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that House to take every measure that could keep us on our guard, and to relax in any of our efforts to counteract and baffle the wicked designs and machinations of such enemies : We should not, as has been well said, hesitate to sacrifice a part of that, the whole of which we may secure and hereafter enjoy by means of that seasonable facrifice. The hon. Gentleman was also pleased to speak much of his own and of his (Mr. Wilberforce's) humanity, for his part, he might fairly say, that he never came forward in support of any measure, wilh nothing but the word humanity in his mouth, nor did he endeavour to gain his point upon false grounds: he, on the contrary, brought forward strong facts, to which he added the plea of humanity. The persons whose cause is now so pathetically pleaded might heretofore have been objects of humane compaflion. But where was the hon. Gentleman's humanity and friendship for them before they were accused of High Treason? where was the hon. Gentleman's curious anxiety to visit the prisons and pry into their regulations before the State Prisoners were confined in them? Has he examined into the treatment of vagrants with equal solicitude? He did not, however, urge these observations with a view to blame the hon. Gentleman's humanity and sympathies; he merely urged them to thew that his humanity and sympathy on the present occasion should nor have hurried him to bring grave accusations against respectable characters without having examined into the grounds upon which they stood, and without any other apparent proof than the influence of strong prejudice.

Mr. Jefferys, of Coventry, said, when the suspension of the Habeas Corpus was moved last year he had given it his support, with many Gentlemen on the same side of the house, from an impression on their minds of the danger threatening the country from treason, an apprehension strongly enforced by the assurances of Ministers that such danger existed. Many Gentlemen who then supported the measure now opposed its continuation by saying the same inducement no longer existed. Mr. Jefferys agreed with them that the same induccment no longer did exist-the inducement last year was an apprehension of treason, the inducement now was the experience of the existence of treason, supported by strong facts at Maidstone and elsewhere. Mr. Jefferys said, he repre- , sented a very populous manufacturing city, and he believed he was speaking the fenntiments of ninety-nine out of a hundred, of a very large body of people.


With respect to the prison alluded to, Mr. Jefferys said, not having seen it, he could give no opinion, but he thought it his duty to state that, during the recess, in an extensive journey, he had, from general motives of information, visited the prisons of many large towns through which he passed, and was aftonished at the accommodation, tenderness, and humanity with which the prisoners were treated; one in particular he begged leave to mention to the honour of the county, the prison at Lancaster castle, where the prisoners' were maintained with an attention to humanity and tendernefs in a degree more resembling the situation of persons rewarded for good deeds than suffering punishment for crimes.

Sir Francis Burdett contended that every assertion he had made was grounded upon facts--nor could he see much delicacy in the manner of an hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wilberforce), who thought proper to throw out insinuations respecting the motives which guided his conduct, and that of his hon. Friend. He would now proceed as he had proceeded before, and adduce new facts in proof of his former assertions; in order to do so however, he must beg the indulgence of the House would permit him to read several papers which had lately been addressed to him. The hon. Baronet then read several papers (we believe sent him by the prisoners from Manchester), the general purport of which was to describe the hardships which they have suffered in the prison at ColdBath-Fields; among which they enumerated their being confined in solitary cells, measuring only eight feet by fix, where they could not obtain any thing like a bed without paying a Thilling for it; where they were left without fire or candle, expofed to cold weather, in a narrow space where the wet continued to flow down the walls, a situation in which they were compelled to linger for seven months; that far differen treatment had been promised them by the Privy Council and though they had repeatedly written to Mr. Floud, the magistrate, entreating him to see that promise realised, they could obtain no other redress than that Mr. Floud would see them if they wilhed to speak with him on public affairs, but that as to their private situation, it was not in his power to make any alteration in it. The hon. Baronet could not see that the charge of any particular species of guilt could afford any justification for such harsh and cruel treatment. As to the letter read by an hon. Gentleman on a former night, re, {pe&ting the regulations of the prisons, and the comforts enUU 2


joyed by the prisoners, to his mind it appeared exceedingly exaggerated; that letter represented the table of the prisoners to be as sumptuous as that of the gentleman who wrote it, and as he was a churchman, it might be well supposed, as the hon. Gentleman had before observed, that the table of the clergy is generally well provided. The letter, in short, represented these places of confinement rather as wearing the appearance of an hospital than of a prison ; but was not this, if true, a luxury that ill-suited a place of correction, where legal chastisement should be inflicked, not where luxuries should be enjoyed? But much he wished that none but legal correction had been resorted to. If after a due investigation of the matter, he should find that the arguments he had advanced on the subject of the ill-treatment of the prisoners were not grounded on fact, he not only would be ready, as an hon. Gentleman had advised him, to make an amende honorable to the House for the uncalled for trouble he had given them, but he should also enjoy the happiness of having his feelings relieved from the idea that such foul atrocities had been practiced in a country he was taught to look upon às free and humane, in England, in the country that gave him birth; if that investigation was not resisted by the House, it was his wish that proper evidence thould be called to the bar, in order to have the whole matter cleared up to the general satisfaction of the country, and as such was his wish, he would not now detain the House by any further observarions. : Mr. Wilberforce explained the nature of the letters which he had read, the contents of which he believed to be true, because he knew the gentleman who wrote them to be a man of frict veracity.

Mr. Furilor said, that when he had spoken before upon the question now before the House, his observations were summary, and his statements rather short; but these statements were not merely the offspring of a fickly brain : he had taken the trouble fully 10 investigate the truth of them, and from wbat he had to say, the House would see whether the treatjnent experienced by the prisoners in question deserved the very strong denomination of atrocities, which the hon. Baronet has thought proper to give it. He had seen the letter from Mrs. Despard, which appeared in one of the news. papers, and as foon as he saw it, he felt it his duty to enquire inimutely into the causes of her complaint. With that view

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he went and had a long conversation with Colonel Despard, the result of which he trusted would save the hon. Baronet the trouble of looking for that information which he seemed fo anxious to obtain. In the interview which he had with Colonel Despard, in the presence of the Governor of the prison, the Colonel informed him that he was as well in every circumstance as the nature of a prison would admit, Indeed he was determined to make no complaint, as he enjoyed all the comforts which were recommended by the Sea cretary of State, and he did not expect more.

It was true; that in the month of September he had a chilblain in his heel, but so little did he think of it that he would not employ the surgeon of the prison to relieve it. He was, he said. an old soldier, and placed little confidence in the professors of medicine; he would therefore doctor his heel himself. As soon as his complaints were known, he was immediately removed to a room where he had fire, candles, &c. and every accommodation he could fairly expect. He had frequent in, terviews with his wife, with whom he was permitted to con verse for almost any length of time. He had not any knowledge of the letter written by her complaining of his ill treatment, or if he had, he would have disapproved of it. Now as to the dampness of the cells, he (Mr. Burdon) could safely aver that it was a most unfounded assertion. He had examined them himself; they were raised considerably above the ground, and not exposed to wet of any kind. The walls were moreover thick, and well white-washed. The beds were also said to be but two feet wide, and to be exposed to the damp walls. This assertion was as groundless as the former; they neither touched the walls, nor were they exposed to any inclemency of the weather. What then could be the effect of agitating a question like the present, but to traduce the fair character of respectable men, and particularly of the magistrates whose conduct thould not be lightly arraigned, but, on the contrary, should meet with our countenance and support? Did it not go to injure the credit and character of that eminently humane man who laboured so long and so strenuously in meliorating the state of prisons throughout the • country? If these charges could be listened to, would ihey not tarnish the well earnt glory of that celebrated man? As to the propriety of continuing the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, he was sure there could rest no doubt in any candid and unbiased mind. The ground of that propriety, might indeed be changed, but the change only tended to render it more obvious. It should therefore now, as it had before, have his warmest support.


Mr. Canning had but little to say, as what was already obferved by his hon. Friends abundantly refuted every semblance of argument that had been urged on the other fide. He therefore only rose to ask, where was the ground for the enquiry which the hon. Baronet 'was so anxious should be instituted? The House was not in the habit of granting enquiries without some adequate motive to justify them. It should fairly appear that all was not right befo.e any enquiry should be acceded to. But here every statement that was brought forward has been contradicted, nor has any new evidence been adduced, to confirm the affertions : not the least accesion of argument or proof has this night been advanced in support of statements that have already been thewn to be groundless. The House therefore should institute no new enquiry on the subject, but leave the scouted and shamed talk to the Gentlemen who stirred the question, and the country will fee what they can do with it. The hon. Baronet had said, that whatever is brought forward by the ministerial fide of the House never fails to make an impression, because it has the countenance of ministers, while whatever he on the opposite side attempts to enforce makes no impression at all. But upon whom does the hon. Baronet expect to make an imprellion, with all the confidence he may repose in his talents? Surely not upon the House ; no, not even upon

the mind of the greatest idiot. In the House, according to the hon. Baronet, nothing is carried by the good sense of its members, but merely by the sway of the minister, without any attempt to justify the proposed measure. From this observation, this specimen of impartiality, the House may learn what it might expect, should the tide of popular favour begin to run another way, and not in the constitutional channel in which it has long, and in which he trusted it would long continue to flow. After what had been observed by an hon, Member (Mr. Burdon) on the case of Colonel Delpard, it were idle to offer a word more on the subject, but had it been permitted to pass by uncontradicted, the Gentlemen who started it could return to their assertion, as flushed with victory at its having been passed by unnoticed. But what now is the case? An illiterate woman, who cannot even spell, writes a letter, an able letter let it be supposed, pathetically


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