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now past. The insurrection was tried testable, and mischievous power, be. and failed. Now, sir, what better proof cause, he said, there were criminal can there be of the excellence of the persons in the country, the guilt of present laws ? An attempt was made whom government had not the means to overturn them ; the people refused of proving. According to him, men to join in it, and it was immediately were to be punished, not because they quelled. What better evidence could were guilty, but because there were no we desire of the sufficiency of the con- means of proving them guilty. Was stitution to repel the dangers which there ever doctrine more odious and menace it.” With regard to reform, more abominable, held in any assembly, he thought the best mode by which or under any tyrant on earth? This the House could preserve the respect country had nothing to do with the of the people would be, that, while political scenes of the French revolu. they were ready to sanction a new code tion, and with regard to its impiety, in favour of the crown, they should he knew nothing that could equal it, not refuse all innovation in favour of but the impiety which had lately been the people.

practised in this country, in the prayer After some remarks from Mr Cour. which, in solemn mockery, implored of tenay in favour of the bill, Sir Francis heaven to guard the Prince Regent Burdett expressed his satisfaction at from the pestilence that walked by the speech of the noble lord. The day. He (Sir F. B.) knew of no name of Russell was dear to every pestilence except that pestilence which Englishman ; and in the defence of met the people at every corner,

which these rights his revered ancestor had visited their firesides, which partook lost his life. He did not believe that of their meals, which accompanied the proposed measure was designed for them to their beds, which contaminathe benefit either of the crown or the ted every thing they touched-the people. In his opinion, it was calcu. pestilence of insupportable taxation. lated solely for the benefit of the mi. The Attorney-General possessed alnisters, who having brought the coun. ready enormous power over the press, try into inextricable difficulties, found and if he did not prosecute, it could a general demand for retrenchment of only be because there was no proof of their profligate expenditure. The ex- any offence. The noble lord might travagance of which ministers had been fine and imprison, he might erect a guilty, was tenfold more destructive of gallows in Palace-yard, or in the lobby the landed property of the kingdom, of the House of Commons, but he than the newly raised and visionary could not physically gag the mouths mischief apprehended from the disciples of the people. If it was true that the of a weak man who died twenty years great mass of the population of the ago, who never dreamed that he should empire was infected with the prinmake such a noise in the world, and ciples reprobated by the noble lord, from whose absurd tracts no real dan. could he shut it up? Had he prisons ger could ever be anticipated. The sufficiently capacious ? Buonaparte Expencean party, as he would deno- erected eight additional bastiles in minate them, came to the same point as France ; but the noble lord must do the Spenceans, whom they denounced. much more, for our gaols were already The honourable and learned gentleman overflowing. The execution of this had contended, that it was necessary to act had been attended with many gross arm ministers with this despotic, de instances of cruelty and oppression, and far from agreeing to it for even a horrid principle of inficting death on few months, he would not agree to it those who revealed them. He believed, for a few hours.

too, that if the societies engaged in Lord Castlereagh said, that with all this conspiracy were not soon put his respect for the rank and talents of down, they would be capable of strug. the honourable baronet, it appeared to gling by force against the laws and him that his speech tended rather to government of this country. He bethe destruction than the salvation of lieved that the conspirators thought the British constitution. The sub- they were strong enough on the 2d of stance of that speech, the attempt in December to accomplish their purpose; it to treat with ridicule the present he believed they afterwards adjourned alarming state of the country, was the execution of their intention to the only consistent with the honourable 10th of February. He would put it baronet, who had many years ago, to the House, whether on the eve of during the late war, endeavoured to an insurrection, embracing many parts ridicule those treasons, which if they of the country and the metropolis, they had been treated as lightly by parlia- wished the executive to sit with their ment as they had been by the honour- arms folded, and make no effort to able baronet, the constitution would arrest it till it exploded against the long ago have been overturned, and state? Did they wish ministers to that House would now have lain pros- suffer it first to explode, and blood to trate, the victim of treason and rebel- flow in the country? Was it not hulion, under the mask of reform. He manity to snatch the leader from the begged pardon for having detained the head of his troops before he could lead House on a subject_foreign to the them against his majesty's peacefal question before it. But really it was subjects ? matter for serious consideration to find Mr Ponsonby was placed in a hard the dangers which now threatened the situation between his friends, who accountry talked lightly of; to hear even cused him of credulity, and gentlemen ridicule endeavoured to be thrown on opposite, who called on him to support the attempts against the person of his the bill. He was still fully convinced Royal Highness the Prince Regent of the existence of the alleged disaffecattempts of a nature so criminal, so tion; but it appeared to him confined abhorrent to human nature, as scarcely to the lower orders, and to be the effect to be credited as having been made in of distress acted on by malignity. He any civilized country ; to hear those had a reverence for this law amounting plots attempted to be made the subject almost to superstition; he believed it of laughter which threatened the sub- the great bulwark of British libertyversion of the constitution, and which that which brought home to the poor. had threatened the lives and properties est man in the country the value of the of the people of England. He dis. British constitution. claimed any use of the bill for the Lord Lascelles supported the bill, purposes of punishment, but thought while Lord Stanley and Lord Cochrane it essential to the safety of the state. opposed it. He believed that a conspiracy existed The question was now put, when in the country, for the subversion of there voted for the first reading of the the constitution. He was convinced bill

273 that that conspiracy was great in point Against it,

98 of numbers ; that the members were bound together by oaths, involving the Majority,

175

.

After this triumphant majority theference was denied by ministers, and bill was speedily carried through the the clause was rejected by 43 to 16. different stages of the committee, and Two clauses were however introduced, of the second and third readings. Se exempting the East India College and veral amendments were made, of which societies incorporated by royal charter the only important one was that made or act of parliament. The third read. by Sir Samuel Romilly in relation to ing of the bill was carried, on the 14th Scotland. The power of committal of March, by a majority of 179 to 44. was now there, as in England, to be The bill was then carried to the Lords, exercised only upon a warrant signed where it received several amendments, by one of the principal secretaries of of which the only important one was state. That power had formerly been that which prohibited any public meet. left in the hands of even a subordinate ings from being held within a mile of magistrate. The third reading was the Houses of Parliament and West. carried by a majority of 265 against minster-hall. The bill, however, was 103. The amendments were then car. argued against at considerable length, ried up to the House of Lords, and on particularly by Lord Erskine ; but it the 3d of March were agreed to, and was carried by a majority of 111 to 23. the bill passed.

Eight lords protested.' The amendThe bill for restraining seditious ments were agreed to by the Commons, meetings was also carried through, with the exception of a trifling one rethough not in so rapid a manner. On specting a penalty of 501., on the printhe lòth March, Sir James Mackintosh ciple, that the House would admit no moved an amendment, by which the alteration in any thing connected with punishment of death, pronounced upon money. The amendment was agreed those who did not disperse in an hour to by the Lords, and the bill was passed after warning given by a magistrate, on the 29th March, before the Easter should be commuted to transportation holidays. for seven years. It was negatived by The bills for the protection of the 70 to 26. Sir James moved also that, person of the Prince Regent against in the clause authorising the magistrate treasonable practices, and for the preto apprehend those who stirred

up the vention and punishment of attempts to people to hatred and contempt of the seduce persons serving in the army and government and constitution, the word navy, passed both the Houses without government might be omitted, as being a vote, and with few observations. a term often used as synonymous with They were both made perpetual. the existing administration. The in

VOL. X. PART J.

E

CHAPTER IV.

THE SAME SUBJECT RENEWED.

Disturbances at Manchester-Rising in Derbyshire-Message from the Prince

Regent - Appointment and Report of Secret Committees --Renewed Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Aci-On the Employment of Spies.

The most important of the provisions commotion. The leaders of the rewhich had now received the sanction formers circulated proposals that the of parliament were only to continue in whole body, providing themselves with force till the period when the session blankets and knapsacks, should prowas to close, leaving room for their ceed to London, and there present in renewal or expiry, according as the person, to the Prince Regent, a statecountry should subside into a settled ment of their grievances, with a petiand tranquil state. During this inter- tion for redress. They were believed val, however, events occurred, afford to be encouraged by reports of a most ing ample room for proposing the re- numerous body of allies who were on newal of these restraints. The metro. their way from Scotland, and

whose van polis, indeed, exhibited no alarming had even entered Preston. It was exsymptoms, and repeated meetings took pected that they would continually ga, place, even on the critical spot of Spa. ther strength as they proceeded, and fields, without any disturbance. The that in passing through Stockport

, country, however, disappointed in its Derby, Nottingham, Coventry, Birexpectation of receiving the lead from mingham, and other large towns of this London, began to move of itself. Man- most populous part of England, they chester, the metropolis of the cotton would

be reinforced by a great propor- . trade, was the centre of agitation ; a tion of the inhabitants, not to mention circumstance which too clearly pointed arms and other equipments with which to distress as the source of irritation, they would be supplied. The object of or the engine employed by the agents all this machinery very evidently was, of disorder to produce it. Great, how- that the petition might be presented in ever, as was the sympathy due to the such a shape as might render perilous a want of employment under which the refusal to grant the prayer contained in manufacturers' laboured, it was im- it. The doubts as to the reality of this possible to allow them to employ their meditated expedition were dispelled by unwelcome leisure in new-modelling a placard which appeared on the 8th, the British constitution.

appointing a meeting on the 10th, near On the 10th of March, Manchester St Peter's church, and expressing a became the scene of an extraordinary hope, that all those who intended to proceed to London should supply them. received by another troop of dragoons, selves with the requisite means “ for and not above twenty were supposed this loyal and necessary undertaking." to reach the borders of Staffordshire. It concluded with stating, that persons Of the great number apprehended on were ready to receive contributions for this occasion, most were dismissed in the promotion of this purpose. The a few days, on expressing contrition aspect of this undertaking was judged for their error, and promises of peaceby the magistracy to be such, as to ful behaviour in future. call for their active interference. A After the breaking up of this exgreat number of special constables was traordinary explosion, the disaffected sworn in, while four troops of cavalry, districts remained for some time in a and a detachment of the 85th foot state of apparent tranquillity. The were kept on the watch. In the morn- agitators, however, were only planning ing, vast crowds were seen pouring into in secret bolder and more desperate Manchester from every direction, to schemes. These were soon brought to the number, it has been supposed, of maturity; and, before theend of March, 60,000, which, however, is probably the magistrates of Manchester announexaggerated, as it is admitted that there ced their knowledge of a plan for a gewere at no time more than 10 or 12,000 neral insurrection, to take place on the present on the field. Of these a large 30th. By a simultaneous movement, proportion, according to instruction, the magistrates were to be seized, the were provided with blankets and knap- prisons thrown open, the soldiers either sacks, preparations for the journey on surprised in their barracks, or thrown which they were destined. About nine, into confusion, firing several of the a temporary stage was erected on a cart, factories. They expected to muster round which the orators seated them- from 2 to 3000 men for the immediate selves, one being employed to invite as execution of the plan, after which, many as possible to concur in the de- their numbers would speedily swell to sign, while another took down the 5000. The introduction of troops, names, another received contributions, the knowledge that their plan was dis&c. On a sudden, by a dexterous covered, and the seizure of a number movementofthemagistrates and troops, of the ringleaders, prevented any atthe cart was surrounded, and all its con. tempt to carry this plot into execution. tents taken into custody. A movement After this second disappointment, the of the cavalry then scattered the mul. activity of their measures was for some titude in every direction. A large body time intermitted; but towards the end of the blankeieers, however, adhered to of April, its activity was renewed, their purpose, and took their departure though in a more secret and cautious on the road to Stockport. On arriving manner. Correspondence was now there, they found the bridge occupied avoided as much as possible, and it was by two troops of cavalry; but a num- strongly recommended to conceal the ber throwing themselves into the river names of the leaders. The business where it was fordable, they succeeded was now conducted by delegates, who in turning that barrier, and entered met in small numbers, and carried on Stockport. By the activity of the po- an extensive but verbal correspondence lice and military, many were arrested among the disaffected. Derbyshire, in the streets, and most of the remain- Nottingham, and the West Riding of der deterred from advancing. About Yorkshire, appear to have become five hundred only penetrated, and push- the centre of action. About the middle ed on to Macclesfield, where they were of May, a new expedition to London

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