Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

that he thought a bill of indem- committee of secrecy. The noble nity necessary; but not as grow. lord, with the candour of which ing out of the report of the secret he gives such frequent examples, committee. He was ready to put says, he should have no objection the necessity of an indemnity act to a bill of indemnity. No one to the House as being naturally will doubt, without this candour, and necessarily connected with that he wishes for a bill of indemthe former law. Much of the nity if he can get it ; and to this information on which the govern- end he proposes a committee, ment had acted was necessarily chosen by ballot, to sit on the such as could not be disclosed papers in this bag. Why, this consistently with the safety of was one of the coarsest juggles individuals, and with good faith which had ever been played off towards them. He should dis- upon mankind. How had the tinctly avow, that a bill of in- secretary of state acted ? He had demnity was necessary after such not taken up a few persons, who, powers had been entrusted to a by their influence, or by the ragovernment; and this claim might mifications of extensive connecbe strengthened by, though not tions might be dangerous, but he founded on, the report of a com. had gone, as it were, with a drag mittee. The committee would net through particular counties, also show what the state of the taking up whole classes of men. country was; for though the He believed the secretary had prosperity of our commerce, and acted hastily, and in a manner the vigilancy of the magistracy, which he would not have done, if had put an end to the great mass it had not been a cabinet system of danger, it would be a false to take measures

of vigour. view to suppose that the danger Alarm had been the daily bread was at an end.

of the administration, and nothing The noble lord then moved, was to be done but to keep alive “ That the secret papers pre- the idea that danger was immisented to the House by com nent, and that insurrections hung mand of the Prince Regent on over our heads, but for measures the 3rd instant, be referred to a which had been extorted from the committee.”

parliament. They had now betMr. Tierney, after passing ter information than they had some jocular strictures on lord last session. They had not to Castlereagh and his bag, said, proceed upon hints in the dark, that the truth of the matter is or on the impression which might this: the ministers know, that by be produced on any respectable their proceedings in the last year, gentleman in the committee, but they have, during the last months, on the result of long judicial probeen making out a prima facie ceedings. case against themselves in the After some observations on mind of every man in the coun- particular trials, in one of the try; and now they want to have most noted of which, he said, a case made out for them, and there was not a tittle of evidence that, under the sanction of a that any danger existed which


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

could not have been met by the able to precedent. Parliament ordinary operation of law, he in that case felt as it must always turned again to the noble lord, feel; that government acting for and asked, whether he could sup; the public safety should not be pose that such a proceeding could compelled to give up the sources be satisfactory either with a view of that secret information which to the vindication of the conduct had urged them temporarily to of ministers, or the maintenance deprive individuals of their liberty. of the character of that House ? If, indeed, parliament declined Yet, if not to vindicate the con thus to shield government, what duct of ministers, for what pur. government or ministers would be pose was the proposed committee found to execute the powers to be appointed? The noble lord's granted by the suspension of the committee would probably re Habeas Corpus act? Mr. Bathurst commend an act of indemnity. then followed the right hon. gen. This committee would first praise tleman through several of his the ministers for their wisdom and other positions. One of these humanity, and next propose an

referred to Oliver, of whom Mr. act to shelter them from any legal B, asserted that he had become responsibility—thus asserting at acquainted with the conspiracy once that ministers were right, by accident, when he communiand that they ought to be shel- cated his information to govern, tered from the consequences of ment, by whom he was employed being wrong. They had, in fact, to continue his connexion with filed a bill of indictment against the persons through whom he themselves, probably with a view obtained his information. But to prevent others from doing the he afterwards observed, in explasame against them; and then they nation, that what he had stated came forward, in a tone of de- was, that Oliver went down in fiance, exclaiming, “This is our company with one of the princigreen bag-who dare touch our pal conspirators, and by this green bag ?” But notwithstanding means became acquainted with this tone, they appeared resolved the designs that were in agitation that their green bag should not among them. Certainly this be touched by any but particular statement appears somewhat at friends.

variance with Oliver's declaraMr. Bathurst observed, that tion “ that he had become ac« the right hon. gentleman appear. quainted with the conspiracy by ed to think the course proposed accident." on this occasion, quite a new Sir S. Romilly perfectly conmode of proceeding, forgetting, curred in opinion with the noble perhaps, that it was precisely the lord, that an inquiry was necessame as that adopted in 1801, sary, but totally differed from with the support of the right hon. him with regard to the nature of gentleman himself, and in oppo. it. The present was, he mainsition to arguments similar to tained, quite a new course of those which he had just advanced. proceeding; for there was no inThe manner was then quite agreem stance upon record of the refe


rence of papers to a committee liament together, and it was not but with a view to some legisla- until January that they thought tive measure. The noble lord, proper to adopt that measure. however, had stated, that no such The transactions of last session measure was in contemplation. were of such importance as called What then was the object of this loudly for inquiry. He could not committee ? On the first day of believe that the House would the session, immediately after the discharge its duty, or satisfy the lords commissioners, representing expectations of the country, if it the crown, had stated that tran- did not, by the fullest disclosure quillity was restored, and that of all these transactions, make nothing more was wanting to some atonement for the dangermaintain it than the vigilance of ous precedent which they had the magistrates, it was declared been induced in the last session by the ministers, that they meant to establish. Even the mass of to remove the suspension of the individual suffering that was exHabeas Corpus act. No danger, perienced under this act was far therefore, could be apprehended outweighed by the incalculable by the ministers. And what then disadvantages entailed upon the was the purpose

of this commit- general system of our governtee? Why, solely to procure a

ment. What would have been report in defence of ministers, the case if ministers had a precewith the recommendation of an dent in the subject he was consi. act of indemnity, which it was dering. The parliament might felt must necessarily be preceded look forward to some future miby at least the appearance of in- nister, anxious to increase the quiry into the present state of power of the crown, long after the public opinion. 'It now appeared grave had closed upon the prethat ministers sought the shield sent generation. They might of an act of indemnity; and when suppose some future sovereign of the administration of the trust the House of Brunswick, but was considered, the House was feeling in his breast the principles informed that a bill of that nature of a Stuart, willing to avail himalways followed a suspension of self of such a minister, and prethe constitution. He hoped the ferring rather to imitate the House would see the necessity of despots of Europe, than to reign an ample investigation, and not in the hearts of a free people. It suffer themselves to be deluded. had been truly said by an hoThe House, he trusted, would nourable baronet on a former ocrecollect, that though, according casion, that the Habeas Corpus to the admission of the govern act might as well have no existment, tranquillity was restored in ence, as be liable to such interSeptember last, and though, act. ruptions. For when was the act ing upon the confidence of that of any use ? Was it not in times tranquillity, they had restored when his majesty's government persons to their liberty who had was complained of; in times of been six months in confinement, disaffection to ministers, which still they neglected to call par- they were always willing to re


present as disaffection to their fact, any other reason for resort.
master. Yet in such times, that ing to it, than the necessity which
act, which gave them, he might was felt of obtaining a bill of in-
say, a privilege above all other demnity ?
nations, might in future be taken Several Speakers on both sides
away by the precedent established appeared in succession. The
in the reign of George 3rd, or question was at length put and
rather in the regency of the agreed to; as were the questions,
Prince by whom he was repre. that it should be a committee of
sented. The only excuse by secresy, and should consist of 21
which the appointment of com. members.
mittees by ballot could be de On the question “ That the
fended was, the existence of such committee be chosen by way of
danger as rendered secresy impe. ballotting," the House divided;
rative. Could such a ground be Ayes 102, Noes 29.
now advanced; or was there, in





Mr. Grenfell's questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.— The

same topic in the House of Lords.-Treaty between England and Spain relative to the Slave trade.--Its discussion in the House of Commons.

[ocr errors]

N the 29th of January, Mr. gency; and it was obvious that

Grenfell rose for the pure those who had the means of pose of obtaining from the Chan- becoming acquainted with the cellor of the Exchequer, some in- intention of the ministers, must formation respecting two import- possess a material advantage over ant questions intimately con those who were not in the secret. nected with the financial and for these different reasons, he commercial interests of the coun. hoped it would not be considered try, which ought to be given as making an extraordinary rewithout delay. These, in the quest in behalf of the public, if first place, alluded to the re he desired to know whether any sumption of cash payments by event had occurred, or was ex. the Bank of England, which, as pected to occur, which in its at present fixed by law, would consequences would prevent the take place on the 5th of July resumption of cash payments on next. After the promises so the 5th of July next. often renewed by the govern

There was another question ment and the Bank, it was natural upon which he was desirous that to suppose that no uncertainty some information should be afwould prevail in any quarter as forded, as it equally related to to the probability when the the subject of the connexion period of cash payment would between the government and the actually arrive ; yet considerable Bank. The public stood in the doubt did exist in the public situation of debtor to the Bank, mind upon this subject, especially one sum of three millions adamong the class described as the vanced without interest, the money interest. It was desirable other of six millions at an inthat this doubt should not conti- terest of 4 per cent, which would nue a moment after his majesty's soon become payable. Until ministers had it in their power to those loans should be repaid, the remove it. No one who had a Bank had secured to themselves practical knowledge of what was the undisturbed possession of a passing in the city, could be ig- balance upon the public money norant of the very large transac- deposited in their hands, which, tions of a speculating nature for the last twelve years, had which depended on this contin never fallen short, upon an aver


« ZurückWeiter »