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and the wounds they would leave, some of the measures before the on the minds of the people. On House, solely on the ground of all these considerations he could necessity. He however thought, pot say "content" to the second it extremely dangerous to give bill. As to the first, it certainly any man the power of entering was better than that passed in the House of another by night, 1812, and therefore it was not a and that, if possible, it would be measure on which he should ex• expedient to avoid giving it. press that abhorrence and detes- The Earl of Darlington betation with which he viewed the lieved that in his official capacity system of coercion about to be his name had already been introestablished.
duced to notes and documents The Marquis of Buckingham laid on their lordships' table. He should not object to this bilf, be- had gone so far as to say, that if cause it was not one for disarm- measures of coercion were not ing the people, but for prevent- resorted to, a rising would take ing them from using their arms place in that part of the kingdom. against the constitution. He Since he had come to attend his agreed with the noble lord in duty in that House, he had rethinking that one of the great ceived intelligence, which he bemischiefs that arose from ill de- lieved to be true, that preparasigning persons creating alarm in tions were made for rising in the country, was the necessity of arms, and he had no doubt that giving a great preponderance of at that moment, while they were power to the crown. But they deliberating on those bills, many must either make sacrifices to deliberations of a treasonable naobviate this difficulty, or com- ture were carrying on in the promise the safety of the state by northern part of Durham and the not checking those whose object southern part of Northumberit was to overturn it. The noble land. That being the case, it marquis concluded with some was their lordships' duty to enreflections upon the advocates of deavour to find out the persons parliamentary reform in the who were plotting against the House.
constitution ; otherwise they Lord Holland disclaimed hav. would go on to mature their ing made any allusion to the sub- measures of danger. There were ject.
certainly parts of these bills The Duke of Susser complain which created great hesitation ed that the noble lord misrepre. in his mind; nay, perhaps some sented that side of the House as parts which ought to be rejected. friends to the radical reformers. He also professed himself friendly He did not agree with those who to inquiry; but the general tenor approved of all the measures of this and the other bills reproposed, but he should concurceived his assent. in the bills at present under their The Earl of Strathmore thought lordships' consideration.
it his duty to mention some alarmThe Marquis of Lansdowne ing particulars which he had that thought it his duty to concur in morning received from the North.
He said he knew there were four. seizure of arms bill, against which teen or fifteen thousand men on however the following protest was the banks of the Wear and of the made :Tyne ready for rebellion; and if “ Because the right of having they were not prevented from pro- arms for their defence, suitable curing arms, he had no doubt they to their condition and degree, is would rise as soon as their plans secured to British subjects by were ripe for execution. He was the ancient laws of these realms, glad he had not the same account is declared to be so by the Bill to give of the south and south- of Rights, and is, in the words of west parts of Durham. There, Mr.Justice Blackstone, "a public on the contrary, as well as in the allowance of the natural right of northern part of Yorkshire, the resistance and self-preservation, people had gladly come forward when the sanctions of society and in defence of the law.
laws are found insufficient to reDec. 4. The House of Lords strain the violence of oppresresolved itself into a committee sion." on the seizure of arms and train- “ Because no sufficient evidence ing bill, when, after a few re- has been laid before the House to marks from some noble lords, prove “ that arms and weapons and the proposal of two amend- of various sorts have in various ments; the first that two magis- parts of the kingdom been coltrates should be required to au- lected, and are kept for purposes thorise a search; the second, that dangerous to the public peace." searches should not take place We doubt the fact, and we disby night, both which were nega- trust the remedy. If arms have tived, the House resumed. It really been procured for such afterwards went into a committee illegal purposes, the persons enon the training bill, which was gaged in these criminal designs read clause by clause.
will have had ample notice, beDec. 7. The report on the fore this bill can pass, to remove training bill was received by the them to places of concealment. House of Lords, after a strong Whilst this power, therefore, is speech against the measure by likely to be in a great degree inEarl Grey, who, though admitting efficient with respect to its prothe fact that the radical reformers fessed object, it is liable to be were both numerous and active most injuriously and vexatiously in the counties of Northumber- used in cases where arms may land and Durham, maintained have been provided and kept for however that the alarms which the legitimate purposes of selfhad prevailed were in great mea
defence. sure unfounded, and that no ne- “ Because, in former periods of cessity had been shown for the much greater danger to enactment of the present bill. crown and constitution of these An opposite view of the subject realms, when conspiracies by the was taken by the Earl of Strath- adherents of the House of Stuart more. The bill finally passed were known to be directed the House of Peers, as did the against both, when preparations were making for rebellion with proves that such effects may
be the assistance of France, when expected from it. In Ireland, it men of the highest rank, station is well known, nothing more conand influence in both kingdoms, tributed to irritate the people, were deeply engaged in these de- and to provoke acts of private resigns; nay, during two formidable sentment and revenge, than the rebellions in 1715 and 1745, no abuses which took place, and parsuch power was granted to the ticularly the insults which were crown; yet the new line of suc. offered to women, in the exercise cession was defended, and our
of a similar power. free constitution successfully Because we further object to maintained against all these dan- the enactment of this law as part gers. The principles of the Re- of a system which, in a season volution had been too firmly im- of unexampled distress printed in the hearts and minds misery, rejecting every proposiof our ancestors to allow them, tion for conciliation or concession, on the spur of any emergency, rests on force alone for the suphowever alarming, to hazard the pression of the prevailing disexistence of a right which they content, and is calculated to give had so recently asserted. additional weight to an opinion
“ Because this law is, in its very already too generally entertained nature, peculiarly liable to abusé. –that the parliament is more Interest, credulity, malevolence, ready to presume against the revenge, party violence and in- people and to enact laws for discreet zeal may, equally with a their restraint, than to attend to sense of duty, contribute to call their just complaints and to afit into action ; and the powers ford them that protection which given for its execution, of break- they have a right to claim against ing either by day or night into every species of injustice and opany house or place where in- pression. formation may have been received
GREY. that arms are kept for illegal
THANET. purposes, must unavoidably ex
ERSKINE. pose the persons and property of ALBEMARLE. his Majesty's subjects to injury
KING. and violence, which cannot be VASSAL HOLLAND. sufficiently guarded against by WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM. the provisions made in the bill
YARBOROUGH for that purpose. This is not a AUGUSTUS FREDERIC. mere apprehension. Experience
CHAPTER CHAPTER IX.
Seizure of Arms Bill in the House of Commons.-Training Bill
passed in the Commons. — Blasphemous and Seditious Libel Bill in the House of Lords - Protests.-Libel Bill in the House of Commons.-Seditious Meetings Bill in the House of Commons. The same in the House of Lords-Protest.-Lord John Russell's Motion for Reform in Parliament-House of Commons.-News. paper Stamp Bill in the House of Commons. The same in the
House of Lords. HOUSE of Commons, Dec. 14. Mr. H. G. Bennet then rose.
On a motion to go into a He said that in the year 1817 a Committee on the Seizure of measure had been proposed reArms Bill, Mr. Lambton moved, specting the seizure of arms that the provisions of the Bill which he had opposed, on the should not extend to the county principle that the distinctive difof Durham, affirming that there ference between a freeman and a was no necessity for such a mea- slave was the right to carry arms, sure in that county, as all the alle- not so much to defend his person gations on which it was at first as his liberty. One of the proviproposed to extend it there, had sions of this bill was, that on inbeen disproved. He had been formation on oath, any justice assured that there were no arms might grant a warrant for the among the colliers, as had been search. To this he strongly obsaid.
jected, on a conviction that even After a few observations, the in the best and most moderate motion was negatived without a times such a power would be updivision.
safe and improper ; and in the Mr. Birch proposed a similar present temper of men's minds in exemption for Nottingham, where the manufacturing, districts, he he said that the distress was in- knew not but it might be highly deed great, but borne with ex- dangerous. He was very certain emplary patience. This sugges- that at Manchester persons might tion was supported by Lord Ran- sign these warrants to whom he, cliffe and Mr. Denman, but was at least, would be the furthest also negatived. After some re- from intrusting them. Then, how marks from Mr. Protheroe in fa- were these warrants to be exevour of the measure, and some cuted ? They were to have a strong ones from the Hon. T. W. power to enter houses by day or Anson against it, the House went night to search for arms. As a into a committee on the bill, which free-born Englishman-born so was read a first time.
indeed, but how long he might
continue continue so he really now could in the history of the country: yet not tell,- he had no hesitation in in the year 1812 a measure of saying, that the people never much more extraordinary rigour would submit to this enactment. and harshness had been promulHe did not think that they were gated, in which however he had yet base enough to allow it to be the assistance of several members carried into execution by armed on the opposite side of the House. force, violence, or the sword. - He would state his conviction He thought nothing could be that if the power complained of more horrible, more despotic, than were not given to a single magisthis power to enter houses in the trate, it would be entirely inefdead of night. Would gentle- fectual : the delay in finding anmen thus subject females in the other magistrate might render dead of night and in bed to ne- the search unsuccessful. Nothing cessary insults ? Necessary, be- either was more likely to fail than cause however gently the warrant search by day, or to succeed, if might be executed, the mere in- information were correct, than spection was horrible. Was there search by night. The means of one circumstance at the period of communication were so organised the French revolution which ex- and complete among the disafcited more disgust and horror fected, that the magistrates could than the domiciliary visits? And not move by day without their what was the difference between knowing it; and so, of course, the these and such as would be au- whole object would be lost. He thorized under this act ? After all, did not mean to say that this was he did not believe that magis- not a very strong measure; God trates would find any arms. He forbid he should! He did not should move as an amendment, mean to say that this was not an that “two justices” be substituted enormous power. But, then it to “ any justice, and that the was a choice of evils—a question words " or by night" be omitted, whether they would give a strong and the words « by day only,” power to the legislature to probe substituted.
tect the peaceable people, or Lord Castlereagh in reply re- leave them a prey to another marked, that the hon. gentleman power, tyrannical and destrucwas more disposed to look at this tive. The noble lord concluded measure with the utmost alarm with stating that after the years as an infringement of the rights 1715 and 1745, bills had been and liberties of the people, than passed precisely the same in prin. as a protection to those rights or ciple. security to families. That hon. Mr. Brougham was glad at least gentleman seemed disposed never that the noble lord did not preto regard this or any other ques. sent this bill as constitutional in tion otherwise than 'as if he were its principle, or its spirit ;-that invariably jealous of the magis. he had frankly avowed it was an tracy and the laws of his country. infraction of the one, and a vioAn idea also prevailed that such lation of the other. He denied measures were without a precedent that the precedent of 1812 could