Imatges de pÓgina

greatest purity, he should point out tution of the country, against the prithe very places enumerated in the bill vileges of that House, but it could before the House.

not be said to be extremely rare. Mr Brougham, considering the ex- Mr Scarlett, entertaining, as he treme importance of such a measure was well known to entertain, the as the disfranchisement of four bo- highest respect for his learned friend's roughs, thought thatitought to be de- opinion, could not agree with him in liberated upon more calmly, and upon his view of this question. The offuller evidence. It might be right, fence was one, not only against moor it might be wrong, to disfranchise, rality and law, but it was a corrupwhen they should be more prepared, tion of the very source of all that was and when evidence respecting the dear to us as our rights and privileges. four boroughs should be before them; Sir James Mackintosh also argued but when they were not prepared for for the bill, remarking, If they callthe disfranchisement, he asked, was ed upon the Lords to unite with them it right to deprive those boroughs at in disfranchising those boroughs, the dissolution, pro hac vice, of their without hearing and examining evielective franchise? He had no such dence for themselves, they would be sanguine expectations as Mr Marryat guilty of an invasion of their constias to the amendment of the offending tutional liberties. But they did not boroughs. At the same time, in jus- so by this bill; they only called upon tice to his own feelings, and to his the other branches of the legislature observation of feelings out of doors, to give faith and credit to them, that as well as in that House, he would the investigation, in the state it was say, that some exertion of the ele- now before them, would afford suffimency of the House ought to be ex- ciently strong evidence, in their opitended to a person whose punishment nion, to justify the suspension of writs, might be just, but was not very le- till final measures could be deliberately nient. Two years' imprisonment at adopted. their instance was not a lenient pu- The measure not being opposed by nishment upon one of their mem- Lord Castlereagh, who admitted that bers. Oh, he was not a member-he there was a prima facie case against meant then Sir Manasseh Lopez. these boroughs, passed through the With this person he had had no ac- House of Commons without a vote. quaintance, he knew not his face, and When, however, it appeared in the he was not disposed to say he had Lords, a petition was presented from not been guilty of corruption ; but, one of the boroughs to be heard by however culpable he might have been, counsel against it. As the delay atand however correct his conviction, tending such an arrangement would their separating without doing some be fatal to a bill which must pass imthing to shew that there was on their mediately or never, Lord Carnarvon part no impediment to the extension strongly opposed it: If their Lordof royal clemency, he thought would ships did not pass the bill, their debe too hard and too severe. He was çision would be a condemnation of 68 years of age. Two years' impri- the practice of suspending writs, sonment was a most severe punish- which had been followed by the ment upon such person for an of- House of Commons for half a cen. fence, which he would not palliate- tury. No injustice would be done to it was an offence, grave and serious, the electors of these boroughs bypassagainst morality, against the consti- ing the bill. They would only con. tinue until the meeting of Parliament fore the House was very different. in the same situation in which the It was-whether the House should House of Commons had placed them, disfranchise a borough not proved to and in which, had it not been for the be corrupt, or suspend its rights withdissolution, they must have remained out inquiry and without evidence. until the decision of the great ques. The case of Shaftsbury was not at all tion at issue took place. It was im- analogous to what was now proposed possible to look back upon the pro- to be done. The House of Commons ceedings of the House of Commons in that case suspended the writ duwithout feeling the warmest appro- ring a prorogation. The House of bation of the measures taken by that Commons might be right or wrong, House to extirpate a system of cor- and their Lordships should not surruption which disgraced the repre- render their right of inquiry. sentation of the country. A young

The Lord Chancellor argued with nobleman, actuated by those princi- equal foree against a bill, which reples which distinguished his family, quired their Lordships' consent to a and did honour to the name of Rus- measure that would suspend the rights sell, had been active in his endeavours of the boroughs in question, without to remove this stain from the consti- inquiry or evidence. Counsel ought tution. He brought in a bill to trans- to be heard, and the House ought not fer the franchise of one of these to agree to the bill without investiconvicted boroughs to Leeds. When gation. Their Lordships had been this was proposed, one minister of called upon to consult the feelings the Crown hailed the measure with and interests of the public by passing his approbation, and the other minis. this measure ; but they would best ters in the House of Commons gave consult their interests by attending the bill their silent assent. What then to the claims of justice. If they did must be the feelings of the country justice to their country, their country when it should appear that the mi- would ultimately do justice to them. nisters of the Crown in the House of The House of Commons did not deLords put their chilling negative oncide on the question of depriving a the measure? Were it to happen that single member of his seat without exall the ministers of the Crown in the amining evidence upon oath; but here Commons supported the present bill, boroughs were to be disfranchised (or and that all the ministers in the at least were to have their rights susHouse of Lords opposed it, the con- pended) without any evidence at all. trast would be singular. It was only Evidence could not now be heard at proposed to hold these boroughs to their Lordships' bar; but he would bail for a period not exceeding 53 not consent to suspend the rights of days.

the subject on any thing short of eviLord Liverpool expressed an opi- dence upon oath. nion equally decided on the opposite

The determination to hear counsel side. If a case of corrupt practices rendered it, as the Chancellor admitwas made out against a particular bo- ted, impossible to go through with rough, he thought it would constitute the bill during this session ; so that, a fair subject of inquiry in Parlia- on the motion of Lord Lauderdale, it ment how it ought to be dealt with, was disposed of by an adjournment and whether it ought not to be de- of a fortnight. prived of privileges which it had On the 28th February, Parliament abused. But the question now be. was dissolved by commission, in consequence of his Majesty's indisposi- commend the prudence and firmness tion. The Chancellor read the King's with which you


your attenspeech, of which the following is the tion to the means of counteracting only important paragraph:

them. If any doubt had remained as :: We are commanded to inform to the nature of those principles by you, that in taking leave of the pre- which the peace and happiness of the sent Parliament his Majesty cannot nation were so seriously menaced, or refrain from conveying to you his of the excesses to which they were warmest assurances of the sense which likely to lead, the flagrant and sanhis Majesty entertains of the impor- guinary conspiracy which has lately tant services which you have rendere been detected must open the eyes of ed the country. Deeply as his Majes- the most incredulous, and must vinty lamented that designs and prac- dicate to the whole world the justice tices such as those which you have and expediency of those measures to been recently called upon to repress which you judged it necessary to reshould have existed in this free and sort, in defence of the laws and conhappy country, he cannot sufficiently stitution of the kingdom.”



Meeting of Parliament.The Speaker.- The Addresses.-Droits of Admi.

ralty.-Settlement of the Civil List.-The Estimates.-The Budgel.-Scots Baron of Exchequer.

The month of March and part of not be denied that, composed as this April were occupied by the elections, House was of gentlemen selected from which were carried on throughout the the various component parts of society kingdom with eager activity, though in the united kingdom, many were to without that excess of violence which be found in it, whose talents, acquirehad marked some scenes in the for- ments, and general merits, would afmer election. The result produced a ford a fair prospect of a successful Parliament not differing materially in discharge of the arduous duties of its general character from the one Speaker. Here, however, it was forwhich preceded. A small addition of tunately not necessary to hazard any numbers was supposed to have been speculation, however promising : past gained by the party opposed to mir services, and tried and demonstrable nisters.

abilities-abilities not confined to the The new Parliament held its first mere discharge of what might betermsitting on the 21st April. The bu. ed the dry duties of the office--had siness on this day was confined to commanded not merely the approbataking the oaths, and in the Housę tion, but the admiration, ofevery memof Commons to the re-election of à ber who had witnessed their employSpeaker. This last proceeding gave ment. Mr Holme Sumner added : occasion to very warm testimonies in When it was recollected that the edu. favour of the ability, integrity, and cation of that right hon. gentleman strict regard to the constitutional pri- had been directed to the laws of his vileges of Parliament with which the country, and to the principles of its functions of that high office had inestimable constitution, that alone been performed by the individual formed a high claim to the suffrages (Sir C. M. Sutton) who now held it. of the House ; but after it had been -Sir W. Scott observed : It could seen in how short a time after he had been first elevated to the situation of time, upon the same individual. It Speaker, three years ago, he had ap- was a matter of most sincere congrapeared to have deeply studied the tulation to the House and to the laws and rules, and investigated the country, that it had again the inestiprinciples by which the proceedings mable benefit of having the chair fillof the House were regulated; after ed by one who had shewn himself, in the readiness he had displayed in the all the more important, as well as in discharge of every point of duty, it the less material parts of the functions would have been supposed, by those of his situation, eminently gifted for unacquainted with his previous his, their discharge; who had upon every tory, that he had made the subject occasion proved that he was indeed the diligent occupation of his life. the depository of the truest dignity

Lord Castlereagh then said : From of the House, by wearing the honours the manner in which the proposition conferred upon him both with firmof his right honourable friend had ness and meekness. been received, it was obvious that the These first preliminaries being adHouse was anxious to bestow on the justed, the formal opening of Parliaindividual now appointed to preside ment took place on the 27th April. over its discussions the highest mark The King, in his speech on that ocof its approbation and confidence: casion, besides the regular topics, noand there could be no such mark in ticed the acts of violence which had, this free country more distinguished in some districts, been caused by than that of being rendered the first the machinations of the disaffected. commoner of the

empire. The office He expressed his satisfaction at the of Speaker included many important promptitude with which these atduties connected with the jarring in- tempts had been suppressed by the viterests of this mighty empire, while gilance of the magistrates; and extolParliament was devoting its attention led the wisdom and firmness manifested to promote its welfare and prosperity. by the late Parliament, with the happy It was no small satisfaction to have effects which they had produced ; and now placed in the chair an individual deploring the distress which still unby general consent so capable of ful- happily prevailed among the labourfilling the arduous task imposed upon ing classes, he pointed out the duty him-so competent to guidethe House of guarding against those practices in its deliberations—to preside over

which could only tend to aggravate those discussions in which the best it, and defer the period of relief. He interests of the state were engaged, trusted that an awakened sense of the with manly fortitude, and to enforce dangers incurred would recall the with firmness and wisdom those rules greater part of those who had been and forms so essential to the privile-unhappily seduced, and revive in their ges of Parliament, and to the mainten- hearts the spirit of loyalty and of atance of the realliberties of thesubject. tachment to the constitution.

Mr Brougham, from the opposite The important and delicate subside of the House, echoed the same ject of the settlement of the civil list sentiments. He took the liberty to was alluded to in the following terms: congratulate first the Speaker, but “ The first object to which your atmost of all the House itself, and, not tention will be directed is the provi. less than the House, the whole Com- sion to be made for the support of the mons of Er od, upon the free choice Civil Government, and of the honour which had now fallen, for the third and dignity of the Crown.

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