Imatges de pÓgina

would regard it under the circumstances in which Sir Hugh Palliser went to trial (for it was notoriously at his own request, and on his own repeated application, that he was tried) as an acquittal which did himn the highest honour, and which it was the duty of the king's ministers to pay proper attention to, and to follow with reward and honour.

With regard to the fort of reward that has been bestowed on Sir Hugh Palliser, his lordship faid, he was a little astonished to hear that called in question, after what had been said previous to the second court-martial, by the same honourable gentleman, to whose speech in that House he had before alluded. That gentleman, with his usual benevolence, had “ carnestly recommended it to ministers, to apply to his Majesty to bestow upon Sir Hugh Palliser, for his long and meritorious services previous to the 27th of July, an ample annuity or pension;" and this request he had pressed with all the force of his eloquence. How happened it then, that the tone was so different at present, when, if he recollected rightly, the government of Greenwich Hospital did not make a greater addition to the honourable admiral's income, than about 600 or 700l. a year, his half-pay, as a Vice-Admiral, ceasing, from the hour of his promotion to Greenwich Hospital ?

The honourable gentleman had used some very fine words against administration, words which certainly were very strong ; but unfortunately there was not the least truth in them. Speaking of those officers who refused to serve, and who had been enumerated, he had said, the reason for their declining to ferve was, “they had no confidence in administration, guilty of convicted falsehood and of recorded treachery.” These expressions were certainly sounding, but to what did they apply In what did the fallehood and trea. chery of administration confift? An honourable gentleman who spoke early in the debate, had said, that Admiral Keppel and other officers, whose names had been mentioned, would be thought fit for Bedlam, if they served under the present miniftry; now if it were poflible that the present ministry stood guilty of convicted falsehood and recorded treachery in the eyes of those gentlemen, it was surely equally fair for him to say, that the present ministry would be fit for Bedlam if they employed those admirals; and that if they did, knowing their want of confidence in adminiftration, they ought all to be sent to Bedlam together; but would the honourable gentleinan say, that the having given the office of governor of Greenwich Hospital to Sir Hugh Pallifer, had operated in Admiral Barrington's mind, and induced him to decline the service. If that was the honourale gentleman's deduction, he must contradict it, Admiral Barrington having agreed to serve fince that promotion took place. Upon its being said across the House by Mr. Fox, “ I used no such argument,” his lordship said, " I thought the honourable gentleman had; if he did not, I have only thrown away so

governor able

many words.”

Sir Hugb

His lordship, in the course of his speech, asserted very fully, that if blame was due upon Sir Hugh Palliser's promotion to Greenwich Hospital, it was not tolely imputable to the Earl of Sandwich ; as first Lord of the Admiralty, that noble lord had undoubtedly the transaction to manage ostensibly, but no message had been carried to his Majesty upon the subject, before the whole business had been consulted and conferred on by others of his Majesty's Ministers; he was one consulted; he advised and acceded to the measure, as well as his brethren in office; he made not the least scruple to avow it; he had stated generally his motives for having so acted; he was conscious of having acted a becoming part, and from that consciousness he was ready to meet any enquity upon the subject, and he wilhed that enquiry might be foon instituted.

Sir Hugh Pallifer rose, and began with a declaration that the honourable member in his eye [Mr. Fox] had given him abundant cause for calling him to order, had he chosen to do it ; but that he had fat a patient auditor, that the honourable gentleman might know he was not afraid to hear any thing he could say of him, at any time, in any place, or on any occasion. Such attacks as the honourable gentleman had now thought proper to make on him, he understood had been frequent in that House, while he was absent, and incapable of defending himself. The manlinefs of such conduct he left to the confideration of others; but being aware of his own inperfections, knowing how unqualified he was to speak in public, both from want of custom and want of ability, and expecting that the virulence which dictated former attacks would occafion a renewal of them that day, he had committed a few. thoughts and observations to writing, which he trusted the House would grant him permission to read, as some defence of the most injured character in the kingdom.

To the noble Lord [Lord Norib] who sat near him, he thought himfelf highly indebted, for the handsome and very


E S. able manner in which he had supported his cause, and controverted the arguments of his enemies; to the noble Lord, therefore, some apology was due, for the similarity to his speech that would appear in parts of the manuscript he was about to read, which having been drawn up before he had heard the noble Lord, would undoubtedly strike the hearers as containing somewhat of the same chain of reasoning.

After this exordium, Sir Hugh began to read a long speech from written -notes. He began with stating, that

, he felt the less wonder at the inisconception of the public, as to the motives that impelled him to prefer the accusations against Adiniral Keppel, which had made so much noise, and loaded him with so much misfortune, 'because he never had explained them himself. When the proper opportunity offered for justifying himself, he had endeavoured to profit by it, but it had been withheld from him." Since that time, various reasons had co-operated to induce him, great as the facrifice was, to remain a silent sufferer, rather than to encrease the popular discontents, by"attempting to oppose a party two powerful for him to contend with, under any expectation of success. It' was not now his desire to give fresh rage to popular phrenzy ; But not to say Iomething in his

“ own defence, he conceived, would be confidered as a tacit admiffion of that baseness and criminality which had been so cruelly, fo falsely, and so unjustly, imputed to him, both within doors and without.

The justification of himself, and the defence of the motives upon which he acted, in preferring the accusation against Admiral Keppel, had been committed to paper, and tendered by him in person to the court-martial which tried the admiral

, immediately after he had declared, he had clofed the evidence he nieant to adduce in fupport'of the acculation. The Court seemed inclined to admit it, but Admiral Keppel denied his right to make any cominent upon the merits, and said, he would oppose it to the last minute. After some conference between the members of the court-martial, Admiral Montagu said, " when the witnesses in support of the defence were all examined, he should be ready to hear every thing, the prosecutor had to fay". This declaration was apparently acquiesced in by the rest of the court, -and therefore Sir Hugh declared, he was inifled into an idea that He should be fully heard; in consequence of which he abandoned a design he had formed of quitting the court immediately

' denial to admit his paper (of the contents of which they were VOL. XVIII



upon 'their


altogether unapprized) and of protesting against the irregularity of their proceedings, of which their conduct had fur. nished him with various instances. For the ascertainment of the words of Admiral Montagu, Sir Hugh said, he was indebted to the admiral's own account of the trial, the words having been, by order of the court, expunged from the judge advocate's minutes published by authority of the court. Having waited till Admiral Keppel had declared his evidence closed, Sir Hugh said, he again offered to address the court with some observations, but that Admiral Keppel again reGifted the endeavour, and the court, although one of its own members (Admiral Montagu] had promiled he should be heard when the evidence for the defence was closed, resolved not to hear him; and three days afterwards delivered their judgement, by which, contrary to all justice, the accused was acquitted, and the accuser convicted without a trial, and without being heard, either in explanation, or justification of the motives upon which he had grounded his accusation.

After a few words upon this part of the conduct of Admiral Keppel's court-martial, Sir Hugh said, extraordinary as these proceedings were, it was on the ground of these procecdings only, that the honourable gentleman who spoke lately had so frequently attacked him, and had given noțice to the House of his intention to pursue him ftill farther, to impeach one of the King's minifters, and give the final blow to his destruction. Before, however, any honourable gentleman ventured to go fo great a length, he might possibly think it convenient to consider the difficulty of the task he was about to undertake, and to weigh weil the probability of his success. On a deliberate view of the whole matter, he flattered himself it would be felt, that whoever made the attempt, would have so many strange affertions to support, so many embarrassing propositions to maintain, that it would not be an easy matter to discover a member of that House sufficiently confident to venture upon the talk. In order to give some idea of these difficulties, Sir Hugh begged, to ask the honourable gentleman opposite to him a few questions. Would the honourable gentleman fay that it was contonant with justice to deny an accuser the right to reply to a defence criminating himself ? Would he aflert, that where in the course of a public trial, there were two accusers, it was fair to hear only one? Would he maintain, that when a person accused defends himself by recrimi.' nation, it was either just or candid to refuse to hear his pro






secutor, in reply to that part of the defence which was foundo ed on recrimination ? Would he agree, that it was consonant with constitutional ideas of law and juftice, to acquit the accused after a trial, and to condemn the accuser without a trial and without hearing his defence ? Had the honourable gentleman forgot, that since the Revolution, the twelve judges had signed a paper, declaring their unanimous opinion that it was the undoubted right of the prosecutor, in case of high treason, to reply after a defence; and had the honourable gentleman forgot that Chief Justice Holt was one of the twelve ? Was the honourable gentleman prepared to say, that the volumes of State Trials did not abound with frequent inftances of the exercise of this right, not merely in cases of high treason, but equally in cases of trial of offences of the highest, the middle, and the lower order : equally in cases of mildemenour, felony, and treason? Was he ready to controvert the fact, that the late chief justice of the Common Pleas, when solicitor general, exercised the right in question, against a noble lord now living; and the still more recent fact, that the present chief justice of the Common Pleas, when solicitor general, apologized in court for not exercising the same right on the trial of the Duchess of Kingfton? Had the honourable gentleman forgot, that in the case of Mr. Horne, the right was challenged by the defendant; that the Court declared it would not bear an argument, and that the present lord chancellor, at that time attorney general, was allowed to reply, although no witnesses had been examined by Mr. Horne, with a view to preclude a reply on the part of the crown? Would he deny, that during the last Parliament, a member of that House, who had preferred a very serious charge against a noble lord near him, had been indulged with replying to the defence made by the noble lord? Would he deny, that in all land courts martial, the judge advocate, or whoever appeared and acted in the character of prolecutor, always replied to the defence? Would he deny, that in naval courts martial the practice was common for the accuser to speak to the inerits? Would he deny, that Admiral Knowles, when he brought his captains to trial, exercited this right? Would he deny that Admiral Knowles's captains, when they complained that their commander had endeavoured to thitt the blame due to himself upon their shoulders, and demanded a court martiał upon him, were allowed to exercise this right without the leaft objection on four succeflive trials? In case of an impeachment of a minister, would not the honourable gentleman think the managers of that impeachment in the Ff 2


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinua »