« ZurückWeiter »
and industrious man, with a family, should not discharge his duty, did and not in affluent circumstances, he not seill endeavour to induce he should now move that he be the house to retract a step, which, discharged without paying fees. according to his view of the case,
The speaker said; he undesstood they were not authorized to take. the prisoner was prepared to com- With regard to the privileges of ply with the usual forms of the the house, he knew there were perhouse, by presenting a petition sons who carried them to a very praying for his release.
extraordinary length. But if there Shortly atferwards, Mr. Yoike were privileges such as that which appeared prepared to offer Mr. the house had exercised, they must Dean's petition, and presented it be such as could only be discovered to the house.
by men of much more stable minds The petition having been read, than he could lay claim to. He
Mr. Dean was then called to the professed only a plain mind and unbar; and the speaker, having reca. derstanding; and when he wished pitulated to him the nature and cir- to discover what were the privicumstances of his offence, told him, leges of the house, he could only that in consideration of his 'de: go, where he felt inclined in the meanour yesterday, and the pecu- present instance to go, to the law liar circumstances of his case, it of the land, to ascertain whether was the pleasure of the house that such privileges did or did not exist. hé should be discharged without If he, at any time, found what fees; and he was disch:irged ac. was claimed as a privilege to be cordingly.
abɔve the law of the land, he must March 12. Sir F. Burdett rose, feel himself reduced to the neces. pursuant to the notice ha liad given, sity of saying, that no such prito call the attention of the house vilege existed. The law of the to a measure which had been lind he must always consider to adopted by them, involving the be the standard by which the pri. liberty of the subject; he meant the vileges of every individual, and of resolution of the house, by which every body in this country, were to John Gale Jones was committed to be measured. It would be neces. Newgate, for a breach of the pri- sary, for the purpose of ascertaining vileges of the house. He lament. whether the right of imprisoning ed exceedingly, that he liad not been individuais, not members of the present at the time that resolution house, was one of their privileges, was past, because he was a rare, to look to the origin of those prithat he stood in a worse situation vileges; this being always kept in after the award of the house, than view, that the house was not the he should have done before it was parliament of the country, but adopted. He knew it was at all only one of the branches of that times easier to prevent the adoption piurliament: that in fact, to his of i measure, than to induce the mind, the house of commons was house to retract a resolution after the inferior branch of the legisthey had come to it. When he lature. (Order! chiler!) considered, however, the vast im- The speaker informed the hoportance of the question, and how nourable bronet, that it was not highly the public interest was in orderly to stilte so to that house. volved in it, he was satisfied he Sir F. Burdett continued. This,
at least, he might be allowed to it to change its character, to be say, that that house and parliament converted into power, and to use were different; and he contended, it for the destruction of others, that there was a difference in the The real nature of this privilege extent of the privileges which they was to be seen from the very earliest might, separately or jointly, be periods of our history. It was resupposed to possess. On this corded in Spelman, so early as the ground he maintained, that the time of Canute, that the persons imprisonment of John Gale Jones of members, in their way to and was an infringement of the law from parliament, should have proof the land, and a subversion of tection. This was the ground-work the principles of the constitution. of all the privileges of that house. He hope that gentlemen would Nothing seemed to him so absurd throw out of their minds that this as the notion of an undefined priwas a question regarding their own vilege; it was a solecism in lanprivileges, and that they would guage; and he had the highest aucone with calmness and dispas- thority for saying, that such a prisionate feeling to decide on their vilege was not known. The next own. case. If they were to take account of any privilege in that the question only as connected with house was to be found in the time the law of the land, he should en- of Edward the Second, where it is deavour to persuade them, and he laid down, that members of that hoped successfully; that nothing house are not to be compelled to could be more consistent, either appear in other courts; and the with the law of the land, or with reason was plain, that they might common sense, than that they should not be interrupted in their attendretract the resolution they had come ance on that house, by suits being to. The question was, if the house taken out against them. Then of commons had a right to im- there was a privilegé granted to prison a person not a member of the members of the house as to that boose? As to those privileges their lands, and as to their servants which should enable the house to and attendants. As to the extent carry on its own proceedings un- of their privileges altogether, he controlled, and without interrup- could not state them better than tion or impediment, that was a as they appeared in a resolution, of question which he was not called the house itself, while lord Coke on to argue. He begged to call was a member of it; a resolution, the attention of gentlemen to this too, supposed to have been drawn circumstance, that there were in. up by that great constitutional volved in this question tuo distinct lawyer. They are shortly, freedom qualities, privilege and power. The from arrestment for their persons, one, or that of privilege, the house goods, and attendants, and freedom possessed for its own protection; of speech. These were all in the the other was a right which would nature of defences for the members; fill to be exercised over others. had reference to nothing but their Privilege they were to exercise to own proceedings, and could not apprevent the crown from molesting ply to others; surely, at all, events, them in their proceedings. They not to sanction what was contrary to were to use it as a shield for them. the law of the land. The honourselves, but they were not to allow able baronet proceeded to mention
the case of a servant of the speaker mons was found laying claim to in the reign of Henry the Sixth, what they never before had, nor where, though the judges were of could now legally or constituopinion in favour of the privilege, tionally excrcise. Both houses, init was determined otherwise, atier deed, had from that period alter- ' a debate in full parliament; because nately endeavoured to arrogate that if sustained, there would have been right to themselves, which neither a failure of justice, and no remedy would concede to the other. The could have been had; which was honourable baronet produced here always considered an evil not to a variety of cases, on which he be borne. There was another case, argued with great eloquence and that of Mr. Cheddar, member for force: and he said if such a proSomersetshire, on whom a grievous ceeding came from the crown, of assault had been committed, but from any other authority, be what in whose case the house acted with it might, it was the duty of every such moderation as to order appli- Englishman to stand up against it. cation to be made to the law of the Every page of lord Coke's book land: and a new law, not an ex fot showed that this could not be done facto one, was passed for punishing without lawful authority. If a com. assaults against members in future. mittal went further, it was ill done, Every thing else was done in and contrary to the great the regular course of law; and.in He asked, could John Gale Jones this way did things proceed up to be liberated by lawful, or any other the time of the long parliament; authority? Surely, he could not. nor was any thing like this, to Was not his imprisonment then which he had now to call the atten- against law, against the bill of tion of the house, once dreamt of. rights, and subversive of every priNever till the period of the civil vilege of the subject? The offence wars was it preterded that parlia- attributed to Mr. Jones was that of ment had any right of the kind. ridiculing the proceedings of the Then, indeed, the house of com- house, and the charge was brought mons, assuming all the powers of forward and determined by thenigovernment, after the sovereign selves. The first question, where was led to the block, scrupled not crime was imputed to any man by to act according to its own will and the law of this country, was, if it pleasure. That, however, he pre- was a crime or not; and the second, sumed, was not a time from which was the person accused guilty? It any argument was to be deduced, was necessary, first, that a grand nor would any precedent be drawn jury should find a bill, and then, from the mischievous principles that the party should be put on then acted on, though probably his trial; but of these privileges they might then be somewhat ne- the house deprived Mr. Jones. It cessary to check the usurpations took away the grand jury, and then, which were then destroying the on his confession as to the fact, liberties of the land. These were passed sentence upon him; thereby powers, however, with which the - taking on themselves to determine house of commons, like an indivi. the law as well as the fact; being dual, had shown a strong reluctance complainants, judge, jury, and exto part, having once acquired them. ecative authority all in one. No From that time the house of com. tribunal could take two steps at
one time: but the house was to house was equal to that of all the
- 138 laid down by the father of it. After this decision, Mr. Brough, This was
to show the house as rose to make his promised great as king, lords, and commons. motion for copies of the corresponIt was besides an encroachment on dence between the foreign secretary the prerogative of the crown, whose and the ministers of foreign powers, privilege it was to see that no un- resident in London, upon the sublawful restraint was laid on the ject of the slave trade. He proliberty of the subject. He might ceeded to advert to the resolution be told this was a privilege of par- of 1800, and lamented that, as a liament. He answered No. It was general measure, it should have only a privilege assumed by one proved şo inefficacious; more es. branch of the legislature; and be pecially with respect to foreign contended that the house was not powers. Sweden had carried on entitled to take that arbitrary rule the slave-trade in the island of St, to themselves. If gentlemen showed Bartholomew; that island, from its resolutions favourable to the exer. proximity to those of the West cise of this right as a privilege of India islands belonging to us, the house, he could be at no loss to afforded ample means for sup: show others of a contrary principle. porting an illicit trade in slaves Sir Fletcher Norton has said, that he with many of our colonies in that would pay no more attention to a
quarter. The slave trade with re, resolution of the liouse of com- spect to Sweden was merely a nomons than to that of a set of drunken minal trade, not exceeding six or coblers at an ale-house. The ob- seven slaves a year for that istand. servation was course, but it was He trusted, however, that such fajust. If gentlemen, therefore, were cilities of intercourse existed be: of opinion, that a resolution of that tween the courts of Stockholm and
London, as that any evils resulting owners of those ships would not from the illicit trade at St. Bartho. make any representalion to their lomew might be remedied. Next, government, in the violation of with respect to Portugal and Spain, whose laws they had so suffered. their flags could not certainly bé He apologized to the house for the used to any extent in protecting the few observations he had taken the illicit trade. When he was at Lis- liberty to throw out, and concludbon in his majesty's service, he was ed with moving, That a humble astonished and concerned to find, address be presented to his majesty, that from one district of Africt praying that he would be gracithere were annually exported to the ously pleased to order, that there Portuguese settlements in America be laid beiore the house copies of not less than from titteen to sixteen all communications made by his hundred slaves, and this he was then majesty's secretary of State for told amounted to but one half of foreign affairs to the ministers of the whole trade for Portugal. He foreign powers resident in London, trusted that our representations with their answers thereunto. This upon this head would be found to was agreed to. have weight in the councils of Por- March 13. Mr. Ward moved tugal; we might justly be supposed the order of the day, for the seto have some influence in a country cond reading of the marine payin the defence of which we had office regulation bill, which was in voted money for the support of many respects similar to the em. 30,000 troops. . With respect to bezzlement bill already noticed. Spain-Spain he had no doubt Mr. Creevey observed, that he traded in slaves to nearly the two- understood this bill was brought in thirds of the slave-trade of Por- as a consequence of the defalcation tugal; the principal part of this discovered in the accounts of Mr. trade, as carried on by Spain, was Villiers. He therefore thought the carried on between Cubi and the bill ought not to proceed further, Havannah; and it was but too justiy nor the house be called on to legisapprehended that, in the intercourse lare upon this subject, without the between both, the illicit trade was advantage of having before them supported by landing the slaves the report of the finance committee. upon the British isles. With respect Mr. Ward answered, that if the to America—the Americans had office required a bill of regulation, abolished the slave-trade, yet much he could not see how any delay of the illicit trade was carried on was rendered necessary by the under the flag of Sweden; this was want of any information respecting a topic peculiarly interesting to the the default of Mr. Villiers, with Americans, and the house had seen which this bill had nothing whalthat in the American correspon- ever to do. dence respecting Mr. Erskine, they Mr. Creevey replied, he wished show their willingness to open a ne- to know how it was that Mr. Vilgotiation upon this subject : they liers's defalcation of 285,0007. ochad said that they could not make curred, or how it could possibly any concession affecting their right have happened, without being much ot sovereignty, yet that such of their sooner discovered ; and he thought ships as had been detected by our the house ought not to be called on cruizers in that illicit trade, the to legislate for the regulation of the