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it was viewed as a most important the bill till Monday, he hoped that method of preserving the national the committee would produce such tranquillity:
evidence as would fully justify the Mr. Tierney rose, and was pro- adoption of the present violent: ceeding to move the adjournment measure. If there were no further of the second reading till Monday, evidence of its - necessity than had when he was called to order by been brought, he saw no advantage
Mr. Pitt, who subinitted to the that could result from the first re. speaker, whether a member who port. To adopt the measure, and had twice before given his senti- afterwards expect the statement of ments on the question was again its necessity, would be. to reverse entitled to enter on the discus- the order of all legislative proceedsion,
ings, and to act on blind credit. The speaker, on this suggestion, He then went to refute Mr. Wilwished that the house would re- berforce's arguments concerning solve specifically on this matter, as the mode of appointing the comhe was rather at a loss how to di- mittee, and the pretended popurect his conduct. He doubted the larity of the act in Yorkshire; and propriety of allowing members to concluded by asserting, that the pretend making an amendment honourable member was for suponly to enter on a new line of porting the act, not for its popuargument. He was anxious that larity, but because, since it had exthe house should come to such a pired, meetings had been holden determination as might guide him where his votes and the instrucin many circumstances which might tions of his constituents appeared occur in the course of business. strangely contrary.
Mr. Baker spoke on the point of Mr. Wilberforce explained. order, contending, that no member Mr. Johnston thought that issuing ought to speak more than once on treasury lists in appointing ballots the same subject, unless by special was wrong and unconstitutional, indulgence.
and that ministers were thereby General Walpole then rose to wanting to their own interest'; move, that, instead of now, the for, though he did not assert that word Monday be inserted in the the gentlemen on the opposition motion, to prevent further discus- side were more respectable than sion.
on the other, yet he affirmed that Mr, Tierney then rose, to ex- the report would have had more plain the reasons for supporting weight, and become more publicly his honourable friend's motion to satistactory, if the committee had delay the second reading of the been formed of members from both bill. He wished for stronger evi- sides of the house. dence of the necessity of the mea- The solicitor-general defended sure. He recollected no single the mode of appointing the cominstance in the proceedings of par- mittee, saying that, if gentlemen liament, where, on the general re- on the opposite side had been port of a secret committee, a mea- members of it, the evidence might sure was adopted so materially af- not have satisfied them, and thus fecting the people's privileges. the nation would be deprived of the By delaying the second reading of proposed advantage, and that the necessary secrecy might have been without even the form of indepen. also violated.
dence, might have their lists regum Mr. Sheridan replied, that he larly transmitted from the treasury, knew not what was meant by the He mentioned what had been said evidence now before the commit- of his competency as a member of tee being considered unsatisfac- a committee on finance, while contory, because the former evidences sidered inadmissible on a commithad been inadequate to ground the tee like the present. The honourresolutions, or why they should be able gentleman seemed to think, dissatisfied with present evidence, that, though qualified to determine because they were not convinced on facts and calculations, yet he by the former. On producing it, had not enough of fancy, fiction, the question was, whether it was or knowledge in forging plots, to the same as before, or whether new qualify himself for this committee. proofs of conspiracy existed? He - The solicitor-general explainei. then vindicated the members on The chancellor of the exchequer his side from the charge of intend- said, that the objections to balloting ing any violation of secrecy, which had been often urged and refuteil. were direct and inexcusable trea- This system left the will most person to the country's most import- fectly free; for, if names were reant interests. He pointed out the commended to their choice, it did advantages that might have been not fetter their judgment. No obtained by a fair appointment of complaint was ever heard against the committee, arguing, that, in the India directors, who had alstead of the evidence appearing ways presented to the electors a list incomplete, probably in this case of those thought eligible to fill the a different report would have been vacated places, because such a meapresented. They might have re- sure was never thought to restrain ferred to the statements of former the will of the electors. committees, now proved unfound- spect to precedent, he saw nothing ed; and, while they attended to in the established practice of the the fabrications of the late mini- house against the present proceedsters, might have considered at ing. The house was competent least those persons from whom to proceed on any question whatthey had arisen.
ever, without any previous comAlluding to what Mr. Wilber- mittee of inquiry, as on the habeasforce had said, he added, he was corpus suspension; and this was surprised that a practice which, if perfectly justifiable when an unin existing formerly, had never been versal conviction of the necessity admitted, should be openly avow- of the ineasure prevailed; though ed by a first lord of the treasury, it certainly was inore regular to lay and defended by the representative the evidence before the house on of a populous and weighty county. which the report was founded : and
If this plan were adopted, he this was first intended; but the hoped it would be reduced to a re: evidence was so implicated, and gular system; and no one was the facts so numerous, that it was more fil to preside over it than the nearly impossible to collect and honourable gentleman: he might arrange them within the time nebe appointed political ballot-ma- cessary for enacting the measure. ster-general; and the members, He claimed credit for the unani
mous declaration of the committee, portunity of maturely considering that the bill was highly necessary; the facts in the report just then and he was persuaded that there laid on the table. was nothing in the manner of in- Lord Loughborough perfectly troducing it contrary to the rules agreed with the noble duke, that and usages of the house.
deliberation on the subject would Mr. Tierney maintained that be more satisfactory to the house ; there was no case on the records of but assured him, that from the inparliament where such encroach-formation a day ought not to be ment on the people's privileges lost in passing the bill; and he was ever adopted on the report of had just then received intelligence, a secret committee.
that an open meeting of the disa Lord Cole denied that the com- fected had lately been held, for mittee was formed from a party. taking measures before the hill .He had the honour to belong to it, could pass, to effect treasonable and disclaimed belonging to any purposes; and that papers bidding party but such as would defend defiance to government, and threattheir king and country; and said, ening its overturn, were pasted up that none other than such should against trees on the common where be suffered to sit in it.
the meeting was.
He did not Mr. Nichols supported the however wish any stage of the bill amendment, saying, that if mini- to pass at present, only that they sters declined producing their evi- might go into the committee that dence of the bill's necessity, the evening, and debate it on the third natural inference through the coun- reading the next day. try would be, that the evidence Earl Moira said, that all the could not sustain their statements. credit ought to be given to the
The amendment was rejected exigency of the occasion, which without a division; and the bill was was consistent with their duty as read a second time, and ordered to peers of parliament; and therefore be committed the next day. he should not resist the bill's going
Lord Loughborough, on Monday, into a committee. April 27, presented to the house of The earl of Suffolk said, the lords the report of the secret com- reason he had moved for the read- mittec, to whom the sealed bags of ing of the committee's names was, trcasonable papers
from the other that he did not really know what house were referred; which being they were. lle complained that
read, and containing strong proofs they were all lords of the same of seditious and treasonable pro- sentiments, and was surprised that ceedings, in the institution of com- none had been selected from his mittees for general purposes, con- side of the house. ductors, superintendants, &c.,
The duke of Bedford rose, sayThe earl of Suffolk desired that ing, that they would have two the names of the lords chosen by bills, in fact, to debate ;--the former ballot on the secret committee be and the present seditious meeting read. Which being done,
bill. He could not agree to such The duke of Bedford said, that violent measures without full proof noble lords were not competent to of extreme necessity: the evidence debate a bill immediately of such of the report was not strong grcat importance, without an op- enough to satisfy him; and, if he
had been present, he would not rejected. Before the house could have consented to its passing a he warranted to pass a bill viosingle stage. The noble and learn- lating the compact between the ed lord had stated two points: king and the people, they were one, that
the committee had bound to demand clear proof of the stronger inforination than the re- necessity which called for it. In port stated. If so, they were cen- proportion as the bill trenched surable for not having made it part on the people's rights, it weakened of their report. The other was, their allegiance to the crown; for that he had received news that day. the one depended on the other. of an open meeting being held, The nature and extent of the eviwhere treasonable declarations dence beíore the committee ought were posted up.
Such a fact re- to be known. Noble lords should quired the fullest proof. He said, not forget, that it was not only comhe should reserve himself to speak posed of peers who were either to the merits of the bill on the third ministers, or their supporters, but reading; but he should now cer- the witnesses examined were tainly negative its going into the chosen by ministers, and therefore committee.
to be suspected. He had no conLord Hobart explained, that the fidence in ministers, whom he saw committee was not stated to have pursuing the same system as their stronger proof than that in the predecessors; and those had grossreport ; but from the general ten- !y abused the confidence reposed dency of the information in the in them. As to the bill itself, he sealed bags it was plain that not thought so violent an innovation an hour should be lost in passing on the rights of the subject as unthe bill.
necessary as dangerous and unThe duke of Bedford said a few constitutional. The common law words in explanation; and the bill, was fully adequate to avert all the with the duke's not-content alone, mischief apprehended, and in a passed the committee without much safer way. By the bill of amendment, and was ordered to be rights, the people might assemble read a third time the next day. to petition against grievances
On Tuesday, April 28, the bill whenever they thought proper; tu was read a third time; and on the prevent this was a direct violaquestion being put " that the bill tion of the bill of rights; nor could do pass,"
he think that there was any ground The duke of Bedford rosc, and suficient to induce the house to so reminded the house that he had extraordinary a step. His grace warned their lordships the day be- therefore gave the bill his megafore against proceeding with the tive. bill until an opportunity of read- The earl of Westmoreland said, ing the report of the committee that it must alarm every man 10 should be given. Both this and attempt the support of a bill roundthe original report when the bill ly asserted to be a breach of the was first passed ought to be read : compact between the king and he had done so, and had no scru- people at the revolution. The reple to say, that, from the insufficient verence with which all was treated evidence there, he was convinced by the house that passed at that that the bill ought to be instantly important period of our history
would would naturally restrain any step made two reports, proving the ableading to so fatal a consequence; solute necessity of passing the bill. and those who made such an asser- Rebellious organisation had begun tion should state the words of the in Ireland, had been surmounted bill of rights to support them. He and quieted by loyalty and energy said, if such a measure as this had in the government, and by bills of been decmed an invasion of the this nature; but, from the evidence, people's rights, the 13th of Charles it was plain that the Irish system II. would not have been on the had been improved in the present statute book. When the bill pass. instance. Committees had been ed three years ago, many petitions formed, secret signs of informawere presented against it now it tion between the members agreed had been tried, and its effects wit- on, the means of procuring arms nessed, not a single petition was provided, subscriptions opened, on the table. The consequences conductors appointed, superintenwere so salutary, that he rather dants and messengers selected, and expected ministers to be censured plans of assassination and murder for not having sooner revived it. of those at the head of governThe origin of the present bill was ment reduced to a systematic rethis:-his majesty had ordered the gularity. There was, therefore, chancellor of the exchequer to every reason for endeavouring to notity to the other house tliat am- avert the fatal consequences which ple proof had reached him and his had followed in a neighbouring council of seditious and treasonable nation. He said he should vote meetings; and that a system was for the bill, because it was recomorganising, big with the utmost mended by the crown, by the king's danger to the state. Two large ministers, by the conimittees of bags full of papers, proving the both houses, and (what was in.. existence and increase of the con- finitely more weighty). by the joy spiracy, were presented to the shown by the seditious when the house of commons. The commit- last bill ceased to exist, and the tee of the house reported on their alarm they felt on hearing of its contents: the report was laid be- intended revival, and their efforts fore their lordships, who appoint- to anticipate it by their treasonable ed a committee of their own, and machinations.
-The bill passed.
C H A P. VI.
Continuance of Martial Law in Ireland-Debates on that Subject in the House
of Commons in the House of Lords.-- Further Debates respecting the Continuance of that Bill--in the House of Commons-in the House of Lords.
O those who may conceive the bellion had been lately extinguish
measures reported in the former ed, will appear yet more obvious. chapter not unnecessary in this coun- The kingdom of Ireland appeartry, the propriety of extending the ed at the close of the year 1800 powers of the executive government to be still in a state of agitation in a country where a desperate re- and disorder, and it was judged to