Imatges de pÓgina

were to contaminate the trust re- a variety of sensible and shrewd reposed in them, and to fay to such a marks, said, that he would even woman, “ your plea is, or, at least, allert, that the virtue of the counsuch is the plea of your officious de- try was one cause for the frequency fenders, that, if you may not be per- of divorces. The sentiments of men mitted to form a second contract had become more delicate, and they with the man, by whole seduction could not endure to continue uniyou have broken your first contract, ted by wedlock to a woman, by you must naturally and necessarily whom they had been dimonoured. abandon yourself to prostitution.- Lord Carlife mid, that, with the Your plea is most inprincipled; acceffions of population, commerce, your passions are most depraved: and confequent luxury, it was not but you shall be gratified. You furprising if divorces were more have broken a facred and folemn frequent: but they afforded no reavow; but we will enable you, by son why the laws of the land hould a legislative act of ours, to go back be altered in cases of divorce; and unblushingly to the altar, which you why the conniving husband thould ought to approach with angony and have his remedy against a seducer, horror. Come again to us, as soon hy indicment for a mildemeanor, as you shall feel dilposed to quit this with fine and imprisonment, and fecond husband, and to take a third. fhould also have an action by which We shall be ready, toties quoties, to he might obtain an exorbitant comauthorize you to change the part. pensation : much less did they furners of your iniquity."

nil a reason, why an unhappy woThe bill was, on the motion of man fhoold, for an error, perhaps Jord Auckland, printed, read a le- occafioned as much by provocation cond time, and, on the twenty-first on one fide as perfuafion on the of May, committed: when leveral other, be turned adrift for ever from amendments, proposed by lord El- fociety, and, by the conclusion now don, were agreed to.

propoled, driven perhaps to BethOn the twenty-third of May, lord lem. He might have expected from Auckland moved, that the hill be the framer of this bill, that when he now read a third time. He replied introduced to many new penal proto the various arguments that had vifions, he would, at least, have been adduced against it. He was protected the offender from another alionished at the opposition which kind of torment: while he left him had been been set up, and at a loss at the discretion of the chief justice to conjecture froin what principle it of the King's Bench, he should have could arise.

exempted him from prosecution by The bill was now opposed by the the ecclesiastical court.--This bill earl of Coventry, the earl of West- ferved to confirm lord Carlisle in moreland, the earl of Carlisle, the the opinion which he always enterduke of Cumberland, the duke of tained, that monkish seclusions, for Clarence, and the earl of Muigrave: there were legal as well as ecclefiafit was supported by lord Eldon, lord tical monks, were not adapted to Hobart, the bishop of Rochester, qualify a man for legislation. The and lord Grenville.

studies of a recluse did not lead to a The earl of Westmoreland, among knowledge of the world; but, in

order order to correct morals, it was ne- penal, and deprecating, in all cases, cellary to mix with society, dive any pecuniary compensation to the into the minds of men, be acquaint- husband. ed with their actions, and search The duke of Bedford conlidered into the motives of their conduct. the bill as equally cruel and impoFor want of this kind of informa- litic. He particularly reprobated tión, a consummate lawyer, or a the swelling of the criminal code. holy prelate, might be very inade- " It is not,” said his grace, " by a quate to the formation of laws, rigid system of legislation, my lords, which could make society better that you are to correct the morals than it was; and of this the present of the people; it is by precept and bill afforded a fingular example. example." From legislators better qualified, he The bill was defended by lord hould have expected, that, instead Eldon. He conceded to lord Carof confidering the ecclesiastical court lille that, as the law now stood, it as a fanctuary not to be touched, was competent to any man, they would have fet about cleansing injured, to bring his action for dathe augean stable, though that, he mages, and at the same time infti. confessed, would be a Herculean la- tute a profecution in the ecclefiaftibour. He lamented the absence of cal court. But whenever that haplord Thurlow, who, in a very able pened, the judges in the courts bespeech, from which he read an ex. low causedl, of their own authority, tract, once delcribed the vexatious one of the suits to be stopped. His proceedings in the ecclefiaftical lord ship observed, that there were court, where a plaintiff, after ha- different kinds of seducers, the one ving once failed to prove his libel, what was called the honourable, might commence his fuit again, a the other the dinhonourable. As to fecond or a third time, upon exparle the honourable feclucer, when he kimony, and without heing sworn; hould find there was a law to preon the other hand, he quoted the vent marriage, this, in his opinion, cale of a Mrs. Middleton, who, af- would operate as a preventive, and ter having been detected in adul- call him aside from ihe path he was tery, contrived, by the afliftance of pursuing. With regard to the other the learned doctors, and the laws seducer, when he reflected that he of that court, to baffe, for five was to face a judge and jury, and all the efforts of her husband io ob- that he was to be punihed, perhaps tain a divorce, and thus put him to it would cool his appetite a little; the expense of 10,0001.—The pro- and so far the punishment, not as ceedings in that court were founded a punishment, but as a prevention, in frivolity, and their decrees in va- would have a good effi ct It had nity. He wified, as much as any been stated, that the woman was man, to alift in the promotion of to be pitied: that he was funk into any mealure that he really thought the abyss of milery, and driven to a would effectually check the immo- ftale of desperation. But, should rality of the day, and particularly the clause in question teaci her to the crime under consideration. His reflect a little, would the not say to fordship concluded, with expressing herself, " This man cannot be an his approbation of making adultery honourable fcducer, for he knows that, by the law of the land, he ever, was a point on which he cannot marry me after I have vio- spoke with diffidence, because it belated my conjugal vow. What longed to the learning of monks of must be the consequence then? another order. But if he had de. Why, my situation must be miler- scribed the practice of the courts able indeed, with this addition, that erroneoutly, he hoped that the sunone will pity me, because I could perior of that other order, the noble not be ignorant of the consequences and learned lord on the woollack of committing luch a crime.” would set him right. He had fome.

who was



The bishop of London laid, that times thought that it had been a retirement became women who had happy thing for the public, if no yielded to the violence of appetite bill of divorce had ever palled. But and passion, or the arts of fednction, the notorious prevalence of adulmore than scenes of gaiety: for in tery, in countries where divorce retirement they might be led to pe- was by no means to be had, seemed nitence, contrition, and remorse; to prove the contrary. On the which would be followed by the views and sentiments of what had most beneficial consequences, and been called the “ honourable feamong others regain, in some mea- ducer,” he could not but suppose sure, the countenance of the world. that the bill, if passed into a law, The bishop of Rochester, in a

would have a considerable effect. long and learned speech, supported He believed, indeed, that neither the bill, replying to the principal this, nor any other bill possible to objections that had been brought be framed, would reftrain the palagainst it. In the first place, he fiors of the fierinish feducer : but he replied, with great animation, to was confident that the swinish adulwhat had been advanced by lord terer a very rare characier Carlife, respecting the incapacity anong his countrymen. Bishop of monks, ecclefiaftical or legal, for Horfley, in conclusion of his speech, legillation, in certain cases, and said, “ My lords, once more I conthe vexatious frivolity, vanity, and jure you to remember, that justice, injustice of the ecclesiastical courts. not compassion for the guilly, is -The bishop argued, at great the great principle of legislation. length, on the ground of the di- Yet, my lords, your compassion vine law; and thewed, from the nay find worthy objects. Į mean, Scriptures, that the cohabitation of my lords, your merciful regards to a divorced adulterels with her fe- the illustrious suppliants proftrate ducer, under colour of a marriage, at this moment at your bar.—[Here notwithstanding the connivance of every lord turned his eyes to the human laws, was grols adultery. It bar, imagining that some French was objected, that the present bill, emigrants of high diftinction, of both not taking away the husband's action sexes, had come to throw themfor damages, while it made the felves on the compassion and proadulterer liable to indictment, in tection of the Briufi fenate.) But effect impoted a double punifliment the bishop continued ---" The fupfor the same crime. This he con- pliants this moment at your bar, tended, was not any novelty in the are, conjugal felicity; domestic baplaw of this country. That, how. pinels; public manners; the virtue


of the sex. These, my lords, are of the bill, was now put and carthe fuppliants now kneeling before ried; but only by a small majority, you, and imploring the protection the noncontents being 69, and the of your wisdom and your justice." contents only 77. The bill being Such personifications of abstracted pafled in the house of peers, was ideas are neither unnatural nor un- read, on the twenty-fixth of May, common among nations of ex- a first time, in the house of contreme sensibility and liveliness of mons; a second tine, on the thirimagination; but in this country, tieth of May; and, on the tenth as was proved by this rhetorical of June, the order of the day moperoration, they may serve only to ved for carrying it into a committee. make people stare, and to weaken In all these stages it was ably any impreilions that may have been supported, though with much less made by a less hold, and more folid zeal then in the house of peers, kind of eloquence.

while it was opposed with riot less Lord Grenville faid, that with of either ability or spirit. Every regard to the legal and religious one admitted the importance of the points of the question, he would subject, and regretted the prevacertainly refer to the opinions of lence of adultery as well as of dillithose who make law and religion pation and vice of all kinds: but their study and their profession. He fome considered the restriction pronever knew his noble friend (lord poled in the bill as too levere; Malgrave) so much out of his place others that there was nothing that as when he stood there contendiny, hadi happened, in the manners of the in legal construction, with a noble times, to make it neceilary; others and learned judge, and in religious that it was inadequate to its chdisputes with a right reverend pre- ject, and would tend to ircreale the late. He reminded him of the pe- numbers of bad women, by rendant who read lectures to Hannibal dering tiem irreclaimable. Some on the art of war. It had been of the members objected to it as urged that ladies, who were guilty transferring the right of punishing of infidelity, had no other means of from the jury to the judges, arming returning to the paths of virtue than them wiin new and formidable by marrying the very persons who powers. Some objected to certain had dillionourably seduced them. clauses in the bill, but disapproved What then, lord Grenville asked, of others. Though this was by would be the Gtuation of the un- no means a party question our reahappy woman, whom her feducer, ders may probably with to have after gratifying himself, refused to the opinion of Mr. Pitt, on the marry? or what return was there bill. He thought it merited difa for the woman who had been se- culion, and might be rendered less duced by a married man? The unpalatable to those who, he double only way in which such a leducer ed not, from laudable motives, opcould make compensation, as it was poled it, by various modifications. called, was, to contrive a divorce On' the whole, he thought, the from his lawful wife, which would benefits would preponderate in falead to multiplied transgressions. vour of society: and that wisatever The motion for the third reading degree of severity was initicted on


the few, would operate beneficially pit, apparently at his perfon. The for the whole. On the questior, man who had fired it, whose name that the speaker leave the chair, was Hadfield, was immediately the house divided when there ap- dragged into the orchestra, and peared for the question 104, against carried behind the scenes. Being it 143 : confequently the bill was examined by a magistrate, he exhiloft.

bited some symptoms of insanity; This bill, the object of which though some of his answers were was brought home to the bosoms rational. The veneration and love of so many individuals, in various that the nation bore to his majestys ways, made, as might be expected, person was by this accident awakena greater noise, while it was under ed into an enthusiastic joy at his confideration, than any other bill escape. Even the spirit of faction that was brought in the course of was lost in a general fream of this session before parliament, loyalty and exultation, Addrelles

Among the parliamentary acts of of congratulation on the king's this year pafied without noile or escape were presented by both debate, we cannot omit to notice houses of parliament, the universithe interference of the house of ties, the corporation of London, commons, on the motion of Mr. and, in a word, by all the other Abbot, for the better preservation, corporations, as well as the counties. arrangement, and more convenient Hadfield was tried in the court use of the public records of the king of King's Bench for high treason. It dom. On the eleventh of July, an was proved that he had been for addrefs to his majesty for that end fome years insane, chiefly in conwas unanimously agreed on, and the feqence of wounds received in his expenses of the measures adopted head, when he acted as a ferjeant for accomplishing it were provided in the army, in 1794, in Holland. by the commons.

He was therefore acquitted, but A bill of great importance to the not discharged. commerce of this country, which In consequence of what had been had long been in contemplation, done by Hadfield, and of repeated was pafied in the month of March. instances of the fury of insanity, be

This was the act for improving the ing directed against a personage, port of London, by the establishe whole safety was so dear and inment of wet docks at Wapping and portant to the state, two additional other places.

clauses, by way of amendments, Before we dismiss the parlia- were added to the insanity-bill

. mentary proceedings of this letion The lord chancellor, on the twenit is necessary to take notice of fy-fecond of July, after adverting an accident which forced the al- generally to the great and various tention, and greatly interefied the danger to be apprehended from infeelings, not only of both houtes of fane persons, when fuffered to go parliament, but of the whole na- at large, and observing, that nothing tion. As soon as bis majesty had in the infanity bill appeared to entered his box at the theatre of him efte@lually to remedy this evil

, Drury. Lane, on the fifteenth of stated, that the object of the first May, a pistol was fired from the additional clause, was to render

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