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cedent whereon to plead an exemption.
ted, that Mr. Creevey published no more than he said, the conclusion is, that the Bill of Rights protects him in the publishing as well as in the speaking.But, surely, this cannot be seriously held! The Bill of Rights refers only to what passes in the House itself, and has by no means in contemplation the publishing of what passes, either by the members themselves, or by any body else. Indeed, it is perfectly
of debates at all is in violation of the Orders of the House. People do it; but they may be punished for it; the act is a breach of privilege; and, to suppose, that the members can with impunity violate the pri vilege of their own House would be strange indeed.- -If the editor of the Liverpool Mercury, or I, or any other proprietor, or editor, of a news-paper, had printed the speech of Mr. Creevey, we, of course, should have been punishable as libellers supposing the speech to be libellous; because, if we had said that it was not a thing of our making, but a speech uttered in parliament, that would have been alleged as an addition to our offence, seeing that to pub
"Parliament. The publication in ques"tion was one which tended to vilify the prosecutor, who was in the execution of a public trust; and he was therefore "bound to say, it was a libel answering "the description given of it in the indict-he says in the House; and, it being admit"ment.The Jury were of the same "opinion, and without a moment's hesita"tion, pronounced a verdict of GUILTY. MR. BROUGHAM said, he wished to "tender a Bill of Exceptions, but he was "informed by the learned Judge he could "not do so in a criminal prosecution; and "besides that, he should have tendered it "before he had taken the chance of the " verdict being in his favour."Now, whether there was any thing really libel-notorious, that the publishing of the reports lous in the publication, is a question which I shall not undertake to determine. Indeed I never read the Speech, that I know of, as it stood in the parliamentary Report, and certainly I never read the publication in question. The point, therefore, whether the publication was, or was not, libellous, I shall leave wholly untouched; and shall meddle only with the doctrine, which is set up in this particular case.Mr. GREEVEY having made a speech in parliament respecting this Kirkpatrick, who, it seems,, was formerly an Attorney, and who was made by Perceval an Inspector General of Taxes, he afterwards caused that speech to be put into print, and to be published in the Liverpool Mercury.Here, said Kirkpa-lish trick, I have him! Here he is upon a level with other writers and other publishers; and, accordingly, he commenced that criminal prosecution, the result of which we have seen above.It is, we observe, contended, that Mr. CREEVEY was exempt ed from the ordinary operation of the law, his publication being no more than a correct account of what he said in the House of Commons; and Mr. Brougham pleads the privilege of his client, upon the ground of the decision of the Court of King's Bench in the case of Wright. But, with submission, this was not a case at all in point. Wright was prosecuted for publishing a report, not of a speech, but of a Committee. It was an official document; it was a paper put on record. It contained matter very injurious to the character, and might tend to endanger even the life of the party com-lege of publishing all that he has ever said plaining. It was a document which ought not to have been published; and, in my opinion, such publications may be amongst the most cruel of libels. But, be this as it may, the case was very different indeed from the case before us, and afforded no pre
any such speech is what is called a breach of privilege. And, why is a member to be permitted to publish his own speech? What reason is there for it? In this particular case, indeed, it is said, that Mr. Creevey published his real speech, in order to correct the errors which had gone forth in the report which others had published of that speech. But, we must bear in mind, that the doctrine applies to all speeches made in parliament; and, if ouce adopted, might be brought to bear upon any occasion whatever. The truth is, that what is here contended for is, a privilege in a member of parliament to publish, with impunity, just what he pleases against any individual in the world; for, his privilege, in the first place, protects him while he is saying what he pleases, and then, at any time afterwards, comes this new privi
in the way of speech, though, at the time of the publication, he may be, as Mr. Creevey was, out of parliament.-Can the Bill of Rights have had such a terrible privilege as this in contemplation? If so, it was, indeed, most aptly denominated a
Bill of Wrongs.The reader will bear in seems to me to be quite untenable. A mind, that we are speaking of the doctrine member of parliament is, as far as relates in its general operation, and not endea- to his speech in the House, protected by vouring to show the evil of having used the the Bill of Rights; but, if he steps out of press upon this particular occasion.- -It it, and, in the character of author, printer, has been thought, and often said, that the publisher, or proprietor, repeats what he liberty which members of parliament have has said in his speech, he puts himself upon to say whatever they please, in their places, a level, in the eye of the law, with all of any body, is only to be tolerated on ac- other persons in those capacities. If I, for count of the good which, in other respects, instance, were a member of parliament (and results from that liberty; for, it does seem the thing would be less wonderful than somewhat hard, that a man should be at- many that we see); if I were a member of tacked, that he should have all sorts of evil parliament, would Mr. Brougham say, that said of him, that he should be falsely ac- I should have a right to publish in my Recused of all sorts of crimes, that he should gister of the Saturday any attacks upon the be wholly without any remedy, and that his Judges, or upon any body else, that I assailant should have the power to punish might choose to make in speeches during him as a breaker of privilege, if he dares, the week? I could, I dare say, if I had my in print, to attempt to repel the assault. full swing, lay it on pretty thick; and -Suppose, for instance, a member for will Mr. Brougham seriously contend, that some borough, seated in virtue of well- my privilege as a member would protect known means, and having strong revenge me as author and proprietor of a newsto gratify against ine, were to assert, in a paper? If so, what would there be to speech in his place, that I was a thief; that serve as a fence to that amiable conjunction he knew me to be a thief; that I stole from called Church and State? All that Mr. him a bag of money only six months ago. PAINE has said in his Age of Reason; all that VOLTAIRE had said with more ability before him; all this might appear in print,
defiance of the Attorney General, and our poor Old Mother, the Church, would be left to the arguments and proofs of the Clergy, wholly unassisted by the arm of the law; for, if I were so disposed, I could, and so could any man, contrive to work all the anti-christian notions, all the ridicule which has been thrown on the Christian faith; all this I could easily contrive to work into a couple or three speeches during the progress of the Curate's Bill, or, indeed, almost any other Bill, if I had not a mind to make a motion for the express purpose. And, is Mr. Brougham prepared to say, as a lawyer, that I should afterwards be protected in the publishing of such ridicule?
I could not punish him for this; I could not call him to legal account for it; and, if I were even to publish a contradic-in tion of his assertion, he and the House might, if they chose, send me to jail for a breach of their privileges. Thus, 1 think, this privilege of a member has a pretty good latitude without stretching it any farther; but, if it be extended to the use of the press; if the man, who has falsely accused me of theft in his speech, had also the privilege, at any future time, and as often as he pleased, to write, and print, and publish the same falsehood, merely because it had once been uttered by him in the way of speech; if this extension were to take place, what a scourge must the Houses of Parliament soon become: There would be in the kingdom nearly a thousand licensed libellers. Aye, several thousands, for this doctrine would screen every one who had ever been a member, if be confined himself to the publication of what he had ever uttered in the House. No man's, no woman's character would be safe. A peer or a member of the other House, in order to gratify his own hatred, or that of any relation, of a wife, or of a mistress, might assail, in the most unequivocal terms, the character of any person, or any family, and that, too, through the channel of the press; a privilege too terrible to be thought of without horror. The objection, therefore, of Mr. Brougham,
-If a member of parliament be not himself the proprietor of a news-paper, it is easy enough for him, if he be rich, to hire columns for whatever he has a mind to say; and then, if Mr. Broughan's doctrine be sound, arises this curious absurdity, that, while the printer and proprietor of the paper would be liable to punishment for giving currency to a member's libels, he himself, as writer, would not be liable to punishment.Then take this case and view it along with that before supposed, and you see, that a man is liable to be punished for publishing a speech in one paper, while he who published it in another paper would not be liable to be punished.A
member might be printer as well as pro- | French has discovered itself.At this prietor of a paper. There the publication Meeting the Duke of Sussex was, it seems, would not be punishable; while, in the in the Chair, and, before I make any repaper of his next door neighbour, it might marks on it, I shall insert the most matesend three or four people to perish in the rial part of the speech of His Royal Highstench of a jail.--Besides, as if the ab- ness upon the occasion. It was as follows: surdities of the doctrine were without end, -"For eighteen years I have, with much who is to prove that the printed speech is" attention, marked the effects of the French the same as the speech uttered in parlia- "Revolution. I have, reasoning from ment? The libellous quality of any pub-" analogy, anticipated still more fatal eflication is generally to be found in certain fects than those which had already taken particular expressions; and who, I say, is" place, every day's experience shewing to prove upon oath, that the speech pub-" that my views were not fallacious; and lished is precisely the same as the speech" I have even maintained, that if the viospoken; and, without such proof, what "lent and wide spreading plague by which would even the privilege contended for we were assailed were not resisted with avail the defendant?But, I abhor the "proportionate violence, universal destrucidea of such a privilege, which, as I have, "lion must be the inevitable result.I think, clearly shown, would give to ma- (Applause.)—We are not indeed met ny hundreds of persons the right of libel- "to sit in judgment on past events, but a ling whomsoever they pleased; the right" reference to them does not seem out of of defaming; the right of blasting the re- "place, as tending to draw the attention putation of; the right of totally ruining all to that great teacher, which may impel those against whom they might entertain a us to counsels calculated to promote a spite. No, Mr. Brougham, peers and "successful termination of that great conthe worthy gentlemen who represent bo- test in which we have been so long enroughs have, in my humble idea of the gaged, in which we are still unfortumatter, quite privileges enough already. "nately engaged, but from which we have I do not wish to see those privileges ex- now better prospect than ever of extricaltended. They can now speak what they ing ourselves with advantage and honour. please of any body with impunity, and if (Applauses.)-Perhaps nothing can they could also write and publish what they be more mortifying than a contrast of pleased with the like impunity, who but what Germany was at the commencethemselves could bear to exist in the coun- ment of the French Revolution, and try. Before I conclude, I must again" what she has since been. At the former observe, that I meddle not with the merits period mighty in arms, and elate in of this case; and, I cannot refrain from hope, she menaced that power which has adding an expression of my firm belief," since overrun her soil, and enslaved her that Mr. CREEVEY is amongst the last of " sons-Austria and Prussia, and all her those, whom I should be afraid to trust "other powerful States, in combination with the privilege contended for by his "for the avowed purpose of quelling the advocate; seeing that he is a man remark-insolence of French democracy: nothing able for candour and manliness. But, he was contemplated but the complete discannot have the privilege without its being "memberment or annihilation of that possessed by others. It is a privilege" nation. Since then, but I forbear to which no man ought to possess. Indeed," enter minutely into the afflicting detail, the idea of such a privilege in any man is an insult to common sense.
"suffice it to say, that by a singular revo"lution of human affairs, Germany has "fallen beneath the yoke of that Power, These two" whose squadrons had passed her best "protected lines, at the approach of whose squadrons her capital had trembled; "since that calamitous period, no oppor"tunity has been hitherto afforded her of "shaking off the degrading yoke, and re
"GERMAN PATRIOTS.". words joined together naturally excite some degree of curiosity, and the proceedings" now on foot under this title are, in their way, the most curious of the kind. A Meeting has, it seems, taken place, in London, for the purpose of raising money by subscription for the aid and support of" the "German Patriols;" that is to say, the people in those parts of Germany, where an inclination to resist and drive out the
gaining that character of high renown, which I am proud to say, has always "been the attribute of the German nation. "At length the opportunity has occurred, "thanks to the exertions by which the
to have been increased in proportion to "the power and violence of the enemy; but I repeat, I wish the principle of the "wish it to be so general that every society Meeting to be as general as possible. I of merchants in Spain, Portugal, or any "other country where the French conquest may possibly check the wholesome ope66 rations of commerce, should feel that they are interested in adopting it-should "feel that they are bound to imbibe that "spirit by which we are now about to prove to "though separated by the ocean, our hearts our German brethren, that "throb and our blood boils in common, "with theirs, when we think of the ty-. ranny to which they have been subject"ed.". opinion with His Royal Highness, I do not' -If I differ very materially in fail to give him full credit for the most benevolent intentions; and, I particularly applaud the candour of his acknowledg ment, that the first League against the French had for its object "the complete. "dismemberment, or annihilation, of that "nation ;" an acknowledgment, which, that I know of, has never before been distinctly made by any one who ever approved of the war against the French Democracy. —It is not a little curious to observe, how completely our objects have changed since the outset of the war in 1793. We were then afraid of nothing but the wild spirit of Democracy. We then cried "
"tide of conquest has at length been re"sisted on the Continent; thanks more "particularly to the gallantry of the Rus"sian people, and to the wise and magna"nimous individual who now directs their energies. Humane and moderate as he is spirited and politic, he has by his "manifestoes endeavoured to arouse every "German to combat in a cause which he "has guaranteed his own; he has called "on him, as a friend and brother, to assist "in stemming the flood that had nearly "overwhelmed his native land, and in "driving within their proper precincts the "haughty people whose tumultuous pas"sions had created it. I trust the Ger"man is not to be found who is dead to "such a summons-a summons by which "he is called on to combat for the sacred 66 purpose of obtaining all that can be dear "to a people-security for their properties, "their lives, and, far dearer than either "of these, their liberty and their honour. "(Loud applause.) To facilitate the ex"ertions of a people struggling in such a cause, is the object of the present Meet"ing-to supply such means of repelling unjust aggression, as the misfortunes and "too long protracted oppression of those "who are chiefly interested in repelling it, "have put it out of their power to obtain "by any effort of their own. In justice to "the Government I have to observe, that "they have not manifested any reluctance "to give their assistance for the further-war against republicans and levellers ;" ance of the objects which we are now the terms liberty, sovereign people, citizen, "met to promote; but it was impossible and patriot, were used by us as terms of "they should foresee the events which have reproach. But, we are now become ab"called for more ample support than they horrers of tyranny, slavery, despotism. can possibly furnish on the spur of the We have now got over to the liberty side "occasion. When I see the persons comof the dispute; and are subscribing away "posing the Government inclined to per"form their duty, I am always anxious as heartily against the Emperor of France as we formerly did against the Jacobins and not to withhold from them such meed as Sans-culottes of France. my approbation can convey. (Applause.) Highness says, that he apprehended "uni-His Royal "I must now observe, that I wish the "versal destruction" from the principles "views of the present Meeting to embrace of the French revolution.I should be 66 as extensive a field as is possible. Un- happy to be informed what is His Royal doubtedly there are very forcible reasons Highness's notion of "universal destruc"why I myself should be actuated by "tion." It is a phrase of very large "feelings more directed to a certain point. meaning. But, at the least, it must mean "I am a Member of the House of Hanover, nothing short of the killing of all the pea"I am a Prince of the German Empire, ple and the destroying of all other animals "and it may be naturally supposed that I and all property in Europe. And why, "am particularly anxious to resist with let me be permitted to ask; why make use "effect that power resistance to which I of phrases so very hyperbolical? "warmly counselled in the great Assembly French revolution had its full swing; it "of the German Princes, which took place was never arrested in its progress by any "in the year 1792; resistance which I external power. "have ever since continued to think ought very destroying? And, did it prove sa The truth is, that,
though attended with frightful crimes and country by the French. What they were with dreadful misery for a while, it de- then doing it is not for me to say; but, I stroyed very little of what was good. But, am very much afraid, that we may be in the people, in all countries, are, for the too great haste to confide in men, who have far greater part, led away by sounds. If once, without firing hardly a shot, laid they were not, we should never have seen down their arms to that very same enemy the people of England subscribing their who is now marching against them.pound notes in order to purchase their pre- The conquered part of Germany contains; a servation against the "devouring lava," population equal to that of Frauce. To as Pitt called it, of the French revolution. what, then, are we to attribute its having If they had taken time to reflect, they been so easily conquered? The Royal Duke would, in but a few hours, have been well brings back our minds to the period when convinced, that the French Democrats the combined armies were driven out of could not destroy them if they would, and France; to that period when, he tells us, that they would not if they could; and the French capital trembled at their apthat, when they heard the words "univer-proach. In this his Royal Highness is only "sal destruction" applied to the object of deceived. The French capital never tremthe efforts of the French Democrats, they bled. The combined armies were driven ought to understand it in a very limited out of France by the people. It was one sense indeed, it being, upon any other heart and one arm of 26 millions of people scale, utterly impossible.- But, if the that drove them out of France. But, be Royal Duke was so alarmed at the "wide- this as it may, how could that one defeat of spreading plague of Democracy," one the allies cause the conquest of Germany,' would think, that he must entertain feel- and her subjection from that day to this? ings of gratitude towards Buonaparté, who Suppose the French to have sent forth a milhas so completely put down the democratic lion of men, Germany had her millions to spirit and principles. We are a difficult oppose to them; and, if the German nation people to please. As long as the French are naturally brave, as I do not deny they talked about liberty and patriotism, we are, must there not have been something used those words in the way of ridicule besides mere physical force to work the conand reproach. Now they have dropped quest of Germany? How, then, can it be the use of them, we have taken it up, and said, that, from 1793 until this day, “ no talk as boldly about liberty as our ancestors used to do, who never dreamt of what we now see and feel. But, I am yet to learn, what we now mean by the word patriot; by the term "German Patriots." A patriot is a man, who ardently loves his country, and is not confined to those who are attached to any particular set of rulers, I should, for my part, be very slow to give the name of patriot to a man in Germany merely because he had inlisted under the banners of Russia, or any other banners opposed to France. I must first be convinced, that he has taken the side which he thinks favourable to the cause of freedom; I mean the freedom of the people; for, it is very likely, that, in some cases, a country may be conquered, and the people become not at all the less free on that account. I know not what sort of changes the French have made in the government of the conquered parts of Germany; and, therefore, I am unable to decide upon the degree of merit in those who have now risen against them; but, I cannot but know very well, that all these "patriots," whom we have now discovered were present at the conquest of their
opportunity has been afforded to Germany "to shake off the degrading yake?" There have always been about 30 millions of pesple in this same Germany, including the "Patriols" now in motion; what, then, I should like to know, have all these people and all these patriots been doing and thinking about for so long a period? Is not this the plain truth: that these patriots have been put into activity, if not created, by the appearance of a Russian army amongst them and by the retreat of the French armies? And, if this be the case, ought we not to be cautious how we put any great confidence in the exertions of these same "patriots ?"
When His Royal Highness talks about the French enslaving the sons of Germany, he surely does not well weigh the weight of his words. His zeal surely carries him on beyond the proper bounds. He will excuse me, who never before heard much of German liberty, in these latter ages, if I do not see how it is possible for the French army, or any other but a native army, to enslave 30 millions of people. It is easy to talk of subjecting such a nation to tyranny; but not so very easy to shew how the thing can, by any possibility, be done. Against