Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

be content to have his Bill, which he then / Mr. Dundas said, that upon inquiry it held in his hand, read a first time and would be found that the revenues of the printed. He complimented the character, Scotch boroughs were funds as well mafirmness, and moderation of the peti- naged as those of any corporation existtioners, and the abilities and exertions of ing; but if the hon. gentleman could prove the gentlemen they had employed to ma the contrary, and demonstrate that frauds nage their business; and concluded with existed, he would be ready to concur with a hope, that forgetting all national dis- him in any motion he should propose to tinctions and narrow prejudices, he should correct such abuses. So far would he go find, on the next discussion of the subject, with the hon. gentleman in his Bill, but a very general disposition to diffuse prin he would not follow him to that branch ciples of civil liberty to that part of the which extended itself to the internal reunited kingdom which had bitherto par- form of the boroughs, which, however taken in our glory and in our dangers, speciously expressed, was neither more without sharing the equal blessing of civil nor less than a proposition to alter the liberty, which England so fully enjoyed. charters of every corporation of Scotland,

moved, « That leave be given to which charters existed at the time of the bring in a Bill for correcting the abuses Union, and ought to be regarded as and supplying the defects in the internal sacred. He could not avoid observing, government of the royal burghs, and in that the hon. gentleman was, in his prethe manner of accounting for the property, sent motion, both long-sighted and shortannual revenues, and expenditure of the sighted. He had, in his long-sigbt, dissame, in that part of Great Britain called covered imperfections and corruption in Scotland."

the boroughs of Scotland, but at the same Sir James Johnstone would not give his time, he was so remarkably short-sighted, consent to the bringing in of the Bill, that he could not possibly discern the being convinced that the evil complained imperfections and corruption in the Eng. of in the first part of the hop. gentleman's lish boroughs. The hon. gentleman had speech did not exist, and that the latter | not stated a single circumstance against part was unnecessary, it being in the power the Scotch boroughs, which might not of the Lord Advocate to compel an accurate with equal justice be stated against the statement of the revenues of each borgh. boroughs in England; and it was bis wish.

Mr. Anstruther regretted that his hon. that if the House agreed eventually with friend always brought the business for the hon. gentleman's Bill for a Scotch ward at the close of a session, when it borough reform, that the hon. gentleman was impossible to be carried. His hon. would extend the reform to both parts of friend had stated no specific grievances; the kingdom, and would be particularly bat bad confined himself to a general careful not to forget Stafford. "If the Bill statement of grievances, to which he (Mr. was meant to effect a difference in the A.) entirely objected, being fully con- mode of election, he wished it boldly to visced that no such grievances existed. be avowed. With whatever specious appearance his Sir Thomas Dundas said, that the Bill hon. friend brought in the present Bill, meant to be brought in, was precisely the it went effectually to a change in the same in principle with that proposed by election of representatives to serve in the corporation of Stirling, when the right Parliament. His hon, friend not having hon. gentleman was Lord Advocate. With gone into a detailed support of his Bill, respect to that part of it which went to he should not give a detailed opposition demand a statement annually of the reto it; and the rather, as he did not believe venues of the boroughs, he was convinced his hop. friend really meant to carry into of its necessity. effect the Bill he had moved for leave to Sir Joseph Mawbey said, that in his briog in. With respect to the accounts of opinion the Bill would prove the means of the annual revenues, he fully agreed with extending the rights of electors in bothe hon. baronet, that those accounts roughs. He wished the hon. baronet or might be now demanded by the Lord some other gentleman, would boldly stand Advocate, who could insist upon the delic forward and propose an extension of the very of them in the same manner as the rights of election for Scotch knights of the Attorney-general in England might dea shire. Such a measure, if earried, would mand an account to be made out of the be of the most important service, and revenues of the corporations in England. confer the greatest honour on the mover.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

635] 28 GEORGE ili. Debate on reimbursing certain Witnesses (636

Sir James Erskine was adverse to the of Commons, from March to July 1786, motion, and contended that the evils com- and was again summoned by the Lords, at plained of, had no existence.

the requisition of the managers, to attend Mr. Pitt said, that wishing to know the as a witness, from January to June, in contents of the Bill, he was as desirous as this year. Captain Williams was ordered any gentleman could be to have the mo- to attend the House of Commons from tion carried. If it went to a reform, it | February to June 1786. He also was exwould be one reason to induce him to be amined at the bar of that House at that partial to it; but to the latter part he ob. time. He was again summoned to attend jected, conceiving the House would be in January 1788, and continued in daily guilty of a violent act in charging the attendance on the Lords, to the last day boroughs with abuses, and giving a coun- of the trial. It is true he was not called tenance to an infringement of their | upon, though he could give most material charters, before such abuses were made and important information, if the manaapparent. In what he had stated, he gers really wished for the elucidation of meant no obstruction to the Bill, but truth; but it did happen that the mana. merely to suggest the propriety of adopt-gers, though they had expressly summoned ing some other mode, by committee or captain Williams from South Wales, in otherwise, that might be more consistent order to examine him, had closed their with the forms of the House.

proceedings without calling him to the bar Mr. Sheridan said, that what had fallen as a witness. The managers had done this, from the right hon. gentleman, was per- / when they knew he (Williams) could give fectly fair and candid. He believed, that very material information. Captain Scott, the right hon. gentleman's objection went who was his brother, had been summoned only to a few words in the latter part of from Shropshire in January. He had been the motion, in which he saw no novelty examined by the managers, who thought, or deviation from rule; but to gain his possibly, that his evidence, however im. acquiescence, he was willing to alter the portant, did not tend to advance their motion as recommended. He accordingly cause, and, after three months attendance, withdrew his motion, and instead of it permitted him to return to Shropshire, moved, “ That leave be given to bring in unexamined by the Lords. Mr. Hölt, the a Bill for regulating the internal govern- fourth petitioner, stood upon very different ment of the royal burghs in Scotland.” grounds. He not only had been subject

Upon this the House divided; Yeas, 54: to very great expenses, but had actually Noes, 00. Mr. Sheridan immediately lost the fair advantages of the services. brought in the Bill, which was read a first The major said, he contented himself with time, and ordered to be printed.

merely relating the facts, as he trusted

fully to the justice and the honour of the Debate on a Petition from certain Wit-House to make the gentlemen a fair and nesses on Mr. Hastings's Trial to be reim-honourable compensation. bursed their Expenses.] Major Scott said, Mr. Pitt pressed the necessity of set. that he rose to bring to the notice of the tling all claims of the kind in question, and House a petition which had been present. read the resolution of the committee of ed from major Gilpin, captain Williams, managers upon the subject. captain Scott, and Mr. Holt, praying some Mr. Sheridan thought, that all the wit. compensation for the expenses they had nesses summoned at the instance of the incurred by attending for several months managers were fairly entitled to come in London, either by a summons of the under the same rule of consideration, and managers of Mr. Hastings's Impeachment, that if there were any exceptions, those or by an order of the House of Lords, in exceptions ought to be submitted to the consequence of the managers' summons. special decision of the House. The major said, he would not do more than Mr. Burke adverted to the propriety of state the circumstances under which the distinguishing witnesses in narrow cirseveral gentlemen were, at the time they cumstances from those in affluence. were summoned; the compensation heo Mr. Bearcroft said, that it was common would leave to the justice of the House, in civil cases for a witness to say, pay me without presuming to make any motion my expenses, or I will not utter a word of upon the subject. Major Gilpin came evidence. In criminal cases the custom home in 1785, was summoned from Lan- was necessarily different, and every man cashire to attend at the bar of the House was bound to declare the whole truth.

Major Scott said, the committee of im- place; so in the prosecution of Mr. Haspeachment had resolved that no person tings, the committee of managers, who should receive a compensation, who was inight naturally be supposed best acnot in straitened circumstances. But quainted with what their own witnesses he did not apply for relief upon such a could prove, it appeared, did not know plea: he was convinced that no officer half so much of the matter, as the friends would suffer any person to assert that of Mr. Hastings, who had taken the withe was in straitened circumstances, who nesses against the prosecution into their could purchase daily at Dolly's a beef protection. With regard to captain Wilsteak and a pot of porter; but if those gen | liams case, they had nothing to do with it, tlemen who were settled in Wales, Lanca but it lay (where it ought to lay) with the. shire and Shropshire, with moderate for House, who naturally would refer it to the tunes of 3 and 4001. a-year, with which decision of the solicitors for the prosecuthey were perfectly happy and contented, tion to decide upon. With respect to Mr. were compelled to come to London, were Holt, he knew that gentleman was not in kept for some months in lodgings, leaving | great circumstances, and that he would be a their several establishments in the country, sufferer by being detained here in England; he would put it to the honour of the but he thought the court of directors were House, whether they ought not to be paid bound to take care that none of their sertheir expenses.

vants appointed to lucrative offices in InMr. Sheridan loped the hon. gentleman dia, and detained here in consequence of would allow the managers to judge for their being called upon to give evidence themselves, what witnesses were most on the trial of Mr. Hastings, should subproper for them to call.

stantially be sufferers by such a detention. Mr. Burke had ever understood, that Mr. Burke questioned the fact of the peall persons capable of giving evidence, titioners having applied to the solicitors, touching the facts charged on the trial of and not having received satisfaction. He a criminal cause, were bound by law to stated to the House the directions he him. reveal all they knew upon the subject | self had given the solicitors how to act in question, without having any right to upon all applications of a similar nature. a claim for expenses, and that the same Here the conversation ended. rule obtained in every species of parlia. mentary prosecution. The committee of Debate in the Lords on the African managers had early in the progress of Slave Bill.] June 25. The House having the business laid down several rules resolved itself into a Committee on the touching the expenses to be incurred, Bill " for providing certain temporary which, he had no doubt, the House would regulations respecting the transportation consider as wise rules; and, indeed, he of the natives of Africa, in British ships, trusted, that all their rules of proceeding to the West Indies, and elsewhere,” would be found to be made on mature con- Earl Bathurst rose, and argued against sideration. One of their resolutions went | making the Bill retrospective. He conexpressly to the payment of witnesses; tended, that all « ex post facto” laws but where there were particular excep were unjust; that the present Bill would tions, those exceptions ought to be consi- be particularly so; and that no compendered on their particular merits. When sation the legislature could propose, could a witness was in straitened circumstances, possibly meet the case. The merchants he ought, undoubtedly, to be consi had embarked their adventures before the dered, but not so in cases of a dif Bill was proposed, and it was to attach ferent nature. Suppose Mr. Middleton upon them from the 10th of June, and and Sir Elijah Impey attended at the | thus subject them to the certainty of a loss, instance of the committee of managers; after they had put themselves to the whole surely, no man would be so absurd as to expense of an adventure. contend, that either of them ought to be Lord Rodney said, it was absurd to suppaid for attending. The present conver | pose that the merchants, whose profit sation reminded him of a new discovery arose from the number of healthy Africans which took place in anatomy, at the com- they landed in the West India islands mencement of the present year. A man would not attend to their own interests, had been dissected, when his heart had and take every possible care to preserve been found lying upon his right side, his their health. Every voyage was attended liver on his left, and all the viscera out of with its inconveniences, but the voyage to

Africa, and from that coast to the West The Duke of Richmond contended, that India islands, was not, generally speaking, the proper subject of discussion was, merely attended with greater inconveniences than the amendment necessary in the clause othervoyages. He had not heard any evi- before their lordships; bụt as the noble dence to prove, that the Africans were lords who had already spoken had gone treated with peculiar hardship, in the into the principle of the Bill, he must beg voyage to the West Indies, or that there to say a few words in reply. The noble was reason to suppose that they would be lords, both of whom stood so high in their so treated. Why, then, after the general respective professions, had relied a good question had been postponed till the next deal on the natural humanity of those session, need the House be so much in a concerned in the African Slave Trade. hurry to take up a part of the considera- Unfortunately, the subject of the present tion? He reminded the House, that the Bill was one of those in which consideraFrench government acted in a very diffe- tions of private interest might be supposed rent manner respecting the African Trade; to bear down and supersede the feelings and that, so far from wishing to curb and of humanity. The noble lord who spoke cramp it with needless regulations, they first had suggested, that as the profit of gave large premiums upon every negro the merchant depended on the number of landed on their islands in the West Indies. healthy slaves he lauded in the West In some instances they gave as much as Indies, he necessarily would not stow 200 livres per head, in others 100 livres. more together on ship-board, than could The islands of St. Lucie, Tobago, and St. exist in safety, and without risk of disease. Domingo were in that manner provided That argument was fallacious; because with Slaves. If therefore, we deprived if 400 Africans only could be stowed our own merchants of the power of car without danger of sickness, the insuperrying on this traffic, we should insensibly able avarice of those concerned in the increase the power and advantages of the traffic might induce them to eram 500 on French in that respect. What our mer- board; since if they lost fifty out of the chants lost, theirs would gain-a conside- fifth hundred it would still be worth their ration that he thought worthy their lord while. If their lordships would calculate, ships' most serious attention. Exceed they would find, that according to the ingly important were the West India evidence, taking the fair measurement of islands to our commerce and navigation, the vessel, upon a moderate calculation, and he could appeal to the noble lord according to the customary stowage of the (Heathfield) behind him, whether he did | African ships, no room was allowed for not think the Bill upnecessary, and likely passages, but the whole deck was strewed rather to introduce evils than benefits. with human bodies. With regard to the

Lord Heathfield said, that since the French giving premiums on each negro question was addressed to him, he must landed, he saw no occasion for us to fol. own it to be his private opinion that the low the example; and he trusted that this Bill was unnecessary. He had a good nation would not barter its humanity so deal considered the subject, and though basely. In answer to what another noble perhaps few others had given themselves | lord had said, respecting the number of the trouble to inquire into, and ascertain cubical feet of air allotted to a soldier in the number of the cubical feet of air camp and an African on board a trade breathed by the Africans on board the ship, the two cases bore no analogy to vessels usually employed in transporting each other. Soldiers were put six in & them from their own coast to the West tent, but then they not only had free India islands, he had done so, and com- egress, and were seldom all six in it for a pared it with the number of cubical feet long time together, on account of military of air breathed by soldiers in camp. Sol- duty, but the canvas of their tents was not diers in their tents were allowed about 17 | generally of so close a texture as to excubical feet of air each , whereas the Afri- clude all air, much less to reduce the air can slaves were severally allowed full 30. they breathed to that state of unwhole. His lordsbip reasoned on this calculation, someness that could easily be imagined to and after objecting to the Bill's commenc- be the quality of the air breathed by ing its operation so early, professed him. African slaves stowed close together, beself a friend to the African merchants, tween decks, on board of the transport whose interests he thought would be ma- ships. With regard to there being no terially, and unjustly affected by the Bill. evidence of the severe treatment of the Africans while on board, abundance of although in the former part of the Bill, no evidence might have been adduced in notice whatever had been taken of any support of the Bill, had it been necessary; thing in the Bill being to affect ships that but as it was merely a Bill of regulation, had sailed before the 10th of June." ; he had forborne to bring before their Earl Stanhope considered the Bill to be lordships evidence of the many horrid as ill worded, in respect to its clauses, as, cruelties that could have been proved to any Bill ever introduced into that House; have been practised, and the recital of but that its principle was undoubtedly which must have shocked their lordships. founded in humanity. It was therefore The Bill certainly stood in need of a va- their lordships' duty, to correct and amend riety of amendments. He intended to the clauses, so as to make them correspond propose a clause to give a compensation with its priociple, and thus remove all obto all those merchants whose ships were jection to the Bill. As several of their already sailed, or would be in Africa at the lordships were not present on Saturday, time that the Bill should pass, for the when the counsel were heard against the losses they would incur from the Bill Bill, he would state what those objections attaching upon their ships retrospectively. had been. In the first place, the counsel No fair argument, therefore, could be had objected that the whole of the scale grounded against the Bill, on account of adopted in the other House was wrong; its retrospective operation. In respect to and that exactly the reverse of that scale the day on which the Bill was to com- was the true proportion of the number mence, it certainly ought not to stand the of Africans to the number of tons of each 10th of June; but it was to be remem- ship, according to the principle of the BiH, bered, that the Bill had been introduced and the avowed intention of its supporters. into the other House so early as the 2d of Earl Stanhope explained this, by showing June ; the blanks had therefore been filled that as the Bill stood, three mon to two tons up with the 10th of June, from an idea were to be allowed to all ships of 100 tons, that it might possibly pass about that so that such ships were to carry 150 Aftime.

ricans each; but if the ships were upwards Lord Hawkesbury said, the Bill must of 100 tons, the number of Africans, prohave a commencement; the question portionably to the tonnage, was to dimi. therefore was, at what period its operation nish; by which means a ship of one size should begin? His opinion was, that it would carry 250, and a ship of a greater ought to commence from some day after size would, as the Bill stood, carry only the Bill should pass into a law, and attach 228 Africans. This was undoubtedly abupon every ship that might sail from any surd, and must have been a mistake; but British port after the day of its com- it was easily remedied by an amendment, mencement; and as to the ships already regulating the first proportion to the 100% sailed, or in Africa, only from the day tons, and then adding a smaller number as that the Bill should be served upon such the tonnage increased, by which scale, a ship; for nothing could be more unjust ship of 100 tons would have a right to than to make any ship captain, crew, &c. take 150 Africans; a ship of 101 tons, liable to a penalty before they could 151, and so on, adding one African for possibly know, that any such penalty was each additional ton.' This would create a' declared to be legal. He therefore moved, regular, clear, and unobjectionable rise of That the operation of the Bill should com- the scale, governing that rise, however, mence from the 10th of July next. strictly by the increase of tonnage. Earl - The Lord Chancellor presumed that the Stanhope took notice of the argument of wish of their lordships was to pass some bill lord Heathfield relative to the comparison of regulation; but as the Bill stood, it was of soldiers in a tent to Africans on board, nonsense. He therefore concluded that and denied that it bore the smallest ana. some amendments would be proposed to logy. The Africans were packed between connect the nonsense of one part of the decks 'on platforms, like books on shelves, Bill, with the nonsense of the other. He and were thought to be perfectly at their pointed out the words, “the 10th of June," as ease, if they had just room enough to turn.' stated in one clause to be the period of the Was that the case with soldiers in a tént? commencement of the operation of the Bill; Most undoubtedly not. The air breathed' and said, that in a subsequent clause at between decks by the Africans was rena" some distance, mention was made of sach dered putrid by the closeness of the space ships as had sailed before the 10th of June, and their own respiration; whereas a tento (VOL XXVII.]

1 [% T]

« ZurückWeiter »