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knowledge (he would not say de jure, of the witnesses to be examined in but de facto,) of the witnesses and support of the bill of degradation and the charges against them, as the illus- dissolution of marriage; thus leaving trious personage now accused would her Majesty and her legal advisers in come before their Lordships ? His total ignorance as to the time or place Lordship also argued how unsuitable to which the charges may relate, or it was to the dignity of the House, the persons by whose testimony the that the Commons should examine allegations in the bill are intended to the case with greater advantages than be supported. they enjoyed. Her Majesty would “ Her Majesty now submits to the have the opportunity of cross-exa- House of Lords, that a specification mining, every witness
a privilege of the place or places in which the which had been described as of ines- criminal acts are charged to have been timable advantage by a noble and committed, should forthwith be furlearned Lord, the ornament of the nished to her Majesty's Attorney-GeEnglish bar, who had formerly exer- neral; for, if this be denied, it will cised it so ably. What, then, would be impossible to be prepared to meet follow ? That the case on which the the accusation, or to take preliminary House of Commons would have to measures for providing defensive evi. decide, would not be the same with dence against the charges, without that on which their Lordships would bringing from every place her Majesdecide ; it would be infinitely more ty has visited during the last six years, favourable to her Majesty. He there- every witness who had any means of fore implored their Lördships, as they observing her Majesty's conduct. regarded their interests and their “ Her Majesty further desires to character, to give the accused as good be heard by her counsel and agent at an opportunity for making a satisfac- your Lordships' bar, in support of torydefence before them as she would this her request.” possess when she came before the House of Commons.
Lord Erskine, in supporting this Lord Ellenborough and Lord Lau- petition, stated that he did not make derdale spoke against the motion; the any complaint now of what had been Marquis of Bute, Lord Belhaven, and formerly refused. He had blotted out the Earl of Carnarvon, in its favour. of his mind the motion formerly made, After a short reply from Lord Er- and brought this forward as an enskine, the House divided, and the tirely new proceeding. He was conmotion was negatived by a majority vinced that without it justice could of 78 to 28.
not be fully administered. The Queen · Disappointed in the application for could not have an opportunity of seea list of witnesses, the Queen, a few ing the witnesses face to face, and of days after, presented, through the me- confronting them with others by dium of Lord Erskine, a petition for whom they might be contradicted; another communication, which might there could not be a full cross-exain some degree compensate the want mination. At all events, a long adof it. The petition was as follows: journment would be necessary pend
ing the proceedings, and what an ef“ To the Lords Spiritual, fc. fect would this have on the public “ The Queen laments that the mind! Their Lordships'dignity would House of Lords have deemed it pro- not protect them against censure, if per to refuse her application for a list they were not most cautious and circumspect during the progress of this fore their Lordships. Did the noble important proceeding.
Lord, or could he point out any bill The Lord Chancellor declared that in that house, in the course of which this was a motion which he could ne- the person accused had not, either de ver have expected. He should have facto or de jure, a clear specification been extremely glad if the learned of what was alleged against him in Lord, instead of dealing in general that bill ? It was not for the House assertion, would have shewn in what to consider what would be advantainstance, during the course of his pro- geous to this or that party, but what fessional life, he recollected an appli. would be conformable to the princication of this nature to have been ples of substantial justice. In the made. Parliament had refused a list case of Bishop Atterbury, it appearof witnesses; a measure in which they ed to him that, besides a volumi. were borne out by the whole tenor of nous report made by a secret comParliamentary history. The common tee, the bill contained a much more law required that in the indictment full and precise specification of the for high treason a place should be charges than was now given. If the named, because that was necessary specification were refused to her Mato give jurisdiction to the court; but jesty, it would be the means of putthat statement was not made in a very ting the country to an enormous and minute manner: the indictment set almost indefinite expense; for, unless forth, that at such and such times, she knew the specific places in which both before and after the day men- the charges had been made against tioned, and at such and such places, her, she would be obliged to place at the act of treason was committed. their Lordships' bar a motley assemBut it was quite a novelty to require blage of witnesses, drawn from every an indictment to state all the other quarter of the world that she had acts, and the places where they had visited during the last six years. In occurred. When his learned friend point of consistency, convenience, and called for this specification, it appear- analogy, he thought it would be much ed to him that his reasoning was pal. better to furnish the person accused pably wrong, unsupported by any with a clear specification, such as the principle, and unsanctioned by any petition called for, than at a future precedent.
time to grant a long period to enable Lord Holland, however unfit to her to prepare for her defence. contend with the learned Lord on le, Lord Liverpool was of opinion, gal subjects, saw many of his posi- that the charge was as specific as the tions which appeared to him highly nature of the subject would allow. objectionable. The Bill of Pains and He agreed that the generality of it Penalties on their Lordships' table formed a reason for shewing the utwas not, in its shape, frame, or circum- most indulgence towards the accustances, by any means so precise as sed; but he begged to remind their an indictment; and therefore, when Lordships, that in ordinary cases an the learned Lord said, that no such accused party had no such advantage application was made in cases of in- as was extended in this case, and dictment, he would answer that no which consisted of an interval between such application was necessary, be- the accusation and the defence. A cause the indictment on the face of greater advantage than this it was it stated many circumstances that difficult to conceive; and the disadwere not to be found in the bill be- vantages, therefore, (if any there
were), under which the Queen might tion had been agitated in the course labour, ought to be viewed in compa- of an inquiry, on which a bill of atrison with the peculiar advantages tainder, or of pains and penalties, was which she enjoyed. He believed, on to be founded; at the same time, he the whole, that the advantages and conceived it clear, that the paper in disadvantages of the plan would ba- question contained a most flagrant lance each other, and that justice breach of privilege. The learned would not suffer. In many divorce member then went over all the prebills there was no specification of vious proceedings, in order to prove, time or place; and though proceed that the House must be regularly ings must have passed in the inferior considered as about to institute an courts, it was always competent to inquiry into the conduct of an indibring new eridence before their Lord. vidual, whom they had by repeated ships. Wishing to solve every doubt acts acknowledged and honoured as on the side of indulgence, he yet saw Queen. The question now was, wheno reason to acquiesce in the new de- ther it was not incumbent on the mand made upon that indulgence. House, in justice to the delinquent,
Lord King spoke for, and Earl who was not to be tried by the forms Bathurst against, the motion. After of law, but by a bill of pains and pea short reply from Lord Erskine, the nalties, to couple, in these anomalous question was carried in the negative cases, that species of protection to the by a majority of 37 to 12.
parliamentary delinquent, which was
granted by the other courts to all who About this time, a pretty strong were tried before them. There had sensation was excited, by a motion been a most lamentable instance of made by Mr Wetherell, an eminent the House deserting its duty, in the barrister, in the House of Commons, case of Lord Strafford, by allowing respecting a libel against the Queen, him to be run down out of doors. It which had appeared in a provincial was not till he had been convicted by paper, called Flyndell’s Western Lu- clamour, out of the house, that a bill minary. In one of its numbers was had been introduced to convict him found the following shameful para- within. It might be said, that the graph :
trash in this paper could produce no " Shall a woman, who is as noto. such serious effect; but still it was to riously devoted to Bacchus as to Ve- be judged by its intention, and its nus-shall such a woman as would, potentiality to create mischief. If if found on our pavement, be commit- they left her Majesty similarly unted to Bridewell and whipped-be held protected, what would become of the up in the light of suffering inno- purity of that Court—the High Court cence ?"
of Parliament—which, by one of their Mr Wetherell observed, nobody standing orders, was declared to be would dispute, that pending any cri- the standard of purity to all the other minal or even any civil proceeding in courts in the country? There was any of the courts of common law, any another view in which the point publication, directly or indirectly, might be stated. Nobody could disnearly or remotely, tending to ob- pute that the publication of such a struct that proceeding, was itself, by paragraph as the one in question was the common law of England, a cri- a breach of the common law of Engminal offence. There bad been no land ; and then, if they did not think instance, indeed, in which this ques. it right to institute a new precedent,
they could not-nay, he would say in such a state as to call for its interthey ought not-to take away from position here. Nothing could be farher Majesty the protection of the ther from his intention than to vindi. common law. Mr W. then quoted cate this publication; yet, before the several instances, in which punish- learned gentleman had called the atment had been inflicted upon offences tention of Parliament to it, it would of a much more venial nature. Mr not have been derogatory from his Perceval, as Attorney-General, had character for impartiality to have filed an information against the edis considered, whether there were not tor of a paper, for stating the circum- other bodies in the state, and other stances under which an excise-officer, parties in this suit, equally menaced in the discharge of his duty, had un- as the illustrious lady on whose befortunately killed a man. Mr Justice half he had thought it requisite to Heath would not even receive proof, bring forward this inotion. If he had that this statement had done no in- read any of the ordinary prints of the jury, but held, that its abstract po- day, he would have found, not only tentiality to do injury was enough. in one, but in many of them, shameWas an excise-officer to be protected ful libels against those who were to against such attacks, while the Queen be the judges, and those who were to of England was left exposed to them? bear evidence in this investigation.
Lord Castlereagh observed, that The House would allow that it would nothing could be more painful to a not only be fatal to the interests of well-regulated mind, than to observe justice, but also to those of morality, the extreme length to which the press if witnesses were not placed under had gone in discussions on this sub- the protection and safeguard of the ject. Instead of presenting the coun- law. The honourable and learned try to the view of foreign nations as gentleman would not deny this; and a well-organized state, obedient and yet, if he could see the witnesses who amenable to the laws, which had been had arrived in this country run down its character in all former times, it by libels, and brought into danger had presented it to their view as of their lives by tumultuous mobs an angry and disturbed community, excited by those libels, without commost adverse to good order, and re- plaining of those outrages as tending mote from civilization. He could as- to pervert the course of justice, he sure Mr W. that no man could feel must look at them with a very differ, more indignation than he felt at the enteye from that with which he (Lord article in question, and indeed at the Castlereagh) contemplated them. If general manner in which the whole the House were to vindicate their press of this country had disgraced privileges against the license of the itself on this question. There could journals, they must do it with an even be no doubt that the paragraph to hand. If the hon. member had look. which their attention had been called ed into the prints on the other side, was a gross libel. This paragraph he would have found many passages had not escaped the notice of the At- containing a greater infringement of torney-General, but its appearance the privileges of the House, than the was very recent, and, amid the con- one now in question. The last numflict of libels which daily issued from ber of the Examiner contained the the press,
it was impossible to prose- following paragraph :cute all, He did not conceive the “ This is what a true Commons proceedings before the House to be House would have done ; but when
that House, for the main part, is com- country paper, he thought It inconposed of venal borough-mongers, sistent with the dignity of the Queen grasping placemen, greedy adventu- to take any notice of it. When he ters, and aspiring title-hunters, or the considered that the Morning Post representatives of such worthies,—a and the Courier papers, which genebody, in short, containing a far great- rally supported the measures of goer portion of public criminals than vernment, and which were supposed public guardians—what can be ex- to be, in a certain degree, under its pected from it, but just what we influence, were suffered to go at large have seen it so readily perform?" with every species of libel in them
The Republican, in his last num- which could disgrace her Majesty, or ber, said, " We have very little injure her cause, it appeared of little hopes that the divorce bill will be re
consequence to him whether the jected in such a Parliament as the pre- Western Luminary met the punishsent, because we know, and have ment it deserved or not. There was seen, that they are sufficiently profli- a more powerful and extensive influgate and servile to act against the ence, by which her Majesty's cause clearest testimony of innocence and had been prejudiced, and she had right. Still this will matter nothing ; been branded as guilty before trial. the King and Parliament must wipe She had already been treated by the off the disgrace which has so long Government as if she had been conhung about themselves, before they victed-she had been deprived by its can disgrace the Queen in the public orders of all the honours due to her mind. The more she suffers, the more rank and sex-she had been disgraced will she be endeared to the nation. in every way which their ingenuity There never was in England a mo- could invent: they had erased her narch more suspected and despised, name from the Liturgy, (Hear) whilst nor a Parliament more notoriously her trial was pending, without informprofligate, than at present. Was it ing her what were the charges of not that they hold the purse-strings which she was accused, without tellof the nation, they would be kicked ing her who were the persons who out of all power in a few hours, and took it upon themselves to accuse fairly swept out of the country. At her, without confronting her with present their doom is sealed, and the those who were said to be the witherald approaching with it.”
nesses of her shame, without giving From these instances it was evi- her an opportunity of refuting their dent that the licentiousness of the testimony, and without permitting her press was at present truly deplorable, to speak in her defence. She had and could not be checked by any been always averse to any restraints proceeding of the confined and par- upon the press, conceiving that they tial nature now proposed. Some gee did generally more evil than good. Deral and sweeping measure must be He proposed, therefore, to leave her resorted to.
case entirely to his Majesty's law ofDr Lushington, who, as one of the ficers. Every thing must be comcounsel for the Queen, was supposed pletely altered before her Majesty to speak her sentiments, stated, that should ever, by his advice, resort for the publication in question had, when protection to the lower courts, when first pointed out to him, excited his she ought to be placed under the prostrongest indignation ; but on consi- tection of the highest. dering that it was merely an obscure The Attorney-General observed,