Imatges de pÓgina
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House of Lords, had great reason to complain, if they were denied the right of replying, and were restricted solely to the examination of their witnesses? Would he deny him the right giveri him by that chapter of Magna Charta, by which it was declared that no Englishnan should be seized, or imprisoned, or deprived of his liberty, his property, or his good name, without trial by his peers; and lastly, if the honourable gentleman should ever himself be so unfortunate as to be declared in that House a false and malicious accuser, would be not think it hard to be deprived of the advantage thai muft naturally result from the use of his eloquence (which had so often charmed the House, and so often attacked and defended others) in his own justification.

After speaking for some time in this manner, he drew a pictüre, as he called it, of the situation which Mr. Fox would be in, should he, after denying him that justice to which every Englishman by the constitution of his country, and the humane spirit of its laws was entitled, ever be overwhelmed by a similar pressure of misfortune. He reminded hiin of the uncertainty of human affairs, the strange vi: cissitudes which every man is born to undergo, and which in the most unexpected moment often reversed a man's fortüne, and from the topmast round of honour and success, plunged him into the lowest depth of inisery and misfortune. After bidding him a second time take notice that he had warned him, Sir Hugh changed the mode of his reasoning, and faid, that instead of the argumentum ad hominem, he would adopt the argumentum ad homines, and said, if the honourable gentleman, notwithstanding his warning, should be 'húrried away by the rage of party, by his zeal for the admital, by his hatred to him, by his attachment to the cause in which he was engaged, or by any other motive, and should persist in declaring him to be a false and malicious accuser; nay, even if his committee of safety should publish their afsent to such a mockery of truth and justice, he would rely with confidence on the wisdom and equity of Parliament, and comfort himself with the assurance, that the House would ever protect the innocent, and diftinguish between the oppreffed and the criminal ?

Sir Hugh next said, that he must claim the attention of the committee to some general remarks upon the respective conduct of Admiral Keppel and himself, relative to the two courts inartial, and the motives and manner of that conduct. He be

gan this part of his argument with saying, that he deeply lamented the late diffentions and divisions in the navy, and that he was as willing as any man to sacrifice his private feelings to the public quiet; but there were some injuries which neither he, nor he imagined any Englishman, could think it fitting or beneficial to the public intereft, to suffer patiently. Of this nature was the cruel advantage which had been taken of that part of the sentence of Admiral Keppel's court martial, by which he was declared a false and malicious accuser; of the ill foundation of the censure passed upon him by that fentence he had already spoken on more than one ground, though the incompetency of the court to try

him, much more to convict him without trial, was a sufficient invalidation of that part of the sentence which respected him. If Admirad Keppel's friends were determined to perfift in their persecuting spirit, and drive him out of his profession, he must in his own defence go into an explanation of the motives of his conduct, and of the grounds upon which he had proceeded, in preferring the accusation; - an explanation which might

; poffibly render the admiral's acquittal somewhat less splendid and less honourable. . This, however, was not what he wished to do; he was willing to close the scene, for the sake of national quiet, and would forget past injuries, if his enemies would abstain from new provocations.

With regard to the two trials of Admiral Keppel and him. self, he maintained, that they were so nearly correspondent in their events that no man could detract from the innocence of one party tried, without impeaching the innocence of the other. Both had been accufers, both had been accused; both had been tried, both had been acquitted. In their fates there was not the least difference, and if their motives were different, he trusted that his would be found to be the leaft exceptionable when candidly examined. He was aware he had been censured for having recriminated, but was recrimination in no case justifiable ? He did not prefer his charge till it was evident that it was the design of Admiral Keppel's friends to ruin him, and by underiņining arts to effect that ruin. In his own defence he became an accuser; and when he did so, he did it openly and directly, in the character of a public prosecutor. Admiral Keppel chose a contrary.line of conduct; he began with suggeftions and infinuations, and to the last never would, though repeatedly solicited, prefer a public charge, but appeared as an enemy against him, thus

uniting uniting the double character of accuser and witness. After arguing this for some time very forcibly, Sir Hugh declared what his original opinion of the conduct of the Admiral on the 27th of July was. He said, he had ever considered, that the British Heet was led into action in a disorderly manner at first. That in the beginning of the day, there was too much confidence, too much contempt of the enemy; towards the clofe of it, too much awe, too much diffidence in themselves. That they kept at too great a distance, and acted with too much confusion. Inmediately on the day of the action, his friendship and regard for the admiral, the remembrance of his former services, and his great name in the world, inclined him to ascribe his conduct to error of judgment, to ill health, to ill advice, in short, to any thing but to criminality. That seeing matters in this light, though he did not think the business of the day merited his approbation, he had rigidly abstained from censure, secret furinise, and underhand detraction, Nor had he at all changed his opinion, or viewed Admiral Keppel's conduct in the harsh light in which it was exhibited in his accusation, till he was forced to consider it in a very different point of view from that in which he was at first inclined to regard it. At present, he had no wish to alter that part of the sentence of the first court martial which acquitted Admiral Keppel; he might err in his judgment, as to the validity of his charges, it was the justice of his motives alone that he infifted on. Admiral Keppel's friends might load him with honours, they might celebrate his acquittal with votes of Parliament, with public illuminations, with city boxes, with triumphal columns, and they might commemorate the day of his acquittal as an anniversary. He only begged them to defift from attacking him, from loading him with unmerited invective, from deeming him to be, what he never had been, nor ever would be, a false and malicious accuser !

Sir Hugh wound up his argument with contrasting the different circumstances under which he and the adıniral went to their respective trials, The admiral had all the prejudice of the nation on his side, he was supported by the whole weight of opposition, and secretly aslifted my many, who publicly avowed themselves the friends of government. Previous to his trial an act was obtained for trying him on fhore, contrary to all precedent'; and during his trial, he was kept in countenance by the presence of the leaders of the

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opposition in both Houses.

On the contrary, before he went to his trial, he was menaced for desiring one, and every means were used to prevent it from taking place. The public were inflamed against him by the vote in favour of Admiral Keppel, and he was rendered the object of general odium, by every possible art that could promote such a purpose ; even his judges were attempted to be prejudiced against him, Under all these disadvantages, therefore, Sir Hugh said, he considered his acquittal as the most honourable circumstance of his life, and he flattered himself, if the House should think an inquiry into the two courts martial necessary, he should not, when that enquiry was over, if it were fairly gone into, be deemed a false and malicious accuser.

Admiral Keppel said, he could not fit still after what had Admiral passed; he must rise and say a few words on the occasion, Kepped . but they should be only a few. He would not follow the governor of Greenwich-Hospital (by which name in future he would always call the honourable gentleman, and by no other :) he would not follow the governor of GreenwichHospital throngh his long detail ; it was unnecessary. With regard to the act for trying him on shore, he thought himselfhighly indebted to the House for their humanity, and he should ever remember it with the warmeft gratitude; in the condition in which he then was, had he not been tried on fhore, his life, let the sentence have been what it might, would have paid the forfeit ; he could not have survived it; he was sure he should have died. The governor of Greenwich-Hospital, as well as he, had been tried. Upon the fentence of the two courts martial he ftood, and by their judgments he would abide. One of them had acquitted him honourably, and had deemed the governor of Greenwich Hofpital a false and malicious accuser. He knew as little as the governor of Greenwich-Hospital, perhaps less, what the fentence would be before it was delivered. Had it'been possible for him to have suggested the wording of it, false and malicious were the terms he should probably have applied to the accusation, because thofe terms beft exprefled bis fense of it. What the idea of the governor of Greenwich-Hospital was, relative to the accusation, and relative to the sentence, previous to the delivery of the latter, he knew pot, but he remembered, that the governor of Greenwich-Hospital was out of court, and did not stay to hear the sentence. He had the ulnost reverence for the wisdoin and justice of his judges;

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the utmost gratitude for the favours of that House, and for the applause of his country. The governor of GreenwichHospital had attacked the impartiality of the one, and quertioned the good tense of the other. The greatest part of the long detail read to the House by the governor of GreenwichHoipital was composed of arguments against the competency of the court martial by which he was tried, and against the fairness and regularity of its proceedings. Thole proceedings were before the public; every man was capable of judging how far they were liable to challenge or to question, but there was but one way of coming at the motives which influenced the court martial, and occafioned the sentence to be worded as it was ; to that one way he had not the flightest objection. “ Absolve the members of the court-martial from their oath; call them to the bar of the House, and enter into a full and free examination of every one of them.” To this he was ready to consent; and by this means, and this only, could the real impulse which directed their conduct be discovered. The governor of Greenwich-Hospital had termed him an accuser; he never had been an accuser; it never had entered into his head to accuse the governor of GreenwichHospital. He did not entirely approve his conduct; but the governor of Greenwich-Hospital being his inferior officer, he thought he could at any time, as he had before said in that Houte, put him by with a fillip. In part of the detail read by the governor of Greenwich-Hospital; a great many menaces were thrown out by way of coming to terms ; and it was threatened, that if Admiral Keppel's friends did this, or that, or the other, then the governor of Greenwich-Hospital would do so and fo. Admiral Keppel's friends were out of the question ; Admiral Keppel was present to answer for himself; and Admiral Keppel would never accept of any compromise offered by the governor of Greenwich-Hospital. Admiral Keppel's conduct was before the public, they would judge of it, and draw their own inference refpecting it. With regard to any future enquiry, he was ready to meet it; he had gone through one trial with honour, and he did not doubt but he should come from a second equally clean and unsullied; but for the future he begged the House to know, once

1 for all; that he should not hold himself bound to reply to any thing iaid by the governor of Greenwich-Hospital; it was in his opinion indecent to take up the time of the House with his private concerns and altercations. He stood on public

ground,

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