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situation of the faas in the case? On the one side there was the evidence of the minutes of the proceedings of the magistrates in superintending the state of the prison, and on the other, the accounts which gentlemen had received from the parties themselves. They had proceeded to enquire into the situation of the parties confined in the laine manner as Don Quixote examinad the galley llaves on the crimes which had reduced them to that fituation, and no doubt the one as well as the other would endeavour to represent themselves as suffering without just cause. If, however, the evidence of the parties themselves was to be taken, it would be necessary to take their evidence both ways. Mr. Smith's authority was quoted for the hardthips he suffered, it would be necessary then, as sometimes was seen in law cases, to produce Smith versus Smith. It appeared that Sınith himself entertained no grcat idea of the motives which induced some gentlemen to interest themselves about him, and imputed it rather to a wisa to bring the matter as a motion before the House of Commons than from any regard to him. It appeared also, that though Mr. Burkes, in an intercepied letter, complained that he was dying for want, the minutes of the board ftated that on his coming before them, they found it neceffary to recommend to him cleanliness in his person. The same Smith too, in a letter to his wife, stated that he was in a better situation than he could imagine, that he reflected against the use which had been made of some things he had stated, and particularly disapproved of the comments of those who stiled the prison a Bastile. All these facts and confessions clearly proved that the hon. Gentlemen opposite had been imposed on, and that, from too credulously listening to the information they received, they had brought a serious charge against a very worthy and honourable set of inagistrates. This instance, however, should not only teach Gentlemen not to take up their opinious so lightly on such subjects, but it ought to teach the public to diitrust representations given on such partial authority. It was of great importance that false impressions (hould not be given ; for it was extremely difficult to root them out. To afterwards that they were false does not correct the evil they have produced, or serve as an antidote to the poison they have diffused. The credulity of the hon. Gentlemen themselves could r.ot be accounted for but in this manner; after what they have said, too, of the dangers which threatened the country; after conviction had Aashed on their minds frein
To prove what had passed here and in Ireland, it was matter of wonder that they were not overwhelmed with remorse and confusion for what they had formerly maintained ; it was alatter of surprise that their minds were iteeled against the incontrovertible evidence of facts, and it could only be imputed to the early biass their minds had received. For his own part he irusted that he was nut the lait to fiel what was due to suffering, bui at the same time there were feelings of another kind which ought not to be overlooked. He never could forget the laying he had read in early life of that great and good man Lord Hale, an ornament not only to the prorellion of the law, but to his country. When asked how he felt when he pronounced sentence of death on a criminal; he replied,
That he felt for the fituation of the prisoner, but he felt likewise for the country." He beggeu leave to recommend the example of Lord Hale io Gentlemen on the other side of the, House. . They seemed to be tremblingly alive to the situation of those who were taken up on suspicion of the greatelt crimes, but they did not seem to be alive to the danger of the country. They ought not to be fo ready to lend themselves to those who abuled their crcdulity. There was another point on which he felt himself obliged to make a few remarks. He had often heard things which had been said with much mirth and pleasantry there, which were after: wards repeated with most mischievous consequences else: where. An hon. Baronet talked of the Bastilcs which were erected in this country. The practice of giving these names, however, was of the most pernicious tendency. Every one must recollect that those who had forined themselves into focieties in this country for the purpose of following in practice what they admired in France, adopted the names of every custom and cftablishment to which the new state of things in that country gave rise. These men acted well and wisely for the purposes they had in view. They were wile children in their generation. They knew that if they could bring the names into use, they would prepare the way for the things. Shakespeare, the great master of the human heart, in one of his plays, represents the fondness of the mother as dwelling on the pretty words of the child. In the same manner did ihe people here adopt the phrases of those they wished to imitate. Gentlemen were not aware in what light their metaphors and allcgories might be taken up by others. He recollcated an anecdote, told him by a friend of his who had been present at a popular election in a certain borough. Se
veral persons came to the poll, and voted for citizen such a thing, and againft the other candidate, who was a banker. Some of the mob proposed that they should go and sack the Bastile, and let out the guineas, from a confinement more rigorous, probably, than that which the hon. Baronet had described to be the imprisonment of the old Bastile. Gentlemen might thus see in what light their metaphors may be taken up, and with what purposes they may be connected. With regard to the measure before the House, there was ground enough for the understanding of every man who impartially viewed the state of the country, and recollected late events. Those who have thought that there was danger, who think still that the danger is not entirely over, would not relax their efforts. or deprive the Executive Government of those means by which they had been enabled to provide for the safety of the comtry. He was happy that the present opportunity had occurred of removing the false impresfions which had arisen on this subject, and he hoped that those Gentlemen, who must see they had been deceived, would come forward and confess that they had advanced this very ferious charge without sufficient grounds. It ought never to be forgotten that men, who expose themselves to suspicion must often incur the disadvantages of guilt. Men, therefore, should be cautious how they gave occasion for suspicion, The safety of the state required that we should regard it de less than ihe case of individuals. It was a false compassion which felt only for individual hardships, and was callous to the general dangers of the country.
Mr. M. A. I aylor confelled that minifters had exercised the discretion entrusted to them with great lenity. He thought, however, that there was no sufficient ground stated for the bill before the House. He could have wilhed rather that'he information on which ministers thought themselves justified in calling for the bill had been stated to a secret cominittee, on whose report he should not have hesitated to vote for it. With respect to public prosecutions he neither impeached the severity of the Attorney General, nor the courts of law. He had read the book written by Smith, and he thought it of the most diabolical tendency. If the Habeas Corpus was suspended on the dread of invafion, however, it did not follow that now it was necessary. He did not see fufficient ground to justify the House in giving up so important a privilege. He was convinced the state prisoneis had not been treated in the severe manner represented, and
Vol. I. 1798.
he he believed if the hon. Baronet saw that he had been de ceived, he would be ready to acknowledge it.
Mr. Ellison had voted before for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and now saw no reason for altering the opi: nion he then expressed. As to the treatment of prisoners taken up in consequence of such suspension, it was his with they fhould be treated not in a capricious, but in a constitutional manner. He also wilhed that all magistrates through- , out the Kingdom would give in a report of the treatment of such prisoners, and confident he was, that from this report it would appear that the prisoners experienced a treatment such as might naturally be expected from hearts of humaniły, in a word, froin the hearts of Englithmen, and not what might be suggested by the callous hearts of gavlers.
The Attorney General, in explanation, said that it was wrong to suppose that he entertained any with to keep those in prison who were now detained in consequence of the fufpension of the act. On the contrary, his object was in having it continued, to prevent others from getting into prison ; for sure he was that neither the trials at Maidstone would have taken place, nor would there now be any persons in confinement, "had not the term for suspending the Ae been permitted to expire.
Mr. H. A. Taylor explained, and assured the learned Gen: tleman that he had by no means tipposed him to have any such object in view, as that to which the learned Gentleman had alluded.
Mr. Alderman Combe laid that if there existed in the king, dom tweniy: five ibonsand, instead of only iwenty-five seditious persons, he could not see how it were poflible for them to ad again the King or the Conftitution li must be evident to the House that it was imposible for such a number 10 do any harm. Sensible, therefore, and faiisfied as he was that the present state of the country did not require a renewal of the suspension of the Habeas Corfus act, he felt it his duty to endeavour to preserve that act as a biciling, and not to get sid of and cast it away as a curse,
Mr. Wiflern Caid, he had heard nothing stated which to him appeared io le a suficient ground for continuing the fufpene lion; though, if he fai thai any real danger made it accel, fary to relign that great bulwark of our liberiics, the motion Mould undoubtedly have his concurrence. But in his opinion the country never ficed in a state of greater security, nos never did there exist lçis danger to the constitution than at the present moment. “Our affairs,' whether we looked at thein in a foreign or a domestic view, would be found perfectly secure: there was nothing, therefore, which would justify him in acquiefcing in the prelent motion.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid he would detain the attention of the House only for a few moments:—But he could not omit the present opportunity of remarking on the change of opinion that betrayed itself in the minds of some gentlemen Jefpeeting the cause of the security now enjoyed by the country. A worthy magistrate has acknowledged that the state of the country is materially changed, and fo materially changed, that he fees no neceffity of adopting the measure now proposed. He too had the satisfaction of observing that the affairs of the country, both abroad and at home, were indeed very materially changed. But on the cause that produced this material change, both abroad and at home, on the sources from which has sprung this foreign and domestic security, his opinion differed widely from that formerly entertained by the gentlemen of the other Tide of the House. To those falutary precautions which it was now his wish to see renewed, did lie, and he trusted he mighr, fairly attribute that success which we have obtained abroad, and that fecurity which it is acknowledged we now enjoy at hone; though by those who now confess that such precautions had been neccffáry, it was formerly afferted that they led to, nothing but disasters abroad, and to the destruction of the conftitution at home. They now, however, join in congratula-, tions on the successful efforts that have been exerted in order to rescue the country from the various dangers that threatened it dangers upon the authors of which the House could not now look back without borror or indignation. Yet when he now folicited powers to obviate and avert the recurrence of those dangers, the granting of those powers was opposed by that fide of the House who tefore perlifted in a bold and positive denial of the success of those precautionary measures which they now confefs to have been wisely and prudently adopted. What then could be the object or the result of such an opposition but to prevent the adoption of those wise precautions to which the Talvation of the country has been fo generally and so juftly ascribed. It is confessed that the fate of the country is mate*Tially changed for the better, and does not this change prove how mistaken were the notions of those who reprobated the very means by wirich thofe dangers and calamities were prevented that have burst upon and desolated other countries? If fuch then have been the rappy effects of the use of those powers which the wisdom of Parliainent had entrusted to the hands of Q.92