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trouble to read this bill, as he had done, they would see that it was extremely doubtful whether, under the terms of it, corruption of blood was taken away. Of honours to which it was evidently meant to apply, no mention occurred until the latter end of the bill; and although it was evident that honours were meant to be included, no lawyers would say, that the words “lands, tenements, and hereditaments” (those of the bill) could be made to extend to honours. All such grants of honours as the bill was meant to extend to were a man and his heirs, but still the actual possessor had the entirety of the honour, and for this reason—when it was once forfeited, it passed away altogether. Another objection to the bill also was, that the course of the common law would in some instances be opposed and interfered with ; because personsentitled to remainders in tail would, under the operation of this bill, become seized in fee upon the attainder of the tenant, and without the process of common recovery, by which alone an estatetail could be legally converted into a fee. The bill was defective also, inasmuch as it neither provided for the transmission of chattels, some of which were not less valuable than estates in fee, nor of goods which, in the present state of things, in a commercial country abounding in persons of wealth, was a matter of no less importance. These were, however, only details which might be easily obviated. With respect to the principle of the law of attainder and corruption of blood, he thought, when it was considered how extensively ruinous the consequences of treasonable practices might be to the peace
and the very existence of families, almost out of number, there was no reason to complain if some portion of the punishment of a defeated treason was made to fall upon the families of those by whom it had been set on foot. He saw how difficult it would be to restore to Scotland the law as it had existed before the union; but he thought the best course that could be adopted would be, to bring in another bill. If this should, however, go into a committee, he should be obliged to propose that high treason should be left out, and that petit treason and murder should alone be the subjects of the proposed alterations. Unless this were done, he should support the amendment. Lord Holland and Lord Colchester explained, after which the house divided—For the amendment, 15; against it, 12: majority, 3. House of Commons, May 26.— The Chancellor of the Exchequer brought down the following message from the crown, which was read in due form by the speaker: “That whereas, since parliament had made provision for the due support of her royal highness the Duchess of Kent, and his royal highness Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the Princess Alexandrina Victoria, daughter of his late royal highness the Duke of Kent, and Prince George Frederick Alexander Charles Ernest Augustus, son of his royal highness the Duke of Cumberland, had attained such age as that it became proper provision should be made for their maintenance and education. That his Majesty, being desirous to grant an annuity to her royal highness the Duchess of Kent, Kent, and to his royal highness the Duke of Cumberland, for that purpose, recommended the subject to the consideration of the house of commons, and relied upon their attachment.” The message having been read, The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved that it should be taken into consideration to-morrow. Mr. John Smith, in the absence of Sir James Macintosh, presented a petition from Mr. Bernard Coile, complaining of great sufferings and oppression endured by him about the year 1796, and afterwards in the years 1803 and 1804, in Ireland. This petition, which was mentioned in parliament during the last session, but deferred [its consideration] to give time for inquiry, alleged that the petitioner, being persecuted by the orange faction as a reputed catholic, had, on several occasions, been improperly arrested and committed to prison; and then went on to give some extraordinary descriptions of the treatment which he had suffered in his confinement. One of the paragraphs containing these accusations ran thus, Mr. Coile being then in gaol in Dublin:-“Two sentinels were placed under the windows of petitioner, with orders given, in petitioner's hearing, to prevent his speaking, or being spoken to by any person; and to fire on the parties, should the attempt be made. Your petitioner's health at this time was in a most delicate state; but life itself became hourly endangered by the brutal scenes and treatment which he was compelled either to witness or endure. On one occasion, after the execution and beheading of some unfortunate prisoners, the hangman, with his
knife reeking with the blood of the unhappy culprits, entered the kitchen where petitioner's dinner was preparing, and with his bloody knife cut the vegetables preparing for petitioner's use. This incident had such an effect on petitioner, that for several weeks no solid food would remain on his stomach.” Another charge was to this effect: “Within the space of a few weeks, twenty-one persons were executed at Newgate and other streets in the city, whose heads and bodies were brought into the gaol, stripped, and laid opposite your petitioner's door. In that state of nudity the bodies lay until disposed of to the surviving relatives, who, being for the most part poor, were unable to make up the purchase-money of the corpse, until it fell into a state of putrefaction under petitioner's view. When the hangman's harvest was reaped, he having received the sum of five guineas for the execution of each person, he was placed with a female companion beside your petitioner's room, as a retaliation for his insolence in daring to complain of such heinousness.” After this, Mr. Coile was removed to Kilmainham gaol, where he again speaks of the hardships to which he was subjected:—“In this place, for the completion of his misery, it was his fate to be placed under the superintendence of Dr. Trevor, still living; who, in conjunction with a magistrate named Bell, immediately on coming under their inspection, deprived petitioner, amongst other matters, of a seal of Irish gold, bearing the motto of ‘Erin go bragh." Trevor removed your petitioner to the felons' side of the prison, and placed him in a cell (nine feet by six), which at that moment was tenanted by a man of the name of Doyle, labouring under amalignant fever, for the purpose, as your petitioner believes, of infecting petitioner with the distemper; and at the same time he was loaded with 56 pounds' weight of iron on his body and limbs; and in order to cover such murderous designs, it was intimated in certain newspapers of the day, that your petitioner was insane.” The petitioner concluded by declaring, that both his health and his fortune, amounting at one time to 40,000l., had been destroyed by the persecutions which he had suffered; and prayed investigation and reparation from the house. Mr. Goulburn contended, that the case was not one for the interference of parliament. The grievances complained of were 30 years old, and almost all the persons stated to have been concerned in them were dead. If Mr. Coile had been injured, the law had been open to him, and he ought to have availed himself of it at an earlier period. A commission, upon the motion of Mr. Sheridan, had sat in the year 1808, for the investigation of cases like the present; but before that commission, the petitioner had not thought fit to prosecute his claim. He concluded byprotesting against thegeneral principle of bringing charges of this kind against public officers, after such a lapse of time, when so many opportunities had occurred of preferring them before. Mr. Abercromby would admit, that after such a length of time, it would be difficult to enter upon such complaints as the present. At the same time he must say, that after having minutely examined a
great many of the publications of the period in question, he felt convinced that no man could be treated with greater oppression than Mr. Coile was. He was satisfied that the cause of the severity exercised towards him was his having prosecuted to conviction a magistrate in whose favour the government of that day most improperly interfered to screen him from punishment. Without at all pledging himself for the accuracy of all the facts which Mr. Coile stated, he thought there was abundant proofs that he had been most cruelly dealt with. Mr. Peel objected to entering into an examination of circumstances which had occurred so long back. Some of the petitioner's charges had been already gone into, and his statements disproved. Mr. C. H. Hutchinson conceived that the proofs were undeniable of the cruelty exercised towards the petitioner, and he called on the right hon. secretary for Ireland to contradict, if he could, the facts which the petition contained. He (Mr. Hutchinson) knew several instances in which respectable individuals had been at that period taken into custody, and kept imprisoned, some in hulks, and others in prisons on land, for many weeks, and then discharged without trial or any explanation of the conduct pursued towards them, than that government suspected them. He thought it would not redound to the credit of ministers to allow this case to go without serious inquiry. The petition was then brought up and read. — On the question that it be printed, * Mr.
Mr. John Smith said, that the whole seventeen state prisoners confined at that period concurred in one unanimous statement of the cruelty of Dr. Trevor's conduct. He repeated his hope that government would make some inquiries on the subject. The petition was ordered to be printed. The Serjeant-at-Arms having reported that he had Robert Poer Trench Pilkington in custody, pursuant to an order of the house, Mr. Peel moved that he be called to the bar. Mr. Pilkington was then placed at the bar. The Speaker. — Robert Poer Trench Pilkington, you have been examined before a committee of this house, and there acknowledged yourself the author of a petition, purporting to be from the protestant inhabitants of Ballinasloe, in favour of catholic emancipation; and this house has resolved, on the report of that committee, that you, having been proved to be the author of such counterfeit petitions, and having forged the signatures thereto, and having sent it as a genuine petition to a member of this house, you have been guilty of a high breach of the privilege of the house. You have now been called to the bar, in order that if you have any thing to say on the subject of your offence, which may affect the decision to which the house may come respecting you, you should state it. If, therefore, you have any thing to offer in extenuation of your conduct, the house is now ready to hear you. Mr. Pilkington. —I have only to say, that I confess myself guilty of a very foolish act. As
the only reparation in my power, I hastened to obey the summons of the committee, and there to confess myself the sole author of the petition, and to assure the committee, that no person whatever but myself was in any way connected with the petition. I am extremely sorry for what I have done, and am ready to submit myself to the decision of the house on my conduct. I have only to add, that since I have been in custody, I have been in an infirm state of health so as to require medical assistance. The prisoner was then ordered from the bar. Mr. Peel said, he was at all times disposed to support the privileges of the house, and this was a case in which they ought to be asserted: but at the same time he did hope the house would concur with him in thinking, that the readiness and candour with which the person who had just left their bar had come forward and confessed himself the author of the petition in question, should be taken as such an extenuation of his fault as might induce the house to relax the severity with which it might otherwise visit it. His conduct, it was true, involved a high breach of the privileges of the house, and was calculated to have this bad effect — that it would lessen the confidence with which members would receive petitions coming from Ireland, and other distant parts of the empire; but, looking at all the circumstances of this case, at the individual's state of health, and at the readiness of his confession, he thought that, without being drawn into precedent for future cases, the privilege of parliament would be sufficiently sufficiently asserted by allowing the prisoner to remain in custody, and to-morrow he would move that he be discharged on Monday. Sir J. Nenport concurred in the view taken of the case by the right hon. gentleman. The person at the bar was a protestant, and was in no way connected with those to whose claims the petition referred. Under these circumstances, and under that of the state of health of the person in custody, he would fully concur in the motion of the right hon. gentleman, and would esteem it as a personal favour if the house would relax the severity of its punishment on this occasion. Mr. Brougham would suggest, that as it was not the practice of the house of commons to commit for a certain time—a practice peculiar only to the other house—it would be better to let the prisoner stand in custody until further orders. The right hon. gentleman might then move for his discharge to-morrow or Monday, if he thought proper. Mr. Pilkington was kept in custody till Monday. Mr. Brougham moved for leave to bring in a bill to incorporate a college or university in the city of London. The object of this university was to bring the advantage of education within the reach of those who could not afford to send their children to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, and who were averse to sending their children from their own roof, for the benefit of improvement. He assured the house that it was not the intention of the promoters of this bill to throw any the slightest imputation on the conduct, the ac
quirements, the capacity, , the talents, or the principles of those who devoted their time to the instruction of youth in those two learned establishments. That was so far from being the case, that many of the promoters of this bill were distinguished ornaments of the two universities. He then moved for leave to bring in a bill to enable certain individuals to incorporate a college or university in the neighbourhood of London. Mr. Peel acquiesced in the motion, but said that in so doing he reserved the declaration of his opinion till a future stage of the bill. As he understood that no discussion of its merits was to take place now, he merely rose to guard against the probability of his being supposed to favour the bill because he had not opposed it in its present stage. Leave was then given to bring in the bill. House of Commons, May 27.— The metropolitan university bill was read a first time. The house set in committee upon his Majesty's message, recommending grants of 6,000l. per annum each to be made to the Duchess of Kent and to the Duke of Cumberland, and upon the judges' salaries bill. House of Commons, May 31.-Mr. Williams presented several petitions, complaining of delays in the court of chancery, and in presenting them went very particularly into the expensive and tedious practice of that court, and the insufficiency of the commission appointed to inquire into it. He was supported by Mr. Denison, Mr. John Smith, Mr. Ellice, Mr. M. A. Taylor, i. r.