Imatges de pàgina

entered into without great difficulty

The Lord Chancellor could see no and great delicacy. Was it fitting, he change which had occurred in the would ask their Lordships, that the state of the case. He conceived it House, on the mere ipse dixit of a quite clear, that there was no ground minister, and without inquiring for on which the Queen could incur the themselves, should decide that there charge of high treason. It was by a were grounds of proceeding against forced construction at best, that adulthe illustrious individual who was ac- tery in the Queen Consort was made cused ? The noble Lord had assumed, to infer such a charge, even when and the assumption certainly was not committed with a subject; but when Parliamentary, that this committee it was committed with a foreigner, must report that there were grounds there did not appear to him the slightfor farther proceeding. There was est pretence on which it could be no such necessity; it might report founded. In regard to the mode of that there were not, as well as that procedure, he would state, and he there were grounds. He agreed, that wished that his voice was loud enough full opportunity ought to be given to to convey the opinion from one corner the Queen to prepare for her defence. of the empire to the other, that those He thought that she and her counsel brought a most abominable and unshould have their choice as to the just charge against his Majesty's mitime at which the requisite delay nisters, who said that they were desishould be granted—whether it should rous of disposing of this important be before the trial commenced, or af. question in the most offensive way ter the charge and the evidence in that the public imagination could consupport of it had been brought for. ceive, when it heard the words “ seward. But the inquiry before the se- cret committee.” His obligations to cret committee did not imply any the Crown were very great—still no charge. Their Lordships, by referring punishment would be too severe for the papers to a committee, were not him, if he, during the prosecution of by that proceeding making any charge the inquiry into which they were against her Majesty, but were mere- about to enter, holding the high july ascertaining whether any charge dicial situation which he held, was should hereafter be made. He would willingly to lose sight for a moment not suffer himself to be swayed by ar- of the great principles of English jusguments, grounded on the clamour of tice. He admitted the full responsithe factious and discontented out of bility of ministers on the present ocdoors. The members of the commit- casion, but considered that responsitee consisted of Peers, as honourable bility as a point of very secondary and as well qualified as could possi- importance, in a question where the bly have been chosen.

King and Queen were personally inLord Erskine had originally sup- terested. Ministers, therefore, were ported the motion for a secret com- the better able to endure the taunts mittee, as the most tender way of of ignorance, stupidity, precipitancy, dealing with the accused. After what and vacillation, which were so liberhad passed, however, and after the ally thrown out against them. As for petition presented by the Queen her- the argument, that the members of self on the subject, he conceived there the secret committee, after pronounwas no longer any possibility of avoid. cing an opinion, could not sit in judging a public trial, and thought the ment on the question, it was one House should at once proceed to it. which had never before been held.



Whenever there had been such com- dicial inquiry. The mode of proceedmittees, as was usual upon bills of ing adopted by ministers, was that attainder, bills of pains and penalties, which appeared to them consonant to and bills of impeachment, the noble the soundest views of Parliamentary Lords who had sat on such commit- practice. Although they would not tees had never been suspected of per- have hesitated, upon the evidence in forming the duties which devolved their possession, to bring the subject upon them in subsequent stages, with in a distinct and intelligible form beless fidelity on that account. How fore the House, yet it appeared to would noble Lords, who held that them incumbent, first of all, to enopinion, propose to do in cases of able Parliament to ascertain whether bills of impeachment, brought in by there were prima facie grounds for a Committee of the whole House? He entertaining such charges. One hope had been accused of being too much was also, that, during the sitting of a addicted to delay; but though he secret committee, means might be would willingly grant all the delay found to avert the necessity of a mere which appeared to be necessary, im- public and extended investigation. partiality seemed to require, that no The case had now undergone an immore should be granted. If further portant change: Her Majesty had proceedings in this important in- repeatedly protested against any sequiry should be deemed necessary, cret inquiry, and represented it as an he should enter upon them in the spi- injury done to her. In consequence rit so ably described by an eminent also of proceedings in this House, English Judge, who declared that he every attempt had been made to efhad made a covenant with God and fect an accommodation. Without athimself, that neither affection, nor any tempting to cast blame upon any other undue principle, should ever quarter, he might say, that something make him swerve from the strict line was fairly anticipated from the dispoof his duty.

sition professed by the Queen to yield The Marquis of Lansdowne and to the judgment of Parliament. It Lord Holland supported the motion had been thought, that from the mofor inquiry, which was opposed by ment her legal character and dignity the Earls of Donoughmore and Lau- as Queen were satisfactorily recogderdale. The question being then nized—from the moment her rank called, the motion was negatived by and honour had ceased to be implicaa majority of 103 to 47.

ted that all other matters would be On the day previous to the above secondary and subordinate—and that debate, the House of Commons had she would be willing to submit to the under their consideration the course arbitration of one or more respectable which they were to take on this great individuals, regarding the questions question. The debate was introdu- of reception, patronage, and income. ced by Lord Castlereagh, who sup- In favour of this supposition the posed that every effort, both on the House had given its solemn judgpart of his Majesty's Government, ment. It was not, he believed, sayand of Parliament itself, to avert in- ing too much to state, that the records quiry, had now been exhausted, and of the country might be searched in that nothing remained but to put vain for any approach by the House both parties, as speedily as possible, to a member of that illustrious famiinto the situation which they were to ly, or to any individual connected occupy, pending the course of a ju- with the throne, more calculated to


conciliate the feelings. Her Majesty Mr Wilberforce's speech, which mere. had disregarded the opinion of the ly proposed this as the best means of House of Commons in a

averting an inquiry, otherwise ineviwhich could not have been done by table. An individual of the illustrithe other side of the royal house. ous rank of Queen of these realms, The most serious and solemn appeal could not be placed in a situation of ever made to a member of the Bruns- charge, without injury to the dignity wick family, had in this instance pro- of the Crown, and the best interests ved unavailing; and the House must of the country, whatever might be feel, that it had exhausted every the result. He trusted, that neither thing in the way of the exertion of in reason, nor in common sense, would its influence and authority ; and that any man attribute to his honourable the only course, consistent with its friend, who served his country so dignity and the principles on which usefully, disinterestedly, and ably, so it had acted, was now to consider extravagant and untenable a propohow it could put in a train of judicial sition, as that the resolutions he had investigation those charges, an in- proposed should at once put a stop to quiry into which it had made one of all future proceedings. "He trusted the greatest efforts in the history of that no more would be heard of such Parliament to avert. In these cir- quibbling reasoning. He was conficumstances, the motives which had dent, that the manly mind of the induced to recommend a secret com- right hon. gentleman (Mr Tierney) mittee, seemed no longer to exist. disavowed it. The calamity, indeed, He was, therefore, ready to submit to had fallen upon the country-no hothe House a motion, which, without nourable exertions had been able to any further preliminary, might put it avert it; and he hoped that Parliain possession of the charges contain- ment would now resume its ancient ed in the information now on the ta- character for dignity and moderation, ble. He conceived it, however, to be and that, in the course of the distressof advantage, that the measure should ing examinations which now appear. originate in the Upper House, which ed inevitable, the voice of party would was in more judicial habits than the sleep, and the efforts of faction be susHouse of Commons. He should pended. The House, as the great therefore propose an adjournment council of the nation, ought to be difrom the present Monday to Thurs- vested of all angry passions, and free day se'ennight, by which time they from the influence of all personal inmight be able to judge of the view terests. Most of all, he hoped that which the House of Lords was taking that tone of feeling would be absent, of the case. He proposed also, that which, though it might belong to pothe debate on the King's message litics, could not belong to justice. should be adjourned to the day im- Mr Brougham most cordially joinmediately after Thursday. He had ed in the appeal made at the concluheard it insinuated, that the address sion of the noble lord's speech. On to her Majesty had been of such a te- the part of her Majesty, he had to exnor, that the resolutions of the House press his infinite satisfaction-a satiswere ipso facto buried in oblivion ; faction which was but the reflected and that no future step, preliminary image of her own—that at length jusor direct, could be taken with regard tice was to be administered according to these charges. Nothing certainly to law, and on the principles of the could be farther from the tenor of constitution ; that they were to hear

no more of the dark, inquisitorial, un- fusal to comply with the wishes of just, and, as he should say, illegal the House must lead to a full invesproceedings, which, in the first in- tigation of the case. With all this instance, they had been invited to adopt. formation and these suggestions beHer claim from the first had been fore her, her Majesty, with a fearlessfor open investigation-her protestness, which, in the history of human against an invisible tribunal. He ne- action, nothing but conscious innover had before seen such an instance cence ever inspired, expressed her of the address and tactical skill of the deliberate, hier unbiassed, and resonoble lord. It was said, that the lute determination to abide by the Queen now courted open inquiry; and consequences of the step which she the gallantry and politeness of the was taking. If her Majesty was the noble lord could not refuse it. But first Brunswick who had só refused, had not the Queen, in the message let the House consider that she was presented to the House at the very the first Brunswick and the first Queen outset of the proceedings, held the who had been placed in the same sisame language? She had then defied, tuation, and who had received an adcourted, challenged, he might say dress at all similar. Her Majesty had demanded, a public scrutiny. With felt the concession incompatible with the change, however, which had taken her honour; but he trusted the House place, her Majesty was perfectly sa. would not allow themselves to be tisfied, and was fearlessly prepared tobiassed by this rejection of their prostand or fall by the consequences. posal. However anxious her Majesty At the same time, he did not pre- was to proceed, he must claim for her cisely see upon what ground ministers some delay. It was three weeks' journow came forward, and pronounced ney to the place of her residence in that to be necessary, which a few Italy; three weeks' back; to which days before was declared injurious, must be added, the period requisite if not fatal to the nation. With re- for collecting evidence. All this must gard to the failure of their address, be granted, in order that her Majesty's whether her Majesty's answer was evidence might be placed in position wise or unwise, he should not stop to with the case against her. If the ininquire. He could safely and consci- quiry were proceeded in, however entiously give his solemn assurance secretly, something would certainly —and he gave it not for the purposc creep out of the many orifices that of exculpating where no charge was would be open on the occasion. brought, or of shrinking from a re- The motion was opposed by Colosponsibility which he would rather nel Palmer, and supported by Mr B. court, but for the Queen's character Pathurst. Mr Western thought the and honour—that her legal advisers House had hitherto acted with prohad laid before her all their views of priety, all its proceedings having been the whole question; that, before she taken with the view of avoiding an returned an answer to the address, inquiry. The sense of the whole they had submitted every considera- country was distinctly and evidently tion which a knowledge of what had opposed to such an inquiry, and the passed in Parliament, and during sentiments of the House, when the the negociations, suggested to their subject was mentioned on the first minds; that every fact and every cir- night, were shewn to be distinctly cumstance had been minutely stated, and decidedly contrary to any

invesand a conviction expressed that a re- tigation of this green-bag. With this

view he had voted for the motion of of a woman, that man was, he beMr Wilberforce; but he could not lieved, the illustrious personage now concur in any proposition having in- on the throne. All the insults and quiry for its object. He therefore affronts that had been experienced by moved, that instead of Thursday se’en. her Majesty, came from ministers, and night, the words “this day six months” from ministers alone. Such acts were should be inserted.

wholly contrary to the nature and disMr Tierney assured Lord Castle- position of his Majesty. They had reagh, that the inference he had drawn not deigned to return an answer to from a particular shake of his head any remonstrance or application made was quite erroneous; and that no by her. At last, when driven to a change had taken place in his views conciliatory course, they produced noon the subject. It appeared to him thing except a reference to the letter truly extraordinary, that ministers of the 15th of April, which, he must should attempt to go on with the in- contend, was harshly worded, against quiry, after agreeing to vote it dero- all conciliation, and ought never to gatory to the dignity of the Crown, have been sent. Then there must be and injurious to the best interests of a regular negociation, worked up into the empire. The noble lord, after the the shape of what was called a protolapse of three weeks, had promised col, a strange name for a document that the matter should come to a con- relating to a family quarrel ; while the clusion this day. He would give no basis must be residence abroad. It information what he meant to do, for could scarcely be expected that a the best of reasons, that he did not proposition so imperatively and peknow. Now the debate was to be remptorily laid down could be acadjourned till Friday next, for the ceded to. If there had been a sincere purpose of making a different motion, desire for conciliation, one confidendependent, however, upon certain con- tial friend would have done more in tingencies. Were the House to be an hour than the Duke of Wellington, trided with in this manner, and to be the Earl of Liverpool, and my Lord made to move only at a certain dis- Castlereagh, would effect in an age. tance from the House of Lords ? For The Queen had mentioned the Liturgy, the three last weeks the Lords had or introduction at foreign courts, but been waiting for them, and he sup- had been willing to receive any other posed they were to wait for the Lords proposition for an equivalent; yet miduring the three ensuing. Ministers nisters had made no attempt to find declared their readiness to undertake one. They now declared, that the the entire responsibility, and yet the Crown would not retract ; and, as whole tendency of their measures was long as the present ministers contito shift it off their own shoulders. nued in office, conciliation was out of They declared their wish for an ami- the question. The question with the cable arrangement, and yet the whole House was, whether they would keep tenor of their conduct to the Queen, those ministers, or whether they would both when abroad and since her re- tranquillize the country. He spoke turn home, tended to render that im- the word tranquillize advisedly; for possible. Ministers had all the oblo- he heard from all quarters the strong quy of these proceedings on their feeling which existed on the subown heads; for if there was a man ject. His Majesty's ministers made under heaven more unwilling than an- the Queen appear to be oppressed, other to wound or insult the feelings insulted, and degraded. When that

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