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much to secure the comfort and well- dited by any considerate observer. being of human life.
It may, however, be admitted, that a It might, at first sight, appear, that body, whose leaning must ever be on this smooth stream of public affairs the side of power, may be more apt was favourable to those who stood at to go beyond than within the just esthe helm. It certainly relieved them timate. Parliament, too, the more
difficulties as to action, that in the moment of alarm they are yet the fact is, that it neither fixed inclined to overrate the urgency of them more firmly in their seats, nor the danger, have so much stronger a strengthened their parliamentary ma- tendency, on the return of calm, to jority. It had the contrary of both consider the peril as chimerical, and these tendencies. When the vessel even to laugh at their former fears. of the state is severely tossed, all the Under these advantages the Whigs well-appointed mariners cling to the began their campaign. They invohelm, provided, at least, it be held by ked the constitution, and the liberty . a hand at.all gaibified to steer it. of the subject, of which they consi
When the title of innovation appears dered themselves the natural guarHowing too rapidly, they make it a dians. To this theme they justly exfixed prihoipite: to support throughout pected to find a British parliament the actually existing authorities, and alive, after the impulse was past to arm them with every instrument which had excited the temporary suswhich appears necessary for stem- pension of some of its proudest rights. ming the torrent; but, when the dan- The force of their onset was broken ger appears past, and affairs resume by the promptitude with which minia tranquil aspect, the usual current sters threw back into the hands of of British habits and ideas returns, parliament those irregular and anojealousy of public rights, and a watch- malous powers, with which they had ful care of public money, becomes been temporarily invested. Still their then the prominent sentiment in a opponents were not without hopes of large proportion of the legislative pursuing and harassing them even in body." All the great steps taken this prompt retreat. In evil days, against ministries within parliament, measures in themselves evil, must have been when they had least to sometimes be resorted to: and in the dread from without. It has there- moment of perplexity, alarm, and irfore been a standing charge, by the ritation, it is difficult to avoid carry, opponents of all administrations- ing these farther than is authorized that every report made by them as by the absolute necessity of the case. to internal disturbances, is got up for Some such measures could now beprothe express purpose of terrifying par. duced, the charge founded upon which liament into a support of their per- was not wholly unsupported by public sons, and an enlargement of their opinion. There could be produced, powers; that the statements prompt- moreover, a considerable mass of ined by such motives, rest either on no dividual suffering, incurred under the grounds at all, or are at least so vast- operation of the powers entrusted to ly magnified, as scarcely to retain ministers for the preservation of the any analogy to the real state of the public tranquillity. The system of
That ministers either did or imprisonment, and of protracted decould impose so grossly upon the tention without trial, is contrary to country as they are daily charged every principle of a free constitution. with doing, will not probably be cre- Till the Habeas Corpus act was passed, British liberty could never be those odious accompaniments which considered as placed on a solid basis. render it the object of a salutary pubAll other institutions must have been lic indignation. The way might thus to a great extent nugatory, while the be paved for that becoming permacrown possessed, without controul, nent, which is at present only a transuch a power of individual intimida- sient invasion of public right. It is tion. Exercised in the most mild and certain, although we are not prepared moderate manner, and within the li- to charge this as a ruling motive, that mits of the strictest necessity, it can- the purposes of party are much bet. not fail to involve individuals in ex. ter served by it in this irregular state, tensive extra-judicial suffering. They -the opponents of ministry being must be dragged from their homes able to charge upon them all the sufand families-must be confined for a ferings incurred out of the regular length of time in inconvenient, often course of law, and by their arbitrary unwholesome, recesses, mixed, per- mandate. haps, with profligate and disgusting society—their employments must be Parliament was this year opened suspended, and probably exposed to by commission, on Tuesday, 27th Japermanent loss--their character seri- nuary, 1818. The speech delivered, ously injured,--and all this while, be- in name of the Prince Regent, was as ing untries, they are, according to follows: the fixed principles of the law of England, to be considered as innocent. My Lords and Gentlemen, They are persons, whose individual “We are commanded by his Royal rights it has been necessary to sacri. Highness the Prince Regent to inform fice to the general good. Being then, you, that it is with great concern that whether guilty or innocent, presumed he is obliged to announce to you the innocent in the eye of the law, they continuance of his Majesty's lamenthave a very clear right, in equity, to ed indisposition. a compensation for all the loss they « The Prince Regent is persuaded have sustained, and to a solatium for that you will deeply participate in the the hardships and painful feelings to affliction with which his Royal Highwhich they have been exposed. This ness has been visited, by the calamicould be ascertained, too, without the tous and untimely death of his belonecessity of any inquisition or injuri- ved and only child the Princess Charous disclosure. No inquiry would be lotte. needful into the practices in which
“Under this awful dispensation of they had been engaged, or the grounds Providence, it has been a soothing on which they had been apprehend- consolation to the Prince Regent's ed, but simply into what they had heart, to receive from all descriptions suffered. We know only one ground of his Majesty's subjects the most upon which the natural advocates of cordial assurances, both of their just this class of persons can be justified sense of the loss which they have sus. in never baving advanced such a tained, and of their sympathy with claim. The measures in question be- his parental sorrow : and, amidst his ing in their own nature irregular and own sufferings, his Royal Highness unjust, ought, it may be said, to con- has not been unmindful of the effect tinue such : nothing ought to be done which this sad event must have on to legalize what is illegal-to reduce the interests and future prospects of it into a regular shape, and strip it of the kingdom.
“We are commanded to acquaint “ My Lords and Gentlemen, you, that the Prince Regent conti- “We are commanded by the Prince nues to receive from foreign powers Regent to inform you, that he has the strongest assurances of their concluded treaties, with the courts of friendly disposition towards this coun- Spain and Portugal, on the importtry, and of their desire to maintain the ant subject of the abolition of the general tranquillity.
slave-trade. “His Royal Highness has the satis- “His Royal Highness has directed faction of being able to assure you, that a copy of the former treaty should that the confidence which he has in- be immediately laid before you; and variably felt in the stability of the he will order a similar communication great sources of our national prospe. to be made of the latter treaty, as rity has not been disappointed. soon as the ratification of it shall have
*The improvement which has taken been exchanged. place in the course of the last year, “In these negociations, it has been in almost every branch of our domes- his Royal Highness's endeavour, as tic industry, and the present state of far as circumstances would permit, to public credit, afford abundant proof give effect to the recommendations that the difficulties under which the contained in the joint addresses of the country was labouring were chiefly to two houses of Parliament: and his be ascribed to temporary causes.
Royal Highness has a full reliance on “So important a change could not your readiness to adopt such meafail to withdraw from the disaffected sures as may be necessary for fulfilthe principal means of which they had ling the engagements into which he availed themselves for the purpose of has entered for that purpose. fomenting a spirit of discontent, which “The Prince Regent has commandunhappily led to acts of insurrection ed us to direct your particular attenand treason; and his Royal Highness tion to the deficiency which has so entertains the most confident expec- long existed in the number of places tation, that the state of peace and of public worship belonging to the tranquillity, to which the country is established church, when compared now restored, will be maintained with the increased and increasing poagainst all attempts to disturb it, by pulation of the country. the persevering vigilance of magistra- “His Royal Highness most earnestcy, and by the loyalty and good sense ly recommends this important subject of the people.
to your early consideration, deeply
impressed, as he has no doubt you “Gentlemen of the House of Commons, are, witir a just sense of the many
“ The Prince Regent has directed blessings which this country, by the the estimates for the current year to favour of Divine Providence, has enbe laid before you.
joyed; and with the conviction, that “ His Royal Highness recommends the religious and moral habits of the to your continued attention the state people are the most sure and firm of the public income and expendi- foundation of national prosperity.” ture; and he is most happy in being able to acquaint you, that since you It was not long of appearing what were last assembled in parliament, the would be the main subject of debate revenue has been in a state of pro- during the present session. The leadgressive improvement in its most im. ers of the opposition in both Houses portant branches.
were so eager to press the subject of
the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, “ Last year," said MrQuin, "strong that before there was time to move the men were to be seen in distress for address to the Prince Regent, Lord want of work; now wages have adHolland, in the Lords, and Lord Al. vanced ; industry, which is the staple thorp, in the Commons, intimated, foundation of national wealth, has a that they held in their hands a pro- fair field spread for its exertion. The position for its repeal. Lords Liver- country, if I may so express myself, pool and Castlereagh, in their respec- feels an increased circulation in every tive houses, stated in reply, that it artery, in every channel of its comwas the immediate intention of minis- merce.-Last year the fires were exters themselves to propose a bill to tinguished in most of the iron works, that effect, with a view to the imme- now they are in full activity, and the diate passing of which they would also price of iron has risen from 8l. or 91. move to suspend the standing orders to about 141. a ton. The demand of the House.
for linen, the staple of the north of This affair being disposed of, an Ireland, is unprecedented, both as to address, echoing as usual the speech, quantity and price. The funds are was moved in the Lords by the Earl noweighty, last year about sixty-three. of Aylesford and Lord Selsey, in the Money is most abundant, and when Commons by Mr Wodehouse and Mr lent at mortgage to good security, Wyndham Quin. The first topic lowering in rate of interest, and to be which was forced on their attention, had at 44 per cent, at the same time was the untimely and lamented fate that sales of land are effected at betof the Princess Charlotte, a just pane- ter prices than last year. Gold too has gyric on her virtues and the hopes they re-appeared, and the little request in had inspired, the gloom with which which it is held, seems to declare, this sad event had overspread the na- that a belief in the stability of our fition, and the sympathy due to the nancial system is universal
. Let me heavy loss siistained hy the illustrious notice the return of confidence among parent. After this melancholy topic, all classes and descriptions of men; all the others, which the state of the the farmer, the manufacturer, the nation suggested, were of a cheering merchant, all seem to feel its vivifynature. The country, Lord Selsey ing influence.” The country was said observed, lad atthat time been threats to be now reaping the fruits of its noened with anarchy and rebellion; ble exertions, which it could never commerce had become stagnant in all have attained, had it followed a less its channels ; and a deep and settled wise and energetic system. The progloom and consternation hung over found peace which reigned on the the country, of a darker character continent with every hope of continuthan any they had experienced during ance, and the treaties concluded with the long course of the preceding hos- Spain and Portugal for the supprestilities. To this, however, a triumph sion of the slave trade in their respechad succeeded, a triumph not indeed tive territories, furnished grounds of accompanied by the "pride, pomp, high congratulation. The proposal and circumstance of war," but one for the erecting and endowing of new wherein wisdom and moderation had churches was mentioned as strongly counteracted the desolating spirit of called for by the present deficiency revolution, crushed the seeds of an in the accommodation for public worarchy, and re-established peace, con- ship. It indicated also the regard paid fidence, and tranquillity.
by the administration to the religious
and moral welfare of the community, nearly equalled those resulting from an object with which national safety a conviction upon the three several and prosperity were so intimately con- informations; and yet, in that case, he nected.
would have been acquitted by the maThe leaders on the opposite side did jority of the juries. This mode of not come forward in that high tone, proceeding cannot be considered canand with that imposing front, which did or liberal. An unfair advantage they had displayed at the con mence- appears to have been taken of the acment of the former session. The prin- cused, by subjecting him to reiterated cipal speakers did not even make their trials, and reiterated and painful exappearance. By those who spoke, it ertions.” was stated, that their concurrence in These remarks called up the Atthe first paragraph of the speech, that torney-General, who declared, that relating to the Princess Charlotte, was there had been nothing litigious in so entire, as to make them anxious to the proceedings against Mr Hone. It avoid all appearance of dissent. Al might be made a question, whether though, likewise, they protested stre- any of the libels was a proper subnuously against the idea, that the re. ject of prosecution ; but if that were stored tranquillity of the country was decided in the affirmative, he cerin any degree due, either to the pre- tainly conceived it his duty to proceed sent ministers, or to the suspension of against the whole. Was it because the Habeas Corpus Act, the address three separate and distinct libels, was otherwise such as, thoughthey three publications charged as libels could not cordially approve, they did at least,-had been sent forth by the not feel themselves positively called same person, that two out of the three, upon to controvert. Some skirmish- on a verdict of acquittal being proing, however, took place on particular nounced on the first trial, ought not points. Lord Althorpe, in the Com- to be prosecuted? If only one had mons, arraigned the trial of Hone on been selected, the inference must have three successive indictments. He cer- been, that the other two were innotainly considered the parodies highly cent, justifiable, and might be circu. reprehensible, though he would have lated at pleasure. It certainly was a thought the mode of proceeding by a matter of serious consideration, after grand jury preferable to that on an the first verdict, whether he should information ex officio. But that which go on: but he was finally convinced, appeared to him wholly indefensible, that, by doing otherwise, he would was the twice following up the ac- be guilty of a gross dereliction of duquittal with a new trial on a similar li- ty. His mind had not been at all conbel, thus appealing as it were from vinced, though by the law of England jury to jury, and endeavouring to the jury had the right-and God forbring the institution itself into con- bid they should not have it,ếof detempt. “The sanction of three ver- ciding on the guilt or innocence of dicts was thus given to a practice the party accused ;-yet still he had condemnable by all well-disposed per- not been convinced that the publicasons, all through the injudicious zeal tions; in question were not what they of the honourable and learned gen- had been charged to be. On such tleman.-Had the case been other- matters, every man was entitled to wise, and the defendant been convicted exercise his own judgment. Had he upon the third trial, there can be little felt that he had been in error when doubt bis punishment would have he first proceeded against them,