Imatges de pàgina

degree derogatory to her Royal High- of those effects upon the multitude, ness, and in general circulation in which ministers appear to have conmost parts of Europe. He asked them fidently anticipated. On the contrawhether it was not their duty to in- ry, it was loudly proclaimed throughquire if those reports were or were out the kingdom, that the mere evinot true. There was only one mode dence produced against her, had been of doing this; that mode was, to se- fully sufficient for her entire acquit-, lect persons eminent in point of cha- tal. We are not accustomed to bow racter, of great character for integrity implicitly to the sentiments of this and knowledge, to make that inqui- august body, especially in such a ry. Accordingly, as judicious, as temper as then pervaded it. At the proper a selection as could be made, same time, we cannot but think, that had been adopted. At the head was the testimony had deep and serious one known to be a man of the high- flaws, and could scarcely afford conest respectability-known to possess clusions so positive as the agents for unimpeachable integrity, and of great the prosecution attempted to draw skill and knowledge in the laws of from it. The facts sworn to indeed his country. He had been at the seem quite sufficient; and it was rahead of the commission—if commis- ther a presumption in their favour, sion it was to be called for the pur- that they were not more direct and pose of obtaining, not idle rumour, positive, since witnesses deliberately but evidence of facts, such as could perjured might easily have made them alone be admitted in every court in so. Nor can we lay much stress on this country. He asked if any fairer minute discrepancies in the report of selection could have been made than facts, at so many years distance, when another gentleman of whom mention they are usually remembered and rehad been made in the course of the ported more or less loosely even by proceedings, who possessed great respectable persons. The defect lay practice in the law. 'A third gentle in the character of the witnesses, in man, Colonel Brown, he was not ac- their being all foreigners, and chiefly quainted with ; but he was told that of the lowest rank. Not that we can his character stood as high as that of concur with certain of our countryany of those who had dared to tra- men in thinking that there is neither duce him. Was he justified, then, in faith, truth, nor common honesty, on saying that it was a duty upon mini. any but one side of the Channel, and sters to have instituted an inquiry that an Italian witness, merely quoad into the reports circulated ? And was Italian, must be a liar and a scounhe justified in saying that ministers drel. Still there was not the same bad exercised a sound discretion, lia- means of learning and knowing the ble to no imputation whatever, in se- character of persons in that rank of lecting persons to conduct the neces- life, as if they had been natives of sary inquiry? He finally considered this country. They themselves did it certain, that the preamble of the not lie under the same check, from bill was proved, unless the proof the opinion of their countrymen and should be impeached by evidence, friends, upon so remote a transaction. clear, distinct, and satisfactory, on the Considering also that they had been part of her Majesty.

brought to a distant country, under

such high auspices, it was difficult Thus closed the case against the for them to avoid opening their minds Queen, but without producing any to some vague and extended hopes, in case of success. Above all, with re- bill. He could now most distinctly gard to the two leading witnesses, it say, that the illustrious individual alseems clearly to have been proved, that Juded to had no wish whatever that they made averments directly the re- the bill should operate as a measure verse of those to which they now of personal relief. He had introduced made oath. They were therefore con- the provision of divorce as a plain and victed and confessed liars, and could fair inference from the other provision scarcely expect to be believed, even of degradation, if that were made out. in speaking the truth. It is vain to If, however, a strong feeling existed reply, that from the nature of the in the House or in the country, foundcase, it was next to impossible, that ed on religious considerations, against any better evidence should have been this provision, he was perfectly willobtained. The law cannot listen to ing to withdraw it. The illustrious this plea. If a crime is committed in individual did not wish for it as a such circumstances as to render the measure of personal relief. Earl Grey proof impossible, the evil is without expressed his satisfaction at the assuremedy. The guilty must rather be rance that the illustrious individual allowed to escape, than the chance be had no personal object in view. At the incurred of the innocent suffering. same time, if the proceeding concluded Under these considerations, it does that her Majesty should incur pains not appear to us, that the proof, as it and penalties, degradation from her then stood, was clear from great high and illustrious situation, he doubt, or could form a secure basis thought, must be the necessary confor any high legislative and judicial sequence. If she should be degraproeeeding. Whether it ever assu- ded from the rank, character, and simed any other aspect, we shall pre- tuation of Queen-consort, she ought sently have occasion to inquire. not to remain the wife of the Sove.

reign. Not because divorce would The case being closed against the be a personal relief, but because Queen, Lord Lauderdale proposed it was absurd in terms that one de: that her Counsel should be asked as graded from the rank of Queen should to the course which they meant to be the consort of the King. A bill pursue in the defence. Lord Lons- degrading the Queen, who was to redale here rose and inquired of Lord main the wife of the King, must be Liverpool, whether, if the evidence considered a bill degrading the King should appear to justify it, he would also. The Earl of Donoughmore en. be willing to drop the divorce clause, tirely concurred with Earl Grey, and and to confine the bill to the penalty expressed his astonishment at the sug; of degradation. Lord Liverpool re- gestion thrown out by the noble lord plied, that no opinion whatever should opposite. be formed of the evidence till the Counsel being now called, the Chanwhole defence should be before them. cellor asked Mr Brougham whether It was utterly impossible that any al- it was his wish to proceed with the teration should be made in the bill defence now, or to take the delay oftill the whole case was closed, till the fered, in order to collect and arrange question of the second reading was the evidence. The answer of the disposed of, and the bill should be learned counsel was not very perspicommitted. Insinuations had been cuous; but in the course of a pretty made in that House and elsewhere, long conversation, it appeared, that that divorce was the object of the the wish of the Queen's advocates

was to be allowed to state the case hope, that either the House or the immediately, but with permission to public could, after what they had delay, if necessary, bringing forward heard, go away without some prejuthe whole of the evidence. This was dice unfavourable to the Queen. Their considered as involving a very serious lordships, then, had but a choice of question, and the full consideration of evils; and it was for them to consiit was postponed till next day. der what would be the consequence

On the following day (Sept. 9,) in criminal cases hereafter, if that eviMr Brougham being again asked how dence, which was necessary to the he wished to proceed, said, “ I am statement of any case which counsel now ready to enter upon her Majes- might have to offer, were postponed ty's defence; and then, if I shall be to an indefinite period after that stateso advised, to call evidence in support inent had been made. He did most of that defence. If, however, I shall confidently assert, that in opening a also be advised to call witnesses not case, every counsel gave an implied now in the country, in such a case, pledge to the court, that he was ready perhaps, it will be necessary for me to finish it. Such a counsel might to entreat the indulgence of your call evidence, if he pleased, or, withLordships, to enable me to bring be- out evidence, take the opinion of the fore you that evidence after I shall jury ; but he must close his case in have opened her Majesty's case, and one way or the other. Whatever conbegun with the evidence in support fidence he felt in the Queen's Counsel, of it."

that they would not make statements Lord Erskine strongly urged, that which they had not the means of procounsel should be allowed to proceed ving, the interests of justice required, in the manner they desired. When be that no precedent should be establishpractised at the bar, he should have ed upon regard to individual chacomplained of any question which racter. Consistently with the honour went to influence his determination of a peer, or with the duty of a man, in the defence of his client, until he he could not consent to the propohad entered upon and proceeded with sition of her Majesty's Counsel. He that defence. The learned counsel could not agree to their opening their ought to be at liberty to begin his defence, without a positive statement defence just as he pleased, and after- that they meant to complete it. wards either to call witnesses, or not Earl Grey, admitting that there to call them, as suited best his own was only a choice of evils, insisted sense of the trust reposed in him. that the present difficulty arose out

Lord Lauderdale, however, urged, of the previous proceedings of the that if an adjournment was necessary, House--their refusal to give a list of now was the only proper time. witnesses, and a specification of the

The Lord Chancellor felt the duty charges. Refused those rights by the he had now to discharge peculiarly noble Earl opposite, and by the House painful. He could not but admit that at large-attacked by charges spreadthe Queen suffered by matters being ing, in time, over a period of six years, left in their present state. Their Lord, and in space over three quarters of ships were indeed imperiously bound the world-denied that specification not to infer any thing approaching to of facts, that list of witnesses, which guilt, till they had heard the defence. would have been granted to her in Still it would be most unjust to re- the ecclesiastical courts, and which, present, as it was impossible even to if indicted for treason, she might, by


the law of Edward III., have claimed this proceeding were allowed, learned even before that House-denied those counsel (and he here applied counsel advantages, an equivalent at some generally) might open a case on false stage became absolutely necessary, information, which they possessed no in order to enable her Majesty to en- means of proving or verifying. Their ter upon her defence with that power, Lordships might have an imaginary which the law of England granted case stated before them, without any even to the meanest culprit — the evidence whatsoever to support it. power of doing justice to her inno- What, then, was the difference becence, if innocent she was. The equi- tween a case going forth, together valent was necessary; the equivalent with the evidence on which it was was promised ; and the question was founded, and a statement going forth, now, in what manner it should be without any means of ascertaining given ? He was convinced that the how it would be supported ? In the learned counsel would not abuse the

one case they had the evidence with privilege demanded by him; and see the statement ; in the other, they had ing only a choice of evils, occasioned a statement without evidence at by the course recommended by the all, much less with any evidence canoble Lords opposite, and adopted by pable of cross-examination, or being the House, he thought the least was sifted in any way whatsoever. incurred by granting this privilege. The Chancellor then proposed the He did ask the House, whether, in following resolution :the spirit of English law, or in the “ That the counsel be called in, spirit of universal justice, upon any and be informed that, if they now principle of common humanity or proceed to state the case on the part compassion, they could subject the of her Majesty, they must, at the accused to thať disadvantage, and close of that statement, if they mean give every advantage to the accuser ? to produce evidence, be prepared to Or whether they ought not to respect produce the whole of their proofs in that humane principle of English law, support of the case stated by them; which surrounded the accused on but that the House will, at their re. every side with protection, and cast quest, if they are not ready to take disadvantage, if disadvantage must this course, adjourn to such reasonbe the lot of one, upon the side of able time as the counsel for her Ma. the accuser ? The Earl of Liverpool admitted stated, that an opportunity may be

jesty may propose before their case is that there were evils on both sides, allowed them to arrange the defence

, and if these had been equal, the be- and produce the necessary nefit ought to be granted to her Ma- This motion was strongly opposed jesty. He conceived, however, the by the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord inconvenience on one side to be be- Calthorpe, and Lord Darnley, but yond all comparison greater than on was carried by 165 to 60. the other. Whatever inconvenience

Mr Brougham being called in, and the Queen might sustain from a re- informed of this decision, observed, fusal of the list, that inconvenience that he would bow to it, as became would be incomparably less than him; but he now made the proposithat which would result, not only to tion, that he should be allowed to the particular case in question, but to comment upon the case on the other the general course of justice, from side, pledging himself that he would that application being granted. If not introduce a single word alluding


to any statement or evidence which Majesty was lauded as the most illushe might hereafter bring forward. trious of women; in the presentation The Chancellor, however, considered of numerous addresses of the same comments on the evidence for the tenor as before; and in the return prosecution to be, in the strictest of answers, echoing all the tenets of sense, part of the defendant's case ; the radical chiefs. At length, howso that, though Lord Erskine strong- ever, the appointed day arrived, and ly urged the justice of the applica- the House having assembled, Mr tion, the motion for granting it was Brougham produced himself as ready negatived by 179 to 47.

to open the case. On the following day, Mr Brougham

Mr Brougham began with expresswas called upon to state the time ing his fears, that he might not do full when it would be convenient for justice to the great and perfectly good them to open the case for the de- cause which he had undertaken to disfence. That gentleman, repeating the cuss. The apprehension which opeager anxiety of the Queen to avoid pressed him was, that his feeble exdelay, observed, that some time must ertions might have the effect of casthowever be necessary for preparation. ing, for the first time, this great cause He rather exceeded her Majesty's into doubt, and turning against him wish in naming Monday fortnight. the reproaches of those millions of his Some Lords observed, that this pe- countrymen now jealously watching riod of recess was very inconvenient, the result of these proceedings, and as not allowing them time to visit who might perhaps impute it to him their estates with any comfort. It if their lordships should reverse that was answered and admitted, that judgment which they had already proevery motive of private convenience nounced upon the charges in the premust yield to the performance of sent state of the case. Although fully their present duty. At the same entitled to employ recrimination, and time, considerable anxiety was shewn, ready to do so, if necessary, for the inthat the day fixed should be one at terests of his client, that painful course which counsel positively would be did not seem at present called for. able to proceed. Under these views, The evidence against her Majesty, Mr Brougham finally fixed upon he felt, did not now call upon him to Tuesday the 3d of October.

utter one whisper against the conThe evidence against the Queen, duct of her illustrious consort, and he though no obstruction had been offer. solemnly assured their lordships, that ed to its daily publication, had not, but for that conviction his lips would as already observed, produced the not at that time be closed. In this disslightest change in the views and cretionary exercise of his duty, in sentiments of that great multitude postponing the case which he posby whom she was supported. The sessed, their lordships must know that evidence, indeed, was not without its he was waving a right which belongdefects; and it would have been dif. ed to him, and abstaining from the use ficult at this moment to have produ- of materials which were unquestionced any, which would not have swell- ably his own. He felt, however, that, ed the tide that was running in one were he now to enter on the branch direction. The interval of three of his case to which he had alluded, weeks, which preceded the defence, he should seem to quit the higher was spent in the continued assem- ground of innocence on which he was blage of public meetings, where her proud to stand. He admitted, that her

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