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was brought forward by the learned mem- | incumbent on ministers to bring home ber for Winchelsea, who was not now from the Cape many witnesses who could present. But, suppose the whole of that give important evidence in this business. case, as charged, fully proved; because He understood, that, in September last, an individual had acted erroneously in two of the commissioners had left the one instance, was he to be condemned Cape, and one continued there to desaltogether? That would be unjust to lord patch the remaining business. He supCharles Somerset. That case was only posed, therefore, that those gentlemen one of many charges against that noble had arrived in this country, and that from lord's government. Conduct was imputed them government would receive much adto him, for a long-continued period, which ditional information. This was another demanded inquiry. But not only did the reason for instituting an inquiry as soon hon. gentleman ask him to go on with as possible. The instructions in conthis case, but he wished to father on him formity with which the commissioners were a book, purporting to be the answer of to act at the Cape directed, that they Mr. Bishop Burnett to the report of the should not inquire into any cases, except commissioners. Was the conduct and those sent out from the department here, character of lord C. Somerset to rest on or those which were of a special nature. that single case? He would answer, no ; This, he contended, operated decidedly and would state his reason for demanding against a full and impartial inquiry. The an inquiry. He held in his hand a list of commissioners ought to have been emseveral persons who had been banished powered to hear, generally, the complaints from the colony, and who were now seek of the inhabitants; but that was imposing for redress. He had stated the case sible under this very partial instruction. of Mr. Edwards; and he was told that, He meant to move for the following pahaving been a convict, no inquiry could pers :-“1. Copy of lieutenant-colonel take place with respect to him. But his Bird's examination, and correspondence, if having been a convict at one time of his any, with the Commissioners of Inquiry. 2. life, had nothing to do with his after- Correspondence between the Colonial Deconduct. With respect to Mr. Bishop partment and the Commissioners of InBurnett, was it just to him, when he quiry, in reference to all complaints preentreated leave to go back to the colony, ferred against lord Charles Somerset's Goto refuse him? Yet such was the fact. vernment. 3. Reports of the CommisHe was refused by the department with sioners on all special cases referred to their which the hon. gentleman was connected. investigation.

4. List of all persons Surely, the government could not rest banished from the Cape of Good Hope contented with this half-mangled case. during the government of Lord Charles The cases of D'Escary and Gregg, indi- Somerset. 5. Copies of Mr. D'Escary's viduals who had been banished, called correspondence with the Colonial Departloudly for inquiry, Documents had, in- ment, and the Commissioners of Inquiry.” deed, been laid on the table, but no state- Mr. Ord said, he felt it to be his duty ment of the grounds on which these per- to vindicate, as far as his abilities would sons had been banished. There were also allow him, the conduct of the commisthe cases of Mr. Francis, of lieutenants sioners of inquiry. He possessed no maWhite and Clarke, of Dr. Geary, and of terials that would enable him to enter into several other


them a

a laboured defence of those gentlemen; dy, the whole of whom complained of but he must say, that the hon. member acts of gross oppression. These com- had just as little ground for making an plaints, coming from so many quarters, attack on them. Nearly connected as he demanded a strict investigation. But this was, in relationship, with one of those was not all. The conduct of lord Charles commissioners, Mr. Biggs, any thing he Somerset, with respect to his financial might say in his favour might be attributed proceedings in the colony, deserved to be to partiality. He should, therefore, only inquired into. That extravagant and state, that Mr. Biggs was as incapable of wasteful expenditure which had almost being actuated by any unworthy motive ruined the colony, was a fit subject for as the hon. gentleman himself. That parliamentary inquiry. Without pledging gentleman had been employed, for many himself as to the course which he might years, in important publie situations, and sursue after the recess, he thought it was he was admitted to have discharged the



duties of those situations with credit to first preferred against the noble lord, had himself, and advantage to the country. been referred for investigation to gentleHe had, for a considerable time, acted as men of high character, and every way judge in the island of Trinidad; he was qualified to conduct such an inquiry, who afterwards employed on the inquiry into had reported thereon, the House should the state of New South Wales; and, he now, instead of taking into consideration believed, in both situations his labours the full and minute report furnished by were beneficial to the public. Circum- those gentlemen, throw it altogether aside, stances of ill health had prevented his and receive fresh accusations against the recent labours from being so expeditious noble lord. If the hon, member would as some gentlemen might wish. He had show any parliamentary ground for calling met with a dangerous accident, which had for these documents, he would at once for a long time confined him to his bed, either consent to their being furnished, or and had latterly obliged him to use state his reasons for withholding them; crutches. This might account for the but the hon. member, instead of showing delay. It was, he thought, due to Mr. any such grounds, had contented himself Biggs, and the other commissioners, to with running over a list of names, and suspend any opinion on their conduct calling for evidence as to the cases of a until their reports were before the House variety of individuals, who had incurred [hear). He was as willing as any man the censure of the government at the that they should be tried by their deeds, Cape, because, forsooth, by possibility, when the necessary documents were in some of these persons might have been readiness; and when that time came, he ill-treated. No doubt charges had been believed there would be found as little made by individuals against the noble reason to condemn those commissioners lord, and there was no wish on the part as to condemn any other set of persons. of government to throw any unfair obsta

General Grosvenor was surprised at the cle in the way of their being fully invesmanner in which the hon. member for tigated. All that was desired was, that Aberdeen had disclaimed the petition of they should be brought forward in some Mr. Bishop Burnett. It was true that he intelligible manner, so that the House, in did not present that petition ; but then he entering upon the consideration of them, spoke upon it with a warmth, and in might know what it was called upon to terms, which were not called for at the investigate and decide upon. The hon. time. As for the story itself, which he member had said, that it would be requimight fairly describe as “ Bishop Bur- site to go back to the period when the nett's History of his own Times,” he commission was appointed, for the purthought it ought to be disposed of first. pose of investigating the charges against

Mr. Wilmot Horton said, that as the the noble lord. He would remind the hon. member for Aberdeen appeared to hon. member, that the Cape of Good have misunderstood him, it would be Hope had been annexed to the Crown necessary for him to repeat a few of the during the late war; that Dutch laws and observations which he had submitted to Dutch customs prevailed there. To bring the House. That hon. member was to about a change in this respect, and to tally mistaken if he supposed that it was anglicize the colony, was, of course, a his wish to get rid of this investigation' most desirable object; and it was to this with the half-mangled case, as he termed that the commission owed its origin; for it, of Bishop Burnett. He had merely one system of law could not all at once mentioned to the House the very great be made to supersede another. This could expense which had been imposed on the only be effected progressively, and was a country in collecting materials for coming work which required great caution; and to a decision on this case, and he would what better means could be devised for now pledge himself, that if gentlemen carrying it into execution without risk, would take the trouble to wade through than intrusting the management of it to a the report on their table, they would find commission composed of gentlemen of ample and conclusive evidence to enable high character and known ability ? This them to come to a determination on this measure was not merely confined to the case, and it did appear to him to be a Cape ; it extended to the Mauritius, and most cruel and unjust mode of proceeding to the isle of Ceylon. This was the origin that, after the charges which had been and object of the commission. It was


after their appointment that special griev- of valuable service to the country; and, as ances were referred to their consideration. to the government not detaining him in The hon. member had thought proper to this country to give evidence, he would impute partial and improper motives to merely observe that it had no power to do the government, with regard to the in- so. He was not prepared to produce this structions given to the commissioners. It officer's correspondence ; for it seemed to certainly was not the intention of govern- bim that it would be unjust to lay a priment-indeed it would have been highly vate paper, received from colonel Bird, absurd in them—to unfurl a standard in before the House, until his examination a new colony for all the disaffected to taken before the commissioners should rally round. They never intended to set also be adduced. With regard to Mr. up a mart for grievances; but if the House D'Escary's correspondence, he could see would take the trouble to look over the no reason why it ought to be produced, number of cases which had been referred unless it was intended to bring forward to, and reported on, by these commission- some specific charge on that case. ers, no one would regret that more ample vernment were fully satisfied upon it, and powers had not been given them. The did not intend to do any thing with regard noble lord had been placed in a most per- to it. If the hon. member thought someplexing and difficult situation. According thing ought to be done, let him bring forto the oath he had taken, he was bound ward some definite proposition respecting to govern the colony according to a law it. With regard to Burnett's case, it had totally different, and very much inferior, been mentioned four or five tiines in the to that of his native country. All the House, and represented as a case of the defects attendant on this system had been greatest hardship and oppression. That laid to his charge. The commission had case had been fully investigated, and the been specially appointed for the ameliora- House had all the materials before it for tion of this law; and any communication coming to a decision upon it. If it should from them relating to this object he had be now thrown aside, and after the high no objection to lay on the table; but when tone which had been assumed respecting the hon. gentleman called for all the cor-it, no one should be found to bring it respondence between these commissioners forward, he for one should certainly conand the government, relating to various sider it as admitted, that it had been preunconnected subjects, he could not but ferred without any foundation. oppose so sweeping a demand.

Mr. Hume asked, to what particular Mr. Hume observed, that he only asked motion the hon. gentleman objected. for the correspondence relating to the Mr. Wilmot Horton replied, that he 'special cases which had been referred to should resist, in the first place, the prothe commissioners.

duction of colonel Bird's examination. Mr. Wilmot Horton continued. He Mr. Hume said, that as the report of could not accede to this indefinite de- the commissioners containing it was about mand. If the hon. member would state a to be laid upon the table, he would withspecific case-if he would pledge his cha-draw that motion. He hoped, however, racter that he had examined into it, and that the hon. gentleman would consent to that he thought it required the attention lay upon the table the correspondence of the House--he would then either con- respecting the special cases against lord sent to produce the papers, or assign such c. Somerset. It was idle to call upon a reasons for withholding them as he thought member to bring forward a special case, would satisfy the House. But it would when the very means of investigating it be a most inconvenient mode of proceed were denied. Justice could not be done ing in this particular case, and set a very without the production of the correspondbad precedent, to accumulate and huddle ence on the particular charges. together a host of fresh charges, whilst Mr. Wilmot Horton contended, that they threw aside and abandoned those there was not the slightest ground for the which had been preferred in the first in- presumption that ministers meant to imstance, and on which a report had been pede the course of justice by refusing the already made.

The hon. member was papers. The charges against lord C. likewise mistaken as to the reason why a Somerset at present were sweeping and pension had been granted to colonel Bird general. Let them be made particular; It had been granted him for many years and, if sufficient arguments could be


offered, nothing should be withheld that him in the public mind, which could not could throw light upon

the Govern- be removed until the committee had made ment were not disposed to lay all the their report. In order, however, to obdocuments upon the table, in order that viate this prejudice, he wished it to be particular charges might be picked out of known, that the number of the petitioners them.

only amounted to four, although the subMr. Secretary Peel said, that if the scribers to the company exceeded a thou

a House should resolve itself into a court to sand. That the public should know who enter upon

the consideration of every in- they were, he would move, “ That the dividual case, although no imputation had names subscribed to the Petition be been cast on the report of the commis- printed.” sioners, it was impossible to say what Mr. Wynn said, that if the names were papers they might be called upon to print. printed in this instance, impartial justice He would put it to the hon. member, required that they should be omitted in whether it would be at all consistent with no others. At present the expense of that economy of the public money which putting petitions into type was sufficiently he so much advocated, to adopt this heavy; and if the signatures were apcourse. But it would be in the highest pended, the votes would soon be as vodegree unjust to the commissioners, whom luminous as the statutes at large. He rehe believed to be most impartial and able commended the hon. gentleman to withmen; for it would assume, that they had draw his motion, which was now unneconducted themselves with partiality and cessary, as the House had appointed a injustice, and would consequently lower committee to investigate the charges them in the estimation of the public, and against the hon. member. If it turned embarrass them in the exercise of their out that there was no foundation for the functions. His hon. friend had very fairly accusation, those who had brought it foroffered, if the bon, member would take ward would, of course, meet with merited upon himself to bring forward any specific disgrace. charge, either to produce the papers relat- Mr. Alderman Waithman termed the ing to it, or to assign a satisfactory reason advice given by the right hon. gentleman

a for refusing them.

lenient towards the hon. mover, but Mr. Hume said, he must admit that the argued, that it would degrade the characproposition which had been made by the ter and dignity of the House, to allow hon. gentleman was a very reasonable one; the motion to be withdrawn. If he had and if he had understood at first that this attended to one branch of history more would have been conceded to, he would than another, it was that which related to not have pressed his motion, which he the constitutional principles of parliament would now withdraw.

and the country, and he would venture to

say, that since the Revolution, a more ARIGNA MINING COMPANY.] Mr. atrocious attack had never been made R. Martin said, that he had a motion to upon the rights and liberties of the submake relating to a petition which had ject. This was the first time he had heard, been referred to a select committee of the that the value of what was stated in a House against the directors of the Arigna petition depended upon the number of the Mining Company. An hon. friend of his signatures, or even upon the characters (Mr. Brogden) had been one of the direc- of the parties. To require their publicators of this company, and as such, along tion was most improperly to obstruct the with the other directors, had been charged right of petitioning, and to encroach upon by the petitioners with purchasing pro- one of our dearest privileges. The hon. perty for 10,0001., and charging the gentleman then adverted to the expulsion parties for whom they purchased 25,0001. of sir John Trevor, in 1695, in consefor it. Had his hon. friend acted in this quence of the circulation of a pamphlet manner, he not only deserved to lose his in the lobby, by one Crosfield, which seat in that House, but to be sent out of complained of a gross misapplication of the country. But he was convinced that the public money, and quoted the Parhe was incapable of having acted in such liamentary History of the time upon the

Still, this petition would have subject. The investigation went on, and the effect of producing a prejudice against one thing came out after another, until

a manner.

deal of money

the rig

they led to the expulsion of several mem-1 to be well informed on the subject, and bers.* Again, in 1680

his petition deserved so much the more Mr. Wynn rose to order. The hon. attention. But be he what he might, alderman, he said, seemed to misunder- even if he were under sentence of death stand the question before the House, in Newgate, he had a right to petition which was merely whether certain names the House to make inquiry into any should or should not be printed. There grievance which he might think worthy had been no attempt made to throw ob- of its attention. But he himself happenstruction in the way of inquiry. In fact, ed to know something of this gentleman, the House had already determined, that and he could affirm that, on the Stock an inquiry should take place.

Exchange, he bore a very fair character ; Mr. Alderman Waithman maintained, and he would mention a fact, which was that he was perfectly in order. He meant of itself no small evidence of good characto conclude with moving an amendment. ter. Having lost a great An attempt had been made to obstruct in these Joint-stock companies, he was

of petitioning It was wished not able to meet the demands of his crethat the names of certain persons who ditors at the time, but afterwards he paid had brought a serious charge against a them every shilling of their debts. He

| member of that House should be publish- would move, as an amendment, “ That it ed, in order to let the world know how is, and ever has been, the undoubted few they were in number, and also how right of the subject to petition parliament much they were wanting in respectability. for the redress of grievances, and that to It mattered not whether a petition was publish the names of the petitioners, with signed by one person or by one hundred, the view of bringing discredit on them, so that the facts contained in it were cor- tends to obstruct that right, and to deter rect. It was an attempt to obstruct the the subject from bringing his grievances right of petitioning, to propose to hold up before parliament, and is subversive of petitioners to ridicule, or to expose them the liberties of the subject.” in any way. The hon. member had stated, Mr. R. Martin said, that he would not that the petitioners were not persons of have been very

anxious to


his motion, respectability. With respect to the privi- if the hon. alderman had named the other lege of petitioning, the poorest man stood three petitioners, as he had named Mr. upon the same footing as the richest. Clarke; for walls had ears, and if the Previous to the revolution it was asserted, hon. alderman had done so, they would that all attempts to obstruct petitioning be known all over London to-morrow were illegal. The obstructing of petition- morning. He denied that his object was ing was declared to be illegal in the bill to hold up the petitioners to ridicule. of rights. If members were allowed to His object was, to show the public, that cast reflections on the characters of peti- out of a thousand persons interested, only tioners, and to hold them up to public four had petitioned against his hon. friend. contempt, the doors of the House would | There was nothing in this which went to be barred against petitions. In 1680, impugn the right of petitioning. Не the House of Commons resolved, " That asked, why the petition had been printed it was, and ever had been, the undoubted without the names of the petitioners ? It right of the subject to petition parliament was wrong—it was monstrously wrongfor the redress of grievances.” In pursu- to print that petition without the names of ance of this resolution, sir F. Within the petitioners, so long before the invesand sir George Jeffreys were expelled the tigation could be gone into. It had been House, for throwing obstructions in the said, that if the charges were unfounded, way of petitioning. Another objection his hon, friend would have an opportunity had been made to one of the petitioners, of clearing himself. So he would. But Mr. William Clarke; namely, that he when? Why, in two months from this had been running about the streets, col- time; and during the whole of that time lecting information relative to this Joint- these allegations were hanging over him; stock company.

So much the better. so that his hon. friend was punished He was, on that account, the more likely before he was tried. The process was, to

punish him first and hear him afterwards; * Parliamentary History, vol. v. p. 881. which was exactly the same as hanging a

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