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sented themselves than at any former down certain corresponding clubs and time. Ministers had, however, strictly seditious meetings. Yet, in the preenjoined them to file informations in sent exigence of public affairs, someall cases where a conviction was possi- thing farther still was necessary. Noble ble, trusting with confidence to the lords had much reprobated the comloyalty and integrity of a British jury. munication of extraordinary powers to Many prosecutions were now actually the servants of the Crown ; but it was pending; the law officers, of whose one extraordinary quality of the Briability and interest his lordship was tish constitution, that the powers of fully assured, not being of opinion that the executive government could be enany proceeding of the kind could be larged, if by such means that constitu. earlier instituted ; the delay had origi- tion could be better secured. The nated in the most conscientious mo- true question was, which was the most tives. These seditions had been spread dangerous, to give additional strength overthecountry with a profusion scarce- to the hands of ministers for general ly credible, and with an industry with protection, or to refuse it, and thereby out example ; in the manufacturing to hazard every right that was dear districts they had been circulated by and sacred? He required the suspenevery possible contrivance, every townsion of the Habeas Corpus Act, in pity was overflowed by them; in every vil. to the peaceable and loyal inhabitants lage they were almost innumerable, of the country ; he required it for the and scarcely a cottage had escaped the protection of the two Houses of Parperseverance of the agents of mischief; liament, for the maintainance of our hawkers of all kinds had been employ. liberties, and for the security of the ed, and the public mind had in a man- blessings of the constitution. ner been saturated with the odious The

Marquis Wellesley began by obpoison. Clubs had also been establish- serving, that this was a crisis which at ed in every quarter, under the ostensi- once called for all the fortitude of the ble object of parliamentary reform. His people, and all the energy of the golordship would not assert, that some vernment. He was ready to allow, of them had not really this objeci in that the state of the popular mind was view ; but he should belie his delibe- exactly such as had been described by rate conviction, if he did not also assert, one of the greatest statesmen of any that a very large proportion of them age or country—he meant that geneindeed had parliamentary reform in ral distress bad produced general distheir mouths, but rebellion and revo- content. If the disturbance was prolution in their hearts. Lord Sidmouth ved to be so great as to produce a real then adverted to the disturbances of necessity for the proposed measures, the 2d December, which had risen to there was no man who would not presuch a height, that military force was fer the lesser evil to the greater. But requisite to quell them ; but it was not although that principle was true, it till three weeks after, that government was not on every allegation of public learned the full atrocity of the designs disturbance, it was not on every ebulwhich were there agitated. His Lord- lition, even of a treasonable tendency, ship conceived that additional measures even though the branches of that treawere necessary for the security of the son spread far and deep, that the parperson of the Prince Regent, for pu- liament should be called upon to alter nishing attempts to seduce the military the existing laws of the land, or susfrom their allegiance, and for putting pend for a moment the great bulwarks

of the constitution. There should be that heretofore characterised the law before them a plain distinct case, found- of nations; that transferred nations ed on powerful and irresistible evi- without regard to sympathy or intedence, in order that parliament should rest ; that tied people together, not be justified in doing that, which, in or. even connected by the most remote afdinary circumstances, would be a di- fection; that outraged all those prinrect infringement of the public free- ciples and declarations on which the dom. In comparing the present period powers of Europe professed to act. to that of 1795, he observed, that the When these things happened, then it danger then arose mainly from the was, that the subdued spirit, that had French Revolution, and the machina- so long desolated the earth, again tions of its agents. What he would arose; then it was that jacobinism spoke ask, then, were the grand principles of again, and had something to speak at ; our modern policy, when our army in and, hydra-headed, resumed its pristine Spain was engaged in its succession of strength. The public discontent had triumphs; when the nations of the also been justly excited by the want of continent, in imitation of our example, all stipulations in favour of British were resolved to make a determined commerce. There might be other struggle for their independence? It sources of the present disaffection, not was thus that we had actually ex. imputable to ministers ; but he saw no tinguished the spirit of Jacobinism ; excuse for them, knowing the extent that whateveroriginal differences might of it as they did, for not having sooner have existed, as to the justice of the called together the great council of war, the universal feeling of England the nation. Not only so, but after all and of Europe was, that the war in its that had transpired at Spafields, they, progress had assumed a new complex. on the 25th of the previous month, ion, that the aggressions of the mili. actually prorogued it. He condemned tary government of France had made the correspondence which Lord Sidit a war for liberty, for justice, for the mouth had held with the principal agirights of nations. That the experience tator at that meeting. He ridiculed the people of Europe had felt of the the credit which the noble Lord had tendency and result of the principles taken for dispersing a mob headed by of the Revolution, of the sanguinary a drunken surgeon and a shoemaker. excesses in which they terminated, and He had no objections to any measure the tremendous despotism by which for the protection of the person of the they were succeeded, had at length re. Prince Regent, provided the present called the people of the continent to law for securing the King's person did sounder views, and made them feel, not extend to him, which he rather that they, the people, had also, with thought it did ; if not, ministers were their sovereigns, whom they had before much to blame for not having sooner deserted, a common right to legitimate prepared such a measure. Neither government, and public order. In one would he object to a bill for regulating word, that our successes had complete public meetings, which, he believed, ly extinguished jacobinism. But then had been greatly abused. But the came the peace--that settlement of specific proposition now before the Europe, as it was called a peace ne- House would meet his decided opposiver equalled in the production of most tion. In former times, when such a crael wrongs ; a settlement that has violent measure was resorted to, the directly, and with utter disregard of country was in a state either of actual justice, laid prostrate every principle war, of actual rebellion, or of both. In

VOL. X. PART. 1.

1795, we were not only in actual war, diminishing as much as possible the but the state of Ireland was dreadful public burdens. to contemplate. In 1798, and in 1801, Lord Liverpool would not follow the Habeas Corpus Act was again sus. the noble marquis through all the topended, and at both these periods we pics upon which he had enlarged, many were at war with France, and rebellion of which might have been introduced prevailed in Ireland. He did not know as well on any other occasion. He whether their Lordships would concur would confine himself to those which in his opinion, but he considered the bore immediately on the matter under circumstances of a war with France, discussion. As to not calling parliaand a rebellion in Ireland, as greatly ment sooner, it was only a very short aggravating ourdanger at these periods. time before its meeting, that ministers Would the noble Lords say that their had obtained distinct proofs of a coo“glorious" peace had now reduced Eng- spiracy. Besides, after Christmas was land to a condition of equal peril and generally considered the most convealarm ? The noble Viscount had said, nient time for the members, and it was that Ireland was now perfectly quiet. conceived that the presence of many of It might be so, but he remembered the them in the country, especially at a pe. answer which a facetious friend always riod when they rendered themselves pogave upon his arrival in London, when pular by the hospitalities of the seaasked respecting the tranquillity of Ire. son, was of more consequence than land, “Oh! yes,” said he, “they are their presence in parliament could be. as quiet as gunpowder there." (A Repeated instances had occurred in our laugh.) In England, however, he saw history of this measure becoming neno symptoms of such violent perturba- cessary ; and domestic treason might tion. After the most deliberate con. easily assume a character as desperate sideration that he could give to the as foreign treason. On the present ocwhole subject, he must conscientiously casion, they had the fullest proof (if declare, that up to the moment he was they believed the report) of a treasonthen speaking, he had not seen such able conspiracy in the metropolis

, to evidence as convinced him the danger overturn, by a general insurrection, the was so alarming as had been represente laws, the government, and the constied. Great discontent undoubtedly ex- tution of the kingdom. It was also a isted; seditious practices evidently pre matter of perfect notoriety, that the vailed; yet he was not satisfied that same system was spread over a great they existed in that shape, form, and part of the country. There was a double character, which justified the suspen- engine at work; the operation of the sion of the Habeas Corpus; and being one was evidently aiming at what every unconvinced, (although ready to con- person must agree would overthrow the cur in all the other measures proposed, constitution; the operation of the other and perhaps when those bills were in- (he alluded to the Spenceans) was cal. troduced, he should suggest extending culated to produce a complete convultheir operation,) he was not prepared sion in the elements which compoto go so far as to place the personal sed the system of social life. Was it liberties of the subject at the discre- too much then to contend, under such tion of ministers, under the pretext of circumstances, that it was fitting and maintaining public security. Hetrusted, expedient to resort to that course, that while some measures were taken which our ancestors had pursued when to restrain seditious practices, the mat- alarming dangers menaced the state? ter of sedition would be repressed by Let any person read the publications

which had been put forth, during some of men, except in cases of the last netime, of the most seditious, the most cessity, except in such cases as he aplicentious, and the most blasphemous prehended now justified him in calling Dature, and let them say, whether, in for it. the most dangerous periods that had Earl Grey said, that at an earlier been alluded to, any thing equal to hour he might have been tempted to them was ever issued ? In 1794, the enter into all the circumstances of this danger of the country was great ; but most important question ; but now it the danger of the present moment ex- was utterly out of his power to acquit hibited features of a more desperate himself satisfactorily, even according to and malignant character. Never was his humble abilities, in defending the there a more determined and avowed cause of the people of England against design to sap all the foundations of mo- the most unnecessary and udcalled-for rals and religion, and more assiduity in attack upon their liberties, which

any the prosecution of that design. The minister of the crown, in any period of conspirators of the present day had our history, had ever attempted. He learned a lesson from the conspirators entirely concurred with Marquis Wel. of the former, and they proceeded with lesley as to the character of the late more caution and management in their peace. Where were they to seek for Defarious schemes. He would go far. that liberty and that independence of ther and state, from information which which the noble earl boasted? Was it he knew to be authentic, that in some to Genoa they were to look for the due parts of the country, the caution and regard that had been paid to the rights secrecy of the conspirators were so of an independent state ? Was it in great, that even though it was known Lombardy they would find that hapconspiracies did exist, yet the nature of piness and comfort which the peace was the evidence that could be procured asserted to have produced ? Was it in was such as would not be sufficient to Venice, now blotted out of the map of send them into a court of justice ; with independent nations, and consigned to so much circumspection and cunning a power which he would not describe? did they conduct their plans. He felt Was it in Saxony, whose troops, deall the importance of the measure that serting their sovereign, placed themwas now proposed ; but he would not selves in the ranks of our own armies, allow any imputations that might be to fight for the common cause, whose insinuated to preclude him from dis- whole population united to assert the charging what he conscientiously be. rights we asserted—was it to that delieved to be his duty: His only object voted country we must look for the was to support the throne, to support verification of the noble earl's asser. the constitution, and to protect the tion? He considered the complaint peace, the happiness, and the confidence equally just as to the want of all proof every private man in the kingdom; vision for our mercantile interests, in his only view was to preserve our mo. consequence of which, restrictions had rals, our religion, our establishments, been imposed in a spirit scarcely less and to secure to every man the tran- vindictive, than that which had dicquil enjoyment of his fíreside. He ask. tated the Berlin and Milan decrees. ed of parliament to intrust the Prince He could see no reason to justify the Regent's ministers with that power for not calling parliament sooner togea short time a most odious one, he ther, not merely for the purpose of imagreed—and one which ought not to posing restrictions, but of endeavourbe confided to any man, or to any set ing to conciliate the people, by listening to their grievances, and concerting or blasphemous publications, the laws measures of economy and retrench. now in existence appeared to him amment. He could see no danger so great ply sufficient to repress and punish or urgent as to justify the suspension these. He might have agreed to a of the invaluable privilege in question. moderate limitation upon meetings held In almost

every former instance, there in the open air, and to a bill for the was either foreign war or domestic re- protection of the person of the Prince bellion. No conspiracy, like the pre- Regent. By confining their proposisent, accompanied with an utterimpro- tions within these limits, ministers bability of success, could be a sufficient would have secured the unanimity of ground for it. What was the nature parliament, and prevented any farther and character of this conspiracy? They irritation in the country. knew the chief actors in it ; for the re- The Duke of Sussex did justice to port distinctly stated, that they were

the motives of the noble lords oppothe persons who attempted to excite an site ; but could see no proof that such insurrectionon the 20 December. Who a conspiracy existed, as they had at. were they? Persons of great conse- tempted to persuade the house of. He quence

and connections in the country, had been present at the examination at whose co-operation gave a formidable the Mansion-house, where he found character to the attempt ? No. They that the whole subscription amounted were miserable wretches, reduced to to ten pounds sterling; that the wagthe lowest poverty and distress, who gon had cost L.3, 10s. of which 10s. would probably have been driven to was yet unpaid ; that the ammunition seek relief upon the highway, if there consisted of fifty balls in an old stock. had not been a prospect that the dis- ing, with a pound weight of powder in contents of the country were such as a canister. When these were all the might prompt many to follow their proofs of the conspiracy, was there any wild schemes. The mob assembled at call for such a measure as that propoSpa-fields ; they were addressed in in. sed ? Attached to the venerable, the flammatory language ; to be sure they sacred fabric of the British constituwere provided with ammunition, ha- tion, no man would ever feel more ving about twenty or thirty balls, and anxious than himself to take every prea pound of gunpowder concealed in an caution to prevent that fabric from beold stocking. They were not follow- ing dilapidated, but never could he coned by more than two or three hundred sent to the adoption of measures foi persons, who plundered a few gun- abridging the liberty of Englishmen, smiths shops, and a gentleman received for depriving them of their legitimate a wound, from which he sincerely ho- rights, when there was no case made ped he would recover. Such excesses out to justify such measures being ought undoubtedly to be repressed and adopted. Glorying in the name of Bria punished, but in order to do so, was it ton, because that name was connected necessary to suspend the Habeas Cor. with every thing dear to the human pus? Those formidable rioters Aled heart, he could only say, that while he even at the very mention of a dragoon; lived, he should ever consider it his they did not wait to see their horses highest honour to maintain, unimpairheads at the top of a street, so admi- ed, the sacred right of Britons. rable were the military arrangements of

Lord Grenville considered the ques. that able commander, General Lord tion now before the house as one of the Viscount Sidmouth (a laugh.) With most important which could occupy regard to illegal societies, and seditious the attention of their lordships. No

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