latter person had been much rc- Mr. Canning, in a long and eloviled by the noble lord and others quent speech, in which he was for his attachment to the politics frequently greeted with cheers, unof France, but it now appeared dertook the defence of the British that the war had been produced government in its proceedings pre- . by causes beyond his control. He vious to the late negociations,

and could not consider America as be in the negociations themselves.

' ing wholly to blame in the pro- With respect to the English acts duction of the war; and he was relative to foreign sailors, referred justified by a review of the history to by Mr. W. he said that he had and progress of the preceding ne understood them only as granting gociations, to ascribe to the conduct municipal privileges to such perof our own government the exist- sons, and by no means as impairing rupture between the two coun- ing their native allegiance to their tries. On this point Mr. W. en- own sovereigns; and therefore that tered into various particulars; and there was no similitude between with respect to the American prac- these enactments, and the pretentice of naturalizing British-born sions of America in their naturali. subjects, and denationalizing them, zations. With regard to the right he observed that there were two of search, he repeated the arguacts upon our statute books by ments used in the Regent's declawhich every foreigner who served ration against first abandoning a two years in any vessel, military right of which we are in lawful or merchant, was entitled to every possession, and then trusting to protection of a natural-born sub- negociation for its restoration, or ject of this realm : and he appre- the substitution of an equivalent. . hended, that if an American had But the topic on which he princiserved two years in our navy, and pally employed his eloquence was, the vessel in which he sailed was an invective against the American boarded by an American armed government for having taken the ship, which should claim him, he time when Great Britain was deepwould be entitled to the protection ly engaged in the glorious strug. of this country, and our govern- gle for the emancipation of Europe ment would have a right to refuse from tyranny, to impede her exerto give him up. Mr. W. then tions, and league itself with the strongly reprehended the attempts oppressor. Having thus declared

. to attribute the conduct of America his sentiments concerning the geon this occasion to French influ- neral grounds of the dispute be. ence, and denied that she had ever tween the two countries, he asdeclared in favour of France. If sumed his part of a censurer of the truth must be spoken, she had al- present administration, by remarkways been in the right in her dis. ing on their want of vigour and putes with us until, by the decla- decision in the measures which ration of war, she had changed had followed the declaration of her situation, and he hoped that this advantage which she had gi. After Mr. Croker had made ven us would be used on our parts some observations in defence of with wisdom and discretion. the conduct of the admiralty, and kad stated some facts in proof of tifarious duties, the bill was read the misrepresentations and unfair the first time, and ordered to be proceedings of the Americans re printed. lative to the impressing of seamen; On Dec. 7, the order of the and a few words had been added day standing for going into a com, by other members ; the question mittee on the bill, lord Holland was put and carried without opó rose to submit a motion for further position.


information respecting the bill, and A similar address being moved particularly for the production of in the House of Lords by earl the report of the committee of the Bathurst, on Feb. 18th, the day House of Commons appointed to for taking into consideration the inquire into the causes of delay io papers relative to the war with the decision of suits in the court America, a debate ensued, in which ofChancery. Lord Redesdalemade the arguments employed were so no opposition to this motion, but perfectly similar to those above at the same time assured the House reported, that it is unnecessary to that no information could be departicularize them. The address rived from that report capable of was carried without a division. altering the opinion of their lord.

The great inconveniences aris- ships on the proposed measure. ing from the accumulation of bu. The order of the day being then siness in the court of Chancery, read, lord Holland again rose to which rendered it impossible for state to the House some objections the same person to preside in that to the bill, which were replied to court, and also to perform all his by lord Redesdale, and ihe bill functions in the House of Lords; passed through a committee, and and as a high political character, was ordered to be reported. had for a considerable time past The further proceedings on this engaged the attention of both bill, in which many of the ablest Houses of Parliament, and a bill members in both Houses, especifor the appointment of a new law. ally those of the legal profession, officer, under the title of vice-chan- took different sides, produced a cellor, had in the last session been mass of argumentation of which it laid before the House of Lords, in would be impossible to give an adewhich no alteration had been pro. quate view in such a summary as posed, but it had miscarried in the we are confined to by our limits, Commons; almost immediately especially as the topics discussed after the assembling of the new were of so technical a nature. We parliament, on Dec. 1, 1812, lord shall therefore only note the parRedesdale presented to the House liamentary circumstances attendof Lords a bill for the better ad- ing the passing of this bill, and in ministration of justice, which he sert in its proper place an abridged stated to be the same with that account of its provisions. introduced in the preceding ses- On Feb. 11, the second reading sion, and after he had made a short of the Vice-chancellor's bill was observation on the necessity of moved in the House of Commons some assistance to the lord-chan. by lord Castlereagh, in a speech, cellor in the discharge of his mul- in which he stated at large the

causes which rendered the creation that House, but had been twice of such an office advisable, and the rejected by the House of Lords. reasons that had induced his ma- This was a bill for the purpose of jesty's ministers to propose the bill. repealing the act which made it a A long debate ensued, in which a capital offence to steal property to number of members joined : Mr. the amount of five shillings prie Banks having moved as an amend- vately in a shop or warehouse. The ment, that the bill be taken into principle, he said, upon which he consideration that day six months, founded his bill, was precisely the a division ensued, in which the same as that which he had before votes on the amendment were, stated; namely, the inexpediency ayes, 122 ; noes, 201. Majority of suffering penal laws to exist against it, 79. The question for which were not intended to be the second readingwas then carried executed. A demonstration of this without a division. It is to be ob- inexpediency was found in the reserved that the support and oppo- turns of the criminal courts of sition to the bill for the most part London and Middlesex during the coincided with the distinction of years 1805, 6, 7, 8, 9, in which members as ministerial and anti- the number of

persons committed ministerial.

for this offence amounted to 188, The order of the day for going of whom 18 only had beeen coninto a committee on the bill was victed, and not one executed. This moved by lord Castlereagh on Fe- was a pretty accurate criterion to bruary 15th. After an amendment show that there was no intention for putting off the committee to of putting the law into execution; that day fortnight had been nega- and the consequence was, that tived, the House went into the where some punishment was decommittee, and various clauses erve none at all was inflicted, were agreed to. The report was and the offender escaped with imthen brought up, and ordered to punity. The honourable and learnbe taken into further considera- ed member then quoted with due tion on that day sen'night. encomium the following sentence

On Feb. 22nd, the consideration from Mr. Burke's Observations on of the report was accordingly re- the penal laws. “ The question is, sumed; and after a further debate whether in a well-constituted comof no great length, a suggested monwealth it is wise to retain laws amendment was negatived, and not put in force? A penal law the report was agreed to without a pot ordinarily executed must be division. The bill afterwards pass- deficient in justice or wisdom, or ed on to a law without farther both. But we are told that we opposition.

may trust to the operation of manSir Samuel Romilly, with that ners to relax the law. On the perseverance in his endeavours to contrary, the laws ought to be alamend the criminal law of the ways in unison with the manners, country which has done him so and corroborative of them, othermuch honour, introduced to the wise the effect of both will be lesHouse of Commons on February sened. Our passions ought not 27th, a bill which had twice passed to be right, and our reason, of


which law is the organ, wrong." On March 26th, sir S. Romilly After some

further remarks having moved the third reading of on the subject, sir Samuel pro- his bill respecting privately steal. ceeded to say, that he next pro- ing in shops, &c. the attorneyposed to introduce a bill relative general, sir Thomas Plumer, rose to the common-law punishment in to express

to express his disapprobation of it. cases of high-treason. The sen- He was well assured that the crime tence, as it stood, was most shock- in question had increased; and the ing and barbarous. It was, in- opinions of all the judges, and of deed, now never executed; but it the recorder and common serjeant was obligatory upon the judges to of London, that this bill would be pronounce it according to the let- found inadequate, weighed very ter; and the mitigation of punish- strongly with him. He referred to went was left to the care, and its experience respecting the effect of aggravation to the negligence of the act taking away the capital the executioner. He meant there- part of the punishment from the fore to move for a bill to alter the offence of stealing from persons punishment of high-treason; and privately, which was a great inanother, to take


corrup crease of crimes of that description of blood as a consequence of tion, so that they were now openly attainder of treason or felony. He committed by gangs of thieves in concluded his speech by moving, the face of day. This increase he “that leave be given to bring in a attributed to the comparative mildbill to repeal so much of the act of ness of the punishment of transking William as takes away the portation, which to desperate of benefit of clergy from persons pri- fenders carried little terror in it. vately stealing in any shop, ware- Mr. Abercromby supported the house, coach-house, or stable, any bill chiefly on the ground of the goods, wares, or merchandizes, of discrepancy between the law and the value of five shillings; and for the practice, which was productive more effectually preventing the of various evils, of which the princrimes of stealing privately in cipal was, the necessity under shops, warehouses, &c."

which judges and juries so freThe solicitor-general, sir Wm. quently laboured, of committing Garrow, then made some general what had been called pious perjuobservations on the principles of ries, because they could not in the proposed bills, and introduced conscience and humanity enforce several facts from his own know. the execution of the law in partiledge of the advantage of the dis- cular cases. With respect to the cretionary power vested in the experience referred to by the last judges. He did not mean, how. speaker against abolishing a capiever, to oppose the introduction of tal punishment, he cited the opthe bills, which there would be posite experience in the instance future opportunities of examining. of repealing that punishment in

After some remarks by other the case of stealing from bleachmembers, leave was granted to sir ing grounds. S. Romilly to bring in his three Mr. Wetherall supported the bills.

argument from experience, by the authority of lord Ellenborough, spect, yet it might be remarked who had declared, that taking that there was a propensity in all away capital punishment from the professional men to resist every crime of privately stealing from deviation from established usages. the person, had increased the of. The consideration which most fence to an enormous and alarm- weighed with him in supporting ing degree; and said, that to his the present measure was, the adopinion he should pay more de- vantage of introducing certainty ference than to the theories of all into the feelings which pronouncthe speculativewriters collectively. ing the awful sentence of the law He said, that upon the principle should excite in the criminal himmaintained in the bill, all the acts self and those who witnessed his inficting the punishment of trans- fate, and which must be rendered portation ought to be repealed, quite vague by the fore-knowledge since it was well known that in 80 that in not more than one case in cases out of 100, when that was twenty the sentence was carried the maximum of punishment, the into execution. The hon. gentlejudge commuted it for a less se- man also adverted with energy to vere penalty. It was the system the necessity juries were laid under of the law of England that a of trifling with the solemn obligagreater punishment should be af- tions of an oath, to evade, under fixed to crimes than it would be the direction of the judge, the sealways necessary to inflict, leaving verity of the law. it to the discretion of the judges to After several other members diminish it, and he saw no neces- had spoken, with a repetition of sity for alteringit, while the judges the former arguments, sir S. Rowere actuated by the feelings of milly made a concluding reply to tenderness and humanity. He de- the objections that had been adprecated the mischief resulting vanced against his bill. He said, from discussions which would pro- he was perpetually termed a theopagate among the people a notion rist, but it was upon fact alone of the cruelty of the laws by which that he had rested, and his oppothey are governed; and should feel nents were the real theorists with it his duty to resist the further in their general arguments. Thenumtroduction of an innovating spirit ber tried for the offence in ques. into our criminal legislation. tion from 1749 to 1771, was 250,

Mr. Stephen said, that his hon. of which 109 were convicted. But and learned friend, the mover, só in the last five years, out of 188 far from discarding practice for tried, the convictions were only theory, or wishing to innovate, was 18; and how could this difference desirous to restore the law to its of proportion be accounted for, original state in which it existed except from the unwillingness of a century ago, before an experi- juries to find the property stolen ment had been tried which had to be of the value required by the failed of its purpose. The strongest act ? Could any stronger arguargument he had heard against the ment against an existing law be bill was the opinion of the judges, conceived, than that crimes inwhich was entitled to all due re- creased and multiplied under

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