave a man at all in a foreign and abandoned to the chance of a hencountry, and the honour of the king was coop; that hen-coop might float till a implicated in-protecting the lives of his passing ship took up the man; but what subjects. But to leave a British subject was the presumption as to the motive of in a desert was still more heinous, and he the act, and as io its probable result. He trusted the perpetrator of the crime would had been in the neighbourhood of the be punished, somehow or other, to a island of Sombrero for il years, and he greater degree than the sentence of the never had heard of Sombrero being an court-martial. Much had been said, and inhabited island. He animadverted upon many doubts thrown out, as to the possi- the unwarrantable harshness with which bility of trying a man by the law of the the hon. gent. had commented upon him, land, after having been tried by martial as if he would insinuate that his evidence law. He was of opinion, that a man might was false, which he could attribute only to be tried twice in this way, otherwise he the hon. gent.'s disposition to tear him might, for an offence against the law, be and every one who differed from him in rescued from the law by a military court. pieces, and was proceeding in terms of He concluded by withdrawing his motion. warmth, when the Speaker interposed—and Mr. Whitbread said, that in consequence
Mr. Whitbread said, he did not mean to of what he had mentioned in his first question his veracity ; but as the hon. speech relative to an Address, he had gent. Tiad taken up the matter so warmly, drawn up one, which, if the hon. baronet and accused him of tearing him to pieces, had agreed to withdraw his motion, he he could only say, that if there was any would beg leave to read to the House, tearing to pieces in the case, the hon. and which he did, to the following effect :- learned gent. had completely committed “ That an humble Address be presented the action himself, by the vehemence with to his Majesty, that he be graciously which he had made his attack. pleased to give immediate directions that'a Sir C. Hamilton fully corroborated what minute and accurate search be made forth- had fallen from Mr. Stephen. The island with on the island of Sombrero, for the had the appearance stated by him when purpose of ascertaining if any traces can seen from a distance, thought it was 40 be found of Robert Jeffery, a seaman of feet above the level of the water in the inhis Majesty's ship Recruit, left on the terior, and completely answered the de. said island by the hon. Warwick Lake, scription of the hon. officers, who were late commander of the said ship, contrary more nearly acquainted with its real situato every principle of duty, and in viola- tion. There were plenty of shell-fish, tion of every dictate of humanity: and birds, and eggs, on which a man might that two commissioners be appointed to live a long time. He did not say this to go to the said island and make the said exculpate captain Lake, of whose consearch.”
duct every officer in the service must be 'The motion having been handed to the ashamed. Chair,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not Mr. Whitbread observed, that an hon. suppose that two 'commissioners were neand learned gent. had described the island cessary to be sent over to the West Indies, of Sombrero as a low sandy island, in to walk over an island a mile and a half in circumference, and only half a mile
Mr. Whitbread then said, that, as it must long; he therefore objected to that part be satisfactory to admiral Cochrane to of the address, and as he thought the Ad have it shewn to that House and the world, miralty sufficient for the inquiry should that his conduct on this occasion was free move an Amendment to that effect. from blame, he felt it necessary to move, Sir J. Sinclair said, he had good reason
“ That an humble Address be presented to suppose that the man had been taken off to his Majesty, that he would be graciously the island by an American vessel, and is pleased to direct that an inquiry be instinow alive in New York. He thought it tuted into the conduct of vice admiral sir better to adopt the amendment of the right Alexander Cochrane, touching the reprehon. gent. rather than the motion of the sentation made to bim respecting the hon. gentleman.
landing from the Recruit, captain Lake, Mr. W. Pole thought further inquiry and leaving behind on the island of Somnecessary: with respect to the assertion of brero in the West Indies, a man named the right hon. gent. (Mr. Sheridan), that Robert Jeffery, in the month of Decemit was no uncommon thing for captains to ber, 1807." send men on shore and leave them : he The Chancellor of the Erchequer thought must express his reprobation of such a that if the hon. gent. was to have sir A. practice. The navy was not in such a Cochrane brought to a court martial, it state to require any such expedients, and would be to carry the feelings of the such assertions going abroad might prove House to an extravagant length, and thereinjurious to the service. Mr. P. suggested fore hoped that the hon. member would that if instructions were sent to the Ame. withdraw his motion, rican minister to make the inquiry, the Admiral Harvey expressed a similar object would be obtained without the Ad- hope, in consequence of the inconvcdress.
nience to the public service that would Mr. Sheridan, in explanation, declared arise froin withdrawing the commanders that he had stated it was not unusual to of vessels from their ships, and the comland men on inhabited islands, but he had mander in chief from his station, in order never said men had been left on uninha- to attend a court-martial. bited islands.
Mr. R. Ward stated that the Admiralty Mr. S. Bourne suggested that it would had received the explanation of his conbe as well to leave the discretion in his duct from the gallant admiral ; and the Majesty's councils, to make such inqui- explanation appeared satisfactory, not so ries as they thought nccessary after the far as to call for their approbation of his man, both at the island and in America. conduct, but certainly to induce them to
Mr. Whitbread, with every respect to abstain from any proceeding with a view the opinion of the hon. gent. who moved to censure it. the amendment, thought that solennity Lord Cochrane stated, that captain Lake was not due in respect to the extent of the had been sent home on the half-pay, in island, but to the enormity of the offence. consequence of his conduct, though the If any officers were going to the West lords of the Admiralty had afterwards Indies, they might be appointed.
thought proper to promote him in the Mr. Secretary Ryder said, that if Mr. West Indies. Whitbread would not agree to strike out Sir C. Pole observed, that sir A. Cochthe latter part moved as an Amendment rane had done all but bring captain Lake by his right hon. friend, he would divide to a court martial, and that he must, and the House.
ought to have stated to the Admiralty Mr. Whitbread accordingly agreed, and why lie sent that officer home on the the words relative to the commissioners half-pay. were struck out, after which the motion Mr. W. Pole, as having been secretary passed nem. con.
to the Admiralty at the time, felt it neMr. Whitbread then moved a second cessary for him to state, that the fact asAddress to his Majesty, " That he will serted by the noble lord was perfectly please to give directions that a search be new to him, and to the Admiralty. Capmade in all his Majesty's settlements tain Lake had returned to this country ill, abroad, and in his Majesty's fleets, and and on his recovery had been sent out also in all foreign countries, where his again to the West Indies. A commission Majesty has influence, to ascertain whe- had also been sent out to admiral sir A. ther the said Robert Jeffery be still alive.” Cochrane, to make that officer post on the Which being read from the Chair,
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
first vacancy. But the Admiralty then oath to criminate themselves, peculiarly knew nothing of the transaction which demanded revision; and there was ano. was the subject of the discussion.
ther point which appeared to call for inMr. Whitbread stated that he should quiry. Upon the latter point, a circumwithdraw his motion on an understanding stance had come to his knowledge, of that the lords of the Admiralty would call which, probably, i he right hon. gent. had for further explanation of his conduct from not heard. Some Commissioners of the sir A. Cochrane, reserving to himself at land tax, from the county of Hereford, the same time the right of bringing for- were lately obliged to answer a suit in the ward his motion on a future day, if it Court of Exchequer, in consequence of the should appear that what may be done performance of their duty. In this suit was not satisfactory. The motion was they incurred an expence of 2801.; and withdrawn, and the hon. gent. moved, although the verdict was in their favour, « That there be laid before the House they declined to avail themselves of it. copies or extracts of all communications, This forbearance was, no doubt, honourtogether with the dates of the letters able to the individuals concerned ; but he which passed between the lords commis- submitted to the House whether such a missioners of the Admiralty, or the first case was not calculated to depress the exlord of the Admiralty, and vice-admiral ertions of gentlemen who gave their ser. sir A. Cochrane, touching the landing vices gratuitously in such Commissions ? from the Recruit, captain Lake, a sailor and whether it was not likely to indispose named Robert Jeffery, on the island of other gentlemen, not so public spirited and Sombrero, in the West Indies.” Agreed to disinterested, from deciding according to
their judgment, lest they should be exposed to expence and trouble? It was
obvious that the recurrence of such a case Wednesday, April 4.
ought to be provided against. (Assessed Taxes.] The Chancellor of Mr. Shaw Lefevre urgently pressed upon the Exchequer, adverting to a notice before the attention of ministers the conjectural the House from an hon. member (Mr. C. surcharges to which people were subject Dundas), for a motion relative to the col- from surveyors, who, in fact, often knew lection of the Assessed Taxes : expressed nothing of the persons whom they sura wish that that bon. member would have charged, but proceeded upon a speculathe goodness to postpone the motion until tion, productive in most cases of extreme after the recess, as the subject was under injustice and vexation, particularly in the the serious consideration of the Treasury, country. in consequence of complaints from various The Chancellor of the Exchequer's requarters. He assured the hon. member quest was complied with, and the notice that every suggestion should be attended to was accordingly withdrawn. that could tend to promote the object de- [MR. Hont.) Mr. Calcraft observing, sired, and that with that view he proposed upon two notices which he had given for to recommend a measure of regulation Friday, one relative to the neglect of the which, he hoped, would serve to obviate Ordnance Board respecting Mr. Hunt's the evils complained of.
security, and another with regard to Mr. Mr. C. Dundas, stating that he had no Hunt himself; said that he understood it other motive in bringing forward this would not be quite regular to bring forbusiness than a desire to relieve the peo- ward both motions upon the same day. 'ple from oppression, expressed his readi- His intention as to Mr. Hunt was, after a ness to consign it to those who had more discussion of the papers with respect to ability to administer that relief. He was, his misconduct, to move his expulsion. Of indeed, happy that the right hon. gent. a motion so serious it was obviously proper who was so capable of giving effect to any to give the subject of it previous notice ; arrangement upon this subject, had mani. and he had sought him out for that purfested an intention to follow it up; and he pose. Bnt that person was not to be assured him, that any materials he had found. He would, however, give notice of collected should be promptly at his devo- his motion respecting him, for tomorrow tion. There were points which he begged se'nnight, which he understood to be a particularly to recommend to the right fair interval upon such an occasion.--After hon. gent.'s consideration; one with re- a few words from the Speaker, the bon. gard to the interrogation of men upon gent. gave notice of a motion upon to.
morrow se’nnight on the subject of the home to their agent in Spain, except the 12th Report of the military commission; solitary document alluded to. and it was ordered, that Mr. Hunt do at- The Earl of Liverpool rose to correct a tend in his place on that discussion. misconception which the noble earl ap
peared to have adopted. That noble earl
and the House would recollect, that the HOUSE OF LORDS,
papers called for by the noble marquis opThursduy, April 5.
posite (Lansdowne,) and in consequence (SPANISH CAMPAIGN.] Lord Holland submitted to their lordships' notice, reperceiving the noble secretary in his lated solely and expressly to the cainpaign place, desired to be informed, whether a in the peninsula, and did not reler to certain intercepted letter from the French documents or instructions on any other general Victor, to Joseph Buonaparté, da- subject. ted the 2th of July, and which must have Earl Grey could not admit, nor did he been received by the British minister in suppose, that any noble lord, who attended Sevilie, the 3d or 4th of August, was in to the motion of bis noble friend when he the possession of the noble secretary called for the papers relative to Spain, And if so, whether, without injury to the could imagine that he confined his view public service, it might not be produced to the mere military operations in that counfor the information of their lordships ? try. It was obvious ihat those very mili
Marquis Wellesley believed that there tary operations themselves, must ofien dewas a letter, such as the noble earl al- pend on events and considerations of a poluded to, in his possession, and that, ap. litical nature, where it was important to prehending no public inconvenience from ascertain the temper, the spirit, and the ihe production of it, he should lay it on motive by which the persons with whom their lordships' table.
we were in alliance were actualed in the The Marquis of Lansdowne perceiving, prosecution of a contest so momentous as among the mass of Spanish Papers pre- that, in which we were mutually engaged. sented to their lordships, the copy of only He therefore trusted, that, as the noble lord one letter from Mr. Secretary Canning to had on a former night expressed a readithe British minister in Spain, during four ness, and even an earnest wish to disclose months, namely, from the 12th of April every document of his own, he would now, to the middle of August 1809, a period with the same frankness, consent to produring which some of the most import duce those of his predecessor. ant iransactions were going forward in the Marquis Wellesley was willing to afford peninsula, wished to learn whether that every facility towards their lord:hips' was indeed the only letter transmitted by information, and said, that he should bis Majesty's government, for the direc- again carefully examine all the official pation of their minister in Spain, during a pers relative to the present question, and period, and at a crisis so momentous ? lay upon their lordships' table all such
Marquis Wellesley was not aware of any as sh:uld appear fit or useful to be proother letter of instructions, relative to the duced. object of the papers nos before ile House, The Marquis of Lansdowne then moved, being sent to Mr. Frere. He did not “ That the House be summoned to tabe speak with certainiy ; but after a perusal those papers into consideration, next of the official papers, with all that atten. Tuesday se'nnight.” tion which the seriousness of their object [EXPEDITION 10 THE SCHBLDT.]-The required, the impression on his mind at Earl of Darnley wished shortly to call present was, that no other letter of in their lordships' attention to the subject of portance liau been sent to Mr. Frere. the late disastrous Expedition to the
Earl Grey expressed his surprise at Scheldt, which had been lately discussed hearing it said by the noble secretary, that in the other House of Parliament. After four months had elapsed, during which the decision which that House had come the most weighty and momentous events to upon this subject, he entertained no were passing in Spain--events which deep- very strong hopes, that an opposite conly engaged the interests, the feelings, clusion was likely to be formed in this. the honour, the welfare, and perhaps, Confident, however, he was, that, excepte ultimately, the political existence of this ing the House of Commons, there was no country, without any other communica- public body, nor any other set of men, in tion from his Majesty's government at these kingdoms, who entertained the opi
nion which had been expressed by that | laws into effect; and to make such amendHouse, he thouglit, that it was a subject ments in the bill as they should think ne. which their lordships could not pass over cessary: in silence; and, little as he was warranted The Earl of Liverpool acquiesced in the to hope that a majority of their lordships suggestion of the noble lord, and thought would coincide with him on the occasion, a select committee the preferable mode of still he could not rest satisfied in his con- proceeding, as also that the law lords, science without calling their attention to members of that House, should be of the the question, and giving those noble lords, Committee. who thought with him, an opportunity of Lord Grenville then, after the second expressing their sentiments." "He was not reading, moved for the commitment of the prepared to name any particular day for bill, which passed accordingly. He then bringing forward any motion upon the moved, " That it should be committed to subject, but if no other noble Jord should a select committee, empowered to alter, think fit to take it up, he should himself do or amend, as they should think proper, it on an early day.
that part of the bill which related to capi. [REVENUE CRIMINAL Laws.) Lord Gren- tal offences against the revenue.” ville called the attention of the House to a sulject which he conceived bighly impor
HOUSE OF COMMONS. tant to the jurisprudence of the country. A bil! had been sent up from the other
Thursdry, April 5. House of Parliament, for consolidating [MR. LETHBRIDGE's COMPLAINT AGAINST into one act all the laws against smug.
SIR FRANCIS BURDETT-ADJOURNED Degling, and other frauds upon the revenue. BATE.) Mr. Lethbridge moved, “That ilie This bill also included and confirmed all order of the day, for resuming the adthe capital punishments ag iinst such journed debate on the mo!ion made upon crimes. He had apposed the bill in that the 27th day of March last, That a Letter, shape, as unfit to be adopted, without the signed • Francis Burdett,' and a further opportunity of fully considering and dis part of a paper, intituled, • Argument,' in cussing the nature of the crimes thus sub- Cobbett's Weekly Register of March 21, jected to the punishment of death; and, 1810, is a libellous and scandalous paper, therefore, he had moved that a separate reflecting on the just rights and privileges bill should be prepared by the judges, in. of this House, be now read :" And ide cluding all the crimes against which for- same being read, mer acts denounced the punishment of Lord Ossulston rose, and in a low tone of death. That bill was now on the table. voice proceeded to vindicate the doctrine It had been read the first time, and de- laid down by the hon. baronet respecting scribed no less than seventy-five crimes the right of commitment, as claimed and against revenue laiv, subject to the punish. exercised by the House. It was not his ment of death. He thought it wholly on intention to discuss the first part of the fit to be enacted, and inconsistent with publication of the hon baronet, as that on the mercifil spirit of British legislation. which the greatest stress was laid was enWhere high duries upon arricles of con- titled ihe Argument. He was of opinion, sumption were imposed, strong temptation notwithstandling all that had been con. was given for evading those duties, and ended to the contrary, that the publica. capital punishments shonld not be inflicted tion did not come under the cognizance of where not absolutely and indispensably the House. He cited the authority of necessary to the due collection of the re- chief justice Holt, That neither blouse of venue. What he should, therefore, wish parliament could infringe upon the liberty to do, was to move for the present, that of the subject. He furi her quoted from the bill be read a second time; and then the same authority, that the privileges of referred to a select committee, who should parliament were founded upon the laws be instructed to inquire in what cases it of the land, and could not be in contrawas actually necessary to enact capital punishment, in order to the dire collection in the argument laid down by chief justice of the revenue, and that the Commitee De Grey, it was laid down that, as the law should avail themselves of all the informa- of parliament was only known to parliation to be derived from the solicitor of the ment-men, the public could not be justly revenue, and such other persons as were answerable for any breach of it. The most conversant in carrying the revenue noble lord then adverted to those personal
a diction to those laws. He stated also, that,