Imatges de pàgina

which he had suggested. It was, that Yorkshire should be divided into two counties, of which the North and East Ridingsshould form one, and the West Riding the other. By this alteration, there was no reason to apprehend that the interests of the manufacturers would be promoted at the expense of the agriculturists of the county, as the West Riding would return members attached to the manufacturing, and the North and East Ridings members attached to the agricultural interests.

to overturn a great part of the present system of popular election. Many considerable towns in the kingdom had a right of representation, so much more limited than that which was here proposed, that if Parliament were to give its opinion, that this was the right principle of representation, so far from diffusing content, it must inevitably create discontent in many parts which were now tranquil. The town of Liverpool, for example, which he represented, contained 100,000 inhabitants, but only 4000 of these were electors; and surely they might complain if a borough, of which the population was considerably less, should have six times as many electors. The noble lord looked to the case as a God-send, that enabled him to introduce the principle of parliamentary reform; he submitted to what of parliamentary reform there was in the measure as an evil which the necessity of the case imposed; the noble lord considered that evil as the best part of the measure. His own wish was, that, from the example of Grampound, other places should be deterred from similar corruption; he wished the present case to become a warning, not an example. He earnestly hoped that this case would be a beacon to other boroughs, warning them to take care that they did not render it imperative on the House to transfer their elective rights to other places.

Mr Grenfell and Sir John Newport supported the transference to Yorkshire; Mr Davies Gilbert, that to Leeds. Mr Bragge Bathurst enforced the views of ministers. Mr Hobhouse, representing a class more decidedly popular than any of the former speakers, eagerly declared his support of reform as reform. The day of reform was called by a certain class of politicians "the evil day." As far as his voice might reach, he

Mr Canning followed the same line as Lord Castlereagh. Admitting the propriety of disfranchising Grampound, he was not fully prepared to state his opinion as to ulterior measures; still his partiality was for pursuing that course which, in former cases, had always been pursued, namely, overwhelming the surviving voters by an extension of their rights rather than by extinguishing them altogether. He thought the ground on which the right honourable gentleman (Mr Tierney) had recommended the transfer to Leeds was, that it would quell the wild doctrines of the reformers, who constantly clamoured about the futility of looking to that House for any amelioration of the representative system. Now the ground of these wild theories of reform was, that by diffusing very widely the elective franchise, the interests of the people would be more equally consulted than at present. If he looked at the preamble of the bill, he found this very principle recognised in these words: The borough of Leeds, in the county of York, having of late years become a place of great trade, population, and wealth, it is expedient that it should have two burgesses to serve in Parliament." If he looked at the details of the bill, he found that a right of suffrage was to be granted, so wild and visionary as

wished it to be known that he did not consider it an evil day; he looked forward to it as one auspicious to these kingdoms, and beneficial to the nation as a day calculated to confer lasting happiness upon all classes, without alloy and without discontent -as that day, which would restore to the crown its true and real dignity, and prove to the people of England, that they were still in possession of those invaluable rights to which they had so just a claim. It had been represented in that House that there was a certain number of reformers in the country who called for so much that they would not take less than they called for. If it were so, he could only say that he was not one of those reformers. He was one of those who received with gratitude every concession of this sort; who were grateful for every step which was taken by the House in meeting the wishes and in favouring the just demands of the people of England.

ed, not that the bill was abused, but that it was wholly unnecessary. It did not hence follow, however, that great danger might not arise, if government had not this preventive power in its hands. The number at present in this country was 25,000, being an increase on the number in 1818; and of these very few comparatively were here for commercial purposes. He was aware that foreign merchants were peculiarly favoured by magna charta, and some of our older statutes; but the practical queɛtion was, whether, in the present circumstances of Europe, and of this country, so large a number of foreigners ought to be left exempt from all control on the part of government. He was as willing as any man that Britain should still be a sanctuary to those who had committed acts against other governments; but the measure appeared to him necessary with a view to British objects and British security. The law, since peace, had undergone a material change. There was now no presumption against the foreigner; he was permitted to reside where, and to change his residence as often as he pleased. All that was required of him was, to deliver his name at the port where he landed, and to sign it before a peace-officer. Every facility of access was then granted, and he was at liberty to enjoy in its full latitude the hospitality of this country. It was only when supposed to be engaged in schemes dangerous to the state that a power was reserved of sending him forth as in time of war. Foreign war had indeed ceased, but internal disaffection was still active, and it was impossible to say, that this might not be fomented by foreigners. He believed there were traitors in this day who were ready, in the accomplishment of their schemes, to set at defiance every principle of humanity, every sentiment that was

After a few further observations from the noble mover, the bill was read a second time. The House, however, immediately after went into the Whitsuntide recess; and when it again met, another topic had intervened, with which Lord John, finding every mind exclusively engrossed, announced his intention to delay the final prosecution of this motion till the ensuing session.

The Alien Bill formed now a regular biennial field of interest between the two political parties. In the year 1818, we have seen an extended discussion on the subject. Lord Castlereagh, in moving the bill on the 1st of June, understanding that it was to be opposed, found it necessary to state the grounds on which he judged its renewal expedient. The number of persons sent out of the country under the act, was so small, as to make the only argument that could be employ

worthy of man in civilized society, or that was consonant with the character of beings in a human shape. If a fanatical spirit were abroad, which induced men to think that they had a right to do acts of murder, that they might advance their projects-if that fanaticism were to be found on the continent as well as here, might not the kindred feelings which inspired it, induce individuals, labouring under its influence, to assist each other in attaining their objects, as far as their means and opportunity permitted them? Besides, he thought the measure was necessary in order to se cure that peace which this country had conquered-to prevent our character being compromised with foreign states, which assuredly must be the case if we received and retained on our shores those who had been sent away from other countries, or who had fled from punishment. If they lived in times when there was a complete state of peace in the world -when there was an absence of any danger that might threaten to disturb the general tranquillity of all states -he should feel that it would be a very natural disposition for all ranks to entertain a desire that this country should be allowed to proceed on its ancient system of law, and that our shores should be left completely open to the visits of foreigners. But they did not live at such a period, and therefore the law became necessary.

Sir Robert Wilson took the lead in opposing the measure. He denied that it was introduced to serve British interests and objects; and he believed, that ninety-nine out of one hundred of those who thought on the subject, were of opinion that it was one of those arrangements made at Vienna, or during the proceedings of one of those ambulatory congresses of sovereigns at which the noble lord had attended, and from which he now

found it impossible to recede. It was generally felt that this bill was one of the measures designed to promote a uniform system of police throughout Europe; so that any individual who happened to offend a member of that confederacy which had been denominated "holy," but which he should always consider most "unholy," would be unable to escape from persecution, by taking refuge in any other part of Europe. Let the House look to the conduct of France at the present moment. Instead of enacting laws for driving foreigners from her territory, she had passed a law enabling them to become French citizens, and giving them a full participation in the rights, liberties, and immunities of the French people. Did the House recollect the case of General Gourgaud? Did they remember the treatment he received

with what illegality, with what violence, he was seized and sent out of the country? Did they not call to mind how his person was assaulted, and his papers detained, in defiance of law? It was said he made no appeal, but it was a well-known fact that he did make one. When this was stated, what was the answer of the honourable Under Secretary of State? "O," said he, "General Gourgaud demanded to be taken before a magistrate, not before the Privy Council." The Countess of Montholon, on her arrival off Margate, had been put on board an old gun-brig, and after being treated with much disrespect by Mr Capper of the Alien Office, was obliged to proceed, with her child in a dying state, in a vessel to Ostend. She was there received by the King of the Netherlands, in a manner which made him blush for England. A nobleman of high rank, who had held a conspicuous situation under the late French government, was treated by Mr Capper in a manner equally insulting, and was able only through the aid of

made an animated speech in favour of Sir Robert Wilson's motion. "It is no part," said he, " of my intention to enter into any controversy of fact arising from the cases referred to by my gallant friend; first, because I am not at all acquainted with the circumstances; and, secondly, because instances of abuse of power are by no means necessary, and rather tend to weaken the argument. The great mischief and malignity of the measure is, that it is of such a nature that it is liable to abuse from misinformation, and from the malice of private enemies. Injury and oppression are thus put in the power of accident or private hostility to inflict. I chiefly condemn this bill, because proofs of bad inten tion on the part of ministers, and of wilful abuse of its powers, are unnecessary. I am thankful for this opportunity of raising my voice with my gallant friend behind me against the bill of the noble lord, which I regarded always, not with jealousy, but with abhorrence, as the most odious of the deviations in the modern system of policy from the liberal and constitutional laws of England. The noble lord has given it as a reason for passing an alien bill, that there are twenty-five thousand aliens in the country. The reason for outlawing them was the number to be outlawed. Because the number of foreigners is great, that forms a reason for violating the constitution of our ancestors, who thought the number that took shelter under their wise and just rule their boast and their glory. It has been said that the Crown has the power of sending a foreigner to his own country. Does my honourable and learned friend say so? Has any power in this country-(at least, is it a general right?)-a right to protract its authority, to land the foreigner in a particular place, to throw the unfortunate victim into the jaws

powerful friends, to spend a few months in this country collecting evidence which afterwards proved him completely innocent of the charges made against him. He would certainly take the sense of the House on the question.

Mr C. Baring Wall made a maiden speech against the motion.

The Solicitor-General defended the conduct followed in the case of General Gourgaud. A motion had already been made on the subject, and its not having been followed up sufficiently proved, that gentlemen on the other side found themselves unable to prove any thing. The gallant general had sent written questions to Harwich, the answers to which were in substance, that Gourgaud had had an interview with a magistrate; that many gentlemen had been allowed to see him; that he paid but his own expense, and that at his own desire; and that he had no complaint to make against the officers at Harwich. Yet when the case came before the House, the gallant general had never the candour to state the conduct he had pursued, and the result of it. The charges in that case, he took upon himself to say, were every one of them false. The circumstance of Gourgaud's violent removal was necessary, and the violence attending it was occasioned by himself. The other cases were not before them; but they would, when brought before them, receive a satisfactory answer. We lost character, it was said, with foreigners. Yet of the 25,000 aliens, 20,000-he was told all-but at least 20,000, had come into this country under the operation of the alien bill. And, of 25,000, how many were sent away? Nine persons; and the House would sanction the conduct of ministers in all these cases, if they were before them.

Sir James Mackintosh, after an apology for the lateness of the hour,


of destruction? Such a power as he claims for the Crown was not dreamt of in the most despotic period of our history, or under the most despotic prince of the Tudors. It was not dreamt of under Henry VII., for he required a particular statute. My learned friend accuses me of reverence for my ancestors. I am sorry that the conduct of ministers obliges me to regard our ancestors with reverence, and to look back to their conduct with regret when contrasted with our own. The statute of Henry VII. gives forty days to every foreigner to leave the country. What necessity can there be now for a summary removal which did not exist then? I do not conceive any answer that can be given to this. We are legislating more sternly, more severely, and more suspiciously, than Henry VII., the Tiberius of our history, yet whose politics never made it necessary to have recourse to such summary proceedings." In the other House, the question had been argued with as much learning and eloquence as had ever been displayed on any question and in the last debate in that House were the two proclamations brought forward which ordered out of the country all Scotchmen, who were then aliens; and perhaps many would be rather pleased if they could still be exiled in the same way; but, fortunately for us, it is not so, and they must be content to bear the presence of Scotchmen now. His honourable and learned friend, borrow ing from a speech of an honourable friend of his, made in 1818, had observed, that at no time were foreigners treated with more humanity than since the passing of this act. He would admit it-the evil influence of those laws had not yet tainted the free and hospitable disposition of our countrymen-they were not yet disposed to follow the examples which had been

set them. In this he would say that the people were more wise than their laws he would, however, say only a part of those laws-for the general system was as good as a nation could possibly enjoy.

Mr Lambton entered into an explanation why the petition from General Gourgaud, which he had presented in 1818, had not been followed up. He had asked the noble lord to consent to a committee, where proof might have been given of the facts there stated. The noble lord refused that committee; and he (Mr Lambton) did not attempt to bring the matter again forward, because he knew it would be of no avail without the committee; and he well knew that it was hopeless to expect that, when the noble lord had refused his consent. He still insisted that there were ample grounds for the charges which had been made of harsh treatment on that occasion.

After some explanations from Lord Castlereagh, the motion was carried by 149 against 63, forming a majority of 86.

A more pleasing object was presented to the House, when, on the 26th June, Mr Brougham submitted to them his plan for the national education of the poor. Mr B. observed the disadvantage under which he laboured, in bringing forward this plan at a time when the most intense attention of the nation had been attracted by another question; but he trusted, that long after that question should have been determined, and those who were its subjects (illustrious as they were) should have been forgottenhe trusted that he should have put it in the power of the House to do a benefit to mankind, which would exist and be widely felt, when those unhappy circumstances to which he had alluded should have ceased to operate or to be remembered. Mr Brougham

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