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with its (penalties, and necessarily to considerable expense, and say to required indubitable proof. The them, “ It is better for you to buy House, however, was not precluded me off than hazard the decision of by the statute law from interfering a committee of the House of Comin another manner, where it had mons.!!! He believed that the most evidence of the commission of acts of innocent borough 'in the kingdom corruption, either by electors or the might'thus be made an instrument elected, and could proceed by bill, of annoyance to its representative. or could disfranchise the borough Under the Grenvilleact, thedecision in which corruption was proved to of the committee was final ;'but, prevail. These resolutions went, under these resolutions, there was however, to all acts committed for to be a discussion and decision by eighteen months previous to the the House, after the committee presentation of a petition; and any had reported their opinion. He individual was thus at liberty, could see no necessity for this com; without expense or responsibility, plicated machinery merely to work to trouble and harrass any member out that for which the present of the House. It was true, to be mode was amply sufficient, viz. a sure, that a notice was to be sent full investigation. to the borough, or place, twenty Mr. Peel said, he would repeat days before the petition was to be the opinion which he had given considered. But were the parties upon this subject last session, that put upon an equal footing? Was if this new jurisdiction was to be it fair, that any person should be created at all, it had better be called upon to defend himself created by bill than by resolutions; against an irresponsible individual? if there were to be any interference, At the time that the Grenville act it would be infinitely wiser to was introduced, any person could make that interference effective, petition the House against a than to adopt a measure so impermember's return, and what was the fect and inoperative as those resoconsequence? Why, that petitions lutions presented. Was it not a were repeatedly presented, merely very serious consideration that the to entitle the petitioners to a seat committee, forming the tribunal under the gallery, until the decision before which this offence was to be upon their petition! That prac- tried, was without the power of tice continued, until the resolu- administering an oath ? Here was tions were passed respecting such an imperfection and an evil, for petitions as were declared to be which the resolutions made no profrivolous and vexatious. These vision whatsoever. It was, vain were the principal objections he to hope that any measure could be had to the present resolutions, but salutary or effective in its operahe also had an objection to the tion, if deficient in so important a House pledging itself to any point. A common informer might specific measures. If the House adopt the intention of instituting would entertain all such petitions such a proceeding as the resolutions as were presented, no doubt nume contemplated-might, for sevenbers would be brought before teen months and twenty-nine days, them; and there certainly were threaten the character of a respecto parties enough who would tell able corporation, and disturb the hon. members they would put them repose of an unoffending india
vidual---might then come forward passing resolutions.ru which the to prefer an unfounded charge, thought might be so framed as secure of being indemnified for his to be effective; but were they expenses, and certain of escaping sure that, if they introduced a with impunity, however unjustifi- bill, that bill would pass into able his conduct in the proceeding a law? He admitted that, in might have been. Those resoluç their present form, the resolutions provided no, penalty, howtions were not altogether unobjecever flagrant might be the course tionable'; but he was persuaded of proceeding pursued by the in- that they might be so modified as former, or his abettors. If such to remedy the evil, without cern tribunal were to be constituted at tainly going the length of inflict all, it assuredly ought to be in- ing a penalty, or imposing costs vested with the power of adminis- objects, which could be accom, tering an oath.
plished only by means of a bill. Mr. Scarlett observed, that the He thought they might be with resolutions might very possibly drawn, and again introduced in an not meet the difficulties which it amended form. ; was desirable should be overcome,
Lord Althorp adopted the sug the same time, he thought gestion of Mr. Scarlett, and with the right honourable Secretary had drew the resolutions for the taken rather a partial view of the present. question. It was alleged, that the Mr. Littleton, likewise, again parties would be exposed to long proposed the resulutions for the delay, and might be open to unjust regulation of committees on private and injurious imputations
but bills which had been passed by the surely the House had the remedy late parliament, and they were in its own hands; if it discredited now adopted with the exception of the statements, it might reject the an additional one, which provided petition. It had been stated, that that a party appealing from the the accusing party acted under no decision of the committee should peril of his own, and this objection deposit a sum of 500l. Mr. Litar he was as willing to admit as any tleton represented this addition to one could desire. Nay, he would be indispensable, as, without lity go further, and acknowledge that all the others would fail of their there e, was no mode of meeting intended effect. The more plain such an inconvenience by any re- and simple way would be, to prou solutions at all. Considering the ceed by recognizances, but that subject solely in that point of view, would require an act of parlia-t there must be a bill : without a ment; and for the course which he bill no penalty could be inflicted had adopted there was a precedent no costs could be charged--the in the deposits made to cover the subject could not be taxed without fees of officers of the House. The the consent of the other House of resolution was objected to by Mr. Parliament; but there was this Bankes, Mr. Calcraft, and others; objection to rejecting the resolu- as laying an unnecessary hardship tions in favour of a bill, that the upon a poor applicant, who might other House of Parliament might have to deposit the only money by not give its consent to the measure, which he would have been enabled The Commons had the power of to prosecute his appeal, and as
being a grievous addition to the wished, he said, to bring back the inconveniencies already arising House to the subject directly befrom the expense of private bills. fore it, and from which he thought Mr. Littleton agreed to postpone their attention was gradually straythe consideration of it till after the ing. In the discussion which had
taken place, there were two quesThere was in London a person of tions agitated, and he differed from the name of Taylor, who described some honourable members with himself as
reverend," holding, or respect to the propriety of the inhaving held a cure in the county of troduction of one of them at preSuffolk, and a Bachelor of Arts of sent. The first was, whether the Cambridge, who had argued him- House should agree to the prayer self into a disbelief of all revealed of the petition which had been religion. This person prevailed presented; and the second was, upon Mr. Hume to present a pe- whether that petition should be tition to the House of Commons received at all. On the first, he (29th November) professing his had a very strong opinion, which, disbelief in Christianity, complain- however, he would not at that ing of intolerant persecution, be- time express; but, if ever the hon. cause his oath, as being that of a gentleman followed up the petiDeist, who rejected the gospels, tion by bringing forward a bill to could not be received in a court of relieve the gentleman who comjustice, and praying “that the plained to the House from the House would decree
that he, and obligation of an oath, he would be all other persons holding similar prepared to meet the hon. gentleopinions, should be entitled to man, and to contend against him, have their evidence received, by and those who should support him, swearing upon the works of nature, for the preservation of our dearest in the same manner as all other rights, and of the best interests of testimony is now received from society. At the same time, he was persons sworn upon the gospels." not prepared to say, that it would To hold such opinions was no be wise to reject the petition alproof of a very sound head; to together, if it was respectfully make such a proposal to an assem- worded, because the House might bly of sensible, educated, legislators, not choose to agree to its prayer. , betrayed a melancholy aberration He also thought that it would not of intellect; to find a person who be right to attribute too much would not dissuade it, was a great importance to a petition of this misfortune. Yet the petition con- description. Whatever honourable taining this miserable trash was members might feel upon the subpresented to the Commons of Eng- ject, the House should restrain itland by Mr. Hume as being “ of self from the expression of any considerable importance, from its opinion upon it at present, and connexion with the rights of Bri- confine itself to the decision of the tish subjects, and the privileges of question which was immediately civil and religious liberty.” Some before it. members spoke of this strange pro- The petition was then allowed to ceeding with great warmth, but be read; but Mr. Hume's further Mr. Peel treated it with the only proposal, that it should be printed, feeling which it deserved. He was rejected by acclamation.
The last topic which occupied at the command of the priesthood. the attention of parliament before Their power was first manifested the recess, was of a very different by the desertions of whole regikind. John IV., king of Portugal, ments from the Portuguese army, was succeeded, on his death in the which found refuge within the month of March, by his 'son Don Spanish frontier. By and by the Pedro, emperor of Brazil. The leaders of the conspiracy joined constitution of Brazil had provided them, and led them back into Por'that its crown should never be tugal, in open war against the united on the same head with regency and the constitution, that of the mother country, having proclaimed Don Miguel and Don Pedro found himself king, and taken a solemn oath to called upon to choose between the maintain his rights. The details sovereignty of the European and of their progress belongs more the South American part of the properly to our foreign history: dominions of his House. Prefere at present it is sufficient to ing the Transatlantic sceptre, he say, that whenever they were resigned his European crown to compelled, by want, or by the his infant daughter, and appointed constitutional troops, to re-cross a regency to govern during her the frontier, they were not only minority. At the same time, he received and protected by the had remodelled the old political Spanish authorities-but, with the institutions of Portugal, and given knowledge and authority, and to it a constitution in the form of partly at the expense of the a representative government. This Spanish government, they were constitution, springing neither again organized, armed, provisionfrom the growing habits nor in- ed, sent forth to the invasion creased intelligence of the people, of Portugal. To the remonstrances and marked in itself with many of the British and Portuguese defects, attracted little notice, and ministers at Madrid the cabinet excited no enthusiasm. The party, of Spain answered by lying dishowever, which now ruled in the avowals, or hollow promises; and, cabinet of Spain, alarmed at the from the beginning of November, establishment of any thing con- the perfidy of its conduct became nected with liberal institutions in every week more apparentThe the immediate vicinity of the invasion was, to all political infabric of ignorance and despotism tents, an invasion by Spain, and which they had restored in their was only rendered more dangerous own country, resolved not only to by the insidiousness of its characimpede its progress, but to effect ter. But Britain was bound by its destruetion. In Portugal it- treaties to interfere for the defence self there was a numerous party of Portugal when attacked from kostile to the constitution, not un without; and, as the danger daily countenanced by the intrigues of increased, the Portuguese ambasthe Queen Dowager and the wishes sador at London made a formal apof Don Miguel, who had been plication to our government, in the passed over by his brother in the beginning of December, for the formation of the regency; they military assistance which these had considerable influence among treaties stipulated. Ministers, the military, and were themselves having waited for a few days till the conduct of Spain had been sequences of this apparent connivplaced beyond a doubt, instantly ance. took a decisive resolution. It was “His Majesty makes this comimpossible, with good faith, to re-munication to the House of Lords sist a demand which rested upon and Commons, with the full and such grounds, and succour could be entire confidence that the House, useful only by being prompt. On of Lords and his faithful Commons the 11th of December, utterly un- will afford to his Majesty their expected by the country at large, cordial concurrence and support, in lord Bathurst in the House of maintaining the faith of treaties, Peers, and Mr. Canning in the and in securing against foreign Commons, presented the following hostility, the safety and indepenmessage from his Majesty. dence of the kingdom of
Portugal, “His Majesty acquaints the the oldest ally of Great Britain." House of Lords and Commons, that On the following day an Adhis Majesty has received an earnest dress, in answer to the Message, application from the Princess Re- was moved in both Houses. In gent of Portugal, claiming, in virtue the Commons it was moved by of the ancient obligations of alliance Mr. Canning. and amity, subsisting between his “ In proposing to the House of Majesty and the Crown of Por- Commons,” said he, "to reply to tugal, his Majesty's aid against his Majesty's Message, in terms hostile aggression from Spain. which will be, in effect, an echo of
“ His Majesty has exerted him the sentiments, and a fulfilment of self, for some time past, in conjunc- the anticipations of that Message, tion with his Majesty's ally, the I feel that it becomes me as King of France, to prevent such British minister,' recommending aggression; and repeated assur- to parliament any step which ances have been given by the Court may approximate this country of Madrid of the determination of even to the hazard of a war, while his Catholic Majesty neither to I explain the grounds of that commit, nor to allow to be commit- proposal, to accompany my explated, from his Catholic Majesty's nation with expressions of regret. territory, any aggression against Among the alliances by which, Portugal.
at different periods of our history “But his Majesty has heard this country has been connected with deep concern, that, notwith- with the other nations of Europe, standing these assurances, hostile none is so ancient in origin, and so inroads into the territory of Por- precise in obligation—none has contugal have been concerted in Spain, tinued so long, and been observed so and have been executed under the faithfully-of none is the memory eyes of the Spanish authorities by so intimately interwoven with Portuguese regiments, which had the most brilliant records of our deserted into Spain, and which the triumphs, as that by which Great Spanish government had repeatedly Britain is connected with Portugal. and solemnly engaged to disarm It dates back to distant centuries; and disperse.
it has survived an endless variety “His Majesty leaves no effort of fortunes. Anterior in existence unexhausted to awaken the Spanish to the accession of the House of government to the dangerous con- Braganza to the throne of Portugal