Imatges de pàgina

that, according to the course of law be expected to animadvert on every proceedings, an ex officio information libel that might be published. Hacould not be filed tilī November next. ving obtained the general and unequiThere was, therefore, no room as yet vocal opinion of the House, that the to complain of any neglect on his libel in question merited the severest part. During the short period of his animadversion, and inferring that it filling the situation of Attorney-Ge- was the intention of the Attorneyneral, he had acted upon the rule of General to prosecute it, he was pernever instituting a prosecution, ex- fectly ready to withdraw his motion. cept when he was satisfied in his own The motion was then withdrawn. mind that he should be able to pro- The interval which now elapsed cure a conviction. By this rule he till the commencement of the trial, had guided his official conduct, and was filled by the uninterrupted transin every prosecution which he bad mission of addresses to the Queen, commenced he had obtained a ver- from the different towns and corpodict. Although he strongly disap- rations of the kingdom, and from all proved of the libellous publication those counties which had any thing which had been brought under their of a popular character. In these adnotice, he would say, that in point of dresses every species of Aattery was virulence it would bear no compari- profusely lavished upon her ; while son with many other publications, the whole train of proceedings before which, under the mask of advocating the House, and more particularly the the Queen's cause, had no other end Bill of Pains and Penalties, were loadin view than to produce a revolution ed with execration. To these effuin the country. He had himself seen sions her Majesty returned answers, placarded in the public streets bills which evidently did not emanate from and papers of the most infamous de- any of her public and respectable adscription, put forth evidently for the visers, and which were far from exdirect purpose of influencing the due alting her in the eyes of the sobercourse of justice, and prejudging the minded and judicious part, even of merits of the case. The licentiousness her warmest friends. 'Her wrongs of the press was carried to such an were set forth in the most exaggeraextreme, it went so far beyond all its ted manner, and without any former limits, that he feared the arm of dignity or propriety; while the poof the law was scarcely strong enough litical sentiments expressed were calto repress it. It was, however, his culated to meet the views only of the duty to make the attempt. If, how- most violent among the advocates of ever, he were to institute a prosecu- radical reform. Atthe meetings abovetion in every instance in which that mentioned, however, the opposition proceeding would be justifiable, and was so faint, and was borne down by would seem to be called for, his whole such overwhelming majorities,as plaintime would be occupied with the em- ly shewed the continued feeling in ployment.

her favour among the great mass of Mr Tierney and Lord Archibald the people, including many who were Hamilton generally concurred in the accustomed to support the measures views of Dr Lushington.

of government. At the same time, Mr Wetherell defended his con- the aristocracy, and especially the laduct, in bringing the matter before dies, still held themselves strictly the House, and observed, in reply to aloof. The houses of Leinster, of Lord Castlereagh, that he could not Bedford, and of Hamilton, were in


deed exceptions; even the females “ Great as my indignation naturally belonging to those great families wait- must have been at this shameful evaed upon the Queen, though it was sion of law and justice, that indignaobserved, that their visits were not tion was lost in pity for him who frequently repeated. With these ex- could lower his princely plumes to ceptions, the ladies of the court at the dust, by giving his countenance Brandenburgh-house were confined and favour to the most conspicuous to those of the Queen's counsel, of of those abandoned and notorious Mr Hume, and of one or two more of perjurers." the most violent among the popular She afterwards says, -" The me. orators. The regular Whig members lancholy event which deprived the of both Houses, with whatever zeal nation of the active exertions of its they advocated the cause of her Ma- virtuous King, bereft me of friend jesty, did not choose, or were not able, and protector, and of all hope of futo introduce to her any of the female ture tranquillity and safety. To camembers of their families.

lumniate your innocent wife was now Notwithstanding so marked a re- the shortest road to

oyal favour; serve on the part of the nobility, the and to betray her, was to lay the sure tide of popular feeling continued to foundation of boundless riches and run so strong, as to make it still sur- titles of honour. Before claims like mised that ministers would even now these, talent, virtue, long services, withdraw the decisive step which your own personal friendships, your they had taken. No measure, how- Royal engagements, promises, and ever, cunfirmatory of such an expec- pleilges, written as well as verba', tation, was ever adopted ; and the melted into air. Your Cabinet was time soon approached so near, with founded on this basis. You took to all the preparations going on unin- your councils men, of whose persons, terrupted, as to make it perfectly evi- as 'well as whose principles, you had dent that the determination on the invariably expressed the strongest subject was immutable. In this crisis, dislike. The interest of the nation, her Majesty put forth a letter, ad- and even your own feelings, in all dressed to the King, and couched in other respects, were sacrificed to the such terms, as only the most deter- gratification of your desire to aggramined and the least wise of her ad- vate my sufferings, and ensure my vocates could admire or approve. humiliation. You took to your counThe conduct of her husband was up- cils and your bosom men whom you braided in a strain of furious and un- hated, whose abandonment of, and measured invective, which any feel- whose readiness to sacrifice me were ing of her own dignity would have their only merits, and whose power rendered impossible. The Houses of has been exercised in a manner, and Parliament were as little spared, and has been attended with consequences, their unfavourable verdict was anti- worthy of its origin. From this uncipated, and braved in a manner principled and unnatural union have which by no means bore peculiarly sprung the manifold evils which this the stamp of conscious innocence. nation has now to endure, and which On the first topic, after branding the present a mass of misery and of defirst investigation before the Privy gradation, accompanied with acts of Council, a tribunal at which perjury tyranny and cruelty, rather than have was not legally punishable, she adds, seen which inflicted on his industri



ous, faithful, and brave people, your in this case, and which reasons do Royal father would have perished at not apply to common cases. Your the head of that people.”

Majesty is the plaintiff ; to you it beThe letter concluded—“ You have longs to appoint and to elevate Peers. cast upon me every slur to which the Many of the present Peers have been female character is liable. Instead of raised to that dignity by yourself, loving, honouring, and cherishing and almost the whole can be, at your me, agreeably to your solemn vow, will and pleasure, further elevated. you have pursued me with hatred The far greater part of the Peers and scorn, and with all the means of hold, by themselves and their famidestruction. You wrested from me lies, offices, pensions, and other emomy child, and with her my only come luments, solely at the will and pleafort and consolation. You sent me sure of your Majesty, and these, of sorrowing through the world, and course, your Majesty can take away even in my sorrows pursued me with whenever you please. There are more unrelenting persecution. Having left than four-fifths of the Peers in this me nothing but my innocence, you situation, and there are many of them would by a mockery of justice, who might thus be deprived of the deprive me even of the reputation of far better part of their incomes. possessing that. The poisoned bowl If, contrary to all expectation, and the poniard are means more man- there should be found, in some Peers, ly than perjured witnesses and par- likely to amount to a majority, a distial tribunals; and they are less cruel

, position to reject the bill, some of inasmuch as life is less valuable than these Peers

be ordered

away honour. If my life would have satis- their ships, regiments, governments, fied your Majesty, you should have and other duties; and, which is an had it on the sole condition of giving equally alarming power, new Peers me a place in the same tomb with my may be created for the


and child; but, since you would send me give their vote in the decision. That dishonoured to the grave, I will re- your Majesty's ministers would adsist the attempt with all the means vise these measures, if found necesthat it shall please God to give me.” sary, to render their prosecution suc

On the subject of the two Houses, cessful, there can be very little doubt ; her Majesty observed,—“ Your Ma- seeing that they have hitherto stopjesty's ministers have advised this ped at nothing, however unjust or prosecution; they are responsible for odious. The advice they give; they are liable " To regard such a body as a to punishment if they fail to make Court

of Justice, would be to calumgood their charges; and not only are niate that sacred name; and for me they part of my judges, but it is they to suppress an expression of my opiwho have brought in the bill; and it nion on the subject, would be tacitly is too notorious that they have always to lend myself to my own destruction, a majority in the House; so that, as well as to an imposition upon the without any other, here is ample nation and the world. proof that the House will decide in “ In the House of Commons I can favour of the bill, and, of course, discover no better grounds of securiagainst me.

ty: The power of your Majesty's “ But further, there are reasons ministers is the same in both Houses ; for your ministers having a majority and your Majesty is well acquainted

with the fact, that a majority of this filled every 'avenue through which House is composed of persons placed the Queen was expected to proceed in it by the Peers, and by your Ma- to the House. At her appearance, jesty's Treasury."

and during her progress, the air was This letter, as was to be expected, rent with peals of acclamation from obtained no notice, and produced no this vast multitude, which must have change of purpose in the quarter to reached not only the place of judgwhich it was addressed. An extraor- ment, but another mansion, where dinary ferment and agitation accom- they would be still less welcome. No panied the approach of the long pend- violence or obstruction was, however, ing and dreaded, but now inevitable experienced, though, at the coming inquiry. Notwithstanding the late- out of the House, which was celeness of the season, London was brated by equally loud demonstracrowded to excess. The attendance tions of joy, the populace proved on the House of Lords was unex- their giddy versatility by insults of ampled. The nobility and dignified fered to the Duke of Wellington and clergy, from the remotest extremities the Marquis of Anglesea. These he. of the three kingdoms, many of whom roes, once the object of such just adhad never been accustomed to attend miration, were suddenly converted on legislative deliberations,were sum- into objects of hatred, by their susmoned by the imperative call of the pected enmity to the present idol of House. The expectation was increa- popular favour. sed by the announced intention of In the crowded meeting of the the Queen to take her seat in the Peerage, which now took place, only House of Lords, and listen to its pro- those were exempted from the call of ceedings. No step, we must say, the House who could plead indispocould tend more directly to strength- sition-absence from the kingdomen every the most unfavourable im- the being above the age of 70-and pression which could have been recei- the being Roman Catholics. The ved from other quarters. The female, Duke of Sussex obtained indulgence, who could sit in the midst of four hun- by pleading the ties of consanguinity dred of the other sex, to listen to those which existed between him and the things which she inust have foreseen parties. The Duke of York, howwould be said, must surely have been ever, observed, that with stronger encircled with the æs triplex. The claims than perhaps any other indioccasion, however, afforded the op- vidual, he would not suffer any priportunity for a triumphal display of vate feelings to deter him from dothat popular enthusiasm in her fa- ing his duty. Petitions against the vour, which was now in its zenith. bill were presented from the ComOn the morning of the fated day, the mon Council, and from the county of whole population of the metropolis Middlesex ; but the latter having was poured forth in one collected been signed by Mr Sheriff Parkins, mass. In contemplation of this mus- was received only as the petition of ter, all the streets leading to the that individual. House had been secured by strong The Duke of Leinster, in conforpalisades, as well as guarded by de- mity to the determination formerly tachments of troops. These precau- announced, to oppose the proceeding tions were proved not to be superflu- at every stage, now moved, that the ous, by the prodigious crowds who order of the House respecting it be rescinded. The question was imme- lic peace-to injure the feelings of diately put, when the noble Duke's the country-to disgust every indimotion was negatived by 206 to 41. vidual in the empire-and to excite

The Earl of Carnarvon now rose, that irritation of mind, which could and stated his reasons for opposing not exist without endangering the the bill. He conceived that it was safety of the state. The charge itself one which could only be justified by appeared to bim vague. The conferthe most pressing necessity, and that ring distinction on an individual of no such necessity existed. Bills of humble birth, could not, in England pains and penalties had all the effects especially, be considered as either of ex post facto laws: They were in- unprecedented or criminal. Only a tended to punish those by an indirect distinct and definite proof of criminal method, who could not be convicted intercourse could be received. He by due course of law : They were conceived, on the whole, that no momeant to supply defects of evidence; tive existed of sufficient weight, to but he would ever contend that an justify so extraordinary a proceeding. attempt so to supply a defect of evi.

Earl Grey felt peculiar pain in dedence, was opposed to every princ. livering his sentiments on this occaple of public justice. The last in- sion, and in having voted against the stance, that of Sir John Fenwick, had notion of his noble friend. He did been carried finally by a very small not conceive, however, that the House majority-only of seven, in the House could, with any propriety, contradict of Lords. The conduct—the votes, their former proceedings, without he would say, of the House of Com- some reason assigned. He must mainmons—the conductof ministers them- tain this principle, supported on the selves, who were the accusers on this ground of Parliamentary law, and occasion, shewed, that so far from bottomed on the constitution of the any danger being apprehended from country, that on all occasions, when keeping this question back, they a great State necessity, or a matter would willingly embrace any mode of great State expediency, existed, by which they could possibly get Parliament were vested with extraout of this scrape. No public danger ordinary powers; and it became their to the succession, or otherwise, could duty to exercise those extraordinary be stated as the ground of this. Her powers, in order to procure that reMajesty, in consequence of causes medy, commensurate with such State which could only be accounted for necessity or expediency, which no by a reference to human infirmity, proceeding in a court of law could had been placed in such a state, that afford. He agreed, that no advantage even supposing the charges true, it could be derived from the inquiry ; would have been much better not to and if no measure had been yet prohave made them public. It would posed to them—if he had been a con, have been well, he thought, if mini- fidential adviser of the Crown, and sters had suffered the Alps and the consulted as to the expediency or poAppenines, the boundaries of distant licy of introducing such a bill—in realms, and the wide extent of seas that case all his noble friend had staand oceans, to throw a veil over those ted would have had great weight, events which they had so eagerly and must have been considered as brought forward. What they had matter of deep importance. He could done tended only to disturb the pub- not see the consistency of ministers,

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