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accused of any-thing which can justly be called | fascinate such persons as even a chance of a violation of the law. reviving an obsolete despotism.
It is indeed part of history, and a remark. able fact, that Lord Coke, when Chief Justice, was earnestly urged by the Crown to give an opinion in favour of the validity of Proclamations. The conduct, on that occasion, of the then Solicitor General, the toocelebrated Lord BaconWho shined,
The charge against me on the silly warrant is split into two parts. They are, as usual with absurd charges, contradictory of each other, The first is for having disobeyed the Proclamations!! There is a charge for you On which to arrest the man who has the high honour of being the chosen Representative of your county. The second is for having evaded" the same Proclamations. Now, if I disobeyed the Proclamations, it is clear that I did not evade them; and if I only evaded the Proclamations, it is equally clear I did not disobey
This contradiction is, to be sure, rather a glaring one; but no matter. The entire may serve the purpose of keeping me from exposing, in my place in Parliament, the fatal and foolish proceedings of some of our rulers.
But I proceed to show you the futility of those charges:
The first is, that I disobeyed a Proclama tion. I have two answers to this charge.
The first is, that it is quite untrue. It is quite false that I disobeyed all, or any of them. There is not the least foundation of fact in this charge.
The wisest, brightest, meanest, of maukind
This is not the place to quote passages of law, but I cannot resist quoting here the abstract of Lord Coke's opinion, as given in a work of the highest authority, called Comyn's Digest.. Here is the passage :—
Proclamation; and, therefore, nothing will "The King cannot create an OFFENCE by "be punishable after a Proclamation which "was not so before."
The second answer is, that even if I had disobeyed any or all of the Proclamations, I should not have been guilty of any offence, unless I came within the terms of the act," called the Algerine Act-which, observe, it is not pretended or alleged that I have done.
Thus, my friends, I tell you, that this prosecution is unfounded in two respects first, in point of fact; and, secondly, in point of law.
The fact is for a Jury all I could desire, if it were to go to a Jury, would be a fair and impartial Jury—that is, I should desire-and with such a Jury:
The law, however, is so plainly with me, that it will be intelligible to everybody.
I utterly deny that it is any crime or offence to oppose or disobey even a lawful Proclamation.
I know that the reverse was once decidedbut it was decided—where, think you?” In the Star-Chamber.
That decision bas, until a very modern time, and, indeed, with the single exception of one briefless English Barrister, been held in utter contempt. I would wager any man a thousand pounds to a shilling, that one of the legal advisers of the Crown ferretted out a passage in the work of a moderu Barrister— and without examining its slender foundation, nor the palpable manner in which this Barrister contradicts himself-they have instituted the present prosecution upon no better authority, with the hope of reviving NOTHING LESS THAN THE STAR CHAMBER LAW.
I think I know the calibre of some that underhand advised this proceeding, and I cannot conceive any-thing more likely to
cannot be punishable as an offence to disobey I need not say any more to show that it a Proclamation. 1 therefore laugh to scorn the charge against me of disobeying a Proof human ingenuity to create a scrap of clamation; and I could defy the powers JUDGE-MADE LAW" to suit this occasion. But really this is not all. The act which enables a Lord Lieutenant to use arbitrary, and, indeed, despotic power over all meetings, is in its nature sufficiently severe and sufficiently unconstitutional not to have it extended one iota by construction. It is really most monstrous to talk of extending its effects by any construction; and I trust that the day will shortly arrive when the real advisers of this prosecution, and of the Proclamations, will meet the punishment they so justly merit.
In the quaint language and latinity of Lord Coke, it is said "that all indictments conclude contra legem et consuetudinem, or contra leges et statuta. But never was seen any indictment to conclude-contra regiam procla 'mationem.”
We are, I suppose, soon to see such an indictment-another bad precedent to be added to those already furnished by the Whigs when in office.
Leaving this first charge to shift for itself amidst the monstrous novelties of Whig liberality-a, liberal, wide, and universal extension of a most penal and restrictive statute a species of Whig anomaly in our lawLeaving it to shift for itself, I come to the second charge.
It is no less than this-" of a conspiracy to evade the Proclamation !!" There is a criminal charge in a country calling itself freeevading a Proclamation !!!
I did think badly of the Whigs, but really this exceeds all their former outdoings--con
spiracy to evade a Proclamation. Why, if I disobeyed it, surely I did not evade it-and then comes this admirable legal dilemma. The “ argumentum crucis" is nothing to it. It is this
This trumping up of a ridiculous charge of conspiracy is therefore not new. The case of De Potter is, as we lawyers say, quite in point; but its results are widely different.
I cannot, my friends, conjecture why this A Proclamation issues I disobey it- De Potter charge should be brought against punishment for that. Well, I do not disobey me. I will not do the legal advisers of Lord it. Why, then, I evade it-punishment for Anglesey the gross injustice to suppose that that again. Thus, whether it be disobeyed they speculated either on the Court or the or not, the only thing certain is the punishment. Jury. That would be an injustice of which 1 For committing what is called a crime-would not directly or indirectly accuse them; punishment for not committing that crime but, if they had so speculated, they would punishment again. Really, really, this is a speculate hadly, little too bad.
It is quite true that a former Court of I will put this matter for one moment in King's Bench decided that the word "preanother point of view. To evade a Proclama-tence" in a criminal statute was perfectly tion is to avoid obeying it; but for avoiding synonymous with "purpose." That certainly to disobey it there is to be an indictment was a wrong measure, but one which took that is, for not perpetrating what is called a place in angry times, and will never be quoted crime. Who ever yet heard of an indictment as a precedent for imitation. for evading to steal a horse? But this is a Judicrous mockery.
There is, however, one curious coincidence between the charge of a conspiracy to evade the Proclamation and the accusation brought in Belgium against the celebrated De Potter, De Potter is well known to have been, an ardent enemy to the oppressions which his country suffered from the uefarious union with Holland, and from the grinding and insulting nature of the Dutch superiority. He struggled strongly and perseveringly against the grievances which his native country sustained from the insolent domination of strangers. He was closely watched. The law of libel, the sedition law, were both excessively severeas severe as with us-but De Potter, who sought ameliorations only by peaceable means, took care not to violate the law. Yet it was determined to annihilate him one way or the other.
Whenever power is determined to crush a man "at all hazards," it never wants a pretext. They could not, it is true, indict De Potter upon any known law. What did the lawyerlings of the Dutch King do? Will you believe it, reader? They actually indicted him for a conspiracy to evade the laws of libel and sedition, or to that effect. The Bench was packed; he was tried and sentenced to banish
The coincidence is only in the charge. I have not the talents nor the useful patriotism of De Potter, but I rival him in three things. First, in the enthusiastic love 1 bear to my unhappy native land: secondly, in the everliving detestation I bear to the oppressions and grievances under which she labours; and thirdly, in the rancorous and malignant hatred borne towards me by the enemies of my native country.
There the comparison ends. De Potter was not long in banishment. The men who af fliccted his country became too outrageously tyrannical, and were expelled. He returned; but, to his immortal honour be it spoken, he forgot the injury done him, and forgave all his enemies.
I have now, my friends,, exposed to you the nature of the charges against me-their contradiction, and thei: total absurdity.
I am not accused of any immoral offence, of seditious speech or libellous language-still less am I accused of provoking to outrage or breach of the peace. The fact simply is, that Lord Anglesey does. not like discussion, and having made up his mind that there shall not be any, in any shape, that he dislikes-on he goes-that is all.
But this would be cruel, if it were not laughable. Here I am striving for three things:-First, to abolish Tithes. Second, to destroy Corporate Monopolies. Third, to repeal the Union.
And endeavouring to do these things by peaceable, legal, and constitutional means, and none other, I am set on and assailed as if it were a crime to love one's country, and to struggle honestly, faithfully, and disinterestedly to serve her, aud to seek peace, comfort, prosperity, and liberty for her inhabitants.
My consituents-my friends-be not discouraged. Patience- obedience to the lawsno illegal oaths-no secret societies-no turbulence-no violence-but at the same time peaceable, legal, and constitutional agitation. Let every parish, nay let every village meet. Let there be a petition from every village, parish, town, and district. Let those petitions firmly, boldly, but respectfully, demand the total abolition of Tithe and Vestry Cesses. Let them state that Ireland is an agricultural country, in a most depressed state, and, therefore, requires that the agricultural produce should be relieved from all ecclesiastical burdens.
Let your petitions state these three facts :
First, That Ireland is the most fertile country in the world-the most productive for her extent-the best situate for industry and commerce, and yet that she is the country in the world deriving least benefit from these advantages.
Secondly, That Ireland produces more of all the prime necessaries of life than any other country under the sun, and that there is no
other country in which the people receive so little of the necessaries of life for their use as Ireland.
Thirdly, That Ireland has, at one and the same time, the richest Established Church in the world, and the poorest population, with the smallest number of votaries of the religion of the State.
Do not ask why all this is so: We do not govern ourselves. We are governed and managed by others. We are a province, when we ought to be a nation.
Do not, therefore, ask why there is so much misery and woe in Ireland, but seek for amelioration through the only channel by which it can be obtained-that of the Law and Constitution; and if I have any influence with you, now, at my instance, and for my sake, redouble your exertions, multiply your petitions, and determine never to relax until Ireland regains her Legislative independence. I am, my friends,
Your devoted and most faithful servant,
consult his national feeling, in opposition to his judgment. But, although he knew little of Ireland himself, and from what he did know, he believed its condition to be very wretched; yet he had heard that there had recently appeared there some signs of improvement, to which the Repeal, desired by petitioners, would put a stop, by immediately checking the introduction of English capital. His Lordship concluded by presenting Petitions from the Paper-stainers, Carpet-weavers, and other Trades of the City of Kilkenny, praying for the Repeal of the Union.
Earl DARNLEY concurred fully in the opinions expressed by the noble Lord who had just addressed their Lordships; but he had differed from that noble Lord when the Act of Union was passed, for he (Earl Darnley) had advocated that measure, in the expectation that benefits to Ireland would result from it, which he had not yet had the happiness to witness. However, he believed that the good effects would now be soon observed, as the healing measure which the Legislature had most wisely adopted in the last Session had removed the chief obstacles to the improvement of that country. He was convinced that the repeal of the Union would aunihilate the incipient Par-prosperity of Ireland. The individual who at present agitated that question had derived his had been made to exclude him from the other importance from the injudicious attempt which House of Parliament. No calamity could be more destructive to the country of that individual than his efforts, should they be successful in repealing the Union.
I left off my extracts from the liamentary proceedings with those of the 14th of December, and these will be found in the Register, No. 25, Vol. 70. I must now, before the "Collective" meet again, bring up the arrear, which I can do in this and the next Register; and then we shall start again.
Thursday, Dec. 16th, 1830.
HOUSE OF LORDS. Repeal of the UNION; and, IRISH TITHES.-Every word that is said upon these two important subjects becomes every day of more and more importance; and, therefore, men should read attentively all that they can spare time to read on both.
Lord KING had a Petition to present to their Lordships, on a very important subject, respecting which his opinions were quite at variance with those of the Petitioners. When the measure of which they complained-the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, was under the consideration of the British Legislature he was opposed to it; because he did not wish the corruptions of Eugland to be increased by those of Ireland. But he now feared that it would be a mischievous experiment to repeal that measure after such a lapse of time. He believed that Ireland would suffer greatly from the separation of the two countries, the more so as they could be separated only by means of war, and to that a repeal of the Union would certainly lead. If he were au Irishman, he might perhaps be induced to
TITHES.-Lord FARNHAM moved for Returns respecting the Composition of Tithes in Ireland, under the late Act of Parliament on that subject. He explained that the operation of that Act was greatly impeded by the manner in which the Select Vestries for settling the composition of tithes were constituted. The land of many parishes in Ireland was occupied principally in pasture, and in the cultivation of potatoes. Upon the latter the whole burden of the tithes was thrown; so that the very poorest parishioners, to whom the potatoe land chiefly belonged, paid the most part of the tithes, from which the pasture lands, always in the hands of the richest parishioners, were wholly exempt. Hence it became the interest of the Select Vestries, which consisted of only twenty-five persons (they being of course the richest inhabitants), to oppose the composition; because that would equalize the burden between them and their fellow-inhabitants. To enable the poor of Ireland, whose advantage the Act was chiefly calculated to promote, to benefit by its provisions, it was necessary to enlarge the Vestries. He would introduce a Bill to increase them to fifty parishioners, in the course of the Session; unless the Government, in whose hands he would prefer to leave the matter, should themselves introduce the amendment. He would take that opportunity of stating that, in those cases where the operation of the Act was prevented by the tithe
owners, the opposition was more frequently grievance-it complained of the deprivation of on the part of lay impropriators than of the an important national right-the loss of which clergy. had occasioned much and serions discontent Lord KING had no doubt, that if tithe com- throughout many parishes of the Metropolis, position were carried into effect in Ireland and in various parts of the country. The upon fair terms, it would operate greatly to grievance of which the petitioners complained the advantage of the poorer classes in Ireland, was the existence in their parish of a selfwho would get rid of tithe-gathering and elected Vestry. He was anxious to take the proctors, and the whole harassing and ex-earliest opportunity of stating, that on the pensive machinery for the recovery of those very first day after the recess he meant to bring vexatious claims. He held in his hands do- in a bill, the object of which would be to cuments respecting the tithes in six parishes remedy the evils which formed the subject of of the county of Wicklow, of which the the present complaint. The bill be intended names were to him unpronounceable, occupy- to bring in would be modelled upon the former ing a surface of upwards of 40,000 acres. In bill, or rather would be an exact counterpart those parishes a meeting of 4,000 farmers was of it, in the form it had been presented before assembled to make a composition with Arch- it underwent the amendments of a committee. deacon Magee. The venerable Archdeacon He wished in an especial manner to call the not agreeing with the parishioners, resorted attention of the House to the prayer of the not to the Consistory Court, but to the Court present petition, for such was the indignation of Exchequer, as affording the most expen-which Select Vestries had excited, that he sive process for the recovery of his tithes. could not answer for the tranquillity of paHis Lordship then read the following account rishes, if something speedy and decisive were furnished by the Archdeacon to one of those not done with a view to the modification of farmers ::the present system. He was informed that many of the parishioners of St. James's had expressed their determination not to pay rates unless the Select Vestry were abolished.
Varney Cooney, to Archdeacon Magee, debtor.
Out of the Laud's of Grange, To tithe of 47 tons of Hay,
£49 10 This land contains 12 acres of wheat, 124 of barley, 11 of oats, and 20 of meadowing.
Sir F. BURDETT said that Select Vestries were one of the practical grievances of the present day, constituting not only a gross violation of every constitutional principle, but of every principle of common sense. There was something in them so preposterous, that an English House of Commons was called upon te get rid of them at once, and the mode of doing so was perfectly simple: it was by a recurrence to the ancient constitutional principle, that no man was to be taxed without his own
The petition was then ordered to be printed BOROUGH OF EVESHAM.-I notice this Corruption is clearly proved; in order to put sham-reformers upon but precedents prevent Reform. What can we expect from Reformers like Lord John Russell.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. SELECT VESTRIES.-When I was in America, the infamous select Vestry-record. bill was passed. I instantly wrote a Register, dated from Long Island, in which I proved its wickedness and its evil tendency. I was not listened to. And now I am to be quiet, am I, and hear it said in that same House of Commons that passed it, that it is "unconstitutional," ""preposterous," and repugnant to "common sense! Why was this not known then? Why was this not said then? The same man who sits and calls it by these names now was in the House when it was passed; and why did not he say these things of it then?
Mr. HOBHOUSE presented a petition, which he had to state was most numerously and respectably signed-It was from the Freeholders of tho parish of St. James, in the city of Westminster. It complained of a great
The Marquess of CHANDOS, in rising to make a motion on this subject, said, that the Committee appointed by the House had unseated the Members that were returned, on the ground of bribery; and with this charge before the House, he certainly thought that election should be allowed to take place. The they were bound to consider whether a new evidence before the Committee had not yet been printed; but, at all events, it was known that the Committee had decided against the two Members, on the ground of corruption; Land this, he contended, was enough to call for the interference of the House, when it was proposed to entrust the borough again with the right of returning members. All that he at present asked was, that a short time should be allowed for the printing of the evidence, in order that the House might judge for itself;
and he should therefore move, that the Speaker | being so frequently brought before the House, do issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, se they were before that Act was passed. The to make out a supersedeas to the writ that had opinions of Election Committees were often, been issued for the election of two Members he thought, an obstacle to those inquiries for the Borough of Evesham. which the House was bound to make into Lord GEORGE LENNOX seconded the motion, cases of corruption. The question, however, and called the attention of the House to a before the House was not whether an inquiry paper signed Edward Protheroe, Jun., insbould now take place into the corruption of which that gentleman made the following the Borough of Evesham, but whether the statement: I plainly acknowledge my de-issuing of the writ should be suspended or sire to renew our connexion. There is no in- not? The circumstances of the case were consistency in this. With you, Gentlemen, these:-That after an inquiry by a Committee, I never had the slightest cause of dissatisfac- that Committee had not given the Chairman tion: it is with the old system of your borough, instructions to propose that no new writ with that unjust system which, after faithful should issue. The first thing the House had and diligent services, accompanied by manly to look at must be its own precedents. He had independence and disinterestedness in every looked at the precedents quoted by the speech and every vote, left me no hope of Honourable Member opposite (Mr. Ross), and being re-elected, unless I condescended to that Honourable Gentleman could not deny traffic for my seat with those who bartered that there were numerous precedents of the your privileges."-When such a declaration allegation of bribery made against Members, as this was made by a gentleman who was and yet the writs for those places had issued. well acquainted with the transactions of the There was no instance of a Committee reborough, he thought that the House had porting merely against the Sitting Members, pretty good evidence before it of what was and on that report the House suspending the the real state of the case; and he therefore writ. To justify that, there must be some trusted that Evesham would be disfranchised, special report agaust the electors. and the representation given to some more only said by some of the Members who comworthy place. He begged, however, to say, posed the Election Committee that the case that he himself personally knew nothing of implied further corruption; but that should Evesham, nor had he any acquaintance with be made a matter of special report before the the two gentlemen against whom the Com-House could be able to act upon it. The premittee had decided. cedents, then, were many in favour of issuing the writ.
Mr. Ross said, that the sitting of particular Members, and ulterior proceedings against a borough for bribery, were two questions of a totally distinct character. The honourable Member referred to the cases of Penrhyn aud Camelford, as precisely similar cases. In them bribery was proved, and the House was called on not only to suspend the writs, but to disfranchise the boroughs. In Evesham there was 426 voters, and of course they did not all wote for the sitting members; but it had been proved that every one of the non-resident voters who did vote were bribed. Every one of them actually received a bribe. On these grounds he would support the motion of bis noble Friend for superseding the writ, which would give the House an opportunity to inquire.
Lord ALTHORP agreed with his noble Friend and the right hon. Gentleman, that this question was to be decided on the narrow ground of precedent; but that precedents were not to be slavishly followed. The House must decide if precedents authorised the suspension of the writ, and it was a matter of some importance that the House should not make a new precedent without due consideration. He did not think that the precedents quoted by the right hon. Gentleman justified the suspension of the writ. He differed from him, because, in the two precedents he had quoted, both the Committees had reported against the election. In the present case, the Report of the Committee was confined to censuring the Members. The right hon. Gentleman said, that Members of the Com
Lord JOHN RUSSELL meant, in the few words he should address to the House, to con-mittee complained of the corruption being fine himself to the narrowest limits. He should extended to the Electors, but that was only Bot enter into the general question of Reform, the opinion of individual Members, as the ner assert that it would be improper to assent Committee decided against a special Report. to the motion, because the House had already In the other cases quoted by the right hon.. ordered the writ to issue. There were many Gentleman, the Committees had made Special nights to be considered before the House re- Reports; but in those cases where Special solved to suspend the writ. An inquiry should Reports were not made, and only the sitting be instituted, and evidence received, to ascer- Members were unseated, the House had never tain if the Borough of Evesham were as cor- thought to suspend the writ. It was not nerupt as it was represented to be. There were cessary for him to quote precedents of the many points which the House ought to inves-kind from the Journals; they were so nume. tigate; for he had always been of opinion that rous, that every Member must know it was The Grenville Act, by the inquiries it instituted continually customary for sitting Members through Committees, frequently screened to be unseated by the Report of the Comcases of bribery, and prevented them from mittee, without the writ being suspended.