« ForrigeFortsæt »
to be listed, and receive a secret card with the words “Be Ready, Be Steady.” The habits and manners of these persons seem entirely changed: they already calculate upon the share of land which each is to possess, and point out the destruction of the churches, as the necessary consequence of their success. It appears that preparations are in progress, in several places, for providing arms; the demand upon gunsmiths, for every species of fire-arms, has been beyond all former example; the intention is professed, of having recourse for a still larger supply to those towns where arms are manufactured, and where they are to be obtained at a very low rate, from the general cheapness of labour at this time; or in case of necessity they are to be seized by force. The facility of converting implements of husbandry into of— fensive weapons, has been suggested; and persons have been sent to observe the state of particular places, where depots of arms for the public service were supposed to have been formed. Your committee find that a system of secret association has been extended to the manufacturing population of Glasgow, and some other populous towns of Scotland; and although these societies have availed themselves of the same pretext, of parliamentary reform on the broadest basis, your committee are firmly persuaded, from the information which has been laid before them, that their ultimate object is the overthrow by force of the existing form of government; that the time for attempting this enterprise was to
depend on the simultaneous rising of the disaffected in England, with some emissaries from whom occasional intercourse appears to have taken place; and that some provision of weapons has been made by this association. Your committee have now submitted to the House, what they conceive to be a fair, and not exaggerated statement of the result of their investigation. They have thought themselves precluded from inserting, in an Appendix, the information from which it is drawn, by the consideration, that unless it were extremely partial and incomplete, they could not make it public without hazarding the personal safety of many useful and many respectable individuals, and in some instances without prejudicing the due administration of public justice. On a review of the whole, it is a great satisfaction to your committee to observe, that, notwithstanding the alarming progress which has been made in the system of extending disaffection and secret societies, its success has been confined to the principal manufacturing districts, where the distress is more prevalent, and numbers more easily collected ; and that even in many of these districts, privations have been borne with exemplary patience and resignation, and the attempts of the disaffected have been disappointed ; that few if any of the higher orders or even of the middle class of society, and scarcely any of the agricultural population, have lent themselves to the more violent of these projects. Great allowance must be made for those who, under the pressure of urgent gent distress, have been led to listen to plausible and confident demagogues, in the expectation of immediate relief. It is to be hoped, that many of those who have engaged, to a certain extent, in the projects of the disaffected, but in whom the principles of moral and religious duty have not been extinguished or perverted by the most profane and miserable sophistry, would withdraw themselves before those projects were pushed to actual insurrection. But, with all these allowances, your committee cannot contemplate the activity and arts of the leaders in this conspiracy, and the numbers whom they have already
seduced, and may seduce ; the oaths by which many of them are bound together; the means suggested and prepared for the forcible attainment of their objects; the nature of the objects themselves, which are mot only the overthrow of all the political institutions of the kingdom, but also such a subversion of the rights and principles of property, as must necessarily lead to general confusion, plunder, and bloodshed ; without submitting, to the most serious attention of the House, the dangers which exist, and which the utmost vigilance of government, under the existing laws, has been found inadequate to prevent.
Singular Circumstance respecting the Committee of the Lords-Bill for the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus, moved by Lord Sidmouth in the House of Lords—Debates.—Protest.—Lord Castlereagh in the House of Commons moves for Bills, for the more effectually preventing Seditious Meetings and Assemblies; for the better prevention and punishment of attempts to seduce persons in his Majesty's forces by Sea and Land from their allegiance; and for making perpetual parts of an act, for the safety and preservation of his Majesty's person and government, including those of the Prince Regent.—Debates.—Different Clauses of the Seditious Meetings Act gone through.-The same bill in
the House of Lords.-Protest.
sINGULAR CIRCUM stan Cre. In THE LORDS. REMA R KABLE circum4 stance occurred, respecting the report of the Secret Committee drawn up by the House of Lords. Mr. Cleary, secretary to the London Union Society, having seen in a report laid before their Lordships, a clause relative to the above society, which appeared to connect it with the societies of Spencean Philanthropists, was induced to present a petition to the House, in which he gave a corrected statement of the society and its proceedings. This petition was put into the hands of Earl Grosvenor, who, on February 21st, read it to the House, as follows:
“To the Right Hon. the Lords
“The Petition of Thomas Cleary,
with great reluctance, as well as
humility, that your petitioner of
It appears that there is a London Union Society, and branch Unions corresponding with it, and affiliated to it. Others of these societies have adopted the name of Spencean Philanthropists; and it was by members of a club of this description that the plans of the conspirators in London were discussed and prepared for execution." ' “Your petitioner presumes not to oppose his opinions against those of a committee of your right honourable House; but he hopes, that he may be humbly permitted to state, that when a bill was brought before your right honour able House by the late duke of Richmond, laying it down as a matter of principle, that annual parliaments and universal suffrage were the inherent and unalienable rights of Englishmen, the noble duke was not accused of a desire to produce “ a total subversion of the British constitution.” “ It is not, however, on matters of opinion, but on matters of most important fact, that your petitioner humbly appeals to the candour, the wisdom, and the justice of your right honourable House, and on matters of fact, too, with regard to which your petitioner is able to submit to your right hon urable House the clearest and nost in tubitable testimony. “Your petitioner's entire ignorance of the views of the secret cominittee of your right honourable House, as well as his profound respect and extreme deference for evey thing done within the walls of your right honourable House. are more than sufficient to re-train your petitioner from attempting even to guess at the reasons for your committee's having
so closely connected the ‘London Union Society with the societies of ‘ Spencean Philanthropists;’ but your petitioner humbly begs leave to assure your lordships, that he is ready and able to prove at the bar of your lordships, that there never has existed, between these societies, the smallest connexion of any sort, either in person or design, the object of the former being to obtain “a parliamentary reform, according to the constitution,” while that of the latter, as appears from the report of your lordships committee, has been to obtain a common partnership in the land; and that, the efore, any evidence which unay have been laid before the secret committee of your lordships to establish this connexion, is, as your petitioner is ready to prove at the bar of your lordships, wholly
destitute of truth. “But the facts to which your petitioner is most anxious humbly to endeavour to obtain the patient attention of your right honourable House, relate to that affiliation and correspondence, which your lordships secret counmittee have been pleased to impute to the London Union Society, by observing that “it appears that there is a London Union Society, and Branch Unions, corresponding with it, and affiliated to it ;” a description which seems, in the humble conception of your petitioner, to resemble that which was given of the London Corresponding Society, in 1795, and which, as your petitioner humbly conceives, point to measures of a nature similar to those which were then adopted; and your petitioner, though with all humility, ventures to express his confidence, that the - evidence evidence which he doubts not has been produced to your lordships secret committee to justify this description, is wholly and entirely false, as your petitioner is ready to prove, in the most satisfactory manner, at the bar of your right honourable House. “Upon this important point your petitioner humbly begs leave to represent to your right homourable House, that the London Union Society was founded in 1812 by Mr. Edward Bolton Clive, Mr. Walter Fawkes, the late colonel Bosville, Mr. Montague Burgoyne, the present lord mayor, Mr. Alderman Goodbehere, Mr. Francis Canning, Mr. William Hallet, sir Francis Burdett, major Cartwright, Mr. Robert Slade, Mr. Timothy Brown, Mr. J. J. Clarke, and several other individuals equally respectable; that it continued to hold meetings but a very short time; that it never did any act except the publishing of one address to the nation on the subject of reform; that it never had any one “Branch;” that it never held any correspondence either written or verbal with any society of any sort; that it never was affiliated to any society, or branch, or any body of men whatsoever; finally. that it has not met for nearly three years and a half last past; and, of course, that it is not now in existence. “What, then, must have been the surprise and the pain of your humble petitioner, when he saw, in the report of your lordships secret committee, this London Union Society represented, not only as being still in existence, but busily and extensively at work, establishing branches and affiliations, carrying on an active
correspondence, infusing life into societies of Spencean Philanthropists, and producing, by these means, plans of conspiracy, revolution, and treason and though your petitioner is too well assured of the upright views and of the justice of every committee consisting of members of your noble and right honourable House not to be convinced that very strong evidence in support of these charges must have been produced to your lordships secret committee, your petitioner cannot, nevertheless, refrain from expressing most humbly his deep regret, that your lordships committee should not have deigned to send for the books and other testimonials of the character and proceedings of the London Union Society; and your petitioner humbly begs leave to observe, that this omission appears singularly unfortunate for the London Union Society, seeing that the secret committee of your lordships appear, in another part of their report, to lament the want of means of obtaining the written proceedings of societies, and seeing that it was natural to expect, that a society having branches, an affiliation, and an active correspondence, had also a copious collection of written documents. “Your petitioner is aware, that he has trespassed too long on the patience of your lordships ; but, well knowing that your lordships seek only for truth as the basis of your proceedings, he humbly hopes that you will be pleased to excuse the earnestness of his present representation, and he also presumes humbly to express his hope, that your lordships will be pleased, in your great tenderness for the character and liberties of