Abbildungen der Seite

preceded the late meeting at Manchester, you must be unacquainted; and of those which attended it, you appear to have been incorrectly informed. “If, however, the laws were really violated on that occasion, by those to whom it immediately belonged to assist in the execution of them, the tribunals of this country are open to afford redress; but to institute an extrajudicial inquiry, under such circumstances as the present, would be manifestly inconsistent with the clearest principles of public justice.” The example thus given by the metropolis was quickly followed by the city of Norwich, where in a numerous meeting of the inhabitants, authorized by the mayor, resolutions of the like import were carried, with the addition of a petition to his royal highness, to dismiss for ever from his councils, those ministers by whom the name of his royal highness had been connected with the “massacre” at Manchester. In the cities of Westminster, York, and Bristol, the towns of Liverpool and Nottingham, and many others, meetings were held and addresses prepared on the same subject; some simply calling for inquiry, others passing a strong censure on the conduct of the Manchester authorities, and on the ministry by whom the royal sanction had been given to such illegal acts of violence. The refusal of the lord mayor of London to call a common hall, on the requisition of a great number of the livery, for the purpose of considering the same subject, drew from the parties who regarded themselves as aggrieved

by his conduct, the following remonstrance, which was read to his lordship by a deputation.

“To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

“My Lord,—We, the undersigned liverymen of London, respectfully beg leave to expostulate with your lordship on your refusal to call a common-hall, to take into consideration the late violation of the law at Manchester, although a requisition was presented to your lordship, signed by nearly 100 of the livery of London, who were desirous of giving expression to their sentiments on transactions too momentous to be passed over in silence—too mournful to allow of those sentiments being suppressed by any authority whatever, and least of all by that of your lordship, who, by virtue of your office, are bound to protect and give effect to the rights, liberties, and privileges of the livery of London.

“That the livery of London possess the right, which they have exercised from time imme

[blocks in formation]

a court of common council for its discussion. That your lordship's refusal cannot have been dictated by an anxious and overscrupulous regard for the preservation of the public peace, is apparent from the knowledge your lordship must possess, that where the magistrates have presumed to deprive their fellowcitizens of the means of meeting in that orderly and convenient way provided by their municipal constitutions, they haveuniformly assembled together under circumstances less favourable to the maintenance of the public peace. “ Unwilling as we are, my lord, to put any unfavourable construction on the conduct or motives of the chief magistrate of the city, we confess ourselves unable to interpret your lordship's rejection of a requisition for a common-hall, on so important an occasion, in any way which shall not imply an indifference to, or contempt of the wishes and opinions of the livery, by whom you were appointed to your high office. “Resolved, however, as we are, not to surrender the rights of the livery of London, we venture respectfully, yet firmly, to request your lordship to reconsider your answer, and to appoint an early day for the holding of a common hall, in compliance with the requisition presented to your lordship on the 1st instant. “Dated Sept. 16.” The persistance of the lord mayor in his refusal, led to a scene of much turbulence at the common hall holden on Michaelmas day for the election of a new kord mayor; and actions at law Vol. LXI.

are still pending which arose out of the transactions of that day. A very numerous and highly respectable meeting of the freeholders of the county of York was held at York, in consequence of a requisition to the high sheriff, signed by the duke of Norfolk, by earl Fitzwilliam, lordlieutenant of the West-riding, and many other noblemen and gentlemen of the first importance. This assemblage was computed at not less than 20,000 persons. Several bands of reformers, with their usual insignia, were on the ground; but it is worthy of remark, that they left the o: business of the day to be conducted by the noblemen and gentlemen who had come forward to summon the meeting, and by whom several very animated speeches were addressed to the assembled multitudes. The resolutions passed expressed no opinion on the occurrences at Manchester, but demanded an inquiry. In consequence of the part which he had taken in this public meeting, earl Fitzwilliam immediately received from the prince regent his dismissal from the office of lord-lieutenant of the West-riding of Yorkshire; a circumstance which excited a strong sensation, and procured for the earl many testimonies of the reverence and attachment of his neighbours. The requisitions addressed to the sheriffs of other counties, particularly Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, Durham, Cornwall, Norfolk, and Berkshire, for the convening of meetings to consider of the Manchester transactions, were not in all instances attended with [I] - the

the same success, though considerable. numbers assembled in all these counties under private auspices to express their sentiments. On the other hand, loyal addresses were forwarded from different meetings; and in several towns of the north of England, and of Scotland, noblemen and gentlemen attached to government associated for the purpose of raising troops of yeomanry in aid of the civil power. Meantime, the progress of a eoroner’s inquest on the body of one John Lees, who died in consequence of sabre cuts and other injuries received at the Manchester meeting of August 16th, was viewed with anxious attention, as it was believed that its result would afford an important decision on the legal character of that day's proceedings. Much delay occurred in the commencement of this examination by the absence of the coroner from the post of duty and the refusal of others to act in his stead, and it was afterwards prolonged to an extent quite unexampled, partly by the multitude of witnesses brought forward, and partly by the frequent adjournments which the coroner thought proper to interpose. It was the aim of the solicitor who conducted the examination in behalf of the next of kin of the deceased, to prove the peaceful character of the meeting, and the unwarrantable nature of the military attack. On the other side, efforts were made to show that previous acts of violence on the part of the multitude, and the reading of the riot act, had justified this attack, and exonerated from legal crimimality those concerned in it. At

length the coroner stated, that for reasons which he did not choose to assign, the inquest should be further adjourned to the beginning of the month of December. Before this period arrived, the case being referred to the court of King's-bench, the whole proceedings had in this inquest were declared null and void by the irregularity of the coroner himself, who had neglected to view the body in presence of the jury, as by law required ; and the court in consequence directed that no verdict should be returned. The alarm of government was manifested by a notice, dated Oct. 29th, on the part of the commissioners of Chelsea hospital, by which all able-bodied pensioners were directed to attend at the times and places therein specified, in order to their being formed into a veteran or garrison battalion. By the operation of this measure, ten or eleven thousand men were added to the effective military force of the country. The following remarkable circular also emanated from the home department: Whitehall, Nov. 6. My Lord, Having been informed that there are laying about throughout the kingdom, especially in the maritime parts of it, a great number of cannon, which are private property, a considerable part of which were formerly used in merchants’ ships, I beg leave to call your lordship's attention to this subject; and to request that you will direct the magistrates of the county under your lordship's charge, to make the necessary inquiries


inquiries within their respective In the agitation of the public districts, and if any guns of this mind which all these circumdescription should be found stances were calculated to excite, therein, that they will cause im- the meeting of parliament was mediate steps to be taken, with impatiently anticipated both by the consent of their owners, for the supporters and the opponents rendering them useless, or for of the administration, and it was removing them to a place of se- summoned to assemble for discurity.—I have the honour to be, patch of business on Tuesday &c. &c. SIDMoUTH. ov. 23rd. H. M., Lieutenant of —



Prince Regent's S

h.—Amendment to the Address in the House # e

Lords.-Amendment in the House of Commons.—Documents on t State of the Country.—Traverse Bill in the House of Lords.-New Legislative Measures proposed in the House of Lords.-The same in the Commons.—Motion for Inquiry into the State of the Nation— House of Lords.-The same in the Commons.—Navy Estimates.— Training Bill, and Search for Arms Bill—House of Lords.-Protest against Search for Arms Bill.

HE session of parliament was opened on November 23rd, by the Prince Regent in person, with the following Speech: “My Lords and Gentlemen; “It is with great concern that I am again obliged to announce to you the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition. “I regret to have been under the necessity of calling you together at this period of the year; but the seditious practices so long revalent in some of the manuacturing districts of the country, have been continued with increased activity since you were last assembled in parliament. “They have led to proceedings incompatible with the public tranquillity, and with the peaceful habits of the industrious classes of the community; and a spirit is now fully manifested, utterly hostile to the constitution of this kingdom, and aiming not only at the change of those political institutions which have hitherto constituted the pride and security of this country, but at the subversion of the rights of property, and of all order in society.

“I have given directions that the necessary information on this subject shall be laid before you; and I feel it to be my indispensable duty, to press on your immediate attention the consideration of such measures as may be ..". for the counteraction and suppression of a system which, if not effectually checked, must bring confusion and ruin on the nation. Gentlemen of the House of Commons; “The estimates for the ensuing year will be laid before you. “The necessity of affording protection to the lives and property of his Majesty's loyal subjects has compelled me to make some addition to our military force ; but I have no doubt you will be of opinion that the arrangements for this purpose have been effected in the manner likely to be the least burthensome to the country. “Although the revenue has undergone some fluctuation since the close of the last session of parliament, I have the satisfaction of being able to inform you, that

it +

« ZurückWeiter »