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this society-the Friends of the Peo- power of the crown, and to maintain ple-had in view, was nothing more the just rights and liberties of the peo. than parliamentary reform ; and it dis. ple? In the time of the Stuarts, the avowed and shook off all connection Habeas Corpus Act had been passed ; with other co-existing societies, whose that great bulwark of the liberty of views were supposed to be not quite the people against the oppression of so constitutional. But the management the crown in its ordinary operation, of the measure had since fallen into and in its occasional suspension, that other hands. He, in no degree, meant great means of enabling the crown to to allude to its management in that protect the liberty of the people, by House, for he had no wish to intimate guarding their persons and property. any thing personally disrespectful to This had been followed by the Tolethe honourable baronet, but to its ma. ration Act, acts for securing the linagement out of doors. The fact be. berty of the press, and other measures ing notorious, he might, without im- of similar import. It had been said, propriety, allude to it, that the great and on respectable authority, that she conductor, missionary, and apostle of present state of the representation was parliamentary reform was out of doors. an adequate protection against the It was also well known, that during power, but not against the influence, the existence of the Society of the of the crown. The fact was, however, Friends of the People, a secession of that it was unnecessary to go further the leading members took place, be. back than the present reign, to shew cause the individual to whom he allu- that the influence of the crown had ded was suffered to continue in the So- been considerably diminished. To renciety: (“ No, no," from the Opposition der the judges independent of the Benches.) He believed, not withstand. crown was the first act of his present ing this denial, that such had been the Majesty. The passing of the Grencase; and that afterwards, on that in- ville Act was another measure calcudividual's expressly avowing a corre- lated to lessen the influence of the spondence with the jacobins of Paris, crown; as were also the exclusion of he was excluded from the Society; contractors from official situations, and the letter proposing that exclusion has the prohibition of revenue officers from ving been signed by the chairman, at voting at elections. The fact was, that that time the member for Hertford- not above half the number of persons shire, the deputy chairman, now a no- connected with government sat in that ble duke, and the honourable member House at that moment, as compared for Carlisle. Was it probable that the with the last century ; the whole not individual in question entertained dif- nowamounting to 50 members. He ad. ferent political opinions at the present mitted that the patronage of the crown moment ? And yet he had been the had been much increased by the aug. framer of most of the petitions for re- mentation of the public income and form on the table, and had been the expenditure ; but would a change in subject of great panegyric in that the form of representation alter that House. If he might collect the object patronage, orany thing connected with of the petitioners for reform from the it? No individual, or body of indivipetitions on the table, it seemed to ex- duals, could feel a just cause for com. tend to a complete remodelling of the plaint, without having the means of legislature. Was this necessary? Had saying that complaint on the table of not measures been gradually adopting the House. Did a minister, or a mafor the last two centuries, to limit the gistrate, unduly exercise the power
atrusted to him, his condact became posite were good moral men, but what he immediate subject of parliamentary did that signify? No good could be iscussion. Nay, this was carried so expected from them, or any others, if Er, that respectable persons were fre means were not taken to purify the gently deterred from undertaking du- system : unless this were done, the na. es of importance, lest they might be tion was ruined, the sun of the counadvertently betrayed into something try was set. hich should subject them to the scru Mr Curwen conceived that parliaany of parliamentary investigation. mentary reform was the only security He therefore decidedly opposed the for the introduction of economy in the potion of the honourable baronet. public expenditure. It was true that
Lord Cochrane could add nothing an individual had been expelled from o the admirable speech of Sir Francis the society of Friends of the People ; Burdett; but he could not refrain but that individual was zot Major rom a few observations on what had Cartwright. allen from the last speaker. Sir J. Mr Ward conceived the question to Nicholl had entered into a long detail have now assumed a more serious apof the advantages of the constitution, pearance than formerly; so that, unand the blessings enjoyed under it ; but less steadily resisted, it might be ultihe entirely forgot to mention that that mately carried. The petitions for reconstitution was destroyed, and now form were numerously signed, but no longer existed. (Cries of hear, hear, they had been obtained from the
peoand order.) He had a right to say that ple, in many instances, by gross-misthe constitution no longerexisted while representation. What kind of parliathe Habeas Corpus Act was suspend- ment and government did these 'radi. ed. There was now a general call for cal reformers propose to give us? reform, and it was the knowledge the They say the King is to retain all his people had of the influence which pre- prerogatives, and the Lords their privailed within that House that had pro. vileges ; nothing was to be altered but duced that call. If the call was not the House of Commons. The splenobeyed, the mass of corruption would did statue of gold was to have earthen destroy itself, for the maggots it en- feet, which might be broken at will. gendered would eat it up. (A laugh.) Every thing, then, was to be right; They (the members) were the mag- there would be no taxes, no tyranny, gots of the constitution. (Hear, hear, no orators, no heroes, no Pitts, and and a laugh.) They were the locusts no Nelsons. It was pretended that a that devoured it, and caused all the House of Commons formed by radievils that were complained of. Was cal reformers could exist with a hereit dot notorious that every thing wick- ditary monarchy and nobility. So ed found its way to that House? Were long, indeed, as the King and Lords they not familiar with instances of went along with the popular voice, fraud, bribery, and perjury ? (Hear, they would be endured by their infehear, order.) The manner in which rior masters, but the first popular bill that House was composed, was the which might be rejected would be the cause of all the distress of the country. signal for the downfall of the monarIf any body came with a round sum ehy. He quoted a late work of Jeof
money in his hand to a borough, remy Bentham, author of many exwas he not sure of being returned ? cellent writings, an able man, and a He was willing to believe, that some radical reformer. To shew the no. of the right honourable gentlemen options of radical reformers, he might
merely quote some of the titles which suffrage, but conceived that some kind Mr Bentham gave to his chapters, of reform was eagerly called for, and such as “ Honourable House incorri- entertained no dread of any serious gible-Moderate reform inadequate.” injury arising from it to the constitu. In describing the classes of persons tion. who, Mr Bentham thinks, must be Mr Lamb admitted that some im. against reform, he says, “ It must be perfections had crept into the constithe work of the Tories to make that tution; he felt in favour of communi. portion of the public money spent in cating the right of voting to copywaste and corruption as large as pos. holders, and of remedying the abuses sible, (hear, hear, from the Opposi- with regard to out-voters, but could tion,) and of the Whigs likewise." not consent to a committee for the (Loud laughter.) Mr Bentham bad general purpose of parliamentary rea language of his own; but, to use a form. He could not imagine that the favourite term of the author, it “ap- petitions contained the sense of the proximated” to ordinary language, and people, when he considered the mantherefore the House could understand ner in which they were obtained, the him. He says, public welfare o un- pilgrimages that had been undertaken der moderate reform would be mini- by zealous devotees to the shrine of mized, under radical reform would be popular applause. He trusted the maximized.” Moderate reform would question would not soon be again only be the sharp edge of the wedge, brought under the notice of parliawhich, once insinuated, would serve to ment. split the oak. What was called the Mr Tierney said the proposition toborough system he regarded as an es. night he had felt to be a very modesential part of the constitution; and rate proposition, and to that proposi. he would as soon part with the repre- tion no counter-proposition had been sentation for Yorkshire as with that produced from any party. The only of Old Sarum. In looking at the good argument he had heard this eveneffects of popularity, it should be re ing had been, that things were very collected that Mr Fox was obliged to well as they were, and so let well be returned for the northern boroughs alone—an argument truly fit for, and of Scotland, for the Ultima Thule. well adapted to the side of the House The case of Mr Windham might be from whence it came. (Hear, and a noticed, and that of a living noble- laugh.) So did also the observation man, for whom he had a high respect from an honourable gentleman, that (Earl Grey). Such circumstances
Such circumstances Old Sarum, in his opinion, was just went a great way to vindicate the ex. as good a representation as any other. isting system. In what was called a The boroughs were principally in the reformed parliament, only two classes hands of pettifogging attornies, who would get admittance-either those sought out a person fit to represent who had great local influence, or those the borough, and inquired not about who contrived to please the people. his talents, but who his banker was. No
o country existed in the world where. Instead of looking out for promising in talents of all sorts, and particular. young men, likely to be serviceable to ly public talents, could rise so easily, their country, they looked out, for and by such honourable means, as in their own sakes, for phthisicky decreEngland.
pit old men, who were likely soon to Sir Samuel Romilly was no friend die, and occasion a fresh election. 10 annual parliaments and universal (Hear, and laughter on all sides.)
le certainly thought a grand radical of 20 or 30,000l. every election. Yet nange too dangerous an experiment, after all that could be said in extenuet still something might be done in ation of the present system, was it not
e practical way. Copyholders, as monstrous that the county members ell as freeholders, should elect the formed but a minority to the residue? members. The monied interest was He had studied reform under the aus. ow too strong for the country gen. pices of Mr Pitt, who, after all, had eman residing near a borough, and established the Irish representation e was excluded by some mushroom upon a liberal system. He saw no dventurer, who had got a good con- objection to a committee, though he ract with government, or made a confessed he had little hope of the acky hit in the stocks. The worst motion being carried. vas, the expence now of the large Lord Milton spoke against the moowns, and even counties, made them tion, which being put to the vote, was lose boroughs to all who could not negatived by a majority of 265 to 77. fford to make the electors a present
MISCELLANEOUS PARLIAMENTARY TRANSACTIONS.
Mr Abbot resigns the office of Speaker.-Created Lord Colchester, with a per.
sion.-Mr Sutton elected.-Debate on Lord Sidmouth's Circular Letter. Mr Wilberforce's Motion relative to the Slave Trade.—Mr Lyttleton on the Lottery.--Mr Bennett on the Report of the Police Committee. -The Acark mical Society. Mr Brougham's Motion on the State of the Nation.-Prorogation of Parliament.
The important place of Speaker of tinguished a situation, without feeling the House of Commons had long been the deepest gratitude for the constant filled, with high distinction, by Mr kindness with which they have been Abbot. During the present session, pleased to accept and assist my humhowever, the health of that gentleman ble endeavours to discharge its various became too precarious to admit of the and arduous duties. It was my ear. regular attendance necessary for the nest wish and hope to have continued discharge of his high functions. He longer in the service of the House, if determined, therefore, very properly, such were their pleasure. But the to resign his situation.
interruption of public business which On Friday, May 30, Mr Dyson, has been already occasioned by my the deputy clerk, stated, that he had state of health, and the apprehension received a letter from the Speaker, of the same cause recurring, which which, with the leave of the House, might again expose the House to the he would read. He then read the like inconvenience, have made me deem following:
that I should retire at this “ Palace-yard, May 30, 1817. time; and have left me now no fur. « SIR-It with the sincerest con
ther duty to perform than to return cern and regret that I feel myself my heartfelt acknowledgments to the obliged to request, that you will in.
House for all the favours they have form the House of Commons, at their bestowed upon me, and to express my meeting this day, of my inability, from fervent wishes for the perpetual maincontinued illness, to attend any longer its privileges, and its independence..
tenance and preservation of its rights, upon their service. After holding the high office to which I have been raise I am, Sir, always most truly yours,
“ CHAS. ABBOT. ed by their favour in five successive parliaments, it is impossible that I “ To Jeremiah Dyson, Esq. should resign so honourable and dis- Deputy Clerk, House of Commons."