• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 November, 1819
 December, 1819
 February, 1820
 Appendix
 Index to Debates in the House of...
 Index to debates in the House of...
 Index of Names - House of...
 Index of Names - House of...














Group Title: parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time.
Title: Parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time. Vol. 41.
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073531/00002
 Material Information
Title: Parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time. Vol. 41.
Series Title: parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time.
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: s.n.,
Publication Date: November 23, 1819
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: Europe -- England
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073531
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 08273993

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Preface
        Preface 1
        Preface 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
        Table of Contents 3
        Table of Contents 4
        Table of Contents 5
        Table of Contents 6
    November, 1819
        Page 1
        House of Lords - Tuesday, November 23
            Page 1
            Page 3-4
            Page 5-6
            Page 7-8
            Page 9-10
            Page 11-12
            Page 13-14
            Page 15-16
            Page 17-18
            Page 19-20
            Page 21-22
            Page 23-24
            Page 25-26
            Page 27-28
            Page 29-30
            Page 31-32
            Page 33-34
            Page 35-36
            Page 37-38
            Page 39-40
            Page 41-42
            Page 43-44
            Page 45-46
            Page 47-48
            Page 49-50
        House of Commons - Tuesday, November 23
            Page 51-52
            Page 53-54
            Page 55-56
            Page 57-58
            Page 59-60
            Page 61-62
            Page 63-64
            Page 65-66
            Page 67-68
            Page 69-70
            Page 71-72
            Page 73-74
            Page 75-76
            Page 77-78
            Page 79-80
            Page 81-82
            Page 83-84
            Page 85-86
            Page 87-88
            Page 89-90
            Page 91-92
            Page 93-94
            Page 95-96
            Page 97-98
            Page 99-100
            Page 101-102
            Page 103-104
            Page 105-106
            Page 107-108
            Page 109-110
            Page 111-112
            Page 113-114
            Page 115-116
            Page 117-118
            Page 119-120
            Page 121-122
            Page 123-124
            Page 125-126
            Page 127-128
            Page 129-130
            Page 131-132
            Page 133-134
        House of Commons - Tuesday, November 24
            Page 135-136
            Page 137-138
            Page 139-140
            Page 141-142
            Page 143-144
            Page 145-146
            Page 147-148
            Page 149-150
            Page 151-152
            Page 153-154
            Page 155-156
            Page 157-158
            Page 159-160
            Page 161-162
            Page 163-164
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            Page 187-188
            Page 189-190
            Page 191-192
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            Page 199-200
            Page 201-202
            Page 203-204
            Page 205-206
            Page 207-208
            Page 209-210
            Page 211-212
            Page 213-214
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            Page 219-220
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            Page 253-254
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            Page 259-260
            Page 261-262
            Page 263-264
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            Page 279-280
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            Page 283-284
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            Page 287-288
            Page 289-290
            Page 291-292
            Page 293-294
            Page 295-296
            Page 297-298
            Page 299-300
        House of Commons - Friday, November 26
            Page 301-302
            Page 303-304
            Page 305-306
            Page 307-308
            Page 309-310
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            Page 329-330
            Page 331-332
            Page 333-334
            Page 335-336
            Page 337-338
            Page 339-340
        House of Lords - Monday, November 29
            Page 341-342
            Page 343-344
            Page 345-346
            Page 347-348
            Page 349-350
            Page 351-352
            Page 353-354
        House of Commons - Monday, November 29
            Page 355-356
            Page 357-358
            Page 359-360
            Page 361-362
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            Page 369-370
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            Page 377-378
            Page 379-380
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            Page 407-408
            Page 409-410
            Page 411-412
            Page 413-414
            Page 415-416
        House of Lords - Tuesday, November 30
            Page 417-418
            Page 419-420
            Page 421-422
            Page 423-424
            Page 425-426
            Page 427-428
            Page 429-430
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            Page 433-434
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            Page 449-450
            Page 451-452
            Page 453-454
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            Page 457-458
            Page 459-460
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            Page 497-498
            Page 499-500
            Page 501-502
            Page 503-504
            Page 505-506
        House of Commons - Tuesday, November 30
            Page 507-508
            Page 509-510
            Page 511-512
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            Page 567-568
    December, 1819
        Page 569-570
        House of Commons - Wednesday, December 1
            Page 569-570
            Page 571-572
            Page 573-574
            Page 575-576
        House of Lords - Thursday, December 2
            Page 577-578
            Page 579-580
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            Page 583-584
            Page 585-586
            Page 587-588
            Page 589-590
            Page 591-592
        House of Commons - Thursday, December 2
            Page 593-594
            Page 595-596
            Page 597-598
            Page 599-600
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        House of Lords - Friday, December 3
            Page 679-680
            Page 681-682
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        House of Commons - Friday, December 3
            Page 699-700
            Page 701-702
            Page 703-704
        House of Lords -Monday, December 6
            Page 705-706
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        House of Commons -Monday, December 6
            Page 755-756
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        House of Commons -Tuesday, December 7
            Page 805-806
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        House of Commons -Wednesday, December 8
            Page 851-852
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        House of Commons -Wednesday, December 9
            Page 879-880
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        House of Lords - Thursday, December 9
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        House of Lords - Friday, December 10
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        House of Commons - Friday, December 10
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            Page 999-1000
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        House of Lords - Monday, December 13
            Page 1007-1008
        House of Commons - Monday, December 13
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        House of Commons - Tuesday, December 14
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        House of Commons - Wednesday, December 15
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        House of Commons - Thursday, December 16
            Page 1179-1180
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        House of Lords - Friday, December 17
            Page 1233-1234
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        House of Lords - Monday, December 20
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        House of Commons - Monday, December 20
            Page 1315-1316
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        House of Lords - Tuesday, December 21
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        House of Commons - Tuesday, December 21
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        House of Commons - Wednesday, December 22
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        House of Commons - Thursday, December 23
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        House of Commons - Friday, December 24
            Page 1567-1568
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        House of Lords - Monday, December 27
            Page 1581-1582
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        House of Lords -Wednesday, December 29
            Page 1589-1590
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    February, 1820
        Page 1593-1594
        House of Lords - Thursday, February 17
            Page 1593-1594
        House of Commons - Thursday, February 17
            Page 1595-1596
            Page 1597-1598
        House of Lords - Friday, February 18
            Page 1599-1600
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        House of Commons - Friday, February 18
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        House of Commons - Monday, February 21
            Page 1615-1616
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            Page 1627-1628
        House of Commons - Tuesday, February 22
            Page 1629-1630
        House of Lords - Thursday, February 24
            Page 1631-1632
            Page 1633-1634
        House of Lords - Tuesday, February 25 sic - Friday
            Page 1635-1636
            Page 1637-1638
            Page 1639-1640
        House of Lords - Monday, February 28
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    Appendix
        Page 1645-1646
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        Page 1675-1676
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        Page 1689-1690
        Page 1691-1692
    Index to Debates in the House of Lords
        Page 1693-1694
    Index to debates in the House of Commons
        Page 1693-1694
        Page 1695-1696
    Index of Names - House of Lords
        Page 1695-1696
    Index of Names - House of Commons
        Page 1695-1696
        Page 1697-1698
        Page 1699-1700
Full Text


C2, THE


Parliamentary Debates

FROM

THE YEAR

1803

TO THE PRESENT TIME:


FORMING A CONTINUATION OF THE WORK ENTITLED
STHE PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY OF ENGLAND FROM THE EARLIEST
PERIOD TO THE YEAR 1803."


PUBLISHED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF
T. C. HANSARD.


VOL. XLI.

COMPRISING THE PERIOD
TROM
THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1819.


THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY


PRINTED BY T. C. HANSARD, PETERBOROUGH-COURT, FLEET-STREET:
FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY; J. BOOKER; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME,
AND.BROWN; J. M. RICHARDSON; BLACK, KINGSBURY, PARBURY; AND ALLEN;
J. HATCHARD; J. RIDGWAY AND SONS; E. JEFFERY AND SON; RODWELL AND
MARTIN; R. H. EVANS; BUDD AND CALKIN; J. BOOTH; AND T. C. HANSARD..
1820.
0,1









12 Av





A .118









THE.present Volume of the Parliamentary Debates brings down the Pro-
ceedings of both Houses to the Dissolution which took place in February 1820,
in consequence of the Death of King George the Third.
The Volume containing the Proceedings of the First Parliament of his present
Majesty King George the Fourth is in the Press; and, at the suggestion of
numerous Subscribers, it is intended, with the New Reign, to commence a Nzw
Szazzs of this Work.
#** The Editor is also preparing for the Press, to be comprised in Two
Volumes:
I A GENERAL INDEX to the Parliamentary History of
England,from the earliest Period to the Year 1803: and
II. A GENERAL INDEX to the Parliamentary Debates from
the Year 1803, to the Accession of GaoRGE TZH FOURTH,
in 1820.
The two Volumes will form a complete Parliamentary Dictionary, or ready
Book of Reference to every subject of importance that has, at any time, come
before Parliament. The great utility of such a Work, not only to Members
of the two Houses, but to every Lawyer and Politician, must be self-evident.
As many gentlemen, who have not been regular Subscribers to the two Works,
may nevertheless be desirous of possessing a General Index to the Political
History of their Country, such gentlemen are requested to send in their
names to the publishers; as only a very limited number of Copies, beyond
the usual impression, will be printed.


JULY, 1820.



































































































i















TABLE OF CONTENTS

TO

VOLUME XLI.





I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE or IV. KING'S MESSAGES.
LORDS. V. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.
II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF VI. PETITIONS.
COMMONS. VII. PROTESTS.
III. PRINCE REGENT'S SPEECHES. VIII. LISTS.




I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.
1819. Page
Nov. 23. Address on the Prince Regent's Speech on Opening the Session 3
29. Misdemeanors Bill ..................................................... 342
Blasphemous and Seditious Libels-Seizure of Arms-Training
Prevention Bills .............................................. 343
30. The Marquis of Lansdowne's Motion for a Committee on the
State of the Country ....................................... .... 418
Dec. 2. TrainingPrevention Bill ............................ .................. 578
S. Misdemeanors Bills .................................................. 679
Seizure of Arms Bill................................................... 693
Training.Prevention Bill .......................................... 697
6. Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ........................... 706
Seizure of Arms Bill...................................................... 748
7. Seizure of Arms Bill..................................................... 805
9. Misdemeanors Bill. ......................... .................. 957
Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ...... ..................... 960
State of the Disturbed Districts .................................... 975
10. -Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ............................ 977
13. Misdemeanors Bill ...................................................... 1008
17. Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill................................... 1234
20. Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill................................... 1303
21. Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill..................................... 174
.27. Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill.......................................... 1582
29. Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill ..................................... 1589


__
~IIC








TABLE OF CONTENTS.


1820. Page
Jan. 80. DEMISE OF HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE THE THIRD .... 1593
Feb. 17. Message from His Majesty King George the Fourth .......... 1594
18. Message from the King ............................................. 1599
24. Question of Privilege-RePolutions of the Commons respecting
a Supply, c........................................................ 1631
Barnstaple Election ..................................................... 1635
25. M utiny Bill ............................................................ 1636
Writs Suspension Bill .................................................. 1637
28. The Lords Commissioners Speech at the Close of the Session .. 1642


II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

1819.
Nov. 23. Address on the Prince Regent's Speech at the Opening of the
Session .................................................. ........ 51
24. Address on the Prince Regent's Speech at the Opening of the
Session ............................................................. 136
26. Reform of Parliament ...... .......................................... 01
Address on the Prince Regent's Speech at the Opening of the
Session ..................... ........................... 302
29. Prince Regent's Answer to the Address............................. 355
Motion for Papers relative to the Revenues of the Colonies ... 355
Camelford Election Writ ................................................ 356
Motion for Papers relative to the Public Debt .................. 357
Manchester Meeting-Petition from Manchester respecting the
Conduct of the Magistrates...... ................................ 357
Petition of Mr. Hunt complaining of Misrepresentation of
his Conduct .......................... ............................... 370
Committee of Supply .................................................. 377
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill,................................. 378
30. Manchester Meeting-Petition from. Reading .................. 50
AManchester Meeting-Petition of Samuel Batmfod ............ 509
Camelford Election Writ -1 ..... .. .................. .............. 513
Bank of England ................................. ..... ............... 514
The New Penal Bills................................. ,............... 515
Lord Althorp's Motion for a Committee on the (State of the
Country ................................ ............... ............... 517
Dec. 1. Committee of Supply ............................................. 570
Navy Estimates ............... .................. ..... 571
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill........ .............. .................... 575
2. Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill................................ 94
S. Ireland-Articles of the Union ................................. 699
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill............................... 701
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill .................................... 705
6. Coventry Meeting-Petition of Mr. Lewis redtive thereto ...... 756
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill .............................. 757
7. State of the Country-Petition of the Corporation of London... 806







TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Page
Dec. 7. Magistracy of Norfolk ................................................. 810
Penryn Bribery Bill .................. ................... ........ 814
Gotton Factories Bill..;................................ ................. 815
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill.................................... 816
8. Training Prevention Bill ...... ....................................... 851
Naval Expenditure ..................................................... S56
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill.............................................. 863
9. Westminster Petition respecting the State of the Country ...... 879
Manchester Meeting-Petition of D. Dawson, &c. ............... 87
Magistracy of Norfolk .................................................. 889
Mr. Bennet's Motion on the State of the Manufacturing Districts 890
Breach of Privilege-Complaint of a Pamphlet, intituled, A
Trifling Mistake, &c." .......................................... .... 955
10. Breach of Privilege-Complaint of a Pamphlet, intituled, A
Trifling Mistake, &c." ................................................ 989
Seizure of Arms Bill ..................................................... 1004
1-3. Breach of Parliament-Complaint against a Pamphlet, intituled,
A Trifling Mistake, &c." ........................................ 1009
Southwark Petition respecting the Measures for preserving
Public Tranquillity .......... ...................................... 1026
Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill................................... 1028
14. Lord John Russell's Motion respecting a Reform of Parlia-
ment .................................................................... 1091
Irish Partnerships Bill .................................................. 11
Seizure of Arms Bill..................................................... 1124
15. Employment of the Poor-Mr. Salisbury's Petition.............. 1165
Insolvent Debtor's........................................................ 1168
Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill-Petition of the Book-
sellers against it............................. .............. ..... 1169
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill....................................... 1175
Misdemeanors Bill ..................................................... 1178
Seizure of Arms Bill..................................................... 1178
16. Manchester Meeting-Petitions of Messrs. Redford, Bowker,
Barlow, and Lees ..................................................... 1180
Sir W. De Crespigny's Motion respecting Mr. Owen's Plan ... 1189
State of the Scotch Manufacturing Districts-Renfrew
Memorial ...................................... ....... ... 1217
Seizure of Arms Bill................................................... 1232
17. Penryn Bribery Bill .................................................... 1297
Insolvent Debtors Bill .................................................. 1298
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill ...... ........ ................ 1299
Army Estimates ...................................................... 1300
Misdemeanors Bill.,.................. ......... .. ................ 1303
20. Petition of the Booksellers against the Newspaper Stamp Duties
Bill...... ............................................................. 1315
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill ................................... ..... 1319
21. Friendly Societies and Savings Banks .......................... ... 1391
Orange Lodges at Liverpool ......................................... 1392
State of the Labouring Poor of Scotland .......................... 193
(VOL. XLI. ) ( b )







TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Page
Dec.21. Scotch Burghs ............................. ............. .. 1400
Chelsea Pension List................................................ 1401
Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill ................................. 1409
Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ............................. 1414
22. Marriage Act........................................... ..... ... 1445
Conduct of Colonel Fletcher, a Magistrate of Lancashire ...... 1445
Motion for Papers respecting the Bank of England, and Ex-
chequer Bills ............ .................. 1449
Newspapers Stamp Duties Bill ...................................... 1459
23. Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ........................... 1515
24. Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ............................. 1568
Petition of the Merchants of London respecting Commercial
Distress ................. ...... ...............*.. ......... ........ 1569

1820.
Feb. 17. Message from his Majesty King George the Fourth.............. 1596
18. Message from the King ............................................... 1604
.Grampound, Penryn, and Camelford Writs .. ................... 1612
21. Droits of Admiralty, &c....................................... 1615
Writs Suspension Bill ...................................... .... 1615
The Queen.......... ....................................... 1621
Insolvent Debtors' Bill ................................................ 1628
22. The Queen........................................................ 1629


III. PRINCE REGENT'S SPEECHES.

1819. Nov. 23. Prince Regent's Speech on Opening the Session ...... 1
1820. Feb. 28. Lord Commissioners Speech at the Close of the
Session .............................. ........................ 1642


IV. KING'S MESSAGE.

Feb. 17. Message from His Majesty King George the Fourth ........... 1596


V. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.

Papers relative to the Internal State of the Country .............. 230
Copy of the Training Prevention Bill. 60 Geo. 3, c. 1 ......... 1645
Copy of the Seizure of Arms Bill. 60 Geo. 8, c. 2 .............. 1648
Copy of the Misdemeanors Bill. 60 Geo. 3, c. 4 ........... 1651
Copy of the Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill. 60 Geo. 3,
e. 6 ...................................................................... 1655
Copy of the Blaphemous and Seditious Libels Bill. 60 Geo. 3,
c. 8 ................... ..................... .......................... 1673
'Copy of the Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill. 60 Gee. 3, c. 9 ... 1677







. TABLE OF CONTENTS;


VI. PETITIONS.
: Page
Nov. 29. PETITION from Manchester respecting the Conduct of the
Magistrates ............................... ........ 364
- - of Mr. Hunt complaining of Misrepresentation of his
Conduct ......... .................. 370
SO. - -of Samuel Bamford respecting the Manchester
Meeting ................ ............................ 510
Dec. 7. - of the Corporation of London respecting the State of
the _Countr .... ........................ 806
9, from Westminster respecting the State of the
Country ................................................... 883
- - of D. Dawson, &c. respecting the Manchester
M meeting .............................................. 887
15. - -of the Booksellers against the Blasphemous and
Seditious Libels Bill ............................... 1171
16. - of Messrs. Redford, Bowker, Barlow, and Lees, re-
specting the Manchester Meeting ................. 1180
2. - -of the Booksellers against the Newspaper Stamp
Duties Bill ................................. ... 115
24. - of the Merchants of London respecting Commercial
Distress ......................... ...... ............... 1571


VII. PROTESTS.

Dec. 6. PROBTET against the Second Reading of the Blasphemous and
Seditious Libels Bill .............................. 747
- against the Seizure of Arms ill ........................ 754
9. - against the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Bill ... 973
10. - against passing the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels
Bill......................................................... 989
21. -- against the Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill ....... 1385
- -against the third Reading of the Seditious Meetings
Prevention Bill.......................... ................. 1 90
29. - -against the Newspaper Stamp Duties Bill............. 1591



VIII. LISTS.

Nov. 28. LIxs of the Minority in the House of Lords, on Earl Grey's
Amendment to the Address ............................... 50
24. - of the Minority in the House of Commons, on Mr. Tier-
ney's Amendment to the Address............. ... 229
30. - of the Minority in the House of Lords, on the Marquis of
Lansdowne's Motion for a Committee on the State of
the Country ................. ............... ....... 507







TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Page
LIST of the Minority in the House of Commons, on Lora Al-
thorp's Motion for a Committee on the State. of the
Country ,... ............. .. ........................... 569
Dec. 2. - -of the Minority in the House of Commons ontlyh Second
Reading of the Seditious Meetings Prevention~iJL..... 678
4. - of the Minority in the House of Commons on Mr. Fowell
Buxton's Motion to limit the Duration of the Seditious
Meetings Prevention Bill to three Years ................. 804
8. -- of the Minority in the House of Commons on Lord Al-
Sthorp's Motion for limiting the Operation of the Sedi-
tious Meetings Prevention Bill to certain Counties...... 878
13. -- of the Minority in the House of Commons on the Third
Reading of the Seditious Meetings Prevention Bill...... 1083
of the Minority in the House of Commons, on Mr. Hut-
chinson's Motion for excluding Ireland from the Opera-
tion of the Seditious Meetings Bill ........................ 1090
14. -- -of the Minority in the House of Commons on the Seizure
of Arms Bill.................................................... 1163
1. - of the Minority in the House of Commons on the Seizure
of Arms Bill.................................... ................. 1179
16. - of the Minority in the House of Commons on Sir W. de
Crespigny's Motion respecting Mr. Owen's Plan......... 1217
- of the Minority in the House of Commons, on the Third
Reading of the Seizure of Arms Bill....................... 1233
17. - of the Minority in the House of Lords on the Seditious
Meetings Prevention Bill ................................... 1296
20. - of the Minority in the House of Commons on the News-
paper Stamp Duties Bill...................................... 1366
23. - of the Minority iq the Houe of Commons on the Blas-
phemous and Seditious Libels Bill.. ........................ 1568


PARLIAMENTARY








HE


P !ffientaryDebates


During the Second Session of the Sixth Parliament of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, ap-
pointed to meet at Westminster, the Twenty-third Day
of November 1819, in the Sixtieth Year of the Reign
of His Majesty King, GEORGE the Third.
[Sess. 1819-20.


HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, Novemer 23, 1819.
THE PaINCE REGENT'S SPEECH ON
OPENING THE SESSION.]. This day, at
two o'clock, his Royal Highness the Prince
Regent came down in the usual state,
and, being seated on the Throne, his
Royal Highness opened the Session with
the following Speech to both Houses:
a My Lords and Gentlemen;
It is with great concern that I am
again obliged to announce to you the
continuance of his Majesty's lamented
indisposition.
SI regret to have been under the ne-
cessity of calling you together at this
period of the year; but the seditious
practices so long prevalent in some of the
manufacturing districts of the country
have been continued with increased acti-
vity since you were last assembled in par-
liament.
They have led to proceedings incom-
patible with the public tranquillity, and
with the peaceful habits of the industrious
classes of the community; and a spirit is
now fully manifested, utterly hostile to
the constitution of this kingdom, and
aiming not only at the change of those
political institutions which have hitherto
constituted the pride and security of this
country but at the subversion of the
(VOL. XLI.)


rights of property and of all order iil
society.
I have given' directions that the ne-
cessary information on this subject shall
be laid before you; and I feel it to be
my indispensable duty, to press on your
immediate attention the consideration of
such measures as may be requisite for
the counteraction and suppression of a
system which, if not effectually checked,
must bring confusion and ruin on the
nation.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons;
t* The estimates for the ensuing year
will be laid before you'.
".The necessity- of- affording protection
to the lives and property of his Majesty's
loyal subjects has compelled me to make
some addition to our military force; but
I have no doubt you will be of opinion
that the arrangements for this purpose
have been-effected in the manner likely
to be the least burthensome to the coun-
try.
Although the revenue has undergone
some fluctuation since the close of the
last session of parliament, I have the sa-
tisfaction of being able to inform you,
that it appears to be again in a course of
progressive improvement.
Some depression still continues to
exist in certain branches of our manufac-
(B1)








HE


P !ffientaryDebates


During the Second Session of the Sixth Parliament of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, ap-
pointed to meet at Westminster, the Twenty-third Day
of November 1819, in the Sixtieth Year of the Reign
of His Majesty King, GEORGE the Third.
[Sess. 1819-20.


HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, Novemer 23, 1819.
THE PaINCE REGENT'S SPEECH ON
OPENING THE SESSION.]. This day, at
two o'clock, his Royal Highness the Prince
Regent came down in the usual state,
and, being seated on the Throne, his
Royal Highness opened the Session with
the following Speech to both Houses:
a My Lords and Gentlemen;
It is with great concern that I am
again obliged to announce to you the
continuance of his Majesty's lamented
indisposition.
SI regret to have been under the ne-
cessity of calling you together at this
period of the year; but the seditious
practices so long prevalent in some of the
manufacturing districts of the country
have been continued with increased acti-
vity since you were last assembled in par-
liament.
They have led to proceedings incom-
patible with the public tranquillity, and
with the peaceful habits of the industrious
classes of the community; and a spirit is
now fully manifested, utterly hostile to
the constitution of this kingdom, and
aiming not only at the change of those
political institutions which have hitherto
constituted the pride and security of this
country but at the subversion of the
(VOL. XLI.)


rights of property and of all order iil
society.
I have given' directions that the ne-
cessary information on this subject shall
be laid before you; and I feel it to be
my indispensable duty, to press on your
immediate attention the consideration of
such measures as may be requisite for
the counteraction and suppression of a
system which, if not effectually checked,
must bring confusion and ruin on the
nation.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons;
t* The estimates for the ensuing year
will be laid before you'.
".The necessity- of- affording protection
to the lives and property of his Majesty's
loyal subjects has compelled me to make
some addition to our military force; but
I have no doubt you will be of opinion
that the arrangements for this purpose
have been-effected in the manner likely
to be the least burthensome to the coun-
try.
Although the revenue has undergone
some fluctuation since the close of the
last session of parliament, I have the sa-
tisfaction of being able to inform you,
that it appears to be again in a course of
progressive improvement.
Some depression still continues to
exist in certain branches of our manufac-
(B1)







Address on the Prince Regent's Speech


t ures, and I deeply lament the distress
which is in consequence felt by those who
more immediately depend upon them;
6ut this depression ii in a great measure
to be ascribed to the embarrassed situa-
tion of other countries, and I earnestly
hope that it will be found to be of a tem-
porary nature.
My Lords and Gentlemen;
I continue to receive from foreign
powers the strongest assurances of their
friendly, disposition' towards this country.
It is my most anxious wish, that
advantage should be taken of this season
of peace to secure and advance our inter-
nal prosperity; but the successful prose-
cution of this object must essentiallyde-
pend on the preservation of domestic
tranquillity.
".Upon-the loyalty of the great body
of the people I have the most confident
reliance; but it will require your utmost
vigilance and exertion, collectively and
individually, to check the dissemination
of the doctrines of treason and impiety,
and to impress upon the minds of all
classes of his Majesty's subjects, that it
is from the cultivation of the principles of
religion, and from a just subordination to
lawful authority, that we can alone expect
the continuance of that Divine favour and
protection which have hitherto been so
signally experienced in this kingdom."
His Royal Highness then withdrew,
and the House adjourned till 5 o'clock.

ADDRESS ON THE PRINCE REGENT'S
SPEECH AT THE OPENING OP 'IHE
SESSION.] The Prince Regent's Speech
having been, again read by the Lord
SChancellor, and also by the clerk at the
table,
Earl Manvers rose to move an address
to his Royal Highness, in answer to the
most gracious speech which had then
been read. He hoped he might be per-
mitted to observe, that he had never
before had the honour of addressing their
lordships, and that he felt himself unable
adequately to discharge the important
duty which he had undertaken. He
found it necessary, therefore, to appeal


to that indulgence which their lordships
usually granted to persons placed in si-
tuations similar to that in which he stood.
In the sorrow which his-'Roal Highneis
expressed on ac&cunt' of his majestyfs
continued indisposition,' their lordships
must all partake. His Royal Highness
next adverted to the causes which had
induced him to convene parliament at
this early period, and recommended it to
their lordships, to direct their early atten-
tion to the adoption of such measures as
might be necessary to suppress those se-
ditious meetings which had been prevalent
for some time back. That the country
was in a situation of extreme danger, he
believed few of their lordships would
deny; and though he did not anticipate
the precise nature of the measures which
it was intended to propose, he hoped they
would prove sufficiently energetic to meet
the exigencies of the case. He was aware
that much had been said out of that
House, and that much would be said
within its walls, respecting the rights of
the people; but their lordships must be
cautious, lest, whilst they were protecting
the liberty of the subject, they should
compromise the security, of the state.
He was aware that in abstaining from
offering any remarks on the other subjects
adverted to in the speech of his Royal
Highness, he left a wide field untouched;
but he did so with the less regret, as he
felt assured that ample justice would be
done to those topics by the noble lord
who was to follow him. The noble lord
concluded by moving an address, which
was an echo to the speech from the
throne, and similar to that moved in the
House of Commons.
Lord Churchill rose to second the ad-
dress of his noble friend, of which he said
he highly approved. His lordship spoke
for some time, but in a tone of voice inau-
dible below the bar. He came forward,
he said, as an independent peer of parlia-
ment, to give his feeble but honest support
to the government of his royal highliess
the Prince Regent at a crisis like the
present, which was undoubtedly one of
great difficulty and danger.
Earl Grey rose. He said, that had he
not been aware of the state of the country,
the speech from the throne, the address
which had been moved in reply .to it, aqid
the language used by the noble lord who
moved, and the noble loid who seconded
that address, would be sufficient to coni-
vince him that parliament had never as-


31 HOUSE OF LORDS,







at th, opening of the Session.


sem6led at a more important crisis, or
when there were greater difficulties and
dangers to be overcome. He did not,
however, think the line of policy pointed
out in the speech from the throne, and
recommended by the two noble lords,
was such as ought to be adopted in the
present situation of the country; or that
the reasons urged in support of the ad-
dress, ought to induce the House to con-
cur in it without the fullest information.
He had attended with the greatest care to
every thing that had been stated in that
House and elsewhere respecting the si-
tuation of the country. He had heard
strong observations on the progress of
seditionandtreason, and on thenecessityof
adopting measures of coercion calculated
to avert the danger which threatened the
country. But he had as yet heard no
recommendation to avert the danger, by
relieving the people from some part of
the heavy burthens which, oppressed
them. Neither of the noble lords had
recommended that course which was best
calculated to remove the cause of the
existing discontents. It was by concilia-
tion, by a reduction of the enormous
public expenditure which weighed down
the country, and by a system of timely
reform and economy, that the threatened
danger should be met: for such a system
would in its result speedily suppress all
the seditious practices referred to in the
address, or in the speeches of the noble
mover and seconder. Having said thus
much in the way of general objection to
the line of policy which had been recom-
mended to their lordships, he had now to
observe, that neither the noble lord who
moved the address, nor the noble lord
who seconded it, had described the dan-
gers and difficulties of the country in
stronger colours than he was disposed to
view them. It was not with respect to
the situation of the country that he was
inclined to differ from them, but with
respect to the causes which had pro-
duced it. It was the continued operation
of those causes which was the great
subject of alarm. The internal situation
of the country was most afflicting, and
even its external was not in his opinion
perfectly satisfactory. The speech from
the throne, it was true, stated, that his
royal highness the Prince Regent con-
tinued to receive from foreign powers the
strongest assurances of their friendly dis-
position towards this country; but even
with respect to that part of our situation,


his confidence was far from being so great
as many might suppose the assurances
alluded to in the speech ought to produce.
But, into the consideration of our exter-
nal affairs, when circumstances so much
more pressing at home called for imme-
diate attention, he should not enter. The
internal situation of the country was the
primary object for their lordships delibe-
ration, and to that subject he should now
address himself. He had no desire to
dispute the difficulties which the situation
of the country presented, or to palliate
any improper proceedings to which those
difficulties might have given birth; though
he was not prepared to admit the extent
to which it was alleged those proceedings
had been carried. He must, however,
acknowledge, that the discontent of the
country must be very general, and the
danger great, if, as asserted in the speech
from, the throne, a spirit was manifested
utterly hostile to the constitution of the
kingdom, and aiming at the change of
those political institutions which had
hitherto constituted the pride and secu-
rity of the country. Some extraordinary
circumstances must have occurred, before
any considerable portion of the people of
England ceased to respect those institu-
tions which were heretofore their pride.
The danger in such a state of things must
doubtless be great; but if their lordships
were satisfied that the danger was rightly
described, the next object of their con-
sideration must be the causes which had
led to it. The causes, he was confident,
were to be found in that system of policy
which he had already condemned-that
system which refused to look at the dan-
ger which was most pressing and present,
and which neglected to make those pro-
visions by which it could alone be effec-
tually averted. To one part of the noble
mover's speech he had no objection,
namely, that in which he urged the ne-
cessity of resisting plans of innovation,
tending to the subversion of the consti-
tution and the state of society. No noble
lord could be more inclined than he was
to oppose the plans of those persons who
were endeavouring to lead the people to
their ruin-men who, if not all equally
criminal, some perhaps acted from igno-
rance or zeal, while others might expect
to attain distinction by introducing con-
fusion into the country; but they were
all equally mischievous in their proceed-
ings. To the plans of innovations alluded
to he felt the necessity of opposing the


Nov. 29, 1819. [6







Address on the Prince Regenft Speech


most decided resistance. On this point
there could be no difference of opinion
among their lordships. But while oppos-
ing one danger, let care be taken that
another was not incurred. The existing
laws were adequate to put down those
men. Their lordships ought therefore to
consider well what might be proposed to
them, lest in curing one evil the constitu-
tion was exposed to a much greater. The
noble lord who moved the address, had,
in the course of his speech, warned the
House not to let an anxiety for the secu-
rity of liberty, lead to a compromise of
the safety of the state. He, for his part,
could not separate those things. The
safety of the state could only be found in
the protection of the liberties of the peo-
ple. Whatever was destructive of the
latter, also destroyed the former. If,
therefore, the noble lord hoped that by
taking from the liberties of the country
he would be giving more security to the
state, he had greatly mistaken the way to
accomplish the end he had in view, and
would, by any measure destructive of
liberty, only more speedily incur that
danger against which he wished to pro-
vide. In supporting the authority of the
government, ,their lordships, he hoped,
would not so far lose sight of the prin-
ciples of the constitution as to sanction
any precedent hostile to public liberty,
and therefore injurious to the safety of
the state. The history of this country
furnished sufficient proofs of the danger
of such innovations. Whatwouldbecome
of itat constitution which had always
been the boast of the country, if the
liberty of the subject were extinguished ?
The discontent existing in the country
had been insisted on as a ground for the
adoption of some measures. He must
again observe, that where discontent ge-
nerally prevailed there must be much dis-
tress; but there was another axiom no
less true-that there never was an exten-
sive discontent without great misgovern-
ment. It was seldom found that a peo-
ple, and, least of all, that a people such as
that of England, manifested dislike or hos-
tility towards a just and protecting go-
vernment. Was not the change .stated
to have taken place in the sentiments and
feelings of the people to be chiefly attri-
buted to distress ? If, then,, this distress
produced irregularity of conduct, was it
pot right when all' the vigour of the law
was exerted, to make a distinction between
those who instigated such proceedings-


between those who were misled, and those
who mislead? If it was requisite to pu-
nish the one party, it was not less so to
relieve the other. The people ought to
be taught to look to parliament with a
confident expectation that their com-
plaints would be heard, and protection af-
forded to them. Was it a wise, a safe, or
a humane policy, to be always looking
with a harsh and severe front towards the
people-always ready to punish, but slow
to give redress? He had inferred, that
the presumption of mal-administration in
government was strong when a general
discontent prevailed in a country; and he
would only ask their lordships to look
back to what had happened in the course
of the two last sessions, in confirmation of
that opinion. He remembered, that two
years ago, when their lordships had under
consideration a subject similar to the pre-
sent, a noble friend of his, now sitting at
the table (marquis Wellesley) quoting the
opinion of lord Bacon observed, that the
surest way to prevent editions is, to take
away the matter of them." Speaking in
the spirit of lord Bacon, his noble friend
recommended the taking away the mat-
ter of sedition" by the reduction of every
part of the public expenditure which
could be spared, and more particularly by
the reduction of that great and unneces-
sary military expenditure which bore so
heavily on the country. Had the recom-
mendation of his noble friend been attend-
ed to? No. Parliament had paid no at-
tention either to the recommendation of
his noble friend, or to the wishes of the
people on this subject. Instead of reduc-
ng, had not the burthens of the people
been rather increased? Profusion was
obstinately maintained, as if the continu-
ance of every abuse were necessary to
the safety of the state; and at the very
time when every relief was refused, severe
laws were passed, and the great bulwark
of the liberty of, the country removed.
This was the way in which parliament had
unhappily proceeded. Last session, how-
ever, commenced in a way which gave
reason to hope, that the House of Com-
mons, whatever objection might be made
to the manner in which it was constituted,
would defend the interests of the people,
and adopt measures for their relief; but
the hopes which the commencement of
the session afforded were soon dashed, and
severely disappointed. Not only was no
efficient measure of reduction adopted,
but additions were made to the expendi.


71 HOUSE OF LORDS,







Nov. 23, 1819. [10


ture which no public principle justified.
He had, in vain, opposed some of those
measures which had proved most injuri-
ous both to the character.of parliament,
and to that of the family on. the throne.
After. this.denial of justice-for to refuse
a relief so necessary to the country was a
denial.of.justice-,-the session was closed,
in a manner most insulting to the.distress
of the people, by the imposition of three
million of new taxes.. When their, lord-
ships reflected on what had been done,
how could they be surprised at the growth
of discontent When no attention was
paid to the calls of the people for relief,
when their petitions were rejected, and
their, sufferings aggravated, was it wonder-
ful that at last public discontents should
assume a formidable aspect ?
The state of the manufacturing districts
was alluded to in the speech from the
throne. It was well known that in Glas-
gow, in Manchester, and in the West
Riding of Yorkshire, the greatest distress
prevailed. Was it such as could be called
a mere partial depression ? Certainly not,
for those districts were filled with a starv-
ing population. In the midst of so much
distress, could it be matter of surprise that
opportunity was afforded to some men to
propagate opinions which were less dan-
gerous to the government than to those
who received them? Several public
meetings had been held in different parts
of the ,country : one for the mischievous,
and, he might.say, insane purpose-not of
petitioning. for radical reform, which,
notwithstanding that he more strongly than
ever thoughtsome reform necessary,appear-
ed to him nothing less than radical subver-
sion--of electing what was absurdly called a
legislative attorney. A meeting of the
same description was. advertised to take
place at Manchester; and he: must here
express his astonishment, that, in the
speech from the throne, no notice what-
ever was taken of the events which had oc-
curred in that town. The meeting at
.Manchester, ending as it.did, was, he
must say, by far the most important event
that had occurred in the course of his po-
litical life. The purpose for which the
meeting was first called being considered
illegal, it was abandoned, and one was as-
sembled for that object to which he had
already alluded, and which, though most
-absurd and improper, he would not call
illegal. But, God forbid he should desire
to see the people of England deprived of
the right of discussing that or any other


political question. The meeting took
place, and a scene ensued of a kind which
no man could witness, or hear described,
without the most painful emotions. The
events of the 16th of August must call for
a separate, a full, and a solemn inquiry;
and he therefore should abstain from any
particular details at present. Thus much,
however, he might now be permitted to
say-that there appeared primdfacie evi-
dence against the magistrates of Manches-
ter, of conduct for which it wouldbe most
difficult to find any justification. When
an inquiry should take place, it would not
be sufficient to prove even that the meet-
ing was illegal. He was ready to allow,
that the manner of calling such meetings
in large towns, and the populace march-
ing to the place of meeting in large bo-
dies, and in military order, from places in
the neighbourhood, were circumstances
calculated to excite alarm-that such a
proceeding was an abuse of the right of
petitioning, which was the more to be de-
plored, inasmuch as the abuse afforded
pretexts to those who might wish to
abridge that right; but he was not pre-
pared to go the length of calling the ob-
ject of the meeting illegal, or to admit
that the interposition of the magistrates
could be justified. Be this, however, as it
might, it would be necessary not only to
prove that the meeting was illegal, but
that the steps taken for its dispersion were
also legal. He would refer to the noble
lord on the woolsack, whether an attack
on a meeting could be justified until every
other mode of dispersing it had been tried.
It was only in the extreme case of no
other means being left to guard against
violence on the part of the persons as-
sembled, that force could be lawfully re-
sorted to. If it could be shown that the
Manchester magistrates had acted under
an imperious necessity, then they would
.doubtless stand justified for their con-
duct before God and man: but if they
could not prove that imperious necessity,
then all the blood shed on the 16th of Au-
gust must rest on their guilty heads, and
parliament would become a party to the
guilt, if a severe inquiry was not immedi-
ately instituted, and every means taken to
wipe so foul a stain from the character of
the country.
He was, however, willing to abstain from
entering into the investigation of this mat-
ter, untilministers had time to lay regular
information on the subject before parlia-
ment; but there were some other matters


et, the, opening of the Seuien.~







11] HOUSE OF LORDS, Add
connected with the transaction which had
taken plbac at Manchester, on which he
thought it necessary to' say a few words.
He could not avoid calling to their lord-
ships' recollection, the letter addressed by
the noble secretary of state to the chair-
man of the Manchester sessions. Much
had been, said -on the impropriety of pre-
judging the question relative to the Man-
chester transactions; but, amongst all the
surprising things to which those transac.
tions had given birth, the most surprising
was, to hear such an objection urged by
those who advised the writing of that let-
ter. The noble lords who supported the
address were indignant at the question be-
ing prejudged. Where was this indigna-
tion when the noble secretary of state ex-
pressed his satisfaction at the measures
which had been resorted to by the Man-
chester magistrates ? Good God! Was
not that prejudging the question? Next
in order to this extraordinary proceeding,
came the flippant and undignified answer
given to the address of the common coun-
cil of London. They were told that they
were ignorant of what had occurred pre-
vious to the meeting, and of what had
taken place at it; they were informed,
that if any persons were injured or ag-
grieved, the courts of law were open to
them; and it was intimated that to insti-
tute an extrajudicial inquiry, would be in-
consistent with justice. Now, if the mem-
bers of the common council were ignorant
of what had taken place at the meeting,
he should be glad to know what informa-
tion ministers possessed when they advised
the letter conveying to the Manchester
magistrates the approbation of the Prince
Regent. That letter was dated the 21st
of August, and, allowing for the time ne-
cessary to send to his royal highness at
Portsmouth, and to receive a return, it
was plain that no sufficient information of
what had passed could have been obtained.
It was, then, a most extraordinary circum-
stance that the noble secretary of state
should join in the indignation expressed
at prejudging the question when he him-
self, without any inquiry, and without one
expression of regret for the dreadful oc-
currences which had taken place, immedi-
ately advised his royal master to give the
sanction of his approbation to a transac-
tion of which he could know nothing, ex-
cept what came from those very magis-
trates whose conduct was the subject of
general reprobation. It would seem, that
to ask-for inquiry- was, in the opinion of


fress on tie Prince Regents Speech [12
his majesty's ministers, to prejudge a ques-
tion; but that to approve and applaud a
transaction which on the face of it appear-
ed culpable, was consistent with candour
and justice! The transaction at Man-
chester was one which their lordships
were bound to investigate with the great-
est strictness: and if it should be even
found that there were circumstances to
justify the conduct of the magistrates,
still the hurry of the noble secretary of
state to make the Prince Regent express
an approbation of that conduct was most
blameable. What: more could have been
done had a great victory been gained over
a foreign enemy ? In the good times of
the republic of Rome very different was
the conduct of its government; for the se-
nate never decreed a triumph to a gene.
ral who had obtained a victory in civil
war.' It was not supposed that the shed.
ding of the blood of their fellow-country.
men could ever be subject for exulta-
tion or thanks. He thought it would have
been more consistent with the best feel-
ings of the human heart, to have shown
some hesitation on such an occasion, than
to express satisfaction at the event which
had occurred at Manchester, without one
word of sympathy for the many sufferings
of the people. But it was said, that the
courts of law were open. He should wish
to ask, whether it was not the duty of the
privy council as well as: of parliament, to
inquire into such transactions. Was it
not the practice' of the privy council to
inquire into cases of sedition and disturb-
ance, to examine witnesses, and to order
prosecutions ? Upon what principle did
they refrain proceeding in this way in the
present case ? On the same principle, it
was their duty, as protectors of the public
peace, to institute an inquiry into such a
breach of the peace, whether the actors
were mobs or magistrates, tnd to order
prosecutions. The answer given to the
address of the city of London was there-
fore inconsistent with that regard to jus-
tice, which in such a case ought to be
strictly observed. It was possible that the
meeting was illegal, and that there might
be a necessity for the interference of the
magistrates; but these were subjects into
which the privy council ought to have in-
quired before the conduct of the magis-
trates was approved, and before it was
tauntingly said, that the courts of law
were open for the redress of those who had
suffered injury. The calling on parlia-
ment to inquire had been objected to, but







Nov. ~S, 1819. [14


it was well known that it was the duty of
parliament to inquire and, direct prosecu-
tions in cases in which the courts of lay
were open. Committee of the House of
Commons were often instituted for inquiry
into offences, and on their recommenda-
tion prosecutions were ordered. He
would state a case by way of illustration.
Suppose a set of ministers, acting on a
violent and unconstitutional system of po-
lice, should publish a proclamation, im-
posing a tax, of ship-money for instance,
and that magistrates were found disposed
to issue warrants for levying the tax by
distress, this would be a casein which any
person would have a right to bring an ac,
tion for redress: the courts of law would
be open; but would.it on that account be
less the duty of parliament to inquire?
Would it be reasonable tb say, that par-
liament ought not to institute an inquiry
into so unconstitutional a proceeding, be-
cause the individual who had suffered in-
jury could resort for redress to the ordi.
nary tribunals of the country ? But he
would ask, how long it had been consider-
ed, that inquiries into proceedings of this
nature were extra-judicial 2--that inquiries
into matters which might become the to-
pics of discussion in courts of law, were
inconsistept.with the principles, of public
justice? They had heard of inquiries and
reports, declaring evidence and stating
facts; and not only declaring evidence
and stating facts, but. pronouncing opi-
nions upon the authority, of both Houses
of Parliament; not upon subjects of trifling
import, but in cases where the lives of in-
dividuals were at stake, and at the moment
when those individuals were taking their
trials upon charges of high treason. If in-
quiries were permitted on occasions of this
nature, he would ask, upon what ground
could they be denied on the recent occur-
rences? Such a denial he could not help
thinking shocking to common sense, a vio.
lation of all feeling, and in direct contra-
vention of public justice. What would be
the consequence of this mode of proceed-
ing, if the people were told that when of-
fences were committed against the crown,
inquiries should take place, reports should
be made, and their lives endangered by
such extra-judicial proceedings, while, if
they were themselves injured by offences
committed against them, their rights
should not be protected by the same
means. ? Such a course of conduct, in
his opinion, would not only aggravate the
nature of their, complaints, but would be


contrary to all former practices, Then,
in this instance, they were shut otot from
obtaining redress in another way by the
rejection pf grand jurymen, and by a re-
fusal of the magistrates to attend to their
complaints. In this view of the case, how
were they to obtain redress but through
the medium of parliament ? Was it post
sible, in such a state of things, by such a
character of proceeding, that the discon-
tents which now prevailed, could be al,
played ?
He had alluded-to the address of the
city of London. It was not necessary
to say more on that subject; the feeling
of those who voted that address was
perfectly understood: all they desired
was inquiry. He would now advert to
the manner in which a noble friend of his
(earl Fitzwilliam) had been treated, be,
cause he had thought it his duty to con.
cur, or, if they would, to give his approba.
tion to a requisition,which was directed
to the sheriff of the county of trk, re.
questing him to call a meeting',k tiki in-
habitants of that highly respectable aid
independent county, to consider of the
transactions which had taken place at
Manchester, with a view to address, the
Prince Regent, and to call upon him to
exercise his legal, privilege in assembling
parliament at as early a period as possible,
for the purpose of instituting an inquiry
into those transactions. Could there be
an application of a more constitutional
nature ? Could there be an application to
the Crown better suited to the circum.
stances of the country, or. better calcu*
lated at that moment to allay the ferment
and discontent to which the melancholy
transactions at Manchester had. given
rise? It was impossible, in his apprehen-
sion, to have instituted a proceeding more
admirably adapted to allay discontent.
But what was the character of the pro-
ceeding itself? A meeting assembled, as
large, as numerous, and as respectable in
composition, as had ever assembled in that
county. Were their proceedings tu-
multuous or disorderly? Were the
speeches which were delivered by the in.
dividuals who attended the meeting cal-
culated to inflame or to excite, angry
feelings ? Were the resolutions in any de-
gree such as would afford a construction
or inference favourable to the.designs of
those who might be supposed enemies to
the country, or in any way hostile to the
laws and to the constitution? The fact
was notoriously the reverse. The meet


ptt~the OpfninPg of t~p $f#$jPX!,







15] HOUSE OF LORD,
ing was as large, as numerous, am
respectable, as it was distinguished by
derly and peaceable behaviour.
speeches were characterized by fair
and moderation, while the resolut
studiously abstained from pronoun
any opinion whatever, farther than
necessary to state the ground of addr
and yet for a proceeding dictated fo
just and laudable a purpose, so hap
devised for that purpose, and attend
with such eminent success, was the l
lieutenant of the West Riding of Y
shire removed from a situation which
had long held, with so much advani
to himself, and with so much honou
the country. He never could forget
surprise with which this act of extract
nary violence was viewed by every
of every description, whatever mighi
his political opinions or prejudi
throughout the country. But to a
like earl' iitzwilliam, who had been
tinguishl by his constant support of
Crojrt oif very trying difficulty-a
et high tank, extensive influence,
princely possessions-a man beloved
esteemed man so properly descr
in resolutions which had been la
passed, from his particular situation
affording security to the government
firminess and confidence to the peo
when such a man was peculiarly mial
out and devoted, in a season of
difficulty as the present, what confide
could exist in tih ministers by w
such conduct could be sanctioned,
what hope remained for the delu
people of this country ? That for the e
cise of a constitutional right-for ha
presumed to question the transaction
*Manchester-he should have been
removed, was indeed inexplicable.
was aware that it was the undoubted
vilege of the Crown to appoint and
miss from offices of this description;
he knew also that the prerogative
power which the Crown exercised im
become the subject of representation
remonstrance from either that or
other House. Whether it might be
pedient to adopt any step of this I
was a matter for after consideration.
present he would only advert to the e
tence of their right, if the exercise of
right should be thought advisable.
would ask, however, whether it was
extremely dangerous that a power sh
exist, by which, if they presumed to
liver their sentiments in opposition


Add-ess 6n the Prince Regent's Speech f(i
1 as- those of his majesty's ministers, they
Sor- could be hqld up to public suspicion?
The And was it not extremely dangerous, at
ness a period like the present, to place in such
ions a situation sdch a man as earl Fitzwil-
cing liam? -Was riot such conduct calculated
was to increase disaffection in the country,
ess; and to produce additional hostility to the
r so government? -This observation was par-
ipily ticularly applicable, when the House re-
ided collected the great manufacturing dis-
ord- trict over which the noble earl presided.
ork- What must be the effect in the minds of
i e the people inhabiting that extensive
stage county, when they found that, instead of
zr to afferdingthem redress, the individual who
the had shown a disposition to inforce justice,
irdi- and to support their rights, had been de-
man priced of the situation which he held-
t be had been treated as a person unworthy of
ices, further trust, and had been considered as
man one to whom the public security could
dis- no longer be confided ? This was a lesson
the to persons holding similar situations; it
man was, in fact, neither more nor less than an
and intimation, that those who were 'not de-
and termined to support the measures of mi-
ibed nisters, could no longer be considered as
itely worthy of the confidence of the govern-
i, as meat, and would be turned out of any si-
-and tuation'oftrust' or power which they might
ple; hold.
*ked He bad now adverted, first of all to the
such magistrates dispersing the people, or to
3nce the violence of those magistrates who had
hom been acting inw concert with the govern-
and ment: he had next called to the atten-
ided tion of their lordships the 'ready appro-
xer- bation, without any inquiry or examina-
ving tion, which his majesty's ministers had
s at given to those acts: he had afterwards al-
thus luded to the answer which had been given
He to the city address; and finally to the
pri- punishment, or rather to the intended pu-
dis- nishment (for he viewed it rather as an
but honour), of earl Fitzwilliam, for having
and presumed to listen to the voice, and to
eight advocate the rights, of the people. The
n or result of all these inquiries led him to the
the conclusion, that it was the determination
ex- of ministers to persevere in the measures
cind, which they had adopted, and to support
At that determination by a system of anqua-
*xis- lifted coercion. The-next topic to which
that he should request their lordships' atten-
He tion, was that part of the, speech from
not the throne which referred -to an addition
would of from 10,000 to 11,000 men, to the re-
de- gular troops of'the country. He ertainly
n to had great doubts of the legality of this







17] at the Opening of the Session. N, ov. 23, 1819. [18
addition to the regular army without the mand the exercise of new powers, till by
sanction of parliament; but he did not degrees they would depart from all the
mean to say much on this part of the principles of the constitution. This was
subject; neither was it his intention to the uniform course and progress of such
dwell much on the state of distress in measures; and all the evils which were to
which the country was at present placed, be apprehended from their adoption must
or on the prudence of adding to their be expected, unless the preventive wisdom
burdens an expense of at least from of parliament was called in to correct and
200,0001. to 300,0001. He would simply to restrain the views of ministers.
observe, that this was another of that The noble earl next alluded to the
series of measures which had marked the military force which was raising in dif-
progress of the existing government, and ferent parts of the country, and the at-
which was unaccompanied by a single tempts which were making to arnimone
measure of concession to keep down the part of the people against the other. It
spirit of discontent which so unhappily had been said, that a malignant spirit
prevailed. He now wished their lordships was abroad, but he did not believe that
to consider, to what end the conduct to there was any foundation for the charge.
which he had been alluding was likely to If the inhabitants of Manchester exhi-
lead. Their lordships had some experience bited a disposition to disaffection, he verily
in that House two years ago, when res- believed that that disposition might fairly
trictive laws were passed, and when the be traced, on the one side to those Orange
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, of societies, which were patronized by go-
the effect which such measures were likely vernment; and, on the other, by the party
to produce. The same complaints were feelings of those who were suffering dis-
then made of the existence of disaffection tress, for the relief of whose complaints
and discontent, and the same means of, no attempt was made, and who, in con-
resorting to force were suggested. Did sequence, assumed all the violence of
those measures produce the effects which radical reformers, and felt anxi us to des-
were promised? He would ask their lord- troy all those distinctions of rank by
ships, if they at all recollected the his. which the existence of society was sup-
tory of that time, or examined the situa- ported. Such was the order of things
tion of the country which resulted from which prevailed in Ireland previous to the
those proceedings, whether the effect was rebellion, and which ended in the des-
not directly the reverse of that which was truction of the independent legislature of
anticipated? Where discontent prevailed, that country. He knew not whether it
was it not infinitely aggravated ? The was intended to adopt the same measures
grounds for those measures on coming with regard to this country as had been
to be enforced-he meant the march of adopted in Ireland, where the sword had
spies and informers, who were employed been substituted for persuasion. The
by the executive ministers of the Crown situation of the two countries was ex-
-were themselves the instigators of mis- tremely different. In Ireland the state
.chief, were themselves the originators of of distress was such, that it produced
plans of treason, and were themselves the universal confusion: the danger was im-
primary cause of an unconstitutional at- minent; .but it was suppressed by the
tack upon the liberties of the people. power and interference of this country.
The effect of these measures was, in his If the discontents in this country existed
opinion, the cause of a great portion of to the same extent, and upon the same
the discontent which now prevailed. Af- disparity of resistance, the consequences
ter all the experience which they had had, would be far different. Ireland had de-
however, there was no attempt at conci- rived assistance from this country; but
liation, no concession to the people; from Ireland we could expect no.such
nothing was alluded to but a resort to advantage: on the contrary, it was to be
coercion, as the only remedy which could apprehended that Ireland herself would
be adopted. He had seen, and seen with be placed in a situation of danger. They
regret, the progress of this system. The had been told two years ago that Ireland
natural consequence of such a system, was perfectly quiet. He remembered well
when once begun, was, that it could not an observation which was made on that
be stopped: discontents begot the neces- occasion; it sunk deep in his recollection.
sity of force; the employment of force He remembered the answer which was
increased discontents; these would de- made by a noble marquis (Wellesley) to
(VOL. XLI;J (C)







l91 HOUSE OF iO"DS, Addrss on the PIisce ftmget Speech


that statement. The noble earl then
quoted a passage from the speech to which
he alluded, which, in substance, stated,
that the quiet of Ireland was to be attri-
buted to her endeavours to obtain a relief
from her religious disabilities; but that i;
an opportunity offered, she would not he-
sitate to assert her independence, and to
take advantage of any difficulties to which
this country night be exposed. To obviate
such an attempt, they could only look
with confidence to a system of policy
founded upon liberality and justice. He
would put a case in the reverse: suppose
the adoption of coercive laws--an addi-
tion to the army, and in fact the esta-
blishment of the reign of force and terror.
Could this be depended upon ? Could go.
vernment rest with confidence upon the
sword for security ? It was impossible that
a government of such a nature could exist
in England. What would become of their
manufactures? What would become of
their credits; of their commerce; in fact,
on what could they rest the stability of
their resources without their constitution ?
Without that spirit which the knowledge
of the advantages which they enjoyed
under their constitution infused, all their
energies would flag, and all their feelings
by which their glory as a nation had been
established would be utterly dissipated.
He would put it to the test of the military
experience of the noble duke who sat
opposite (the duke of Wellington). He
would ask him whether, in the moment of
peril, any thing excited the superior qua-
lities of the British soldier to the glorious
feats by which he had been distinguished,
but the sacred spirit of liberty which he
derived from the constitution under which
he had lived, and from the consciousness
of the rights which that constitution pre-
served to him? If this principle, which
was the great source of our prosperity,
was destroyed, what would become of the
boasted security of those laws and those
measures of coercion which the language
of ministers throughout had taught us to
expect? Not alone would the various
ranks of society be endangered, but the
throne itself would be placed ihneopardy.
The example of history had sufficiently
proved; that there was no comparison be-
tween the security of a monarch who lived
among a free people, enthroned in their
affections, and him who, like the great
emperor of Russia, looked alone for pro.
tection from the troops by which he was
surrounded. It was with a view to esta-


blish this liberal principle, that he should
iove the amendment by which he should
conclude. He was of opinion that the
powers which existed under the law as it
was constituted were sufficient for the
preservation of the public peace; but if
it could be shown that any new dangers,
that any new circumstances, had arisen fob
which no provision had been made, and
that notwithstanding all the diligence and
active management of a good government,
that government was in imminent peril, he
was not prepared to say that, upon ye-
ceiving such proof, he would not give his
sanction to measures calculated to meet
those unusual exigencies. But he must
say, that his majesty's present ministers
were the last.persons to whom he would
intrust the general interests of the state.
He should grant them new powers, such
as those to which he had alluded, with a
degree of caution amounting to repug-
nance. It should, however, be their duty
in the first instance, to institute a solemn
inquiry into the circumstances which had
attended the unfortunate transactions at
Manchester on the 16th of August, and
thereby convince the people of England
That they were their true guardians, and
sensibly alive to every thing in which their
interests were involved. The noble earl
concluded by moving an Amendment to
the Address by adding at the end thereof
the words,
To assure his Royal Highness, that,
called together at a season when unex-
ampled distress and extraordinary agitar
tion prevail in some of the most populous
districts of the kingdom, we will immedi-
ately proceed to take into our most serious
consideration the various matters contain-
ed in his Royal Highness's gracious
speech from the throne.
"Humbly to express to his Royal
Highness our reprobation of the attempts
which have been made to persuade the
suffering classes of the people to seek
relief from their distress in schemes injw-
rious to themselves, dangerous to the
public quiet, and inconsistent with the
security of the cohsitutian which it is
our duty and determination to maintain
against every species of encroachment
and attack.
To represent to his Royal Highness,
that while we thus declare our determined
resolution firmly to uphold the just autho-
rity of the laws, we feel that we are called
upon by a sense of duty to conduct our:
selves so as to satisfy the people that their







st3 *atkthe Ojirig: otg le ksionh 1ov. 23v 2 1819. rS
rqmplaints will at all times receive from forded to support tie civil magistrates,
tis that just attention, and their rights could best satisfy the House, It was not
that ready protection, that is indispen. his intention to travel through all the parts
sable to their safety and freedom. of the noble earl's speech. The primary
That this seems to us more particu- object was the internal state of the coun-
larly necessary, in order to maintain that try; and to that, for the present, he should
competence in the public institutions of confine his observations. The internal
tle country, which constitutes the best state of the country it was that had deter-
safeguard of all law and government. mined the Prince Regent, by the advice
That we have seen with deep regret of his ministers, to assemble parliament,
the events which took place at Manchester for the purpose of laying before the two
on the 16th of August, and that, without Houses such information as would present
pronouncing any opinion on the circum- to them at one view a clear exposition of
stances that occurred on that melancholy the state in which the country was placed.
occasion, we feel that they will demand our It would be for parliament to consider,
earliest attention, in order to dissipate the upon reading this statement, and to say,
alarm to which they have given birth; whether some additional powers were not
and by the result of a diligent and impar- necessary for the preservation of the con-
tial inquiry, which may show that the stitution, and whether the present laws
measures then resorted to were the result were not too weak for that purpose. But
of an urgent necessity, or that an impor- the manner in which the noble earl had
tant constitutional privilege cannot be referred to the circumstances to which he
violated, and the lives of his majesty's had alluded, which lie (lord Sidmouth)
subjects sacrificed, with impunity." felt in his own mind to be immediately
Lord Sidmouth said, he was induced to connected with his official character, in-
solicit their lordships attention in conse- duced him at once to apply himself to
quence of the manner in which the noble that subject. The transactions at Man-
earl who had just sat down had thought chester on the 16th of August formed a
fit to allude to events involving great prominent point of the noble lord's speech;
official responsibility a responsibility and he would take upon himself to say,
which attached principally, if not exclu- that there never was a transaction in which
sively, to himself. The noble earl had the public were interested, or respecting
commenced his speech with an admission which they were solicitous, in which there
of the existence of present danger. In. had been so much misrepresentation,
deed, he did not believe there was an falsehood, and exaggeration as respecting
individual either in this or the other the proceedings of that day. They had
House of Parliament, or in the kingdom, beard of the magistrates of Manchester
who was not prepared to make the same as if they were merely magistrates of the
concession. The noble earl had attributed town of Manchester, and as if they were
those dangers to the neglect of parliament tle stipendiary magistrates of government.
in the performance of its duties. How This was not a true representation of facts;
far that proposition was well founded, the magistratesin question were appointed
their lordships were perfectly competent by the county, and commenced their du-
to judge. It was within their lordships' ties in the beginning of July last. There
recollection, that in the course of the last were of them twelve in number, and their
session of parliament military retrench- attentions were unremitting to preserve
ment had taken place to an extent which the public peace. They were none of
appeared to satisfy every individual calling them Manchester magistrates; they were
for retrenchment. Another call which men of the highest respectability in the
had been made on the House was for the county, who had associated themselves
abolition of sinecure places. In this, too, for the purpose of watching over the con-
government had conceded to the supposed duct of persons whose designs were but
.wishes of the country: whether those con- too evident to be mistaken. Two of them
cessions had or had not been carried too only were stipendiary magistrates; he
far, was a question which events would alluded to Mr. Hay, who had been ap-
probably demonstrate. With regard to pointed by the quarter sessions; and to
the military retrenchment, those noble Mr. Norris, who had been appointed by
lords who. had experience of the present the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster,
state of the country, and who-felt the in- to whom he wasInly known by character.
sufficiency of the means which were af- These individuals had been the objects







231 HOUSE OF LORDS,
of much unfounded misrepresentat
He should have thought, from the po
of the system of government in this co
try, that the conduct of magistrates we
not be condemned, at least without
deliberation, if not with great allowar
and that presumption would have b
in their favour. They knew that in
first criminal court in the country,
court of King's-bench, the aberration
magistrates, where they might have
parted from the strict letter of the law
acted from unintentional error, had alw
been treated with every possible in
gence. But, to place presumption as
the danger by which those magistr
were surrounded on the day to which
noble lord alluded, was sufficient to
tify every act which had been imputec
them.. When they saw an immense
semblage of individuals, marching in n
tary array, coming in large bodies fro
distance,-and declaring their object t(
neither more nor less than the total E
version of the constitution or to peri
these persons carrying with them cap!
liberty, pikes bearing the appearance
having been dipped in blood, and f
inscribed with the most seditious
tences; all, in his humble estimate
ought to have placed presumption on
side of the magistrates. But there v
other grounds of presumption in t
favour: if they had misconducted th
selves, the courts of law were open
redress; and yet, not a single applica
or charge had been made against th
while bills had been found against ev
individual whom they had apprehen
by the grand jury of the county pala
of Lancaster. The noble viscount t
proceeded to defend the yeomanry f
the charges which had been prefer
against them. He denied that they
done more than became them as soldi
acting under specific orders; and instant
the various contradictions which had b
given to the charges which had t
brought against them, as proofs of
malevolent falsehoods by which they
been assailed. Under all the circ
stances, he thought the presumption
as strongly in favour of them as it wa
favour of the magistrates. On the ill
lity of the Manchester meeting he ci
speak with the utmost confidence. W
out referring to information exclusi
in possession of the gove nment, and r
of which had yet been communicate
the public; but taking. the facts wl


Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [24
ion. were generally stated and admitted, he
licy would not hesitate to declare, relying on
un- the opinion of the great legal authorities,
luld in whom he could place the most im-
due plicit confidence, that the assembly ofthe
ice, 16th of August was not only illegal, but
een treasonable.-The next object of the
the noble earl's animadversions was the letter
the addressed to the lords-lieutenant of the
s of counties of Chester and Lancaster, com-
de- municating the approbation of the Prince
, or Regent'sgovernmenttothemagistratesand
'ays the yeomanry who acted on that occasion.
lul- He did not shrink from any responsibility
ide, which the writing of that letter imposed,
rates and he was convinced that a plain state-
the ment of facts would convince their lord-
jus- ships, that his majesty's government
i to could not have pursued a different course.
as- An account of the transactions of the
ili- 16th, at Manchester, reached ministers
m a on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Mr.
Sbe Hay, the chairman of the Salford Quarter
sub- Sessions, accompanied by another gen-
ish; tleman, arrived in town to give the fullest
s of information on all the circumstances to
e of the government. A cabinet council was
lags summoned immediately, and attended
sen- by all those members of it who were
ion, then in town. It consisted of the noble
the and learned lord on the woolsack,
yere of the noble master-general of the ord-
heir nance, of the noble secretary of state for
em- foreign affairs, and of several other mem-
for bers, and was attended by the law officers
tion of the Crown. The two gentlemen who
em, had come from Manchester made their
rery statements in the presence not only of
led, the cabinet, but of the law officers; and'
tine all the information which they gave, and
hen all the circumstances which they minutely
rom detailed, served only to confirm the con-
rred viction which had been produced by the
had original account, that the magistrates had
iers, faithfully done their duty. As soon as
iced this step had been taken, and this expla-
ieen nation given, the law-officers gave it as
Peen their opinion, on a view of the whole case,
the that the conduct of the magistrates was
had completely justified by the necessity under
um- which they acted. With this conviction
was on the minds of the Prince Regent's
is in ministers, the letter in question was writ-
ega- ten. If, so convinced, they had not acted
3uld in the manner they did, and had delayed
'ith- to communicate the approbation of go-
vely vernment till they had made unnecessary
lone inquiries, he would not hesitate to say,
d to that they would have acted not only
which unwisely, but unjustly and basely. The







Nov. 23, 1819. [26


persons whose conduct had been thus
canvassed, had performed a most painful
and dangerous duty; they had exposed
their lives for the preservation of the pub-
lic peace; they had given a satisfactory
account of the necessity which compelled
them to act; the presumption was in fa-
vour of the truth of their statements: and,
were ministers, in such a case, to say,
after hearing them, No, we cannot ap-
prove of your proceedings; there is every
appearance that you acted with proper
temper and decision; there is a certainty
that you exposed your personal safety in
the performance of your duty, but facts
may afterwards come out against you,
and on this vague anticipation of proba-
ble contradiction, we will refrain from
thanking you till we have heard the state-
ments of your accusers?" Would such
conduct have been fair, manly, or gene-
rous? Ministers were charged with
prejudging the question by the conduct
they pursued; but how could they have
done otherwise than they did, convinced
as they were that the magistrates had
acted under a necessity that admitted of
no alternative? What would have been
the consequence of any doubt thrown
unnecessarily on their intentions or acts ?
What would have been thought of the
conduct of government by the other ma-
gistrates of the kingdom? The times in
which they lived were not those that
would,allow them with impunity to tem-
porise in a manner so base and so unjust
towards men to whom the protection of
the public peace was intrusted. The no-
ble lord here entered shortly into an ac-
count of the transactions of the 16th, and
described the hostile conduct of the po-
pulace towards the constables and the
authorities, both before and after the
meeting. Campbell, a constable, had
been actually stoned to death, in open
day, in Manchester; and a constable of
the town had stated that he considered
his life in danger. This system of hosti-
lity to all who were engaged in executing
the law, or preserving the public peace,
was not confined to Manchester. It ap-
peared in Newcastle, and other places.
Referring to the cruelties said to have
been perpetrated by the military on the
16th, he declared that not a single life
was lost in consequence of the blows
which they inflicted. On this subject he
would not, however, dwell any longer at
present: the danger with which we were
threatened from the discontented state of


the public mind was generally admitted
and its magnitude should induce their
lordships to unite in vigorous measures to
avert it. If, in the character of that
danger, there was any feature more
alarming than another, it was the conduct
of some persons, who encouraged and
emboldened. the disaffected by standing
between the government they assailed,
and the party assailing. The noble lord,
adverting to the observations of earl Grey,
regarding the dismissal of lord Fitzwil-
liam from the lieutenancy of the West
Riding of Yorkshire, said he would not
enter at large into the grounds of that
measure. The different view which that
noble lord and his, majesty's ministers
took of the state of the country, and the
public declaration which he signed in op-
position to their wishes, showed that all
confidence between them and him had
ceased, and that a separation had become
indispensable. These were all the ob-
servations which he felt himself called
upon to make on the present occasion.
He concluded by declaring, that he should
vote for the original address as it stood;
and if the amendment was persisted in,
he should feel it his duty to take the sense
of the House upon it.
Lord Erskine, in rising to support the
amendment, said, that although he could
add nothing to recommend it to the adop-
tion of the House, because it had in his
opinion, received no answer whatsoever
from the noble secretary of state, though
of all others the most bound to justify its
rejection, yet he could not content him-
self with giving a silent vote, to be per-
haps passed over in the published list of
a division. He wished all the people of
this land to know, that he was still in his
place, as he ever had been when the
rights of the people were invaded; and
upon the present occasion, they had not
only been most manifestly invaded, but
wantonly trampled upon and insulted.-
The unquestionable merit of his noble
friend's amendment was, that whilst it sup-
ported the address in every part of it that
pointed out any public offence or danger,
and to all that pledged the House to
maintain order and tranquillity, yet at the
same time it justly and prudently called
upon them to examine into the causes of
the discontent and disorder which. they
condemned; to pledge them also to
support the liberty of the subject under
the laws, and to suffer no wrong which.
might have been committed under the


at the-Opening 2tshe Sasion.







[] HOUSE OF LORDS,
proPext of supporting them- to
unexamined and unredressed. -
answer had been given, or even ti
attempt at an answer had been m
to that sound and statesman like prop
tion.-The noble lord who had just
down, in a speech most inwise and u
in the present agitated state of the co
try, instead of sympathizing with admit
sufferings, and lamenting the suppc
necessity of inflcting them, had pas
them by altogether, and closed the d
-at once, without the slightest considi
tion of them, against either, inquiry
relief. Such a course of proceed
however it might have been determi
upon by ministers, even on grounds wL
might appear to them to be satisfact(
coukl not possibly justify the House
refuse examination, when the people
pealed to parliament for protection,
tendered the proofs of most atroci
violations of the constitutiou.-When
people, my lords (said lord E.), comp
to us of the grossest misgovernmenl
th. magistracy, and of the ministers
sanctioning their misconduct, can
possibly accept of their own declaratii
se conclusive evidence in their justify
tion, whilst we refuse to hear the evide
of their accusers ?-When ministers t,
upon themselves to pledge the Crowi
support their rash pre-judgment, and
condemn the people, how could they
considered to be responsible, ifparliami
upon their own suggestion, and un
their own influence, rejected all inqt
into the facts offered to be proved,
which if established must condemn the
4t laying their conduct before the Ho
by the address which they have propose
they must think, no doubt, that they h
submitted their conduct, and the. st
also of the country to the impartial a
,constitutional judgment of the legislate
Be it so; but what then must the nati
and all other nations, think of the Ho
of Lords as a branch of that legislature
its decision echoed the address prepa
by themselves who were accused, agai
the universal complaints of the peoj
and this without hearing a syllable of
proofs, which by petitions from one
tremity of the country to the other, tl
had been solemnly called upon to e
mine. Such a proceeding was with
example in, the history of the worst tim
It would have been wiser to give a wr(
judgment after hearing the evidence, tl
to reject it altogether. The first co


AMdrRs Ao aK Prhins MOgemiP' Speech 1[8
pas mly s &eW the presumption of an error in
'hat judgment, but the last might create suspi-
'hat ions of too gross a character to be stated.
ade --The noble viscount, however, to justify
osi- the rejection of the amendment, had as-
sat sured the House that the proceedings at
nfit Manchester had been grossly misrepre-
un- rented; but this he thought was rather
ted an additional argument for an inquiry
ised into the facts.--But, putting aside all ac-
sed cusation or justification of ministers, was
oor it not the duty of the House to examine
era- impartially the state of the country, and
or the acts of the magistracy, to restore
ing, tranquillity, by inspiring the people with
ned a trust in the justice of parliament, to
dich afford relief and protection'even to those
)ry, who might have offended, if the laws had
to been overstepped. Can we, my lords
ap- (said lord E.), expect either affection or
and obedience from subjects, if we ourselves
ous depart from theimmutable rulesofjusticef
the -He had formerly observed to their
lain lordships, that the diseases of the state,
t of like those of the body, must be first traced
for to their causes before any remedy could
we be usefully, or even safely applied; and he
ons was sorry to be obliged to say, that the
ca- principal cause of that now complained of
nee was unhappily, too notorious. It arose
ook (no matter whether with or without foun-
t to nation) from a distrust of parliament: the
Sto great bulk of the people did not consider
be the House of Commons as their represen-
ent, tative, nor the House of Lords as inde-
der pendent, when they uniformly, even more
liry than the House of Commons, adopted
and every measure which every administration
m? in its turn had proposed. They thought,
use no matter whether justly or unjustly, that
ed, the influence of the Crown in both Houses
ave of Parliament, annihilated their -use and
ate office in the government; they declare
ind in all their tumultuous meetings that
ire. whatever ministers introduced was always
on, conclusively adopted, whilst their wishes
use and opinions were rejected. Now, no-
!, if thing surely could be more dangerous than
red that such an opinion should spread, and
nst take root throughout the country; yet
ple, could it possibly be a remedy for such a
the diseased opinion, orrathercould itdo other-
ex- wise than exasperate and confirm it, to de-
hey fer to ministers as you are called upon to-
xa- day; to take their own words for their own
out wisdom and justice, and to refuse to hear
ies. the other side, that thus they might be
ong pronounced by the House to be immacui-
ian late, and the people discontented without
uld cause. Was it possible to expect traa-







at he Opening tf k &ealioN.


quillity or obediened to gvenimtfmt, f this
course was pursued, or to fail in securing
both the one and the other, by adopting
the amendment ? My lords (said lord E.)
if whilst you shall maintain a just submis-
sion to lawful authority, even by military
force when unfortunately necessary, you
shall at the same time take care to limit
its interference, and never to suffer it to
pass beyond the bounds of the law; and
if, when excesses occur, you shall open
wide all your assemblies and tribunals to
the sufferers, and hear their complaints
with an affectionate feeling for the great
mass of the people, appeals to force will
be but rare and insignificant. Only do
this systematically, beginning to-day upon
so favourable an occasion, and every thing
you fear will soon disappear, like an en-
chantment or a dream. Only show the
world that you are not the slaves of mi-
nisters, but the faithful guardians of the
rights of the people, and you may lay at
rest all the laws against tumultuous as-
semblies, and your troops and magistrates
may go to sleep. But he ought, he said,
to have spared their lordships from hear-
ing these truths from him; the causes of
the present discontents had been already
pointed out by his noble friend with so
much truth and eloquence as the founda-
tion of his amendment, that he felt his
words return back upon him. The com-
plaints which had convulsed the public
mind from one extremity of the island to
the other, were surely a sufficient pre-
sumption of their justice, not merely to
vindicate inquiry, but to impose it as a
solemn duty upon the House; and the
more so as it was the only possible course
by which the alienation of the lower or-
ders of the people from the government
of the country could be removed; and
even if the result in favour of the magis-
tracy appeared to be probable or almost
certain, the more politic would be the
examination of the facts, as it would show
that parliament, instead of being cold to
the wishes of the people, ran even before
its duty, through sympathy for their feel.
ings. There could be no doubt, and for
the very reasons he had adverted to, that
there had been tumultuous assemblies of
the people in different parts of' the coun-
try, in numbers too great to be useful;
and which could not be brought together
without leading to probable disturbances
of the peace; neither had he any doubt
that the meeting in the neighbourhood of
Manchester. was of a description to eall


for the active vigilance of the magistrates 1
but at the same time it could not be de-
nied, that the object of the meeting was
legal, it being to petition parliament, and
no overt acts had been committed, not
any conspiracy discovered, to prove it to
have been a cover for rebellion orsedi-i
tion. On the contrary, there was little
ground for believing that violence or dis4
turbance of any kind was contemplated
when very great numbers brought their
wives and children along With theml; fbo
if tumult or danger had been eohtemplated
or expected, the feelings of nature would
have prevented the presence of wothder
and infants in the crowd. Supposing,
however, that the great numbers assetki
bled, and the banners displaying the
wishes of this multitude for a reform
visionary and impracticable, bedrendeiebd
the meeting in the honest judgment, df
the magistrates unsafe and injuries to
the public peace, and therefore fit to bd
dispersed, was not the mode of aecemA
polishing it most clearly prescribed- by the
laws, and completely and safely praci
ticable ? After mildly admonishing those
who were nearest to them, were they not
bound to read the Riot act in different
parts of this immensely numerous meet
ing, so that the reading of it might bd
perfectly notorious, which most undoubt.
edly had been very insufficiently done:
and no means taken to circulate the know-
ledge of it. The leaders of that multitude
well knew, and no doubt would have made
known to those who followed them, the
consequences of remaining after ah h6ou
had elapsed, and this knowledge *buld id
itself have soon dissipated or thinhed the
meeting; but what after all was the legal
consequence of their keeping together
after the period prescribed by the statute ?
Not that they were subject, without iknmii-
lent necessity, to be sabred right and left
with indiscriminate and merciless violence;
by cavalry impelled against them as ir
rebellion. dr foreign battle. No; they
were felons only, and subject to indlctv
menrt. Lord E. said; he admitted that.
even before the hout had elapsed sa as td
render them- felons, or any pbrtibti, hdow
ever small of it, if tu~h acts bf forced o
dangerous breaches, of the peace hid
been committed or tBliratitled a- Wotdi
justify magistrates to repel force-by force,
that force not only might, but ought thmst
unquestionably to be employed hbut did
such a case exist at Manchester, or id
the -jstification of the magistracy, had"


'?


Nov. 2% 1919.g






31] HOUSE OF LORDS, Address on the Prtwie segen's Speech [ S
any such acts of the multitude been the state trialsat the Old Bailey, without
proved ?-Certainly not. On the con- the interference of parliament, but the
trary, their leader had offered his person magnitude of the question formed the
to the laws if he had offended, and no exception, and the reports of both
violence had been committed when they Houses, even though they assumed the
were charged by the yeomanry and cut guilt of the individuals who, were in cus-
down. Now, my lords (said lord E.), tody and to stand their trials, were made
when you are invoked by the universal public. This was done under the same
voice of the country, can you, in such a administration of government which now
case as this, refuse all examination, only refused inquiry, because bills of indict-
because ministers forbid you; and is it ment by a few individual sufferers had
possible that your lordships should be been rejected. Nothing surely could be
blind to the peril of pursuing such a more completely at variance than the
course ? It may be necessary perhaps very two courses which had been pursued !
soon to employ military force in the sup- This (said lord E.) is the whole; the
port of lawful government, which is but amendment neither negatives nor ques-
another name for protection of the people; tions the principles which are the foun-
and if the amendment is accepted, re- dation of the address, and if adopted
course may be had to it without unpopu- leaves the House solemnly and unani-
larity or. suspicion; but if, by now reject- mously pledged, as it ought to be, to sup-
ing all examination, the unlawful employ- port the government as established by
ment of force shall be vindicated, govern- law, which I hope always to be found
ment will then raise a question in public amongst the foremost to maintain; whilst,
opinion between the people and itself at the same time, it gives it the most effi-
which the military may be called upon to cacious support by assimilating it with the
decide; and God forbid that such a dan- interests and affections of the people. For
gerous arbitration should ever exist these reasons I shall vote for the amend-
When the military are employed upon meat.
lawful occasions, they do not then act Lord King observed, that the assertion
against the people but for their manifest of the noble secretary of state, that mis-
protection; but if this sound distinction statements had gone abroad on the sub-
comes to be disbelieved or brought into ject of the Manchester transactions, laid
doubt or question, your lordships should the strongest ground for inquiry. The
recollect that the soldiers being them- speech of the noble secretary was re-
selves part of the people, partaking of markable for its coincidence with every
course all their feelings, the arm may thing that government had done regard-
be palsied with which we may have to ing the melancholy transactions of the
act. It appeared to him, therefore, that 16th of August. It contained not one
the House was bound by every principle expression of regret. The letter of thanks
of interest as well as duty to satisfy the to the magistrates, the answer to the city
people, that whilst parliament was deter- address, the speech from the throne, and
mined on the one hand to put in force the the address now proposed in answer to
laws of the country, and to maintain order it, were all silent on this head. The
and tranquillity even by force if unhap- magistrates had been approved of in a
pily necessary, yet that they were equally high quarter, but it was certain they
resolved to protect their liberties and were not approved of by the nation. It
avenge their sufferings; which was all that must be allowed on all hands that they
the amendment called upon their lord- had committed indiscretions; at least
ships to do. To this, however, it was ob. they had been guilty of rashness and pre-
jected, that the subject prayed to be in- cipitation. Magistrates might act law-
quired into had already been decided by fully, and yet be guilty of indiscretion.
the rejection of the bills of indictment They had a title to apprehend the indi-
by the grand jury of Lancaster, which viduals upon proper depositions, but they
brought these transactions before them; might have been indiscreet in selecting
but the complaints of complaining indi- the moment for their apprehension. Why
viduals, and the evidence produced by did they not issue their warrants before
them to which their lordships were stran- the meeting? Why did they not prevent
gers, was but a small part of so great a the meeting by declaring it illegal? or
national question; mightnot the prisoners why not wait till it had dispersed, to ap-
in 1794 have been proceeded agaipat by prehend its leaders? .The dangers, if there







Q "a the Opening gf he Sesshi
were. any, arose; from its dispersion, and
not from listening to speeches; and there
was every reason to believe, that if not
interfered,with, it would have passed off
like innumerable, other meetings of the'
same kind.. The noble lord then went 'on
to state, that distress was. the cause of
the present discontent, and appealed to.
those places where disaffection appeared
exactly proportioned to the privations
endured. He then adverted to the meet-
ings for loyal declarations, and said, that
such effusions always preceded attacks
on, the liberty of the subject. He did
not defy, that there was now considerable
dagger, and considerable discontent; but
contended that the former could only be
aver td, and the latter removed, by mea-
sures of conciliation and kindly reform.
O.egarding reform, the nation was divided
into thrpe parts; the adherents of minis-
ters, who objected to all reform ; the
ca4ical reformers, whose plans would, be'
a, subversion of the constitution; and
those who. supported the necessity of a
gradual, a practical, and a moderate re-
form. The noble lord professed himself
desirous of being ranked in the latter class,
pnd thought great good would result from'
a correction of abuses, when they should
be proved to exist, and a careful repair
of the breaches which time might have
made in the constitution. An .pinion
bad unfortunately gone abroad, 'from the
neglect, of this species of reform, that
parliament, instead of being a check and
a control on the measures of the execu-
tive, had become its minion and its tool.
It had last year increased the taxes by
three millions, without any ostensible ob-
ject but to benefit the fund-holder; and
the grant of 10,0001. a year to the duke
of York, for visiting, at stated intervals,
his afflicted father (a. measure which gave
more disgust than any thing that had
been done for a long time)' was quoted
as another instance of disregard to na-
tiUnal interests. The noble loid then
drew a parallel between the treatment of
Ireland, before the late rebellion, and that
of England, recently; and showed how
the system of spies' and informers had
been transplanted from the one country
intothe there tr Nothing could more tend
to alienate, the people froi the govern-
ment than a refusal o0' inquiry. 'The'
noble lq4d, therefore, after a few:more
6~iservations concluded by supporting the
amendment.
SThe Earl of Carysfort said, it was our
('VOL. XLI.)


in.:. ov, 28, .119. [
duty, ap members of Society, to protect
each other, by upholding.ithose.principles
on which society depended. Much had
been said of the meeting ,at Mainhehster
onr the 16th of August, and the' tiatisc-
tions of that day. It seemed to' him ex-
traordinary, that there should be 6 second
opinion as to the legality'of that" meeting;
Was it possible that it could belawf'ul for
men to meet in such enormous n utubers,
and in a threatening manner, s. on that
occasion ? Could a proceeding 'be lawful
which went to defeat all the ends' for
which men entered into society ? ,;en
entered into societyy for the purpose' of
leaving the protection of their rights to
public authorities constituted for that
purpose, and not to the adjudication of
themselves. If that principle was -de.
parted from, no individual could laie any
security for his life or property. The
meeting of so large a body, and with such
devices, even under pretence 6f'a lawful
purpose, could not be allowed; for it
must necessarily inspire terror, and such
terror was, in its nature,'an act of violence
and compulsion. The present times were
different from those of the civil wars, when
there, was a claim of arbitrary power' in
the Crown, and a contest on the part pf
the people for the recoirey of an~int
rights and liberties. Those liberties were
now well understood, and he was con-
vinced that no family was ever more at-
tached to those principles than the illus
trious family under whose auspices we
lived, The king undertook to administer
justice in mercy, and so mild had been his
reign, that in the performance of thiaduty
numerous cases had occurred in which
mercy might be thought to have been car-
ried too far. What would have been said
at the period of the Revolution, by the
judges of that day, had a grand jury been
abused in public libels, as the gtand jury
of Lancashire had been treated for doing
their duty ? He hoped, that, laying aside
party spirit and prejudice, all would unite
in supporting the constitution, and that
was only to be done by giving support to
the magistracy of the country. He was
anxious that full and complete support
should' be given to' the executive magis-
trates in the discharge'of their dhty; for
those principles, 6n which every thing
valuable in society depended, could only
be maintained 'by supporting the execu-
tive. He certainly was of opinion, that
lenient measures were better indication
of firmness, than those which partook of B
(D)







35] HOUSE OF LORDS, Address on t4e Prince Regen*s"Speech


character of violence. He always con-
sidered, that if the mdgistrates had vio-
lated or misused the powers intrusted to
them, the courts of law were open to the
persons aggrieved. In allusion to wlat
had fallen from a noble lord respecting the
lord-lieutenant of the West Riding of
Yorkshire, he remarked, that had he been
placed in the same situation as earl Fitz-
william, he should' probably have acted
differently. Had that noble lord asked
his advice, he should perhaps have ad-
vised him, to take a different course from
that which he bad pursued; for he could
not but feel, that at a juncture like the
present, persons of high station, like that
noble lord, and possessing extensive pro-
perty and influence in the country, should
come forward and prevent the people from
being led away by designing and sedi-
tious persons; should not abet them in
their errors, but teach them to look up
to them for direction. Still, however, he
could not but sincerely wish that his ma-
jesty's ministers had viewed that noble
earl's conduct in the light in which he
viewed it. It must be admitted, that that
noble lord never was one who gave his
countenance to proceedings of a danger.-
ous character; but that,. on the contrary,
upon trying occasions, he had in more
than one instance given his support to the
administration, in opposition to the opi-
nions of those with whom he usually
acted. He could not, therefore, but regret
the extent of the punishment which had
in this case been inflicted. The noble
lord said, he should conclude with an
earnest hope that none of the apprehen-
sions of public danger which were at pre-
sent entertained might be verified.
The Duke of Athol observed, with re-
ference to the present situation of the
country, that the artifices of factious de-
magogues were working on the loyal and
industrious poor, by means of the worst
poison that ever contaminated the public
-a.poison sufficient to awaken the horror
and detestation of the government under
which we lived. He did not mean to
dwell on the particular circumstances of
the Manchester meeting, but to state
what he knew from local experience of
the northern part of the kingdom, with
which he was more immediately connected.
He did not hesitate to say, that a short
time ago, a more moral and religious set
of people did not exist; but he knew that
attempts had been made to corrupt them,
although thoseattempts had not perhaps


been so successful in that quarter, as irt
some other parts of the kingdom. He
knew-that delegates had been employed
in disseminating blasphemous and sedi-
tious tracts among them, either gratis, or
at so low a price, as to enable the poorest
to purchase them. These tracts had cer-
tainly not been so successful there, in
destroying order and morality, as they
had been in this part of the country; but
still they had to a certain degree suc-
ceeded. He had the satisfaction to state,
that in the country where he resided, the
projects that had been suggested for the
relief of the labouring poor had in part
succeeded; and that, notwithstanding the
swarm of publications spread among them,
for the purpose of rendering them dissa-
tisfied with their situation, they were con-
vinced that every thing practicable had
been done for the amelioration of their
condition. He was one of those who
thought themselves bound to call the at-
tention of their lordships to the state of
the lower classes, in order to save them
from the specious delusions of those de-
magogues, who were disseminating aniong
them the injurious principles of radical
reform. The question of reform had been
often agitated, but he never knew -any
specific, practicable plan, on which twenty
persons were agreed. We had at last,
however, got one. We had now a radical
reform, a reform by which noble lords
would not remain in possession of their
estates three days after it was carried into
effect. He had a newspaper in his pocket,
in which a radical reformer stated pretty
plainly what he meant. An exchange of
poverty for property was the principle and
purpose of the radical reformers. If their
lordships did not adopt some measures to
restrain such men, they would not do
their duty. The mass of the people
were loyal, but if not protected, they
would be lost in the gulph of radical re-
form. He would recommend the signal
of lord Nelson when at the battle of
Trafalgar, England expects every man
to do his duty." Let the House also do
its duty, and by so doing it would have'
done that which, under divine Providence,
would arrest the calamities with which the
country was threatened, and insure its safe.
ty. He had sat in that House nearly forty
years; he had seen, in that time, many
black clouds hanging over his hded, but
the good sense, the loyalty, and the md-
rality of the. people had. never failed td
dispel them; and that, he was persuaded,








Nov. 2e, 1819. [38


would be the case, in the present crisis of
the country.
Lord Lilford said, that the liberties of
the people were involved in the protection
of the constituted authorities, whose repu-
tation could not suffer without injury to
those over whom they presided. He
would ask, then, whether some of the
speeches of noble lords, who pretended to
be the exclusive champions of liberty,
were not calculated to degrade that res-
pect which was due to the magistracy?
Inadvocating their cause, he advocated
the cause of the people. The little he
had to say should be confined to his own
local knowledge. He had received infor-
mation from persons in the middle rank of
society, not of the privileged orders, but
men ofsound judgment, and without preju-
dice or partiality; he held this correspond.
ence in his hands, and he should state two
or three passages from it. Its date com-
menced with January, 1819, and it stated
that the radicals, in urging parliamentary
reform, and decrying the corn bill, only
meant to excite a prejudice against the
landholders; that the people in the quarter
in which he resided were goaded on by
reformers, and ready for any act of des-
peration; that their minds were assailed
y seditious tracts, and if sedition was
allowed to go on they would write down
any government on earth. The cotton
trade had improved, and he was sure
would improve, if not prevented by the
madness of those men-but reform had
.got possession of their minds; it mixed
with all their habits and ideas, and consti-
tuted the subject of all their conversation.
He was a man of but plain intellect, and
did not pretend to see far before him; but
it did appear to him to be a strange per.
version of optics to see only the possible
mischief that might accrue from govern-
ment, and to be blind to the immediate
danger already flowing from the conduct
of the people. For his part, he was willing
to give, by his vote, a pledge of his opi-
nion, that in the present state of the coun-
try some remedy was necessary to check
the mischief which he saw existing.
Earl Grey took that opportunity to ex-
plain, that, with reference to the objection
that any parliamentary inquiry would be
extrajudicial, he had stated, that accord-
ing to this mode of reasoning, it might
happen that ministers might order the
most illegal acts, such, for instance, as the
levying of ship-money; and yet parlia.
nent might be precluded from any exami-


nation of their conduct, by being told
triumphantly that any inquiry by them
would be extrajudicial.
Lord Lilford begged to be allowed to
supply an omission in his speech: it was,
that he knew personally the character of
the magistrates at Manchester: he knew
them to be men of the highest integrity:
he knew also that they were most desirous
of inquiry.
Earl Grey, in explanation, observed,
that he had carefully abstained from say-
ing any thing respecting the character of
the magistrates, though he certainly had
a very strong opinion as to their conduct;
but all he wished was a full, fair, and im-
partial inquiry; for if, as was said, their
conduct was capable. justification, an
inquiry was the more necessary even on
that account.
The Lord Chancellor said, that whatever
might be the tendency of parliamentary
inquiry to allay local uneasiness, and
however much he might, as in individual,
wish it for the sake of justifying the cha-
racter of the magistrates, yet, looking at
the question in his public capacity, he
must say, that no such inquiry as was
called for could be granted consistently
with the spirit of the laws of the country.
No noble lord had ventured to say that
the meeting at Manchester was a legal
meeting. When he considered what
proceedings were now in progress in the
courts of law, he almost feared to speak
out his opinion; but when he read in his
law-books that numbers constituted force,
and force terror, and terror illegality, he
felt that no man could say that the Man-
chester meeting was not an illegal one.
It was a new and somewhat strange
ground that was taken on the present oc-
casion by the advocates for the liberty of
the subject. He had, .to be sure, often
heard it stated on former occasions to the
attorney-general, when he filed an infor-
mation, Why have you done so ? why
have you not adopted the old constitu-
tional course of laying the complaint be-
fore a grand jury ?" whereas, now the cry
was, Why do you not, since that consti-
tutional tribunal a grand jury, has rejected
the bills, instantly file an unconstitutional
information in order to allay the popular
ferment ?" He felt from the bottom of his
heart that the meanest subject of this
country was better than the highest of any
other country under heaven; but he
would be no longer so, if be gave up his
ear and soul to those evil counsellors who


at the Opening ofthe Session.








s91 HOUSE ROF LORDS,
would .take not' (f they pretended)
poor man rich, but would make both
pd ,poor popr indeed !' It was c
plai.ned, that not-only had the grand
rejected bill, but, that magistrates
refused to receive informationn on c
.This latter conduct, was either right
wrong: if right, why complain about
if wrong, why interfere with mess
already. under, consideration in the c
of King's-bench ? Another ground
complaint, as,the conduct of the cor
in adj our in inquest. But what
the fact ? The .coroner. alleges that
jury had'.been .tampered with, and
there is a feat that .they might give t
verdict on evideg enotbefore them on c
He, therefore, ffurnied the inquesi
'order t'o have the'opinion of the coui
King's-bench.in a matter of such
importance. What was there unjui
this? His noble, and learned friend
whom he always ,should speak'affecl
ately as oPfan old.fellow-labourer in
,same ,vineyard, had stated that there
precedents 0of parliamentary interfere
with the. courts below.' If there
anny;.ie was sure they must be bad pr
depts; but he was not aware of any
bore any analogy to the present
Those cases of high treason to whici
had referred were not at all in point:
liaient had then interfered, or rather
instituted a contemporaneous inqu
not for the sake of or. in any conne
wi,, the persons under trial, but wit]
ference to those numerous classes thro
out the nation who were supposed t
implicated in some general design
mischief against the government.
there any similar state necessity in
present case ? Was there ever any
sonable ground 'of fear that the m
trades would run wild and exceed
duty throughout the nation? He
confess that he thought the danger
one of a very different kind. He the
that the magistrates had been r
rather than over active; and. had neg
ed to take notice of many seditious
blasphemous publications which oiug
have been noticed. One observatic
his noble and'learied friend he must
ticularly remark' upon, because the
source from' which it proceeded r
give 'authority to error.' He alludl
what he had said about the Riot act
should be recollected :that the 'act,
cially called the Riot act, didnotexi
the 9th of Geo. st; yet that a


Address on the Prince Regents Speech [40
the many acts of parliament -(which though
rich .not generally known,. were yet in 'force)
om a- hid pteiiously been passed against ille al,
jury as distinguished from riotous or. rontous
had meetings. As the law now stood, if thd
idth. magistrates thought proper to read the
t or Riot. act, and the inob did riot disperse
;it within an hour, they were guilty of:fe-
ures lony; but if a case should arise of 'an
court assembly, after the reading of the Riot
I of act, coiiducting itself in such a way that
oner it ought to be immediately dispersed, was
was it to be said that the whole powers of the
the common law were palsied, and could hot
that be put into execution till a full hour had
heir elapsed; and that therefore all the mis-
iath. chief possible might be done with impu-
t, in nity in the' remaining three quarters of an
-t of hour ? He would not now give any opi-
high nion on the proceedings at Manchester,
t in as a case was in progress for 'trial.: A
I, of bill had been found, though perhaps,
ion- according to the reasoning of the ndblb
the lord, that circumstance was a strong pre-
were sumption of innocence,'the rejectidn':of '
ence bill having been considered as the'surest
were proof of guilt [a laugh]: but as all'thi
ece- facts of the case were about to be laid
that 'before a jury, he would not enter into
case. details-no; not even in that debate
h he which was threatened would he be induced
par- to enter into any minute explanation.
had This only he owed it to himself to say--
iry ; 'that it was his fixed, his unqualified op?-
xion nion, that the meeting at- Manchester oni
h re- the 16th of August was, in every sense df
ugh. the word, an illegal meeting. '
o be Lord Erskine explained. He did n6t
is of say that an hour after the reading of the
Was Riot act was requisite before the law of
the the country could be enforced against
rea- tumultuous assemblies. On various peril-
agis- ous occasions he had been put to the test,
their and did not then think that an hour wais
must requisite. During the riots of 1780, when
r was the mob was preparing to attack the house
ught of lord Mansfield, he was in Bloomsbury-
emiss square, and attended with some military,
[lect- when he offered to defend the house. He
and was also in the Temple when the mob was
ht to preparing to force the gate, and when se-
)n of veral houses in London were on fire, and
par- he went forward to the gate, which he
great opened, and stood beside a field-piece,
night prepared to fire, in case the attack was
ed to persisted'in. In such'cases every man
.It was a magistrate, every subject was bound
spe- to act, to defend his country and its laws,
st till But the rioting mob of London in 1780,
great was different from the assembled multi,







41] .at the Opening of the Session
tude at Maqchester on the 16th of August.
It was no" slight 'matter that the inoffen-
sive crowd at Manchester should be sabred
to the right'and left within a short time
after the reading of the act. But to
him it was particularly a matter of asto-
nishment to find that although much mis-
understanding existed on both sides, it
should be said that all inquiry was unne-
cessarv, for one alone was right. He had
nlwayi thought when two parties dis-
agreed, inquiry was most needful.
The'Marquis of Lansdowne began by
observing, that in the discharge of his
public duty he proposed, if no such mo-
tion should emanate from the government,
or from any other quarter, to move for an
inquiry into the causes of the proceedings
at Manchester which occasioned so much
and such. just disquiet. He rose, how-
ever, now to statehis reasons for voting
'fr the amendment a determination
'which he had come to, not without great
anxiety, but which was not the less firm,
and which he conceived to be perfectly
compatible with the recommendation of
the speech from the throne. He must
first pvow 'most -distinctly, that the
.i'mendment would not have had his con-
currence, unless it had most unequivo-
cally'expressed the utmost abhorrence at
'the abominable and persevering attempts
which had now been made for two years
past to subvert the allegiance of the lower
orders. Indeed, he did not think any man
was entitled to public confidence who was
-not prepared to come forward with such an
avowal.' He thought, however, that this
confession of danger should be followed
up by a proposition calculated to allay any
exaggerated alarm-he meant, by the par-
liamentary assurance, that their lordships
were not asleep at their posts, but were
ready to consider fully and impartially,
not only whether the public peace had
'been broken, but also whether the lives of
his majesty's subjects had not been wan-
tonly endangered. The transactions at
Manchester, on the face of them, de-
mandea inquiry; but what said the noble
viscount ? He said that he had only meant
by his opinion,'uttered on'the spur of the
occasion, to express a confidence in the
magistracy' of the country, and not to
prejudge the facts of the case. The no-
ble viscount had talked a great deal about
his anxiety, and as proof of it, had re-
'lated the mode by which he came to his
decision. He told their lordships that
',two persons. had come up to him from


Nov. g2, 1819.: 4A
Manchester; persons wiho, it must be po-
torious, must have beep interested in per-
Ssuading the ministers that'they wdr6 inn~ o
cent; persons whose fame and character
were at stake ;' and yet he told their lordi
ships, that after examining these twd per4
sons, and after a: consultation with'l tw
counsel, he found himself in a situatfiitdi
pronounce judgment, and to turn rd6id
to the public and say, My- sehternce is
definitive; you shall have no opinion butd
what I have formed. With this sentence
I shall close the mouth of every indepen-
dent man in the kingdom; and'even such
a man as lord Fitzwilliam shall be dis-
graced, not because he has prejudged the
question, which nobody but myself has
ventured to do, but because he calls for
inquiry, which I do not think proper to be
granted." He assured their lordships
that he thought it a valuable characterisl
tic of the amendment of his noble friend;'
that it exaggerated nothing, but called
merely for the realmerits of the base. It
desired merely facts and truth. How dif
ferent was the conduct of the noble vis-
count! He contented himself with say-
ing, that the magistrates were entitled to
a strong presumption in their favourb
What could be meant by such a declara-
tion? If it was merely meant that;the
magistrates should not be condemned
without a full, fair, and impartial inquiry;
he most cordially subscribed to the opi-
nion; but he must add, that' no more
deadly blow could be' aimed at the ma-
gistracy of the country than to hold them
up as irresponsible persons, whose ex-
-cesses were not only to be screened from
punishment, but could not either legally
or .constitutionally be subject to inquiry.
Whether the particular meeting was legal
or not he did not know. Sufficient cit..
'cumstances had not transpired to justify
any conclusion on that point, and for this
very reason inquiry was necessary. Whe-
ther, however, the meeting was legal or
not, nothing had been said to justify the
particular mode of dispersing it. But the
'noble viscount had .confessed, that the
magistrates : themselves were not- aware
that the meeting was illegal, and that their
object had been solely to take Mr. Hunt,
and not to disperse the meeting. He sin-
cerely hoped that this view of the case was
correct; for, certainly, if the magistrates
had been aware that the second meeting
was illegal, after they had seen their
warning against the first meeting complied
with, what censure was too great for them,






43] HOUIe OF LQRDS, Addres on the Pr~ie Regent' Speech


who thus chose gather to risk the lives of
their fellow-subjects, than have recourse
to a precaution-which .they had already
found to be available? There was another
qupetion-why arrest Mr. Hunt in the
midst of his partisans, who, it was reason-
habl to suppose, might be excited to some
act of outrage, by seeing their chief torn
from their assembly ? It s true, that rea-
sons of unavoidable necessity might exist
for so violent a measure. He himself did
not see them; he did not mean to say
that there were none, but they ought to
be fairly made known, in order to esta-
blish the propriety of the magistrates'
conduct. This at least was clear-that
on: the day referred to, blood had been
shed; the blood of his majesty's subjects,
Sfor the first time, by his majesty's sub-
jects, in a county already too much irri-
tated in consequence of its distresses, and
whose irritation, he feared, rankled far too
deeply to beallayed by any wisdom which
could be hoped for from the present ao-
ministratioq. But an inquiry was neces-
sary, not merely for the sake of the suf-
ferers at Manchester, but for the public,
wAho should feel that they may look to the
la~w for protection. The stability of the
government depended on the institutions
of the country being held in reverence;
and here he must say, that ready as he
was to express his abhorrence of the ra-
dicals, and not to under-rate the mischief
of .which, they were capable, yet that
he saw more to. regret than to fear on
their account. He believed a much
greater danger threatened the nation from
another source-he meant from the pre-
valence of an opinion among the public,
that the institutions of the country were
not so favourable to the lower as to the
higher classes. .If this feeling were once
general, ft would be a formidable weapon
in the hands of those who combined
so.much zeal with their abominable en-
deavours to shake the foundation of con-
fidence between the governors and the
government, and to gain ultimate posses-
sion of the country. The way to render
these men harmless was, for parliament to
adopt a conduct calculated to conciliate
the esteem and confidence of the people;
and by such sentiments and such measures
as were recommended in the amendment,
to convince the public that their rulers
felt that peace and stability could never
be secured without an equal administra-
tion of the law.-One word as to the ex-
.pression of the noble viscount, that those


who stood between the government when
assailed, and those who assailed it, gave
weight to the side of the assailants; he
must have much greater authority than
that of the noble viscount before he could
implicitly, adopt such an opinion. He
would never allow that greater weight was
given to discontent by a manly opposition
to government in favour of.the people,
than by that prostration of understanding
which the noble viscount seemed to ex-
pect from every man in the country; and
without which the noble viscount thought
that no talent, no honour, no integrity,
could qualify an English nobleman, to be
of service to the nation. I (said the
noble marquis) am of opinion, that the
noble viscount has given the greatest en-
couragement to discontent, by withdraw-
ing from the service of his king and. coun-
try, one who, by his irreproachable cha-
racter, by his long.tried services, by the
admiration in which he was held by the
whole kingdom, was eminently calculated
to be a peace-maker, and to. conciliate not
merely respect, but that loveand affection
without which no government, however
powerful, can long be secure."
The Earl of Liverpool observed, that
as the noble marquis had given.notice of
a, motion for inquiry, he should .not pow
enter into any details, but he could not
let the speech of the noble marquis go by
without one or two observations. The
amendment proposed by the noble earl,
*and recommended by the noble marquis,
was in part true, but alluded to circum-
stances not fit subjects for discussion
that day. They were that day called to
give a test of their readiness to do their
duty to the nation generally, and not to
refer to any particular subjects on which
the widest difference of opinion prevailed.
He would defy the noble marquis to tell
where an inquiry had ever taken place
under circumstances similar to the affair at
Manchester. The cases of the year 1793,
and of the year before last, had no refer-
ence to the conduct of individuals, but
embraced the consideration of *precau-
tionary measures for the nation generally.
What analogy was there between those
cases and the present? Besides,,bow was
a parliamentary inquiry to be instituted ?
It could only be done by suspending the
functions of the courts of law, and by
silencing all subordinate tribunals. But,
how can proceedings there be stopped?
They are begun, and already far advanced.
The noble viscount had been spoken of as







at the Opening'ofthe Session.'


being the only party to the letter ,of
thanks to the magistrates; but he must
say, that whatever blame attached to it,
belonged to him (lord Liverpool) and to
other of his majesty's ministers who had
sanctioned it. He would undertake most
explicitly to say, that the Manchester ma-
gistrates would not have received the
thanks of the government, unless they had
done their duty. And on all occasions
where it had been considered to have
been so performed, it had been the cus-
tom to give them thanks. How difficult
and painful a situation would they stand
in, if they were at a loss to know whether
they had the approbation of his majesty's
government or not? But, supposing go-
vernment had decided in a different way,
did their lordships consider what would
have beet the course in that event ? He
would pledge his word, however, that
there never was a case of assault more
fully and irrefragably proved than that
which, in its consequences, had so re-
cently called down all the obloquy of the
noble lord. It had been said that many
of the circumstances which were alluded
to in the answer of his royal highness the
Prince Regent, to the address of the city
of London, were either circumstances not
generally known, or of previous occur-
rence. True; but let the fact of this
meeting be stated in the manner in which
it was made known to all the world.
He was content to take it thus- that
bands amounting to at least 20,000 men,
disposed in military array, marching in
military order, and commanded by mili-
tary leaders, came to one spot with ban-
ners and streamers, upon which might be
read the motto of" Equal Representation
or Death," and he would venture to de-
clare, that this was not only an illegal,
but under all the circumstances, a trea..
sonable meeting. Their intention was, to
carry into execution their avowed object
by violent and illegal means. It was so
considered by the magistrates of Man-
chester, who had made affidavits, declaring
that such was the belief of themselves.
Good God! how was the government to
be carried on-how was the country
itself to exist-if these things were to be
permitted? Had their lordships ever
heard of such meetings before ? Did they
ever hear of peaceable or legal meetings,
armed and carrying banners and emblems
totally destructive of good order and of
loyalty. If there were certain circum-
stances connected with that meeting


which must, and -atually did inspire
tevaro ad .alarm, what wat it but .an
illegal one; and, .minutely considered,
what but a treasonable assembly ? Under
these circumstances he'must contend, that
the magistrates were justified in their
proceedings: and if the question were put
more strictly-if it were considered that
in the opinion of the highest legal authe-
rities, it was their duty to disperse the
people,-it became a. second' question
how far the magistrates themselves would
have' neglected their, duty by failing
so to disperse them? .What his noble
friend has stated to their Jordships wai
this-that the magistrates had no inten-
tion of dispersing the meeting before
they were actually' assembled oh, the] 6thl
of August. They decided upon that
step, when they saw what was the cha-
racter of it. They did not decide it to
be illegal till they saw separate parties
of 2,000, 5,000, and 7,000 men, each
marching in columns, and in military
array. It was then that they did de-
cide it to be illegal, whatever appear.
ance it might have assumed before. They
had sometimes heard the noble lord
strenuously maintaining the right of trial
by jury; but here it appeared to be
looked on with perfect contempt: he
chose now to uphold a very different
course of proceeding. Any of the par-:
ties aggrieved by the events of the 16th
of August might have sought for re'
dress either by a civil or a criminal suit.'
That they might have-done this all who
Heard him were well aware. And why
had they not? The parties acted on
their own responsibility. Now, their
lordships might ask, what was the con-
duct of the Manchester magistrates?
Having arrested the individuals, they
presented three weeks afterwards, to the
grand jury, bills for a conspiracy against
such persons for what took place on that
day. The grand jury found these bills;
and,. therefore, he did not feel it ne-
cessary to say one word more upon that'
subject; it would be, he thought, im-
proper that he should. Well, the grand
jury having found them, what happened ?
An individual, the agent for some of
those who had suffered upon that day,
presented no less than five bills against
so many of the yeomanry. Wasenot this,
he would ask their lordships, putting the
question:under judicial investigation? The
grand jury ignored these bills; yet, that
did not satisfy the noble lord. [Hero


Nov.(29, 1819 [45







I] HOUSfE'OF LORDS,
earl, Grdeyand' other ;noble lords 'e
1 .No,: tio.J' Nowi it' should be
memthered;, that the depositions ;a
which' the grand 'jury had decided i
upon oath. It appeared, however, I
the grand jury-a body of men as
spectable for talent, for character,
for property, as'any that he knew c
acting upon' the evidence, and act
also upon their own responsibility, i
ignored all the bills against the yeon
Did he "(lord Liverpool) say that
faet decided bthe question before the
No :i but he! did say, that while gr
Jurieswere to beiupheld, their dBelsi
were inot lightly to be called in quest
noir Wasa the evidence upon 'which tl
had already decided, to be re-exami
it another place, except upon the shi
ing of:a strong.case. .If other judi
evidence was yet; to be brought forwa
let it come in a proper and legal sha
But no: an attempt had been. made
put down.thdi magistracy altogether;
had been, hazarded for. the purpose
trying what could be done with -ju
and coroners and:magistrates, till it co
be' .ascertained how far the constitute
itself'. might be set aside.-There '
ode other circumstance which he;felt hi
self obliged toallude to, and, he, assui
their lordships, not without consider
apprehension;. He .trusted that'the nu
her of the disaffected, as compared w
the great aggregate of the people was
very great. He knew that the active
ef th -former was very great; and
was aware of the speed with which t1
diffused the poison of sedition from (
district to another. But he knew a
that revolutions:in all countries had be
brought about,' not by the number of i
disaffected, not by the sedition which tI
excited, not by the falsehoods which th
insinuated, but by the terror of the wh
community. Terror had been the i
failing engine with which they had effe
ed their mighty mischiefs; and in all thi
eases which had ever come under his
servation, he had condemned the. coui
of proceeding which he condemned in t
case, where one county sat in judgme
upon another: the effect was, to excite
feeling of terror in the country. He
condemned it, because he felt that, in t
present crisis, .whatever might be t
amount of distress in the kingdom,.t
great object of calling their lordahi
there, and; the only good. they could
there, was to give their confidence to


Addrest n the Prince RAgent'sSpeech [48
sidi the loyal part of the community; to make
.re-- the magistrates feel that they were pro-
pon tected; to make property feel that it was
rere protected. In a few days, from informa-
:hat tion to be laid before them, their lord-
re- ships would see with pain, that in some
and parts of the country it had been found
f- impossible to put the laws in force by
ing reason of the resistance manifested towards
had the magistrates. If the.magistracy-he.
ien. would not indeed say the magistracy-but
this the magistrates of Lancashire, were to be
m ? treated as the noble lord wished them to
and be, what would be the effect of such a de-.
ons termination? In conclusion, from infor-.
ion, mation which he might hereafter allude
hey to, while facts were unanswered, which in.
ned deed admitted of no denial, he felt confi-
ow. dent that the Manchester magistrates had.
cial only performed their duty; and that go-.
iad, vernment would basely abandon its own
pe. duty if it did not now protect them.
to The Marquis of Lansdowne, in expla-.
i it nation, said, he considered that the call-
.of ingi the magistrates before' parliament,
ries could not be more improper. than the
uld measure of calling other magistrates, at
ion least equal to themselves in rank and
was consequence, before the.same tribunal on
im- a former occasion. He did not know that.
red the summoning of the Scotch magistrates
ble on a question involving their conduct,
ia- before that House, had reflected any
ith disgrace or dishonour upon them.
not The Earl of Carnarvon animadverted.
ity upon the declaration of the noble earl,
he that it was impossible for parliament to
tey go into any inquiry upon judicial pro-.
ne ceedings., Notwithstanding all that had
Iso been said and published on the subject,:
-en he could not believe that there was a man.
the in the country who did not think the in-
iey terference of the military on the occasion
ey alluded to unnecessary.. It was stated,
ole that though they brought their wives and
in- children to the spot, yet, that this circum-
ct- stance offered no proof that it was not
)se meant and known to be an illegal meet-.
b-. ing; and that when women came into the
rse midst of such scenes, they lost the soft-.
his ness and tenderness natural to them.,
tnt With all deference to the noble. duke,:
e a from whom this ingenious argument had
so proceeded, he must acknowledge that it
he did not appear to him very natural that
he they would bring their wives or children
he for the purpose of being mangled or slain.
ips He offered no opinion of his own as to
do the legality of this meeting;' but he was
all far from being satisfied, that the only ,le







NOv'. 93, 1&19. [50


ultimate means of its disperlson had been
adopted. But it had been designated a
.treasonable meeting: why, then, was it
Permitted to take place? Those noble
lords, who did not wish to prejudge the
qqeion, forsooth, had declared the fact
of the meeting to be neither more nor less
than an overt act of treason, before their
own tribunals had decided it. The noble
lord then observed upon the publications
daily put forth, not more remarkable for
blasphemy than for sedition; in which the
people were called on to arm, and a
threat of the scaffold was held out against
ministers and other illustrious persons.
He meant the Medusa", the Cap of
Liberty," atd others. Why were govern-
ment so backward in prosecuting those
disgraceful productions, while they dis-
covered so much promptitude in pursuing
those whose conduct in the business of
Manchester had been in any degree de-
serving, of reprobation? The noble earl,
after passing an animated eulogium upon
tle.,character, talents, and' conciliating
conduct of earl Fitzwilliam, declared
that he thought the disapprobation of his
conduct, expressed by his majesty's mi-
nisters, did'him the greatest honour; and
concluded by deprecating every harsh and
coercive measure, arising out of the pre-
sent question, towards the British public,
whom justice, kindness, and forbearance,
never failed to bring back to their duty.
The Marquis of Buclingham said, he
would not now enter into the question
whether the Manchester meeting was
legal or not, nor into the conduct of the
,magistrates or yeomanry. Their conduct,
upon the occasion alluded to, if improper,
was open to investigation, before the
proper tribunals. He had heard as yet
no argument sufficient to persuade him
that they should, upon the present occa-
sion, deprive them of the advantages of
the trial by jury. The point at issue now
was between the address and the amend-
ment, between ministers and those who
opposed them. The case was one of no
difficulty. It presented itself without the
labour of much investigation to the mind
of every person. There was not one man
in that House or out of it, who did not
know that the country was in a state of
danger. They all saw the same exertions
now making, plans of the very same kind
pursued, as, at no distant period, brought
upon a neighboring country revolution,
tparchy, and, at last, a degrading despo-
tism. The state in which they were
(VOL. XLI. )


placed was this: the Christian religion
was that' of the country, recognized by
law, and professed by the wisest and best
of men; the bond of society, and the
best source of comfort in this life and of
hope in the life to come. They had
lived to see the time when the. country
was told, not in a whisper, not in a con-
cealed or smothered manner, but in'broad
day, that the sacred truths of the Chr's-
tian religion were gross impositions and
polluted falsehoods. Now, were open
attacks upon religion, upon .the laws 6f
the country upon the, life of officers
who attempted to enforce those laws
-were these things to be disregarded?
Had they not seen.a committee appointed
for the ostensible purpose of petitioning
for a reform in parliament, direct their
measures in a way evidently calculated
for the overthrow of the constitution.
Public right might be used in such a
manner as to become a public ron'g;
and if the right of petition was made a
cloak for mischievous purposes, .it was
high time that some remedy .should be
applied to the evil. The country was. in
imminent danger. This was not a time
for inquiring into the causes. The
danger must be provided against without
delay, or ruin would be the consequence.
When a house was on fire, what was the
fittest thing to be done-to inquire into
the causes of the conflagration, or to take
means of putting it out ?
The House then divided on the amend-
ment: Contents, 31; Proxies, 3--94.
Not-Contents, 120; Proxies, 39-1591
Majority against the amendment.

List of the Minority.
Dukes of Kent Earls Darnley
Sussex Bessborough
Somerset Donoughmore
Grafton Rosslyn
Devonshire Grey
Hamilton Minto
Argyll Lords Saye and Sele
Marq. of Lansdowne King
Earls of Thanet Hawke
Essex Holland
Albemarle Erskine
Jersey Crewe
Lauderdale Auckland
Cowper PROXIES.
Waldegrave Earl Spencer
Fitzwilliam Vise. Bolingbroke -
Grosvenor Lord Hutchinson
Carnarvon
The Address was then agreed to.
(E)


dt the 0,pning of irh Smion.







51] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Adriess on the Prince Regents Spseci


HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Tuesday,'NovemherS. 2&
ADD1DBS ON THE PRINCE REGENT's
SEraiC AT THE OaaPENING O THE SES-
sz6.O] The Speech of the' PrinCe
Regent having been read by the Speaker,
Mr. S&mers Cocks rose to move an Ad-
dress of Thanks. HeI said, that, approv-
mg as he did of the'measures pursued by
his majesty's government, and feeling it
.his duty, uhder existing circumstances,
to avow his sentiments, he rose with much
pleasure'upon the present occasion to
"move an address, in answer to the speech
from the throne. In doing this he trusted
the House would extend to him that in-
dulgence which they usually showed to a
peyorn, like himself, inexperienced in
icblic speaking, and every way inadequate
to'.ihe important task he had taken upon
hisaself to discharge. He should feel it
.necessary, in the progress of what he was
about to say, to offer a few observations
upbn the variety of topics which formed the
subject of the speech from the, throne.
Unaccustomed to public debate, and of
conkse to that accuracy of language ac-
quired by habit and experience, he felt
apprehensive he should not be able to ex-
press himself with all the clearness he
desired. The first subject alluded to in
the speech from the throne was one upon
which no difference of opinion could arise,
he meant the lamented continuation of
his majesty's illness. Upon this there
could be only one feeling, that of pro-
found regret. The House, he was as-
sured, would be unanimous in their-ac-
cordance with this part of the speech. In
calling upon them to express 'such a sen-
timent, it was impossible at the same time
not to make some allusion to the moral
and religious character for which their re-
vered sovereign was, at every period of
his life, distinguished. Though afflicted,
and labouring under so awful a visitation,
he still hope he would long remain; and
that the examples of domestic and public
virtues which he had at all times set,
would impress the minds of those who
revered him, with a desire to follow in the
same course. In thus adverting to his
majesty's virtues, above all to his habitual
and exemplary attention to the sacred
duties of religion, every one, who paid
any attention to late events, must reflect
with sorrow and apprehension, that feel-
ings of the most opposite nature were
now attempted to be impressed on the


:minds of the labouring classes. MeR
were seen engaged in this diabolical, dity,
and exerting themselves in it with asmuch
zeal as if they were the harbingers of
substantial and real good. Was it not
borrid, that they who cried loudly against
abuses, who pretended to Abe the friends
of the people, should thus attempt to de-
prive them of the best sources of conso-
lation here, and of hope hereafter ?-The
second subject alluded to in the speech
was one of the highest importance. The
House was called' together at this unusual
season in consequence of the disturbed
and alarming state in which some districts
'of the country were placed. He heed
not remind them of the general and eager
anxiety with which the present meeting
of parliament was viewed by a11 classes.
Never perhaps was there a period when
the eyes of the nation were more atten-
tively fixed on them; when public curio-
sity was more anxiously turned on their
proceedings. When late events were
taken into consideration, the insidious and
perseveing .attempts made to undermine
the foundations of the constitution, to
make religion a subject of mockery, and
thereby to enervate the influence of the
laws; when persons were heard proclaim.
ing doctrines of the most dangerous na-
ture, and inculcating them on assembled
multitudes with all their force and zeal,
doctrines utterly destructive of religion,
of law, of ,happiness; when all this was
considered, they must feel confident that
an occasion more important than the pre-
sent could not possibly arise. He trusted
he should be borne out in -his. appeal to
the House, whether under such circumn-
stances, and in such times, the difficulties
were not such as ought to form a point of
union for both sides of the House-whe-
ther they were not such as should unite
the suffrages of all, in some strong, though
temporary measures equally for the ad-
vantage of all. The constitution was nuw
threatened; that constitution, which in
his soul he believed to be, above all other
human institutions, the best calculated to
secure and preserve the happiness' of a
nation. To it they were indebted for all
that was most valuable in life. It was the
system best adapted to the preservation
of their rights: the system which afforded
the greatest protection against the en-
croachments of oppressive power, from
whatever quarter its attacks might be
directed. He should not attempt to
dwell upon this subject. He felt himself







?Jt tia opern~gbaa-qf ese s. Nv.28,1-19


inadequate to describe i* fit terms the
blessings they peijoyed' fom thit consti-
tution, so long the boast of all who lived
,under it, and the admiration of the wisest
and best of men. The most able eulogist,
the most eloquent man that ever opened
his lips within the walls of that House,
could not touch upon such a subject with-
out feeling his inability to do it justice.
To support this constitution -was their
first and most important duty. If it was
allowed on al.hands .that attempts. were
snaking to overthrow it, that designs for
that purpose had been long in active pro-
gress, and so far from ceasing were gain
ing strength; if the proofs of this were so
manifest as to require no confirmation, it
'was their first duty to stand forward for
its preservation, to cling with one accord
to that bulwark of their rights, to pro-
tect, preserve, and hand down to poste-
rity the blessings it afforded. If danger
did in reality exist, the question now was,
from what quarter did it come; and if
once ascertained, it was natural and con-
stitutional to ask the House, whether
they should suffer the cause any longer to
exist? If he thought it proceeded from
the Crown, he should in that event be as
,willing to come forward in the performance
of a public duty as he was at present
It could not, however, be traced to such
a source. Ministers acted in the usual
way, upon those recognized constitutional
principles from which no danger could
be apprehended. Feeling convinced,
therefore, that the cause of apprehension
,could not be traced to the Crown, they
onust look for the source of it elsewhere.
When they considered what had been
lately done in various parts of the coun-
try, the meetings that had taken place,
the manner in which those meetings were
held, the sentiments expressed by the
leading speakers, their flags, and their
whole system of proceeding, was it not
clear that dangerous attempts were in
preparation, and was it not equally clear
from whence those attempts were to be
apprehended The danger could not be
referred to the copduct of ministers.
They adhered to established customs, and
adhered to them perhaps too strictly,
under existing circUmstances, under the
systematic endpavours now making to
overttun all law and social order, every
blessing, ivil ap well as religious. Every
man who considered events with attention,
aust feel that the danger did not proceed
Som the Crown, and if it did exist he


would again appeal to the House, whether
it was not fit it should be repressed-whe-
ther all should not unite their endearours
to put it down ? It would be lamentable
indeed, if, upon the present occasion, any
party feelings existing in the House could
be made instrumental towards their pur-
pose by these whose objpct was to over-
turn the constitution. He trusted, that
upon the present occasion no consideration
of that kind would be allowed to operate,
and that they would ll. concur towards
the removal of a danger that threatened
the happiness, the life, and the property of
all. In quiet times he approved of a re-
gular opposition; but when imminent
peril threatened the country, it was not
a fit occasion for that sort of political hos-
tility which, under other circumstances,
had its advantages. If, then, the danger
existed, and could not be traced to the
Crown, from whence did it proceed ?
From whence, but from the sources al-
luded to in the speech from the throne ?
From men who strove to instil into the
minds of the people a tendency to sedi.
tion-from persons bankrupt alike ii pro-
perty, in knowledge, in character, and
principle,-from a set of demagogues
more infamous if possible, than the de-
testable object to which they aspired.
Had they not seen them use every means
within their reach to create sedition and
disaffection, to undermine all principle
of loyalty and morality, to destroy and
confound all the common feelings of hu-
manity? It was notorious that they en-
deavoured, and were unfortunately too
successful, to induce the poor to look
forward to the possessions ofthe rich. -It
was impossible, even upon a superficial
view, not to see what their object was.
Not only had they done all this-they
even strove to aggravate the distress, that
they might thereby increase the troubles
of the country. It was notorious, that
during the late harvest the surplus popu-
lation of the manufacturing districts did
not proceed as usual from one county to
another in which there was a demand for
labour. They remained at home,, and
thereby increased the distress.. This was
to be attributed to no other cause, but
the meetings, the speeches, and the pub-
lications of which they had lately heard
so much. The leaders at those meetings,
and the persons who composed there
talked of reform; but what did the word
reform mean with them ? Was it employed
in the usual sense of a calm, temperate,


Nov. 28, 1819.







55] nOUSA 6F COM19iOKS, AddSrsvaeonx tASPi~ti Akrn'is OBpeech t5


and moderate change of measures in the t
sense applied to it in other times and by
other men? No such thing. With them
reform meant, if it meant any thing, such
an alteration as it would be impossible to
adiot without ruin to the constitution.
As they used it, it did not apply to any
inode of reform ever before suggested.
It tbok in universal -suffrage and vote by
ballot. It was in fact a cant term, and
meant nothing less than Revolution. All
these alarming proceedings, however, it
.waA said, arose only from the natural
workings of a free constitution, and that
no real danger existed. He wished it
might be the case; but when he considered
the information received from various
parts'of the.country, the efforts made to
bring large bodies of men together from
distant parts, the doctrines preached up
to them, their military organisation, their
flags and all the other attendant circum-
stinces, he could not consider their plans
innocent. It should be recollected that
in 1816, those who were anxious to pro-
duce revolution expressed their determi-
nation to carry on the system by occa-
sional meetings for the purpose, as they
stated, of giving confidence to their ad-
hetents by a display of their strength.
This was the plan proposed for effecting
their object. Had they not, accordingly,
from that period forward witnessed their
meetings, -from time to time, at various
places, and that they became more nu-
mnerous every day? It was notorious that
they pursued a plan of military organisa-
tion. To what else could be attributed
their regularly marching from place to
place, with banners and flags inscribed
with mottos of a most treasonable na-
turd ? With respect to these and various
other points, he did not pretend to have
his information from more than the cotm-
mon sources of intelligence, but it was
evident that such proceedings could arise
from nothing less than designs of a
dangerous tendency. What must be the
feelings of peaceable inhabitants under
such circumstances? In the towns where
they took place it was impossible that the
people could feel their houses, their lives,
or their property secure. He would put
it to the House, whether, if such things
'were tb be continued, the law, as it stood,
could be sufficient for protection ? How
could it be sufficient, when an attempt to
comply with the letter of the law, as it
stood, had a directly contrary effect? As
to the principal-actors in those troubles,


heir study, 'was, it least they pretended
to adhere strictly to law in the manner of
calling and holding their meetings; but
who was so blind as not to see that third
was mere pretence, that 'they acted in
this manner for no other purpose than the
better to accomplish their nefarious views?
-There was one subject much talked of'
upon which he should decline giving any
opinion at present. It was natural, how-
ever,'to expect, that upon an occasion
like the present, he should allude to it.
He had not sufficient information to give
a decided opinion; but he wished it to be
understood, that, judging from the in-
telligence he had hitherto any opportu-
nity of receiving, he saw no reason
why the examination of the matter should
be taken out of the usual course. He
was not disposed to enter into discussions
on subjects of law, nor was he acquainted
with them; but there was one principle
which he thought a most just and proper
one, namely, that every Englishman
should be presumed innocent until he
had been declared guilty by a jury of his
countrymen. If this principle was in any
one instance carried further than in ano-
ther, it was with respect to the persons
who composed the Manchester meeting.
Their innocence was the theme of much
declamation, and of many publications.
They had the full benefit of the principle.
There was, however, another maxim not
less just, namely, that no man should be
put upon'his trial until he was before a
jury. With respect to the magistrates and
yeomanry in the affair alluded to, he must
say that this maximpas not very anxiously
observed. They were, on the contrary,
before their case came to be heard by
any jury, unhesitatingly pronounced
guilty. They were treated in a manner
which to him appeared most unfair. When
it appeared that a grand jury, upon their
oath, and upon evidence received upon
oath, did not find bills of indictment
against them, this might not be thought
sufficient, but when he reflected on all
the circumstances, he must say, that there
did not seem to him sufficient ground for
taking this matter out of the usual course.
It would not be fair and just, while a sub-
ject was before a court of law, to bring
it before another tribunal. He was aware
of the delicacy of this -question,' but-still
he felt it his duty to make. some allusion
to it He did not mean to imply blame,
but he lamented the attempts-made in
certain quarters to inflame the-passions







v-, the tk i gir of the saenvl.


of the people with'rtspebt;to this infori
tunate transaction. These attempts were
repeated 'by those who had 'the means
within reach, by publication, of giving
them additional force. He was desirous
that the distinction between those who
opposed the government, and those who
opposed the existing order of things,
might be strictly defined and made known.
He'knew the distinction was as broad as
possible; but still it wap important that it
should be broadly expressed; nor should
it be omitted, under existing circum-
stances, from a wish which naturally
enough might prevail of leaning to oine
side for the purpose of gaining strength
to a party.-There was another part of
the speech which he felt it necessary to
touch upon; the increase of the military
force of the country. Now that they
were at peace with foreign powers, and
that there was every prospect of better
times, it was greatly to be lamented that
a necessity should have arisen for making
any addition to the army, for the pro-
tection of the peaceable and well-dis-
posed. If, however, they .required such
protection, it was the duty of government
'to afford it. What would be their feel-
ings, if family, life, property, and all they
held dear, were to be left in times of dan-
ger without necessary protection ? Strong
measures, at least for a short time, were
now perhaps as necessary as at any former
period; all should unite to preserve the
existing order of things. This determi-
nation once made, manifest, and these
measures once adopted, would show the
'country that they were determined not
to allow the mischievous plans now con-
templated to proceed any further. If the
exertions of the country were thus once
roused, it would soon put an end to the
views of the men who sought the over-
throw of the constitution. He hoped the
sentiments and information conveyed in
the speech from the throne would have
their effect, and that every thing would
be done to check the diabolical system
now in progress. Having said thus
much, he should not trouble' the House
further, but should conclhde- by moving,
That an humble Address be present-
ed to his royal highness the Prince.Re-.
gent, to return the thanks of' this House
td his Royal Highness for his most gra-
cious speech from the throne:
"To express to 'his Royal Highness
the great concern with which we receive
4he mtimatibn of the criditnuaiice of his
anajesty's lamented ipdisposition.


' "To assure his Royal Highness thatwe
learn with the deepdst regret that the
seditious practices so long prevalent in
some of the manufacturing districts df
the country -have been continued: with in-
creased activity since we were last assem-
bled in parliament; that they have led to
proceedings incompatible with the peace-
ful habits of the industrious classes of the
community: and that a spirit is now fully
manifested utterly hostile to the consfitt-
tion of this kingdom, and aiming not only.
at the change of those political institu-
tions which have hitherto constituted the
pride and security of this country, but at
the subversion of the rights of property,
and of all order in society:
"To return our thanks to his Royal
Highness for his gracious intention to lay
before parliament the necessary informa-
tion on this subject;' and to assure his
Royal Highness, that we shall not fail to
apply our immediate and most anxious at-
tention to the consideration of. such mea-
sures as may be found requisite for the
counteraction and suppression of a system
which, if not effectually checked, must
bring confusion and ruin on the nation'
To thank' his, Royal Highness. for
having directed thie timates for the en-
suing year to belaid before as:
To assure his Royal Highness that
while we regret the necessity of providing
for the protection of the lives and pro-.
perty of his- majesty's loyal subjects by
any addition to our military force, we shafl
be happy to find that the arrangements
for this purpose have been made in flib
manner hkely to be least burthensome to
the country:
To express our satisfaction at being
informed, that though the revenue has
undergone some fluctuations, it appears to
be again in a course of progressive im-
provement:
That we deeply lament with his Royal
Highness the distress experienced by many
of our fellow subjects in consequence of
the depression which still continues to
exist in some branches of our manufac-
tures, and earnestly join in the hope ex-
pressed by his Royal Highness that it may
be found to arise from causes of a tempo-
rary nature:
-"'That.we hear with much satisfaction
the fiienily disposition of foreign powers
towards -this country, and gratefully ac-
,knowledge his Royal .Highness's anxious
wish t'tfake' advantagd of this season of
,peace'to- sure aidd" advance our in-


Nov. 23, 1819.






593 HOUSE OF COMMONS, Addressuoe-t Prtte Bg.as Spesech E[
ternal prosperity, fully sensible however ps to impress upon. the peaceable and
that the successful prosecution of, this wel-disposed part of the community
important object must essentially depend a well-fouded apprehension as to their
on the preservation of domestic tra- ulterior designs. His royal highness the
quillity: Prince Regent, certainly not needlessly
To assure his Royal Highness that alarmed, but with a well-founded confi
hemay rely with the most perfect confi. dence in the wisdom and the counsels of
dence on the loyalty of the great body of his parliament, has called us together at a
the people; but that we are at the same penod much earlier than of late years it
time fully convinced, that it will require has. been customary, that he might be in-
our utmost vigilance and exertion, col- formed as to the extent of the danger,
Jectively and individually, to check the and be advised in the remedy for it. I am
dissemination of the doctrines of treason sure that the House will fuly participate
and impiety, and to impress upon the in what has fallen from my bon. friend, as
minds of all classes of his'majesty's sub to the beneficial effects this country has
jects, that it is from (the cultivation derived from the character and example
of the principles of religion, and from a of our excellent and venerable sovereign,
just subordination to lawful authority, and I am sure, there is not an individual
that we can alone expect the continua- in this House or in the country, who does
dance of-that Divine favour and protection not at the mere mention of his beloved and
,which has hitherto been so. signally ex- revered name, recur with pleasure to the
perienced by thiskingdom." many virtues that adorned his character,
Mr. Edward Cust said:-In rising, Sir, and to the eminent services that he ren.r
to second the motion of my hon. friend, I dered to his country. But, Sir, whilst we
feel that I have lo;appeal to the more than all deeply deplore the severe calamity
ordinary indulgence of the House, inas- which it has pleased Providence to visit
much as I now, for the very first time in him with, we may perhaps be allowed to
my life venture to address any public as- rejoice that, it is not permitted him to
Aembly, much less, ope like the present, in know, that his people, whom his firmness
*which my inferiority is so evidently appa- and perseverance saved in the hour of the
rent; nor, can hold out as an excuse greatest danger, when the principles
or my presumption .in presenting myself which wee then first broached by the
to:their notice any hopes of recompensing French revolution were new, and the per-
thema for their time and their patience by nicols effects of them unknown, are, now
force of language or extent of informa- that they are become matter of history
tion which those of my predecessors on and example, preparing to transfer to the
this duty may have afforded, who have page of our history the follies, as well as
had leisure and opportunity of devoting the eccentric crimes (as they have been
.heir early years to those studies which called) of that great school of iniquity.
are more essentially useful to a member of I think it will scarcely be denied that a
.parliament; mine has been passed in a very bad and dangerous spirit exists in the
profession which did not afford me such coqntry-a spirit which takes delight in
nvantages, and in the prosecution of dt- wbr tu our judges in their judgment
es not at all analogous to those which I seats, and m abusing all indiscriminately
fave now take upon myself to perform. who are placed high by birth or situation
I think, Sir, there never was a time in in the country. It is no longer the echo
which it would be more fortunate that only of that abuse which has been so
-unanimity in this House should prevail, lavishly levelled against every measure of
than the present. The eyes of the coun- every minister of the Crown for the last
.try, and almost of the world, are turned century, and which is likely soon to be-
upon s to learn our sentiments at this mo- come the only perquisite of o$ce. It
.mentous period, when a party, humble, it now aspires to attack the Crown itself,
is true, in the origin and the importance and all who are placed in authority under
of its votaries, but not at all mean, it we it. To be a member of the aristocracy is
play judge of their proceedings, jn the declared to beamemberof corruption, and
abilities of their leaders, whoever they even those of the democracy are alone pure
are, have,, by t series of the almost un- who wear whiteihits, or have lungs strong
warantable pxertions ,f their rights, enough 'toadde a ea pithfield meeting.
-created so great fesnene t ia thcountry, That reforpn ?'. e declared and only
and assumed a position, so formidable, alleged ca.us of the discntts that hae,







61 f athe Opeing gfthe Seusio
for the last few year, prevailed in this
kingdom is, by the discontented them-
selves, avowed; nor havb 'thby hesitated
to acknowledge, that 'they will obtain it
by physical force if they cannot do so by
other means. This is not now the time to
discuss that question; but I may'perhaps
be allowed to remark, that innovation, at
all times hazardous, is incontestibly dan-
gerous, when backed by threats and cla-
mour, But I trust, Sir, we are Britons
still, and not to be frightened by the open
declarations of the former, nor to be bul-
lied into compliance against our judgments
by the unceasing efforts of the latter. I
am not one of those who conceive that
reform is, in every one's mouth, the watch-
word of rebellion, nor that we are to con-
ceive ourselves upon the eve of a revolu-
tion whenever that subject is mooted; but
I must say, that such wholesale attempts
at improvement are more likely to be
dangerous than beneficial; and a question
whichis so evidently dire~led against the
prejudices which always attend existing
things, merits at least more dispassionate
inquiry than we seemed inclined to bring
to the question; and it is but fair to ask,
what advantages have we in prospect that
would at all compensate for the risk we
run in attempting such a change in our
situation ? It is not for me, Sir, to state,
nor is this the opportunity to discuss what
may be the measures to be proposed, to
use the words of his royal highness's
speech, for the counteraction and sup-
pression of a system which, if not effectu-
ally checked, must bring confusion and
ruin on the nation;" but I would say to
those who profess to see in any measures,
a revolution at hand from the encroach-
ment of'the Crown, if, indeed, there are
men in'these days who really believe this
(and1 must own, I can scarcely credit the
public prints when they register it as the
expressed opinion of a peer of the realm),
to them, if they exist in the plural number,
I would say, that assuredly the best plan
to prevent our liberties from being en-
croached upon is, to quench the spirit
which affords the excuse for it. It has
been an opinion given in the House by
an hon. and learned gentleman opposite,
that the best way to effect this, is by
employing sound reasoning and rational
.argument. To him I believe, Sir, we
must leave this H'eiculean task; but I
think the country has some reason to
complain, that, as from the applause
Which was stated to have followed that


Nov. 23, 1819.


,[62


! sentiment it was led tobelieve it was the
S6pinion of the gentlemen with whom he
is in the habit of acting, no attempt of this
sort has been made by them, seeing that
they profess to possess the confidence of
the people. Assuredly if it is practicable
at all, it can only be employed by those
to whom the people will listen. W6
certainly cannot expect from them ri
confession of the sad state they are fallen
into in this respect; but perhaps we shall
find the best excuse foi the omission, in
the known fact, that the people will not
listen to them, unless they have a radi-
cal reformer at their elbow. That mea-
sures of some sort are necessary, will
not, I'think, be denied; but the House
is not called upon by my hon. friend to
pledge itself as to the nature and ex.
tent of those measures. I should hope
that the gentlemen opposite will refrain
from disturbing the unanimity which I
hope will attend this night's debate, by
confounding the nature of those mea-
sures' with their necessity. The latter
inay fairly be considered as part of the
question before the House, and whether
the former be conviction, conciliation, or
concession, can alone be fairly argued
when that matter is brought regularly be-
fore the House. I am aware that' some
gentlemen who are come up from parts of
the country where the utmost tranquility
prevails, believe the alarm that has'been
spread to have been exaggerated, because
there has been no cause for it in their
own immediate neighbourhood; biit I
think, upon reflection, they will be satis-
fied that there must be some other objct
to be attained than a legitimate redress
of grievances, from incessant meetings of
multitudes, simultaneously assembled in
various parts of the country, not assemb-
ling at their own homes and habitations,
but marching with all the pride, pomp,
and circumstance of war, from distant
parts to their places of rendezvous. And
here the House will have the goodness to
remark, that those rendezvous were in the
heart of populous districts, not arrayed -as
in prosecution of their ordinary occupa-
tion, but armed with weapons of defence,
attended with republican and revolutionary
emblems, and with banners and niusa in
military array, according to the common-
sense interpretation of the expression,
however lawyers may dispute the fo-
priety of it. Assuredly the w6ll-disposed
citizens of those towhs, equally alive to
the interests of the country with these






63] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Adress on the Pr-inc Rgentf s peeh (Q4.
self-termed patriots, have a good claim sumptive evidence of that, from the known
upon our interference and protection, character of the-g'llat general whocoin-
that they may not be interrupted in mands in the disturbed districts. No-
their daily occupations, nor be exposed to body will, I think) accuse him of being an
-the caprice of a mob, the temper of which alarmist; or, were he so accused, he would
no one can measure. It has been main- receive an instant exculpation from'tle
gained by some, I know, that the tranquil- mouth of every British officer or soldier
lity which has attended the. late meetings who has seen him before an enemy, and
throughout the country, is a, proof that who can nobly testify that he never knew
no restrictive measures at all are neces- fear, excepting that of sacrificing his gal-
sary ; but I would implore the House not lant countrymen. It was, I presume,
tp he led away by such delusive appear- upon his report of the state of the district
dances, nor to wait until anarchy and in which he commands, that it was 'consi-
atheism stalk openly' ovr the land, be- dered necessary to increase the military
fore it stretches forth its authority to stay force intrusted to him. This necessarily
them. Yes, Sir, there has undoubtedly drained the rest of the country of troops,
been an appearance of tranquillity; but it and although there-was no immediate ne-
js the tranquillity of a lion waiting for his cessity for troops.in the counties where
prey. There has been, the apparent ab- every thing was quiet, it was impossible t
sence of danger; but it is that in a fire say how soon these pedlars, of sedition
half smothered by the weight of its own might carry their wares ofdiscord into the
combustible materials, which is ready to most peaceable regions. But, Sir, my
blaze forth again upon the least accidental hon. friend calls upon the House for no
movement. It is the, suspense of disaf- approbation onthis point. It is resolved
fected persons, partly alarmed'atthe mag- into the question of the seditious prac-
litude of their own intentions, and partly tices, the evidences of which his royal
appalled by the preparations used against highness has. promised to lay. before us,
them. Nor will the House, fail to remark and there will be a still farther opportu-
th specious pretext it affords them for de, nity of discussing it, when the army.esti-
claiming against those preparations, while mates are before the House. AlI that the
it at the same time, affords them a cloak House! is 'called upon by my hon. friend
*under which they can carry on their ul- to approve is, that this object has been
terior designs. But, Sir, if the meetings accomplished in the manner least bur-
theraselves have been peaceable (and I thensome to the people. I think, Sir, it
have too good an opinion of John Bull to would be unnecessarily taking up the time
believe: he would ever be otherwise, unless of the Hose to say a word upon this sub-
peded -and imposed upon), what shall ject. The men who have been embodied
*.saiad of the resolutions that have ema- in consequence, have been receiving inre-
nted, from them? 'Take, for example, the tirement the full amount of pay, for which
6th and 7th resolutions of the latemeetipg they are now called upon to serve their
for Middlesex, where it is openly de- country; and, dividing the question, as
cared, that if parliament shall enact any the House ought in fairness to do, of the
measures which are contrary to their phi- expediency of calling out any troops, and
lq ophy,itis not tobe considered a statute, the manner in which it has been provided,
but an error or corruption, and ought re- I think there will be but one opinion ib
solutely to be holden for naught. Under the House upon the letter. It will, as I
'ihat definition of returning tranquillity conceive, only afford pleasure to those
nay I ask, is such doctrine as this to be sober patriots who have determined to
included ? With regard to the increase of drink no excisable liquors, unless they have
the military force of the country, of course been smuggled, that the revenue in the
the,.House will receive the necessary in- last quarter has been deficient; but it
formation from those whose duty it is to must give sincere pleasure to all to hear
afford it: of course the executive power is that it has already begun to improve. It
bound to afford protection to the lives and is not, I think, at any time a fair conclu-
property of his majesty's subjects. But sion for despondency that the revenue in
as it is always an object of such proper any one quarter has been deficient: various
constitutional jealousy to employ the mi- causes may occasion this. The result of
litary, pon this duty, we 'have a right to ,the whble year is the only true criterion;
expect the fullest evidence of its neces- and of that his royal highness's assurances
sity; butI think we have very good pre- afford a prospect; and if it is already in







Nov. 23, 1819. [66


state of improvement, we have good. rea-
son to hope that we shall not be disap-
pointed.-Sir, it must afford all parties the
sincerest gratification to find that the
peace of Europe remains undisturbed, and
the assurances his royal highness has re-
ceived of the peaceful disposition of fo-
reign powers, receives additional weight
from the testimony of travellers as to
the disposition of the people over whom
they govern. The nations of the conti-
ynent, not so blest as we in the hour of
danger, know too well the calamities of
war to hazard a recurrence, and tired of
speculative opinions by which they have
.so much suffered, they are anxious to
make use of this season of repose to re-
.cover from the pernicious effects of them,
and to improve their moral condition. I
wish I could also add, that I saw any
.prospect of improvement in their political;
but the name of liberty has been so pol-
luted by some of its modern professors,
that it may well be a question with them
whether they had not,
- -- Rather bear the ills they have,
Than fly to others that they know not of."
It must give sincere regret to the real
friends of liberty that this prostitution of
her name prevents the dissemination of
her benefits, and thus
Enterprises of great pith and moment
'With this regard their currents turn away,
And lose the name of action."
I am sure, Sir, his Royal Highness need
not doubt that parliament will make every
exertion in its power to advance our in-
ternal prosperity, and, notwithstanding
the abuse which is so unsparingly levelled
at it by the factious and the turbulent, it
merits the applause of the world by its un-
.remitting efforts in the cause of humanity.
The House of Commons, Sir, best refutes
the calumnies that are heaped upon it by
its unceasing efforts to do good, and pre-
sents, indeed, much to that heart who can
descry nothing but abuses, when we be-
hold the time and the talents of the ablest
and best men in the country gratuitously
employed in it to ameliorate the condition
of their fellow-creatures, whether the sick
or the poor, the prisoner or the slave ; and
.it is worth while for the country to consi-
der, whether, when the pseudo-patriots of
.the present day shall have reformed this
.House according to their ideas of its pris-
,tine excellence, we shall find them as rea-
.dy or as capable to attend.to the condi-
tion of the poor and destitute, or to ex-
(VOL. XLI.)


cite, as the House of Commons has done,
the emulation and applause of rival na-
tions. I am sure, Sir, it must be the
cause of sincere regret to every well-
wisher of his country, to see the progress
which infidelity and impiety have made
in the country. Good God! that Britain,
the nurse of morality and protectress of
religion, when she was almost an outcast,
should have the disgrace of having it re--
corded in her annals, that within the walls
of an English court of justice, Christianity
was impugned, and that it was declared,
and attempted to be maintained, that the
Holy Book, incontestibly proved by the
evidence of a nation hostile to our belief,
to be of Divine origin, that the oracles of
the living God was declared to be a blas-
phemy and a lie! Will it be said there is
no cause for alarm in such doctrine; or
can it be urged that it is but the 'opinion
of an individual, and not connected'with
the spirit that is abroad ? Would that I
could persuade myself it were so; but
what says the convicted wretch himself of
the profits of his iniquitous trade ? How
many honest bosoms, alas! may have been
infected with this doctrine of hell? Into
how many houses may it not have found
its way, where sedition has already open-
ed the door; where the wife perhaps is a
member of the Female Reform Society;
and the children of the Juvenile? And
will not she who has sworn to instil into
the minds of her progeny contempt for
all allegiance and all authority, be easily
induced to include that of a disbelief in
the word of God? But, Sir, we must not
forget, that religion has received a blow
before; the liturgy of the church ofEng-
gland is, to the members of that church
almost as dear as the Bible itself; but yet
this has been reviled and scoffed at, and
what is worse, its scoffers not only es-
caped punishment but met with encou-
ragement. I complain not of the jury who
returned their verdict; there may have
been a lack of evidence to bring the fact
home to the accused; for aught I know
it is not an offence against the statute. But,
Sir, if it is not one, itis assuredly high time
it should be made one. It is not the cause
of one religion alone, but of all religions :
Jews and Christians, Catholics and Pro-
testants, all are alike interested in uphold-
ing the precepts of religion, for if it is fun-
damentally attacked in one, it is virtually
so in all; and in what are we elevated
above the savage and the slave, but in the
knowledge and worship of the true God ?
(F)


at the Opening Vthle Sasiisn.







67] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince.Regent's Speec4 [68


I feel, Sir, I have ill requited the kind at-
tention of the House by the call I have
made upon its patience; but I will don-
clude by earnestly imploring the House to
sink all party differences upon this occa-
sion, and whether Whig or Tory, or Re-
former, that they will unite in conveying
to the throne their unanimous determina-
tion to suppress a system which brings li-
berty into disgrace by debasing it, and
which is not more directed against the
throne, than against the real happiness
and interests of the people; and that they
will show by their unanimity to-night, to
the country and to the world, that how-
ever they may differ in their opinions as
to the means of bettering their country,
they are all equally alive to its salvation,
and that violence and clamour will only
make them closer rally round the consti-
tution as it is-pro aris etfocis.
Mr. Tierney rose. He said, that the
ordinary manner in which a speech from
the throne was received was, that no gen-
tleman should oppose the address unless it
contained something directly, committing
the House. He had little inclination, in
the present instance, to deviate from the
usual practice, especially after the con-
struction that had been put upon the
address by the hon. mover and seconder,
from which it appeared, that all that
was stated in the royal speech as asser-
tion, would on some future occasion be
made out by the papers to be presented
to parliament. If those facts were not
established, his temporary concurrence
in what the address contained would of
course be revoked. Although he might
give his assent thus qualified to what
had just been read from the chair, he
felt called upon to say, that it did not
comprise all that, under the circum-
stances of the country, it ought to have
included. Looking at those circumstances,
he felt that he was imperatively called
upon to claim the attention of the House
to an amendment he should in conclu-
sion submit. He was as much aware as
any man, indeed, more than many men
who bad not had the same parliamentary
experience, of the inconvenience of offer-
ing an amendment on the first day of a
session, because many persons who did
pot object to the. matter of an amend-
ment, resisted it merely because it was
presented in that obnoxious shape; he
should therefore have abstained, had he
f". that .the important object he had in.
nrew could be otherwise as satisfactorily


accomplished. As the kingdom was no
situated, it was the duty of every mem-
ber not to lose a moment in coming for-
ward to state his opinion fairly and freely
to the world, not merely by an acquies-
cence in an echo of the royal speech,
but by a full disclosure of the sentiments
by which he was actuated. No man could
feel more deeply than himself the melan-
choly condition in which the country was
placed: no man, he assured the hon.
mover, could have heard with more dis-
gust, with moreaabhorrence, than he had,
the blasphemous doctrines, the farther
promulgation of which the laws had now
happily suppressed. This was not a sub-
ject on which he wished to enlarge, be-
cause the present was not the most fit oc-
casion: he would only state generally,
that the abhorrence he had felt was not
exceeded by that of any gentleman pre-
sent. It was attended, however, with this
great consolation-a consolation in which
others participated-that however exten-
sive and daring the evil might be, it had
been seen that the law was able to cor-
rect it. He did not believe that impiety,
as some contended, had been widely
spread; and it was his firm conviction,
from what he had seen of various parts of
the kingdom, and from the comparison
he had been able to make with other
countries, that a nation more pious,
more devoted to its duty to God, and
more sincere in its religion, was not to be
found in the whole circuit of the globe.
He had a right to express his confidence
in this persuasion the more decidedly, be-
cause it had been stated on the other
side of the House, and generally allowed,
that the piety of the country had so en-
larged itself, that the churches already
built were not able to contain it. There
was not room enough in the ordinary
places of worship for the surplus piety
(if he might so call it) of the country;
and it became absolutely necessary to
erect a number of new churches. It was
therefore somewhat strange to hear it now
urged, that such had been the rapid pro.
gress of impiety that the laws of the
country were incompetent to put it down.
If they were incompetent, he. was ready
instantly to vote for new laws; but he
had yet seen nothing which did not prove
that backed by the honest, upright, and
ehristian feeling of every jury in the king-
dom, they were amply sufficient. The
political state of the country was very dif-
ferent : dissatisfaction or disaffection, by







at.. MeL Operna of SL. 870


some calledtreason,.yevsded the kingdom
or, more properly, certain quarters of the
kingdom: for he washappy to say, that it
did not extend beyond the manufacturing
districts. He was quite ready to admit,
that if the existing laws were not adequate
to remove it, or prevent its consequences
-if treason or insurrection could not be
quelledby laws now in force,new ones ought
to be passed, and that without delay; but
had that case been made out ? or could
it: be made out ? He desired to be dis-
tintly understood as not setting his face
against additional and extraordinary mea-
surps, if the necessity were shown; but,
at the same time he was anxious to guard
himself against a supposed admission, that
the existing laws were not sufficient to
maintain obedience and tranquillity. He
believed at present (but he might be
wrong), that nothing was wanting but a
vigilant and wholesome exertion of the
magistracy-nothing but fairness and firm-
ness on the part of the government-to
do all that the law authorized, and the
circumstances required. If, on the other
hbnd, no such disposition existed, and if
the people were taught by facts to believe,
that the existing law was not equally ad-
ministered to all ranks, not only new laws
might be required, but he would go
further, and say, that he knew not what
new laws could be devised that would be
effectual in keeping down a people that
had no respect for the government and
the constituted authorities of the land.
The House would do him the justice to
recollect, that he had always represented
that what was now witnessed would be
the result. He had long since warned
ministers, though in vain, on the subject
of taxation, which had grown worse and
worse, and heavier and heavier from day
to day, until at last the burthen was
intolerable. He had told them, over and
over again, that the resources of the
country, great as they undoubtedly were,
were not inexhaustible they had more
confidence in them than he had felt: he
had seen millions after millions voted,
and spent as soon as voted-nay, some-
times before they were voted; and he
had been called almost an enemy to social
order and happiness, because he had
maintained, that the day would pre long
arrive, when it would be seen, that he
was not in the wrong, and that it would
have been better for ministers to have
paused in their career of profusion, and
confined their lavish expenditure to sar-


tower limits. Where, then, was the real
root of all out grievances I The pressure
of taxes-a pressure which the country
could not bear; by which more was to be
extracted from its inhabitants than they
could produce, consistently with their
own reasonable comforts and conveni-
ences. The nation was over-taxed, and
that was the root of the evil. This was
strong language, -but not too strong:
facts compelled him to use it; and a
dreary prospect of those facts had for-
merly compelled him to declare the same
opinions. Gentlemen on the other side
never could be brought to admit, that any
thing could possibly be wrong on the sub-
ject of taxation and revenue. It .was
here that they held themselves immacu+
late and above instruction. Even iii thb
speech just delivered from the throne,
there was what he should call, but.that it
proceeded from the royal lips, a miserable
attempt to raise a fallacious hope. It was
said that there had' been some fluctuation
in the revenue, and from thence it was
inferred, that a continued improvement
must take place; this was a wretched ex-
pedient-a poor attempt on the part of
ministers to avail themselves of a tempo-
rary rise, artificially produced, and which
could not be progressive, to delude the
country with the empty vision of return-
ing prosperity. It only showed how much
the revenue sympathised with the meeting
or prorogation of parliament: when the
Houses assembled, it was contrived that the
revenue should be always better, and when
they adjourned,itgradually proceededfrom
bad to worse. It was not necessary to
trouble the House by reading it; for it
could scarcely be forgotten, that only nine
months ago the country was congratulated
from the throne on the commerce, the
revenue, and the trade of the, kingdom
being in the most flourishing condition.
These were the very words employed.
Did ministers believe what they then as-
serted? If they did not, they had im-
posed upon the nation; and if they did,
the House ought never again to listen to
such men on any subject, much less on
the subject of finance. An artificial and
temporary improvement was called a fluc-
tuation; and then it was idly held out
that things were rapidly coming round,
and that prosperity would soon be re-
stored. This might be a pleasant topic
for a royal speech; but it was most mis-
chievoup in the country; and only showed
how radically wrong matters must be,


#!h# 0nr ote eren






71] HOUSE Op COMMONS, Addres on ihelriP e lgent's Speech [72
when, in the face of all the distress by sentation, or the nation could never have'
which the people were afflicted, ministers ,been reduced to the condition in which it
attempted a delusion, by stating, that, if now found itself. What had reduced it
there: were any distress at all, it would to that condition? Had the House re-'
quickly be removed by the gradual and fused to ministers any of the means of'
certain improvement of the revenue. He carrying on war ? Had it been sparing in
asserted, without fear of contradiction its votes for national improvements? Had'
from any merchant in the realm, that it refused to make new laws when they-
such a stagnation of trade was never be- were asked for? Had it resisted the rais-'
fore known. Ask any and every manu- ing of additional troops? or had it, in
facturer what was the state of his busi- short, objected to comply with any re-
ness, and what would he the answer ? It quest .ministers thought fit to make ?
never was at a lower ebb; and within a Certainly not. How happened it, then;
short time meetings of the agriculturists that in the result the revenue was so defi-:
had been held, at which it was declared, client; that trade was stagnated; that the
that some assistance was necessary for stocks fell; and that the House was tobe
them. The labouring classes would as- told that there was not law enough to'
sert, and with truth, that wages were so control sedition, or troops enough' to '
low that they could not maintain their fa- prevent rebellion ? How' happened all;
miles by their severest exertions; and these things; and above all, how could,
the paltry pittance of the poor-laws, to ministers now venture to demand that'
eke out a miserable subsistence, while it new confidence should be reposed in'
did not furnish support, weakened and them 'for having thus brought the nation
broke down the honest and upright spirit to the brink of ruin and despair? These
of industry which used to be the happy were not merely the opinions of the radi-'
characteristic of the people of England. calls in public meetings, but of sober, dis-
Seeing all this, was it necessary to talk creet men in private societies. Though
about sedition and treason? Treason and they were unwilling to make an open
sedition he did not believe existed; but avowal of their sentiments, they entertain-'
who could hope that the great body of the ed them in fact, and parliamentary reform
nation would not be in a state of miserable had been gradually working its way for
discontent? Could it be otherwise ? He years; and it was now almost universally
was an alarmist-an alarmist to a certain admitted, that the great mass of the peo-
extent, though not, perhaps, on the pie did not feel that the present state of
grounds that many other gentlemen the representation was beneficial to them.
rested their fears. Every man was in It would be to bely the sentiments he had'
terror; and his apprehensions grew out of entertained through life, if he denied that
what he best understood; but he felt as he was honestly and sincerely a friend to
much general alarm as any man in the parliamentary reform. Yet he was in no'
House; and it might not be improper way a radical reformer; and he thanked'
for him to state a few of the causes the hon. mover for his fairness in admit-
of that alarm, and of the mischiefs that ting that there might be distinctions in
now afflicted the land. He was bound to the different classes of reformers. If
speak.out; and though liable to miscon- asked whether he had not changed'some'
struction, and though a clamour might be of his opinions upon this subject, he
raised against him, he was determined to would freely confess that he had he was
do his duty to his country and to himself. not ashamed to confess that as he became
His settled conviction was, that there did older, if he had not become wiser, he had
not exist among the inhabitants of the at least become more cautious; and for
country that confidence in the House of many of the schemes to which he had
Commons that could be wished [conti- formerly listened with ardour, he was not'
nual cheers from the Opposition side]. now so warm an advocate. That great
That conviction did not pervade merely improvements might, however, be made
those who, to give every thing a name, in the state of the representation-that'
had been called radicals; but it had pe- those great alterations might be accom-
netrated much further and much higher; polished, not only without the smallest
and many of those who wisely condemned hazard, but with additional safety to the'
the visionary schemes of reform at pre- constitution, was as undeniable as that
sent afloat, ,were satisfied that there was the majority of the nation demanded that
something wrong in. the state of repre- those improvements should be effeeted.







-at the Opening of ike Measom


The question of parliamentary reform was
first started during the American war; it
was afterwards supported by Mr. Pitt,
who did more than any man to diffuse a
general inclination in its favour. It after-
wards slept for some few years when he
abandoned it; and it might still have con-
tinued to slumber had the nation found
that the House of Commons, as at pre-
sent formed, was practically beneficial.
But, finding every day that things grew
worse and worse-that the burden of
taxes was increased, while the means of
-paying them were annihilated-the nation
now again insisted on a remedy; and it
was not unreasonable that they should
look for that remedy in a change in the
representation. The nation laid the
blame on the House of Commons, which
called itself the guardian of the public
pukse: if the public money had been
squandered and misapplied, were ought
the blame to rest but with the House of
Commons ? The House claimed to itself
the privilege of maintaining the rights of
the people, and of seeing. that the laws
were equally enforced. Had those laws
been fairly administered ? And if not,
who was held responsible to the people
There were three branches in the consti-
tution-two permanent and one elec-
tive; and whose conduct from day to day
must be a subject of discussion, unless
an abstract idea of representation could
be formed. If that conduct was wise and
temperate, many blessings would ensue;
but if it was, careless and extravagant,
endless mischiefs would arise, Had those
mischiefs arisen ? With regard to plans of
reform, it was unfortunately but too true,
that some men in this country entertained
the strangest and most extravagant no-
tions of parliamentary reform: and here
he begged to be understood to be as much
an enemy as any man to what were called
the radical leaders: he was as willing as
any man to 'mark in the strongest terms
his contempt of th t- understanding, his
disgust at their proceedings, and his jea-
lousy of their objects. Some had availed
themselves of a clamour for parliamentary
reform to accomplish their own purposes;
some had been guided obly by excessive
vanity, and a wish to be distinguished as
popular leaders; and some from a sheer
paucity of intellect had come forward,
without understanding, or attempting to
understand a syllable of the project they
supported. In a few instances, bad men
amiiht be linked by bad designs-designs


that alied at utter destruction and such
being his opinion of radical leaders, he
thought he now stood fair arid above
board with the House on this great ques-
tion.-The hon. mover had wished dis-
tinctions to be drawn: he (Mrs Tierney)'
had now drawn them, and without using'
harsher language towards men at preseAt
on their trials, he hoped he should not be
misunderstood. In characterising thbi
radicals as he had done, he had been ac-
tuated by no rancour; and he did not'
think the other side would charge him'
with too great partiality; for it was cer-'
tainly impossible to conceive any set of
gentlemen under less obligations to the
radicals than the whigs were. True it,
was that ministers came in for a share 'of
abuse and disapprobation; but it was mild
and merciful compared with the castiga-
tion which their opponents received.
The right hon. gentleman who were in
office were unpopular with the radicals
but the unfortunate Whigs, who had long
left office, came in for a sort of postioboit
of unpopularity. He was thoroughly
convinced, that if many of the seditious
publications had not obtained such violent'
vituperations of the opposition, govern-
ment and their friends would have been
much more active in putting an end tor
their 'circulation and punishing their
authors. There might be some madness
in these effusions, but there was a great'
deal of method in it, and ministers took'
care to avail themselves of it. They ar-
gued in this way-" If we do not do
something against thesepamphleteers, we
shall increase sedition, it is true; but if"
we put an end to them, we shall let our
enemies go scot-free therefore we will
not be too severe with these seditious
gentlemen, in order that we may not be
too merciful to the Whigs" [cheers from
the Opposition benches].-He had thus
fairly stated his opinion on the state of
the country: he hoped he should not be
misunderstood: and he repeated, that
there did exist out of doors a general
want of confidence in the House; for
even sober men began to be satisfied that
the practical inconveniences they suffered,
and which had been increasing for the'
last twenty years, were attributable to a
defect in the representation. The doc-
trines of universal suffrage and annual
parliaments was unquestionably a great
evil; but, after all, as far as regarded'
them, it was not of wide extent-it had
not many partisan;- and though it was


Nov. 9% is]$.r. [74~






75j" HOUSE OF COM.MONS, Ad.ress on the Prince Regent's Speech [76


ea(mon for th friendmof lgiiiter talk:
ofhu~dad o4*tbwapdaf its supporters,
he believedit was a;groes mistake orexag-
ger tion, Tw~i was, that men marched
frdo one town o o another; but they were
the same men at both places, and they
wanetobe looked upon like a company of
esralQlers, whLo travelled about to perform
their parts in, different situations: 4,000
ori,000; of these gentry would make an
imposing display when their numbers
ware swelled by all the curious and un-
tqployed of the large town where they
were exhibiting. : But if it were possible
to,separate from the gross mass those who
were, really and in earnest in favour of.
universal suff pge, annual parliaments, and.
the last improvement-vote by ballot,
their numbers would be comparatively
very small. In ho part of Great Britain
but the, disturbed districts were any
friends to it known; and the whole was a
scheme which, by the great mass of the
people, must be held in contempt, though
eoWe few might regard. it with .an igno-
ra4t and, fond amazement. What could.
any man of sense, even among the lower
orders, think of that project, by which a
respectable baronet (sir Charles Wplse-
ley). was to be retttrned, and was in fact
returned, by the inhabitants of Birming-
ha4m, as a legislatorial attorney, to take
hisseatin the House of Commons? The
name of a member of parliament was of-
fqnsive to his self-enfranchised constitu-
ents; and accordingly, as legislatorial at-
torney -he was to undertake this expedi-
tion to London: if he had undertaken it,
and had carried his promise into effect,
he would have found it one of the most-
inconvenient seats he had ever occupied
in his life [a laugh]. The plan had not
a shadow of law or understanding about
it; and if the non-represented of Bir-
mingham assumed the power of electing
one,.what reason was there that they
should not have returned ten legisla-
torial. attornies to claim or enforce an
admission, into that House ? Such
schemes as these satisfied him that there
was no real ground for alarm at what
was called the radical party in the coun-
try : his fears arose from other causes,
to which he had already alluded, and
which occasioned, in his mind, as much
apprehension as he had ever felt in the
course of his life, or could have felt had
it been his fate to have lived in any of the
r1Olt M16tentous ,periodA of our history.
Did gentlemen ial Quffioient allowances


when they get their faces so deperminately
against all kiids of reform? He had said
what he thought of the radicals on one
side of the question.; andhe would now
make a few remarks on the radicals on
the other, and a word or two by the way'
to the right hon. gentleman opposite
(Mr. Canning). He must take leave to
say, that that right hon. gentleman was
just as much a radical, as those to whose
projects he was so strenuously opposed.
There were radicals in favour of a com-
plete change of system, and radicals in
favour of an. undeviating adherence to old
customs. One'of the latter was the right
hon. gentleman, and he was decidedly
opposed to every thing in the shape of
parliamentary reform: he resisted all de-
grees of it, from opening cose boroughs,
to the monstrous proposition of electing
legislatorial attornies. But he. did not
sufficiently take into consideration the
different state of the country in point of
education now, and thirty, forty, or fifty
years ago. The proceedings of the House
were formerly wrapped up in a sort of
mystery: the debates were only given to
the public in brief and imperfect notices,
and under Roman names: the power of
reading what passed in parliament was
not diffused as at present; and could any
gentleman at all acquainted with the state
of society doubt that the whole population,
in the proportion of three to one, now
thought itself capable of thoroughly un-
derstanding, sifting, and criticising parlia-
mentary proceedings? The blessings of
education had been extended by the mea-
sures of the House itself; and could any
hon. member suppose that its debates and
votes had not thereby been often subjected
to no very favourable comments? Td act
like wise men, times and circumstances
must always be taken into view; and if
the incalculable blessings of diffused, in-
formation were to cease to be enjoyed,
the House must submit to all the criti-
cisms upon its proceedings that men
thought themselves justified by the facts
and their own knowledge in making.
Thus, that which thirty, forty, or fifty
years ago, might be thought a wholesome,
or at at least a secure course, was now
both injurious and dangerous. It.was too
late for ministers now to say, that they
would hear nothing in the way oC innova-
tion-that they were well contented with
things as they are, or that whatever is is
right, and needs no improvement Men
were now capable of forming sogad opi-







77] adi. Ofi& ng rft-ssh6 fo- V64. ;- is,,i8it' '78
onions, and 'at thie wrner of tvi~ry street tiflattttf wMa"-*isinbled-a. ~~l~etitudi
these might be encountered who, by the admitt~i to be dnatnied, fr'Whe6 would
mere use of the knowledge they had ac- n'Ot introduce diputed fects; the niUmiberL
quired, and by the force of their own were differently stated at frmei 40 to
strong sense, could bring such assertions '70,000; and they were suddenly, arid
and asserters to shame and confusion. If without any previous notice, attacked by
government thought that by passing new an aimned force; several lost their lives,
laws, by raising new troops, or lby the ijd hundreds were sorely maimed and
promulgation of loyal addresses, they wounded. If this was not a case which
could put down the awakened spirit of the required immediate investigation, he could
country, they would find themselves onlysay, that no case ever had 'or ever
grievouslymistaken: the progress of reason *bbld occtr that could demand it He wit
was not to be curbed by Crown influence, not here stating who was right or who6was
nor could a military force put an end to wrong: on the contrary, he was willing
the assemblies of the people, who, having to make every allowance for the alarmed
received the means, had a right to exer- state of the minds of those geuttlenen who
cise the power of judging for themselves. had for some time resided inathe disturbed
Such was the state of affairs up to the districts: a great degree of irritation and
16th August: the hon. mover had felt it party spirit unquestionably prevailed, and
his duty not to advert to the events of that differences had long existed between the
day; and much credit was due to him for higher and lower classes in Manchester
so doing: he had thus shown that he was and its neighbourhood. Yet, with all
not the mere mouth-piece of the Treasury, these admissions, he could not' shit his
in dwelling upon the scenes of a day eyes to the fact, that bidod hid been shed,
which must be looked upon as one of the limbs broken, and many persons reduced
most eventful in modern times. Since to the condition of cripples for the rt-
those transactions, the question had been mainder of their lives, in consequence of
completely changed; it was now whether a transaction, of which it was enough for
parliamentary reform should or should his purpose to say that he did not under-
not be agreed to. A new subject of com- stand it. It was a strong case at present,
plaint was afforded, and that subject had and he hoped; for the credit of the ma.
provoked and occupied all the later meet- gistracy, that they had a strong casein
wings which had spread, in despite of mi. answer to it. Explanation had not yet
nisters, from one end of the kingdom to been attempted; it had been reserved for
the other. How, then, was it possible for some future opportunity, and that oppoe-
him (Mr. Tierney) to discharge his duty tunity was now arrived. If the House of
without demanding inquiry, when he Commons yet had any respect for At
found the whole kingdom, by addresses, opinions of the people, if it wished to re-
calling upon the Prince Regent most ear- deem itself at all from the imputationk that
nestly and anxiously for investigation? had been cast upon it, it ought not to lose
Yet, when called upon to vote an address a moment in insisting upbn a full, fair,
in this House, that was the only subject and unsparing investigation. When bhe
that was to be entirely omitted [Hear]. called for inquiry into this event, when'he
However painful it might be, not a day demanded what reasons could be adduced
ought to be allowed to elapse without the in justification of such a proceeding, 'he
mention of this great topic. He was not might be told, that the persons thus dis-
prepared to go into the details, nor did he perused were disaffected to the government.
wish the House to do more than pledge Still, however, his case would not be'hn-
itself to acquire all the information that swered, because it began after those ilidi-
could be obtained, as well to justify the viduals were taken into custody against
magistrates as to satisfy the country. He whom the vigilance of the magistrates
would not prejudge a single point; he seemed to be chiefly directed.' For the
would not even give an opinion, but would sake of argument, he would admit that it
confine himself to the statement of what was proper they should be taken up; but
was known to have occurred, and which, it should not be forgotten, that that object
in his view, required immediate explana- was effected without resistance. They
tion. If ever a cape had arisen in which were conveyed, in perfect safety (except
explanation was necessary on the first the injury which one of them declared he
meeting of parliament, it was the present. had received 'from the constable) before
He found that, on the 16th August, a themagistrates, and were ultimatelylplaccd







OJ] HOUnB 9F COMMONS, 4ddreu on tOW PrinWiftgents Spech ([S0
.in confinement. RBut hy, he demanded, of all others, ought not to have been'*-
wa the meeting. to be violently dispersed elected Other troops might have been
by military force, subsequent to the arrest found .who would have performed, this
of those individual ? Why was it thought duty without difficulty and without vio-
necessary to call ,out a military force Jence. He had no doubt whatsoever, that
against an unarmed multitude. They if a regiment of dragoons had been em-
were wholly helpless;. they had lost their played to open a passage to the hustings,
*leaders. It was, indeed, an army .without they would have effected their object with-
,ageoeraL .Thegeneral was made prisoner; out producing that dreadful scene, the re-
and then, from one end to the other of the collection of which shook all England from
place where dte meeting was held, nothing one end to the other. Was it, then, un-
was to be seen but a body of cavalry cut- der all the circumstances, too much to ask
ting, slashing, and riding over men, wo- of parliament to take this unparalleled
men, and children. He did not mean to event into immediate consideration ? Was
give credit to all that lie had heard rela- it too much to call on the legislature to
jtve to' the. proceedings of that day, but show to the empire, that, while they were
there were circumstances against which alive to the necessity of causing the laws
he could qot shut his eyes. He must re- to be obeyed, they were also alive to the
ceive as evidence the infirmary return of acknowledged privileges of: the subject ?
persons who were brought in there wound- Parliament-ought now to prove, that,
.ed; nd he could not overlook the coro- while they deprecated any thing like tu-
ner's inquests that had been held on the mult or sedition, they were, on the other
.bodies of persons who were slain. He hand, determined not to suffer.the rights
would say nothing harsh of the magis- of the people to be trampled on with im-
,trates; he merely demanded a full inquiry. punity. He knew that an argument had
.He.wished to knIpwwhy a military force been generally used against instituting any
had been employed at all? It might be parliamentary inquiry into this proceed-
.answered, that Mr. Nadin had said, he ing, namely, that it would be a prejudging
.could not arrest these people without the of the question. Many men, actuatedby
aid of a military power. Well; a military the best possible feelings and motives, who
'force ws. granted, and he apprehended were anxious that justice should be done,
,the obnoxious parties. Then, he wished and who supposed the business would be
to learp, why,that military force was suf- brought before a legal tribunal, besought
.feed to remain, and to act against the all whom they conversed with to wait for
'defenceless multitude, after the persons the decision of that tribunal, and to ab-
. whoin the magistrates ordered to be appre- stain from delivering a premature opinion.
handed were in custody? Did the.ma- Now, first of all, he did not know that any
gistrates approve of that proceeding? proceedings had been instituted before a
Jfrthey did not, why did they not exert legal tribunal, for the purpose of bringing
.themselves. and put a stop to it? From the matter to issue. The trial of Hunt
the windows of the house in which they could not affect the question, because he
were assembled, they must have seen the was charged as a party in, a conspiracy,
hborlemen cutting down those poor people; which alleged offence occurred before the
why, then, did they not use the same au- meeting took place. This could not be
.thority which they had previously exer- contradicted; for every person was in pos-
.cised.in summoning the yeomanry there, session of the terms of the information.
by ordering them to desist and retire? Hunt's trial, therefore, could have no re-
'He. wished especially to know, why the lation, not even the slightest, to what took
.magistrates called on the Manchester place whenhe was forced from the ground,
yeomanry for their services-why, of all and imprisoned in the New Bailey at Man.
others, they. had selected them for this chester. The whole of the case respect-
.business? If it were at all necessary to ing the forcibly dispersing the mob could
employ troops on this occasion, they not come before the court! but, in his
should: not have been called out. Was mind, even if it did, that circumstance
there any gentleman who did not feel, would not remove the necessity of inquiry.
that a body of men who resided in and They were the great inquest of the na-
about 1~anchester, and who must have tion ;and when they had before them po-
.been infected by the heat and irritation sitive information, that mauy lives were
.of. party feeling which had prevailed there lost in time of profound peace, they could
for a considerable time, were those who, not, with justice, refuse to exercise their







at the Opening of the Session.


powers of inquiry. It was asserted, that
the people who had been. injured might
procure legal redress. What redress, he
demanded, could they have against the
magistrates and yeomanry? This was
not similar to a case in which John
Thompson knocked down George Jack-
son. There the party aggrieved knew
where to seek for his remedy. It was not
so here. This was an extraordinary, not
a common occurrence. Let it also be re-
membered when redress was spoken of,
that it had been the great object of his
majesty's ministers to crush inquiry. Had
any thing ever excited, or indeed could
any thing excite, more general or more
decided indignation, than the precipitancy
with which they gave thanks to those in-
dividuals whose motives were wholly un-
explained? He had not met a single in-
dividual, whether friend or foe of minis-
ters, who did not condemn this act. He
had not met a dispassionate man, who did
not exclaim, that of all the ill-advised.
measures that ever entered the human
mind, this was the most ill-advised. It
was impossible for ministers to have been
acquainted with the circumstances of the
case; and yet, they at once, without any
hesitation, expressed his royal highness's
great satisfaction at the prompt and effi-
cient exertions of the magistrates and yeo-
manry. Great satisfaction! For what
For an event in which 300 or 400 persons
were maimed and wounded, and several
were killed! With respect to what mi-
nisters might say on the subject, it was
not worth attending to. They might as
well talk to a Manchester magistrate as
to a minister on this event; for ministers
had absolutely made themselves partners
in the business. [Hear, and laughter.]
However on other occasions he was will-
ing to allow due weight to what might fall
from the noble lord, he could not pay any
attention to what, as a minister, he might
this night offer to the House on the sub-
ject of the proceedings at Manchester,
because he had now a clear and direct in-
terest in the acquittal of the parties con-
cerned, with whom he and his colleagues
had identified themselves. Therefore, all
the noble lord might say this night would
go with him for nothing.-The greatest
pains, it appeared, had been taken by go-
vernment to prevent great public meet-
ings, at which the feelings of the commu-
nity on thip deplorable event might be col-
lected. On that point he begged to say
a word or two, articlarly as the interfe-
(VOL. XLI.)


rence of ministers on one occasion of that
kind, ought, in his opinion, to be taken
up as a breach of the privilege 'of that
House. He saw an hon. friend in his
place (Mr. Wynn) who was deeply versed
in questions of this nature; and he would
ask him what he would say to the lord-
lieutenant of a county who should conduct
himself in the manner he would presently
describe ? A nobleman of great worth
wrote thus to the high sheriff of the qop-
ty: We are in a state of great agita~49
in consequence of what recently occifttd
at Manchester: we do not wish to coQle
precipitately to any decision on .thAt
event; but we are desirous that a z'eqtipg
should be called for the purpose of peti-
tioning the Prince Regent to call parlia-
ment together immediately, in order that
a proper inquiry may be instituted."
What was he to think of the lord-lieute-
nant of that county, who, in conjunction
with one of his majesty's ministers, wrote
a letter to the high sheriff, desiring him
" not to call such a meeting, as it would
be unconstitutional?" He demanded
whether such a proceeding was not di-
rectly questioning the power of the House
of Commons ? Sure he was, that if it was
not a breach of privilege, it most undoubt-
edly was a breach of all decency and deco-
rum. Was it not saying to those who
could be at all influenced by ministers,
that if they wished to stand well with men
in power, they must set their faces against
any inquiry into the Manchester business ?
When he saw a paper like that, meant to
stifle inquiry, signed by one of his majes-
ty's ministers, he could not suppress 'his
indignation: but, in spite of such arts,
they would ultimately compel inquiry-
such an inquiry as would visit with shame
and confusion some of those who endea-
voured to prevent investigation.-The
great and anxious wish of the honourable
mover was, that, at a critical period like
the present, they should throw aside all
party feeling, and only consider the pub-
lic good. Let gentlemen look to the ex-
ample that had been shown by ministers
.-let them examine whether they had for-
gotten party-feeling. This brought them
at once to the dismissal of earl Fitawilliam.
That was the act which ministers per-
formed to prove that they were entirely
free from party feeling! ."Hear, hear.]
" Oh, but," said they, the public good
required it. It was necessary to remove
him, because he, as lord-lieutenant, held, ,
a different opiiion from that entertained
(G)


[sa


Nov. 23, 1819.







8S] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [84


Sby us, with respect to popular meetings."
And yet, after this act, which spoke for
itself, they exclaimed-" Oh, party has
nothing to do with our proceeding !"
Next to the general indignation produced
by the thanks given to the Manchester
yeomanry and magistrates, was the sensa-
tion produced by the removal of this ve-
nerable nobleman. He knew no indivi-
dual at any time with whom the feelings
of the country so entirely sympathised as
they did with earl Fitzwilliam, on this oc-
casion. No man could be selected, to-
wards whom the great body of the people,
those wtho knew him and those who did
not know him, bore so respectful a feel-
ing. He believed no individual could be
Sound for whom the country entertained
so deep-rooted and thorough an affection;
and certainly no man more justly deserved
Sit. His private virtues, his advanced age,
the exemplary manner in which, for twen-
ty years, he had administered the office
of lord-lieutenant, ought to have been en-
tertiiined by ministers as powerful reasons
against degrading him-for such was their
intention-by a removal. After the treat-
ment he had received, he knew not how
others, who had not served their country
so long, could escape a'similar visitation,
if they acted with similar independence.
It was his misfortune to differ from earl
Fitzwilliam with respect to the steps that
ought to be taken at a former period,
when there were disturbances in the coun-
try ; but he was convinced that his opinion
was a sincere one, flowing from the dic-
tates of his conscience. He was, at one
time, the best stay the administration pos-
sessed, for effecting and preserving what
they considered the tranquillity of the
country. He had since done that which,
if it had been done elsewhere, there
'would have been no necessity for his ad-
dressing the House that night. The
noble earl had preserved the tranquillity
;of Yorkshire; and he was rewarded by a
removal from the situation of lord-lieute-
"napt I [Hear]. In Yorkshire there had
been a display of flags; and there also
'that martial array of which so much had
'been said was observable. But those
'things had ceased. in consequence of earl
Fitzwilliam's exertions; the system had,
nearly evaporated; and many of those
deluded persons had applied to his lord-'
Slip to be enrolled in his corps of Yeo-


a lord-lieutentrit acted improperly in his
office, it was but just that he should be
discharged. His offence should, however,
be clearly pointed dut. What, then, had
earl FitzwilHaia' done ? Did the noble lord
mean to say, 'that -government had any
thing to find fault with, as far as earl Fitz-
william's conduct in'the discharge of his
official duties 'was concerned? Did mi-
nisters mean to say, that he was not ready
to appear at any meeting, or to attend in
any place, where tumult or riot might be
expected ? Would they contend that in
these respects he was not so vigilant as he
ought to have been ? They could not al-
lege any charge of that kind. It might
be answered by miiisters-" We must
have a person in the situation of lord-
lieutenant who reposes confidence in us,
and in whom we, in turn, can repose con-
fidence." This was the only answer that
could be made. When gentlemen talked
of doing away party feelings, it was right
to call their attention to the case of earl
Fitzwilliam, and to ask them whether it
was necessary to state in a public news-
paper, a month before a successor to the
lord-lieutenancy could be found, that he
had been removed front the office. How
came it in that newspaper? It could not
have found its way there, except from the
cabinet: there was no other mode in
which the communication could be ac.
counted for. He asked of those who de-
clared that they entertained no party
feeling, but who were evidently influenced
by a mean party-spirit, how they could
justify this act? They showed how much
they enjoyed their petty triumph, by
stating the removal of Earl Fitzwilliam a
month before his successor was appointed.
By such a proceeding, they hazarded the
tranquillity of Yorkshire; and in running
that hazard, by what could they possibly
be influenced, except by party feeling ?
Oh but," said they, it is an act of
spirit. It shows that government will not
'be trifled with ; that they have assumed a
vigorous and commanding attitude; and
allwill soon be well." He would, how-
ever, tell them, that there never was an
act which tended more to set the country
against the government, than the removal
of earl Fitzwilliam.--.There was another
point connected with the' 1anchester bu-
siness which he should like to have pro-
"rly explainedd. Why,' he wished to
know, was Hunt arrested B6 the hultiings,
'4en he pg'htt iave been an fhe day
iefbte? 'Wais there 'desire' to create an






85] at Ali Opening of the Session
opportunityfor tho employment of troops?
He did not mea to say that so base a de-
sire existed, but certainly it was a little
extraordinary that such a course was
taken. The same thing, however, hap-
pened:in London. A person of the name
of Harrison was arrested in Smithfield,
when he was surrounded by thousands of
individuals. Why, then, endanger the
peace of the city ? why run the hazard of
endangering the safety of the metropolis,
merely for the purpose of apprehending
a man at 12 o'clock on one day, who
might as well be arrested at 12 o'clock on
the next ?-It was evident that the coun-
try had no confidence in ministers; it was
dear their proceedings were disapproved
of; and that was one great reason why
he would not give them any additional
force. Till the whole of those. proceed-
ings were explained satisfactorily, he
could not extend any confidence to the
government; and he knew not with what
face they could demand fresh confidence
from the House or the country, until they
showed how they had exercised the powers
which had previously been intrusted to
them. He was aware, that throughout
the country, the attempts made to run
down the liberty of the subject had ex-
cited a very great alarm. The hon. mover
doubted this, but he (Mr. T,) was assured
of the fact. The jealousy of the people
was roused by the proceedings at Man-
chester, and was farther inflamed by the
precipitancy with which the yeomanry
and magistrates were thanked for their
conduct in that deplorable affair. When
they saw the whole system crowned by
the manner in which persons were arrested,
the most dangerous periods being selected
for that purpose; and when they wit-
nessed the removal of such a man as earl
Fitzwilliam, for no other reason but that
his opinions were not in unison with those
of his majesty's ministers, was there any
thing under heaven which could induce
him, or any unbiassed individual, to give
additional confidence to the advisers of
the Crown? The constitution was at
stake; it depended on the debate of that
night. He had abstained from giving any
specific opinion on the Manchester busi-
ness; he had confined himself to the mere
fact; but that there ought to be a full and
fair inquiry he could not doubt, unless
parliament wished to state to the country,
that their mode of allaying discontent
was, by raising an additional military
force, by enacting severe laws, and trust-


Nov. 23, 1819 [86
ing entirely to a system of. coercion. If
they meant to state this, it was invain,
for him, or any other man, to raise his
voice in that House hereafter in defence
of the rights and privileges of the people.
If there was an opposition to inquiry,
what could he hope from the discussion
of those severe measures which might,
and probably would, be proposed ? Such
a want of sympathy for the feelings of the
people would tend to produce that lihe of
separation which occasioned danger in-all
countries where it existed-a separation
between the interests of the high and of
the low. He, however, would do his
ddty, under all circumstances, however
discouraging. He would point out, what
he conceived to be, the best cure for exist-
ing evils, and he hoped those in power
would take a warning from the history of,
other nations-particularly from the events
which occurred in. the early part of the,
French revolution. Had there been a
government in France willing and anxious
to conciliate the people, and ready to ad-
mit that abuses existed which ought and
would be remedied, hopes might have,
been cherished that the revolution would
not have taken place. But a contrary
course was adopted: every man who
complained was subjected to persecution,
and set down as a Jacobin and an agitator.
This mistaken policy produced a dreadful
convulsion, and every thing dear and
valuable was hurried away in the general
devastation. Let gentlemen beware how
they proceeded in this question-one of
the most momentous that was ever agi-
tated within the walls of parliament. The
radicals, as they were called, were, he be-
lieved, by no means in force in this coun-,
try; but a large proportion of the people
were acutely alive to the business trans-
acted in that House, because they felt
that much of their sufferings were to be
traced to its proceedings. Let ministers
do all they could to alleviate the distresses
of the people, and he would stand by
them to protect the law and the constitu-
tion; no man would do more, or go far-
ther than he would, most cheerfully, Let
the House but show a wish to remove.the
real grievances of the people, and he was
convinced peace and harmony would be
restored. But while they proved tbah
they were most anxious to uphold the
laws, they ought to let the people see that
they were equally determined tg protect
and maintain their just rights [ Hear].
He then read his amendment, as follows:






87] HOUSE'OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's:Speech [88S


To assure his royal highness, that,
called together at a season when unex-
ampled distress and extraordinary agita-
tion prevail in some of the most populous
districts of the kingdom, we will- imme-
diately proceed to take into our most
serious coniidbration the various rhmat-
ters' contained in his royal highness's
gracious speech from the throne:
'' 'Humbly to express to his royal:high-
ness our reprobation of the attempts
which have been made to persuade the
suffering classes of the people to seek
relief from -their distress in schemes in-
jurious' to themselves, dangerous to the
public quiet, and inconsistent with tihe
security of the constitution,- which it is
Our-duty and determination to maintain
against every species of encroachment
or attack:
"To represent to his royal highness that
while we thus declare our determined re-
soldtion firmly to uphold the just autho-
rity of the laws, we feel that we are
called upon by a sense of duty, so to
conduct ourselves as to satisfy the people
that their complaints will at all times re-
ceive from us that just attention, and their
rights that ready protection, which is in-
diopensable to their safety and freedom:
*'rThat this seems to us more particularly
necessary in order to maintain that confi..
dence in the public institutions of the
country, which constitutes the- best safe-
guard of all law and government:
That we have seen with deep regret the
evelits which took place at Manchester on
the"16th of August last; and that, without
pronouncing any opinion oth the circum-
stances which occurred on that-melancholy
occasion, we feel that they will demand
6ur earliest attention in order to dissi-
pate the alarm to which they have given
birth, by a diligent and impartial in-
quiry, which may show that the mea-
sures of extraordinary severity, then re-
sorted to, were the result of the most
urgent and unavoidable necessity; or
prove'that an important constitutional
privilege cannot-bb, iblated, and the lives
of-his majesty's subjects sacrificed, with
impln ity." ' .:
* The- Marquis of Tavistock seconded the
amendments At a time of peril-like the
present, -he obisered,- it' was the -duty of
every man to stand forward and deliver
his opinions as 'to the:best mode of re-
moving those evils which were so gene-
rally allowed to exist. On this occasion,
he assured the House, that he was not


actuated by any party feeling;. 'He felt'
the dangers by which' the country was
surrounded so deeply, that he could not,
with justice to himself orhis constituents,
remain silent on that occasion. -The:
great object before them: was, the result
of the proceedings on the 16th of August.,
He alluded to these proceedings at pre-
sent merely for the purpose of-imploring
the House not to disappoint and irritate
the minds of the people. He hoped and
trusted that a fair and impartial inquiry
into these proceedings would be instituted.
Let witnesses be examined, and let no
biassed or party views impede their pro-
ceedings--let them have no object in
view but the attainment of justice.' To
him it was a matter of little importance
who was in or out of ofliee, compared
with his anxiety to secure the peace and
happiness of the people. But how were
these objects attended to at present?
One of the first noblemen in the country.
had been degraded because he had op-
posed himself to the conduct of ministers;
But it should be recollected that this no-
bleman was the first to detect and expose-
the spies and informers who had been
sent about the country-that he was one
of the first men who had had the courage-
to give to ministers his opinion of the
state of the country, and whose great
fault was his calling for an investigation
of recent occurrences. For this the no-
ble earl was entitled to the thanks of
every friend of freedom, and in retiring
from office he carried with him the re-
spect and good wishes of every honest
man. That there were circumstances of
an alarming nature connected with some
of those popular meetings, was the opi-
nion of many; and perhaps, however iw-
adequate the cause was, it might be owing,
to these circumstances that the country
was to be burthened with 10,000 addi-
tional troops. But the House, he con-
ceived, could not adopt a measure so un-
precedented in time of peace, until they,
were furnished with satisfactory data. If
they produced such -data--if ministers
showed that they dould not cairyf on the
business of the government, without an
additional force-then he conceived they
had much to answer for, because it was
by their conduct that the country was
reduced to that situation. Gentlemen
might contemplate, with melancholy feel-
ings, those past days when this once
flourishing country,: -directed by wise
councils, enjoyed undisturbed tranquillity






SNov. 23, 1819. [90


in time of peace-a tranquillity to which
it was now a stranger. It was not sur-
prising that there should be a want of
confidence in government, when they
reflected on the little sympathy which
was shown in the votes of that House to
the situation of the people at large. A
former parliament did itself no credit by
repealing the property-tax, and that
which succeeded obtained still less by
imposing taxes which fell heavily on the
working classes. If the chancellor of the
exchequer came down and proposed a
property-tax, his vote should be at the
right -hon. gentleman's service; but on
these conditions-that other taxes which
bore heavily on the people should be
repealed; that the -universal desire for
economy and retrenchment, in every
branch of the state, should be met by
corresponding efforts on the part of the
government; that the country should not
again be insulted by the unnecessary grant
of a large sum out of the public money,
and that every office which could be abo-
lished should be speedily annihilated.
Then, and not till then, would he vote
for the property-tax. With respect to the
difficulties that threatened the country,
he thought they might be overcome, and
the breach might be healed, if they did
not drive the people to despair, by refus-
ing inquiry. They should conciliate them
by granting at least some step towards
reform. In his mind, that question was,
of all others, of the greatest importance.
He would not presume to say what speci-
fic plan of reform ought to be adopted;
but of. this he was confident-that so long
as that House was constituted as it at
present-was, it could not, and it ought
not to.possess the confidence of the peo-
ple., Before he sat down he should ex-
press a hope, that the noble lord would
not attempt to degrade;.the spirit of the
people by force and coercion, but would
endeavour to conciliate it by mild and
equitable measures. There were some
men who were pepetually boasting of.
their loyalty and attachment to the con-
stitution; but to him itappearedas if those
individuals had but a slight idea of the
meaning which belonged to those terms.
True loyalty consisted in preserving, not
in restricting, the liberties of the people;
they, however, made it to 'consist in a
blind adherence; and servile acquiescence
in the measures proposed by his majesty's
ministers. Could, however, any person
who had witnessed the trials to which the


people of Englandhadbeensubjected dur-
ingthelast twenty years, and the exemplary
patience with which they had sustained
them, question for a moment their loyalty
or their attachment to the laws and insti-
tutions of their forefathers ? The patience
they had exhibited during the late arduous
contest in which they had been engaged,
surely deserved some better return than
the 'harshness with which they were
treated, now that the contest was over.
He therefore could not help imploring his
majesty's ministers to institute a full and
fair inquiry into the injuries which the
people conceived themselves to have sus.
trained at Manchester, and not to treat:
them with any unnecessary violence or4
contempt. By conducting such an:in-
quiry without any reference to party feel-
ings or to party views, they would disarm
the rage of thousands who were,now ex-
cited against them, because they thought
that they had been treated with harsh-
ness. He could assure the House, that
into such an investigation he should him-
self enter without the slightestboostility
to any of his majesty's ministers, though
he must own that he.should bring to.it
strong feelings of affection to his :country,
and a trembling anxiety for the, safety' of
the constitution. The noble marquis con-
cluded his speech by observing, that a
dreadful storm was now hanging over us;
that conciliation was the only method of
averting it; and that to recommend mea-
sures of conciliation to the government,
was the sole object for which he had that
evening taken the opportunity of address-
ing the House.
The Speaker then read the original ad-
dress, and was proceeding to state, that
in lieu of part of the original address, it
had been proposed to insert an amend-
ment, when
SMr. Tierney again rose,- and said, that.
he had no wish to leave out any part of
the original address he would adopt the
whole of it, and would content himself
with proposing, that his own amendment
should be received as an addition to it ...
Lord Castlereagh ;rose. He began by
observing, that there never.was a crisis in
which ministers felt a more awful respon-
sibility than they did at the present mo-
ment; and never was a responsibility more
awful than, that which they were, now
obliged to take upon themselves in dis-
charge of their duty to their king and to.
their country. Nothing but an imperious
sense of the necessity of such a measure


0 the Opening bfthe Sessioit '






Address on the Prince Regent's. Speech [02


could have induced them to. have called
parliament together at thisiunusual season
of the year; and yet. such was the state
of the country, that if they had longer
delayed the convening of it, they would
have compromised their duty to. the
roewn, and have placed ab hazard the
safety of the state. Now that it was as.
sembled, he.should express a hope, that
not only in thedebate of that night, but.
also in the many and arduous debates.
which- were likely to succeed it in the
course of the session, the House would
maintain that equanimity of temper and
candor of argument, which, at the same.
time that it was most essential to the pre-
servation of its dignity, was also best
calculated to effibt those objects -which
every member of it must have in view.
Whatever insinuations the right hon.
gentleman opposite might throw out re-
garding- the little confidence which the
people were inclined to place in that
House (and the right hon. gentleman's
speech was more calculated to diminish
than. increase that confidence), he was
certain that the House would still con-
tined to act with that calm deliberation
and that steady character which had
always previously distinguished it; for if
they did so act, if they met their difficul-
ties at home with the same manly resolu-
tion with which they had met their diffi-
culties abroad; if they persisted in their
determination to deal out justice, even-
handed justice, to all ranks and classes of
his majesty's subjects, and were resolved,
when they did interfere in the internal
administration of justice, to interfere no
more than ,their interference was abso-
lutely necessary, he was positive that,
instead of losing the confidence of the
people, they would acquire new and in-
disputable claims to it, for the House had
never yet pronounced a deliberate deci-
sion on any question, without being sup-
ported in it by the sober opinion of thq
public, indeed, so far was the House
under the control of public opinion, that
no .government which opposed it could
long exist in this country, it was the basis
upon- which every government rested;
and if the House pursued the same line
of conduct which it had pursued before,
he would undertake to promise that the
oame confidence would be now placed in
it as had previously carried it and the
country through every difficulty. The
right hon. gentleman had confessed in
the outset of 'his speech, that there was


nothing in the address to the throne which
called upon the, House to pledge itself.as
to its future conduct;, and in moving his
amendment, had given a reason for doing'
so, which had on the first view of it
created great satisfaction in his mind. He
had said that the state of the country was
so ambiguous, and the circumstances of
the timesso perilous, that it became.every
man to speak out frankly and boldly.
From this declaration of the. right hon.
gentleman,. he (Lord C.)- had expected
that the amendment would have con-
tained some definite plan, some specific
measures for the consideration of minis-
ters; but, if he understood its meaning at
all, nothing was so far from it as any spe-
cific or tangible proposition, with the ex-
ception of one parliamentary inquiry
which was to, be instituted into the trans-
actions at Manchester, of the confession
which the House was to make of past
misconduct, and of the promises which it
was to hold forth of future improvement.
The right hon. gentleman had also de-
clared a strong wish to examine into the
present state of the country; and in
stating -his reasons why such examination
should take place, had much undervalued
the circumstances in which it was now
situated. What those circumstances were
he should refrain from explaining at pre-
sent; and he trusted that the House
would allow him to do so, especially as
he should to-morrow place the mass of
information on which the government in-
tended to act in the hands of every one
of its members in a printed form, and
without submitting it to any previous
committee for investigation. Besides, his
explanation of the state of the country
would be better understood if it were
combined with the measures which. it
was intended to propose: those measures
he should open to them on Friday; but
before any one of them was discussed,
the House ought to know the intentions
of government, the bearing of which each
of them had upon the other and upon
the whole, and the dangers which threat-
ened the whole of our system. As, there-
fore, the term was so short during which
he wished the House to excuse him from
speaking on the general state of the
country, and as nothing specific had been
proposed by either the right hon. gentle-
man or the noble lord opposite, he trusted
that the House would extend to him the
indulgence which he desired. With re-
gard, however, to the transactions at


91] HOUSRORO COMMGONS,







93] at tke Opening ofthe Sessio
Manchester, he had no objection to meet
the right hon. gentleman at'present: and
here, he must say, that if his majesty's
ministers had not expressed any senti-
ments of regret on this subject (and no
humane or generous bosom could be
without them), it was because nothing
was more important than to maintain the
confidence of the people in the due ad-
ministration of justice, and nothing was
more likely to destroy it than any such
declaration of opinion: therefore, if in his
answers to the questions of the right hon.
gentleman he was compelled to say any
thing which had that tendency, he trusted
that the House would recollect that it
was forced from him, and was not volun-
tarily tendered. In answer to the ques-
tion, why Hunt was not arrested before
the 46th of August, and why he was ar-
rested on that day, he would state, what
he believed to be the fact-that there was
no determination or intention on the part
of the magistracy to arrest him on the
charge on which he was arrested, pre-
viously to the 16th of August-that the
charge on which he was then arrested
arose entirely out of the events of that
day [loud cries of Hear from the opposi-
tion benches] that it originated from the
military array, and the seditious banners
which were then displayed; and from the
magistrates looking upon the meeting as
of a treasonable nature, even if it did
not amount to high treason itself. There-
fore, if his assertion could have any
effect with the right hon. gentleman he
would believe the arrest of Hunt was
not decided upon before that day.
The right hon. gentleman had then
asked another question-why a meeting,
consisting of more than 40,000 people
(and he had stated the numbers pretty
correctly), among whom were many
women and children, had been attacked
by a military force after Hunt had been
arrested and carried off without any oppo-
sition ? But that was a false view of the
question: it never was the intention of
the magistrates to disperse the meeting as
it was dispersed, any more than it was
their intention on the preceding day to
have dispersed it at all. If they had then
entertained any such opinion, they would
have declared it an illegal meeting, as they
had declared that which was convened
before it. It was not asking the House
to show too much charity to the Man-
chester magistrates when he asked them
to believe this to be the case, especially


Nov. 23, 1819. [- Y


as there was not the slightest scintilla of
evidence to'the contrary, except it were
the heated evidence of those who had re-
cently been tampering with the public
feelings. If they had had any wish to
commit an act of violence on the people,
surely they would have carried it into exe-
cution on a medtiog'whilh it is acknow-
ledged on all hands was illegal, and which
they warned people not to attend, because
it was illegal; And would n6t have de-
ferred it to another, when the meeting had
become at least of a questionable nature.
He put it to the charity of parliament to
say, whether the deferring of it to the
latter period would not, if they had enter-
tained such intentions, have been most ir-
rational. The truth wag, that the magis-
trates did not determine upon dispersing
the meeting until it had assumed a cha-
racter of tumult and sedition. And he
would protest on all occasions, and at all
times, most loudly against the doctrine
which had been advanced that night, that
the arm of the law was to be unnerved by
---[Here Mr. Tierney made some sign of
dissent.] The right hon. gentleman most
certainly had maintained such doctrines:
'he had asked why had Mr. Hunt, why
had parson Harrison, been captured in
the midst of the people ? As to Harrison,
he had fled from Manchester; and was
taken by the officers in Smithfield, as it
was their duty to take him, charged as he
was with an offence, whensoever 'and
wheresoever they saw him.-To return,
however, to the subject from which he
had digressed: as soon as the character
of the meeting had declared itself, the
magistrates put the warrants into the
hands of the constables; and it was not
till they had declared their -inability to
execute them, that a military force was
employed at all. Then comes the right
hon. gentleman and asks, why employ the
military, and above all, why employ the
yeomanry, and not the troops of the line ?
Why, formerly the only force which the
right hon. gentleman would allow to be
employed to defend the internal tranquil-
lity of the country was his majesty's liege
subjects armed in defence of their rights
and properties. The circumstance only
proved, that when his majesty's ministers
blew hot, the right hon. gentleman blew
cold; and that all they did was wrong, even
wheni they adopted the suggestions which
he had himself proposed. This considera-
tion, however, led him to another fact, to
which it was requisite to call the attention


1.







Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [96


ofthe House: the magistrates had nothing
to do with any of this military array or
armament, and were not responsible for it,
except .in so far as they legally were for
giving the orders for its acting. It was
colonel L'Estrange who selected the Man-
chester yeomanry for the service of the
day, and who thought that he had done
the most constitutional thing in the world
in employing them. [Hear, hear l].-He
would now proceed to state most dis-
tinctly, that the magistrates, if it was an
illegal meeting and was carrying traitorous
and seditious emblems, would have been
guilty of a most flagrant 'dereliction of
duty, if they had allowed that meeting to
continue assembled one moment after the
capture of Hunt. They, however, deter-
mined to disperse it, and to disperse it in
the most mild and gentle and temperate
manner. At the time the riot act was first
read, it was read from the window of the
house in which the magistrates were as.
sembled: [loud cries of hear from all parts
of the House:] it was suggested that this
method of reading it was not such as was
contemplated by the act: another magis-
trate was therefore sent into the crowd,
and whilst attempting to read it there,
was trampled under foot; they then sent
a third magistrate to read it at the hust-
ings, in order that no man might remain
in ignorance of the fact of its being read.
Why was it not read there? Why, be-
cause after the caption of Hunt was ef-
fected, those troops who effected it were
violently assaulted by what the right hon.
gentleman had called an unarmed mob.
He begged leave to say, that he stated
what he believed to be the fact; because,
as the whole transaction of clearing the
ground did not last five minutes, and as
all the business was over in a quarter of an
hour, some conflicting testimony might
be expected. Still, however, he must re-
peat, that he believed what he stated to be
correct. That, however, was not so much
the question at present: the question
was, whether the House of Commons was
to erect itself. into a tribunal to decide on
this matter, and exercise the inquisitorial
powers which it possessed by investigating
it at their bar. Highly as he valued, and
far as he would carry these inquisitorial
powers, he was not for exercising them on
the present occasion, as he did not think
that the circumstances demanded it. To
go on, however, with his narrative; this
unarmed multitude, though the place had
only the day before'been cleared of all the


stones that were calculated to hurt a
human being, assailed the military with
so many, that the next day two cart-loads
were found upon the ground; so that it
was clear that the parties had come with
stones in their pockets: it was.also evident
that there were men among them armed
with pistols; for from the house behind
the hustings pistols were fired upon the
troops. Notwithstanding all these cir-
cumstances which he had related, he was
sorry to say that among several men of
high character, for whom he entertained
the most profound respect, there was
scarcely any cruelty, however horrid-any
atrocity, however aggravated, which had
not, without the slightest truth or founda-
tion, been attributed to the magistrates of
Manchester [Hear, hear!J-Thus much
for the character of the meeting. It was
thus made evident that government had
not taken any steps on the subject till they
had convinced themselves of the law of
the case, and the illegal character of the
meeting which had been thus dispersed.
He therefore repeated, that the Man-
chester magistrates had acted consistently
with the law of the land, and with the best
possible attention to the interests of the
country. He would now apply himself
to another important part of the inquiry:
that was, whether the course of public
justice, and of individual justice, would be
promoted, or whether it would not rather
be obstructed, by such an inquiry, as was
recommended in the amendment of the
right hon. gentleman. Before any such
inquiry could be entered upon, they ought
at least to know the state of the circum-
stances in which the transactions took
place. Although he had no particular
knowledge of the charge against 'nr.
Hunt, and although that charge might bb
entirely extrajudicial to this question, yet
Mr. Hunt could, without any doubt, bring
the magistrates before a jury of the coun-
try to explain their conduct. Let the,
House consider what they knew by public
notoriety to be now in the hands of public
law. In the first place, the House would
allow upon the face of the question, that
there was none which, prima facie, called
so little as this for their interposition.
How did the transactions which were to
come before a court of justice stand be-
fore them at this moment. The magis-
trates of Manchester, and all who took
that view of the question, were ready to
go to trial; and who were they who post-
poned judicial inquiry? The injured, in-


9&] ROUSOE OF COMMONS,






Nov. 23, 1819. [98


nocent individuals, who complained of the
severity with which they had been treated!
All those individuals had put off their
trial. 'Besides, had those persons availed
themselves of all the legal means of re-
dress, if injustice had been done to them ?
They had indeed preferred bills against
some individuals of theyeomanry cavalry;
and the fact of the illegality of the meet-
ing had been found by the grand, jury,
who threw out .those bills. As far as the
yeomanry were concerned, the charge
against them had been thus negatived by
one grand jury of the country: for bills
might have been found, and very properly
found, against individuals of the yeomanry
cavalry, and yet have. decided nothing
respecting the magistrates or the com-
manding officers. Because nothing was
more clear than that outrages might have
been committed beyond the necessity of
the case, however proper the conduct of
the. magistrates and of the commanding
officer might, have been; and that indivi-
duals might be guilty of murder, while the
magistrates and commanding officers were
entitledto praise. But while they had pre-
ferred bills against individuals, not a single
indictment had they preferred against the
magistrates or the commanding officer.
The first thing that ought to have been
done was, to have gone to the officer, as
in the riots of 1768, when the officer was
tried in the King's-bench and acquitted.
Therefore he was entitled to say that the
courts of law were open to those who
complained, and that they had not availed
themselves of them, in the mode which
the law prescribed. He was aware of an
objection often urged on this point. How,
it was asked, could so many indigent
individuals support the expenses of legal
proceedings? But, if five yeomen have
been indicted, as many magistrates could
have been indicted by the same means.
If real public justice had been the object,
the principals would have been first at-
tacked. But if those who complained
were indigent, they knew that in fact a
subscription to a large amount, and under
various descriptions of objects, had been
made, and that there were in consequence
ample. means provided. Not less than
2,0001. had been subscribed; and this
sum surely .afforded sufficient means for
supporting the expenses of a legal inves-
tigation. They had heard, indeed, a most
audacious libel upon a branch of the con-
atitutional administration of justice-a
libel beied by, the whole tenour and cha-
( VOL. XLI.)


racter of the administration of justice in
this country; and in no part of the coun-
try was that administration more pure
than in Lancashire. They had heard a
most audacious libel, that the grand jury
at Lancaster had not done their duty, and
had lent themselves to be the scape-goat
for the violators of the law. But if it
was so, if the magistrates could not be
indicted for murder, yet if they were not
justified in law, they could clearly be put
upon their trial, by moving a criminal
information against them, in the court of
King's-bench, for their conduct. The
circumstances of their conduct would be
before the country as fully upon affidavits,
as if they were to be tried for murder or
felony. If, however, the court of King's-
bench were so dead to a sense of justice
and to the demands of the public, as to
refuse a criminal information when it
ought to be granted (and none could say
that the court of King's-bench was dead
or remiss in affording every facility to
inquiry) into the conduct of magistrates;
yet he admitted that a case might. arise,
although the House was never, in:the first
instance, to interfere with the judicial
administration, emanating in purity and
enlightened by discretion as it was, when
the House might properly inquire whether
the courts below had done justice. But,
to call upon all persons to disclose the
evidence to the House which they were
afterwards to give in a court of justice,
was a proposition so monstrous, that, if
delusion had not been carried to such an
extent, and if the gentlemen opposite had
not lent themselves to that delusion, it
could never have been proposed. It was
so monstrous a proposition, that if the
right hon. gentleman was not surrounded
by legal advisers who suffered him to
propose to take from the courts of justice
the whole body of a judicial question, in
order to have it tried here, he could not
have believed that they could lend them-
selves to it. The court of King's-bench,
was not apt to overlook the misconduct
of magistrates; but if they were,, and if
they refused to interfere in this' case,
every man, even then, who had been re-
moved of that ground by violence, or
threats of violence, could bring a civil
action for damages; and the;jury, in esti-
mating -the damages, would have the
whole' legal evidence laid before them.
Therefore,- he begged leave :to conclude
that there had.been no denial' of justice.
Every effikrghad. beve made by industry,
(H)


at thre Opening ofthe~ Session.;




11873o
99] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Addree on the Prince Regent' Speech [100


ingenuity, inflammation, and tumult. He
did not mean to impute this conduct to
the right hon. gentleman or to the gentle-
men around him; but such efforts had
been used to inflame and distemper the
great mass of the people. What else
could have been the object of the mass
of evidence produced at a coroner's in-
quest respecting not what happened on
the spot, but what every individual in the
streets of Manchester knew. But there
'were now several proceedings in courts of
justice upon this subject; there were mo-
tions with respect to the coroner's inquest,
with respect to the conduct of magistrates
in a district near Manchester; there were,
in fact, many grave and serious questions
now before the proper court. He thought
that the consequences would be the worst
that could be imagined, if they lent them-
selves to a precedent unknown to, parlia-
ment. Did the right hon. gentleman
consider, that if parliament could take
such a step, it was not very decorous,
whether it was proper or not, to come to
such a conclusion on the address? Would
it not have been more decorous if the
right hon. gentleman had given notice of
a motion to this effect, so that the minis-
ters could have their minds instructed by
the legal authorities ? But he could not
conceive, unless the whole body of the
inquiry was to be taken from courts of
justice, how the amendment could be
supported. Was it contended that they
could proceed with the inquiry proposed,
while proceedings were actually pending
in courts of justice upon the same sub-
ject ? If parliament, in such circum-
stances came to a conclusion to punish
the coroner or the magistrates, it would
form an additional reason for levelling the
throne and the constitution. This was
the most barefaced trap ever heard of,
which the radicals had laid for gentlemen
on the other side. Any thing more fatal
to public justice he could not conceive,
unless they were to hang the magistrates
of Manchester without trial or evidence.
No step could be more effectually calcu-
lated to deprive parliament of all confi-
dence on the part of the public. He
therefore had no disposition to fall into
the trap. The right hon. gentleman could
not impute to his majesty's government
a desire of standing between any indivi-
duals and public justice; if he did, he did
them great injustice. But the right hon.
gentleman had said. that they had pre-
judged the question. Now, he would


submit, even to the right hon. gentleman
whether, if magistrates were to be placed
in a situation in which common justice
would not be done to them, it would not
be precisely by that course which the
right hon. gentleman recommended. It
was manifest that, in the temper of this
country, the magistrates had not fared
the better in consequence of the appro-
bation of ministers. [Cheers and laugh-
ter from the Opposition.] He meant
that there had been a previous disposition
to treat the Manchester magistrates with
party-feelings, which he never recollected
to have been applied before to a public
question. The opinion of government, if
it was calculated to close the avenues of
law, or defeat the ends of justice, had
been improperly given. But the govern-
ment was called upon to acknowledge the
services of the yeomanry corps, who had
come from- a considerable distance in
order to support the government. It had
been said that a stipendiary magistracy
had presided at Manchester. It was not
so: they were the Lancashire magistrates,
and of ten who were present, only one
was a stipendiary magistrate: they and
the yeomanry had come from a distance,
and were entitled to thanks for their ex-
ertions. Why had not the right hon.
gentleman objected to the expression of
the approbation of government for the
conduct of troops in the riots in Cam-
bridgeshire, when lives had been lost in
the Isle of Ely ? The approbation of the
government had also been expressed for
the dispersion of the Blanketeer meeting.
The same had been done for the conduct
of the troops at Newcastle. It was.thq
practice, whenever the troops were so
engaged, that the government should give
their opinion of their conduct; and this
was the first time when the propriety of
that practice had been called in question.
In this case the government had not given
their opinion till they were satisfied that
the magistrates were right in law-till
they were thoroughly satisfied that they
had acted as became magistrates of this
country. If his lordship should advise
his majesty to approve of the conduct of
a foreign minister, that would not stand
against the indignation of parliament and
the law of the land. But he did say, that
though, as between man and man, no
opinion should be given before a legal
investigation took place, when disaffec-
tion, treason, and rebellion existed, the
magistrates had a right to know the opi.







Nov. 23, 1819. [102


union of government; and base must that
secretary of state be who would not com-
municate what was the honest and sincere
opinion of their conduct. If that had not
been done, the magistrates would have
been placed in a most dangerous situation
by ministers, and against their own con-
scientious judgment. They would have
stood in the new and novel light of ma-
gistrates, of whose conduct the govern-
ment of the country would give no opi-
nion. If the opinion had been given un-
der false reports, or under an imperfect
and false view, his majesty's government
were entitled, and they would owe it to
themselves and to the country, to recall
that opinion. But they had not given
their opinion upon imperfect information.
They had the report, first, of the chair-
man of the quarter sessions; next, of sir
John Byng; then, of colonel L'Estrange;
and last, of two gentlemen, one a magis-
trate, and the other chief constable of
Manchester, who were sent up to explain
the circumstances of the transaction.
Upon this information they had given
that opinion. He would not disguise,
however, the fact that, after this, the
ministers were again drawn to the consi-
deration of the subject. There had not
been, at first, that inflammation in the
public mind, or it had not burst forth
against the same objects against whom it
was afterwards directed. For, notwith-
standing all that had been said that even-
ing by the right hon. gentleman, that the
yeomanry alone were the bloody dogs,"
it was, he understood, a moot point at
first in the council at Manchester, whe-
ther the blame should be fixed upon
them or on the regular troops. Though
he should have had no hesitation to re-
tract an opinion if he had been surprised
into it, yet all subsequent inquiry had
confirmed his first impressions, and if he
had again to do it, he should have pro-
nounced at least as strong an approba-
tion.-He now came to one part of the
subject of the debate, which was painful,
not only because it was always painful to
speak of a person who was absent, but on
account of the estimable character of the
person in question; he alluded to the
removal of earl Fitzwilliam. The hon.
gentlemen opposite would do him wrong,
if they supposed that he intended to ac-
cuse the noble earl of a breach of public
duty, or to detract from the high personal
character which he had always borne;
but -he wished to speak on the subject


without reserve, to the right hon. gentle-
man or to the House. His majesty's
ministers had acted on a sense of their
public duty-the noble earl, on a different
sense of his duty; but, taking into view
the state of the county with which earl
Fitzwilliam was connected, the ministers
were of opinion, that if they had not ad-
vised his removal, they must have sacri-
ficed the administration of the laws. Lord
Fitzwilliam, in imputing to the ministers
the crime of countenancing such mea-
sures as those which he imputed to the
Manchester magistrates, had shown such
a degree of distrust of the measures
of the government, and in that particular
line of administration, with the execution
of which he was connected, .that it was
impossible for the government, with any
dignity, to continue him in his office. It
was essential to the due administration of
public affairs, and to the dignity of the
Crown, that none of its servants should
hold opinions of it derogatory to its
honour and character. Lord Fitzwilliam,
when lie went to the meeting at York,
virtually tendered the resignation of Ois
office. It was certainly impossible for
him to-execute its duties with persons of
whom he had such an opinion. He fully
allowed, that it was not necessary that a
lord lieutenant of a county should agree
in all the opinions of the administration
under which he acted; but if he could ac-
cuse an administration of being in that
branch of the police in which he was
concerned, so sanguinary as earl Fitzwil-
liam seemed to suppose them, the mem-
bers of that administration would plead
guilty to the charge, if they failed to ad-
vise their sovereign to remove him. Giv-
ing lord Fitzwilliam all credit for the
correctness of his intentions, he should
say, that never was any conduct less cal-
culated to advance the interests of the
Crown or the people, than the manner in
which the meeting was called together in
the county of York. The circumstances
under which, at the time in question, it
was assembled, were calculated to lay the
laws at the feet of that body of men who
were the greatest enemies of the consti-
tution. He desired to know, whether it
was true that the persons who called that
meeting, preferred the concurrence of the
Radicals to that of others who were
(equally with themselves) friendly to the
constitution, and who were willing to join
with them on certain terms? This party
said, We, too, are-willing to agree to


,i the Opening erthlr Sessiob.


101]






103] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Addres on the Prince Regent' Speech [t10
petition for the calling of parliament, fbr Thushis grace the dake of7Norfolk was
we are willing to leave to the discretion described as having said, that at Man-
of parliament the question of inquiry into chester the swords of the military had
the business at Manchester; but on this been opposed to the government of the
condition, that you recognize the real law." Upon this, the reformers were
state of the country, and profess unshaken told, that in the case of their grievances
attachment to the constitution." He did not being redressed, the noble duke stood
not mean to assert that the persons who pledged to follow the example of his an-
refused these offers, and called the York- cestor at Runnymead, and defend in arms
shire meeting, were not friends to the the liberties of his country. The account
constitution; but (and he would show by- went on to state, that Mr. Lawrence
and-by how cautious gentlemen should be Dundas had said, that the question now
of getting into bad company) they prefer- was, whether their dearest rights should
red a coalition with the Radicals. What be maintained or they should voluntarily
was the consequence? At a meeting of become-the slaves of a military despot-
20,000 persons, which he might call a trai- ism; and that what had been gained by the
torous meeting at the town of Birmingham, blood of their forefathers must not be lost
a meeting held with the usual apparatus of by their cowardice." Mr. Fawkes was
banners, &c., lord Fitzwilliam was exhi- represented to have expressed himself to
bited in a new and singular combination this effect-" that the louder they com-
as a Yorkshire reformer. Who had ever plained, the sharper did their enemies
heard lord Fitzwilliam vote for reform ? make their swords, and that he would
Yet on one of the banners of the assem- rather perish in the temple of liberty than
blage was the inscription, Lord Fitz- see it converted into a barrack." To
william and the Yorkshire reformers." this was added a quotation from Cowper,
But, indeed, lord Fitzwilliam did not dis- and the justness of resistance by force,
guise his sentiments, for at the end of the when petitions were rejected, was de-
day's business at York, with a view of all dared to be the creed of Cowper, of Mr.
the circumstances of the meeting, he pro- Fawkes, and of every reformer. Mr.
posed the thanks to the sheriff for assem- Ramsden was reported to have said, that
bling it. Never was the king's commis- there never had been such an outrage
sion so degraded as when this nobleman, committed on the people, as on the 16th
with Mr. Wooler on the hustings near of August, and that such outrages had in
him, offered his thanks to the meeting for former times been the means of depriving
being allowed to address them in connec- monarchs of their thrones. To lord Mil-
tion with the radicals. It was the first ton was ascribed the observation, that the
county meeting which had been disgraced people.had the power of controlling their
with all those emblems of flags and drums government, and the inference which the
which had characterized assemblies of a writer drew from this observation was,
different description. It was only, he un- that the noble lord was bound to make
derstood, through the favour of the fugal- that power effectual by putting himself at
man of the- radicals, that any one had a the head of those who were disposed to
chance of obtaining a hearing, and his exercise it. It was thus that men of high
hon. friend (Mr. Stuart Wortley) was, he station and character sometimes exposed
believed, in the condition of obtaining an their conduct and sentiments to misre-
audience. He did not wish to mince the presentation, and subjected themselves to
matter. The noble lord had on this oc- the belief of acting for other than their
casion, by his conduct, and the resolu. real purposes. The necessity of uphold-
tions to which he gave his sanction, dis- ing the empire of the laws, and the im-
closed opinions which put an end entirely portant charge of securing the public
to that confidence without which it was peace, left his majesty's ministers no al-
impossible, in offices connected with 'the ternative, and they were compelled to
preservation of the peace, to carry on the adopt what had been described as a harsh
government. An account of this meeting and improper measure. It was impossible
had been published by Wooler in the that the noble earl, after the sentiments
4" Black Dwarf," and extensively circu- he had avowed, could continue to act con-
lated in the north of England. The writer fidentially with his majesty's-government.
first quoted from what purported to be a He trusted that he had now adverted to
correct report of the speeches delivered, all the points of this subject, so as to
and then introduced his own remarks. answer satisfactorily the objections of the







1051


sAt the'Opetadng ofCu &Suion.


right hen. gentlerian; With regard to
the general state of the country, he be-
lieved it to be critical in every point of
view. He was far indeed from thinking
that all who attended at these popular
meetings, belonged to the number-of the
disaffected, or entertained sentiments in
unison with those publicly professed.
He should regret extremely to despair of
the mass of the population; and there
was, he apprehended, no ground for such
a feeling. The best hopes might be en.
tertained from the adoption of such mea-
sures as should protect them against the
arts employed to delude them. He had
lived long enough in Ireland, during a
disastrous period of its history, to know
how far delusion might be carried by
popular agitators; and he had seen those
who had been so deluded afterwards be-
come faithful subjects, and zealous sup-
porters of the laws. He had also the
proud conviction that a great portion of
this country was utterly exempt from the
taint, and was animated by a spirit of at-
tachment and zeal for the constitution,
that required only the fostering assistance
of parliament to render it effectual for our
defence. But, at the same time, it was
not to be concealed thara deliberate con-
spiracy did exist for overturning the go-
vernment, and that there prevailed in
many places a disposition to second this
design. In such circumstances it would
be impossible without the assistance of
parliament, that any administration should
answer for the public safety. Without it
there could be no security against those
scenes of bloodshed and confusion by
which other countries had been desolated.
On the other hand, by pursuing a course
of policy adapted to our present exigen-
cies, and firmly meeting the danger which
threatened us, we might fairly expect to
find ourselves, at no distant period, in a
situation of perfect domestic tranquil-
lity. The constitution, borne triumphant
through the perils to which it was now
exposed, might then continue to extend
its blessings to the latest posterity. With
all these views, and more especially with
reference to the great and fundamental
principles of justice, which would be
compromised by that. House taking into
its own hands the subject matter of a ju-
dicial inquiry before other tribunals, he
felt it his duty to support the original
address.
Mr. Bootle Wilbraham said, that as a
member of the grand jury whose conduct


No#. Sr, 1619. - (106


had been impugned, and being connected
with the county of Lancaster, he was
anxious to state the views by which the
magistrates had been directed, and was
sure that, whenever an inquiry should
take place, they would come out tf it not
only with the credit of having acted pro-
perly, butwith the general admission that
they would not have discharged their
duty had they acted otherwise. There
would be many future opportunities of
entering fully into these explanations. He
was at present merely desirous of remov-
ing any unfavorable impression that
might be entertained previous to those
explanations being made. It had been
asked, why the magistrates had- not at-
tempted, long since, to offer some defence
to the charges which had been so gene-
rally brought against them. To this he
replied, that they had not been called on
in a manner that afforded them a fit occa-
sion for so doing. Were they to enter
into a controversy with writers in public
journals, and sit down to refute the ca-
lumnies that had been daily circulated
against them? Had they appeared at any
public meeting, did any man believe that
they would have been able to procure for
themselves a patient or dispassionate hear-.
ing? The magistrates would hereafter
show, that they had proceeded on a just
conviction that the meeting of the 16th
of August was illegal. The ostensible
object was undoubtedly reform; but the
real object, at least as far as the minds of
the lower orders were affected, was as-
certained to have been plunder, and the
destruction of property. There were de-
positions which clearly manifested this
fact. Their purpose, indeed, had been
openly declared; threats had been used,
and many of the most respectable inha-
bitants had been intimidated. It was also
ascertained, that those who threw' out
these menaces, were not distressed or un-
employed persons, but spinners and others
who were by no means in want. Appli-
cation was made to the magistrates for
protection, on the part of twenty or
thirty individuals, who considered them-
selves and their property in danger.
These were some of the most considera-
ble inhabitants of Manchester, who had
distinguished themselves by their energy
and exertion on former occasions in pre-
serving the public peace. It was. not
denied that the meeting assembled in
large bodies, or that they marched in
military array. When they arrived at






JOWJ HOUSE~ QFCOGMMONS, AddaTesan tAh Prinwz Reixt' Speech [108


the.hastiog,rahey erected heeir standards;
and as they filed of, left a guard six deep
toisurround and defend them. As they
marched through the streets, many were
heard to exclaim, that a new order of
things was at hand. Were the magis-
trates under such.circumstances to re.
main silet. and ,inactive ? To .what re-
proaches .would they have subjected
themselves, had they not taken precau-
tionsaagainst the mischief that was likely
to arise Many, perhaps, recollected-he
was old :enough for one-the riots of
1780, !when the lord mayor was prose-
cuted, whether civilly or criminally he
forgot, for neglecting to take such mea-
sures as the occasion called for. The
eenalables in this instance declared their
inability to execute their office, and this
might readily be believed when it was
considered that there were but 800 in a
crowd amounting to 50,000. The assist-
ance of the military, power was then
granted; it advanced, accompanied bythe
peace-officers on foot, nor was a blow
struck till they were assailed with stones,
brick-bats, and other missiles, [brought to
the spot for that express purpose. The
ground had the day before been cleared
of all such substances. One man was
knocked off his horse, and his companions
apprehended for a moment that he was
killed. There was, in fact, more forbear-
ance displayed by the yeomanry than
could have been under all the circum-
stances expected. They at length at-
tacked the multitude in order to effect
their dispersion. He did not know with
which side of their swords they struck
the people; but it was a subject of admi-
ration to many who witnessed the scene,
that so large a multitude should be dis-
persed with so few injuries. He had in
his possession authentic returns from the
infirmary, by which it appeared that the
whole number wounded or hurt was
twenty-six. Some of these had received
their hurts from being thrown down in
the confusion. He did not mean to deny
that there might have been some other
instances of bodily harm, or that indivi.
duals amongst the yeomanry might not
have given too great a loose to their re-
sentments. Every exertion, however, had
been made to restrain them, and to put a
stop to such proceedings. The cause of
the yeomanry being employedsin this ser-
yice, was quite accidental, the regulars
happening to have taken wrong route, and
arrived last upon the ground. They came,


however, early enough to act upon the
orders they had received; and in the
execution of this duty, it became very
difficult to say whether the blows received
were inflicted by them or by the yeo-
manry. Still, he believed, that neither
had any intention to commit deliberate
or unnecessary wrong. Many exag-
gerated statements had gone abroad upon
this subject, which tended very consi-
derably to increase the general irritation.
It had been asserted by an hon. member
of that House at a public meeting in Nor-
folk, that a woman had been attacked and
severely cut, and that she and others
would have shared a worse fate, but for
the interposition of a gallant officer. This
statement continued in circulation for a
fortnight, when there appeared a letter
from the gallant officer, major Cochrane,
denying the truth of the matter, and
adding that no such. circumstance had oc-
curred. As to the bills which were thrown
out, he should say, that he happened not
to have taken any part in them, and he
had.done so, on the ground that an ob-
jection had been made to him at first as
being a near relative of one of the magis-
trates whose conduct was attacked. This,
however, he could state with the most
perfect conviction, that never were bills
found where a grand jury had acted with
more strict impartiality.
Mr. Coke observed, that it was he who
had made the statement respecting the
alleged attack on the woman, in which
major Cochrane was said to have inter-
fered. He had found afterwards that the
whole was a mistake, and he would most
willingly have given the contradiction to
it, if it had not been made by major
Cochrane.
Lord Milton had not intended to take
any share in the present discussion, and
was only induced to alter his intention,
by having heard that something had been
said during his absence from the House,
respecting a communication between
himself and those who acted with him at
the York meeting, and some of those
gentlemen who had signed the declaration
in that county. It had been said, as he was
informed, that the gentlemen who signed
the requisition, had, in their communica-
tion with those who signed the declara-
tion, refused an offer made which would
unite all parties. The circumstances of
that case he would state to the House,
and he appealed to his hon. friend oppo-
site (Mr. Stuart Wortley) for his recol-







Nov.2S, 1819. [110


election of the transaction. On his appli-
cation to him, his hon. friend's words
were to this effect: If you and your
friends agree to add the declaration to
your resolutions, I will endeavour to per-
suade my friends to adopt those resolu-
tions, and I think they will adopt them:'
To this he (lord Milton) objected, con-
ceiving it impossible that such an agree-
ment could well be made. How could
they define and distinguish in the case
they wished to state? For the House
would perceive that those declarations of
loyalty on one side seemed to imply dis-
loyalty on the other. The proposition
was one, which, under all the circum-
stances, they could not agree to; yet
there was no indisposition to act with
them. Indeed, in the declaration, which
had been signed, not by the hon. gentle-
man, but by a noble lord (Lascelles),
there was an admission of the necessity of
inquiry.
Mr. Stuart Wortley said, that after the
appeal which had been 'made to him by
his noble friend, he felt it his duty to
offer a few observations. He admitted
that he had offered to him, that if they
(the requisitionists) would agree to the
declaration, he would endeavour to per-
suade his friends to assent to the resolu-
tions. In this he had done nothing more
than merely say, he would endeavour
to persuade them, which was all he could
promise. This was done at Wakefield;
and on the next day, to prevent any misap-
prehension, he put the proposition down
in writing. He asked him in effect-
Will you throw off the support of those
who have thus agreed to this offer? Will
you, without forfeiting any principle
which you have ever avowed, throw us
off, and only support those who have
really no other object than the injury of
the constitution ? With respect to the
address which had been moved, he was
glad to perceive that there was no oppo-
sition to it. The object of the right hon.
gentleman seemed to be, to assent to this
address, on the ground that an inquiry
should take place into the proceedings at
Manchester. Now, he had no objection
to inquiry; but he conceived that of all
the places where it could take place, the
bar of that House would be the worst.
He did not, and would not -shrink from
the avowal of this opinion; and he believed
that but for the -shuffling of some of those
persons who were concerned in the trans.
actions, an inquiry would havetakenplace


long ago. He had seen inquiries take
place at the bar, and -he had' not witnes-
sed one in which the parties had not co-
vered themselves with disgrace. [Cries
of No, no."'] He alluded not to the
House, but to the parties examined.
Here was a court, consisting of 658
judges, all of them examining and decid-
ing upon, but few of them agreeing as to
the same particular points. In a court of
law there were certain rules by which to
determine, and certain practices to ob-
serve; but in this House the members
were under no such restraint, and each
followed that line which he conceived
best. Could an inquiry so conducted be
considered as the best mode of eliciting
truth ? Cases had- occurred of alleged
violence on the part of some of the autho-
rities, where applications had not been
sought in the House of Commons. The
case of the dispersion of the meeting at
Coventry was one in point. Distress
there did exist, but it was not from the
really distressed that the loudest com-
plaints were heard; and here he conceiv-
ed the right hon. mover of the amend-
ment was mistaken in his view of the
case. They who were loudest in their
cry were those who had other objects in
view besides a relief to the country. It
was now he would agree with the right
hon. gentleman, time to speak out, and
every honest man ought to declare his
opinion. And as his opinion, he would
state, that the spirit which was abroad,
and which already so much disturbed the
country, was a republican spirit-one
which sought the overthrow of the con-
stitution, and the destruction of all pro-
perty. There were, he would admit,
many, and among them some of those
whom he loved best, who conceived that a
moderate reform was necessary; but they
sought not that reform by acts of vio-
lence and were to be distinguished from
those who, under the mask of reform,
sought only the destruction of property.
He would refer the House to the con-
sideration of the resolutions of a meeting
which took place in Halifax, he believed
in October last, where the property of the
earl Fitzwilliam, was in so many words.
pointed at, as if for partition. He would
not deny the clear right of the people to
petition the crown or the parliament, but
he maintained that those itinerant preach.
ers of sedition who went about inhaming
the lower orders ought to be put down.
Such persons as Wooler or Hunt might


109]


at the Opening, ofthe Sstioti.






11 ] IfOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Priuw Regst's Speech 112


be tempted to their present courses by
avaice or ambition, but they should be
put down. The hon. member next, ad-
verted to thel two-penny publications
which were circulated so widely, and ob-
served, that they ought to be repressed.
He would not say that they ought to pay
a tax equal to newspapers, but they ought
to pay some tax, and he would most wil-
lingly assent to any measure of that kind.
He agreed with the noble marquis as to
the necessity of some measure by which
the poorer classes would be relieved from
their present burthens, and for many of
those burthens a fair tax on property
should, he thought be substituted. He
ead conversed on this subject with men
of all parties and they almost all seemed
to be of opinion that such a tax would be
the best under the present circum-
stances.
Sir James Mackintosh said, that among
the many extraordinary novelties which
he had heard that night, there were none
which gave him more surprise than part
of the speech of the hon. member who
had just concluded. That hon. gentleman.
had stated, that no inquiry which he had
peen conducted at the bar of that House
had ever ended but with disgrace; that
bne of the greatest functions of an im-
portant branch of the legislature could
not be exercised but with disgrace.
Mr. Stuart Wortley here observed, that
his remarks referred not to the House but
to the party.
' Sir J. Mackintosh continued-The ex-
planation of the hon. gentleman did not
alter the view which he had taken of this
extraordinary assertion. What could the
hon. gentleman have meant but that the
disgrace would attach to the House ?
The very assertion itself was used to show
that no inquiry ought to take place in the
House. And why? Because, forsooth,
no inquiry had been conducted by that
House without disgrace. What was it
whether the disgrace of an inquiry fell
apon A, B, or C; it was still, according
to the argument of the hon. gentleman a
disgrace, caused by an inquiry at the bar
of the House. Now, he asserted, without
fear of contradiction, that a more gross
attack on the constitution was not con-
tained in any of those seditious libels
Which had been alluded to, and in disgust
for which he fully participated. What
did it amount to? Why to this-that the
House could not engage in one of its
most important functions, that of inquiry,


without disgracing itself or the object of
the inquiry. .He could not conceive a
more seditious libelthau was contained in
this elaborate argument; or, he should
rather say, this animated invective on the
inquisitorial powers of the House of Com-
mons. But this was not the only novelty
in the hon. gentleman's speech. There
were some others equally curious, The
hon. gentleman had admitted at York the
necessity of the very inquiry which he
now deprecated as a disgrace to the
House. He had agreed to a declaration
which, as it were, pledged the parties
signing it to inquiry, and upon that very
ground he might call upon the hon.
member for his vote in favour of the
amendment.
Mr. Stuart Wortley here interrupted
the learned gentleman and said, that the
declaration was drawn up in such a way
as not to pledge the persons signing it to
a particular vote for inquiry.
Sir J. Mackintosh resumed.-He pro-
tested that every thing of judicial know-
ledge which he possessed was still more
confounded by the explanation of the
hon. gentleman. It was hardly possible to
imagine any thing more strange than this
conduct of the hon. gentleman. He, ac-
cording to his own admission, stated, that
he seemed to agree in York to a princi-
ple which he at the same time intended to
defeat in London. Did he mean at that
time that the inquiry to which he should
give his assent should be a judicial one ?
If he did, was it that the House of Com-
mons should prosecute the inquiry in a
court of law? a proposition which, when
considered as made at a county meeting,
was almost too absurd to be supposed to
have existed in the mind of any. But, if
the hon. gentleman had meant by inquiry
an investigation by parliament, that was
clear and intelligible. Yet, how did he
now strive to get rid of it ? It had been
objected to his right hon. friend that he
was not decisive in his amendment. He
(sir J. Mackintosh) conceived him deci-
sive and explicit. His right hon. friend,
was at all times so clear in his reasoning,
that it was impossible to mistake him. He
denied also that the amendment or the
observations which accompanied it, were
of a vague character. They spoke a dis-
position to conciliate, and by that conci-
liation to render coercive measures unne-
cessary. If the noble lord (Castlereagh)
was not satisfied with the observations of
his right hon. friend, would he attend: to







. il13] t tho Opening ofthe Sessit
those of the noble marquis? He trusted
that the-manly, humane, andfeeling speech
of that noble lord-a speech which was
worthy of his high rank and extraction-
would not pass without effect. To the
principles there laid down he fully sub-
scribed. To institute inquiry into real or
imaginary grievances, would do more good
than all the coercive measures which it
would be in the power of the House to
enact. He conceived that coercive mea-
sures would be productive, not of quiet-
ness, but of increased discontent. The
history of the world in ancient and modern
times, particularly in the latter, gave am-
pie ground for a doubt of the policy of
coercive measures. To those who
weighed recent events in this and other
countries, that doubt must appear ex-
tremely natural. Coercion produced that
kind of feeling which often rendered its
increase necessary; and thus a system of
action and counteraction was kept up,
till it ended at last, through the bloody
road of anarchy, in absolute despotism.
He did not mean to say that this conside-
ration should render statesmen inactive in
times of popular ferment, but it should
render them cautious in the adoption of
measures by which that ferment should be
allayed, and mindful of the fatal conse-
quences which might result from an over-
strained exercise of power. There was
nothing so dangerous in a free state as to
close the door against inquiry into any
real or alleged grievance. With regard
to the meeting of the 16th of August, he
would not venture now to declare whe-
ther it was or was not an unlawful assem-
bly i he should confine the few observa-
tions he had to make to the consideration
of four points; and he should endeavour
to show, first, that there was sufficient
cause for inquiry; secondly, that no ef-
fective inquiry had yet been instituted in
pny of the courts of justice; thirdly, that
there was one most important, part of
these melancholy transactions, which
could not undergo an investigation in a
court of law; and fourthly, that upon
principle and uniform practice, this and
the.other House of parliament had in-
quired into such matters. As to the first
point, the very existence of contradictory
statements on the one hand and on the
other, was a sufficient justification of the
proceeding, especially as they were con-
nected with some facts which were not
denied by either party. It was, he be-
lieved, an undisputed fact, that a meeting
(VOL. XLI.)


Nov. 25, 1819.


[114


was convened at Manchester, for the pur-
pose of. considering a public grievance,
and that the assembly, not having pre-
viously broken the peace by proceeding
to any violent acts, was dispersed by.an
armed force, acting under the orders of
the magistrates, and that this.dispersion
was attended with violence and bloodshed.
That an inquiry was requisite few.could
doubt; and the only question was, in what
manner that investigation should be made.
With respect to the second point, that no
effective proceedings had yet been insti-
tuted in any court of law, he. was fully
sensible; there were two prosecutions now
pending, relative to this affair; the one an
indictment against a man of the name of
Owen, for perjury, and the other against
Mr. Hunt and his associates for a conspi-
racy to subvert the laws and constitu-
tion by force and terror; but, he wished
to impress upon the House, that neither
of these proceedings had any relation to
the important point to be considered-
the mode of executing the warrant, and
of dispersing the meeting. The prosecu-
tion against Owen was for a matter wholly
distinct from these two considerations;
and with respect to the case in which Mr.
Hunt was concerned, supposing that a
verdict of acquittal should be found, what
proof could it be that the magistrates
had been guilty of improper conduct ?
In the event of a conviction, the same
observation would apply, because. Mr.
Hunt and his associates might be guilty
of the crime of conspiracy, and yet the
magistrates might have committed a great
impropriety in the exercise of their dis-
cretionary functions. It would be recol-
lected, that there had been two warrants
against Mr. Hunt,under the first of which
he had been committed on the 16th of
August as the ringleader of an unlawful
assembly, and was bound over to keep
the peace until the period of trial should
arrive. This warrant did not allude to
any previous conduct, but confined itself
entirely to his behaviour at the meeting.
It did not contain any accusation of con-
spiring. to subvert the government; .the
charge was simply that he had been pre-
sent at an unlawful assembly,. ,On the
20th August ihe was .gain brought up,
.and was then informed by Mr. Norris, the
presiding magistrate, that there was fur-
ther evidence against him, and that he
would beremanded for high treason.. On
the 27th, a fresh warrant was made out, and
Mr. Hunt was committed for a conspiracy
(I)






115] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Ad Ashont1lhe Ptdaie egj#nV Speech [116


to subvert the constitution. It followed,
therefore necessarily, that the evidence
intended to be produced was 'believed
subsequently to the commitment under
the first warrant. Upon the best' Cbni-
deration, tbefefore, Whieh he could' give
to the subject, he could not cbnceive any
more fair or equitable mode of investia-
tion than a parliamentary inquiry. For
'his part he could not understand how
these legal proceedings could be con-
ceived for a moment 'at all to in-
volve the real merits of the case. The
'coble lord opposite had, in the course of
his speech cited names of very high rank
and respectability; and had hinted at in-
dictaneets which might be instituted
agliinst the yeomanry. But even if "tah
a presecutionwere commenCed,how would
that affect this question? TThe conviction
er acquittal oftheyeomen wbold notrdecide
the question as to the propriety or impro-
priety of the conduct of the magistrates.
How, then, did the question stand with re-
spect to thesemagistrates? They hadah un-
doubted jurisdiction, and'f6t the improper
exercise of their power, 'they cold 'hot
be rendered amenable in a court of law,
without proof of malice. If it appeared
that 8 ey had'behaved more rashly in'this
aikir than usual, or had' been'overheated
by passion, this was no crime," and cutld
not be punished by a court of'law; 'for
he never yet heard of a criminal informa-
tion filed against a magistrate for want of
ealminess, moderation, or forbearance in
the exercise ofhis magisterial powers. It
hever could become A question in a court
of law,' whether a magistrate having before
his-syes-bbtween 40 and 50,000pople, 'a
gieat portion of whom were women iand
ebildren, and curious, 'idle, and innocent
spectators, exercised his discretion pro.
perly, by directing the execution of a
warrant, the consequences of which
might naturally have been foreseen. It
was a fact which all admitted, that these
magistratess saw the whole of the transac-
tion,'the execution of the warrant, and
knew the'irrtable disposition of the peo-
ple. iWerte nt, then, all these circumtr
stances -a iMy reasons for fdither deti-
betatisn befo& the warV itias uteduted:
It had been said, he krew'not" ith *hat
tuth, that one of the magistrates" had
been limipeded, and that another had be0t
knocked 'down. Allowing :fo a kmetint
that this ~ere the case, was this a' #iffi-
clent1 ustifleation' of their' ondidct ? IWas
this an answer to all the 'ebitttibus
4'


brought'dgaifst theth ? Wee they On
this accountt to be allowed to do-that in
five minijites which the Riot't at required
to be done at'the expiration of itn hour?
It was indeed said, that there 'mightebe
danger 'in delay; 'but who wo~did be so
boldi'asto venture to iasert that the (dan-
ger whsrSo great that ithe time required
by'the act cbuid'not be'i lowed to elapse ?
Could the people, surrounded as they
were on every "side with troops, have
created any disturbance ? He really
should be almost inclined to think that
the attack was made more'ln the wtwtohn
ness of triumphant strength than in con-
sequence 'of the existence of any real
danger. With these reflections ipon
his mind, he could not help contrast-
idg the conduct of the Manchester, ma-
gistrates, with that of the magistrates of
Glasgow and Paisley. Those gentlemen
had conducted themselves with a most
praiseworthy forbearance: they had shown
true courage and sound discretion, and
had permitted every thing short of actual
violence, rather than 'spill the blood ;of
their felldw-couritinymen. This was the
firm, manly and intrepid conduct of Brit
tish magistrates, and it was not until the
16th'of August that'this temperate ctn-
duct and praiseworthy forbearance Wia
departed from, and a' scene of vidlente,
attended with acts of bloodshed, d ro-
tienced. With respect 'to the number
who were wounded on this memorable
occasion, an hon. getlenan oppositelhad
stated the whole:amiunt to be twenty-six,
according to the list of the infirmary. In
making-this stateeiiet the bon. gentleman
should have recollected that this rdturn
Could not possibly include the whole numrn
ber of wounded, as it must have embraced
a circuit of from te6 to fifteen nilestound
Manchester. !With respect to'this padiit
he 'had: kept 'his understandingg in' sus-
pense, biing' Well aware, that in such
cases as tM6be, exaggeration might iaevit-
ably be expected. In this way of viewing
the'stbject, he"fdund great consolation, as
itfst;ipped the' dsee of many' points which
irould othetwisel (eitd to embarrass it.
The'noble 16rd 'opposite, to his atter'a-
t6nidihent, had' asserted, that the
pebal for' a p-ilarmentary iivestigl n
was a' perfectly doirel' proceeding. This
*as to him, of all the other' statements
iSde 'by thebn6ble '~ord, 'the meet extra-
brditiry, becaisei'hd was satisfied inrhis
dwn 'mind, and*he ielrpd 'also to c-c*i'hie
the Hoese,'thlt itwawsafiost the uiirdrm







17J] at tiO.Qaipgg (Qft Sessios
gact e; of, bpth Hquses of Parliament to
nvstigata, schsU subjects as, thq one now
presintd;y fy. consideration. On this
poiBS he, ha4 collected some, precedents
which, he. would shortly cite with, the
leave qfthl Houe. The first was one of
rather a. singular nature,, inasmuch as it
applied tp the magistrates of the county
of Lancaster. That, county had been
remarkable for disaffection of various and-
and opposite kinds; it was, at present sup-
posed to, be hostile to the constitution;
and it was formerly charged with enter-
taining too strong an attachment to the
exilek royal family. In 1704, the House
of Lords addressed her majesty for a copy
of the commissio. of peace. A list of the
names of the, magastrates of the county
was furnished;, and from this list several
names were struck, out. This was done
after a sti~p iqfqiry had been instituted;
and he sawv no sound reason why that
course s Wold pot, i the present instance
be followed. The next instance of this
nature waq in. the cape of the execution of
Porteous, in 1787. An inquiry was insti-
tuted, and the result. was, that a bill of
pains and penalties, wVps passed. The
House had not yet forgottwhat was the
mode of proceeding in 1,794, when the
secret committee sat on the state of the
nation. Aid not their, reports tend to in-
fluence the judge, the jury, and the pub-
lic, on the subsequeqr trials for high,
treason, and was not the same evidence
produced o the trial as was made public
from the labours of the cq.mittee ? Of this
he did not complain, because. it was the
regular constitutional purse; but he
atght, if it were necessagyallu4e to many
iupsances of a similar ature, all having
the same tendency to influence the public
mind. It was also well known to be the
common practice of that House to address
iis majesty for the purpose of obtaining
the prosecution of an individual: and it
was in the knowledge of honourable mem-
bers that the attorney-general was fre-
quently instructed to pro9q ute for bribery
apd other offences. This was the common
practice; but could thi4 b.e said to he
prejudgin ? No, it was an accusation
only which the House had full power to
make. If this was prejudging, a grand
jury might be said to prejudge in finding
theis bill, or the counsel for the prosecu-
tion in stating the case to the jury. This
was a, view of the subject, the fallacy of
which a very little reflection would readily
demonstrate. The noble lord had told


[Ile


the House, tat such a demand as was:
now made was novel.; but would the nobje
lord state any instance since the revolu--
tion, where- a meeting, legally and
peaceably assembled, was dispersed by a:
military force ? He did not ask this as a
matter of law but as a matter of fact. There
answer must be obvious. Was it not, then,
he would ask, worth while to consider,
that when those hasty thanks were colm-
municated to the magistrates, a most dan-
gerous example was set to all the otherma-
gistrates of the country; and was not the
praise of such conduct as he had described,
a tacit censure upon the excellent magis-
trates of Glasgqw and Paisley? In the
cases where the latter had acted, there
had been such a violation of the law on
the part of the populace, as would have
justified an immediate resort to severe
measures, and have raised every hand
against them. Yet they. were treated
with lenity; and what was the conse-
quence? No serious injury ensued. The
noblelord had said that ministers had not
disgraced earl Fitzwilliam. True, they
could not. He had also added, that the
conduct pursued towards him did not
throw an additional lustre on his popu-
larity. He (sir J. Macintosh) believed it
did. But then it should be asked, was
such the intention of the noble lord and
his colleagues ? Did they mean to honour,
or to d#bae him? For his part, the dis-
mission of earl Fitzwilliam appeared to
him to be as gross an outrage on honour
and virtue, on rank and fortune, as had
ever disgraced any administration in this
country in modern times. It was a mark
of that kind of exclusive and proscriptive
policy, which ministers seemed determined
to adopt towards all those who should
presume to hold an opinion of their own.
Lord Fitzwilliam had not fawned upon
the government in the days of its power,
but he stood by it in the time of danger.
He was one of those who were described
by his great friend (Mr. Burke), who said,
that the hour of danger was the time to
distinguish the true friends p the govern.
mqnt from the time-serving 'and slippery
sycophants of the court. The noble lord
had called in new evidence against earl
Fitzwilliam. He had had recourse to, the
evidence of Wooler; as if he did pot con-
sider his own sufficient. It was, rather
surprising that the noble lord had not had
recourse to the editor of the Cap of Li-
berty," the Medusa," and other jour-
nals equally respectable. They might


Npvi 2.$, 14)19.







119]. HOUSE- OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech


have borne equal testimony against the
nobre earl; but the fact of the noble lord
having adopted this new ally in his war
against earl Fitzwilliam, proved, that in
the strict and honourable discharge of his
duty, the noble earl had not lent himself
to either the court or the levellers; but
had condemned the excesses of both, and
thereby lost the favour of each. The
hon. and learned gentleman then observed,
shortly upon the general satisfaction with
with which the vote of that evening
wouldd be received, if it embraced the
amendment of his right hon. friend. The
question, he said, was one of the most im-
portant which had ever occupied the at-
tention of the House. If the inquiry
should be gone into, it would rub out as
foil a blot and black a stain as ever dis-
graced the history of this country. The
hori. and learned gentleman concluded
amidst considerable cheering.
-'Mr. Plunkett* commenced by observ-
ing, that the question before the House
had not been very fairly treated. Much
had been introduced which did not neces-
sarily connect itself with the subject, and
Which had a tendency to divert the atten-
tion of the House from the deeply import-
ant matters which pressed for their consi-
deration. There had been some address
in' making the case of lord Fitzwilliam so
principal a topic. As a ground of argu-
ment,' applicable to the-present question,
it could not be justly resorted to by any
person who did not go the length of as-
serting, that the' dismissal of that noble-
man would warrant parliament in a refu-
sal to consider, or to make provision
against, the dangers with which the coun-
try was threatened, and which were an-
nounced in the speech from the throne.
*No person, on any side of the House, had
laid down so extreme a position; on the
contrary, the amendment of his right hon.
friend admitted the danger, and the ne-
cessity of meeting it by suitable provi-
sions. He would therefore, in his view of
the subject, relieve himself from a dis-
'cussion which he could not approach with-
'out feelings of great embarrassment. His
habitual reverence for that distinguished
'noblermarwwaufhehythat-he could scarcely
'hope tb-briinghis mind, fairly and impar-
-tially, to any investigation which affected
him.' He considered his character as
uniting every thing noble and generous in
- From the original Edition printed for
J. Hatchard, Piccadilly.


freedom, with every thing which could
exalt or dignify the aristocracy of the
country; and he therefore took leave to
dismiss this subject as one not connected
with the debate; and, in doing so, he felt
much satisfaction in the statement of the
noble lord (Castlereagh) that the dismis-
sal of earl Fitzwilliam was founded, not
on any personal imputation, but on a dif-
ference of opinion with his majesty's go-
vernment, on points involving the exercise
of his duties as lord lieutenant of the West
Riding.
Again, he thought the subject had, in
another respect, not been very fairly
treated by his right hon. friend, or by his'
hon. and learned friend who immediately'
preceded him. It was stated, in the
speech from the throne, that a revolu-
tionary spirit was at work in the coun-
try, which threatened its safety and itr
existence; and the truth of this state-
ment was not denied, but indeed admitted,'
by the amendment: Was it then perfectly
fair to call the attention of the House
from the consideration of this public
danger, and its remedies,-from the ma-
chinations and arts of those who were pre-
paring measures for the subversion of the
state, and the overthrow of every consti-
tuted authority,-to the plans and objects
of that portion of the peaceful and loyal
subjects of this country, who respected
the law and constitution, and were desir-
ous' of improving them ? This latter de-
scription of persons were entitled to the
most attentive and respectful considera-
tion. However he might differ from them,
on the subject of parliamentary reform,
he considered their objects as honest, and
their means of effecting them as constitu-
tional. Whenever, at any proper time,
and in any proper form, their claims
should be brought before parliament, they
should be listened to with attention, and
with respect. Their proposals, if reason-
able, should be yielded to; if not so,
should be met by fair argument and calm
discussion: and the result, in either event,
would be satisfactory and conciliating&
The people of England were a reasoning
and reasonable people: but was it fair,
either to them or to the country, to con,
found their cause, and their objects, with
the persons whom we now were called
upon to deal with, whose undisguised aim
was to pull down the entire fabric of our
constitution, and to effect a revolution by
force Against this immediate and over-
whelming danger it was the first duty of


[I2o







1213 at the Openirg of the Sessio
parliament to provide. And to turn aside
from the discharge of this urgent and
paramount duty, to the discussion of sub-
jects of inferior importance, and of distinct
consideration, would be an abandonment
of the interests of the country. When he
saw a revolutionary project ripe for exe-
cution,-when he saw that sedition and
blasphemy were the instruments by which
it worked, and that open force was to be
employed for its accomplishment,-he felt
it to be trifling with the duties of the
House, and with the safety of the coun-
try, to turn our view to any other object,
until the terrors which hang over our
existing establishments were first dis-
pelled.
No person, he was happy to see, denied
the existence of these dangers; but he
thought there was some tendency to un-
derrate their extent, and to undervalue
their consequence. It was said, that the
public mind in general was sound: he
trusted and firmly believed it was so. He
was convinced that the strength and
spirit of the loyal subjects were sufficient
to put down the enemies of law and of
order; he therefore was apprehensive, not
of revolution, but of the attempt at revo-
lution, which he believed in his consci-
ence would be made, if not prevented by
the vigilance and energy of parliament:
and what he contemplated with the
deepest alarm was, the miseries which
such an attempt, in its progress to certain
and necessary failure, must produce. If
this mischief should once burst forth, he
anticipated a series of horrors which must
shake the safety and happiness of this
country to its foundations. The very
circumstances which must ensure the ul-
timate failure of the enterprise aggravated
its dangers. Revolution, always calamit-'
ous, yet, when pursued for some definite
purpose, conducted by abilities, tempered
by the admixture of rank and of property,
may be effected, as it had before been in
this country, without any incurable shock
being given to the safety of persons or of
property. But here was a revolution to
be achieved by letting loose the physical
force of the community against its consti-
tuted authorities; a revolution for the
sake of revolution, to take away the pro-
perty of the rich, and to distribute it
among the rabble; and this, too, no ordi-
nary rabble, but one previously debauched
by the unremitting dissemination of blas-
phemous libels, and freed from the re-
straints of moral or religious feeling. On


n. Nbv. 23, 119. [01
this subject he felt sufficient confidence at
once to express his opinion, without wait-
ing for any of those documents which the
noble lord proposed td -lay before the
House. There were facts of public no-
toriety, known and seen by every man'
who did not choose to shut his eyes. Had
not meetings been proposed for the pur-
pose of assuming the functions which be-
longed only to the sovereign power of the
state-meetings, which if they had been
actually held, would have been acts of
high treason? When it was found that
matters were not sufficiently ripe for this
undisguised act of public rebellion, had
not the same masses of the populace been
again convened, under the direction of
the same leaders, under the pretext of
seeking Universal Suffrage and Annual
Parliaments,-their very pretexts such as
the constitution could not survive, if they.
were effectuated, but theirreal object being
to overawe the constituted authorities by
the display of their numerical strength,
and to prepare for direct, immediate, for-
cible revolution? Had we not seen the
same itinerant mountebank, who set their
powers in motion, publicly assisting at the
orgies of the blasphemous wretch lately
convicted? and could we doubt that trea-
son was the object, and that blasphemy
and sedition were the means ? When he
saw these fiends in human shape endea-
vouring to rob their unhappy victims of
all their consolations here, and of all their
hopes hereafter,-when he saw themiwith
their levers placed under the great pillars
of social order, and heaving the constitu-
tion from its foundation, he was rejoiced
to see parliament assembled. Their first
duty was to convince these enemies of
God and man, that within the walls of
parliament they could find no countenance-
and through the organ of parliament to
let them know, that nothing awaited them
but indignant resistance from the great
body of the people.
They were bound to assure the throne
of their loyal and cheerful co-operation
for these purposes; and on this ground
alone the amendment was objectionable,
even if the measure suggested by it were
in itself desirable; -inasmuch as by tacking
it to the address, and not proposing it as
a separate resolution, it declared the mea-
sure of inquiry so essential, as to preclude
all exertions for the safety of the state,
until that inquiry should be disposed of.
-But, waving this objection, he should.
proceed to -consider it on its own merits.






12$3i HOUSE OF COMMONS, 4ddreuon.thePrhiw 1%egat Speech (124


It was.said,,.thep, that the dispersion of
themeeting at Manchester, of the 16th of
August, called. for parliamentary inquiry;
-and here he begged leave to remind the,
House, that parliamentary inquiry, though
certainly a, proceeding recognized by our
constitution, was, still, not the ordinary,
mode of investigating, either the:conduct
of magistrates in the. execution of the
laws, or the.oonduuct.ofthoseawho were the
objects of the execution of those laws. A.
case, therefore, for inquiry, was to be
made out by those who called for it,
What, then, was the inquiry proposed ?
Was it into the conduct. of government,
for thanking the magistrates.? Such apro-
ceeding, he owned, appeared to him raost
premature and uncalled-for. If the ma.
gistcates had issued orders for dispersing
the king's subjects peaceably and legally
assembled,;-if, in consequences of such
orders, ths bleed of innoest and upof+
fending persons had been, shed, the coo,
duct of ministers in advising his royal
highness the Prince Regent to thank them
for' such acts wouWl call for inquiry and
for censure. If, on the contrary, bodies
to the amount of Q ,000 or 70,000, he
cared not which, but toanamount,beyond
the means of the civil power to, deal with,
bad marchedip regular columns,, and, i
military apray, with editious banners,
into the beat of one of the. mest populous
and most inflammable towns in the em.
pire; if these men had been previngly
drilled to military exercises;-if they had
been shortly before convened for a trea
sonable purpose --if they reisted the
authority of the peaceoffitese executing
the warrant of the magistrates;--if, in
short, the case stated by the noble lord,
and by the bonotwablaemeber for Dover,
was correct, the he hed no hesitation in
saying, that his majesty's ministers were
not only justified in returningithanLs to
the magistrates, but that it was their
bounden duty to do so; apd that those
gentlemen, acting in the discharge of a
most important duty, in a crisis of public
peril, and undertaking an awful response,
ability for the public service, were entitled
to have the sense of the executive govern.
ment on their conduct. When it was:said
that this is preiadging the queatioc, it
seemed to be taken as granted, that the
executive power of the country is not in
any degree lodged in the government.
Would it not have been their duty tohave
gwien previous advice and instruction to
th, magistrates on such a subject, and


with a view tq such anetnergency,? When
they direct the public prosecutor to pro-
ceed against any individual, can that be
considered as.a prejudging of the ques-
tion ? To this extent it is the exercise of
their proper function, which they, cannot,
neglect without an abandonment of duty;.
and if they felt,, upder all the circum-
stances, that. the conduct of those most,
meritorious.public servants deserved their,
praise, it would have been unjust and
mean to have withheld their expression of
it. How, then, could the propriety of the
letter of thanks be judged of until the,
facts were ascertained I True, it was said;.
and, therefore inquire. Certainly; hut.
how? Clearly by the regular course, of
law, and by the regular tribunals of, the
country, unless some case were previqualy;
established, showing that these tribu~alae
were inadequate, or unsuited for the pur-
pose. Bills had, beep found against se-
veral, of the. persons alleged to be actors in
this seditious meeting: on, these trials the
legality of the ameting would be neces.
sarily the subject of investigation. And
why was it thAt these trials had not taken
place, and the, public mind, through the
regular coastiiutionalchannel of a trialby
jury, been informed of the real nature of
these transactionp Why? because the
person so accused had availed themselves
of the delay which the law unfortunately
allows, and had. postponed their trials
putil the Spring, asisz, But it is said,
ltat although the legality of the meeting
might be decided on in those cases, still
the conduct of the nmgistrates in dispers-
ing it might be illegal; and this would not
necessarily, in them, come under discus,
sion. Why, then, were not proceedings
taken other part of the persons alleged to
be aggrieved ex injured by the acts of the
magistrates? T e hon. and learned memn
ben made the absence of such proceedings
a ground for parliamentary inquiry; but
was not the fair inference from the ab,
sence of such proceedings this, that no
reasonable foundation for them existed.?
But the grand jury had thrown out the
bills preferred on behalf of these persons:
Was this a ground for parliamentary in-
quiry ? Was it to be presumed that the
grand jury of the county of Lancaster had
violated their oatbs An artifice had been
resorted to, for the purpose of rendering
the administration of justice suspected in
the public mind, by publishing tie inform,
ations which had been sent ,up to the
grand jury; but very gentleman must be
***







125j at -u't PwsP g Of'he S"Ssion.


awareftf'the difference letiWen ar Inform-
ation, in which the -patty states the
facts according to his own views, tand,'a
tivS 'voce examination before the' grand
jury, in which the entire truth is extracted
from the witness. But, suppose.the grand
jury had erred in ignoring the bills, fresh
indictments might be sent-up to any suc-
ceeding grand jury. Was the entire
county of Lancaster to be pronounced in-
capable or unwilling to exercise such
functions ? But magistrates refused to re-
ceive iinformations: vwas not their con-
duct examinable in the court of King's.
bench ? 'And mightenot all the'facts con-
nected with such -a transaction be fully
examined on affidavits? and, if'any doubt
existed, 'by a jury, on an information
under tho sanction of the court? Wes' the
court of Klag's-ben-ch also to be included
within the ban of this proscription of all
the constituted authorities? But the
hon. and learned member said, that
the court of King's-bendh would not in-
terfere, unless the--magistrate acted wil-
fully; 'and'that e; might lmtiit an error
hiich would not subject him to punish-
ment: was this, then, a ground for par-
liamentary 'interference, to stop the
course of law, and subject the public
functionary to an extraordinary visitation
of public vengeance ? Were'the different
points of -the argument of the hon. and
learned member altogether reconcileable ?
When his object was to make out a case
so important as to call for parliamentary
inquiry, he stated the conduct of the
magistirtes as a daring violation of the
subject's privileges, a triumph of author-
ity over law, a foul stain upon our laws,
fo'mning a black era in the annals of our
countryy' but when it became an object
to shew that there might be a case in
which the courts of law would be incom-
petent 'to investigate the truth, then this
foul deed, this portentousviolation of the
laws -and of the constitution,- dwindled
into an *error in judgment;, too slight and
too par'doebie to warrant the interference
ofthe oburt'of King's-bench. 'Was such
an error, -if it did exist, he would ask, a
case fdrparliamentary inquiry ? Was this
the' way in which the conduct of magis-
trates wta to be examined by parliament?
He owned he was not one of those who
were'disposed to examine too critically
the :conduct of magistrates acting in
perilous titles,' under heavy responsibility;
anHditre'he -as, that if the -benignant
pi i fe6f 'the law shielded their errts,


ditwas: notethe ,provinceof parliament t
-he would ask, if. any individual was a.
rieved, where was the bar to his reed
-by divil nation, in whichithe whole merit
of hisbaseRwould be discussed in a court
ofdaw -and decided on by a jury of hi
country? What pretence was there for
saying thatijustice had been denied, -or
evenc'delayed'? Unless the House was
prepared;.to bring to its bar the grand
jury bf Lancashire,-unless they were
prepared to say that the whole body of
'public functionaries, petty juries, grand
j-ries, magistrates, 'and judges, were
linked in one common conspiracy against
the peaceable petitioners, who assembled
at:MI-MAhesteron the 16th of August,-
they Jhad.not ground or principle on
whioh'they could order this inquiry. He
deprecated such a proceeding, as calcu-
lated to -give efficacy to the plans of the
revolutionary party for the degradation of
the public functionaries, and to, stamp,
with the authoritative seal of parliament,
what hitherto had rested in vulgar
calumny, and in ;popular clamour. He
believed that such an inquiry, instead of
being calculated, as was alleged, to allay
dissatisfaction,'and to conciliate the pub-
lic mind, could'have no other effect than
to:raise the hopes and spirits of the revo-
lutionists, and to strike damp and panic
into the heart of every loyal -subject.
-Besides this, the course was wild and im-
-practicable. How was this inquiry to be
conducted ? At the bar of the House, or
in a committee? Was this inquiry to
supersede the proceedings already insti-
tuted in the king's courts? Or, were the
two classes of proceedings to be carried
on simultaneously? If the former was to
be the course, the laws were to be robbed
of their authority, and the subject of his
redress, by a proceeding utterly unsuited
to the purposes either of punishment or
6f -compensation. If. the latter, we were
to have the anomalous and unprecedented
spectacle of persons being tried, on
charges affecting ttheir persons and pro-
perties, perhaps their lives, in proceedings
before'juries, and with witnesses on oath,
in the regular courts of law, while the very
same facts were undergoing a discussion,
without oath,. before the extraordinary
tribunal of parliament. Was it possible
that either public or individual justice
could be obtained by such a course, or
that any result c'uld be derived from it,
ealiulated t-maintain -the authority ofthe


s251


'NbV.)29,T I81'9.


:Trs







I;7J HOUSE, OF.COMMONS, Addrat on'ath Prk Rm gegntm' S~peech [I"


iaws or the dignity- of parliament ? Bach
a proceeding, he must say, appeared to
him wild, unprecedented, and impracti-
cable.
His hon. and learned friend had ad-
verted to three cases, as precedents to
warrant such a course as that now recom-
mended. The first was a case in the year
1714, in which the House of Lords, for
the purpose of procuring the removal of
magistrates who were supposed to enter-
tain Jacobitical principles, had addressed
the throne for a list of the magistrates,
and entered into a strict inquiry; in
consequence of which, several of those
magistrates were dismissed. Was there
any trial then depending in a court of
law? Was there any specific fact that
could be inquired into in a court of law ?
Or, was it any thing more than a proceed-
ing to enable parliament to advise the
*Crown, with respect to the wholesome
*exercise of it's prerogative ?-The second
,was the case of the murder of Porteus, by
the mob of Edinburgh (which had de-
rived-much celebrity from a late popular
,work). Was that a proceeding affecting
.any, trial depending, or with a view to
any individual punishment? It was, as
fairly stated by the hon. and learned mem-
,ber, an inquiry, in order to ground a bill
.of pains and penalties against the town of
Edinburgh, and which was accordingly
.passed---The. third instance alluded to,
.was the inquiry instituted before the se-
cret committee in 1794. That was an in-
.quiry for the purpose of grounding mea-
sures for the public safety; and was with
reference to the general state of the
country, not into the conduct of local
magistrates, and on a particular occasion.
*Again the danger of its incidentally
affecting the rights of individuals, who
were liable to be tried in the courts of
law, was so strongly felt, that the inquiry
was a secret ope; when published, the
.names of individuals were suppressed;
and even under all these circumstances,
the possibility of an impression unfavoura-
ble to these individuals having been made
,by the report, was so strongly felt, that
Mr. Erskine relied on it, and successfully,
and in some instances, as he (Mr. P.)
believed, acquittals were obtained on that
*ground.-When his hon. and learned
friend, with his extensive knowledge and
research, could produce no other instances
thap these, :he felt himself justified in re-
peating the assertion, that the measure
* wa unprecedented.-But there was a


case not alluded to by his ho. and
learned friend, as he recollected, about
the year 1715, in which a parliamentary
inquiry having been directed, into the
nature of a certain meeting at Oxford,
which was alleged to be riotous, a number
of affidavits were produced on one side,
and after an unavailing demand of exami-
nation on the other, the inquiry was found
so impracticable that it was dropped, and
no further proceeding founded on it.*

The reference appears to have been
made from memory, and, though substan-
tially true, was certainly inaccurate in
expression. The facts were these:-A.
tumult having arisen at Oxford, on the
prince's birth-day, and the loyalty of the
mayor and of the heads of the university
being called in question, the lords of
the council examined into the case on
affidavits, not with reference to the riot,
but with respect to their conduct as to
rejoicing on the prince's birth-day,-a
matter which could not be the subject of
any legal inquiry. The council came to
the following resolution: Resolved, that
the heads of the university and mayor of
the city neglected to make any public re-
joicing on the prince's birth-day; but
some of the collegiate, with the officers,
being met to celebrate the day, the house
where they were was assaulted,' and the
windows were broken by the rabble,
which was the beginning and occasion of
the riots that ensued, as well from the
soldiers as the scholars and the townsmen;
and that the conduct of the mayor seems
well justified by the affidavits on his part."
On the 25th March, 1717, the Lords ad-
dressed the Crown, that the proper officer
should lay before the House the com-
plaints and depositions relative to the
riots and disorders complained of at the
city of Oxford, and the proceedings which
had been had thereon. In consequence
of this address, the documents, consisting
among others of fifty-six affidavits,by the
officers and soldiers, and fifty-five affidavits
on the part of the mayor and city, were
laid before the House of Lords, and re-
ferred to a committee of the whole House.
On the 3rd of April, 1717, the committee
repealed two resolutions: viz. an appro-
bation of the resolutions of the lords of the
council, already stated; and, secondly,
that the publication of depositions, while
the matter was depending in council, was
disrespectful to the prince, and tending
to sedition. A petition against this re-







SNov. 23, 1819. [130


The case for inquiry, he therefore con-
tended, was..unsupported by precedent,
and was not bottomed on any ascertained
fact, or even on any statement made by
any member in his place, of any case
which, if true, would warrant its adop-
tion. Indeed, he had not heard any
member assert the legality of the Man-
chester meeting. He was confident that
no man, acquainted with the laws and
constitution of the country, would ven-
ture to do so.
The House, he trusted, would excuse
him, if he trespassed a little further on
their patience, by stating his opinion, as
to these public meetings. The right of
the people of this country to meet, for the
purpose of expressing their opinions on
any subject connected with their own
individual interest, or with the public.
welfare, was beyond all question; it was a
sacred privilege, belonging to the most
bumble, as fully as to the highest subject
in the community: they had a right to
the full expression, and to the free com-
munication, of such.sentiments; to inter-
change them with their fellow subjects;
to.animate and catch fire, each from the
other. He trusted that to such rights he
never should be found an enemy. But he
must say, that these rights, like all others,
to be exercised in civil society, must be
subject to such modification and restric-
tion as to render them compatible with
other rights, equally acknowledged, and
equally sacred. Every subject of this
realm had an. undoubted right to the pro-

solution was offered on behalf of the
vice chancellor, the mayor and magis-
trates, who desired to be heard in reply.
Their application was refused, and the
resolutions already stated were adopted
by the House, and no further proceed-
ings were taken. And even from this
mere adoption of the resolution in council
twenty-eight peers dissented, assigning
this among other reasons, namely, that
the matters of fact were not sufficiently
inquired into, from want of opportunity
of replying to the affidavits; and because,
by such proceedings, the magistrates may
be.discouraged from doing their duty on
such.. occasions. These facts appear on
the Journals of the Lords; and it is con-
ceived they substantially warrant the
statement of this case, as one tending to
show-the futility of such inquiries, al-
thopgh they do not confirm the exact,
words of the statement.
(VOL. XLI.)


tection of the laws, to'the security of his
person and his property, and still more,
to the full assurance of such safety; and
he had no hesitation in asserting, that any
assembly of the people, held under such
circumstances as to excite in the minds of
the king's peaceable and loyal subjects
reasonable grounds of alarm, in this re-
spect, were illegal assemblies, and liable
to be dispersed as such. He thought it
important that it should be understood,
that these rights were restricted, not
merely to this extent; namely, that they
must not assemble for an illegal purpose;
that they.must not assemble with force
and arms; that they must not use sedi-
tious language; that they must not revile
the laws or public functionaries; but, be-
yond all this, that they must:not assem-
ble under such circumstances, whether of
numbers or otherwise, as to excite well-
grounded terror in the minds of their fel-
low subjects, or to disturb their tranquil
and assured enjoyment of the protection,
of the laws, free from all reasonable ap-
prehension of force or violence. A vulgar
notion may have prevailed, that if the
avowed and immediate purpose of such
meetings were not illegal, or if they had
not arms in their hands, or if no force
was actually used, or immediately threat-
ened, the assembly was legal :-no opinion
could be more unfounded. And he did
not fear contradiction from any constitu-
tional lawyer, when he asserted, that any
assembly of the people, whether armed or
unarmed; .whether using or threatening
.to use force, or not doing so; and whe-
ther the avowed' object was illegal or
legal, if held in such numbers, or with
such language, or emblems, or deport-,
ment, as to create well-grounded terror
in the king's liege subjects for their lives,.
their persons, or their property, was an
illegal assembly, and might be dispersed
as such. Such had been the law, as laid
down by the ablest of our lawyers, and of
our judges, from the earliest period of
our jurisprudence, and in the best tirtes
of our history and constitution, before the
revolution, and since the revolution, inde-
pendent of the Riot act, or of any statut-
able enactment, by the principles of our
common law, which was always founded
on the principles of common sense. The
application of this principle to each par-
ticular. case must always be a matter of
discretion; but, in cases like the present,
it could not.admit of doubt or difficulty.
When meetings became too strong for the
(K)


199]


at the Openinlg of tre. Session.







194J HOUSE OF COMMONS, Addrens on tihe Prine Aegat' Speech [i f


civil powet to deal with them, the laws
must prohibit them; if not, recourse must
necessarily be had to military force.
When the citizen became too strong for
the law, the magistrate of necessity be-
came a soldier; and those who justified
these unrestricted meetings were the
worst enemies to the liberties of their
Country, and laid the foundation of a mi-
litary despotism. If bodies of the people,
not convened, by any public functionary,
but called together by mountebanks,
whose onll title was; their impudence and
foty, were entitled .to assemble, not in
thousands, but in tens of thousands; to
march, with banners displayed, in mili-
tary array, into the hearts of populous
cities; and if the laws were not competent
to assure the people of this country
against the panic and dismay excited by
sucah poceedfigs, there wea an end to
the coastithftieo.- He implored the House
to protect the d untry fr6m the effect of
these desolating plans whioh were now in
operation. Even though they should tot
break out in actual rebellion, their mis-
chiefs were beyond calculation. The
principles of respect for the laws and
6rdera of the state, the reverence that
was due to the sacred obligations of reli-
gion, these were not the results of mo-
mentary feelings, which might be thrown
aside and resumed at pleasure; they
were habits which, if once removed, could
not easily be restored. If these sacred
sources, from which were the issues of
public happiness and virtue, were opce
tainted, how was their purity to be restor-
ed ? He had reason to believe, that the
blasphemies, which had excited the horror
of all good men, had been fashioned by
these miscreants into primers for the
education of children, that these helpless
beings, in receiving the first elements of
knowledge, might be ineoulated with this
pestilence. fie again implored the House
to act with decision and energy, while
yet it was in their power. If the great
foundations of public safety were once
shaken, the united exertion of all the
honest men of every party might come
too late. On these grounds he deprecated
the amendment, as calculated to give
encouragement to the worst enemies of
the state; and cordially concurred in the
original address.
Mr. Scarlett began by observing, that
with many of the magistrates of Man-
chester he had long been in habits ofin-
timacy, and every one of them he knew


personally. He shotda@ ertainly be amo
unwilling to see them judged by the et-.
aggerated and distorted statements that
had been laid before the public It wea
not, however, because he thought them
guilty, that he wished for an inquiry, but
in order that circumstances might appear
that would destroy the delusion which had
taken hold of the public mind. His
hon. and learned friend coming from a
distant pardistant, he meant, from the
scene of these proceedings-did not
appear to be informed so intimately of
the facts of the case as to warrant the
decided manner in which he had spoken
of them. There was one recommenda-
tion of his hon. and learned friend which
he certainly never expected to hear on
this side of the channel, and that was,
" that they should decide on the facts
first, and then inquire." [A laugh].
Without saying, that he imputed to his.
majesty's ministers the intention of go-
verning the people by force, he might
remark, that such an inference had been
drawn by part of the public from the pro-
ceedings in question; and since it was so
alleged, it was necessary that an inquiry
should take place, in order to remove that
dangerous delusion; and if, on inquiry, it
should appear (which he could not sup-
pose) that government had entertained
such an intention, that government should
meet the censure which it deserved. He
was sorry to observe the manner in which
his hon. and learned friend who spoke last
had argued on this subject. He (Mr.
Scarlett) did not mean to treat this as a
legal question; he conceived it to be Ia-
ramount to all special pleadings of which
his hon. and learned friend's speech
had too much the air. He should not
enter at large into the character of the
meeting at Manchester, but from what he
had heard he thought it likely that the
motives of the persons who called it were
criminal, and that many of the persons
attending it had criminal intentions. But
many such meetings had been held before
and since; and he was surprised that ihe
persons attending these meetings had
never been punished; In July last, a few
days after the prorogation of parliament,
a meeting was held ih Smithfield, at which
it was resolved that the laws were not-to
be obeyed after January, 1820, and that
no taxes were to be paid after that dates
and having never yet heard of any pro-
ceedings to punish the persons who bad
passed these resolutions, he was surprised







1&3]


at tLi opening ofet/i $545aio


that a meeting should be put down by
force, at which no such resolutions had
been passed. The first meeting advertised
would undoubtedly have been illegal, and
an this account the object was changed,
and the second Manchester meeting, of
the 16th August, took place. What fol-
lowed? Hunt and his associates were
arrested, and after the warrant of the
magistrates had thus been executed, the
people assembled were cut and trampled
down by the yeomanry. The noble lord
had asserted that the magistrates never
contemplated the dispersion of the mob
by the military. Would the public give
the noble lord credit for this important
fact? Would they not require that it
should be proved at the bar ? As a lawyer
he agreed that the Riot act need not be
read before the dispersion of an illegal
meeting, and he also agreed that if in a
contest with constables in dispersing an
illegal meeting, the civil power destroyed
life, it was justifiable homicide; but he
denied most firmly that, if persons conti-
nued on the ground after the arrestof the
ringleaders, the yeomanry, by any law of
this country, were authorized in cutting
them down. Those who remained were
guilty of a misdemeanor, hut only of a
misdemeanor,; and it was quite too much
to say, that to prevent a misdemeanor life
might be destroyed with impunity, though
it was otherwise in cases of felony. It
might be said that the yeomanry only
endeavoured to arrest; but did they se-
cure one individual, or did they take a
single man to the New Bailey ? Certainly
jot; and, in this view of the question,
supposing the meeting to have been illegal,
the military had been guilty of a high
fence in the deaths they bad occasioned,
and the wounds they had inflicted. What
complexion, then, did the transaction
take? The people meet to petition. The
magistrates issue a warrant to arrest cer-
tain individuals; and that being executed,
the yeomanry disperse the crowd at the
edge of the ,sabre: three days afterwards,
the thanks of the Prince Regent were
given, both to the civil and military au-
thorities -and what was the unavoidable
inference, but that opinions, however ab-
surd or preposterous, mane to be put down
by the bayonet, and that misters in-
tended to act on a system of military co-
eroion? Did not this demand ioqiry ?
Did at this eallupon the whole nation to
isis that iuqairy should he instituted ?
WbM., r ethi, aiht it to tbe conduated?'


I. Nov. 28, 18wO. [134
Where, but in that place which was the
professed sanctuary of the. rights of the
people-the House of Commons; where
but before the grand inquest of the nation,
the guardians of the conspitutiop, and the
liberties it conferred? The noble lord
had talked much about the law which he
did not seem to understand; but was it
meant to be said, that the right of the
people to meet and petition was to be left
to a private action, commdnced by some
starving weaver, or some old woman who
might take upon herself tp be the chama-
pioness of the nation ? A great consti-
tutional right was at stake, and the House
of Commons was the only proper form
for inquiry. After some further remarks
Upon the point whether the Court of
King's Bench would grant a criminal in-
formation against a magistrate, unless ma-
lice or corruption were proved, the hpn.
andlearped gentleman proceeded to notice
the dismissal of earl Fitzwilliam. It was
known that there was not a man in the
country more opposed to the visionary
and absurd schemes of the radicals, yet
ministers had removed him; and, what
was the inference from this fact, but that,
as they intended tp.aubstitute a military
for a civil force, they did not think that
he would be an instrument in their hands
sufficiently complying? They feared that
his ardent love for the constitution would
oppose a barrier to their plans in York-
shire, and that he would support the reso-
lutions of the House of Commons in 1680,
when it was declared that these who mis-
represented the objects of the people,
when they met for redress of grievances,
betrayed the liberty of the subject. If
it were quite clear that the magistrate
would come out of the inquiry pure and
unsullied, they would not thank the Prione
Regent's ministers for their injudioioua
friendship in refusing to allow them to
justify themselves to the world. But,
notwithstanding their refusal, it became
the House of Commons to act for itself,
to consult the wishes of its oonstituents,
end he never should think the worse of it
for eympathising with the people.
The Attorney-Geeral rose, amid laud
cries for the question, a(for an adjourn.
ment. He congratulated the house .on
the general admission that 'the meeting at
Mancheater, on the 16th of August, was
illegal; and he imagined that the hon.
and learned gentleman who spoke last
must have forgotten that the efforts of the
ysoMary were n"et directed, in the first







135] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regents Speech [186


Instance, to disperse the meeting, but to
repel an attack that had been made upon
them. The fact had been asserted, and
had not, and could not be denied. And
because the gentlemen on the other side
might not have obtained information
'enough to satisfy them, that was no ade-
quate ground for inquiry at the bar.
He denied that a case of suspicion had
been made out against the magistrates,
Sand said that the presumption, after the
'decision of the grand jury of Lancaster,
must be all intheir favour. The question
of the legality of the meeting would soon
come before a court for decision; and he
insisted that that was not only a compe-
tent, but the most competent tribunal.
Sir W. De Crespigny now moved an
adjournment of the debate. The motion
being seconded by sir Robert Wilson,
and supported by Mr. M. A. Taylor, a
division took place: Ayes, 65. Noes,
453. Majority against an adjournment,
S88-When the gallery was re-opened,
Mr. Wilberforce was in possession of
the House. He objected to its yielding
to the clamour out of doors by concurring
in the amendment. He insisted that the
great body of the nation, at least the
great body of the thinking part of it, ap-
proved of the steps the magistrates of
Manchester had taken, and would be
dissatisfied if inquiry at -the bar were in-
stituted. He knew that the House of
Commons acted, in many instances, as
the grand inquest of the nation; yet when
gentlemen considered that they would be
called on to investigate the conduct of
the magistrates in their official capacity,
and that in so doing they would be ob-
liged to examine men, not on oath at the
bar-men too, it should be observed, who
professed the new system of morality,
who defied 'the laws of God and man-
perhaps they would pause before they
determined to exercise those functions,
by agreeing to the amendment. With
respect to the transactions at Manchester
oh the 16th of August, he felt as deeply
concerned at the circumstances of that
unfortunate day as any gentleman possi-
bly could; but, if he asked himself how
the peace of the country was to be pre-
served, the answer must be, that if they
assented to any such motion as the pre-
sent, and thus sanctioned the proceedings
of those bad men, who wished to pro.
duce- anarchy and confusion, it would
be the means of creating more' discord
ad bloodshed than any other measure


that could be devised. He admitted that
there was considerable! distress in- the
country, and if, in our present situation,
it could be done without detriment to the
state, he would be willing to take off some
of those taxes that bore on the lower
classes. But gentlemen should recollect,
that the exigencies of the government
must be provided for, and that it was
easier to remove a tax than to propose a.
substitute.
Mr. Hume rose amidst loud cries of
" Question, question." He said, that, in
order to give every member an opportu;
nity of stating his opinion on this ques-
tion, which, at that late hour, it was im-
possible to do, he would move an adjourn-
ment of the debate.
The Speaker.-What does the hon.
member move?
Mr. Hume.-That this debate be ad.
journed to this day.
The Speaker.-- beg leave to submit
the difficulty that arises on this question.
The House has already decided that this
debate should not be adjourned.
Mr. Hume.-Then I beg leave to move
that the House do now adjourn.
The gallery was then cleared, for a di-
vision, but none took place. While stran.
gers were excluded, the question was
debated, whether it was consistent with
the rules of the House for a gentleman
to persist in moving the adjournment,
minute after minute, in order to prevent
the consideration of a question, as was
done by the party in opposition when Mr.
Fox was last in power. After Mr. Hume,
Mr. W. Smith, Mr. Bennet, lord Castle-
reagh, Mr. Scarlett, Mr. Bankes, and Mr.
W. Wynn, had delivered their sentiments,
it was agreed that the debate should be
adjourned till to-morrow.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Wednesday, November 24.
ADDRESS ON THE PRINCE REGENT'S
SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE
SESSION.] The adjourned debate on the
Address having been resumed,
Mr. V. Blake said, lie rose to order, for
the purpose of protesting against the vote
of last night on the question of adjourn-
ment.
The Speaker observed, that 'if in the
impression he had taken of the hon.- get,
tleman's object, he wae incorrect, the
hon. gentleman had risen on the point
of order, with the -view of. altering 'and







at the Opening vfthe Session.


rescinding the vote the House had
passed last night. If so, that was a course
in which, according to the rules of pro-
ceeding, the hon. member was not at li-
berty to take.
Mr. Blake said be rose to protest-
The Speaker said, it was open to the
hon. member to submit a resolution to the
House, to prevent any repetition of such
a proceeding; but it was requisite, either
'that a regular notice of such intention
should be given, or, at all events, be made
-the subject of a 'separate consideration.
But'no question, save one of privilege,
could precede the regular discussion fixed
for the day.
Mr. Hume then rose. He began by
saying, that his object in pressing the
motion of adjournment last night, was to
afford many gentlemen the opportunity of
meeting the statements and assertions of
the noble lord opposite, with the inform-
ation they possessed, and the conviction
they entertained relative to the transac-
tioris which formed so prominent a part
of his speech. He felt at the time the
correctness of the course he pursued, and
he was now convinced, that, when the
"papers presented that evening were read
and distributed, the public would see the
propriety of the proceeding. In the
course of his speech, the noble lord had
made statements, and had converted alle-
gations into facts, upon which, from the
information he had received, the noble
lord would feel the necessity of affording
the House further explanation. He was
extremely sorry, that in the Speech from
'the throne, there were some points with
which he could not agree; and he did
consider it the duty of that House to
pause before it gave to them its sanction.
The Speech from the throne, stated,
that a hostile spirit was abroad; he was
sorry to acknowledge that such a spirit
existed, but it was for the members of
that House to reflect upon the causes
which occasioned such discontent. What
had they done during the last session to
appease it? Had any effort been made
to mitigate, much less remove, the accu-
mulated sufferings which pressed so hea-
vily upon the people ? To what a situa-
tionhad such policy redicedthe kingdom!
Those hon. members who 'ad so recently
travelled through various parts, could
bear evidence to the state of agitation
that prevailed. The din of war was to be
heard in every town !-military recruiting
'were to be seen every where, as if the


13?


government were preparing for an arduous
contest I And against whom Against
our fellow-subjects! In a period of pro-
found peace with foreign nations, we were
adding to our military force-with a de-
clining revenue we were increasing our
military expenditure. When that expen-
diture amounted to twelve millions, the
ministers of the Crown were embodying
an additional force of 10,000 men. To
such a ruinous proposition he could never
give his assent.-The next point, in the
Speech to which he objected, was one
which he felt could not be substantiated;
he alluded to the passage in which the
distresses of the country were attributed
to the embarrassment of foreign states.
In what way could such alleged embar-
rassment affect the internal peace and
welfare of this country ? Did the noble
lord in adverting to foreign embarrass-
ments, allude to France ? He could not.
There was no country in Europe more
embarrassed than Great Britain. The
true source of our difficulties and distresses
was to be traced to our overwhelming
taxation, and to the denial of a proper
reform in that House. The question was
not that the proposed Address was objec-
tionable; but should the amendment be
added, in his judgment that amendment
was consistent, proper, and moderate.-
It was stated last night by the noble lord,
that the magistrates had given no orders
to the military to dismiss the meeting at
Manchester. If that was the case, in
what a situation was the country placed I
It was that day placed under military
authority. Where, then, was the consti-
tutional security? What could have pre-
vented the military, if they pleased, from
turningroundon the very magistrates them-
selves and attacking them? In two of the
letters from the magistrates presented that
night, it was stated that the warrant for
the apprehension of the parties was exe-
cuted without any difficulty. How did
this statement correspond with the asser-
tions of the noble lord ? He would not
rest satisfied with the assertions of the
noble lord, or of any man; he must have
proofs on which to form a satisfactory
opinion; he must give credit to the state-
ments of eye-witnesses of the facts, who
had no interest in any misrepresentation.
Where was the proof of the magistrate
being trampled upon when in the act of
reading the Riot act? Where was the
proof of what the noble lord asserted,
'thit it was read three times? Nothing


,Nov. "2, .1819. [IM


*






139] HOUSE OF COMMONS, 'Address on te Prince Rpegf Speech [140
of the kind was to be found in these let- night, that the plan of the Manmhbeter
ters; they merely glanced at it in these radicals was to remain on the ground
words:-" in the mean time the Riot act until midnight, and then to fire the town;
was read, and the mob dispersed." A but what authority did he adduce for his
right hon. and learned gentleman, for statement? Did not the absolute ridi-
whose character and talents he entertain- culousness of the plan give it a sufficient
ed the highest respect (Mr. Plunkett) contradiction.? Was this spirit, which
had asserted last night that the meeting was so much complained of, to be put
of the 16th of August was illegal. He down by heaping injustice on injustice?
bad heard him with surprise state, that There were thousands and tens of thou-
meetings might be illegal in four ways, sands of individuals in the country, who
namely, by numbers, by devices, by suffered the most poignant distress, and,
threats, and by language. What was the afflicted as they were it was really sur-
numerical criterion? Was a meeting of prising that they had not been goaded on
30,000 legal; and did an additional fifty to acts of violence before this time. There
constitute its illegality. He denied the were, he believed, many individuals who
law which recognized such a principle, or wished to take advantage of their dis-
the page of the statute book that consti- tresses to inflame and irritate them; but
tuted a precise number a proof of ille- if their efforts had any success, it was to
gality. The whole population of the be attributed to the conduct of his majes-
country were supposed, and might, if ty's ministers. They were itinerant
there was accommodation, be assembled quacks, or field orators, who stimulated
in the court of King's-bench. Did the the passions of the people; but they would
number there make the assemblage ille- have been banished from society-they
gal? He acknowledged his ignorance of would not have been listened to-if they
any such principle; he believed it was had not derived a spurious importance
not law, at least on this side of the water. from the conduct of his majesty's minis-
If the assembly of the 16th of August was ters. The hon. member for Bramber
illegal, ministers were highly culpable for had viewed, with dreadful alarm, the oc-
not dispersing others equally large or currences which had recently taken place,
larger, subsequently assembled with the and wished the House to look on them
same banners and ceremonies. From the with a similar feeling. But be would ask,
papers, it was clear that, on the morning could any just comparison be drawn be-
of the 16th of August, no notion was tween the state of England at the present
entertained that the projected meeting moment, and that of France at the period
was illegal. What, then, had altered its of the revolution? In his mind, there
nature before noon ? and where were the could not. If the government of France,
overt acts that warranted the attack upon in that momentous hour, had conciliated,
the defenceless multitude? He was instead of oppressing and insulting, the
bound to take the report of the magis- people, in all probability the serious con-
trates as the most correct; and he re- sequences which followed would not have
gretted to observe the light and trifling been produced. If ever there was a ques-
manner in which the important subject tion which called for mature and serious
was treated by many of them. He gave consideration before gentlemen came to
the noble lord credit for being sincere a decision, it was undoubtedly the pre-
when he said, that he believed the inform- sent. By agreeing to the amendment, of
action he had obtained; but he entreated which he heartily approved, they would
ministers not to be too credulous. He not pledge themselves to any line of con-
begged to ask what confidence ought to duct in future. They must be well aware
be placed in Mr. Norris and men like that, from one end of the country to the
him, who, on the 17th of August went to other, an anxious desire to obtain justice,
the Exchange, and had it and all the whoever the offenders might be, had been
shops closed, because he was informed decidedly expressed. He begged to
that 50,000 radicals were on their march caution those members who imagined
to the place. Were men tobe relied upon that a contrary spirit prevailed, and who
who talk of danger which they fear, sad were opposed to an inquiry into the cir-
who are in such a state of terror thems- oumotanoes which happened at Manches-
selves, as scarcely to know whether they ter, against being influenced by j uch a
stand upon their beads or healsa The delusion. Let them lookto the.way in
ho. member for rams bhad said let. which counter-addrasses had beOa got up







1 a the Opening Sf the SeSi. 1


in different parts ef the kingdom. In
most instances, the parties who were
anxious to have them signed had not ap-
peared openly and boldly. They had not
declared, in the face of day, what they
meant to do. No; they felt that injus-
tice.had been perpetrated, and they knew
that it demanded inquiry, although they
took measures which must defeat that
object. He would not decide whether it
was or was not proper to institute an in-
quiry at the bar of that House; but if it
was not fitting that such a proceeding
should be adopted, they could, as they
had done on other occasions, order pro-
secutions to be instituted before a proper
tribunal.
Lord Castlreagh said, he wished to say
a few words in explanation. He was sure
the hon. member who had just spoken had
misrepresented him, not intentionally, but
in consequence of having misconceived
what he had stated on the preceding
evening, He wished to set the hon. memn
ber right, rather because his observations
affected the interests of others, than from
any feeling personal to himself. He had
last night stated, and he had good au-
thority for doing so, that the meeting was
dispersed in a manner not originally con-
templated by the magistrates. Their in-
tention was, that the assembly should be
dispersed in the ordinary legal manner,
the riot act being read, and every neces-
sary form gone through. It was, as he
had stated last night, the conflict with the
troops at the hustings, which produced
that state of things not originally contem-
plated by the magistrates. The hon.
member had inferred, what was not war-
ranted by the facts, that the meeting was
dispersed without the interposition of the
magistrates. That was not the case. He
thought, however, that when the troops
were attacked, they had a right to repel
force by force, even if there were no ma-
gistrate present. The hon. member had
accused him of not having produced proof
of every fact he had stated. This would
not have been consonant with the course
he conceived it right to adopt. He con-
tended, that the House of Commons was
not the place where such proof ought to
be adduced, and he merely undertook to
repel assertion by assertion, in order to
cear the characters of a number of indi.
viduals from the -unjust attacks that had
been made on them-attacks that were
not warranted by the circumstances. The
hen. member had argued, that because he


iaditted the meetbg to hare been dis,
persed in a way not at first contemplated
by the magistrates, he therefore conceded
the point, that it was not dispersed in a
legal manner. He had conceded no such
point. He said, that the military, when
assailed, were justified in repelling force
by force; and he would now state, what
he had forgotten to mention on the pre-
ceding night, that it was by the order of
the magistrates that the meeting was dis-
persed. The facts were these:--A small
force about forty of the Manchester yeo-
manry was appointed to accompany the
peace-officer to the hustings. When they
arrived there, a conflict took place between
the people and the yeomanry. A magis-
tratewho was in conversation with colonel
PEstrange and colonel Dalrymple, at a
window which afforded a full view of the
place, saw these forty yeomen, in the
midst of 50,000 persons, assailed, and he
might say, overpowered. He observed to
the officers, Don't you think those yeo-
men are placed in a most perilous situa-
tion ?" They agreed with him that their
situation was critical and dangerous, and,
in consequence, an immediate order was
given to support the yeomanry and dis-
perse the assembly. The 15th dragoons
and the Cheshire Cavalry advanced to the
rescue of the Manchester yeomanry; and
in so doing, acted distinctly under the
authority of the magistrate, who, on 'a
fair view of the case, felt himself bound to
give the necessary order. The hon. mem-
ber seemed to consider, that the docu-
ments now laid before the House con-
tained the whole of the information on
which government formed its judgment.
What he had stated last night showed the
contrary. Government proceeded in a
considerable measure, on the statements
of the two individuals who had been sent
up to give necessary information, and
who were enabled to state the facts. How
was it possible that a magistrate, at 12
o'clock at night, after what had occurred
in the course of the day, and while the
town was still in a riotous and tumultuous
state, could detail, in a hasty letter, all the
circumstances connected with the case,
and which operated in his mind in form-
itg a judgment of what ought to be done?
He entreated the House not to give way
to the idea that the case was to rest on
the documents new laid before them. He
had always stated that it was not, and he
further said, that the transaction was not
to receive judgment in that House. Go-


4l1]


Nov. 14~, 18119. [142






143] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [144


vernment conceived, from the facts laid
before them, that the conduct pursued at
Manchester was right; but that opinion
did not conclude the conduct of the ma-
gistrates, which was still open to investi-
gation.
Earl Temple apologized to the House
for presuming to occupy any portion of
its valuable time; but, under the peculiar
circumstances in which the country was
placed, he conceived it to be the duty of
every member of parliament to state, and
to state openly, his reason for the vote he
meant to give. He had heard the speeches
of different gentlemen who had addressed
the House, but none of them had given
him so much surprise as that delivered by
the right hon. gentleman on his right
hand. He had absolutely treated the si-
tuation of the country with levity. Were
they, then, to look lightly upon those
who went about the country preaching
doctrines destructive of the constitution ?
Were not persons.of that class to be con-
sidered dangerous to the state ? He could
not look upon the machinations of per-
sons of that description as matters of in-
difference. The occasion was one which
demanded the prompt aid and assistance
of every member of that House to put
down the spirit of insubordination which
prevailed to an alarming extent; and un-
less the government of the country were
firmly supported at this crisis, neither he
nor any other man could foresee or an-
swer for the consequences that might fol-
low.
Mr. Bennet said, that having procured
much information on the subject now un-
der discussion, he was anxious to set the
hon. member for Dover (Mr. B. Wilbra-
ham) right on several points, which he
had stated incorrectly on the preceding
evening. Although he would not go the
length of declaring that all the statements
which had been presented to the public,
with respect to the sufferers at Manches-
ter, were true in every part, yet this he
would say, that a case was substantially
made out, which demanded inquiry; that
case was supported by the evidence given
on oath at the coroner's inquest, the pro-
ceedings at which, taken in short-hand he
had read; it appeared from that evidence
that great cruelty had been exercised.
The hon. member for Dover began by
stating, what he thought, on cooler judg-
ment, .he would reject, namely, that the
persons who assembled at the meeting
had no other object but that of plunder:


sech was the general and sweeping decla-
ration of the hon. member.' He (Mr,
Bennet) would not assert that alarm might
not be created by the meetings of large
bodies of the people; but this he would
say, that nothing could be more degrad-
ing to the character of the country, or
more injurious to individuals who were
employed in administering justice in those
parts of the kingdom where these meet-
ings were held, than to declare that as-
semblies of persons, consisting of he knew.
not how many thousands, were formed
merely for purposes of plunder and de-
vastation. That, when great numbers of
persons met together, there might be
some bad and mischievous individuals
amongst them, he meant not to deny;
but he would confidently maintain, that
the great majority of them assembled for
the purpose of stating their political opi-
nion. They held opinions which he cer-.
tainly detested-opinions that were, ioju-
rious to the best interests of the country;
but he believed they adhered to them,
from honest and conscientious feelings;
and he felt that he had no more right to
put them down by force, than he had to
persecute a man who held religious opi-.
nions of a different nature from those
which he acknowledged. He believed
those people met together for the purpose
of taking the best means of carrying into
effect those political sentiments which,
they supposed to be correct. The hon.
member, who had thus accused between
30,000 and 40,000 persons, proceeded to
give an account of the meeting. He stat-
ed, that the advance of the cavalry from
the front of the house to the hustings,
was attended by no attack on any person.
This was not correct. It was proved by.
one of the witnesses who-appeared for the
magistrates, that not only great personal
alarm was excited, but that violence was
committed. James Hall, who gave his,
evidence before the coroner, who had
been placed in a situation where he could"
watch the meeting, for he was but fifty
yards from it, distinctly stated that he saw
Meagher, the trumpeter, knock down a
man, with, as he thought, the flat of his
sword. That was before the cavalry ar-
rived at the hustings. But this was not.
all. It was stated in evidence that three
individuals were cut down by the yeo-
manry as they advanced.. A woman with.
a child in her arms was also wounded;
and, although the grand jury had thrown
out the bills preferred on her behalf, still







*I the Opening of the Session..


he had a right to state it as a substantial
matter that called for inquiry; when per-
sons filling the situation of magistrates,
and individuals who held the rank of mi-
nisters, offered statements to the House
that were contradicted on oath, no doubt
could be entertained that there was sub-
stantial reason for inquiry and investiga-
tion. If ever there was a case that de-
manded a severe scrutiny, it was that
which now occupied the attention of the
country, connected as it was with the loss
of so many lives. The hon. member had
stated, that there were but twenty-six
persons hurt, who were taken to the infir-
mary. He believed that not less than
fifty eight persons were admitted, in con-
sequence of wounds and bruises. It was
a fact, that eight persons had lost their
lives, and he was sure he spoke within
compass when he said, that between 3
and 400 individuals were rode over,
wounded by sabres, or otherwise maimed.
A committee had been formed at Man-
chester, to ascertain the number of the
sufferers. The list prepared by them had
not yet been sent to London, but it would
be transmitted in the course of a few days,
and then it would be seen whether his
statement, or that of the hon. member
who said that very few accidents had oc-
curred, was the correct one. It would be
found that a great deal of unnecessary
cruelty had been resorted to. The peo-
ple who. attempted to escape by a pas-
sage not more than forty feet wide, were
driven together in one mass, to the immi-
nent danger of their lives. This was the
only real outlet; the others were difficult
of egress, in consequence of the situation
of different houses. But one effect could
be produced by a body of cavalry pur-
suing a great concourse of people into
such a narrow pass; and it was in evi-
dence that the poor creatures were forced
down, and were seen lying in heaps, one
on the top of tha other, black in the face,
and with all the appearance of suffocation.
So great was the pressure, that the rail-
ings were broken down, and numbers of
the people were dragged, wounded, and
bloody, through the panels of doors,
which hadbeen forced in by their efforts.
Two individuals were, on oath, accused of
having cut at every person who passed.
This was all stated before the coroner's
jury, and no attempt was made to contro-
vert it. Respectable persons living within
eighteen or twenty yards of the hustings,
were unjustifiably assailed. Gentlemen
(VOL. XLI.) *


turned round on those who condemned
such proceedings, and, because the facts
he now adduced were not stated in the
course, of the debate; because individuals
had not an opportunity of critically read.
ing the evidence, they thought proper to
taunt them, affected to believe that not
the shadow of a case could be made out,
and declared the whole of the statement
that had been laid before the public to be
false. The hon. member had stated, that
a yeoman of the name of Hulme, had been
struck from his horse by the blow of a
stone, before the cavalry made any at-
tack. The hon. member's information was
incorrect. It was proved, on oath, that
Mr. Holme was one of the persons who
was actively employed in dispersing the
meeting, and that he rode into the yard
of the Quakers meeting house, cutting and
hacking the people, whose blood now lay
on the stones and rails. It was in a street
near the yard that he received his wound,
long after the military had advanced, and
Hunt and Moorhouse were in custody.-
He would not now go into a detail of the
evidence, which at a future period must
of necessity be fully considered. He
agreed in the statement of those who held
that a meeting, by reason of the language
and conduct of the person who attended
it, might become illegal; but he was not
prepared to say that there was any part
of the proceedings at Manchester, that
stamped the meeting there with an illegal
character. It had been observed, that
the meeting of large bodies of men was
attended with inconvenience, if not dan-
ger. There was no person but would al-
low that the assemblies of great numbers
of people, in a manufacturing district was
exceedingly inconvenient; but inconve-
nience did not constitute criminality. It
was also observed, that those people came
to the ground with flags and banners. He
admitted that they did, and that some of
those banners had very improper inscrip-
tions on them. But such a parade never
could justify the severe measures that
had been adopted. Again they were told
that the people advanced to the place of
meeting in military array? But how
was it possible for 5,000, or 6,000 persons
to move, except in an irregular and tu-
multuous manner, without they were put
into something like military array? He
did not, therefore, think, that the mere
circumstance of their being attended by
music, or their marching eight or ten
a-breast, with their arms linked together,
(L)


1*5.]


Nov. 24, 1819. [1466







73] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Addrea on the Prince Regen's Speech [14I


was a sufficient reason for calling the
meeting at Manchester an illegal assembly.
Thq noble lord had told them, that the
magistrates did not originally intend to
disperse the meeting; but werecompelled
to do so, when it assumed a character si-
milar to that stated by certain individuals
who had given their information, all of
whom, except Mr. Owen were concealed.
Now, the meeting began to assemble at
half;past eleven o'clock, and continued
till one. Had not, then, the magistrates,
long before one o'clock, an opportunity
of satisfying themselves whether the
meeting was legal or illegal? If they
conceived it to be the latter, why did they
not stop the people as they were advancing
to it? Or why not order the Riot act to
be read,,and prevent the meeting altoge.
other ? There was no necessity to appre-
hend Hunt at the meeting. He might
haye been arrested on the charge now
preferred against him, without any diffi-
culty. In his opinion, if the magistrates
conceived that such a meeting was illegal
from the-first, they had acted most indis-
ereetly in not preventing it. It was now
distinctly known, that the Riot act was
never read till the charge of the soldiers
took place. Three persons were wounded
by the advance of the cavalry before it
was read. Mr. Hay's statement put it
beyond a doubt that it was not. read till
after the charge. One of the magistrates,
a clergyman, Mr. Eth'elstone declared
that he read it; but be had not said, when
or where-nor had he ventured to swear
to the fact,. He did not mean to say that
the Riotact was not read at all; but he
believed that the reading did not take
place until after the yeomanry had begun
their attack om the people. The nobre
lord had spoken of the attack on the mi-
litary, and the hoen. member for Dover.
also stated, that such an attack was made.
He (Mr. Bennet) did not believe it.
Nadin, in his evidence, deposed, that he
only knew of one stone being flung. Ano-
ther witness, Mr. Entwisle, spoke of
stones, brick-bats, and sticks being
made use of; but he was not borne out
by the testimony of any other person, and
he was contradicted by the testimony of
most respectable merchants, who, out of
curiosity, proceeded to the field where
the meeting took place. He believed the
real facts of the case were these-that
after the persons on the hustings had.
been seized, the multitude was attacked,
and the word was given by some person


or other whom he knew not, have at
their flags." The constables then seized
the flags, and the yeomanry made an
irruption into the crowd, and committed
the evil which was now so universally de-
plored. That proceeding lamentable as
it undoubtedly was, originated, he had
no doubt, from a loss of temper on their
parts, and an ignorance of the kind of
enemy with whom they had to contend.
This view of the subject received great
illustration from a statement made by
Nadin, in the evidence which he gave on
the inquest at Oldham: he had there
stated, that it never was in contemplation
to allow the yeomanry to advance without
the support of the dragoons; that no
order was ever issued by their comman-
dant, captain Birley, enjoining them to
march; that owing to some impetuosity,
which he pretended not to explain, they
made a simultaneous rush forward- that
immediately afterwards, they lost their
head, and became ungovernable; and that
they became so from that want of com-
mand over them, which regular troops
never experienced.-The hon. member
then observed, that after having made
these remarks on this subject, he felt it
necessary to say a few words mowe
upon another, which had been mentioned
by the right hon. gentleman opposite,
and his hon. friend who had preceded
him-he meant the seditious and blasphe-
mous publications which had been so much
complained of. There was not aman inthat
House who felt greater abhorrence than
he did of such publications; still he begged
leave to say, that he had, while in Lanca-
shire, been informed, that irreligious doc-
trines were not prevalent among the'lower
orders of the community in that county;
and that this information had been derived
from many individuals who had taken a
philanthropic interest in the union schools
established there, and who had particu-
larly inquired into the nature of the reli-
gious works circulated among them. It
was difficult, he allowed, to disprove the
existence of irreligious principles; but if
he migbt$e allowed to judge of what the
principles of the people were from the
primers which were used by them in the
education of their children, and which
were new in his possession, he would say,
that there were -no books in the English
language better calculated than they were
to,instrust youth in their moral and reli-
gious duties. There was no union school
in which the lessons did not commence







149]


at the Opening ofthe Session.


with a hymn, a religious hymn, in which
the gospel was not regularly read, and in
which a sermon was not regularly preach-
ed. Perhaps it would be interesting to
the House to know something of the
origin of these union schools. Most of
them would be aware of the difficulty
which had once existed in getting the
children of the poor to the Sunday-
schools; that difficulty had, however, soon
abated, and the poor were made sensible
of the benefits which accrued to them
from education. Out of that conviction
the union schools had arisen; they owed
not their origin to the charitable endow-
mnents of the rich, but to the con-joint
exertions and subscriptions of the poor;
and if the right hon. gentleman would
either communicate to him in private, or
would favour him in public with the name
of the school in which this blasphemous
primer was said to be taught, he would
undertake to show him that his informa-
tion was incorrect, on the testimony of the
patrons and inspectors of the school, who,
he had no doubt, would be able to satisfy
both the House and the country that no
such work had ever been taught, either
by their direction or with their knowledge.
To the poor, indeed, religion was their
best consolation; as it taught them that
there was another world beyond the pre.
sent, in which they might expect to enjoy
those benefits and blessings which were
de9ied them here. He could show, that
in ao part of England was this consolation
more strongly enjoyed than in the county
palatine of Lancaster; and that in no part
of it was a religious feeling either more
general or more warm than in the manu-
facturing districts. He did not know
whether what he had now stated would
carry conviction to the mind of the right
hon. gentleman; but he would undertake
to convince him in private, if he had not
already convinced him on the subject;
and therefore he trusted the House would
give him credit for the assertion when he
declared, that whatever mischief certain
designing men might have intended to
propagate by the dissemination of irreli-
gious and blasphemous publications, the
inhabitants of no county stood more clear
than the inhabitants of Lancashire on the
question of irreligion. It was requisite to
state this fact thus publicly, because no-
thing had inflicted so severe a wound
upon.the minds of the persons of whom
he was then speaking, as the slanders
which had been uttered on this subject.


Nov. "2, 1819.


[L50


Indeed, the public press had long teemed
with the foulest calumnies on this
head; and, what was still more worthy
of reprobation, the authors of those ca-
lumnies knew them to be destitute of all
foundation, even at the very moment that
they were committing them to paper.-
There .was likewise another subject on
which he was desirous ofspeaking, shortly.
He felt it his duty to state, that it was
his decided opinion that it was impossible
to govern England in 1819 by the same
means as it had been governed in 1719-;
neither was it any reason that the county
should suffer bad government now, be-
cause our ancestors had at that time, or
formerly, suffered a worse. There was a
degree of intellect now in the country,
which rendered it necessary that the
House should look into the state of the
representation, and should examine whe-
ther it was not expedient, from the more
general diffusion of wealth and property,
to give to wealth and property more
weight in the representative system.
From a contrast which had lately fallen
under his view he had learned, that the
county of Lancaster, with a population
amounting to little short of a million in-
habitants, sent fewer members to parlia-
ment than those which were returned by
five great families in Cornwall. This
system could not be what it ought to be.;
and some alteration in it was absolutely
necessary, if the government wished either
to retain or recover the affections of the
people. That alteration, however, ought
not to be annual parliaments or universal
suffrage; as such innovations would lead
to anarchy one day, and to military des-
potism the next. Still, though such was
his opinion, he felt himself bound to re-
commend to the House, if it wished to
avoid civil dissention, if it wished to
avoid that greatest of all evils, the shed-
ding of English blood by English hands,
to examine fairly and freely into the state
of the representation, and to show the
people that, though it would oppose all
such innovations as would tend to subvert
the constitution, it was quite alive to
that greatest of all great questions-the
propriety of giving to the people a better,
a greater, and a more general control
than they now possessed bver parliament,
by extending, to a certain degree, the
power of suffrage [Hear!]-He could
not conclude the remarks which he had
to offer to their notice, without earnestly
imploring them to pause before they de;







151] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [152


cided. No man could look at the pre-
sent state of the country without alarm,
and therefore it became doubly necessary
that they should adhere to safe counsels.
Nothing that looked like an empty display
of power, nothing that resembled a wanton
abuse of patronage, ought to be exhibited:
above all should be avoided such measures
as the dismissal of earl Fitzwilliam from
the lieutenancy of the West Riding of the
county of York; because that situation
was not bestowed on that illustrious no-
bleman as a mere honour or civic decora-
tion, but as a pledge that, though he was
employed by the Crown, he was still to
remain the servant, the faithful servant
of the people. Indeed, by adding great
virtues to his great possessions, he was also
calculated, in more ways than one, to be
their natural leader--The hon. member
then went on to say, that he cordially
supported the amendment which had been
proposed, though he hardly understood
how to tack it on to the address, since
be disputed the facts, protested against
the conclusions, and abhorred the reme-
dies which were proposed in that docu-
ment. Indeed, he did not understand
how he could support any thing which he
detested so cordially. What he wished
to obtain at present was, union among all
ranks and classes of the people; and
therefore he could not support the ad-
dress, as he considered it more calculated
than any thing else which could be devised
to spread disunion and contention among
them [Hear, hear!].
Mr. Bootle Wilbraham said, he would
not again have intruded on the notice of
the House, had it not been for certain
statements which had just fallen from the
hon. gentleman who had preceded him;
and expressed a hope that the House
would pardon him, if he transgressed a
little beyond the limits of a mere expla-
nation. He allowed that the hon. gentle-
man had one advantage over him: he
(Mr. B. Wilbraham) had not been at
Manchester at all this year, whereas the
hon. gentleman had been there for some
weeks.
Mr. Bennet.-I was not there for
twenty-four hours.
Mr. Bootle Wilbraham.-He knew,
however, that the solicitor who had con-
ducted the prosecution at Oldham had
been frequently with the hon. member,
and therefore that he was well acquainted
with the evidence which had been given
'there. The hon. gentleman had applied


to him regarding some facts which'-were
stated to have occurred before the grand
jury: those facts he did not feel himself
at liberty to communicate, from having
been upon it. He would, however, read
to them one instance of falsehood, out of
many, which had been communicated to
him by a noble friend. The House would
recollect the indictment which had been
presented against Edward Tebbutt, by
Elizabeth Farren, who had been hurt in
consequence of having fallen into a cellar.
After Pearson's fishing advertisement for
indictments, this woman had said she was
cut by a man in large whiskers; whereas,
Tebbutt never had large whiskers in the
course of his life.
Mr. Egerton said, that he should not be
doing his duty to the magistrates of the
county which he had the honour to re-
present, if he did not declare, that they
were as anxious as the House could be to
have an inquiry instituted into their con-
duct; at the same time he thought it right
to say, that this was not the proper court
in which to institute such an inquiry. If
their conduct was investigated in the
proper court, and evidence regularly
heard regarding it, he had no doubt but
that they would come out of such investi-
gation with the purest and most unsullied
characters. The worthy member then
detailed the proceedings of the magistracy
of the two counties of Lancaster and
Chester, previous to the 16th of August,
as also the military array and tumultuous
march of the reformers on that day; and
argued, that if the magistrates had not
dispersed them in the manner they did,
they would have incurred a most dreadful
responsibility. He also urged, that all
the injuries sustained on that day ought
not to be attributed to the magistracy,
because, whenever a panic was created
among a large multitude, the rush to es-
cape was always attended by dangerous
consequences.
Sir W. De Crespigny' said, that the
best way in which he could characterise
the dispersion of the meeting at Man-
chester by the magistrates and yeomanry,
was by calling it an illegal attack upon
an unarmed multitude [Coughing.]
He trusted that the House, upon so mo-
mentous a question as the present, would
support him, whilst he mentioned certain
facts, which he pledged himself to be able
to prove at the bar of the House. A
venerable gentleman, a clergyman, had
gone to the meeting out of curiosity and







, Nov. 24, 1819. [154


a desire to see Hunt. He had waded
through the crowd till he arrived at the
hustings, and just as he got there, Hunt
ascended them. Having satisfied his
curiosity, he was departing, when he was
induced to turn round, by bearing a body
of cavalry advancing with great velocity.
The yeomanry halted; a short address
was made to them; and then a voice called
on them to advance. Shortly afterwards
he saw Hunt taken, the flags struck down,
and the yeomanry turning their havoc
upon their own countrymen and towns-
men. He then endeavoured to make his
escape as fast as his feeble limbs could
carry him, by the street opposite to the
hustings. When he got there, he found
the soldiers posted across the street; he
asked them to let him pass; they refused,
and forced him back to the field from
which he had just escaped; he went back
in the expectation that be should imme-
diately be cut down. Whenhe got there,
he recollected that he had a friend who'
lived on the spot; to his house he directed
his steps, and was fortunately seen by his
friend whilst on the road. The door was
opened to receive him, when a yeoman
pursued him so eagerly, that he forced
his horse up to the steps. From all this,
he was of opinion, that inquiry was ne-
cessary; and he could not think that any
gentleman in that House could bring
himself to vote against the amendment.
Was there one man in that House, was
there one man without that House, who
did not. demand an investigation of mat-
ters so deeply affecting the dearest in-
terests of the nation ? He would con-
clude by seconding the amendment, which
was essential to the defence of the rights
of the Crown, of the people, and of the
constitution.
Lord Nugent observed, that his ma-
jesty's ministers had asserted that the
meeting on the 16th of August was illegal.
But, not satisfied with asserting the illega-
lity of the meeting, they had asserted that
the illegality had been admitted by his hon.
and learned friend who had spoken last
night. He most unequivocally denied this
assertion. No such admission had been
made. He allowed that if the noble lord
opposite established-his statements, then
the meeting was illegal; but the proof of
those statements depended upon the re-
result of an inquiry. If on inquiry the
noble lord's statements should be made
out, all would be satisfied. But inquiry
was indispensable for this purpose. The


noble lord's evidence was not admissible
on the subject. It was not admissible in
the first place, because it was not evidence
in chief, but the remote testimony of con-
sequential circumstances. It was not ad-
missible in the second place, because the
noble lord had made himself a party to the
transaction in question, by giving his
approbation, when that approbation could
not be the result of investigation and in-
quiry. Stress had been laid on the grand
jury of Lancaster having thrown out the
bills of indictment against the magistrates,
as if the grand jury had been trying the
legality or illegality of the meeting. But
no such thing had come under the consi-
deration of the grand jury. They were
called upon to inquire only into the
grounds for putting certain individuals on
their trial for a capital offence, he believed,
under lord Ellenborough's act. Could
the noble lord suppose that' the grand
jury could, on such an occasion, have
gone into all the circumstances of the
meeting? But, granting that they had,
and that they were of opinion that the
meeting had been illegal, he begged to be
allowed to say, that the unanimous decla-
ration of another jury, upon evidence on
both sides of the question before them-
he meant the coroner's jury-had pro-
nounced the meeting to have been legal.
The opinion of the latter jury was at least
equal to that of the former on this ques-
tion, admitting the former to have de-
clared the meeting illegal. But supposing
it demonstrable that the meeting had not
been legal, even then, granting that, and
granting that the Riot act had been read,
audibly and sensibly to the audience, and
granting further that one hour had
elapsed after it was so read before the
dispersion, still not one step was taken to-
wards exculpating ministers for their
hasty approval of those proceedings. The
case before them was of the greatest im-
portance. A meeting had been put down
by the sword-a meeting assembled to
discuss objects which every enlightened
and honest man must endeavour to pre-
vent, but legally assembled to discuss
those objects; such a meeting was dis-
persed by the sword. He would not
state it as a case of rumour of bloodshed,
of the ignorant, the unwary, and the
helpless-men, women, and children mix-
ed in indiscriminate carnage. It was not
necessary to state it so as to excite feel-
ings perhaps already too prevalent. But
it was a case which called imperiously for


.at the` Opehing:cslsh Sission.






1553 HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [156


the explanation of one thing-why mili-
tary force had been at all employed. And
if military force was to be employed, why
the Manchester yeomanry, the most im-
proper of any, were employed Useful
as yeomanry corps might be, attached as
he was to such means of defence, he
must say that the yeomanry were the
most improper that could be employed on
this occasion. Many of them were under
the influence and direction of prejudiced
men; many were themselves masters, of-
fended and irritated by their workmen;
all had feelings of affection or hatred to
gratify, Here be would state a fact
which he had from the most respectable
authority-an authority which he pledged
himself to produce at the bar of that
House, if inquiry was granted; upon that
authority he stated that rations of wine.
and brandy had been issued to these
men before they were called upon to per-
form this business. Such, indeed, had
been the treatment received by the con-
stables from the soldiery, that several of
them assembled next day and broke their
staves, declaring that they would no
longer act under the magistrates. He did
not mean to say that they, in doing so,
were right, but he mentioned the circum-
stance to show the feelings entertained of
the conduct of the magistrates. He
pledged himself to produce to the House
his authority for this fact also, if an op-
portunity should be given for doing so.
Upon the fact, then, that many lives were
lost by the sword, his Royal Highness was
advised to give thanks to those whose
swords those lives had been taken away.
The House had been told that these cir-
cumstances were not a fit matter of in-
quiy by parliament-that the courts of
law were open to the sufferers; but let
the House recollect the quarter from
which this statement came. Who was
the great authority who, now pointed to
this resource? Who was this ultima ratio
juris? Why, it was the very authority
who two years ago had introduced indem-
nity bills for the purpose of preventing all
legal redress! Let it be also recollected
that when actions were brought against
lord Sidmouth and other magistrates, this
high authority told them. that juries were
not the fit tribunal for such questions.
Then they were to come to parliament
with their complaints. The language of
ministers then was-" these are not mat-
ters to be decided, in a court of law, that
i4 not the proper tribunal, come to parlia-


ment, there it is that you are to look for
redress." But what was their language
now? You have no right to discuss
these matters in parliament, the courts of
law are the proper tribunals to which to
appeal! Thus, as it suited their conve-
nience, ministers drew directly opposite
conclusions from the same premises. But
was this to be tolerated? Was there to be
one law for the magistrates and another
for the people ? What did the address re-
commend? Was the liberty of the press
to be limited ? Were bills to be introduced
to give magistrates indemnity for the. past
and security for the future? Was the
Habeas Corpus Act again to be suspend-
ed? He sincerely hoped thar no attempt
would be made to resort to any of those
measures. Again, it had been urged that
there was a spirit of blasphemy and irreli-
gion widely disseminated through the
country. Was this a fact? That there
was a feeling of dissatisfaction in the
country he admitted; but from what did
it arise? Let them not mistake causes for
effects. This spirit was created by mis-
government. The people of this country
were naturally of a religious, peaceable,
and loyal disposition, and generally de-
sirous to obey the laws. This had ever
been their character. What was it that
had changed their character? He was
sorry to hear the hon. member for Bram-
ber, on a former night, support with that
eloquence which was so peculiar to him,
the opinion that blasphemy and irreligion
so generally prevailed. The hon. mem-
ber's religious horror seemed to have over-
come the conviction of fact and evidence.
But he hoped that, upon more deliberate
consideration, the hon. member would
suffer himself to be convinced of the pro.
priety and justice of inquiring into the
circumstances of the transactions in ques-
tion. Let him look at the trial of that
poor wretch who had stood charged with
publishing blasphemy; let him look at
the effect of blasphemies on the crowd
assembled in the court ; let him recollect
the thrill of horror which was excited
among them; let him recollect the instant
verdict of guilty found against him, while
no sympathy or regret was expressed by
the spectators. Let the hon. member
look at these things, and he would find in
them no proof of the prevalence of sedi-
tion and blasphemy, He admitted that
in a few of the manufacturing districts
there were some feelings of this kind en-
tertained; he also knew that there were







157]


at the Opening of the Sessio


persons who for certain purposes pre-
tended to do honour to the rotten bones
of the infamous Paine. But how were
these opinions to be met ? Alas! not by
chains, and dungeons, and bayonets.
The remedy was, employment for the la-
borious poor. Let ministers take mea-
sures to revive our manufactures; let them
open commercial treaties with South
America in the one hemisphere, or oblige
our faithful ally on the other to open her
ports to our trade. He congratulated
the House on having assembled so early;
but in order to be of use, they must meet
the difficulties fairly which pressed upon
them. They must look the situation of
the country in the face, and induce minis-
ters to do the same. Let ministers look
fairly at the situation which they had
themselves occasioned. Their measures;
had given rise to principles, and called
forth characters, previously unknown in
this country. Let them now look at
those principles and characters which
their misgovernment had brought into
action. Let them look at the poor meet-
ing to petition for objects which, if grant-
ed, would soon present the image of ruin
to the country and to themselves. But
they must also look to the causes of these
evils. Let them find confidence to say,
and let them find an audience to believe,
that these things were owing to the sedi-
tion and turbulence of such men as lord
Fitzwilliam. They had been told that
this subject did not belong to that House.
It did, however, most evidently belong to
the very question now before them; for
that noble earl had been dismissed for pe-
titioning for the very same inquiry, the
expediency of which was now under dis-
cussion. To say one word upon the cha-
racter of that illustrious person was indeed
unnecessary. But when they saw a no.
bleman dismissed whose whole life formed
the basis of his popularity, and dismissed
for an act deserving thanks from his so-
vereign and his country, it was impossible
not to view. the occurrence as an indica-
tion of the character of the transactions
at Manchester, and of the intentions of
ministers. When ministers attempted to
degrade lord Fitzwilliam for exptep)ing
old English jealousy of military attacks
on the people, they degraded only them-
selves. Let the House consider the pur-
pose for which they met. If they sepa-
rated without inquiry, they. might give
rise to violence and bloodshed, which
every member of that House must depre-


n. Nov. 24, 1819. [158
cate. Let it not go forth to the public,
that a number of persons were killed, that
his majesty's ministers issued thanks to
those who had killed them, and came to
that House and desired the House to
make itself a party to screening them;
and that the House consented to suppress
inquiry for that purpose.
Mr. Warren remarked, that the hon.
members on the other side had set out by
admitting the illegality of the meeting on
the 16th of August, but having slept upon
the matter, they now came down with a
retraction of that admission. Notwith-
standing this, however, he had no doubt
but he should satisfy the House of the
illegality of that meeting. Indeed, if any
doubt were entertained on that point, the
speech of the right hon. and learned
member' was calculated to remove it, not-
withstanding that that speech was spoken
of by another hon. and learned gentle-
man as special pleading. The hon. gen-
tleman who had opened the debate to-
night said, Where is the law ? Where is
the statute by which a meeting of the
description of the 16th is declared illte
gal ?-There was certainly no statute, if
that was any satisfaction to the hon. gen-
tleman; but his right hon. and learned
friend had argued, that the meeting was
illegal on the principles of the common
law. But he wished to call to the recol-
lection of the hon. gentleman, that letter
which was written by Mr. Hunt, the head
of the radicals-that itinerant orator, that
mountebank, as the right hon. gentleman
opposite had properly called him, before
the meeting of the 16th. At Coventry,
in his way to Lancashire, he wrote a let,
ter, in which he asserted that it was ne-
cessary to make a demonstration of phy.
sical force. If the hon. gentleman knew'
that on the 9th it was intended to add a
representative to the House from a bo.
rough, which now sent none-was that
legal Even the persons intending to as-
semble, themselves shrunk from that at-
tempt; and on the 16th, the professed
object for which the meeting was called,
was conceived in different terms. But
would any man say, that the subject dis.
cussed on the 1.6th was different from
that proposed to be taken on the 9th i
Was any man blind enough to say, that
the same object which was proposed to be
discussed on the 9th, was not in reality
discussed on the 16th? With respect to the
meeting on the 16th, it could not be de-
nied but that on that day several thousand






159] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regeot's Speecah 100


persons were assembled-some said 70,000
in all-in Manchester, with Mr. Hunt at
the head of them, and that they marched
in a sort of military array-that some of
the persons who assembled at that meet-
ing had been trained before. Let them
consider next what the banners were.
One of them had a female figure on it
with a bloody dagger in her hand-that
was necessarily connected with an altera-
tion of the law. Another had on it an
inscription of Equal Representation or
Death." Now he would ask any hon.
member, if Mr. Hunt had said to the
meeting, we will endeavour by every
means in our power to obtain an equal
representation, even if we should be put
to death in making the attempt, would
not that have been a seditious speech ?
But what was the difference between a
sentiment of this kind in the mouth of a
speaker or on a banner ? What was the
difference between words uttered in a
speech at a meeting, and words emblemed
on the banner under, which the people
met? The meeting was clearly an illegal
meeting. Then were the magistrates jus-
tified in the course which they pursued?
On the statement of circumstances calcu-
lated to excite alarm made to them on
oath, they issued a warrant to arrest Mr.
Hunth So far, at least, the magistrates
had conducted themselves with prudence
and propriety. The next question was,
as the meeting was illegal, in what
manner it was to be dispersed? If
the meeting was illegal, as he con-
ceived it was, it became the duty of the
magistrates to disperse it. The magis-
trates had two different steps to take-one
was, to arrest Mr. Hunt; another, to dis-
perse the meeting. Then came the ques-
tion, whether the manner of the dispersion
was such as to be justified by the circum-
stances which then occurred, or not?
And here he contended, that the House
was not the proper place for an inquiry
into this part of the subject, as the
courts of law were open. This was
a matter to be determined by judges and
juries, and not to be inquired into at
the bar of the House. An hon. and
learned gentleman had said, that the ma-
gistrates might have acted in such a way
as to call for an inquiry into their conduct
at the bar of the House, though the
wrong done by them might not be such
as could be taken cognizance of by courts
of law. But would any member say, that
any thing could be an offence here which


was not an offence at common law ? If
inquiry was entered on, and it should ap-
pear that criminality attached to the ma-
gistrates, what would be the result? The
House must order them to be prosecuted.
And thus, after all the evidence taken at
the bar of the House, they must be sent
back to the tribunal, out of the hands of
which the inquiry was taken. The deci-
sion of the grand jury on the bills sent up
to them was, so far, a proof that the ma-
gistrates were innocent. It had been
asked, how it happened that the attorney-
general had been able to have a variety of
bills found against a variety of persons,
while Mr. Hunt was not able to succeed
in the same object ? It had been sug.
gested, that it was because this individual
had not property sufficient to enable him
to prosecute, now, the very attempt al-
ready made by Mr. Hunt showed that
that there was money somewhere to
enable him to carry on the prosecution if
necessary. One attorney, or more had
been employed; so that it would not
appear that there was any want of money
to carry proceedings on, if they had been
thought likely to succeed. The inference
was, as no steps had been taken, that the
magistrates were innocent. This was a
prima facie case in favour of the magis--
trates. Was it to be laid down as a rule.
that whenever, by any accident, a loss of
life or limb took place, the House were
called on to interfere? A right hon,
gentleman, who spoke very early in the
debate, had said, that the House was in
such a situation from the state of the re-
presentation, that it had lost the confi-
dence of the country, and that very little
regard was paid to its decisions; and yet,
in the very same breath in which he said
the country reposed no confidence in the
House, did he propose to bring forward
this inquiry. Such was the consistency of
the right hon. gentleman.
Mr. Philips said, thatifhecomprehendedT
correctly the purport of the speech of the
hon. and learned gentleman who had just
sat down, that hon. and learned gentleman
had certainly misunderstood his hon.
friend. It did not follow, from the hon. and
learned gentleman's own showing even,
that the conduct of the magistrates of
Manchester was justifiable; because, ad-
mitting that the meeting of the 16th of
August was an illegal meeting, it did not
necessarily result that it was a riotous
one ; for although in his own view of the
law, a riotous meeting, was therefore an
a







Nov. 24, 1819. [162


illegal one, yet it was not thence to be in-
ferred, as matter of-course, that if illegal,
it must be riotous. Admitting even that
the meeting was illegal, did the magis-
trates exercise a sound discretion in pro,
ceeding as they did with that meeting; he
felt a great delicacy in delivering any opi-
nion on the conduct of the magistrates of
Manchester, because he was aware, that
the conduct of the people at Manchester
and its vicinity, some time previous to the
meeting of the 16th was such as to excite
a very general, and, as he thought, a very
well-founded alarm. The moment he
was informed of the drillings, and other
transactions carrying on in Lancashire, lhe
was convinced that they were of a cha-
racter incompatible with good order and
tranquillity; and he had no hesitation in
now declaring his belief, that never was
there a time at which it was more impor-
tant to the real welfare of the country,
that the civil authorities should be pro-
tected, supported, and upheld; and
that under the difficult circumstances in
which they were placed, the magistrates
should proceed in such a manner as to
command the approbation of all respect-
able men. He had up to this time cauti-
ously avoided doing or saying any thing
respecting the.proceedings of the 16th,
least they might be considered to pledge
him to do or say any thing on the sub-
ject; for he conceived that he had an
important duty to discharge in that
House, and that he ought not to do any
.thing which might have a tendency to
bias him on the subject, or which might
operate as an obstacle in the way of his
obtaining from individuals a communica-
tion of such facts as they might be able
to give him. In comparing the informa-
tion which he had received upon the sub-
ject-with the papers before the House-.
he did not mean to state the thing more
positively-but there did appear to him
to be such differences as authorized in-
quiry. He had his views of the facts;
but without stating what they were, he
might be allowed to observe, that it ap-
peared to him, the noble lord who had
spoken in an early part of the evening
must have been very much misinformed.
In what the noble lord had said he seemed
to have detracted very much from the
value.of.the thanks which had been given
.to. the magistrates., Now, he found it
Stated on the one hand, thatithe warrants
could not be executed without the assist-
ance of the .military power; and on the
(VOL. XLI.)


other, that an avenue was preserved from
the House where the magistrates assem-
bled, up to, or very nearly up to, the
hustings upon which the parties were
stationed. This appeared from Mr. Hay's
letter, It had never been clearly ex-
plaine4 what was the motive upon which
the magistrates had acted in that case. 'It
would have been surely advisable, before
the military aid was called in, to have
tried whether, by means.of this avenue,
the warrants, as had been stated to be the
fact, could not have been executed by the
civil power alone. It had never been as-
serted, that in the first instance an at-
tempt was made to execute the warrants,
without the military, and that such at-
tempt failed. It had been asserted, that
the persons who were near the hustings
were locked arm in aim, and that. it was
on that account impossible to approach
the hustings. On the other hand it, had
been said, that the persons in question
were locked arm.in arm t6 preserve a
space open to the hustings. But whatever
was the fact, it would at least have been
adviseable to see whether the warrant
could not be executed by the civil power
alone, before calling in the military. An-
other assertion which had been made was,
that the yeomanry, in their attempt to
seize Mr. Hunt, were assaulted and re-
sisted. .It was asserted on the other side,
that no resistance was made by any part
of the meeting, at least until after the
advance of the yeomanry to the hustings.
Persons who went there merely to make
their own observations, not one of whom
approved of the meeting, but even disap-
proved of it as much as he himself did,
and were friendly to ministers, did assure
him that not a single stone was thrown in
the advance of the yeomanry to the hust-
ings. This was a fact of infinite import-
ance. What, he would ask, was to have
prevented the civil power, when there was
no opposition to the advance of the yeo-
manry to the hustings? The noble lord
had said, that the magistrates read the
proclamation in the Riot act three times
over, in order that the persons on the
ground might be aware that the meeting
was illegal. : It was really most unfortu-
nate, however, that the poor- people as-
sembled at the meeting were not at all
aware of any such proclamation having
been made. One poor man who went
there for the protection of: his own pro-
perty which happened to be situated in. a
place immediately adjoining the house in
(M)


160]


art the Opening qf thre SesFsion.







163l HOUSE OF CQMMONS, Addrus on the Prince Regent's Speech [164


which the magistrates were, had told him
that he was on the ground from eleven
o'clock till. the meeting was over, and yet
he had never heard the Riot act read-
that no one near him had ever heard it
read-and he lhad never seen any one
who heard it read. The noble lord had
said the magistrates had no intention to
disperse the meeting in the manner it
was dispersed. Was it not, then, most
unfortunate, if the Riot act was read to
give notice that the meeting was illegal,
and that it would be dispersed unless
the people retired quietly from the
ground without delay, that the notice
was given in such a manner as to pre-
vent the possibility of its being heard?
Mr. Hay's letter made it extremely
doubtful when the Riot act was read,
whether it was read before the advance
of the military, or during that advance,
or after it. It contained no correct in-
formation as to the time when the Riot
act was actually read. He really could
apply no particular meaning to the letter
-it- was impossible for him to judge,
either what time the Riot act was read, or
what time the resistance on the part of
the people began. On this subject,
therefore, it was impossible for him to
form a judgment without farther facts-
and he therefore conceived that an inquiry
into the case became necessary. It did
appear to him that an inquiry by the
House of Commons was the only manner
in which'the popular irritation which now
existed could be allayed; or justice done
in the matter. The situation in which
the magistrates had been placed was cer-
tainly extremely arduous, and he should
be extremely rejoiced to find from the
result of such an inquiry, that they had
exercised that sound discretion which
every one would wish they might prove
to have done. He considered that the
House would not perform the duty they
owed to themselves and to the country, if
they did not direct such an investigation
to be instituted; and he called upon them
to remember what had been said upon
that point by a well-known, able, and
luminous writer, the power of whose ora-
tory had often been felt within those
walls: "A vigilant and jealous eye over
executory and judicial magistracy; an
anxious care of public money, an open-
ness approaching towards facility to pub-
lic complaint: these seem to be the true,
characteristics of a House of Commons.
,But an addressing House of Commons and


a petitioning nation; A House of Com-
mons full of confidence, when the nation
is plunged in despair ........ who, in all
disputes between the people and adminis-
tration, presume against the people; who
punish their disorders, but refuse even to
inquire into the provocations to them-
this is an unnatural, a monstrous state of
things in such a constitution." He really
could see no danger from an inquiry. At
all events an inquiry could not throw the
public mind into a more alarming state
than that in which it was. The working
people had been taught to believe that
their condition would be benefitted by that
species of reform which they supported,
and they were, therefore, disposed to do all
they could to promote it. They were zea-
lous, he granted, in furthering the object
they had in view. Therewere indeed, some
who might endeavour to increase the ex-
citing discontent, for the purpose of push.
ing the poor people on to objects which
they did not contemplate; but though
there might be individuals who had such
mischievous intentions, he could not be-
lieve that the many thousands who advo*
cated parliamentary reform, were not sin-
cere in.their objects. In the manufacture.
ing districts, a great and most lamentable
change had taken place. The people,
from receiving high wages had come to
receive low wages. If their condition was
the same as it formerly was, the House
would have heard nothing of this discon-
tent. But they must not deceive them-
selves-the real difficulty they had to con-
tend with was the severity of taxation,
operating on all classes, but most on the
lower classes. Low as wages were in
England, they were still lower on the
continent; but then on the continent pro-
visions were cheaper. This was the difli-
culty. But what was the remedy ? It was
not easy, he confessed, to find one. But
at all events every retrenchment which
was practicable ought to be made. Even
when the retrenchment was comparatively
of a trifling amount, yet for the sake of
principle, it ought to be made. But he
was sorry to say, that even the most
trifling savings, were always opposed,
however frivolous the grounds on which
such opposition was made. Nothing
tended more to spread discontent among
the people than this disposition on the
part of government. He did really be-
lieve, that in the manufacturing districts
it was almost universally supposed, that
nothing but .plunder and the grossest pe-







Nov. 24, 1819. [l6


culation were going forward. This was a
gross infatuation, he was ready to allow,
but still it was believed; and he thought
that the House of Commons were called
upon to show by their conduct that they
were entitled to the confidence of the
country. The House- of Commons, by
their conduct on one important subject,
might regain that confidence, he meant,
by agreeing to that reform which was now
so generally desired. He knew he was
delivering a very unpopular doctrine. But
.if it was not popular in the House, it was
very popular out of it, not merely with the
lower classes, but he believed with an in-
finite majority of the middling classes
throughout the country; and in all our
difficulties we must.rely on the exertions
of the middling classes. He believed an
infinite majority of the middling classes
were for a moderate and temperate con.
stitutional reform. And why should par-
liament be unwilling to consent to such a
reform ? Why should not the representa-
tion be suited to the varying circumstances
of the country ? It would certainly be a
most wonderful circumstance if they had
-had the good luck to hit upon that repre-
sentation which would not admit a possi-
bility of advantageous change. We our-
selves had witnessed a very important
change in the representation of Ireland,
which had become more popular, without
any bad effect having resulted from it.
What great mischief could arise if Scot-
land were gratified-if an attempt were
made to improve its representation-if
that could be called representation which
was not representation ? What great harm
could happen if the representation of
some of the notoriously corrupt and trad.
ing boroughs were transferred to Man-
chester, Birmingham, and some other
places? He believed, if a serious attempt
at this sort of constitutional amendment
were made, it would do more to put down
the evil disposition which he was sorry to
say did exist in some districts, than any
other course which could be adopted. It
had been wisely said, that the bulk of
mankind were little curious about any
theories when they were happy, and that
it was a sure proof of a misconduct on the
part of those who governed them, when a
whole people were discontented. The
advice which the noble marquis who spoke
last night, gave the House, and which was
w-orthy of the noble family to which he
belonged, was most judicious, and every
.way deserving of their attention.


The Solicitor General 'confessed, that
the course of observations which had been
pursued by the hon. member for Shrews-
bury, appeared to him to afford a practi-
cal illustration of the mischief of indulging
in comments on the proceedings at Man-
chester. There was a judicial proceeding
at this moment depending before the
coroner, which might affect the lives of
the individuals, against whom it was di-
rected. That proceeding had'been ad-
journed at a certain stage, evidence hav-
ing been heard on the one side, and par-
tially only on the other, in consequence of
most unjustifiable conduct on the part of
some persons, tending to pervert the due
course of justice. It was a proceeding
which had been for, a time deferred.
While, however, it was yet pending, posr
sessing as it did so grave a character, an
hon. member hAd thoughthimselfjustified
in bringing before that House, and through
,he House before the public, a part only
of such evidence, coupled with inflamma-
tory statements, tending to defeat the
ends of justice in a manner almost un-
precedented. The whole system of pro-
ceeding adopted by honourable gentlemen
on this occasion was most extraordinary.
He felt a great satisfaction at the tone and
temper adopted by the gentlemen on the
other side of the House, with respect to
the character of the meeting of the 16th,
in the course of the debate of lait night.
For three long months the country had
been told, in every form in which it could
be told, that that was a peaceful and legal
meeting; and that the magistrates were
not justified in interfering with it. He
felt, therefore, grateful for the observa-
tions of yesterday, by the gentlemen on
the other side, beginning with the right
hon. gentleman who opened the debate,
in which it was implied at least that the
meeting was illegal [Mr. Tierney here
said across the table, I never said any
thing of the kind."]-He had not said
that the right hon. gentleman stated the
meeting was illegal; but, from the course
of observations pursued, it was quite clear,
as he thought, what was passing in his
mind on the subject. The hon. gentle-
man who succeeded him had not stated
that it possessed a legal character. -Of
how much consequence would it have
been to their argument, if they had stated
it was a legal meeting. When, therefore,
they did not take that course, it was a fair
presumption, they considered the meeting
illegal. But an hon. and learned friend


165]


at thre Opening ofthe Session.-







167] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [168


of his had not'been so guarded-he had
admitted, in the most distinct and unqua-
lified manner, that the meeting was not of
an illegal character-he had not only al-
lowed, in the outset of his speech, but
afterwards, in the most unqualified terms,
in the course of it, that it was an illegal
meeting. '
Mr. Scarlet rose to order. He ap-
pealed to the chair whether, after the ex-
planation which he had given last night in
consequence of what he supposed an invo-
luntary misunderstanding of what he said,
any hon. member was justified in repeat-
ing the misrepresentation.
Mr. Bankes said, that the interruption
was irregular on the part of the hon. and
-learned gentleman. It certainly was not
competent to any member to interrupt
another member while speaking (though
it was sometimes done by permission of
the member. speaking), in order to explain
any misrepresentation, but it was compe-
tent afterwards to rise and give the ex-
planation.
The Speaker concurred in his opinion.
If for convenience, or by courtesy, an op-
portunity was allowed a member to cor-
rect any misunderstanding of a member
addressing the House, this was to be
thankfully received; but though it was an
ordinary courtesy of the House to allow a
mis-statement or misapprehension to be
instantly corrected, as often saving time
and further misapprehension, this could
not be demanded as a right by any mem-
ber.
The Solicitor-General continued, if his
hon. and learned friend had waited forth
sequence of his assertion, he would have
qndeavoured to show that his hon. and
learned friend was not warranted in the
premises he had assumed. He had as-
sumed that the meeting was not illegal on
the statement of the noble lord. He would
recall to the 'memory of his hon. and
learned friend what that statement re-
ferred to. The facts mentioned by the
noble lord all related to the events which
had occurred after the meeting had as-
sembled. His hon. and learned friend
had thrown out an argument of an extra-
ordinary character, viz. that an impres-
sibn had gone abroad that the ministers
S'were determined to put down meetings
S for redress of grieVances by force of arms,
and he had hinted that the legal advisers
of the Cr6wn might have been the cause
of this determination.' What' did his hon.
and )'earned friend find in the character of


the legal advisers of. the Crown to coun-
tenance such an idea? He;felt himself
bound not to let such an insinuation pass
without repelling it. It had hitherto been
the policy of the gentlemen on the other
side to pass lightly over the question of
the legality of the-meeting of the 16th, to
create an erroneous impression, that the
magistrates without sufficient warrant
" let loose," as the phrase was, the mili-
tary on the people.. It was impossible to
judge the magistrates fairly without exa-
mining the character of that meeting.
That it was an illegal meeting alone might
not be deemed sufficient by the House to
warrant the proceedings which had taken
place; but to him it was completely evi-
dent that the character of the meeting
was almost treasonable, and that the ma-
gistrates were not only justified, but that
they-would have been guilty of a com-
plete dereliction of their duty if they had
taken a course different from that which
they had. As other parts of the argu-
ment had been exhausted, he should, refer
briefly to the facts on which his inference
was-founded that the meeting was.illegal.
He should go back to the time of the pro-
rogation of parliament. The moment the
parliament was prorogued, the reformers
commenced their operations. This he
asserted, not from private information,
but from the acts and documents of the
reformers themselves. No sooner had
that event taken place, but meetings were
held, most alarming in their numbers and
the nature of their proceedings. The
avowed object of them was reform, on
the principle of annual parliaments, uni-
versal suffrage and vote by ballot; in
other words, the overthrow of the consti-
tution. The meetings were conducted by
persons who made a trade of attending
them; by persons holding the most in-
flammatory and seditious language-
" The parliament had forfeited its claim
to obedience-the prince had forfeited
his claim toallegiance -Charlesand James
had been, one beheaded, the otherexiled,
and the present sovereign must meet with
the fateof one orother;"-thiswas the lan-
guage used, not on one,but onevery occa-
sion, and it was promulgated and enforced
in publications, in a cheap form, circulated
with an activity, of which the House
could have no conception. The over-
throw of the government by- physical
force was over and over avowed as a le-
gitimate object. Another formidable
engine was found in the union societies,







169]


at the Opening ofthe Sessio


who corresponded with one another, and
acted in concert, than which nothing could
be imagined more dangerous to a state.
This.was the state of affairs at the begin-
ning of August, and it was then that a
meeting was planned in order to use their
own language, to make a display of their
force, and to overawe their adversaries.
In judging of the character of a transac-
tion, it was of use to look to that of the
actors. An individual was sent for, who
had no connexion with the county of
Lancaster, Mr. Hunt. To show that the
meeting had not merely an illegal, but a
traitorous character, they should look to
the conduct of this person. Hunt was
the person who had presided at a meeting
held in July, in Smithfield, in which reso-
lutions were passed, that the parliament
was not entitled to the obedience of the
country, that after a certain time the laws
should not be obeyed, and that the na-
tional debt impudently so called," was
not binding on the nation. It had been
argued that the law officers had not been
mindful of their duty, in allowing such
resolutions to pass unnoticed. The law
officers had not been negligent, they had
endeavoured to obtain evidence, to con-
nect the resolutions with the principal
actors, in order to proceed by criminal
information; but it was only on the eve
of the 16th of August, that they had ob-
tained that evidence, and it was only on
account of the events of that day, which
seemed to be on a greater scale, that
the prosecution was given up. This was
the person who was selected to preside at
that meeting. Another person of the
name of Harrison was present at that
meeting, of whom the public had heard
much. It had been thrown out, that this
person had been allowed to retire from
Stockport, that the warrant against him
might be executed at the meeting in Lon-
don, This was not correct. He ab-
sconded, and the officers who followed
him-first found him on the hustings at the
Smithfield meeting. This Mr. Harrison,
the day before the 16th August, was
haranguing the people at Stockport, who
intended to be present at the meeting,
andinsisted that parliament ought not to
be obeyed. Another individual was pre-
sent whom they had heard of, Mr. John-
son; he. was not present at Smithfield,
but he had sent a letter to that meeting,
in which he declared, that he would be
satisfied with nothing less than annual
parliaments, universal suffrage, and vote


n. Nov. 24, 1819. [170
by ballot, and that the reformers in the
North were in ecstacy at being joined by
their brethren in the South. Another in-
dividual was Mr. Carlile, to whom he
would not allude merely on account of
the offences of which he had been found'
guilty. This individual had a shop in the
metropolis, on which had been inscribed
Office for the Sale of Republican and
Deistical Works. He conducted "pas a
paper called the Republican. .le knli
not whether it had met the obseiration of
gentlemen in that House; for it was the
peculiar evil of these cheap publications,
that while they found a circulationamong
the classes most exposed to their noxious
influence, they had no circulation among
those whose information might enable
them to expose and counteract them. '-In
this publication he had poured forth his
sentiments profusely-" We had a mock
king, and a mock parliament-it was now
time to take up arms to play the man."-
These were no unfavorable samples, they
were rather tame and insipid compared
with the general character of the work.
There was a letter addressed particularly
to the soldiery, in which he told them they
were bound to obey the king, but not a
boroughmongering faction, for that was
the name which this writer gave to a fac-
tion which was supposed to rule over this
House, but under that name he included
all legal authorities. Such were,the. per-
sons who were invited to attend a meeting
called under these circumstances. Ano-
ther fact to show the character of the
meeting, was, that persons for weeks pre.
viously, had assembled in the night, and
in retired places, 5 or 6,000 ata time, to
learn the military exercise. This, fact
was at first doubted, and it' s asserted
to be only a fiction of government for
their own purposes; but the matter was
placed beyond controversy by the evi-
dence of persons who had witnessed, and
who were severely ill-used for having
come to view those drillings. The asser-
tion of Hunt with respect to those-meet-
ings was, that the men were only ''.play-
ing at soldiers;" that they had nothing
else to do, and resorted to this practice
for amusement; but it was most im-
portant to consider, that a great many of
the persons so engaged were men who
had served in the line or in the locq or
general militia, andthat they went through
their exercises as well as the most dis-
ciplined troops. From the papers on,he
table, however it would appear that mere







171] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [172


amusement was not the object they had
in view, for it was proved that they in-
tended to resist the soldiers on the 16th
of August. On the- morning of that day
most of the shops in Manchester were
shut, and at an early hour large columns
of men were seen with music and flags
(of which he would speak presently),
marching to the town in different direc-
tions-not arm in arm, for the sake of
order, as had been asserted, but in regular
military array, commanded by officers, and
obeying their orders with all the regu-
larity of disciplined soldiers. They did
not proceed immediately to the hustings;
that would not have answered their ob-
ject; but marched through various parts
of the town, taking their station at par-
ticular points, and waiting the arrival of
more troops. Now, he would assert, that
if any number of men assembled, so as to
excite terror in the minds of peaceable
subjects, such an assembly was in point
of law Pllegal, and in fact a riot. There
were many authorities which he might
cite for this opinion, but he would only
mention one. It was that of a great
lawyer and distinguished judge: he meant
lord Holt-a man who had been pre-emi-
nently distinguished as a friend to the li-
berties of the people. He trusted the
House would bear this opinion in mind,
and referring it to the meeting which took
place on the 16th, they would find it
exactly applicable to the character of that
meeting. The meeting assembled as he
had described, was arrayed under banners;
one was inscribed Universal Suffrage
and Annual Parliaments and Election by
Ballot;" that is to say, an overthrow of
the constitution. This was the object;
the means were explained by other
banners:-" Let us die like men, and
not be sold like slaves ;" Equal Repre-
sentation or Death." The evident mean-
ing of the whole united was, that they
would have no compromise; that they
would have equal representation at the
hazard of their lives. Could any one
doubt that such inscriptions, sanctioned
as they must have been, by the immense
assemblage before whom they were car-
ried, were calculated to strike terror into
all peaceable subjects ? The magistrates,
then, had no discretion on the subject;
they were bound both by common and
by statute law to disperse such a meeting.
The civil power was called out, and a
military force stationed to aid them if
necessary: for as lord Holt said, in the


opinion on this Subject to which he had
alluded, Who can moderate the event ?
who can foresee the result ?" Yet the
magistrates acted with a caution ap-
proaching to timidity. They had on that
day received communications as to the
nature and object of the meeting, from
several of the most respectable inhabitants
of the town; and on these they had
granted the warrant to apprehend the
parties. He had heard it said, Why
arrest them then ? Why not wait till the
meeting was over? To this he would
say, Why should they have waited?
Were they to have waited till the speeches
of the several orators had produced their
effect on the surrounding crowds? Why
wait until the mischief had broken out ?
If they had done so, and violent disorders
had ensued, what would have been said
on the other side ? Why, that there had
been a neglect of duty, and we should
have heard of the expediency of filing
criminal informations for that neglect.
What had been the consequence in the
riots in 1780, when the magistrates had
been so neglectful of their duty ? What
was the case three years ago in Spa-fields.
The orators were allowed to assemble;
they did so, and one of them jumped from
the hustings, called upon the multitude
to follow him, and the result was that
the metropolis was thrown into alarm and
confusion for four or five hburs. But it
was said, why not try the civil power ?
He answered, that there were many things
which it was not necessary to try, because
it was evident they could not succeed.
Nadin the officer declared that it was
impossible to execute the warrant without
the assistance of the military. The men
were united six deep about the hustings.
The hustings had originally been placed
in a different part of the field, and a dou-
ble line of special constables was opened
to it, but this did not suit the purpose of
the directors of the meeting; the hustings
were removed, and this cordon was form-
ed round it to cut off communication.-
The -yeomanry troops, before they had
attempted to strike a blow, were attacked
by the crowd with stones and brickbats,
some of them unhorsed and their horses
thrown. At this time the 15th hussars
came on the ground, and colonel Dal-
rymple was requested to send some assist-
ance to rescue the yeomanry. Here was
a riot created in resistance to a warrant.
It had been said, that excess had been
committed. Why, if it had, were the






Nov. 24, 1819. [174


magistrates to be blamed? They had not
ordered such excess; and if it was said
to have been committed by. the soldiers,
was there not a coroner's inquest sitting,
to inquire into the charges against these
sodieirs? .The grand jury had, it was
said, thrown out some bills preferred
against those soldiers; was not that a
primafacie case in their favour ? What-
ever the events of the 16th of August
were, no inference could be drawn from
it, as to the inclination of the ministers
to suppress meetings by force, for except
that a meeting was to take place, they
had no previous knowledge of the ar-
rangements of that day. Whatever the
magistrates did, was done by their own
authority, with a view to guard against
the mischiefs which were apprehended
from the meeting.
Mr. Scarlett, in explanation, denied
having ever said, or meant to say, that
his hon. and learned friend, the solicitor-
general, or his hon. and learned colleague,
had advised his majesty's ministers to re-
sort to military force against the people.
From all he had known of his hon. and
learnedfriend, hebelieved him incapable of
such conduct, unless, indeed, his opinions
had lately undergone a very material
alteration.
Sir Francis Burdett said, it was not his
intention to trespass long on the indul-
gence of the House; at the same time, he
should feel himself guilty of a dereliction
of-his duty as a member of that House,
if he did not accept the invitation which
had been thrown out, and speak his mind
freely and plainly on the very critical cir-
cumstances in which, it was admitted on
all hands, the country was at present
placed. With respect to the causes of
the difficulties and the dangers of the
country, he differed in opinion from many
of the hon. gentlemen who had preceded
him. The causes were now too obvious
to escape the observation of any enlight-
ened person not interested in that system
of wasteful expenditure which had brought
upon the country an amount of taxation
which it was not able to bear, and to
which some gentlemen ascribed that dis.
affection which was said to prevail in the
country-a disaffection which, if it really
existed (and he.denied its existence to
the extent alleged), must be remedied by
measures very different from those which
were likely to benow proposed. In cases
of rooted evil-like this, wise men would
looked to the cause, while ignorant men


would resort, 'not to a correction of the
cause, but to palliatives which were ulti-
mately productive of a greater evil than
that which they. were intended to dimi-
nish. A great many strange assertions
had been made in the course of the de-
bate, some which would formerly have
been deemed inconsistent with constitu-
tional doctrines; some which even, when
he was first a member of that House,
would not have been hazarded, or if
hazarded, would have been received with a
disapprobation, that would have prevented
repetition. There had been so many
contradictory statements of facts, so many
contradictory modes of argument, on the
question before the House, that the
necessity ofinquiry was sufficiently proved
by those who opposed it. Among the
reasoners upon the subject, there had
been two, whose arguments might be
classed together, the hon. qnd learned
gentleman who, last spoke and his, hon.
and learned friend, if he would now per-
mit him to call him so, the chief justice
of Chester. He had been long enough a
member of that House not to be surprised
at any thing, but nothing could be more
calculated to surprise him than to witness
his hon. and learned friend rising to make
that speech which it had been his good
fortune or bad fortune to hear: for from
what he'had formerly known of that hon.
and learned gentleman, he should have
expected very different sentiments from
him. The speeches of those two hon.
and learned gentlemen were in direct
contradiction to the speech of the noble
lord. The rightehon. gentlezien on the
other side might perhaps congratulate
themselves on the accession of legal aid
Which they had acquired, and, indeed, it
was evident that that accession to their
strength was increasing every year; but
upon great constitutional questions, he
might be permitted to say without offeqce,
that there were no members of that House
to whom he listened with less deference,
than to gentlemen of the long robe, how*
ever willingly he might bow to their au-
thority on legal questions. He certainly
did not think, that on the present occa-
sion these learned gentlemen had aided
the line of defence pursued by the noble
lord. By the. course which the noble
lord had adopted, all proceedings antece.
dent. to the arrest of Mr. Hunt were to
be put out of the 'question entirely: and
it was admitted that till, that time the
magistrates had no right .to interfere.


173]


at the.Opensng of the Session.






175] HOUSE OF COMMONS, Address on the Prince Regent's Speech [ 167


But what said the hon. and -learned gen-
tleman who had just sat down? He said
that all the meetings previous to- that of
Manchester on the 16th August had been
not only riotous and tumultuous, but
treasonable; he said that treason had
been concocted before the meeting at
Manchester took place. But where were
the proofs of this treason? "Those were
cruel times when men were traitors with-
out knowing it." The unfortunate per-
sons at Manchester were not aware of
their treason. On the contrary, they
proved by their conduct that they meant
to act consistently with the laws. It was
true, indeed, that they meant to act in
such a manner as should give effect to
the purpose of their meeting. But let
the House look at the situation of tlhe
people. Perhaps for fifty years, but in a
,more marked manner for ten or twelve,
the opinion of the people had been de-
clared in favour of a reform in parliament.
It was not his intention to enter at present
into the nature of the reform which they
required; but it would be admitted that
those opinions did not furnish a sufficient
ground for putting them to death by the
sword, and that admission was sufficient
for his argument. The hon. and learned
gentleman had said, that on former occa-
sions magistrates had not acted' with suf-
ficient promptitude and effect; but surely
it was no argument to say, that because
the people had not formerly been pub-
lished with sufficient severity, they ought
in this case to be visited with a punishment
greater than they deserved. There might
be, on the part of the executive govern-
ment, sins of omission as well as of com-
mission; and he believed they had to an-
swer for many of the former description;
but their having neglected to discharge
their duty on one occasion, could never
authorize them to exceed it on another.
The hon. and learned gentleman had
talked of the banners displayed on this
occasion as indicative of the feeling by
which the people were actuated; as if the
people had never before assembled under
banners,, expressing their sentiments.
Why, one of the most obnoxious of
these banners bore the inscription
Death or Liberty;" and that, surely,
was a sentiment inscribed on the heart
of every Briton. Whether it was desir-
able that subh meeting should take place
was quite a different question: what he
said was, that they did not afford a suffi.
cimnt cause:for subjecting the people to


military execution. They might be
made the ground for enacting new laws
but not for violating the existing laws;
The argument of the hon. and learned
gentleman was a strange prelude to the
proposal for increased legal power. Far
from showing that the power of the law
was deficient, he showed quite the con-
trary. The law, according to him, was
surely strong and severe enough. On a
great constitutional point like the pre-
sent, he was ready to meet any gentle-
man in that House or elsewhere, for such
a question required no legallknowledge;
all that was necessary was honesty,
joined to a common understanding. The
conduct of the chief justice of Chester
had greatly surprised him on this occa-
sion, and he was afraid that the learned
gentleman had been rather unfortunate in
his debut. When he considered the. great
judgment which the hon..and learned gen-
tleman had displayed on other occasions,
and his former opinions upon constitu-
tional questions (which he could never
cease to remember),' he thought it won-
derful, since the hon. and learned gentle-
man might at a future period have to decide
as judge upon the question of the Man-
chester proceedings, that he should have
thought the present a proper occasion for
declaring his opinions on the subject. The
hon. and learned gentleman had declared
that he had no doubt that the meeting
was illegal: and this point ministers had
imagined they might obtain as it were
surreptitiously, supposing thatnohon.gen-
tleman would rise to deny the illegality of
the meeting. The hon and learned gen-
tleman had argued as if the meeting at
Manchester were admitted to be illegal by
their opponents on that side of the
House; but the fact was not so; for the
argument on that side had been, that
whether the Manchester meeting were
legal or illegal, a parliamentary inquiry
should be instituted under all the circum-
stances of the case. If that meeting were
legal a fortiori such an inquiry should
take place in consequence of the extra-
ordinary means adopted to disperse it.
But was it not matter:calling for inquiry,
how.it happened that. minister should
have advised the. Prince Regent to return
such an-extraordinary, answer to the ad-
dress of the city of :Lndon, or that bis
Royal Highness should .have been per-
suaded.to express, his satisfaction at the
conduct:ofi the magistratesand.yeomanry
of Manchester.' For what was his Royal







Sat the Opening of the Sesion. Nov. 24, 1819.


Highness thus persuaded to applaud?
Not the discretion, moderation, or for-
bearance of the persons alluded to, but
their promptness in shedding the blood of
their countrymen. Yes, this was the
conduct, which, as it was held forth to
the country, gave satisfaction to the
royal breast. What responsibility was
not incurred on the part of ministers by
whose advice the Regent had been in-
duced to put forth such an extraordinary
publication? The House had been told,
that- the Riot act was read before -the
yeomanry were ordered to make a charge
upon the people. But the reading of the
Riot act did not authorize the shedding
of the blood of men, women and children.
Such a proposition could not be seriously
maintained for a moment. But how could
the reading of the Riot act warrant the
cutting down of even the peace-officers
employed by the magistrates themselves,
for some of these officers were among the
sufferers at the Manchester meeting.
Yet, where was the evidence that the
meeting was such as called for the reading
of the Riot act at all ? The mere assem-
blage of people could not be said to imply
a riot, unless such meeting appeared to
be collected for a riotous or illegal pur-
pose; or, otherwise, if a parcel of old
women assembled, it might be maintained,
that the Riot act should be read to them,
lest they should set fire to the town. The
Riot act, that disgrace to the Statute
book, was never, with all its faults, in-
tended for the purpose of authorizing
military execution. What did it say?
Did it say that if the people did not
instantly disperse, they were to be cut,
maimed, and killed indiscriminately; and
if so, that no inquiry was to be demanded?
No; it said that you were to give them
warning, to read the act, and to allow
them time to disperse. If they did not
disperse, what then was to be done ? Put
them to death? No: they were to be
taken into custody; and all violence ne-
cessary for that purpose might be used,
but they were not to be wantonly sabred,
trodden down, and shot. As to the
military, -the Riot act did not notice
them even, for, at the time it was passed,
it was never contemplated that the mili-
tary were to interfere on such occasions.
,Nothing of the kind appears in the act
itself. It was a lawyer (Lord Mansfield),
whose authority was often quoted for
maxims by no means congenial with the
British constitution, who first laid it down,
(VOL. XLI.)


that as soldiers 'did not, as such, forfeit
their privileges as citizens, they -gight be
legally employed in aid of the civil power.
But, as soldiers were now transferred from
the pale of the constitution, and placed
under an arbitrary jurisdiction, which
could enforce obedience, and impose pu-
nishment, by means unknown to our es-
tablished laws, they ought not to be em-
ployed in the manner in which lord Mans-
field and the hon. and learned gentleman
on the other side recommended. He by
no means entertained the apprehension of
the conduct of British soldiers which the
Roman poet's description of the language
of a mercenary soldier would induce-
Peetore si fratris gladium jugoloque Parentii
Condere majubeas, gravidaque in viscera Patri,
Conjugis, invita peragam tamen omnia dextra."
He was satisfied that the feeling and
principle of his military countrymen were
quite of a different description. He hoped
that no minister would ever dare to em-
ploy them for the purpose of oppressing
the people; and, if ever a minister of this
country should dare to make the attempt,
he was persuaded the soldiers would not
allow themselves to be made the instru-
ments of subverting the constitution.
Such was his firm impression.-But to
return to the Riot act, severe as that law
was, and inconsistent as it had always
been deemed with the benevolent princi-
ples of the British constitution, it was
now it seemed regarded as too lenient by
the ministers and, agents of our govern-
ment. For the Riot act did not warrant
military execution, but merely provided,
that if the people did not disperse within
an hour after that act was read, they
should be taken into custody, not to be
sabred, but to be brought to trial. Such,
however, was not the view taken of the
subject by the magistrates of Manchester,
when they let. loose the yeomanry upon
the meeting of the 16th of August.-But
it was said that the force employed on
that occasion had in view the dispersion
of a dangerous-nay, treasonable meeting.
Now, if it were the object to prevent
this meeting (and prevention would have
been much more easy than dispersion),
how came it that Mr. Hunt, who was
deemed the principal of the meeting, was
not taken into custody before the meeting
took place? If the head had been arrest-
ed, the natural probability was that the
body would not have moved. The noble
secretary for foreign affairs had made
rather a skilful defence upon theoccasiop;
(N)


177]




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