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quarters. After a short discussion it ring districts. Mr Ponsonby, however, was rejected, by a majority of 50 to 17. declared it appeared to him one of the

On the 9th of February, Lord most gross and flagrant violations of Cochrane presented the petition signed the privileges of the people, and of that at the Spa-fields meeting on the famous house, that had ever occurred; and 2d of December, having 24,000 names Mr Wynn regretted the subject had affixed to it. He vindicated the loyalty been treated with levity, and thought of this meeting, stating it not to have the House should trace the matter to been in the least accessory to the riots its source. In a few days after, a peti. and disturbances which alarmed the tion was received from Mr Lyon, who metropolis on the day on which it was stated, that he was merely writing a voted. It was drawn up, he said, in letter in the parlour, when a hue and temperate, respectful language, more cry was raised in the street adjacent ; temperate indeed than he himself would that he found it proceeded from the have employed had it been his task to mob pursuing Richard Burrowes, a compose it. It prayed for annual par- man of extremely good character, liaments and universal suffrage ; it whom he had therefore placed in safe complained of the intolerable weight custody, and inquired into the cause. of taxation, of the distresses of the Burrowes acknowledged that he had, country, and of the squandering of the by way of joke, carried off the petition, money extracted from the pockets of which Mr Lyon took into his possesan oppressed and impoverished peo- sion. An application was made to him ple, to support sinecure placemen and for it, but he was advised that it did pensioners. No objection was made to not come from the competent authoits being laid on the table. On the rity, and being also applied to by seveIlth February, Lord Folkestone pre

ral persons who wished to erase their sented the petition which had been sign. names from it, he complied with neither ed by the meeting in the same place on request, but kept it, in expectation that the 10th. It was to the same tenor; and the matter would undergo a proper exaas there appeared nothing disrespectful mination before a magistrate, or other in the language, it was also received. competent tribunal, to whom he had

A singular case from Warrington always been ready and desirous of de. was brought before the house by Mr livering it up. This apology was not Brougham, in a petition which stated, deemed sufficient, and it was allowed that a petition for reform, signed by even by Mr Wilbraham, that Mr Lyon some hundreds of the inhabitants, had had not exercised a sound judgment on been seized by one Richard Burrowes, the

occasion. through whose hands it had come into The present session was characterithose of Mr Thomas Lyon, nephew of zed by the novelty of numerous petithe acting magistrate, and residing in tions for reform presented from Scothis house, who had refused to return land. They were from Dundee, Perth, it. Mr B. moved, that it should be Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin, Kirkmerely laid on the table, that the op- aldy, Kilwinning, Saltcoats, Queensposite party might have an opportunity ferry, and some other places. Lord of answering it. Mr Bootle Wilbra- Cochrane and Lord Archibald Haham approved of the course followed milton took occasion to state, that by Mr Brougham, but was convinced there were not in Scotland above 2700 .that this would turn out merely a coarse individuals endowed with the right of juke, such as he knew to be common election, and that a man there might among the lower classes in manufactu- have 10,0001. a year of landed property

without having a vote. On the other vent the manufacturing of petitions in band, the Lord Advocate, Mr Boswell, London for the purpose of being sent and Lord Binning asserted, that these down to be signed, instead of offering a petitions did not at all express the gene- genuine expression of the sentiments of ral sense of the people of Scotland ; in the people. We had lately seen the efproof of which they remarked that no fect of this manufacture, of which whole such petition had been sent by the reams had been sent down to be signlanded interest, by the freeholders, or ed. Sir F. Burdett said the rule of by any corporate body.

1665 could now be of no force whatThe petitions now enumerated form. ever; the rule was framed by Cromed only a very small proportion of the well's creatures, placed in that house by vast number presented to parliament; himself, and not one of them allowed to and as they appeared sufficient to fill a enter parliament till he was furnished large waggon, and covered warly the with a ticket from the soldiers who sur. whole floor, Sir F. Burdett, on the 3d rounded the doors. Nothing was settled March, moved that they should be by the entry of1793; and the discussion taken up en masse, and laid on the itself stood only on the doubtful rule of table. A member, however, having Cromwell's parliament. In 1813, re. turned over several, and discovered ference was made to this supposed rule flaws in them, it was suggested, that of 1793, and a division certainly took some examination should take place place, which could be now of no force, before conferring this honour indiscri- as it went on the supposition of a rule minately on all. The discussion was that never existed. Printed petitions therefore referred to a future day. were read and comprehended with About a week after, the Speaker stated much greater facility than those which that he had caused the petitions to be were written, and every man was able sorted ; that they amounted to 527, to see and understand what he was to of which several exhibited the defects sign. Lord Castlereagh knew that de. which had caused the rejectionofothers; signing men went about the country, but the circumstanee which chiefly call availing themselves of the rights of the ed for consideration was, that 468 of people, for the purpose of calling them were printed. Hereupon a warm meetings, in which they might exert debate arose, as to the propriety of every faculty, and rouse the passions receiving printed petitions. Mr W.W of the people for putting them in Wynne stated, that the question had movement towards a general rebellion. been agitated in 1665, in 1793, and in As it was clear that the rules and 1813 ; on the latter occasion it had practice of the House were against the been decided that printed petitions entertaining of printed petitions, he should not be received ; and six days should vote against the motion. The afterwards a petition from Major Cart. house divided. --Ayes, 6–Noes, 58— wright, for leave to present a printed Majority against receiving printed pe. petition, was refused. He thought the titions, 52. rule a reasonable one, calculated to pre

CHAPTER III.

MEASURES RELATIVE TO PUBLIC DISTURBANCES.

Prince Regent's Message to the two Houses of Parliament - Committees of

Secrecy appointedTheir Report Debate in the Lords on the Bill for the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act-In the Commons on the Bill against Seditious Meetings, and two others-On the Habeas Corpus-These Bills pass the two Houses.

The first important business to which This message gave rise in the Lords parliament had its attention called, was to considerable warmth of debate.that of which warnings had been given Lord Sidmouth lamented the necessity by the disturbed state of the nation, under which ministers felt themselves as well as by the tenor of the regent's placed of advising his royal highness to speech, and to which the attack on the send this message. He stated, as the royal person had formed an appropriate measure to be proposed by ministers, preface. On the 3d February, Lord the appointment of a secret committee, Castlereagh in the Commons, and Lord to which the information in possession Sidmouth in the Lords, presented the of ministers would be submitted, and following message from the Prince Re. begged that their lordships would susgent :

pend their judgment, till its report was “ George, P. R.

on their table. In the meantime he “ His royal highness the Prince Re. merely moved an address to the Prince gent, acting in the name and on the Regent, assuring him that the House behalf of his majesty, has given orders would take his message into considerathat there be laid before the House of tion. Lords, papers containing information Earl Grosvenor observed, the noble respecting certain practices, meetings, viscount had undoubtedly made a most and combinations in the metropolis, and tremendous charge against a large por. in different parts of the kingdom, evi- tion of the people of this country: "I dently calculated to endangerthepublic trust that charge will not be sustained; tranquillity, to alienate the affections but at all events, your lordships cannot of his majesty's subjects from his ma but acquiesce in the proposition of the jesty's person

and government, and to noble viscount, for going into this combring into hatred and contempt the mittee, after such a serious, such a mowhole system of our laws and consti- mentous charge.” He was convinced, tution. His royal highness recom however, that if there was any disaffecmends to the House of Commons to tion, it arose chiefly from the oppositake these papers into their immediate tion of ministers to every species of and serious consideration."

reform and retrenchmeni.

Lord Holland conceived, after such with a strong disposition not to in. ' serious communications, there could be fringe on the established laws of the no objection made to the course pro country-with every tenderness to the posed by the noble viscount. “ But feelings of the people on the one hand; still, I should not leave this house at but on the other, with a firm determiall satisfied with myself, if I did not nation to uphold the constitution and express the deep regret I feel on this government of the country." He deoccasion, that such a communication nied that any charge was advanced should be made, whether it has pro- against the great body of the people, ceeded from improper practices on the but merely that disaffected and seditious part of individuals, or from the inten- persons were attempting to withdraw tion of any one, in power or out of them from their allegiance. He ad. power, to create a false alarm, at this mitted the distresses of the times, but period, throughout the country. In a conceived that these were usually, as time of peace, when no apprehension now, employed by the designing to can be entertained from a foreign ene. excite mischief and create confusion. my; in a time of dreadful distress Earl Grey concurred in the proprieamongst the people of this country; ty of the course of proceeding propo. which naturally renders them anxious sed, and agreed to suspend his judg. to see the legislature and the represen ment, as desired by the noble Lords on tatives of the nation conduct themselves the other side. At the same time he in such a manner as to prove the sub- could not help joining with his friends stantial benefits of the constitution, by in lamenting deeply, that such a necesdevising means for their relief; at such sity should have been supposed to ex: a period, measures of a harsh nature ist. He certainly concurred in their ought to be deeply considered before views of the general conduct of the they are adopted." He would say no. people. “Perhaps there never was a thing at present as to the measures to time when, suffering under such an be proposed in consequence, but should amount of distress, when, labouring deeply regret if they were such as had under the pressure of such severe caany tendency to abridge the liberties of lamity-affecting the highest and the the subject. This was always to be lowest--the lowest weighed down by deprecated, but still more now when privations, which human nature can the people were groaning under unpa, hardly any longer support-the highralleled distress, which had generated est impoverished by the calls of benediscontent, and when the people were volence and charity, so universally dislooking, reasonably or not, to parlia- played in relieving their less fortunate ment for a relief from their evils. fellow-creatures ;-perhaps, my lords,

The Earl of Liverpool would not under so great an accumulation of misay much, since no difference of opi- sery, such exemplary patience, forbearnion appeared to exist as to the mode ance, resignation, and confidence in the of procedure. He trusted that a more existing constitution and government constitutional, or even a more liberal of the country, were never before exproposition, could not have been made hibited. When we see this, when we than that of his noble friend. He hoped see that these effects are produced by the noble lords would suspend their an unfeigned veneration for the constijudgment till means were afforded to tution which we all love, but which I them of forming a decision. « That have rarely heard eulogized by the decision will be formed, with every re- noble lords opposite, except as a pregard to the liberties of the subjects. liminary to some invasion of it ; when

we consider that this forbearance, this however, to give them his confidence. patience, this resignation, afford the He would enter on the question as in best proof of the benefit of our consti- the functions of a juror in a case of tution, which inspires such confidence, life and death; but if the facts should and produces such temperate conduct, be proved, it would be the worst ten. ought we not to be most cautious in derness to the people to allow them to agreeing to any innovation? I think become the dupes of a few desperate it is a most unfortunate circumstance, and designing individuals. a most lamentable necessity, that at The address was then agreed to, as this period of distress and misery, well as that the papers on the table when no measure of relief has been should be referred to a committee of adopted, when no one efficient measure secrecy, consisting of eleven lords, to of reduction and retrenchment has been be chosen next day by ballot. Accordcarried into effect ; but when, on the ingly, on the 5th February, the followcontrary, as has been truly stated by ing noblemen were appointed :-The my noble friend, (EarlGrosvenor)every Lord Chancellor, Earl Harrowby, effort to obtain a reduction of the pub. Duke of Bedford, Duke of Montrose, lic expenditure, for which the people Earl Fitzwilliam, Earl of Liverpool, of England have unanimously called, Earl Powis, Earl of St Germains, has been met with rejection or evasion Lords Sidmouth, Grenville, and Reby his majesty's government-it is desdale. most unfortunate, that at such a time, · In the Commons, the message did a measure should be proposed, which not give rise to any debate, and on the there is too much reason to apprehend, motion of Lord Castlereagh, it was may lead to some invasion or infringe agreed, on the 3d February, that the ment of the people's rights. When precedent of 1794 should be strictly year after year new powers are given followed, and the papers referred to a to the Crown—when we are daily arm committee of secrecy, consisting of ing the executive government with no. twenty-one members. While these vel and unheard of authority-when, were ballotted for on the following on the other hand, we know not of day, Mr Brougham attempted to ridiany new powers being added to those cule the process, by undertaking to presanctioned by our ancestors for the se. dict the names that would actually be curity of the people—I hope we shall returned, without the trouble of any cautiously abstain from following up scrutiny. The honourable member this system, and that we shall not con- then read from a list the following tinue to give fresh strength to the ex names which he anticipated would apecutive government, while we impair pear upon the list presented by the and weaken the liberties of the sub- committee of scrutiny : Lord Castleject.” Nothing, he conceived, but the reagh, Lord Middleton, Mr Ponsonby, most imperious necessity could justify Mr Canning, Mr B. Bathurst, Sir Wil. any interference with those constitui liam Curtis, the Hon. Mr Lambe, Mr tional barriers which had hitherto pro. E. B. Wilbraham, Mr W. Elliot, the tected the people.

Attorney General, the Solicitor GeThe Marquis of Buckingham agreed neral, Mr Wilberforce, Sir Arthur in lamenting the necessity of this mea- Piggott, Sir Egerton Brydges, the sure, and in the heavy responsibility Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord which lay upon ministers to prove Lascelles, Mr Rose, Mr F. Robinson, their assertions. He was disposed, Mr W. Dundas, Sir J. Nicholls, and

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