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and if the House, without any evidence to warrant these innovations, shall consent to follow the noble lord in his desperate and adventurous course, all I can say is, that I shall witness it with the deepest and most sincere regret. I shall then have lived long enough, as I can no longer be of service to my country. . After some severe strictures on the bills themselves, and on the speech in which the noble lord had introduced them, by Lord Folkstone, and some remarks from Mr. Brougham on the present ignorance of the House how far the provisions against seditious meetings were to extend,—the debate on the first reading ended without a division. On Dec. 1st, the Marquis of Lansdowne rose in the House of Lords, to propose the appointment of a committee to inquire into the state of the manufacturing districts. His lordship contended, that the necessity of such an inquiry could scarcely be disputed, at a period when all parties were agreed as to the alarming state of the country, when, within a month, there had been added to an already large standing force, a new army, greater than had in former times been thought sufficient for internal defence and external operations, and when the tables of both Houses were covered with measures for restraining the liberty of the subject. It was necessary to take a comprehensive view of the whole situation of the country,-of causes as well as events. The general desire of some change in the people, appeared
to arise only from a feeling of uneasiness, proceeding from distress. His lordship stated, that he could prove to the House, that in all the great stations of the cotton manufacture, such as Manchester and Paisley, the rate of wages had fallen, on an average, onehalf. This depression, the causes of which their lordships should investigate, mightbe traced, through the last twenty years, to measures of political economy connected with the political events of the times. After a variety of observations on this subject, the marquis proceeded to other branches of the subject, the number and atrocity of the libels which ministers had suffered to pass without notice,—their conduct respecting popular meetings, and the conduct of the magistrates of Manchester. He ended by moving for a select committee to inquire into the state of the country, the distresses of the manufacturing districts, and the execution of the laws regarding seditious practices and public meetings. The motion was opposed by marquis Wellesley andlords Grenville and Liverpool, and supported by lords Erskine, Grey, and Darnley.— The numbers were, Contents.........Present 35 Proxies 12 — 47 Non-contents...Present 110 Proxies 68 –178 Majority against the motion, 131 In the House of Commons, on the same day, a corresponding motion for inquiry into the state of the country was brought forward by Lord Althorp, who, produced a long and keen debate, in which lord Castlereagh on one side, and Mr. Ticoney on the other, were principally distinguished. Against the motion, 323 For it. . . . ......... ... 150 - Majority —173 On December 2nd, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, in the House of Commons, that this House do go into a committee of supply. Mr. Brougham opposed the motion, because it was the constitutional mode to state grievances when supply was called for. He understood that the new stamp duty on pamphlets would be introduced in the course of the evening, and he wished to protest against the indecent and unprecedented haste with which ministers were hurrying through the House measures, by which it was admitted that a great and permanent change was to be made in the constitution of the coun
try. The Speaker then left the ehair, and Sir G. Warrender proceeded to address the committee. He said he could anticipate no opposition to the resolutions which he held in his hand, which merely provided for the requisite number of seamen for the year. He ought to mention, that in one branch of the service, he meant the royal marines, there was an increase of 2,000 men; so that, in future, the whole duty of the dock-yards would be executed by that corps. It would be found of the greatest service to increase the royal marines to the number of 8,000 men; by which means,
Mr. J. P. Grant said, if he understood the hon. baronet correctly, the nature of his proposition was, that 2,000 men should be added to the marines, which should have the effect of releasing 2,000 of the military force of the country from the duty they now performed in the dock-yards. Therefore, when an increase of the military force was called for, the House ought to keep in view, that by this new measure 2,000 men would be virtually added to the military establishment. He could not, at that moment, make any observation on the proposed increase of the army; but when the noble lord brought forward the proposition, it would be for him to demonstrate the necessity of such a measure in time of peace. Sir G. Warrender said, gentlemen were not correct in supposing that the dock-yard duty was entirely performed by the military of late years. A part of that duty had always been en
trusted to the corps of marines. Mr. Croker said, it was impossible to deny that this arrangement ment would relieve that portion of the army which was now employed in the dock-yards, and pro tanto, would increase the disposable military force. The number of men that would be relieved by this additional vote of marines, was about 1,200. The motion was then agreed to. Sir G. Warrender then moved, “ That a sum not exceeding 650,325l. be granted for wages for 23,000 men, for 13 lunar months, at the rate of 21.3s.6d. per man per month. That a sum not exceeding 612,000l. be granted for victuals for 23,000 men, for the same period, at 21, 1s. per man per month.” Mr. Baring asked, what was the reason #. the charge for victuals was 1s. per man per month greater than it was in the vote of last session? Sir G. Warrender could not state the exact reason; but the officers who made the estimate found, that the addition was necessary. There were then voted, a sum not exceeding 612,900l. for the wear and tear of ships; a sum not exceeding 104,650l. for ordnance for the sea service. On the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the House resolved itself into a committee on the Stamp act, 55 Geo. 3rd, cap. 185. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he should decline discussing the principle on which the resolution which he had now to move was founded, as it would most probably come before the House immediately, on another occasion. He had thought it his
duty to introduce it to the House, because a considerable fraud had been committed on the revenue, by means of the pamphlets against which his measure was intended, and because a considerable invasion had also been made by them upon the property of the regular newspapers. His resolution was in substance as follows:—“That, all pamphlets containing an account of any public news, intelligence, or occurrence, or remarks. upon any public news, intelligence, or occurrence, or letters upon any matter of church or. state, which shall not exceed two sheets, and which shall be sold for a less sum than 6d. exclusive of the duty thereupon, shall be deemed and taken as a newspaper, within the meaning of the acts enacted for that purpose in England and Ireland respectively.”
After a few remarks from Mr. Brougham, who said he reserved his comments till the exceptions should be made known, which would doubtless be allowed, the resolution passed without opposition.
House of Lords, Dec. 2.
Lord Sidmouth moved the order of the day for the second reading of the bill for prohibiting training. Their lordships had made an order, that two of the bills which had been read a first time on Monday, should be read a second time this day; he might, therefore, now allude to both. The provisions of one of the bills were similar to those of the temporary act which was passed some years ago, when th emidland districts were in a disturbed state; and and if their lordships compared the present bill with the act of the 52nd of the king, they would find that its provisions were much less rigorous. The papers which had been laid before their lordships, contained instances of training, and of the procuring of arms, more than sufficient to prove the necessity of the measures recommended to their adoption. But the evidence on this subject, irresistible as it already was, had been greatly strengthened since these papers were placed on the table. Within these last few days, information had been received, that military training was still going on, and that the practice of procuring arms, for purposes the illegal nature of which could not be questioned, was continued. He should at present say nothing more, except to move, that the bill which stood first in order, be now read a second time. After the measure had been opposed by Lord Erskine, and supo by Lord o who said e had particularly investigated the characters of some of the deponents relative to the making of arms, and found them worthy of belief on oath, The Lord Chancellor rose, and after a reply to some of the remarks of lord Erskine, said, with regard to the constitutional question of the right of the people to possess arms for their own defence, which had been alluded to, that, in looking at the Bill of Rights, he found that the principle was not laid down in so broad a manner as it was frequently represented, and that it was accompanied with the strong qualification,
that subjects might have arms suitable to their conditions. There was, therefore, little force in the objection urged on this ground. But if their lordships had any doubt of the propriety of passin these bills, it would be remove on giving a fair consideration to the evidence contained in the papets on the table. If the persons to whom that evidence referred were arming and training, with the intention attributed to them, then were they guilty of nothing less than high treason. If their object was, to give to meetings, by the collection of great numbers, the quality of physical force, for the purpose of procuring by the display of that physical force any alteration in the government, in church or state—if this were done by any individuals, either in this city or any other part of the country, he must declare, that such a proceeding was an overt act of treason. With respect to the bill before the House, it never could be supposed that it was wished to render it one of unnecessary rigour. It would be for their lordships, when it went into the committee, to consider all the details and to render it as lemient as possible. Lord Holland said, that the manner in which these bills had been introduced, placed him under considerable embarrassment; because, though there might be details to which he should not object, the grounds of the whole measures were such as to prevent his giving an unqualified assent even to these. For instance; with some qualifications he perhaps might not object to the measure for preventing secret train
ing, or for the seizure of arms; but he could not agree to the allegations of the preamble, because founded on evidence which did not satisfy him. Nor were the details of the bill free from objection. It appeared a great inconsistency, that the person who drilled should be subject to seven years transportation; and those he trained, to two years imprisonment. The purpose of the driller might happen to be more innocent than that of the drilled. The noble lord (Lilford) had referred to his knowledge of certain informations; but even that noble lord would allow that anonymous informations could not be expected to have the same weight with others who had not his means of information. He had reason to know that in that part of the country there were Orange lodges which were a great cause of dissention; if the names of informants were given, it might be ascertained whether they were members of such lodges; he objected therefore to the preamble.” But with the qualifications he had stated, he had no objection to say content to the principle of the bill. With respect to the second bill, his lordship said, that after the candid acknowledgments of the noble secretary on introducing the bill, he was surprised it should be affirmed that it involved no violation of constitutional principle. He also made some strictures on what had fallen from the noble and learned lord respecting the bill of rights. His lordship concluded by saying, that he must observe that he believed the whole policy of his majesty's
ministers to be founded in error. He would not say of them, or of any other set of men, that their intention was to subvert the constitution in order to acquire for themselves unlimited power; but if they had such an intention, he knew no better method that could be pursued, than that of occasional remissness in checking the progress of sedition, in allowing it to grow to an alarming height, and throwing on parliament the duty of putting it down. In such a state of things, many honourable and good men could see no other course left, than to adopt the measures of rigour which were recommended. But he should say no more on this part of the subject. The two bills under consideration were the least objectionable of the whole series of measures. He admitted, that this bill, by disarming only certain districts, and by being limited in its duration to a certain time, did as much to render the measure alatable as it was possible to do. ut still their lordships should recollect, that the necessity of disarming the people, if that mecessity really existed, implied a will and intention on the part of the people to oppose the government of the country. He believed that the greatest power that could be exercised by any government, either despotic or limited, was to attempt to disarm the people. He stated it, therefore, as one of his strongest objections to all these laws, that if they did not succeed in accomplishing the object for which they were framed, they must prove highly dangerous; on account of
the impressions they would make - and