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Attorney-general had argued in progress of public bills was sus.
The learned gentleman next Corpus had rested upon garbled remarked upon the case of Hone's and unfair evidence, he could not trial; but this having been first be satisfied with the mere repeal taken up by lord Althorp, and of that act, but thought that an only improved upon by Sir S. inquiry into the grounds on which Romilly, we shall say nothing it had passed ought to have been further on the subject, especially instituted. The right which had as the Attorney-general appears been suspended, he wished to reto have come off rather lamely mind their lordships, was not one upon the business.
which had been granted by any Several other gentlemen joined act of parliament whatever. The in the debate, but little passed personal liberty of the people was beyond slight skirmishing between no concession: it was a right anthe members on both sides. tecedent to any statute, and equal
On January 28 Viscount Sid to that of their lordships to vote in mouth presented to the House of that House, or to the right of the Lords a bill for repealing an act king to sit on the throne. The passed in the last session of par- invasion of this right of the peoTiament to empower his Majesty ple could only be justified by the to secure and detain persons sus clearest evidence of the most pected of conspiring against his overwhelming necessity. It was Majesty's person and government. their lordships duty to show that The title of the bill being read, a law which deprived the people his lordship moved that it be now of their most important right was read a first time; which was ac not to be inflicted without proof, cordingly done. After which, or without some subsequent proon the noble lord's motion, the ceeding which would demonstrate standing order relative to the to the latest posterity that they
considered themselves pledged to was ready to prove, not only that guard against such unjust en- the measure was justified by the croachments in future. The evi- state of the country at that time, dence on such an inquiry must not but that it had been productive be of the ex-parte and suspicious of the greatest advantages. That nature which their lordships were the country was in better circuminduced to accept of last year. stances now than last year he was Nothing would satisfy the coun- happy to believe ; but whatever try but a full and impartial inves. improvement had taken place, tigation. He trusted it was un- certainly was not owing to the necessary for him to urge the suspension of the Habeas Corpus importance of this right on their act; for were the truth of this lordships minds, but he could not assertion of ministers to be adhelp dwelling upon it. It was mitted by their lordships, there the most ancient of all the rights would be no longer any security of the people of this country. It for personal liberty. If they rested neither on Magna Charta, could persuade parliament to susthe act of Habeas Corpus, nor the pend the Habeas Corpus act on Bill of Rights, though it was re-ex-parte evidence, they would asserted in them. The act of have nothing more to do than to 1672, in the reign of Charles II, come forward the next year, and by which it was legislatively say, “ You see what advantages enacted, did not constitute the have been derived from following right. The ancestor of the noble our recommendation.” lord, the earl of Shaftesbury, then After touching upon the case stood up honourably and man. of Hone, and affirming that these fully for this best right of the prosecutions bore about them people, and contributed greatly such marks of hypocrisy as he to the measure by which it was had never before witnessed, he confirmed. And at what time returned to the suspension of was that important act passed? the Habeas Corpus. At the moment when the Houses he said, an act of the most of Lords and Commons were in pernicious tendency to suspend the state of the greatest alarm the personal liberty of the subfrom the apprehension of plots ject in a time of profound peace, and conspiracies. Even in those and formed a precedent of the convulsed times no plot had been most lamentable effect. Such thought sufficient to warrant the acts left rents in the constitution legislature in depriving the sub- which could not afterwards be ject of personal fiberty.
closed. He trusted, however, Returning to the act of last that a strict inquiry would be session, his lordship again asserted made as to the manner in which that no ground for it had been laid this act had been executed. at the time when it was passed, and Lord Sidmouth, in paying par. that nothing had since occurred ticular attention to the speech of to show that there was any thing the noble lord, began with his in the state of the country which lordship's statement that there called for it. But the noble earl was no necessity for the act of opposite had declared, that he the last session. He affirmed on
his own part, that the report ratfons upon different subjects, made by the committee appointed his lordship recurred to his own by their lordships, and on the au. responsibility for the due executhority of which the act was tion of that act which of course passed, afforded its complete re- rested chiefly with himself. He futation. He further said, that had only in view, he said, to the noble lord had also asserted, prevent the threatening danger, that the evidence produced by and had not been the means of ministers was garbled, and that depriving individuals of their liinformation which ought to have berty any farther than the necesbeen communicated to the com- sity of the case required. The mittee was withheld. He could, act at present under consideraon the contrary, assure their lord- tion did not expire till the first of ships, that every kind of informa- March ; and there was no record tion which could with propriety on the Journals of the House that be laid before the committee, had an act of that description had been produced to them, and that ever been repealed, or not suffernothing had been withheld which ed to run out to its utmost limit. was necessary to enable them to But his majesty's ministers ad. arrive at a fair and proper con- mitted that nothing could justify clusion on the question. In the the continuance of such an act Prince Regent's speech, only the but the necessity which originated other causes which had contri- it ; and when that necessity buted to the returning prosperity ceased, it was due to the legislaof the country were mentioned; ture and to the people of the but it did not follow that great country to repeal it forthwith. benefit had not been derived from He should not detain their the suspension of the Habeas lordships any longer. It was the Corpus act.
intention of the Prince Regent to His lordship then alluded to lay before their lordships papers the effects of the same measure touching the internal state of the with respect to the trials at country. It would be for their Derby; in which case, he said, lordships to decide how they that these men, besides making a should be disposed of. Many confession of their guilt, gave opportunities would arise in the certain information that an insur course of the session of discusrection of a much more formida. sing the measures lately resorted ble nature than that in which to by the government, and on they had been engaged, was in the propriety of those measures contemplation, and would infal- he was ready to state his unlibly have taken place had not shaken conviction. the Habeas Corpus bill been sus.
The bill was then read a sepended. Thus it was proved by cond time, the commitment neincontrovertible evidence, that the gatived, and the bill ordered to measure for which the noble lord be engrossed. The engrossed had contended that there was no bill was brought into the House necessity, had preserved the peace almost immediately. It was then and tranquillity of the country. read a third time, passed, and orAfter various other conside, dered to be sent to the Commons.
Bill in the House of Lords repealing an Act of the last Session of
Parliament ; read for the first time.—Lord Sidmouth presents papers from the Prince Regent.-Lord Castlereagh moves the appointment of the Finance Committee in the House of Commons.--He presents papers from the Prince Regent Debates.
N January 29 the House of with the commands of the Prince
Lords transmitted to the Regent he had to lay before their House of Commons a bill repeal- lordships certain papers relative ing an act made in the last ses to the state of the country. It sion of parliament, empowering was his intention to have moved his majesty to detain and secure that those papers should be resuch persons as are suspected of ferred to a secret committee; conspiring against his person and but as two noble lords, the mar . government.
quis of Lansdowne and lord HolOn the motion of the Chancel. land, who wished to be present, lor of the Exchequer, the bill was were prevented by a melancholy then read through for the first occurrence (the death of the time. The sequel began to ex- earl of Upper Ossory), he would hibit a considerable difference of move on the following day for the opinion, especially with regard to appointment of a committee. the gentlemen of the law, several Accordingly, on February 3rd, of whom doubted how they were the noble lord moved that the to understand that the parties papers which he had yesterday taking the recognizances had a laid on the table, should be relegal right to do so. A clause ferred to a secret committee to was introduced by lord Folke. be chosen by ballot. stone, proposing that all persons After some discussion on the bound by recognizances under subject, the motion was agreed the Suspension act be henceforth to. completely
discharged from them, On the same day, Feb. 3rd, but that this clause should not Lord Castlereagh moved the apapply to any other recognizances. pointment of the Finance ComObjections being made to this mittee in the House of Commons. proposal, his lordship withdrew The last committee, he said, had the clause, and the bill was' on drawn six extensive and labothe same day read a third time, rious reports respecting the offiand passed.
cial establishments, the reducOn February 2nd, Lord Sid- tions and modifications of which mouth said, that in compliance might be advantageous to the
public service. It had also made and expenditure of the united
to enter into it, when the subHe should now move to re-ap- stance of the information conpoint the committee of last year, tained in the papers was presented and should propose
to them by a committee. It had names, as well on account of their been supposed that the committee respectability, as on account of had been appointed, not to conthe great addition to their expe. vey to the House an account of rience. His motion was to the the state of the country, but to following purpose : “ That a se- lay the foundation of some partilect committee be appointed to cular measure. This was not the inquire into and state the income case.
case. He would frankly state +