« 前へ次へ »
seems to have been planned ; and as the munication to parliament on the state migratory petitioners were now to be of the country; and judged it candid supplied with arms, either provided be- to add, that it was their intention to forehand, or seized on their way from propose the continued suspension of individuals and depôts, the character the Habeas Corpus, till the commence. of insurrection would have been no ment of the next session. He stated longer equivocal. Various reasons in. also, in reply to Mr Brougham's induced the postponement of this mea. quiry, that the first measure proposed sure to the 9th and 10th; and its exe- would be a committee of inquiry, si. cution on a great scale was finally pro- milar to that at the beginning of the tracted by the activity of the ma- session. gistrates. The borders, however, of On the 3d June, the message from the counties of Derby and Nottingham the Prince Regent was sent to both presenteda certain form of insurrection. Houses, in which, as on the former One Brandreth, called the Nottingham occasion, he submitted to their in. Captain, collected at Pentridge a band spection papers tending to prove the of about a hundred men, with which disturbed state of the country. In he proceeded through Ripleyand East. both Houses, it was determined to rewood, towards Nottingham. Mr Rol. fer these, as before, to a secret comleston, the magistrate, came from that mittee. In the House of Lords, the town to reconnoitre, and finding the same noblemen were named as before, hostile attitude in which this body with the exception of the Duke of was moving, returned, and directed a Bedford, who declined, and the Earl troop of hussars to attack them. At of Talbot was named in his stead. In sight of the hussars, the insurgents the House of Commons, Sir J. Newtook to flight, and dispersed in every port proposed an entirely new comdirection. The ringleaders were taken, mittee, in which Lord George Cavenand afterwards brought to trial. The dish, Lord G. Russell, and Sir S. full account of the proceedings on that Romilly were introduced, while, of the occasion, given in the Appendix, (p. ministers, Mr Vansittart and Mr. H. 16,) will be found to include the Addington were substituted for Lord details of this rash and desperate sally. Castlereagh and Mr Canning. This
This course of proceeding, even prior was negatived by 126 to 66, and the to the occurrence of the last part of former committee re-appointed. it, clearly shewed the country to be in In a few days the reports of the a state as disturbed as when parliament, committees were presented to the two as noticed in the last chapter, had been Houses. The committee of the Lords induced to arm government with ex- stated, that though, by the active ex traordinary powers. The presentiment ertions of the government, and partiof an application for their
renewal was cularly of the magistrates, in execution felt even in the opposition side of the of the general laws, and of the special House ; and, on the 15th May, Mr powers entrusted to them by parlia. Ponsonby, alluding to the expiry of the ment, the designs of the conspirators former acts on the 1st July, requested had been frus:rated, yet they have to know, what were the intentions of reason to believe that the same wicked ministers before the members should and desperate projects are still conbegin to withdraw into the country. tinued. The information on which Lord Castlereagh replied, that minis- this conclusion is founded is said to be ters felt it their duty to advise the collected from sources frequently un. Prince Regent to make a fresh como connected and unknown to each other,
but the result is said to be uniform, would be called into action as soon as and is also corroborated by a striking necessity should justify their employcoincidence in many minute particu- ment. They concur likewise in a reprelars.
sentation of the danger with which the The committee then observe, that expiry of these powers at the present their intelligence rests, in many of its moment would threaten the country; parts, upon the testimony of persons and the committee feel, that they should who are either themselves implicated ill discharge the high trust reposed in in these criminal transactions, or who them, if they did not declare their unhave apparently engaged in them for reserved assent to this opinion. They, the purpose of obtaining information, therefore, with the fullest confidence and imparting it to the magistrates, or in the loyalty and good dispositions, the secretary of state.
not only of those classes of the com. The committee allow that such munity and those portions of the kingtestimony must be very questionable ; dom which have generally hitherto reand state, that they have reason to ap- mained free from disaffection, but of prebend, that the language and con. the greatest
part of those very districts duct of some of the latter description which are the chief scenes of disconof witnesses has had the effect of en- tent and of threatened diaturbance, couraging those designs which it was cannot refrain from declaring it as the intended they should only be the means result of all the information which they of detecting. But allowing for these have collected, that the time is not yet circumstances, they are still of opinion, arrived, when the maintenance of pub. that the statement which they proceed lic tranquillity, and the protection of to give is by no means exaggerated, the lives and property of his Majesty's but perfectly warranted by the papers subjects, can be allowed to depend upsubmitted to their inspection.
on the ordinary powers of the law.' The committee then take a view of The presentation of this report, the various transactions which had ta. one of the same tenor in the Commons, ken place at Manchester and its vici- was immediately followed in both nity. They announce the intended Houses by motions for the renewal general rising in the northern counties of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Bill, on the 9th and 10th of June, the in- which gave rise to debates as long and tention of which, though frustrated, as animated as those which had taken was proved to have existed, by the in- place at its first introduction. The telligence just received of partial in- same ground, however, being to be surrection.
gone over, the speeches on both sides “ The committee think it important could be little more than a repetition, to state, that many of the most active in different words, of the arguments magistrates, and persons whose civil formerly urged. The only novelty and military situations enabled them, was afforded by some facts, partially upon the most extensive information, admitted by the committee, who, as to form the most accurate opinion,con- above, express their apprehension that cur in attributing the disappointment the designs of the disaffected may have of the attempts already made, and the been encouraged by the language and hopes of continued tranquillity, to the conduct of some of the witnesses. In exercise of the new powers which par- fact, one Oliver having been appreliament intrusted to the executive go. hended in Yorkshire, as one of the verament, and to the influence produced most active ringleaders of sedition, by the knowledge that these powers was, on being brought before Sir John
with Byng, the commander in chief, imme- since he always thought that spies were diately liberated, and was then under- a disgrace to a free state. We had alstood' to have been employed by go- ready one fruit of that system in the vernment as a spy. The profligate preferment of Mr Reynolds here, concharacter of Castles, brought forward cerning whom he would only say, that as a witness in the recent trial of Wat- he never met an Irishman who did not son, afforded a fair theme for the in. shudder at his very name. vective of opposition. The most violent In reply to these strictures, it was language was used by the popular lea. stated by Lord Castlereagh, that Oliver ders. Sir Francis Burdett in particular, had not been sent for, but had applied after observing that Oliver had been in to government, though he could not the habit of going about using his own mention names connected with Oliver. name, observed, that the infamy of Mr Oliver had stated, that he had been such proceedings was greater on the applied to by a delegate, who was depart of the employer than the employ- sirous of ascertaining the state of things ed. They who held out encourage. in London. There was also another ment to such agents to destroy the person present, who had said it was sources of social happiness, to over- his intention to leave the country, but turn the mutual confidence of men, to he would remain if an effort should be endanger their lives, and rob them of made. The question for the considertheir liberty-the ministers who acted ation of government was, whether in this way were worse than the agents Oliver knew facts connected with the themselves; and, “if universal justice treason, and if he should be allowed to ruled the ball,” the noble lord who give information respecting them. The employed them should be brought to conduct of government in that respect the bar with his associates Castles and was fully justifiable ; and, from the Oliver. Whether they had authority communications made by Oliver, goor not, ministers were answerable for vernment saw no reason to think that their acts, and it would be no defence there was any imputation upon his to say that they had exceeded their moral character. No encouragement instructions. Happily for the country, had been given to get up a treason, an honest jury, aided by great legal but he was to give information to the abilities, had defeated their infamous magistrates how any rising might be purposes, and deprived them of the prevented. Oliver accompanied the blood-money that was to be the reward delegate to the country, and from that of their villainies. He afterwards de circumstance acquired the confidence clared, that this atrocious act, if passed, of his associates. But it was impossible would place this country in a situation that the arrival of a stranger could never to be envied by any other. The have had the effect ascribed to it, and preamble of the act stated an untruth; what must have been the state of the for the real conspiracy was that of country if it had? The fault of Oliver corruption and profligacy, aided by had been, that he brought himself too spies, who worked up discontent and much irto observation ; but he cer. insurrection in the haunts of misery tainly had prevented the explosion of and want. In proof of this he had the 9th June, and had not been deep various letters from different parts of in the confidence of the rioters. Sir the country, all unfolding the inissions John Byng, the commander of the of Oliver and his friends. He could district, had admitted that information not imagine howany government which had been procured by Oliver, and the employed spies could be held estimable; conspiracy had been in full vigour be
fore Oliver left town, had it not been stop to such proceedings, nor was a stopped by the magistrates. Much general act of legislation the proper exaggeration had doubtless taken place remedy. The remedy should be of a on the part of the delegates as to the local nature, and adapted to the place number of their adherents, and Oliver where such a spirit of insubordination had been told that 70,000 men had as- prevailed. The conduct that had taken sembled in Spa-fields ; but still some place in the country had been impelled measure was necessary to be adopted, by the circumstance of Oliver having and had not Oliver been sent down, appeared as a delegate from London, another delegate would have been ap- nor was there any disaffection, except pointed, and the effect would have among a few of the lower orders of been the same, without any information manufacturers. It was the duty of being given to the government. He the House to inquire into the nature must protest against government be- of the combinations to which he had ing censured for such a proceeding, as alluded, and by breaking these comit was certainly far better to watch binations, tranquillity would be speedithe treason in its progress,
ly restored in the disturbed district, suffer it to break out into actual re- without having recourse to the susbellion.-Mr H. Addington also men pension of the Habeas Corpus Act, tioned, that Oliver was introduced to which was not necessary. the office of his noble relative as a Notwithstanding the vehement opgood and useful character; he had been position made to the renewal of the a respectable builder. He gave re. bill, it was carried in the Commons by ferences to people who could vouch a majority, at the first reading, of 276 for his former character: he mention to lil; at the second of 80 to 30; ed that bis only desire was to be em- and at the third of 195 to 65. Two ployed in procuring and transmitting motions being made, one for limiting information, and that he had no sinis- it to the 25th December, and the other ter purpose whatever to accomplish. to the 1st March, 1818, the latter was No reward was proposed to him, no carried by a majority of 152 to 50. hire was offered, nor had he been led In the Lords, the bill was carried by a to rely on the hope of any remune- majority, at the second reading, of 190 ration whatever.- Mr Ponsonby also, to 50, and at the third, of 141 to 37. as a member of the secret committee, In reference to the question of the while he opposed the renewal of the employment of spies, which has been suspension, gave the following state- discussed in so violent a manner, we ment. He did not believe that the shall take the opportunity of making insurrection had been contrived by a few short observations. There is a Oliver, but that he had predecessors species of espionage, which is certainly in that laudable course. *Many had, criminal and tyrannical. Itis that which no doubt, been in the confidence of inquires into the private opinions of government, but he could only speak individuals, into the discourses held by of Oliver. An association existed in them in their family, or at the social certain counties that had never existed board, which seeks, as it were, to pry before in England, of a most atrocious into their very thoughts. Such a syskind, but not connected with politics. tem has always rendered its employers He alluded to the Luddites. But was the just objects of public odium. But the Habeas Corpus Act on that ac. it is a different case when men form count to be suspended all over Eng- themselves into associations for the land? That was not the way to put a purpose of political action. It then
becomes absolutely incumbent on go. hand, the strictest care is requisite that vernment to know, if possible, what they should be merely passive accomtheir views and designs are. If there plices, and do nothing tending to ag. be reason to think them such as strike gravate the offences which it is their at the very root of the social system, object to repress. There cannot be a the necessity becomes still more ur. greater enormity than that of a plot gent ; and it would be a weakness against government fomented by its equally ridiculous and criminal in go. own agents. A natural temptation is vernment to allow them to mature in offered to such base instruments, of secret the plans by which the peace thus increasing the importance of the and social order of the country would information which they communicate. be overthrown. There is, perhaps, It seems indispensible, therefore, that scarcely any faction 80 small which they should be warned, at their very might not become authors of the most utmost peril, not to involve themselves dreadful calamities, provided they were in any proceedings of such a tendency. thus left to mature their projects un. From the statement of the committee, molested. Few individuals, perhaps, as well as from other quarters, there have had higher notions of public vir. appears ground to suspect that, in the tue than Cicero, and few assemblies present instance, these limits were than the Roman senate. Yet we find passed. If so, an investigation ought Cicero boasting to Catiline of the in- surely to have taken place, and the of. timate knowledge which he possessed fender, if found guilty, ought not to of his most secret movements, to a have been shielded by his connection degree which could only be derived, with ministers, who, we are confident, as history shews it to be, from the would never sanction such a course. testimony of a pretended accomplice. Ministers, however, protected their In such exigencies, then, there arises instruments; and opposition, perhaps, a necessity for government to employ were less anxious to bring a culprit means from which it would otherwise to justice, than to involve their antahave shrunk : they must receive and gonists in the odium which his proreward the information of real and even ceedings were calculated to excite. counterfeit accomplices. On the other