Imatges de pÓgina
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Such was their formidable appearance, and fo inactive, that the learned judge pronounced they wanted zeal as much as wit in their undertakings.

render their confinement as mi. ferable as poffible, and refufe them to stand their trial before their country, was treatment which would difgrace our English annals. If the houfe approved fuch tranfactions, he could only confole himfelf by having borne his teftimony against it. Lord Belgrave exonerated government from the charge of inhumanity, because there had been an accidental inattention in the fuperintendant of a prifon. In the two years' difcontinuance of this bill, the difaffected had availed themfelves of the interval to renew their plots, re-organize their schemes of fedition, and extend their treafons. Undoubtedly it was confiding great authority to minifters, and great refponfibility was annexed to it; but it was a power which had established the fafety, and was ftill neceffary for the prefervation of our liberty, religion, and laws.

Mr. Sheridan professed a respect for the votes of the commons, but not for a committee felected from the minifter's friends, who with prejudices on their minds, and a bias from their connexions, were not likely to make a just decision-and their partiality always ftruck him on the perufal of their reports. To the report of the lords he had the fame objection. The attorney-general feemed to pay little attention to the verdict of a jury. This jury had negatived the report of the felect committee, and he preferred that verdict to the reports. The opinion of the late chief juftice Eyre on that occafion was, that "This mighty confpiracy turned out to be men without money, leaders, or even order in their schemes; their rendezvous a back garret, their arms two rufty mufquets, and their exchequer£10.10s."

The inftance adduced in the reign of William was inapplicable; and he was aftonished at the comparifon; the majority of the nation then were Jacobites, and the Jacobites were compofed of the nobility and the landed intereft; confequently, were to be dreaded from their principles and oppofition to William. The act was made at the time of confpiracy against his life, their moral guilt was afcertained, and many of them fuffered on the fcaffold; but this act fhuts up any man on vague fufpicion.

Mr. Sheridan then reviewed the state of Ireland under lord Fitzwilliam, and attributed the outrages, cruelties, and atrocities, not to French principles, but British councils; demonftrating that the difcontents arofe from refentments ftrongly engraven on the hearts of the Irish against this country, The abufe of power lodged in the hands of minifters was his next fubject of animadverfion: it was evidenced he faid in the cafe of colonel Defpard, and in the alien bill, profeffedly enacted for political purpofes, and perverted to the ufes of prejudice and paffion. Many perfons had been fent out of the kingdom for paying their addreffes to the daughters of gentlemen to whom the connexion was unpleafant, and thefe unfortunate aliens were called, for no other reason, feditious! At the fame time he acquitted the duke of Portland of being capable of fuch a proceeding; but fuch, under his name, had been one of the abufes which needed reform. He ended with obferving,

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that no new reafons had been adduced for the prefent meafure, and many ftrong ones exifted against it. Mr. Canning thought there was great fallacy throughout this honourable gentleman's fpeech: the manner in which he had quoted the language of the learned judge Eyre, before whom the ftate trials took place, must be regarded as a pleafant fally; in truth, he had put into his mouth words which that great lawyer never uttered; and yet thefe were the facts, fo called, on which matured fentiments were to be fet afide, and, by fuch obfervations, the good fenfe of the people was to be led aftray. Mr. Sheridan had alfo confounded the whole mafs of the English with the objects of this bill; and, under the idea, argued that it was a coercion on the public: but happily no fuch coercion was needed, and could not be intended; it was directed folely against feditious perfons, and the house would be remifs if fuch were not under restraint.

Ayes, 98.--Noes 12.--Majority 86. On the 25th of February the bill for fufpenfion of the habeas corpus till the ift of February, 1801, was read a first time in the houfe of lords; and, on the motion that it fhould be read a fecond time, lord Holland faid, It was not his intention to oppofe the principle of the bill, though he highly diapproved it, but to exclaim against the indecency of hurrying a point of fuch importance fo rapidly through the house. To propofe reading twice in the fame night a bill for fufpending our most valua. ble privileges, without any reafon affigned, was difrefpectful and unparliamentary. This violation of a ftanding order had been practifed more frequently during the prefent

parliament than the preceding. In former times, on unforeseen emergencies, fuch things had been done; but minifters, of late years, had made it a practice without the fmalleft pretext! It was dangerous and unconftitutional, and as fuch he muft oppose it.

The lord chancellor replied, he did not recollect till he was feated that the morrow was a day on which the houfe would not do bur finefs, and fuppofed the bill might have been read a fecond time, and then gone regularly through its ftages; but fince he had been guilty of an overfight, it was neceffary it fhould be read twice that night or on Thursday, as the term of the laft act for its fufpenfion expired on Friday.

Lord Holland repeated, that though he reprobated the measure, and this impropriety was now become common, after the candid confeffion of his lordfhip he would not infift on the general rule being enforced.

On February 27 it was read the third time. Lord King rofe; he confidered the habeas corpus as one of the strongest and most facred barriers of the British conftitution, nor would he confent that it should be thus from time to time fufpended, without one fingle reafon being offered why it fhould be fo. In the reign of George the Ift, and George the IId, in the periods of actual rebellion, even with fuch danger impending, when there were fo many fupporters of a difputed fucceffion, men of the first rank and confequence in the country firmly attached to the Stewarts, even then, fo jealous were the parliament of this great bulwark, that they would not confent to fufpend it but for three months. The prefent mede

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of proceeding led him to imagine thefe frequent fufpenfions were preludes to abolition.

He was more ftrenuous in oppofing it, because the power of the crown had been immenfely increafed, and the privileges of the people proportionally diminished. The whole property of the nation was alfo at the difpofal of the crown. We were now a military people; and vefted as adminiftration was with fuch extraordinary powers, they ought not to be augmented at the expence of the liberties of the peoplc. He therefore gave his decided negative to the motion.

The earl of Carlifle fupported it; he allowed that the horrible principles which occafioned this measure were weakened, but not deftroyed. He could fee no danger in confiding fuch power to minifters who had ufed it fo leniently; and that this was the cafe, was evident by the people, who felt no apprehenfions, and expreffed no difcontent at fuch a power being fo entrufted.

Lord Holland obferved, that, even granting their conduct had been lenient (which feme ftrong facts would controvert, as confining perfons without trial, and permitting them to be ill treated and ill fed in their prifons), yet the fecurity and happiness of the fubject fhould not be at the difcretion of an individual, but arife from the protection of the law: the mercy of any adminiftration, or any fimgle man, was no fable foundation, and the notion would be attended with dangerous confequences. Men who owed no obligations to their conftitution would not be at

tached to it, and would fee, without regret, another erected in its stead. Judge Blackstone recommended that we fhould furrender our liberties for a while to fecure them for ever; but he added, that the occafion fhould be very urgent. before we confented to fufpend the habeas-corpus act.

Lord Eldon affirmed, that, to the fufpenfion of it, was owing the prefervation of the crown in the houfe of Hanover; and by this very act former confpiracies had been broken to pieces. But the lenity of former reigns and governments were not to be compared to this; and that which had given value to the British conftitution was, that it had not been founded on theories which God never intended man fhould adopt as a rule for a perfect creature. The law of England confidered him encompafled with vices and faults; it went on this principle, that in general the exifting provifions fhould be fuch as to fecure to the utmoft the liberties of the country; but in purfuing this object, it confidered alfo that it had to do with men as they are, and that it was the duty of the community to fubmit to a temporary deprivation of privilege, in order the more effectually to enjoy the liberties of the British conftitution.

Lord Mulgrave defended the bill. For the queftion 30.-Against it 3.-Majority 27.

The feffion concluded on the 27th of February in the usual manner by a fpeech from the throne; for the fubftance of which we beg leave to refer the reader to our Public Papers, p. (121).

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CHAP.

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CHAP. VI.

Eaft Indies. State of Affairs previous to the Recommencement of the War with Tippoo Sultaun. Caufes which led to Hoftilities. Proclamation of the French Governor of the Isle of France. Tippoo accufed of inciting Zemaun Shah to invade Hindoofian. Preparations of the British Govern ment. New Alliances formed. Deftruction of the French Force at Hyderabad. Negotiations with the Sultaun. British Army under General Harris enters Myfore. The Hill Forts reduced. March of the Army towards Seringapatam. Engagement near Mallavelly. Siege of Seringapalam. Out pofts carried by the Britisk. Correfpondence between the Sultaun and General Harris. An Attack from the Fortress repulfed. Negotiation with the Sultaun. Breach made in the Walls. Storming of Seringapatam. Death of Tippoo Sultaun. His Character. Partition of his Dominions.-United States of America. Death of General Washington. His Character. Dispute and fubfequent Negotiation with the French Republic. Terms of the Treaty.

FROM

ROM the conclufion of the peace of 1792 with Tippoo Sultaun, the affairs of India had remained in a kind of doubtful and fufpicious tranquillity. That fuch a peace could be either fincere or lafting was fcarcely probable. It is well known that the fuppofed lenity of the marquis Cornwallis, towards a fovereign whofe capital and dominions were fuppofed to lie at the mercy of Great Britain, was blamed by many who were intimately connected with India; and on the other hand, it was not probable that a prince of his pride and fpirit could otherwife than reluctantly fubmit to a treaty fo inglorious to an independent monarch. To the future hiftorian it belongs to explore the fecret caufes which provoke to war; it is the humble province of the annalift fimply to report the facts; and, as the evidence has as yet been only exhibited on one fide of the queft'on, we shall not justly be charged with partiality if we ftate the motives of the war as alleged by the

partifans of the British government. From the year 1796, the fultaun of Myfore is accufed of having kept the jealoufy of the government awake; and, in the autumn of 1797, lord Hobart is reported to have reinquifhed an expedition which he had undertaken into a different quarter, from the apprehenfions which were entertained of the defigns of Tippoo.

A document of lefs doubtful authority to establish the charge of bad faith against the fultaun is found in the proclamation of the French governor of the Isle of France, which was produced at Bengal in the month of June 1798. With the vanity of a Frenchman, and the zeal of a young politician, that commander was anxious to publish prematurely the alliance which he alleged had been formed between the French republic and the government of Myfore, for the deftruction of the British power in India. The paper which was at first held as a forgery was confirmed, it is faid, by the teftimony of credible

credible witneffes. They afferted that the fultaun had difpatched embaffadors to the Ifle of France; that thefe embaladors had been publicly received by the French governor there; and that, on the publication of the proclamation in queftion, the embaffadors, fo far from protetting against the proceeding, held, without referve, and in public, the fame language with refpect to the war which was to be commenced against the British pofleffions in India.

Whatever might be the hoftile intentions of the fultaun, the refult has proved, that he was but indifferently prepared to carry them into execution: and it cannot fail to excite our astonishment, that a prince of his confummate policy fhould fuffer his defigns to be fo publicly announced, before he was in a condition to fupport them by force, or even to repel the attack which fuch a conduct warranted. The profeffions of the fultaun were alfo of the most friendly kind, though but little faith is to be given to political profeffions. In a letter to fir John Shore about the time that thefe embassadors were said to be on their return from the Isle of France, he fays, "His friendly heart is difpofed to pay every regard to truth and juftice, and to ftrengthen the foundations of harmony and concord between the two nations."

It is another extraordinary circumftance that Tippoo did not receive any confiderable affiftance from the French government in India. About one hundred French

men are faid to have accompanied the foi-difant embaffadors from the Ifle of France, fome of whom, it is faid, were officers. And it is an equally extraordinary coincidence, that at the fame time that the marquis of Wellesley meditated an attack upon him, his majesty's minifters and the court of directors were employed at home in framing inftructions relative to the defigns of Tippoo.

It is further alleged, that Tippoo Sultaun had dispatched at the fame time an embaffy to Zemaun Shah, to encourage that prince in his long threatened invafion of Hindooftan. The governor-general was therefore convinced that it was neceffary to affemble the armies on the coafts of Coromandel and Malabar; and if circumftances had been favourable for fuch an attempt, it was his fixed determination to have attacked the fultaun inftantly, for the purpose of defeating his hoftile preparations. In this defign, however, he was. difappointed; for the army on the coaft of Coromandel was in so difperfed a ftate, that, from this circumftance, and certain radical defects in its establishments, he found it a much more difficult and tedious operation than he had apprehended to affemble a force equal to the enterprife.

In the mean time, his lordship applied himself ftrenuously to ftrengthen and improve the alliances with the Nizam and the Paithwah. With this view, he concluded a fubfidiary treaty with the former, a part of the conditions of which was, that the French troops

Tippoo, in his correfpondence with the governor-general, dated the 13th of December 1798, afferted, that this pretended embaffy was no more than a company of mercantile adventurers, unknown and unauthorised by him, who went with a cargo of rice, and returned with about forty French adventurers, ten or twelve of them arti. 'ficers, who came in fearch of employment, and feveral of whom went e fewhere. See Colonel Wood's Review of the late War in Myfore, p. 8.

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