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want of fidelity in the report. Now, if it allow conduct of this nature. The right were allowable to punish a man for pub- of petitioning was a privilege which lishing a trial, he could not see why others could never be brought into question exmight not be punished for reading it when cept by its own abuse. It was proper, that published: nay, that any one who hap- on this occasion, the House should express pened to speak of whatever occurred in its opinion of such attempts, as there apcourt, after the interdict of the judges peared a growing disposition, on the part against publication was issued, should not of the public, to drag every subject before also become the subject of punishment. the House--a disposition which was fed The principle upon which this fine was by the facility with which members lent levied, was indeed such, that according themselves to present their petitions. As to it there could be no end to the doctrine this was the case, he could not do better of contempt. But there was in fact no than call the attention of members to the precedent whatever to sustain this princi- way in which the House had been engaged ple. In any of the higher courts of during the month they had sat. More Westminster-hall, an attachment could than half that time had been employed in be issued to bring any party before it, who discussing petitions from various places. was conceived guilty of contempt; but He meant those applications to the jurisno such power belonged to any court of diction of the House, in matters in which quarter sessions, or special commission. it afterwards appeared that the House, in The authority of such courts did not ex. the exercise of its discretion, decided tend beyond its own limits as to contempt. that it ought not to interfere. He thought The special commission alluded to had this ought to be a caution to gentlemen not, in his judgment, any right to call a not to be too ready to listen to such apparty before it for contempt of its order plications as the present; and that when out of court, and having no right to call made to them, it ought to be pointed out any party, it had no power to hear that when the cases were such as the House party in his defence, and consequently no should not interfere with. The present right to inflict the penalty to which he re- was a case in which as it appeared to him, ferred.

the House could not do better than to Sir F. Blake objected to this petition as mark its sense of such applications by not being too inflammatory; but he begged it allowing the petition to be brought up. to be understood, that he was a decided Mr. J. P. Grant said, that it was too advocate for the right of petitioning upon much for any minister to talk of admonishproper subjects and in adequately strong ing the people upon the exercise of their language ; and what language could be inalienable and most sacred right, or that stronger than nolumus leges Angliæ mu- the time of the House was misapplied in

From his solicitude for the right of discussing their petitions. As to the pepetitioning he had voted last night, for re-tition under discussion, he could not deferring the petition respecting the miscon- cline voting for its reception, upon the duct of the sheriff of Dublin to a select ground that it referred to the conduct of committee; for if such outrages were judge ; feeling, as he did, that it was overlooked, he should not be surprised to competent to that House to take cognifind another Cromwell taking military zance of the conduct of any judge, howpossession of that House.

ever high his character. Lord Castlereagh observed, that as no Lord Castlereagh explained. If the doubt appeared to be entertained upon the House permitted the petition to be legality of the judge's conduct to which brought up, it would be an admission that the petition referred, and as the court the subject of it was matter fit for the of King's-bench had solemnly adjudged consideration of the House. that conduct to be correct, he saw no Mr. Bright said, that this was not to reason why that House should at all enter be regarded as a mere question of legality, into the subject. If a defendant availed but as an appeal to that House upon its himself of the indulgence afforded him of great constitutional privilege, according making his own defence to commit fresh to which, it was competent and imperacrimes, was his attempt to be tolerated of tively bound to superintend the proceedcommitting still further crimes, in the ings of the judges, and to watch with shape of a petition to that House? It jealousy the manner in which justice was would be quite inconsistent with the sober administered. It was known, indeed, from exercise of the right of petitioning to history, that judges had often acted wrong,

and by that House they had been set i open for the reception of the petitions of right. But where was the remedy for the people. As to the language of a pemal-administration on the part of the tition, he thought the House should not judges, if that House, acting upon the object to any strength of expression which false delicacy of which he had heard too naturally arose out of the case of a petimuch that night, should decline to inter- tioner, for otherwise a case of great opfere upon any charge against a judge pression or injustice could not be adeHe did not mean to say that Mr. Justice quately described; but he would object Best had acted wrong, or that that judge to any strong language which was not would not be able to justify his conduct in strictly relevant to the matter of comargument; but this he would maintain, that plaint. he would find it difficult to do so upon Mr. Wynn thought, that a complaint precedent. There was not, he believed, of a decision in the court of King's-bench, any one precedent for such a proceeding, was not a fit subject for a petition to that as a judge inflicting three fines on an in- House. He was far from maintaining, dividual under such circumstances. The that the conduct of a judge might not be fact of his afterwards remitting them was, so flagitious and unconstitutional as to be in his mind, an admission that he had been a fit subject of parliamentary inquiry. If wrong. If this was to be considered the any member was satisfied that such bad law, the people of England should be in been the conduct of the judge in the pre

formed of it; the House of Commons sent case, the proper course would be, should know it, in order that a remedy either to lay a charge upon the table by might be applied. If this doctrine of in- way of impeachment, or to propose an flicting immediate punishment for alleg. address to the Crown for his removal. If ed contempt were to be acted upon, it the House sanctioned the present appliwould lead to most horrible aggression. It cation, where would they draw the line ? should be considered whether a discretion- Mr. Bernal would put it to the noble ary power should be given, which might lord, whether the present was the time be exercised at the very moment when when they should discourage the petitions the feelings of the party exercising it were of the people. In the present state of the roused. If this were to be held as law, it public feeling he would open the doors of was a most dangerous one, and a remedy the House as much as possible to their for it could not be loo speedily applied. petitions. Looking at all the circumstances of the Mr. Huskisson said, that the general case, he thought they were such as justi- practice on presenting petitions was, to fied the petitioner to make the present state their nature and object, in order to application; which, in his mind, ought let the House see whether they were such to be embraced, in order to set the matter as ought to be received. The reading of at rest,

the petition would inform the House of Mr. Hutchinson said, it was not to be the language; but the matter should be endured, that a minister of the Crown stated before it was brought up, and the should declare, that a petition complain. House would decide on that matter. He ing of a grievance should not be brought understood that the present petition conup. Was it not too much that it should tained a charge against one of the judges, be assumed that the petitions of the peo- that the petitioner had been illegally fined ple were so immoral, seditious, and blas- by him, and that the judge having thus phemous, that they ought not even to be gained his end of preventing his defence, heard?

had remitted the fine. Now this was a Lord Castlereagh said, it was true he gross charge; and the question was whewas a minister of the Crown, but he was ther they would receive a petition which also a member of parliament, and he had was admitted to contain a libel. yet to learn that he was to be precluded Mr. Denman.—I did not say it was from offering any observations to the libellous. House, upon any subject before it. If Mr. Huskisson maintained, that if the there was to be no discussion allowed petition contained this charge, it was a upon the questiou of bringing up a pe- libel, and it ought not to be received. It tition, it was unnecessary to have it put had been said that if this petition was not to the House from the Chair.

received, the House would be shutting its Lord Althorp expressed a wish to have doors against the petitions of the people; the doors of that House thrown wide but he contended, that the rejection of VOL. IV.


such petitions would be a benefit to the which could not properly be inquired into people.

in that House. The charge against the Sir R. Fergusson said, that the plain learned judge was no less, than that he question before the House was, whether had interrupted the petitioner in his dethis petition should be rejected unheard, fence, for the purpose of obtaining an and unread? If the language of a peti- illegal verdict against him; and that, tion was decorous and respectful, it was a having effected his object, he remitted matter of course that it should be read; if the fines which had been imposed upon afterwards it appeared to be inadmissible, him. He thought the House was bound it was in the discretion of the House to to reject a petition in which so flagrant receive or reject it.

an offence was imputed to the venerable Mr. G. Bankes thought that the peti. judge, without the slightest foundation. tion ought to be rejected. The learned Sir J. Newport said, it had been urged gentleman had said, that he was not pre- that the administration of justice was not pared to propose any ulterior step. Be- a fit subject for the control of that House, sides the petition contained an imputation for what purpose, then, was the committee against a learned judge which was false upon of justice appointed every session ? He the face of it. Though he did not stand trusted that whatever might be the opi. up in that House as the advocate of the nion of the House as to its admissibility learned judge, and it would be unbecom- when they heard the petition read, no ing in him to assume that character yet objection would be made to it being he could not help regretting that the brought in. name of that venerable person had been The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, brought before the House, in a manner so that the only petitions which were receivmuch to be deprecated.

ed as a matter of course in that House, Mr. Curwen trusted, that whenever a were election petitions. All other petijudge was found corrupt enough to per- tions were liable to be received or rejected vert the laws, there would never be want- as that House thought fit, and it would ing bold and independent men in that be found, upon reference to the Journals, House, who would bring their conduct that the House, had exercised that disa before parliament. He rejoiced that the cretion in a variety of instances. Indesubject had been brought before the corous language was a good ground of reHouse; he was before disposed to think jection, and in this case the language was not very favourably of the conduct admitted not only to be indecorous, but of the learned judge, but this discus. libellous. It contained an imputation sion had satisfied him that his conduct upon a learned judge which was believed had been perfectly correct. It was the right to be false by the learned gentleman who of the people to complain to that House presented it. of the conduct of courts of justice. Mr. Denman said, he had never stated If, when the petition should be read, it that the petition contained a libel on the should be found to impute to the learned learned judge; he had said, indeed, that judge, a desire to obtain a conviction, it contained a charge against him, which, then he would concur in rejecting it. knowing the learned judge as he did, he When the noble lord talked of reading a did not believe to be true; but, if the lesson to the people of England, not to man believed the charge. to be true,' he come to that House with their complaints, had a right to state it in his own language, did he consider the consequences of the and if parliament was a part of the conpeople being compelled to look for re- stitution he had a right to lay his grievdress by other means at the expense of ances before that House, and if necessary, the constitution? There was a point- have an opportunity of proving them. If he would not say where-but there was 'a no charge was to be entertained by that point; at which resistance was a virtue House, because, if false, it might be libeland a right; and if the petition were re. lous, there was an end to the doctrine of fused to be brought up, the moment at impeachment; for how would it be possi'which we should arrive at that point ble to impeach, if no charge could be would be accelerated.

made, which, in the event of its being disSir C. Long said, that what he under- | proved might turn out to be libellous ? stood his noble friend to mean was, that An hon. gentleman thought that no peti. he was desirous of admonishing the people tion ought to be received unless some not to present petitions upon subjects specific measure were founded upon it; forgetting that it was a breach of privilege | vernment, had, entirely changed this systo point out any specific measure in peti- tem. A variety of useless offices had tioning parliament. But in point of fact, been created, or at least filled, by the he had pointed out two specific measures, friends of ministers. Although the militia for he had stated that the matter might was not embodied, four inspectors had been either be referred to the grand committee appointed with considerable salaries ; and of justice, or to a particular committee one of them, the hon, colonel Stewart, had which might judge of the expediency of since he received the appointment, been founding some legislative measure upon travelling about, or amusing himself in it, with a view of limiting the excessive this country. This was surely contrary powers of courts of law, in cases of con- to the intention and spirit of the treaties. tempt. The attorney general had said, With regard to the military staff, it was somewhat invidiously, that he had not everywhere overgrown, but was nowhere ventured to express any doubt of the le

more easily reducible than in these islands. gality of fining for contempt. On the But the civil officers had also, he undercontrary, he entertained the strongest stood, received an increase to their sala. doubts whether the expressions of the

pe- ries; and the allowance to the chief of titioner were such as justified the learned the senate had been raised from 4,000 to judge in imposing the fines. At all events, (8,000 dollars. Whilst 44,000 dollars had it was a fit subject of inquiry by that been charged to us for the necessary reHouse, whether in a particular case, a pairs of fortifications at Santa Maura, a venerable judge acting without precedent, splendid palace was now building, which had or bad not overstepped the powers would not cost less than 80,000/. What vested in him by law.

rankled in the minds of the natives was, The House divided : Ayes, 37; Noes, that whilst many young men, he might 64.

say boys, from this country, were receiv

ing 500l. or 6001. a year, their own biIonian Islands.] Mr. Hume rose, shops, in consequence of the change in pursuant to notice, to bring under the church property, were receiving stipends consideration of the House several parti- of 150l. per annum.

The order which culars relative to the state and revenue of had been instituted there, called the order the Ionian Islands. Whilst the attention of St. George, and which would lead to of parliament was so justly called to the an expense of 40,000 dollars in brilliants, means of effecting a reduction of our pub- had, instead of being conferred upon lic expenditure, he was persuaded that the most deserving natives, been conthe colonial department was that in which fined to the friends of the noble lord, an immediate saving might be most easily and of sir Thomas Maitland, or those who made. This he should take an opportu- had rendered themselves subservient to nity of proving most satisfactorily in the the British government. His motion would course of the session, but he should con- show what was the necessity under which fine himself that night to a few circum- Great Britain had been called upon to stances relative to the Ionian Islands. pay 130,000). in consequence of the cesThey could not be considered in every sion of Parga. It was chargeủ against the point of view as colonies, but as a state in lord-high-commissioner, that whereas, bea great measure dependent upon us. We, fore his arrival, the civil officers of the in fact, had the direction of their affairs, state had been looked upon as offices of and had bound ourselves to make good honour, and were filled, like those of our the deficiencies of their revenue ; or, in own magistrates, without any emolument, other words, to pay whatever excess of he had thought proper to allow salaries expenditure might arise, or be created, to them all, and had greatly increased by ourselves. The hon. member here allowances to others ; the effect of which took a rapid review of the affairs of these was, to swallow up and appropriate the islands since the treaty of Paris, by which whole of the Ionian revenue.

By this their independence was acknowledged. means all those offices became dependent Their revenue had originally been ade- upon the high-commissioner ; and the quate to all the charges upon it, and their very judges might be removed at his disgovernment was conducted upon the cretion. The natives had found in our principles of a regular and systematic eco-protection none of those blessings which nomy. But the presence of a British they were taught to expect ; but the adforce, and the influence of the British go- ditional taxes, and, above all, the exacm tion's levied without any other authority was directed into the public treasury but the commissioner himself, had pro- It was true that they were formerly considuced deep irritation, and had already dered as gratuitous, but now they were comled to many disastrous consequences. pulsory. He denied the confiscation of The House would not do its duty if it church property for the use of the public gave a single shilling of the money of chests. The truth was, that one of the Great Britain to maintain civil or military first acts of the administration of sir T. establishments in the Ionian Islands, Maitland was a bill to restore to its origiwithout knowing how the local revenue of nal destination church property, which, these states was managed and expended. during the different previous transfers of He begged leave to say, that he spoke of the islands, had been confiscated by sucthe lord-high-commissioner only as a pub. cessive governments, and vested in indivilic man; as he knew him only in his pub- duals. Hence one cause of the tumults lic capacity. He entertained no perso- in Zante, excited by the persons interñal feeling towards him, as he possessed no ested in withholding from the church its personal knowledge of his character. The due. Another cause was, the delusion hon. gentleman concluded by moving, for spread by the same persons that the milia detailed abstract of the revenue and ex- tia was to be sent to our West India planpenditure, both civil and military, of the rations.-On the subject of the increase of Ionian Islands' during the years 1817, salaries, the hon. menber had been be1818 and 1819.

trayed into great error. For instance, he Mr. Goulburn said, that it had former. had stated the salary of the lord-highly been the practice to call for papers first, commissioner to be 2,0001. a year, when and to discuss them afterwards if granted; in fact it was only 1,0001. The hone or if they were refused, to show from the gentleman had also observed, that sir T. best sources that could be applied to, Maitland had filled his staff with his that there existed grounds for demanding own relations. . This was the first time them. The hon. gentleman had reversed that he had understood that lord Sidney Os. order; and, even when there existed every borne, sir F. Hankey, &c. were connecdisposition to grant him the documents re- tions of sir T. Maitland. With regard to quired, proceeded on imperfect or errone- the next charge against sir T. Maitland, ous statements, when by waiting a little that he had prevailed upon the senate and longer he might have obtained official and legislature to build him a palace, it was certain information as the basis of his rea- equally ill-founded. A palace was a soning. He proceeded to state facts in a grand word, but palazzo did not always motion for papers without waiting to see imply our idea of a palace, being a phrase whether the papers might not falsify his often for a house. The House would facts. To this novel mode of proceeding scarcely believe that the alleged ostentahe must strongly object ; for whatever tion of the lord-high-commissioner should the hon. gentleman might say about his have been hitherto satisfied with one unwillingness to cast imputations, the ef- bed-room and a sitting-room for his sefect of his speech was, to cast the greatest cretary. This was all his palace. His imputations when he accused the lord. dining-room was appropriated to the sehigh-commissioner of facts which showed Date during its sittings, and his drawingthat he pampered his vanity and increas. room was the hall for the legislative ased his patronage, to the oppression of the sembly. The only rooms which he held inhabitants, and the detriment of the pub-exclusively were two, his bed-room and a lic service. The right hon. gentleman then room for his secretary; and on occasion proceededtoanswer thedifferent statements of the opening of the sessions, instead of Mr. Hume's speech ;and contended, that of a splendid procession, the lord-highso far as they impeached the character of commissioner, in giving an account of the the lord-high-commissioner, they were un- ceremony, said, “I stepped out of my founded. He admitted a great increase of bed-room into the senate-house of the revenue and expenditure ; but the in- states. The next thing, brought in the 'creased revenue arose from a better sys. shape of a charge, was, the star of the tem of collecting the taxes, and not from order of St. Michael, worth 40,000 crowns, the imposition of new burdens.

which was voted to the governor ; but the venue now appeared greater, because it fact was, that, as the hon. gentleman had was not diverted into the private chan- doubled the salary, he now quadrupled nels in which it formerly flowed but the value of the star, for it was not worth

The re

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